Sunday, December 23, 2012

Enjoy Christmas? Thank A Victorian

Christmas is not what it use to be. Prior to the Victorian era Christmas was hardly noticed and was a small blip on the average person's calendar. You wouldn't think so the way modern people have made such a show of it but much of the way we celebrate the festive season can be linked back to Victorian England.

We all know (or should know) the Christmas tree was a German tradition brought to England by Prince Albert, who was born and raised in Germany. Dr. Peter Ainsley and the Marshall family would have had a table top tree decked out in small white candles, sweets and small presents. Most decorations were handmade like paper fans and dried apple or orange slices. As the young lady of the house Margaret would have invited friends over to create ornaments and trade gossip.

1843 was the year Victorians first saw the Christmas card. Artist J.C Horsely painted a scene of a family around a dinner table. The card included a Christmas message. Distributed by Henry Cole, each card cost a shilling so it remained out of reach for the average Victorian. The Marshall's, however, would have made sure they gave out some to their closest friends. The sentiment caught on amongst the average and lower classes and soon children and adults alike were making their own cards to send to loved ones and friends.

Gift giving was a well thought out endeavour. Victorians would plan their gifts for others many months in advance. It was believed giving gifts would bring good luck and continued prosperity in the new year. Victorians believed the best gifts were handmade. Needlework and useful items were quite popular.

Christmas dinner was an elaborate affair amongst the higher classes, the Marshall's would have spared no expense while hosting notable people and society elite. The average family would have enjoyed beef on the table Christmas Day, but Ainsley's family could expect goose or chicken. Turkey was not popular in England until the late 19th century. Christmas pudding was a annual tradition. First mixed together on "Stir It Up" Sunday (the Sunday before Advent), Christmas pudding is made of beef, raisins, prune and sugar in a pudding cloth and cooked in a pot, usually with other food. Serving Christmas Pudding was often a dramatic, ceremonious affair, presented at the table by the cook who would receive ohh's and ahh's from those gathered. Decorated with a sprig of holly and a brandy sauce set ablaze, Christmas pudding was a highlight of festivities.

Most of Christmas Time was reserved for visiting with family and friends without a lot of emphasis on presents. Traditions like wassailing (carolling door to door) encouraged interaction between neighbours and offering food like treats.

Traditionally Boxing Day was the first weekday following Christmas and was set aside for charity work. Victorians would place money and gifts in small boxes to give to the servants, trades people or the needy. For the affluent family like the Marshalls, it would be viewed as duty to assist the poor.

Want to learn more about the history of Christmas? Check out Jeri Westerson's blog, Jeri writes the Crispin Guest medieval noir series and her blog post is quite informative.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Victorian Funeral Rites

If you are fascinated by the dark aspects of history like I am you'll enjoy my guest post over at fellow writer Ally Shield's Blog.

I talk about my initial interest in ghost stories and how CHORUS OF THE DEAD came to in to being.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Cover Artist

Have you seen my cover for CHORUS OF THE DEAD? It's a work of art. I have to admit the day it arrived in my inbox with my name and title displayed so nicely I cried. It honestly was the most beautiful thing to behold.

While editing CHORUS, I stumbled upon a lovely artist, Claudia at who has a beautiful website filled with all her lovely creations. She works with a lot of publishers and authors and a lot of times when I see a beautiful cover I wonder if she had a hand in it.

Her style of art is alluring with elements of the fantastical. She only has a few covers that could work for a historical and a lot covers for paranormal and fantasy books. Every so often I visit her site and flip through her cover art imagining the stories that would go with her art.

I have narrowed down my choices for my next Ainsley book, titled DEAD SILENT. A gold star for anyone who can guess the art for my next cover.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

3, 2, 1...LAUNCH

I attended a launch party on Thursday evening for THE WHOLE SHE-BANG, a Sisters In Crime mystery anthology.

My story, A Ring For Jenny, can be found on page 107. That page number will be forever ingrained in my memory since I completely embarrassed myself in front of all in attendance. As part of the festivities, each writer in the anthology was allotted 3 minutes to read from their submission. Everyone else seemed prepared with either a copy of the book or printed sheets of computer paper. I had none of these and was caught off guard somewhat when someone told me I was expected to read.

Luckily someone lent me a copy of the book when my name was called and I fumbled through pages trying to find my entry. Eyes stared. My cheeks burned crimson. Days seemed to pass as I struggled until someone finally said "107". Of course.

