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  • The Time of the Raven (King Arthur - Hammer of God Series)
    The Time of the Raven (King Arthur - Hammer of God Series)
    by Charles R "Chuck" Dowling
  • Blue Water Red Blood
    Blue Water Red Blood
    by D L Havlin
  • ELENA - the Girl with the Piano
    ELENA - the Girl with the Piano
    by Veronica H Hart
  • The Traveling Corpse
    The Traveling Corpse
    by Betsy Jones Hayba
  • Finding Amy
    Finding Amy
    by Sunny Serafino
  • The Cross on Cotton Creek
    The Cross on Cotton Creek
    by D L Havlin
  • First to Fight (Frozen Chosin*)
    First to Fight (Frozen Chosin*)
    by Charles R. Dowling
  • Kweli - The Truth Unmasked
    Kweli - The Truth Unmasked
    by Jane Matthews, Joseph Matthews
  • The Kingdom Land
    The Kingdom Land
    by Bart Tuma
  • A Place No One Should Go
    A Place No One Should Go
    by D. L. Havlin
  • Dynamite Mike McGee
    Dynamite Mike McGee
    by Lona Smith
  • Forgiven
    Forgiven
    by Sunny Serafino
  • A Matter of Pride
    A Matter of Pride
    by Jane Gill
  • Janjaweed - Devils on Horseback
    Janjaweed - Devils on Horseback
    by Jane Matthews, Joseph Matthews
Monday
Feb172014

The Reluctant Daughters

As some of you may have seen on FB, the cover for Veronica Hart's The Reluctant Daughters is now complete:

It's always exciting when we are able to put a 'face' on the work.

In other news: Karen Gonzalez's upcoming book Six Weeks at Ryder has been chosen to be presented at the IBIA in San Francisco in March. I believe (not certain, but believe) that the IBIA is for International Brain Injury Association. I know it is a huge international confrerence on Brain Injury and that they have chosen her book for the unique perspective it will give the attendees, including a myriad of congressman and other high-ranking officials from all over the world. Exciting!

Now we're hustling to finish it up and get a preliminary print run done so that she will have books to present in March at the conference, as the release date isn't until May.

In addition, before the end of the month, we need to also have some books available for Skylar Hamilton Burris' When the Heart is Laid Bare for a promotional giveaway on Good Reads. The to do list also reads: 

 

  1. Complete and submit Wash Arts Teaching Schedule
  2. Statements for Investors
  3. Complete and submit State Use and Sales Tax
  4. Finish submissions from FWAC and send out responses.

 

Whew! It's already been a busy month and I'm running out of daylight. 

Everyone have a great week!

Friday
Jan312014

January 2014 Wrap Up

January is always a busy month, so it flies by. Taxes, 1099's, royalty statements and checks. As of today, the 31st, I'm able to check off all those items. Except the taxes. I'm as far along with those as I am able to get until a few missing forms come in.

Royalty Statements and checks (for those books still on a six months sales cycle - two years or less from pub date), and 1099's go out to our authors today.

We're on the final brush-ups of both Karen Gonzalez's Six Weeks at Ryder and Skylar Hamilton Burris' When the Heart Is Laid Bare. And we're well on our way with Veronica Hart's next title The Reluctant Daughters. So overall, I'm pleased with our progress.

The only thing I'm behind schedule on is getting out responses to our submitters from the Florida Writers Association Conference back in October. I cited the end of January. It's going to be the end of February. Our policy on submissions, stated on our website, is that we won't respond unless we're interested but applies to those unsolicited manuscripts that come in via email. For conferences, where we sit down face to face with writers and agree to look at their work, we do respond. 

The other new thing going on is that I've been invited to teach an eight week class on writing at our local Washington Community Arts and Cultural Center, aka Wash Arts. This has been on a back burner for some time, since last March, I believe, when I was first approached about it. I'm scheduled for the semester starting April 7th. So, if you're a local writer, come join in on the fun.

Everyone have a great weekend! And here's to the passing of a very cold and brutally contrary January. February always has one advantage over January: it's short, although in my experience, never short enough. Every year about this time, perhaps more so this year, I ask myself: why do we live in Pennsylvania again? I saw where the cost of living in Costa Rica is very reasonable. 

Friday
Jan172014

Out with the Old; In with the New - 2014

I see that it has been two months since I blogged. Little wonder. I've been swamped and the swamping continues.

Always, there is the ongoing production of books. What's coming out, what needs a cover and by when, edits, formatting, and all of it on a deadline to make the distribution catalog.

