The $20 5-gallon-bucket Air Conditioner Saga, PART 3

air conditioner

The AC-in-a-bucket saga has come to a close.

To see why and whether the results are joyous or tragic, click over to The Romance Troupe, where I post my final AC-in-a-bucket update.

To read Part I and Part II of the AC-in-a-bucket saga, click the links. Warning: frustration-driven humor and some mild cursing.

To view a quick update that is nothing but cuteness, click here.

Thanks for reading!






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The $20 5-gallon-bucket Air Conditioner Saga, Update

Here’s the latest status of my AC-in-a-bucket project. At least it’s keeping someone cool :)


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The $20 5-gallon-bucket Air Conditioner Saga, PART 2

air conditionerMy dear friend, critique partner, and sports romance author extraordinaire, Julie Brannagh told me about this $20 air conditioner Youtube sensation because she knows how much I loathe being hot. Click HERE or on the image to see the video for yourself.

Yesterday, I blogged about my adventures at Lowes and how easily I blew my $20 project budget (PART 1). I ended the post with two materials missing from my inventory: The bucket liner and the fan.

Minus those two items, I was at $40 already, including:bucket1

-A 5-gallon bucket & lid from Lowes
-3 pieces of 1.5″ PVC piping
-2 hole saws (2 1/8″ & 2 1/4″)
-2 gal water for freezing
-A utility knife

bucket2With my 3yo son, I leave Lowes disappointed I didn’t get everything on my materials list but determined to gather up the stragglers on Amazon. Because just about everything you could possibly want is available on Amazon. I’m a Seattlite AND an Amazon Prime member. This means I can often get items delivered for free or the next business day. It’s pretty sweet.

Imagine my surprise when I log onto Amazon and find they do not carry the bucket liners shown in the video. WHAT?! How can Amazon not carry something as simple as a foam bucket liner? Especially when I KNOW other people have been looking for them because the item list that came up when I searched for “5 gallon bucket liner” included 5 gallon buckets, 6″ fans, and PVC pipe sections: the exact materials used in this DIY project.

Amazon is usually so good at reading their customers and catering to their needs. I think Amazon knows what people need before they know it themselves. Amazon is like the perfect British butler in that way.

But my digital-shopping butler let me down. No, Amazon, NOOOOOOOO!!!!! You’re missing a great opportunity here! Do you KNOW how many people are trying to build this DIY AC-in-a-bucket? Probably thousands! You could be cleaning up on bucket liners!

Okay. Enough scolding my butler. He’s usually very efficient and discrete with my secrets, and nobody’s perfect. At least I have the entire internet at my disposal.

So I do a broader search for 5 gallon bucket liners. The only place I can find them: Home Depot. (That might have been nice to know in the video…”Oh, by the way, intrepid DIY viewer, don’t attempt to find a bucket and liner anywhere but at Home Depot. They’re the only ones that make the liner you’re seeing here.” Would that have been so hard?) Furthermore, they only come in packs of 3 if bought online. For $17.91. Plus $11.50 shipping & handling.

Untitled picture


Seriously? That’s almost $30 for three bucket liners! I only need one, and I can get a foam cooler in the shape of a rectangle at my grocery store for $3.

I realize that if I want to make this project exactly as it appears in the video, I am either going to have to make the dreaded drive to Home Depot (see PART 1 for why I do NOT like driving to Home Depot) OR I will have to vastly increase the budget for this project. It was supposed to be a $20 project, but I’m already at twice that. I refuse to make it a $50 project (and that’s not even including the fan!), so I bite the bullet and drive to Home Depot.

I only need to check my iPhone once for directions as I meander the unfamiliar streets of Seattle’s SODO district: think industrial and somewhat seedy but also artsy. Fortunately, I got to stop for a looooong train, so I had plenty of time to look at my Google Map and figure out where I was going.

Once the train passed, I find Home Depot relatively easily. No wrong turns, no ending up going the wrong way on a busy down-town street. I’m wiping my brow by this point and nearly sagging with relief that I’m about to purchase a single bucket liner for a reasonable price at the only store in all creation that apparently sells them.

My mom is with me. She graciously agrees to wait in the car with the kids so this quick errand doesn’t turn into a fiasco. (Anyone with kids knows there’s no such thing as a quick stop at the store).

