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I am only into Chapter Two of the first draft, so we're nowhere near completing this mammoth book, but the cover artwork will give you something to look forward to.

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I enrolled Orestes: The Outcast in Amazon's KDP Select Program, which means I shouldn't be publishing it anywhere else until mid-May. However, I seem to be losing sales because it isn't available in any other format but Kindle. So I opted out of the KDP Program, which means only that I don't want automatic renewal. If an Amazon Prime member sampled/leased a book and opted to buy from there, I would not receive that royalty, but in checking my sales reports, readers are not coming to my work through Amazon Prime, so I'm not really concerned.

Therefore, I give you Orestes: The Outcast on Smashwords, with all its various formats (iBook, .pdf, .mobi, etc.) Now go out there and BUY, so I can comfortably settle into working on The High King.

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From an issue of Ancient Warfare magazine, a reconstruction of the megaron at Thebes based on archaeological evidence. You can see how absolutely garish the colors would have been. I have heard that at the issue's press time, the artist hadn't finished rendering the floor decorations, so pretend that the king--Oedipus? Creon?--is having the megaron renovated, and has hustled the painters out in order to receive important ambassadors, perhaps from Mycenae or Pylos.



After a week's rest, I have started on Orestes: The High King. I'm not offering these books in any format other than Kindle because there are too many issues with doing so. iBooks requires an exclusive contract, Smashwords sees very little sales to make it worth it, and I don't know how to format the text and images for print, and don't have the money to pay anyone to do it for me.
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Today, I finally figured out how to pronounce Pylades. It's [pi'la' deez] Believe it or not, I'd been struggling with the correct pronunciation for two years, but was simply too lazy to look it up.

In other news, I am outlining the forty-nine year period that will make up Orestes: The High King. As I do this, I'm having to calculate everyone's ages. Right now, I'm on Year 22. 

This book will feature the Herakleidai and the Dorians, who have been mentioned in passing in the previous two books.  Nestor of Pylos and Telemachus will make appearances, but not Odysseus.  And yes, there will be battles and hunting scenes.  I haven't yet included those in the trilogy.

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It has arrived.



Seven years have passed since Orestes witnessed the savage murder of his father Agamemnon and fled for his life.

Now, aged twenty, he is ready to reclaim his birthright as king of Mycenae, and avenge his father’s murder—by killing his own mother, a crime that will label him a matricide. He will be shunned by all men, and hounded into madness by the demonic Erinyes, the relentless Daughters of Night. Orestes’ only hope of redemption lies in trial by sanity, an ordeal which will take him to the very edge of terror. Will he survive as a whole man, and receive ritual purification in order to claim his throne, or will he perish in the attempt?

Available on Amazon Kindle.

Note: I'm just coming up for air after this book, so be patient for the third and final book, The High King. That one will be as large as the first two books put together.

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I just submitted Helen’s Daughter for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel 2012 contest, mostly because it cost nothing and could not hurt.  But I have no illusions that I will win anything.  I am not the type of person who wins contests, or is chosen first for anything.  Also, I have seen the novels which won in previous years: agents and publishers want the same kind of pretentious literary crap my college instructors tried to push on me twenty years ago.  But I am NOT a pretentious, abstract, literary crap-type writer.  Yes, I would like to win that $15k publishing contract, but it is not very likely.  Nor is it likely that I will ever win a Pulitzer or Nobel Prize, or have my books appear on a college course reading list.  But that’s okay.  I write what interests me, and I hope others are entertained, too.

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𐀪   𐂁

Linear B ideograms meaning “man” and “woman,” respectively.

 

As a correction to a statement I made in an earlier post, Linear B does appear to have had some diphthongs, but they are separate signs, and the script still does not represent all the sounds (such as the liquid /l/, /g/, and /h/) that the spoken language must have had.

I am slowly working on Orestes: The Outcast, the second book in the trilogy, but also trying to get the word out there about The Young Lion and Helen’s Daughter.  If you read and liked either book, please pass the word along (and let me know your thoughts, of course!).

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Among other things, Minoan artwork is known for its plethora of floral depictions.  It seems that the Minoans, like their Egyptian contemporaries, loved flowers, and wanted them in their homes; archaeologists have found not only fresco fragments with many species of Aegean and Cretan flowers, but the remains of hanging flower pots.  In fact, several floral species known today, including crocus and narcissus, retain some form of their original Minoan names.

Rather than parrot information from my sources, I am linking my readers to an exhaustive but wonderful article on flowers in ancient Crete.  Andras Zeke, the webmaster, has a marvelous blog on the Minoans, with particular emphasis on Linear A, so stay and peruse the articles.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say hello to several new readers.  My articles here are meant to be nibbles of information from the Mycenaean and Minoan periods, entertaining and informative without being too dry or scholarly.  I use my research to write my novels, and currently have a novel out on Kindle: Helen's Daughter, about Hermione, the daughter of Helen of Troy.  What, you didn't know Helen had children?  Yes, she did!  Head on over to Amazon and Smashwords to sample the novel and find out!


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Publishing your own book is not easy.  Writing, editing, and formatting Helen's Daughter took thirteen months, with breaks in between to work on Orestes: The Young Lion.  I now spend most of my time in historical fiction forums chatting and trying to get the word out there.  Also, playing Gardens of Time on Facebook.  *blush*  I have not done any writing since the beginning of August.  Painting and watching TV, yes.  Writing, no.  It feels very strange.

Many reviewers do not consider self-published novels, with good reason.  Last week, I submitted my novel to two sites which do consider self-published work, and on Sunday thought I had a nibble when an interested reviewer contacted me about getting a copy.  So I emailed her a .pdf, only to hear back that she was expecting a print book.  I guess she didn't see the part that said the publisher was Amazon Kindle.  I thanked her for her interest, anyway, and am now back to square one.

