Friday, August 26, 2011

An update about "The Gisbornes" and a note about this blog...

Just wanted to let everyone know...

There will probably be two more parts to "The Gisbornes," and after that, I'm hoping to get started on a new Gisborne novel.

Also, I might be changing to a new blog, as Blogger has been giving me a lot of problems lately. I will keep everyone updated.

Happy reading!

The Gisbornes - A Novelette, Part 3

After a brief time spent pacing back and forth behind the screen, Guy gave in to his impulses. His newborn daughter had nearly been lost...a thought that still rattled him to his core. Cassia, of course, was in great distress over it. It was unlikely she would ever be free of the memory.

Louisa can go to the devil, he thought.

Despite the passage of only a few minutes, he rushed forth. Louisa shot him a dark look, but he gave it no attention, hurrying to Cassia’s side. The soiled bed-linens had been removed, and as a maid-servant bathed Cassia’s face and tidied her hair, Guy watched her, seeing how she craned her neck in search of the baby. Sharing her impatience about the delay, he made his displeasure known, raising his voice in anger at the midwife and her servants.

“Why do you tarry so? Bring the child to us.”

Louisa sighed, vexed by his show of temper. “She is being bathed, my lord. You shall have her in a moment.”

Muttering under his breath, he turned to his wife. Brushing the maid off, he sank down on the bed beside Cassia, who fell against him with tears in her eyes. He held her close, moving his hands up and down her back to soothe her. Her body and voice trembled in equal measure.

“Oh Guy, I have never known such terror.”

Nor have I, he wanted to say. He wanted so much to confess his own fears. But it was she who needed comfort...not himself. He tried to calm her with soft, whispered words. But he knew there was only one way to ease her fears...and his own. Frustrated and impatient, he bellowed in anger.

“Good God, woman. Will you bring her to us? We have waited long enough.”

At last, one of the maids brought the baby forth, and Cassia gathered her close. Guy watched, his eyes intense, as Cassia touched the tiny arms and legs, her feet and hands, as if to be certain there was no damage. When she gently brushed back the material that was gathered around the baby’s head, a soft and delighted sound escaped her. In all of the chaos, neither of them had noticed the crown of thick, black hair. Guy could not help himself. Reaching out, he ran his fingers through it. After the greatest scare of his life, he at last allowed himself to experience the joy of his daughter’s birth. A smile came to his lips as he touched her head.

“What a mane she has,” he remarked. “The others were not born with such a crop of hair.”

Cassia softly laughed. “Oh Guy, look at her eyes. Look at how lovely and blue they are.”

His smiles grew as he watched the baby open and close her eyes. Lightly brushing back her hair, delighting in the way it sprang back up, he looked at Cassia. “What shall we call this lovely imp? Have you a name in mind?”

She nodded, clutching the baby’s fingers. “Her name shall be Evelyn. I have found no other name that pleases me as much.”

He softly kissed her temple. “So be it,” he said. “Evelyn she shall be.” Reaching out, he gently took his daughter in his arms. She was calm now, moving her fingers and turning her head...blissfully unaware, it seemed, of the fright she had caused them all. He spoke to her in a low, soft tone.

“You have caused a great commotion, young lady. I hope such behavior is not a sign of things to come.”

When she closed her eyes, he smiled again, thinking she was as perfect as a child could be. And yet, he found himself looking her over. Few moments in his life had been as frightening as the ones just after her birth. He felt a desperate need to hold her and not let go, but he knew that if he felt this possessive, Cassia was surely more so. As he returned Evelyn to her mother’s arms, there was a scuffling outside their chamber door. They both lifted their heads, listening and watching, and they heard the sound of Claudia’s speech rushed in French. Beatrice, the housekeeper, was speaking as well, their voices mingling with childish chattering. Guy and Cassia looked at one another, and Cassia smiled, gesturing her head towards the door.

“They must surely wonder why we have not seen them this morning. Please bring them, my love. Let them meet their darling sister.”

He nodded. “Of course.”

As he hurried towards the outer door, he experienced a strange rush of emotions. Delight lightened his step. But he felt a need to be authorative and lordly. So much of the past day had been beyond his control, and it had nearly crippled him with fear. But now he could be master once again, and his first task was to rid himself of the servants who had dominated the room.

