Category Archives: Preserve The Revelation

I Was Talking About the Gray Cells

The temporary cover is almost exactly like the one I ended up using.
The temporary cover is almost exactly like the one I ended up using.

In a recent post, I mentioned how my mind was starting to focus on things I might be writing next. Documenting America: Civil War Edition is finished. All except the print version, that is, but I think I’m not more than two days away from having that done and submitting it for checking by CreateSpace.  I have a few publishing tasks awaiting me that don’t involve writing, such as getting the Headshots print version done. And making corrections to the Smashwords edition of Preserve The Revelation so that it can be pushed out to other vendors via Smashword’s premium catalog. Yes, I have much publishing to do.

But that’s not writing. With one book finished, it’s time to work on the next. But what to work on? I have two obvious choices:

  • Seems like a long time since I wrote this, but it's only five years.
    Seems like a long time since I wrote this, but it’s only five years.

    The Gutter Chronicles, Volume 2. The first volume of what I hope will become a series, of workplace humor about the engineering business, has been out since 2012. It’s one of my five highest selling items, mostly to people who work where I do. A couple of years ago I started the next volume, and got into chapter 4 (of a planned 15 chapter book), when I set it aside to do other things. I have the book mostly planned out, the humorous stories pulled from my past or manufactured. All that remains it to decide to write it and get it finished. Hopefully, I can find my scattered notes.

  • This was my first novel; but, if plans work out, it will actually be the second in the series, and "Preserve The Revelation" will be the fourth.
    This was my first novel; but, if plans work out, it will actually be the second in the series, and “Preserve The Revelation” will be the fourth.

    Adam of Jerusalem. This will be a prequel to Doctor Luke’s Assistant. It’s been on my list of things to write for some time. A few plot elements came to mind early, but not how I’m going to get it done. How do you squeeze a prequel ahead of a book when you never planned on it when you wrote the first book? You can’t go back and unwrite, or rewrite the second in the series. But ways of doing this have been coming to me. I’ve figured out how I want to open the book, and what the inciting incident will be. A few other scenes have come to mind.

What to do? The Gutter Chronicles makes the most sense, and I suspect I’ll at least give it a try. However, the gray cells have been giving me more ideas for Adam of Jerusalem. What to do? I could wrap up TGC Vol 2 in 30,000 words; AoJ will take about 80,000.

As an example of what I mean by the gray cells activating, until recently I have having a hard time figuring out how to show Adam’s slide from Judaism to adopting Roman ways. As mentioned above, I had decided what would be the inciting incident for this, but how to make it work in the story without violating anything I’ve already written in Doctor Luke’s Assistant. Well, the way to do this came to me recently. I don’t have every scene worked out, but it’s clear how I can accomplish this. I’m not receiving similar clarity on The Gutter Chronicles—although I’m further along with that book. Perhaps that will be less of gray cells stimulation and more of in-the-seat perspiration.

While these two books are prime on my to-write-next list, they aren’t the only candidates. The next short story in my Sharon Williams Fonseca series has been coming to mind. It will be set in Paris. Also on my mind is a book about the Stephen and Elizabeth (Cheney) Cross family of Ipswich, Massachusetts, in the 1600s. Last year I spent a month of intense work on this couple. It is intended to be a chapter in a book about Elizabeth’s father, John Cheney of Newbury. When I finished the Crosses, I saw I had between 60 and 80 pages (formatted as 5.5×8.5 pages), and was shocked. John Cheney had ten children who grew to adulthood. The work before me seemed to massive to continue with, so I set the project aside. However, I have the Cross portion done, and, I figure, why not publish it as a small, stand-alone family history? It would take perhaps another month of tidying up, expanding the narrative a little, and doing all the publishing tasks. I may do that, but not as the next book. Maybe after I finish whichever one I choose to do next.

So, while the gray cells are active, and I can sense writing in the near future (such as in August, if not some in July), I don’t know which book is next. Today will be a day of publishing activities. Tomorrow, who knows? I may take some time at work to read what I’ve already written on TGC. If I like what I read, perhaps that will be next.

