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Monday, April 25, 2011

An Interview at Family Fiction And Other News

Yet another interviewer has picked my brain, and in the process, featured my new book, Reality's Dawn. You can read the review at the Family Fiction website.

Also, Chapter 2, "Ship of Surprises," of the space opera adventure, The Underground, is now out on in Kindle, and Barnes and Noble in Nookbook formats.
Shashara goes on her first mission with the Underground cell lead by Father Jonah, and gets to know the team. Some of them she befriends, others she doesn't trust, and yet one surprises her. Together, they face the surprise awaiting them in the space ship they must board.

And one last bit of news, though the official publishing date for the launch of the second book, Reality's Ascent, in The Reality Chronicles is set for May 1, 2011, the book can already be purchased in paperback at and Barnes and Noble. The ebook versions should not be long in coming. If you have never bought or read a copy of the original publication, Transforming Realities, this is the perfect time to correct that glaring hole by getting the new and improved version of the adventure. Same story, but cleaned up a bit, new snazzy cover, and better map of Sisko's world.

A lot happening, so don't miss out!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Defeating Death by Death

I don't usually post primarily religious messages on this blog. Not really its focus, even though I am a Christian, and I do write Christian based fiction. But being this is the biggest Christian feast of the year, known mainly as Easter, but more directly known as Pascha in the Orthodox Church, I hoped my readers could indulge me a little. If you are not interested or Christian, it won't hurt my feelings if you stop reading now and move onto something else. But I pray you'll read on.

Pascha is the English transliteration of the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew word for "Passover." Thus it harkens back to the same link that St. John in his gospel makes, that Christ is our Passover Lamb, except as we sing in the Resurrection services, this is a new Passover, the fulfillment of the Passover, in that Christ has caused death to passover those who come to Him.

And this is what has always been understood that Christ accomplished on that day. He died in order to defeat death. He entered Hades to free those held in bondage to death, awaiting the final judgment and after that, Hell. Until Christ came, they had no option other than Hell.

So as where death entered the world through one man, Adam, death is defeated and overcome by Christ. So that St. Paul can say, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" Because Christ through defeating death with His divine life, has opened up the gates of Paradise to not only the thief, but to all who come to Him in humble repentance and love Him in word and deed. Sin and its consequences are destroyed by Christ's death and resurrection. He reigns victoriously, so that we can all have life if we chose to reach out to Him for it.

This is the reason that the resurrection is the cause of our rejoicing. For as St. Paul said, if Christ had not risen from the dead, we would all still be held in bondage to our sin and death. For if He had not risen from the dead, it would have meant death won. Christ would have been swallowed up in death as all before had been, and death would still reign over man with no hope of release from its prison.

The resurrection then gives us the basis for hope. For without life, there is no hope. And we were all born dead in our sins. The body lived, but the soul remained dead. Destined only to the fires of Hell. In that route, there is no hope. Only the expectation of pain, death, and eternal suffering.

But He did defeat death. He did rise from the dead. His life did swallow up death, instead of death swallowing up Him. And because He is the fulfillment of the Passover, because His life caused death to passover those who abide in Him who partake of His Passover meal, we can have life; death no longer has any hold over us.

This is why the Orthodox sing on Pascha/Easter, "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life."

May you relive Christ's victory over death this weekend in whatever tradition you participate in. May you remember what He accomplished in our behalf, and most importantly, may it give you the hope to really live in this life as Christ would have us live it. For now we have hope. Hope that death doesn't have to be the final destiny. It can now passover us if we are in Him and He in us. And through death, we can find our own resurrection in Him.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Whose Vote Counts?

I recently read a comment along the lines that if a book sells well, that doesn't mean it is a good book. Some awful books sell well, while "brilliant" books flounder in obscurity. One commentor to my recent column on Grasping for the Wind mentions that because a book sells well isn't a measure of how well it is written. That comment has been rattling around in my brain. I know what they are saying, and on a certain level, it is true, but there is something inherently wrong about that statement as well. Let me see if I can pin down what it is.

First, allow me to agree with what I think is the gist of his comment. There are poorly written books that sell well. But I would also suggest that there was something about those books that people liked. And really, that truth gets to the heart of what I'm about to say.