There’s a host at the front when I enter the store. He’s wearing glasses and a tie and looks very helpful. I ask him where the bucket liners are. I even spot a display of 5 gallon buckets and PVC pipes, and I think to myself, Yup, they’re getting a lot of DIY AC-in-a-bucket folks in here. I bet the bucket liners are right over there.

The helpful employee in a tie has NEVER HEARD OF BUCKET LINERS! He has to look up the item on his phone to figure out what the heck I’m talking about.

Another employee comes over. This one is in a smock and looks like he might know the inventory a little better than Poindexter. I ask him for the bucket liners.

“Oh, yeah. I’ve seen that video,” he says. “We don’t carry those,” he says.

What do you mean, you don’t CARRY those?! You’re Home Depot! You’re the ONLY place that carries those, and I NEED THOSE! I HAVE KIDS IN THE CAR! I’M OVER BUDGET ON MY PROJECT! GIVE ME AN EFFING BUCKET LINER!

I don’t say any of this, though, because I’m a very sweet, rational person once the filter kicks in. What I say is, “Do you know where I can find a liner for a 5 gallon bucket?” My soul for a liner for a 5 gallon bucket!

“Nope, sorry. Good luck.”

Woodenly, I get in the car and tell my mom about the exchange with the Home Depot employees. I mean, seriously, why would they have an entire end display devoted to this AC-in-a-bucket project AND NOT HAVE THE NECESSARY BUCKET LINERS THAT ONLY THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE?!

Mom is livid on my behalf. She knows how much I didn’t want to drive to Home Depot. She knows how much I loathe being hot and how much I want to build this goshdarnmothereffing AC in a bucket.

I appreciate her support, but this doesn’t stop me from crying a little as I drive home, because not only have I wasted an hour of all our lives, but I get lost driving out of SODO and end up in Renton (don’t ask). I no longer feel like going grocery shopping, like I had planned. Instead, I cart everyone home, go online, and pay an arm and a leg for three bucket liners. I figure, I can use the additional two liners to make ACs-in-a-bucket for some friends who hate the heat as much as I do. Some people knit for their friends. I build odd DIY projects for them.

I get around the shipping cost by adding enough items to my cart to get free shipping. That’s the good news. The bad news is, I’ve already ordered a 6″ fan from Amazon. The fan is the last item I needed to complete my project. I could have used the fan to bring me up to the free shipping ceiling, but it was too late. So I buy $30 worth of storage stuff I won’t need until my kitchen remodel, which is several months away.

I have now spent $105 on my $20 AC-in-a-bucket, and I still have no AC-in-a-bucket. Why?

Because the bucket liners won’t arrive for two weeks. TWO WEEKS! I learn this after I make my purchase. Thanks, Home Depot.

“But never fear,” Home Depot tells me, “the rest of the items in your order will arrive in 4 business days.”

Awesome. I get the stuff I don’t really need and just bought to get free shipping (am I the only one that does this) lickety-split, but I have to WAIT 14 HOT, SWEATY DAYS for my bucket liners.

bucket3Thus ends part two of my saga. I am currently $85 over budget and two weeks from a completed AC-in-a-bucket.

I am filled with rage. I am apparently not a very good DIY person. Yet I refuse to give up. I will build this project, and it will be awesome.

It might be a while, but I’ll be back with more AC-in-a-bucket Saga. In two weeks.

In the meantime, enjoy these images of the little bit of progress I’ve made on what I can do without the liner:

bucket4To the left: Cut-out for fan, which I completed with the nifty new utility knife I bought.

(Home Depot, take note. I ordered this fan from Amazon on Saturday evening. It arrived Tuesday morning. That’s 3 days, 1.5, if you count only business days. Just sayin’.)

Perfect fit!

bucket5To the right: Frozen water.

So glad I’ll have these enormous jugs in my freezer for two weeks while I wait for the bucket liners to come.

Note to any spouses glimpsing the words “enormous jugs” over the shoulder of the person reading this post: I’m talking about water. Just water.

So the saga continues. I may attempt to make something work with one of those $3 coolers I mentioned I could get from the grocery store.

Thanks for reading! Do share DIY projects you’ve attempted that have not gone quite as expected.






