Posts Tagged ‘Tracy Carbone’

vellum-1200-icon.jpgI just used Vellum for the first time to prepare files to upload on KDP, Amazon’s e-book platform. I’ve dragged my feet on doing this for over a year. Instead I’ve resorted to my past, lazy use of uploading Word files.

Author Christiana Miller mentioned Vellum to me last year. “It’s easy,” she said. “Even for people who aren’t Tech geeks. It’s intuitive. It allows you to add flair and fanciness to an otherwise plain looking manscript.” I’m paraphrasing.

But like a lot of people, and a lot of writers, I was intimidated by the process. It would be hard, I thought.  I’d become overwhelmed and do something wrong and it would look lousy. And anyway, uploading from a Word doc was fine so why mess with it?

Well, one reason is a table of contents. I released a short story collection last month and there isn’t a table contents. In the print version I have one, because Shadowridge Press is good with print layout. But not in my digital version that I’m responsible for.

Today finally, when I’d put off  uploading my Word doc long enough for The Rainbox, I decided to give Vellum a shot. OMG, it’s AWESOME!!!!! Why did I wait so long?

This is how I felt when I finally started eating avocados, or using floss picks, or doing Yoga.

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 2.37.07 PM.pngFor one thing, it’s free until you actually need to upload your book to Kindle or any of the other platforms. For another, you can VERY EASILY do neat things like restyle your section breaks instead of using the manual ***  I had before. You can select to have the first letter in each chapter be a big pretty CAPITAL letter…And there’s a table of contents, and it puts everything where it’s supposed to go. And organizes things like Acknowledgements. You can use their headings or make your own.

I am not a Tech person but it was a breeze. The only issue I had when I dragged and dropped my Word doc into the program (that was easy) was that there were about 50 chapters. In real life there are 9. I quickly figured out how to merge chapters (highlighted the ones I needed with CTRL+Shift and clicked “merge chapters.”) Then I read through and added in the section breaks which the program had mistaken for chapter breaks.

Scrolling through and viewing the document in the program allowed me to see a couple of typos I had missed before as well. This made me very happy.

imagesTo purchase the document which gives you five different file types for different platforms that you can edit anytime, forever, is just $29.99. If you pay $99.99 you can do 10 books. Unlimited is $199.99. I don’t have that many books so I opted for the bundle of 10.

I highly recommend this software for anyone who wants a better looking e-book and wants to have fun setting it up. Currently this is only available on Mac computers, not PCs.

Soon I’ll be updating all my books on Kindle with my snazzy new software!

-Tracy

To see more of Tracy’s thoughts on writing, life, cooking, and home repairs, please visit her WEBSITE HERE. Also, please visit and follow her on Amazon for updates on upcoming titles and author appearances.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MarnieAvailable in print and Kindle, at long last I bring you, My Name is Marnie.

After the brutal, senseless murder of her husband, Marnie Clifford tries to pull the threads of her out-of-control life back together. She flees from her painful past and looks to start a new life in a small, ramshackle but affordable cottage in a remote idyllic New England town, in hopes of finishing out her pregnancy in peace. But something isn’t quite right with her new home- not with the cottage itself and its vague familiarity; not with her new neighbor, a disheveled wild-eyed man with a limp and questionable motives; and certainly not with her unsettling visitor…a silent, restless, and very dead little girl. As the spectre’s visits become more and more frequent, Marnie begins to unearth the horrible secret of the cottage. A secret better left buried deep… 

 

And here is what author Kealan Patrick Burke had to say about it: “As enthralling a spectral mystery as anything written by Jennifer McMahon, with My Name is Marnie not only has Tracy Carbone risen to the top of my writers-to-watch list, she has also ensured I will never look at dolls or apples the same way again. This one quite literally had me double-checking the doors and windows before bed, and I’m still not quite recovered. A well-written and unsettling piece of work that gets my highest recommendation.”

– Kealan Patrick Burke, Bram Stoker Award-winning
author of The Turtle Boy, Kin, and Jack & Jill.

Cover art by Elder Lemon Design

Published by Shadowridge Press

 

 

 

voodoll

Two more hundred word stories. Enjoy!

The Voodoo Doll

I stick sharp pins into the soft flesh and will the figure’s body to suffer. Again and again, piercing the skin. Into the heart to cause sadness. Careful jabs and slices on the leg to force the figure to feel. To feel pain. To feel anything at all.

Damn you, feel something!

A carefully placed needle into a hand, into a finger. But the doll does not react.

Rows and rows of pins embedded now, sad soldiers marching into an unwinnable battle.

Now the doll bleeds! People will notice. They will rescue the doll.

They will stop me from cutting.