“Louisa, you may go,” he said. His voice was, at first, rather harsh. But then he considered the fact that she had forced Evelyn’s life to spring forth. Uncertain of how to be thankful without sounding soft, he gave her a light pat on the shoulder. “Your work is appreciated,” he added. He moved towards the door, not seeing the smirk on Louisa’s face as she and her maids gathered their things, preparing to depart.

When he opened the door, he saw Thea struggling to pull out of Claudia’s grip. Beatrice was holding Owen, and William was standing at her side, obedient and calm, but with his eyes shining with curiosity. Guy gestured them forward, and Thea and William hurried to him. With Claudia and Beatrice following behind, they all entered the room in a quiet but excited manner. He took a step forward, intending to join them. But then, he paused.

How would it look if he rushed in, giddy and foolish like a child? What example would that set for his two young sons, who were in their formative years? Easing his way forward, he stood a short distance from the bedside, watching. Beatrice held Owen, gently placing him next to his mother, while Claudia watched over William and Thea. Guy smiled at seeing his daughter so calm and gentle. It was so unlike her. Cassia spoke gently to the children.

“This is Evelyn. She is your sister.”

Thea was not shy. She leaned down, kissing Evelyn’s head. “My sister,” she said.

When William leaned in for a closer look, Thea seemed to take her own words literally. She tried to hold him back, but Cassia softly scolded her.

“Theodora, you must behave like a lady. You must share your sister with others.”

Thea nodded, replying softly. “Yes, Mama.”

William moved in carefully, reaching out to touch the baby’s feet. Owen seemed curious, pointing at her, and Claudia guided his hand to Evelyn’s. Guy delighted in the happy scene...his family content and safe. It was difficult to remain passive, when he wanted so much to express the great happiness and love he felt for his wife and children. It would not do, in front of his children and servants, to express such tenderness. But when the baby started to cry, he felt he was permitted to act...and he was more than happy to do so. He came forward, speaking firmly but gently.

“Claudia...Beatrice. Take the children to the nursery. Lady Cassia and the babe must rest.”

Claudia and Beatrice obeyed. As they took their charges away, Thea fussed, and though it was tempting to coddle her, Guy motioned his head towards the door. If his attention was needed by anyone, it was Cassia and Evelyn, and after the servants and children were gone, he returned to his place beside his wife and daughter. With all eyes removed from him, except for Cassia, he could act as he pleased. He could speak as he pleased. As Cassia put the baby to her breast, he touched Evelyn’s downy head. A sigh escaped him, but it was the sound of a weight being lifted from his shoulders.

“We shall give her a grand birthday celebration,” he said, his voice soft and low.

She smiled, looking over her daughter with adoring eyes. “It will be grand, indeed. For we have very celebrate.”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Gisbornes - A Novelette, Part 2


It took him a moment to realize she had said his name. He shook his head, apologizing for his absentmindedness. “Forgive me, I was lost in thought.” It was then that he noticed the contortion of her face. She was in pain...and the reason was suddenly evident.

“Now?” he asked. When she nodded, he shouted for his manservant. Francis appeared only moments later, and Guy gave the order. “Fetch the midwife.”

Francis nodded and quickly hurried off. As he went, Guy turned back to Cassia, watching her painful expression. He was familiar with these first signs of labor. But time and experience had not eased his fears about them. They had, if anything, only taught him that the worst was yet to come. More distressing was the thought that he would not be permitted to witness anything once the midwife arrived.

When Cassia’s discomfort eased, Guy grumbled a curse.

“Curse the Almighty. Why must he insist that all things be done with difficulty?”

“Do not curse the maker, my love. I will be in great need of his presence.”

He nodded. “You are right, of course.” He crossed himself, hoping he had not invited a curse upon them all. With a sigh, he embraced her again, pressing his lips to her cheek. She turned her head to look at him, and their lips met in a soft kiss.

“I wish it were true that the stork delivered children. ‘Twould make these events more tolerable.”

She smiled at him. “I am inclined to agree with you. But as you have said, we will soon meet our child, and then this suffering will be forgotten.”

