October Updates – Sin City and Brookline University – Arieswriting

I have a lot of October updates to share, and little time to do it.

Book Updates

  • Brookline University is coming out of Kindle Unlimited on Tuesday. I’ll be going wide with them again, and I’ll also be offering the first two books for free to my email list.
  • I have a co-author for the Sin City series! Author M.B. Miller has been my sounding board for a lot of Sin City planning, and she wrote scenes for me as treats so I’d finish my work. We realized there was information in the book integral to the series, so I asked M.B. Miller to write some of the series with me.
  • Book 2 is called Tilt. It takes place at the same time as Sin City, but follows the secondary characters like Bill, Jake, Darla, and Jimmy. We haven’t nailed down a release date yet, but I’m looking at the beginning of November. Click the link above to view the cover, and if you join my mailing list you’ll get the first look at everything.

  • Tilt‘s current status is we are awaiting a printed proof copy. I’ve finished print and ebook versions, and next up is working on some hardcover issues and the marketing push.
  • I’ve also been working on Book 3, which I’m in the final stages of editing/proofing. It’s called The Dead Woman and takes place in October/November 1966. I’m looking at an early 2018 release.
  • I’m participating in Nanowrimo this year! I aimed to last year, signed up, and did 0 words. I had no focus after releasing Sin City last year, but this year I have an idea (Book 5 of Sin City!), and I’ve already started plotting.

Self Publishing Glossary of Terms

Read on to learn all about terms and words you’ll come across when you venture into self publishing. This dictionary of self publishing terms defines everything from acronyms to publishing platforms, writing terms, and marketing speak. If you have a term to add, or a better definition to share, please comment.

Self Publishing Dictionary


ACX – Audiobook Creation Exchange, where authors can create an audiobook.

Aggregator – A publishing aggregator publishes your book to more than one outlet. Lulu.com is an aggregator that can get you on Kobo, Amazon, Nook, and more.

Also Boughts – The list of other books shown on your book page that readers have bought. It can give you a good insight into what your readers like outside of your book.

Amazon – The biggest ebook and print book publisher on the internet, they sell print and ebooks.

Amazon Author Central – An Amazon site that allows you to claim your author profile on Amazon, write a bio, sync your blog and manage your books. You should sign up as soon as you publish a book on Amazon.

AMS – Short for Amazon Marketing Services. Used by authors for book ads that show on Amazon. AMS ads can boost the visibility of your book on Amazon.

Amazon Prime – A program that gives you lots of perks, like free shipping, video and the ability to borrow a book from the KOLL. The features vary depending on what country you’re in.

ARC – Stands for Advanced Reader Copy. Free book copies are given to reviewers, bloggers, etc in exchange for a fair ARC review. Some authors put together an ARC Team of readers, usually interested readers/fans from their mailing list.

Author Central – See Amazon Author Central.

Author copies – Copies of your book you purchase at a discount. These copies are useful for selling in person at events.

Continue Reading →

New Covers for Brookline University

Brookline University has new covers! Check out Amazon, or this website, and you’ll see the awesome new covers for this YA/NA series.

Brookline University new covers

Brookline University’s previous covers have been in use since their debut. It was time to update, despite the great photography featured on the previous covers. The new covers fit the genre much better.

Cassidy Grant designed these covers.

Updated Kindle Copies Available

Print and digital versions are up at Amazon now, and I’ve asked Amazon to send updates to people who have purchased previous copies on their Kindle, so if you visit Manage Your Content and Devices you’ll be able to sync and get the newest versions with the updated covers.

You can read Brookline University: Freshman Year for FREE if you join my newsletter!



Piece of Work – FREE prequel to Sin City

Free Prequel Ebook

Piece of Work, a free prequel to the Sin City series, is available for FREE at Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, Nook and other retailers.

Currently the book is sitting at number 2 on the free Kindle Short Reads for Mystery, Thriller and Suspense.

