Turn Back Tales (Blog)

May 24, 2023

I’ve written two more books since I last updated here. Last November, I published Book 6 Bucky and the Lukefahr Ladies: A Thousand Bees. Next month, I’ll be publishing another standalone spinoff of the Bucky series.

Sadie Jane is set in 1937. Sadie Jane Woods is one of the elderly Lukefahr Ladies and Bucky’s French tutor for a while in the Bucky books. In 1937, she is only 9 years old. It’s the era of the Great Depression and Jim Crow. The story follows Sadie Jane as she navigates through that unsettled period of American history.

June 9-11 is the second Between the Pages Writers Conference in Springfield, Missouri. I enjoyed last year’s conference, and this year I decided to have a table in the book room. Hopefully I’ll sell a couple. I also entered the covers of Bucky Book 5 and 6 in the cover contest. Last year I won 2nd place with the cover of Carly Piper.

Bucky Book 1 has 118 reviews. It was inching toward 100 and had 98. Suddenly, four or five weeks ago, Amazon began to dump ratings on several of my books. No reviews–just ratings. There were a few 5-stars but most were 4-star, which brought down my average rating. This happened to a lot of Indie authors. No one knows for sure where the sudden onslaught of ratings came from. Some speculated from Goodreads, but the numbers didn’t seem to match on mine.

July 19, 2022

I have my first book signing in the Springfield, Missouri area this Saturday, July. 23, 2022. From 10am until noon I will be at ABC Books at 2109 N. Glenstone Ave. I will have all of my books to sell or if you’ve already bought a copy on Amazon, bring it by for me to sign.

I am on Chapter 15 of Bucky Book 6 — no title yet. I haven’t been able to write much for the past month because I had to preach 2 weeks and went on vacation in Virginia for a week. But I’m back in the groove now. Somebody long thought dead returns.

May 24, 2022

Haven’t written on this in almost a year! It’s so confusing to figure out how to do it. When I first started this website, everything was easy, and then WordPress decided to make things a little more difficult.

Anyway, I published Bucky Book 5 in March. It’s called “Tangled Threads,” and picks up about two months after Book 4, which ended on Christmas Day. That’s when the mass dreams returned. This time the dream was of a meteor streaking across the sky. Sometimes the dreams were more ominous, showing dead bodies in the park. At the same time, a mystery illness sweeps through the town.

Bucky is learning a new skill in Book 5 — quilting. But it’s at one of the quilting sessions with the older ladies in a room at the Baptist church (the Methodist church burned in Book 4 and has not been rebuilt yet) that Bucky comes up with a theory of how she could have been gone for eleven years and then return and still be eleven years old, the same as when she disappeared during the Great Storm when she fought Huwappa Tāru. And it upsets her. During the course of the book, Bucky also discovers something new about her relationship with Ian. Besides quilting, Bucky also learns to embroider. Some details about Simon’s past life as Southy MacAdoo, who founded Turnback, are also brought to light.

I am now writing Bucky Book 6. I’d like to write another Carly Piper book, but there are only so many hours in a day. Someone long thought dead returns in Book 6.

June 10, 2021

Carly Piper and the Mystery of the Ruby Ring is now available in paperback, as well as Kindle and on Kindle Unlimited! And it already has four 5-star reviews! https://www.amazon.com/Carly-Piper-Mystery-Ruby-Ring/dp/B096TW98QP

When I uploaded the interior that Jason from Polgarus Studios formatted for me (he did a terrific job, by the way and I will use his services again), it kept saying two of the illustrations were outside the margins. They clearly weren’t. But one of the KDP suggestions was to mark the manuscript as “bleed” instead of “no bleed.” Jason thought that might not work but it did, even though the pictures did not bleed off the page. I was concerned about it though until I received my proof copy yesterday and everything looked fine.

