Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Light of Faith

The cold and snow that has Tennessee in its grip so early this season have put me in a reflective mood. I think of those men, and women too, who endured so much and sacrificed so greatly to establish this nation. Today we have so many luxuries that it’s hard to imagine what they must have suffered, what faith it took to endure the bitter cold of all those winters with little food and clothing; minimal shelter or even none; barefoot often, and no prospect of success. Only another battle most of them could not conceive they could win. Had it not been for their commander, they would not have.

Many did not make it. They died of disease or in battle. They gave up the fight and ran away or went home when their enlistments expired in spite of all their officers could do to inspire them to hold on just a little longer. After all, the war had gone on for a year, then two and three and four, with no end in sight. Most likely only disaster lurked in the distance. And who could blame them for losing faith?

Those who held out to the end stayed because of their loyalty to their commander and their belief that freedom is the right of all people. And in the end they won an unimaginable victory. They established liberty in the land that great Providence had provided for them. It was not a perfect liberty and is not yet today. But because of them we see the goal before us and we strive to reach it. Without those who believed when faith and sight were not congruent, who thanked God for what they had not yet attained and kept moving toward it in hope that would not be quenched, we would not have come as far as we have.

Still today, it is our Commander who draws us forward by his own example. He does not falter or fail. He does not turn away from the battle, for he knows that the victory is sure. As sure as that one so many years ago. It was only that they did not see it then, but we see it today. And we continue in faith in our God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.

In whatever situation you face, may you continue in the light of faith, and may your Christmas filled unimaginable blessing!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

“Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? Or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?” Job 38:22-23

So begins Chapter 1, Scene 2 in Crucible of War. The verse is quoted by Jeremiah Wainwright, the Quaker owner of the inn where Elizabeth, Tess, and Blue Sky wait out the anxious hours while Carleton and Andrews cross the Delaware River with Washington on Christmas night to make a daring attack on the Hessian garrison at Trenton.

A violent nor’easter batters the region that night, while the army battles ice floes and the river’s swift current amid driving snow, sleet, and gale-force winds. Contemporary accounts tell of the ill-clothed and equipped men leaving bloody tracks in the snow from feet bound with rags, strips of leather, or nothing at all. Amazingly, several soldiers froze to death while waiting for transport across the river. And yet they persisted.

After much travail, the soldiers reached the New Jersey shore only to face a nine-mile march to Trenton through a storm that seemed to get worse by the minute. By the time they approached the village, much of their powder was wet, rendering many of the men’s muskets useless. Receiving this report, Washington ordered a bayonet charge—in spite of the fact that the Continentals had few bayonets among them. Still they went forward . . . and won an unlikely victory that changed the course of the Revolution.

On this Thanksgiving Day, while delicious aromas fill the house, and all is light and warmth inside, while outside a grey, rainy evening gathers, I think of those who through the years have sacrificed so much to preserve the blessings of peace and freedom we enjoy, but too often take for granted. And I think, too, of those in foreign lands, such as Sayed Mossa, Asia Noreen, and Aung San Suu Kyi who suffer imprisonment, abuse, and the threat of death because they dare to believe in our Savior Jesus Christ. Yet they speak out boldly for Truth.

May we never forget the price that has been paid for our freedom—both physical and spiritual. May those sacrifices be abundantly blessed and rewarded in heaven, if not on earth. This day I am mindful that we have a God who metes out both justice and mercy and who never forgets the blood shed by the saints. May He be greatly praised!

I hope you a most blessed and joyful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Plotting

After creating a preliminary list of my characters’ inner and outer quests, I decided that a simple breakdown of each act would be the most useful. Making this too detailed would waste time since plots tend to morph quite a bit as the story develops. So I stuck to a brief outline that includes the inciting incident that sends the characters on their quest in Act 1, the main crisis points in Act 2, and the denouement and setup for the next volume in Act 3. Here, with the spoilers removed, is a very rough plot breakdown for Crucible of War.