Update on Writing and Publishing Plans

Back on January 16, I laid out my publishing plains for the year, with special emphasis on the first quarter. At the end of that post I said I’d come back after the first quarter to give you an idea on my progress. Well, we’re now half-way through the second quarter, and I just now remembered I’m supposed to do that. Sorry that I didn’t follow through.

Documenting America
The Civil War Edition of my “Documenting America” series is nearing completion.

I can give a report now, for sure. I listed nine bulleted items that I wanted to accomplish in the first quarter. I’ll repeat them here, and give the progress  report on each one.

  • Jan 1: Begin reading for research for Documenting America: Civil War Edition. I wrote then: I achieved this. I’m reading a little almost every day for this.
  • Jan: Complete the first draft of Preserve The Revelation. I wrote then: I actually did this Saturday, Jan 14, at 8:10 p.m.
  • Jan 31: Edit Doctor Luke’s Assistant and republish it. I re-read this in 2016 with an eye toward making edits in it. I’m ready to go with typing. This schedule should be doable. I achieved this. I don’t remember the exact day, but while letting Preserve The Revelation sit a while, I typed the DLA edits and republished it, both in e-book and print form.
  • Feb 15: Edit Preserve The Revelation once. I achieved this, I think by Feb 15.
  • Feb 28: Edit Preserve The Revelation again, which I hope will be the final edit. I achieved this, though it turned out to NOT be the final edit. I had to do one additional round.
  • It's published as an e-book at Amazon; print book and other e-book formats, though some editing for Apple remains.
    It’s published as an e-book at Amazon; print book and other e-book formats, though some editing for Apple remains.

    Mar 15: Publish Preserve The Revelation. Much must be done for this to happen, some of which I’ve already set in motion. I achieved this, though not quite by my target date. The e-book was published March 23, and the print book on April 5.

  • Apr 1: Publish Headshots as a print book. I’m unclear of where I stand with this. In 2016 I edited and re-published the e-book version of this. I don’t remember how I did my edits, whether to a master file or to the e-book file. I’ll know more when I get back to this, probably early to mid-March. No, didn’t achieve this. Instead, I switched my attention to the next item.
  • Apr 2: Resume writing on Documenting America: Civil War Edition. Actually, I hope to write some on this much sooner than that. But I’ll be satisfied with not doing so until early April. My guess is I’ll have two months of writing to do on it. I achieved this. In fact, I’ve been able to give it much more attention than I anticipated. I wrote about this a week ago. As of last night, I have only four chapters to go to finish the first draft.
  • Blog on a regular Monday and Friday schedule. I’ve already missed a couple of those. I’ll be satisfied if I have 40 to 50 blog posts for the year. I achieved this. Since my Jan 16 post, I don’t think I’ve missed a scheduled day of blogging. Or, if I did, I blogged a day late, but got it done.

As for my overall publishing plans for the year, here’s what I wrote before, along with the progress report.

  • Finish my novel-in-progress, Preserve The Revelation, and publish both as an e-book and in print. Done!
  • Finish my non-fiction book-in-progress, Documenting America: Civil War Edition, and publish both as an e-book and in print. I said I was 40% done in January, based on work of a couple of years ago. I’m now sitting at 95% done on the first draft.
  • Four chapters done in the next volume; hopefully it will be a 2017 publication.
    Four chapters done in the next volume; hopefully it will be a 2017 publication.

    Finish my workplace humor novella-in-progress, The Gutter Chronicles: Volume 2, and publish both as an e-book and in print. Nothing done on this yet. I haven’t given up on it.

  • Write a new story in the Danny Tompkins short story series. Done! I published this on March 16.
  • Write a new story in the Sharon Williams Fonseca series. Nothing done on this yet. The plot for the next story still hasn’t come to me; though, to be honest, I’ve had a few glimmers into the plot, but have pushed them aside to work on other things.
  • Finish Carlyle’s Chartism Through The Ages, a non-fiction work. Not even thinking about this at present.
  • Continue working on Thomas Carlyle Chronological Composition Bibliography. Not even thinking about this at present.

