Sorting Through Boxes…


…I received quite a blast from the past.

This was lying demurely folded in a box of photographs.  It is not the first manuscript  I copyrighted. That honor goes to a Heroic Fantasy Trilogy that is so utterly silly, it will never see print.  Besides, I’d have to retype it.

This one has some sentimental and ‘lessons learned’ associations.  It was the first manuscript I sent around for representation, and I worked for a year with one agent (a very good one) polishing it.  Ultimately, he turned it down and I went with another agent who wanted to represent me.  www.pred-ed.com did not exist then. 

Amazing what you find in boxes.

The first copyrighted manuscript that I published was A Killing Among the DeadThat one came out in 2011.  this one (part I) was published last year.

25 years ago for the copyright on this.  And boy was it bad!

It’s pretty good now, and Book II is coming along very well.  Book III is nearly ready to go this very moment.

I have the three covers designed.

…And now back to writing… (and staying away from boxes)

My book Covers – Updated


Since Kindle covers are hard to see at the best of times, I’m setting up a gallery of mine in the order of their appearance in my story line:
The City of Refuge,  

the second uploaded was, actually the third one I wrote but the first in the cycle, chronologically.  I recently located its very first appearance in my imagination when I was going through some old notebooks.  I had a notation about an idea for a story – and it grew into The City of Refuge.  One of the main heroes, Lord Nebamun, is one of my all-time favorite characters to write about, and I was delighted to be working with him again in Mourningtide, which was published June 1, 2013.
Mourningtide
This story follows one of the great kings of Egypt during a time of grieving, when he learns too late of his oldest son’s death and has to withdraw to deal with it.  Peace and quiet are hard to find, and Seti, the king, finds himself in a small town of artists on the border of the desert.  At one point he has the pleasure of guarding his own tomb, which is under construction.  More urgently, though, is the fact that marauders are targeting the town.  He trains the town in the art of battle.
Pharaoh’s Son

I hung on to Pharaoh’s Son, the third in the cycle (soon to be the fourth, with its ‘prequel’ set to come out in about a year) for a long time.  It is a lively story, the one I enjoyed writing most, and I had wanted to consider what to do with it.  I concluded that Kindle and paperback were best for it, as for my others.  I ran into my first experience of the delicacy required to handle historical fiction involving characters that actually lived.  In the case of Pharaoh’s Son, the names are real, the characters are my own – though I arrived at some insights into the character of Ramesses II during the course of writing about him.  I now have a strong disclaimer at the beginning of my historical novels.

A Killing Among the Dead
Chronologically, this is the last in the Egyptian cycle – and the first one I wrote.  Egypt was rocked by a scandal of tomb-robbing and desecration in the Valley of the Kings.  It happened toward the end of the XXth Dynasty (the last of the Ramesside dynasties) when Egypt was going into eclipse.  The scandal was far-reaching and implicated some of the great mortuary temples along the Nile.  The story came to life for me, and its main character, Wenatef, is the closest I have come to a true tragic hero in the Greek sense.

The Safeguard 

        Lavinia Wheeler had watched as her world had been torn  apart over the past three years When the Civil War comes to her doorstep, her generosity in opening her house as a hospital brings a change in her life far  beyond any blessing she could have dreamed of or asked for.
          Between dealing with the Yankee-hating townsfolk, her former slaves, a passel of wounded  Yankees, a government that takes a dim view of people who aid the enemy, and a  group of raiders that is ravaging the countryside, Lavinia isn’t sure that she  has time to care for herself, much less fall in love.


I have another Civil War novel underway with the tentative title of Crowfut Gap.  Another, The Bones, has its roots in the Civil War and involves events set in motion then, but it is set in the present.  The Safeguard features two of my ancestors, who appear as Union foragers…

The Orphan’s Tale

 Set in Paris in the autumn of 1834, The Orphan’s Tale is my newest book. 

‘Autumn is beautiful in 1834 Paris. But to Chief Inspector Paul Malet,   raised in a prison by the greatest master criminal in French history  the season’s splendor is overlaid by a sense of gathering danger: something is afoot.

‘When Malet learns that Victoria, England’s young Heiress Apparent, will be traveling to Paris at Christmas for a state visit, all  becomes clear. Her assassination on French soil would shatter the accord between France and England. And war can be a profitable business for those criminals daring enough to mold events to suit their own purposes.’

