Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Peek at "Return to Nineveh"


      The fledgling rays of the early morning sun shimmered across the still waters, turning faded pewter into brilliant translucent shades of opal, silver and bronze.  The strengthening shafts of light stretched across the harbor to a battle scarred ship that was waiting in silence for the sun to warm her decks and playfully dance along shimmering brass fittings.  She came to this anchorage to heal the wounds suffered during a desperate encounter with the elusive Japanese destroyer, which was sent by a merciless conqueror to destroy the last British citizens who fled Singapore.  She waits now, in silence, to feel the pulse of oil pumping life into her array of pipes and tubing, as her engines—her heart—come to life and beat in a steady rhythm.  Soon her human masters will breathe new life into her and she will experience the pleasurable taste of salty spray streaming across her sleek newly painted hull. 

      Her name is Mariah.
Chapter 1
      Katrin Lee Albright stood alone on the tree-covered hill that overlooked Surabaya Harbor.  She and her father, Joseph Albright, an Anglican missionary priest sent from England before the 1929 world financial crisis, went into hiding when the Japanese began their lightning-quick offensive through the small island state.  Two nights ago, they witnessed the brutal flashes from dueling ships across the horizon in the distant Java Sea.  The few returning ships gave witness to the lopsided battle of failure and defeat. 

      Her twenty-two-years on Earth had not prepared her for the increasing fear she experienced, as the Japanese Army relentlessly pushed closer to her childhood home.  Brushing long, golden-brown hair away from her face, she anxiously watched the remaining Allied ships while sailors scurried about, preparing them to sail.   

      Katrin hoped her father would return before darkness fell, and relieve her anxiety.  She knew he believed God would protect them, and he prayed with her to place them in His hands.  He told her to believe it was already so and it would be—just as Jesus had promised so many centuries ago.  She had to trust the lessons of the Bible that her father taught since early childhood, but fear of being discovered made her tremble.

      Katrin felt a shaft of fright penetrate her soul, when a sudden rustling in the undergrowth caught her attention.  The sound was coming closer, and Katrin held her breath when she could see movement coming toward her hiding place.  She waited after hearing the low whistle her dad used to announce his return from searching for lost or wounded Allied soldiers near the Japanese lines.  A sigh of relief came when she saw his face emerge from among the trees and recognized the uniform of the tall man following him as American. 

      “Kitten, are you here?” Katrin heard her dad call before she ran to meet him.

      “Dad, thank goodness!  All the ships look like they’re getting ready to leave.  I was afraid the Japanese Army was near Surabaya.”

      “They will be soon, Kat.  Captain Logan said the Allies are being overrun; Captain, my daughter, Katrin.”

      “It’s going to take years to push them back to Japan,” said the lanky dark eyed lieutenant, and second in charge, from among the small group of soldiers.  “It’s like an exploding ant farm, the way they’re infesting the East.”

      “You’re right there, Russ.”  Turning to Joseph Albright, Logan said, “Father, we should move on before long, in case a patrol sees signs of our presence in the area.”

      “We have two choices, Captain.  We can go to our base camp—a day’s hike from here, but well hidden; or, the abandoned farm we’ve used for two nights.  I don’t think any of the invading forces have gotten close yet, but I can’t be sure.  I’m afraid a dash to the harbor is too risky with Japanese snipers between us and the town.”

      Logan ran a hand over his sweat-covered face before answering. “I guess we better go for the closest and move on at daybreak.  I’ll have Sergeant Ledowski take point.  He’s the best scout around.  The two British rangers that are with us are pretty bad off, and Private Adams needs a Doc soon.”

      “Katrin, please let Sergeant Ledowski know where our campsite is located,” Father Albright said before turning to help the injured soldiers.

      Five minutes later, the ragged group of soldiers moved out, with their unlikely rescuers along the tree-lined ridge.  Sergeant Ledowski would move out of sight at times, and then double back to let Captain Logan know that no one was around to trouble them.  Katrin thought it looked like a boy playing hide-and-seek.  But this is real. She shivered at the unpleasant thought.

      The group stopped several times to help the four wounded soldiers and the two British rangers suffering from malaria, before reaching the abandoned pig farm.  At least the dilapidated buildings still had a usable house and fresh water.  Father Albright had found a small unopened can of axel grease, which he used to grease the hand-pump in the tumble down shed so it wouldn’t squeak, when he and Katrin had first arrived.  “God will protect us,” he had said, “but sometimes He asks us to help ourselves as well.  He is somewhat busy with more urgent matters than us, at the moment.”

