Book Launch Night

Sorry I haven’t posted for a week, but it’s been all go. The book launch was on Wednesday night (day before yesterday) and it went better than I could have hoped.

My daughters made gorgeous cup cakes and cookies, and Carrie (the illustrator)’s mum made punch and brought some other nibbles. The shop was so packed that we ran out of chairs and there were people standing at the back.

Carrie’s family came down en masse, my family were there, my housegroup from church were well represented, and there were friends from my writers circle and a few others. David, the lecturer who put Carrie and I together, came, and so did Colin from the Historical Association, Swansea.

I was wearing my new T shirt with a picture of the book and ‘Ask me about Alina de Breos’ on the front and back, which went down well. I welcomed everyone and spoke about how I came to write the book and the beginning of the story, then Carrie spoke very well about the illustrations. Then it was everyone queueing to buy the book and have it signed by both of us, and Carrie sold lots of prints of the illustrations. She presented me with a print of the White Lady and we bought one of Queen Isabella on a horse, which seems to be quite a favourite.

I had my photo taken by the Evening Post the day before, as the photographer wasn’t free on the night, but I didn’t see the reporter on the night, and it’s not appeared in the paper yet. We’re keeping watch.

Retail Outlets for Alina, The White Lady of Oystermouth

The book is now available at the following outlets in Swansea and Gower:

Swansea Museum
National Waterfront Museum
Town Centre Tourist Information Centre
Uplands Bookshop
Mumbles Tourist Information Centre
Cover to Cover Bookshop
Shepherds at Parkmill
Gower Heritage Centre
Gower Kite and Surf Centre, Pitton Cross Caravan Park, Rhossili
Reynoldston Post Office
Crofty Post Office

I am also talking to these outlets, with a view to them carrying the book:
W H Smith
Waterstones
Tesco

When Oystermouth Castle re-opens on 16th June, the book will be on sale in the Visitors Centre, in Alina’s Chapel.

Nearly There!

Publishing my book is soooo close now.

The last illustrations arrived overnight and I put them in the print book file straight away Monday morning. The files were delivered to the printer on Monday, and I was so excited that I forgot to take the disc with the cover files, and my husband had to go back with them. Then I had to wait until Thursday for the proof copy, but it was perfect.

Since then I have been round to many of the shops which agreed to sell the book, and showed them the proof copy and delivered a poster and flyers. The two museums in Swansea both wanted to see the book before deciding whether to take it. I saw them today, and they both came on board. In fact, the Waterfront Museum want ten copies on sale or return, and the Swansea Museum want five TO BUY. The only outlet willing to pay up front.

Meanwhile, I put the illustrations in the ebook and uploaded it to Smashwords to give it a try. The Smashwords guide warned that the conversion could take some time and throw up errors, and I had been warned that illustrations in ebooks were tricky. I decided to try them and take them out if they didn’t work. The book loaded in ten minutes with no errors, illustrations and all!

Right now it’s only available on Smashwords here, but in the next week they will be sending it out to all the ereader platforms, except Kindle. Smashwords don’t send books to Amazon for Kindle until they sell $1000 worth, and at $3.99 (£2.51) it is not likely to reach that, so I’m going to upload it to Amazon myself.

The print books will be ready by Thursday, and delivered to the shops on Good Friday. And we’ll be live!

The King’s Anger

John de Mowbray started the barons rebellion in 1320. From the small incident of John seizing control of Swansea Castle, the barons’ growing impatience with Edward II grew into direct action.

They didn’t like the king’s favourite, Hugh le Despenser the Younger, having such control over the king and getting away with his land grabbing. And they didn’t like the king trying to assert his authority over the Welsh Marches, where the barons had had free reign ever since William the Conqueror. The king’s interference in Hugh’s dispute with John was the last straw.

At first, the barons were successful, and the king was forced to send Hugh and his father into exile. But the king wanted his favourite back and launched a fresh campaign, which ended with the king defeating the barons at Boroughbridge. Many of the rebels were executed, including the king’s own cousin, Thomas of Lancaster and John de Mowbray. Because he started it all, the king was so angry with John that he refused to allow John’s body to be taken down from the gibbet for 3 years! It hung in chains in York until local friars eventually persuaded the king to let them bury it.

For more details, see my book, Alina, The White Lady of Oystermouth, coming out in print and ebook at Easter.

Publisher, possibly

I finally plucked up the courage to begin contacting publishers about the book. All the advice seemed to say ‘Don’t email publishers, they don’t like it’ and ‘Publishers will keep you waiting weeks for a reply, so be patient.’ Wrong on both counts.

I began by searching ‘The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook’ for suitable publishers and made a list. Then I checked out each of their web sites and eliminated a few. There were several which gave email addresses for initial contact. So, using the advice from the yearbook, I composed an enquiry letter and emailed it off with my Introduction, which contains a synopsis, and a chapter list with brief details. Most non-fiction publishers expect a proposal, and you will only write the book once they have agreed. I made it clear that the book is already written and substantially edited.

So yesterday morning I sent the emails and went out. When I came home I had a reply from one publisher asking to see the book! So today I printed it out and wrote a cover letter, and it will be posted tomorrow!

Watch this space.

Latest Draft and a New Title

Well, it’s finished. For how long, I don’t know. The book ended up over fifteen thousand words long, with over two hundred endnotes. Some references I couldn’t find so I rewrote the passage, but I found some new stuff as well. It’s hard to know where to stop. I have found a sweet story about Alina since, and I don’t know whether to put that in as well. Maybe I’ll blog it.

I have also amended the title to better reflect what it is about. It is now called ‘The White Lady of Oystermouth and the Fall of a King’.

Anyway, for now, it has gone off to the kind people at the Historical Association for comment, and to my husband, who has not read it before. He is my sternest critic. So watch this space.