One Year after twenty

This blog began about a year ago as I started to replicate what I was told I had to do to begin marketing my first novel. I was told I had to have a website, someplace to describe myself and my work. It was a clumsy first post as I tried to find my voice.

Voice is what animates anything we write. It can be a passion, a goal, a journey, a cause célèbre, a drive to communicate with someone other than our own inner voice. I am still searching for my voice in this blog.

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They Met at Shiloh

I published my first novel in November of 2011 in both paperback and Kindle format. I sold my first Kindle eBook to someone who has become a good friend and fellow author for the ridiculous price of $9.99. His was to become my first review. He was a brave man, buying an eBook at that price from a random Facebook posting. That first review has over 27 votes and is the top review yet of the 20 I now have. I knew little of how to market at that point and even less of how to find my audience. In November 2011 I had a few free kindle titles on my iPad and very little knowledge about how Amazon was better at selling Amazon than I would be. My wife and I hit publish and hoped that we would figure it out as we went along. I knew one other person at this point who had self published and she was an old friend who had finally written and published her first work a year before. I sold one whole eBook that month, November 2011.

It is December 2012. A year and a month have gone by in a journey I undertook twenty one years before in college to write a novel with all of my friends as characters set in a civil war battle. I never finished it. Twelve years later I undertook to rewrite the novel from scratch and for the next eight years worked on it on the odd weekend or trip, in coffee houses and in hotel rooms, airplanes, and cars. I wanted to finish it. Other than having written stories or stage plays for fun most of my life I had little to go on other than instinct with this rewrite. I knew the story I wanted to tell and I learned to let the story tell itself. I wanted the soldiers to speak their minds and speak about what comradeship and loss meant to them. I wanted confederate and federal to tell why they volunteered and treat both sides with equality of voice, not turning all confederates into antagonists and all federals into protagonists. Men volunteered to follow their own ideas of patriotism and duty and each believed they were serving a higher cause.

I was doubtful that I’d succeeded. The story was written from stream of consciousness and from the point of view of each character, allowing the thoughts and fears, doubts and struggles to be laid out for the reader to experience along with the fright and rush that was civil war combat. The majority of the reviews have confirmed a level of success in that endeavor, that the reviewer was transported int the ranks and experienced the life of the soldier and experienced the common faith that most soldiers shared on either side.

This year has been an eye opener. Many say that you need four things in order to sell an eBook. A good cover, a good book, a good blurb and luck. Now most would say that it is the luck part that can make the difference between a huge seller and an average seller. I do not know if I fit the huge seller or the average even, but we met our goal for this year financially and that was a big thing. It was luck that KDP Select was introduced and for the first part of the year the Amazon selling environment favored the extra exposure from a successful free giveaway.

As I ready my first book launch (we unceremoniously launched They Met at Shiloh with no plan and no promotion) this next year and finish my third novel I do look forward to what 2013 will bring.


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History or Story; when does one interfere with the other?

Memorial to colored troops in the civil war, Spirit of Freedom
“Spirit of Freedom” memorial for the USCT and Navy service of free blacks in the civil war, Ft. Myers Fl.

I had opportunity to read the first chapter of an independently written work about a black man at the end of the civil war. If you haven’t ever seen this site before, I’d recommend you check it out: historical chapters.blogspot.com. The owner is an author herself and takes chapter submissions, posts them, and then invites comments and suggestions from readers. If you write historical fiction and want a short beta read of your best chapter, I’d recommend submitting something.

I was intrigued and started skimming, reading lightly so I could see the author’s command of military knowledge and in general civil war aptitude. Sometimes a little knowledge can be a bad thing. I found that there were some things that I knew were not exactly right from my own research into the USCT, officer selection, USCT regiment numbering, where they saw action, when recruiting started, etc.

I won’t comment further on the work in particular but it got me to pondering the role of historical record and forming a story around it. Clearly, if it is fiction it didn’t happen with these characters, with these thoughts, with these experiences etc. So, there is a level of license that is to be expected in any work of historical fiction. For me, I was derailed by the blaring inaccuracies (blaring because of what I know) and unfortunately  could not finish reading all of it nor comment (it’s probably not a good practice for authors to comment unsolicited on other works lest the negatives be taken to heart and a tit for tat ensue where no one wins).

