Thursday, June 26, 2014

Greed and a Mistress (A Jackie Harlan Mystery)

This time, the search for a missing child that disappeared years earlier, took the Jackie Harlan Detective Agency to a captivating murder trial in Portland, Oregon. There was little doubt of Mark Barrett’s guilt, but there were lots of unanswered questions, including which of Mrs. Foster's four children hired him to kill their mother.
Coming Soon - Greed and a Mistress 

The Billionaire's Will (A Jackie Harlan Mystery)
Available at:  Amazon    US   UK - AU -   CA -  NOOK -  KOBO -  APPLE - PAGE FOUNDRY

The Harlan Detective Agency was the best there was when it came to finding missing people. They were also the most expensive, so it was no coincidence that they were hired to find the heir to a fortune totaling over 1.6 billion dollars. 

Nicholas Gladstone left everything to a granddaughter he didn't know he had until a week before he died, but which one was it - the maid secretly working in the parent's home, an office worker, or the young woman tragically killed in a car accident?

Now ready for Pre-order on Apple - Marblestone Mansion, Book 9

The tell-all book entitled, The Scandalous Affairs of Alexandra Sinclair, was destined to arrive in Colorado Springs any day, and this time it was the MacGreagor’s who had a plan. It was a simple, yet good plan – as long as it didn’t turn out to be a little too good.
The duchess finally had money. It was not the fortune she hoped for, but she could now live comfortably. Still, she was not happy. She desperately missed being part of London’s splendid society and was more determined than ever to find her way back.

 Marti Talbott is the author of the Marti Talbott's Highlander Series, the Carson Series and the Marblestone Mansion (Scandalous Duchess Series.) Her books are available in KindleNookiPad Kobo, and paperback. Visit her website at

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

CreateSpace Review - Updated

Marblestone Mansion, Book 1
 (Scandalous Duchess Series)
I suspect I look for the easiest way to do things because...well, I'm basically lazy. So when CreateSpace said I could upload a word.doc and they would convert it to a .pdf, and then make it into a real paperback novel, I said count me in.

In a reading world, where the ebook is gaining popularity while paperbacks are seen as using up all our trees, why would an Indie author opt to make a paperback version of their book?  Because not everyone owns an electronic reader and some truly prefer to hold a book in their hands, and keep them on a shelf so they can read them again another time.

I have published 25 books through CreateSpace, and I am offering this review to help you decide if this is a service that will work for you.

First, I should tell you what hasn't changed - its still FREE. I am a cheapskate, and for me that makes CreateSpace very appealing. They'll even give you a free ISBN. However, free only applies to the Amazon stores. If you want your book available through other outlet and worldwide, you can accomplish that for a nominal fee. If I remember correctly, I only paid $25.00 the last time I published a book.

CreateSpace is a POD publisher, which means they only print one book at a time when a customer places an order. There was a time when the term, "POD" made readers and authors run for the hills, but not any more. Printing one book at a time is more the norm these days than the exception. Need more manuals for those new people hired on your day job? Chances are you'll get them from a Print On Demand publisher.

The book internal setup is much easier now than it was in the past. Of course, you first need to establish a free account and give them your banking information so they can pay you. The setup requires title, author name, description, categories, kind of paper (Cream or white), and the book size you want - 5 x 8, 6 x 9, etc. After you enter the initial information, you can upload your ebook file. That's right, you can upload your word.doc and they will turn it into a ready to print template. As soon as it is converted to a .pdf, and ready for viewing, what you will see is the actual pages ready from print.

It can't be that easy, right? Right! You do have to format the book yourself, but the instructions offered here makes it easy. 

 If you have trouble, there are plenty of people who will help. Try finding the answer at the CreateSpace Community or do a Goggle search for "ebook formatters." Most have reasonable rates.

Once you have that completed, you'll want to upload your cover art. Don't have cover art? CreateSpace will let you use their Cover Maker to make your own. However, you might as well make a small investment and get a professional cover right from the start. I didn't and wish I had. At Book Cover Sale. com, you can choose from many pre-made covers and simply have the artist add your title and author name. Some sell for as little as $35.00. Naturally, there are several other artists who offer pre-made cover art. Simply do a search for them.

Once you have a cover and your interior file created, you can decide what you want to charge for it. CreateSpace will tell you how much they need for expenses, and anything above and beyond that is yours. Still, you must take care. Setting it too high might mean no sales at all.

Next,  submit the "project" for CreateSpace approval. They make certain everything fits and then notifies you via email if it passes, or if there are any problems. Assuming there are no problems, the next step is to approve the proof. The good news is, you don't have to order a printed copy to approve the proof. If you feel confident in what you see in the preview, you can approve it online.

