Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Up the creek, no paddles necessary


One of the many benefits of living where we do is access to nature. I found green spaces when we lived in West Philly - I spent a lot of time in Woodland Cemetery - but out here, there are more options, even closer to home.

This past week or so has been unbearably hot. It's been pretty much the same everywhere, so I'm only complaining so much, and it's our choice that we don't have AC (except in my husband's office, which faces west and gets all the afternoon sun). 

When my blood begins to simmer and working at home becomes difficult, I head down the street, along a cut-through maintained by the borough, down a slope occupied equally by poison ivy and foxes, and end up at a small branch of Darby Creek, which is usually deserted during the day. 

I take off my shoes, climb out to a big rock in the middle of the creek, and plant myself with my phone or my Kindle, and stay until the mosquitoes discover my presence. I actually managed to get a lot written - dictated - the other day, so I was still working, just remotely. It takes my temperature down by at least ten degrees, and unless I take the long way home, I'm still cool when I get in.

Summer has never been my favorite season. I think it gets sold to us as something wonderful when we're kids, because we're off school and fun things happen then, but I was always the weird kid who got excited for September, and school supplies. My heart still beats faster when I see notebooks.

What about you? Are you keeping cool in this heat wave, or are you lucky enough to be someplace where it isn't swamplike?

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

The books that made me

It made me happy when Meg Ryan talked
about the Shoes books in "You've Got Mail"
There's a thing going around on social media right now, with writers (and readers) posting about "the books that made them," or the books that basically raised us.

I was a voracious reader as a kid, lugging home as many books from our weekly library trips as I could carry, and buying - when I could find them - copies of my favorites for my own library. I amassed a ridiculous number of books for a kid, and when this conversation cropped up, I dug around and realized just how many I still had.

The books here are grouped either by series (Little House, Betsy-Tacy, Borrowers, Elizabeth Enright) or by vague themes identifiable only by me. 

Most were notable in one way or another in my development as a reader, writer, or human.

What were the books that made you? How many of these have you read?

As a kid, I loved dollhouses, so the
idea of miniature people? Yes, please.

I read these more than a few times. I would
have replaced them, but they discontinued
the original yellow covers.

Loved these - the first 4 were family
stories, the Gone Away books were too,
but they were also about old houses and 
odd people. Great illustrations.

The random collection. I read Flambards from the 
library, but bought the TV tie-in in the 80s.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is
just as good now as it was as a kid.

I grew up with the Betsy books. There were
a half dozen for little kids, then the
high school and after books. Betsy and
the Great World
made me want to travel.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

And it's done!

So am I, by the way, but I'll recover.

One of the most difficult things about publishing - not writing, but publishing - is having to learn to do things in Word that I never had to learn in 30 years of working as a legal secretary.

I probably should have learned how to use styles and to turn page numbering off and on at will, several times in a document, but I didn't. And now I regret that.

The hardest part about getting the omnibus files ready for upload was actually reformatting the song lyrics and letters so that they would appear properly in the ebook format. Not that they weren't properly formatted before, but I wanted them to look better and I finally found a tutorial that gave me what I wanted. 

So, of course, at 3:00 a.m. last Thursday, I got out of bed and came downstairs and reformatted all those block quotes, because the idea of them being wrong would not allow me to sleep.

All this to say, the omnibus is done. The Tudor Court - The Complete First Trilogy (plus a bonus Tom and Bess short story) is now available for a brief pre-order, delivered straight to your device on Friday, July 15. For the seriously discounted price of $7.99.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

A little something extra

Well, this was unexpected. 

Lady, in Waiting, the third book in my Tudor Court series, came out in February. While I do intend to go back to this series at some point - after I finish with the 1930s - three books are sufficient to make an omnibus collection, and that's what I'm currently working on.

It was on my eventual list of things to do, but one of the writing groups I belong to on Facebook made the point that the readers who buy box sets are different from the readers who buy one book at a time. They're also often the bargain shoppers - three books for the price of two? They're on it.

So that's what I've been up to over the long weekend - compiling all three manuscripts into one, swearing a blue streak at Word (and myself) because the styles for the three books don't match and I had to remove all the formatting and put it back to get the table of contents to work. You wouldn't think I'd been a legal secretary for 30 years, turning Word inside out and making it do my bidding. I've never been a fan of styles, and I'm still not, but I am a fan of only having to format my ebooks once, so this work will be worth it in the end.

And before the end of July, The Tudor Court - The Complete First Trilogy, will be available for purchase.

And I will be a small puddle on the floor, scrabbling to reach the keyboard to get back to work.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

June Roundup

June has been another month where I feel like I've done nothing but chase my tail - which is why this roundup post is so useful for me.

What I think I've done all month - a little writing, a little editing. Far too much time on social media. A craft show where I sold a few books. Other stuff?

Looking at my planner, what I've actually done is: 

Mastered and uploaded the audiobook files for A Wider World, which is/will soon be available on all retail sites and for purchase by library systems. 

Organized a one-day discount for Songbird, which netted some nice sales and will hopefully bring readthrough for the rest of the series. 

Worked with my designer to come up with a cover for the Tudor Court box set, which will be an ebook only compilation of the first three books of the series. For people who haven't purchased yet, it will be priced at $9.99; in other words, three books for the price of two. I'm not doing a paperback; it's just too chunky.

Light editing on Songbird's text file so that it flows better with A Wider World and Lady, in Waiting. I haven't changed the book at all, but its chapters were very long as compared to the other two, so I split them to make the reading experience more consistent.

A farmers market/craft show in my town, where I sold 5 books, including a copy of A Wider World to an elderly neighbor who texted me from her doctor's office and told me that she'd just finished Songbird and I'd made her cry in public.