The Lady with the Pen – An interview with Inge H Borg


I am delighted to present an interview with Inge H. Borg, a multi-talented lady who writes fascinating novels covering several different genres.  I think an interesting life makes for interesting writing (and considerable charm) and Inge fits this notion.  She graciously agreed to let me interview her:

You are  a lady who knows what she likes and has the Austrian flair for expression and charm.

Diana, thank you for your kind words. Now that my head is bigger, i.e. swelled, I am happy to answer some questions. I really do appreciate my visit with you and your blog-fans here.

In the time that I have known Inge H. Borg (her author’s name) I have learned that she is humorous, wise, understanding, with a spark of mischief.  I also learned, to my surprise, that she was not born speaking English, but learned this terribly difficult language, which she speaks better than I do. 

In the course of our conversations she has let slip facts about her life that hint of travel, of cosmopolitan experiences, with a dash of intrigue.  So let me ask: can you tell us about your life, where you grew up, what you learned and where (schools?  Training?) and what brought you here? 

I am an old Austrian mountain goat (think Heidi), but left home on a long train ride when I was 18 to do the “au pair-thing,” first in London and then in Paris. An opportunity opened up and I worked a year in Moscow at the French Embassy (Talk about intrigues. Perhaps better not.) 

I actually vacationed in Sochi (recently of Olympic fame). This is interesting because I left Russia for a great job at the 1964 Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck from where I was transferred to Vienna to help prepare for the Tokyo Games; alas, I had to wait for another 8 years before I got there on a tour. 

In Vienna, a new company recognized me as a ‘gypsy’ and sent me to Chicago. After three years, my heels itched and I moved to Boston. Loved that town! However, a former NYC multi-national corporation beckoned and I moved to New Hampshire to join the ranks of “them,” meaning that if you were recognized as one of “them,” the price went up as soon as you entered an antique store 

During another frigid winter, somebody said that I would love San Diego with its good opera and palm trees. That was enough for me…except that my boos cautioned that in California, they were all crazy and young. Heck, I wasn’t even dead yet. Sold my little house, gave the cat away (he rejoined me via American Airlines six months later), and drove my little Opel cross-country. And what a grandiose country it is! 

After I managed to buy a townhouse in La Jolla, that Jewel of the Pacific Coast, I thought I had died and gone to heaven – I also thought I would never leave it. You know what they say! Okay, it was time to come down from my lofty existence, and I searched the Internet for a little house I might like with high ceilings and a garage. Anywhere on a lake. “Anywhere” turned out to be in the Foothills of the Ozarks. I mean, Arkansas. 

Okay. Off I went. This time in an older Volvo and with my old cat. House turned out to be perfect. While I am not right on the lake, I look out over a golfcourse. Alas, once again, it is colder than I had imagined and I dream of warm ocean breezes and tropical islands. Who knows what the future holds. 

Aren’t you sorry now you asked?
Not at all, Inge.  As one who moved a great deal, I admire your adventurous outlook. 

I encountered you for the first time on Goodreads, where you are a Goodreads author.  You had quite a few books to your credit – poetry, humor, intrigue.  Can you tell me about them?
Inge H. Borg’s books, from Mystery to Intrigue to Poetry to heartwarming memories…
 I am glad you touched on some of my books’ ‘traits.’ Probably like most of us, I started out being ‘earnest’ with my outpourings, mainly my poems. 


Then, I discovered that there was this mischievous splint in my soul and I dared to mix some lighter stuff into my writing (and if anyone asks, I will steadfastly deny that any of that stemmed from my own experiences. I will also deny that I sometimes tell a fib). 

How long have you been writing?

I began to concoct fairly good essays rather early mostly to make up for my mathematical ineptitude. (My mother even told the school principal to ‘let it go.’ It was hereditary.) Luckily, the stunned man obliged and let me matriculate with good grades all around.

Tell me about passages in your books of which you are most proud of. 