Act 1: Beginning the Quest

  • Battle of Trenton and return to camp.
  • Encounters between Carleton and Elizabeth, Andrews and Blue Sky
Act 2: Crisis Points
1. Battle of Princeton
  • Elizabeth returns to New York.
  • Washington and army block British at Princeton, then withdraw to Morristown.
2. Build-up to New Campaign
New York
  • Elizabeth and Tess renew relationship with Howe and his officers.
  • Pieter returns to NY to court Elizabeth.
Morristown
  • Reconstituting the army and planning campaign 1777.
  • Carleton rebuilds his Rangers from renegades.
  • Red Fox and/or Spotted Pony return to the Shawnee to seek reinforcements.
  • Carleton decides to refit several of his merchantmen in France as warships to engage in the naval war.
New York
  • Complications with Pieter and Howe.
  • Elizabeth carries intelligence to Congress, meeting with John Adams and others.
  • Progress of negotiations with France and Spain.
3. 1st Crisis and Turning Point
  • Pieter learns the truth.
4. 2nd Turning Point—Campaign 1777
  • Red Fox and/or Spotted Pony return to Morristown with a mixed party from the tribes.
  • Battles of Bennington, Brandywine, Germantown.
  • Elizabeth’s covert activities increasingly put her in danger.
  • Elizabeth learns her parents and Abby are returning to Boston.
5. Main Crisis and Turning Point—Saratoga
  • Carleton and his Rangers join General Gates at Saratoga.
  • Americans defeat Burgoyne, ending the British quest to split the colonies along the Hudson.
Act 3—Denouement
  • Tess leaves for Boston to prepare for the Howards’ return.
  • Howe prepares to move against Philadelphia.
  • Andrews and Blue Sky face a painful decision
  • Carleton and Elizabeth take leave of each other and Elizabeth returns to NY.
  • Setup for vol. 5.
As you can see, this is very sketchy, but for now I don’t want anything more detailed. All I need is something to help me keep the overall sequence of events straight. BTW, I did remove a number of important details in order to avoid spilling some major plot points, especially the ending. For now you’ll just have to guess what those might be! All I can say is that they involve Carleton and Elizabeth’s relationship and also Andrews and Blue Sky. There are yet more major changes in their lives coming up.

Right now I’m focusing on getting all my notes and existing scenes in correct chronological order. Things are kinda scattered, and it’ll be a lot easier to move forward after I sort everything out. Once that’s done, I’ll start fleshing out the sections of notes into full-fledged scenes and create transitions. I can’t wait until I have the rough draft finished! This process is like trying to extract your brain through a pinhole in your forehead with tweezers! For me the real fun begins when I have something I can edit. But it’s going to be a while yet before I get to that point, so I’d better get to it!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Quest

A couple of weeks ago while I was struggling, yet again, to get a real handle on Crucible of War, I realized that my problem was plotting the story. I have a collection of scenes and notes, but weaving them together into a coherent whole wasn’t happening. I’ve lived with my characters long enough now that I know their souls quite well, though, of course, as is true with real people, they still surprise me from time to time. That’s what keeps things interesting. At this point in the series, however, the overarching story has become too complex for me to do my usual seat-of-the-pants plotting as I write each volume.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there was nothing for it except to buckle down and—gasp—outline the plot! Although I generally resist being that organized, obviously I wasn’t going to make much progress until I did. Sooo I took the plunge. First I decided it would help tremendously to have the main characters’ inner and outer quests up at the top of the document where I can easily refer to them as I develop each act. It helped that I’d already outlined the specific goals, motivation, and conflict for each main character in this volume as well as for the book, which made this part a relative piece of cake. Here’s what I ended up with.

  • General George Washington
    outer quest—keep his army together and strike a decisive blow against the British.
    inner quest—to earn the respect of friends and foes alike, to protect his reputation, and to return in triumph to the peaceful life of a Virginia planter.
  • General William Howe
    outer quest—wear the Americans down through a series of blows that will finally force them to surrender.
    inner quest—build his reputation and maintain his position, all while indulging in gambling and the charms of his mistress as much as possible.
  • Jonathan Carleton/White Eagle
    outer quest—to define his identity as Shawnee warrior/white officer, to help the Americans win independence, and to successfully advocate for his people .
    inner quest: to build a life with Elizabeth, to finally learn to trust her completely, to come to know the depths of her soul.
  • Elizabeth Howard
    outer quest—to overcome Howe, defeat Britain, and help gain independence for the Americans.
    inner quest—to build a life with Carleton, to nurture his soul and heal his deepest wounds.
  • Charles Andrews/Golden Elk
    outer quest—to help the Americans gain independence, and then go home to his adoptive people in peace.
    inner quest—to become a true Shawnee husband to Blue Sky, father to their children, and member of the tribe.