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The $20 5-gallon-bucket Air Conditioner Saga, PART 1

My dear friend, critique partner, and sports romance author extraordinaire, Julie Brannagh told me about this $20 air conditioner Youtube sensation because she knows how much I loathe being hot. Click HERE or on the image to see the video for yourself.air conditioner

The video makes the process seam simple and fun. I though, heck, I’ll do this with my kids. They’ll especially enjoy taping streamers on so we can “see” the air conditioner working when we’re done. It’ll be fun.

Famous. Last. Words.

I’m 3 days and more than $100 into this project, and I am still not enjoying my home-made air conditioner.

The “$20 5-gal-bucket Air Conditioner Saga” begins with an optimistic trip to Lowes with my 3yo son. The video shows a Home Depot bucket, but Home Depot is in a part of town I’m not very familiar with. The potential to get lost and end up driving the wrong way on a one-way street in downtown Seattle is high.

In contrast, Lowe’s is 3 miles from my house and also right next to the grocery store where I knew I could by a gallon of water to freeze and use as the core of this awesome homemade cooling unit. Plus their buckets are blue, which I love, not orange, which I dislike.

Here’s my thoughts as I head out with the boy: I’ll make a stop at Lowes for the materials, then hit up the store for water to freeze, then whip the project together. I’ll be chillin’ in style by dinner time.

Yeah. Not so much.

bucket1And it all started out so good…

As soon as I walk into Lowes, I see their 5-gallon buckets. They are such a pretty blue, don’t you think? Much nicer to look at than orange, IMO. I snatch up this beauty and tossed it in the shopping cart along with a lid like the one shown in the video. Total so far: about $4

Directing my cart toward the plumbing section for PVC piping, I’m thinking: so far, so good.

The PVC piping is a little harder to find. The sections I find aren’t quite as long as those in the video, but I think they’ll work just fine. And they are less than $1 a piece. So I’m up to about $7 so far. Still doing good.

bucket2Next on the list are two hole saw extensions that will work with my power drill. This is where I blow the $20 budget. The harder the material you need to cut through, the more expensive the hole saw. I just need to cut through plastic and foam. Unfortunately Lowes doesn’t have the sizes I need in stock for the cheaper hole saws. I have to trade up and get kind of expensive ones. At $16 a piece, these hole saws put me up to $32. I’m still well under what I would spend on a traditional compressor AC unit, so I figure I’m doing okay.

Now that I’ve got most of the materials, I’m just kind of wandering through Lowes, looking for an insulating liner for the bucket. Odd that they didn’t have a big stack of liners right there with the buckets, but I’m not deterred. I keep looking.

Up and down the aisles I go. My son is being very patient. He wants to buy everything in sight, especially the orange traffic cones. They ARE made of molded foam, so I briefly consider using one as a liner for the AC-in-a-bucket, but they were $8 a piece for the smallest cones. Too much. I’m still determined to find the liners made specifically for the buckets, like the one shown in the video.

While I’m wandering, I pick up a new utility knife because I can’t remember where the one at home is. Now I’m up to $35. No big. I’m talking myself into not counting the tools in the budget since tools can be reused.

Finally, I find an employee–the hardware-store equivalent to admitting defeat and asking directions. When that employee answers: “Bucket liner? You mean like a trash bag?,” I look for someone more helpful. The second employee responds thusly to my request: “Oh, you must be making one of those Youtube air conditioners. Yeah, we don’t carry those liners. Only Home Depot has those.”

I inwardly groan. I do not want to drive to Home Depot. I take another turn around Lowes, looking for some substitute for a foam bucket liner. I look at hard coolers and wonder if the hole saws will grind through them. I look at soft coolers and wonder how they’ll hold the PVC pipes in place. I look at flexible duct insulation and wonder how disgusting it’s going to be after a gallon of frozen water sweats into it a hundred times. I also frown at the price tag, $20 for a single roll of insulation! A liner shouldn’t cost more than $5. I’m not spending $20.

At this point, my 3yo is done with Lowes. So am I. I leave without bothering to look for a fan and without the bucket liner.

We head over to the grocery store and spend $5 on 2 gallons of water. I’m up to $40. While I’m at the grocery store I swing into the next-door drug store to look for a 6″ fan like the one in the video. It’s mid-July, and the fan shelf is bare. This is what happens in a heat wave in Seattle.

No foam liner. No fan. No problem. I’ll get them on Amazon.