Two other items have come to mind, which I’m adding to the list. Call me foolish, but I’m doing it.

  • Publish the six Danny Tompkins stories as a box set, both in e-book and in print. This should be fairly simple, the hardest part being the cover. Together, they will be just long enough for a print book.
  • Publish my research into the Stephen Cross family of Newbury, Massachusetts. This was genealogy work into my wife’s family, Stephen’s wife being the sister of Lynda’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. I’m planning a much longer book on the whole family of ten siblings, but that’s going to have to wait a while. Meanwhile, I have this part done, needing only a little narrative and formatting. It will be 80 to 100 pages, I believe, which would be a nice little genealogy book.

So there you have it, new publishing plans for the year, but no specific publishing goals for the rest of the second quarter. I’ll be back with future writing/publishing goals and reports.

Writing is Like Ingredients in a Bowl

Battles, weapons, and bodies dominate when you write about war. It's been an eye-opener for me.
Battles, weapons, and bodies dominate when you write about war. It’s been an eye-opener for me.

I was planning on writing a fairly lengthy post tonight, but late this afternoon my equilibrium was upset by a company that is supposed to be providing me service, for which I’m paying top dollar, but which doesn’t give me service. I’m upset, and don’t really feel like writing a post. But it won’t be any easier in the morning, so I’d better do it now.

My current writing project is Documenting America: The Civil War Edition. I know I’ve written about it before. I had set it aside for a while, even after I finished Preserve The Revelation, while I was working on income taxes and home projects. I finally got back to it last weekend—that is, around April 22. It will be the second book written in my Documenting America series.

For each chapter in the book, I have the following items to do.

  • Identify the subject matter I want to cover;
  • identify the source document(s) for that chapter;
  • Load the source document(s) into my book file;
  • Excerpt the source document(s) down to a manageable length;
  • Write a historical summary about the document(s)/subject;
  • Write how the document(s) ties into an issue we deal with today, typically political or social; and
  • Format the chapter properly.

These are discrete tasks for each chapter, except some tasks have to wait on another. Obviously I have to identify the document I want to use before I can find it/load it/excerpt it. Writing the historical and political/social sections must follow from the documents. But, I have the choice of finishing all parts of a chapter, or work on like tasks regardless of the chapter, or a mixture of these. I’ve been proceeding along the latter path. Sometimes I work on finding a document. Sometimes I do the excerpts. Sometimes, instead, I write the perspectives for chapters I’ve already done the excerpts for.

As of Wednesday night, I had:

  • Identified all but one chapter subject;
  • Identified the documents for all but that chapter;
  • Loaded the documents into my Word file for all but that chapter;
  • Done the excerpting work for all but two chapters;
  • Written the perspectives for 20 of 30 chapters; and
  • Properly formatted about 15 chapters.

This tells me I’m somewhere beyond 50 percent done with the book, but it’s hard to tell, working on it as I am.

Documenting America
This will be the second book in my “Documenting America” series.

About a week ago, as I was proceeding along my hybrid path, I came to realize that what I had was just like ingredients, dumped in a bowl, according to some recipe. I’ve never done baking, and most of the things I cook are simple. Cut, chop, saute, mix in a few spices, fry or cook in the over till done. All nice and safe, nice and easy both to cook and look at.

A few years back, however, I watched my wife fix something—tortilla soup, I think, same as we had the last three nights. She followed the recipe, which she had memorized, and dumped everything in Dutch oven. Chicken breasts, frozen chopped spinach, frozen mixed vegetables, cans of diced tomatoes, cans of two different types of beans, can of green chilies, and a teaspoon each of chili powder and cumin. There they sat, in the pan, a non-homogenous jumble. How does this come out as soup, I wondered?

But I then saw an amazing thing. A little bit of mixing with a strong spoon, and the ingredients were soon a homogenous mixture, suitable for cooking as soup.