It’s a beginning. I’ll refine this and make it more specific to this volume as I develop the story. In my next post, I’ll go into the actual plot outline, which I’ve organized in 3 acts.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Daughter of Liberty Video Trailer

At last! It's finished! Not that I really had time to play around, mind you, but all work and no play makes Joan a very dull girl. So I made time.

Unlike with the Wind of the Spirit trailer, this time I wasn't really happy with my attempts to create a script before constructing the video. So finally, in frustration, I tried adapting what I did have to the images I could find. That included the existing cover of DOL, which will be changed out as soon as we have the cover for the August release of the new edition.

Finding appropriate images for historical novels is a pain in the kiester, to say the least! But once I had the images, the script sorted itself out. The final result required a lot of tweaking, and I’m not completely satisfied with a couple of the images, but all in all I think it turned out not too badly. Here’s what I ended up with.

1. Eastertide 1775

2. British warships blockade Boston’s once-thriving port

3. while the Regulars occupy the city

4. As the conflict builds to a deadly confrontation

5. Elizabeth Howard plays a dangerous game

6. By day she flirts boldly with British officers

7. and by night, as the elusive courier Oriole

8. she smuggles intelligence and weapons to the patriots

9. Her most dangerous foe, British Major Jonathan Carleton

10. threatens to expose Oriole’s true identity

11. When the first blood is spilled at Lexington and Concord

12. and Elizabeth is drawn into the carnage of Bunker Hill

13. Carleton sacrifices his life to save hers

14. Can she rescue him from the hangman’s noose

15. and her heart from his keeping?

16. The nation’s epic war for independence begins . . .

17. Book cover

18. Credits

Finding the music was the real head-banging ordeal. I went back to my usual hangout for music, audiosparx, and filtered through beaucoup snippets of song without finding anything that really spoke to me. When I was just about ready to settle for one that I felt would really be better for Native Son, I decided to give it one more try.

This time I found a piece titled “Gathering Strength” that felt just right. And it lined up perfectly with the images with almost no tweaking. Wooo hoooo! Talk about serendipity. The only hang-up . . . $149. Yikes!!!!!! Even at the lowest level of rights it was the same, unlike the fabulous one I found for WOTS that started out at $172 and ended up something like $28. Oy veh!. Then I noticed that they allow you to bid on audio if you don’t want to pay the asking price. So I bid what I thought was reasonable for my use and the owner took it! I was in business. And here’s the result. Give me your feedback!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Correction!

One major correction to the information I posted about my presentation at the Southern Festival of Books. Somehow I got the date wrong. I’m actually presenting this Friday, October 8, from 12 to 1, with a book signing following, NOT Saturday as I originally thought. It pays to double check the calendar and make sure you have your dates right! LOL! Go to the Festival Sessions page to see the full list of presenters and locations/times.

I’m hoping that the word about the change gets out in time and that there’s good attendance on Friday. My presentation is scheduled for right when the festival officially opens. I’m working busily on a PowerPoint presentation and a few other ideas that I hope will make it interactive and fun.

And if you’re on Facebook, click on the links to find my personal page, my American Patriot Series fan page, and the Southern Festival of Books fan page. And if you aren’t on it, why not? Create an account and come like my pages!

If you’re in the Nashville area over the weekend, I hope you’ll come join me to talk about Recreating the Revolution!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Southern Festival of Books

Wooooo hooooo!!!! Back in the spring, my local authors and I applied to the prestigious Southern Festival of Books for a slot in their author presentations. The festival runs from Friday, October 8 through Sunday October 10, during which there will be a wide variety of books for sale at the booths of a multitude of publishers, including Sheaf House this year, plus author presentations and panel discussions. It all takes place at War Memorial Plaza in downtown Nashville.

Well, two of us were chosen, one of them being moi! And best of all, I’ve been chosen to do a solo presentation on Wind of the Spirit, with a book signing to follow! The presentation takes place from at noon to 1 p.m. at the Capitol Library. I’ll be talking about the American Revolution, of course, and about how I’m researching and writing this series. So I e-mailed my contact person to find out whether we could add a subtitle to my talk—Recreating the American Revolution—to make the topic of my talk clear, and it appears that’s doable.

