Archives for category: e-books

Reblogged on

Source: Wouldn’t It Be Great to Have a Magic Button on Your Keyboard That Corrects Everything? But Editing and Proofreading Need to be Done by a Human Being. Here’s Why!

To find out more, click on the link or image below to read Jane Friedman’s advice: amazon-book-description-optimize/

Source: How Writers Can Optimize Their Book’s Description on Amazon…


Calling all girls! Why not take advice from a rose-bush instead of frightening yourself by what you think other people think of you? 

The bully of  fashion fads doesn’t count; neither do the mean people you know who wear styles or tattoos prostitutes would choose, and dream of being  stars with flashy lifestyles. What you say to yourself inside your own mind and the good taste you develop from better role models do count.

You are naturally beautiful because you are young and fresh and growing. Period. Everyone older is jealous so relax, soak up the joy of just being you and forget your anxieties.

Memorize this inspiring poem like your great grandma did back in the days when fourth grade  girls  sang in class concert. The words will still  stick in your mind and encourage when you are older, like I am, and tend roses.

(Note: “little” means to  the rose “not yet full-grown inside or out”)


Good morrow, little rose-bush,

I pray thee, tell me true:

To be as sweet as a sweet red rose,

What must a body do?

To be as sweet as a sweet red rose,

A little girl like you

Just grows, and grows, and grows, and grows, —

And that’s what she must do.

A First Reader    Jenny H. Stickney Lansing

Thanks to Google search and Google’s program of digitizing old books, poems like this can be  located and immediately downloaded for free.

Old primary readers in e-book form are an amazing resource for children, adults and baby-sitters.

Early 20th century primary school teachers had never heard of such things as child psychologists. They were it. Secret messages to help children develop healthy egos and self-confidence were delivered by poems like The Sweet Red Rose.

Browsing around the other pages and illustrations in The First Reader may lead to a revolution today that  will return to the idea that growing up can be a beautiful, simple and natural process.

This and other secrets of growing up beautifully inside and out are told in my books about what it was really like growing up in great-grandma’s and grandma’s days.Thank you for spending some of your precious time reading this post. Please browse around top to bottom and, if you like, give a few clicks.


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If you are into a #writing career, learn everything you can here:

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Memorial or Remembrance or Veterans’ Days come and go, but a love that rose out of the ashes of a World War shines on. It recently inspired an official reviewer for to give  it a 4 out of 4 rating and recommend it as “a rare treat for the modern generation”.


Here is what it  says:

“How does it feel to see life through the eyes of our ancestors? Primitive? Romantic? Or down right sacred? For me, a culmination of all three.

This is indeed an unusual love story, a tribute to innocent and pure love. There has been no dramatization of this love story, no passion forced, yet the hard journey of two souls are depicted in their own words. The protagonists were from two different backgrounds. Kathleen Elizabeth was the daughter of a city councillor in Portsmouth, England while Jack was a farmer from Cookstown, Ontario, Canada. Though he was a farmer’s son he signed up to open a Methodist teaching and preaching mission at God’s Lake, Manitoba. His main aim was to evangelize the Aboriginals. Jack was no weakling and he had to go through many hardships in his daily lifte . . .

Jack knew he had to provide a good example to get their trust and love. He set up schools where he motivated the students and their parents to start learning. His school started with one kid and slowly it built up in strength to 21 kids. He started making a difference. . .

Kathleen on the other hand was studying at medical school after her sweetheart died in World War I. Then she had a nervous breakdown and started managing her family’s bakery café. Though she liked Jack, she felt she could not lead the hardships of that kind of life. She refused to marry him when he asked her for the first time, much to the dismay of her family. But that started a series of correspondence between them.

It is quite romantic the way Jack would wait for her letters. How much trouble he had to go through to get those letters! Maybe this story is not passionate in the telling sense but I found his actions in order to get the letters not only passionate but also emotional. It might be difficult to be a knight in shining armor but to love someone across the globe takes a lot of determination and loyalty. A rare combination in today’s world.

How they eventually meet and marry and Kathleen faces the hardships of the journey are written beautifully in their diary which is beautifully presented by Margaret Kell Virany.

This is a very difficult piece to present to the world. It carries a part of your heart and you cannot twist it in any way without taking the authenticity away from the raw emotions of Jack and Kathleen. It has been a pleasure to glimpse the world through their eyes. A rare treat for the modern generation indeed!”

