Almost Author

These days I’m calling myself an author, because, I have to believe at the end of this tunnel is a book with my name on it. Fourteen months I’m told is the time frame from the signing of the contract to the book in hand moment. I jumped the gun thinking Spring was the release date but after talking with my publisher I was set straight. So word to the wise; expect to wait at least one year for the final product. I’ve mentioned before that while I am waiting for the end of that process I kept on writing and I’m starting to write the fourth book in the series of the book that is being published, The Summer Palace. Initially, it was a short story before it was a standalone novel size. As easy as it was for me to extend it to a full-sized book the story kept unfolding in my mind and the second book was written. The third book was to be the final book in the series, but the loose ends were too much and the characters too important to end in a crush of chapters. The forth book will be a good culmination of the story as the characters search for their happily ever after.

This series is in several stages of completion. Book One is being published. Book Two is being reviewed by the publisher. Book Three is in MS form and waiting to be edited and finally Book Four is at about 5,000 words and counting.

I’m not sold on the titles I have chosen for my subsequent books and I’m planning to run a contest for suggestions for the titles of  the lat three books in the series. Originally I had only three books; therefore, the Summer in Summer Palace wasn’t the common thread for a name for the series so, Summer Palace, Autumn Place, Winter Castle, and Spring Terrace weren’t viable until I decided it would be a four book series. But, then again focusing on the residence’s in all four books it also a thought. However, The Summer Palace is etched in stone and cannot be changed.  I plan to offer a signed copy of The Summer Palace to the winning entry. Please send suggestions to sforrestnomakeo@gmail.com. SEE BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS BELOW:

BOOK ONE
Summer Palace by S. Forrest Nomakeo

Katia Ulenka has a simple request, to feel the freedom only a horse could bring. Wiley Breuder must find a way to prove himself or lose the blossoming love he denied could ever exist.

Set in a tumultuous time in Russia before the reign of Peter the Great, a young man rages against the new man in his mother’s life. Wiley Breuder is sent to work the farm of Herr Boer.

He finds a servant girl in his stable and is moved by her simple request to ride a horse for the first and last time.

He discovers her true identity after befriending the heir to the Summer Palace. He must elevate his station in life or lose Katia.

 

BOOK TWO
by S. Forrest Nomakeo

A boy and girl on opposite ends of the social spectrum find love and experience the volatile world of the happily ever after.

In the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Katia and Wiley find themselves in another place, White Towers, in another time, 1683, fighting the same obstacles; war, separation, and loss. Spanning sixteen years their lives come full circle and their children have forged a story of their own.

A nation wedged between imperialistic nations that dominate Europe maintains a will to survive despite the odds stacked against them and battle to save Christendom.

BOOK THREE
by S. Forrest Nomakeo

Katia makes a fateful decision to follow her uncle to her newly discovered homeland while Wiley and Pavel search for his son. They must travel the distance from Kefe to Buda to rescue Katia.

It’s 1698 and Paul has gone after a boy taken by slave traders and is befriended by a young Janissary who teaches him valuable lessons with and without a saber.
Wiley finds Paul but learns, from his daughter who escaped the treachery at Kende Castle, the fate of his beloved wife who was taken to Hungary under false pretenses.

BOOK FOUR
by S. Forrest Nomakeo

In the final Book in the series Wiley uses his influence to relocate his family to their original destination and find themselves at Cavalier House in Saxony.

This WIP takes place during the Great Northern War. Entire peoples are erased, countries shift allegiances, and borders change at the whim of invading forces.

