LeeAnn Rhoden

Chapter 12: The End

“I wish for ice cream,” Dionne said.

“What?” Elvis asked sitting on a struggling Frankie.

“You said to make a wish. I wish for ice cream.”

“No, you foolish dragon. Breathe fire on Frankie.”

“Then can I get ice cream?”

“Get off me you stupid elf!” Frankie fought to throw Elivs off her.

“Dionne, please. I’m sure Mabel will write in ice cream for you. Just breathe fire on Frankie. I can’t hold her down forever. If she breaks loose she will erase us!”

“But if I breathe fire on her, I’ll be erasing her. Then I’ll be an eraser,” Dionne burst into tears. “I don’t want to be an eraser! Waaaaa! Hic!” Dionne’s crying brought on a case of the hiccups. Her second hiccup came out as a ball of fire.

“Yes! That’s it! Just aim your hiccups this way!” Elvis cheered.

A teary Dionne turned toward Elvis. “What? Hic!”

Elvis dove off Frankie just as Dionne’s fire ball hit square in the center of Elvis’s cloak sending up a plume of smoke.

“Whoa! Those are some hiccups,” Elvis said with a low whistle.

They stared at the blanket. It was scorched but otherwise in tact. The figure underneath was still.

“Is Frankie okay Elvis?” Dionne asked.

The figure below began to move and the cloak slowly slid off to reveal a dazed and confused Frankie. She was dressed in her fairy dress and wearing her wings. She shook her head and flapped her wings. Fairy dust fluttered all around them.

“What happened?” Frankie asked rubbing her head.

“What’s the last thing you remember?”

“I was visiting my sister in her story Summer in Fairy Land when I was hit in the head from behind. How did I get here? What story is this?”

Dionne bear-hugged Frankie sending dust all over. “I thought you weren’t yourself! I’m so glad you’re back!”

More and more words filled the pages. Pages began flipping. Characters returned; confused at first, but happy to be back in place again.

“II think it’s safe to go back to our stories now,” Elvis said.

“How do you know?”

Elvis pointed to the last two words….

The End

Chapter 10: It’s a Secret

Elvis flipped through the pages of the mysterious book. “The only words in chapter 1 are ‘run fast.’ The only words in chapter 2 are ‘erasers are coming.’ We know this already. How is this book going to help?”

“I don’t want to be erased!” wailed Dionne exhaling a wisp of smoke.

“At least you’re not burping fire balls anymore. That’s a good thing, right?” Frankie said.

“Chapter 3 only says ‘they can be destroyed,'” Elvis continued.

“Well, then perhaps Mabel left the instructions in the next chapter,” Frankie said rolling her eyes.

“I have a cousin Mabel,” Elvis said. “I wonder if this is her. She’s a writer of sorts.”

“How can you have a cousin who’s a real person? We’re fictional characters.”

“Yeah, well, that’s complicated. Chapter 5 is more interesting. Listen. ‘The erasers can be defeated. All things in fiction are possible. You must use your imagination to control the situation. Don’t let them get close to you even if you know them. Follow these rules. Step 1: Sprinkle fairy dust on yourself. It will protect you. Step 2: An elvin cloak can be used as wings to help you soar up and out. Step 3: Dragon’s breath – a flame – is a signal flare. Help will be on the way.'”

Frankie and Dionne looked at Elvis blankly. Dionne hugged her tail, straightening and polishing her scales. “So, if an eraser comes I need to send up a signal. But to who? How do we know we won’t signal another eraser to come wipe us out?”

“Like, what….they hunt in packs?” Frankie crossed her arms. “I’ve got plenty of fairy dust, but I don’t have my wings so I can’t fly. If the elvin cloak acts as wings, the writer probably wants Elvis to fly. Dionne, you can fly. Can I catch a ride on you?”

“Sure, I guess so. But where would we go?”

Elvis continued, “This is so cool. The words are just appearing here in real time. The narrator says ‘You fly out of the book and warn others. Spread fairy dust.'”