When I uploaded the cover the first time, it went through OK, but when I received the proof copy I noticed that the upper left-hand corner border was off a fraction of an inch. So I nudged it into position and didn’t change anything else. But when I went to upload the cover again, KDP said it was a couple of hundredths of an inch off. I worked two hours trying to get the cover to be exact, uploaded it 3 times and still it was off by a hair. Finally thought about using GIMP and that worked although GIMP refused to put in the thousandth number I wanted. But it went through finally and KDP accepted it. I did not order a second proof copy. Probably should have, but once it was “live” today I ordered a copy at full price and it’s supposed to be here Sunday.

I really like the illustrations in the book. I think they add to it. And I have received lots of compliments already on the cover. Even though the background was free to use on Pixabay, as were the border design and a flourish element on the back (both of those done by the same artist), I sent both artists a donation.

May 23, 2021

Finally, Carly Piper and the Mystery of the Ruby Ring is available on Amazon! It’s just the Kindle version so far and it’s on Kindle Unlimited. I haven’t advertised in on my Facebook author page because I’m waiting until the paperback is also available. However, I have told my beta reader/editors that it’s live in case they want to download the it so their reviews, if any, will show up as “verified.” I’ve also mentioned it on Twitter, but my tweets don’t get much interaction there.

I wrote it with middle-grade readers in mind, ages 8-13 or so, but the adults who have read it have found it to be engaging and they like the characters. It’s a spinoff of the Bucky series and takes place a year before the events in Bucky Book 4: A Turn Back Christmas. So it’s not necessary to have read the Bucky books, but if you have, you’ll find the setting is familiar — Turn Back — but with all new characters (well, not quite all. but mostly).

Here’s the link to it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B095MPPS9L

April 27, 2021

I uploaded Carly Piper and the Mystery of the Ruby Ring to be formatted finally last night, so it will, hopefully, be published before long. My illustrator fell through, but I still wanted some illustrations, so I found some on Fiverr and did a couple myself. There will be 11 illustrations in it. It turned out to be 46,000 words. I’m using a new formatter this time — Polgarus Studios.

I did write the opening scene of Bucky Book 5. I will start on it in earnest as soon as I get Carly published.

I lost one review on Amazon–don’t know why. It was one that’s been on there for 3 years! But I got a new 5-star review today, so I’m still at 75 reviews.

I am getting LOTS of reads on Kindle unlimited. One day it was over 2000 pages read and has been over a 1000 pages seven days in the past 2 weeks. I have had reads every day since December 29, so that’s four months! That is where I am making a little bit of money now. Only 11 books sales on Amazon in the past month and one in person to my tax consultant.

Oh, and I got my Covid shots!

March 12, 2021

My gosh! I haven’t updated this in six months! Anyone looking at it probably thinks it’s abandoned.

The four Bucky books are doing well. Book 1 has 75 reviews! Kindle Unlimited seems t0 be generating most of my royalties. I had 70 days straight of reads on there. Then there was a break of a few days, and it picked up again and now I’m on my 74th straight day run of reads. It looks like if readers get interested in Book 1, they go on and read the rest.

Since September, I wrote the middle grade spinoff of the Bucky series — Carly Piper and the Mystery of the Ruby Ring — 45,000 words. it’s currently in the hands of my beta reader/editors, and feedback has been positive. I have the cover done. And I have talked to someone about doing illustrations for the chapter headings. I sent him the manuscript and suggestions, but haven’t heard back.

Last week, an idea for Bucky Book 5 began dancing around in my brain, so I will probably start on that soon.

September 23, 2020

Bucky Book 4 is now live on Amazon! I published “Bucky and the Lukefahr Ladies: A Turn Back Christmas” last weekend. I had several rounds of changes with the formatter for both the ebook and the print version. And then when I uploaded my cover, it kept coming back “error.” It was 0.013 inches too short one way and 0.13 inches too long another direction and no matter what I did it kept coming up with the same numbers. Finally went to bed and thought of another way to approach it. That worked the next morning (now if I can just remember how I did it for the next book).

Haven’t written any more on the middle grade novel yet. I’ve been decompressing. Plus I edited another person’s photo inspirational book last week.

I left the ending of Bucky Book 4 open so that the story can continue.

