I’m teaching a workshop tonight at the Artisan’s Asylum, the awesome makerspace in Somerville, and thought I’d share this handout list here since then all the links can be live.

This is a list of all the free or open source bits of software and other things that I’ve used in my publishing ventures. I’ve also used a lot of expensive things like Adobe Photoshop, Quark Xpress, and so on. But not everyone has the money or the access to the high-priced programs, so part of my workshop is basically how you can do it all using free or very inexpensive options.

Book-making Software & Free Stuff You Will Need

Download a printable one-page version here: PDF

You might also be interested in my other posts:

  • Type and Design for Small- & Self-Publishers
    1. Farming Out to Professionals
    2. Elements of Book Design
    3. Page Layouts
    4. Widows, orphans, and hyphenation
    5. “Smart” quotes, section breaks, and fleurs
    6. Ebook design versus print design
  • The Publishing Nitty Gritty: All the Hoops to Jump through to Self-publish (slightly out of date but mostly still relevant)
  • secrets_of_a_rock-star_ad_card

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

    The cover of the paperback leaked to Amazon a couple of weeks ago, but I’m psyched to share both the paperback and the super-sexy ebook only cover for HARD RHYTHM, the third book in the Secrets of a Rock Star series!

    This time I get to tell Chino the drummer’s story! HARD RHYTHM can be pre-ordered right now at most bookstores and online retailers: IndieBound (local independent bookstores) | Amazon | Publisher website | Walmart (!) | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks | Google Play | Kobo

    Images under the cut!

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

    Guest on my blog today is the fab Kayelle Allen, a tour de force in science fiction romance! Her new book, Bringer of Chaos, just went live yesterday!

    Get it in print and on Amazon, with other sites coming soon!

    Kayelle Allen is a best selling American author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr.

    Sempervians never die. Neither does their love. Nor their thirst for revenge. The immortal Pietas. Bringer of Chaos. Soul Ripper. Hound of Hell. Impaler. Slayer of Innocents. Hammer of God. If, in the history of a planet, there's a famous despot or killer, chances are it was Pietas. Imprisoned on Sempervia for the last ten thousand years, he's about to be discharged -- not because he's paid his debt to society -- but because he's too violent for the other prisoners to tolerate. Once he's unleashed, the galaxy will never be safe again. Unless the spy among the hundred who dare to follow can find a way to change his path -- or kill him.

    Sempervians never die. Neither does their love. Nor their thirst for revenge.
    The immortal Pietas. Bringer of Chaos. Soul Ripper. Hound of Hell. Impaler. Slayer of Innocents. Hammer of God. If, in the history of a planet, there’s a famous despot or killer, chances are it was Pietas. Imprisoned on Sempervia for the last ten thousand years, he’s about to be discharged — not because he’s paid his debt to society — but because he’s too violent for the other prisoners to tolerate. Once he’s unleashed, the galaxy will never be safe again. Unless the spy among the hundred who dare to follow can find a way to change his path — or kill him.


    Amazon

    boc1-bnr-jailer

    Romance Lives Forever Reader Group https://kayelleallen.com/bro
    Homeworld https://kayelleallen.com
    Twitter https://twitter.com/kayelleallen
    Facebook https://facebook.com/kayelleallen.author
    Pinterest https://pinterest.com/kayelleallen/
    G+ https://plus.google.com/+KayelleAllen/

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

    The panel on fantasy worldbuilding at ICFA was packed, every chair taken, people standing in the back, etc. I ended up sitting on the floor at the foot of the panelists’ table. It was well worth it! What I present here is a partial transcript of the conversation and I emphasize PARTIAL because I can only capture maybe half of what is actually said. I assure you if there are non-sequiturs or nonsense in what follows it is my fault in omission/transcription and not in what was said, which was highly intelligent, coherent, and thought-provoking.