Looking down at Cassia’s belly, he gently placed a palm there, and her hand came to cover his. It never ceased to amaze him, knowing that just beneath the place where his palm rested, there was a little life waiting to be born. The great mystery of its identity, of whether it was a boy or girl, was a great fascination to him, as he knew it was to Cassia. She had not made a bold declaration about her preference, but he secretly knew that she longed for another girl. And in truth, he had found himself hoping for the same. No one knew, of course, that he harbored such a wish. If Cassia suspected it, she never let on. But sitting with her now, knowing that she was silently hoping for a daughter, he wondered if he should confess his desire. Perhaps it would offer her encouragement in some way.

“Would you think me less of a man if I told you I hope for a daughter?”

Her smile was instant, and he found his confession rewarded with warm kisses. Such affection delighted him beyond measure. And yet, there was caution in his tone as he whispered to her.

“Such a secret must remain between us, of course. But...”

His hesitation, born of pride, did not escape her notice.

“Tell me,” she prodded him. “I am your wife, Guy. I love you. Never fear to tell me the secrets of your heart.”

At last he spoke. But his voice was soft and very low, still fearful that someone might hear what he would say and think ill of him.

“My heart swells at the thought of a daughter.”

Cassia’s eyes filled with joyful tears. “Does it really?”

He gave a little nod. “When Theodora is affectionate to me, the feeling is so profound. I cannot find words to describe it. When she speaks in that way of hers, so soft and sweet...”

A swell of emotion closed off his words. He cleared his throat to regain his voice, and a sense of embarrassment came over him. Turning his head away, he avoided meeting her eyes.

“I feel quite foolish speaking of such things.”

She made him turn his head back to her. She looked into his eyes, speaking softly. “I find it endearing.”

His heart and soul overflowed with love for her. It seemed that no matter what secret he confessed to her, she found only delight in sharing his confidence. And such confidences, he knew, would never be betrayed. As he leaned in, intent on having a sweet taste of her lips, a contraction stole her breath. Watching her as she struggled with the pain, he cursed again, growling through clenched teeth.

“Damn! Why must these things occur in the dark of night, or during a storm, or at any time that is most difficult?”

She clutched his arm until the pain subsided. And then she smiled at him. Taking his hand, she held it in hers, and together they prayed for a happy and healthy Gisborne to be born.


The midwife arrived several hours later. Louisa was a short, stout, white-haired woman, with rough features and a slight scent of ale about her...a testament to the difficulties of her profession. Upon her arrival in the master chamber, Guy unleashed a torrent of angry words at her, berating her for her lateness. But she only stared calmly at him. She stood with her hands on her hips, waiting for him to finish. And then, she responded in a cool, unaffected tone.

“If you are quite through, I should like to get down to business.”

He only managed a small kiss to Cassia’s lips before he found himself being pushed from the room. He had endured such dismissal twice before, but still he was angered by it.

“Devil take it, woman! Why must you be so great a bully?”

She responded by shoving him hard into the hallway, and then the door was slammed after him. He wanted to curse her for being so brusque in shutting him out...but a small voice made him stifle his words.


Turning his head to look, he saw Thea coming down the hall, rubbing her eye and clutching her rag doll. Fearing that she would hear something she shouldn’t if she came near the door, he moved quickly to pick her up.

“Why are you not in bed?” he asked in a hushed tone.

She leaned her head on his shoulder, mumbling in a sleepy tone. “The dark scared me.”

As he carried her back to her room, her nurse met them in the hallway. Claudia apologized for Thea’s wandering, but Guy had more to be concerned with than punishing a servant. Placing a kiss on Thea’s cheek, he handed her over to the nurse. His tone was calm, yet stern.

“You must be more vigilant,” he said. “The candles burned out. Be certain she does not again wake in darkness, do you hear?” As Claudia replied with a nod, he added in a whisper...

“Lady Cassia is having her child at this moment. Until it is safely born, keep close watch over Theodora and her brothers. I do not wish them to be present. Is that understood?”

Claudia curtseyed. As she departed, Guy turned back towards his chambers. Dark thoughts began to trouble him as he took to a chair near the door. They were familiar feelings of fear, the same as he had felt during the birth of his other children. And as before, he could do nothing but sit and wait for the torment to end.