      Katrin listened that evening while Captain Logan and her father discussed their next move.  Will we ever be really safe again? she thought. 

      “Captain, I think we need to get these men in better shape before we try to move any father.  We can see the surrounding country-side and would have ample notice if the Japanese were to come this far.  They’ll most likely be interested in securing the towns and villages before they go exploring these remote areas,’ Father Albright said.

      “I’ll have Sergeant Ledowski post some guards, Father, and we’ll see how things look tomorrow.  I’m anxious to see if your short-wave will reach any of our forces to evacuate you, your daughter, and our wounded from Java.”

      “I understand.  We’ll see what God brings us in the morning.”

      “Lieutenant Crammer, have guards posted, and tell them to keep alert,” Captain Logan ordered the dark eyed young man he had come to rely upon.

      “Yes sir.”

      The few able-bodied men rotated the night duty, carefully listening for any unusual sounds beyond the wind rustling the trees.  Captain Logan stepped onto the sheltered porch, as a hint of light touched the sky the next morning, to confer with his trusted sergeant about the approaching day.  “Sergeant, all quiet?”

      “Yes sir.  The birds ain’t even makin’ much noise.”

      “Good.  Be ready to move out within the hour,” Logan ordered.  “I’m not sure the good Father realizes how dangerous things are.”

      “Yes sir; we’ll be ready to move.”

       “Carry on,” Logan stated, returning Ledowski’s salute.

      Before the small hand of the clock reached the approaching hour, the ragged group of survivors vacated the worn buildings and moved into the jungle, after meticulously erasing any sign of their presence.  Sergeant Ledowski covered the rear, while Father Albright pointed the way to their last chance for sanctuary.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

When Diplomacy Fails

Throughout history war is the outcome of diplomacy gone wrong.  Ever since man inhabited the earth feuds were fought over hunting rights and territorial boundaries. Even the animal kingdom marks their territory and will fight to defend it; or battle to obtain it.  
In the case of WWII several factors entered into diplomatic talks about territory that were thought at the time to be reasonable by Western Europe and the United States; especially concerning territory in the East.  Restraints on territorial boundaries and naval expansion for Japan were wearing thin by the 1930’s.  At the end of The Great War Japan was considered a smaller nation and therefore required less naval forces and national boundaries were restricted by the treaty signed between the allies while British, Dutch and American settlements in the East continued to retain oil and ore rich claims.  Japan was an ally to the West, but now her loyalties were beginning to change as the restraints on a growing nation irritated a changing governmental environment. 

The Great War in the early part of the 20th century was the result of several diplomatic conflicts over territory between what was then the Great Powers (Italy, France, Germany, Great Britain, the Austria-Hungarian Empire and Russia).  Nations were embroiled in alliances between the Allies and Central Powers within weeks of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, which is considered the trigger that started the war.  This one incident brought to a head the historic squabble over territorial boundaries at the diplomatic table and men took up arms. The end of what is now known as WWI is where the story of WWII and diplomacy come together. 

At the end of The Great War the Treaty of Versailles was signed in Paris in June 1919, seven months after the official end of the war that besides making substantial territorial concessions called for Germany to disarm and make reparations which in today’s dollars would be about $442 billion.  Woodrow Wilson as President of the United States was instrumental in drafting the Treaty of Versailles with his 14-point plan and believed an alliance of nations was necessary to bring national concerns before the great powers of the world to avoid international crises.  The League of Nations was formed in Europe, but the United States did not join the alliance.  President Wilson was soon out of office following the end of the war in November 1918 and Congress did not feel America should become a member of this European league that could lead to the United States being embroiled in another conflict in Europe. 

It is this treaty; the insensitivity of the League's member nations to fairly adjudicate legitimate minority complaints about discrimination toward German natives within Slavic states along with the world depression of the 1930’s, that eventually allowed Hitler’s party to attain power in Germany.  The 1929 crash of the New York Stock Exchange caused millionaires to become paupers and businesses to fail on an unprecedented scale, putting the common man out of work.  As time passed Europe felt the severe impact as well, but none so much as Germany which still was expected to pay restitution for The Great War.  Hitler built on this hardship that trickled down to the average citizen’s ability to lead a productive life.  Hitler gained loyalty and power by pointing a finger at the repressors of Germany until he emerged its unchallenged Furor.
All of these factors came together in 1939 with German troops entering Prague, Czechoslovakia, ignoring the Munich Pact signed in 1938 negotiated between Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy.  The pact called for the secession of Sudetenland to Germany currently occupied by Czechoslovakia between October 1 and 7, 1938 in four specified districts. Afterwards, additional territories consisting of mostly German population were to be specified by an international commission, composed of delegates from France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and Czechoslovakia. Several international incidents followed this act of aggression against Czechoslovakia, culminating with the invasion of Poland by Germany on September 1, 1939.  Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declared war on Germany immediately following the aggressive act against international treaty and WWII began. 