Frankie said, “Okay, if you’re so smart, Mabel, how do we know who is an eraser and who’s not? And how do we defeat them?”

Elvis read, “‘Shmendrick.’ Hey, that sounds like my cousin! ‘It is your cousin you big dummy. Listen up. Erasers are within you, within all of us. They are the secret desires we have. Destroy the secrets and you destroy the erasers.'”

The sky began to lighten with the opening of the cover. The trio looked up in fear and dread not knowing what was approaching. Just what sort of secret desires could be their doom?

To be continued…

Chapter 8: All Things Are Possible

Mabel stood frozen with disbelief in the recording studio. How? How could this be? How could he be an eraser?

“Mabel, mi amor, stop your silly writing and come away with me. We’ll travel the world as we imagined and see all the beautiful things there are to see.” He tried the door knob but it was locked.

Mabel’s mind reeled. She had to shake off this betrayal this unimaginable betrayal, and think! Think fast! “Carlos, I can’t believe you’re here. I can’t believe this is real.”

“Yes, mi amor, in fiction all things are possible.” He picked up a chair and hit the Plexiglas trying to break his way in.

Mabel put on her headphones and started speaking.

“The door was welded shut and there was no way for the betrayer to enter the room. The glass could not and would not break. He could not reach her.”

And the door was sealed shut, thwarting Carlos’s attempts at entry.

“Why do you keep us apart, my darling? I’m mesmerized by your beauty and can only do as you ask. I will protect you with all that I am and all that I have. I could not bring harm to you.” Carlos reached out with his velvet voice and silken words. His big brown eyes showed a warmth and sensitivity. His broad shoulders and well-muscled form offered comfort and security. 

Mabel wanted to believe him. She longed to be held in his arms and to feel safe. He was handsome, caring, smart and she could tell all her thoughts, hopes and fears to him. He kept her secrets and listened to her without interruption. He shared her dreams of traveling and adventures. He was her hero and… He was her creation. Her dream man. He wasn’t real.

Mabel closed her eyes and spoke again into the microphone.

“The beautiful woman said, ‘Carlos, I no longer lover you. We can no longer be together.’

Carlos clutched his chest. ‘Mi amor, you are breaking my heart. I cannot live without you.'”

Mabel watched Carlos mimic the actions in her narrative. She continued.

“‘Carlos, I cannot save you. I must go on with my life without you.’

Carlos said, ‘I’m dying without your love. I will die and return to dust.'”

And with her final words Carlos fell to the floor, lifeless, and turned to dust. Mabel spoke new words and opened the door.

“In fiction all things are possible. Brilliant!”

Once more Mabel put on the headphones and began speaking into the microphone. “Once upon a time there were wondrous creatures great and small, magical and not. They happily lived in wonderful books teaching lessons and having adventures. One day, a terrible magician appeared and tried to take away the stories. He made evil beings called erasers and sent them out into the world of stories to destroy them and the characters who live there. But one day, the evil magician made a terrible mistake and a narrator learned how to control them…”

To be continued…..

 

Chapter 6: Drawing Straws

Francesca glanced at her two companions Mabel and Bob. “Um, what do you mean by a ‘ritual sacrifice’? Who, or what, gets sacrificed? And how?”

The dark man turned his hooded head toward Francesca. “One character type must be completely eliminated. Make them extinct. The ‘how’ is between the three of you. But know this,” he leaned closer to the trio bringing a chill upon them, “you will do it or you will become extinct.” With that, he disappeared in a puff of smoke.

The trio coughed and waved their hands in front of their faces. “Gah! I hate that. Is he not aware that second-hand smoke is bad?” asked Bob.

“I don’t think he cares,” Mabel replied. “And what’s with you, Francesca? Have you gone completely mishegas? You can’t confront him; you’ll end up being the ‘sacrifice’.

