At Least I…

Newsletter 033 – February 24, 2023


In the last newsletter I talked about applying for a writing residency in Cove Park, Scotland. I didn’t get it, so I won’t be heading off to the UK this year. I first heard about the residency about a week before the application was due. In my haste to get it submitted I did make a grammatical mistake (just one fortunately), I left a word out. Mea culpa. Grammatical errors do happen, but when you’re applying for a residency (especially as an author), it doesn’t look good. I should have proofread it more carefully. I knew “the odds were never in my favor.” I was competing against 1,430 other applicants, and there were only 27 slots, but I’m glad I tried. Short deadlines make for quick turnarounds; and completing the Cove Park application gave me a retooled bio, an updated CV, a polished intro for one of my works-in-progress (The Hawthorn’s Sting) and several paragraphs of description about my novels. All useful tools for a writer’s publicity kit.

This newsletter, though, is about my novella, Flood and Fire. In Newsletter #31, I mentioned why I’m writing it (to give it away to promote my book, Jagged Man, before its re-release later this year). Yes, everyone on my mailing list will get a free copy of Flood and Fire, you and anyone else who subscribes before Jagged Man is released. One of the obvious truths about publishing is that authors can’t sell their books if readers don’t know the books exist. That’s why authors run promotions. It’s possible to spend many thousands of dollars advertising a book and still not see a profitable return in sales, but newsletters are a way for authors to inform their readers directly. The biggest side-benefit of sales for authors is that it’s a lot easier to write if you know people are reading (and hopefully enjoying) your work.

The modern section of Flood and Fire takes place in July 2005, a couple of months before Jagged Man begins. If you’ve read the earlier newsletters, you’ll know that Jagged Man takes place during several time periods (6150 BC, Autumn 2005, and several other times in between). Flood and Fire is like that also, happening within that same range of dates (including September 1666). I’ve been working on it for a few months now, along with all of my other prep work for Jagged Man (and my continued promotions for If a Butterfly). I have mostly completed the first drafts of the ancient and modern sections of the story, although they still need some work and fleshing out of details. The part I’m struggling with right now is in the middle of the story (in 1666 in London). I’ve done a lot of research on the Great Fire of London, so I’m okay factually. The part I’m having difficulty with is believably inserting the Jagged Man into the action. I have some ideas, and I’ve tried several different scenarios, but I’m not happy with the results so far. Sometimes the struggle to get it right is the most important part of the process, so I’ll keep at it.

The next newsletter will be about the marketing campaign I’ve been using for If a Butterfly, and why it isn’t working the way I had hoped. See you then.


[“Writing is no trouble: you just jot down ideas as they occur to you. The jotting is simplicity itself ­— it is the occurring which is difficult.” Stephen Leacock.­­­­­­]

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