Tune in for PART 2 to see what goes wrong next!

Thanks for reading! Leave a comment and let me know what DIY projects you wished you never started.




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Free Publicity Fridays: Kyra Jacobs Has a New Release!

Flirting With Fire by Kyra Jacobs

22591831Kyra Jacobs has just released Hometown Heroes Book 2 Flirting With Fire! Are you pumped for it? I am!

I marked it “want to read” on Goodreads then ran over to Amazon to buy my copy.

Not only do I love Kyra’s concept for her Hometown Heroes series, but her writing voice resonates with me. Humor? She’s got it. Tenderness? In spades. Descriptions? Evocative and superbly written. So what are you waiting for? Read her blurb below then go buy your copy!

Amazon | Goodreads

Flirting With Fire by Kyra Jacobs

Look, touch, but don’t fall in love.

Massage therapist Liz Williams lives by one rule: never date a client. A rule she’s never had trouble following until she lays hands on fireman playboy Torrunn MacKay. Trouble is, Liz’s sexy new client is dating her arch-rival at work…and has a strange habit of appearing just before the fire alarm sounds.

Firefighter Torrunn MacKay has got it made: killer job, downtown condo with a view, and hot blonde girlfriend with no more desire to tie the knot than he has. But the surprise attraction he feels toward his new masseuse is threatening to change all that. And what’s with the string of fires that seem to follow her everywhere?

Can Liz mind her table manners and keep Torrunn at arms’ length? Will Torrunn put his commitment fears aside to keep Liz safe? More than hearts will be in jeopardy when the two start Flirting with Fire.

CONTENT WARNING: Beware of darkened rooms, delicious fire fighters, and desperate pyromaniacs.

Learn more about Kyra Jacobs: Website | Facebook

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The Roof, The Roof, The Roof is on Fire!

Everybody get those hands up! It’s party time!

It’s release day for Passionate Kisses Boxed Set! *Blows horn and throws confetti*

Passionate Kisses Release Promo1

Amazon | B&N |iTunes |Kobo | GooglePlay | All Romance | Goodreads

This is my first boxed set. That’s right; I’m a boxed set virgin no more! But the other 9 authors were gentle with me, LOL! Seriously, I’ve had a blast working with these ladies. I hope you’ll join us all tomorrow (6/24) at our Facebook Party to celebrate our release. There will be games, confessions, prizes, and virtual martinis.

But that’s tomorrow. So what are we doing today? Something probably very boring to a lot of people. But hey, that’s how I roll.

Today, we are going to talk about …

Formatting documents for CreateSpace!

Are you pumped?! I am. I’m not even kidding. I actually am. I love this stuff.

One of my favorite online hangouts is the Self Publishing Info Swap on Yahoo Groups. Click the link to check it out if you’re into SP and want lots of great advice and support. (NOTE: this isn’t a promo group).

Last week, lots of great CS advice popped up on the chat loop, and I threw in my two cents and mentioned I came up with a checklist for myself for formatting a Word document for CS. I invited the original question asker to email me off-loop, and I’d send her the checklist. I got 4 emails within the hour asking if they could have it too!

Hmm, I thought, it seems there’s a need for this information. So, voila! I put together a post to walk CS newbies through the formatting. As always, I have caveats:

  1. You may get a better result if you hire someone reputable to do the formatting for you. But that’s not in everyone’s budget. And honestly, the formatting is not that hard if you have a moderate comfort with Word and a good eye for detail.
  2. Time commitment for formatting yourself will run you anywhere from an hour to half a day. You’ll get quicker the more books you do.
  3. This is stuff I learned from many different sources, including plenty of trial and error. Because this was originally for my own use, I wasn’t as strict with documenting resources as I could have been.
  4. Sometimes I curse because Word pisses me off. I tried to get them all out for this post but might have missed some. You’ve been warned.
  5. If you have a Mac, your SOL. At least as far as this post. Sorry. I’m working with MS Word 2010.

Okay, here we go. Ready?

Start with a document all formatted for ebook

I usually do my print books after the ebook is published. This gives me a chance to make sure the manuscript is as typo-free as possible (it’s been edited professionally and proof-read and beta read enough that I felt comfortable publishing it).