“I just don’t know about this. We were hired to write fiction. New fiction. Now he’s all dark and twisted and smokey and wanting us to rewrite fiction and make characters extinct. And what’s with the cauldron? So cliché.  I don’t get it.”

“We don’t need to ‘get it’ we just need to do it. So, who’s it gonna be? Aliens? Fairies? Elves? Witches? Worlocks? Wizards? Who?” Bob asked.

“Not elves. Those are my people. I have a second cousin who’s an elf. He’s an ass, but still, he’s mishpocheh.” said  Mabel. “There’re a number of inter-species marriages to consider. What happens to the children? If we eliminate fairies and there are half-fairy half-elf children, do they cease to exist too?”

“I can’t believe you all are even talking about this!” exclaimed Francesca. “I suggest we take out the dark and twisty guy. Let’s make him extinct.”

Bob and Mabel looked at one another and then to Francesca. “That would certainly pull us out of our current predicament. Of course, he hasn’t paid us yet for what we’ve already written…. Hey…, I don’t think he’s gonna pay us.” Bob said.

Shmendrick.” Mabel rolled her eyes. “I’m in. How do we eliminate the Dark One?”

Francesca shrugged. “I don’t know. We need to do some research. Let’s go to the library and see what other authors did to eliminate their villains. And, I have a feeling, we’ll need to get some help.”

“Oohh! This sounds like an adventure story!” Mabel said. “My elf cousin, Elvis, was in an adventure story. I bet if we could find him, he would know how to gather people toward one purpose.”

“Yes, we’ll find him and let him do it,” said Bob.

“I said he’d know how to do it. Not that he could do it. He’s an ass with very few friends. But, he could tell us how to do it and perhaps introduce us to a few characters willing to help us not eliminate them.” Mabel answered.

“I forgot about the Erasers. How do we keep our Erasers from following us, or reporting back to ol’ Dark and Twisty?” Bob asked.

“One of us will have to stay back here and keep the erasers busy. Write a story without any characters. Keep making mistakes that will keep them busy erasing,” Francesca said.

“How do you write fiction without any characters?”

“Can we make up some unreal characters and then erase them?”

“No. When you write a character you give it a personality, make it talk, it has thoughts, it has potential even if it only becomes a secondary character or a walk-on character. A character is a person as soon as it’s conceived. Erasing it, would be the same as erasing one of the characters we already know.”

“Then we write a fiction story with only one character – a narrator.”

“But that’s suicide! Who wants to commit suicide?!”

They looked from one to another and fell silent for a moment. Each looking inside themselves for the ability to be the sacrifice, or worse, to be the one to condemn one of their cohorts.

“We’ll have to draw straws.”

To be continued…

 

Chapter 4: The Light

“You can stay if you want, but I’m outta here! I don’t want to be erased,” Marshall said. His buggy eyes grew buggier and his quivering was visible.

“Maybe Marshall is right. Maybe we should go too,” Dionne agreed hugging her tail. She gave a soft nervous burp, emitted a small fireball and ignited a shrub. “Oops.” Marshall gave a gasp-squeak.

“Marshall, what happens if all the characters leave their books?” Frankie asked.

“I don’t know. We had characters coming here in a hurry from all sorts of books. They warned us about being erased and then left too.”

“I wonder, if all the characters leave their books, then the books can’t open again. Maybe that’s what happened to our books. Maybe everyone left,” Frankie said.

“Then how do we get back to our stories?” Elvis demanded. “No offense but I don’t want to be stuck on a playground with an overgrown scaredy cat, a dragon with indigestion, and a fairy in yoga pants. I have standards.”

“Yeah, you’re superior, we get it,” Frankie jabbed. “Seriously, if characters leave books, they lose their magic. Where would they go? Marshall, you said you’re going to your Uncle Mike’s. What book is he in?”

“He’s not in a real book. He’s in a graphic novel.”

“Gah! A graphic novel is a perfectly acceptable form of literature!” Elvis stomped.

