Journal 2014

November 21, 2014
Happy Release Day to Me!

Remember back in January, when I said I had a lot of projects in the works this year? (If not, here's a time machine.) That declaration turned out to be even truer than I realized. Between recovering and recoding the entire Clearwater Crossing series, publishing a brand-new novel, Walk on Water, and creating all-new e-book editions of The Diaries, Ghost of a Chance, and The Queen of Second Place, I've already put out twenty-four new e-books in 2014!

But wait, there's more! Today I welcome new e-book #25!

Queen B, a novel by Laura Peyton Roberts

Available today at Amazon.com!

Queen B is the companion novel to The Queen of Second Place. Are you wondering how companion novels are different from a series? Well, like books in a series, companion novels have characters and settings in common. Queen B, which I wrote second, continues the timeline and makes references to things that happen in The Queen of Second Place. BUT, unlike a series, you don't have to read both books—or read them in order—for everything to make sense. Companion novels stand on their own as complete stories. Of course, I hope you will read both books, but that's completely up to you. :-)

So what else am I publishing in 2014? Absolutely nothing! I think we have all earned a breather. :-)

Happy Holidays! See you next year! (Or catch me over on Facebook.)
With every good wish,

Laura


November 13, 2014
And On the Subject of Deals . . .

I'm having so much fun discounting books this month, that I decided to make Clearwater Crossing Series #1 & 2: Get a Life; Reality Check free again too! Get a Life is always free; Reality Check, only rarely. This e-book bundle contains both full-length novels, so if you missed out on this freebie earlier in the year, here's another chance to grab it!

Clearwater Crossing Series #1 & 2: Get a Life; Reality Check

Currently free! Click here for store links.

 

I hope you'll enjoy reading these novels—and if you do, please tell a friend!

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura


November 6, 2014
Kindle Deal Alert! (And a Sneak Peek)

Just a quick post to let you know that The Queen of Second Place is only $0.99 at Amazon.com today through Wednesday, November 12! If you're a member of Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited, you can currently still read this book for free, but if you want your own copy, $0.99 is as low as this price will go.

The Queen of Second Place, a novel by Laura Peyton Roberts

Only $0.99 for a limited time at Amazon.com!

 

How can I follow up such exciting news? With a sneak peek at the companion novel!

Queen B, a novel by Laura Peyton Roberts

Coming November 21!

 

I'm still coding this new edition of Queen B, but it's already online for pre-orders and will release November 21, just in time for Thanksgiving reading. Check it out at the link!

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura

PS—UK readers, please look for The Queen of Second Place to be only £0.99 on November 11 through November 17. Find it here!


October 4, 2014
What I've Learned From All This
(Or, Why E-Books Aren't Always Pretty)

In The Queen of Second Place, fifteen-year-old Cassie Howard gets into trouble and ends up spending her afternoons in detention writing assigned essays. That isn't a spoiler—the novel opens that way. Nor am I giving anything away by revealing that “What I've Learned from All This” is the title of Cassie's final detention assignment. I'm excited to announce that I've just finished coding Cassie's story into a brand-new e-book edition (hooray!), and “What I’ve Learned from All This” seems like the perfect title for a post about that experience too.

The Queen of Second Place, a novel by Laura Peyton Roberts

Available now on Amazon.com.
Prime/KindleUnlimited members can borrow/read this book free!

 

Have you ever wondered why e-books tend to be less pretty than their print counterparts? Or how some e-books manage to look so much better than others? I’ve wondered both of those things. A lot. Digital format glitches can be annoying (and digital prices are often too high), but in my opinion the biggest obstacle to universal adoption of e-books is ugly page design. With The Queen of Second Place I was determined to learn every coding trick it took to produce an e-book that looked just as nice as the original hardcover. After all, I reasoned, print books are designed on computers, and e-books are read on computers, so is there any good reason an e-book can’t look just as snazzy as a print book? Yes, it turns out. There is, and more than one.

Before I divulge those reasons, let me start by saying that I’m really happy with the way the new e-edition of The Queen of Second Place came out. Viewed on a Kindle Fire or epub reader, it looks downright awesome. On other devices it still looks quite nice—but if you use a Kindle e-ink reader, then I obsessed over a whole lot of bells and whistles you’re never going to see. And on every device there are ways for users to make things less pretty they may not even be aware of (and I can't control at all). More on that later. Let's start with the coding issues.