This is a pretty big coup and hopefully will bring more attention to this series. Needless to say, in addition to being terrified, I’m pretty excited. I ordered special postcards shown here, which will have info about the American Patriot Series on the back, to hand out to attendees. I’m thinking about other materials that might engage the audience and how to promote it to attract attendees. I want to make my presentation as interactive as possible. If you’re in the Nashville area the weekend of October 8th, be sure to stop by the Sheaf House booth. And I’d love it if you’d join me for my presentation on Saturday the 9th to talk about the Revolution and the values this country was founded on.

I just got back from 4 days in Indianapolis at the American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference. I always dread these things, but it turned out to be the best one I’ve attended both as a writer and a publisher that I’ve ever attended. I had reservations about taking the time off and spending the money, but now I’m glad I did. I made contacts I needed to make, some of them serendipitous, and the continuing session I attended was incredibly helpful, exactly what I needed to break the mental block I’ve been struggling with in plotting Crucible of War. Now I can’t wait to get back into the manuscript and move the action forward.

It was also extra special nice to receive an award as the editor of A. K. Arenz’s cozy mystery, The Case of the Mystified M.D., which won the Carol Award. We don’t often get recognized for the work we do—don’t expect it—but that was kind of a grace note for me. I’ll admit it lifted me up and felt really good. And now I have a lovely plaque to hang on my wall too!

All in all, it’s been a great couple of weeks! I’ll share more about the festival and the progress I’m making on Crucible in upcoming posts, along with the tours Lori Benton and I took of Locust Grove in Louisville, Kentucky, and Rock Castle in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Which reminds me that the annual Daniel Smith Days celebration is coming up at Rock Castle this weekend. Hmmm . . . wonder if I can shake loose long enough to run back out there Saturday . . .

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sad to Say . . .

Because of the amount of spam comments I’m getting on all my blogs, I’m reactivating comment moderation. That means your comments won’t appear until I have time to go in and approve them. Just another little task to add to my day.

The problem nowadays is Asian-language comments. If I can’t read the language, then I have no way of knowing what’s being said, and it more than likely isn’t nice. I figure if you can read my blogs, which are in English, then you’re capable of making comments in English. And if you don’t want to do that, then you’re not going to be allowed to add a comment at all.

As usual, all we good folks are going to be inconvenienced because of the evildoers. A pox upon your house, I say! Find something productive to do and leave the rest of us in peace!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Independence Day

Lately I’ve been spending more time doing research on the Battle of Trenton for Crucible of War. Next up is the Battle of Princeton. I want to get timelines finished for both battles so I can get busy turning the facts into scenes with action and dialog. But this weekend is the Fourth of July, and it’s time to celebrate!

According to the New World Encyclopedia, the Second Continental Congress declared independence on July 2, 1776, by passing the “Lee Resolution” presented by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia on June 7, 1776. It read in part:


“Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

Sound familiar? Congress amended Lee’s resolution somewhat before adopting it on July 4, 1776, at Independence Hall. Did you know that John Adams thought the event should be celebrated not on July 4, but on July 2? In a letter written July 3 to his wife, he wrote:

“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

“You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.” (The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, Harvard University Press, 1975, 142.)

Although he guessed wrong on the date, he was certainly right about the celebration!

Over the years I’ve been repeatedly impressed by the importance of resources like the American Patriot Series in keeping our national memory alive. An article in the March/April 2010 edition of History Channel Magazine confirmed the urgency I feel to ensure that the events, values, and leaders of our nation’s founding aren’t lost forever through ignorance and indifference. The findings cited in the article, titled “Who Cares About the American Revolution?” convinced me that we’re in dire danger of that happening very soon.

According to a national survey conducted by the American Revolution Center in 2009, “Americans highly value, but vastly overrate, their knowledge of the Revolutionary period.” Eighty-three percent of those tested on the underlying beliefs and freedoms established during the Revolution failed. In fact, the average score, according to the information on the Center’s Web site, was 44. That’s pretty shocking. Below are some other dismal findings from the survey.