“We know. You’ve told us…” Dionne whined. “So what do we do? I don’t want to be erased and I don’t want to lose my magic. Do you know what it’s like out there for dragons? It’s dangerous, that’s how. Everyone wants one these days. I just can’t bear to think about being held captive and being pawed at like a kitten! Roarrrah! Hic!” Dionne’s cry shook the bushes and her hiccup scorched a patch of dry grass.

“Yeah, you’re cuddly,” Elvis complained. “Frankie, you’re smart, think of something.”

Frankie sat on the merry-go-round with her hand on her chin. “How do we even know that the Eraser is coming here? How do we even know Erasers exist? And if they do show up, who says we can’t hide from them?”

The four of them sat on the merry-go-round slowly turning and debating their predicament – stay or go; where to go.  Suddenly, the sky brightened – an indication that the cover was opening.

“Ooohhh! It’s the Erasers! They’re coming! I know it! It’s too late for us! Hide!” Marshall ran head first into the nearest thicket of shrubbery trying to hid his 7-foot frame. His head was hidden but his rear end protruded out of the hedge.

Elvis rolled his eyes. “Great. That’ll fool them. Dionne, save us all and burp on them.”

“I can’t seem to breathe,” Dionne whimpered.

“You guys, maybe someone is just opening the book to read it,” Frankie said. “Has it been that long since you’ve been read? If that’s the case we need to figure out how and elf, a dragon, and a fairy, are in an alien story.”

“But what if it’s not?”

To be continued…..

Chapter 2: Martians on the Playground

Frankie, Elvis, and Dionne moved from book to book trying to lift the covers. None of the fairy books opened. None of the elf books opened either. And to Dionne’s dismay, non of the dragon books opened. They sat on the top shelf as Tucker’s room began to lighten with the coming dawn.

“What are we supposed to do now?” Dionne pouted. “I’m tired and want to go to sleep. Why won’t any of my books open?”

“None of our books open,” Elvis yawned. “Why can’t we just sleep up here?”

“Don’t be stupid. You know why. We have to get into our books and we have to do it soon. The sun is almost up and if we are caught in this world when it rises, we’ll lose our magic.”

“What’s that smell?” Dionne asked burping our a small flame. “I’m so hungry.”

Elvis lifted his nose and twitched his nostrils. “Bacon. I’m sure of it. In my story, Journey to the Ancient Woods,” we had to camp out a lot and we ate bacon. A lot of bacon. It’s good.”

“What was that story about?” Dionne asked.

“Gah! Stop talking about food and plot lines!” Frankie chided. “Do you understand the seriousness of our situation?”

“So, what do suggest? If we’re stuck here we might as well retell stories and exchange recipes.” Elvis said.

Frankie stood and moved along the shelf pulling at various covers. Finally, one opened.”

“Hey! You guys! This one opened! Come on, we have to get in!”

“Frankie, that’s not one of our stories. What is it?”

“I doesn’t matter. We just get into the story, hang out for the day, and climb out tonight. Come on! Hurry, the sun is almost up.”

“How do we know we’ll keep our magic in that book? What if we go into that story, lose our magic, and then can’t get out?” Dionne asked.

“Aarrrgh! Guys! Does it matter? At least if we lose our magic in a story, we’re in a story,” Frankie argued.

“What does that matter? If we lose our magic out here then we can listen to Mom’s stories at bedtime and eat bacon,” Elvis said. “But, just out of curiosity, what is the story?”

Frankie stuck the arm of a stuffed bear under the cover to keep it propped open. Craning her neck around she read the title. “Martians on the Playground. Let’s go.”

Elvis shrugged, “Sure, why not. Martians aren’t too different different from Elves. I’m game. Come one Dionne.” Elvis stood and joined Frankie near the book.

“But what if they want to perform experiments on us?” Dionne said. She hugged her tail.

“Please, Dionne, we are out of time. They won’t try to dissect us. If they do, just burp on them,” Frankie pleaded.

