Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Take a break

Last week was a little insane. 

I had a community craft show on Sunday, plus my writing friend Marian Thorpe arrived from Canada that evening and we went to dinner with her. 

On Monday, she and I met up after breakfast and drove out to the Brandywine Museum, which houses a lovely collection of art by the Wyeth family - N.C., Andrew, and Jamie. 

Personally, I'm a sucker for the old N.C. Wyeth paintings, because I remember them as book illustrations and I've always been a fan of that era.

But the pig sculpture below is based on a painting of Jamie's, and he's rather lovely. We wandered through the museum, had lunch there, and then drove over to Ridley Creek State Park to have a proper walk-and-talk. When Marian and I get together, we spend most of our time discussing our current projects, our characters (and since we talk frequently, we know each other's characters almost as well as our own), and our next projects. Hours passed. Stories were plotted.

On Tuesday - book launch day - we met at my favorite local eatery, an Irish diner run by a Mexican family, which serves a stellar menu of both cuisines. Once full of breakfast, we went to the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge for more of the same walking-and-talking, and wore ourselves OUT. That was an early day. She went back to her hotel and I went home to watch my Amazon dashboard (all the pre-orders don't come in at once, but all throughout the day, and so I kept checking to see if/when they arrived).

Wednesday was a later start. We had coffee, then drove into Philadelphia because Marian was doing a presentation on world-building in fantasy and I wanted to ride along and listen. My first college class! It was a great time, with engaged students asking good questions. Afterward, we drove around the city a bit and I gave her a tour of some sites that appear in Coming Apart.

We got back to the house in time to swap cars, pick up my husband, and go to dinner in West Philadelphia at another favorite place. By the time we got back home, she and I felt absolutely drunk, and there had been no alcohol involved. Just so much good conversation, plotting, brain work, and fresh air over several days. 

It took through this weekend to fully recover and to type up all the weird and random notes I made into my phone about Ava and Claire's books 2 and 3. We did this same thing last November, with the same results for both of us. Having another writer brain to bounce ideas off is invaluable.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

It's here!


Thank you to EVERYONE who made Coming Apart's release the best one ever!

For those who ordered ebooks, they should have arrived on your devices promptly at midnight. Paperbacks may already be in your hot hands - I opened that for sale a bit early so I could get some reviews and lure in potential readers.

Still feeling my celebration a bit - champagne will do that - but I'll pop back in later in the week with a few more podcast links and (when my copies arrive) a giveaway for a paperback of Coming Apart.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Podcast - Authors Over 50

Popping in for the third time this week with a little announcement - I told you earlier that I was a guest on the Authors over 50 podcast, and here it is!

You can listen/watch the episode here on YouTube, but if you'd rather have us in your ears while you're out enjoying the fine fall weather, you can download the episode from Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, or wherever you choose to listen.

If you enjoy the episode, I'd highly recommend you subscribe to the podcast to have weekly interviews delivered right to your ears. Julia is an excellent interviewer, and I enjoyed our conversation so much.

I hope you do, too. If you listen, leave a comment and tell me what you thought.


Wednesday, October 12, 2022

What if?

And now for something a little different.

A few months ago, I was asked to participate in a historical-themed anthology - the topic/era was my choice, but it had to be a historical "what if?"

"What if?" Isn't that every historical writer's dream? We look long and hard for all the right facts for our writing, but every so often, our minds ask... "what would have happened if this hadn't?"

Alternate Endings is coming November 1, when eight authors from the Historical Writers Forum answer their favorite nagging questions, from "what if Caesar had never conquered Gaul," to "what if Arthur Tudor hadn't died and Henry was just his younger and overambitious brother" (mine, no surprises there) to "what if Abigail Adams had convinced her husband and the other founding fathers to give women the vote?"

I'll share the order link as soon as I have one. I've read most of the stories by now, and it's a really fabulous collection!

One more week!!

It's almost here!

You know how you look forward to something and it's forever in the distance and then, all of a sudden, it's RIGHT HERE and you feel barely prepared? 

