Here is a letter letter I sent today as I un-submitted my manuscript.
Several weeks ago, as an enthusiastic first time “author,” I submitted a manuscript “Corpse in Kitchen 3” to Shadow Mountain publishing. In the last few weeks, I have had several friends read the manuscript, joined ANWA, learned much more about the publishing business, had an editor look at the first few pages, and most importantly tried to read my manuscript aloud on a cross country trip with my new BYU graduate son.
Through all of that I learned one thing: the story is good, but the manuscript is awful. Everyone liked the “story” but even I had a hard time making it though the grammar/point of view/logic/change of tense errors still left in the draft I had mailed.
So what I ask is this: Please take my manuscript out of the pile and put it directly in the “round pile.”When ever have it polished enough for editor eyes, I will send it off again.
Thank you so much for your consideration,I am not ever resubmitting. Say hello to the next self-publishing, indie author. D. Lee Jortner
Hi, Marsha I am so happy you allowed me to interview you for my A to Z Blog Challenge. I am new to your books, what can you tell me about them?
“Actually, I write novels set in the era of the American Civil War. The first four in the series that I call “The Owen Family Saga” take place after the war, but the story I’m finishing, set during the conflict, also needed to be told.
Back in the late 1980s, when I first began to write with a view toward publication, I had the privilege of corresponding with Robert Newton Peck, the author of children’s novels like the “Soup” series, and the famous coming-of-age novel, A Day No Pigs Would Die. Those were the days of physical, written letters, although we did type them by that time.
Rob Peck told me that every author has their “war,” and his was the French and Indian War. Mine appears to be the American Civil War. It has always drawn my attention. My forebears, being stout Vermonters and Ohioans, probably would have fought on the Union side (having participated in the Revolutionary War), but my direct ancestors had traveled west as Mormon pioneers before the conflict began.
I’m not sure why I was so attuned to the Confederate Cause that I created an entire family of Virginians and a host of neighbors. Perhaps reading the novel Gone With the Wind and seeing the movie during my high school years played a part in that, as I began writing my “Great American Novel,” The Man from Shenandoah, a year after I graduated from high school. It wasn’t published until thirty eight years later, but that’s when I began work on it.
So what can you tell us about your new book?
“The new book is called Gone for a Soldier, and begins at the time Virginia joined the Confederacy. It will be released in late summer. I’m very excited about the coming launch.”
“The cover for Gone for a Soldier is what I call an “atmospheric cover,” meaning that it portrays elements contributing to the emotional atmosphere of the work instead of depicting a specific scene. In fact, the only cover of my four preceding novels that shows something from a scene in the book is the one for Spinster’s Folly.
The elements on the cover are a couple about to kiss, accompanied by clouds of smoke and a strategically placed sun splash; and two scenes of men in battle: one shows infantry, the other depicts cavalry. The Confederate battle flag tells the viewer which side they fight for. The whole cover contributes to an epic atmosphere, which I hope will compel readers to launch right into the story.”
Have you already started one more for the series?
“I know what the next novel in The Owen Family Saga series will be. A character woke me up and I’ve written a part of the first scene. When I’ve finished a short story I contracted to write, and polish off and publish Gone for a Soldier, I’ll begin the new story.”
That is very exciting. I will look forward to it. In the meantime, how can we find you and your other books?
“My novels are available in print and electronic books from Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com, and as ebooks from Smashwords.com and iTunes. They are also available as autographed print copies from my publisher, WestWard Books.”
Thanks for sharing with us. Good luck on your launch this summer.
“I appreciate the opportunity to be featured on your blog as part of your A to Z challenge. If readers want to keep up with announcements about my work, I invite them to subscribe to my newsletter. So far, I’ve only sent them out quarterly, so they won’t be a drain on their email inboxes.”
The link for subscribing is here: http://eepurl.com/vBKEj
I also have a website at http://marshaward.com and two blogs where I share samples, recount visits from my characters, and do fun things like cover reveals: http://marshaward.blogspot.comand http://charactersinmarshashead.blogspot.com