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Month: January 2012

Racking up the 5-Star reviews

It’s been a little over 2 months since The Redheaded Stepchild hit the shelves, and it’s been steadily building some great 5-star reviews. Have a look for yerself!

A glimpse into a vivid world

I tend to read genre fiction, so when my friend recommended this, I put it off for awhile. When I finally did start it, though, I could barely put it down. Every chapter flowed into the next one, and I was excited to see which chapter of Cady’s life would open to us next. Reaching the end was the only disappointment of the book; I wanted more!

I guess that’s about the most you can say for a book, right? Once I started reading it, I wanted to keep reading it, and it left me wanting more.

Hitchcock’s real strength lies in her descriptions, vivid imagery evoking the sights, colors, lighting, mood, smells and sounds of her locations: a seedy country bar in the middle of nowhere, a trailer park, a parent’s bedroom.

Relationships also form a core component of this book, and it’s delightful to watch them grow or shrink as we move forward and backward in time, discovering first an effect, then a cause, then another effect.

It’s a quick, delightful, sharp and observant read, and I’d recommend it to anyone.

Bittersweet coming-of age relationship tale

Catherine O’Donnell wants what we all want…to be loved. This tale made me want to wrap young Catherine in a hug and tell her it’s going to be OK. Her stepmother is a character you’ll love to hate as you experience those awkward teen years through the lens of a girl who just needs a mother’s unconditional acceptance.

This book is for you if you loathe toddlers & tiaras. This book is for you if you know what it’s like to grow up poor. This book is for you if you, like Catherine, value your siblings and their futures more than you value your own well-being!

This was a quick and comfortable read. I’m looking forward to more from this promising new author!

A great reading treat!

For those of you who have never read a Kelly Hitchcock story you are going to be in for a treat. For those of you who have read one of her stories you will find this one a great read that you won’t be able to put down until you finish it (and I had to read it again to make sure that I didn’t miss anything).
I love Kelly’s stories for the way she paints vivid pictures with her words. It’s almost as though you are there, walking alongside her main character Cady as she heads back to her rural hometown. Her descriptions of the places and people compel you to know them and see them for who they are and the symbolism they hold in Cady’s life.
Even though I grew up in rural Missouri the memories it brought back of my own childhood were like an old comfortable blanket that settled comfortably around me. I can identify with Cady her feelings and her journey. The Redheaded Stepchild is just the first of many stories I look forward to reading from this wonderful author.

From Goodreads

An excellent book from Kelly Hitchcock! I felt like I was journeying through life with Cady, feeling every emotion with her. I couldn’t help but feel hopeful, yet jaded with Cady as she meets her new stepmom, and I understood the love hate relationship Cad had for her stepmom as Cady grew up. Kelly paints vivid imagery of the house Cady lived in, the town, her friends, her relationship with her Mother, and most importantly her relationship with her Father to make the story so realistic. I can’t wait to read Kelly’s next book!
Thanks to all my reviewers!
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Wednesday Wrant 1/11/2012

It’s been difficult getting back into the groove of things at the office, since the holidays and being sick last week.  I had this nasty sore throat for several days, but I finally got healthy and ready to get back to work.

Unfortunately, something has been distracting me when I already have this motivation problem – the little dog upstairs has been barking.  All day, every day.  And it’s got this yip-yap whine that makes it sound like it’s in mortal danger.  At first, my dog would whine when she heard the dog upstairs, but after awhile, she’s just kind of learned to ignore it.

I wish I could do the same.  Typically, I just turn up the podcast or the song I’m listening to and try to drown him out, but then I have a meeting where the only background noise I have is YAP-YAP-YAP-YAP over and over and over.  Normally, I would call the apartment office, but I’m a little hesitant to do so.  You see, my dog is part chow, and the Texas Apartment Association expressly prohibits any mix of breed they want to call “aggressive”: Akitas, Pit bulls, German shepherds, Dobermans, Rottweilers, and Chows.  Never mind the fact that my dog is scared of her own shadow.  So I told them she’s a Retriever mix, which isn’t a complete lie, but I hate to invite complainer karma lest someone decides they want to complain about my dog.

When the owners are home, the dog doesn’t bark, but it runs from one end of the apartment to the other all the time, which would make me wonder if it were thundering outside if only it weren’t Texas, where it rains about two days a year.  If I write the dog into a story and then murder it violently, I hope you all won’t think less of me if it turns up dead the next day.  I would think it’d be barking itself hoarse by now.

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The Redheaded Stepchild now available in paperback

Do not adjust your TV – you are, in fact, seeing a paperback version of The Redheaded Stepchild.  Late last week, I received my proof copy from CreateSpace, which I quickly ripped open in the lobby of my apartment office.  I am ridiculously happy with the way it turned out – the back cover is amazing, and even the spine of the book is very slick.