As the war entered its second year Japan’s political atmosphere brought to power those who wanted the restraints the treaty signed at the end of The Great War between Japan and the West to end.  By 1941 Japan became the third nation to join with Germany and Italy when the Tripartite Pact was negotiated.  Though this was not yet the nation’s entrance into the war, it was a step toward conflict.  Negotiations with the West continued to unravel until November 1941 brought an end to the diplomatic talks.  By November 25, 1941 the die was set when ships sailed from Japanese ports after the Diet (Japan’s legislators) supported the “East Asian Cooperative Sphere” in support of Premier General Tojo’s government.

The fact that Japanese carrier task forces carried out two consecutive attacks on both sides of the Pacific and the Japanese Army crossed the Thai border into the Malay States in the same timeframe is a logistical feat.  The bombing of Singapore and Pearl Harbor brought destruction to two major naval ports in the Pacific giving the Japanese an opening blow that left the western allies reeling for several months.  Japan’s Tripartite Partners must have raised an eyebrow at the nearly fatal opening attack the West endured.

The struggle by Indian, Australian and British forces to stem the overwhelming flow of Japanese invaders into the Malayan Peninsula using the latest tools of war ended after a mere 70 days.  Air superiority, mechanized troops and the sheer numbers of Japanese troops overwhelmed defenders using outdated equipment and outdated strategies.  History notes that most Indian troops had never seen a tank prior to the invasion leaving the men unprepared to face the fire breathing dragon overrunning their defensive lines. 

The end of WWII saw the inception of the NATO Alliance to prevent war and bring aid to struggling nations.  In time we witnessed the fall of Communist Russia and the reunification of Germany.  Today the Middle East is in turmoil as one country after another erupts in conflicts with one faction trying to annihilate the other, and the world is responding.

Throughout time the instruments of war have become more destructive and more precise.  As we learn about the human factor and noncombatant casualties there is a cry for more humane ways to settle our differences, but still man makes war.  As the media covers war-torn fronts across the world today we watch in our living rooms while smart bombs zero in on targets and drones are flown from thousands of miles away.  The question is: will we see the end of war before the end of time?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Keeping the Momentum Going

In the last few months I have found it difficult to keep my enthusiasm at a peak.   As a result it is difficult to maintain the momentum to advertise, write or seek out new venues to sell.  My latest novel is not in production at this time as I feel it is time to find a publisher that doesn’t require up front $’s for marketing with two published novels on the shelves.  Three or four thousand dollars is not a lot of money in today’s world; however, it is a lot of money for most authors. 
That same money can be spent on a publicist that will do a lot of the marketing tasks to put the author’s name before the public, but again is the money available to work with.  The world of writing can become a money pit with often disappointing results.  Do I sound cynical, perhaps a bit when sales are down; the economy is on the verge of collapse and the last thing the public is concerned about with Congress holding the budget hostage is purchasing a relatively unknown author’s book. 
Self-publishing in recent years has overwhelmed the market place and many really good novels are going unnoticed. The market is flooded with a plethora of new releases on such an overwhelming scale the reading public is at a loss to discover that special book that is well written and fulfills the genre desired.  Trying to see the tree for the forest has many running in circles using the same routine to market their wares with little success. 
Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads page, WEB site, email blasts are basic forums to advertise our work.  Now it’s time to think outside the box as the saying goes in today’s corporate world.  Now is the time to apply that thinking to draw in the reading public to focus on my novels, my blog and the venues that will lead to these ends.  I started out by saying my momentum is slow of late and I need an injection of enthusiasm to work the public.  The only way to do that is to resolve to put in the time to research new horizons and travel the path less taken.
I have spent the money to hire an editor for “Return to Nineveh” and will soon have the manuscript back ready to review and update before sending queries to the few publishing firms taking unsolicited historical/romance manuscripts at this time.  The work must be polished and ready for publication with little needed to bring it up to the set standards of traditional publishing houses.  During this time it is imperative to look at venues to sell to further enhance my chances as an unknown with a publishing house that will risk capital on my manuscript becoming a book that will sell.

