Category Archives: The Writer’s World

How To Format a TOC

Five years ago, I figured out the maze of formatting a linked Table of Contents for ebook publication. Since then, I’ve had to refer to my post each time I format a new e-novel.  So, I’m reposting the information as I prepare to publish Killer Serve – A Tennis Team Mystery as a Kindle book. I hope this helps you, too.

Mac owners using Apple’s Pages word processing software: Here’s how to format a working Table of Contents linking the index to the chapter headings within the same document.

1) Following your Title page and Copyright page, manually type up a Table of Contents listing each chapter heading, ie: Chapter One. (Using the automatic TOC creator is handy, but you can’t get rid of the page numbers.)  Also include on your list Acknowledgements, About the Author, and other front and back matter you’d like to emphasize. Do not list page numbers when formatting for e-book publication.

2) Go to your first entry in the main body of your document and highlight Chapter One or whatever part of that entry to which the reader should be directed.

3) From the Tool Bar select “Insert” and click on Bookmark. The Inspector drop-down box should appear with the words you highlighted listed in the  box under “Name”. Click on the Plus sign in the lower left corner. (In Pages the Inspector is found at the top right corner of your document. Within Inspector you’ll find “Link” by clicking on the circle with the right-turn arrow.)

4) You’ll highlight and Bookmark every chapter and section you listed in your Table of Contents, but try this method on a few chapters in a sample document first. The words in the text and the words in the TOC don’t have to match to make the link work. For example, my TOC lists “Other Works”, but at the back of my book I highlighted “Next in the series…”. The link works.

5) When Bookmarking is complete, go to Table of Contents and highlight your first listing (Chapter One).

6) Open Inspector and Link (right-turn arrow in a circle) and choose “Hyperlink”.

7) Check the “Enable Hyperlink” box.

8) From the scroll down “Link to:” list, choose “Bookmark”

9) A list of your Bookmarked chapters should appear. Choose the item you’re working with (Chapter One) by clicking on it.

10) That entry in the Table of Contents should turn blue and be underlined. Go on to the subsequent entries one by one and go through the same procedure.

Note: Much is made of using Styles to format chapter headings. It looks nice and is convenient to create identical headings. It’s also necessary when using the automatic TOC creator. It is NOT necessary to get all that right to do a manual TOC and successfully hyperlink and bookmark.

I tested my Table of Contents on Kindle and . . . Eureka! With that mystery solved, I’m on to the next obstacle. Killer Serve will be completely formatted and tested within a few days. When I finally click “Publish,” I plan to kick back and celebrate.

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A Book Cover is Born

Official Unveiling

You are the first to see the cover design for my up-coming novel, Killer Serve, the second in the Tennis Team Mystery series.  Don’t you love it??

The novel will be available in Kindle and paperback on Amazon July 27, 2017, but in the meantime I’m celebrating this milestone.

Killer final cover .jpg

The cover for Killer Serve was created with the help of after much trial and error––and blood sweat and tears. Here’s that story:

Make a good first impression

The conventional wisdom says a professional-looking book cover will attract more readers. There are publishing services out there who offer professional covers for a thousand dollars. I’d have to sell a lot of books to recoup that investment. One of my fellow writers has a friend who charges her $250. In my range, but she only draws by hand––not the style I wanted. So, after trying and failing to find a qualified, but inexpensive designer, I created the covers for my first three novels myself.

I love my home-grown covers. They’re colorful and unique. However, this time, I intended to step up the professional appearance of my new novel.

DIY is Time Consuming

My first three covers were created using Createspace and KDP templates, iStock photos, and PicMonkey. I had to learn everything from scratch: fonts styles, image size, overlays, perspective, pixels, photo shopping, etc. It took days and weeks. The process was fun and creative, but not flawless. This time I wanted to get it right and get Killer Serve into publication sooner. Hiring someone would save time. Right?

An Image Must Grab Attention

Inspiration for Killer Serve’s cover came to me very late. At first, I was at a loss and hoped a designer would have amazing powers of perception. I later realized inspiration cannot be delegated.

Starving Artists

I read great things about and it sounded too good to be true. Graphic artists (and many other services) from all over the world vie for your project for as little as $5. Yes, $5. What a steal! Maybe it’s the exchange rate or life is cheaper in foreign countries. Or maybe bait and switch.

I felt magnanimous and considered several designers charging $25. Samples presented were great, so I posted my request for a book cover, giving a synopsis of my story. I’m quite sure no one read any of that. I did, however, get twenty some form-letter responses. (See below for how to post a project step by step.)