The book itself is thinner than I expected it would be – but it’s not super thin.  Having 12-point font and a 6×9 canvas probably reduces a little bulk that you’d typically find in a squatter paperback.  Most importantly, though, this means my #1 fans, all 5 of you, can get a paperback if you want one! They’re available on the Amazon page, but also in the CreateSpace store, where I get a little bit of a higher cut, I admit.

So there you go, Grandma.  Now you can believe me that I do, in fact, have a book floating around out there.  Also, stay tuned for some exciting The Redheaded Stepchild news this Friday, the 13th.

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Six Sentence Sunday 1/8/2012

First Six Sentence Sunday of the year and I already managed to enter my name wrong on the form. Brilliant.

Anyway, here’s today’s six, from my novel The Redheaded Stepchild (available on Amazon).

“It’s about time you showed up,” I said as Johnny half walked, half-fell through the door of Kinko’s, ducking to avoid bumping his head.  He had huge dark circles under his deep set hazel eyes and he had forgotten to shave.  His five o’clock shadow stuck out in all directions in a deep shade of red, contrasting sharply with the dishwater blonde on his oversized head.  I abandoned the quiz I was taking in my Cosmo: Do you come across as desperate? I was more than ready to quit reading it.  Every turn of the page made me feel uglier, fatter, lonelier, and more out of style.

Be sure to check out all the other talented authors on!

Happy New Year, y’all…

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Wednesday Wrant 1/4/2012

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday, filled with magic and wonder.  If nothing else, I hope it was preferable to mine, because mine was kind of a disaster.  But hey, I am home now, and we’ve begun a New Year.  And next year, I’m staying home for Christmas.

So without going into too much detail, let me just say my holiday was filled with a head cold, a stomach bug, a teething one-year-old, a blaring car alarm 12 hours away, and family that generally drives me crazy.

It was actually, seriously, comforting to celebrate with my boyfriend’s parents.  No one was vomiting, teething, showing up late, talking about the evils of microwaves, etc.  The first day we went over for a visit, I was just getting to where I felt somewhat normal again after my stomach bug.  No more vomiting or other rapid fluid loss (lovely).  We’re sitting around chatting when all of a sudden I start feeling a sharp pain in my upper belly.  It gets worse and worse, so I go lie down and finally decide I need to go to an Urgent Care.

Which brings me to my Wednesday Wrant. Urgent Care my ass.  We’re in Olathe, which is the Kansas City equivalent of no man’s land.  The closest place to us was a Walgreen’s Care Clinic, so we went over there, after waiting for what seemed like 15 minutes for a train. We get to the clinic, which has a sign up saying they won’t be accepting any new patients for the evening.

We Google the closest place, which takes us out to an empty parking lot.  We start calling Urgent Care places left and right, all of which are either closed or about to close in 20 minutes – at 7 pm.  What the crap is the point of an Urgent Care that closes at 5? That stops taking patients at 6:30? Luckily I got to feeling better before we resorted to the emergency room, but the unhelpfulness of the Urgent Care industry in Olathe, Kansas has pissed this nice Midwestern gal off.  And Google Maps, sometimes you really suck, too.

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The Redheaded Stepchild available on KDP Select!

In case this headline doesn’t mean anything to you, allow me to explain the Reader’s Digest version…

Amazon has a new option with its Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program that allows their authors to enroll their titles. For a 90-day period, those titles are available in the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, and Amazon Prime members with Kindles can borrow a book a month for free for all titles enrolled in the program.

What does this mean for me? I not only get to offer my book in the Lending Library, I also get to offer my book for free for up to 5 days during this period, getting it into more hands. So if you’ve got The Redheaded Stepchild in your wish list, you can keep your eyes peeled for one of these 5 free days and get it. The only catch is, I have to offer my book digitally exclusively in the Kindle store. Given that I have sold all of 5 copies on my other digital platform, Smashwords, I think I can remove it for 3 months and be okay. Plus, it’s a different way to earn royalties and get more exposure, and this is all trial and error for me, anyway. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

To learn more about KDP Select, go here. To see The Redheaded Stepchild in the Amazon Kindle store, go here.

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2011 in Writer Review

I just got done reading my 2010 review, and now I’m ready to do the same for 2011. It’s been quite a year, and was way different from 2010.

  • I had two manuscripts published in 2011. It was less than 2010, but I’ll still call it a win because I spent more energy on getting The Redheaded Stepchild published and writing my next novel. I also spent more time writing new manuscripts in general than I did in 2010.
  • 2011 came and went, and the two poems that were accepted for publication in February 2010 are still waiting to go to print. And people wonder why print is dead…
  • I forwent the book deal and decided to publish The Redheaded Stepchild myself. I’m still experimenting to figure out what works as far as sales and marketing go, but I’m not in this for the money. I’m in it because I love it and I want to try new things.
  • I tripled my Twitter followers.
  • I once again pimped my writing at South by Southwest. I also submitted a panel proposal for SXSW 2012 which is still under review. Fingers crossed!
  • I used my Kindle to check out works by other Kindle authors. I’m hoping that it’ll be great for you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours kind of sales.
  • I joined a writer’s group, and I’m now leading that group. I look forward to Weird Austin Writers meetings every single time.
  • I began volunteering at my local library. I’m hoping this will help me reach out to readers once I get more established.

