The process of getting it onto the Nook was not easy for someone who has minimal knowledge of computers like me. It looked easy, but when that first preview opened up and I saw what it would look like on the Nook, I saw that the chapters were completely messed up...not starting on the right pages, etc. After much browsing around online, I decided to try the program Sigil which will let you edit your book in a way that makes it compatible with the Nook. Trying to figure Sigil out was a bit frustrating, even though I read that it's one of the easiest programs to use...maybe it's just me. Then I had to redo the cover because it was too big, and that was another whole issue. Took me a long time and I ended up with a headache. But it's done.
While my book is done, I am not going to claim it's perfect or probably even anywhere near perfect. It's my first attempt at a book, first attempt at publishing, first time using any of these programs. I'm not going to lie, I don't know what I'm doing. I reread my story and looked for mistakes, I used the spellcheck and grammar check on Word, but there's probably still errors here and there...hopefully not too many. To me the story makes sense, but no one else has read it yet, so I'm hoping other people will back me up! I couldn't figure out how to make a table of contents on Sigil (for some reason it was only working with certain chapters) so there is none. With all that being said...I put the book up for $1.99. Originally I was going to price it at .99 cents, but even though it's not perfect, I did work long and hard on it (a year and a half to write) so I decided to give myself some validation and price it at $1.99. If it were me, and I spent $1.99 on a book, I would not be too upset to not get a table of contents or to find some errors. What I would be expecting for that price is a good read, which I think my book is. I'm not trying to make excuses, I'm just trying to keep it real! I expect that not everyone will want to read it, and that some of the people who do read it probably won't like it and may leave negative feedback. All I can say is that I'm sure I will learn as I go and I hope you will take a chance on my book!
So, now that I have that off my chest, here's your first sneak peek, taken from Chapter 1...enjoy! (And check back tomorrow for a new excerpt from a different chapter!)
Mandy shivered as she stared out the car window at the ever-pressing gray sky encompassing all views. She pulled her long white sweater coat more tightly around her. It was August. The sky should have been a pristine blue color dripping with golden drops of warm sun. An occasional cotton candy cloud would be acceptable, too. However, this was York Beach, Maine. It was a beach town, as its name suggested. Unlike other beach towns, it did not radiate sunshine and warmth, even in would-be hazy, lazy August. Mandy had been coming here every summer since she had been knee-high and it was always the same. Or at least she had always perceived it as the same. There would be a few days that passed as nice, when the sun would flirt and tease with your vitamin-D deprived skin, playing hide and seek behind the dark, angry clouds threatening storms. Mandy sighed. She didn’t know what her parents saw in this place.
For as long as she could remember, her parents had brought Mandy up to York Beach each summer to spend time with her grandmother on her mother’s side. She was ushered up from Boston each June a week after school let out for the summer and ushered back to Boston each August a week before school was back in session. Mandy had been tired of spending her summers here, but as if that wasn’t bad enough, now she was being forced to move to the sleepy seaside town. Her parents had claimed that Nana was getting older, and it was time they started acting like a family before it was too late.
Mandy saw Nana every few months. Boston was practically a stone’s throw from York Beach, only about a two hour drive. She didn’t feel like Nana looked any older than she’d ever remembered her. She didn’t act any older either. Nothing had changed with her health, she was as fit as an ox; Mandy couldn’t understand what her parents were making such a fuss over.
Mandy’s dad had been offered a position as a letter carrier in York. He had been a mailman since he was 20 years old. Unfortunately he still thought he was 20, even though those years were practically ancient history. He drove Mandy crazy sometimes, the way he was constantly trying to use slang and as he would put it, “be down with his peeps, yo!” He really had the potential to be an embarrassment, that is if Mandy ever made any friends here to be embarrassed in front of.
Mandy’s mother had alternated between working at part-time jobs when they needed the extra income and staying at home with Mandy when she was younger. Mandy’s mother wasn’t as much as a problem as her dad was. Her only fault was wanting to know every detail of Mandy’s life. That was fine when Mandy was younger, but now that she was seventeen, she didn’t always want to share every nook of her life with her mom. Now that Mandy was entering her last year in high school, Mandy’s mother was planning on working in Nana’s flower shop.
Nana had owned and run Enchanted Dew Drops since long before Mandy was born. It was the only flower shop in town and therefore prospered well. It seemed all the town inhabitants were on a first name basis with Nana, or Dolly as they called her. Nana made a good amount for an older, single widow, especially at Prom time and in the summer months, which were always popular choices for seaside weddings. She had all the major holidays covered as well, and of course there was always some star crossed lover that needed to buy a pretty bouquet to woo his soul mate, or some jerk that needed to apologize to his wife for his latest wrong doing. Just this past year Nana had expanded her little flower shop to include a candy counter. This lured in some of York’s younger crowd. She had penny candy as well as handmade treats, such as fudge and chocolate dipped strawberries. Something for everyone.