“Okay, I guess.” Dionne joined the others and the three of them opened the cover. They placed their right leg under the cover and disappeared into the book.

To be continued…..

Chapter 10: Weight Loss = 150 + 125

I could not believe what Casey texted. What did she mean she wasn’t dead? What car bomb? Who the hell is Robert? I must have had a rise in my blood pressure or a screwy look on my face because my buddy noticed.

“What’s the matter, Lizzie. You seem tense,” smiled Lucy and her beehive hairdo.

“I’m hungry.” I wasn’t lying. The two tiny box meals were unsatisfactory and I felt weak and slightly disoriented. “Why can’t I have coffee?”

“You can. You just have to drink it black.” Lucy turned to answer the buzz of her phone. I was torn. I really like my coffee light and sweet so the idea of black coffee was not appetizing. However, I needed a boost.

“Good news!” she said. Her eyes were bright and beaming. “I just received the numbers for our Weight Loss group. We are down a total of 285 pounds! Isn’t that great?”

“How did the group lose that much in just two weeks? I’ve only lost 4 ounces.”

“Yes, well, every ounce helps. What’s important is that we stick with the program.”

Lucy microwaved my “dinner” and watched me eat it. Then she did a sweep of my apartment looking for any contraband food and when she was satisfied that I was alone with just my thoughts, she left. I waited the usual 15 minutes for her to do her final check on my vitals for the night. I had learned that no matter what I did after 9:00 PM I didn’t receive shocks. As long as I stayed in my apartment anyway. I was curfewed from 9:00 PM to 5:30 AM. And at 5:30 I leave my apartment then and “jog” to the 24-hour grocery where I buy snacks. I hide them in the access panel for the plumbing in the back of my closet.  Any pleasure reading from my Right Byte I tell Lucy is from a work-out high. She believes me as long as I’m complacent while she’s here.

My phone interrupted my potato chip binge. The caller ID said nothing – not even unknown caller. “Helwo?” I said with a mouth full of chips.

“Lizzie?” an unfamiliar man’s voice answered. “This is Robert. I’m calling on a secure line but we only have a few minutes. Casey is fine. She is staying in my cubicle so her tracking device can’t be detected. My friends in the NSA  planted a fake news article about Casey’s death. We are working to get the Right Byte off her. I’ll call again when we know more.”

I stared at my phone with crumbs falling out of the corners of my mouth. That all made my need for chips seem so small. How is the NSA involved with all this? Casey is living in a cubicle? Who is Robert? I started pacing so my Right Byte would register exercise and because I needed to pace to burn off nervous energy and to think. Lucy got a call right after Casey’s car blew up. Weight loss. Casey weighed 125 pounds. I flipped through the texts Casey sent yesterday. Janice Wiloughby, the poor dead woman, weighed 150 pounds. We weren’t losing weight; they were killing us off!

I had to get this Right Byte of me. I needed a plan.

To be continued…

Chapter 8 – Casey’s Story

There are very few people I actually like. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy going out with some people and having a good time, but in the long run there are only a handful of people I actually let into my sphere of privacy. Lizzy is one of those people. I think of her like a sister and so I let her come over to my house whether or not the bathroom is clean. I don’t judge her, and she doesn’t judge me.

This whole Weight Clinic thing isn’t for me; it’s for her. She feels like she needs to control the food aspect of her life and I’m there to support her. Personally, I think she gives food waaaayyy too much credit but then my mom’s idea of a home cooked meal was a vending machine sandwich we ate at home. Nevertheless, I signed up to help her with her impulse control. This “buddy” thing is just not for me.