The noise gradually increased as the hours passed. Again and again, Guy found himself pressing his ear to the door, hoping to determine some sense of her progress. But he could hear only muffled words and sounds of pain. It was intolerable. There had to be a way to be near, even if he was not allowed to be right there beside her. There was a room adjacent to the master chamber, and its door was close to the bed. Perhaps from there, he could hear more clearly the goings on inside the room.

Arriving at the door, he instantly heard the commotion more clearly, and without hesitation, he tried the handle. It was locked, of course, as he had known it would be. But still he cursed the impediment. Louisa knew him well, and was quite the taskmaster. She did not want him there...but she could not keep him away altogether. He pressed his ear against the door, and he was relieved to find that he could hear every word and sound...even if, in hearing them, they filled his heart with fear.

The head comes, madam. Push.

He listened to the sound of Cassia taking in a breath, and her groans as she made the last efforts to bring the babe forth. He found himself silently encouraging her. She gave a final, agonizing cry, and then he heard the midwife.

The babe is a girl, madam.

For a moment he was elated. Until he realized that there was no sound of a baby crying. Why was there no wailing? It made his heart grow cold...and then he heard Cassia’s voice raised in fear.

“What is it?” she cried. “What has happened?”

Guy grasped the door handle and shook it. He pounded the door with his fist, demanding entrance. From within, he caught enough words to understand what was wrong.

The baby was not breathing.

Delirious with fear, he threw all of his weight against the door. He could hear Cassia’s cries of distress and the noise of a commotion within, and it drove him mad. After several more rams of the door it gave way, causing him to crash and stumble into the room. Cassia was in hysterics, and the midwife’s helpers screamed at his sudden burst into the room. In a blur of action he saw the baby in the midwife’s arms, and the child was blue. The entire room was in chaos and fear, and a moment later the midwife brought her hand down, hard, on the baby’s back. There was a sputter, and a sucking in of breath...and then a furious wail. It grew louder and angrier with each taking in of breath. And as the baby cried, the occupants of the room collectively sighed and wept with relief. Guy turned to Cassia, who reached out for the baby. She wept uncontrollably, and Guy fought back his own emotions as he watched his squalling daughter being placed in her mother’s arms. The child’s color was changing before their eyes, the blue fading to purple and then to bright red. When one of the servants tried to take the baby, Cassia refused, at first, to let her go. But Louisa was insistent.

“Madam, we will return her quickly. But she must be bathed and swaddled. Come, let her be tended to.”

Reluctantly, Cassia handed her daughter over. Louisa gave the baby to a servant, and then she turned on Guy.

“What madness has seized you? How dare you come bursting forth in this way, inviting a curse on us all?”

“I do not give a damn,” he spat.

Louisa snorted, and attempted to push him. “Get out, you fool. Your wife and child are in no state to be seen.”

His answer was fierce and direct. “No.” He stood his ground, despite her determined looks at him. At last they reached a compromise. He would hide behind a screen while Cassia was bathed and changed into clean garments, and the room was tidied up. He hid himself, reluctantly, but he vowed he would not wait for long. The midwife was fortunate she had held him back thus far. He had been patient enough for one night, and he would have his way.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Gisbornes - A Novelette

This is just a short-story off the top of my head. It will probably have three chapters. I'm not sure yet. I hope you enjoy it!

For those who are not familiar with my Guy stories, here is the run-down: Guy of Gisborne escaped Nottingham and its troubles, and is now living a contended life in the south of France with his wife and children...


Marselies, France
September, 1198

Her voice was soft. “You have such a soothing touch, my love.”

A smirk grew on Guy’s face. As the night candles burned, he and Cassia sat together in their bed. Under her sheer summer nightdress, his palms stroked the smoothness of her back. Leaning forward, he pressed a tender kiss to her shoulder. Her skin was so soft. The scent of lavender, emanating from her dark hair, elicited in him a familiar heat of longing. Closing his eyes, he felt a painfully sweet ache for her.

Discipline, he thought. I will maintain discipline. This attention he was giving was meant to be one of comfort. But even as he committed himself to a vow of decency, a low growl of hunger escaped him. His desire for her was ever deep, always simmering just below the surface. Time had not diminished it. It seemed, in truth, that their years together had only served to heighten his want...and the love in his heart. For her, he had learned to tame his own wild impulses when the occasion called for it. Such as now. Cassia gave a shuddering sigh.