August 6, 2020

Just now sending Book 4 out to Round 3 readers. I have the cover and have updated the map of Turn Back to include the monument that welcomes people as they enter the town. I need to add Josh Albright to Seraphina’s family tree. The title is now “A Turn Back Christmas.” I hope to have it out by the end of September.

I started the middle grade novel that is a spin-off of the Bucky books. “Carly Piper and the Mystery of the Ruby Ring” takes place a year before Bucky returns.

With the number of Covid-19 cases still rising, I again postponed speaking to the book club on the other side of the state. They had their July meeting in masks and wanted to know if I’d come in August, but I would have to eat out and stay overnight. I really think people should stay home if they don’t have to get out. This won’t last forever.

June 14, 2020

I finished Bucky Book 4 on June 1 and it is in the hands of the first round of Beta readers/editors. That’s the fastest I’ve ever written a book. I started it on January 20, 2020. Guess it helped having 12 weeks off work. It is also shorter than the others at just under 90,000 words. The working title all along was “Christmas in Turn Back.” It is now “A Thousand Bees.”

We rescheduled the Book Club talk to July 13.

May 15, 2020

Still home from work–9 weeks. I am on Chapter 18 of Bucky Book 4. It won’t be as long as the others.

On April 13, I was supposed to speak to a Book Club on the other side of the state. One of the members had discovered my books in the gift shop of a former student of mine. That lady read the first one and encouraged the other members to read it. Most have read all of them by now, I think. The April 13 meeting didn’t happen, of course, because of the pandemic, so we rescheduled for June 8. That’s not going to happen, either, so we postponed it to an undetermined date.

March 18, 2020

Home from work for a few weeks because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Started Book 4 of the Bucky book series on January 20. I wasn’t going to continue it after Book 3, but had an idea so went with it. I’m on Chapter 8.

From March 19-21, I’m offering the first book free on Kindle. Haven’t done that for a while.

I revised the cover of Book 1 in January, but I still have several books at home with the original cover. Going to offer them for sale at a discount, I think.

January 3, 2020

I published Book 3 the first week of December. The trilogy is complete! The proof I had ordered on Dec. 1 was all right except the formatter had used the list of Beta readers from Book 2. I don’t even understand how he made that mistake since the manuscript I sent him had them listed correctly. So he had to change that.  But finally both the paperback and ebook went live on Amazon. I ordered 40 author copies for my beta readers and others that had contributed in some way to the story and the rest to sell on my own. Don’t have many left so am going to have to reorder soon. I also designed and ordered matching bookmarks.

Last week I started re-reading the entire series since it had been two years since I’d read the first book and a year since I’d read Book 2. I am amazed I wrote all that!

Haven’t written anything new. I am thinking about a Turn Back Christmas novella or a whole different story.

December 1, 2019

I ordered the proof of Book 3 tonight!! And I order the bookmarks. I’m waiting on my formatter, Dragon Realm Press, to finish the mobi file so I can upload the Kindle. The first one he sent had a few errors in it. I started writing it on December 25, 2018. So after 11.5 months, this baby is about to be born. That’s about the same gestation period of a dolphin or a horse.

November 25, 2019

Finished my cover today for Book 3. Certainly hope it meets Amazon’s specs. I uploaded my manuscript to the person doing my formatting on Friday night, Nov. 22. He’s returned 3 versions so far. Each of them I’ve had minor issues with. But I think it’s about ready.

November 3, 2019

Two years ago today I published my first book on Amazon! It was nice having friends and family read it, but after a few months I started hearing from strangers who had read it. I didn’t intend for it to be a series, but folks told me they weren’t ready to leave Turn Back and they wanted to read more about Bucky and Simon and Ian and Maggie and all the others. So I wrote Bucky Book 2 and it came out last December. I am finishing Bucky Book 3 and it will end the trilogy that didn’t start as a trilogy.

I’ve heard from all but two of my beta readers of Book 3 and have entered their corrections or suggestions. Working on refining a little more. Still have to design a cover.  My planned December release is looking a little too optimistic.  I don’t want to rush it.