  • More Americans who took the test knew that Michael Jackson sang “Beat It” than knew that the Bill if Rights is part of the U.S. Constitution. And isn’t that just sad?
  • Half of adult participants believed that the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, or the War of 1812 preceded the Revolution. From conversations with people I’ve encountered, I can attest to that!
  • The same number of adults believed that the Constitution established a democracy. Hey, folks, what we have here is a republic! Our Founders specifically did NOT want a democracy, for very good reasons. You might want to research what they were.
  • One third of participants had no idea the right to a jury trial is included in the Bill of Rights. Hmm . . . See point # 1 above. Obviously they don’t even know what the Bill of Rights is!
  • Many Americans lack a basic understanding of the chronology, scale, duration, and human cost of the Revolution. This just makes my heart bleed.
In other words, the great sacrifices our founding generation made to secure our liberty and establish our nation have been forgotten. And if we keep on down this road, soon our liberties themselves will be forgotten. One fights to hold onto what one values. And apparently Americans today don’t value their freedoms enough to even learn what they are.

Dr. Bruce Cole, president and CEO of the American Revolution Center is quoted in the article as saying: “You can’t remember what you don’t know . . . What needs to be kept in mind is that knowledge of our nation’s founding principles is critical because it enables citizens to participate wisely in government, to understand the historical global context of our country’s origins, to embrace a diversity of ideas, and to commit to the quest for freedom and equal rights.”

Amen to that, brother!

I encourage you to check out the American Revolution Center. Plans are being made to build a Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, the first national museum dedicated to the Revolution and its enduring legacy. On the center’s Web site, you’ll find resources that include a searchable database of lesson plans, an interactive timeline, and links to more than 70 American Revolution Web sites and organizations. It also offers a survey to test your knowledge of the Revolution. I challenge you to take it.

I scored 91%, missing 2 questions, one of which related to the Constitutional era, which I admit I haven’t researched as heavily as the Revolution. The other I did the same thing many of us do on tests: I kept thinking one answer was correct (it was), but I second guessed myself and gave the answer I thought should be true (it wasn’t). Let that be a lesson to you! Go with your gut instincts. So take the test and leave a comment letting me know how you did!

Another challenge for you. Take my pop quiz below. Research any answers you’re not familiar with and tell me what you learned that you didn’t already know.

Pop Quiz

What is the Bill of Rights?

When and why was it created?

How many amendments are in the Bill of Rights?

Give a brief summary of each of the amendments.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Interview Posted

Hey, everyone, stop on by Kathy Harris’s Divine Detour blog and check out her interview with me (June 22)! We’d love to hear from you!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Head Banging

Okay, so I’ve been procrastinating. Writing a tight script for this video has turned out to be considerably more of a challenge than I anticipated. For some reason I’m having a really hard time getting it pared down to where it’ll move quickly and carry viewers right along. I’ve trimmed and tweaked and deleted and put back what I deleted, and I’m still not entirely satisfied.

Here’s what I have so far, numbered by sequence.

1. Eastertide 1775

2. British warships blockade Boston’s once-thriving port

3. while the Regulars occupy the city.

4. As conflict builds to a deadly confrontation

5. Elizabeth Howard plays a dangerous game

6. By day she flirts boldly with British officers

7. and by night, as the elusive courier Oriole,

8. she smuggles intelligence and weapons to the patriots

9. But with the arrival of Jonathan Carleton

10. an officer in the Seventeenth Light Dragoons

11. she must fight a war of wits and words

12. as he quickly becomes her most dangerous foe.

13. As the first blood is spilled at Lexington and Concord

14. and Elizabeth is drawn ever closer to the carnage of Bunker Hill

15. Carleton sacrifices his life to save hers

16. Now can she rescue him from the hangman’s noose

17. and her heart from his keeping?

18. The nation’s epic war for independence begins . . .

19. Book cover

20. Credits

I’m fairly happy with the beginning, but segments 9 through 15 are driving me crazy. Obviously I need to convey that information, but it has to be concise and flow naturally. Right now it feels awkward and clunky, and I’ve played with it to the point that I’m no longer objective.

Of course, a huge obstacle to writing this is knowing that I have to find images to illustrate each sequence. I’ve accumulated a number that work fine, including a couple of video clips. But for several of these lines, finding anything that’s even an approximation of what I need is going to be a major task. How do you illustrate fighting a war of wits and words, for pity’s sake? But I love that line. It captures the interaction between Jonathan and Elizabeth in this book perfectly in just a few words, so I don’t want to give it up.

