It has been three months since the last post. Many things have kept me busy, mainly working with the publisher bringing out my novel, but I am more occupied with moving to Colorado. A contract on my present home is pending and the same applies to a house I’m buying in the Rocky Mountains. Once I’m past these things and settled in a new home I can get back to what I love, marketing books and writing.
My work revolves around promotion, publishing, and penning (the next book).
Promotion applies to my first book, “War in the Mountains”, a narrative history of Civil War actions around Asheville, N.C., and East Tennessee during 1864-1865. I try for one event per month, speaking on the book or selling it. In June I spoke before a historical group in Bartlett, Tennessee and in July attended the Civil War show in East Ridge near Chattanooga. This month I am set to speak to a group, meeting in Asheville, N.C.
Meanwhile, I frequent a Barnes and Noble in my area which keeps my book well stocked on a shelf marked “local author”. I have been fortunate to meet lots of readers, many who express interest in my work. Once in a while someone buys my book, asking me to sign it. These are special occasions.
On the publishing side, I’m working with Covenant Books to get my new novel “Alaska Deadly” into print. The process is about half completed, and I hope to see the book debut later this year. The novel will include an audio book since some readers asked about this format with “War in the Mountains” and were disappointed. Now that Covenant provides this option, I have no reluctance making the additional investment.
Just after submitting my novel’s manuscript, I had a New York editor critique my work. Although it was costly, his opinion and suggestions led me to revising and rewriting portions of the book, cutting more than a dozen pages. I had two follow-up phone sessions to ask questions and seek additional advice.
The other thing I do as an author is “penning”, writing my next book, a sequel. As I told my editor, while his advice helped improve my first novel, the greatest impact will be on the book I’m writing now. What he said shifted my understanding of what I do, causing me to see things differently.
Although I believed my style of writing was effective, I was too close to the work. I could not see things a casual reader might see. Aspects of the writing were below awareness, the way a lot of the creative process works. But my editor acted as coach, pointing out weaknesses, showing me what I need to work on. It was as though he took the blinders off, allowing me to see truths about my writing, things that became immediately obvious.
Now I am more excited about engaging the creative process. I have more confidence, knowing what to avoid and I have a clearer view of how to proceed. But getting there is more difficult than before. The work is harder but more satisfying.
One thing that hasn’t changed is my method and style. I write with only a vague notion of where I’m going, but the way is revealed as I fumble forward. Apparently the trade calls these types “pantsers”, as opposed to “planners”. I don’t think any writer is entirely one or the other because I sometimes stop and make notes or do rough sketches of what I’m working on.
But my main focus now has nothing to do with writing. My attention is on the move from Cordova, Tennessee to Colorado. I will miss the home I have lived in for thirty-three years, especially the upper office where I wrote two books. But the house is too big for one person, and I look forward to being close to my daughter’s family in Buena Vista in the Rocky Mountains. Although I love the South where I have deep roots, I recognize the need to move on. Nothing in life stays the same and the passing years reveal this truism as a matter of course. We can only try to adapt and possibly find a better life in the process.