Friday, August 31, 2012

How to indent without using tabs

I had put these pictures up for a publishing group I was an editor of and found myself needing them for one of my authors at Fiction Lake. So maybe others can get some use out of them, too.

In these screenshots (which is the first page of my novel, The Influence), I use Open Office, but the concept should work the same for most word processors.

When formatting for ebook, using tabs is a no-no. But if you learned to type on a typewriter or before the days of needing to do your own formatting, tabbing became a reflex. I know; it took me forever to break the tab habit.

In any case, you can use the photos below to get an idea how to set your word processor so you don't have to tab. Once you get it set, all you'll have to do is hit enter after a paragraph and keep typing! Your indent will already be set.

And plugging for myself, if you need someone to format your work for ebook or print publishing, please consider my services.  Thank you.

You can click on the photo to enlarge. And if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My 3 year smoke-free-aversary!

Tomorrow will mark 3 years since I quit smoking.

It was a short time after my birth mom died of lung cancer.  She was in her mid-50s. I decided that I didn't want to leave my kids early because of a conscious decision I made to continue smoking.  There were other reasons, too. My family is a cesspool of cancer risk and other health problems, like osteoporosis. Smoking exacerbates many, if not all, those health problems. Every time I got sick, I'd wonder if it was because I was a smoker. I was also scheduled for a surgery I really needed and knew that smoking would mess with my mental state; I'd be a nervous wreck wondering, Where are my cigarettes? Where is my lighter? Where can I sneak away to go smoke? It would have also hindered my healing time.

I had quit for both my pregnancies but ended up going right back to it after they weaned. I knew I couldn't expose them to my problem. But why I went back to it each time, I don't know.  In July of 2009, though, when I started planning for my "quit day", I was in a different mind-set than I'd been before. Something inside of me had clicked and I knew it was then or never.

I used help; the nicotine patch. It wasn't easy at all, in fact, it is in my top five worst experiences of my life. But I took it one day at a time and made it through. I've never made it to the 3 year mark before and I'm trying to figure out how to celebrate.

I'm not going to give you some BS line where I say, "If I can do it, so can you!" All I'll say is that when you're ready to quit, I mean really ready to set it down and not look back, you'll know it.

Peace, love, and easy breathing,


"The Crazy Ole' Bird Lady" by Pamela Caves - Excerpt

You can purchase The Crazy Ole' Bird Lady on Smashwords (several formats available), Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or search for it on your favorite site! 

While many of the parents tended to their children, I decided Kevin was fine enough on his own. I joined Farlan who stood at the head of the lobby and watched a group of the old folks close the blinds on the windows and lock the door. They painstakingly moved each metal filing cabinet in front of the door until there was nothing to see in or out. There was a back door somewhere, but I was sure they’d already blocked it off too.
I do believe they’ve lost their minds,” Farlan mumbled.
You believe that now?”
Farlan threw me a glance. There were seven of the elders with weapons and only one of him. I knew he stood no chance against them. Besides, no one else was too concerned about leaving. Regardless of why we were all packed into the town hall building, they all felt they were safer inside. I guess it didn’t matter if we were hiding from bird creatures or tornadoes.
It wasn’t long after the last file cabinet had been moved, I could hear intermittent tapping noises from the aluminum roof. The old folks became agitated. They shushed everyone and even made one woman with her crying baby hole up in a closet until the baby calmed. The tapping was likely from hail prior to the tornado, though I had to admit I'd never heard hail fall as infrequently.
You still think I’m a crazy old bat, don’t you?” Gerty asked me. When she smiled, the top plate of her dentures pushed down and out slightly, exposing the bare top part of her gums. Everything seemed to hang loose on her face and even her ear lobes sagged, though I couldn’t tell through the wrinkles if her ears had ever been pierced or not. Her hair was short and curly though it was very thin. Her mid section was swollen and she bent slightly when she walked. But through all these things that were dead giveaways to just how many decades she'd roamed the Earth, her eyes were a striking blue and looked fresh and young. They were paced, not bent and crazy like I expected them to be through all her talks of tall tales.
I think you may believe what you say, so I guess that means you’re not full of crap.”
I suppose when you’re face-to-face with someone holding a gun, it’s best not to insult them. I was torn between wanting to live and not wanting to play into her delusion.
Honey, I see a lot of who I used to be in you.”
Beyond my eyes being a shade of blue as well, I knew there was no way in hell she and I had anything else in common.
Ah...” I said, trying to give off the impression of being attentive while at the same time trying to inch away.
I had a little girl. Her name was Sara.”
I hadn’t known she had any children. I’d never seen anyone come around her house.
Yup, she was about your boy’s age when those bird things came and carried her off.”
She really did believe all this bird stuff. If she hadn’t scared Kevin into nightmares the day before, I would’ve felt sorry for her. As it was, I despised the woman and I didn’t care whether or not she’d had one or ten fictional children carted off by mythical creatures. She had violated my child’s right to feel safe on our own property.
And my husband used to beat me too.”
Excuse me?” I’d never told her that. I wasn’t about to stand for her snooping where it was none of her business.
She read my startled expression. “I seen that look you got in your eyes before. I seen it looking in the mirror. You’re all tough now, ready to kill the sonuvabitch if he steps foot in your world. Tell me, is he a doper or a drinker?”
I was acutely aware of every beat of my heart. I could hear it drum in my ears.
A drinker,” I muttered.
Yeah, mine too.”
All I could do was look into her face while she stared off into the past. I had to swallow hard to keep back tears from horrible memories gone by.
My thoughts were broken by the sound of shattering glass from one of the offices. The old folks flew into a hushed panic.
Get them kids into the courtroom!” Gerty ordered in a frantic whisper.
It was Ben who ushered the kids away while the rest of us listened closely. I nodded to Kevin to go on with the rest of the kids. I wasn’t about to be left out of the loop of what was happening.
Paper flopped, something fell, a chair sounded like it rolled...all typical sounds of the wind whipping around the room beyond the door. I was certain it was nothing more than debris having hit the window at just the right angle. A quick glance at Farlan told me all the talk of monsters had gotten to him. His hand quivered as it hovered over his side holster.
A horrible screech came from inside the office. At first, my brain only registered confusion. What the hell was that? The old folks rocked from one foot to the other, as though they all had to go to the bathroom. Farlan pulled his gun and threw glances at the rest of them. I backed up behind the line of geriatric defenders, acutely aware that every little hair on my arms stood on end.
Another screech. My heart pounded so heavy in my ears they hurt.
There was a loud crash before pieces of wood from the hollow door splintered out in all directions. I felt a piece slide by my face. I watched the event unfold in front of me as though in slow motion.
Holy shit!” Farlan said, his gun coming up.
Get ‘em boys!” I heard Gerty yell.
The door had not just been kicked opened but had literally been destroyed, remnants of it everywhere in the hallway.
The next screech was deafening, like a cover had been removed from a loudspeaker. In the gape where the door had been was a large black bird at least seven feet tall and as large as a grizzly bear. 
You can purchase The Crazy Ole' Bird Lady on Smashwords (several formats available), Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or search for it on your favorite site! 