    Moderator, A.P. Canavan: Welcome to the annual fantasy panel where we try to get academics and writers in polite conversation with each other. Barring that we try for as much bloodshed as possible! (audience laughter)

    The panelists:
    Sarah Pinborough (BBC, The Dead House, Dog-Faced Gods)
    Steven Erikson (Forge of Darkness),
    Kameron Hurley (Gods War, Mirror Empire, etc)
    Audrey Taylor (academic, Building Worlds- book on Patricia McKillip)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

    Oh my god. I just figured out what the central overarching meaning of the entirety of David Bowie’s life’s work is. All of it. It all fits. And I can’t figure out why I never saw this before.

    My god. It all makes sense.

    No, I’m not on drugs. No, I wasn’t even trying to figure it out. But since Blackstar came out I’ve been pondering the meaning of the video and lyrics, and especially since Bowie’s death I’ve been re-pondering it over and over, and listening to The Next Day, and other Bowie albums and songs, as well as listening to a radio documentary about him (narrated by Tim Minchin), and Amanda Palmer & Jherek Bischoff’s string quartet tribute, and other things as comfort in the wake of grief, using the music to try to fill up the inexplicable hole that was left in my psyche.*

    Tonight I was watching the DVD “Best of Bowie,” which I’ve had for years (got as a fantastic Christmas present) and I usually watch piecemeal. Tonight I tried to watch it chronologically, starting at the beginning, but now I’ve paused to start this essay because the video for “Space Oddity” is the key to the entire thing.

    Here it is. Here’s the secret that’s been in front of our eyes all this time:

    In all of Bowie’s work, outer space is a metaphor for fame itself.

    Maybe a million semiotics and pop culture theses have already been written on this subject: I don’t know. All I know is I never realized it before now, and now that I’ve seen it, I can’t unsee it. And the more songs I analyze the more I realize it fits.

    Let’s start at the beginning, or pretty close to it.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

    taking_the_lead_tame_200x300This is exciting! Something new! RT Book Reviews will be hosting me and Tara Sue Me (author of the Submissive series) in a live YouTube chat this Friday, Feb 5th at 12 noon to 1pm (Eastern US time). Her new book THE MASTER is out this week, and of course my TAKING THE LEAD just hit last week!

    Want to leave a question for us to answer? Post it over at RT Book Reviews here: http://www.rtbookreviews.com/blog/87694/live-chat-cecilia-tan-and-tara-sue-me-friday-february-5-noon

    Here’s the chat video stream window, embedded:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

    slow_surrender_112x150If you’ve been meaning to pick up my award-winning BDSM contemporary “billionaire” romance novel SLOW SURRENDER, the ebook’s been discounted right now to 99 cents everywhere! They’re running a “Dark and Twisty Romance” sale. Here are links to my book:

    Amazon | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | B&N Nook

    You can find other books in the Dark and Twisty Romance sale on each of the sites, too. Here’s a link to the B&N page. Slow Surrender is the first book in a three-book series.

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

    I was up all night last night when I discovered David Bowie had died. My entire Twitter feed turned into a wake until dawn. 100% of the tweets, except for the promoted tweets about the movie The Martian (eerie coincidence) having won a Golden Globe award. Spiders from Mars indeed.

    I’ve talked about Bowie a lot, and written about him a little. Most recently the essay I had in QUEERS DESTROY SCIENCE FICTION I talk about how as a misfit 11-year-old I found a role model in Bowie not only for daring to declare himself bisexual, but in the embrace of science fiction analogies to define himself “Other.” He created a persona that was a space alien. Later he created other personas…some of which were space aliens pretending to, or learning to be, humans. Just knowing he existed was a spark of encouragement that growing up a sci-loving nerd with gender conformity issues was going to turn out OKAY.

    At the time I didn’t grasp that his true role as my guardian angel had a third component, that of creative person and artist itself.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

    like_a_circlet_editor_cover_iconsizeSo, a couple years back at a Circlet writers and editors retreat, which I host annually at my house, one of the writers in attendance wrote the start of a humorous and sexy story playing on the fantasy of what people imagine in their wildest dreams it must be like working at an erotica publishing house. During one of the writing exercises he wrote the start of it and read it aloud to much laughter. That night he finished the story and brought it back so we could hear the whole thing.

