The cover takes a bow

August 22, 2016

cover_smallestAs a newly self-published writer, I hoped not to embarrass myself with my self-designed cover for The House at the Edge of Time. And I knew I was letting myself in for some on-target criticism by submitting the cover to Joel Friedlander‘s monthly e-Book Cover Design Awards. So it was with trepidation that I took a look today at his site; and …

He liked it! Not gold-star worthy, but he liked it! Proof: “Nice job. The restraint shown in the imagery and typesetting really helps create a cover with the promise of an exciting story. In other words, with a good concept you can stand out without a big colorful photo.” (link. It’s waaaay down the page, and you get to see some terrific covers.)

So, several decades of looking at book covers and a little money for some excellent clipart can work together right well!

I like the cover, too. I liked it for the four months between creating the cover and publishing the book. I liked it every time I opened the image to see if it still looked good to me. Which may be a good idea: get the cover done well in advance and keep looking at it, to see if it still works.

(I’m getting a professional to do the next one, though; I’m really no artist.)

If you’re self-publishing, you might enjoy Friedlander’s site.  I’ve gotten a lot of good information there.

You can buy a copy of The House at the Edge of Time at Barnes & Noble and Smashwords; also Kobo, Intera, Scribd, and amazon.  And on iBooks and Overdrive, though I have no links for those.  (And—really—please buy it.  Really.)


I publish a thing

July 8, 2016

cover_smallestYears ago, I had a (very brief) career writing for children. Now I’ve self-published a novel on the same subject as a computer game I created. As a computer game, The House at the Edge of Time is a text adventure in which you assemble a time machine. As a novel for children, The House at the Edge of time is an adventure in which two boys use the time machine to find a treasure-hunter lost somewhere in time.

The novel was written almost 25 years ago and failed to find a publisher. While I had great relationships with my publishers, I realized that I don’t want to play in that sandbox any more and decided to be my own publisher. It was surprisingly fun to revise this: I rearranged and reworked and rewrote and just had an amazingly good time. It was fun to create the cover and to decide how the book would look.

The book is widely available: you can get it via iBooks and Overdrive; and it’s available from
Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Kobo | Amazon | Inktera | Scribd

I hope readers have as much fun reading the book as I had writing and rewriting it. Below is the first chapter, for a little taste. Read the rest of this entry »

Bartlett’s Americanisms

August 8, 2010

is now available in epub format at, freshly proofread.  And proofread.

And proofread.

I read a dictionary.  The whole thing.  (And I’m betting that there are still typos…)


July 6, 2010

I have succumbed to the lure of techno-gee-whizzery and have been playing with the little Nook I bought.  (And reading Mary Roberts Rinehart, whose middle-aged spinsters would be dandy to survey in an American lit class.)  Naturally, this means making everything I can get my hands on into some sort of electronic book, because what’s the fun of having a cool piece of gadgetry if you don’t get to make something with it? or for it?

The result is Ruth Hall in epub format, the first of the long books at my web site to be made available in that format.  You can snag a copy at

Earlier attempts to make ebooks available at merrycoz haven’t been a singular success.  “Plucker” puffed the html files into unwieldy digital blobs; and the only comments I ever got about the ebooks were complaints about one thing or another.  The books in pdb and prc format are certainly more usable (I happily read the books in eReader, on my 7-year-old Sony Clie), though I can’t tell if humans are actually reading the ones at the site, or if spambots are building their own library.  I hope people find the epub format useful.

The amusing thing about creating ebooks is that it seems that the best ones pretty much need to be made by hand.  I already do that for the books in pdb format, and it looks as if I’ll have to do it for the epub books as well.  I tried Calibre; I tried eCub; I tried to try Jutoh and Sigil (no success).  And none of them made a book that looked right (Calibre) or opened on the Nook (eCub).  Luckily, I found instructions and examples and hammered out a version of Ruth Hall that looks good in the readers.

Ruth Hall struck me as a good book to learn on, since it’s mostly text.  And, trust me:  once you’ve formatted 94 individual files into an ebook, most other digitizing projects are going to look like small potatoes.

But it amuses me that I’m surrounded by electronic equipment and basking in the dawn of the twenty-first century (you know–the one where we all get jetpacks and vacation on the moon); and I’m still spending an astonishing number of hours making digital files by hand.

Given that the original books were set by hand from hand-written manuscripts, before being bound by hand, I guess that’s appropriate.