"Roundheads and Ramblings"
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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

summer

Gearing Up for a Productive Summer

A few days ago, I informed our cat sitter that she was out of a job for the summer. (Yes, we have a cat sitter on retainer. She's wonderful about coming in whenever we leave town to water plants, open and close the shutters, pick up mail, newspapers, and packages, give the 19-year-old cat his morning medicine, and play with the young ones until they're tuckered out) I have good intentions and high hopes for staying home during the hottest part of the summer (all contingent, of course, on the air-conditioner remaining in working condition.) And from now to the middle of September, I'm going into maximum production mode.

Here's what I hope will happen during that three-month period:

1. We have a shower stall leak that will require major repairs involving tearing out the old tile, ripping up wallboard, and replacing everything with a one-piece, easy-care shower compartment that won't require much maintenance. I'll tolerate a few days of noise and mess if it means no one has to keep crawling around on the tile with bleach and re-grouting gunk. Have you ever watched "Holmes on Homes" as he tears out and replaces? Well, wish us similar luck.

2. Our condo association has also scheduled our unit to have its siding painted, so I'll be forced to be up and dressed in the early mornings before painters arrive to peer in the windows while they work.  That's a good thing -- being up and about, that is, not the peering in the windows part!

3. Our favorite non-profit (of which I am now Immediate Past President, thank goodness for the "past" part!) will be holding its annual dinner and auction fund-raiser on August 10th.  I'll be working on it for a couple of days, of course, but no longer in charge -- and it's all here in town.

4. On the writing front, the first half of my next book, Damned Yankee: The Story of a Marriage, will be winging its way to my editor by July 1st.  The chapters are written and now only need a quick a blooper hunt before I let Gaby take an in-depth crack at the content.

5. Meanwhile, I'll be working with the designer to come up with a cover design and a pre-publication trailer -- cover in August, trailer in September.

6. At the same time, I'm working on a second edition of Left by the Side of the Road: Characters without a Novel. If you haven't seen that book, it's a collection of short stories, based on characters and events that didn't make it into my longer historical novels. It is currently enrolled in the KDP Select program, which means that it does not exist elsewhere.  However, you can pick the Kindle edition up for only 99 cents or for free if you're an Amazon Prime member until mid-August. Then the second edition will appear in the regular Kindle listing, as well as in trade paper format and on Smashwords.

7. Before the second edition comes out, I'll be adding new introductions to many of the selections, several new stories, and more links to the books from which the stories disappeared. That's where some of my early summer writing time will be spent.


8. What about the second half of Damned Yankee? I haven't forgotten about it, but I want to make sure that the first half of the story arc is set before I move into part two. Writing there should begin again in August.

9. I'll also spend part of the summer gearing up for a second promotional push for The Road to Frogmore.  In fact, that was my first summer project.  I just finished a re-design of Frogmore's website, so pleases stop by and visit. It will get some new hype at a writers' conference in late September, and then we're scheduling its first-anniversary book tour to South Carolina in November.

10. I may throw in a little pre-publication promotion for Damned Yankee during that trip, since it is set in Charleston, but actual publication is not scheduled until Spring 2014.  There will be time in December for some vacation downtime before then.

And that's "How I'll Be Spending My Summer!"