Well, crumbs. I guess I’ll just have to set this project aside for the time being, mull it over, and pray the muse eventually comes up with a stroke of genius.

The good news is that I’ve made good progress on Crucible of War. I’ve gotten my characters across the Delaware with considerable travail, and now I’m adding research notes about the Battle of Trenton directly into the file. Once I have a moment-by-moment narrative of a battle in front of me, scenes develop vividly in my head and spill out on the page. So I’m eager to finish entering the dry narrative so I can use them as a springboard to create some exciting action.

By a fortuitous stroke, the latest issue of the DAR’s magazine, American Spirit, included an article about American prisoners of war during the Revolution that I found quite helpful for the development of my plotline at the end of Crucible and beginning of Valley of the Shadow. Lots of great detail there that will make its way into my story! When the stars all come into alignment like that, it keeps me forging onward.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Speaking of video trailers . . .

If you’ll remember, last year around this time I did a series on the book trailer I created for Wind of the Spirit. You can see the results at the bottom of this page. Well, I had so much fun creating it—never mind the frustrations—that I kept thinking about creating trailers for Daughter of Liberty and Native Son too. And after I posted them on Kindle, the urge became even stronger. As if I don’t have enough to do. But a lady has to have some playtime too, right?

Anyway, what really got me excited about doing a DOL video was a trailer on YouTube about the Scott Brown campaign for Ted Kennedy’s senate seat in Massachusetts back in January. I didn’t stumble across it until shortly after the election, but I thought it was fantastic, and I immediately decided it would make a great “template” for my own purposes.

Here’s the video, “Massachusetts Miracle.” Regardless of your political views, you have to admit that it’s tightly written and compellingly done. I especially like the music, which ties the images together very effectively.



I started working on the trailer a few weeks ago, but then got bogged down. But the “Too Late to Apologize” video stirred the muse into action again. So in my next few posts, I’m going to document the creation of the DOL video to ensure that I get it done! Unfortunately, however, NS is going to have to wait. When you’re as technically challenged as I am, putting one of these together takes a while, and if I’m ever going to get Crucible of War written, I need to limit my playing around!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Too Late to Apologize!

Lori Benton posted this video on her blog, and it is just too fantastic!! I simply had to share. If you haven't already seen it, you'll find it still strangely relevant today....

Monday, March 15, 2010

Book Signing Photos

I thought you might like to see a couple of photos from the book signing at Barnes & Noble on the 6th. The staff at the store were wonderful to us! We had a lot of fun, met a lot of people, and sold some books too.

Since we were on Jen’s side of town, she packed the place out. Here is a photo of her with her pretty books. The second one is of me and Carol Batey. Carol and I shared a table, while Jen sat across the aisle from us. We were right by the door where we could tackle customers as they came into the store.

Well, what do you know!!! While I was waiting for the photos to upload—we’re on satellite, and it’s slow—I wandered over to Lori Benton’s blog to see what she’s been up to, and . . . she has pages!!!! When did that happen?! I quickly clicked back here and noticed a link that says Edit Pages. Aha!!!! I guess while I’ve been buried in the publishing side of this venture of mine, blogger decided to give us the capacity to add pages to our blogs. Now please don’t tell me that’s been available for the last several years! Good gravy—I’m behind the times!


Oh, fun!!! Another excuse to fiddle around with my blogs. Gotta squeeze some play time into my schedule . . . LOL! I’ve created a bio page, and I’ll get some more up asap. Hmmm . . . I need to make a list . . .

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Book Signing Alert!

Life has been unusually crazy ever since the first of the year. I keep hoping things will slow down so I can spend more time writing, but so far things have gone in the other direction!

To catch up, Daughter of Liberty and Native Son did go live on Kindle shortly after my last post. I guess I was just too impatient—not that that’s typical of me!

I have another book signing coming up, this one at the Barnes and Noble at The Streets of Indian Lake, 300 Indian Lake Blvd, Hendersonville, Tennessee, on March 6. I’ll be signing copies of Wind of the Spirit from 2 to 4 p.m. with authors Jen Stephens and Carol S. Batey (yes, her name is spelled wrong on the sign!). Jen will sign copies of her new release from Sheaf House, The Heart’s Journey Home, and Carol will sign her release Poise for the Runway of Your Life. I also plan to have copies of Daughter of Liberty and Native Son on hand for readers who aren’t familiar with the series yet.