This Thursday I’ve invited as a guest speaker to our women’s meeting at church the professor whose class I was in 47 years ago when I first heard another student talking about a stone found near her house (about 3 miles from house) which had some markings on it that resembled Minoan Linear A. That little incident fermented in my brain for 44 years and became the basis of the Hollow Stone in my first Bucky book.

October 3, 2019

What’s the status of Bucky Book 3? I finished it the first part of September, and on September 20, I sent it to my 12 beta readers for their opinions and sharp eyes to catch typos and missing quotation marks and other punctuation errors. Half of them have read it and returned it and marked their corrections. (I think there were some tear stains on the ones who had physical copies. Or perhaps they just spilled some tea on it.😉) I still have to design a cover, read and edit it again, format it, get a Library of Congress number, work on the appendixes, and I’m waiting on a Disney permission. I’m still hoping for a December release.

July 17, 2019

It’s a good thing I don’t get any traffic to this page because I’m terrible at updating it. The book signing in Marquand at the end of May went well. I emailed back and forth with the man from the Farmington Library and then never heard back.

I’m on Chapter 22 of Book 3. Getting close to the end. It’s the Friday before the big climax on the following Thursday. I didn’t get to write as much in June as I wanted to and I got bogged down in the chapters involving the trial of Rev. Bergmann (for trying to burn down the Mansion in Book 2). (A real-live county prosecuting attorney is going to read those chapters to tell me whether or not what occurs in them could happen in real life.)

I was hoping to be finished by the end of July, but now am shooting for the end of August.

I have 55 5-star reviews on Amazon on Book 1. They deleted one on a technicality, but the reviewer is trying to get it re-instated. I have 22 on Book 2, also all 5 stars. And my Kindle Unlimited reads are going well. Much better than last year.

May 15, 2019

I’m having my second book signing at the Marquand Depot Historical Museum om May 25, from 11-1. I’m going to be in town that weekend for the Class of 79’s 40th Reunion. They were just in 8th grade when I started teaching at Marquand.

I sent out press releases to the Fredericktown Democrat News, The Banner Press in Marble Hill and the Southeast Missourian in Cape Girardeau. Don’t know if they will get printed. Someone from the Banner Press said she would run it.

A gift shop in Bonne Terre. MO is going to stock copies of my books. The owner is a former student (class of 1979). She said she sells another local writer’s books and they do well.

The manager of the Farmington, MO library contacted me and wants to set up a date for a book signing/author talk.

I am on Chapter 17 of Book 3. No title yet, but Just yesterday, I discovered how it ends. I’m really anxious to write the last chapter but it has a ways to go yet. I always knew there was a big climatic battle coming, and I knew how that ended, but I needed to wrap everything up in a final chapter and I now know how to do it. Since it’s the last book of the trilogy, I want readers to finish feeling satisfied and good.

April 18, 2019

I delivered 48 signed books to the gift shop at Fantastic Caverns near Springfield, MO this week. The manager bought 24 of each one. Sure hope they sell.

I am going to have my second book signing on May 25 at the Depot Museum in Marquand, MO.

I was featured in two author blogs this month. The first one is on the website of D C Wright-Hammer: https://hammerstonecreative.com/indie-author-spotlight-shirley-gilmore/

The second one is a much longer interview by author M. J. Patrick. If you want to know more about the background of my Bucky books (or my personal background), check out her blog at: https://authormjpatrick.com/2019/04/17/april-indie-author-spotlight-shirley-gilmore/

Match 17, 2019

The gift shop manager of Fantastic Caverns ordered 48 copies of my books–24 of each one!! Last year, neither of us knew if they would sell, so we decided to try 12 of Book 1 (Book 2 wasn’t out yet). They sold out in a matter of weeks. I was a little hesitant for him to order that many of Book 2 since it’s a sequel, but he said yes. I hope they all sell.

I’m starting Chapter 12 of Book 3. I’ve been in communication with my lawyer nephew on the trial for Reverend Bergmann. And I’ve had some back and forth emails with one of my beta readers who is an IT tech with an electrical co-op and he is also a ham radio operator. I needed his expertise on a major development in the story.