Just so we’re on the same page, here’s a brief checklist for formatting a Word document for publishing to ebook:

  •  Start with FINAL Word doc
  • Open, save in an Amazon folder as ManuscriptTitle_Jessi Gage.docx
  • Format body
    • Single spaced
    • Paragraph indent = 2 notches (2/8 inch)
      • Ctrl + A then drag top triangle over 2 notches (If you’ve done your indents right, i.e. not by hitting “tab”, this will work. If not, go research that)
      • After setting indents, remove indent from chapter and scene headings
          • Starting at top, do a search for “chapter”
          • Search for “* * * *” (or whatever you use for scene breaks)
          • Don’t forget Epilogue
    • Chapter headings
      • Centered at top of page
      • One blank 12 pt line between chapter heading and text
      • Format: “Chapter 1″ “Chapter 25″ not “Chapter One,” etc.
      • 16 pt font
    • Scene breaks
      • Centered with one blank 12 pt line above and below
      • ” * * * * ” (star-space-star-space…)
      • 12 pt font
    • Get rid of all extra lines
      • Click the paragraph symbol to show all the characters
      • Make sure there are no lines at the end of a chapter between the last sentence and the page break
    • Remove “THE END” if it’s there.
  • Add front and back matter so the book matches previous books (if you don’t have previous ebooks to compare to, look at ebooks others have published and mimic the front and back matter formats you like best)
  • Build table of contents (if copying and pasting from another book, just add bookmarks. Links will automatically recognize the bookmarks)
  • Save document as a web page (HTML)
  • Add the HTML to Calibre and use that to convert to MOBI, PDF, etc.

Now we’re ready to get our document ready for CS

Formatting a Word document for CreateSpace

Before you do anything else, save the document as something like BookTitle_Createspace1 or whatever. Every time you complete a step, it might be wise to save and then start as a new document (BookTitle_Createspace2, etc.). Reason: If you make a mistake, you can always go back to the document representing the last step you completed successfully and start the problem step over fresh.

I got up to BookTitle_Createspace4 before I was happy and ready to upload.

Step 1 Change paper size

Use the Page Layout tab on your ribbon.

CS_image1CS_image2Page Layout -> Size -> More paper sizes

Set your width and height based on your book’s final trim size. I use 5.5 x 8.5 since it’s the standard trade paperback size. Be sure to apply this to the “Whole document” prior to proceeding.

Step 2 Change margins

Customize your margins based on CS’s requirements for your page count:


24 to 150 pages .375″
151 to 400 pages .75″
401 to 600 pages .875″
More than 600 pages 1.0″

Page Layout -> Margins -> Custom Margins.

  • Set all margins to 0.25 except “Inside” to 0.75. Gutter = 0
  • See “Pages” section of window. Select “Mirror margins.”
  • Apply to whole document. Upon saving, you will get an error message. Choose “Ignore.”


  • NOTE: If Createspace finds margin errors after upload, try inner margins of 0.76 and outer margins of 0.26. Don’t forget to Apply to Whole Document.
    • Tried this with Cole, but it changed nothing.
    • Tried inner margins=0.8 and outer=0.3. This resulted in Createspace liking it, but looking at the interior reviewer, there was extra white space on the outer edges. )This didn’t appear in Word, only in the interior reviewer.) It also added too many pages.
    • Tried decreasing the margin space to inner=0.77 and outer=0.27. This worked. Createspace found 2 problems, but upon visual check, they were not actual problems. DING DING DING, we have a winner!

By this point, the document should be looking more book-like. In fact to get the open-book effect, reduce the size of the image (lower right-hand corner) until you see side-by side pages. If your pages appear different heights, that’s because you’re in the view that eliminates headers and footers and any blank space at the tops and bottoms of the pages. Just double click near the top of a page to get the whole-page view.

Also note that the first page of your Word doc will be on the RIGHT side of the physical book when you open it. In other words, your gutter won’t be in the middle in this view. So don’t frown when your margins look uneven in the wrong way…if that makes sense. Just breathe. It’s going to be okay.

Now it’s time to make the content resemble a print book.

Step 3 Design content

I go into super deep detail here because my books are in series. I want every book in each series to be formatted the same in print. If this is important to you, you should take copious notes too and tailor this section for your own preferences.