I feel that the three Prologues for Khamsin, Sirocco and Cataclysm are my most ‘cherished’ passages. They set the mood, introduce foreboding, and even clarify the choice for the titles. But for the sake of not making this interview interminable (people hate that), why don’t I post them separately on my blog. By the way, there is a funny annotation from a native English-speaker after he was told (by me) to leave them alone!

What was it that made you start writing?

You mean, books? Actually, it was a chance suggestion from a colleague at work. I started my painstaking research (no Internet then) in 1991. When I had Khamsin done (all 250,000 words of it), my eager ‘mentor’ offered himself up to be my ‘editor.’ 


The outcome was quite funny (in retrospect). Not to bore you here, I will write another post for my blog as to how that little venture worked out:

 http://devilwinds.blogspot.com/

I have linked to my review of Khamsin.  The happenings of that novel appear in your later ones, most intriguingly.  Tell us about that.

After years of querying agents (surely you remember that painful process), just about two years ago, I happened on an article about Amazon’s self-publishing opportunities. I slashed and burned 100,000 words until I was happy with this Historical Fiction novel about Ancient Egypt. 


The learning curve of figuring out how to format for e-book and print was as steep as my first cover was banal. Luckily, we befriended each other on Goodreads – with the result that you designed a wonderful cover for Khamsin; windswept and foreboding; I can taste the gritty sand between my teeth. You also inserted a winged scarab which I then gave more importance in the novel itself—hence, the Legends of the Winged Scarab series was born; thanks to your inspiration. 


Book 2 – SIROCCO, Storm over Land and Seais a modern-day archaeological thriller that deals with the Golden Tablets from Khamsin. From Cairo to the Kharga Oasis, through the Red Sea. A storm-tossed sailboat in the Med, with action on Cyprus and a devastating sirocco that sweeps over Crete. (Travel, anyone?)

One of the main characters is a powerful fierce Egyptian archaeologist who has vowed to save his country’s heritage from the new Morsi government; and is fired for it. Oh, he always wears a Fedora hat. (Anyone?)

What projects are you working on at the moment in the writing field?

I am working on Book 3 – After the Cataclysm. We now follow those Golden Tablets to an island off Venezuela. I have also given a real ghost ship a new life (they are still looking for it in the Atlantic; I will have a link to its dedicated website in my book). This dystopian novel plays out around 2016 after the eruption of a super-volcano.

You have written about, and worked with, rescued shelter animals and have adopted two beautiful Maine Coon cats. Pasha and Lilliput. Since Pasha  is the more gregarious one, his handsome self is on the cover of his own book.  This obviously plays a large part in your life: tell us about it.

After I retired and moved to Arkansas, I was roped in for an hour or two a week to do volunteer work at a small local animal shelter. You know how that goes.


Within a short time, I had chucked my high heels and silk suits and was scooping you-know-what on a regular basis. My book not only tells of the wonderful cats and dogs we cared for, but of some of my initial hilarious ineptitudes and how I was taught to overcome my lifelong cynophobia; by the dogs, of course. 

Let us pretend that you somehow came into a situation where you could go wherever you wished and do whatever you wished.  Where would you go, and what would you do?

Have a delightful, simply little bungalow in Hana on Maui. There, on my terrace facing the ocean, I would – what else – write the day away. 

If you could go back to any time in history, whether ancient or recent, where would you go?

I often felt that I was born one hundred years too late, and that I would have loved Vienna during the last of its imperial hurrah. Of course, my dream fully assumes that I would have belonged to the privileged few. If, in reality, I would have been a chambermaid or worse, things obviously would not have been so much to my liking. Ah yes, we all have our little illusions about ourselves…I only pray that I do not have them about spewing forth pertinent and interesting words by the thousands.

I am going to be coming by for dinner at your house, Inge.  What would you serve?