I can only say: please pray the search is successful for both these tasks.

Best of luck in your marketing – keep up the momentum.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Getting Noticed

I’ve been looking about the WEB for ways to have my novels noticed and find a plethora of blogs on how to market, advertising from publicists, and outstretched hands to take my $’s for services that will put my name before the reader.  The hard part about any of these is to decide what to take to heart and what to toss in the waste basket (today we hit delete) along with the rest of the crumpled inadequate pages.
My last blog I wrote about just coming off a month’s virtual tour that I believe was $’s well spent with a publicist that came through with all that was promised and perhaps a little more.  Since it was my first virtual tour I was unfamiliar with the written interviews and how they came across was up to me.  I did notice one that would have read better had I flushed out the answers a bit more to reveal more of myself to the reader.  Guest blogging was new to me and the host blog site chose the subject matter to write about.  This was an adventure in writing, but it also widened my scope of subjects to write about – it made me think (and that can be a chore).  And, there were the all too scary reviews by professionals that received a copy of my book and rated its content and wrote reviews.  These were people from all corners of the United States and one in Canada that I never met and most likely never will.

But how do I know where to spend the $’s that will promote my writing and benefit me the most.  I don’t without first doing a little research into the person or company and looking at their work and testimonials.  Ah, testimonials – but only the good ones are posted, right!  Not necessarily, the wording tells the tale and reviewing the writing by a few of the represented clientele helps make the decision.

Of course there is the question of how many $’s do I have to spend.  The budget is limited and the best scenario is to use $’s earned from book sales to reinvest into the work for greater success with future works bringing notice to those works already on the market. 

So is your head spinning yet with the $’s signs? Mine is.  Each step we take into the marketing world is a step closer to seeing our writing viewed by the public.  Some of them are free in social media, some are contacts we can make for speaking engagements, signing events, etc. but many of them cost $’s to enlist professional assistance to reach a wider audience. 
I am fortunate to be on major book sites such as Amazon and B & N and through my publisher:  - but the challenge is getting the reader to these sites and then to choose the books I wrote.  It’s also about finding a particular niche and having the books noticed using all the resources available within the ability to pay those $’s for the services rendered on my behalf.  But most of all it’s making the work the best it can be to appeal to the reader and make those $’s well spent on an enjoyable read.

Happy Marketing!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What's Next?

The virtual tour for Brimstone and Water with Pump Up Your Book ( is complete and it is time to move forward – but forward to what is the question.  While the next novel is completed, the road to publishing is filled with twists and turns on a bump filled roadway to dollars flowing in instead of out to see Return to Nineveh in print. My mind is in turmoil concerning which route to pursue as I seek out a publisher willing to take on this World War II historical-fiction sequel to They All Fall Down.
Two contracts are offered that require investment to see the project completed.  Familiarity with the first publishing contract offer is tempting, but the dollars are difficult to justify after two published novels with the publishing firm and other outside investment to further publicize as my learning curve about marketing increases.  Each investment is a risk as well as that of a publisher willing to take on the new project. 

Since Brimstone and Water was released in a time of turmoil I have sought out venues to sell my wares.  Yes, I did say sell my wares because that is what a book is, wares for purchase to the public.  There are many places to sell, but also considerations about location, cost to participate, appropriate theme of the event to name a few.  The other issue is being accepted as a presenter at social clubs, church socials, book clubs, book stores or libraries.  The list is quite endless when one travels throughout the year and lives the RV lifestyle.
Each of these events is a means to raise funding to move on to the next project, the next way to sell; the next way to see my name and titles before the reading public.  Investment in self is essential, but how much is too much to see the dream become reality and when is it time to re-evaluate the dollar investment.   

I am please with the virtual tour through the month of August with the reviews of Brimstone and Water coming in with four and five stars and good comments about the story.  I am also pleased that I was a featured author and guest blogger on several web sites throughout the month.  I believe the exposure was good and a great many people that love to read saw the book and read the blogs and reviews.  A few may have even purchased the book because of this tour in cyber space. 
So, back to what to do – continue to seek out that publisher willing to invest in my work, or pay the price and go with the familiar and see where it leads me next.  Time will tell the story as I pray on this decision to see what new horizons lay ahead.

