Friday, January 25, 2013

Now I’m on Twitter

So, I finally took the leap and signed up for Twitter. I didn’t know I would like it as much as I do. The one drawback about it is that I’m on it so much that it takes time away from my novel writing and drawing. I spent hours looking up people to follow and reading their posts. There are so many interesting groups that I’ve never heard of until I saw them on Twitter. 

An author suggested that I sign up for Twitter so that I could follow agents, other authors, and publishing houses which I’m doing. 

I’m following all my favorite paranormal TV and radio shows as well as a lot of my favorite guests from those shows. Amazing! Oh, and Dave Shrader the host of Darkness Radio, my favorite paranormal podcast is following me on Twitter! I was more thrilled at that than seeing celebs like George Clooney, Ben Stiller, and the cast of Friends on the lot at my old TV job!

I’ve sooo been behind the times. 

My Twitter handle is @KimberlyRobello. I feel cool now, even though I’m not.

Createspace ISBN

Well, I really screwed up on the ISBN. I wasn’t clear on the rules and didn’t get the free Createspace ISBN which would allow my book to be ordered by libraries. I paid for the $10 ISBN, but from my understanding, I can get my physical book (not the ebook) on other web sites like Barnes and Noble.

My ebook can only be sold on which is what I agreed upon when choosing the Select version on Amazon KDP/Kindle Direct Publishing.

Since my book is a teen book, I wanted to get it into libraries, but oh well. Lesson learned.

I guess Barnes and Noble is a good trade-off.

I plan on writing and illustrating children’s books which would be better to get into libraries.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Stuffed Puppet on the Bed

While my son was at school, I walked in his room to put something away. Our dog followed me.

My son keeps his stuffed animals in the space between the wall and his bed. He calls it his “crack." It’s funny when he says things like, “I like to keep my stuffed animals in my crack.”

Anyway, I took one of the stuffed animals out of the “crack” to see if the dog would play with it. It was a puppy puppet, so I put it on my hand, made it wave at her, tried to throw my voice, but the dog just stared at it. I propped the stuffed puppet on the blanket on top of the bed in a sitting position and left it there.

Later, after my son came home, he came up to me and said, “Mom, I’ve got to tell you something. I’m really creeped out right now.” He had gone into his room and seen the puppet sitting on his bed where he knew he hadn't placed it when he left. I told him I had put it there and he looked at me like I was crazy.

I had a good laugh at that and I wish I had seen the look on his face when he saw the puppet there. He has seen a ghost before, so he’s easily creeped out by those kinds of things.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Preparing my novel for Createspace

First off, I want to say that getting my book ready for the digital Kindle version took a fraction of the time that getting the paperback ready for Createspace did.

I opted for the $10 ISBN as opposed to the free Createspace one in hopes to be able to get my book onto the Barnes and Noble site. I’m not yet sure if that was a good decision or if the $99 one was a better choice. I’m not going to pursue getting my first novel into a library which I don’t think I can do with the $10 ISBN. It’s more time than I’m willing to put in at this point, but I might look into it for my next book. I just want to work on my next novel right now.

I have spent many hours out of many days formatting my book to be paperback-ready for Createspace. It was a nightmare. I went through the Community forums looking for answers, but got so many differing opinions and complaints about new problems I wasn’t aware of that I was reading and clicking around in confusion.

I heard complaints about the templates, but I tried one anyway. After hearing that there were problems with it, I assumed that it was faulty when I noticed that my Table of Contents looked skewed from one page to the next. I abandoned that template to type in my own measurements into a copy of my original Word file, and then realized that the template was actually correct to begin with. The Table of Contents was skewed to accommodate for the binding of the book. That was my mistake and something to think about when preparing yours.

I just wanted a simple, straightforward way to get my novel print ready. If you are in a similar situation, maybe this post can help you.

My novel contains 66,000+ words which I thought was a pretty good amount, so I chose the 6”x9” trim size. After hours of formatting, the book came out to be 179 pages. I discovered with that size of a book the spine would be too skinny for text to be comfortably visible and the book would be pretty thin.
I wrote all the specs down for the next size smaller which is 5.25”x8”. That was still too big. So, I went with the 5.06”x7.81”. Are you getting dizzy yet?