 This is a trilogy, with the second book set to be released next year.  While the cover for #2 is problematic (do I use the hero’s portrait – in which case I have to find it or the villain’s?  I don’t like the villain.  Decisions, decisions…)  I do have a projected cover for book #3:

An Interview with Thomas A Knight, Author (well worth celebrating)


Thomas A Knight

While I usually participate in the Celebration blog hop started by VikLit, I am putting in a bit of a twist this week.  We celebrate many things – meals, the coming weekend, a vacation.  Today I am going to celebrate someone who, in addition to being an excellent writer, is generous almost to a fault, and has helped many, many people reach for a dream.

Thomas A. Knight is preparing to publish the third book in his Time Weaver Chronicles, a heroic fantasy trilogy that begins with a bang with The Time Weaver, proceeds through Legacy, and leaves you wanting to read the final volume, Reprisal, which will be coming out early next year.

A reluctant hero must come to terms with a new world, new powers, and a family history buried deep in the folds of time.
     Learning to accept and control his powers is the hardest thing Seth has ever had to do, but the longer he spends in Galadir, the more he grows to love this new world and the female warrior accompanying him. When a much more ancient and dangerous wizard awakens and threatens to destroy Galadir, Seth is the key to defeating him. Now he must save a world he never knew existed with magic he never knew he could wield, if only he could learn to control it in time.

The Time Weaver

 Once upon a time…

…a warrior of light defeated an insane wizard, but behind every heroic story lies a truth never told.
     A man washes ashore on the island of Arda after a terrible storm, remembering nothing but his name: Krycin. The blue wizard Gladius finds him, takes him in, and is determined to help Krycin regain what he’s lost.
     The Fates have other plans. Krycin’s presence on Galadir is disrupting the fabric of the universe. The solution? Eliminate him, by any means necessary.
     When Gladius sides with the council, his efforts to destroy Krycin spark a war that threatens all life on Galadir.
                Legacy

Coming 2014:

 
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


A couple years ago I first participated in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest sponsored by Amazon.  This contest is open to authors who own their works, published or not (meaning that the work is owned by the author, free and clear).  The entries (one per person) must be fiction, no graphics, and novel length.  The books fall into different categories:  Young Adult, Mystery, Romance…  The process of elimination begins with submitting a short ‘pitch’ that must ‘grab’ the reviewers and make them say “This is a book I want to read!”  Since your entry is one out of 10,000, and 8,000 of those entries will be eliminated based on that ‘pitch’, the odds are very low that you will make it. 
 
Every year Thomas presides over a group that coaches contestants, gives feedback and suggestions on the pitches, encourages, and builds up confidence.  There is no reward given him, except for the knowledge that he has been truly helpful. 
 
In the course of all this, I had a chance to read his work, and I found it enjoyable.  The stories are well worth reading, and Mr. Knight is well worth listening to:

* * * * * * * * * *
Give us a brief summary of your book and its place in your trilogy. (Note: ‘It’s the last one’ is not an acceptable answer.)
Reprisal is the third and final installment in The Time Weaver Chroncles and marks a huge milestone for me as an author. It’s a finale, so all loose ends must be tied up, for better or for worse. I can’t promise a happy ending, but it will be an ending, and it will be fabulous.
Can you share a passage that you really like, and tell us why? (Note: if you want to clarify the passage, where it is, what it is that made you happy – good writing, caught the mood, made you proud, no spelling errors – just kidding – put it in)
This excerpt is from Chapter 1. I was looking for something to set the tone of the book, and I tend to write a lot of action scenes. I wanted to excite the reader, get their blood pumping, and give them a little something that fans have been asking for. This is what happens next, a direct continuation of the action at the end of The Time Weaver. Without further ado, here is the excerpt:
The bridge drew closer by the second, but Malia held back enough to ensure that every one of her remaining soldiers made it before her. When the last one had begun to cross, she slowed, stepped onto the bridge and turned to face the army that had begun its advance again. Walking backward, she watched Morganath make several more passes over the silent army. It didn’t matter how many he torched, the remaining wretches continued, some of them burning as they walked. Malia was half-way across when the first of them stepped onto it with her.
A voice behind her startled her. “What are you planning?” Ceridan asked. “You’re not going to take them on by yourself.”
“I will slay each and every one if I have to,” Malia said, her voice tainted with anger. “They have taken everything from us, and I intend to make them pay.”
Ceridan’s hand grasped her shoulder. “Easy, general. It’s Grian we want, not those poor wretches. Stick with the plan. We will get help from Caldoor and regain our kingdom.”
The undead approached fast, but Malia turned away from them anyway to face Ceridan. “Do not speak that name in my presence. He is the defiler, the usurper, a vile maggot in the corpse of a once great kingdom.” Ceridan backed up from her tirade, trying to direct her attention to the undead approaching behind her, but she ignored him. “He has taken our homes, our people, and our kingdom, and all we can do is run. We keep running or die and become one of them.” A tear ran down her left cheek as she lost control of her emotions. “I just want them to go away,” she said, and turned back to face the approaching creatures. Drawing all the magical energy she could muster, she ran through the first of the undead with her sword and screamed a single word. “Incendras.”
A massive column of fire burst from her hands and the sword, spreading out and flowing down the length of the bridge. Any undead in its path were vaporized, and still it continued as the sword took over and lapped up the energy. She felt its greed as she fed it, but didn’t stop. The bridge caught fire, the ancient iron wood fueling the flames, and still she continued, ignoring the frantic voice behind her. The sword felt good in her hand, and rage fueled the spell as it extended beyond the bridge and into the horde gathering on the other side. When she could take it no more, she ended the spell, raised the sword into the air with the blade pointing down, and drove it into the bridge up to the hilt.
The wood exploded, starting at the sword and spreading out before her, tearing the bridge apart. Flaming chunks flew into the air and fell into the canyon as the eastern half of the bridge crumbled. Supports split and fell, the railings gave out, and the entire structure sank as only the western half remained. The only thing holding it up was stone and chains in the ground on the other side. Malia gripped the sword and used it to keep herself from falling into the canyon, but Ceridan wasn’t so lucky. He slid down the surface of the bridge and fell off the end, catching one hand on a stray piece of wood. It was all that kept him from falling into the canyon below.

