Thursday, December 22, 2016

Forging Ahead

Well, the Facebook page merge finally happened.  I'm not sure why they called it a merge, since everything from the second page disappeared, but at least now I only have one page to maintain.  I need to rename the page now so it's associated with me as an author instead of with just my first novel, especially since I have two books and the audiobook should appear any day now.

I'm also continuing to research my next work, and it's going very well.  I found three volumes of late-medieval poetry that have helped me enormously.  They date from 1886, and the Luddite in me rejoices that an old technology still works.  It was a real thrill finding them for sale online, thanks to  Most of the texts I need are available online, but I find it hard to read a screen for any length of time.  They're not the oldest books I own (that dates from 1865, and belonged to my great-grandfather) but they're in excellent shape, having been on the shelves of the Butler University library from 1925 according to the bookplate.  I also bought a translation of another of my main character's works in prose and another book about her life during the Hundred Years' War.  It examines her from a different perspective that I've found very interesting.  All of these books I found in reading the notes of another book, which is a large part of the fun I have researching.  My students simply plug something into Google; they never had to flip through a card catalog or dig through an editor's notes in search of ancillary texts.  I also find it very cool to read the work of people who put their words and thoughts onto paper centuries ago.  To my mind it's the ultimate form of immortality, and one I hope to establish for myself one day.

Happy Holidays, and Happy Reading!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

I know it's been a long time since I posted something, so here goes. In case you've been wondering, I've been elbow-deep in editing TRQ's audiobook, which I finally finished yesterday. Woohoo! It's now back in the hands of the producer to make final corrections before hopefully going live in a few weeks--just in time for the holiday season.

With that off my plate, I can dig back in to research for my current project, which is set in France during the Hundred Years' War. Lordy, what an endless series of disasters that was. Just like when I was researching my novella on World War I, I had a lot to learn, but for me that's half the fun!  I just finished Juliet Barker's book on Agincourt--very well-researched and well-written. I need to go back and review the research I've already done to get the synapses firing again, then see what else I need to read. It really helps to be able to read French--modern and medieval--which also gives me the gift of a different perspective.

 This week's mini-project has been merging my two book pages on Facebook, which is a lot more complicated than it should be, I think, but then again I'm not the most tech-savvy person on the planet.  I had to retitle both pages, then set the merge in motion.  So far nothing seems to have happened.  I guess these things take time.

It's a windy, rainy, grey day here. Perfect for reading and reflection. Peace.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

What Have I Been Doing??

Holy moley, it's been a year since I posted anything here.  What have I been doing, you ask?  Well, in the spring of this year I finished corrections and published the French translation of my WWI novella, For Two Cents, I'll Go With You.  I decided to "go wide", meaning that it would be available on as many outlets as I could find.  Direct2Digital is great for this, offering seven different e-publishers, including Kobo, iTunes, and B&N.  I did this because they also publish for the European firm Tolino.  Since the book is in French and Tolino is a strong competitor for Kindle in Europe, I thought it would be a good idea to try and tap into that market.  Unfortunately, the book has not gotten much traction anywhere, in English or in French.  I believe this is because war stories are just not very popular.  Top-selling genres are as follows (from strongest to weakest): suspense/thrillers, general fiction, classics, mystery, action/adventure, sci fi, romance, fantasy, religion, horror, graphic novels, and Westerns.  I did class it under action/adventure in choosing my key words, but since women are far and away the largest book-buying audience, it's been a hard sell.

I had already started working on a third novel on an early aviation pioneer, but having learned my lesson with Two Cents I changed direction and am currently reading and researching for a novel with a strong female lead set in the late medieval period.  It's been fun, digging into my grad school notes and texts and refreshing my knowledge of Old French.  As Stephen King advised in his memoir On Writing, write what you know.

I've also delved into audiobook production this spring, offering The Rogue Queen on ACX.  The book is currently being produced, and will hopefully be offered for sale within a month or six weeks.  I made the decision to try the audiobook market because, frankly, I ended up giving a lot of my e-book royalties from last year to the IRS.  I did plan appropriately for taxes on my royalties; I did not know I would have to shell out several grand to cover interest on savings bonds used to pay for our daughter's college tuition.  Once upon a time said interest was deductible if used for education, but no more.  We should have cashed in a few each year instead of waiting until her senior year, but live and learn.  Luckily I had the money available.  Hoping to tap into another revenue stream, I headed over to ACX (another Amazon company), where they make it easy to find producers willing to narrate in a clear step-by-step process.  As soon as school is out I'll be reviewing the recording as well as working on research, so it looks to be a busy summer.  I'll let y'all know how it goes.