THE DEFINITIVE SELF-PUBLISHING CHECKLIST ~ For People Who Aren’t Very Organised and are absolute beginners.

This is a wonderful blog post that contains useful advice for newbie and seasoned indie authors.

Evie Gaughan

The definitive

You just hit publish, right?  That’s what all the articles say.  Any idiot can upload a book in minutes.  And yes, I suppose any idiot can, but it takes a very informed, dedicated, professional and talented individual to upload a book that people will want to read.  A recent Facebook post from a first-time author seeking advice made me realise how long I’ve been doing this self-publishing thang and how I’ve kind of taken for granted that everyone has ‘the knowledge’.  There are so many blogs, articles and how-to books on the subject, and yet authors can still struggle with the basics.  The first author asked what she should be doing in the run up to her launch and another suggested that while there is a lot of information out there, it’s almost overwhelming.  Where do you start?  Where does it end??  So in an effort to share said knowledge, I’m writing…

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Three Father’s Day Movie Ideas

Are you struggling to come up with something to do with your dad this Father’s Day? You’ve done the whole miniature golf, Tequila shots, and dinner at Red Lobster thing a thousand times already.  So, why not stay at home, make some popcorn and watch movies? He knows you’re broke!

Star Wars: Episode V – Empire Strikes Back:  Nothing will make you appreciate your father/child bond better than knowing that at least your dad isn’t a Sith Lord.

There Will Be Blood: Your dad showed you how to ride a bike. H.W.’s dad killed someone with a bowling pin. I think you know who wins the coolest dad award.

The Princess Bride: A grandfather reads a story to his grandson. This line: “My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!” Do I really need to convince you further?


Prisoners: I dare you not to cry and sing “Kum Ba Yah” after this one. If this movie doesn’t bring you two closer and give you the feels then that’s not really your dad.  It’s a robot impersonating your dad.

2nd Bonus:

Fifty Shades of Grey: After going through an emotional rollercoaster with the above movies, face it.  You both need a little “pick me up.”  50 Shades is all about perking up—and stalking and sex contracts.  If there’s one movie on this list that will cause you to fly off the couch and run screaming out of your father’s house it’s this movie. As much as your dad loves you, it’s probably 2 a.m. and he wants you gone.

Dad Quotes of the Day:

“The other day, when my 4-year-old saw a flowering tree and said, ‘Daddy it’s raining petals,’ that was poetry that just melted my heart into a mushy, yummy Fudgsicle.”

–Brendan Fraser (Actor)

“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”

Clarence Budington Kelland (American Writer)

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”

-Mark Twain (Writer)

“Be a dad. Don’t be Mom’s Assistant…Be a man…Fathers have skills that they never use at home. You run a landscaping business and you can’t dress and feed a four-year-old? Take it on. Spend time with your kids…It won’t take away your manhood, it will give it to you.”

― Louis C.K. (Comedian)


Hope you all have a wonderful Father’s Day!

Hope you liked this week’s blog post.  You can read the first chapters of my urban fantasy series The Children of Ekhidna and Typhoeus on the books page.

Please let me know what you think by liking, commenting or subscribing.


What are some of your writing struggles?

Like every writer in the universe, I struggle with self-doubt and the “soggy middle” of my novels.  The only thing you can do is power through it.

Self-doubt is a normal and natural part of the writing process, like puberty except without the acne.  Every writer feels that their work is crap at some point, especially the first draft.  Acknowledge this and move on, continue writing and don’t give up.

The “soggy” or “saggy” middle is all the action that happens after the inciting incident that leads to the climax of the novel. If you don’t have a strong outline or a clear idea of how to move your plot forward the middle can turn into a jumbled, soggy mess.  There are no easy fixes.  You can try killing a character, introducing new characters or subplots, adding a plot twist or simply sit in a corner and pray the problem goes away on its own like that mysterious rash you found on your elbow last week.  The answer for me is usually to revise my outline to figure out where I deviated or why I have a plot hole.

struggle female writer at computer cartoon Depositphotos_46225929_s-2015Three tips to help fix plot holes:

Ask a beta reader, critique partner or friend to read your work: As the goddess of your literary universe, it’s difficult for you to see minor details.  A fresh set of unbiased eyes may be better equipped to show you where the story veered off course or doesn’t make sense.

Write one or two sentences summarizing: what happened in each chapter, what are the character’s motivations, why is this scene important, and how does it link to the chapters before and after it: Plot holes and inconsistencies will jump out at you if you can’t properly answer any of these questions.