How delightful, Diana. I know that you are a good cook. I, however, am an utter disaster in the kitchen. So, if you want meat, I hope you like shoe-leather.

Hm…  Shoe leather…  I think that is called Jerky here.  I like jerky, but perhaps I’ll roll up my sleeves and cook something while you entertain me with sparkling conversation and some Merlot (see below).

I have two menus for dinner guests; after that, understanding friends are either served the same thing, or guests don’t come again. Since one of my menus includes fresh seafood (easy when I lived in San Diego), things are a bit more dicey in Arkansas. Here, the stuff is either frozen or it’s fried catfish. So, I think I’ll serve my failsafe cheese/broccoli soufflé with a nice Merlot (same difficulty goes for wine; this is a dry county and my neighbors and I often lug contraband for the whole street over from the next county); astounding—or  should I say archaic—laws in this day and age. 

But I am sure your blog-fans are not interested my lack of culinary prowess. Hopefully, they’ll want to check out my writing as well as that of other talented Indie authors whom I have featured on my two blogs. 

For my historical fiction, my blog is:

Pasha, that sweet beast, has his own blog where I also feature other authors and their animals.

To toot my own horn, I hope that your readers will check out my various author pages:

Diana, thank you again for having me on your great blog.

It is always a pleasure ‘talking’ with you, Inge, and I think everyone will enjoy the links and the books and getting to know you.  …now, about that Merlot? 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Khamsin The Devil Wind of the NileKhamsin The Devil Wind of the Nile by Inge H. Borg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ancient Egypt is thought of, by many, as the dawn of history. This book takes you to a time that is before history, bringing to life names that we only know from fragments, harking to a rhythm and image that is smoothed and darkened by time. And yet the author makes them human.

This is the very earliest period of dynastic Egypt, a time when the border between history and legend is blurred, when the kings and queens of that land seem to be gods that stepped down from the bowl of the sky and trod the land…

The author states:
At the dawn of the great Egyptian dynasties, before any Pyramids were built and the camel was introduced to the Nile regions, certainly long before the royal title of Pharaoh came into use, Aha rules as the second King of the First Dynasty… H i8s triumph and tragedy plays out centuries before the Greek colonization of the Two Lands… To this day our vague answers are drawn only from relics and mummies of much later dynasties, their cities wrenched from the hot red dust driven into the verdant river valley for fifty days by the Khamsin, the dreaded Devil Wind of the Nile. In Khamsin, the reader is immersed in the life of the fertile Valley of the Nile, as flesh and muscle have been molded back onto those brittle bones…

She molds them well. We meet characters that catch the exotic cadences of the faraway times as we follow the fate of a life conceived in the beginning pages. We watch first one character and then another – the general of the Fourth Army of Amun, who is tender to his faraway wife, lusty with a woman of the desert, and crafty. (And I must remember never to go back to that time and agree to carry an important message…)

And we meet Ramose…

This is a story to savor, written lusciously, with care and enjoyment. I grew to love Ramose, to enjoy his dry wit and his wide-eyed mysticism. The writing is lyrical at times, so rare in a time of utilitarianism, and the Khamsin is in the background, lending its tone to the story.

I enjoyed this – and I rejoice to tell you that Ms. Borg has written another, arising from this but far, far in the future from this story. I think you will enjoy it, too.
View all my reviews

Progress on my WIP


From my latest WIP, due to come out February 2014, God willing and the creek don’t rise.  ( © 2013 by Diana Wilder)  Good Day’s work.  Now to fiddle with it…