Piece of Work free prequel on Amazon
Tim Kelly has never been a fan of the Chicago Mob, and in 1965 Las Vegas, they’re the only game in town.

Tim’s latest venture has caught the attention of Sam Wyatt, a Fremont Street mobster with two casinos. Unfortunately, he’s also caught the attention of the Chicago Outfit’s most ruthless enforcer. Now Tim has a choice to make – play ball or stake his own claim – and his decision could have lasting effects.

Download the book for free at the following retailers:

Amazon Kindle US
Amazon Kindle Canada
Amazon Kindle UK
Amazon Kindle Australia
Amazon Kindle France
Lulu.com ePub
Apple iBookstore

For more information visit the Piece of Work page here.



All About the Story Bible

A story bible is used in writing, especially in film and television, to keep track of all of the little details that appear. They are useful for writers and help keep track of everything from character birth dates to mentioned events and more.

While I was writing Brookline University, I began to forget details as the series went on. You don’t think you’ll forget if a minor character is Sonia or Sonya, but you will. Here’s the TV Tropes entry on the story bible … okay, bye, see you in 12 hours!

As I’m in a re-write/edit of the sequel to Sin City, I realized I was in desperate need of a story bible, as I was having to look up pertinent details all the time. My notes were scattered between dozens of notebooks and stopping to look things up and search for notes was really hampering my ability to work on the book. In the last two weeks I’ve put together an 81-page story bible (which will keep growing, I’m sure!). Here’s a little look at it. (Note: The pics are small since I include spoilery stuff in my notes sometimes)

The Note Tote

The Story Bible - Note Tote

Hilroy Note Tote binders from 1989/1990 or so (aka the Canadian version of a Trapper Keeper) are the best ever. The present-day ones are shiny and awful (Hilroy! Make them like the old school ones again!), so I use ones from when I was in high school. They have great pocket dividers.

I determined early on I needed a ring binder, because I move stuff around a lot. It’s nice to be able to redo a page if you mess something up and have to print it again. You may prefer a nice leather notebook, looseleaf in a folder or a spiral bound book. Whatever works!

Character Profiles

Story Bible - Character ProfilesUsually the first page or two is just lists of the characters with major details. Name, birth date, birth place, hair colour, eye colour, blood type, MBTI and astrological sign. I list all the characters like that on one or two pages.

After that, I do more in depth profiles where I’ll list the character’s full name and stats, then do point form lists of major things that appear in the book.

Story Bible - In Depth Character Profile

For example, in Sin City, I mention that Ruby has a horse named Bella, is a trick rider, dated Lewis in Abilene, drinks coffee (but I never said how she took it), etc. Notes can be added as the series goes on, and I don’t usually have to add personality info because I know it, but I do add little things like “always wears a ring on the third finger on the right hand” so I don’t accidentally say left hand.

Location Profiles

Story Bible - Location Profiles

In Sin City I have point form descriptions of all of the locations I’ve created (see above), then the same for fictional casinos, real casinos that existed at the time on Fremont and the Strip, and other businesses that existed in Las Vegas at the time.

Maps are really useful, especially for a historical series. Street names and entire areas changed in Las Vegas, so it’s been helpful to have historic maps.

Story Bible - Maps


Other Profiles/Miscellaneous

You may need profiles for things that are really specific to your book. In Brookline I had pages of information on sorority rush, lists of names of girls in each pledge class, school schedules etc. Sin City has lists of horses that Rett owns, types of guns that have shown up, etc.

Including historical weather info (like when Las Vegas gets a big flood, like they did in July 1975, which left cars floating in the Caesars Palace parking lot), tidbits about the city (when the first female card dealer began working on the Strip, etc) and things like that help me keep things realistic. Maybe you’ll find you need a list of words in your created fantasy language, a diagram of what a character’s house looks like, or a collection of info on how evidence is processed in a murder.