The international standard for e-book coding is epub. In order to build a book that will pass an epub check, you first need to know how to code in html and then observe a lot of rules that may or may not seem important to you. In order to build a book that looks good and passes an epub check, you need some CSS knowledge too. To get into Apple’s iBookstore, your book must be submitted as an epub file that will pass an epub check. (And believe me, they check.) That same error-free epub file will also fly with BarnesandNoble.com, so if you’ve gotten this far, pat yourself on the back. Then buckle up. Because now things start getting tricky.

Amazon, by far the largest seller of e-books (at least of my e-books), doesn’t use epub in their e-readers. Instead, they convert that perfect epub file you slaved over into Kindle format. What does that mean for all of your careful coding? Simple formatting looks basically the same. Advanced design may not fare as well. And here's the really fun part: the exact same file looks different on different Kindle devices.

In The Queen of Second Place, I used embedded fonts for the first time. This enabled me to make the chapter headings look much the same as the ones in the printed book. I was also able to differentiate short items, such as the detention essays, with their own special fonts. Technically speaking, it's not hard to embed fonts, and the end result is pretty cool. So why don't publishers do this all the time? My guesses: 1) It does involve more coding. 2) You can't just grab any font you like; copyright restrictions mean either buying the proper license or spending time looking for a suitable free font. And 3) Even after you go the extra mile of embedding fonts correctly and legally, a lot of devices completely ignore them and default to their basic built-in fonts instead.

This defaulting feature turns out to be worse than disappointing, because any special parameters attached to the embedded fonts to make them look their best (such as modified size or spacing) still show up—and may make the default font look worse. It took a lot of extra fooling around before I was satisfied that The Queen of Second Place still looks good on devices that default. Most people do not share my level of obsession with this sort of detail (especially when they're not getting paid for it), so the mystery of the scarcity of embedded fonts in e-books? I'd call that one officially solved.

But special fonts aren't the only feature that sets print book design apart. A lot of things routinely found in print are a nightmare to reproduce in the currently limited environment of e-book code. A few examples: tables, columns, footnotes, equations, graphics within text, and tabs. Tabs! Technically, I suppose I shouldn't call tabs a nightmare, because technically they're impossible. You can try to fake them by building a table with invisible dividers or inserting a bunch of non-breaking spaces, but neither solution is good. The table method has limitations, and multiple nonbreaking spaces don't create the same amount of gap on every device. In fact, those spaces won't even always create the same amount of gap for one user on the same device.

Which brings us to the other reason such seemingly simple things are so hard to do well in e-books: The way devices and apps display e-books is not only flexible, but users control the flexing. A person can't pick up a printed book and make its font larger. Or smaller. Or a different style altogether. Footnotes remain conveniently at the bottoms of printed pages because the length of those pages is permanently fixed. Illustrations are only easily sized and placed within surrounding text when the text size never varies. Tables and columns look best laid out for known page widths. Headings designed to fit attractively on one line assume the length of that line won't change. And tabs? I still don't know what the reason is for not giving us tabs.

I have more examples, but I'm sure you get the idea. In fact, if you're interested in this topic and own a couple of e-readers, you'll probably start noticing weirdnesses I haven't even discovered yet. If you own a Fire and a Paperwhite (or other e-ink Kindle) like I do, open the same e-book in both devices, compare the displays side by side, and you'll see what I'm talking about. Better yet, open The Queen of Second Place in those two devices and see exactly what I'm talking about.

So how would I sum this all up for people who just want to read? 1) If you're an Amazon customer who cares about pretty design, my advice is to read on a Fire. 2) If you own a Paperwhite, The Queen of Second Place looks nicest with device defaults set to Baskerville font at one of the smaller sizes; other e-books may also benefit from experimenting with these settings. 3) Choosing default text sizes larger than 3 or 4 generally increases your likelihood of seeing some ugly formatting. And 4) We ought to petition Amazon to make all of their e-readers display everything epub offers instead of further limiting design options.