 

DownloadedFileEvening Stroll

She feels his presence before she spins around and catches him leering. Buckled brown teeth and an uneven gait. A mind riddled with evil. “Spare a dollar,” he says. How long before he kidnaps a child? Before he tortures her? Before the courts fail to prove his guilt and release him to act again? She approaches with feigned kindness, and drives her expensive pen into his left eye, then his throat. The face of her remembered attacker transforms to that of an innocent homeless man. She hides the pen in her purse, shrugs, and resumes her walk to yoga class.

For more fiction by Tracy, please visit her AMAZON PAGE.

 

 

This week I am highlighting The Collection and Other Dark Tales. I received a wonderful review that I want to share here. 

“Tracy Carbone has accomplished something that I was beginning to think would never be done. That is to say, her book “The Collection and other dark tales” rivals the short works of Roald Dahl, in my opinion. I’d read a collection of Dahl’s short stories many years ago and have never found another author whose work seemed to have the same undefinable magic as that which he infused into his stories. Then *BOOM*, along comes Tracy L Carbone who pulled it off… in spades. I devoured it like a slobbering ravenous pig, thoroughly masticating every tasty morsel and then I licked the plate. It was utterly delicious and I’m ready to see what she’s served up for desert.”

After those kindly words, there’s not much more I can add. Buy your copy now and see if you agree.

Collection cover 3

neconWhen my daughter was born, one of the first things I did was draw a line on the wall to measure her height. Later we moved and I put another higher line in a new place. She was six when I bought that house. A year later I went to my first NECon. It was 2003.

Over the years, a lot has changed in my life. As she grew, I’d make her line higher. Some years she’d grow an inch or two, some years not at all. And with each year I attended NECon, my career grew a little. Some years the leap would be big, sometimes small.

When I attended my first NECon, brought by John McIlveen, I was terrified. I hated being away from home. The idea of meeting 200 strangers scared the hell out of me. But he brought me just the same. I roomed with him and his four daughters (this was back before the newest Mac, who is now 9). I’d never spent any time on a college campus before. Not one where I slept and ate in the cafeteria. I’ve been going to night school forever at Northeastern but this was different. I felt like this was my new home. That first night I spent the most time with Stan Waiter, Dallas Mayr, and then F. Paul Wilson. I think we played cards in John’s suite. I don’t know when I went to bed but it was really late. By the end of that weekend, I had so many new friends. When I arrived I had never published a single story, much less a book, though I’d been writing my whole life.

Another year rolled around, and another. My daughter’s lines on the wall got higher. Still no sales for me but I was meeting people, learning how to write better. I was randomly assigned to room with Rhodi Hawk, Lori Perkins, and later Jan Kozlowski who have become dear friends. Plus all the ones I friended all on my own. The list is too big. Paul Wilson and I started working on a project (The Proteus Cure) and that led me to Thrillerfest. And Thrillerfest led to me other Cons and friendships, like with Heather Graham (who made her way to us). I had more confidence suddenly. Enough to leave the bad relationship/short marriage I was in.

So I took my kid and left, sad that the marker lines on the wall were gone to me. We started new lines at this place when she was 11 and still pretty short. The week I left “him”, I sold my first story, then another (Doorways and All Hallows). I couldn’t wait to go to NECon and tell people. Back then Shocklines was our only outlet. I had a MySpace but could never warm up to it. But NECon was where all the real people were. 200 hugs. People who had met there, people you looked forward to meeting that you knew from Shocklines.

Over the years, I had a few relationships I’d rather forget. I published a kid’s book I’d rather forget. I’m sure many of us regret watching Headers that time in the auditorium. And there was that time we had to spend at Salve and I lost my car in the middle of the night because the campus was too big and confusing. There has been a lot of uncertainty in my life, a lot of change. But one of the biggest constants, one of the only constants, has been NECon. Year after year I’d show up, embarrassed that I was no longer with X (in the true algebraic sense, X is a variable). But it was okay. Lots of my old pals showed up with new wives or husbands.

This month was my 10th NECon (okay my ninth but it was 10 years ago I started). I’ve published 3 novels, a short story collection, a whole bunch of short stories in anthologies and magazines. Almost all my friends are writers. All the negative hurtful people in my life have been replaced by cool people who, one way or another, I can trace back to NECon. They say you can do it with Kevin Bacon but I’m willing to bet that everyone is probably just a few contacts removed from NECon. It has changed that many lives.

My daughter is 17 now and her height line is as high as it will go. She’s full grown. But I still go to NECon and each year there is growth. Emotional, professional. They say “Don’t forget where you came from.” NECon 33 reminded everyone of that.

We have all changed in the last ten years. People have married and divorced, babies have been born, our loved ones have passed. Careers have taken off. We’ve gone gray, and our legs have grown weary. And if you look at pictures from all the NECons, you can watch us all grow up. It’s like the line on the wall. A marker, a reminder of where we were before.

