"Roundheads and Ramblings"
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What All Is Happening on May Day?
A Blog About A Blog
Progress Report: Coming May 1, 2014
Looking Backward
Moving toward Publication

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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

What All Is Happening on May Day?

Thanks to Glogirly.com, my desktop now looks like this:


If you haven' met Glogirly and her cats Katie and Waffles, you need to drop by and see what they are up to.  Katie looks amazingly like my Panda, and Waffles could be a double for Dundee, right down to the trouble he gets himself into.  But they've outdone themselves today.  Glogirly has a big announcement coming on May 1st, and so do I, but she's doing a better job of keeping it a secret than I am.  Waffles doesn't know and Katie's not telling. Here at Katzenhaus, Panda and Dundee are making plans in anticipation of an exciting book launch.



I've made no secret that my new book, Damned Yankee, will be released on that day.  What does Glogirly have planned? I have no idea,
but we will be waiting with twitching whiskers to find out.  In the meantime, Katzenhaus Books is delighted to know that May 1st will be a big day in several places around the internet.  Anyone else have plans?


A Blog About A Blog

Who is this man? The answer is only eight days away.

Over the weekend, I was invited by a British friend to join a Blog Chain for writers of historical fiction.  Each Tuesday, several bloggers answer the same set of questions about the main character of the book they are currently working on.  Then those authors tap several friends to carry on the process the following week.  My husband tells me this is a form of a Ponzi scheme, but it seems like a good way to introduce our characters to new readers who love historical fiction.

I've agreed to follow my friend Helen Hollick, who writes both Anglo-Saxon historical novels and great pirate adventures.   I'm not sure which one she will be talking about tomorrow, but her characters are always fascinating, and more than a little sexy, especially the pirates.This blog will point you to her own contribution tomorrow, and then on the 22nd, I'll jump in with the story of my own Jonathan Grenville. Now I'm looking for about four more people to follow after me on April 29th.

Are you interested in following on in a Meet My Main Character blog chain? All you have to do is answer these questions:
 
1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
 
2) When and where is the story set?
 
3) What should we know about him?
 
4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?
 
5) What is the personal goal of the character?
 
6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
 
7) When can we expect the book to be published?
 
 
Let me know via email  if you are interested.
 

Progress Report: Coming May 1, 2014

The new book is coming along swimmingly! When I signed up with CreateSpace to have them print and issue the paper edition of Damned Yankee, I complained to my assigned design team manager about the length of time it had taken for them to get my last book published.  We futzed around with it for nearly three and a half months, which I thought was ridiculous.  (OK, I know.  Out there reading this are a bunch of writers who use traditional publishers, and they are shaking their heads at my innocence.  "Only three and a half months? Why, my last book took three and a half years to get through an agent and actually appear!") But one of the reasons I run my own small publishing business is that I don't want to spend that kind of time waiting around.

In the case of Damned Yankee, I've been thinking about the story since 2010, and it has taken me two years to write it and get it edited. Its time has come, and I want it out there for people to read.  Ergo -- the push to move quickly.  I submitted the raw manuscript to CreateSpace on March 12th of this year.  Today, 27 days later, I hit the final "Accept" button to start the presses.  Immediately, the company returned with another question: "Do you have a cover ready, or do you need help in creating one.?"  The answer was  "Yes, I have the cover completed, thanks to the talented Cathy Helms at Avalon Graphics," and I hit another "Submit" button.

Here's the completed cover layout. They have only to attach the cover to the completed interiors, and we will be in business.  Even with Easter and a Lions Convention getting in the way, we're going to hit the May 1st launch date, so mark your calendars.

Looking Backward

I'm experiencing a bit of a lull this week.  The new book -- Damned Yankee -- is getting a final few corrections made, and the printer now says the final proof copy will be ready by April 15 -- a week from tomorrow.  Then I'll be back into it again as we kick off a launch, order books for a small book tour in South Carolina, and start marketing full time.

But what to do in the meantime?  I already have plans for a new book, based on my mother's family of eight sisters.  I've always been fascinated by their lives, but have been hesitant to write something that would offend family members.  Now I've decided that a fictionalized version will work -- with enough details changed (and the names, of course ) so that folks won't be finding grandma's dirty laundry being hung about.

And with that thought in mind, I've been exploring old family photos and scanning them into my computer for guidance and inspiration.  Some were taken in my own lifetime, but most go back well over 100 years.  I'm amazed at how clear they still are. Here's one example:

It shows my grandmother on the left, with her sister, her second oldest daughter, and her first grandchild.  It was taken about 1898. And what a different world it reveals.

Then I can jump ahead to 1915 and see the whole lineup of grandmother and her eight daughters. They're still very old-fashioned, aren't they?






And for another change, I found this portrait of my mother  (the youngest of the girls) in 1935 -- looking quite modern. 

I'm going to enjoy exploring that time at the beginning of the 20th-century and its enormous changes.

It's now Tuesday morning, and I'm still wallowing in old family memories, some of which  only originated in listening to my mother tell stories of her girlhood.  She looks lovely here, but she wasn't always so happy.
I can' resist including this picture of her one-room schoolhouse.  Obviously she was not pleased with having a class picture taken! That's her in the middle of the front row, arms folded and a ferocious scowl on her face. The picture is even scratched, lokking as if she tried to cross herself out.



Oh, and by the way, I'm scowling, too.  The blog trolls have been at it again, leaving their ads in the comments section. I tried leaving comments open but requiring my approval before they appear.  However, there are so many of the annoying ones that I've closed comments.  You can always e-mail me, instead, if you want to comment.












Moving toward Publication

In case you missed yesterday's announcements on other social media, I am pleased to inform you that "Damned Yankee: The Story of a Marriage" is progressing quite nicely. The page proofs needed only a few corrections, and I'm now anticipating making the final "Print It!" statement around Easter.  The end of April promises to be typically chaotic around here, since we are running a big Lions State Convention here from the 24th through the 27th. But somewhere in there, I'll find time to check the physical proof and launch the other electronic formats.


This is the full cover spread for paperback editions. I'm quite pleased with it.

Release day is now officially May 1, 2014.  As some of you are all too aware, Amazon will not do pre-orders for independently-published books, or for small presses that do not have an account with them.  So those of you who will be ordering Kindle editions or paperbacks from Amazon will have to wait until May 1 to get your copy.  However, pre-orders are available now for Barnes and Noble Nook editions and for Apple's iBooks.

I've set the pre-order price for electronic editions at $3.99; it will increase to $4.99 on release day.  The paperback versions will sell for $17.95 on Amazon and Smashwords, but if you want to pre-order your paperback, you can get a price break there, too.

Go to the Katzenhaus website (http://www.katzenhausbooks.com/The-Latest-News.html). There you'll find the button to pre-order a signed and bookmarked paper copy for a total of $20.00 (including shipping.)  What a deal!  Just do it soon, OK? I need to know how many paper copies to order when I give the "PRINT" command.