Turn Back Tales

December 2, 2018

After some frustrating days with Amazon over my book’s cover and shipping delays, I am happy to announce that both the paperback and Kindle versions of Bucky and the Lukefahr Ladies: Songs of Three are now available to purchase. They aren’t linked yet. That might take another 24 hours or so. And now I wait for people’s reactions.

November 23, 2018

Lots happening in the past week. Dragon Realm Press finished formatting Book 2 and I finished the cover. I uploaded the Mobi file (for the Kindle version) and front cover to KDP and it passed their review! Decided to try the pre-order route. It will be available on December 1. So far I only have 4 pre-orders. Most people are waiting for the paperback (and if they order it they get the Kindle version for free). I was waiting for the Library of Congress Control number and it came much faster than expected, so I uploaded the PDF and full cover yesterday morning (Thursday) and ordered one-day shipping, hoping I would get the proof today. Nope. It’s coming next Tuesday–so much for one-day shipping. But if everything is OK with it, it’s a go and I can publish it the end of next week!  I posted the cover on Facebook and everyone seems to like it. So do I. It’s much more colorful and eye-catching than the first one, but I kept some of the same elements.

November 12, 2018

The Bucky Quiz Game was fun! I had 18 participants and 13 of them answered all seven questions and 11 of those also answered the bonus essay question.  Heather Joplin won! She’s someone I’ve never met. She had bought my book at Fantastic Caverns when she passed through the area.

Tonight, I bought the formatting services of Dragon Realm Press to format my manuscript for Kindle and print. I probably could have done it myself but this will be a lot less stressful (I hope). I haven’t actually uploaded the manuscript to them yet.

Now to get busy on the cover!


October 31, 2018

My free Kindle promotion last week was a bust since Amazon was never able to fix the “glitch” that would show my book for free. The promised “extended” promotion days did not happen either. So this week I am having The Bucky Quiz Game on my author page on Facebook. Each day for 7 days I am posting a multiple-choice question from Book 1. The winner, drawn from those who answer all the questions correctly, will receive a signed copy of Book 2 when it is published.  https://www.facebook.com/buckyandthelukefahrladies/    Not too many are participating, but I had fun thinking up the wrong answers.

Someone from Malaysia put Seraphina’s Family Tree into an Adobe organizational chart for me that looks really nice. And another person from Malaysia is working on a map of Turn Back. A person from India is drawing the Mansion for me. Those will all be included in Book 2. I found them on Fiverr.com

I’m still editing. Up to Chapter 26 now so I am on the home stretch.


October 22, 2018

Today is Maggie’s birthday! I chose this day to run a free Kindle promotion on Amazon (Oct 22-24). But Amazon.com is having a technical problem all day and the book shows up at the regular price–$2.99. However the foreign Amazon sites have it for free.  I had already advertised on Facebook and Twitter that it would be free today. According to the stats, someone did get it for free. I also sold 4, but they must have been from 35% countries, ordering through Amazon.com, because I did not get the full royalty rate for them. Amazon offered to extend the promotion for two days.

I am keying in the final edits on Book 2. I’m up to Chapter 14.

Hired someone in India to sketch the mansion for me and someone in Malaysia to hand-draw the map of Turn Back (both through Fiverr). A little expensive, but I tried and couldn’t do it. I can see them both in my head, but cannot translate them to paper.

October 11, 2018

Once again, a month has gone by without an update. I was on vacation for 2 weeks, though. I took my manuscript of “Songs of Three” along, planning to do a line edit, step by step down each line with a ruler to try to catch mistakes and re-word certain sentences. But each night in the motel, I would spend so much time planning my driving route or activities for the next day, I only got through 2 chapters.

I did work on my cover in September. It is not finished but I like it so far.