    1. Simple Title Page (aka page 1)
      1. Turn “cover copy page” into a simple title page.
      2. Select “cover copy” and Type title, return
      3. In all caps, type A SERIES NAME NOVEL, return, return, return
      4. In regular case, bold, type Jessi Gage, insert “next page” section break using Page Layout ribbon
      5. Format the simple title page
          1. Highlight title, make it NTR, 16pt itallics, centered (no indents)
          2. Open paragraph dialog box using tiny box in lower right of Paragraph menu of Home ribbon
          3. Before: 200pt
          4. After: 0pt
          1. Highlight title, make it Garamond, 22pt itallics, centered (no indents)
          2. Open paragraph dialog box using tiny box in lower right of Paragraph menu of Home ribbon
          3. Before: 200pt
          4. After: 0pt
    1. “Also By” Page (page 2)
      1. With cursor at top of page, no indent, set font to 14pt, hit return until cursor is at 2” line. In all caps, type ALSO BY JESSI GAGE, centered, return, return
      2. Series 1 Name in 14pt, return
      3. Book Titles in 12pt italics , return, return
      4. Series 2 Name
      5. Book Titles in 12pt italics, return, return
      6. COMING SOON, return, return use Book Titles only, not series names too
      7. Insert section break, next page
      8. Highlight all text and make the spacing 1.15. While in the spacing menu, go to “Line Spacing Options.” Make sure line spacing is set to 0 before and 10 after.
      9. FOR HW, all is in NTR
      10. FOR BCB, all is in Sylfaen
    2. Main Title Page (page 3)
      1. Type title, centered, italics, return
      2. In all caps, type A SERIES NAME NOVEL, return, return, return
      3. In regular case, bold, type Jessi Gage, insert next page section break
      4. FOR HW
        1. Highlight title, make it NTR, 26pt italics, centered
        2. Open paragraph dialog box using tiny box in lower right of Paragraph menu of Home ribbon
        3. Before: 100pt
        4. After: 0pt
        5. Highlight series line, 18pt
        6. By line, 18pt
      5. FOR BCB
        1. Highlight title, make it Garamond, 28pt itallics, centered. (Very Pretty, nice for titles, but too delicate for headings and body)
        2. Do spacing same as for HW above
    3. Copyright Page (page 4)
      1. Copy copyright page from another of my books and change the date and ISBN and any other info
      2. Font should be 11pt
      3. Return until cursor is on 4” line
      4. Section break, next page
      5. FOR HW NTR
      6. FOR BCB Sylfaen, needed to raise first line to 3.5”
    4. Dedication Page (page 5)
      1. No heading
      2. Start on 1” line
      3. Italics, 12pt, centered, not justified
      4. Section break, odd page (will insert a blank page so the next page will also be an odd page. THIS PAGE WILL NOT SHOW UP IN VIEW. YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT THE PAGE NUMBERS IN THE LOWER LEFT-HAND CORNER.
      5. FOR HW NTR
      6. FOR BCB Sylfaen
    5. Acknowledgements Page (page 7)
      1. FOR HW
        1. On 1” line in NTR, type “Acknowledgements” 16pt, return, return
        2. No indent, 12pt, justified to both edges (as body of manuscript will be) NOTE ON JUSTIFYING TEXT: If the last line of a paragraph looks wonky, just go to the end of the line, and hit return, like you’re starting a new para.
        3. Section break, odd page
      2. FOR BCB
        1. On 1” line in Sylfaen, type “Acknowledgements” 16pt (first letter 20pt), return, return
        2. Rest is same as FOR HW above, but in Sylfaen
    6. Chapter 1 (begins on page 9)
      1. FOR HW
        1. Set font to 16pt NTR
        2. Type “Chapter 1”
        3. Center, Highlight with cursor, right-click, choose paragraph
          1. Put 100pt before, make sure there is no indent
          2. Close dialog box
        4. Right click again, choose “styles,” save the new style as something like Chapter heading. You’ll use this for every chapter.
        5. Go back and highlight the “C” in “Chapter,” make it 20 pt.
        6. Return, return, text of chapter
        7. Remove indent from first para and make first 3 words “Small Caps” using font dialog box, which you open using the little blue button on the Font menu. Save this as “First Three Words” style.
        8. After last period of chapter, insert section break, odd page. Confirm that next chapter starts on an odd page (SKIPPED EVEN PAGE WON’T SHOW)
        9. Do for all chapters. Don’t forget epilogue. Make the “E” 20pt.
        10. After Epilogue, section break, next page (not odd page).
      2. FOR BCB
        1. Replace “Chapter 1” with just “1”
        2. 72pt Sylfaen, color: gray (second box down under the white color group)
        3. With the chapter heading highlighted, right click, open line paragraph menu. Under spacing, Before=50, After=10, Spacing=1.15
        4. Left-justified, return
        5. Text of chapter
        6. Remove indent from first para and make first 3 words “Small Caps” using font dialog box, which you open using the little blue button on the Font menu. Save this as “First Three Words” style.
        7. After last period of chapter, insert section break, odd page. Confirm that next chapter starts on an odd page (SKIPPED EVEN PAGE WON’T SHOW)
        8. Do for all chapters.
        9. For epilogue, apply the heading style, then make the “pilogue” 24pt
        10. After Epilogue, section break, next page (not odd page).
    7. A Note From the Author Page
      1. Hit return until title is centered 16pt on 1” line (NTR for HW, Sylf for BCB)
      2. Remove indents from paragraphs, justify to edges
      3. For Wishing, I removed the middle para, where I mention newsletter & Jessi Gage links. Figure the links aren’t clickable in this format, so don’t need them twice. (Have the links on next page
      4. Section break, next page
    8. About Jessi Gage Page
      1. Format same as Note from Author page
    9. Delete table of contents & copyright page from ebook.