A point form timeline of when everything occurs in the book keeps me on track. Included are dates in my books, both to orient the reader in the time period and to keep things organized for me. Since I use “real time” to track everything, I need to make sure things work out (right day, right date etc).

My Sin City timeline is very basic. It looks like this:

Tue Mar 13 – Tim gets out of jail. Ruby training for rodeo.
Wed Mar 14 – Rett throws a huge party at the bar.

Basically I just outline when things happened. I may make note of a birthday (especially if it’s something a POV character might comment on) or if there was a major weather event or something major happened in the news.

With Brookline, I printed out monthly calendars where I included all event info and when things happened. The series is set in the early 90s, so the calendar in that form reminded me of an actual sorority event calendar. I included all sorority events, when school breaks would be, if/when characters met, major holidays and birthdays etc.


Pictures that look like how I envision a character, or it’s the right model of car etc really help me visualize. Things I find online go into my Pinterest account – either the public board for each book, or a private one that will eventually become public (especially if it’s for an upcoming book). Any pictures I find in magazines I cut out and keep in the pockets of the Note Tote. It’s handy to be able to refer to a photo to describe something.

Handwritten? Typed? Digital? Analog?

All of the above! Typing it up and uploading to Google Docs allows me to share it with my editor and co-writer. A printed copy goes in the Note Tote. Having the majority type helps, especially with my terrible handwriting.

Additional info will be added by hand. If I’m away from home I can access digital versions and keep those updated as well.

For me, I really needed a physical copy to leaf through. It helps me organize what notes are actually important and I want to use vs doing general research before I settle on something.

You may want to do it all by hand, online only or just in Word. If you like having it available online, check out Google Docs, Evernote and Microsoft One Note for accessing it on multiple devices. Dropbox is also a great way to backup/access the file from other places.

In closing …

A story bible can contain whatever you most need it to. Include anything from a descriptions of each person’s pets to detailed instructions on how to take an engine apart.

I highly recommend series writers create a story bible to help keep continuity. Hopefully you’ve had a little bit of fun peeking into my 1990s throwback style one =)










Sin City Promos Roundup

I had some great Sin City promos since the release, and I’m playing catch-up on the blog after a few busy weeks. Here’s a breakdown of some websites that featured Sin City over the last month.

Sin City Promos


Oct 24 – ARC reviewer On Two Feet reviewed the book on their blog and at Goodreads. Thanks so much!

Nov 1 – I did a guest blog post at Urban Book Reviews on Research in Las Vegas and preparing to write Sin City. Thanks to Urban Book Reviews for the opportunity – I really enjoyed writing the article. Any chance to talk about Las Vegas!

Nov 7Sin City was reviewed by the Genre Minx. The reviews also appear on Goodreads, Amazon and LibraryThing. Thanks so much for your review!

Nov 7Sin City was a Weekly Featured read at Quiet Fury Books. We really appreciate it!

Dec 2 – I did an interview with The Writing Greyhound. Thank you for the interview.

Sin City also has a page on TVTropes. There are no plot spoilers visible. Also, sorry, you’re about to lose hours of your time on that site lol.

I have a few more things in the works, and I’ll post about them as soon as I can. Thanks to everyone who has purchase Sin City and reviewed it. If you have your copy, please think about leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads.


Sin City available now in print and ebook

Sin City Available Now!

Find it on Amazon, Kobo, Nook, iTunes and more

Sin City available for purchase

Sin City available now in print and ebook, so check below for links to purchase or visit the Sin City book page.

Digital Versions:

Amazon Kindle US

Lulu epub
Apple iBookstore

Digital versions sell for $4.99 USD, and prices are converted from US dollars for other locations, but Canadians can get the book for $4.99 CAD at Amazon and Kobo.

Print Versions:

Amazon Paperback ($14.95 USD)

Lulu Trade Paperback ($14.95 USD)
Lulu Hardcover ($23.95 USD)

Canadians can buy via Lulu, as Amazon’s KDP Print program does not yet publish to Amazon.ca. There are often great coupon codes on Lulu for free shipping or discounts on books, so don’t hesitate to contact me for the latest coupon code.