From the moment a person starts seeking  out help to learn to write, he or she encounters a lot of rules. Especially if you join a critique group, you'll hear axioms like, "show, don't tell," or "stay in one point of view per chapter or scene," and a whole host of them we could quote if we wanted to take the disk space to do so. If you're a writer, insert your own favorites in here.

My favorite is after pointing out some flaw in a story, the critiquer says something along the lines, "Readers will drop your book like a hot, flaming, stick of dynamite if you don't fix this problem." Like, they really know what readers will and won't like. If they knew that, they would be a famous editor at a big publishing house with a record for picking best sellers 80%+ of the time.

But we know the rules. Many of us break them, either on purpose or unintentionally. And despite that, sometimes those flawed pieces of work sell, sometimes very good, and people will love it, despite the flawed writing. I know personally there are times I hear people praising some movie or book, but when I watch or read it, I wonder what on earth all the fuss was about? Boring.

Mike Duran has recently run into this phenomenon as well. On his blog, he reviews the Christian romance novel, Redeeming Love. He was less than impressed, noting several flaws, and wondered why so many women loved it so much.

Here are some points I think we need remember in order to keep this in perspective.

One, rules are a means to an end, not the end themselves. Many writers are treating the rules of writing much like the Pharisees treated the Mosaic Law: obey or else you are a sinner! Stone him/her!

Writing rules are designed to do one thing, share wisdom with other writers on what tends to work in order to write an entertaining story that will...wait for it...cause people to read the book. Yes, that's right. The whole point of well-written prose, interesting characters, having a character arc, a plot arc, and all the other myriad of writing rules that we could toss out, is to give our books the best chance of getting read and enjoyed to the extent that they tell others about the great book they found.

If the whole point of writing is simply to be the best rule-follower you can be, to awe other writers with spotless prose, then I'm out of here. I don't want someone's main comment about my book to be, "Well, he wrote a very polished story, poetic prose that would turn Hemingway green with envy, but it was boring and dull." Not to say there aren't people out there who might say the last part, but I'm not writing simply to check off a list of rules all the other writers out there think I should be checking off. I'm writing to entertain people and hopefully communicate a bit of myself in the process.

Once the rules become the dominating reason to write, then I think the writer has lost his/her focus and goal. Unless your goal really is to write a technically perfect piece whether it ever gets read or not. More power to you. But for all the writers out there who say they write for themselves, my sense is they still want others to read, enjoy, and like what they write. I'll write because there are stories begging to get out of my brain. But I certainly hope those stories get read by others, and the more the better.

Two, with that in mind, it is the readers who cast the votes. When people read your book, do they come back looking for other things you've written? Do they tell their friends and family? Do you see an upsurge in people buying or downloading your book?

Note, I'm not saying if this doesn't happen that your book is bad. Nor am I saying if it does, that your book is the shining example of how to write a book. What I am saying is if you see the book getting read by readers, if they are enjoying it, then we've accomplished the main goal of writing fiction. We've entertained people. Any other sub-goal is gravy after that.

But if a book is poorly written but still sells like lemonade at a spelling bee on a hot, summer day, does that mean it is good? It may not be great prose, or could have some plot holes big enough to fly the Millennium Falcon through, but it did do one thing right: it got people to read the book. And those are the people whose votes count. If you don't get readers, whether traditionally published or otherwise, if only your best friends and family care to read it because they don't have the heart to tell you it stinks, then the book will remain in obscurity. Or, if it's that bad, you'd better hope it remains in obscurity. Because if it ever became popular reading, it may likely be for the wrong reasons.

The end result is that it doesn't matter how many rules you've broken, if you write a story that people find compelling, guess what? Readers will overlook a multitude of flaws. Yes, I know you won't. If you see an "As you know, Bob" on the first page of the book, you'll shut it in disgust and put it back on the shelf. But most readers? Nope. They don't care. Once they are invested in the characters and story emotionally, it takes a lot of transgressions of a serious nature to pull most people out.

The bottom line, write an entertaining story, and that gives you the best chance at success. It relates to the Dare to be Bad post we looked at not too many weeks ago. For sure, write the best, cleanest, fewest plot holes, etc., book you can. Weed out the typos with a passion. But in the end, that will rarely sink a book unless they are simply overbearing. A good story that will entertain people will overcome these flaws. But if it is boring, there is little chance for resuscitation.