Happy reading to all and success in marketing your wares.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Author on the Road

Camping brought us new acquaintances on our weekend and vacation stays, but would we find friends along the way if we made this drastic change in our lives.  I had two novels half done on my laptop and one in publication.  Making a drastic change meant changing a writing routine as well as changing our lives.

Just a few weeks before the long awaited day when I could say goodbye to slogging through fall down pours and winter boots we found it – the RV of our dreams; we thought.  Writing was pushed to the back of my mind to dismantle a house filled with memories. 

We left the house for good in June and were officially full-time in our RV.  The printer sat on the dashboard of the motor home, my lap top alongside it, my research tucked away in a basket beside my seat at the front along with my Bible and worship books.  I was ready to work on my novels; the big change was behind me.  But first I wanted to get to know the people that came every weekend (the seasonals) to the RV Park; spend hot summer days in the pool, visit our retired friends more often, and there were still those committees that needed my attention.  There was the whole summer after all to get at least one story finished before we left our home state and started the real adventure.

The summer went by in a whirlwind of sleeping late, lazing in the pool, trips to town and spending weekends seeing our children and grandsons, extended family and friends.  A few nights I would light up the computer screen and work on that novel, but all too often it was checking the email and playing computer solitaire.  And there were those books I always wanted to read waiting to have the cover opened.

At last the day was coming to take to the road and experience the adventure of travel to new places – but the book had to be finished and by some miracle the final chapter was written and the draft edited before working our way to Mustang, Oklahoma where Tate Publishing lives, grows and thrives.  Meeting the people that made They All Fall Down a reality seemed all the more important when a contract for Brimstone and Water was waiting to be secured.  The RV life was giving me that opportunity that few have the chance to embrace. 

While visiting in Mustang I arranged for a web page to be created for They All Fall Down and discussed the contract for Brimstone and Water.  But there was little time for contracts when a new adventure brought us to our 4-month stay in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  Time slipped away before I knew it with only a book signing arranged while we were there.  It was time to start thinking about the new novel getting published while the next one was being written.

Since then several changes happened in 2011 and 2012 that interfered with writing but somehow Brimstone and Water made it through the initial editing process prior to our move to Kentucky and workamping at Amazon for the peak season.  We were somewhere on I-65 heading south when I received a phone-call regarding cover design choices.   The layout design was sent for approval shortly after leaving Kentucky for the Panhandle of Florida where a short time later the final electronic read through arrived to catch those last misspelled words and misplaced punctuation marks.  We were moving on to Alabama shortly after the final file was emailed back to the editors and the proof copy of Brimstone and Water would find me there. 

A year has passed since Brimstone and Water launched in a time of chaos and uncertainty with the death of a dear friend and my 94-year old father-in-law. Our saving grace during it all was our home on wheels.  The past year brought book signings, presentations and a crash course in social networking.  Our RV lifestyle offers opportunities to tell people we meet I am an author when asked what I do.  It also allows me to seek out venues where ever we travel.  The third novel is written and it will soon be time to work through the process again while researching the next.  And all the time the home on wheels continues to bring new adventures while writing excites the imagination.

To read the full story check in at and visit the virtual book tour for Brimstone and Water.

Happy writing and reading to all that visit me here.



Monday, July 22, 2013

A Word with Mynah, Princess of Crete

Today we are speaking with Mynah an ancient who sees our world in a different light.

Tell us, Mynah, what impresses you in today’s world?

I have watched the future unfold for several millennia and I must say the new technologies in today’s world might have saved my own.  You see, my world ended when natural disaster struck and no one was able to defend my homeland against those that wished to conquer weaker civilizations. Now my descendants must take me to my home to rest with those that ruled before the end came.
What do you find the most intriguing? 

I’m sure I would enjoy an I-Pad and texting looks like a great way to tell the admiral of the fleet where to sail.  Father certainly might have kept better track of my brothers and their escapades with a cell phone.  Of course the new fangled transportations people use today would make our fleet appear to be almost standing still.  I do see though that many ships still sail the oceans near my home and take much less time getting from one place to another without sails or slaves to row them. 
How would you use today’s communications devices?

