Create Space Cover for Destructive Magic

I learned that the cover design is what throws me when I’m publishing a new book – go figure, since I’m an artist…

However, with Elementary Magic I changed the cover FOUR times.  So I don’t have the same issue this time, I completed the cover of Destructive Magic on Create Space – even though I’m still editing the book.  I’m relieved – and I think it turned out pretty nifty.  Again, the service was EASY to use!


If  you have an hour and you’re perplexed about how to market your book (or if you just need some fresh ideas) check out this youtube video from Brian Jud – I found it on the Create Space site and had an hour to kill.

I’ll put the link on the site so you don’t have to search for the page if you’re not going to click it right now.

On a whim I decided to try the Create Space service through Amazon – it was amazingly simple.  Log in, download the formatted Create Space Template – do a whole bunch of copying and pasting of your material into the template and voila!  You have a book.  The hardest part was getting my chapters headings formatted the same (I’m a little compulsive and I wanted 5 returns before the chapter heading and two after – it’s an OCD thing) – but that was the hardest part.  I decided to include the first two chapters of the next book in the series at the end (a nifty little marketing strategy!)  Also, the free Cover Creator tool was simple to operate and it changed my cover image, fonts, and colors easily.  I would recommend it.  I copied my chapters directly out of my Amazon html file (I’ve told you before about saving multiple file formats) and the Create Space template coped amazingly well with the text.  I am exhausted at the moment, but I’m doing a few marketing strategies in the next few weeks, and I’ll report in on them.

Editing – the slash and burn pass

I’m editing Destructive Magic and this is my second pass through the book so I thought I’d share what I’m doing to polish it up.

Ruthless deletions!  (Yes, I am a mean editor).  I may have loved the scene when I wrote it, but if it doesn’t move the story along, it’s highlighted and deleted.  I don’t try to “make it fit” if it doesn’t naturally do it.  I call it my “slash & burn pass” because I use delete more than any other key on the computer.  There’s a downside to that:  Once I delete, I have to rework the scenes surrounding the now missing scene so the story flows.  Here’s how I do that:

I read the “Previous scene that gets to stay” and ask these questions:  Where is the character physically, emotionally, experience-wise?  Where do I need to get her?  What does she need to learn/struggle with/lose in order to get to the next scene?

The next thing I do is take away something she needs to be successful.  There are two ways to do this:  One, delete it.  Two, give the “oh, crap! moment” where the character realizes it (usually the realization comes too late for her to fix it).  This is where I give the character voice so you know a little more about her.  Does she lament the loss/lack of something or does she find another way to cope without it?  Does she get mad and throw a tantrum or does she just give an eye roll and move on?

Then I read the “Next scene that gets to stay” and ask:  Is the character prepared to be there?  Should she be?  Usually, she shouldn’t be prepared in my novels, so I focus in on what she needs and how not having that makes it harder for her or how not being prepared puts her in a dangerous situation.  Then she has to figure out how to get out of the scene and into the next one (Providing I didn’t delete that one as well).

I think of two types of editing:  Story driven (including the technical aspects) and Character driven.  This part of my editing is story-driven because I’m moving the plot along (a technical skill), but once my scenes are cut to the bare minimum, it becomes more character-driven because it lets me show the reader what kind of character they are cheering for.  Deleting scenes for me helps me stretch the characters and bring depth to them.  It’s not where we are but how we react to our surroundings.

I have no problem deleting things and sometimes I have a separate document called “(title of book) deletions” just in case I get carried away.  The purpose isn’t for the reader to read every single word I’ve ever written – it’s to take the reader on a journey with a character they know and can identify with.  Unnecessary scenes distract from that goal and leave the reader asking the deadly question “where are we going with this?”

My delete key is feeling neglected, so I’m off now to get rid of some more scenes.  Happy editing!

Author Blog-In

I’m not posting today because other people are posting for me about Elementary Magic.  Since I don’t have to stress about it for 24 hours, I’m going back to my laptop to work on the sequel.  Thanks to all of my fellow “groovy cats” on the blog-in!