A Strange Place

I’m in a strange place. Ever since I signed the contract and went into a partnership with my publisher I thought the process would go by relatively quickly. The wait is 290 days which turned out to be 290 working days which is the different of about four months. Initially, I was so excited, told everyone, and prepared for a Spring release and now it’ll be out in October. At first everything happened so fast; the initial query, the request for a full MS, and the signing of the contract all happened within one month. Then molasses. It has been three months since I reviewed and sent in the first set of proofs. If you’ve read my blog when I say I’ve been waiting… I never actually waited, for I kept writing and I’m so glad I did. So, in early June I submitted two more books for review and I’m finalizing book 3 in the series and have started book 4. Starting the new book reminded me of the joy of writing. Book 3 reminds me of the work involved in writing a novel. Book 2 took me five days to go through before submitting it, it was essentially done and still I found errors and correx I needed to make.

For those of you who write, one of the biggest problems I find is getting people to read my MS and give constructive criticism. It is a lot to ask of someone. Everyone’s time is so valuable and a good sized novel can occupy an entire weekend. Because of my first novel The Summer Palace I was able to submit the Sequel-White Towers and another MS The Tea Room. I had previously submitted The Tea Room elsewhere with no success. At least now, they will be read and if I did my homework, honed my skills, and am able to ride the coattails of the first one I will get a positive review and hopefully another contract.

I have also been reading books by fellow authors and leaving reviews on Amazon. Currently, I’m reading a Science Fiction Manumission by E.R. Harding on kindle. I prefer audiobooks since I am sight impaired but I’m plodding through in my spare time. I have another book on kindle waiting for my perusal when I finish the current one. Killer Of Kings The Bernecia Chronicles Book Four by Matthew Harffy. I’m familiar with the series and went through the first three rather quickly on audio, but the fourth one is not available yet, and I’m anxious to catch up on Beobrand and his 636 AD blood feud.

Everyone’s story is different and I hope by sharing mine some lessons can be learned by my little foibles and the tips I’ve learned along the way.

The Squeaky Wheel

I have been blogging about my publishing experience for almost two years. I started off not really knowing what I was up against. By chance — not really, I have made many observations. Author’s need to have thick skins, need to be tenacious, need to be patient, and have to SPEAK OUT. Remembering, that my experience is unique and if I were to go with another publisher the experience would be that much different . So far, I only have one experience and I’m a little frustrated, I’ll admit. I have been waiting with very little correspondence. I was beginning to feel anti-climatic and began to lose all the energy I had built up. I read miles of marketing tips and created multi-platforms, told family and friends and blogged about my success. Still, no book. According to the contract 270 days from start to finish… book in hand. I’ve reached and surpassed that number. Now, I’m to understand that one year is more accurate. I’m beginning to feel like I did when I sent out my first queries and waited three months and no response only to be assured that it’s a no. What about those valuable months in between? What about courtesy, professionalism, and simple human kindness?

As I stated before, I waited five months for the first set of proofs and have been waiting three months and counting for the second set of proofs. My book is in the queue and there are so many books ahead of mine. The only positive is that I never stopped writing. I have recently uploaded a second book to submissions with my publisher and I’m about to upload a second book for review. This is where the squeaky wheel theory comes in. I called the publisher and spoke with someone about my problem. You see my contract has a first right of refusal clause. So, in my conversation I mentioned that and mentioned how I have several books ready to submit. I was encourage to send them in. So, now if my book does get printed within the next few months and the sequel is picked up then by this time next year the second book will be printed and perhaps a third. Conversely, if the book is rejected I’m free to move on to another publisher and I’ll learn how different that experience would be from this one. It’s almost as if the plumber released the valve that was stuck and building up pressure in my boiler. Hence, the squeaky wheel or tea kettle reference.

Is this blog too negative? Sorry if it is. Reality, however, is stitched right into the fabric with dreams, hopes, and aspirations. In a few months (hopefully) all this will be a mere memory and I’ll wonder why I was so anxiety ridden over this. The fact that The Summer Palace isn’t in my hand or available for pre-order at this point is troubling, for I had anticipated its arrival, mentioned it all over the place and I have no good reason to offer anyone. My publisher is simply busy with other books. Why is that okay?