There is no way to say thank you enough, except maybe to make a toast, just like at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life. Thank you Bob Booth for providing a place for us to come alive. To the richest man in town.

toast

proteus_cover_KINDLE_03-28-13Now that The Proteus Cure has been out a month, I thought it was time to write about the experience of collaboration.

At my first NECon, which was also my first conference, I met F. Paul Wilson. I had not read any of his Repairman Jack books but ran up to him and said, “Hey, you wrote Deep as the Marrow!”  He seemed surprised because at Horror Conferences, most people don’t know about the handful of medical thrillers he’s written (and which have sold quite well). I later read most of the Repairman Jack books, and like them very much. But to me at that point I only knew his medical thrillers. I suppose I was not the fan he expected. “Repairman Jack who’s that?”

The next year, I came armed with a terrific idea for a thriller and was dying to run it by him. He argued the science and story wouldn’t work. I argued that it would. After brainstorming and talking for several hours, he conceded the science part had potential but the story didn’t make sense, because of the science. Hard to explain now but he was correct. He said, “How about instead you have this doctor…” And certainly his idea was better and lent itself to credibility. Mine would have been torn apart by critics for its inaccuracy. That next Monday he emailed me and said he couldn’t stop thinking about this book; so we decided to write it together.

When we began, I fancied myself a very good writer. I was insanely creative and wrote very quickly. But after one exchange with Paul where he read over my portions, I realized how much there was to learn. We started with a throughline, which was a chronological  list of events that happened throughout the book. Much of this was not included in the manuscript, it was just information we needed, all the background detail that makes a book fit together.

After the throughline, we made an outline. That was tricky as we had to consider whether to tell the story in the order it happened, through flashback, or a little of both.  Once the outline was completed we tackled one chapter as a time. I discovered that when you have a good outline, it’s like a coloring book. All you need to do is fill in the color, the emotion, the dialogue, but most of the lines are already there. Paul taught me how that’s not only dialogue that distinguishes characters’ personalities but their movements and thoughts. We’d split a chapter into sections and assign random pieces. This way we both got to write every character. Doing it in that manner worked well so that there were no glaring differences in the narrative. We emailed a couple of times a day to swap chapter sections back and forth. More recently we used Dropbox. We had a few long calls, to brainstorm, discuss, get our characters out of trouble or into it.

We rewrote this book more times than I’ve ever written one and I think Paul would say the same. We needed to get it just right. It’s a long book, 400 pages and when you rewrite something that long, you get to know the characters like the back of your hand.

Now it is done to our satisfaction. This book had several readers over the years and we listened to all their critiques to make this the best book it could be.

This is not a Repairman Jack book and I hope that when his fans read it, they are not disappointed because Jack isn’t around the corner, rushing in to save anyone. Read it and get to know Paul’s other side, the doctor-writer part of him that casts a different kind of horrific shadow over his writing.

fpaulYou will like this book for different reasons. There is no supernatural element but instead a pervasive and possible threat to all mankind, administered by your family friendly doctor, that will take hold and destroy who you are before you even know what happens.

To buy the Proteus Cure in trade paperback or on Kindle, CLICK HERE.

-Tracy

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My long awaited (by me) short story collection is now available in print and on Kindle. The Collection and Other Dark Tales will be up on BN.com soon. My publisher, Shadowridge Press, has outdone himself this time.  He’s put together eighteen of my stories, some old and some brand-new, in a stunning presentation. What’s great about Shadowridge, is that he gets a feel for the content of the book and designs the layout to match the theme. The cover is a good representation of the subtle eeriness of the stories, but he also picks just the right fonts, just the right graphics.

Here is a description of the contents:

Collection cover 3The Collection and Other Dark Tales is an eclectic mix of horrific and uplifting tales of the human condition in all its frailty. You will not find gritty, violent horror or torture chambers here. Nor will you find spinoffs of the traditional werewolves, vampires or zombies. What you will find are stories that will bore deep into your heart and mind with psychological twists; where long dead loved ones coming back to haunt…and to save. You’ll find a grisly apartment building with unholy tenants, sociopathic children, jealous mothers – both living and dead, the truth about snow angels, and lost love that reaches out beyond the grave. Predators and prey all vie to tell their stories in these pages. 

This compilation of cautionary tales tells of humanity in all its beauty and ugliness. And there is no greater horror than that.

Get your copy now-HERE. 

And check my AMAZON PAGE for other stories and novels. My WEBSITE will keep you current. CLICK HERE for upcoming book signings.

Want a signed copy? CLICK HERE to try and win one on Goodreads, now till April 4th.

TOCThanks for reading,

Tracy L. Carbone