How are you doing? Hanging in there? If things are going smoothly for you, excellent. However, I have bad news. It’s time to do the headers and footers. You might want to go grab a glass of wine.

Step 4 Format headers and footers

    1. From beginning of document, Insert ribbon -> Header -> Edit Header
      1. Odd Pages
        1. You are on page 1, an odd page. Odd pages get the title of the book in small caps, centered (NTR for HW, Sylf for BCB)
        2. Header from top=0.3, Footer from bottom=0.3
        3. Check all 3 boxes, different first page, different odd and even pages, and show document text
        4. Make sure “link to previous” is selected
        5. Click next to go to the next page, which is the first even page
      2. Even Pages
        1. Author name, all caps, centered
        2. Header from top=0.3, Footer from bottom=0.3
        3. Check all three boxes
        4. Link to previous
        5. Next
      3. As you hit next and move through the other sections, make sure the boxes are checked. Make sure first pages of sections/chapters don’t get headers. Make sure formatting is same.
      4. A way to check and make sure your sections are linked “Link to previous section” is to uncheck Different First Page. The header should appear and be the title for odd pages, author name for even pages.
      5. Return to beginning
    2. From beginning, Insert ribbon -> Header -> Edit Footer
      1. Similar process. Just no page numbers on anything but body pages. No page numbers on first pages of sections.
      2. Use “next” to arrow through the pages.
      3. When you get to first page (yes, first page) of first chapter, click on page numbers over on the left of the ribbon. Select simple, current position. You’ll probably get a 9, since the first chap begins on page 9.
      4. Click edit page numbers (on page number drop-down menu)
      5. Start at 1. Now, when you move to the next page, you might expect the page number “1” to disappear, because you’ve already checked different first page. This doesn’t happen automatically. Go ahead and put in page 2. Then go back and delete the 1. I know. This is silly.
      6. Now, you should be able to arrow through the pages with the next button, and it should bring you just to the first, second, and last pages of each section/chapter just like for headers. There should be little to do but check the page number formatting at this point. If not, tinker until it’s right.

 Step 5 Bird’s eye view check

Go back to beginning. Reduce size of doc until you see three full pages on the screen. Scroll through and check that the page numbers are right, that there are no weirdly justified last lines, that the chapters and section breaks are right, essentially that everything looks good.

Step 6 Finish that glass of wine

Celebrate! You are done! Go upload to CS and let me know how it went!

I hope you found this checklist helpful. Drop me a comment if you want. I love hearing from you all! Best of luck, and I’ll see you on the SP loop!

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Playing with Pink Balls

Kyra Jacobs Comes Over to Play

pink ballsI never attempted to play golf until after I got married. Once we settled into married life, though, golf became a new pastime my hubby and I could share while enjoying the great outdoors. Having played recreationally for a few years prior, my husband was able to teach me the basic rules of the game, course etiquette, etc. I took a few lessons, hit the driving range a few dozen times, and voila!, I was ready to give the game of golf a try.