I left a signed copy of my book in one of those lending library boxes by the side of the road in Wisconsin Dells. I also gave a copy to the pastor and his wife at The Little Brown Church in the Vale in Nashua, Iowa. I signed up for a booth at the big November 17 Craft Show in Willard, MO to sell my books.  I sold nine at Pioneer Days in Marquand, MO, on September 29. Probably could have sold more, but I just had them displayed on the front porch of the cabin while I was inside of the cabin giving tours. (The two-story log cabin was set ablaze by an arsonist in the early morning hours of October 4. The logs are salvageable, but nearly all the antique furnishings and artifacts inside are gone forever, including my baby booties which were displayed in the cradle I made. We had moved the cabin to the park 29 years ago this month as the focal point of the town park that we were starting. In all those years it had never been vandalized even once. We have a GoFundMe account set up to raise money for the restoration: https://www.gofundme.com/rebuild-sitze-log-homestead )

September 5, 2018

I did not realize that I hasn’t written anything here in August. I read through “Songs of Three” for the second time and made corrections and edits. Then I sent it off to several Beta readers. I have heard back from four of them who have used their sharp eyes for typos and grammatical errors and who also had a few suggestions. I also made a family tree to include in the back of the book. Have started working on the cover.

CreateSpace, the company which formatted my first book, has closed and is no longer offering that service/ You have to do it yourself. It’s doable but complicated. So I am looking for another company to do that for me.

I introduced some Hittite words in this book. There are just a few, but unfortunately I chose ones where the Hittite word is unknown. On the very last page, I needed Simon to say the Hittite word for lamb, but scholars don’t know the word because it was always written with a logogram (a written character that represents a word, but it’s not the word itself). Since Hittite is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, Indo-European language, my go-to Hittite scholar in France invented a Hittite word for me, drawing on other ancient Indo-European languages. He came up with ākunas — from Latin agnus, Old Greek amnos, English to yean. He did that for the other unknown words, also.


July 27, 2018

Woo-hoo! I finished writing the sequel to “Bucky and the Lukefahr Ladies: Walking the Labyrinth.” It only took me eight months. This one is called, “Bucky and the Lukefahr Ladies: Songs of Three.” Now for a few weeks editing and then it’s into the hands of Beta readers.  “Songs of Three” is a little shorter. The first one is 164,000 words. This one is 142,000. And the word count might go up or down depending on the feedback I get from the Beta readers. I need to work on Seraphina’s family tree with all of her descendants and how they’re related. I have it hand-drawn now (my working copy) but it’s a mess. I have to figure out how to format it for inclusion in the book. I also have to come up with chapter titles for about half of the chapters. And a cover! I think the cover will be much like the first one, except in a different color. But I am relieved to have the first draft done.

June 28, 2018

I really need to update more often! I’m on Chapter 27 of Book 2, at 120,000 words. I really wanted it to be about that many words total, but it will definitely go over that now, unless I can edit a lot out during the rewrite.  The end is in site.  Some of my readers have said they slowed their reading as they neared the end of Book 1 because they didn’t want the story to end.  I ‘m afraid that’s what I’m doing with Book 2 — slowing my writing so as to delay ending it because the ending is probably going to open itself up to more books and I probably need to take a break for a while. I have entertained the idea of dragging out from the attic some of my earlier book-length stories (from the 1980s and ’90s) and revisiting them and self-publishing.

I have 36 5-star reviews on Amazon! Should have 38, but Amazon had a purge for two or three weeks the end of May and the first of June. I fared better than some authors and only lost one, but it was from another author and I have no idea why they removed it. Another person tried to post one and Amazon said there was a problem and she needed to resubmit. I don’t know her but she posted a screen shot of her review on my Face Book author page. It has never shown up on the Amazon site.

May 9, 2018

I see I haven’t updated in a while. I didn’t get to write at all on Book 2 for  2 1/2 weeks. I had to conduct a funeral and then I had to go to Marquand for my first book signing and then I had to present a program (for the 10th year) on Mastodons and Mammoths to the 4th graders of Miller Elementary. But I am back writing as of Sunday, May 6, and I am on Chapter 20!