My “buddy,” Lori, was being detained by my office security and my HR department. She lacked the proper and necessary credentials to enter the building. When she claimed to be my “buddy” I was honest and told them I didn’t know her well enough to vouch for her or to authorize a Visitor’s Pass and she’d have to go through the appropriate channels in order to shadow me. These channels were a thorough background check, her employer interview, and a completed “Request for Access” form – which had to be verified and approved. A simple text to my friend Claudia in HR and I’m assured that these channels will take several business days, possibly stretching into weeks for finalization. Claudia also assured me that security would not permit this “buddy” to be loitering at any of the exits waiting for me to leave. So, while I was at work, I was in the clear. My “buddy” did manage to squeeze in a shock every now and then as a reminder that she was still in touch with me. Bitch.

Lizzy texted me the news article on the woman found dead with her left hand cut off at the wrist. We believed her demise and the Weight Clinic were intertwined. I read the article and the updates on the online newspaper. Janice Willoughby, 35, was found in the alley between 3rd and 4th Avenues on Wednesday night. It was confirmed that her left hand had been amputated at the wrist. She lived alone in an apartment on 8th Avenue. She was a professional blogger. The comments were most interesting. There were over 250 in total. Some ranting about the safety of single women at night. Others raving about the body snatchers and that’s why her hand was missing. One woman, screen name Chunky, insisted that the victim’s friend was involved. One man, screen name Marvin the Martian, claimed to have dated the victim and he was sad.

I had briefly dated a guy whose name I forget. I forgot it when we were dating too which is why he broke up with me. I would have been upset but he failed to imprint on me sooo… So, of course I thought I should call him. And after asking the person in the opposite cubicle from mine what his name was, I looked him up in my phone. His name was Robert and he was into computers and hacking and he worked for some cyber security company. Which is why I always thought of robots around him. Robert the Robot.

“Hi Robert! This is Casey. Long time! How have you been? Oh yeah? Married? Really? A boy and a girl? Wow. Two. Well, I didn’t think it had been that long. That’s great! Me? Well, same ol’ same ol’. No, not married, no kids. Yeah, well, I’ll get to my point. I need a favor….” I explained to Robot that I needed the real names and contact information of Chunky and Marvin the Martian.

Right on cue, I received a shock. Bitch.

Chapter 4: Seventh Circle of Hell

I hoisted one heavy box up the pull-down ladder and into the attic. Even for this time of year the attic was hot and stuffy. A nice change from chilly temps downstairs. Before I brought more boxes up, I thought I should look around for the box of Christmas decorations Grandma wanted me to schlep down. At first glance the attic looked neatly organized but when you took a closer look it was more of a warehouse. Boxes stacked on boxes, floor to roof, rows in front of rows. The the idea of spending the day searching for the decoration box made my head swim. If it wasn’t in the first wall of boxes, then it was in the next, or the next. Not hours of searching, we’re talking days. The aunties had put the boxes from my room at the base of the ladder making it an acrobatic feat to get down; I managed and went in search for Grandma.

“Um, Grandma, that box of decorations you want… where is it?”

“In the attic, silly,” she said rummaging through the top drawer of the antique secretary which stood in the corner.

“Grandma,” I sighed, “there are a thousand boxes in the attic. Can you be a little more specific?”

“Louisa Jane, don’t exaggerate. There most certainly are not a thousand boxes. My last count was two hundred and eighty-three. Phooey!” she slammed the drawer shut and started into the second drawer.

“Okay, of the two hundred and eighty-three boxes where might the decoration box be?

She closed the drawer and moved to the desk and began her search anew. “Christmas is when Santa comes. Santa lives in the North Pole. So, the Christmas decorations are on the north side of the house. Oh, I give up!”

“What are you looking for, Grandma?”

She straightened up and put her hands on her hips. “What dear?”

“What are you looking for, Grandma?”

“I can’t remember now. No matter, it’ll come to me.” I left her standing in the living room scratching her head and ascended into my seventh circle of hell.

The north side of the house had a wall of boxes that was four across and four high and, mercifully, only two deep. Still, moving and searching through thirty-two boxes was daunting. Not one of the boxes was labeled and I decided that I just might do Grandma and the Aunties a huge favor and label them. Eventually, someone and some point is going to have to go through all of it.