     ——  ***  ——

The main character, Hori, has spent four years as an acolyte at a temple.  As Crown Prince, he has been summoned back to court by his father, who is planning a campaign that will lead to the first international treaty in history. The scene opens with him leaving the army barracks (he is a general) and returning to his quarters to prepare for a state feast. 
Hori could hear the roar of the feast in the distance.  Drums, flutes…   Laughter….
He spared a thought for the silences at Opet, the calm courtyards at the Temple of Ptah.  Or the ringing, clear skies on the coast of Byblos…  The stillness was still there, somewhere, if only within himself.
**   **   **
     “That is much better,” Neter said. Hori was wearing the lion-head pendant Gold of Honor his grandsire had awarded him after that difficult fight on the Libyan border. A cylindrical necklace awarded by General Djedi during Hori’s second campaign sat at the base of his throat.  He shook his head at the broad collar.  Too heavy, too ornate. 
     He slid a pair of plain gold armlets up either arm as Neter clasped two bracelets on his wrists. 
     Neter was frowning around the room.  “Your diadem, My Prince—  I don’t see it.”
     “I will go bare-headed,” Hori said.  He had tucked the jewel away in one of his chests just that morning.  “It is late.  There will be other feasts – and the wind can stir my hair tonight.  There will be precious little wind in that throng otherwise!”
     Neter smiled and shook his head.  “There will be wind of another sort,” he said.  “Your Royal Highness is wise.” 
     He is growing old, Hori thought, remembering how he had seen Neter serving his grandsire during the years Hori had been trained by King Seti.  He had some wealth of his own.  He could settle Neter in comfortable retirement when the man wanted it…
     Neter unstoppered the small carnelian flask of kohl and inserted the rounded stick.  “It will take a moment to refresh the kohl around your eyes.  Do hold still this time, Highness: I don’t wish to have to explain to His Majesty why his eldest son has to wear a patch over his eye!”
     Hori closed his eyes and raised his eyebrows.  “It would tend to skew my archery,” he said through his teeth.
     “Indeed it would.”  Neter put the flask away.  “You are ready, My Prince, although others will no doubt be wearing tunics of royal linen.”
     “The more fool they.  They think layers of cloth hides flabby stomachs.  I have nothing to hide.” He grinned at Neter’s suppressed smile. “Thank you. Get some rest, yourself. I’ll put myself to bed when I return. And do you go to the master of the feast and tell him I have requested that you be given food and drink.” He took the small ring from his finger and gave it to Neter, then waited as the man swung the door open for him.
     He seemed for a moment to be facing a long path that arrowed before him into the distance.  He had not yet set foot upon it and at that moment he had the sense that once he took the step forward that would set him on that path, he would have no way to turn back, then or ever.
     Behind him lay the aftermath of a tiring, satisfying day.  Before him lay…  He did not know, and it was for him to bring it into being.  And yet—
     He could turn back.  Remain in his rooms, plead fatigue, plead—what? The press of duty?  Where did his duty lie? 
     Did he truly have to ask?
     He drew a deep breath and stepped into the dim hallway.  The door closed softly behind him.
**   **   **
     His Majesty had set the feast in the palace’s western gardens, to catch the last glint of the sun upon Imhotep’s masterpiece. Hori moved softly along the dim walkway, his bare feet thudding upon the sand-cushioned ground.  The afternoon breeze had risen and he could see the whirl and sweep of swallows chasing insects.  One passed so close, he could feel the light breeze from its wings.
     He could see the doorway in the distance.  Dark wood doors firmly closed upon intruders, even as the Temple of Ptahwas giving a gala dole to those who were in need. 
     No doubt, Hori thought, remembering the years that he had been present at the dole in Opet. 
     The cool of the evening was yielding to increasing warmth.  Hori could feel it building as he drew near the door, like the strengthening current of an unseen river.  Warmth from the press of bodies, the air passing in and out of active lungs, the warmth rising from movement, from the blood pulsing through their veins.
     What had seemed a murmur when he stepped into the hallway had grown to a rising hum.  He could see a thread of light through the closed doors.
