Yet Another Rejection

Yet another rejection. This one is a real bummer. Arcadia Publishing is not interested in publishing my North Carolina Piedmont vintage postcard book.

Although my book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, is doing well, it seems that Arcadia is not set up to market a regional book. Arcadia’s niche is books with a tight local focus, and that is what the company does well.

It is disappointing, since I have enough vintage postcards to also do a coastal North Carolina book and a second Blue Ridge Mountains book. I’m looking at my options and other writing opportunities.

Submitted My Author Proposal to Arcadia

I have submitted my author proposal to Arcadia Publishing for a vintage postcard book covering the piedmont section of North Carolina. I sent the proposal to the acquisitions editor electronically a few minutes ago. It felt good to mark that as “DONE” on my to-do list. I have been doing the necessary research to write the postcard captions a little at a time, so I’m well on my way to having many of the captions written.

The book I have proposed to Arcadia Publishing should be a good companion book to my first vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. I anticipate that it will cover 32 counties in central North Carolina. I proposed the following three chapters in the book: Metrolina, The Triad, and The Triangle.

I’ll post on my blog as soon as I know if Arcadia Publishing gives me the go-ahead to write The Piedmont of North Carolina.

Top of the Mountain Fiction Contest

I’m happy to announce that I have entered my unpublished historical novel, The Spanish Coin, in the 2015 Top of the Mountain Fiction Contest held by the Northern Colorado Writers! Finalists will be notified on or about March 1. I’ll keep you posted.

I submitted the first 20 pages of the manuscript along with a three-page synopsis. The submission fee was $25.

This is the first contest in which I’ve entered my novel manuscript, so it is an exciting step.

Postcard captions in dribs and drabs

The title for today’s blog posting came to me and triggered a question in my mind. Where or how did that saying originate? It seems that dribs dates back to the 17th century in some English, Irish, and Scottish dialects and meant “an inconsiderable quantity” or sort of like “drip.” The origin of drab in conjunction with drib isn’t as clear. It meant a “small debt or sum of money in England in the early part of the 19th century. I must admit, though, that I thought it was “drips and drabs” until I looked it up a few minutes ago. The joke is on me! It just goes to show that sometimes I think I know what I’m talking about but I actually don’t. At least I was using it correctly even though I wasn’t spelling or saying it correctly.

I had hoped to edit my historical novel manuscript, The Spanish Coin, for four hours today. (Anyone remember that Writing Plan of Action I posted about a few days ago?) Instead, a plumber was in the house working in various rooms for a couple of hours. It doesn’t take much to distract me. There was just no way I could settle down and get any uninterrupted time to edit that book between that disruption and then the aftermath of putting things back into cabinets and mopping the kitchen and bathrooms. I did not want to abandon my writing completely, so I did the research for and wrote nine vintage postcard captions in preparation for a possible piedmont North Carolina book for Arcadia Publishing. (My goal was to write two captions today.) I’ll keep you posted.

Striking a balance in life

With my “Writing Plan of Action” in place as of yesterday, today I turn my attention to striking a balance. I have the luxury of not depending upon my income from writing to keep me afloat. I would have drowned a long time ago if that had been the case! My income from writing thus far officially qualifies it as a hobby, according to the Internal Revenue Service. That means it does not matter how much writing puts me “in the red” financially; it’s just a hobby.

Don’t get me wrong; I would love to be able to make a living by writing. That’s what all writers dream of and aspire to, but few of us achieve that level of success. It would be marvelous if my historical novel manuscript, The Spanish Coin turned out to be “the Great American Novel,” but how often does that happen? I certainly won’t gain fame or fortune writing vintage postcard books like The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, but it is a thrill to see my name on a book as the author.

As I jump into my new “Writing Plan of Action” this week, I want to keep all facets of my life in balance. Writing and everyday life tend to leave no time for playing the mountain dulcimer. I’ll never become proficient at playing that lovely stringed musical instrument from the Appalachian Mountains if I don’t practice.

Playing the dulcimer a few minutes each day, studying the Bible, visiting the sick and homebound, walking the dog, quilting, sewing, doing needlework, and reading for pleasure are all things I need to make time to do. Those are the activities that tend to get squeezed out as I get absorbed by the self-imposed demand to write, write, write.

Tomorrow I will make yet another attempt to strike a balance in my life.

A great bookstore in Raleigh!

I finally got to visit Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh! What a wonderful independent bookstore!

Window at Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh.
Window at Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh.

I went in and introduced myself to Ted. I showed him my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and he immediately placed an order for several copies. They should be on the shelf at Quail Ridge Books & Music by now. If you live in the Raleigh area, please patronize Quail Ridge Books & Music and thank them for making my book available to their customers.

Entrance to Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh.
Entrance to Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh.

Quail Ridge Books & Music hosts an amazing number of author events. Perhaps someday I will be fortunate enough to be invited to have a book signing there. They had a display about upcoming author events. I counted 37 author events the store is hosting before the end of February. That is extraordinary!

Thank you, Ted at Quail Ridge Books & Music!

A nice find in Sylva, North Carolina

My sister and I have enjoyed shopping at the used bookstore in Sylva, North Carolina, that is operated by the Friends of the Jackson County Friends of the Library. It is a marvelous store and the volunteers there are always very helpful and welcoming.

I knew there was another bookstore in the small town of Sylva — City Lights. We just never had taken the time to visit it. I’m not sure why. It is a gem and another example of a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains that supports an independent bookstore. I love the Indies!

We visited City Lights Bookstore in Sylva in December. I met Chris, the owner. There was only one copy of my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, remaining on the shelf. Chris asked me to autograph it. I was pleased to be asked to sign the book, although autographing my book is the most unsettling thing I do. It doesn’t look like the signature of an author. It lacks flair. It’s legible. It’s not pretty. It seems silly, but I think I need to practice writing my name. I have fairly good penmanship until I put pen in hand to autograph a copy of my book.

City Lights Bookstore in Sylva, North Carolina.
City Lights Bookstore in Sylva, North Carolina.

City Lights sells new books and used books. It shares a building with City Lights Cafe. In futures trips to Sylva, we’ll make time to visit both bookstores and give the cafe a try!