The book signing was wonderful. Saw lots of former students and/or their parents. Sold 28 books and had probably 25 or so bring in their book that they had purchased online. One woman had bought 6 copies over the past few months to give away and she bought a 7th one that day. The mother of one student who couldn’t come down from St. Louis that day brought his copy in to be signed. He had told her he hadn’t read it yet because he didn’t want to break the spine and have it appear “used.” He was going to buy another one to read.

I have 33 reviews, all 5-stars! Just heard from 3 people in the last 5 days who have read it and loved it, but haven’t left a review. One can’t because she doesn’t “do” computers. And one hasn’t bought $50 worth of stuff from Amazon–my book was the only thing she’s bought.

And despite what Joel Friedlander, the cover designer who panned my cover, says, lots of people have told me that they LOVE the cover!

I’ve changed the name of Book 2, I think: Bucky and the Lukefahr Ladies: Songs of Three.


April 8, 2018

The free promotion on Amazon was good. There were 280 copies downloaded over the five days so that is a 1000% increase over the 28 copies I had sold in the first five months. Of course, if those 280 people had bought it, it would have paid off my publishing costs, but it probably would have taken a few years to get 280 people to buy the digital version.

I have 26 reviews now–still all five stars. Someone I don’t know on Twitter downloaded it and had started to read it and commented that it was a page-turner. I had a table poster made for my first book signing that is to be at the Deport Museum in Marquand, MO on April 28.  It turned out really nice.

I started Chapter 17 in Book 2 today. Something — or someone — is coming and I’m excited to see how it plays out.

April 3, 2018

I’m running a promotion on Amazon. From April 1-5, you can download a copy of my book for Kindle for FREE! Find it at http://bit.ly/BuckyBook1. In the first three days 238 copies have been downloaded. I only sold 28 Kindle copies in the five months it’s been out, so it’s definitely getting into the hands of more people.

I also have 25 reviews now, still all 5-stars. And I’m on Chapter 16 of Book 2.

March 15, 2018

I posted the ad for my first book signing, coming up on April 28, at the Depot Museum in Marquand, MO. You can see the ad on my author Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/buckyandthelukefahrladies/ . You can “like” the page while you are there if you want to get further updates about Bucky and Turn Back.

I recently sold my first book internationally. Someone in the United Kingdom bought the paperback version. I don’t even know anyone in the British Isles.

I now have 24 reviews on Amazon and they are all 5-stars!  And I’m on Chapter 14 of the sequel so I think I’m over halfway through. A major crisis and a big reveal occurred in Chapter 12 and spilled over into Chapter 13 so that should be about the halfway point. There’s something even bigger yet to come though — can’t wait to get there and see how it plays out.


March 3, 2018

Still twenty reviews on Amazon. One person told me it was “fantastic” a week ago and another told me this past week how much she loved it and had not wanted it to end, and I asked both to leave a review, but nothing yet. So, if you have read it and liked it, please say so. Potential readers do read those reviews.

I’m on Chapter 12! Yesterday I exchanged several “messages” with a helpful flight paramedic about procedural details in picking up someone and transporting them to a hospital (hint, hint).

Last night, I started Seraphina’s family tree on Ancestry.com (it’s private, so don’t go trying to find it). My hand-drawn copy is such a mess. I thought it would be nice to have one neatly done that I could print out to refer to when I needed it. Maggie might be able to keep all that in her head about who’s related to whom, but it’s confusing for the rest of us. No sooner had I started adding people to the tree than, sure enough, Ancestry thought they’d be helpful and add little shaking leaves to some of my names, indicating that they had found a record that might match that person. LOL! Heads up, Ancestry. Those people aren’t real.

February 16, 2018

I have 20 Reviews on Amazon! All of them are 5 stars.  And I’m on Chapter 9 of Book 2. February sales through Amazon have slumped. I’ve tried promoting it more on Facebook and Twitter. Twitter gets no response even from my followers. Several people on Facebook shared my latest post, but I don’t know if it accomplished anything. I also changed the categories on Amazon–thought that might help. I think it’s just going to be a slow process. Maybe getting Book 2 out will help but that is several months away.  However, I checked the two library systems it is in and the books there are always checked out with holds on them. So someone is reading them.  I know one of my books at church has been passed around to four different people who have read it.