I also watched her do this with a cake, or something like that. The ingredients just sat there, in their un-mixed state, an ugly, impossible to understand mess. Then the mixing occurred; it went in the oven, and it came out a beautiful, calorie-laced confection, perfect for whatever the celebration was.

I hope my book turns out the same. Right now it feels like ingredients dumped in a bowl. Most of the research is done, with about 1/3 of the writing yet to go.  The ingredients are all just sitting there, waiting to be “mixed”, i.e. completed. It’s hard to see exactly where I stand in the writing, how the book will come together.

But come together it shall. Wednesday night I made the decision to delete the unstarted chapter. The other chapters seem to be running longer than I expected, so I’ll be okay as to length. I’ve typed all the excerpting edits, but still have the one chapter to go with excerpting, and it looks to be a hard one. I should finish that this weekend, and hopefully write the perspectives on three or four other chapters.

I’m at the point where I really, really want to get those ingredients mixed, get the thing finished, let it sit for a week or two, and then edit and publish it.


Book Sales: 1st Quarter 2017

My best 1st quarter so far, one sale better than in 2012
My best 1st quarter so far, one sale better than in 2012

Well, I had my best first quarter ever in terms of book sales. I sold 17, which is one more than the first quarter of 2012. Of course, then I had four items for sale, now I have twenty-four. So it’s a lot fewer sales per title.

Thirteen books came in two batches. An internet friend bought six of my short stories in one shot, and a woman in my office bought seven short stories in one shot. The other four were on-line purchases by people I don’t know. Actually, that’s not true. I’m sure the one person who purchased the newly released Preserve The Revelation is an online writer-friend.

The table below shows how they are distributed among my publications. Note also that this shows a sale in April. So I know the second quarter won’t be a goose egg. You’ll have to click on the chart below to enlarge it enough to read it.

DAT Book Sales 2017 Table on 2017-04-07


Research: On to the Next Book

It's published as an e-book at Amazon; print book and other e-book formats will follow soon.
It’s published as an e-book at Amazon; print book and other e-book formats will follow soon.

Preserve The Revelation is published. It’s not selling, but it’s published. The proof copy of the print book should arrive today. I’ll get the e-book up for Nook, Kobo, Apple, etc. this weekend. Time to move on to something else.

That something else is my next book, Documenting America: Civil War Edition. There’s a long story to this book that I’ll try to make short and simple. My first full-length book to publish, back in May 2011, was Documenting America: Lessons from the United States’ Historical Documents. I enjoyed writing that. I found so many available documents, in this information age where digitized historical documents come online every day, that I knew I could make it into a series. Before long I had more than a dozen titles, all of which I knew I could easily write.

Published in May, 2011, I've sold a whopping 54 copies of this.
Published in May, 2011, I’ve sold a whopping 54 copies of this.

I decided my next one would be on the Civil War. The first one didn’t concentrate on one era in US history. Instead, I selected a variety of documents that interested me, from 1711 to 1898. It was fun, finding the documents, excerpting them, writing something about their historical significance, and tying them to an issue we face today. I had actually written a number of them as published and potential newspaper columns. When I decided, in February 2011 that I would make it into a book, it came together quickly.

Fast forward to mid-2013. I was searching around for what book to write next. The US was in the midst of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. I decided to make that the next one. I decided what the year limits would be, made a quick outline of the first few chapters, and wrote the first chapter. At the same time I was writing first chapters of three other books, to see which one felt right. Alas, Operation Lotus Sunday flowed easiest, and I wrote and published that. Once that was done I picked up DA-CW Ed again, added more to the Table of Contents, and wrote a couple more chapters. For some reason, it still didn’t feel right, and I went on to other things.

The next time I looked at it was early 2015. The sesquicentennial was about over. I had lost that window. Not that such a deadline was critical, but if I wanted to gain a few sales from the Civil War interest that the anniversary was generating…

What am I saying? When have any of my books ever found interest from current events? The election of 2012 didn’t help The Candy Store Generation, even though it included a discussion of that election as the campaign was being waged. The Chicago Cubs’ drive for their first pennant in 108 years last fall didn’t help sales of In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People or Headshots, not one bit. The idea that I thought Civil War anniversaries would help my book to sell was, at best laughable, and at worst delusional. I guess one can always dream.