I hope my descendant, Caralynn, uses the tools available to her to find me.  I find it hard to make her hear my telling her what she should already be seeing in her research without a way to text her.  I can enter her dreams but she is not as astute about dreams as we were in my time.  Dreams came to the profits of the living God travelers told us about to foretell future events.  And dreams also came to those who ruled the masses as a way of influencing their decisions.  In this neo-modern world dreams are not given time for reflection to discover their true meaning. I suppose it is because people are in too much of a hurry to realize their dreams are often a reflection of what their real desires are in life.
Do you believe we will have an opportunity to visit again?

I do not believe another audience will be granted.  It is my deepest desire to join those who ruled the Minoan Culture and take my rightful resting place alongside my father and grandfather and those who entered the eternal journey before me.  My hopes rest with this latest daughter of my line to complete the expedition and bring my bones to rest in eternal peace.
Thank you Mynah and may your daughter succeed in the quest.

This will be a guest blog in August as part of the Author Tour with "Pump Up Your Book" on-line publicist company.  I am looking forward to the internet connection with readers of a Christian based historical/fiction/romance genre.  Brimstone and Water the quest to bring a soul to rest.

Happy Writing and Happy Marketing to All!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Neo-Modern Connection - Reaching the Electronic Reader

The small royalty check was delivered to the post office box and deposited into the business account – now what.  Marketing is slow, difficult and sometimes discouraging.  It would be easy to give up but the book is a good story ready for reading enjoyment.  So on to a new way of marketing, a new way of reaching the reading public, a new way to let sales be made.
While being a guest in the bricks and mortar world of books is thrilling and allows for one-on-one communication with the reader, it is also a small part of the market as cyber marketing emerges into the neo-modern connection to page turning on a screen.  Today’s books are in a race to reach a fleeting moment when a finger slides across a display that disappears virtually before the eye is able to notice the cover.  It’s time to connect with the electronic devices that even grandmothers are learning to use.
The answer for me is an on line PR agency to promote Brimstone and Water throughout the United States and beyond.  The internet reaches every corner of the earth making it possible to publicize to a diverse audience using my own writing style as a guest blogger as a beginning.  It also means being ready at an email’s notice to write another blog or answer interview questions.  In the meantime another story begins to form and it’s time to do the research while still trying to negotiate a contract for the previous completed manuscript.
A vicious circle one might say – but then writing is an adventure that waits to appear on the page and marketing is the mountain to be climbed to make the adventure successful.  Cyber marketing goes beyond the email blast, beyond the phone contact, beyond the book store signing event; it means committing to being available each day to do the writing needed for the promoter to successfully present my work to the reading public through guest blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the list goes on. 
While all of this takes place the blog needs to be fed to keep interest going and my writing to be remembered and sought by those viewing the blog.  It’s time for each evening to be devoted to writing, writing and writing.  It’s time to buckle down and write that magazine article that’s been floating around in my thoughts; and then to sell that article and see it appear in print for public appraisal of the article’s worth. 
My goal is to have the reader remember my name and seek out the articles and books because they found one item that caught their attention and search to find more.
Just as I reach out to publicize my work – I encourage other authors to do the same.  Each genre is looking for the next best seller, but without marketing the best works won’t be found. 

Happy writing – and – Happy marketing!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

An Excerpt from "Return to Nineveh"


      The fledgling rays of early morning sun shimmered across the still waters turning faded pewter into brilliant translucent shades of opal, silver and bronze.  The strengthening shafts of light stretched across the harbor to a battle scared ship waiting in silence for the sun to warm her decks and playfully dance along shimmering brass fittings.  She came to this anchorage to heal the wounds suffered during a desperate encounter with the elusive Japanese destroyer sent by a merciless conqueror to destroy the last British citizens to flee Singapore.  She waits now in silence to feel the pulse of oil pumping life into her array of pipes and tubing as her engines—her heart—come to life and beat in a steady rhythm.  Soon her human masters will breathe new life into her and she will experience the pleasurable taste of salty spray streaming across her sleek dazzle painted hull. 

       Her name is Mariah.