Quoted from

Thank you for visiting. This blog for all lovers of life and language aims to be useful and entertain. Topics vary from how to build a canoe to how my mom moved from “prince to preacher and fog to bog” as a war bride after world war one. Writing advice is squeezed in between. Find out more about A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void,  Kathleen’s Cariole Ride and Eating at Church on Amazon,  Goodreads or my website.

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics!

I’ll be at La Foire des Artisans at  Galeries d’Aylmer on Sat., Nov. 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to chat and sign copies of my books. Michele Szabad will be there too to sign copies of her newly published sensation on the life of an army brat.

Writing books is all about community so beware of self publishing.

Having read the above blog, I’m more excited than ever about being at the upcoming OIW Book Fair on Oct. 27 with fellow authors and readers. As for debates over whether to self-publish or with a traditional publisher, or as an e-book, I’d like to add these bullets from my 15 years of trying. As you will see, I come down on both sides of the fence, depending on where I’ve been able to find ‘community’:

  • Good, practical advice came in the otherwise-depressing rejection letters I got from traditional publishing companies. I had a maximum of a thousand dollars to put into my book and this advice was free. Structure, length and target audience were some of the trouble spots. I was angry and wanted to prove them wrong in rejecting me but, at the same time, I had to be humble and work harder at revising because ‘might is right’. If I could make my book better, everybody would win.
  • Getting impatient, I decided to self-publish my book as a paperback on BookSurge (one of the first digital publishers) in 2002 for two hundred dollars. They touted the success of some of their authors who had gone on to sign contracts with traditional publishers so this was my goal and role model.
  • I lavishly spent $500 on a review by a New York Times best-selling author, since I still had some money burning my pocket. This was an honest review by Ellen Tanner Marsh whose good reputation stood behind it. BookSurge offered it and it came out in time for me to quote from it in my back cover blurb.
  • BookSurge invited its authors to appear at their booth at the Frankfurt Fair in Frankfurt, Germany in 2003. The dates coincided with a solemn trip to Hungary we had to make to bear my mother-in-law’s ashes home for burial, so we added on the Fair expense as a more cheerful motive for our trip. What I gained from this was a chance to introduce myself face-to-face to just about every reputable Canadian publisher. Again, I got brutal advice, some insulting, which a self-publishing interloper on these hallowed premises might have expected. My new, improved, revision was the upshot of this experience. It was an exhilarating week. My book garnered good international comments and buyers. Some of the publishers called me after we got back home. I began to understand the publisher landscape and how digital books disrupted their financing and marketing.
  • A friend of mine, the guru behind the excellent online community, persuaded me in 2011 that the central love story/Indian reserve part of my book could stand on its own if published as a  Kindle e-book. I worked very hard, even doing ‘overnighters’ in my late seventies, to explore this fabulous new world of authors and readers.
  • What I realize now is that this new way of doing things lacks the real, essential community of writers and readers. I’ve been saddened by the superficial support games authors play on line. Also, I find Amazon’s free book promotions unhelpful for authors. I took part and got into the Top 100 ranking of Kindle ‘sales’. However, not only did I make zero, I didn’t get any customer feedback indicating that I was a part of a community of anything.

Still I’m hopeful that we can all have the best of all worlds. I’ll be bundling my e-book on to my paperback for a special offer at the OIW Fair. See you there!

Margaret Kell Virany is the author of A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void and Kathleen’s Cariole Ride.

How to Solve Your Ebook Formatting Problems

Kathleen answers a call of love, leaves England and heads northwest for unknown adventures.

(If you follow the link to Jtbigtoad in this blog, written a year ago as a guest post on Savvy Writers & e-Books Online, you will see it is updated to August 27, 2013.)

When I decided to publish my paperback book as a shorter Kindle with a new theme I had a lot to learn. Luckily, I found places to go to solve my problems, and I didn’t even go broke. 

Problem # 1
I thought I could upload a PDF created in Open Office and it would be as good as using Microsoft Word. That was how I self-published my paperback in 2008 and, for all I knew, Amazon Digital Services had used the same PDF without doctoring it when they turned it into a Kindle book in 2010. I didn’t know I was on a wrong track.
Solution:  I consulted Kindle Direct Publishing .  A pdf file has hidden html formatting codes which are not accepted by the Kindle publishing platform unless converted. I had wasted time by using the tab bar and a variety of fonts, sizes and headings. KDP warns against using  tab-spacing, since it won’t convert to Kindle. I corrected that by setting  the ‘paragraph’ formatting to indent automatically, then deleted my manual tabs.