I've already started thinking about the cover to the Civil War Edition. It takes me a long time to make a cover on my own.
I’ve already started thinking about the cover to the Civil War Edition. It takes me a long time to make a cover on my own.

Still, I took up the book again and worked on it, taking it up to about forty percent complete before I once again set it aside, somewhere around February 2015. Why did I do that? I still planned to write the book. But as I dug into the source documents behind the major events of the Civil War, two problems hit me full blast. One, I got tired of all the battles. When you write about a major war, battles will be predominant in the contents; you can’t avoid that. Second, I would read the source documents and start falling asleep. No joke; they were either boring me or I simply couldn’t concentrate on them. Still, from time to time over the years, I pulled the book out, even as I was working on other things, and either researched, wrote, or edited what I already had.

Now it’s 2017. No meaningful Civil War anniversaries will come up for decades. Yet, with my novel done and published, and trying to decide on what to publish next, I decided to return to DA-CW Ed. In January, I returned to my main source document, the Annals of America, and read. Lo and behold, I was able to read with amazing retention and clarity. I’m not sure what the difference was between early 2015 and early 2017, but it was a huge difference. I went to Atlanta for a conference in February, took my source book with me, and read and read and read and didn’t get tired of it.

So, what’s the status of the book? I have thirty chapters identified, which will be the final count. I have source documents in hand for all but one of those, and it’s possible I even have it for that one, reading it pending. I have my Word file created and correctly organized. I have about twelve chapters fully written (subject to editing, of course), and I have the source documents in my file for all but about eight of the chapters. Last night I added the Siege of Vicksburg source document, and began editing it. In terms of organization, I’m about 95 percent there. In terms of source documents, I’m about 60 percent there. In terms of original writing—hmmm, that tougher to figure. Maybe not more than 20 percent. Still a lot of battles to write about and draw lessons from.

Last December, I established a goal of having this published in May 2017. That’s only two months. I’m not sure I can do that in time. My actual writing will begin this weekend (if I get my income taxes done, that is; otherwise it will be next week or weekend). I’ll blog about my progress from time to time, or will post it on my Facebook author page.

The Forest and the Trees

It’s St. Patrick’s Day. That’s not a day I normally celebrate, but since much of the world is, I figured I should mention it.

The real subject of this post, however, is one I touch on with some regularity: busyness. This is one of my frequent themes and complaints. Of course, I do it to myself. If I didn’t want to write and publish books and stories, I wouldn’t be near as busy as I am. If I didn’t insist on balancing my checkbook (as I believe most people aren’t doing these days), or keep up with a budget spreadsheet, or neatly file financial receipts and records, I’d have a lot less to do. So, yes, I realize that the way I want to live and conduct life contribute to that busyness, or maybe even create that busyness.

One metaphor frequently used to describe someone who is busy is to say “He can’t see the forest for the trees.” I suppose that doesn’t apply only to a busy person. It could apply to someone who focuses on individual tasks without being able to see the big picture.

My problem right now is just the opposite. I can’t see the trees for the forest. I have such a massive amount of items on my to-do list I can’t see my way clear which one to tackle first. I could do any one task, any two tasks, maybe even any five tasks, and see no less forest of tasks waiting for me.

When that happens, which has been frequently of late, I tend to back off and do nothing. Which isn’t good, since the tasks are still there and more are being added. That’s where I’ve been of late, backing off and doing nothing. That can’t happen for long, however, and I finally got back to my list and started looking for trees.

On the non-writing list, I tried to figure which were the time sensitive ones, and work on them. Income taxes, of course, are a big one. But before that came car registration. But before that came personal property assessment. All this can be done on-line these days. The last couple of years I waited too late to do it on-line and had to go to the DMV. This year, though, around March 1st I went on-line and did the assessment. Then around March 8th I went on-line and did the renewal. Yesterday the stickers for the license plates came in the mail. Today they got on the vehicles. One item down—or maybe I can count that as three items.