This brings us to one last issue. For what some will fall back on is the art vs. commercial fiction. The basic idea is that if one shoots to write art as a goal, with no thought whether it will sell or not, that this is a higher and loftier goal to write for, and one should enjoy being the "starving artist." Meanwhile, author X whose book is selling like hotcakes and cranks out three to four novels a year, and thus can't possibly be writing anything but crap, has lowered him/herself to the base demands of commercialism, where the almighty dollar dictates what book will get written next, what will sell.

But I would suggest this is generally a false dichotomy. It is not an either/or in most cases. One can write fiction that is both artful and sells well. Just like an artist draws a painting to be seen. And if it sells, that is added confirmation that he/she's drawn something that captured someone's emotional reaction.

And that right there is what sells books. When we can generate an emotional attachment between the reader and our characters in what they are going through, then people are entertained and will tolerate much more crap. Everyone has their own individual breaking point on that, and none of us are the same in that category.

And that, my friends, is why the Di Vince Code sold so well. Not because of the lack of plot holes, or the preponderance of brilliant writing, nor the lack of redundancy, but because it emotionally engaged readers to the point they were willing to ignore all the flaws in its writing.

So, whose vote counts in whether your work is a "success" or not? Is it other writers? Editors at a mag or publishing house? Or readers? Or to ask it another way, what is your goal in writing that story? Whatever that goal is, if you reach it, then you've succeeded. But I'd say the only way us authors have of knowing if we're succeeding is if people enjoy our work and want more. There are awards. There is the praise of other writers and editors. But they all hinge on readers wanting to read it.

If no one is willing to read our work, then short of the goal being "I'm writing this purely for myself, and maybe, if I'm in the right mood, my wife and kids," then it means we haven't succeeded, no matter the praise we get from other writers, or we complain that the readers are a bunch of stupid lemmings being led around by the ear by marketing and executives. There's no reason to make excuses when your book isn't selling. Either it is good and in time will become the best seller it always should have been, or will simply be passable, but because you have a great plot, people buy it, or it really does suck, and we simply don't want to admit it.

And that last may be the reason so many will take the vote of what is "good" out of the reader's hands and put it somewhere that they can have more control over, like not following all the rules as well as they should have.

Just remember to keep in mind what the goal is, and don't let the violation of some rules here and there prevent you from getting that story out. Dare to be bad.

Where's your breaking point where rule violations will pull you out of wanting to read an otherwise compelling story?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

PDB Ebooks Easier Than Ever to Create

Out of the popular ebook formats, the hardest to create without buying an expensive program is the's pdb files. Epub has Calibre, prc/mobi has MobiCreator, but pdb only has Dropbook. Whereas the others take an html formatted file, easy to do from Open Office or Word, and creates an ebook in those formats, Dropbook requires that you take your book, add in the tags designating chapter headings, italics, bold, etc., and then save it as a text file and "drop" it into the box. If all your tags are valid, it will spit out a pdb file.

The difficulty of course comes in adding those tags into your book. You can do it manually, which is a lot of work. Or you can use search/replace actions in Word to add the tags around the needed text, which I've done in the past. Or if you're like me, you can create your own macro that will do it for you. But I've found something that even beats my macro for ease and less pdb tech knowledge needed, and it produces good results.

If there are other easier to use formats out there, why worry about this one? Aside from those who use devices that have pdb on it, it has a killer Windows desktop application. I like reading stories in it much better than most any other method, including Acrobat Reader, Word, or their equivalents. It is easier on the eyes and gives more of a "reading a book" feel than most ereaders you can download onto your computer. The Apple version may be good too, I don't know since I do use Apple. And most any smart phone can get a version of the ereader software to read books on those devices.

What is the solution, you may ask? It is an Open Office extension add-on. Here's the free software you'll need to pull off this deal:

  1. Open Office

  2. OO Extension: odt2pml

  3. Dropbook

  4. Graphic editing program like FastStone Image Viewer which can save in 256 color

Once installed, open the document you wish to convert in Open Office Writer. In your toolbars you should have the buttons which will do the conversions. It is called "odt2pml" in the toolbar view options. It shows four buttons.

Before you start, you will want to make sure that your book and chapter headings are all using the Heading 1, 2, or 3 style. Mark each chapter heading and select "Heading1" from the style drop down list on the top-left. If no style has been changed, you're likely to see "Default," but it could be anything depending on what program was used and what changes were made to the document.