Readers using epub-based devices like Nook and iPad will hopefully see the entire new design, complete with bells and whistles, when I publish to those platforms. For the next few months, however, The Queen of Second Place is exclusive to Amazon, which allows the largest potential audience to read the book for free and enables me to offer an upcoming discount to everyone else. If you're dedicated to one of those other platforms, I really hope you'll forgive this delay. Exclusivity is a tough decision to have to make, but what I've learned about e-book distribution would fill up another long post. :-)

Wishing you all a happy fall and many good things ahead!
Thanks for visiting,

Laura


July 2, 2014
The Diaries Hits the Beach! (Or Lake. Or Pool.)

When things go quiet here at the Journal it doesn’t mean that I’m not doing anything—it usually means that I’m doing too much. So far this year I’ve already released a new e-book edition of Ghost of a Chance, designed new covers for and recoded all twenty e-books in the Clearwater Crossing series, and published a brand-new novel, Walk on Water. And that’s just the big stuff!

So while I’m a bit embarrassed that you haven’t heard from me here since Cinco de Mayo, I’ve got a good excuse:

The Diaries, a Clearwater Crossing Special Edition by Laura Peyton Roberts

Ta da! The much-requested Clearwater Crossing special edition,
The Diaries, is finally available as an e-book!

  

A little history may be in order. Clearwater Crossing was originally published exclusively in print as a series of twenty novels plus this special edition, The Diaries, which recaps the events of books #1 through 4 from the unique viewpoints of main characters Jenna, Melanie, Leah, and Nicole. During the nearly four years between publication of book #1 and book #20, Clearwater Crossing titles were widely available in bookstores, where the series continued to attract new readers. As the series grew, though, stores couldn’t always keep every title in stock. The Diaries, first released between books #14 and 15, was created as a fun way for new readers to catch up on the early action, with original details added for Clearwater Crossing fans wanting to revisit books they had already read.

I hope everyone who’s been asking for The Diaries enjoys having it in their collection at last. And if you haven't visited Clearwater Crossing yet, here’s your easy jump start into the series—just in time for summer reading. :-)

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura

PS—You can find The Diaries at Amazon.com, BN.com, or in the iBookstore.


May 5, 2014
Happy Cinco de Mayo!

If you love Mexican food, mariachis, and margaritas, today is an excellent day to throw a party. Not that you need an excuse. But just in case you do. . . .

I'm celebrating today because all twenty books in the Clearwater Crossing series are now online with new covers! Creating all those covers and rebuilding the e-book files was a major undertaking, but I'm happy with the new look and hoping you'll like it too. Want to find out without spending a cent? Clearwater Crossing Series #1 & 2: Get a Life; Reality Check is currently free at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and in the iBookstore!

Clearwater Crossing Series #1 & 2: Get a Life; Reality Check

Grab your free copy now—and tell a friend!

 

This bundled title includes full-length versions of the first two books in the series, Get a Life and Reality Check, complete with new covers and better coding. Even if you already own these books, why not download this new version just to check it out? If you have a Kindle or Nook, you can always lend out this copy to friends. Better yet, tell your friends now and they can get their own free copies!

What's next? As previously promised, the e-book edition of The Diaries is my next project, to be followed by new e-book editions of The Queen of Second Place and Queen B. And after that? I think I'll take a break. Possibly one involving Mexican food, mariachis, and margaritas. :-)

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura


April 12, 2014
Happy Spring!

Somehow I missed posting here in March, but definitely not for lack of time spent on my computers. I've been glued to a screen for weeks, working on a project that I'm pretty excited about. The Clearwater Crossing series is getting new covers, and the first four have just come out!

New Clearwater Crossing covers!

 

What do you think of the new look? I hated saying good-bye to the original covers, but now that the new ones are coming out, their timing feels pretty perfect. Don't these colors just look like spring? In the coming weeks I'll be re-releasing all twenty volumes of the series—plus one of my top two requests from readers will make its long-awaited debut.* Want a sneak peek?

THE DIARIES e-book is coming (relatively) soon!

 

I'm finally digitizing The Diaries! I want to get all of the numbered books re-covered before I release this additional one, but The Diaries is in the works and should be out in time for summer reading. Fingers crossed!

Wishing you all a happy spring and lots of fun projects of your own. The way these months are flying by, it will be summer before we know it!