Forging ahead, I visited the websites of the willing designers and studied their sample projects and read reviews from buyers. I narrowed it down to a few and found one who was currently taking projects.

Germancreative accepted the project and sent me a link to a stock photo company, asking me to send her photos I liked. This took a huge amount of time for me.

I made the mistake of sending her photos of what I wanted IN the picture rather than starting with a background. She threw it all together and I hated the result. We emailed back and forth ten times, trying to save it. I gave up and tried to quit, accepting it as a failure. She insisted we get it right. I then found the correct background picture and we started from scratch.

Lese (Germancreative) is great at making images work once she knows the goal. I’m very pleased with the cover design for Killer Serve. What do you think?

Here’s how to use

1) Register for free to find cover designers, plus logo designers, illustrators, voice overs, and more. Create your account and a password.
2) In the search box type “book cover” and scroll through the various sellers to get a feel for the work and pricing.
3) From along the top, click on “Buying” and “Post a Request.
4) Write a brief a description of what you want. I spent some time describing theme, mood, color and felt it was ignored at this point. The attachment option is, I believe, for images you may own.

5) Choose a category. From the drop down list, choose “Graphics and Design” and from sub categories to the right, “Book Covers and Packaging.”

6) Answer the next two questions-3 days and $25, and then post the request. Within hours you’ll get emails. Don’t take the first one, but go to each website and review their work, how long they’ve been designing, and how many positive reviews they have. Find a one offering unlimited revisions.

7) Review the offer from your favorite. Make sure you get the option of both a Kindle cover and a paperback cover, so you get the design for the back page. That’s what brought the price from $5 to $25. Accept the offer and follow the artist’s specific instructions, if any.

8) Now is the time to be specific about what you want on YOUR cover. Comb through the stock photos for several that are close to the mood and subject for your book. The designer can manipulate the photos to make them perfect. Don’t be shy about suggesting revisions. You won’t hurt the designer’s feelings.

9) Once you accept the design, the artist will send you several files to be downloaded when publishing your book. Make sure you ask for one that can be edited, so you can paste in your back cover information. Lese also included a 3-D picture of the book to be used for promo purposes.

For $25 you’ll get a great looking cover if you put some effort and thought into it, too. If you love your final design, you can tip the creator extra money to thank her.

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The Birth of a Novel

A Chronicle of Progress as I write my fourth novel.

gator official coverAfter completing my third novel, Gator Bait – A Tennis Team Mystery, I wondered which direction my next novel should take. I’ll be honest. I dithered around. I was busy preparing Gator for publication, marketing my other novels, and distracted from writing daily . . . because life happens.

Indecision stalled me at the pre-writing stage. Should I do another in my Backcountry Mystery series, continue with the Tennis Team Mystery series, or work on other half-completed stories in my files? I waited for inspiration to fall from the sky. Continue reading


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Happy Month of May!

I love to see the woods behind my house greening up. To me it means hope after a long winter. Today is rainy and overcast, but my backyard looks beautiful anyway . . . fresh and new.


Mr. Frog overseeing a fine patch of lungwort.











Speaking of fresh and new . . .

Along with reveling in that new growth and hope, I’m putting the finishing touches on my newest novel, Gator Bait – A  Tennis Team Mystery.  I think I got it! I’m finally happy with the cover and am clearing out the tiny formating errors that stand in the way of publishing and drive me crazy. I should be able to reveal this new series later this month. Yea! gator cover 10 sized for CS

Here’s a hint to the story: 

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CLUE / Golf Mystery Event

Our golf league asked me to create a mystery event. As a mystery novelist, I jumped on the idea of merging the golf game with the CLUE board game. clue display tableWe held the event this past Tuesday and the players raved about it . . . “The best event we’ve ever had.”

Partners in Crime

Golfers got in the act by dressing as CLUE characters: Miss Scarlett, Mrs. White and Mrs. Peacock. Their mug shots in front of the line-up board were fun to do and will be posted in the clue mug shotclub’s newsletter. The two golf pros dressed as Colonel Mustard and Professor Plum. Eight husbands donned police uniforms and badges to help out on the course.

“Knock ‘em dead,” I called out to the 112 players as they drove out to the course for the simple shotgun scramble. To each pin on the course, I tied an envelope containing one CLUE card. If the team shot a par or better, they opened the envelope. In their “detective’s notebook” they recorded the clue. Back at HQ they announced / guessed the solution to the crime.

Who dunnit? Miss Scarlett, with a rope, on the putting green.

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