Author Blog-in: The Lustre by Kate Policani

Kate Policani

By Kate Policani

Edited by Kathleen Firstenberg

Cover photo by Chris Barker

The Lustre is available:

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Smashwords

Buy at Barnes & Noble

Buy on KOBO

Buy on Createspace: Red coverSlate coverBlack and Cream cover

Buy on Bibliocracy

Buy on Diesel Ebooks

The Lustre at Goodreads

Short Synopsis:

Hidden within Human society is an entrancing race of beings who look just like us. They are the Akataromai.Originating on Earth, they conceal themselves, blending within the Human population. Though they appear to be Human, mature Akataromai live for centuries and feed upon negative Human emotions. Angelina Quorra is an Akataromai, a Human-looking girl who might never die. But Angelina is unique among her people, absorbing pain as well as emotion and giving anyone who feeds her overwhelming pleasure. This is her story, told by the men who adore her. Her talent is called The Lustre…

View original post 965 more words

So, I burned myself out obsessing and writing and re-writing and editing and I needed a break – so I took one.  I started a new hobby, played with my dog, relaxed and tried very, very hard to put Destructive Magic out of my mind for a bit.  I was having such a great time on my vacation, that I was actually only obsessing about twice a day that my manuscript wasn’t finished/polished/perfected.

Then I read the blog of another author who was hard at work organizing an Author Blog-In.  I read Kate Policani’s posts frequently and I find her to be smart, funny, and optimistic – I can now add “hard-working” to that list.  Her post about the blog-in was the kick in the tail-feathers I needed to get back to work.  I am happy to report that I am once again focused and working diligently.  There are lessons in my mini-vacation, though, and I’d like to share those with you:

1.  When you’re burned out, you need to recognize it and address it.  You can’t keep your shoulder to the wheel if you have no idea where the wheel is going.  Stepping back and getting perspective is just as valuable as forging doggedly ahead – actually, I think it’s more valuable because by putting the book away for a while (okay, longer than I intended, but we’ll get to that) made the book better.  I found clarity and vision and noticed a few things that I hadn’t articulated as well as I thought I had.

2.  Bringing something new into your environment changes your perspective.  My new hobby reminded me how I get the most done…I work hard for a long time, then I step back and re-visit things I’ve done in the past.  By doing that, I recognize mistakes I’m prone to making and am able to make a course correction so I don’t repeat the mistake.  If I weren’t busy learning a new skill, I wouldn’t have realized that I just needed time to process and obsessively looking a the same material wasn’t getting me anywhere.

3.  Distance helps you untangle the knots.  I read a bit of Destructive Magic and realized that I was headed in one very clear direction with the characters, and then I could clearly see where I became so involved that I tied them in knots.  The harder I worked at it, the bigger the tangle became.  That’s where the delete key came in handy.  I’m a ruthless editor and I don’t hesitate to remove large chunks of my stories if they don’t click for me on a read-through.  Once I freed myself from the tangled web by leaving it alone for a while, the story flowed again.  I think that applies to most situations in life…if you’re stuck, step back and let it go for a while – the solution is buried in the mess, but until you stop tying the knots tighter, you can’t see it.

If I had more time, I’d find a picture of a Chinese Finger Puzzle and post it here because it’s a great analogy for what I’m saying…unfortunately, I have a novel to finish, so you’ll have to search for the image if you want to see it.  Which brings me to my final point:

4.  Sometimes the reminder to get back to work comes from an unexpected place.

If you’re feeling burned out, take a break.  You won’t hear the wake-up call until you’re ready to tackle your project again.  I’m sure I received many other “time to get back to it” calls in the past few weeks, but Kate’s was the only one that got through (thanks for that, Kate Policani)  – it’s funny how the universe seems to know what you even when  you’re not sure yourself.

Author Blog-In: Elementary Magic by R. Leonia Shea

Available as an e-book from the following retailers –


Barnes & Noble:





Short Description:

A girl releases one demon and all of a sudden her Ph.D. is useless. As the only black listed archaeologist on the planet, Dr. Arienne Cerasola needs a job. When a family friend hires her to find a magical tree, it seems like a good idea. The problem is Arienne isn’t that talented as a witch. If she were, she would have been recruited by the United Coven and Alliance, not discouraged from ever practicing the craft. Looking for a new life, Arienne sets out on a quest to find the tree.  With a Shaman and the trickster spirit, Coyote, to (maybe) help her – she hopes to prove to herself that she can do something useful with her meager talents. After all, with magic comes fantastic possibilities….and terrible consequences.