That's me right now. I've been working on Coming Apart for so long, and then planning the launch, organizing podcast interviews (more about that soon!), getting advance reviews in order so that potential readers who don't know me will have some idea about the book, releasing the paperback a bit early (surprise!) so I could order author copies from Amazon, and, now, scheduling an in-person launch event. (More on that also later, when I've got it together).

So that's really all I have to say today. A podcast episode will be dropping tomorrow, so I'll post a link to it then - it was a really good discussion on a podcast for writers who've taken up the craft (or taken it up as a profession) after the age of 50. 

Which is me. Somehow. (When did that happen again?)

Monday, October 10, 2022

Lemonade (or as close as I can get)

So last week was the vacation-that-wasn't, and I really think that karma should have taken note of our sacrifice (willing or not) and given us at least a bit of decent weather so we could do fun, staycation=type things. 

Because of hurricane Ian, we got 5 days of rain and wind, which canceled the craft show I had jumped on and basically kept us in the house the entire time. Again, not the worst thing in the world, considering what that hurricane did to the southern US, but still. I'm allowing myself a small gripe.

We couldn't even do the home improvement projects we'd had vaguely planned because every time we tried to go to Home Depot, it was bucketing down and I wasn't up for wrangling a sheet of drywall into the car and having it melt in my hands, or trying to get the new vanity out and into the house without turning into two drowned rats, which would then entail mopping the kitchen.

Nope. I stayed in and wrote, worked on an editing job, did some completely recreational reading, caught up on sewing projects for myself and craft shows, and gazed out the window at my garden, watching my tomatoes split from excess water.

At my instigation, my husband kept his days off from work because if we're not going on an organized trip, he hardly ever takes off and ends up losing time every year. He did whatever he does on his upstairs computer for hours on end, emerging at dinnertime filled with information and podcasts and YouTube videos of old obscure sci-fi shows, and we'd eat and then settle in on the couch.

It was a bit like lockdown in March 2020, but without the same level of fear, and without having to wipe down any groceries we managed to get out to buy. Time together is never a bad thing.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

The queen is dead

Forgive me, but as a reader and writer of historical fiction, the death of Hilary Mantel is more upsetting than the death of Queen Elizabeth who, at least, was 96 and in frail health and although upsetting, was certainly not a surprise to anyone.

Hilary Mantel was 70, and as far as we knew, healthy. She had many more books in her - and apparently at least one in progress.

Her Wolf Hall books are an amazing achievement. They changed the way I looked at Thomas Cromwell and the writing of history generally.

My only consolation is that she has quite a back catalog that I have not read yet, so until I do, she isn't truly gone.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

September Roundup

Well, this was a month, wasn't it?

Much of September was spent in either prepping for the release of Coming Apart or working on the sequel. Both are coming along nicely, and there are only 16 more days until Coming Apart is released!

In prepping for release, I've been working on marketing graphics, guest blog posts, and I did two podcast interviews (with another one coming on October 6). They haven't aired yet - they'll be out the week of release - and I'll make sure I link to them if you're curious to hear me blather on about the project.

I shouldn't say blather. It's disrespectful to both me and my work, but occasionally I do. Blather.

It was an interesting month for sales, because generally 70-75% of my sales come from the UK, and when the queen died, those sales fell right off a cliff and are still recovering. At one point I looked at the nice little pie chart that Amazon provides on my publishing dashboard and thought, "Wow, look how many more US buyers I had this month," but actually it was probably the exact same percentage as always, it just looked better because 15% of my UK sales vanished in a puff of royal smoke.

Still. I can't count on UK sales for Coming Apart. I imagine Pennsylvania during the Great Depression will be a bit of a harder sell over there - not to say that I won't try.

One of the podcast interviews I did asked why I chose self-publishing. Aside from the fact that I'd already tried everything else and it didn't suit me, it's because of the trying. When I'm not in charge, there's only so much I can do. If it's all on me, I have to try. Again and again. Until I find something that works.