Where I went wrong? Trusting in the process, thinking I’m being annoying e-mailing once a month for an update, not having a contact person, feeling beholding and afraid to upset the applecart. I can see the benefit for having an agent. I didn’t try to go around that step in the process it happened because I queried my book to several agents and this publisher happened to ask to read my MS right off the bat. Does one ever refuse such an offer?

My situation is somewhere between traditional publishing and self-publishing. The industry is in flux and perhaps, I’m right where I ought to be. Who knows what the next few months will bring? At this stage I don’t know how I’m supposed to be feeling. Am I being too over-wrought about the printing of my book, the work I have to do when it is finally in print, tracking sales and building a clientele? This is most likely the most negative blog I have written to date. It seems my new contact has been able to move things along where before I was not receiving any correspondence. Standing up for yourself and believing that your stories have merit and your characters deserve to bathe in the light of the marketplace is the key to survival in this industry.

What’s on my mind

I’m thinking about reviews. It seems to be a very important part of building a fan base for the author. However, reviews are so subjective. I’m still waiting for the second set of proofs and therefore I’m not to the point of standing in the sandblaster of comments positive or negative ready to take my share.

I do have some experience with critical reviews. I had several chapters of three separate stories uploaded to a website where the stories were read and reviewed and in turn I read and reviewed others. Some comments were helpful, some were unsubstantiated, and others were taken with a grain of salt. One reader loved the story while another was quite critical. I have to go on faith that the criticisms were sincere.

I recently downloaded an audio book Florence Grace by Tracy Rees. I always refer to the comments, for who wants to start a book you just can’t finish. Of  the five comments four were positive and one was scathing. To be honest, it put me off the book for awhile. Finally, I decided to ignore the negative comment and read the book. Although, I haven’t finished the book I wonder about the negative, subjective, and wrong conclusion (according to me of course) about this wonderful story.

What’s my point? I know how important reviews, comments, and critiques are. I’m also aware of the damage that is done by negative comments. It is part of the game I suppose. There are so many variables; not an avid reader of a particular genre, basing the opinion on limited knowledge of the subject, and the inability to refrain from lashing out for no good reason. I know, I know it’s good to hear both sides; devil’s advocate and all, and sometimes negative publicity is as good as positive, for I wouldn’t be passionately writing on this very subject in this blog if it wasn’t. The book title and author would have gone down into the vast reservoir of filed away titles of all the books I have read.

Currently, I do have a book I’m having difficulty getting through. I planned to write a review (a practice I very rarely take advantage of). The first two chapters were good, but the third seemed redundant and I found two typos. I stopped there. So, what good would it do for me to write a negative review, mention the book’s title and author? I think it’s better to say nothing at all in this particular case.

For instance, the first set of proofs for my novel The Summer Palace had many typo’s that were caught by the proofreader. Some so glaring that I wonder where the heck my head was when I combed over it for the fourth time. Thank you proofreader for saving me from the embarrassment of spelling juggler instead of jugular. However, in my review of the MS I found more errors that were missed. So now, the second round which I’m told will take as long if not longer than the first set since it is the final frontier and once the words are in print there is no going back. That was over two months ago. Any correspondence by me is now met with an auto-reply. Am I really being that annoying? As I’ve mentioned before I didn’t get where I am by being passive. As the days wear on all that I learned about the importance of preparing for the publication of my book has filled my head with cement and the material is now hardening. I say this only to impress upon the reader the continuing frustration of getting a book to print. I can’t do much until the book is in my hand or is ready for release. So, I wait.

Moving on, I’m waiting but not immobilized. I am seriously leaning toward a fourth book in The Summer Palace series. The wonderful characters from the first book are now spread throughout Europe. Book three is so jam packed with adventure that I fear tying it all up in the last few chapters would be counterproductive to the ending I have settled upon.

There are two books I anxiously await. Book 2 of the Age of Swords Series by Michael J. Sullivan and Book 4 of the Bernicia Chronicles by Matthew Harffy both due out this summer. Well, it’s Memorial Day weekend and I hope everyone takes the time to enjoy family and friends and honor those who have served this great country and sacrificed their lives so we could be free.