The newest title pending to gain a cover is Skylar Hamilton Burris' When the Heart is Laid Bare, which looks like this:

The book was extremely hard to come up with a cover concept for. Everything I tried turned out looking sci-fi, which is way of base. Finally, my daughter came up with this concept and we sat down and went through images with her pulling what I should use. I put it together, and although it is designed to intrigue more than inform, I am happy that because a younger eye came up with it (she's a freshman in college), mayhaps that will result in younger eyes picking it up.

But that is only one item marked off of a very long to-do list this month.

By the end of the month, I need:

  • a cover for Veronica Hart's The Reluctant Daughters
  • 1099's completed and mailed to our authors for their taxes
  • Royalty Statements and checks mailed to our authors (for those titles less than two years old)
  • Reworking our website as we no longer have a store front for customers to purchase directly from us (authors will still be able to order in their usual manner). I will need to redirect our links to online retailers. The short story is our store platform provider was bought out by a bigger platform provider, and the process of setting everything up again was too time-consuming to even mess with. As I had it in place as a convenience for those customers that didn't normally order through Amazon or B&N, I weighed the cost of maintaining it and the time needed to rebuild it and simply came to the conclusion that we could do without it.

By the end of February, I need:

  • two more covers
  • Investment Statements and checks mailed to our investors (Yes, we are now an LLC)
  • Letters of interest or rejection emailed/mailed out to our submitters from 2013 Florida Writers Association Conference

Throughout all this, I have numerous print jobs to set in motion and shipping to our distributor to cover orders that continue to come in, and editing. Always editing.

Everyone have a great weekend!

Saturday
Nov162013

Newest Release, New Printing Company and What's Next

The March around Jericho was indeed over. I feel good and have sworn off doctor visits (and hospitals and lithotripsy). The insurance paid up, although the amount left owng is still depressing. We finally received the title work for Shelby's car, but the mileage is still wrong. We no longer have a snake in the basement, but neither do we have a new lawn tractor. That, I suppose, can wait until the spring. We do have a new refrigerator, and, as an added bonus, our neighbor came over and finished the wiring in our house. Our 100+ year old farmhouse now has all new electric from top to bottom. A project we had begun over a year ago. But it did make for a week of getting up at 3 a.m. to work on the business before the electric was shut off for the day. Which made posting updates, sporadic as they have been, on the Slushpile a low priority.

In the midst of all this, we have been making progress. The biggest announcement is that we've, finally, settled on a new printing company, which will reduce costs on our production side of things. This is something I had hoped to have in place before shipping any titles to Midpoint, but with the summer being well, what it was, it like everything else was delayed. But it is settled now, and I'm one happy camper about that. And we still have plenty of orders to fill and plenty of books to print (now at a better price) and ship.

Our second big announcement is that, despite everything, James Spurr's newest title An Eagle and its Talons was officially released on November 1st as scheduled. Preorders for it have been good. 

 

Own it for $12.07 In the summer of 1914 love finds Jeanne DeReadt in the form of a young and handsome Belgian lieutenant. The young lovers go on a clandestine picnic with their friends, and the idyllic day and evening will be forever burned into Jeanne's memory. By date's end, WWI has begun, Belgium is invaded and they are at gunpoint before a German officer.

The mechanizations of a small country desperately trying to remain neutral at the onslaught of the Great World War have far reaching impacts on its citizens. From Jeanne's rash cousin Emiel to her first love Michael, all will be measured with unerring precision by the scales of war. Horrific crimes against humanity during Belgium's rubber and ivory trade are unearthed, and this same contempt of fellow human-beings is revisited on a country as a whole.

In the midst of this, Jeanne is left with struggling to save her father, feed her family by smuggling food and accept the loss of her own youth and innocence. For this one season, no one escapes the Eagle and its Talons as its shadow sweeps ominously over all of Europe.

 

 

We turn our eyes now to what is next: new author Karen Gonzalez's work Six Weeks at Ryder:

More info on her book as we get closer to the release date of May 1st, 2014.

We also have some re-releases of second edition books coming on that date: Skylar Hamilton Burris' Conviction: a sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, An Unlikely Missionary and also her new work When the Heart is Laid Bare. James Spurr's second editions to be released are his Great Lakes Great Guns Historical Series on the War of 1812 Sworn for Mackinaw, One Sloop and Slow Match and Reflections in the Wake. And my own title In the Brief Eternal Silence will also get a new life as a second edition. These were all good sellers prior to our being into Midpoint distribution, and they certainly deserve to have a wider audience now that we do have access to a greater amount of retailers.

Following shortly thereafter are Veronica Hart's next title The Reluctant Daughters, Chuck Dowling's continuing dual series on Military, To Keep Our Honor Clean, and King Arthur, The Time of the Eagle, respectively.

