Creating an HTML Blog Post

Mae Clair has a very useful post today on how to create an HTML blog post to share on blog tours, etc. Check it out. It’s much easier than you might think. Thanks, Mae!

Story Empire

Hi, SEers! Mae here today with a topic I hope will be beneficial to a number of readers. Many of you may already know this trick, but I hope you’ll indulge me for those who don’t.

Recently, I did a cover reveal, single day blitz of my upcoming release, Cusp of Night. I had sixteen blog stops in a single day. When the book releases, I’ll prepare individual posts for the wonderful bloggers gracious enough host me, but in this case, I was splashing the same content everywhere.

To make it easier on my hosts—and okay, me too—I sent everyone a pre-formatted HTML post. All sixteen blogs were sharing the same content, so I was able to create a template that everyone received. Basically, “look at my sparkly new cover!” Afterward, several bloggers emailed me to inquire how I had created the post.

It’s amazingly easy. Although the steps below…

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The New KDP Community Forum

A very informative and helpful post from Chris McMullen. Check it out!



Amazon recently updated the community help forum at Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

It seems like it has gone unchanged forever, until now. I can remember visiting it 9 years ago.

What has changed?

  • The look is different. The layout and design changed significantly.
  • The forum topics have been consolidated into a single column. These used to be divided into separate groups.
  • The recent announcements are easy to find and (for now) they are updated. Presently, I see announcements regarding the latest version of the Kindle Previewer (which now has a helpful Auto-Advance View and a Thumbnail Pane), the KDP Select Global Fund for the past two months, and an announcement about taxes.
  • The search option has changed. After doing a search, there used to be an advanced option. Also, the search used to default to the current year only (which severely limited the number of…

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Friday Writing Question, tools

What tools do you use for creating your masterpiece? Craig Boyack has an interesting post on this topic today. Check it out!

Story Empire

Hi gang, Craig here again. We take turns on Fridays, and the assignments are rotating. This time my task is to pose a writing question. Seems simple enough, but I also want to get some comments flowing. Here we go:

What writing tools do you use? Why do you prefer them?

I write on an Apple iPad Pro. The original oversized one. I like the ability to use the split screen. It helps when I’m writing the interviews I host on my site. I have the Smart Keyboard too. This has no batteries, and attaches magnetically to the iPad. It parasites power from the iPad.

I know I’m already different, but I write with Apple Pages as my word processor. There was a learning curve, but I’m content with it. I can copy and paste with my finger on the iPad and type on the keyboard. It allows me to…

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The Nightforce Security series, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Check this out, folks! You’ll love it. “Today, on Lisa Burton Radio, Danny Caruso (head of Nightforce Security Series and leading man in Password) pays her a visit. And bonus—Noah Crawford, the hero of Gamble, calls in for a bit.” A very fun interview with some of Staci Troilo’s . . . erm . . . friends, shall we say. I’m going to have to find time to tune in for more of Lisa’s interviews. I can see I’ve been missing out on a really good thing.

Entertaining Stories

Lisa Burton

Don’t touch that dial. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, coming at you with 1.21 jigawatts of power all across the cosmos and beyond the veil. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, bringing you characters from the books you love.

Today we’re going to have a little chat with Danny Caruso, owner of Nightforce Security, a new-ish company in headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania whose employees have rather impressive skillsets.

“Welcome to the show, Danny.”

“Thank you, ma’am.”

“Ma’am! Such formality. Call me Lisa.”

“Sorry. Old habits die hard. Thanks, Lisa. Uh, glad to be here.”

“Don’t sound so enthused. This is supposed to be fun.”

“I know. I’m just not much of a showboat. I do my best work out of the limelight.”

“Then why’d you agree to come on the show today?”

“Because my employees insist I need to do more publicity. We haven’t been taking on the…

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#NotesFromTheRiver – Catching Up is Hard To Do (My Apologies to Neil Sedaka)

Photograph by Doug Little

Doing my best to dig myself out of the hole Hurricane Irma threw us in, and I think I just might be able to see the light of day above me. At last! Hope some of you will stop by to check out today’s post on the St. Johns River Eco Tours blog. With any luck, I’ll be posting there weekly again. Workin’ on it! 😀 Enjoy!


3.14159 26535 89793 23846…

Happy Pi Day. Try some March Mathness, and put some Pi in your poetry..


It is Pi Day, that is in the states where we write today’s date 3/14 it is. (Another fun fact is that Einstein was born on this day in 1879.) In another life of mine I sometimes teach math. Kids of all ages have heard of Pi and are fascinated with it. I have had them write Pi-etry and Pi-ku using the digits of Pi to determine either syllable or word-count. Below is my take, using the first 21 digits to dictate syllable count. The second poem is my more free form ode to Pi, or M’ode à la Pi . 

My math students did a remarkable job of writing with the Pi-ku challenge. I challenge you to take a cross-curricular leap and use Pi or the digit sequence of Pi as your inspiration to write a poem today. Use as many or as few digits as you wish…

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Currents of life have kept me away from Marcia’s resplendent lagoon lately, but I have drifted back today. I had resolved in the beginning of the year to get out a bit more than I am used to, so here I am and it is here that I will share some of my outings.

