For many years, I’ve had a very small red notebook. I’ve no idea now where I got it or why. Or why it has a unicorn on the front. (Not a big fan of unicorns. Or even of the color red.) It started out empty, pages blank except for faint blue lines. At some point, I don’t remember when, I started copying into it quotes that struck a chord with me. About writing, about freedom, about Irish nationalism, about feminism, about animals, or about nothing much at all, just things that made me laugh. I’ve used that little red book often in writing my novels, especially the first one, The Rising of the Moon, which was all about Ireland and feminism and freedom. Whenever I needed a quote by Patrick Pearse or Bobby Sands or James Connolly, I dipped into the little red book and found just what I needed for one of Nuala’s speeches. I started this little book so many years ago, I didn’t realize at the time that I might one day need citations for these quotes. So there aren’t any. Sometimes not even the names of whoever said these things. I wish now there were citations, of course, so I could give credit where it’s due. But it is what it is. If I know who said it and where it was published, I’ll say so. If not … well, wise words should live on. If someone stumbles across this blog and knows who said something I quote, please let me know, and I’ll update the post. For now, here’s a little something by a poet named Louise Bogan that sums up why I write:
“No woman should be shamefaced in attempting to give back to the world, through her work, a portion of its lost heart.”–Louise Bogan
I try to live up to that. And I treasure that little red book, my own collection of the wisdom of others who use words better than I do.
This is my first blog post. (yay, me!) The whole point of this is: I am going to try to self-publish the novels I’ve written, since I’ve had little luck getting a second novel published by a “real” publisher after my first novel, The Rising of the Moon, was published by Del Rey. Moon was hardly a best-seller, in spite of good reviews and nominations for awards. Consequently, Del Rey had no interest in the sequel. I managed to find an agent, but she wasn’t thrilled with my third novel (A Night Devoid of Stars), and then she disappeared. I wrote a fourth novel (Blood Kin), and found another agent, who loved it. (Really, he did.) He submitted it to the only publishers he apparently deals with, all of whom rejected it. (Sigh) He had absolutely no advice on what I should do next with Kin, so time passed, and I wrote another novel (The Curse of Macha). My agent wasn’t as fond of that one: He thought there weren’t enough straight, young men in it (I kid you not!), and he basically dumped me. Since then I’ve been wondering what to do with these already-written novels. Forget them? After all that work? Yes, I loved writing them, but as much fun as writing is, it is still work, after all: my heart and soul and blood on the page. Then I bought a Nook tablet and discovered e-books. I love my Nook: so easy on the eyes and so many books, only a click away! So now I’m researching how to self-publish e-books. I figure, what have I got to lose? If publishers aren’t interested in me or my novels, why not become my own publisher?
Apparently, if you want to self-publish, you have to first have these things called “homepages” on the Interwebs, and tweety things, and Facewhatevers. Who knew? So this is me, wading in, wondering if anyone, anywhere, will even notice. First, I create a blog (this is it!), and a website (this is it?), then figure out what to do on/with Facebook, and what to do with Twitter (besides just following Celtic Thunder and Nancy Lee Grahn). Assuming I figure all that out, I’m hoping to self-publish A Night Devoid of Stars. Don’t know how long it will take to get that far. But that’s my plan.
So stay tuned–assuming anybody’s out there. Hello? Is this thing on?