That will take care of our scheduled works (except for Chuck, he's got books 3 of each series - and possibly more - in the pipeline). I'm also expecting more works from reader favorite, D.L. Havlin. So what happens then? I'm going through submissions now. We have the whole second half of 2014 to fill and I have some great works that I'm reading -- so stay tuned!

Wednesday
Oct092013

Marching Around Jericho

Joshua 6:Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” NIV 

When I look back at this summer, I will remember it as the summer that I marched around Jericho. You'll note in Joshua 6 that God began his instructions with the promise of victory. Even so, I imagine that it is quite possible that Joshua and his host of Israelites at some point wondered, "What are we doing? Why are we marching around and around and around? Why doesn't God just give us the victory? I mean, what is the point?"

I have faith that there was a point then, and that, for me, there is a point now. Maybe sometime in the future, when I have 20/20 vision on looking back, I'll be able to determine what the point is. But for now, I'm just marching, although I'm nearly certain that I'm on the last lap. I'm seeing major cracks in the walls that surround Jericho. I'm pretty certain that upon completion of this lap, that with a trumpet blow and a shout, that the walls indeed will come down. 

Maybe this seems like a silly analogy to you. And it didn't come to me at the beginning of all this, in the spring. I didn't know I would spend my summer marching around Jericho. But as the months wore on and I kept circling around the same problems, over and over again, thinking time and time again that at last, I had them resolved, only to have them come flying back at me again, it finally dawned on me that I was moving around in a big circle. I was marching around Jericho. It got to the point that I could identify each wall and corner of the walls. Yes, here is the doctors office and the hospital and the surgery staff that know me by name. Here's the anasthesiologist again and my doctor. Here are all the recovery nurses, the same little rooms with the curtains and the glass front walls. That was one corner, and along its wall was the family doctor, the waiting room, the urologist and his waiting room, the staff at each.

This wall merged into the next corner of Jericho for me: the health insurance company. Here's the phone number and me calling them again. Here's the hold music, the initial customer service rep, the claims department, the claims department manager. The hold music through-out, my little black notebook that I'm documenting everything in so that I have the information for the next time I have to call. Start time and finish time as well. This corner got larger every time I passed it. The first couple of times I passed it, it took a half hour on the phone. Then it grew to an hour. Then an hour and a half. Each time I was assured that the problems were resolved and that I would not have to pass that corner anymore. But the walls stayed up, and the corner was still there on each round of marching.

After that wall came a corner that was familiar and yet different each time I passed it. One time it would be college tuition problems. Fafsa, statements, adjustments, changing amounts. The next march around it would be car title problems. Three times now we have journeyed to nearby Washington to sign paperwork for the title transfer. Other times upon approaching the corner it would be an array of just plain problems: lawnmower, refrigerator, snake in the basement. Then it would start over again, with the next passing going back to Fafsa, statements and changing amounts.

The fourth corner was the one that was the worst. It made the marching difficult and exhausting. It made getting to and passing each of the other corners a struggle and a fight. Instead of marching with sword held high, trumpet ready to blow, throat ready to shout, I marched with my sword dragging on the ground, my shiny trumpet covered with sweat and dust, my throat parched and dry and I worried that when it was time to shout that I would only be able to croak a thin sound. It was the kidney stones. Blocking up my kidney, enlarging it in size and causing infection after infection. I knew when I rounded that corner each time because the wall would turn into antibiotics and the drug store, pain meds and sleepiness and a lack of concentration. Was I still marching? Yes, yes. There's the wall. Just follow the wall around again to the next corner, the first one, the one with the doctors and the surgery staff and the recovery room. . . and so my next lap would begin. How many now? I don't know. God will keep count. He will let me know when it is time to trumpet and shout.

But it's getting closer now. I know it is because I'm feeling stronger. The corners are cracked and the walls are trembling. I'm able to raise my sword. I polish my trumpet as I walk, my footsteps moving with purpose. I'm clearing my throat and cautiously testing my voice. It's coming. It's coming with a shout. I think I've hit my last time in surgery. I think I've hit my last time calling the insurance company. I think I've hit my last time signing college tuition paperwork. I think I've hit my last time signing title transfer paperwork. I think I've taken my last antibiotic and I'm on my last course of pain meds. The walls of Jericho are about to crumble and I will again be able to see the horizon beyond it and the promise that is there.

Throughout all this marching, the promise on the other side has been growing. Enough so that I found it necessary to bring in investors in the business to cover all our orders. And I think that is just the tip of the iceberg; just what I was able to see peeking above the pesky walls of Jericho. With it removed from blocking my sight at last, what size and scope of the promise will I see?