Entertaining Thoughts

I’m wondering when the other shoe is going to drop. I haven’t received the second set of proofs. I sent them back to the publisher on March 20, 2017. I’m in a partnership with my publisher and suspect that my work is on hold until the final invoice is reconciled. I wait with my ducks in a row in a stalemate on the checker board waiting to say ‘king me.’ This is like a dog on a leash in a dog park; straining the arm of one while trying to get at the other.

In the meantime, I’m researching, writing, reading, and trying to stay current with my media outlets. I have plans but unfortunately cannot do a thing until a date is set for the launch of my book The Summer Palace. I have been making connections in my community with local authors, book clubs, and attending meetings. The third novel in The Summer Palace series now has an ending, the scenes have been gone over, and scrutinized. I found timeline problems, changed my mind about a few characters, and I’m doing research. I’m also considering a fourth book for the series. That is a battle in itself. The decision, in the beginning, to go from a short story to a novel was easy. The second book in the series The White Towers (not a definite title) was a no-brainer, either was the third book, Kende Castle (not a definite title)  for that matter. I’m struggling with a fourth. I need to find the catalyst that seemed to come forth for the others quite automatically.

I have an epic fantasy saga in the works (Woven In Time). It is more in line with my other book Places You Will Be From and I’m not sure if a genre change would be the best course of action from here. I do have The Tea Room in the wings along with The White Towers to present to the publisher as soon as The Summer Palace hits the book shelves.

I’m now looking at a mid to late June launch. The delay is putting my life on hold I’m literally in the dog park looking for a space under the fence big enough to get my big carcass through—it’s going to take a little more digging.

I’ve been reading a great series The Serpent Sword by Matthew Harffy. I started the third book Blood and Blade and I’m reading it ravenously. It’s 7th Century Brittan, dark, graphic, but well written and narrated (an audio book). I highly recommend these books if you are a fan of Historical Fiction. The protagonist Beobrand is a troubled, reluctant, and likable hero. I recently found out that there is a fourth book to be released this summer, so if you start now perhaps you’ll be ready for the fourth when it comes out (I love when that happens).

My take on this entire process? Feast or famine. The long wait for the first set of proofs and the frantic days that followed ended in another span of wait-lessness. An author that writes a book, manages to get it published, and ready to take on the challenge of marketing is not faint of heart. It takes aggressive action, self-confidence, and persistence. So, the waiting and inability to take the bull by the horns is a balloon-deflating experience. Thereby, if you don’t channel your creative fire hose elsewhere during these times, well I can’t imagine the outcome. For me, rabid refocusing was an alternative. Again, this is my experience and perhaps this is not the way it will be for someone else that takes on a partnership with a publisher. I’m told as soon as I get the second set of proofs, review, and return them I will be contacted by the marketing team and my book will be printed within the month. Everything I have read says to be prepared. Therefore, have that hole under the dog park fence dug and make sure your collar doesn’t get caught on those little prongy things.

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I heard that song on the radio moments ago. Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s brought back some memories and gave me the title for my latest blog. I am waiting for the second set of proofs and the final correction on the cover of my novel The Summer Palace. I have been waiting since I signed the contract last August. But, now, it has taken on a whole new dynamic. I am anxious to get started on the next phase of my journey – the Marketing phase. Since this is my first novel I have much to learn and I’m like a horse in the starting gate chomping at the bit for that gun to go off. Everything I have been juggling for the last months in preparation will be thrown up in the air as I dart out from beneath the falling tennis balls.

Once the proofs and the final cover are in and I can finalize them promptly; a print date will be set and the marketing team will contact me. But, I have no idea of what that entails. I have amped up my platform. I now have a website: http://www.sforrestnomakeo.com. I have a new facebook page: /sforrestnomakeo dedicated to my book The Summer Palace so FRIEND ME, and I have been faithfully blogging once a week right here LEAVE A COMMENT. I have a new twitter account @SForrestNomakeo so FOLLOW ME. I am getting a professional photo done and putting together a media package. I have a lot to learn and will share all when I learn more about the fascinating business of publishing.