Personally, it is the little details that make the world work for me. It is fairly easy for me to read something written by someone with only a cursory knowledge of the civil war military to see some holes and then be thrown out of the world they are creating. So, I endeavor to be a detail oriented as I can (I will still find I’ve made mistakes by relying on memory for something that I could have easily looked up). This is not the authors fault, that I have a deep understanding and knowledge of how USCT regiments were formed and organized. For me, this just adds other levels to anything that I write in building a scene or making an interaction between two individuals. There are probably no details that are not usable in a narrative of fiction and there’s always another level of understanding to be had when researching.

I suppose I write this way for me or for someone like me and I lived in fear when I published They Met at Shiloh for this very version of me as a reader to pop up and find some detail that I missed or was incorrect about. I’ve not encountered that person yet (save for in the mirror). I have blogged before about this struggle Drama or History, who wins?. I’ve not resolved that yet, but this latest thing has only brought me closer to how I regard history and minutia of fact in story building. It has also for me highlighted the need to really know what I am writing about lest I become too cavalier with building that story and leave holes for someone to shoot through. Writing and publishing is hard work and we have our reasons for what we write and why.

If I want to be excellent at what I do I need to find that balance between story telling (and the freedom to tell the story) and historical fact and with some mind of me as a reader. I do not write nonfiction history. There are others who are far better at it than I. I want to teach through story telling and I think this is what sometimes drives my fanaticism in getting the details correct. For me, these details and teaching moments drive my story telling.

I’m not sure I’ve answered the question posed by this post satisfactorily for myself, but this has become the thing that has consumed me for these past few days.

Short story for Kindle.

Two Struck Images

Two Struck Images

I wrote this short story sometime in the early part of last decade after staring at a copy of a daguerrotype of myself and my brother that we’d paid for at the 135th Chickamauga reenactment in 2003. I wrote it after the experience my brother had at his first reenactment and the adventure of what the real 15th Wisconsin went through 135 years earlier. It is about two brothers (fictionalized) and the harrowing experience of this regiment as it was blindly marched into a thick wood only to run into a confederate brigade that had just smashed another Union brigade. Heg’s brigade (Hans Christian Heg) of Davies’ Division would die not far from where the regiments first entered the wood and stood for a short time before being forced to retreat. Their experience was indicative of both sides as the fighting see-sawed back and forth over the Vinniard Farm.

I always have a lot of history sprinkled through my stories, I guess it is the teacher in me. For today only, Two Struck Images is FREE for Kindle owners (if you’ve not a kindle to your name, the Kindle Cloud Reader is also free and the short story can be read on your PC/Mac).

I ran an earlier poll on the title as there was some initial confusion on the part of my cover designer as to how the title should be formatted. I went back and forth with myself over it. Some people were confused, some intrigued, some thought it enough to want to read the blurb. After some time of chewing on all of the advice and offered title suggestions I decided to stick with the original given that it plays such an important role in the story itself. But, that is the danger of all of my inside knowledge. I think the title is what it should be, but there is a world of opinion when it comes to each consumer and what will be liked or be explanatory enough to draw further interest.
Two Struck Images

Drama or History? Who wins?

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“At the Double Quick”, bronze relief at the Corinth Interpretive Center, Corinth Ms.

Book #2 in my civil war series is finished as far as the first draft is concerned and now I’m knee deep in the rewrite. I had a character jump back into the WIP, a character I’d excised as the storyline just wasn’t feeling right. So, mid way through this year it made sense to reintroduce him and he plays a part in the climax of the novel after all. Actually, he has become one of the main characters again (I say again, he was a main character in TMAS). So, I’ve made one pass through my hard copy making notes and cutting sections out that didn’t fit or needed to be reworked and decided that this characters actions after Shiloh needed to be highlighted.

The campaign to take Corinth, Mississippi had been General Halleck’s goal since establishing a presence at Pittsburg Landing and ordering the Army of the Ohio to link up with Grant’s Army of the Tennessee. Pope’s Army of the Mississippi was also to cooperate, leading three armies to converge on Corinth, where Confederate General A.S. Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard were concentrated. Shiloh disrupted all of that and nearly wrecked Halleck’s overall plans. Unfortunately for the Confederates Johnston is killed and they fail to destroy the Army of the Tennessee. Now, however, after a month of refitting Halleck is ready to try again at the beginning of May.