If you have a close enough word count to mine, just go with the 5.06”x7.81” trim size and save yourself some time. (My book proof is on its way in the mail. If I find a problem with this trim size or if it can be bigger, I will revise this paragraph).

I thought I was an expert at MS Word since I’ve used it for around 15 years, but when it came to tables (I’ve always had problems with tables) starting with the page number several pages in AND starting the header several pages in AND knowing the difference between page breaks and section breaks (both Next Page and Continuous) I was in the dark. Those are important things to know when you’re trying to publish a novel.

I found this video pretty quickly and it solved my problem with the header/footer/page numbers starting several pages in. It’s a short video.

Okay, so I found one thing wrong with the 5.06”x7.81” template. It sets the Vertical alignment to “Center” which I didn’t even know the meaning of in the first place. When my Table of Contents continued onto the next page, it started halfway down the page. It took me about an hour to figure it out. I thought the problem was with the header/footer. I finally looked it up online. I thought it was going to be hard to find but it’s a simple fix again. Follow these instructions:

Go to Page Layout, Page Setup, Set the Vertical Alignment to TOP

  • Don’t forget that your first paragraph of every chapter has no indent.

  • Don’t forget to add your ISBN # to your Copyright page.

  • Don’t forget to add a blank page after Acknowledgments, Dedication, and Table of Contents (if you have just one page) pages so they’re not double sided.

  • I also added this statement: The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

  • Remember to Justify your text alignment of the story.

There are so many darn rules. I’m sure I broke at least one of them somewhere.
Keep in mind, if you submit your story to a contest they may require a different format.

Once your document is formatted, you’ll see how many pages your book has. Don’t forget to add the page numbers of your chapters in the Table of Contents. Instead of scrolling back and forth to get the page numbers, I recorded myself saying the page numbers of each chapter into an audio recorder (I used the Voice Memo app on my iPhone) then played it back while I typed the page numbers in on my Table of Contents. 

If you don’t have an audio recorder, you can hit Ctrl+F, type in “Chapter 2” or whatever chapter you want to go to, then it will take you directly to that chapter where you can quickly get the page number. Hit Ctrl+F again, type in “table of contents” and it will take you back up to that page.

I hope at least some of this helped you.
I’ll post my experience with formatting the cover on another post. It’s an ongoing nightmare because I created my own cover from scratch.

Joshua P. Warren

I love listening to Joshua P. Warren on Coast to Coast AM and Darkness Radio. He usually has interesting experiences to talk about and paranormal devices he has made or discovered, like the Devil’s Toybox. It’s a box with mirrors on the inside of it facing each other that is supposed to be some sort of portal for entities to come into our world. He set up a microphone in or next to it and recorded growling and grunting sounds coming from the box when no one was around.

The most recent memorable anecdote he shared was about a woman that went with him and his team on a paranormal investigation of a haunted location. An entity followed her home. She called one of the researchers that night to say she was really scared. The next day she was found dead in her home. I think Joshua said there was no clear cause of death. Scary stuff.

He also spent the night alone in a haunted motel that was remote and abandoned. The paranormal crew had left and there was no electricity to the building. I believe his flashlight died and while he tried to sleep, something kept banging on the wall at the head of his bed. If I remember correctly, he felt something in the room with him, but he stayed. Now that’s one brave dude.

He used to hold an annual contest where people were challenged to create a believable UFO that people had to try to debunk. I don’t know if he still holds it, but if you’re an engineer or someone that likes to tinker in that sort of stuff, it sounds like something fun to participate in.
His web site is

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Supernatural Image on TV

My sons were playing in the living room one day with my husband asleep on the couch. I went to the back room to write. Later the kids came to visit me. As we were playing a game on my iPod, we heard my husband yelling in the living room. He was having a nightmare.

That night, my older son had the worst stomach ache of his life. He had already emptied himself which wasn't much, and was still crying in pain for a long time. The rest of us were not sick, so it wasn't food poisoning. I thought it was odd that he had such a bad stomach ache because we eat pretty healthy.