Problem #2
I downloaded a conversion program, Mobipocket, which didn’t work so I was stuck. KDP had said this would put my pdf into a Kindle-friendly format. However, it rejected my Internet Explorer 7. Should I buy a more expensive converter program? Was a new browser necessary?
Solution:  I clicked on ‘Community’ in the KDP page’s top menu and found out I wasn’t alone. Other authors were having similar, or worse problems than I had and were seeking or giving advice.

Problem #3
I had resisted getting a new word processor program
Solution: I spent $138.00 for a Microsoft Word10 program and installed it.  I saved my manuscript in it and created a picture file.

Problem #4
I still had no idea how to do the finishing touches
Solution:  I discovered jtbigtoad , a forum participant, was offering the best advice. He is experienced, goes into minute detail and keeps things simple. He explained how to put in the Table of Contents, links, page breaks, headings, etc.

Problem #5
Creating a good cover
Solution:  At you can hire a graphic designer who will do a book cover for $5.00.  Mano, a true professional, did the cover for Kathleen’s Cariole Ride.

I uploaded the book with Jtbigtoad’s instructions in front of me, showing the commands that would appear on the computer screen and where to click. No converter was needed and the publishing took just 25 seconds!

Thank you for spending some of your valuable time reading this post. Please browse around and, if you like, write some comments.,,,,

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aOscar the Skeleton Awareness AlertOscar the Skeleton Awards Stars for Good Posture

A new patient for Gaetan Poirier at Physio Outaouais Sports Medicine Clinic where I go for shoulder therapy is a teenage boy who spent all day playing his new video game. A near-epidemic number of sufferers of all ages worldwide, not just elderly ones like me, are seeking help. Poirier and his colleagues recommend limiting time spent without taking a break to five minutes on an ipad, 20 minutes on an ipod and two hours on a computer. Here are 16 tips to help you prevent or cope with pain:

  • Stop doing whatever you are doing when your shoulder starts to hurt. Prepare to change your habits, even your life style.
  • Have good posture if you work at a  computer: screen at eye level, chair placed so you sit upright and elbow at a 90 degree angle as you work at the keyboard; keep your feet flat and your thighs parallel to the floor or slightly inclined forward.
  • Don’t slouch or tilt your head forward when using an ipod, ipad or playing a video game,  The weight your shoulders has to bear doubles with every inch of forward bend. It’s called text neck.
  • Find someone to help you if housework, for example, is the problem. Be creative and efficient, use alternatives and lower your standards.
  • Sleep on your back at night with a small rolled-up towel about 4x5x1″ underneath your sore shoulder. Forget about trying to roll over on your side.
  • Try ice or a heating pad to see if it helps.
  • Avoid overhead arm movements by wearing button-front  clothing and slip-on shoes. After a shower or bath, dry your back by holding a towel with both hands, one on each end, and moving it back and forth so you don’t have to stretch.
  • Rest your shoulder as much as possible by going on vacation and taking naps. If you swim, continue doing it, but do breast stroke with a dog paddle arm movement and don’t swim crawl (free-style).
  • Go to see your doctor for an examination and diagnosis. Use this opportunity to clear up any doubts you have from friends, etc., to use alternative treatments. I tried acupuncture but it didn’t help and left a purple bruise from the massage. Also, the doctor told me I didn’t need vitamin B, because I already had enough. He referred me to a physiotherapist.
  • Get an x-ray taken. In my case it’s taking six weeks to get the results and I still don’t have them.
  • Make the exercises the physiotherapist gives you a priority. If you wake up in the morning with a sore arm, wait until it loosens up and then do them.
  • Wear a sling at busy times so other people will not expect you to do things you usually do.
  • Put your hand into your side pocket while keeping your elbow bent at 90 degrees to avoid arm pain while walking. If you don’t have a pocket, hook you thumb into your belt.
  • Use your other hand when working on the computer, etc.; you could even get a one handed keyboard.
  • Keep your sore arm resting on a bed pillow  on your lap with your elbow at 90 degrees. Adjust it until comfortable. If necessary, put another cushion underneath.
  • Be surprised by discussing day-to-day problems with your physiotherapist. Even a small thing like clicking hard on a button on your ipad can cause trouble.