Once you approve the proof, it takes anywhere from 3 - 5 days to put your paperback version on sale on Amazon. That's free too. CreateSpace automatically. gives you an eStore you can attach to your website and a way to offer your customers a discount code. The sale is handled by CreateSpace, which is of course, a division of If you're curious, you can look an an eStore here or here:

So there you have my opinion of the CreateSpace publishing experience. All in all, I am very pleased. CreateSpace also publishes CDs, MP3 downloads, DVDs and videos.

Marti Talbott is the author of the Marti Talbott's Highlander Series, the Carson Series and the Marblestone Mansion (Scandalous Duchess Series.) Her books are available in KindleNookiPad Kobo, and paperback. Visit her website at

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hams - The Forgotten Heroes?

 On Good Friday, March 27, l964 approximately 12,000 square miles of the Alaskan seafloor shifted causing one of the worst earthquakes in US history. When the shock waves subsided and the massive tsunami receded, loss of life and injuries were compounded by yet another tragedy -- a total communications blackout.

Then at last, a lone Ham Radio Operator managed to send a message -- a cry for help that was repeated by other Hams and sent all over the world.

History is rich with stories of Hams - 1996 a fierce lightning storm in Oregon/California, 1998 Flooding in Texas and Hurricane Bonnie, 1998 Ice Storm in Canada, 1999 Hurricane Floyd/Earthquake in Taiwan - and the list goes on.

So what happened to Ham (Amateur) Radio Operators and why don't we hear about them anymore? Believe it or not, they still live among us and they're still responding to cries for help, up to and including 9/11 and the 2002 fires in Colorado.

The world wrongly assumes that with the Internet and cell phones, we no longer need Hams. But disasters cut electricity and cell phones need working towers every three miles. Yet Internet search engines list Amateur Radio sites under "hobbies," a classification totally unwarranted and highly resented.

Hams are a lot more than high school kids fiddling with radios. They are a network of highly trained people -- men and woman of all ages who are willing to drop whatever they are doing to look for a lost child or aid overworked emergency personnel. Like an old-fashioned fire brigade, they pass the information bucket from one to another warning of severe weather conditions, hazardous spills, railroad disasters and much, much more.

Ham Radio Operators are indeed forgotten heroes, but they shouldn't be. Every year they meet in groups all over the world to train for the next major disaster. Yet sadly, their numbers are dwindling - in evidence on hospital "help wanted" bulletin boards all over the America. Sad indeed will be the day they aren't there when we need them.

Deluxe 2-Person by SurvivalKitsOnline Perfect Survival Kit for Emergency Disaster Preparedness for Earthquake, Hurricane, Fire, Evacuations, Auto, Home and Family

8.6: The Great Alaska Earthquake March 27, 1964

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Burned by an Agent

Author's note: I wrote this article years ago and although this agent is long gone (or changed her name), the warning is still valid and bears repeating time and time again.

I did all the right things when my novel, "The Shadow of War" was finally complete. I bought a copy of Writer's Digest, sent away for submission guidelines and mailed out hundreds of queries to publishers and agents. It was a labor of love costing a great deal in postage and covering the span of several months, yet it yielded only rejection after rejection. 

So you can imagine my excitement when one of my SASEs finally came back with an agent's return address stamped on the front. Hungrily, I ripped open the envelope and withdrew the single sheet of paper requesting to see the whole book. I was ecstatic! 
Two weeks later, another envelope came with the much coveted contract, typed on yellow paper with the Agent's signature and a state seal punched on the bottom. They loved it, they truly loved my book! I held in my hand the ticket to success, the path to riches and the freedom to work on my next bestseller. 

The fee didn't seem so unreasonable. All they wanted was a $150.00 for postage and copies, and I'd spent that much in three months. So I signed the year long contract and sent my check, my head still swimming in the excitement of having an agent and a business card to prove it! 

After the first three months I received a letter listing the Publishers she was soliciting. Everything seemed right on schedule, so I threw myself into writing the next novel. The first letter was followed by another every three months showing more Publishers and sadly, the number of rejections. Then at last, the year came to an end with no hint of a sale. 

Even so, my Agent did not want to give up, citing still more possible publishers and asked if I'd be willing to send another $150.00? This time I declined. Instead, I asked for a copy of all the rejection letters, something all Agents must provide by law. And when my manuscript was returned, I learned a very unpleasant truth. 

There were no bent corners, no pencil marks and no sign that anyone had even read the manuscript. The rejection letters were all Xerox copies, as one might expect, but the publishers didn't match the list the agent had sent and worst of all, only one was actually addressed to my Agency and specified the name of my novel. Only one! The rest looked identical to all the standard form rejections I'd gotten on my own. 

One-hundred fifty dollars and a year later, I'd learned my lesson. You've heard it before and it's true -- Never pay an agent! The chances are pretty good, they're making their money from fees and not sales.

by Marti Talbott

2010 Guide to Literary Agents