Book #2 (tentative title Certain Death) picks up after the battle of Shiloh where a new character has been captured and some old characters are preparing to march south from Pittsburg Landing to a fate unknown. In reading the report of Nelson’s division (where Ammen’s brigade is, a clue to anyone who remembers what characters were in Ammen’s brigade) I’d read that there was a delay in movement forward from Mount Olivet Church where the division camped for a few days before moving on due to two days of heavy rain fall that destroyed the bridges and corduroy roads they’d spent the first few days of May constructing (this area between Corinth and Pittsburg Landing is cut by numerous creeks and marshy lowlands that were impassable for heavy, wheeled artillery and supply trains as well as cavalry, barely so for infantry).

So, knowing all of this I decided to add this little happenstance as part of the story, the destruction of the bridges due to too much water flow, the problem of getting supplies to the forward divisions, the danger of trying to repair the pontoon bridges and keep them secure in the middle of the creeks overflowing, the possibility that someone will be swept downstream in an accident. So, I got to chugging along in a dramatic scene that was to chronicle the attempts to secure the pontoon bridge in heavy rain and a swift current and what that might look like. Soon my creek became a river of some unknown breadth from bank to bank and the pontoon bridge of perhaps thirty feet or more long and the water possibly above a man’s head.

Yesterday as I sat to finish the scene the disaster was complete and my MC was swept downstream. I stopped to go back to my source as it occurred to me that I should know where this little creek was to lead to, was it leading towards the confederate lines? How wide was it really if my MC is to let go of what he is clinging to and swim for the nearest bank? It was then that I realized I’d not gotten down to my regimental reports of the 30 day period and learned that my MC’s regiment wasn’t at Mount Olivet Church but still on the north side of one of these creeks and further was prevented from crossing due to damage done by this rain storm. I’d had them on the south side and going back to do the repairs.

These are niggling little details. What side of a creek a unit was on in this little narrative of a minor event probably does not deserve all of the angst and reworking of the details but it would have bugged me all the same. If I make a mistake in error and ignorance that is my bad, but to make it when I know better is something that I cannot abide. In this sense, the drama becomes emptied of its truth if I knowingly record some errors that are easily discovered if someone means to do so.

In the end, I altered some of the details of the event to fit the truth and kept the dramatic scene of the disaster in place, fixing some historic details to suit my own conscience. There’s detail in the reports of General Nelson (Division commander) that initially set me to building the scene but I’d neglected to dig down into the regimental reports where finer details existed and called my initial assumptions into question. But, in the end, history won out where it was important to me to get right and the scene of the disaster was honed to be more realistic for a creek based on the other details gleaned from the brigade reports of each regiment.

They Met At Shiloh

Civil War Memorial Day

Memorial Day is ending (it is later in the evening on May 28th) but I have the only tribute I can to this day where we remember those who fell on America’s battlefields. The following are from the Shiloh and Stone’s River National Cemeteries.

At Shiloh alone there are over 2300 unknown graves, at Stone’s River 2500. These cemeteries hold the honored dead not only from the battles fought there but also from other skirmishes and battles all along the western theater. In addition to Civil War dead, these cemeteries also hold those veterans who have passed on from our other wars.

Shiloh National Battlefield

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Stone’s River National Battlefield
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Rewriting History

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Battery Robinett fortification reconstruction, Corinth MIssissippi Interpretive Center

I’m one month into my rewrite of book #2 in the civil war series starting with the battle of Shiloh. Major General Henry W. Halleck set his plan in motion the beginning of May, 1862 a month later than he’d planned thanks to the untimely intervention of Albert Sidney Johnston’s surprise attack on Grant’s Army of the Tennessee at Pittsburg Landing or more commonly known as Shiloh. This campaign is little known, not important enough to rate a history of its own and of the fortifications built no longer exist around the modern town of Corinth, Mississippi. You can find a fine history of several battles part of the western Tennessee and northern Mississippi fighting in Peter Cozzen’s Iuka and Corinth book but otherwise this is just a foot note in the history of the region.

My writing on book #2 started around this time last year when I was only writing fitfully on the weekends when I made the time. I didn’t set any goal, I just started writing. It wasn’t until this year that I started applying a daily word count that I finished the WIP and began to make notes on a printout copy, small edits in sentence structure and overall plot. I won’t do a line edit (that’s for my editor to do) but I will do several passes looking for specific details. In my initial WIP at the beginning I trashed whole sections of the initial start because I just didn’t feel the story any longer. I write by listening to the story and sometimes I stop listening and go off on some other path and sometimes I stop myself. I wrote out two characters in those early chapters only, later on, to write them back in but with a different start. I even wrote in a new character, a former slave hunter to explore an obviously unlikable character who would be the center of much of the story to see if he could be rehabilitated.

