The Critics Are Raving (Mad)!

The results are in and The Myth of Arden is this summer’s knockout hit! The critics told us in confidence but won’t mind us revealing:

“This is the greatest novel ever written! It truly blurs the line between awesome and really, really awesome!”


“It wasn’t as bad as I was expecting!”

My mother

“Good job!”

My second grader

“It’s perfect for killing spiders! Aaaahhhhhhh! Never mind!”

My husband

“I’ll get to it eventually.”

My second cousin twice (???) removed

“It tastes good!”

My four year old

“Why are you giving this to me? No really I don’t want it.”

The bus driver

“This is perfect! Just the thing I need to keep that door wedged open!”

My uncle

“I can’t wait to regift this!”

Literally everyone

So there you have it folks! Be sure to get your copy today! The eBook version is free if you have Kindle Unlimited or just check your local Goodwill donation bin!

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Quotes from The Myth of Arden

With so many memorable moments, it can be hard to pick just one! Here is a small collection of some of the best quotes from “The Myth of Arden”. Have a favorite that didn’t make the list? Be sure to add it to the comments below!

Haven’t read the book yet? The Kindle eBook version is free for all Amazon Prime members! Check it out: The Myth of Arden

“I will not become what I hate. This all ends here.”

Anny, Chapter 5; The Myth of Arden by Susan Marie Strom

“Why not be brave in your final hour? Why not be true to your fate? Destiny is to be embraced, not run from.”

Speaker Unknown, Chapter 4; The Myth of Arden

“Hopeless, take your fated path. Love no more. Love your pain more and forget yourself.”

Anny, Chapter 4; The Myth of Arden

“Do you think you could ever love me or even like me? Even just tolerate me?”

Jax, Chapter 7

“Nothing can be all good or all bad.”

Jax, Chapter 7; The Myth of Arden

“Run! Run away as far as you can. Never return.”

Cailar, Chapter 7; The Myth of Arden

“Could there be a love so pure that it would overlook all those flaws?… One where it didn’t matter at all what the other did; so unconditional it bordered on unnatural.”

Anny, Chapter 9; The Myth of Arden

About the Author

I was raised in Upstate New York in the small town of Napanoch. When some people hear you are from New York they immediately have visions of sky scrapers or the Statue of Liberty, but Napanoch is a small town a few hours north of New York City with spectacular views of the Shawangunk Ridge. This landscape inspired most of the terrain found in my writing, where the forests are thick with winding trails.

We had a rather large family with me being somewhere in the middle of seven children, mostly daughters. Thus, when I was born my parents had unfortunately ran out of girl names. In what turned out to be a misunderstanding between my parents I was ultimately given the same name as my mother. For this reason, back home I am still often lovingly referred to as “Sue Jr” or “No, the other one”.

While attending Wawarsing Christian Academy and Ellenville Central Schools I would often lie that I was “from Ellenville” because Napanoch was virtually unknown. As it turns out Ellenville is equally obscure (a point lost on me in my youth), but it was here that I first became interested in writing as I had several remarkable and enthusiastic teachers.

The first great story teller in my life, however, was my father. He could command a room with humorous and disgusting tales of his life. I lament the fact that so many good memories were lost with his death as no one could retell the tales quite the same way he could. He showed me that the best stories are personal.

I considered writing my passion but took the advice that a degree in something else would afford me the luxury to write in my free time. So next I attended Ulster County Community College for my Associates Degree, followed by a bachelor’s in chemistry from the State University at New York at New Paltz, and a PhD in Organic Chemistry from Michigan State University. Along the way I met my husband and we started our family. The concept of not writing in order to be able to write more might sound counter intuitive, because it is! It turns out graduate school affords you little free time and motherhood, miraculously, even less.

However, after having shelved my writing aspirations for a couple of decades I suffered a terrible loss in the form if a miscarriage. It was a pain unmatched by any other loss I had endured up to that point, and in all the sorrow I made a promise to the little one I would never know that I would finish the work I had started years earlier. I channeled my grief into creating something new, hoping that in some small way something good might come from the unfathomable despair. I hope to continue in this promise with many more stories to come!

My writing has also been influenced by my hobbies, which include crochet and endlessly picking up my children’s toys off the floor. When I am not busy with the kids or writing I enjoy watching mysteries like Columbo and studying up on Calvinistic Apologetics.

Step 8: Publishing Your Paperback Through Kindle Direct Publishing

If you have already created your eBook, then you will have noticed that the eBook and paperback versions of the book are going to be automatically linked. That means that the information you added when creating the eBook can be reused for the paperback so you can skip the next three paragraphs.

If you skipped creating the eBook, then the first thing you are going to want to do is make sure you have an account with Kindle Direct Publishing. They have a nice paperback creation tutorial which you will want to reference if you have any difficulties. After you create your account, you will be able to start to fill in the basic information about your book, including the title, author, and series information.

You will then want to include a brief description of your book. This will appear on the webpage for your book, so make sure to write something catchy that would give the reader an idea of what your book is about.