So if you plan to go this route, be prepared to work just as hard marketing as you did writing.  But I have certain standards about marketing myself.  I have seen many self-published authors spam forums about their releases.  Or worse, create sockpuppets to review and promote themselves.  I believe that such behavior actually turns potential readers off; it's just as important to foster goodwill with readers as it is to write a good book.  So I refuse to engage in any chicanery or spamming.  You will not see me reviewing my own work.  I am actually the worst judge of my own work, anyway.

P.S. I am looking to write more posts for my blog, but would like to hear from readers as to what topics on the Mycenaean and Minoan world they are interested in that I have not already covered.


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Helen's Daughter is now available on Amazon Kindle.  This is strictly an e-book release, so there will not be a print option.  However, if you don't have a Kindle, then there are several other electronic formats, such as .pdf, on Smashwords which are available.  I prefer paper, too, but it's simply too expensive, both for me to produce, and you to buy.


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Helen's Daughter, the novel I have researched and worked on for a year, is available on Smashwords right now, and will be available through Amazon Kindle by Monday.

When the Trojan prince Paris abducted Helen of Sparta, she left behind a nine-year-old daughter, Hermione. And when Helen's husband Menelaus set out to recover her, Hermione was sent to her relatives at Mycenae to wait out the war.

Now, years later, the Trojan War is over. The adult Hermione eagerly awaits her father's return, but remains ambivalent toward her mother, even as her world is once again turned upside-down. Can Hermione survive the trials that await, or will she become another victim of the curse that haunts her family?

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Orestes: The Young Lion is now available through Smashwords, in a variety of e-formats.  More readers should be able to enjoy the story now.

 

Note:  I know none of my readers would engage in file-sharing or any other illegal activity, but I am obliged to mention it anyway.  I am self-published, which means 70% of the royalties go to me, not to an agent or publisher.  I worked a long time on this book, and worked very hard.  For six months, it was the equivalent of a full time job.  There is no such thing as an advance in electronic publishing, so my sales are it as far as income is concerned.  People who participate in file-sharing are engaged in theft, no matter what the reason, and thus they are depriving me of the fruits of my labor. 

If you liked the book, mention it to your friends, but don't give them free copies.  Smashwords allows readers to preview sample chapters for free.  $2.99 is a small price to pay for an ebook of 105,300 words.

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It's finally here.  The first book of the Orestes trilogy is available.  Go check it out at Amazon!

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I should be finished with The Young Lion edits and formatting by Sunday, and the book might be available by Wednesday if all goes well.  It will cost about $2.75 for 104,000 words as well as a map, which is actually a pretty good price considering a paperback version would cost four times that.  Now I just need to find reviewers.

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I just submitted The Young Lion to my beta reader at 106,000 words.  We'll see what he thinks.  I am simply exhausted after 16 days of editing, and need a nap.

Meanwhile, have some artwork.  A Mycenaean woman standing outside in the courtyard seeing two men off.  You just know she's about to tell the man talking to her that, "My eyes are up here."  Unfortunately, I don't know who the artist is.

Update

Jun. 15th, 2011 07:44 pm
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I am not neglecting my journal on purpose, but am busy editing The Young Lion, which, at roughly 110k, is a very demanding job.  It still has to be beta read, and additional changes may need to be made, but you should be seeing it on Kindle within the next four weeks.

Below: a view of Mycenae from the Chavos ravine.

Genealogy

Jun. 4th, 2011 12:47 pm
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At last, a genealogical chart I can be satisfied with.  Note: the actual image is larger, and will show up clearer in the book.  (I hope).

Also, I should be finishing the rough draft of The Young Lion this evening.

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It looks like I will be releasing the first Orestes book, The Young Lion, sometime this summer, once the drafts and editing are completed.  My only concern is the readers on Fiction Press and Fanfiction.com who are waiting for more chapters, and whether they'll resent having to pay to read the edited version, plus the rest of the story.  I don't view the situation as being that mercenary, and have no intention or desire to appear cutthroat, but they might see it that way.  I have posted a note on my profile page explaining the new development.

So expect to see a cover in the coming weeks.  I'm not far from the end of Book One, but foresee having to go back and flesh things out.

Meanwhile, have some Blue Ladies from Knossos.

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Dreamwidth sent me some codes, if anyone needs one. 

Also, I am rapidly progressing toward the end of the first book of what will a trilogy.  I simply can't get the whole Orestes story into one novel, otherwise it will run about 300,000 words, and cost $10 on Kindle.  As it is, I am still trying to gauge whether or not readers will buy the three installments.   

The first book will be titled The Young Lion.

People may think they're already reading the story for free on Fiction Press and Fanfiction.com.  It's simply a rough draft, to gauge reader interest in the story; it is not the finished project, and it's very likely that the entire first book won't be posted online. 

Once the draft is finished, then the really grueling work begins.  I predict entire scenes might be cut, while others will be refined.  Certain characters may need work to make them more believable.  The dialogue has to be double-checked to make sure no glaring modernisms creep in.  Descriptions have to be double-checked to make certain they're not repeated; Elektra, for example, is described as a lioness several times throughout the book.

The second book is tentatively titled The Madman of Mycenae, and deals with the double murders of Clytaemnestra and Aegisthus, and the madness and purification of Orestes.

The third book is The High King, and deals with Orestes' long reign.


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Assuming I have to publish Helen's Daughter myself on Amazon Kindle, this is would be the cover. I may go back and do some work on the font; the actual image is huge, so my choices are limited, and shrinking it down has been strangely difficult. But it is my first successful Photoshop rendering.



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