     He hesitated.  The air would be hot and stale, full of the fumes of beer and souring wine…
     He took a step, another, and in his mind he could see himself turning away, moving down the hallway toward increasing brightness and his own rooms.
     A thread of incense touched him and he could hear the wheedling of a flute beyond the doors.  He paused, biting his lip.  He suddenly knew that if he went through that door, it would be to step into a changed life.
     You must lead yourself, Hori.  If you do not go forward, you must go back.  An army must move or die.  His grandsire, King Seti, had said that while they were perched on the battlements of that fortress in Kush.  And, truly, the thoughts of others, the way they see you, do not depend on you.  Move on. 
     “My Prince!”
     He turned to face Neter, who was panting behind him, clutching a pair of gold-adorned sandals.
     “My prince—! Barefoot!  It will not do!”
     He took them from the man.  “Thank you, Neter,” he said. 
     The man smiled, bowed, and turned away.
     Hori frowned at the rich, chased leather and then, casting a quick glance behind him, tossed them into the dimness and faced the doors and the two guards flanking them, so silent that Hori, battle-trained as he was, had not seen them.  They dropped to their knees, hands to chest, bowed, then rose and swung the doors wide.
     The roar of the feast surged toward him in a swell of sound.  He let it eddy around him and stepped forward into sudden silence.
     A guest straightened and squared his shoulders.  Another set down his cup with a click.  Cuts of meat fell back into serving dishes.  Servants straightened and stared 
     The silence deepened.
     Ye gods!  Have I stepped on the hem of my own kilt and pulled it off?  Am I stripped to my shenti that they should gape so?
     He lifted his chin.  He would be damned if he peered down at himself and tweaked his garments.  And if I am, then so be it. 
     A murmur grew. He heard his name, repeated and repeated until it was a roar itself.
     He moved into the throng.
**   **   **
     Nefertari, smiled at the servant, shook her head at the wine, and nodded at the ewer of water, accepting a full cup a moment later. Her eyes were dry; she closed them and held the pose for a long moment. That was better.
     Her husband was watching her. “It is hot,” she said.
     He frowned and nodded to two servants bearing feather fans.
     Rai and Mayet were sitting together, both smiling, though from Mayet’s straight smile and the stiff set of Rai’s shoulders some sort of quarrel was brewing. Was it too soon after Mayet’s confinement? Iyneferti might know. But from the way Rai was ogling that dancer- She blinked as he threw another ring and watched as the girl put it down the front of her loincloth.
     She suppressed a chuckle, caught her daughter’s eye, and had to look away. The girl made her giggle like a new wife. Most embarrassing!
     “Wine, Majesty?”
     She frowned at the ewer. A sip would be wonderful. “Yes, thank you, good Tuti,” she said, and sipped. She looked up to see her husband smiling at her. The dancer was on her knees, bending back…
     A hand closed around hers. She met her husband’s smiling gaze, relinquished the cup, and watched him turn it to sip from her side and hand it back under cover of the music.
     She lowered her eyes. After five children and twenty years wed, he could still make her heart flutter even as she thought Oh, Ast, please: no more babies!
     The cup was in her hands. She turned it, sipped, and set it down.
     Movement at the doorway – a flurry among the servants, the doors swinging wide –
     A man strode into the hall, tall, broad-shouldered with sun-browned skin and back hair. Gold glinted from wrists and upper arms, warrior’s gold hung at his neck and lay flashing against the satisfying swell of his chest.
     The room was silent. He stepped forward into a sudden roarof sound, the crash of applause, a rising, wordless murmur that built to a crescendo, as palpable as a wall of water.
     The man faltered, his dark eyes beneath straight brows flashing for a moment before the shoulders squared. He moved through the throng in the sudden silence, his eyes on hers –
     Hori! Her heart leapt with delight. Her son – and such a son!
     She beamed as he approached, rose as he went to one knee, his hands at his breast, his head lowered.
     Her husband had risen and was speaking measured, warm words of greeting that she could not hear through the glad singing of her heart.
     “Welcome home, my son!” she said to him as he raised her hand to his lips.