    That was also the day we did brainstorming on anthology themes for the coming year. And thus was the anthology LIKE A CIRCLET EDITOR born.

    The book will be out shortly, and you can pre-order it now! But I’m pleased to be part of the cover reveal! See below! Also see below for entry to a rafflecopter giveaway…and for an enticing and sexy excerpt from the very story that I spoke of above!

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

    All righty folks! I’m gearing up for the big finale of Magic University at last. THE POET AND THE PROPHECY goes live on September 15th and can already be pre-ordered at Amazon and Smashwords, with other ebook sellers coming online this week.

    The big cover reveal was Friday at Tor.com and they published the image with my essay on What #FanworksTaughtMe and all the fandom connections in the series, from the inspiration for writing it, to my beta readers, to the fans who wrote Magic U. fanfic themselves, to the cover artist who has done such incredible covers for me! (Check out her store: Art by Fox) Head over to Tor.com to read the essay and see the cover in beautiful full size: http://www.tor.com/2015/08/28/digging-into-fandom-cover-reveal-for-the-poet-and-the-prophecy/

    Bloggers, if you want to get involved in launch events, Rock Star PR is handling the blog tour and everything. Signups are here: http://rockstarlit.com/content/the-poet-and-the-prophecy-magic-university-book-four/

    On launch day I’ll be hosting a Facebook party from 4-5pm and 11-midnight, with other new adult college-setting authors in the hours in between: https://www.facebook.com/events/1647147665517621/

    And I’ll likely do a livechat on my Youtube Channel, exact time TBD!
    magic_u_all_5_white_bg_600px

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

    Last night we went seeking the wonders of the world. And we found them.

    I had read on Twitter early in the evening that a “geomagnetic storm” was going on and that there would likely be amazing auroras to be seen, but corwin and I both had to work until 9pm and I didn’t even think of going hunting for it. But after we’d finished dinner, around 11 o’clock at night, I saw a photo on Twitter taken from the bay in Salem, Massachusetts that looked spectacular. Sure it was a long exposure photo, but Salem does not exactly have dark sky conditions and is very far south of where one normally thinks of seeing auroras.

    I showed it to corwin.

    “Want to go?” he asked.

    “I’ll put on pants,” I replied.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

    Cover reveal, and I do mean “reveal”! My next romance from Hachette/Forever is slated to release on January 26, 2016 in both paperback and ebook, and I have not one but TWO amazing cover designs to show you!

    As you might expect given my track record, my books have a lot of sex in them. They’re very steamy. TAKING THE LEAD is no exception. It’s a rockstar romance and a BDSM “billionaire” book except this time SHE is the billionaire.

    The brilliant thing my publisher has done is create two versions of the cover, a “tame” version (which is still pretty suggestive if you ask me), and a “wild” version. Feast your eyes below the fold:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

    nla-writing-award-logo-250pxJust got this press release from NLA! Congrats to all these talented writers! Winners will be announced on May 1st!

    SEMI-FINALISTS ANNOUNCED FOR 2015 NLA-I WRITING AWARDS

    (Columbus, OH) — National Leather Association – International (NLA-I), a leading organization for activists in the pansexual SM/leather/fetish community, announced today the semi-finalists for its annual writing awards. Named after activists and writers Geoff Mains, John Preston, Pauline Reage, Cynthia Slater, and the groundbreaking organization Samois, they are awarded annually to recognize excellence in writing and publishing about Leather, SM, bondage and fetishes.

