Moving Day!

I’ve felt for a long time that a change was needed, and with the new year and all, it felt like this was the time to make that change. This blog is dear to my heart and has introduced me to some of the most wonderful people on the blogosphere, but it is home no longer.

I know I’ve probably lost a lot of readers, given that I posted about three times total last year, but if any of you want to follow me on in my writing journey, you can find me at

I’ve adopted a pen name for a variety of reasons, chief among which is the fact that there are a surprising number of Emily Bateses in the world, one of whom has written a number of books about dogs, another who has written some steamy novels that I’d really rather not be associated with.

While rebranding at this point in the game is going to be a lot of work, it will be worth it in the end. I love you all dearly and hope to see you at my new bloggy home!


NaNo NaNo

I scorned NaNoWriMo for YEARS. And even after I finished it last year, I wasn’t sure I’d ever do it again.

Aaaand then October rolled around. And folks, NaNoWriMo does not let you out of its clutches so easily. For which I am grateful, because I’m SO EXCITED. (eep!)

I’ve created my novel on the website, and my outline is well on its way. Bring it on, November!

If you’re doing NaNo, add me! Username is ehbates. I’d love to see what you’re typing madly on this November!

The gift of changing your mind

I’m supposed to be cooking dinner, but Elfwyn (I finally came up with her screen name!) is asleep, and Scout is out back with Grandma. So I’m granting myself twelve minutes to crank out this post that I’ve been mulling over.

In the past couple of weeks, my respect for two different authors has grown enormously because of their willingness to publicly admit that they made a mistake. Not only that, they both took steps to correct what they had said wrong.

Our world today seems to view any change of opinion as weak, wishy-washy, spineless. But the thing is, no one on this earth is perfect. Not even super awesome authors. Sometimes we say dumb things, do dumb things, even believe dumb things. And when these dumb things are pointed out to us, our first instinct is to defend ourselves. After all, nobody likes to be called out, especially not in a space as public as social media.

It takes incredible strength to bite down on our pride and admit that we were wrong. Or even that we might be wrong. It takes self control to stop talking long enough to listen to another who has a different perspective than us. It takes greatness of heart to try to view the world through another’s eyes.

But the effort is worth it. When people seek to truly understand each other, everyone comes out of it changed, even if they agree to disagree in the end.

I’m going to leave you with this great paragraph from Neil Gaiman, because the man knows his way around words:

“What I tend to see happening more and more is people retreating into their own corners. People seem scared to get things wrong or be shouted at so they form villages in which they agree with every other member, and maybe they go out and shout at the people in the next village for fun, but there’s no interchange of ideas going on. I think we have to encourage the idea that you’re allowed to think things. I have thought a great many stupid things over the years, and I can tell you that there’s not one stupid thing that I ever thought where I changed my mind because someone shouted at me or threatened to kill me. On the other hand, having great discussions with good friends, possibly over a drink, has definitely changed my mind and made me try to do better. You’re allowed to do better, but we have to let people do better.” (source)

I’m back! + Book Formatting Services

After several months of survival mode, I’m finally sleeping a little more and am ready to reenter the blogging sphere! I’ve missed reading all your beautiful words and am looking forward to catching up with everybody.

For you writerly types out there who are considering self-publishing, I’ve now added a page detailing my book layout design services. I love giving books that final polished sheen that a good layout provides, and hope to be able to help with some of your books in the near future.

So talk to me! Tell me what you’ve been doing the past few months! Any exciting book news? Good reads? Crazy summer adventures?

Checking in

I’ve been absent from the internet for a while here, busy with our new arrival:


I hope you are all making great strides toward your life goals, dreams, and ambitions! I’ll be back to blogging and catching up on blogs soon enough, but in the meantime, enjoy your weekend and have a beautiful Easter Sunday!


With the end of NaNoWriMo, I’ve plunged back in for the final edits and design of Stone Alliance. It’s been a JOY. You have no idea. Writing is my first and truest love, but honestly, editing work is not far behind. There’s something so satisfying about nitpicking and fine-tuning, and I LOVE that I get to do my own layout design this time around.

As I go through this, I want to share a few tips for other authors who are looking to learn more about designing their own layout. Of course, you can always hire out for layout design, but if you want the control and want it to look professional, I can help you out.

Now, my first tip to anyone planning to lay out their own book is to get Adobe InDesign. However, you have to subscribe to the ENTIRE Creative Cloud to get that one program, and if you’re on a budget like me, that’s not the best option. So I’m working with Microsoft Word. Since most people have that (or the Mac equivalent), that’s the program I’ll use to give any technical details.

So where do we go first?

I’ll start with my favorite, most underused function of word processors:


Why are paragraph styles important?