It was my first public reading and despite my nerves, I enjoyed it. Afterwards numerous people asked me to sign their copies and I was beyond thrilled. To think this is how authors start out. Writing words with the unknown reader a distant thought in their mind until one day when writer and reader meet.

I have an audience.

Of course I have an audience. Nameless, faceless buyers of books on Amazon and Kobo. The sales numbers increase and I smile, sometimes broadly. But this, meeting people face to face, being handed a pen and a copy of the story, MY STORY, with eager anticipation, is beyond description. This is amazing.

The Whole She-Bang is available on Amazon Kindle, and Smashwords for other e-reading formats. Print copies can be purchased from Lulu.

Half of all proceeds will be donated to the Children's Book Bank, a non-profit organization in Toronto that puts books in the hands of children. Stay tuned for a future post on this AMAZING charity.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Bridge of Sighs

If you have read CHORUS OF THE DEAD, or even if you just read the preview, you probably noticed the verses I put at the beginning of each chapter. In the literary world it's called a literary device, when authors use quotes to introduce a chapter or book.

I spent a good deal of time looking for an appropriate literary device for my books. I perused anatomy books of the day (Gray's Anatomy was just published) but nothing seemed to fit. I tried to find information about a prominent surgeon who may have written about his scientific findings or other such useful pamphlet but I had little luck. Nothing was catching my fancy. I was almost resigned to not use anything at all until one week before my book was to go 'live' it hit me. Months earlier, in my research of Victorian England, morgues and the work of a surgeon, I found a poem titled "The Bridge of Sighs" by Thomas Hood. It is a remarkable poem but like most of my findings I had no immediate need of it and kept researching.

While giving the search for a literary device on last desperate try I came across "The Bridge of Sighs" yet again and realized it was perfect. With careful selection I divided the poem up into couplets and/or versus and was amazed how well they fit with my story.

I used the segments in order in the book but here's the poem in it's entirety, unbroken and smooth.

The Bridge of Sighs

One more Unfortunate,
Weary of breath,
Rashly importunate,
Gone to her death!

Take her up tenderly,
Lift her with care;
Fashion'd so slenderly
Young, and so fair!

Look at her garments
Clinging like cerements;
Whilst the wave constantly
Drips from her clothing;
Take her up instantly,
Loving, not loathing.

Touch her not scornfully;
Think of her mournfully,
Gently and humanly;
Not of the stains of her,
All that remains of her
Now is pure womanly.

Make no deep scrutiny
Into her mutiny
Rash and undutiful:
Past all dishonour,
Death has left on her
Only the beautiful.

Still, for all slips of hers,
One of Eve's family—
Wipe those poor lips of hers
Oozing so clammily.

Loop up her tresses
Escaped from the comb,
Her fair auburn tresses;
Whilst wonderment guesses
Where was her home?

Who was her father?
Who was her mother?
Had she a sister?
Had she a brother?
Or was there a dearer one
Still, and a nearer one
Yet, than all other?

Alas! for the rarity
Of Christian charity
Under the sun!
O, it was pitiful!
Near a whole city full,
Home she had none.

Sisterly, brotherly,
Fatherly, motherly
Feelings had changed:
Love, by harsh evidence,
Thrown from its eminence;
Even God's providence
Seeming estranged.

Where the lamps quiver
So far in the river,
With many a light
From window and casement,
From garret to basement,
She stood, with amazement,
Houseless by night.

The bleak wind of March
Made her tremble and shiver;
But not the dark arch,
Or the black flowing river:
Mad from life's history,
Glad to death's mystery,
Swift to be hurl'd—
Anywhere, anywhere
Out of the world!

In she plunged boldly—
No matter how coldly
The rough river ran—
Over the brink of it,
Picture it—think of it,
Dissolute Man!
Lave in it, drink of it,
Then, if you can!

Take her up tenderly,
Lift her with care;
Fashion'd so slenderly,
Young, and so fair!

Ere her limbs frigidly
Stiffen too rigidly,
Decently, kindly,
Smooth and compose them;
And her eyes, close them,
Staring so blindly!

Dreadfully staring
Thro' muddy impurity,
As when with the daring
Last look of despairing
Fix'd on futurity.

Perishing gloomily,
Spurr'd by contumely,
Cold inhumanity,
Burning insanity,
Into her rest.—
Cross her hands humbly
As if praying dumbly,
Over her breast!