My rewrite has entered the less boring stage of applying the notes and changes from the print out to the electronic file to the addition of brand new content. One character I excised early on is now back and on the brink of the beginning of the Corinth siege campaign. The Army of the Ohio will spend the next month (May 1st to May 29th) making short marches and digging in as Halleck cautiously moves and maneuvers his armies to within a mile of the Corinth fortifications and all the while promising Secretary of War Stanton he intends to take Corinth in one gallant rush. The truth is Halleck never intends to attack but to try and force Beauregard to either attack him or hole up in the city and eventually be cut off from his rail road supply lines. Other than skirmishing, there is no real major fighting.

So, why Corinth? Why is it important when no one else sees it as so? Because for a soldier in the Army of the Ohio at the time, as my Philip character is, it was deadly work and something they would have had to experience as time went on. It is part of the soldier narrative to experience the mundane and the trivial with the important and deadly. It is also something that has to happen to get my character from point A, the survival of Shiloh in book #1 and to where I needed him to be for future books. See, I had a problem with book #2, nothing was happening after Shiloh. The civil war in the west after Shiloh was one of maneuver and strategic movement over tactical battles like Shiloh. So, I thought I would be writing a novel about Stone’s River, something that happens late 1862 and early 1863 but one book has turned into six and the time frame needed for #2 was either going to leave out too much from this time period or be way to long.

I rely a lot on the War of the Rebellion collection of after action reports and correspondences between the field commanders and their superiors for the detail I weave into the story lines of these novels. I like to maintain a historical reality for my characters and have something of the mundane, like changing one’s campsite due to unhealthy conditions, as a framework for change. These are the details I can only find in these reports and correspondence during the war. The changes to the 2nd novel have been guided somewhat by these details that send the gears in my head turning as I attempt to follow some logical progression to tie things together. It has been an adventure, this second book through the multiple rewrites and changes with characters that I can only hope have been part of the making the novel better.
A short story for Kindle is out about these two armies:
Two Struck Images

No better place to die, General Rosecrans

Quote attributed to General George H. Thomas at council of war held in the late of night on December 31st, 1862. Purportedly uttered in support of staying and fighting despite the rough handling the army was given by the confederates that day.

It must have been fate. In the airport waiting for my flight and without Internet I was working on this entry, a little thought running through my head that I should copy the text to the note pad as I wasn’t entirely sure that the iPad app would work that well in offline mode. So I finish the entry and then attempt to upload a photo. Stupid. Further I hit cancel thinking I was canceling the photo upload and not the whole entry. Stupid x2. Gone baby gone.

It was either genius unrealized or it saved me a lawsuit. Either way it is lost in the ether.

On Thursday of this week we traveled to the Stone’s River battlefield in Murfreesboro, Tn. It was sobering. Not just because it is hallowed ground but because so little of it has been saved for posterity. Key positions in the center and Union left flank are preserved, but the vast majority of the Confederate right where the fighting took place has been forever lost. Further, aside from then civil war’s oldest monument, the Hazen brigade monument in Hell’s Half Acre and a few artillery emplacements that have been labeled, the battlefield is bereft of markers. There are park markers giving the history of the specific location and there are plenty of cannon about, but they are unmarked as to what battery they might have been.

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There are some key locations near the Union center (what had been before the confederate attacks forced the Union right to collapse) like the Knoll, an area of high ground astride the Nashville Turnpike where fleeing remnants of Rosecrans’ right flank brigades fled to as the confederate attacks of Hardee’s then Polk’s Corps drove deep into the union lines, through thick woods and came out of the trees to face Sheridan’s division and whatever union brigades that could be rallied. Repeated attacks upon this position on the first day were unable to force their way to the turnpike. Here the Chicago Board of Trade Battery deployed on the rise and fired into advancing confederates of Cheatham’s division. Batteries deployed beyond the turnpike in what is now the national cemetery blunted the confederate attacks here and along the Cotton Field.