You will next have to pick a few keywords, which will help people when searching for your book. There are suggestions for these here, but the basic idea is to pick words not already in your description, that someone who was searching for them might be interested in your work. You can always change these later if you feel that they are not descriptive enough.

Formatting the paperback is a little harder as you are going to have to format your book with the appropriate margines. First you are going to have to decide what size book you want and then set the margins accordingly.

I chose the standard “6×9 inch” format, but the full list of formats available is found here. For the format I chose the margins have to be set as follows: first in Word go to “Layout” and click on “Page Set up”. Set the page setup to “mirror margins”. Next, set the Top, Bottom, Inside, and Outside margins to 0.25. Set the Gutter to 0.75 for now. When you upload the book KDP will suggest the correct gutter margin based on the number of pages to your book. You will then be able to go back and correct the gutter setting if it is not right.

Next go to the “Paper” tab in the same window and set the paper to the dimensions of your book (6 inches wide by 9 inches in this example). This will dramatically change the number of pages in your manuscript! Before going further scroll through the entire book and look for any formatting mistakes caused by the change in the page size. Such errors would include extra blank pages, or the starts of chapters being in the middle of pages.

If everything looks good, then you are only missing the Table of Contents, but first you are going to want to save a copy of your book in PDF format and upload it to KDP. Next, run KDP’s Online Previewer. It will flag any margin errors and formatting errors. Correct them before adding in the numbers to your Table of Contents.

To add numbers to your Table of Contents use the TAB option:

  1. At the end of each chapter name press TAB then enter the page number
  2. Highlight the Table of Contents and right click
  3. Open the “Paragraph” option and click on the TAB box
  4. Set the options as follows:
    1. Tab stop position: 5
    2. Align: Right
    3. Leader: 2
  5. Press “Set” then “Okay”

Now save your file as a PDF and upload it to KDP. Run the Online Previewer again. If no errors are found, then you are ready to move on to the next step which is pricing your book.

I know this step is going to be particularly hard depending on if you want to have your book available for distribution or not. If you do want to have your book available to distributors, then you are going to have to increase the price to cover the cost of printing from your reduced royalties. That is because once in distribution, the total percent royalties you receive decreases.

Luckily, the KDP website will let you know the cost of publishing your book, so you will be able to decide for yourself what price point works for you. If you change your mind later, it is very easy to go back and adjust the price. For me, I tried to go as low as I could hoping that the sales in eBooks would make up for the poorer returns on the paperbacks.

Once you have submitted everything, your book will be available in about 24-48 hours! If you decide to change anything, the same delay in the changes applies, but so far I’ve been impressed with how quickly updates are published.

Congratulations! It’s time to watch your favorite episode of Columbo (likely Try and Catch Me) and relax for a minute before going on to Step 9: Marketing Your Book (coming soon).

Step 7: Self Publishing your eBook through Kindle Direct Publishing

I published through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). This is a great service offered by Amazon that allows you to self-publish your work.

Why would you want to self-publish? Well, if you want complete control over your work then this is a good option. It is also good if, like me, you felt completely overwhelmed by the idea of trying to get someone to publish for you.

If you have not done so already, create an account by clicking here. They have a tutorial for formatting your eBook that goes into detail, but here we will just give a brief overview.

After you create your account you will be able to start to fill in the basic information about your book, including the title, author, and series information.

You will then want to include a brief description of your book. This will appear on the webpage for your book, so make sure to write something catchy that would give the reader an idea of what your book is about.

You will next have to pick a few keywords which will help people when searching for your book. There are suggestions for these here, but the basic idea is to pick words not already in your description, that someone who was searching for them might be interested in your work. You can always change these later if you feel that they are not descriptive enough.

For the cover of your eBook, they have a built-in cover creator that is fun to play around with. If you are good with a camera you could also snap a photo for your cover, but you will have to make sure that it is a JPEG or TIFF format and less than 50MB.

Now to uploading your eBook! KDP has a wonderful program called “Kindle Create”. It is an app you download to your computer and it will take your file and convert it to the correct “.kcb” format.

Simply take the file you created in the Step 6 and load it into the app. Once it is loaded you will find that the app is able to automatically create a Table of Contents complete with hyperlinks to each chapter. Talk about saving time! So take advantage of the Table of Contents creator. Once you are happy with the look of your eBook use the app to create the “.kcb” formatted file and then upload it to your KDP account.

After the files have been checked for accuracy, comes the difficult task of deciding what to price your eBook. Luckily there is a handy graph available to you that will let you know what ballpark you should be in.

For me, I also registered for KDP Select. In exchange for keeping my eBook only on the kindle format I was able to get a boost in royalties. It is definitely a program to consider if you are just starting out. The enrollment can be canceled if you later decide to publish in other formats.

You have come this far, you might as well make the paperback version too. Check out Step 8: Publishing Your Paperback Through Kindle Direct Publishing!

Step 6: Preparing For Publication

If you did the last steps, you have now read through your finished work about three times and are likely happy with it. Now for the fun, fun task of putting it all together for publication through Kindle Direct Publishing.

Create an account by clicking here. They have a tutorial for formatting your eBook that might want to take a look at as well as a tutorial for formatting your paperback book.

