Saturday, January 28, 2012


Bust of young Alexander, Pella

I'm starting my final round of edits and cutting of my novel "Shadow of the Lion" before handing it over to the professional editor.  It's been a long, difficult job going through it starting with all the workshopping and rewrites I did while writing it, followed by the first reader's critique.  Then, when I'd gone through editing her suggestions, another reader's critique with more detailed corrections.  That editing was strictly focusing on more cuts, spell checks and line edits.  Now I'm going through it again to see what more I can cut, as somehow in spite of dropping whole chapters the word count doesn't seem to shrink as much as I thought it would!

This is Where the Story Begins:  Babylon

And the Death of Alexander, June 323 BC:  Alexander's funeral carriage

Until you get yourself totally absorbed in the editing as I've been, you don't realize what a painstaking job it can be!  The writer is finished her work now and this last round of editing was much easier because of it.  I am able to detach myself and be more critical, spotting repetitious phrases, unnecessary information etc.  One of the problems with historical fiction is that the writer often puts too much of their research into the story when it isn't really necessary.

Because I workshopped it at my Scribbler's critique group all the way through, and worked in 'blocks', by the time it was completed in December 2010, I didn't need to do much rewriting.  It has been mainly the cutting and tightening up, disposing of passages that were not really needed  -- sort of 'overloads' of information.  Although most of those chapters that I dropped were really interesting and I enjoyed writing them, it was a matter of necessity to let them go.

So now I'm almost finished with it other than what the professional editor will have to suggest before I start pitching it out into the big wide world of publishers.  The only things I have left to write, are the acknowledgements, afterword and compiling my glossary and cast list (which are mostly done).  And then I'll brush up my synopsis at bit more.  Then it's done!   And I have to say I will be very relieved and happy to have it off my hands so I can focus on my other work-in-progress "Dragons in the Sky" which you'll be hearing more about in my blog soon.

This is Where the Story Ends:  The fortress of Amphipolis, Macedonia

The River Strymon, Amphipolis

Sunday, January 01, 2012


Where I work

It isn't really a 'resolution' but it's a number one must on my list of things to do for this new year.  That is: to finished the editing on Shadow of the Lion, get it reviewed by a pro. editor, and then start marketing it in earnest.  My plan is to try traditional publishers first, and if that fails, I'll consider self-publishing later.  So starting today, January 2, 2012, I'll resume editing in order to hand over the manuscript by the end of the month. 

I did get some of my writing published in book form this year:  "Sudden Thunder", a poetry anthology has 3 of my poems. 

 And "Foreign Flavours" published by Writers Abroad has a story by me about my favorite Greek dish and its origins. ("Arni Kelftiko" Bandit's Lamb)

My 'resolutions' do include writing projects as I have several travel articles to catch up with and deadlines approaching.  But another important thing, (and this is a resolution), to read through the stack of to-be-read books I've accumulated over the past years.  (I got two new books for Christmas to add to the lot).  I already got a start on this over Christmas but resolve to make it a daily routine now to read a bit since I am not devoured by research and history texts at the moment.

Me, in front of Virginia Woolf's (and once George Bernard Shaw's) house in London

Another 'resolution' is to see more movies. (I've missed so many good ones as I hesitate to go on my own).  After watching "My Week with Marilyn" recently I realize how much I do love good movies and really must make an effort to get to more. (I don't watch a lot of TV but as I'm going to get a new DVD player, I can also catch up on some of the movies I have hoarded at home.)

I ended 2010 by finishing Shadow of the Lion . I ended 2011 by working on the final edits.  I hope to end 2012 with a publishing contract.  And by the end of 2012 I hope to have finished writing and editing Dragons in the Sky: A Celtic Tale

Of course, I love to plan travels too but this year the promotion of the novel is #1 on my list of  'to-do's' so it will depend on what expenditures this entails as to whether I can make any long trips (i.e. to my beloved Greece with a stop at Amsterdam).  If not, I'll be satisfied with some shorter, more affordable  journeys.

I'm looking forward to this new year.  Most of all, to the publication of my book!