Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Interview on the Historical Fiction e-Book Website

The Historical Fiction e-Book website publishes author updates, background information, and interviews with the authors whose books are featured on the site. Check out their latest interview (with me), and while you're at it, maybe you'll find another good book or two to add to your e-book collection.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

3,000 Copies Sold!

In August, The Pict exceeded 3,000 copies sold. By far, Kindle sales have eclipsed both paperback and hard cover sales. It seems that a lot of people got Kindles for Christmas last year, because sometime in March the Kindle version bypassed print, and it hasn't looked back since.
I'm glad. Electronic publishing has done a great deal to bring readers and writers together, and opened the floodgates on what kind of books are available, and at what price. Writers are no longer constrained by mainstream publishers on plot lines or character development, and readers can choose for themselves what they prefer to read instead of being told by the publishers what's worth reading.
As I've said before, as the world of book publishing evolves into a more free and independent medium, the success of that development will depend largely on readers' willingness to publicly review what they read. Wherever you buy your e-books, please take a few minutes to post reviews so that others will have a better idea of the quality of what they're buying. I'd far rather have a handful of happy readers than thousands of disappointed ones.
Jerusalem Falls is finished, except for the editing. I can finally, realistically say that it will be published before the holidays. Once again, for all who have been waiting for it, thank you for your patience. I think you will not be disappointed, and that you will consider it worth the wait.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Jerusalem Falls - Coming Soon...

In August, four years almost to the day after The Pict was published, I finished the last chapter of Jerusalem Falls. Edits are coming along nicely, and as they do, I grow more pleased with how the story has turned out. It's been a long road, and it felt pretty good to type that final paragraph.

I'm debating publishing the e-book edition first, and then doing the typesetting and everything else that's involved in producing the print version. Kindle and other e-book sales seem to have far surpassed the printed formats anyway, and since e-books require no typesetting, the processing time for them is much shorter.

Jerusalem Falls is far from the typical crusading Templar tale. Rather, it's a complex, epic tale of moral struggle, religious conflict, and political intrigue framed in the history and drama of those noble, crusading knights. I have a feeling it will make for an enjoyable holiday read.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Closer Still...

I have only to polish up the final chapter of Jerusalem Falls before final edits and typesetting. It's immensely gratifying to get to this place after such an arduous journey. It's so close I can almost taste it...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

50% off the eBook version of The Pict, at Smashwords! (Until 7/31/2011)

From now until July 31, 2011, get your e-book version of The Pict for half price ($2.98) at Smashwords. Enter the code SSW50 at checkout to receive your discount.

While you're there, browse around for other great titles priced at a discount for the duration of Smashwords' July Summer/Winter Sale (for half of us, it's winter now). Happy shopping!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June 23rd, 1314 - Bannockburn, Scotland

Six hundred ninety-seven years ago today, just south of Scotland's Stirling Castle, King Robert the Bruce led roughly 8,000 desperate, war-weary Scots against an English army of nearly 20,000 seasoned, well-equipped soldiers in the most decisive battle of Scotland's War of Independence. All but four of England's nobles joined King Eward II to form the most massive army to ever assemble anywhere on the British island, before or since.

While the Scots were outnumbered and far outmatched, a dramatic prelude to the battle illustrated differences between the opposing armies that would prove critical to its ultimate outcome.

Well-placed Scottish forces and strategically staged ambushes maneuvered the English into a dangerously cramped position: cavalry, pike men, bowmen, and infantry crowded awkwardly onto a rough carse pockmarked by steel traps and three-foot pits filled with stakes and covered by brush. The English were surrounded on three sides by the River Forth, the Bannock Burn, and treacherous marshy swamps, and on the fourth by an unusually enthusiastic Scottish Army.

Before the battle began, as the English moved into position on the carse, an English noble and long-time nemesis of Robert the Bruce spotted the king astride a small palfrey. King Robert was inspecting his troops, and not yet armored for battle. The Englishman, Henry de Bohun, was impulsive and hungry for glory, and caught up in the bickering among the English commanders for leadership positions on the field. De Bohun's ambition and his contempt for the Bruce overtook him. He broke formation and siezed the opportunity to kill the Scottish king himself. He intended to win the battle single-handedly before it even began, and earn his immortal place in the annals of English history.

Henry de Bohun couched his lance, lowered his visor, and spurred his mighty war horse toward King Robert. As he bore down on Robert, gaining speed, the king sat calmly astride his little palfrey holding only the battle axe that he had taken from its sheath. As de Bohun charged, the Scottish army froze in the horror of impending disaster.

The Englishman leveled his lance at the Bruce's chest and drove toward him. Just before the lance made contact with the Bruce's jacketed chest, the king turned his palfrey deftly aside, twisted his torso to avoid the blow, and lifted his battle axe high above his head. He brought the axe down with all of his considerable might, splitting de Bohun's helmeted head in two. De Bohun died instantly, to the ecstatic roar of the Scots.

The Scots were buoyed, and the English aghast. King Robert's calm defiance of superior power, and his stunning victory over it, set the tone for the rest of the battle.

This prelude to the battle of Bannockburn illustrates fundamental differences between the Scottish and English armies of the day. The English had always relied upon the heavy charge, superior weaponry, and brute force; the Scots had of necessity practiced patience, cunning, and agility. The English who arrived at Bannockburn that day were confident, fractious, and reckless. The Scots demonstrated patient resolve, and the keen awareness that this battle was crucial to their desperate bid for an elusive, cherished treasure: their freedom, too long gone.

The battle raged for two long days, and it won the Scots their freedom. Brilliant planning and battlefield tactics propelled them to decisive victory. The battered remnants of the English army retreated and fled to England, leaving behind them a proud new nation, bloodied, war-weary, and free.

Happy Anniversary, Scotland.


NOTE: Estimates of the sizes of the Scottish and English armies at Bannockburn vary widely, from as many as 100,000 English vs. 30,000 Scots (In Freedom's Cause: a Story of Wallace and Bruce, by George Alfred Henty), to the numbers I've used here (20,000 English vs. 5,500 Scots - from If Freedom Fail, by Moray McLaren.) In any event, by all accounts, the Scots were outnumbered by three or four to one.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

2,000 Copies Sold

Sometime in April, The Pict officially sold its 2,000th copy. While that doesn't exactly make it a bestseller, The Pict has far exceeded my initial expectations. I remember thinking that if one person read (and liked) The Pict, I'd be pleased, and I'd continue to write. So obviously, I'm very pleased, and I'm still writing.
I want to thank everyone who has read The Pict, and especially those who took the time to let other potential readers know what they thought of it in online reviews. Those reviews are priceless in both the encouragement and the advice they offer to receptive writers. Mostly, they're priceless in helping potential readers determine whether or not a book is worth their money.
I'm encouraged by readers' reception of The Pict. I'm also certain that Jerusalem Falls is a much better book. To those of you who've been waiting to read it, thanks again for your patience...it won't be long now!