Owning her weakness,
Her evil behaviour,
And leaving, with meekness,
Her sins to her Saviour!

Thomas Hood

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Peter the Wild Boy

History is filled with a countless number of real life mysteries. And nothing stirs the imagination more than gaping holes in the facts. The case of Peter the Wild Boy is one of those mysteries that can never be completely solved.

Peter was found roaming feral in the northern woods of Germany near the legendary town of Hamelin. He walked on all fours, lived off flora and fauna and never learned to speak a language. No one knows where the boy came from, how he came to be living alone in the woods and no parents or family members ever came forward.

At a young age Peter was brought to England under the order of King George I, who had taken a keen liking for the novelty that would become Peter the Wild boy. Peter lived amongst courtiers under a veil of curiosity and amusement. Used as entertainment, the court's interest in Peter wore off and after some unsuccessful attempts to school him, he eventually was placed at Broadway Farm in Axter's End. The British government provided a 35 pound annual pension to the farmer to assist with his room and board.

It was here that Peter could roam amongst the wilderness similar to his youth. Finally free of fancy dress and etiquette rules he spent a lot of time in the woods and would often sleep under the stars. He did happen to wander too far once and ended up in a nearby prison. He was claimed by the farmers charged with his care and they subsequently fastened a collar on him, on which was inscribed his name and address should he ever go missing again.

Peter died at what many believe to be the age of 70, since there is no known record of his birth. He was buried at St. Mary's Church in Northchurch where his headstone remains. Flowers are often seen at his grave site to this day.

Lucy Worsely, a well known British museum curator and television personality, has made a lovely segment dedicated to Peter and his legacy.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Historic Finds

As a historical writer I spend a lot of time researching. If you are a history buff like me it is easy to know and find information on the big things; wars, social rules, political structures, and even the climate of commerce. Non-fiction history books abound about the life of royals, the battles fought in wars and even interesting court cases throughout time but what is not so easy to find are the little details. In my view it's the little details that make all the difference with regards to a historical book or movie. Now that's not to say the little details should be a starring role, absolutely not, but little things intertwine together to form a three dimensional view of the world we are trying to escape to.

Most historical writers place heavy emphasis on research. We often hear that readers are brutal when it comes to historical accuracy and so it serves us well to get our facts right. But what if I am in the middle of a chapter, nay a sentence when it hits me, what kind of card game would they be playing? What types of buildings would my character be looking at right now? What headline would be on the paper that day? It's small details but ones that I want to include so my readers can feel like they are really there with my characters.

I ran into a wall recently in regards to research as I was trying to find information on bathing facilities. Because the Victorian era is a great time of change and progress the answer would be different for different types of houses. A country house, even a country manor house would be considered very primitive compared to some middle class houses in the city. It all depends on exact dates, the street or town or residence and the financial resources available to the family who lives there. Disregarding any of these key elements and the detail will not ring true.

But I came across an invaluable tool the other day that knocked my socks off. As many know I am writing a series set in Victorian London, and as much as I adore London and read about it there are details that get lost in books and essays. One of them is social class for certain districts and neighbourhoods. We all know the big ones, the poorest of the poor (Whitechapel) and the richest of the rich (Belgravia) but what about in between. I know many writers who would just come up with a name and plug it in. Not me. I want people to identify my stories with a genuine possibility they could be real. So I had to know where the middle class families would live, and this would help me pick an address for one of my secondary characters. Enter stage right; the internet. An invaluable resource for the modern historian.

I found a lovely site, London Street Origins, that outline the history of street names and neighbourhoods. Not all street names are listed here but a lot are and some are just filled with British history. I also found a interactive map that has been digitized from 1889 colour coded drawings outlining neighbourhood class and poverty levels. This was fascinating to look over and I nearly got completely sidetracked from my writing. The maps are called Charles Booth's 1889 London Poverty Maps and they are amazing. Just click on the section of the grid you want to explore and voilĂ , you can also zoom in for a closer look. I am so thankful Mr. Booth provided us with this amazing resource with which to gather a true picture of London's streets.

So in my quest for a neighbourhood, I used Mr. Booth's map to find a place within walking distance to the original St. Thomas hospital, but it must be a middle class dwelling. Thanks to his colour coding it was a synch. I found a street, did a search on London Street origins and then went to Google Maps to "walk" the neighbourhood to get a feeling for the architecture, and all from the comfort of my home here in Canada. It may seem like a lot of work for one of those small details but to me it's worth it if it gives authenticity to my writing. Beside with the Internet making history so accessible it's much easier than it use to be. We live in a great age.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

CHORUS OF THE DEAD now available on Kindle!