If you have any graphics in the file, like a cover page, you'll want to click on the "Convert graphics" button. It will create the behind the scenes pml language needed to import it, and save a copy of the image in a sub-directory as needed for Dropbook to work. However, there is another step you'll need to do before you go farther.

Dropbook can't handle True Color graphics, which most are, and the graphic can't be too big. You'll need to use your favorite graphics editor to resize as needed, and save the images to a 256 color png image. Check your program's documentation on how to accomplish that, but if you downloaded FastStone linked above, here's how you would do it there.

  1. Using a file browser, find the sub-directory where the document's images were stored by the image conversion button you pushed.

  2. Open the image(s) in FastStone.

  3. If your image is more than 200 px wide, move your cursor to the left side of the screen to bring up the menu, and select "Resize." Enter "200" or less in the "width" field, the length should change automatically to keep the image in proportion. Select OK and it will resize the picture.

  4. From the same menu, select "Save as..."

  5. In the dialog box that pops up, use the drop down box by "Type" to select saving it in the png format.

  6. Click the "Options" button in the right-bottom corner of the dialog box.

  7. In the window that opens, using the drop down box, change "24-bit" to "256 color". Click OK and then again in the Save as dialog box, telling it to overwrite the old file when it asks.

  8. Do the same for each image in your directory.

Once that is done, it is a simple matter to click on the "Convert Text" button. Once it runs, you should see a file with the extension "pml" in the same directory as your Open Office document.

Now open Dropbook. Then drag the pml file created by the OO extension into the "box" in the program's window. If all goes well, you should end up with a file with the extension of pdb in the same directory as your documents. If you've downloaded the's pdb ereader program, you can now double-click on the file and it will open up in the reader. You can then examine to see if the output was as expected.

And that's it. While that may look on the surface like several steps, it is tons less than most any other method than buying a program that will do it all for you. And it doesn't require you to learn anything about the "Palm Markup Language."

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Bible, Fiction, and Real Life

At the risk of hitting a dead horse, once again, I'm going to respond to something I've heard recently. I've heard it before, and I've responded to it before, but I don't think I have on this blog...until now! What did I hear? In fear of Christian fiction devoid of bad words and violence, etc., someone inevitably brings up the line, "But the Bible is full of horrible violence and rough characters," or its cousin, "The Bible is R-rated."

First, I want to acknowledge where that point is correct. There is Christian fiction that reflects an unrealistic, idealistic life that few actually live. The Bible is full of stories about some very bad people doing some very bad things to other people. Even the "good guys" like King David committed horrible sins. It shouldn't be taboo, as long as we are not in the end promoting sin, to show our characters committing sins as well. Perfect characters are not as easily relate-able to the reader as one who messes up. We inherently know this because we all know just how imperfect each of us is, even if we want to hide that from everyone else.

Consequently, any fiction that only wants to show the ideal instead of reality will be hard for most people to relate to. Heroes should have flaws. Though I will add, sometimes it is good to have the one person who can be the example, but they are usually secondary characters in a good story, not the main character. Like Faramir was with Frodo in Lord of the Rings (the book, not the movie).

And the Bible adequately reflects that reality. All through it we see flawed heroes, not perfect characters. And that fact gives hope to all of us. If God can do something great with that person, then maybe I'm not too far gone.

With that understanding as a given, sometimes I get the feeling that people use that line to give themselves permission to make something as foul-language ridden and graphically violent as they dare, and then use it as a stick to beat anyone over the head with who disagrees with their approach, who says they don't want to read something with that kind of language in it. These are the folks likely to say that the Bible is R-rated, so why can't their own stories be?

Problem is, the Bible is far from R-rated. It isn't what happens that makes a film R-rated, but in how it is shown. A great example are the Lord of the Ring's movies. They are rated PG-13, even though they have a lot of violence in them. Even though you see a head get cut off. What is missing? Blood spewing out when that happens. Even the battle field where they orcs are killed by the good guys isn't blood stained as one might expect after killing a whole pile of orc bodies with swords and arrows.