This is scheduled to be published early 2014.  We’ll see how I do.,,   Deadlines can be exhilarating – or truly annoying,

Celebrating – A Task Finished


SMALL CELEBRATIONS
It’s good to be able to open your eyes to the things around you that are worth celebrating, even if they are as small (relatively speaking) as a smile from a stranger that you know would easily become a friend.  Stepping into a brisk May breeze, watching the flowers push their way through the soil, even though you know jolly well you’re a terrible gardener.
Today, though, I’m celebrating completing a task I’d been thinking of for a long time.


I’m writing a series of historical fiction set in Egypt and centered around the city of Memphis.  It is known as ‘The Memphis Cycle’, and that city, and the families that lived and ruled there, provide the thread that ties the stories together.  Three are published, one is  coming out the end of May, another should be coming out in November, and four others are in varying stages of development.  
 
Here are covers 1 & 2.  #2 is scheduled to be published May 31:
 
 
The covers fell into a sort of theme – statuary or sculptures against a background that referred to something in the story.  As the series developed, I began to want them to be visible as a related group.  So I redesigned them, keeping the original ‘art’ work, but putting that into a framework specific to the stories..  These are covers #3 and 4.  #3 is projected to be published November.
 

The line under the image is a hieroglyphic text with the name and attributes of the king ruling at the time of the story.  It seems to be working out.  Here are covers 5 and 6.  #5 is in the works, but it is an involved story and will need another year (maybe two) to complete properly.  #7 is out. 

 

 

What really tickles me is that my entire family is artistic and I guess maybe I can pretend to be. (Pretend is the word, too.) For example, while I work with photographic images for my covers, the figure crouching in the corner of Lord of the Two Lands is my own work and is a silhouette drawing. But I’m celebrating, for certain. It’s something I’ve wanted to do in a long time, and it’s coming on the heels of a new release and a reissue.

So join me in a cup of cyber tea, a glass of cyber wine, a stoup of cyber ale, or maybe some cyber lemonade. I’m celebrating!

 

…How Much is Too Much?


I must be crazy.

I have, going on at this moment:

The A to Z blog.  This is a wonderful event with hundreds of bloggers from all over the map who have committed to a post a day (except Sundays) in April with each day’s theme being a letter of the alphabet, in progression.  Some of them are hysterically funny, some of them are very educational (I am going to visit D.C. shortly, I think) some of them make you think, and all are pretty good.  For more info, check HERE .  It is a lot of work, but enjoyable.  I’m still in it.

The Small Celebrations blog hop.  This is an every Friday post where you celebrate something that might not be earthshaking but is nevertheless something worth noting.  It is the brainchild of VikLit  AT THIS BLOG (do visit the blog and the Friday Hop – well worth while).  I have had to drop out for the past three Fridays because of sheer busyness, but after April grinds to a halt, I’m back.  And perhaps sooner.

MOURNINGTIDE  is set to be published May 15.  I need to get things up and running (would anyone be willing to do a post for me?) and I am finalizing things. 

…and because I am bringing things into line for a series that I am writing (didn’t start out that way, but they’re all connected),  I am giving PHARAOH’S SON  a rewrite. 

I think that’s about enough for now.  We won’t mention a new job or other things.

…and yesterday I had a brainstorm for a story set in the timeline of my series.  After what I’m calling ‘Jubilee’, which is nowhere near being finished, and before LORD OF THE TWO LANDS, which is in the works and about 25% done.


Now, it is delicious to know that I still have ideas, and to see that the ideas are viable and could be very entertaining…  But I think I have enough on my plate.  Still…  The notion of two strong personalities grappling over a suddenly empty throne…  A hint of murder, a hint of betrayal…

And I wasted about an hour last night and today finding photos that would represent the two characters.  (The lady, on the right, seems formidable…)

I am a fool.