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Pictures cannot do the Slaughter Pen justice, however. In a heavily wooded area, Sheridan’s division found themselves beset by Polk’s attacks. The whole area is strewn with glacially deposited rocks, rocks whose surface was worn smooth by years of constant grating and deposited in parallel lines, not unlike a natural trench work of rock. Here Union soldiers lay and fought, taking cover in these formations and dying by the score, so much so that the place was likened to the slaughter houses of Chicago by then Illinois troops who fought there, the pens becoming a pen for the slaughter. The ground is uneven and broken by these rocks making any movement difficult. Rocks like this are all over the ground here and some as big as a man.

Hell’s Half Acre is hard to visualize as the Round Forest is now gone and but for the Hazen Memorial it would not be recognizable. The field just across the Nashville Turnpike and just up against the Chattanooga and Nashville Rail Road line and the facing of the canon at the sight give the direction that the brigade defended against as attacks came from two sides as the Confederates made both for the road and for the rail line, cutting both would have been disastrous for Rosecrans. Hazen’s brigade of Sheridan’s division would be the only part of the original Union line to not bend under the attacks by Polk’s brigades.

I did not make it around to all of the markers and walk all the trails, but the last part that has been preserved is the Union held McFadden farm and ford where the last day’s action took place. The confederate positions are all gone, hidden under asphalt and concrete where Breckenridge’s Orphan Brigade were cut to pieces as they punched through the Union positions on the opposite bank and tried to cross the ford and attack the opposite heights. There is a set of canon on the Union side of the ford marking the line of Mendenhall’s 58 guns that were instrumental in breaking up the attack. The vista is broke by trees that are growing up from the river bank that obscure the opposite heights on the Confederate side of the river, but it is just as well since the view is of a freeway turnoff and other modern development.

If you are like me, you have to read every marker. Stone’s River is an easy read if you have time to walk the trails. I had high hopes of locating positions and monuments for note taking and in that regard was disappointed. I did get good notes for the 4th novel which will center on Stone’s River and walked the ground so tenaciously fought over by both sides.

The battle was an attempt by both sides to attacks each other’s right flanks. As it turned out the Confederate attack hits a weak point as Rosecrans has his left built up and his own right is unprepared. Rosecrans abandons his own attack and the Confederates crush his right so successfully that the whole battle hangs in the balance as Bragg’s attacking divisions fight their way through the thick woods. The battle will end with confederates entrenched in front of the Cotton Field and pulled back from the Knoll. Fighting shifts to other parts of the field inconclusively and there is a rare lull in the fighting as a day passes before Bragg decides to hit Rosecran’s left flank (the McFadden farm) and sends Breckenridge’s division into the meat grinder and the battle ends.

A short story for Kindle is out about these two armies:
Two Struck Images

We don’t count the Siege of Corinth as 1st Corinth

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At the Double Quick, a bronze relief at the Corinth Interpretive Center, Corinth Ms.

It was a long drive from Nashville today to get to Corinth Mississippi. For our battlefield excursion we have based ourselves out of Nashville as being a little more central to a few of the other places we intend to visit.

One of the rangers at Corinth said this line as we chatted in the bookstore over my purchases of two maps of the area, one of the siege operations and one of the confederate attack on Corinth. I mentioned that we were there to take photos for novel covers and that one was about 1st Corinth and the second about 2nd Corinth. I can see their point, there really wasn’t a battle per se the first time, just some fighting here and there as Halleck maneuvered around Beauregard’s forces to try to cut him off from his rail supply. Beauregard abandons the city and there is no bloody battle. Apparently they must get this a lot as she was quick on the draw. I still prefer to call it 2nd Corinth, but I won’t split hairs.

There is practically nothing left at Corinth but the remnants of the earthworks at Battery Robinette. Everything has been bulldozed for the city to grow over. It is fitting, though, that this one area was not churned to nothing due to the lone confederate unknown graves that are resting on a hill (the real earthwork (the interpretive center is built just a little beyond the real battery) and where the grave of Colonel Rogers used to be before being reinterred elsewhere.

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These grave markers were just a few of those killed from the 2nd Texas who stormed the parapets at Robinette and took the battery, if only briefly, before being forced to retreat after suffering galling losses.