The next day, my older son who has been sensitive to supernatural things all his life, told me that he had seen a man on the TV when they had been playing in the living room the previous day. After much questioning, I found out that the TV was off and the man on the TV looked like a chef. The image lasted only a few seconds, but he got a good description of it. He told his younger brother to look, but by the time he did the image was gone. My younger son has never had any supernatural experiences, so it's no wonder he didn't see anything.

I believe there was a ghost in the living room that day when the boys were in there and my husband was sleeping. After the kids left the room, I think the ghost attacked my husband and gave him the nightmare. The same entity may have given my son the stomach ache. He has had an upset stomach before when we were visiting a house I believe was haunted.

I told him to draw what he saw. Below is his drawing. The handwriting is my description of what he told me. If you can't read my writing, these are the details he gave me:

Handlebar mustache, smiling so much his eyes were squinting, light skin, (in my own opinion his description sounds like Chef Boyardee), wore white uniform, had 3 yellow buttons on his coat, no bandana around his neck, carrying a platter of what looks like spaghetti with just 1 meatball, carrying a bowl of brown soup with paper thin green squiggly lines and white floating squares in it. To me it sounds like miso soup, but maybe Italians have a similar soup. I don't know.

Maybe the guy died nearby or something. He could've been a cook or a chef that cooked various types of food, Italian and Asian or whatever. Regardless, I blessed the house immediately and we haven't had anymore problems.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Darkness Radio Podcast

My favorite paranormal podcast is Darkness Radio hosted by Dave Shrader, Tim Dennis, and Mallie Fox. They are based in Minnesota and are on nightly for 2 hours. In their area, they are on just before Coast to Coast AM.

They have great guests and talk about black-eyed kids, shadow people, ghosts, demons, haunted places, cryptozoology, and other interesting paranormal topics.

What I like about them is that not only do they cover scary topics, they add humor to it. They have a news section once a week where they cover paranormal stories from around the world. It's funny when they can’t pronounce the foreign (and sometimes domestic) names of these people and places. Sometimes they just make up the sounds of these names and put on an accent to make it sound authentic. They are hilarious.

Dave and Tim are both bald and rotund, and often poke fun at themselves. I find them to be the funniest guys in paranormal talk radio. Some of the things they say come out of left field, totally unexpected. Mallie is cracking up half the time. Mallie is a beautiful blonde who Tim shamelessly flirts with on the air. If you go to their website you’ll see what they all look like.

Dave has seven kids and jokes about having so many, but he’s an all-around good guy who has had several interesting paranormal experiences.

Tim moonlights as a ring announcer for pro wrestling, so they will sometimes throw out wrestling references and plug upcoming events. When Dave couldn't pronounce the name of the cryptid from India, he called it El Elephanto. Tim joked that that was his wrestling name. lol

You don't have to believe everything they talk about, but it's entertaining talk radio.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lilah in Love - My first novel

It has finally happened! My book has been published and is on! It's such a relief to have it done. I am so sick of revisions. If I had to do another revision it would've been physically painful.

Please find it in your heart to buy the book and/or refer it to friends and family. :o) It's only $2.99. The price of a cup of coffee? I don't know because I don't drink coffee, but the point is it's pretty affordable.

Here is the link:

I am working on having a hard copy available, but it's not so simple. There are measurements, margin and indent specs, book size and all that other math stuff involved that puts me to sleep. Maybe it would've been better if I did drink coffee.

If you like the book, please give it a favorable review on Amazon. If you don't, please refrain from commenting. Ha!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Heart-Shaped Ivy

I saw this heart shaped leaf while I was out walking the dog yesterday morning. I thought it was cool and decided to take a quick picture. It wasn't as quick as I thought it was going to be.

A car drove by and got in the picture as I snapped it then my dog walked in the shot and wrapped the leash around my legs. A couple walked by so I stood up until they were gone in case I had a plumber's crack going on.

Several snapshots later I got this shot, but the foreground is blurry and the background is in focus. Ah well. At least I got the shot. I can draw and paint fairly well, but I have not been gifted with photography.

Bigfoot Tonight Podcast

I am a big fan of podcasts. I listen to them every day to learn things about the paranormal, writing, and foreign languages such as French and Danish.