Reviews (from

“…thoroughly enjoyable…” 

“…a wonderfully written amusing tale…”

“I am really looking forward to reading more about Dr. Arienne Cerasola the heroine in the book Elementary Magic so here’s hoping the author is writing a lot more. And yes, I have noted there is one more book involving this character. (pout… there should be lots more!) “


I slid my eyes toward the plant in the corner of the room again.  It looked worse every time I glanced at it.  The giant plant with thick leaves seemed as if it were melting in the cool office of the museum.  Every time I looked, another spike seemed to droop.

I pulled my eyes away from it and answered the next question the interviewer asked.

“Yes, I am very impressed with your conservation department, and I think my experience would be an asset.”  My voice was strong, and I tried my hardest to make good eye contact.  The now completely flat plant caught my attention.  I saw a flicker of something behind the pot, by the radiator.  I blinked and the flicker disappeared.  The tension of yet another job interview was making me see things.

The committee nodded collectively as I described my experiences as a field archaeologist and I glanced around the table trying to make eye contact with every person.  The flicker at the corner of my vision grew into a glow and I glanced back at the plant.  My eyes widened in surprise as flames licked at the now melted plastic pot and steadily climbed the wall.  I looked back at the table and five pairs of eyes were staring in horror at the inferno that consumed the corner of the office.

Without thinking, I grabbed the pitcher of water off the table and threw it onto the blazing plant.  Under my breath, I murmured “deincendio” with flick of my hand I willed the flames to subside.  The fire hissed, but obeyed.

Unfortunately, I had doused the flames a second too late, because the alarm started to blare and the sprinklers engaged sending cool water over the office, the interview committee, and my four hundred dollar power suit.

Dr. Birk, the head of the Albany Museum of Natural History, ushered me out of the office.  Her low heeled shoes clicked on the tiled floor as she brought me outside to the hum of the city.

“We are so sorry, Dr. Cerasola.  I believe we have taken enough of your time today, and I’m afraid I must go meet with the head of security.”  She ushered me to the curb and hastily shook my wet hand.  Water dripped from her grey hair and her speckled eyeglasses must have been impossible to see out of.  She swiped at them impatiently and hurried off to meet with a man in a blue uniform.  They scurried back toward the museum and the sound of fire trucks could be heard blaring their warning from a few blocks away.

The other members of the interview committee were nowhere to be seen, and I stood alone on the street, drenched and confused.  “And thus concludes your interview…don’t call us, we’ll let you know when the arson investigator wants to speak to you…” I mumbled like a crazy person as I headed back to my car.

I pulled a towel out of the trunk of my car and laid it gently on the seat before climbing in.  I took a moment to rest my head on the steering wheel, fighting the tears that burned behind my eyes.

“Who does that?”  I asked the empty car.  “Who sets the office on fire during an interview?  What the hell is wrong with me?”  I mentally kicked myself before pulling into traffic and pointing my car in the direction of the Corning Preserve.  I had to pick up my partner, Basir.

I parked far from the other cars and opened the sunroof.  I waited a few moments, letting the early summer sunshine warm my lightly freckled face.  An owl hooted from the trees above and I looked around to make sure nobody was watching.

The owl landed on the roof of my car and hopped in through the opening.  Basir blinked his large yellow eyes at me and hooted again in greeting.

I dissolved into a tearful mess.

“Fire.  This time it was goddamned fire, Bah!  What is going on?”  Basir hooted softly and nuzzled his feathered head against my arm.  When I’d finished cursing and berating myself, I swiped at my runny nose and sniffled before pounding my fist on the steering wheel in frustration.

I’d had three job interviews since being fired from the last archaeological dig I was in.  They had to fire me after I’d collapsed a 16th century cathedral in Ireland.  I had to collapse it after I’d accidentally released a three thousand year old demon, but I couldn’t tell the University that part of the story.  So I was now an unemployed, homeless archaeologist who had blown three job interviews by causing minor disasters.

Magic has a way of getting ahead of me…

A special thanks to Kate Policani for organizing the Author Blog-In…Check back and I’ll have re-blogged about some great books from other authors!