    The semi-finalists for the Cynthia Slater Non-fiction Article Award are:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

    SaFleur_untouchable_cover7_200pxI’m pleased to have a visit today from writer Elizabeth SaFleur, an erotic romance author and self described “recovering public relations practitioner” who writes, tweets and posts under a pseudonym since her business clients might be shocked at her new career choice. She began the Elite Doms of Washington contemporary erotic romance series after a thirty-year career serving D.C. clients, and Untouchable, book two in the Elite Doms of Washington Book series just went live for pre-order on Amazon. Today Elizabeth shares twenty-eight, wildlife-filled acres in Virginia with her husband and dog. Elizabeth is a member of the Romance Writers Association and the Washington Romance Writers, and she is one of the people I am looking forward to meeting at BDSM Writers Con in New York City this summer.

    1. How did you get started writing about BDSM?
    Elizabeth SaFleur: In the 1990s, I discovered erotica through Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty series. They were the most compelling, eye-opening books I’d ever read, and finally gave me context for all those dreams I’d been having. A few years later a story came to me when, sitting in an outside café, I witnessed a woman being lashed to a sailboat mast in the middle of the Potomac River. (To this day I don’t know if my eyes tricked me.) It took me until 2011 to start writing that story, which ultimately became Lovely, the first book in the Elite Doms of Washington series. (Yes, there is a sailboat scene.) Once I started writing Lovely, I could not stop.

    2. Would you say you’ve learned anything from reading BDSM fiction, romance, or erotica? What were the lessons you gleaned?

    Elizabeth SaFleur: I’ve read hundreds of books in these genres, and I am continually struck by one basic human truth: we are all so different, yet not. We all want to be understood and loved. But our desires vary. So, while the actual practice of BDSM follows basic tenets, the variations of how to practice BDSM seems endless. The more I learn about BDSM, the more there is to learn, especially on the emotional level.

    3. Is there something you hope people learn or come away from your book(s) knowing or feeling? What is it? 

    Elizabeth SaFleur: I hope people experience the emotional journey my characters go through. The spiritual and emotional rewards in BDSM are as important as the physical. I also want people to understand that BDSM can be loving and sensual and isn’t just “whips and chains” and pain. A deep emotional bond forms between top and bottom, which to me is where the real action lies.

    4. BDSM popularity was already rising when “50 Shades” mania hit–what made this the right time for BDSM to hit the mainstream?

    SaFleur_Lovely_cover_200Elizabeth SaFleur: In my humble opinion, a number of stars aligned to make BDSM erotic fiction grow in popularity. While I believe people have always had unique kinks and desires, they didn’t necessarily know what to call them or knew there was a community that supported their ideas. Then, the Internet made it possible to research and connect with others from the privacy of your own home. Add e-readers to the mix, and now people could engage in anonymous reading, not to mention affordable titles. Lastly, the upcoming reading generation grew up with more openness around sexuality in the media and in the news – coupled with the technology to engage in it.

    I’d also like to give a nod to the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, which has worked very hard to change how BDSM is viewed in the political and legal arenas.

    As for the 50 Shades mania, E.L. James got very, very lucky. I’m not taking anything away from her success. But every society has a “tipping point” around accepting “new” ideas, where someone or a small group of people earn rewards. She hit things at the right time. So, good for her.

    5. Have any advice you’d like to share for those interested in learning more about BDSM, whether to write it or to do it in real life?

    Elizabeth SaFleur: Yes! Get thyself to the BDSM Writers Con. If you are a writer or someone who just wants to learn more, there is no better way to learn than to talk to people in this lifestyle, firsthand, which you can do at the Con. If going to the Con won’t work for you, read books (like SM 101 by Jay Wiseman or Screw the Roses; Send Me The Thorns by Philip Miller and Molly Devon). First read books that talk about the real-world BDSM community. Then move to reading erotica and erotica romance. This way you can tell what’s real and what’s fiction. The distinction is important.