One of the podcasts I like to listen to is Bigfoot Tonight with hosts Chuck and Stacey. They sound like nice, laid back, down-to-earth guys, and they don't mean to be funny, but I think they're hilarious.
Chuck can be grouchy sometimes, but these guys are so polite that they will stop talking at the same time to let the other person or guests speak, creating dead air, then everyone will speak at the same time. You can’t hear what they are saying because 3 or 4 people will be talking all at once. Then they’ll all shut up again then start talking at the same time again sometimes yelling over each other. Around and around they go, doing this several times. It’s quite funny.

The funniest show of all was when they had a guest named Don on who couldn’t hear most of the questions asked him. Don was bit by a poisonous snake a couple of years ago which left him with only 10% of his hearing. His stories were interesting, but he talked on and on without stopping because he couldn’t hear anyone asking him questions. They kept yelling, “Don! Don! Can you hear us? Don! Stop! Don!” Poor Don. I felt sorry for him, but it sure was funny.

I love listening to that show and I wish they were on more often. Bigfoot Tonight has become one of my favorite podcasts. You can find it free on iTunes and probably the Stitcher Radio app on iPhone/iPod as well.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

On Twitter

To Twitter or not to Twitter, that is the question that I’ve been asking myself for months. I have been told that I should, but have been resisting it. It seems there are a lot of interesting organizations and people to follow on there, but I don’t want it to take up too much of my time.

I’m also afraid of becoming a chatty Kathy and adding my 2 cents of nothing every 5 seconds from my phone. Not that I don’t add my 2 cents of nothing to this blog, but posting on a blog takes up way more time so I’m less likely to be on it all day.

Facebook takes up enough of my time and I even debate whether or not to delete my account, but I never do.

It’s amazing how much you find out about your friends and family through Facebook. The information can be useful in case they turn out to be weirder than you thought. That way you can avoid them at social events and family parties.

Sometimes people send out party invitations through Facebook, so if you don’t check it, you don’t go. That can be a good or bad thing depending on the person. A caveat to sending an invite through Facebook is having uninvited guests show up at your party that weren’t on the invite list. Again, that can be a good or bad thing depending on the person.

The other problem with Twitter is that it just might be another social site where you have to weed out the weirdoes.

The debate continues.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

American Horror Story

I might sound creepy for saying this, but I am addicted to watching American Horror Story: Asylum. It wasn’t what I was expecting, that’s for sure.

 The pilot was off-putting and there weren’t any likeable characters, but I gave it a chance and I’m glad I did. I had almost decided to stop watching it as I was watching the second episode because it was more about crazy people than what I wanted to see which was the paranormal.

It was probably the last five minutes of the second episode that drew me into watching the third episode. I didn’t even recognize Denis O’Hare (Russell Edgington in True Blood!) until around episode 6. Damn, his character, Larry Harvey, is creepy in this show! What Larry did to Hayden to manipulate Ben at the end of that episode was a shocker. I had to see what Ben was going to do in the next episode, so that’s what got me to keep watching.
When Tate’s backstory started to unfold and his relationship with Violet became clearer, I was hooked.

Jessica Lange is and always has been a great actress from what I’ve seen. She’s really good in this show. I’m so glad her character isn’t my neighbor.

This show isn’t for everyone and probably isn’t for most people. Haha. Definitely not for the squeamish.

My tolerance for seeing people eat gross stuff is low. In fact, it pisses me off. That’s why I hated shows like Survivor and Fear Factor. I don’t want to see that gross crap. It annoyed me in this show, but the scene was fairly brief and I love the rest of the show, so okay I’ll keep watching.

I saw that Ryan Murphy was one of the creators of the show. His name was familiar so I looked him up on IMDB. I was surprised that he also created Glee. What?! Those shows are on opposite ends of the spectrum, but wow, the guy has got some talent to be able to write in both genres so well. Kudos to him.

Evan Peters does a great job of playing two sides of the coin. Scary psycho guy and sweet vulnerable boyfriend. Poor Violet. It’s a good thing they aired Tate’s backstory before the Sandy Hook school shooting or else they might’ve canned that episode.