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura

*If you think the way I do, you are now trying to guess what the other top request is. The other most-asked-for item is a sequel to Green. While that project is not currently in the works, it's still very much in my "maybe someday" column. :-)


February 24, 2014
Kindle Countdown Deals

Do you know about Kindle Countdown Deals? Every day publishers discount selected Kindle titles for limited periods of time, and Amazon counts that time down. The following link will lead you to the complete current deals page (which you might want to bookmark for future reference): Kindle Countdown Deals  

And in case this seems a bit random, let me tell you why I mention it: Ghost of a Chance is a Countdown Deal right now! From now until Saturday, you can get this e-book for $0.99.

Ghost of a Chance, a novel by Laura Peyton Roberts

$0.99 at Amazon.com all week!

Click on the cover for the direct link, or go to junior.dailycheapreads.com—this site is featuring Ghost of a Chance today and has lots of other great deals to tell you about too. If you love free and discounted e-books (and who doesn't?) you might want to bookmark them and their sister site, www.dailycheapreads.com, as well.

In other news, I recently joined Goodreads:

I'm still trying to figure out how things work over there, which is why the above icon links to my profile instead of being a widget that does something more interactive, but if you're a Goodread-er, please look me up. I only recently realized how big this site has become and was excited to see how many people had reviewed my books and added them to their shelves there. If you are one of those people, thank you!

As promised in my first post this year, I have lots more in the works for 2014. What will my next project be? Please come back soon and find out. :-)

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura

PS—If you're in the UK, please look for Ghost of a Chance on the UK Kindle Countdown Deals list starting March 13 and on www.dailycheapreads.co.uk on March 15!


February 6, 2014
Wow! (Or, more accurately, WoW)

At last it can be revealed! I've been writing a new novel, code name WoW. (Okay, technically that's an acronym, but code name sounds cooler, right?) And I'm excited to say, here it is!

Walk on Water, a novel by Laura Peyton Roberts

Now available at Amazon.com, BN.com, and the iBookstore
or win a free e-book on my Facebook page
!

 

Walk on Water is the story of a family coming to terms with tragedy and finding hope again—and since it also involves ice skating, I'm especially excited to release this book during the Winter Olympics. If you know someone who likes figure skating, please point them to Walk on Water. However, even if you're not a skating fan, I hope you will enjoy this novel. To paraphrase Lance Armstrong, it's not really about the skates.

Here's the full book description:

Sixteen-year-old Lexa Walker has a pretty good shot at becoming the next U.S. Ladies’ Figure Skating Champion, but everyone who hears her name thinks only of her brilliant parents—pairs skating legends Walker and Walker—and of the tragedy that ended their short stellar career.

Training under her dissatisfied father, Blake, Lexa both feels the weight of that legacy and dreams of truly fulfilling it . . . by skating pairs instead of singles. No one skates pairs in Blake’s rink, though. Not anymore. Lexa can’t even speak of her longing to do so without further damaging their already dysfunctional relationship. The only way she’ll ever skate pairs is to find a new coach, new rink, new partner, and the money to pay for it all. Impossible. Until someone offers her exactly that. . . .

Is chasing a dream worth risking a national title and what’s left of her bond with her father? Or is every risk justified for the chance to walk on water?

 

To celebrate the launch of this e-book, I'm giving away free copies! If you'd like to win one, simply be among the first twenty people to "like" the designated post on my Facebook page AND send me your e-mail address for receiving the book (that's all I'll do with your address, I promise). Put "WoW" in the subject line, be sure to specify Kindle or Nook edition, and send your address to:

 

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura


January 23, 2014
Free For the First Time Ever!

Clearwater Crossing Series #1 & 2: Get a Life; Reality Check is currently free at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords! It should appear at Apple, Sony, and Kobo any day now too. While Get a Life is free all the time, Reality Check has never been free before. That makes this a first-time opportunity!

Clearwater Crossing Series #1 & 2: Get a Life; Reality Check, two novels by Laura Peyton Roberts

Two full-length novels, free for a limited time!

Some of you may notice that the cover above is different than the cover I posted below, when I first mentioned that this deal was coming. Technical reasons forced a change, so this new cover is the one to look for now. The books under the cover remain the same: full-length editions of both Get a Life and Reality Check, books #1 and 2 in my Clearwater Crossing series.