You have done a tremendous amount of worldbuilding with this series. Will you have any further stories set in this universe?
Oh yes. I’m already planning a new trilogy based on a favorite character of mine. He made an appearance in Legacy, but it was just a cameo. My next book, The Spell Breaker, will be all about Taraxle. His life started as an assassin, but he turns into a magic absorbing force to be reckoned with. I hope my fans will stick around to read his story.
So let’s talk about you:
What got you started writing?
I started writing The Time Weaver in November of 2010 when I took part in National Novel Writing Month. Before that, I spent almost twenty years creating plots and characters for role playing games. I knew nothing about creative writing, spelling or grammar when I began, but I’ve spent countless hours learning from my mistakes. I’m entirely self-taught, and still participate in NaNoWriMo every year.
How did this idea come to you? Did it just pop into your head, or did it come on slowly as details began to be set?
Inspiration comes from many places. I’m inspired by the people I meet, the books I read, the places I go, and the games I play. But in the end, what really got me writing was an intersection near where I work, and a question: What would happen if time stopped?
What is your process? Plotter? Pantser? Hybrid? (note: feel free to preach. 😉
Pantser, all the way. I come up with an ending, and a beginning, and then let my hands and my subconscious mind figure out a way to get me there. Sometimes things don’t go the way I expect, and I have to adjust my ending, but that’s okay, so long as the story keeps moving forward. I’ve found myself talking to my wife about the story I’m working on as though it were real events taking place. She’s even asked me: “You have no idea what’s going to happen, do you?” Truth is, I don’t.
Do you have any favorite tools, techniques or gimmics that keep you focused?
Not really. I’m a burst writer, so I’ll put down like thirty to forty thousand words in a very short time, and then let it rest for a while and do other stuff. Staying focused isn’t too hard when you work like that. As a software developer in a busy office, I’m used to distractions, so its easy for me to switch modes from one task to another. When I sit down with the intention of writing, I write.
Quickly now: you’re in the middle of a crowded place with lots of bustling people. You suddenly get a (mental) thunderbolt that illuminates a problem you had been having with your story. All is revealed, or the way out of the dilemma occurs to you or an insight comes to you. How do you preserve it?
I have a notoriously bad memory, so the answer may surprise you. I rely on my memory. Over the years, I’ve adopted a technique to help me remember things like this. I have compartments in my mind, like filing cabinets, where I store various thoughts and ideas. When I have an epiphany like this, I store it away in it’s appropriate cabinet or drawer, and pull it back up later. I have lots of ideas, all the time, and I rely on this system to keep myself organized. The important stuff sticks, and the less important stuff fades away and stops distracting me.
Who are your helpers? (Does your family go glassy-eyed and turn the talk away? Do your friends ask you for the next installment? Do you keep it all to yourself and only hand it out when you’re ready for it to be looked at?)
My wife, first and foremost. She is my best editor, and my last line of defense. She reads everything I write, gives me honest feedback, and makes it better. We work together on my final drafts, and when we’re done, there is very little wrong with my books. I also rely on a hired editor for the first run through, and a small group of beta readers who I trust to give me honest feedback.
You wake up one morning, open the door, step outside – and realize that you are in Galadir. The door, which you closed behind you, vanishes and you can’t go back. What do you do? Who would you be? What challenges would you face? Would you be pleased, or would you hide under a rock?
That depends on where on Galadir I end up. If I land in one of the more civilized regions of Galadir, I would look for the nearest magic academy and sign myself up. The deserts of Astara are brutal and unforgiving, which would probably be a death sentence if I wasn’t near a town or village. If it was the Eastern Badlands? Run. Run and hide.
What is next?
Another book of course, and the beginning of another trilogy. The Spell Breaker Chronicles is all I can think about right now. It’s burning in my head, and needs to come out. I tried writing it a while back, but it wasn’t time. Now it’s time. This November, I plan on putting down the first fifty thousand words.
Where do your names come from? (Some people like to know. Since I pull my fantasy names out of thin air, for the most part, I’m a little curious, too…)
I’m not ashamed to say that I use a name generator for the vast majority of my names. It’s a program called Ebon, which allows me to use a different dictionary of name roots for each region of my world. That way, I can generate semi-random names that all sound similar in style for a region. Some of my names come from existing characters from campaigns I’ve run, or are borrowed from friend’s characters. Krycin for instance was a name created by my best friend, and was used as a nod to him. A few other names were taken from real people (with their permission, of course). Those people know who they are. Still, a few of my names, like Seth and Malia came out of thin air. They just sounded right. I think in these cases, it wasn’t me who named the character, but the character who told me their name.
I know you have a crowdfunding site to help defray some of the costs – with some truly nifty goods on offer.  I am placing the link HERE – check it out!

Say something to those reading this. Anything you want, on any subject.
Balance. Life is all about balance. Don’t obsess, don’t work too hard, don’t play too much, and never forget the people who make you who you are.
I can’t think of any way to top that sentiment, Thomas, so I will close this interview with a suggestion to the readers that they look into your work, starting with your website:
 

 

Interview With My Main Character


I have the pleasure to interview His Majesty, King Seti of Egypt, today.  His Majesty has graciously agreed to answer some questions about his role in my latest book, Mourningtide, which will be published May 31.  If it please your majesty-

Please call me Seti.  A character never outranks its author, and I am a character that you created, based on a man in history.  We are not the same, and Mourningtide is not a textbook.  You diverge from what is known in one or two regards, but you do cover those episodes in an afterword, do you not?
I certainly do.  Well…Seti…  I thought it would be interesting to speak with you about the events that are covered in Mourningtide.
By all means.
Tell us about yourself.
I was named for my grandfather, who was a troop commander in the Royal Army.  I came from a non-royal family that had spent generations in the armies.  We did have some wealth, and ours was a position of increasing influence.   By the time of the book – according to the reality of the book – I had succeeded my father, who had been named by Horemheb as his successor, and had ruled for a year.  At the opening of the story, I had been King three years.  Two of those years had been spent on campaign, winning back territory and allies Egypt had lost.  I was in my early fifties with four children – two sons and two daughters – and six grandchildren, with two due to arrive at any moment.
And you were expecting a prosperous reign?
I was hoping for one.  I was ready to do what I could to achieve it for my people.
And your son died through an accident.
Yes. 

I’m sorry.

Don’t be.  He disregarded the warnings of another, more experienced man, walked into a dangerous situation with his eyes wide open, and was killed.  It happens, as we both know.  I was overset for a time, and Mourningtide tells the story of my healing.  You have chapters up for review on your site.  Did you wish to go over the story itself?  Or did you want to chat about other things?