    6. What’s the most fun you ever had researching a book or story? 

    Elizabeth SaFleur: Oooo, I could tell but that Master might not like such detail given in public. LOL… Okay, I’ll tell you *some* of it. I tried rope bondage and suspension for the first time a few weeks ago. I can’t believe it took me so long to try it. I felt like I was flying in mid-air. According to my husband who watched, I didn’t touch the ground, mentally, for quite some time afterward. To me, wax play is the second most fun BDSM activity. I feature wax play in the second Elite Doms’ book, Untouchable. I’m working on incorporating more rope bondage in future stories, after I do more research, of course. ;-)

    7. What has surprised you about your own writing?

    Elizabeth SaFleur: That I can make myself cry. I get very involved with my characters, and sometimes I have to let them experience hurt for the story to work. I hurt with them.

    8. What are you hoping will be the most awesome thing about BDSM Writers Con? 

    Elizabeth SaFleur: The first time I attended, I was just hoping people would be willing to talk to me. After all, we’re asking about an emotional, private part of their lives. Everyone, from the other writers to the demonstrators, were incredibly open. This year, I hope to take that a level deeper and understand more about what draws people to BDSM. I also would like to meet both new writers and reconnect with friends I made last year. If you’re there, come say hi!

    Elizabeth_SaFleur_Google_AvatarElizabeth’s website: http://www.elizabethsafleur.com/

    Buy Lovely: Amazon | Kobo | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble

    Pre-order Untouched on Amazon

    Where else you can find Elizabeth:
    Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter: @ElizaLoveStory | Google+ | Tsu

    2015 BWC Flyer 275px

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

    glass_stilettoMy guest author today is romance novelist Rachel Kenley, whose fem dom BDSM fairy tale, THE GLASS STILETTO, has just been re-released in a new edition from Riverdale Avenue Books. “What if Cinderella didn’t want to marry the Prince? And what if she discovered that a man who was in control of his public life enjoyed surrendering that control in the bedroom?” The result would be The Glass Stiletto: A Kinky Fairy Tale. I got to talking to the author about the sexiness of fairy tales, love, and writing:

    1. I know you must get asked this a lot, but a lot of your work, not just THE GLASS STILETTO, has fairy tale themes. Why? What compels you about them? 

    Rachel Kenley: I think it’s the universality of them. We all know them, we’re familiar with them but to turn them inside out or give them the characters and the endings I’ve always wanted them to have? That’s a great deal of fun. Fairy tales have always had sexual themes to them. Pricking a finger on a spindle? The drops of blood Snow White’s mother sheds? All references to loss of virginity. I enjoy bringing out that side of them more explicitly.

    2. How did you get the idea for The Glass Stiletto? 

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

    I’m so very honored to have as my guest today, Doctor Charley Ferrer, author of the books BDSM The Naked Truth and 13 others, and the director of BDSM Writers Con, which will be happening August 20-23 in New York City. BDSM Writers Con will be the premiere place to connect with the BDSM writing scene. Encompassing a book fair, writers conference, BDSM lifestyle education seminars, publishing seminars, autograph sessions, and the Golden Flogger Awards, BDSM Writers Con sounds like it will be quite the extravaganza. I can’t wait to attend and meet Doctor Charley personally. Until then, we’ll just have to meet virtually, like this:

    Cecilia Tan: When did you first realize BDSM was a part of your sexuality?

    Doctor Charley Ferrer: It’s hard to answer that question in chronological years. I was kinky before kink was a word and definitely before it was popular. I loved to wrestle with boys as a pre-teen and “pin” them keeping them helpless. At sixteen, I was drawing live size murals on my wall depicting whipping scenes. I didn’t realize what the drawings were nor why I was so drawn to them. Sadly, they were reasons for my family to label me “the problem child.” When I became sexual, I enjoyed making a lover beg for my attentions and getting passionately rough during sex was great. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I actually found the BDSM community and felt I truly belonged. Gosh that was almost 20 years ago.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

    It’s out, it’s out! So happy to announce that the new Riverdale Ave Books edition of THE TOWER AND THE TEARS is now live and in hand! Ebook, paperback, and audio, all available from all your favorite sellers. And look at that gorgeous new cover.

