Something a little different today. I know a young lady named Arika, and it seems her class has a fun project.
They are trying to get postcards from all over the world. Could I ask you to consider helping a 5th Grade class out?
It doesn’t take much. Simply address the postcard from your area to “Arika Polen’s Class,” then pen a sentence or two about where you live. Stick a stamp on it, and then send it to the following address:
Miss Falls 5th Grade Class,
1004 Third Street
Brilliant, Ohio, 43913
That’s all! I’m curious what cards come in- I know from my stats page that a lot of different countries are represented in my viewership.
3,887 edits is a lot of edits. True, most of them are dumb stuff like comma placement. But for a lot of them, you really have to think. In some cases you have to ignore the AI, and that’s where it gets tricky. You do so at your peril, but in dialogue especially it is often necessary.
Well, Grammarly did one hell of a job with my last MS, and I don’t expect this to be any different. The program only made one howler, and it was my fault. It changed “herd” into “heard” and a sharp-eyed reader pointed this out to me. I must have clicked the “change” box without thinking about it, and it bit me.
So far, though, that’s been the only mistake that people have pointed out. Grammarly rocks.
Note the 3,887 block once more. This is a MS that has been beta-read by a few very good readers, and I’ve made a ton of changes to the original copy in Dropbox. And still, nearly FOUR THOUSAND edits to perform! This number is not a mistake, the AI is right about approximately 95% of them.
This will take me about a week of solid effort to do. However, this step is utterly necessary.
It’s simply a question of getting it done.
I have a series of time hacks and NLT dates by which certain steps must take place. A completed cover, an edited MS, a dunk into Vellum at the end, etc.
All of this is to provide you, my readers, with suitable entertainment.
I currently have four complete and unreleased novels in the stack, so I’ll be going through this process a lot over the coming year.
Keep an eye out! If you are new to this page, click here for my published works.
Today a little about one of my most successful projects ever, Old Twist the mountain fiddle.
For a little background and to see where this fiddle started from, see my earlier posts “The Mountain Fiddle” and “The Coffin Case.”
A quick recap. Several months ago, I found the violin and case illustrated above at a flea market. It was in sorry shape and needed a ton of TLC. When I bought it for forty dollars, I figured I didn’t have much to lose. Well, this violin became quite the quest. First, everything needed cleaning. Then the assembly and required refurbishing. There was a quick stop by my luthier, followed by adjustments and settling-in (the violin probably hadn’t been played since the fifties).
By mid-summer, it was finally ready to be used on a regular basis.
Note the oddly twisted scroll and strangely angled pegs. This is why this violin is named “Old Twist.” Also, it is not quite full-sized. It isn’t a three-quarter, either. It’s in a league of its own. But I digress.
I love this darn violin. It has a rich, dark sound that is perfect for mountain music and is my most comfortable violin to play. When I settle this fiddle against my cheek, it feels like I’m relaxing on the couch. Yes, it is an odd comparison, but it’s the best metaphor I can think of. This fiddle just feels right. Composed. Worn. Easy.
My instructor pointed out that Old Twist had probably been played in the past without a chinrest, and the fiddler would feel the music through their cheek. I believe it. Several people played the hell out of this violin for a century or so, and it shows. In my admittedly limited experience, I’ve never, ever seen a violin with this degree of wear.
But that’s the wonder of an old fiddle. Its age is immaterial as long as it is properly maintained and stored.
For the millionth time, I wish I had this violin’s story. Who played it, and what songs. Judging from where I bought it, I’d say the violin was manufactured and used in the Tri-State area (OH, PA, WV), more specifically in the upper Ohio River Valley. It’s a real Appalachian fiddle with a history. Just a shame I can only guess at it.
Was it played in a church? The county fair? On someone’s porch? A village band? Bonfires and wild parties, with the firewater jug passed hand to hand? I’ll never know, and this adds to my interest in this oddly constructed instrument.
All I can do is attempt to do it justice by playing the old songs as well as I can. Give it a good home. Extend its life as far as it will go.
My best guess on its age is 1800-1850, and it wasn’t factory-made. After that period, violins were readily available through mail order (Sears and Roebuck, etc.) and a village carpenter wouldn’t have bothered, as the mail order fiddles were three dollars. He wouldn’t have been able to make any money.