Let’s chat about other things.  This is not your first appearance in one of my stories. 
No, it is not.  My very first appearance in something of yours was a mention, almost in passing, in Pharaoh’s Son.  Prince Thutmose entrusted me with a secret which I, in turn, entrusted to Ramesses as I was dying.  His Highness the High Priest had some very kind things to say about me.  My second appearance was in The City of Refuge. In that story I led a division of the Army of Lower Egypt that served as guards and laborers for Lord Nebamun’s mission to Akhenaten’s capital city. My father and Lord Nebamun were good friends.  I knew nothing of this at that time.
You had quite a large part in that story, didn’t’ you?
It was large enough.  I was considered a major character.  Enough happened to make it clear that Lord Nebamun – the hero of that story, along with my good friend Khonsu – was capable of running rings around anyone who came up against him.  I was thoroughly embarrassed, though I did mean well.  Reading over the book, I found myself laughing.
I enjoyed writing the book.

Did you have to have me locked in an escape-proof courtyard on a stormy night?

I did.  It worked.  

Let me ask you: will I be appearing in any other stories of yours?

You appear as a memory several times in Kadesh.  As to other stories with you as a living person…   I don’t know.  Your conflict was handled in Mourningtide.  There may be other stories, I can’t say.  But not now.
Let’s talk about objections people have to books set in Egypt.  The unpronounceable place and personal names-

Punxsutawney
I beg your pardon?

Kealakakua.  Angkor Wat.  If we are speaking of strange or unpronounceable place names, they might fit.  Or, to go ‘across the pond’ as you Americans and British say it, how about ‘Worcestershire’ – spelled ‘Wore SES ter Shyre’ and pronounced ‘Woostersheer’.
Well, I-
Or Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwll-llantysiliogogogoch (or Llanfairpwllgwyngyll)  That may be cheating, perhaps, since the name is a sentence describing the location, but it is on the maps.  Looking at it syllable by syllable, I can pronounce it.  Try Pontchartrain.  Neuschwanstein…  How are they worse than ‘Waset’ or ‘Men-Nefer’ or ‘Iunu’?
Those who read fantasy books have no problem with ‘Gormenghast’, ‘Minas Ithil’, the Baranduin, or Dol Amroth.  Prince Imrahil is one of my favorite characters, but his name is no easier  to pronounce than my son’s.  And added to my objections is the fact that modern society does not know how my language sounded.  Like the Hebrew writings, we did not supply vowels.
I see your point.  But some of the Egyptian names can be difficult.  Like Amunhorkhepechef.
Be careful: you are meeting yourself coming.  You said that name was easy to type.  And you know better.  It is a ceremonial name that means ‘Amun Mighty in Battle’.  Your own sources have indicated that that name was altered depending on what city was home for that prince at any given time, so that if he was residing in Iunu (Heliopolis, if you wish), he would have signed his name ‘Rahorkhepechef’, and if in Khemnu (Hermopolis, if you are not a purist) he would have been Tothorkpehechef or Thuthorkhepechef.  You were right to give him the nickname ‘Hori’, by the way.  That’s what they called him.
Speaking as an experienced father, a person’s name must be something an angry parent can yell at the top of his lungs while running after a naughty child.  Amunhorkhepechef does not satisfy that requirement.  Ergo, it was not the boy’s actual name.  It is as silly as someone thinking that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of England – may God bless her! – answers to ‘Defender of the Faith’ when that title is used by a grandchild at the dinner table. 
Good point.  Do you have anything else to say on the subject of language difficulties?
Yes.  A Elbereth, Gilthoniel!  Silvirin penna Miriel-  You are laughing!
You meant me to. You read Tolkien!  (ahem)  Let’s talk about that ‘weird Egyptian culture.’
The problem with that perception is that all they know of my era… or, let us say, 85%, comes from tombs and the items taken from them.  I wonder how archaeologists of the future might view North Americans and western Europeans if their only source of information is what they find in Forest Lawn Cemetery or Westminster Abbey.  In fact, there is a hilarious book by David Macauley with the title Motel of the Mysteries that explores what future archaeologists think of a dig in North America.  Their interpretations are very amusing – and they are in line with the folly I see pertaining to my own culture.