Graphic work: Done


Before:

This had problems; the original was worse

Not a lot to complain of, except that the main character featured on the cover was a man, without a doubt, and the kohl around the eyes and the truly bizarre hair – even to those like me who are somewhat familiar with the society makes you doubt it.

I had wanted it to be moving, the tears in the eyes – the story arises from a bereavement – but while I liked the composition and the color, I had to admit to myself (at the very least) that this was wretched and needed to be adjusted.

I liked the colors and the composition, and, as with the other designs in the cycle, I liked using statuary (in this case a bas-relief) that had some connection with the characters.

The hair was problematic, and there were several reasons why I was dissatisfied.



An improvement, but needs work…

Tonight I sat down, thought things through, and worked for severael hours.  I had an idea for a way to fix things.  Doing the hair differently, for starters.  

 After:


The final version

Better hair.  It looks better.  I may lift his chin a little, though he is mourning (hence the title…)

I adjusted it a little this morning and then the connection failed.  I’ll upload the ‘final’ version this evening.  I made the man larger on the page, and raised his chin, as I had intended.

…and here is the final version.  I also removed the hand from the frame, whihc reduced the ‘noise.

One more step taken.  *Sigh*.  I will miss this story.

September 6, 2015:
I am editing this to show the final cover.  I scrapped the cover image, which I realized was not up to par, and composed a different one completely:

Picture



Six Weeks


I will be releasing Mourningtide in six weeks – April 30, to be precise.  I am posting the current cover, but I have a newer design that will be posted a little closer to release.

It has been an enjoyable story to write.  I am often sad when I finish a project like this.  I will be seeing a favorite character for the last time – he appears only as a memory in the next installment.  And at the end of the next one I will be saying good-bye to my favorite character, ever.
Here is the older cover: 

Sample chapters are HERE

Moving Right Along…


Things are coming together with Mourningtide.  I finished the cover design (with a few reservations – more below) with a mock up of the book itself in the works.
It is copyrighted and registered with the Library of Congress, with an edit scheduled.  I’d say it’s five months or less away from publication.  I will miss the characters, especially since I know I won’t be dealing with one of my favorites after this.
Here’s the cover mock up.  The back needs more of a blurb, and I’m not sure I like the black spine…
I write historical fiction, with or without fantasy or mysticism, and I have realized once again the big sorrow of dealing with people, whether real or fictional: they don’t stay around forever.
 
I said farewell to my father this summer – and I find myself thinking of things he would love – and realize anew that he isn’t beside me to enjoy them.  In the same way, though not as deep, there are characters who, following my timeline, are making their final appearances in life. 
 
Seti (the main character in Mourningtide) has been dead for five years in the time-setting of Kadesh.  I realized how he died when I was writing backstory about one of the main characters.  Lord Nebamun, who has been one of my favorite non-historical characters in the course of two books, is in his mid-eighties in Kadesh.  Will he be there to welcome the troops home?  I don’t know.  I will miss them both.
 
I suppose I could pick up one or another of my own books and read – but it is not the same.  But when it’s time to say goodbye…

NaNoWriMo 2012


NaNoWriMo is taking place right now.  I’m participating. 

 
And I am an idiot:  I have a whole lot going on. 
 
I’m polishing Mourningtide, I am doing a once-over on a (Civil War) novel that will be on KDP Select as a freebie later this month, and I signed up to write a minimum of 1700 words a day to produce 50,000 words in 30 days.  (1700 words works out to about six printed pages).  It’s do-able if you work steadily, but in this case I am also working at a day job. 
 
I’m giving it my best shot, and I think I can do it, but if one thing or another has to go Kadesh will be the casualty.
 
Which reminds me: Kadesh is a working title.  Fans of Egyptian history will know that it was the battle that Ramesses II touted as his greatest triumph.  The Hittites, whom he fought, were equally emphatic about their ‘successs’.  My read is that two superpowers met and mauled each other, though Ramesses probably had the shock of his life in the process.  (There’s a strong indication that his father, Seti I, died of a heart condition, and I’ve used that supposition in my own ‘family history’ to account for some deaths.  It would appear, though, based on what happened at Kadesh, that Ramesses did not have a weak heart.  He survived the shock of seeing the Hittite army breaking through the palisades of his camp.)
 