“I feel I have grown weak,” she said. “I have carried three children...William and Thea together, of course. And then Owen. They were kind to me. But this child has tested me more than all of them.”

His sensation of desire ebbed. As his hands continued a gentle massaging of her back, his feelings of passion became feelings of tenderness and care. Their first two children were twins...a boy and a girl. Their third child was a boy. Both pregnancies had been endured with much greater ease than the current child she carried. At nine months, it was certain that the babe would be born at any time, and they were both glad of it. Her morning sickness had been severe. She suffered from constant muscle spasms in her legs and her back, and her emotions were in constant turmoil. It grieved him to see her in such discomfort. He was consoled only by the knowledge that she sought his touch for comfort. It was a comfort he could easily give, and he did so gladly, as she had so often done for him in times of need. In a deep and soothing voice, he offered her gentle consolation.

“Beloved, you are the strongest of women. Never doubt that.”

Seeing how she wiped a tear from her eye, he slid his arms around her and drew her back against his body. “Do not cry, my darling. In only a short time, this child will introduce itself to the world. And our joy at the meeting will eclipse all you have endured.”

She continued to weep, quietly, and it wounded him to see her so sad. Although he had never had a gift for words, he felt compelled to try. He rested his head on her shoulder, speaking softly in her ear.

“Will it please you to know that I find you radiant?”

Her response was a half-hearted laugh. “I have the appearance of an aged cow.”

He snorted. “That is not my wife speaking. I demand to hear familiar and fiery words of conviction.” She was not a vain woman by any means. But she had great self-respect, and it bothered him to think that she felt so low. He certainly did not think of her that way. “I tell you that you are beautiful, and I will have no argument.”

Now, at last, he heard a note of amusement in her tone. “You are a hopelessly blind man, Guy of Gisborne.”

Such a response pleased him. It gave him something to build upon, and he relished the opportunity to lift her spirits.

“There now,” he smiled. “That is something of an improvement. Perhaps you would like to strike me in some manner?”

“Strike you?” she asked, turning her head to look at him. “Why on earth would I do that?”

“It might perchance ease the frustration of your condition.”

Smiling now, she shook her head. She reached up to touch his face. “I have no wish to mar a physique that I find most appealing.”

Now it was he who laughed, and he kissed the tip of her nose. “And you would dare call me blind?”

Such teasing was a constant of their relationship, and he cherished it. During their first few years together, his self-doubts had run deep. She was persistent in her flattery regarding his looks, and he allowed her to have what he often called her “delusions of husbandly grandeur.” But until recently, he had found it difficult to truly believe that he possessed attractive qualities. And strangely, it was not his wife who had finally convinced him of his worth...


Two days earlier

A summer storm rumbled outside their bedchamber windows. The lightning was constant and bright, the thunder frequent. Guy knew of Cassia’s fear of such weather. He was aware that on such occasions, he could count on her to cling nervously to him. But on this night, there were several impediments to such closeness. Three, to be precise.

Owen, who was not yet two years of age, clung tightly to his mother. Beside them, three year old Thea buried her head against her father’s chest. Guy smiled down at her, even as he looked about for one missing member of the family. William was easily found. He stood in the window seat, his little face and hands pressed against the glass. Cassia called out to him.

“Darling, come away from the window.”

He remained still for a moment, fascinated by the tempest outside. “The lightning is pretty, Mama.”

“It is,” she replied. “But it is a danger, and I do not wish you to remain there. Come, William.”

As he climbed down from his perch, coming to the bed to crawl in with the rest of the family, Thea lifted her head to look at her brother. When he moved too close, she pushed him away. Gently, Guy scolded her.

“Do not be cruel, daughter. Why do you act so meanly?”

Her answer was swift. “I was here first, Papa.”

Guy asked, “Can you not share your father?”

“No,” she said.

He knew his reaction should have been stern, swift, and fatherly. He knew he should have punished her for her selfish behavior. But all he could do was smile.