In the summertime, the town of York beckoned to tourists like Popsicles beckon to kids on hot days. People flocked to the little town, loving its feel of old time fun and nostalgia. There was something pure and clean, comforting even in the light breezes that rolled in off the ocean. Comforting to most, but to Mandy it just oozed boring. Mandy wouldn’t be able to enjoy those breezes even if she had wanted to because her mother had volunteered Mandy to work at Enchanted Dew Drops alongside her. It wasn’t completely unfair, Mandy supposed. Nana was going to pay her. Still, she was sure she could have found something else to do with her time besides getting sucked into the family business.
Mandy had always been the quiet type, so maybe working the whole summer in the flower shop wouldn’t be such a bad thing. It’s not like she had anyone she could pal around with anyway. Without the job, she probably would have just spent the remainder of the summer curled up with a good book. At least the job would keep her mind off the upcoming school year. Hopefully.
It wasn’t that Mandy had any problems with school, itself. She was smart and good grades came easily. She didn’t get into any trouble either. Ever. She figured she was what most people would classify as a wallflower. At her old school she had acquaintances that greeted her in the halls or the classrooms, but she didn’t have any real friends. She had never really clicked with anyone, girls or guys. She was about to be a senior and she still hadn’t even had a boyfriend. Mandy didn’t consider herself ugly, but neither would she call herself pretty. She was just average, way too average. She had boring brown hair that was that odd shade where you couldn’t tell if it was really light or dark. It hung straight and limp to her shoulders. There was no chance of a curl or even a wave being found in it. Her brown eyes, like her hair, were not light enough to be pretty and not dark enough to be enticing. She wore a little mascara to try to liven up her unnaturally short eyelashes, but it didn’t really help much. Her lips were not big and pouty nor thin and flirtatious. They were just dull, run of the mill lips. If anything was on them it was usually Mandy’s favorite peach lip-gloss. In the end, Mandy categorized herself as plain. Not quite ugly, but not quite pretty.
Her wardrobe was acceptable. She couldn’t make up for her looks, so she at least tried fit in with her clothes. Mostly she had a lot of plain colored thermal shirts and t-shirts, and jeans. Tons of jeans. Of course she didn’t own anything too short or too flashy. Her parents had made their expectations known from a young age and Mandy didn’t really feel the need to fight them on it. It’s not like she had a gorgeous body to show off anyway. Mandy was naturally thin, which she was thankful for, but she didn’t have an hourglass figure to accentuate like some of the girls at school did by any means.
Here it was August and Mandy was actually chilly sitting in the car with the air conditioner blowing at her. She let her head rest on the cool glass of the window as she stared sullenly out at the passing fir trees that were just a blur of green along the gray road. Gray above, gray below, a strip of dark green in the middle separating the blandness. Almost there.
Her mother put the car’s blinker on and began to exit the highway. They followed the green signs pointing them into the town of York Beach. Before long Mandy caught a glimpse of more grayness. The unending gray of the Atlantic blended seamlessly into the gray sky and crashed into white foam along the gray shore of Long Sands Beach. The rocks lining the top of the sand were also varying shades of gray. Gray, gray, gray. Mandy felt like she had just arrived in a colorless world.
There were people on the beach despite the uncooperative weather. Young families with their blankets and towels spread out, lounging with books and magazines. Guys, by the looks of it close to Mandy’s age, trying to show off to the girls laying on the sand hoping for some glimpse of the sun to kiss their already perfectly bronzed skin. Children, oblivious to the cool day, splashing in the even cooler water or making drip castles in the sand. Mandy’s mother switched off the AC and rolled the windows down a bit. Mandy could hear the delighted shrieks of the children and the cries of the gulls as they waited for dropped French fries or bits of sandwiches and chips. She could smell the distinct smell of salt water and sand with the wafting smell of hamburgers mixed in from the Sun’n’Surf beachside restaurant. She watched the little sandpipers running distractedly in zigzags up and down where the shore met the sand. They always looked confused and worried to her. Running from something, but at the same time not knowing what or why. Of course they had the option of flight. Mandy wished she had that option right about now. She would fly away somewhere by herself. Somewhere far from here, and warm, the way a beach was supposed to be.
The car drove on and Mandy found herself staring mindlessly at Nubble Light, the most photographed lighthouse on the east coast. It stood out at the precipice of a rocky clustering, alone and isolated on its own little island, blinking at Mandy as mindlessly as she felt. The waves crashed roughly against the gray boulders there, throwing its foam and mist angrily back to the sea. Mandy shuddered.