Margaret Kell Virany   lover of language and literature, note-taker of Northrop Frye, journalist, editor, author

Books: Kathleen’s Cariole Ride, a war bride’s answer to a call of love in the wilderness; A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void, a 20th century Canadian confession; and Eating at Church, 175 communal recipes

6209113I’ve discovered a fantastic e-book and suggest you may want to buy a copy too (for $2.99) and write a review to encourage the author. Here’s why:

  • At age 23, Fiza Pathan of Mumbai, India feels “totally cool and self-actualized” due to reading the classics since childhood
  • reading a classic a week or a month is a habit she’s trying to spread to all parents, teachers and students
  •  her 90-page Amazon e-book, Classics: Why We Should Encourage Children to Read the Classics, states her case with passion, personality and  precision. The 90-pages divide into 17 mostly four-page chapters
  • she lists favorite girls’ and boys’ classics as voted on by her students
  • language skills and vocabulary, imagination, general knowledge, love for literature, descriptive powers and morals develop from reading them

The content is particularly rich with details of her own and her students’ development.  Artistic and scientific temperaments are dealt with engagingly in the chapters entitled My Encounter with Dracula, Frankenstein and Science, and Classical Characters Who Have Influenced My Reality.

Pathan’s insightful tips are gems for the reader to take away:

  • choosing the right first classic is very important in the education process
  • classics cause children get better grades, speak and write articulately,  and grow up to be happy people
  • classics are like bound movie scripts for our brain production house
  • classics are the safest and most time-tested method to ignite the flame of creativity
  • classics are defined as “books of all time rather than books of the hour” and “clean, decent fiction written primarily to tell a story rather than make money”
  • classics are tools of information that encourage the student to think practically
  • more than anything else, classics give a middle school student some direction in life
  • The world is not a humdrum affair of facts but an adventure without limitations
  • Children need a bit of good fiction to nourish them in a world that seems out to kill them
  • A good writer will manage to help the reader create a good ending for him or herself in real life

Teachers will want to adopt Pathan’s original techniques for enlivening English classes. Parents and grandparents will be empowered to see how they can have an effect. It’s easy to follow her prescription of reading a classic a week or month by downloading classics available free due to the Gutenberg project.

As well as feeling “totally cool and self-actualized”, Pathan also writes, “The growing globalized society of the late 1990‘s has developed to such greatness that though I am 23 I feel completely ancient”. In wisdom, yes, she is ancient. With our support, her book can be a work of rejuvenation, not just for literacy but for humanity also.

Margaret Kell Virany   lover of language and literature, note-taker of Northrop Frye, journalist, editor, author

Baico Books

Baico Books (Photo credit: pesbo)

Raymond Coderre, President of Baico Publishing Consultants Inc., is closing his retail book store for Canadian titles. He will concentrate on online marketing, author advice and distribution channels for both paperback print and e-book titles.

When we popped in to  find out how the copies of my book had been selling he was dressed impeccably in suit, collar and tie and greeted us as genially as ever. But my heart sank to see the ‘closing sale’ signs and realize it was the last time.

  • Baico will publish e-books for Kindle and Kobo, for example, as well as paperbacks at the same location, 294 Albert Street, Suite 103. It takes pride in “professional, friendly, warm, personable” service.
  • The street-level retail store is closing. No more author signings at the perfect location with Treats next door. Two or three ‘walk-in’ customers a day are not enough.
  • Check out for (1) how to submit a manuscript for publishing and what the rates and royalties are (2) the catalogue of dozens of fresh, intriguing Canadian titles, with cover pictures and author information
  • Huge boxes of books go out to Chapters locations across the country from Baico headquarters regularly. Staff are busy handling the publishing, packaging and returns.
  • “What is the ideal, not-too-expensive place to hold a book fair in Ottawa?” is a question that still stumps Coderre. Ever innovative, he is flexible and alert to changes in the industry and has solved many other problems. He set up Baico in 1997 after retiring from the federal civil service (with what used to be called the Queen’s Printer). Baico has been a success filling the niche of giving support to local authors.

Incidentally, he sold five out of the 10 copies of A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void which I had placed with him and paid me promptly so he is  in this author’s good books. Good luck, Raymond!

This blog post adds to the mystery of why anyone would entitle their family memoirs A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void and Kathleen’s Cariole Ride.

Margaret Kell Virany   lover of lang and lit, note-taker of Norrie Frye, journalist, editor, author, almost octogenarian

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