On the writing list, I have my novel, Preserve The Revelation, almost finished. It needs one final read and tweaking of chapter 1, then it’s publish. Then I have the next Danny Tompkins short story, then the civil war book, then another short story, then…the list gets really long. I took a stab at felling a couple of “maintenance” type trees: I re-did my biography on my Amazon author page and on my website. Neither ones were major tasks, but they were part of this huge, impenetrable forest in which I can’t see trees. Well, I saw those two, and they are gone, for now at least.

This Danny Tompkins short story is an odd thing on my list. I thought the series was over with the last story, but two circumstances in real life gave me the idea for one more. A couple of months ago I outlined it and wrote an opening paragraph, mainly to get it out of my mind. But the day I finished the first round of edits on PTR, I had an extra hour to find a tree to cut down, so I began typing on “Growing Up Too Fast”. By the end of that day I had the story complete save for a good ending. I finished that last weekend. Sent the story to three beta readers, getting comments back from two. Incorporated those comments into the story, fixed ALL the typos (I think), and, last night, I went through the steps to publish it on Amazon. It’s done, my 23rd publication there.

I’m going to wait a few days to announce the story, because it takes that long to get it added to your Amazon page and for it to sync up with your Amazon statistics. Most likely my Monday blog will be about that.

So some trees are gone from the forest. It’s still a forest, however. Still plenty of trees tightly packs, so much so it’s still hard to see them. But, I feel better. If I can get PTR published, at least in e-book, I can pull off writing all together to do my taxes. Once I get those done, I’ll feel like working in the forest again, finding one tree at a time and getting rid of it.

Doctor Luke’s Assistant is Re-published

This was my first novel; but, if plans work out, it will actually be the second in the series, and "Preserve The Revelation" will be the fourth.
This was my first novel; but, if plans work out, it will actually be the second in the series, and “Preserve The Revelation” will be the fourth.

For the last month I’ve been working on re-publishing my first novel, Doctor Luke’s Assistant. Actually, I’ve been working on it much longer than that. Last summer I re-read it on my Nook, marking places where I found an error or where I thought the writing could be improved. I did that in anticipation of writing and publishing a sequel to it. Just yesterday I put the finishing touches (I think) on Preserve The Revelation, and will publish it in about two weeks.

I started writing Preserve The Revelation in October, 2012, as part of a four-book trial writing period. PTR didn’t get “selected”, so I worked on other things. Until September 2016, when I picked it up again and began writing. In the summer before that, knowing PTR was coming, I re-read DLA, knowing I would want to re-publish it before publishing PTR. I finished PTR on January 14, 2017, and immediately shifted to DLA.

One of the things I wanted to do with DLA was change places to contractions. Early when I was writing it, I got advice that people back then didn’t talk in contractions, that they were much more formal than that. As a result, I wrote things such as “Let us eat” and “I will go with you tomorrow”, instead of Let’s eat, and I’ll go with you tomorrow. Did people speak and write in contractions in the 1st Century? I don’t know, but I suspect that every era has colloquial ways of shortening their speech. So, in the 1st Century, speaking in Greek or Aramaic, people would have shortened their speech and writing, as we’d say “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” As a result, the most common criticism of DLA was that it was stiff. How much did lack of contractions contribute to that? I figured quite a bit.

When I reread DLA, I found about two dozen typos, but there were hundreds if not thousands of places where contractions would lessen the stiffness of the dialog and narrative. I did search and replace for common word combinations reduced to contractions in English. As a result it shortened the book by over 1,000 words, I think closer to 2,000 words. That was a lot of searching and replacing.