There was no questioning the parentage of his daughter. She not only shared his dark hair and grey-blue eyes, but it seemed she had inherited his temper as well. When she wanted her way, she was aggressive in getting it. But he often found himself overlooking such a negative tendancy, simply because she was his only daughter...and she completely adored him. She had even announced a desire to marry him, which had at first taken him aback. Not understanding the strange proclamation, and yet, knowing that she was only a child, he had asked her why she would want to marry him. And her answer shocked him more than her original declaration.

Because you are so handsome, she had said.

Later, as everyone fell asleep, all huddled together in bed, Guy remained awake for a short time, pondering his daughter’s deep admiration. Looking over at Cassia, who was sound asleep...with William and Owen in her arms...he thought...

Perhaps there is some truth in what she has long tried to tell me...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"My Lady Gisborne" Giveaway has been extended!

Hello Everyone!

To coincide with the Goodreads Giveaway, I've decided to extend the deadline for my paperback giveaway of "My Lady Gisborne." You now have until September 1st to win a chance for a free paperback. There are 2 available, both here and on Goodreads. Here is the link for that...

And here is the book description...

Lady Evelyn Gisborne desires to be a proper young noble-woman, but independence runs strong in her blood. She follows her heart as well as her head, and temptation soon beckons her in the form of a handsome rogue. René Jean-Bastien is clever, bold...and forbidden, for she has been promised to another. Simon Jean Carré, Marquis of Laroque, is a born soldier. His life is commited to the pursuit of battle and the honor of the knight's code. When he journies to the Gisborne estate, his only intention is to meet his promised bride. But he soon finds himself entwined in the life of a most unusual family...and falling in love with the woman he has sworn to keep at a distance. Evelyn is torn between two loves. Will she choose the man to whom she is promised...or the dashing thief who has stolen her heart?

If you're interested in a chance for one of these copies, just email me at or leave your contact info here. I'll announce the winners the day after the contest ends.

Good luck to everyone!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Henry Cavill as Superman: First Pic Revealed!

I've been waiting for this reveal. Being a fan of both Superman and Henry Cavill, I've been eargerly anticipating what the new Superman will look like.

My thoughts?

Odd, but I'm not sure what to think. I love the suit. The muted colors, rather than the bright tones that The Man of Steel usually wears, give the suit a less campy look, in my opinion. I like the pose. Instead of Superman standing with a puffed out chest and hands on hips, he's taking a more aggressive stance. I like that.

But where is the famous spit-curl? I always loved that about Superman. And my biggest concern of all...

I can't see Henry Cavill at all! Maybe I'm judging too soon, but I was hoping to see that handsome face looking back at me, and I just can't see it here. I think I need more photos to make a proper judgement.

Here is the article from entertainment weekly...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Self-Publishing: My Journey

For all the would-be writers out there, I'm offering the story of my experience with self-publishing, and why I chose it. Hopefully, this will provide some information for those who are new to the publishing business.

I started out blind when it came to knowing anything about publishing. I was a freshman in high school when I wrote my first full-length novel. All I knew was that I had written a book, and I wanted to publish it. I had NO idea how to go about it, so I went to the library and did some research. It was there that I found a very thick book called "The Novel and Short Story Writer's Market." I opened the book, and my mouth fell open in shock. I could not believe the number of agents, publishing companies, etc. that were out there! In my naiveté, I said to myself...

Surely, one of these agencies or publishers will want my work.

In reading the first pages of the guide, I first learned the words “Query Letter.” It would soon become a hated turn of phrase, but I digress...

According to the guide, it was up to me to query agencies and seek representation, as nearly all publishing houses require their writers to have representation. So, I followed the example in the guide and wrote query letters. LOTS of them, to as many agencies as I could find in the book that represented my type of fiction. This was in the mid-nineties, when email was still in its early stages, and printed letters were still the norm. I bought boxes of envelopes, put my queries in them, and...along with sample chapters...I sent them on their way.

I was soon to learn a painful lesson about the publishing industry. Specifically, I became familiar with a very painful word: REJECTION.

Every query I sent came back with what is commonly known as a form letter. Typically, they say something along the lines of:

Dear Author,

Thank you for your query. We were pleased that you expressed interest in our agency. However, we feel that your work does not meet our needs at this time. We wish you luck in your writing career.