So, there you have it. Old Twist, the ancient mystery fiddle. It still astounds me that something so old and worn works as well as new with just a little work. This is not a concert violin by any means, but it is perfect for the sort music I like to play.
Hands down, the best forty dollars I have ever spent.
As you may know, I’m between projects at the moment and I’ve been tossing some ideas around. One thing I’ve thought about is book pricing and readership. My reader base is important to me, so one idea, in particular, occurred to me.
I decided to permanently lower the price of “In the Valley,” the first book of my original trilogy, to USD 99 cents. This lowers the barrier to people who may be interested in my books, but can’t get over the standard 2.99 USD speed bump.
Well, this morning I instituted the change. The going rate for Valley has been changed worldwide, and hopefully it pulls people along into my original universe, and then to my latest release “The Storyteller’s Heaven.”
A few words about “In the Valley.”
First, it was my initial novel, and I think it shows. There are problems with its structure, and I dislike the cover. It has the look of crime fiction, not military sci-fi, which is what it actually is.
Second, Valley was a pretty raw book in terms of content. How it came into being was that someone, perhaps my shrink, told me I needed to write a book. At the time I was going through the US Army Medical Board and I was bored out of my skull, as well as being really, really sick of being poked and prodded by the docs. So I sat and wrote my tale, using science fiction as a touchstone.
Finally, Valley wasn’t meant to be a trilogy; that just happened. Although I intended it to be a one-off and catharsis, I did leave a hook at the end in case I wanted to continue the tale of my protagonist, Paul Thompson. When the process was completed, and the book was published, I walked away from it for a while. I never seriously considered myself to be an author.
So, I did nothing. I had no website, no FB page, nothing. Just a random book hanging out on Amazon. I maybe sold seventy copies or so, at best. And then, something strange happened.
Out of the blue, a gentleman contacted me from Wisconsin and asked a simple question.
“When is the next book coming out?”
I was retired from the Army by then, and I was touched by his interest. I began to seriously consider the next work, and this time I made a study of what worked, and what didn’t. Also, in this period I made contact with the author John Birmingham, and I read his book “How to Be a Writer.” As a consequence, I decided to take the whole writer thing a bit more seriously.
I started this website, among other things. I also planned and produced the second book in the original trilogy, “The Captain’s Cauldron.” Yes, I planned the second book, and I think it shows. I was still dissatisfied with the cover, however, but it was better than “Valley.” It sold pretty well, so I moved on to the capstone for the trilogy, “Immolation.” IMO this was the best book of the three, and I actually liked its cover.
I’ve moved on since, of course. Yes, there was a five-year publishing gap, but I was not idle during this time. I did a lot of short stories and wrote a couple of unpublished series. Part of the problem was that I had gone separate ways from my original publisher, and I couldn’t crack the code of indie publishing on a budget.
Finally, with a big assist from JB, I produced my first true indie. “The Storyteller’s Heaven,” the first book in the “Promised Land” trilogy, is the result. Oddly enough, it is the most recent thing I’ve written, the two other series, one a series of disaster novellas, and the other an alternate history, remain unpublished.
Unpublished for now. Of course, I have put out “The King’s Ohio Rifles,” the first book in the Ohio Rifles alternate history trilogy, over on patreon.com/jasonlambright. It is in rough draft serial form because that’s how I do things over on Patreon. However, I plan on releasing the ebook in November 2022 on Amazon.
Long story short, “In the Valley” is now available worldwide for 99 USD cents, and it’s going to stay that way.
It is a file full of completed rough draft chapters of my latest book, the second of “The Promised Land” series, the follow-on to “The Storyteller’s Heaven.”
The manuscript is done, God be praised. It took an unprecedented thirteen months of labor and thought, at times I believed I would never get it finished. But here we are, and here I am, with a capped-off RD MS of 76,730 words.
I completed it this morning at 0603 hours, US EST. When I typed the last words, it felt like bliss. Pure heaven, to have this monster in the bag.
I’m looking at having this latest novel completed and launched by the middle of March.
The work doesn’t end, it just takes different forms.