Chapter 1

       Katrin Lee Albright stood alone on the peak of the high tree covered hill overlooking Surabaya Harbor.  Her 22 years on earth had not prepared her for the increasing fear she experienced as the Japanese Army pushed closer to her home.  She brushed the long golden-brown wind whipped hair away from her face while anxiously watching the remaining Allied ships from her hiding place high above the harbor.  Brilliant rays of sun light laughingly danced across the decks and momentarily reflected off guns and fittings as its hot breath seared the backs of sailors scurrying about preparing them to sail.   
      Katrin and her father went into hiding when the Japanese began their lightning-quick offensive through the small island state within days following their conquest of Malaya and Singapore.  She and her father, Joseph Albright, an Anglican priest sent from England to build the Anglican presence in the colonies a year before the 1929 world financial crisis, saw the brutal flashes from dueling ships across the horizon during the vicious naval conflict in the distant Java Sea.  The few ships that returned gave witness to the lopsided battle that left only a few to retell the story of failure and defeat.  Now she feared the ships would abandon the war ruined harbor before they could reach them.
      Katrin hoped her father would return before darkness fell and relieve her anxiety.  She knew he believed God would protect them and prayed with her to place them in His hands.  He told her to believe it was already so and it would be done – just as Jesus promised so many centuries ago.  She had to trust the lessons of the Bible her father taught her since early childhood, but fear of being discovered made her tremble.
      Katrin felt a shaft of fright penetrate her soul and quickly climbed a nearby tree when a sudden rustling in the undergrowth caught her attention.  At least she remembered to make a barely perceptible path away from where she watched like their friend, Colonel Gherst from the Army Rangers, once showed her.  He said it was a way to fool the enemy during one of his many visits to their home.  She briefly wondered if Colonel Gherst was taking part in the current battle to keep the Japanese from overtaking Java.          

Monday, April 29, 2013

An Author and the RV

The year 2010 brought a world of change to my life after retiring as an administrative assistant at a rural county community mental health organization.  My husband and I traveled to promote my first novel, but now it was different.  Now we would live full time in our RV and become nomads in our retirement.  Where would the oasis be to promote my writing?
I tried the traditional route of looking for libraries and book stores in the areas where we would be staying and found while being asked to appear for a presentation/signing that the attendance was minimal in an area where I did not know anyone.  Facebook, Twitter, Google, email blasts were not effective since there was no targeted population known to receive the information where we were staying.  A few might attend from an RV park that became friends, but the larger audience became elusive. 
Local festivals are another route that can be an avenue toward sales but first one must be able to obtain the information regarding the event in time to reserve a booth.  Dollars must be spent to reserve a booth and appear on the festival’s schedule of vendors and press releases appear the week of the event in the local papers.  Finding the name of that local paper even with the internet can be more difficult than finding the festival date in many towns.  The research needs to be done months in advance to appear at one of these events.
My next idea is to hire a publicist to see what the result of this partnership might bring.  Being a novice at this endeavor will mean taking a “leap of faith” that the person hired will bring results beyond a few email blasts and a Facebook connection. 
In the meantime I will continue to look for other ways to market my work while working on the next novel.  My third novel, a sequel to the first, is submitted to my publisher and a contract is being negotiated at this time.  Right now it is time to work on marketing the first and second book to prepare for the third to come on the market.
Until the next time – I wish you successful writing that fulfill you as the author of an unfolding story.

Monday, March 25, 2013


It’s been some time since I wrote a blog entry.  The winter has been filled with travel, meeting new people and having opportunities to present “Brimstone and Water” in new cities.  While it is great to have your book being seen a thousand miles from your home, it is also difficult to advertise without doing the proper research for radio, television and print for the area.
Timing is also a significant factor when planning an event this far from familiar traditions.  Mardi Gras is a perfect example of when not to plan an event in the Gulf coastal regions.  Being from the north I think of Mardi Gras as a New Orleans event but that is not the case.  The celebrations take place all across the Gulf coast which encompasses several states.  With so many events related to Mardi Gras already on calendars from parades to dinners and balls a book signing/presentation is low on the list of events to attend. 
That said; it’s time to think ahead and plan for the next time a presentation/signing event is scheduled. 

1.   Confirm with the organization the date and time of the event.

2.   Request the name of radio stations, television stations and newspapers in the area

3.   Request the event be posted on the organizations WEB site at least one month in advance

4.   Coordinate with marketing to schedule interviews about the book and event

5.   Continue to place reminders on Facebook, twitter and Google the place, date and time of the event.

The bottom line is do not give up but learn from experience what will make the next event a large success and bring our work to the readers’ attention.  You notice the word readers’ has the apostrophe after the letter S, because we want several readers to notice our work, not just one.


Until the next time – Happy Writing


Monday, January 21, 2013

The Book is Finished – Now What?