The Bible doesn't describe in detail all these bad things, it merely relates them to us. It does what we as fiction writers are instructed to avoid: it tells rather than shows. For instance, take a look at the following Bible verse, clearly one of the more "graphic" in there:
Jdg 5:26 ASV  She put her hand to the tent-pin, And her right hand to the workmen's hammer; And with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote through his head; Yea, she pierced and struck through his temples.

That is PG-13 rated at best. It simply tell you what she did, with no "showing." If we were to write this as fiction authors, we'd have something along the lines of:
She placed the tent-pin against his head. The hammer shook in her right hand so much she feared if she missed, it would crush his head. She only wanted to pierce it, to kill him, to end this nightmare. She breathed deep. Get it over with, before he awakes! She drew the hammer back and without giving it another thought, before she threw it aside and ran, she plunged the mallet onto the tent peg as hard as she could muster. The head jerked as the pin pierced his skull and warm blood shot over her hand. His eyes flung wide and a gasp escaped his lips as his head sank back to the ground, blood draining from his wound, pooling below him. His eyes acknowledged the fact that she had killed him, and there was nothing he could do about it. Air stopped gurgling from his mouth. She threw the hammer down only to discover his red liquid on her hands, staining them with the murder. She heard herself screaming, even though she didn't will it.

So, what do you think? Should God have contracted me to write the Bible? (grin) But you see the difference. That would be R-rated, the former is not. The Bible has a lot of nasty stuff in it, very true. But it doesn't show it, it tells it. And that is why it is not R-rated, nor can it be used as an excuse to make one's book R-rated. If you want to make an R-rated book, that is fine. Go for it. But don't say that God made you do it because the Bible is that way. That's simply not true.

Make the stories real, but make them graphic at your own risk of losing readers. Sometimes it is a fine line to walk, and not everyone will hit it all the time, nor will a particular author always avoid it, if only because everyone's line is drawn in a different place. But the Bible is not R-rated, nor the fact that it does relate some bad events mean the extreme is fair game because of it. If you want to follow the Bible in that regard, you'll never show, only tell. And I don't think most authors want to go there on a regular basis.

Where's your line between "real" and "extreme"?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pre-order Reality's Ascent through B&N

That's right, the first sighting of the new book, Reality's Ascent, has been spotted. Once again, Barnes and Noble shows the book up first. If they are your preferred book vendor of choice, don't delay, go order today, so as soon as it is released, a copy will be on its way!

Reality's Ascent is a reprinting by Splashdown Books of Transforming Realities originally published by Double-Edged Publishing. The new version sports a snazzy new cover, and a few formatting, typos, grammar, and continuity issues were fixed, we pray without introducing new ones. Point being, if you have Transforming Realities, this is essentially the same book. If you don't, now's your chance to grab a copy that is fresh and up-to-date.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Is Rebellion a Good Idea?

Underground: Chapter 1 - Father Jonah and the Renegade

Not exactly an original title, so folks may be wanting a little more information on what this new series I'm creating is about. So, here it is.

Underground is a space opera story about a woman trader who ends up serving in a secret underground rebellion against the corrupt SysCon, Earth supported government in a planetary system linked to our solar system by an artificial wormhole/port device. The secret organization is funded by a conglomerate of business interests called Prime Ops, otherwise known as Sugar Daddy, and maintains several cells within the system, working to wrest control from the dictatorial government.

But the cell that Shashara, our protagonist, falls into is headed by an Orthodox priest, Father Jonah McKensey, an Australian adventurist, Donley Marley, a Slavic computer geek and all around IT expert, Natalie Duran, an African-American mechanic, Nicholas Jones, married to a Jamaican language/cultural expert, Dela Jones, and their mentally enhanced twelve-year-old child, Terrell Jones, and finished up with a doctor, Miguel Gonzales, supplied by Prime Ops. Some of these are religious, others, like our protagonist, are agnostic.

I hope you get a chance to follow along. First chapter is up on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords and related outlets, titled "Father Jonah and the Renegade." There's plenty to explore with these characters.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Invisible Dragon Scales and Ideas

I just read today a blog entry about how an author feels about trite wording. (Sorry, I don't recall the blog or I'd point you to it.)  Her point was everyone says to avoid trite phrases like the plague, and while it is good to not overdo it, sometimes a trite phrase simply works best. And the concept of trite is so subjective, as it depends on what a particular person has read as to whether something is trite.