They make it so super easy to make sure your formatting is consistent across your entire manuscript. Instead of finding every chapter heading and laboriously making them each 20 pt, bold Arial or something like that, you can click the heading, select your paragraph style, and–tada! It’s also great for the main text of your manuscript, ensuring that every paragraph is the same instead of having a weird paragraph that somehow ended up being 9 pt font instead of 11 pt.

ALSO, I like to mess with my formatting a lot and try different looks. This is the way to do it. You can change every chapter heading at once by adjusting the paragraph style, rather than hunting down and changing each one individually. Same with the body text.

So where do we start?

You know that weird bar on the Home menu in Word that has boxes titled “Heading 1,” “Normal,” “No Spacing,” etc?

styles bar (2)

Those are your paragraph styles. The default ones are fairly useless, which is why you make your own. Start by clicking this button.

styles bar circle

That will expand the menu. Click on Create a Style.

styles menu

I believe that in an older version of Word, this takes you straight to the control center of paragraph styles, but Word 2013 brings up a useless dialog box prompting you to name your paragraph style. Give it a pertinent name and click Modify.

style name circle.jpg

Then you get to the fun part. This is where you set your paragraph style exactly how you want it to be. But there are a few important things you want to check first:

  1. Make sure Style type is set to Paragraph.
  2. Change Style based on to (no style).
  3. If you want this style to show up in the style menu for all new documents (so you can use it again in another document), click the circle at the bottom that says New documents based on this template.

style dialog box important

From this main screen, you can format your paragraph style just like on the home menu: font, size, justification, line spacing, etc. It will show you below the formatting menu what your paragraph will look like.

style dialog box formatting.jpg

And there you have it! Your very own paragraph style to fit your very own work.

I like using paragraph styles even when I’m just hammering out drafts, because I can easily set every new document to my “Stories” paragraph style and have it look clean, crisp, and uniform, just how I like to read it.

Stay tuned for more layout design info! Next time, we’ll delve into some deeper aspects of text formatting.


From near to far…

“Today is gone,
Today was fun.
Tomorrow is another one.
From near to far, from here to there,
Funny things are everywhere!”
(Dr. Seuss, One Fish Two Fish)

Hello from the NaNo trenches! I’m 9257 words in and hoping this flow of words doesn’t ebb too soon. I’m enjoying the total freedom from my inner editor.

How’s your November going?

Villainy, Sweet Villainy

I love me a good villain. There have been stories where the villain has sucked me in more than the protagonist. So let’s talk a little bit about the different types of villains:

1. The villain that is just evil for evil’s sake.

2. The villain that is evil, but has a clear back story that led to that descent into evil.

3. The villain that hovers in between good and evil, and you’re never quite sure which side will win out in the end.

Each of these villains has a place and a purpose. Sometimes, you just need a person or people or force that is evil personified. It makes for a clear distinction between good and bad, and can wreak unspeakable acts of horror with no real clarification necessary. It’s just what evil does, you know? Unfortunately, this kind of villain is hard to pull off with decent believability, and the “I’m just a bad dude” ploy gets old really fast.

I much prefer villains 2 and 3. Villain 2 can be just as evil as Villain 1, but there’s more believability, more attachment. You can see where the villain came from, that the villain was once a person. You might even feel sorrow for the villain. Villain 3 creates the best tension, and, when done right (read: not like Anakin Skywalker), makes for a great moment of either tumultuous jubilation or crushing despair.

Villains can make or break a story, sometimes more so than the protagonist. Guy of Gisborne was the only reason I watched all three seasons of BBC’s Robin Hood series (both because he was a compelling Villain 3 and because, come on, it’s Richard Armitage). Voldemort’s back story made for a great Villain 2, and Draco Malfoy was a wonderfully pathetic Villain 3 by the end. And oh, Bevin Conner! Where would The Ascendance Trilogy have ended without Bevin Conner as a villain?

Who are some of your favorite villains? What makes a good villain in your eyes?

And it’s time for another Monday writing challenge! In keeping with the theme of the post:


Write out the scene where your villain makes (or starts to make) the turn from good to evil.


Wanted: Good Character Profiles

Check out this awesome character profiling sheet from thoughts4paper!

Paper Thoughts

I am doing really well if I can remember even half of the details and memories of my own life, much less retain the intimate information of at least a dozen characters in a story I am working on. I’ve made very good friends with character profile sheets and it seems to be working out. I mean, I think it is the real thing. Like, I think this template’s the one.

The basis to any relationship, including fictitious ones you create, is communication. You are going to want to ask your character the tough questions and be as specific as possible. Think of everything. Be your character’s very own stalker. I mean ‘fan’.

StalkerIt isn’t enough to tell us your character’s name and description. We want to know their deepest fears, their strongest desires, and what will set them off at the drop of a hat. You may not even…

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