Add Foreshadowing: This is the easier fix once you’ve found the problem.  Go back and set up whatever it is that will fill your plot hole.

What are some of the writing issues you struggle with?

I hope you liked this week’s blog post.  You can read the first chapters of my urban fantasy series The Children of Ekhidna and Typhoeus on the books page.

Please let me know what you think by liking, commenting or subscribing.

A List of Book Promotion Sites

Marketing is a four letter word to most authors, and I don’t mean the word ‘love.’ Advertising and marketing are important no matter how icky it makes you feel. Writing a novel and making it available to the world doesn’t mean the world will take notice.  Or care. Or fart in your general direction.

Once we release a novel, indie authors must scoop out their writer’s brain and plop in their publisher’s brain.  Your book baby is now a product swimming in an ocean cluttered with thousands of other books that are published daily.  Why, you may ask, is it important to market your novel? Do I need to list the reasons? Okay, here it is:

No one will read your novel because no one knows about it

That’s it.

It may seem like traditionally published authors don’t market their books, but that is not true.  Every time you see an interview or feature about your favorite author’s latest tome that is advertising.

promotions small poster-814543_640Since self-published authors don’t have a public relations team or a marketing department behind them, I’ve pulled together a small list of book promo sites.  I don’t vouch for these websites in any way.  Once my first two novels are published, I plan to try some of them.  I will post updates on what worked and what didn’t later in the year.

Free! It is free, but there is also a $10 paid option to get your book featured on their homepage for 2 days, a guaranteed spot in their newsletters and more social media promotion. Their service is free, but also has a featured option for $25 that guarantees a featured spot on their homepage for 7 days. Your book will also go out to their newsletter and social media channels.

eBookasaurus: From free to a Premium Book Listing is $10USD/ per listing

The Book Circle: Free: Consideration for listing on their Free Kindle Ebooks Page, 1 Tweet, 1 Facebook Post; Premium: $9.00 Guaranteed listing on their Free Kindle Ebooks Page, 1 Tweet, 1 FB post, 1 Banner Ad; Professional: $19.00 Everything included in Premium Package plus an E-newsletter Blast

Discount Book Man: From free to a Featured Book Listing for $15

Book Hippo: A UK based book promotion company who will support your book for free once you’ve joined their free site.

Paid promo sites:


Book Pebble: $5 – $15

Price Dropped Books: $6 – $23

Reign of Reads: $10 & $15

The Fussy Librarian: $10 – $18

My Book Cave: $10 -$ 20

eBook Soda: $15 – $27

Genre Pulse: $16 – $19

eBook Betty: $18 – $20

Book Barbarian (Sci-Fi/Fantasy only): $25 – $45

Many Books: $29

Robin Reads: $35 – $70


Book Sends: $20 – $125

Bargain Booksy: $25 – $135

Free Kindle Books & Tips: $25 – $125

eReader News Today: $35 – $135

OHFB: $75 & $100


Books Butterfly: $50 – $400

Book Bub: $35 – $2,560

Please know that all of the above have conditions in order to advertise, such as a minimum number of reviews, pricing, minimum average star ratings and availability requirements. Please read their terms and conditions beforehand.

Good luck on your writer’s journey.  Do you find it hard to change from being a writer to being a marketer?

Hope you liked this week’s blog post.  You can read the first chapters of my urban fantasy series The Children of Ekhidna and Typhoeus on the books page.

Please let me know what you think by liking, commenting or subscribing.

All I am I owe to my mother

My fondest Mom memories are of her fluttering around our kitchen cooking in her pajamas. On Thanksgiving, she wakes at the crack of dawn to cook a feast that is born out of love and hours standing over boiling pots.  Her work is both methodical and chaotic. It’s easy to think the rice and beans, turkey, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, curry goat, green bean casserole, and salmon popped onto the dining room table in a flurry of magic created by tiny elves, birds and friendly woodland creatures. 

My mother, however, makes sure to let us know this is NOT what happens.

Thank you mom for the love and scrumptious meals. 

I wish a happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, grandmothers, guardians and mother figures out there!

wordpress-inside-2-pexels-photoQuote of the Day

“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.”

Maya Angelou

Poem of the Daywordpress-inside-pexels-photo

Rock Me to Sleep

By Elizabeth Akers Allen, 1832 – 1911

Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight,

Make me a child again just for tonight!

Mother, come back from the echoless shore,

Take me again to your heart as of yore;

Kiss from my forehead the furrows of care,

Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair;

Over my slumbers your loving watch keep;—

Rock me to sleep, mother, — rock me to sleep!