"The Jump" by Pamela Caves - Excerpt

The Jump is available on Smashwords (several formats available), Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or search for it on your favorite site! It is now free on most sites.  

After the initial falling sensation passed, Nila grinned and spread her arms to fly. The Earth didn’t appear to be getting any bigger yet. It was just there, beneath her, her hovering in a peaceful stillness. If not for the wind whipping around her, Nila would’ve felt completely motionless.
I miss you, Norman, she thought, a wash of sadness crossing her mind. Up here, she almost felt like she could reach out and touch him. Her heart ached as it had every time she’d jumped since his death.
She heard a shrill whistle from just above her. Theo was motioning for her to pull the cord. When she looked back down, the Earth had gotten bigger; she had just been too lost in her own thoughts and so absorbed into the serenity of diving that she hadn’t really paid attention. Nila gave Theo a thumbs up and pulled.
She felt a pop and instantly realized something was terribly wrong when she wasn’t pulled from the velocity. Her chute hadn’t opened.
Her heart was already speeding from the jump itself. Now she felt a pull on her chest that suggested her heart couldn’t take much more stress without failing. She willed herself to calm down, looked up to see where Theo was and let a breath out when she saw that he was still hovering near her. He was not about to pull his cord without first making sure she would be safe.
The backup would have to suffice. Nila reached back, pulled the banana and it ripped half off into her hand. She tried again but couldn’t get her hand around it. She knew Theo would come but would he be able to help her in time?

The Jump is available on Smashwords (several formats available), Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or search for it on your favorite site! It is now free on most sites. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

"An Unusual Cupid" by Pamela Caves - Excerpt

An Unusual Cupid is available on Smashwords (several formats available), Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or search for it on your favorite site! It is now free on most sites.  

The annoying man on the bus who called Marcus "Yo, Dude," just wouldn't leave him alone. 
Marcus was about the fifth or sixth row back. He sighed, annoyed that the Yo, Dude man had bothered him just for a peek at some woman. He caught a glimpse of the back of a curly, long haired brunette head. Nothing unusual. Nothing spectacular. "And?" Marcus said, a hint of sarcasm cutting into his tone.
"And she's quite the eye candy." Despite the irritation that Marcus felt he was clearly portraying, Yo, Dude man was still grinning as if he'd just discovered the secret of farts. "Why don't you go say hi? I think she's reading the same book."
"Why don't you go say hi?" Marcus opened the book back up and tried to find where he’d left off.
Apparently Yo, Dude man couldn't take a hint. Marcus felt another flick across his arm. "Because, I'm chained down." The guy held up his hand to show off a gold band. He was still grinning like a doofus. The guy leaned over again. "Listen, I have a kind of sense for these things. If you don't like her, I'll pay you $100. Are you game?"
Marcus narrowed his eyes at him, trying to determine if he meant it. A stranger was offering him $100 just to go talk to some random woman. He could definitely use $100. Who couldn't? Although Marcus doubted he’d ever see the money, it would be worth the effort just to get the guy off his back.
"Fine. And if I don't, will you leave me the hell alone?"
"Sure." The silly grin grew wider.

Would it be worth it?

An Unusual Cupid is available on Smashwords (several formats available), Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or search for it on your favorite site! It is now free on most sites.