Tell me about the hero of your story.
The hero?  There were two.  My son, Ramesses, is one – he showed himself to be like a bell that rings true no matter how you strike it – and Djedi, the young man of the small village that sheltered me.  He saw a need to protect his town from attackers, and he set out to do so.  I helped him as much as I could. 

They had no idea who you were.

Correct.  Lord Nebamun met some ghosts from his past through my inadvertent actions, but he won through, though he did give me a piece of his mind when I returned.
But you were not the hero?
I was the main character, the protagonist.  I did experience hardship and change – but I was not heroic.
We will have to agree to disagree.
You will have to agree.  I did what I always did – though I did mourn the loss of my son.  I had no heights to scale, and falling in love with a wonderful woman required no heroism on my part.  No, Djedi was my hero – and Ramesses.
Djedi.  You helped him.
Yes.  How could I not?  He needed to be coached, they needed to be protected, and I had the experience.  And they were my subjects, after all.
What about Ramesses?
He became the man who would be ‘Ramesses the Great’.  That name is spoken with curled lips by some.  It seems that a great man  or woman is always the target of sneers.  People seem to want to see them taken down, their reputations sullied – their clay feet in evidence.  Ramesses was great.  He ruled for nearly seventy years, and his rule made it possible for that part of the world to enjoy peace and stability in what truly was a golden age.
You started it.
Perhaps.  But my reign was not long, and Ramesses stepped in and did his magnificent best.  Poor lad.
‘Poor’ lad?
Yes.  He is to be pitied.  Think of it:  he saw the deaths of all he loved.  His four oldest sons – three of them serving as Crown Prince – died before him.  Hori after thirty years, Rai – another Ramses – after another twenty-five, Khay (Khaemwaset – one of the heroes of ‘Pharaoh’s Son’)- after another five, when he himself was old.  He watched his children – the children of his youth and his loves – die one after another, themselves old men.  And then he began to fail, himself.  Those people who like to examine corpses and do DNA testing and x-rays have shown that Ramesses had arterial occlusions that probably led, late in life, to senility.  There was, I know, a moment when he stood aghast and realized that he was failing, growing feeble…  I was spared that.
I am sorry.
Don’t be, Diana.  There is nothing to weep over.  All hurts are healed now, but we would do well to take that lesson with us.  There.  You are smiling again.  What else do you wish to ask me?
As a character in historical fiction, what is the one thing you would like to say.
I would say that people don’t change:
You are an historian, as I was (at least in your novel).  In your studies, have you found that people have changed at all?  Time has given us ways to kill more people, or heal more people, ways to suppress our imaginations – all the imagining seems to be done for our children now – but as a species, if you will, there is no change to our fundamental nature.  There is a song by Neil Diamond, with the title, I think, of ‘Done Too Soon’ that ends with this verse:
They have sweated beneath the same sun,
Looked up in wonder at the same moon,
And wept when it was all done
For being done too soon…
For being done too soon.

You make a good point.  And I thank you for spending time with me.    I assume you are going back..?

Yes.  To the place you left me this morning.  The village is fighting off the attackers, Djedi leading under my eye.

Does he know you are king?

You must ask him.  And now, if I may, he is down with a spear in his side and I am holding him…

Will he die?

You are the author.  You know already. And if I told, you would never let me forget it.

Probably not.  Thank you for stopping by and speaking with me.

It is not for a character to object to its author’s actions.  Adieu-

I confess it: I am an Idiot.


I am sitting on pins and needles because I am due to receive a delivery this afternoon.
What is it?  Well, a box with three paperback books in it.
I can’t wait.  I really am excited about this.

…and there is where I am truly an idiot.

You see, I wrote this book.  I copyrighted it and sent it out on submissions a long time ago.  It is one of the reasons that I was sidelined from doing any sort of submissions to agents for…let me see…seventeen years. (It’s a long story and involves a villain who is not representative of agents as a group.)  I did continue writing…

I published it in May of 2011, pulled it last month for an overhaul to bring it in line with the other books of my series called ‘The Memphis Cycle’, and have re-released it.

I know this book.  I love it, actually.  Writing it was a joy, and it hurt to have it sidelined with the other works the villain touched.  I self-published it, finally, because I just didn’t have the heart to go through the cycle again.  (My heart has come back, by the way.)  I can recite huge stretches of it from memory.