And because I've not read widely, I'll sometimes stumble across things other people have decided are trite, especially in the area of overused plots. One time I wrote a flash fiction of a character switching places with a fly, and describing things from his perspective as a fly. I sent it into Everyday Fiction. Later, I received an acceptance, which I was much grateful for. But in their comments which they so graciously offered to send as well, there was a statement that though they get a lot of these fly perspective stories, mine had some unique qualities about it.

While glad it was interesting enough for them to take, I did do a double-take on the other comment. They get a lot of fly perspective stories? Really? I would have never guessed. I mean, I know there's nothing new under the sun, and I wouldn't be surprised to discover that others have done one, but so many they considered the plot overused? I had trouble getting my head around the fact that so many authors were out there writing fly perspective stories.

So, here I was one National Novel Writing Month in November, taking off on a story I had previous started but only wrote four chapters of. The premise was that the main character and his friend were on a quest to find an invisible dragon scale. When I first wrote those four chapters, I had no idea where it was going. I had finished my main novel for NaNo and was writing this to get in some more word count. So I didn't plan it out at all, just figured out two characters and what they wanted to find and off they went. It wasn't until I returned at a later NaNo before I figured out where the story was going to go.

And where was that, you may ask? turned into a...dragon story. I'm not talking just about one dragon, or some such thing, but about a whole dragon culture and dragon guardians who helped care for them as they hid from the world. And lots of dragons, though obviously I focus on a small subset.  And now I'm writing a full five-book series on them. And I ask myself, how did I end up writing about such a "trite" fantasy trope? Dragons have been done every which way. And I was going to add something original to the mix, something that people would go, "Ohhhh, cool"?

Whether I have or not has yet to be determined. But then I recall everyone had said Earagon was a very trite filled dragon story, and yet it became a bestseller. And you know, while there are some things that are trite, sometimes they are trite for the specific reason that they work so well that they are used over and over again. They may ebb and flow, but they always rise at some point to surprise everyone with how fresh trite can be. So like the good vs. evil of Star Wars, or yet another story with elves, sometimes trite simply works, and that's why it is trite.

So, I'll be offering one more dragon series to the glut of dragon stories already out there. And why it is true dragons are overused, at least I think I can say that no one's done dragons the way I have. :D Not exactly like I have, at least.

What trite elements do you find yourself drawn to?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Underground: New Series

I wrote a short story that appeared in my anthology, Ethereal Worlds, titled "Father Jonah and the Renegade." It does read like part one of a series, and this was not missed by my one review on the anthology, and her desire to see that become a full novel of stories.

I actually had that in the back of my mind to do, and so lately I've been working on the list of characters and a story arc for the series. I decided to take each chapter I write and put them up for sale as an ongoing series if people would like to follow it, charging them $0.99 every couple of weeks or so to get the next episode. I would do a quick post on my blog to let folk know it is ready, as well as Twitter and Facebook. I'm putting them on Smashwords, Kindle, and Nook.

The series is a space opera story in the spirit of Star Wars and Firefly. If you like either of those, my thinking is you'll probably like these stories. Once I've finished the series, I plan to combine them into a novel that will come out in paperback as well as ebook. Until then, you can only get them in ebook format.

The first offering is already up at Barnes and Noble as well as Smashwords. Kindle has yet to get out the gate, but should within the next day or two. Check it out:

Underground: Chapter 1 - Fr. Jonah and the Renegade


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Smashwords Nuclear Code

A while back I wrote a blog article on how to prepare a document for Smashwords using the "nuclear" option but still retain the basic formatting like italics and bold text. Admittedly that is a long and tedious process, though not nearly as tedious as reformatting your novel.

Because of that, I intended to eventually create a macro in Word that would automate some of those tasks. So I finally did, and now I'm ready to hand that out for any to use to use it. All you need to do is:

  • Download the Word document containing the macros.

  • Open the document, then read the instructions contained therein on how to install and use them.

  • Use them to nuke your document and then restore the basic formatting.

Keep in mind, I'm not planning on upgrading these, or making any custom adjustments to the macros. Use at your own risk. However, if you are competent enough with Word's Visual Basic Macros, you are welcome to adjust them for your own taste. But if your document is set up correctly, they can make quick work of an otherwise tedious task, and make Smashwords happy at the same time.

May they help make some author's lives a little easier.