I was recently featured at Pure Haiku, one of my haiku being chosen to represent Freya’s theme of Ocean. That new association got me an invitation to participate in Freya’s Escape Pod Emulation. While I am not much for science fiction, the idea of being left alone in an escape pod was kind of appealing. (You’ll have to read her post in April to see what five items I take with me.) But in thinking about that escape pod I was led back to this post.

Don’t we all dream of alone time to read and write in, of having no interruptions? Yes, that e-pod does sound good, doesn’t it?

The metaphor commonly used isn’t e-pod, but island. I can tell you from personal experience that in filling out your wish fulfillment form, be clear that it be a deserted island, for an island is, somewhat ironically, more of a fishbowl. But if we were truly interested in being on a deserted island, we wouldn’t be reading and writing in the blogosphere, would we? If we are all islands, then the blogosphere is a series of bridges, or boats. No matter what we tell ourselves, we instinctively reach out to others, to give and to get help. Freya mentions that the E-Pod Emulations, a fun interview format, is a way to give back to the writing community.

Sound familiar? I am here at Marcia’s blog where her tag line is “writers helping writers”. Marcia has graciously featured me here at the Write Stuff and encourages my poetic leanings. I have been dabbling more with that genre lately, responding to various prompts from different blogs. Each place has its group of respondents who write and also read and reply to one another; I have yet to stumble upon an unfriendly place and am grateful to the individuals that host these groups of writers and provide the prompts that inspire me to lift a pencil.

So while alone time in an e-pod or a deserted island is attractive, and even necessary at times, we do all benefit from the support and camaraderie of one another.

Meanwhile… You may have seen festive balloons dancing in the blue skies over Carrot Ranch. They are celebrating more than the publication of the Volume 1 Anthology; Charli and her buckaroos are celebrating four years of what is a ballooning literary community that welcomes readers, writers and those interested in the discourse. This community dispels the myth of the insular lone wolf writer; they provide a pack, a tribe of like-minded people who want to try their hand at flash fiction. In the year since I stepped into the blogosphere via the Ranch I have learned and grown so much because of that community. I wouldn’t be much of anywhere without them and am proud to join in the celebration.

I am sure that we all celebrate the groups that we are a part of and the individuals that keep things going. We know that a comment is worth a hundred balloons. These celebratory balloons are markers, beacons for those who might want to reach out from the shores of their own island and share with others their writing, their thoughts, and their encouragement.

Thank you Marcia!

New Novella Release: GAMBLE

Hi, everybody. A big thanks to Marcia for opening her blog to me. It’s nice to be here today, and I appreciate you all hanging out with me.

I’m here to share a short excerpt from my new novella, Gamble, the second installment of my Nightforce Security Series. In the following passage, we see part of one of the action scenes. Some people might consider this a spoiler, but I don’t show you how it all ends, so I don’t consider it as such. I really loved this scene because it shows our hero in his element, which is why I wanted to share it with you. (Note: The following passage contains violence and strong language.)


Noah ran, leaped. Collided with Jack in a bone-crushing tackle, driving him back into Deuce. The three crashed into a table, splintering it as they fell to the floor, both guys losing their guns in the melee.

Trixie screamed.

Noah rolled, pulling Jack over him, using him as a shield against Trey shooting. Surprisingly, no gunfire came. Instead, Noah traded punches with Jack, took a solid kick in the hip from Deuce.

Something shattered, and Deuce collapsed beside him under a shower of ceramic shards.

Trixie had smashed a lamp over his head, taking him out.

Jack lunged for a large sliver of pottery.

Noah groped for anything—a fragment of his own, a discarded gun. Hell, a broken table leg would do, or even a jagged splinter of wood.

Nothing but tiny fragments that cut his fingers.

Jack held the shard to Noah’s neck. “I’ve had about enough of you. How many times have I given you the opportunity to walk away? But you keep coming back. You’re like a bad penny.”

“That’s ‘turning up.’ Not ‘coming back.’”


“Never mind.”

“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t end you right now.”

Maybe E was right. Maybe these guys didn’t want to kill anyone. If he could keep him talking, stall just a little longer…

Jack poked him with the sliver.

Too close to his jugular for comfort. But Noah had an ace up his sleeve. Relieved, he grinned.

“What’s so f***ing funny?” Jack snarled.

“Humor’s all about timing.”

Ethan had entered the room and retrieved Deuce’s gun. He pressed it against the back of Jack’s head.

Blurb for Gamble:

GambleSometimes stakes are too high to gamble. Other times they’re too high not to.

Noah Crawford is a consummate bachelor—until a one-night stand piques his interest in something more. The only problem is, she wouldn’t give him her name, and he has no way to find her.

A week later, resigned to forgetting her, he accompanies his friends to a casino. Floor traffic promises to be light while everyone clusters at the sportsbook for the college basketball championship game. But Noah isn’t in the mood for frivolity and sets off on his own. No one is more surprised than he is when he bumps into his mystery woman.

He’s playing a far different game than cards when armed criminals take over the poker room. Noah is separated from his friends, and somehow the room has been cut off from security. Help isn’t coming. It’s up to him to keep everyone safe while he tries to thwart the gunmen.

Noah quickly realizes he’s trying to prevent more than a simple heist. And he doesn’t know who he can trust. The stakes have never been higher, and he’s all in. But one of the thieves might have an ace up his sleeve, and that could cost Noah everything.

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About Staci:

Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.

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