“Any breath of that kind of talk and I’ll assign you a tour of duty in Mirgissa!  And you KNOW I have the power!”

The rewrite is a sort of prep for the issue of its prequel.

…and I ordered myself some copies to gloat over.

I am, as I said, an idiot…

Re-Release of Pharaoh’s Son


I am delighted to announce that the revised edition of Pharaoh’s Son is now up and running on Kindle.  It will be available in paperback later this week.

Years ago, I saw a photo of a huge (40 ft high) statue that had stood before a large building in what had once been the imperial city of Memphis, now ruined.  It had fallen over.  I looked it and thought ‘I wonder what it was like when that monolith went over…’  And that is how Pharaoh’s Son came about.

Anyone who writes know how story lines seem to go on.  In this case, other stories, taking place before and after Pharaoh’s Son, occurred to me, and I now have a series that I call The Memphis Cycle because of their connection to the city.  I was writing along a timeline, and facts of that timeline, that I had not yet developed when Pharaoh’s Son first was written, were missing from that book.

I am releasing the second book in the Memphis Cycle at the end of this month.  In addition to redesigning the covers for the series, I took time to review and rewrite portions of Pharaoh’s Son to bring it into line with the rest of cycle.

..and it is now out on Kindle.

Here’s the link:
http://www.amazon.com/Pharaohs-Son-Memphis-Cycle-ebook/dp/B0055OPNHQ/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1368448593&sr=1-3&keywords=diana+wilder

*Phew!  Now to release Mourningtide.

Small Celebration – PROOFREADING aids!


Small or large?  This is a good question.

Let me just say that I am celebrating several things.  They have to do with a book I reissued in Kindle, with a new cover, part of a series, free on KDP.

Celebrating?  What?

Well, let’s see:

1.  the cover design.  I’m happy with it.  I already posted about that, but

2.  I decided to do a trial run with Microsoft Office (free for 30 days; monthly fee after that)
It made inserting clickable chapters and such absolutely easy, and – but I’m getting ahead of myself.

So, the book is free.  I want to make certain it’s the best it can be.  I get it set up for Kindle which, with this new MS application, is easy.

I then update the paperback.

Typesetting error (insert loud ‘ARGH!’)  I pull up the thing, find the problem, fix it, I think…  Then I see the page numbering, which is all messed up.  At this point, uttering curses, I settle down to fix the pagination which, trust me, is a major pain. 

It was not.  This new MsWord is a dream.

All done.  I’m celebrating!  …And I hope you all have something really good to celebrate this weekend!

To Err is Human. To Really Foul Up…


Finish the sentence…

(Hint:  …Requires a Computer…)

It is very true.

I was up till 1AM last night updating A Killing Among the Dead (which, by the way, is free today through Saturday on Amazon – Grab a copy HERE   It’s part of my wind-up for the release of Mourningtide  at the end of the month.  Next week I’ll be interviewing the Main Character.  Should be interesting: he’s a King) and I started getting messages from my computer – amazing how smug they sound, too –

We Cannot Display The Website…

(…and you know darned well that they are adding the inaudible rider You Blithering Idiot…  )

WHAT???  (I am never at my best at 1AM)  I have everything done right!  Can’t you READ CODE???

It seems to be resolving without my having to resort to hurling my laptop out the window, but at the moment a cruise to the South Pacific might just be what I need to chill out.

What was I doing?  Adjusting the cover graphics for my book. 

Here it is.


(Sigh.  And to think I consider writing relaxing and graphics work energizing…)

Have a wonderful day, folks!

So, Who’s the Gatekeeper?


I was participating in an online discussion regarding publishing.  The participants were expressing general dissatisfaction with the quality of things being published and some blame was being assigned the publishing companies and the agents. 
One of the things a writer hears – and gets sick of hearing – is the earnestly voiced sentence:  They’re publishing so much junk nowadays, I don’t understand why you aren’t being published!  I don’t think my nearest and dearest are saying that I am producing junk and should fit right in…
I’d given a lot of thought to the question.  We always want to think of who’s at fault.  Who can we point a finger at if we think that the (name one) a. music, b. books, c. fashions are not to our personal taste.