These letters piled up quickly. And as they did, my frustration and anger grew. I wondered if it was my writing that was keeping me from getting published. So, I found an editor. As it turned out, my manuscript needed a lot of work, and I was glad to have someone who could teach me to be a better writer. I polished it up, and sent out my queries and sample chapters again.


I spent nearly three years trying to sell my first novel. By the time I had finished High School, I had pretty much given up. I still wrote, of course. I have always loved to create stories. But I had put aside my aspirations of being a professional writer.

It was many years before I got back into the game, and that was a unique story all on its own.

It was late 2006. By then, the internet had become very familiar to me. I had also discovered a website called “C19,” dedicated to all things Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, and the like. I quickly became a member and a frequent visitor, and it was there that I learned about something called “Fan-Fiction.” Being a Jane Eyre fanatic, I rediscovered my love of writing as I wrote my own JE stories. My old ambitions soon blossomed, and I began writing my own tales. I also took the chance on trying to find representation, and this time, I was able to query through email. But, as before, I found only rejection.

Needless to say, I was discouraged. But then I learned of an emerging phenomenon in the publishing world: Self-publishing.

Still being a bit of a newbie to publishing, I was lured in by the ads of a company called “IUniverse.” At the time, I did not know the difference between a vanity press and a POD publisher. Unfortunately for me, I went with a vanity press. I soon learned that the goal of a vanity press is not to help an author succeed, but to take advantage of new writers who are hungry to see their work in print. I was one those writers, and I trusted the wrong people. Yes, I got a printed book, and it was thrilling to see my words in printed form. But...

I had no say in the cover design. They chose it for me. They did not provide me with an editor, unless I paid an extra fee. Once my work was in print, there was no changing it. The price of the book, once it was available, was ridiculously high. And they offered me marketing help only if I was willing to pay a high price. I was learning another brutal truth about the publishing business: there are a lot of crooks out there, and they will take your money without remorse.

As you can imagine, I was fed up with publishing altogether. But then, through some stroke of luck, I began hearing about other writers who had gone through a similar experience. One of these writers introduced me to a company called “Create Space.”

I was wary, of course. I did my homework. I asked as many questions as I could. I talked to other writers about their experiences with this company. They had only good things to say about it. So, I gave it a try.

“Create Space” has been a godsend. It has given me everything I need to succeed as an author. There are, however, some things I have learned, and here they are:

#1: Edit your work, and then edit it again. And don’t rely on your eyes only. Find a professional if need be, and if you can’t afford a pro, find yourself a beta reader. Beta readers, in case you didn’t know, are readers who volunteer their time to look over your work and tell you where they think you need to make corrections. You can find them on writers websites, like Wattpad. And something else about beta readers: If you can, find a “Simon Cowell” type. Find someone who will tell you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re the next big thing, because if you are lulled into complacency, it will be heartbreaking to discover that your work is not the masterpiece you thought it was.

In short: Put your work through the ringer. Make it the absolute best it can be before you put it in front of the public eye. In the long run, you will reap the rewards for your effort.

#2. You do not have to pay for a press release. Repeat: You do NOT have to pay for a press release. I learned this wonderful bit of informtaion through a friend, and it saved me a ton of money. Publishing companies, including “Create Space,” will offer this service for a price, usually costing between $250 to $500 dollars. But in my opinion, it is foolish to pay for a PR. They are so simple to create and distribute. For more information, feel free to email me...

#3. Get yourself an author account on Goodreads. Once there, participate in their author giveaways. You will be amazed at how quickly people flock at the chance for a free book. But be prepared for honest reviews in return. In my experience, the readers at Goodreads do not hold back with their opinions. Some will enjoy your work, but some may not. Whatever reviews you get, learn from them. It will make you a better author in the long run.

Forgive me if this post rambled, but I hope someone benefits from it. Self-Publishing has not made me rich. Not by a long shot. But it has allowed me to have my work in print, and I am in control of all the business aspects. I do not share the profits with an agent, and most of all, no one is telling me what to write or how to write it. The readers dictate what works and what does not, and it is the reader that matters to me...not the opinion of someone in a suit and tie who sits behind a desk, dictating what I should write to make a profit.

If anyone has questions, feel free to email me. I’m always willing to help my fellow writers.

Happy reading and writing, everyone!