Amazon is a whole new world, now, along with purchasing books and such from the online giant.  I now will build an Author’s Page as soon as I have a book available for sale. Then I need to solicit reviews and sales, and I will need to push all my family and friends who want copies (bless them) to Amazon or the brick and mortar book stores so I get credit for the sales. So, if I have a launch event and offer signed copies… how does that work? BYOB (Bring Your Own Book) most likely. I will let you know.

I have attended three local author events and attended one RW meeting and plan to attend another this weekend. It happens to be Jay’s (my spouse) birthday and we plan to make a day of it. Not sure if he’ll enjoy the Romance Writer’s meeting in a town outside Boston but he is the Marketing guy and we’re a team. He’ll most likely be on his iphone more than usual.

In the calm before the storm I’m READING: HEREWARD the END OF DAYS by James Wilde, WRITING: KENDE CASTLE the third book in the Summer Palace trilogy and not doing much ARITHMETIC I’ll leave that to my marketing expert.

Marketing 101

I’ve been doing research, viewing webinars, and building a more solid platform for myself. It seems if I thought my days were consumed with writing, editing, and reading, then… wait a minute, for the launch of my book. I’m so glad I set goals for myself last fall and have edited and finalized one WIP and written the sequel to the book I now await and have completed 50% of the third book in the trilogy—The Summer Palace, White Towers, and Kende Castle (the latter two titles are not final). For, now, I’ve read, the days are not long enough to market a novel properly. The publisher will help, they have all the connections and know-how, but don’t leave your heart and soul’s desires to someone else. Accept and appreciate all the publisher and distributor can offer, but be diligent with your own effort.

I have this blog and try to maintain it weekly. Since I’m in the throws of getting my book out there I need to do at least that much. I now have a website http://www.sforrestnomakeo.com. I need to glean more e-mail for my launch. Thanks to you I have quite a few from this blog, but I have started a newsletter which I have posted on my new website and ask visitors to subscribe to my Newsletter: ScriptNews Monthly. I have an e-mail account for all correspondence for my book: sforrestnomakeo@gmailcom (I just checked it to make sure it’s taking mail) so, I anxiously await.  I need to get professional business cards and a professional head shot to build a Media Kit which can be sent out at the push of a send button.

I also need to contact those that can assist in getting the word out about my first novel about to be launched (that sounds so good) as soon as the final set of proofs and cover are approved. Then a date will be set and ore-ordering can commence. The internet is full of suggestions for anything you can google. Marketing Tips, what an author should know about launching a novel, etc.

If you’re not a burgeoning author or enjoy writing and considering a leap of faith I’m not sure what this blog has to offer other than the occasional excerpt I include (gee, I haven’t done that for awhile). I am going to elicit a contest to suggest names for the last two titles of my trilogy, perhaps, that would be a good time to add a chapter, for how can you name a book you have no knowledge of? Not sure about that right at this moment.

I have also attended a few author events in my area, listened to readings from the promotion, and purchased two signed books. I also attended a Romance Writers meeting in CT and met with several authors who have books in print. I downloaded one of them and am reading the Kindle version on my phone. I like audio books for I’m somewhat vision impaired, but with a glass and my bi-locals I am able to read the text on my phone.

Speaking of reading, I have come across a great six-book series Hereward by James Wilde. Hereward the hero, is right up there with; Uhtred of Bemmenburg from the Last Kingdom Series by Bernard Cornwell, Sigurd Haraldson from the Rise of Sigurd Series and Osric Blood Eye from the Raven Series both by Giles Kristian. Since the third book in the Herewald Series is not available on audio I have downloaded it to read on my iphone as soon as I finish reading Annie’s Heart by Barbara Edwards. So far it’s a good historical fiction takes place in the Mid-West after the Civil War. Barbara is one of the women I met in CT last weekend at the RWC. I plan to leave a review on Amazon once I have finished. That is what I can do to help a fellow author and hope others will do the same for me when the time comes.