February 4, 2018

When I designed my book cover, I knew it was different than any covers I’ve seen recently. And I looked at hundreds while I was working on it. So many of them seemed to me to be just variations of the same thing. And so I did mine to please me. However, I did submit it to Joel Friedlander, a book designer who critiques covers, just to see what he’d say. His opinions of the December submissions were posted this week. Sure enough, he didn’t like it. Called it “Inartful.” (I had to look up the word to see what it meant.) However, after church today, I sold a book to one of the women there and as we were walking out, she held up the book and exclaimed, “I just love the cover!”

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  To each his/her own.

By the way, I’m on Chapter 7 of Book 2. And I have 18 reviews on Amazon, all 5-stars still.

January 26, 2018

The Democrat News in Fredericktown published my press release about my book on the front page, accompanied by a large photo of me in costume on the porch of the cabin in the Marquand park!    http://dailyjournalonline.com/democrat-news/news/local/former-marquand-teacher-draws-on-experiences-here-for-novel/article_4b76eb80-218d-59c5-9a84-d318fb173bed.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=user-share

January 22, 2018

I just about finished Chapter 5 of Book 2. Things are developing fairly well.

My video book trailer on YouTube has 206 views (a few of those are mine, I’m sure. I’m still amazed at how nice it turned out. You can see the video on the Welcome (or Home) page of this website.  Scroll down–it’s under the cover of the book. And I have sold 4 times as many books so far in January as I sold in all of December. Yesterday at church two people told me how much they enjoyed reading it and both asked if there was going to be a second book. I like it when someone’s positive comments on the story contain the phrase “and I’m not saying that just because I know you.”

I just noticed yesterday that the “collectible” edition of my book for $899.50 is no longer available on Amazon. The dubious version, listed in only “acceptable” condition, first appeared less than two weeks after I published “Bucky and the Lukefahr Ladies” the first of November. I contacted the seller and received no response. I contacted Amazon by phone and email and they said it was a CreateSpace problem since that company prints the book (CreateSpace is owned by Amazon). CreateSpace said there was nothing they could do about it. But now, two months later it’s gone. It’s a good book but not worth that kind of money (yet). I also have 16 reviews now! All-5 stars!!

In disappointing news, the Topeka library turned down the copy that a friend tried to donate to them. Their comment was it was interesting but needed a good editor. Well a good editor for that size of book would cost several thousand dollars. I’m not ready to invest that kind of money yet. The Springfield–Greene County Library system has two books–one was donated and I don’t know whether the other copy was donated or purchased by them. And they are both checked out.


January 15, 2018

Haven’t written much in the past 10 days, but I did make a video trailer for my book. Before I started this independently publishing adventure, I had never heard of book trailers. This is my first foray into that field. I used a template on the site booktrailermaker.com. The site was fast–the trailer was emailed to me in less than 24 hours–he responded quickly to my questions, and the cost was very reasonable. The regular price was $24.99 (there were some even less expensive) and I got it half price for only $12.50! I decided on that particular template because spirals and labyrinths are a key motif in the story. I chose the words to insert from the reviews on Amazon that my book has received. The first part of the trailer was not even part of the template. He selected a background picture based on the synopsis, I guess, but it fits in well with the setting of the book. I was very pleased with the result. And in the first two days that I posted it, I sold twice as many books as I sold in all of December. Coincidence? Maybe But if you’ve read the book, you know that in Turn Back there is no such thing as coincidence.

You can view the trailer at: https://youtu.be/1wFwAIs9igI

In other news, I learned yesterday that the Ozark Regional Library in Fredericktown, MO, had ordered and received a copy of my book. It was listed in the Democrat News last week. That was nice since the story takes place in that neck of the woods. So I wrote a Press Release and it is being sent to the newspapers in Southeast Missouri and other news outlets there.