It’s always enjoyable when you can share a signing with other authors, and I’m looking forward to this event. We may just get a little wild and crazy! If you happen to be in the area, please drop by and join us for a bit of fun!

Series Update. I’m getting to the point where I really need to bear down on finishing the manuscript for Crucible of War. If we’re going to make the fall 2011 pub date, I'll have to have it finished by the end of the year. The battles of Trenton and Princeton are taking up my time right now. Writing battles is always intense, and these battles, which took place between Christmas 1776 and January 3, 1777, were particularly complex. The action starts off with Washington’s famous crossing of the Delaware.

In this volume I’m also going to have to include Saratoga, which was actually a series of battles, pivotal confrontations between the British and Americans that ultimately turned the tide of the war. Native Americans were involved at Saratoga, so Carleton, as White Eagle, is going to bring some members of his Shawnee clan along to join in the fight.

I’d like to get the military developments out of the way so I can focus on the juicy details of Carleton and Elizabeth’s and Andrews and Blue Sky’s lives. Naturally there’s going to be a lot of passion, politics, and peril too as Elizabeth faces off against British General William Howe. There will be more than a few twists along the way. I’ll share additional details on those later.

I’m going to try to be much more faithful about updating this blog in 2010, but then I’ve said that before. Life has a way of hijacking my time, and I suspect you all have the same experience!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Kindle Links at Last—Maybe

Well . . . Amazon finally released Daughter of Liberty and Native Son for Kindle . . . but for some reason, the price isn’t available. And they’re not showing up on a search of the Kindle store, though they do show up on a search on my name.

As I promised, here are the direct links.

Daughter of Liberty

Native Son

I’m really curious to know whether it’s possible to download these books to the Kindle even though the price doesn’t show, but obviously readers are going to want to know what they’re paying. They’re $8.99, just so you know. If you try to download either of them, I’d appreciate your feedback. In the meantime, looks like I need to get in touch with Amazon once again to see if it’s possible to get those prices up there.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kindle Crisis

I was hoping I’d have better news by now, but we’re making progress, folks, really we are! I uploaded the Kindle version of both Daughter of Liberty and Native Son a couple of weeks ago. But because they were previously published by Zondervan, the good folks at Amazon, conscientious as the darlin’s are, dropped them into the dreaded—and apparently endless—review process.

Thanks to John McClure, our expert at Signalman Publishing who transforms our books into the Kindle format and who is the repository of all knowledge Kindlewise (thank you muchly, John!!), I obtained the highly guarded, eyes-only e-mail addy for the dtp support staff. I assured them I do indeed hold the publishing rights, and they responded with a request for Zondervan’s return of rights letter a short time ago. I immediately scanned the letter and sent it to them.

Hopefully we’re finally on track now to get those titles up and running on Kindle within the next few days. As soon as they’re available, I’ll post the direct links here.

In my next post, I promise to bring you up to date on my progress on Crucible of War. Alas, however, that’s going to have to wait until I get through the yearly tax travail. Sigh. If all goes well and I survive, I should have that mess off my desk sometime next week. Can you tell this is just my favorite time of the year?!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Going Electronic

After getting requests for the Kindle version of Daughter of Liberty and Native Son, I decided to go ahead and have books 1 and 2 converted since Wind of the Spirit is already available in that format. It’s sold a few copies, and e-books are grabbing an increasingly larger market share, so now is a good time to make the first books available too.

I finally finished the updates of both books—and rediscovered how much I love this story in the process! Releasing the electronic version will get them out there early for fans of the series who have a Kindle. If you’ve already read the books, you won’t notice much difference in the new versions. The changes are pretty subtle. Of course, the printed books will be the same larger trim size as Wind of the Spirit and will have covers that have a consistent look.

For the Kindle version, I’m going to have to use the same old Zondervan covers that I was never happy with from the start. If I had a budget and time in the schedule to produce new covers for these books, I’d do it, but the existing ones will have to do for now.

The books will be up on Kindle sometime around the middle of the month, and as soon as they’re available, I’ll make an announcement here with a link so you can go directly to them. So if you’re eager for the electronic versions, be sure to check this blog regularly.