Another important note; everything I have done to date, especially here on this blog is to document my journey and share it with others if what I have done, and the successes I have enjoyed can be of any help to someone else then it was worth the effort. Also, the content is great to copy and paste into my newsletter, the Q’s and Synopsis’, etc. I have written can have sections copied and pasted into interesting (hopefully) content as well. Keep in mind the wealth of all you have done to date and ease your burden of coming up with new copy for your continuing journey. Until next time… keep writing.

Yet Another area of ignorance

Shocking? When I wrote my first novel I had no idea… ! It reminds me of the day when I was a typesetter and layout artist (yes, that long ago). Then, they brought in the Macs. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. History repeats. I wrote my novel and then had to figure out what I had in my hands. I wrote two more novels, getting better all the time (I hoped). My fourth novel was picked up and is currently being published. What inspired the content of this blog was the free webinar on Marketing A Novel I sat in on. After learning the method of better writing and then the seemingly insurmountable task of getting a publisher to look at it. I now find I am responsible for marketing it as well. The publisher is in a position to do a great amount of the marketing, but as an author I also have the responsibility to pursue yet another aspect of getting my novel into the hands of readers.

One of the things I came away from the webinar was that there are so many experts out there offering a formula for a successful run at getting a book published. Including myself to an extent. I remind the reader that I am only blogging about my experience, whatever luck I possess, and effort I put in. One hundred authors/experts will give you one hundred different views of their path to getting their book published.

Marketing is my husband’s area of expertise, lucky for me. I rely on him for this third prong of my journey. There are many hands out there willing to take your hard-earned money. They may be perfectly justified to do so considering the supply and demand element of capitalism. In my experience the most helpful donations I made to the cause was in professional editing. I listened to every word they said; I bought the tools they recommended, took to heart their constructive criticism, and focused on the job at hand. The fee for the book launch extravaganza was double what the full-weekend one-on-one with a highly successful professional editor was. (I didn’t opt for that one either). I started with a short story and paid a reasonable amount for the edit. I then had a partial MS edited. I was so far off the mark that the editor was able to put me on track it was after that I decided to settle on The Summer Palace as my do or die novel and make it the best work of art I could. The common denominator between the two experiences was that they both felt I had what it took to write a good novel.

We finalized the cover for The Summer Palace. I decided to do the original artwork to eliminate copyright fees and legalities. I was very happy with the results and so was my production manager. I’m waiting (again) for the second round of proofs. As soon as I approve and sign off– it’ll take about one month to print. So, hence, the marketing issues looming up at me. As a result of the marketing webinar I now realize I probably should have started months ago. Three months is the recommended time to do a launch justice. I have less than two. I think. I have to rely on e-mails I have collected, facebook friends and family, and I need to find others who can influence buyers of books and get them to steer toward mine. Then I’ll need to set goals and commit to marketing efforts at least two times a week for a solid year–promotional emails, book signings, interviews, etc.

I am now glad I set some goals for myself to finish the two books and start a third while I waited all fall and winter for the first set of proofs from the publisher, for now my mind is preoccupied searching for local book clubs, networking with local authors, and establishing myself as an author as well as a writer.

Older and Wiser

Shortly after my last post I received the first round of proofs from my publisher. Now, I am a little wiser as far as this process goes and can share some things. The files came to me in Word with all the capable tools for marking up proofs. It was a pleasant experience, after the learning curve. I happened to have had an edit done earlier to a short story I wrote, so I was somewhat familiar with the process. It took about five hours to go through the 71,000 some odd words. Then I settled in to re-read the MS which I haven’t looked at in six months. After I sent in the MS originally I found a few typo’s that I made and winced. Well, there were plenty errors: glaring ones, simple ones spell check didn’t pick up on, and punctuation. The book was styled: indents, title pages, and em dashes. So, now, I have a keener sense of how my publisher formats their books. This is good to know as I write the sequel and other novels for publishing. I hope they like what else I have to offer them.