Backward, flow backward, O tide of the years!

I am so weary of toil and of tears,—

Toil without recompense, tears all in vain,—

Take them, and give me my childhood again!

I have grown weary of dust and decay,—

Weary of flinging my soul-wealth away;

Weary of sowing for others to reap;—

Rock me to sleep, mother — rock me to sleep!

Tired of the hollow, the base, the untrue,

Mother, O mother, my heart calls for you!

Many a summer the grass has grown green,

Blossomed and faded, our faces between:

Yet, with strong yearning and passionate pain,

Long I tonight for your presence again.

Come from the silence so long and so deep;—

Rock me to sleep, mother, — rock me to sleep!

Over my heart, in the days that are flown,

No love like mother-love ever has shone;

No other worship abides and endures,—

Faithful, unselfish, and patient like yours:

None like a mother can charm away pain

From the sick soul and the world-weary brain.

Slumber’s soft calms o’er my heavy lids creep;—

Rock me to sleep, mother, — rock me to sleep!

Come, let your brown hair, just lighted with gold,

Fall on your shoulders again as of old;

Let it drop over my forehead tonight,

Shading my faint eyes away from the light;

For with its sunny-edged shadows once more

Haply will throng the sweet visions of yore;

Lovingly, softly, its bright billows sweep;—

Rock me to sleep, mother, — rock me to sleep!

Mother, dear mother, the years have been long

Since I last listened your lullaby song:

Sing, then, and unto my soul it shall seem

Womanhood’s years have been only a dream.

Clasped to your heart in a loving embrace,

With your light lashes just sweeping my face,

Never hereafter to wake or to weep;—

Rock me to sleep, mother, — rock me to sleep!


Song of the Day

Writing Scintillating Scenes––Part VII

Wonderful writing advice about using the five senses to create vivid scenes in your novel.

Tips that I would add are:

  • Use specific details so readers can imagine the scene
  • Don’t limit descriptions to the setting.  People move and touch and see while they’re interacting.
  • Don’t describe every single thing in painstaking detail all the time, because this bogs down the story and overwhelms readers with boring minutiae.

I hope you liked this week’s blog post.  You can read the first chapters of my urban fantasy series The Children of Ekhidna and Typhoeus on the books page.

Please let me know what you think by liking, commenting or subscribing.

Donna L.H. Smith

You’ve heard it said that writers should write using all their senses. Here’s why. A scene without sensory detail or imagery created by elaborating details is just a sentence. Create scintillating scenes by inserting unforgettable word images in the reader’s mind. Click to Tweet #amwriting #scintillatingscenes

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Neil Gaiman: 8 Good Writing Practices (1 min read)

There’s no one better to take writing advice from than bestselling author Neil Gaiman. 

“Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.”

Neil Gaiman

Is anyone else looking forward to watching American Gods on Starz?

The link in the original post is broken for some reason.  Please click HERE to read it.

Hope you liked this week’s blog post.  You can read the first chapters of my urban fantasy series The Children of Ekhidna and Typhoeus on the books page.

Please let me know what you think by liking, commenting or subscribing.

Millionaire's Digest

Written by Millionaire’s Digest Staff Member: Amber M.

Founder & Owner of:A Not So Jaded Life

Millionaire’s Digest Staff Team, Author, Successful Living and Writing Writer


Neil Gaiman has become so popular he is often considered the rock star of the literary world. He trades mostly in science fiction and fantasy in a variety of forms-novels, childrens books, graphic novels, comic books, and film. Among his trend-setting works: CoralineThe Graveyard Book and The Sandman series. He takes readers, of all ages, to the very edge of imagination.

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Top 5 Writer’s Blogs

Here are a few writer’s blogs I follow to learn from and be inspired by.

The Creative Penn: Joanna Pen is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers and non-fiction. Her blog, podcast and YouTube channel has brilliant advice for indie authors on everything from writing to marketing to business for writers. Whenever you see a list with the best writing blogs, The Creative Penn is always on it.

Jane Friedman: Jane Friedman describes herself as a “late-sleeping, bourbon-drinking editor, at least mostly sane.” She’s the author of “Publishing 101” and has racked up 20-years of experience in the publishing industry.  Her blog shares advice for indie authors about social media, marketing and ebook publishing.