   Congratulations on completing your first book - now on to marketing, the hardest and most important part for an author. Writing the book is fairly simple once the information is organized and the idea springs forth like pouring rain spilling into a flowing river that traverses through a canyon into a tributary that winds its way to the ocean.  The blank page is soon covered with words and sentences that compile into chapters until our story is complete and the ink from the printing presses dry for the bindery to assemble into book form and our work as an author stands ready, our work is complete – Well not quite.   Marketing the work that we diligently create and edit is where many of us loose our way.

Below are a few of the things that I recently did to market “Brimstone and Water”

   I use the internet to locate areas where I would like to do presentations and signings. I then submit the information to my marketer at Tate Publishing who works to get me into the libraries, stores, etc. that I selected. Tonight the information I copied to a word document for Biloxi, MS area and sent to James at Tate came to fruition with 3 engagements I just confirmed for "Brimstone and Water" my most recent release.

   I also have a presentation/signing event at Foley Public Library, Foley, AL in the middle of all this. That engagement I generated simply by stopping in at the library and presenting myself to the library director. He in turn asked about the book and my thought out prepared description to peak his interest led to an invitation to give a presentation along with a sales/signing that evening.

   Once our events are scheduled it is important to use Twitter, Facebook, Google, a press release (these are usually free) and any other interpersonal communication we might have at our disposal to advertise that event.

   I am not a known author in the sense that we think of big sales and top billings. I am an author that wants to get my work into the readers’ hands and do my best to find places I can do just that. We need to present our work with confidence that it will stand on its merits and be prepared to listen to and use constructive advice from our peers. 
   I am often asked what I do since I retired from my full-time job nearly three years ago.  I answer I am an author.  The next question is what have I written and am I published.  I then talk about my published work and the book I am currently completing in a short previously thought out description of the works and offer my latest business card for consideration and a future purchase.
   These things work together to bring success to the work being marketed to readers that are looking for that next new work to be read and enjoyed.  Every story has its niche – find the market and sell, sell, sell!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Making a Contact

   Today my husband and I celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary and went to a restaurant in Foley, Alabama for an entertaining lunch.  We decided to make a stop in the town of Foley and do a little looking around before driving down one of the main streets.  By accident we passed the Foley Public Library.  The decision to stop and take a chance that I might be able to be a speaker about my latest book was on the spur of the moment.  I have a speaking engagement at the library on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.

   This is just one example of what can happen when we take the reins into our hands and trust that the best will happen.  I spoke with the director of the large facility that has several programs and encourages authors to speak and present their work.  Not only was the director gracious and engaging, he also told me about the community and the opportunities the future holds in this growing city. 

   Where ever we may be when asked what I do since retiring I tell people I am an author and continue to write more novels.  Each author has a diverse genre and a distinctive way of putting pen to paper, or as we say today, putting our fingers on the keyboard.  However, when it is time to market the work we have so diligently raised as our offspring it is time to use every skill marketers use to sell our product.  Yes, I said product because that is what we are presenting in the end.  Even though the book springs forth from our imagination the end result is something to be sold to the public.

   Each time I say, “I am an author,” I get a certain sense of thrill that my work is published and people are interested in reading the story.  Today the library director asked me what the book was about and I gave a brief three or four sentence response that captured his interest.  I make sure I always have my business card with me with a picture of the cover, my name, the name of the book and my blog and web site as well as a direct link to purchase the book.  On the back of the card I have a quote from the book that gives a brief insight into the story as well.  I find this works well at book signings as most people turn a card over not expecting to find anything, but one never knows; something could be there.

   I also carry a few of the download cards from my publisher to use as a gift and/or sell to anyone interested in obtaining the book right away that uses Kindles, Nooks, etc. I made sure the library director had my business card and a download card for the book as well.  It is a small token of appreciation for taking a chance on an unknown and allowing me to be a presenter at library.

   My job now is to put together an interesting informative presentation that ties my book to something familiar within the area.  The history of the Gulf will be a source of information that will be interesting to review and write into the presentation for Foley Public Library.  “Brimstone and Water” begins in the Mediterranean on the Island of Crete with the sea creating havoc and destroying a culture – so using the Gulf as a starting point I believe it possible to look back at how the ocean has affected the area and tie it to my story.

   On Monday my marketer at Tate Publishing will read the email about the opportunity I have been given and assist with publicity for the event while I use my social networking, web site and blog to advertise as well.  The library, my marketer and I will work together to make this a successful engagement. 

   I am blessed to have this come my way as well as the marketing publicity that will take place on my behalf.  I wish everyone a happy marketing experience as we present our “product” for the public to enjoy.