Getting back to my point. I took me four days to go through the MS. Remember, before I ever sent in my MS I spent four months; reading, re-reading, and editing my novel. (Does it ever end?). It takes a lot of discipline to leave well enough alone. However, I did find some edits that needed to be made even at this point. So many questions are now answered. I wasn’t sure if the proofs would come in as hard copy or in an e-file that was not familiar to me. I work on a Mac and was able to convert the Word file over to Pages and get through it. I feel so much the wiser.

The waiting issue? More waiting about one more month to see a second set of proofs; from writing incessantly to reviewing the MS first set of proofs my mind has had to shift. I haven’t written in about six days. There is also a cover design but it hasn’t been finalized yet. Marketing is a big part of the story yet to be told. These days it’s up to the author to be savvy about getting the word out about their awesome novel in my case, it’s The Summer Palace. I will also learn about that part of the process as we proceed.

Please keep the comments coming. I appreciate all you have to say.

The Life of a Writer

I am a writer. Soon to be an Author. Pe,rhaps, I’m already one. Not sure what the qualification is. Doesn’t matter, for I feel like one. I have become insular, writing constantly, and quite boring at social events. I set goals for myself. Last year, at this time, my goal was to get published before my next (monumental) birthday). I fell short by four months. Those four months were spent doing what I am still doing today– dedicating myself to my craft, constantly at it, and not doing much else. Oh, I step away for coffee, bringing my daughter back and forth to school, and making dinner. After the goal I had set for myself was reached I decided I needed to complete a WIP that requieed much editing and re-writing, and I threw in the project of writing a sequel to the book currently being published. I reached that goal and then some. I decided the series would be a trilogy and that is 50% completed.

I realize when the proofs do arrive I will be going through my story again with a fine-toothed comb with time available for little else, hence the writing frenzy I have been engaged in. I do love this earlier stage of writing. I am writing scenes but being careful to keep within a time sequence. I have learned to avoid mistakes that catch up in the editing stage causing major re-work, but then again there are plenty more mistakes to go around.

That reminds me. I went back and read some of my earlier blogs. So many mistakes, but I decided not to edit them at this point. It’s a reminder of how raw I really was starting out. And still, after all this time the editors at the publishing company have their own style that is inherent and no amount of my re-working and sweating over commas and participles will gel. That is the point I was at when I submitted Summer Palace after four grueling months of re-work. I was adding commas during one pass and removing them on another. I closed the cover (so to speak) and sent it off with all the necessary attachments. Of the ten queries I sent at that time only two were responded to. One was a hit. Within two weeks of sending three sample chapters a request for a full MS came through.

Summer Palace was originally a short story. I wanted to enter a contest and asked my sister for a prompt. From one line, a mere suggestion of a story, a stand alone novel turned into a trilogy.

Now, if they react to the sequel as they did to the original, and so on, it’ll be the best news I’ve heard in about seven months. The protagonists Katia and Wiley are fifteen and seventeen years old respectively. In the third book they are mid-thirties. The setting goes from Russia in the first, to Poland in the second, and Hungary in the third installment. Each book spanning about eight years average from the end of the Seventeenth Century to the beginning of the Eighteenth Century. It’s a love story wrapped up in Historical Fiction. So much uncertainty from wars, slavery, and childbirth to contemplate.

I am intrigued by Eastern Europe in this time period. In my research I run across people, places, and things that inspire me. It is the passion for these things that come through in my stories, keep me writing, and creating characters that might have lived then working their way through each crisis. The odds are against Katia and Wiley every step of the way. Read about their lives and the interesting people they meet along the way, places they make their own, and lives they influence.

Thanks again for comments and keep reading the blog for updates and the final announcement that the book is in print and where you can pick it up.