I had that work done in mid-February, and shifted back to PTR for the first round of edits. Once those were done, I went back and forth between the two books. I made the print version file of DLA final, uploaded it to CreateSpace, and waited for the proof to arrive. I started a third round of edits on PTR. The two progressed simultaneously at that point. Last Friday I uploaded the print file of DLA to CreateSpace, after a couple of failed attempts that I didn’t understand, and waited for their automated system to tell me it was okay. That okay came at midnight, so this afternoon I made that my main task. Got it done around 2 p.m.

Well, that wasn’t my only main task. I had to make two last minute changes in the Kindle version. I did that, uploaded it, checked it on the on-line viewer, and saw it had a mistake. So I went through it again, this time getting it right. That was done somewhere around 3 p.m., I think. Then I typed the third round of edits in PTR, which I finished in manuscript Sunday morning (not going to church because of a lingering cold). Those were done around 5:30 p.m., at which time I exited The Dungeon to go upstairs and fix supper.

So, this weekend, while prevented from doing outside work due to my cold and to the rain-snow combination on Saturday, I made major progress on writing. I didn’t work on stocks, or filing. I did complete entries in the checkbook, which had been lost for a week. But except for that, it was all writing, and it felt good. Now, it’s on to making the Smashwords edition, and working on an almost complete short story—as well as finishing touches on PTR, of course.

Unwinding From The Weekend

I’m at work, at my desk, trying to figure out how to be productive today. We spent the weekend in Oklahoma City, on a dual family event. Ezra’s birthday was March 1, and we celebrated this weekend. Elijah’s dedication was Sunday. So all four grandchildren have been dedicated to God’s care and service.

Since these were two family events, and since some people would be driving in for them but wouldn’t want to spend the night, both took place on Sunday: the dedication during the normal worship service; and the party right after at Incredible Pizza. This is 50,000 sq. ft. of mayhem. Noisy, crowded, chaos. The kids liked it, and that’s what matters. We were there a couple of years ago for Ephraim’s and Elise’s birthdays.

So today it’s back to the grind, at work and at home. I had my manuscript with me over the weekend, but only managed to look at 30 or so pages. That will be my main writing focus this week, that and re-publishing Doctor Luke’s Assistant. My proof copy should arrive this week. If it’s good, I’ll get the print and KDP and Smashwords editions republished this week.

Still Weary, But Will Write On

My last post, on Feb. 23, was written in Atlanta, Georgia. I was there for a conference, the Environmental Connection 17 conference put on by the International Erosion Control Association. For the first time in years, I didn’t submit a technical paper for presentation. So I was just an attendee, renewing old connections, making new ones, and encouraging one of our younger engineers who did present a paper, his third.

The flights out, via Dallas-Fort Worth, went well. We had a long enough layover in Dallas that it was enjoyable. We got easy transportation to the hotel. The walk from the hotel to the conference center, over two elevated walkways, was just about right. The Wednesday activities were good. Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel gave the keynote address. I went to some technical sessions on things I wasn’t familiar with, and broadened my perspectives. All was well.

But something happened on Wednesday, not at the conference, that wasn’t good. I won’t go into details here. Let’s just say it threw me for a loop. It so affected me I wasn’t able to sleep that night in the hotel. I tossed and turned, and finally got up and read. It was well after 2:00 a.m. when I finally went back to bed, though I’m not sure when I fell asleep.

The next day I made that post. I made it from my company smart phone, the first text-intensive post I’ve made from it. That was something new for me. During the day, the situations that caused me to lose sleep somewhat resolved themselves. By the end of the day, Thursday, I was doing much better emotionally. I blew off the social gatherings at the conference, went back to the hotel, and spent the rest of the day editing my novel in manuscript. I made significant progress on it.

I wish I knew why I let things affect me so. Part of the problem is that I engage in two activities that can put you on the emotional roller coaster. One is writing; the other is stock trading. Stock trading is going well this year. I’ve had a lot more winners that losers, and I’m earning at a rate that I like. Writing is also going okay, though I still get no sales. At this time I’m not ready to put money into advertising, so I’ll likely have low sales.

Once my book is ready and I publish it, I’m sure I’ll get some sales of it, and perhaps of others at the same time. Before I publish it, however, I really need to correct and re-publish Doctor Luke’s Assistant, because it comes before Preserve The Revelation in the series. I made all the corrections to the DLA master file, formatted it for print, uploaded it, and had CreateSpace check it. Alas, it had many formatting errors, all due to lack of recognition (or user error) of inserted section breaks and having the wrong page on the wrong leaf. I was working on that last weekend, but hadn’t finished it. That will be a tomorrow task.

A day-after-tomorrow task will be re-reading PTR in manuscript. I had enough edits on this round, my second round of edits, that I believe I need a third round. This will delay publishing, but I’m having that delay anyway due to the DLA problems. Alas.

One good thing did come of this trip. When I was packing Monday evening and Tuesday morning, I had to decide on what reading matter to bring with me. I have several books on Google Play and on my Nook, so I didn’t need to bring any print book. But at the last minute I stuck in the Civil War volume of the Annals of America. , just in case I wanted to read that. It’s research for my next book, whereas everything on my electronic devices is for family history, research for later books, or recreation. On the first flight I pulled out AoA and read the entire flight. I did the same on the next flight, and in the hotel room the first night. I often have trouble focusing on the entries in this book, but on this trip I didn’t. I was able to focus on each article I read, making marginalia, finding great quotes, and possibly adding to my civil war book. It was a good choice. Not sure why I could focus this time when I’ve had trouble doing so most times, but I’m glad for the result and won’t question it.

Life is an emotional rollercoaster. Sometimes I don’t handle it very well. Wednesday was one of those days. I’ve recovered (mostly), and am ready to plow ahead. Hopefully my Friday post will be an author interview. Next Monday, maybe I’ll be able to report good things about DLA and PTR.

Round 1 is Done; Bring on Round 2

The first page in the manuscript of "Preserve The Revelation", with my edits.
The first page in the manuscript of “Preserve The Revelation”, with my edits.

No, that’s not of a prize fight. That’s rounds of edits in my novel Preserve The Revelation.

Though, I’m not sure but that thinking about novel writing, or maybe any book writing, might not be better described in terms of a boxing match. In this corner is The Manuscript, in rough draft. It needs much work to be able to win the fight. It’s rough around the edges, maybe even in the middle. It has great potential, but can it be molded into a quality work?

In the other corner, is Mild-Mannered Author. He thinks he can win this fight and make Manuscript do anything he thinks it should. But does he know his characters? Does he manage conflict in a way that keeps the reader engaged and turning pages? Does he know scenes and sequels; or, if he doesn’t know that writing technique, does he intuitively grasp the principle behind it and pace the book according to it? Does he understand the Magic Paragraph, and does he space these throughout the book? Can he even find his notes from the conferences where those concepts were taught?

This was my first novel; but, if plans work out, it will actually be the second in the series, and "Preserve The Revelation" will be the fourth.
This was my first novel; but, if plans work out, it will actually be the second in the series, and “Preserve The Revelation” will be the fourth.

How many rounds will this take? For the prequel to this, Doctor Luke’s Assistant, I think I went through four rounds. That was my first novel, and should take longer to craft to perfection, right? If that took four rounds, surely this one will take only two.

I e-mailed a copy of the Word file to my next beta reader, asking him to have it back to me by March 1. I’ll print a clean copy of it tomorrow, to take with me as I travel this week. I’ll be on a plane to Atlanta on Tuesday, to attend the annual conference of the International Erosion Control Association there from Wednesday through Friday, returning home late on Friday. I’m hoping in those days to get all the way through it myself. I’ll hole up in my hotel room for three nights and read-away. With luck, I’ll have my second round of edits done and typed by the time I get comments back from my beta reader.

That means, if two rounds of edits will really be enough, I’ll have the book ready to publish some time around March 4. I’ll take three or four days to format for e-book and print, and publish them. The cover is well underway. The cover photo is chosen and approval to use received, and needed artwork on it is commissioned and will shortly begin.

There’s many a slip, but it could happen on this schedule. I’m starting to get excited.