I hope that you'll enjoy these free books. And if you do, please tell a friend!

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura


January 17, 2014
Back in Black Blue!

I'm so excited to announce the new e-book edition of my first novel, Ghost of a Chance. Here it is, with a brand-new blue cover!

Ghost of a Chance, a novel by Laura Peyton Roberts

But wait, there's more! To celebrate the launch, this new e-book edition is only $0.99 through Wednesday, January 22. And if you're a member of Amazon Prime, you can borrow this title for free (even after the price goes up).

Here's the book description:

Melissa Soul is looking forward to a long, hot California summer—one sunny enough to make her forget her parents’ impending divorce and the ugly “For Sale” sign in her front yard.

Her goals are pretty basic: 1) avoid babysitting her annoying little brother, 2) hang out at the beach with her best friend, Chloe, and 3) finally exchange a few intelligent words with Chloe’s brainscramblingly cute older brother, Chaz.

But all that changes fast when Melissa meets the new guy in Chloe’s life. Mysterious and magnetic, James haunts Chloe’s 1920s mansion—and Melissa’s dreams. She falls for him so hard that soon everything else falls away . . . including the heartbreaking possibility that he might be in love with her best friend.

Is falling in love with a ghost a dead end? Or is there a ghost of a chance?

 

I really wanted to put one of my titles in the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, so this book will be available only at Amazon for the next ninety days. I'll revisit this decision in April, but until then if you read on another platform, don't forget about Amazon's free apps for reading Kindle books.

If you've already read this book and enjoyed it, will you please help me spread the word? And if you haven't read Ghost of a Chance, I hope that you'll give it a try!

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura


January 3, 2014
Happy New Year!

Please excuse my being a few days late extending my new year's wishes here. It's not that I wasn't thinking about you guys—more that I spent most of yesterday shuffling this site's links around to make them work for 2014. The best part of being my own Webmaster is that I have the 24/7 option of changing my site however I want to. The worst part is that figuring out how to make those changes frequently takes me longer than it would a pro. It's one hundred percent worth it, though. Janet Jackson's not the only one who loves control.

When I built this site in 2006, I barely understood what I was doing and didn't foresee the future mess I was creating for myself by making each year's journal a separate web page linked to many other pages with embedded file names that had to be changed every year. Fair to say that I also didn't necessarily foresee writing nine years of journal entries, but here we are! I'm happy to report that I have (mostly) fixed this system now and that next year I won't have to change (much of) anything. To find my current journal, simply click the "Journal" or "Current Journal" link on the left side of any page. And if you're in the mood to walk down memory lane, you can access all of my past posts via the "Journal Archives" link. Woo-hoo!

I realize you're probably not as excited about this as I am. But still . . . it's a moment.

 

What else do I have up my sleeve this year? So many things that I can't even tell you about them all yet! (It wouldn't be fun that way anyway, right?) I will leak a couple of sneak peeks, though:

Not-So-Sneak Peek #1: Clearwater Crossing Series #1 & 2: Get a Life; Reality Check will be completely free at a lot of e-bookstores for a limited time this month. Why is this a not-so-sneak peek? Because it's already free at Smashwords and you can download it there right now! Look for Amazon, Apple, BN.com, Kobo, and Sony to follow soon.

Clearwater Crossing Series #1 & 2: Get a Life; Reality Check by Laura Peyton Roberts

Soon to be completely free at your favorite e-bookstore (but only for a limited time).

 

Sneak Peek #2: A new e-book edition of my first novel, Ghost of a Chance, will debut at a special promotional price on Amazon.com within the next few weeks. I'm still working out some delays on this project, so I can't give an exact date or price yet, but watch for updates here and on my Facebook page. I definitely won't keep this secret when it happens!

Soon to be cheaper than ever before at Amazon.com.
Will the cover still look like this? I don't know, but we'll find out soon!

 

I hope you all have big things brewing in 2014 too. Wishing you every success in this new year!

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura

 


 

Contents copyright © 2006–2016 by Laura Peyton Roberts. All rights reserved. Text and
images contained within this site are copy protected under international copyright laws.