While I still haven’t turned pro, or even broken 90 more than a handful of times, there was one decision I made early on — only play with white golf balls. I mean, really, who used colored balls?

(Ha, that’s not what all of you were thinking from the title, now were you? Come on, admit it. I won’t tell…)

Back when I started golfing, the only colored balls sold were the kind you’d find at mini golf courses — red, blue, green, lavender, black, orange, etc. Nope, too cheesy, wasn’t gonna do it. Only amateurs used those balls. No, I was going to stick with the traditional white balls, stay within the lines of the norm. That’s how golf was meant to be played, after all.

And then one day it happened…my husband, in his sweet attempt to buy me ladies’ golf balls for Christmas, accidentally bought me a box of pink Nikes. I was faced with a major dilemma: cave in and play with the pink balls, or waste a perfectly good dozen Nikes. Had they been a cheaper set, the pink balls may never have seen the light of day. But Nikes? Well, those deserved a chance.

Turns out, those pink Nikes became one of my favorite type of balls. Have they helped knock ten strokes off my game? No, not yet, but playing with them didn’t kill me, either. Nor did I spontaneously combust when the club head of my driver made contact on that first tee, and no one laughed at me or pointed from the next fairway whilst whispering to their cart mates.

Huh, go figure.

The same fork in the road recently appeared in my writing life. When I first decided to write Armed With Steele, I was bound and determined to follow the traditional publishing route. Self publishing wasn’t an option I even wanted to consider. I mean, if I couldn’t get someone to pick up my book, that meant it wasn’t any good, right?

Now, deep down I knew that wasn’t true. But I got sucked in by the allure of traditional publishing, wanted to stick to the norm. Do I regret choosing that path? Absolutely not. I gained an incredible amount of knowledge about the overall publishing process, from contract signing to release date and beyond. The staff at Lyrical was amazing to work with, my editor and I really seemed to “click”, and I made a bazillion new friends as I was welcomed into the Lyrical sisterhood.

So why, you may ask, am I self publishing book two? The answer is simple, really.

Because I can.

I have proven to myself that I can sit down and write a novel. In fact, not only can I write one, but I have also learned how to improve upon it, fix plot gaps, strengthen characters, and make the words sparkle. Now, I am proving I can take it that last step and publish it on my own as well.

Sure, I pitched my second book to several agents, and received more interest this time around than when I was a complete unknown, but after 5 months and no offer for representation, I decided to move ahead with striking out on my own for this book. I’m confident in my writing, my readers enjoy what I write, and honestly, they’ve been getting antsy for the next one. Who am I to deny them another good read? ;-)

So self publishing it is with Flirting With Fire, the second book in my romantic suspense line. And who knows? Just as the pink Nikes turned out to be my favorite new golf ball, so may the self publishing route become a favorite of mine. Or not. Either way, I will be able to honestly look back and say I gave both routes a try, and know from experience which worked best for me.


Armed with Steele by Kyra Jacobs

18063464What happens undercover, stays under covers.

Jessica Hartley is looking for answers surrounding the mysterious car accident that nearly claimed the life of her best friend. She’s willing to risk it all, even her fledgling business, to find the person responsible and bring them to justice.

Nate Steele is more than willing to help Jessica, but for reasons all his own. He’s been watching the infamous Maxwell Office Solutions for some time now, convinced thereis more going on than meets the eye. When his chief issues a cease and desist order yet again, Nate has no choice but to accept inexperienced Jessica as an undercover partner outside the letter of the law.

Will Jessica and Nate be able to flush out Maxwell’s elusive villain, or will their growing attraction for each other sabotage their undercover ploy? Motives aren’t always what they seem when Jessica finds herself armed with Steele.

CONTENT WARNING: Beware drool-worthy men in uniform, touchy-feely coworkers, and vindictive ex-girlfriends. A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance – Hometown Heroes

Thank you, Kyra, for telling us about your evolving writing journey. Some of your experiences and rationale as you move forward with self publishing mirror mine.

To learn more about Kyra and her writing, find her on the web:

blog | twitter | website | facebook

To buy Armed with Steele: Amazon | B&N

Posted in Book Review | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments