Out With the Old, In With the New (Year)

As I look back over the previous year and look ahead to the next, there’s a lot to think about. First, let’s start with 2019.

The Blog 

Followers: In August I mentioned that I had published my 200th post, and that I was close to 200 followers. I hoped to make it to 200 by the end of the year. I’m pleased to say that I have reached and exceeded 200 now. As of today, I have 206 followers. Yippee! Now, this is pretty minuscule by most standards, but hey. I’m pleased as punch I have had 206 people like my content here enough to actually click the “follow” button. Thank you, thank you! Special mention to notjustagranny who stumbled across my blog late in the year and has been avidly reading pretty much every post since, as well as leaving comments along the way. Great to have you aboard!

Most popular day/hour for people to view my posts? Sunday, 2 PM. Perhaps that’s the most popular day/time for people to read blogs in general. Who knows?

June 18th was the day with the most views this year. Not sure exactly why. My book had launched on June 1st so perhaps this was people who had read the book and had gone to check out my blog?

Most popular post: What They Wore: Clothing in the 7th Century. This one actually topped my previous all-time most-viewed post (Review: The Last Kingdom), but that one still came in second. Glad to see a new one come out on top, although, like the review post, this was an old one, from 2018. The post from 2019 that got the most views was Anglo-Saxon Literature: The Husband’s Message.  

Favourite post of mine: That’s a hard one. I’ve really enjoyed looking at the various people, customs, and places of 7th century England throughout the year. My new series on the Battles of Anglo-Saxon England has been a fun one. And I loved taking another look at Bede this year, as he remains a favourite for me. But I guess if I had to pick, I would have to say that Star Wars and 7th Century Monks would have to be my fave from the year. I’ve been fascinated by Skellig Michael for a long time, and it was a delight to take a close look at it and learn more about it. It was especially fun to do that in the context of Star Wars. I also really appreciated the thoughtful comments that the post generated. It was great to hear another perspective on the movie. So, a win-win for me!

This year I reduced my frequency of posting from once a week to bi-monthly. This was a very good decision. It gave me the space I needed to focus more on the book/publication. I am going to continue that frequency this year. I will admit that I didn’t always post twice a month. Sometimes I just couldn’t fit it in. I imagine that will be true again this year.

I had the privilege of doing a post on St. Gildas over at the English Historical Fiction Author’s Blog. This was a great experience, and gave me some new readers and some eyes on my book, as they ran an ad for the book on the page the same day as my post.  I am hoping to do another post for them again this year.

The Book

As you all know, my first novel, Wilding: Book One of the Traveller’s Path, launched on June 1st. Wow, it’s still kinda hard to believe. Here’s a few reflections of the journey as I look back:

  1. Being an indie author is a LOT of work. I remain amazed at how long it took me to figure out just the mechanics of how to get my book out of my writing program (Scrivener) and into the formats needed to upload to the distribution sites. Basically I had to format it into three files – mobi (for Amazon/Kindle), epub (for Kobo, Apple, and others), and a special PDF template for paperback. You wouldn’t think that would be so hard. Especially since Scrivener basically makes it easy by allowing you to select each of those formats when you go to compile your manuscript and export it out of Scrivener. However…Scrivener went through a major redesign just before I started on the compile. And silly me, I decided to update the software before compiling. In the past, when there have been updates, things haven’t changed “that” much. This time, they did. Specifically they completely overhauled how to do the compile. Yikes. It has honestly taken me hours to “forget” how I did it before and relearn the new method.

I have just finished compiling Book 2 so I can send it out to the beta readers. Ugh. Back at square one again. Supposedly you can save all your compile settings and use it again in another project, so you only have to go through the set-up once, but I decided to change something (add chapter titles, instead of numbers) and…hoo boy, back to confusion. I still LOVE Scrivener but honestly I wanted to tear my hair out at times.

   2. Being an indie author is a lot of work (pt 2). Once I had the file formatted properly, I then could upload it to the various platforms. Amazon for Kindle, and Ingram Spark for everywhere else. Easy, right? Nope. To be fair, Amazon was just that easy. Click and off it went. But Ingram Spark….oh my. Hours and hours spent trying to figure how to fix the error that popped up. I mean, what would you do if you got an error message saying,

“PDF CONTAINS ICC COLOR PROFILES: We request files with no color profiles assigned. Please convert all colors to grayscale for black and white images, or CMYK for color images and remove all color profiles. Saving a new PDF with the default setting of PDF/X-1a:2001 will address the issue. For best results, please correct the issue(s) listed. You may refer to the File Creation Guide for further instructions on creating a compliant PDF.”

Well, what I did was have a good cry. This particular issue also took days to figure out. In the end, in case anyone else reading this is running into the same problem, to “fix” it I ended up sending the file to my son who has Adobe Photoshop, and he was able to tweak the file using that program and send it back to me. I still have NO idea how a person who doesn’t have that program (which is really expensive) can get around this. Sigh.

3. I have a great family, and great friends. So many of them read the MS more than once, and offered valuable suggestions on how to make it better. I got tons of encouragement and support all along the way. And I had a great book launch party, with some friends even coming from two hours away to attend! So much fun!

3. Marketing and promotion is hard. Especially with just one book. I purchased a course on marketing for indie authors, got an author newsletter started, got a professionally designed book cover, had professional edits done of the book, had a professionally designed ad done and utilized it a couple times….all of which cost a significant amount of money, for me at least. And yes, I’ve sold a few books. But certainly not enough to recoup any significant costs. But, onward and upward. I’m hoping that with Book 2 I will gain a little traction. We’ll see. I’m not expecting a bestseller (although that would be nice!) but it would be nice to get a little money back to make up for what I’ve spent. Of course, I’m not about to launch into all those costs for Book 2….round and round we go. Suffice to say, I’m doing this more for the love of doing it, not for any monetary gain, at the moment.

Looking ahead:

As I look into 2020, I have a few goals in mind:

  1. New Website – I am working on this right now. I have had to put it on the back burner while I finished the Book 2 edits, but now that the MS is off to the betas and my editor, I can get going on this again. I hope to have this ready to launch by March, if not before. I’m looking forward to showing off the new design!

2. Book 2 Launch – I am planning on releasing Bound: Book 2 of the Traveller’s Path, on June 1st, 2020.  I hope to do a better job of getting pre-launch excitement going for this book. Maybe offer pre-orders. We’ll see….

3. Blog changes – this blog will become one page of the new website. I’m not exactly sure how that will change things. I will continue to post twice a month as I am able, at least, that’s the plan right now. I hope to do a couple of interviews and maybe even a book review or two.

That’s it for now. I’m looking forward to the New Year and the challenges it brings. I hope you are too!

Thank you again for your faithful support of my writing. If you have left a comment, read a blog post, or (especially) if you have purchased a book, I am so very grateful.


Wilding Twitter Header w Apple Books

2019: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Happy New Year, dear readers!

I’ve had a wonderful break over Christmas. I hope that you had the same. I return to this space refreshed and eager for all that 2019 brings.

But before I look to the future, it’s good to pause for a moment to review this last year. It’s interesting (to me, at least!) to see if I can spot any trends, or determine if there’s anything that I’m doing that people particularly like.

So, here goes.

  1. Followers – the number of followers of the blog (people who click that magical “follow” button) has risen slightly over 2018. As of today I have 199 followers. So close to 200! It’s good that this number has gone up and not down, but it still would be nice to have that number be bigger. Oh well. However, I am very thankful to each and every one of you who have either just visited the blog and read a post here and there, or who faithfully follow and read every week’s offering. It’s very gratifying to know there are people out there who get some enjoyment out of this space. It’s interesting to look through the list of followers. I see other writers, book reviewers, artists, a gardener, an adventure traveller, a scientist, historians, editors, and many other fascinating people from all over the world. Thank you! And a special shout-out to my newest follower, The Hannie Corner, who joined up on December 30th. She obviously loves to read, as she reviews books on her blog, and seeing as I have some Hannies in my family tree we might even share more than a love of books.
  2. Changes I made last year – in 2018 I tried posting more at the beginning of the week (ideally Monday) instead of at the end. To be honest I wasn’t very successful at that. Somehow having the weekend before a post was due gave me a false sense of security that I had time to get a post written, but I would almost inevitably wake up on Monday realizing I had not got anything ready. Also my work schedule changed a bit, with the addition of working Monday morning. By the time I went to work, came home to have lunch and then walked the dog, it felt like the afternoon was half over and barely had time to start the initial research on a post, never mind writing it.   All of this meant I felt behind the eight ball all year. As a result, In 2019 I’m moving my posting day back to Friday. It just feels more doable to me. In 2018 I also tried to be more disciplined in setting out a schedule ahead of topics to write about. This was a success for me. Even if I didn’t always follow it exactly, it really helped with the dreaded blank page when I sat down to write on the blog. I will continue this in 2019.
  3. Most popular post on the blog – this is the same as last year. It’s my review of the Netflix series, “The Last Kingdom.” It has had 343 views in 2018, even though that post was from 2016.  Wordpress tells me that some of the searches that brought readers to that post included phrases like “why is Skorpa’s teeth red?” I guess having the answer to that question in the post brought people there! At any rate, I’m happy to solve that little mystery for people. And yes, I’m still enjoying that series, although I will admit I like Uthred more as a Saxon than a Dane…
  4. Other popular postssecond most popular post was The Wanderer, which was a repost in August of a post from a couple of years ago. I suspect this is because of the tie-in to the Lord of the Rings, as I comment on how portions of this Anglo-Saxon poem was quoted in the book and movie. Maybe I should do more reviews and mentions of TV shows and movies? Heh. The third most popular was the post on the Franks Casket, which came from October. I’m glad one of my Anglo-Saxon posts reached the top three, at any rate.
  5. Least popular post – the dubious honour of the least popular post of the top ten in 2018 was the introduction to last year’s reading series, 2018 Reading Challenge: The Year of Reading Buechner. It’s possibly because that came up early in January, and people hadn’t quite got into the routine of catching up on their blog reading. Also possible that it just wasn’t that interesting to people. My other reviews of Buechner books this year all fell below that in rankings, so I suppose I could see it as being the most popular of my reading series posts this year, instead of the least popular of my top ten posts.

Looking ahead: 

Wilding_cover32019 is going to be a big year on The Traveller’s Path. On February 5th I will be self-publishing my first novel, Wilding, on all the major e-retailers such as Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, etc. I”ve got the MS back from the proofreader now, and am making the final changes so that it’s ready to go. I’m also figuring out how to provide for paperback copies as well.

I’ve been having a think about this and decided that I’m going to have to make some changes here on the blog in order to make sure I’m making the best use of my time. For better or worse, here’s what I’ve decided.

  1. Less frequent posting schedule. There’s a big chunk of time I spend each week getting the posts ready. And while I enjoy it and am proud of the pieces I put up here, I find that the time spent has eaten into my other writing time. I have a hard time writing short stories, for example. And what with publication looming and then the preparation for Book 2 after that, I feel like I should cut back here in order to concentrate more on that. So, you will see posts here twice a month, generally, instead of once a week. I hope that will give me more time to concentrate on the books and the business end of publishing and marketing. I’ve spent a lot of time on my novel writing, I need to concentrate on giving it the best start possible. However, you might find that I will post more often, occasionally, when I have more time or when I need to inform you of book news. Stay tuned!
  2. No reading series this year. This was a tough decision. I loved my Year Of Reading… series, and it has opened me up to books and authors I probably wouldn’t have read if I hadn’t disciplined myself to a reading schedule of books. But, again, it comes down to time. Having to read one of the books in the schedule each month ate into time I could have spent writing or planning ahead on the books. I also wonder if my reading series was not of interest to my blog readers, who maybe are coming here for posts on Anglo-Saxon history, or news on my book or fantasy books in general. So for this year, I am putting my reading series on hiatus.  I will continue to post on my various series on Anglo-Saxon England, looking at the customs, society, and anything else to do with that fascinating time.
  3. New website? I am seriously considering  making this blog part of a bigger website, which I can use to showcase my books. It seems a logical step that once you have published a book, you should have a dedicated website to promote them. This blog will be one of the pages on that site. This will likely happen in the next six months.

Onwards and upwards! Thank you for joining me on the journey so far, and I look forward to new adventures ahead in 2019!

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Book News, and An Apology

First, the apology. 

My summer has been over-the-top busy. My husband’s job ramped into overtime, and, being his trusty side-kick, so did my life. Helping on that front took over everything, like The Blob, leaving me no time for anything else, including posting here on my very own corner of the inter web.

 

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If you haven’t seen this, you don’t know what you’re missing….

I realize that the earth won’t come to a halt if I don’t keep up my schedule here.  Hopefully you all had better things to do over the summer than breathlessly await my latest posts.

But still, I feel a twinge of guilt that the Traveller’s Path was looking down-right spooky and uninhabited this summer.

The good news is that things have settled down around here. Hubby’s job has scaled back, and along with it, the necessity for my involvement. Phew! I’m looking forward to getting back to a more regular schedule for the blog.

When I first started The Traveller’s Path, I posted on Fridays. Which worked pretty well for me. This year I switched to Mondays…but you may or may not have noticed that I’m having trouble with getting the posts ready for Mondays. My posting days have been all over the place. I’m going to stick with Mondays as a hoped-for day for the rest of the year, but will revisit this come 2019.

I have some great content planned for this month. You’ll see a new post in the Society News series, this one on the ceorls, the overworked backbone of Anglo-Saxon society. I’ll be introducing the Celts to set the stage for my series on them, and will round out the month with my Year of Reading Buechner entry for this month. Unfortunately I missed my entry in that series for August. I’m going to try to make up for it in the next few months and sneak in two in one month at some point. I don’t want to cheat myself of any of my planned books of his!

As for the book….

Sigh. Having to put everything on hold over the summer has meant that my two months of getting ready for book launch went out the window. This has set me behind schedule as I look at my targeted date of October 31st for publication.

However, I am making a wee bit of progress. I have FINALLY finished my re-read and am working on fixing a few things that stood out, and then will get the MS to my beta readers this week or next. I am also almost done my book description for e-book sites, which will also serve as my back cover copy for when/if I get it ready for print. And I am searching out a proofreader to hire for the final edit so I can make sure the final version is as good as it can be.

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Don’t want this guy on my case!

But I still have a lot to learn about the whole self-publishing process, and marketing, and print-on-demand, etc. I don’t want to rush publication, but I also don’t want to keep putting it off. The truth is I am sure that no matter how hard I try to prepare, there will be things I do wrong and things I could have done better. It’s very much a learning curve, right? So I can’t put expectations on myself that everything has to be “perfect”.

However, there’s a balance between “perfect” and “I have no idea what I’m doing”. I’m definitely leaning a little too hard on the second point of that scale on the moment. All this to say that I’m contemplating moving my launch into early 2019.

I’ll keep you posted!

Thank you for your patience, and thanks once again for joining me here on The Traveller’s Path. Your support and companionship on this journey means more to me than you can imagine.


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2017: The Year That Was

Before I forge on into this New Year, I had one more task I wanted to do here on the blog. I thought it would be interesting to examine my stats (helpfully supplied by WordPress) on how I am doing here.

It’s a bit humbling, to be honest, but ho hum. The truth hurts! The good news is the number of views per post is finally starting to go up a bit.I’ve had a few posts get over 100 views this year, so that’s a nice change.

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Here’s the details, in unforgiving black and white:

  1. Most popular post on the blog – the post that has been viewed the most (239 times) is my review of “The Last Kingdom”, the Netflix miniseries about the Dark Age warrior Uthred,  based on the Saxon books by Bernard Cornwall. This appeared on the blog in 2016, so it doesn’t count as the most popular of 2017, but it’s tops over all, so I thought I should mention it.
  2. Most popular post in 2017 – my recent post on Kings and Queens of Anglo-Saxon England got the most views in 2017, with  196 views. That was up on the blog in December and was my last post this year on Anglo-Saxon people and culture. I’m glad to see this topic resonating with readers.
  3. Second and third most popular in 2017 – those go to Penda: King of Mercia (165 views, from February) and What They Wore: Clothing in the 7th Century (110 views, from August). Again, I’m happy that these posts are generating some interest.
  4. Least favourite from 2017  – the dubious honour for this goes to my Year of Fun Reading: Wrap Up (10 views). But that’s probably because that was only a week ago and it was posted in the week between Christmas and New Year. So I’m not sure the lack of views means that people weren’t interested.

It’s interesting to have a look at the numbers, but I find it hard to do any kind of useful analysis on them. It’s probably (hopefully) not true to say that a post is no good judging by the amount of views it gets. Lots of other variables factor in, including time of day you post, and how many people share the post (thank you SO much to those who have done this!). But in general I will say a few things strike me as I look at these stats.

  • The number of views are generally increasing. So, I will take that as a positive.
  • People are liking the posts on Early Middle Ages people and culture. These tend to be the most popular posts on the blog.
  • Book reviews, such as my “Year of” reading challenges and other reviews, are fairly popular, and posts about writing, are slightly less popular that those. And less popular than both those are the posts with my original fiction. That’s not so great for this aspiring writer!

I have tried to do a better job of promoting my blog on social media, mainly via Twitter. I have used Hootsuite to schedule posts so that there is more from me on Twitter but this is something I could definitely improve upon. So I will try to be a little more intentional about that this year and see if I can get my readership continuing to grow.

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The whole spectre of marketing my work is a huge area that I know I can improve upon. There is reams of advice out there for bloggers on how to do that, so I will take some time to work on this in 2018.

However, there is a delicate balance here that I find tricky. I really enjoy writing here on the blog, and I try to do a decent job of crafting interesting posts. Each post probably takes from two to four hours to write. Depending on the topic and the amount of research I have to do, it might be longer.

But I’m also trying to get a novel published. Definitely my writing here detracts from that, just because time spent here is time I’m not spending on my book.  I really enjoy posting here, and the connections I have made through my blog are wonderful, so I don’t want to give it up. And I can see that WHEN I get my book published, it will be good to have this space as a place to connect with readers. So I have to be careful with time management for it all to work.

Last year I developed a writing schedule that I managed to stick to fairly well, but I will spend some time this month revisiting that. I find that setting goals really helps me. I really want to be able to publish in 2018, so I need to get my ducks in a row. And I need to do some serious work on figuring out strategies for effective book launches, and marketing of said book, etc.

There’s lots to look forward to in 2018! Thank you to all my faithful readers, and double thanks to those who take the time to comment or share my posts. You all are a great encouragement and blessing to me, and I look forward to continuing to connect with you here on The Traveller’s Path in the year to come.

Onward and upward!!


Feature photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Seeds: What’s Next?

It’s springtime here in Alberta, and that means planting. I have been doing my part to make the earth fruitful, in my small little plot of land that is my yard. Some bedding plants, some perennials, and a few tomatoes and an couple of pumpkins. That’s as far as I got.

In previous years I have had a more extensive garden, including carrots, and peas, and potatoes, and other various vegetables which generally meant a whole lot of work without not much yield, due to the craziness of trying to grow vegetables when there is a possibility of snow or freezing pretty much any month of the year here. Hence my lack of enthusiasm this year!

It’s always fun to plant the seeds, though, and watch the garden grow. This year I may not have planted any physical seeds, but there are a few seeds rattling around in my brain all the same; seeds of book plans, future blog posts, and  future writing endeavours.

I thought I would share these here, just to help keep myself accountable!

  1. THE BOOK/S (1? 2? 3?)

a) Revisions

I spent some time doing some planning the other day, and mapped out how many more chapters of revision I have to do and made myself a time-line, just so I have something to shoot at. Turns out if I can do about 6 chapters a week, I should be finished revision by the end of August, even with the holidays we have planned over the summer.

I am hoping to get the revised MS to beta readers in September. If any of you are interested in being a beta reader, I would be happy to take you up on it. And for those of you who have read the earlier draft and want to see the more polished version, I’d love to get your feedback as well. It will be the whole kit and caboodle, as they say, not just the first of the trilogy that you have read before, just to sweeten the deal.

b) Next steps?

After revisions are done, I will have to take the feedback from the beta readers and look at the whole MS and make some decisions. Will it be one book? Or maybe two? What is the best way forward? Does some of the things I took out need to come back?

I have to get a book launch plan in place, and a cover, and marketing plans, etc. I plan to do this over October and November. I will also do the final edits in October. I’m toying with sending it out again for a professional edit, but I’m not sure. We’ll see.

c) Launch?

Keeping in mind all of the above, and depending on how the revisions and feedback from readers goes, I’m looking at a launch sometime in the first half of the New Year. Which totally terrifies me. Watch this space!

 

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2. FUTURE BLOG POSTS

I am settling into a bit of a rhythm here on the blog, and so far it’s working pretty well for me this year. I don’t know if you have noticed, but generally the months are structured like this:

First week – something about the Dark Ages. Might be a focus on a person from that time, or  something about the culture, or whatever strikes my fancy. As my book is set in this era, I like to keep that focus to hopefully gain interest on my book, both before and after publication.

Second week – something random, maybe a book or movie review, or another Dark Ages post, or an interview with another writer, or whatever. Once in awhile I’ll throw in some writing-related topics, like my recent one on tropes.

Third week – this is where I hope to have my Fiction Feature, where I share original short stories, like last week’s story, and this one I put up a couple of months ago.

Fourth week – my review of the book I read for my Year of Fun Reading.

I”m not exactly tied to this structure with bonds of steel. My first and last posts of the month will generally be as I have outlined here, but I have a little more flexibility with the middle two. Probably I won’t get a story up every month, but I’m aiming to get one up every two months for sure.

At the beginning of the month I try to fill in the topics for each week, just to avoid the weekly panic of what to write about. A little planning goes a long way. (I should remember that, to curb my “pantsing” tendencies…)

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3. FUTURE WRITING ENDEAVOURS

a) Professional market?

The last couple of years I have had a goal to get published in a professional paying short story market. There are two reasons for this, first of all these markets generally pay better, but more importantly, I want to see if I can get accepted into the markets where the big boys play. I’ve had no success so far, but I have had at least one publication tell me to send them something else, so that’s inching forward, at any rate.

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Er, yes. It can take a looonnggg time to hear back…..

It’s hard, though. I’m naturally more of a novel writer than a short story writer. But it’s good practice for me to write shorter pieces, it helps me with my book writing.

So, this is still a goal but I find with being caught up in the book revisions I don’t have as much time to write short stories. That is one of the reasons I decided to put more stories on my blog, it forces me to write them! But then I also have to write some for publication, as generally editors don’t want anything previously published, and having a story on a blog (on any other online venue) is considered previously published. It all comes down to time, and priorities. I have to put the book first, so story-writing often gets pushed aside.

b) Professional development

I hope to schedule more time for growth as a writer. That means more writing, as explained above, but workshops, conferences, etc are good, too. Unfortunately I will miss the wonderful When Words Collide festival in Calgary, I will be out of province then. But there are many opportunities for writers these days, just looking online you can find myriad opportunities for writers who want to work on their craft. And I’ve got lots of “how to” books I can work through as well. So I don’t have any excuse.

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In October I’m treating myself to a marvellous experience called Hutchmoot, in Nashville. This is the brainchild of the folks over at The Rabbit Room, which is pretty much my favourite place on the web. It’s not a writing workshop per se, but it will be a great place for my artistic soul to get refreshed and filled. And I’m hoping to meet some fellow writers and get some encouragement (and give some, too!).

I hope your spring and summer season is full of fruitful seeds, as well. Thank you so much for stopping by here, and reading my words. It is appreciated more than you know.

And if you have any suggestions for what YOU would like to see me do here, please let me know in the comments.

 


Feature image from D Sharon Pruitt, on flickr

A Difficult Generosity: A reblog

I’ve been away, watching the wild waves pound the shore and spending lovely alone time with my hubby as we explored magnificent Vancouver Island. I’m back now, but sadly behind on my posting schedule for this blog. And obviously I hadn’t organized myself enough to have two posts written to cover the Fridays I was gone a-holidaying. Hmm. Maybe that organized person will be me, someday.  In the meantime, I thought I would share with you a post I read recently, by the talented Sarah Clarkson. It encapsulates so well my own thoughts about writing that I thought I would let her speak for me today, as she says it so much better than I could.  Enjoy…and I’ll be back with my own gift of words on Friday as I bring you my thoughts on The Screwtape Letters, one of my Year of Reading Lewis posts.

Enjoy, and leave a comment if you like!

http://www.thoroughlyalive.com/2014/06/a-difficult-generosity

Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/transforminggenerosity/13924533105

Seeds

It’s springtime, and my thoughts are starting to turn towards the garden, and flowers, and seeds. Spring is my favourite season. I love the slow turning from brown to green, the warmer temps, the longer days. It’s a time of renewal and hope after the long, dark winter.

April was a crazy month for me. But it is starting to calm down a bit, although I’m still in catch-up mode. My writing life is slowly reawakening, thankfully, and I’m looking forward to getting back to a regular rhythm of writing. But I’m behind, and especially here on the blog I feel my lack of attention. I started with a whole bunch of ideas, and had about four posts written before I launched back in January. Sadly, those pre-written posts are all used up, and I’m feeling the pressure of sitting down on a Thursday and knowing I want to have something up the next day.

However, I do have some “seeds” – ideas for future posts. So, in a bit of a cheat, I’m going to share these with you here. Eventually these seeds will bloom into full-blown posts, or maybe not, if I get feedback that one or another has zero interest.

Anyway, here they are:

  • “Religion is what you do with your solitude” – Archbishop William Temple. I love this quote. It resonates with me on many levels, but especially as it relates to the monks at Lindisfarne, back in the 7th century. It’s a great opening to a post on the everyday lives of the monks, how they structured their days, and why.
  • Aidan of Lindisfarne. The fun thing about writing historical fiction is that you get to learn about people and places you have never encountered before. Aidan was one of these figures. He has a major part in my books, as he was the Bishop/Abbot of Lindisfarne when my main character, Thomas, arrives there. Bede, although certainly disagreeing with the Celtic flavour of the Christianity Aidan and the rest of the Irish monks practiced, had nothing but admiration for Aidan. His story is worthy of a blog post, I think.
  • Elves in story and imagination. Why are they so fascinating? These mysterious beings are a major part of my story world, known in my novels by one of their alternate names, the Fey. There are so many different cultures that have “elves” as part of their mythologies. I thought I might share with you some of the history of the elves that I dug up in my research.
  • My publishing journey. I don’t want to make this blog too “writer”-centered, and, really, there are so many more blogs out there with helpful tips on writing and publishing. But perhaps you all would like updates now and then on what I am doing to get my books published.
  • Book reviews – I have several books that I am either currently reading, have read, or that are on my “to read” list, which I would like to review. They include:
    • The King in the North: The Life and Times of Oswald of Northumbria, by Max Adams. I’m halfway through this one, hope to finish it soon.
    • A Stitch of Honor, by K.M. Carroll. A novella by one of my internet writing buds, combining knitting and sci-fi. Needless to say, I can’t wait to read it.
    • The Discovery of Middle Earth: Mapping the Lost World of the Celts, by Graham Robb. My kids got me this one for Mother’s Day. Itching to get into this one too!
    • The Hum and the Shiver (Tufa #1), by Alex Bledscoe. Hands down one of the best titles of a book I have ever seen. And it’s about the Fey, as well, with a similar but different take on them to the one I bring in my book. Read this one about a year ago, but I would like to review it here soon.
    • The Wool Trilogy, by Hugh Howey. One of the first self-published books to really take off. Again, knitting themes (at least in the titles), so I couldn’t resist.
    • The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss. Not much left to say about this huge fantasy blockbuster but I would like to throw my feeble offering into the pile of myriad reviews that this series has generated.
    • The Serpent’s Sword: The Bernicia Chronicles, Book One, by Matthew Harfly. I connected with Matthew over Twitter as he is writing about the same era, people, and places as myself. His first book in his series has just been released, and I’m looking forward to reading it. It’s a straight historical, though, no fantasy elements. From all accounts lots of clashing swords and action.

That’s about it for now. I am going to continue with my Year of Reading Lewis series, and the occasional Saturday Short, featuring some of my short stories. I would also like to add some author interviews and guest posts, to spice things up a bit.  But if you all have any thoughts about any of these or ideas on what YOU would like me to include in this blog, please let me know!

Photo: D Sharon Pruitt, on flickr