Now would be the time to take all your individual chapter files and combine them into one document. A final word count of 75,000-100,000 is generally recommended for publishing fiction books.

The proper format would be:

Page 1: Title of Book with your name underneath

  • Feel free to use fancy fonts here that reflect the personality of the work. It is up to you if you would like to include the copyright on this page as well or on the back of this page

Page 2: Copyright information

  • The Copyright should be formatted: 

Copyright © 2019 AUTHOR’S_NAME_HERE.

All Rights Reserved.


  • If you have not done so already and live in the United States you can apply for a copyright of your work at the U.S. Copyright Office. The copyright currently costs about $55 (as of 2019) and will take several months to be approved. For certain work it might not seem necessary, but on the other hand if you can afford it, why take the chance of publishing without it?
  • Kindle Direct Publishing offers the option of assigning you an ISBN or you can buy your own through the U.S. ISBN Agency. If you only plan on marketing your book through Kindle Direct Publishing, then buying your own ISBN might not be necessary. However, if you plan on marketing your book to libraries or bookstores it might be something to look into. For more information click here.

Page 3: Dedication

  • This is your chance to acknowledge in a small way what kept you motivated. Pick something special to you! You can also leave this part out entirely if you are a boring person.

Page 4: Blank page

  • This will be the back of the Dedication page if you have one. Otherwise leave it out.

Page 5: Table of Contents

  • Do not fill in the corresponding page numbers into your Table of Contents yet. For now, just put in the chapters as follows (or however you would like it to appear):




Page 6: Blank page

  • This will be for the back of the Table of Contents. If your Table of Contents is two pages (or any even number of pages) then you don’t need to put a blank page here.

Page 7: Acknowledgements

  • Don’t forget to thank your mother!

Page 8: Blank page

  • This will be for the back page of the Acknowledgement. If your acknowledgement is more than one page go back and make it shorter. Nobody’s going to read that.

Page 9 and beyond

  • Put the text of your book here! Be sure your chapter names appear in the same format for all of the chapters. The page numbers should start here as well with the first page of chapter one being page one.

Next, you are going to make sure your text is compact, but readable. Once you publish, you will be responsible to pay for the cost of printing from your royalties, so the fewer pages the book requires, the more of the royalty you will keep.

Make sure to remove any double spacing. There should not be extra lines between sentences or paragraphs. The start of each new paragraph should be indicated by a TAB. You are going to want to set the TAB to 0.25 inches. To do this go to the ‘Paragraph” section under “Home” and click on the little arrow in the lower right corner. Then under the TAB option set the “Stop Tab Position” to “0.25”.

The font should be Times New Roman size 12 or something comparable. Avoid fancy fonts that might be hard to read except for in the title page.

Make two copies of the resulting document. One is going to be further edited for your eBook and the other for the paperback version.

For publishing the eBook, go on to Step 7: Self Publishing your eBook through Kindle Direct Publishing, or for the paperback skip to Step 8: Publishing Your Paperback Through Kindle Direct Publishing!

Step 5: Edit!

Editing is an arduous task! I lost a lot of sleep wondering if I had used the right word or mistakenly used a word that was similar to the one I was thinking, but not quite right. I’d had friends offer their help, but in the end I was perhaps too much of a control freak to take their advice.

First, you are going to want to read the whole thing cover to cover to check for any obvious mistakes. This might include things like punctuation, but likely you have been correcting those errors as you went along. For this read-through pay attention to the overall story arc. Make sure that it makes sense and that everything is in order.

I get that there are just natural breaks for chapters, but now is a good time to check how long each chapter is. I’ve found about ten pages per chapter (that’s about 4000-5000 words) is a good fit. My first draft had chapter one being fifty pages! That was about 1/5 of the book. Breaking it into smaller pieces just made sense.

Next, I bit the bullet and bought a subscription to Grammarly Premium. It is an online grammar checking service that found hundreds of mistakes that my word processor had not. You upload the files (each chapter individually, there is a 60 page limit to each document) and then the software will flag each error one by one.

Besides checking for spelling there are checks for punctuation, clarity, and even repetitiveness. If you enjoy writing, these are likely things you really want to avoid! I didn’t take all of the advice offered, but having the software flag things that you might have just read over (like having “fare” instead of “fair”) was really helpful. I’d definitely recommend it as a first check on your work.

Just a note on Grammarly, you will see a lot of your formatting missing in the program. That formatting is still there, and will come back once you move the files back into your word processor. So don’t waste time putting in “missing” tabs or breaks.

Grammarly will then allow you to download a corrected copy of your work back to your computer. Be sure to save these files in their own folder and change the names of the documents to indicate that they have been through grammar check.

The third and final step is to use your word processor’s “Read Aloud” function. In Microsoft Word it is under the “Review” tab.

This will take a while, but it will flag many little mistakes (like using the word “it” instead of “in”) that you as the author would skip right over. Listen carefully, and be sure to read along. Whenever something doesn’t sound right go back and correct it. For example, if you used the word “chose” instead of “choose” you’ll hear it.

You are getting close now! Go on to Step 6: Preparing For Publication!