January 5, 2018

I was off work most of last week so I was able to write some more on Bucky 2. I’ve started Chapter 4 and things are starting to come together in my mind, but its always interesting to see how events or clarifications pop up unexpectedly as I write.

I also heard from two different people last week who read the first book since Christmas and loved it (and are ready for the second book). I enjoy getting feedback about the book. So even if you’re not inclined to leave a review on Amazon, feel free to contact me through this website or the book’s Facebook page and let me know what you liked or didn’t like about it.  https://www.facebook.com/buckyandthelukefahrladies/    You can follow me on Twitter @LukefahrLady

December 30, 2017

Bucky has 12 reviews so far on Amazon–all of them 5 stars! Sales have been sluggish in December, though. I need to work on promotion, but that’s difficult.

I have had time off from work this week which means I’ve had time to work on Bucky 2, the sequel. I am well into the second chapter.

December 22, 2017

Finally finished all my preparations for Christmas and I was able to work a little on Book 2 this week–first time in six weeks, although I have been going over certain scenes in my head. I’m on vacation until January 2, so I hope to make some headway on it.

Since the first bookmarks came out looking good, I went ahead and ordered 1,000 of them so I can hand them out like business cards. It looks like I might be heading “back home” (where the book is set) to do a book- signing at the museum in Marquand, Missouri later this spring. That will be fun. I can also apply to do a program at the library at Fredericktown, the county seat.

December 12, 2017

The bookmarks I designed arrived yesterday. These are giveaways that I’ll use for marketing and at any book signing and speaking events I schedule. They are full color, glossy. front and back, 7; x 1.5″. I got very frustrated trying to upload the images to GotPrint. I had them evaluated by an actual human who kept returning them, saying they were not 300dpi and were pixelated. I didn’t have that problem with the cover of my book, but I kept trying to save them in different formats and trying anything else I could do. Finally I just by-passed the human and ordered the minimum (100) to see for myself. They looked okay to me. I didn’t see any pixelation. You can see them on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/buckyandthelukefahrladies/

December 2, 2017

I received the nicest, hand-written thank-you note today from one of my history professors I had in college almost 46 years ago. (He was one of the top four professors I had in my four years of undergraduate studies.) I had contacted him a year ago about my book because I needed a language that was contemporary with Minoan Linear A. His first comment was, “You realize, of course, that there were no Minoans in Missouri.” I replied that that was why the book was a fantasy. He suggested Hittite for the second language and I literally laughed out loud. I was staying away from Hittite since Simon, one of the main characters, was an expert in the translation of Hittite and I thought that would be too much of a coincidence that a Hittite inscription would be found on the property of a Hittite specialist. But as the plot developed, it was the logical choice.

I had given him a copy of my book for his assistance in that and another question, but also because it was in his class back in 1972 that I first heard of a stone that was found just a few miles from my house that some “experts” believed contained a fragment of an ancient inscription, possibly Minoan. That stone appears to be lost now and I can only find a couple of vague references to it online plus a page describing it in a 1978 Epigraphic Society Journal which I have. For those of you who have read my book already (and for those of you who haven’t) that casual comment in class 46 years ago was the inspiration for The Hollow Stone.

December 1, 2017

No word yet on the issue I posted on November 22 about the seller listing a “collectible” copy of my book on Amazon for $899.50. Amazon didn’t respond after our “chat,” so I chatted again a week later. Received an email after that saying that since the paperback was uploaded from CreateSpace (even though CreateSpace is owned by Amazon) they thought it was a CreateSpace issue and so they passed it along to them. But no word from them yet. I think it is an Amazon issue since that is where the seller is posting it.