Goals for 2012

  • Sell 1,000 copies of The Redheaded Stepchild. I’ll have to figure out what works marketing-wise to make that happen, but it’d be nice to know that my book is in 1,000 new hands!
  • Publish my next novel. I’ve got a lot of rewriting and editing to do, but I’m really excited about the project and I think it’ll be my best work yet. Now if I can just think of a title…
  • Build relationships with readers and other authors. This means I need to keep up with my other author blogs all year round. (Compound goal.)
  • Publish The Other Dentenia Zickafoose. I’ve been shopping this guy around for almost 2 years now. It’s time.
  • Become a contributor on other author blogs. Guest posting, book reviews, whatever I can do. I need to put myself out there.
  • Write 15 new manuscripts. I’ll have the new novel, but I also want to write 10 poems and 5 short stories to add to my repertiore. Can’t be myopic with my manuscripts.

On the whole, I’ll call 2011 a win. I think 2012 is gonna rock.

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Creating for CreateSpace

Long time no see! The holidays did a number on me; don’t worry, you’ll get to hear all about it in next week’s Wednesday Wrant. Lately, though, I’ve been busy preparing The Redheaded Stepchild for paperback format on CreateSpace. CreateSpace, for those who are unfamiliar, is an Amazon affiliate authors can use to create print-on-demand standard size paperback editions of their books. The Kindle edition is, of course, my bread and butter, but we all have those friends and family who refuse to get with the program and want to know “when can I order my paperback?” I’m doing this for them 🙂

CreateSpace makes it all pretty easy, but it has its share of drawbacks, too. I thought I’d write this post to share my thoughts on the good, the bad, and the ugly of creating a paperback on CreateSpace.


It’s free. I like free. Free is good. Free takes more work, but free is worth it. They have a pay option, too, starting around $300 for interior design and $300 for cover design. No, thanks. I’m not afraid of hard work.

It’s procedural. They keep a running checklist on what you’ve done, what you’re doing, and what you need to do next. If you get tripped up at any phase in the process, you can go right back to it after you correct any issues.

It calculates production costs. CreateSpace automatically calculates how much each copy will cost to print and distribute, and stubs it in as the minimum price you can set for each copy. This takes the guess work out of pricing the paperback.

The preview tools are easy to use. The Interior Reviewer lets you easily check the swankiness of the inside of your book, and the Cover Creator lets you easily design and preview the front cover, back cover, and spine. With the Cover Creator, you can select one of their predefined themes, which are pretty slick if you don’t already have a good cover image, or use your own if you do (which I of course did). You can also add an author photo, back cover text, and pre-place a barcode.

Distribution to CreateSpace and Amazon. I can have my book on Amazon (for a lower royalty share) and CreateSpace just like that.

They provide Word templates. Their downloadable templates keep you from having to manually define the right and left page margins, headers, footers, copyright pages, dedication pages, etc.


The Cover Creator is limited. You don’t get to customize the font set for the spine text or back cover text or set the location of the author photo. You can set the background and text color for the back cover and spine cover, but the palette is pretty limited. I know, I know, you get what you pay for.

The templates are pretty imperfect. The downloadable templates they distribute contain font sets that aren’t supported by CreateSpace (Myriad Pro in the chapter footers) and they can’t interpret blank pages between chapters. So if you want to insert a blank page between chapters, so that each chapter starts on a right page for example, your blank page will still use a header and footer.

The pay services are expensive. I hate formatting in Microsoft Word just as much as the next guy, but I’m not going to pay over $300 for someone else to do it. I suppose if you know nothing about how to use templates and styles in Word it would be worth it, but I’ll do the work myself, thanks.


The front cover. I had to modify my cover image in PhotoShop several times to get it to meet their standards. They don’t like any text too close to the margin, and to get it to look normal with the 6×9 cover I had to do some layer adjustment that took much longer than I would’ve liked.

Copy and paste. To get the template to play nice, and to not lose my spot in the manuscript, I had to copy and paste each chapter into the template, change the text styles, and modify each footer since it used a font style that wasn’t supported. Nothing feels more like a waste of time to me than copying and pasting, lather-rinse-repeat fashion.

So all in all, the goods outweighed the bad and the ugly, and it was certainly worth the time it took to format the interior and the cover. I’ll be getting my proof soon, and I’m ridiculously excited to hold an actual copy of my book in my hands!

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