@GoddessFish, @Archaeolibrary, @pmterrell
Sometimes a woman comes to the realization that she has built the perfect life but with the wrong man.
It is 1916 Ireland, and Independence Mather has settled into a tedious routine in an arranged marriage when she meets an architect hired to add a wing onto her husband’s vast estate. She soon falls in love with the charming, attentive Nicky Bowers, but he has secrets to hide. When she discovers he is an Irish rebel, events propel her into the middle of the Easter Rising. Now she must decide whether to remain the wife of a British loyalist or risk everything to join the rebellion and be with the man she loves.
I think when all is said and done, I prefer to sleep when the rains are upon me. There is something about curling up beneath layers of warm, cozy covers and listening to the raindrops against the glass or even the stronger pelting storms with their thunder and lightning that cause me to become lulled to contented sleep. But on nights like this, when the air is still and silent, time becomes stuck, and I feel suspended in wakefulness while sleep gathers just beyond my reach.
I rose, sliding my feet into my slippers and donning my robe to tread across the cold floor and poke the peat in the firebox. It was stubborn tonight; seeking the same slumber that evaded me, the remnants of earlier flames nothing more than a spark and a flicker. I finally gave up and began to make my way back to my bed, where warmth, if not sleep, awaited me. I paused at the window to note the frost forming in the lower corner, a late frost that could damage the flowers just beginning to bud to officially herald the spring and promise of summer. The skies were clear, the customary clouds nowhere in sight, the half-moon brilliant even though we were midway between full moons.
A flash caught my eye, and I turned my attention from the night sky to the ground below. I spotted it again, a glint and a glimmer, and it was gone as quickly as it had appeared. Forgetting the chill for the moment, I strained my eyes as I peered into the shadows, the moon unable to penetrate the copses of trees between the great house and the structures beyond the meadow.
I tried to pinpoint where the flashes were occurring and came to the conclusion they were at the old barn across from my little studio cottage. I thought vaguely of Stratford, asleep and snoring in his room down the hall, and knew I would not awaken him to the possibility of trespassers, nor would I rouse the servants from their beds. Completely and fully awake now, I felt my senses pricking at my mind, urging me to venture there myself.
I dressed quickly in dark clothing and carried my heavier shoes in my arms as I slipped outside my bedchamber and quietly closed the door behind me. The corridor was dark, and I groped at the walls as I made my way away from Stratford and down the stairs. The house was surreally quiet, objects that seemed ordinary or innocuous during the daytime, suddenly morphing into ghostly beings that loomed over the rooms to watch my departure from the house and into the chill of the night.
What to Look for in a Publisher
My first book, a computer instructional, was published in 1984 by Scott Foresman, who, at the time, was a significant publisher of college textbooks. My latest, a historical novel, was published by Drake Valley Press, a boutique publisher. In between, I’ve worked with major publishers as well as a two-person publisher of my first novel. I’ve been a full-time author since 2002, and here are some of the things I’ve discovered about publishers:
1. Choose a publisher as carefully as they choose you. By the time my first novel was accepted, I’d racked up more than 70 rejections. I was so grateful for their acceptance that I did not perform any research into the company, their practices, or their ethics. Make sure their practices and ethics are in line with yours.
2. Ask about their editorial services. The largest publishers utilize professional editors, but many mid-size and small publishers perform little or no editorial services. You might believe your writing is flawless, but it’s not. No one’s is. If the publisher does not provide professional editing services, you will need to pay for your own.
3. Ask about their distribution channels. When my first novel was published, I assumed my book would be available in all book stores. It took more than six months after its release before I discovered they did not have agreements with Ingram, the nation’s largest book wholesalers, or Baker & Taylor, a significant library supplier. This meant my book was only available directly from the publisher or through the author, which dramatically impacted book sales. Do not assume the publisher has the necessary distribution channels in place.
4. Ask about marketing services. Once upon a time, authors wrote, and publishers handled editing, distribution, sales, and marketing. But as publishing companies became leaner over the past two decades, they have shifted much of marketing onto the backs of authors. If you are not comfortable or proficient in marketing, look for a publisher that either provides more of these services for you, or they provide training or support. Otherwise, you’ll be marketing through trial and error. I returned to college to pursue a degree in digital marketing as more publishers shifted the marketing burden.
5. Beware of international publishers. It is possible to connect with terrific publishers that just happen to be overseas. However, consider what recourse you may have if you have problems with that publisher. I have known several authors whose publishers decided to cancel or defer publication of their work, but they refused to return the rights to the author. This meant the authors could not pursue other avenues. Those within the USA could file a lawsuit to revert the rights, but those with foreign publishers had no recourse other than attempting to find an attorney or solicitor in the publisher’s country.
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p.m.terrell is the pen name for Patricia McClelland Terrell, the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 24 books in multiple genres, including contemporary suspense, historical suspense, computer instructional, non-fiction and children’s books.
Prior to writing full-time, she founded two computer companies in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area: McClelland Enterprises, Inc. and Continental Software Development Corporation. Among her clients were the Central Intelligence Agency, United States Secret Service, U.S. Information Agency, and Department of Defense. Her specialties were in the detection of white collar computer crimes and computer intelligence.
A full-time author since 2002, Black Swamp Mysteries was her first series, inspired by the success of Exit 22, released in 2008. Vicki’s Key was a top five finalist in the 2012 International Book Awards and 2012 USA Book Awards nominee, and The Pendulum Files was a national finalist for the Best Cover of the Year in 2014. Her second series, Ryan O’Clery Suspense, is also award-winning. The Tempest Murders (Book 1) was one of four finalists in the 2013 International Book Awards, cross-genre category. Her historical suspense, River Passage, was a 2010 Best Fiction and Drama Winner. It was determined to be so historically accurate that a copy of the book resides at the Nashville Government Metropolitan Archives in Nashville, Tennessee. Songbirds are Free is her bestselling book to date; it is inspired by the true story of Mary Neely, who was captured in 1780 by Shawnee warriors near Fort Nashborough (now Nashville, TN).
She was the co-founder of The Book ‘Em Foundation, an organization committed to raising public awareness of the correlation between high crime rates and high illiteracy rates. She was the founder of Book ‘Em North Carolina, an annual event held in the town of Lumberton, North Carolina, to raise funds to increase literacy and reduce crime and served as its chairperson and organizer for its first four years. She also served on the boards of the Friends of the Robeson County (NC) Public Library, the Robeson County (NC) Arts Council, Virginia Crime Stoppers and became the first female president of the Chesterfield County-Colonial Heights Crime Solvers in Virginia.
For more information, book trailers, excerpts and more, visit the author’s website at www.pmterrell.com.