November 22, 2017

It appears to me that there’s something fishy in AmazonLand. Look where the cursor is pointing. Last Friday someone listed a “Collectible” edition of my book for $899.50! (Plus $3.99 for shipping–looks like they could throw in the shipping for that amount.) My book has only been out for less than 3 weeks. I contacted the seller as to what would make their copy collectible (and it’s only listed in “acceptable” condition), but have not received a response. So I chatted with an Amazon representative just now and he has passed it along to their Investigation Department. I’m supposed to hear back from them within 72 hours. You can see this for yourself on my book’s Amazon page (and while you’re there you might consider purchasing a copy — at the regular price 📖) http://bit.ly/shirleygilmore

November 10, 2017

My book has been available on Amazon for a week now. Sales are slow, but I have sold some in both formats. I’ve only heard from one person at church who has completed reading it–he’s 81. His wife said he enjoyed it, but not to expect him to write a review. I’m just excited he made it all the way through!  I do have four reviews so far on Amazon–they are all from my pre-readers. And they all gave me five stars.

I started Book 2 Tuesday night, tentatively titled, Bucky and the Lukefahr Ladies: Her Father’s Son.  This one might get a little darker. I hope it doesn’t take that turn completely. My goal with the first one was to write a book that would make the reader feel good at the end. I still want to achieve that with the second one.

November 3, 2017

Woo-hoo! I am published! Both the paperback and Kindle versions are now available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Bucky-Lukefahr-Ladies-Walking-Labyrinth-ebook/dp/B0771VCT72/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1509716062&sr=8-1&keywords=Shirley+Gilmore&dpID=61Q1%252BbNX5NL&preST=_SY445_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

There is a wide difference in price, but I actually make more money from the $2.99 Kindle version than from the $17.99 paperback. (If you buy the paperback, though, you can get the Kindle for free.)

October 31, 2017 Happy Halloween

Received word this morning that my author’s roof of the paperback version has shipped and that CreateSpace has uploaded my manuscript to Amazon Kindle. I found out they did not upload my cover, however, so I had to do that and then make all kinds of decisions about pricing and other things. But I pushed the “Publish” button and a pop-up said it might take 72 hours to appear on Amazon marketplace.

October 30, 2017

The “ğ” in Boğazkale was still not corrected on the second proof, so I called them on October 27 and was told it would be fixed since that was their error and not mine. I received the third proof today and everything looked all right. Plus I had uploaded my cover last Friday, too, and I thought for sure they would reject it and send it back for revisions. The cover is a very exacting process. But they approved it, too. So now, I just got an email that they are putting it all together and will send me an author’s proof of the actual printed book in about 5 days. Woo-hoo!

October 24, 2017

I finally received my digital PDF proof from CreateSpace on October 18–so  much for the 5-7 day turnaround they post on their website, I had just had cataract surgery on the 17th, but I could read! Finished proofing it on Sunday, October 22. Only found a few errors which I thought was good for 713 pages. But I found some areas where I thought I could eliminate an unnecessary word or two and there was a reference to an electric razor that I needed to change. So on Monday morning I made my changes on the actual document. That took longer because I had noted the changes on the PDF formatted version, but I learned after speaking to someone from CreateSpace that I needed to make my changes on the original manuscript downloaded from their site. So I had to find the mistakes on the manuscript which, of course, were on different page numbers than the PDF which was formatted to a 5.25 X 8 inch book. But I accomplished that and uploaded the manuscript. Now I have to wait another 5-7 or 15 or 20 days to see it again. Plus they forgot to include my author photo as part of my bio at the end of the book. The only other mistake I found that they had made was that the letter ğ had dropped out of the word Boğazkale. (That’s a small town in Turkey.) They had written it as two works Bo azakale. But now I can finish my cover and upload it since I know how many pages it will have and how thick to make the spine. More waiting…

October 13, 2017

Well, I uploaded my manuscript on Monday, October 2, to CreateSpace, and their website says the proof will be returned to me in seven days. Today was the ninth business day, so I called them. I was told it should be ready by Friday, October 20!  More waiting…


October 4, 2017

It’s getting closer. I uploaded the manuscript for “Bucky and the Lukefahr Ladies: Walking the Labyrinth” Monday evening to CreateSpace where it will be formatted for Kindle and paperback. They will return the proof to me for approval. After I upload my cover and it meets their specifications, it will all come together and I will be published! Yay!! So far, it’s been seventeen months.