I’m telling this story from the point of view of lesser characters.  Hori (Amunhorkhepechef) as a nineteen-year-old Crown Prince is given nominal command of one of the armies.  Others of his brothers (Ramses and Montuhirkhopechef, who died prior to the opening of Pharaoh’s Son) are in high command in other armies.  Khaemwaset (‘Khay’ in Pharaoh’s son, and the most well known,  historically, of Ramesses’ sons) is with his father, being all of fifteen years old.
 
It’s important to understand strategy, but this event shaped Ramesses’ reign and world history.  It turned him from being a ‘warrior king’ (though he tried) to being a true statesman, where his greatness lay.
 
So I’m writing Kadesh.  I truly must redo the temporary cover, but it’s a decent placeholder for now.
 
My website has sample chapters that I’ve whacked out.  Hori seems to be taking center stage just at the moment.  (I know him rather well).  Check them out here:
 
  
 

On hold…


So… Manuscript is at nearly 90K words. Filling in and expanding where necessary will bring it in target. I’m sold on the story, like the characterization – In other words, I seem(ed) to be clicking along on all cylinders, allowing for flexibility in polishing.

But still, while the projected release date of November 1 is gone by the way (I decided to retain a cover artist whose credentials and work I really love, and to hire a line editor for this one, so that pushes things back…) I thought a 2012 release was not out of the question. Just in time for Christmas.

And the story was heartwarming (I thought, at least).

But then…

I was pushing on with the initial polished (draft=> first finished draft=> polished draft=> final MS => OMIGOSH ICAN’TBELIEVE IFOULEDITUP SOBADLY!!!

=> final polished manuscript [friends and relatives having tied the author to a chair and taken matters into their own hands. “It’s FINISHED, Diana! You CAN’T edit any more!!!”] )


I was, as I said, pushing things along, but I wasn’t happy with the setting of the first chapter. Father leaving for a protracted journey, leaving eldest son in charge. Eldest son voices dissatisfaction with this state of affairs. Father gives good speech. and leaves.

The story is about the eldest son’s decision to get out of there and leave his brother to run the family business. He gets killed, and his family and loved ones pick up the pieces… It actually is a bright story.

I was scowling at the first chapter, which seemed lifeless –  I sat back with a mingled groan and wail.

Start the story with the son out of the country progressing toward his death, which happens within the first chapter – second at most. Backstory can be put in there easily. THEN switch back to the threads of the younger son and the father.

Groan! A rewrite. Admittedly, it doesn’t alter the true meat of the story, which kicks in around chapter three, but still…

Well… I could still retain the cover artist, I suppose…

*sigh* And I said I LIKE writing…

First Final Draft Finished….


    I  have just (this morning) finished the First Final Draft of my latest, Mourningtide.  That means I’ve filled in holes, the narrative flows, I’ve found most basic mistakes, and I’m satisfied with it as it stands at this moment.
    It also means that I’ll be doing a beta read (and perhaps inflicting it on associates to do the same) and will be tweaking and deepening and possibly, coming up with another title.
    My earlier works were over ten years in the making.  That is to say, I finished them, copyrighted them, sent them around and then went into a dry spell.  During the time I tried to decide what to do with them I picked at them, re-edited them, deepened them…  They are  in good shape.

But I don’t have ten years to spend on this one.  Actually, it came together more quickly than the others (thank you, plotting-by-the-seat-of-my-pants) and I think it will be a year’s project, since it started November 1.

It will be available in Kindle, but I’m also thinking of Smashwords (and the others), and I’ll have it available in paperback, too.

Whew!  I’ll be missing these characters, but I am finding it easier to move on now.