I posted some thoughts.  I’m repeating the post in an expanded state:
We live in a world where (just about) everyone needs to be busy. Occupied. Heaven forbid that they listen to silence, or sit down alone to think. I held on the phone once for twenty minutes and was treated to hold muzak composed of a tinkly music box recording of one of my favorite tunes (Greensleeves). I complained when the receptionist finally came on again and she said, “Well, it’s better than listening to silence.” I said that it was not.  (Is irritating, repetitive noise preferable to your own thoughts?  Or silence?  It can cause hearing loss, I know, from my work.)
This society seems to require immediate engagement.  People need to be instantly amused, instantly caught.  There is no delay while something is being thought over.  Writers are always being drilled on the necessity for a ‘hook’ to draw people in to a movie, a book, whatever. Flashing lights, so to speak. Society as a whole is not encouraged to think for itself, but instead is to be kept amused.
I happen to think that people have not changed over the millennia, it’s just that there are more ways now to spoon feed people on flashy, substanceless garbage. I love A Tale of Two Cities: would it sell if it were published for the fist time in this era? Would an agent take it? (I know a couple who would, actually…)

But what does that have to do with the publishing industry?  We have to remember that the publishing industry is not a charitable concern supported by donations.  It exists to sell books; it has to make a profit by pleasing the public and giving the public what it wants. And let us remember, also, that the economy, globally, is not so good at the moment.  Is this a good time for financial risk-taking?  As I said, human nature likes to find someone at whom it can point fingers and say ‘They’re  the reason we’re –‘ (name the problem.)  We’re all struggling.  No one’s the bad guy.

I have a novel that starts with a longish chapter telling of a man’s suicide. He is trying to save his son from a course of mad folly, and he has concluded that the threat of his own death is the final step that will keep his son  safe. The story then moves forward twenty-five years to follow events that tie to that first scene. The scene is longish, and I will be re-editing it a little, but it needs to be there. (The book is The City of Refuge)

Would a publisher want it since it doesn’t start out with the kind of ‘bang’ they appear to be looking for? I don’t know.
(One of the people in the discussion commented that a suicide is certainly what she would consider a hook.)

My conclusion from this discussion is that I won’t buy junk.  And I will also try not to produce it.

The Ghosts of Older Editions


Once upon a time, a long time ago (like, over a decade), an aspiring writer who was heartsick from her dealings with a dishonest agent, who is now featured in ‘Preditors & Editors’ (no, that is not a misspelling) read about a (self) publishing company that was stepping into the very new world of electronic publishing.


She thought it might be something to explore, so she sent her novel there, and it was placed online.  Later, she was contacted about publishing a paperback version of the book.  Although sales weren’t stellar (sales?) she went ahead and paid for the process.
The book was published with this cover (left), and remained in circulation for over ten years.  The edition had all sorts of typesetting errors; it was a mess. 

The author sat up after ten years, looked at it, and now that things had changed in various ways, opened her manuscript, edited it, tightened it, changed it and, now that the publishing industry was in a state of change, decided to put it on Kindle.  She also examined the paperback possibilities and issued an ‘Updated and Revised’ edition through another publisher, with a far better cover (right).

  She contacted the first publisher and terminated their relationship, and she received confirmation of their actions.  It was quite a relief to be rid of the older, terribly done edition.  The book was made available on Kindle and in paperback, and was listed on various online sites.  Sales were fairly good.

This author had also written another book, published with the same group.  This book was put out with this cover (left).  Typesetting was equally atrocious.  She reviewed, revised, updated, and improved the text.  She also had another cover designed (she is a graphic designer) and, satisfied with it, placed it in the market both in Kindle/Nook and in paperback.

     As with the first book, she contacted the original publisher, directed that all publishing by them be stopped, and terminated their relationship.  After all those years, and after learning of the sort of operation that they were, she was very happy to have the relationship end.  Things were going well, she was now satisfied (as much as a writer can be) that what was available to her readers was the best that she could produce with those books.
And then, going through an online library site, she was astonished to see that the older editions were being listed as the primary ones, and that people were putting them on their ‘to read’ lists.

It was nice to see that people were interested in those books, but the thought of those poor people, expecting a good tale (and, dare I say it?, getting one but an earlier, rougher, poorly typeset version) made her cringe. 

I suppose it’s something we learn to live with, but if anyone has one of those earlier copies, the author hopes that he or she will contact her.  She proposes to sell a paperback at cost.  Or lower the Kindle price as low as it will go.  Or something.