Starting on the top left I searched and labeled and replaced. Most of the stuff was old children’s toys and clothes. The toys were certainly collectors’ items and wouldn’t pass the safety standards for today’s children’s’ toys. I made a mental note to ask about them. Maybe Grandma and the aunts would be willing to part with them, sell them, and put aside the proceeds for future use. The Christmas decorations were not just one box; there were five of them. And all five were the last boxes I went through.

Once the boxes, and I were freed from the attic, it was another staircase down to get them all into the living room. I was happy to be done with that chore, happy that I was able to help Grandma, and angry that I had forgotten to put on my fitbit. I’m sure I completed my entire week’s scheduled workouts.

“Oh good!” Grandma beamed at the boxes. “Thank you dear. Now, let’s get started and cheer this place up.”

“Grandma, I was going to take a nap. I have to work tonight so…”

“Oh please, you can nap at work. The dead people won’t care. Now, where did I put the tape?” Grandma resumed her search through the drawers. I slipped out and went back to my room. I needed a little shut-eye. Believe it or not, the dead people do care.

To be continued….

 

 

Formatting for ebooks

When you’re done writing your story you’ll think about publishing it. That means you’ll need to think about appropriate formatting for the medium. For the most part, using Word and formatting the chapters and pages how you’d like them to look is fine. What you’ll have to do is save this Word document as a PDF and upload the PDF. You can do this for Kindle and even Smashwords. The document will look like a PDF and read just fine on most screens. This is also excellent if you are using special fonts, charts, graphs, artwork, pictures, advertising, and hyperlinks. PDFs keep those things and they get uploaded in true form.

You can also format your document specifically for ereaders using epub. Epub is great in that it allows the text to configure to whatever ereader you’re using. What it won’t do is accept charts, graphs, advertising, or hyperlinks. You can include art, but it has to be formatted per epub rules. What you can’t have is special fonts, special characters, different sized fonts, and so forth.

For epub, you cannot just set your Word parameters and type. You need to use a different process. You will have to use the Style menus.

Because ereaders show only straight text, epub likes to keep things as simple as possible. You’ll only need to use three Styles: Heading 1 for titles, Heading 2 for subtitles and/or chapter headings, and Normal for text. You can’t use fancy fonts so stick to Times New Roman, Garamond, or Arial. Most Epub converters will not recognize any other fonts. You can use inline formatting of your fonts such as italics or bold and you can also add first level bullet or number lists (second level bullets or outlines need to be done separately and inserted as a jpeg).

Formatting for the the Normal Style for body text is simple too. Set your text to be left justified, single spaced. You can either set the first line of a paragraph to be indented or block style paragraphs. Do not check the “don’t add space between paragraphs” box. you will need the automatically included extra space between paragraphs. Personally, for ereaders I prefer block style paragraphing.

The key to successful formatting for epub conversion is to NOT USE THE HARD RETURN AND NO EXTRA SPACES. This is difficult for some to do. Stop adding double spaces after closing punctuation. Stop hitting the enter key to add more space between paragraphs or at the end of a section looking for the page break to start a new chapter or section. Habits are hard.

First, extra spaces can skew the spacing in the text. Most extra hard returns will be stripped out anyway. To get your ebook to look like you want it to look, you have to use the style keys. To end a chapter: following you last sentence a single return. Then change your style to Heading 2 for a new chapter heading. During the Epub conversion a page break will be created before Headings.

These are the basics for epub conversion formatting. There are superb tutorials that include details on removing proofing instructions and auto defaults in Word. Lulu has one. You can see it here. Smashwords has one too. You can see that one here. Both are free and both are pretty easy to follow. Even I can get it and I’m not tech savvy.

AND finally, the clock is ticking down and you have just a few days left to submit for our October issue! The theme is “What Lies Beneath.” Do you have any deep, hidden secrets or fears? Write them down! Send them in!

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