Sin City Blurb

Read the Sin City blurb here!

Sin City is being released November 1st, I’ve shared the cover, and now it’s time for the “back of the book” blurb.

Las Vegas, 1966.

There are parts of Sin City the neon lights don’t reach, and only the desperate and dangerous venture into the city’s seedy backstreets, where gangsters rule, the floating poker games never stop, and people disappear without a trace.

Ruby Gordon is desperate. She has nowhere else to go when her brother opens his home to her. He runs an off-the-books juke joint, and she is fascinated by the most dangerous – and handsome – of his clientele.

Tim Kelly is dangerous. His father never achieved notoriety with the Chicago Outfit, but Tim has aspirations to strike out on his own. He has plans, and they don’t include a naive newcomer.

Jake Wheeler is both. The Airman-turned-rodeo-rider is as gorgeous as he is foul-tempered, and he’s Tim’s not-so-friendly rival. When he notices Tim’s interest in Ruby, he’s determined to derail Tim’s plans.

The three of them are on a collision course, but there’s only one rule in Vegas: The house always wins.


This crime/love story novel will be for sale in print and ebook format everywhere. Print ($14.95 USD) and ebook ($4.99 USD).






Review: Jinhao X450 Fountain Pen

The Jinhao X450 is an entry-level fountain pen from a Chinese manufacturer. These are well-made pens with metallic bodies, plastic grips, and solid snap caps. I started using fountain pens when writing Sin City, and I love the ranges of ink colours as well as the fact my hand doesn’t tire as easily.

Jinhao X450 blue marble

The pattern pictures is my X450 in blue marble. Jinhao pens all come with M nibs. Stock nibs can be hit or miss – I’ve had some amazingly smooth ones and some scratchy, misaligned ones.

Because you might end up with a bad nib, it’s worth it to invest in a higher quality nib. The Jinhao X450 (and the X750) take #6 size nibs, which are a common size. Goulet Pens sells their own Jowo nibs in EF, F, M, B, 1.1mm and 1.5mm stub. They come in three finishes – black, gold, and silver. The nibs are all steel and are easy to swap out as they are friction fit. Using one in the Jinhao gives you a really solid writer, so I highly recommend a third party nib if you get a bad stock one.

My favourite detail on the X450 are finger grips. Slightly indented areas on the grip help you orient the pen correctly. Some people hate these features (the Lamy Safari/Al-Star also have finger grips), but I love them. If you aren’t a fan of the finger grips, the Jinhao X750 is very similar to this pen in style, but doesn’t have the finger grip section.

Another great feature of the Jinhao X450 is the colour range. From black to white, red, green, blue, and patterns like this marble, there are a good range of pen styles to suit everyone. They are also incredibly affordable – you can order these for under $10 – and many are on eBay for under $5 with free shipping worldwide.

I’ve owned 4 of these pens, and only got rid of some due to needing to pare down my collection. I highly recommend them for fountain pen newbies. The strong construction makes them a better option than many cheap plastic pens.

The Verdict

In conclusion, the Jinhao is a great beginner pen for someone that wants a metal pen that is still affordable. I highly recommend it as an entry-level pen.





Sin City Release Announcement and Cover Reveal

The Sin City release is coming soon!

Release Date

I shared this information with my newsletter a little while ago, so now it’s time to share with everyone else. Sin City will be released on November 1st, 2016!

It will be available in print and ebook format. The book is already listed on Goodreads, so please add it as a To Read.

Cover Reveal

Sin City Release

The cover was designed by J Caleb Design. It captures the feeling of the 1960s and Las Vegas.

My excitement is growing for everyone to read it. For more exclusive info on releases, discount codes and freebies, as well as contest announcements, join my mailing list. If you sign up now, you’ll receive a FREE ebook copy of Brookline University: Freshman Year.