There is also a walking tour through the site of a former contraband slave camp, established soon after the failed assault on Corinth and organized by several charitable organizations to socialize and educate former slaves into industry and self sufficiency. It was run for less than a year but was apparently used as a model for other camps to be set up elsewhere. The park is filled with bronze statues and this was one that caught my eye (though I do not believe the site was related to any USCT training or recruiting)

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It was a full day and we still had Shiloh to stomp around at. I met the person who runs the Shiloh Bookstore and gave her the Sell Sheet and bookmark we’d produced for They Met at Shiloh. We still do not know if the lead historian will approve the book or not, but Winston Groom’s novel on Shiloh was in prominent display (this person had informed me the historian only approves “classic” fiction to be sold in the store, Foote’s novel on Shiloh was also on display). It is their choice, but the person in charge of the bookstore is a pleasant person to chat with (several times on the phone and now in person). The bookstores are managed by a third party contractor but the content is up to the park historian. I’m not losing any sleep over it, but I did find it interesting seeing the other fiction works already on the shelves, and not all were “classic”.

They Met At Shiloh

The Eagle has landed

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We landed in Tennessee this evening, Nashville to be exact and right away trouble; my wife’s laptop, an old Dell XPS that has had multiple motherboards replaced just six months ago, the same laptop that was working at the Albuquerque Airport suddenly will not boot once we were settled in our room.

This was one of the first trips where I did not bring my own laptop, choosing to do everything from my iPad. This is only an issue as my wife intended to offload her photos to her laptop so that her camera’s memory cards would not fill up. So, this was unexpected but not entirely disastrous. The Dell is out of warranty by several weeks now. Annnnd, I left my iPad’s HDMI converter as we were planning on watching movies from my iPad on the flatscreen in the room, also not a big disaster and the local Apple store did not have one in stock.

One thing that I am going to hunt for is an iPad to USB keyboard adapter (if one exists). Bluetooth is disabled while in flight, so my Apple bluetooth keyboard, something that I use to type with when I write (I almost exclusively use my iPad for writing) is really tough using the soft keyboard for any length of time. I did manage to get in 1K+ word count in during the first hour of our flight on book #3. So it is not impossible to do serious writing on the soft keyboard, but is a little annoying as I often miss hitting the “n” key most often or I hit the spacebar instead of the n.

But, we are going to leave tomorrow morning for the Corinth Interpretive Center and Shiloh as our first day out. We have all day to revisit sites at Shiloh and get lots of photos of the bronze relief and the Battery Robinette reconstruction. Then we’ll be back at Shiloh to close the park down, drop off a Sell Sheet at the bookstore and try to say “Hi” in person to the lady who runs the bookstore (I’ve talked with her several times on the phone after I mailed her the book and other materials). Will be a long day of driving, however.

The day after …

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One of our early possibilities for the book cover, Byrne’s Mississippi Battery monument at Shiloh facing the Hornet’s Nest.

I inadvertently discovered that my Kindle edition of They Met at Shiloh was inexplicably unavailable for sale on Amazon. I’d uploaded the file for my short story Two Struck Images instead of the file for the novel, so anyone who had purchased the book from May 8 to May 13 didn’t get the right version. D’oh!

In the realm of the rest of my life? No big deal. It will get fixed. In the realm of hourly rankings and changes on Amazon? An eternity. But, what could I do? I fixed the problem and then some back and forth with KDP to explain the issue and the rest is a wait. So, now I check every so often to see if and when it will be available to be purchased but at the moment all of my promotion activities have come to a halt. But, this has me to really evaluating the efficacy of some of my promotion activities via social media. I am willing to admit that I may not be using these avenues very well, but overall they do seem to be ineffective at best in driving sales. I rarely look at tweets any more and when I do I’m looking for content tweets, not marketing ones. I suspect others do as well. Facebook as well seems to be a hit and miss proposition at times. Branding? Better for that perhaps or for allowing fans to keep in contact or up to date on what is happening. But, some of that has also become something of a mine that is about played out. I’d been evaluating period images and mining them for what they might tell us of the men and the times and that was fun for a time, but it has now become rote. If creativity abhors anything it is rote activities.

As an update to the last paragraph, the book is now up again for sales on Amazon. There is no way I can tell how many possible sales I missed in this time frame. But, Amazon is a world wide marketplace and a US wide opportunity to sell to the same consumers over and over through exposure, but getting and keeping that exposure is the great key. I can at least go on my vacation tomorrow and have one less thing to worry about!

Speaking of vacation I will try to share a pic or two from each Civil War battlefield we visit of the next four days this week and some on why we are there at each one and some of the history and how it relates to future books in the They Met at Shiloh series.