    Tower-and-Tears_Amazon_200Buy at: Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | AllRomance eBooks |
    Audible.com

    Keep reading for a sample chapter!

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

    I have so much going on these days it’s hard to keep up with it all! So as it happens two important milestones are coming next week. One is the release of the new edition of THE TOWER AND THE TEARS, book two of my Magic University series, in all new paperback, never-before-heard audiobook, and new ebook editions from Riverdale Avenue Books. The other is we’ll be hitting post #600 of Daron’s Guitar Chronicles. Yeah. That’s a whole lotta webserial.

    So I’m doing two chats back-to-back on my YouTube Live channel on Tuesday, January 20th:

    From 8-9pm I will do a Magic University chat, read an excerpt from THE TOWER AND THE TEARS, give away some copies of the gorgeous new paperbacks, answer questions about magic, sex, and magical sex.

    From 9-10pm I will do a Daron’s Guitar Chronicles chat, give away a copy of the brand new DGC volume one paperback which just came in the mail, read Daron’s fan mail, field questions, and geek out about music and LGBT pop culture history.

    Here’s the URL where the video will stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7C4JIucBz8g

    and you can subscribe to my YouTube Channel itself: https://www.youtube.com/user/ctanvideo/

    jan_20_livechat_banner

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

    If you’re new to following me and my partner corwin, our Thanksgiving meal is a Big Deal. corwin has been cooking duck for “Duck Day” ever since he got to college in 1986 and cooked Thanksgiving dinner for himself for the first time. He and I got together in November 1991 and I joined the tradition right away.

    In recent years we’ve gotten into “molecular gastronomy” and have experimented with various cuisines. Our style tends to be postmodern, we’re not above puns whether verbal or visual in our dishes, and we tend toward Asian fusion, which makes tackling a theme like this years–Traditional French!–a very interesting challenge indeed.

    Full menu under the cut. I have links to many recipes and variations.

    Edit: Next day, I’ve added the intended recipes and photos and links.

    I photographed and video’d much of the cooking and the finished dishes on Instagram:
    http://instagram.com/ctan_writer

    Likewise on Twitter (use hashtag #duckday): https://twitter.com/hashtag/duckday?src=hash

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

    How The Line Between Fantasy and Reality Defines Consent: And Why It Matters
    by Cecilia Tan

    This blog post is prompted by two things that happened today. One, a male writer friend I respect a lot and who is clueful about many things including sexuality and feminism asked me: “Serious question: I’d love to hear your thoughts, as a kink-friendly feminist Asian woman, about racial fetishes. Blog post?”

    The other is that right before reading his message, I had just gotten email from a reader who wrote: “Anything that makes violence abuse and torture seem more attractive, i.e. associating it with getting off sexually or glorifying in anyway, is keeping us from developing into a more enlightened society” and also “those feminists who think that rape portrayed in any format is okay are just shooting a cause in the foot.” This fan is someone that I met at a BDSM convention and their email to me says they’re okay with common consensual BDSM activities like bondage and flogging and spanking. What prompted their reaction was not the convention, but reading some of my fan fiction that featured “non-con” — non-consensual acts. (If you’re new to me: I’m a professional writer of erotica, romance, and sf/fantasy whose fiction often deals with BDSM. I also write fanfic for fun.)

    You might think that someone who was okay with BDSM wouldn’t be able to make a statement like “Anything that makes violence abuse and torture seem more attractive, i.e. associating it with getting off sexually or glorifying in anyway, is keeping us from developing into a more enlightened society.” The point I’d like to make here is not that this particular fan is confused or a hypocrite, it’s to point out that this particular kind of hypocrisy is VERY COMMON. So common perhaps we should say it’s human nature, except then we’d have to accept it instead of trying to change it. And I’m trying to change it. My activism and my creative life for the past 23 years have been built on trying to change it, on the following basis:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

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