Jennifer Blanchard: Need motivation?  Look no further than Jennifer Blanchard’s blog.  Her posts are relatable and fun to read.  She will inspire you to work towards achieving your dream writing life.  Blanchard is an Amazon bestselling author of “Find Your Story,” “Align Your Writing Habits to Success,” and “Butt-in-Chair: A No-Excuses Writing Productivity Guide for Writers Who Struggle to Get Started.”  A Jennifer Blanchard quote: “Turns out that mindset really is 90 percent of being successful. The other 10 percent is just taking actions that are aligned with the success you want to create.”Funny and crazy blogger using a computer

TerribleMinds: Chuck Wendig: This blog is vulgar, LOL funny and cuddly, but not always at the same time. Wendig’s blog has weekly flash fiction challenges, author interviews, pop culture musings, and a little bit about writing.  This “Super Mega Rock Star Writer” is the author of the Miriam Black thrillers, the Atlanta Burns books, and the Heartland YA series.

Live Write Thrive: Started by novelist, editor and writing coach C. S. Lakin, this blog is bursting with relevant tips for writers.  Posts run the spectrum from general to motivational.


Writer’s Digest: This is not a blog, but it’s an amazing resource.  Almost any writing question you can think of has been answered somewhere on this website. Writer’s Digest has advice for indie and traditionally published fiction authors on all aspects of the industry.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. “

-Dr. Seuss

Are there any blogs you follow?

I hope you liked this week’s blog post.  You can read the first chapters of my urban fantasy series The Children of Ekhidna and Typhoeus on the books page.

Please let me know what you think by liking, commenting or subscribing.

5 Crucial Things to Remember While Writing Your First Draft: #AmWriting #WritingWisdom #writingtips

These are great tips to keep in mind as you work on the first draft of your novel. I would add to this list:

6) Make an outline. You can do this before beginning the draft and/or as you go along.  An outline will keep you organized and help you remember what each scene or chapter is about.

7) Just write, don’t edit. When you’re in the creation phase editing and over thinking can slow you down. Use place holders if you need to research something. Now is not the time to be a perfectionist.  When you are in the editing phase you can stress about finding the right word.

8) Imagine the scene before writing.  Take a few minutes to visualize the setting, dialogue, and characters before you start to write.  This may help with any writer’s block you may face.

I came for the soup...

First Draft.jpg

First Draft.

Those two words wield a whole lot of power, evoking emotions from giddy excitement to brain numbing dread.

Some writers stand strong on the side of excitement, ready to throw down words and metaphors like hot fire, while others battle cold sweats and nausea at the single thought of how many words it’s going to take to bring their creative vision to life.

365-day-writing-challengeI digress for just a moment. If you are one of those who struggles with where to begin with your novel-writing-journey, give this writing prompt I created a try. It’s called Write Your Novel in 365 Days. 

With as few as 200 words a day, guided by a single word of the day to inspire you, you can have a complete novel written from start to finish in 365 days!

And just remember, your 365 day writing year starts on the day you

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Quarterly Writing Goals: Q1 2017

Can you believe it’s April?  First quarter is over, and I feel like I blogged about my annual writing goals last week. To keep me in line, I’m conducting quarterly evaluations on myself.

Once you’ve written down your goals, it’s easy to set them aside and forget about them. Doing a self-review is a good way to hold yourself accountable for achieving your aims. You can evaluate your progress by week or month, but I prefer by quarter.  It feels like less of a time crunch this way.

You can read my 2017 annual goals here. Here’s an update on what I’ve accomplished thus far:

I’ve read four novels to date:

I’m currently reading Prince Lestat by Anne Rice. It’s amazing. Reading Prince Lestat is like visiting old friends you haven’t seen in years, but thought about all the time.  Rice’s prose is beautiful, putting me next to the vampire Armand as he paints in a dilapidated building or strolls on the beach.

The artwork for the third novel’s cover is done, and it looks good

I revised Hound Dog Confidential, again, and it is back under the red pen of my editor for the line edit

I wrote five flash fiction stories

editing small -1756958_640The next items to tackle in second quarter are: 1) Finish the fourth (fifth?) round of self-editing on Through the Villain’s Eyes and send the draft to the editor; 2) Write more short stories and flash fiction; 3) Continue writing the third novel in The Children of Ekhidna and Typhoeus series and figure out a proper title.

On the one hand, I feel like I’ve achieved a lot, but on the other hand, I feel far behind. Fortunately, a writer’s journey isn’t a 100 meters sprint.  It’s actually a Mad Max style obstacle course where the losers see their manuscripts eviscerated by acid-spewing dragons.

Where are you guys at with your New Year’s resolutions?

I hope you liked this week’s blog post.  You can read the first chapters of my urban fantasy series The Children of Ekhidna and Typhoeus on the books page.

Please let me know what you think by liking, commenting or subscribing.