My long anticipated novel, CHORUS OF THE DEAD, is now available on Kindle. Within a few days or so it should also be available on Kobo and other electronic reading formats.

I started writing this book two years ago, right when my family was beginning what would turn out to be a long house hunting journey. I finished the first draft in November of 2011 and I have spent the last 8 months revising, editing, revising and editing some more in an effort to produce the best possible book I could.

Peter Ainsley is the type of protagonist every author dreams of working with. His personality is so full I often feel like he is a real person and I am just relaying his tales that really did take place many years ago. He's slightly arrogant, a bit of a drinker and can often become so engrossed with his work that he loses sight of what others around him are telling him. At constant odds with his father, Ainsley can become quick to anger and lashes out at those he cares about. In all honesty, Ainsley is simply a passionate man. He adores his sister, Margaret and their mother. He abhors his family's fortune and tries to distance himself from it whenever possible. He has focus and determination which makes him an excellent surgeon but a poor friend.

Margaret Marshall, Ainsley's sister, is a fire cracker in her own right. Inheriting inner strength from her mother and an aura nobility from her father, Margaret brings grace, beauty and a feminine touch to Ainsley's cases. She struggles for relevance in the 19th century world and finds herself easily drawn where her heart leads. She helps temper Ainsley's passion and provides a sounding board for his questions. Thanks to her sheltered upbringing, her innocence often gets her in trouble but she is still somewhat young and over the years I see her developing into a strong female character with faith, love and beauty.

CHORUS OF THE DEAD is the first book in what I hope becomes a long saga chronicling the lives of both Ainsley and Margaret as they navigate the two worlds in which they live; the high society of London's elite, and the dark impoverished alleys of London's worst neighbourhoods. Join me on a journey that begins with book one.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Less than one month until release but I have decided to give everyone a sneak peek of chapter one before it's ready for sale. Feel free to leave comments and tell me what you think here, on Facebook or Scribd. Thanks!

Chapter One Preview Chorus of the Dead

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Case of WhoDunIt

For anyone who knows me, knows I collect cats. I had a mind to collect kids but after two I switched to cats. I have four now and as much as I love the psychotic dears every once in a while they do something so completely vexing that ultimately brings my normally scheduled programming to a halt. Like the time the fluffy one decided to dip it's tail into a lit candle as he walked by, or the time the pair of kittens scaled the curtains and got stuck halfway up.

"I'm working on my tan."

Last week was another chapter in my tumultuous relationship with my crazy cats. It all began when I spent a late night feverishly editing Chorus of the Dead telling myself I could sleep when my laptop battery life died. When my computer finally shut down I gave a sigh of relief and went to bed. I think it was about one in the morning.

At sun up I was at it once again but my laptop would not turn on. It's less than a year old but if something were to go terribly wrong it would be during the most crazy, chaotic time in my writing career so far. After careful inspection I found the culprit, a shredded power cord with wisps of gray fur as my only evidence**.

A cat had decided my power cord would make a lovely midnight snack but then a few bites in decided plastic was not all it was cracked up to be and must have moved on to something else. Howevere, the damage was done and there I was with a completely drained battery, a halfway edited final version of Chorus of the Dead and no way to get it done without electricity.

"I'll never confess."

It took over a week and half for the new power cord to arrive in the mail and each nail biting day threatening to be a feline's last. I have yet to discern which cat is responsible but I am sure with time and a few more sessions of water boarding one of them will let the cat out of the bag. Until then however I will guard my new power cord with my life and make regular offerings to the postal gods for saving my tail.

Have no fear, dear readers, Chorus of the Dead is coming soon!

** I made up the part about the evidence of gray fur. I'm a writer, what do you want?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Acceptance into Mystery Anthology

A short story I wrote many months back featuring Peter Ainsley has been chosen for a Canadian mystery anthology and I am very excited to have this byline to add to my credit. Sisters In Crime - Toronto Chapter is releasing The Whole She-Bang later this year. They announced the names of the authors accepted into the anthology this past weekend at the Bloody Words Mystery Conference in Toronto. I was there and saw my name on the anthology poster and my heart went pitter-patter. I feel somewhat vindicated that Peter Ainsley has been recognized as a three dimensional character, that my writing ability is starting to get recognized and that soon I will have another medium by which to connect with potential fans. This all feels very, very good.

My First Cover

My book finally has a cover and I am very excited to share it with everyone. I can honestly say that the day I saw this I cried. It has to be the most beautiful sight; my name on a book cover. Next to actually finishing the novel, knowing it was my best work and ultimately what would get me into the business of publishing, seeing my cover for the first time ranks up there as the most thrilling day of my life. We are on schedule for it's August release. Stay tuned for sneak previews and special offers.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


This morning I found an interesting collection of photographs of abandoned morgues.

Check it out...

Satan Worshipper Mom... That's Me.

I have always had a creepy side to me. Strange, I know, but true. It's a stark contrast to how I appear to other people in my normal life. I am unassuming, normal and rather boring. I don't usually tell people I am a writer but it has been coming up a lot lately when friends talk to other friends about my book. A few weeks ago a fellow mom said, "I heard you are writing a book. What is it called?"

"Chorus of the Dead."

She became silent and her smile faded. "So it's not a kids book?"

"Um... no."

I don't know why people think that because I am a mom that I should automatically be sweet, kind, pastel and sing-song. I'm not. I never have been and the personalities of my kids reflect that. My daughter has been described as 'quirky'.

Before I was a mom, I was just Tracy who liked dark Victorian themes, gothic clothing (though I never had the courage to wear it), hauntings, morbid histories and eerie happenings. I am still that person today, only now I have offspring to influence and unleash into the world.

I am sure some of the mom's in the neighbourhood think I am a devil worshipper, but who cares. I am who I am, whether I fit into your predetermined "Mommy box" or not.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Writers Who Don't Read

I've met many writers in my time. At workshops, writers groups and conferences. I am always amazed at their projects, their creativity, their tenacity. Writers are an interesting breed of introverted-extroverts who make up wild and wonderful worlds. We want to share our thoughts on the page but are worried about other people's reactions. We can be so arrogant about our work that we have a hard time accepting the constructive critism we had asked for (I am very guilty of this). In short, writers can be walking contractions fed by a deep connection we have with our emotions and the observations we make about the world around us. This is all part and parcel with living the writer's life.

But there is one contradiction I can not abide by. In addition to meeting excellent writers who are actively honing their craft, I have met many writers who confess to not being readers.

**Cue screeching record player**

You heard me, I have met writers who don't read. And they aren't embarrassed by this fact. They defend themselvesm, usually after seeing my jaw hit the floor, by saying they "don't like being influence" or "they prefer to let the pen just move across the page". Gag me. Really? Okay look honey, if you don't read how do you know what you are writing is any good? If you are not interested in books what makes you think anyone would be interested in yours?

It's very childish if you ask me. I think I held these same beliefs when I in grade 9! A lot of growing up and a lot of reading has happened since then. My writing is much better and I have a greater understanding of what makes a good description of setting, a good character and, most importantly, a good story.

I am reminded of a journalism professor I had in my college years, whom I respect dearly, who said the single most important thing a writer can do is read. He wrote the words "Read, read, read...." right across the front white board, all around the side of the room until he ran out of white board, and then he moved on to the paper easel and wrote the same word there again and again. He turned to us and said "Read anything you can get your hands on."

A writer who doesn't read is like an actor who doesn't like theatre or a child care worker who can't stand kids. They just don't go together. Reading is an essential life skill and as much as it behoves me to hear a person doesn't read, it doesn't irk me as much as hearing a writer say this.

I'll admit it is sometimes hard to read something great and not get the feeling that one day I will never be that good. Perhaps a writer who doesn't read is a defence against insecurity, or perhaps they are just lazy. In any event, I like hearing what books other writers are reading, what books influence them and who they would one day like to be compared too.

I personally love Deanna Raybourne, Anne Perry, Sarah Waters, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Bernice Morgan, Charles Dickens and many others. I read, read, read all the time and I think with each book I become a better writer.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

It All Begins with a Title

Or ends in this case. I have never been so far into a project and not had a title. I am usually good with titles but this this book has stumped me from the beginning. Nothing sounded right. I would call it one thing knowing that it was probably not going to be my final title. I have to admit I was getting nervous.

I am happy to report that I have stumbled upon a title, while looking at my mystery shelf, pondering the names of some of the books held there.

So here it is:


Has a nice ring to it if I do say so myself.

I am quite close to being done my revisions. Then it will go to my beta readers and then on to my editor-for-hire. I am aiming for a release date of August 2012, which is fast approaching and I am getting very excited.

Another thing that seemed to get me was my "jacket blurb". How do I sum up this book in a few lines? I posted this on my Facebook fan page, and it comes pretty close to what I want to say but I will most likely need to tweak it a bit before I am 100 per cent satisfied.

A Victorian surgeon, PETER AINSLEY is called in to perform an autopsy on a twelve year old girl, Josephine, whom the local doctor suspects was poisoned. Her older sister, Lillian, languishes in bed waiting for the poison to take her as well. When AINSLEY arrives he is denied access to the body, despite his promises that it will save the life of Lillian. Dr. AINSLEY soon finds himself tangled in a web of deceit, lust and betrayal ultimately leading him to the murderer he never suspected.

Friday, January 20, 2012


I spent my afternoon introducing a handful of teenagers to Edgar Allan Poe's THE RAVEN. Our intent is to do a theatrical recitation for an upcoming talent show in March. All but one of these kids have never heard of Poe before or his famous poem THE RAVEN.

It's interesting to see them stumble over words or the rhythm, unsure and trying. Soon they will be reciting like the masters, pausing for effect when needed, and adding inflection at the appropriate times.

I found this version read by James Earl Jones and once again, got the chills.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

My New Co-writer!

Meet my new co-writer, Watson, a 7 week old American Cocker Spaniel. He's my new walking buddy, lap warmer and cuddle bug.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Big Announcement!

I have come to a decision that will change the course of my writing career. I have decided to self publish the first book in my PETER AINSLEY mystery series later this year if I cannot secure an agent.

This has not always been the plan. For ten years or more I have been writing and submitting, making mistakes and learning from them, all the while believing I needed someone in the publishing industry to tell me I was good. When my last book was rejected for lack of erotica, I realized books are not bought and sold because of a writer's ability, but because of their sell-ability. Many indie authors have proven editors and publishers wrong by taking their rejected manuscripts and self publishing them in e-formats. Some indie authors make lots of money, some barely recoup their costs.

I haven't submitted my AINSLEY series to anyone yet, and so it has not been rejected by anyone. I knew when I wrote the first chapter that I was on to something. I knew he was going to be an interesting character, that I would do him justice and that others would enjoy his adventures as much as I did. It never occurred to me to self publish, until a few weeks ago.

Self publishing will give me a tonne of benefits over traditional publishing. Namely control. I will be able to make all the decision regarding the story, the cover art, the marketing and promotion. I can set my own release dates and write at my own pace without the added pressure to fulfil publishing contracts. I can write what I want. One series can be historical, another more contemporary. I can ultimately make those decisions based on my own needs and not that of a corporation.

I won't be sitting on baited breath waiting for a table of editors to tell me 'yay' or 'nay' on a pitched series. I recently met one published author who's career fell flat when the publishing company she was contracted with was bought out and the new publisher didn't want to honour her contract. She wasted a year waiting for the word from the new owners, not writing (which is crazy) and is now back at square one career wise without much clout despite having one published book. A publisher does NOT guarantee success. A writer writes their own destiny.

Modern day authors have many expectations put on them by publishers. Books tour funds come out of the author's pocket, though the company will schedule your book signings. There is an expectation of self promotion which equates to a lot of time and work spent guest blogging, advertising and networking. How is this different from self-publishing? Gone are the days when writers wrote in their dark room, sent their manuscripts to the publishers and washed their hands of it. Nowadays, authors are much more hands on throughout the whole process. This has benefits but not when royalties are so low compared to that of self publishing.

The cover artist I have contacted is amazing and I am still on the look out for an "editor for hire" who can give my manuscript the once over with a fine toothed comb. I was not kidding when I said good things lie ahead. Each day is another day closer to publication and the excitement is building exponentially.

This is beyond exciting and more than a little scary. Self publishing takes money, sometimes a lot of it and no one wants to throw money at a venture that falls flat. Having said that though, I believe in myself, my writing ability and my ability to promote my books. I have been paid for my writing in the past as a reporter and
the majority of the feedback I have received regarding my current manuscript has been nothing short of encouraging. At this point in my personal life and professional life, self publishing may be the way to go.