March 12, 2019

Missed updating for the entire month of February. Sales of either book were not great in February but they have both picked up in March. And KU reads continue to do well. I am up to 52 5-star reviews on Book 1 and 18 5-star reviews on Book 2.

I am currently on Chapter 11 of Book 3. It doesn’t have a title yet. I recently posted on my Facebook author page a picture of 5 elements from Chapters 1-10: an “empty” Spanish treasure chest, a talking raven, favorite pajamas that are getting worn out and too small, stolen Royal Doulton china, and a cemetery. If you haven’t “liked” my author page you can do so to get the latest updates and other writing tidbits. https://www.facebook.com/buckyandthelukefahrladies/

Big news from last week! I emailed Henry Louis Gates, Jr. of “Finding Your Roots” on PBS. He is a Harvard professor, has written numerous books, and been involved with several documentaries. One of my beta readers had questioned my use of the word “colored” in Book 2 when 94-year-old Lillian is telling Bucky about her life in Turn Back when she was young. The beta reader said it made me sound racist. The issue comes up again in Book 3. So I wrote Dr. Gates and asked him if an older person of color back in the hills might use that term. He replied to my email within 5 minutes from when I sent it! He said: The short answer is yes!  Many older black people still use the word “colored” among themselves, especially.  My memoir, after all, is called “Colored People!”  Good luck with your novel!  I immediately sent him a “thank you” and he even replied to the thank you. I really never expected to receive an answer from him. I have written several people in conjunction with my books, asking a question in their area of expertise, and have never heard back. But I have heard from others. I guess some are too busy or maybe they intended to reply later but my email got buried and forgotten.

January 18, 2019

I am terrible about updating this section (and this whole website). Sales from Book 2 have been steady but not great for both the Kindle and paperback, but I’ve had more than normal KU reads for both the first book and the second. And I’ve sold some of the first books since the second came out. I’ve sold several Book 2s to people at church and friends.

However, the big news is the first book received its 50th 5-star review yesterday! Woo-hoo!  Meanwhile reviews for Book 2 are very slow being posted. Some of my beta readers haven’t even posted yet. I have 8 with a 9th one on Goodreads from someone who was ineligible to post on Amazon. So I copied it and put it under the “Editorial Review” section on the book’s Amazon page.  I was worried about what readers would think of the second book, but comments so far are positive. They love it and can’t wait for the third one.

I started Book 3 on Christmas Day and am on Chapter 3, but I have an online course that starts Jan. 21 for two weeks so might not get to write much. Then the first two weeks of February, I am on call for jury duty.  Ugh! If I get that I will have to work on church work in the evenings plus I teach Sunday School for the first two Sundays, so little time to write.

I was interviewed in November or December about the town of Bethesda which was the inspiration for Turn Back being a heath resort. I wrote the history of the town in 1970 as part of a Girl Scout project. It was posted on December 21. Here’s the site at Historium Unearthia:  https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/historiumunearthia/historium-unearthia/e/57842018

Oh, and I’ve had an offer from someone to record Book 1 for free! He just wants to do a chapter at a time and post it on this site.

December 26, 2018

I’ve spent most of December marketing Book 2, “Songs of Three.” I mailed complimentary copies to my Beta Readers and others who helped in various ways. I had to mail a copy to the Library of Congress since I got a number from them. Sales haven’t been great, but last year December was my worst month, so, hopefully, sales will pick up in January.

I only have 5 reviews on Book 2 so far. Some of my Beta readers have not posted a review yet. One tried and had not spent $50 on Amazon in 2018, so they wouldn’t accept his review. However Book 1 now has 48 reviews, all of them 5 stars. It actually has 49, but the one from India does not show up on Amazon.com.

The fastest I heard from anyone who has read Book 2 is less than 24 hours. He is an older gentleman from church who got it on Thursday afternoon and was already done with it on Friday afternoon. I am still somewhat worried about what people will think of it compared to the first one, so I am anxious to hear from more readers.

In other news, I started Book 3 last night. I don’t have a working title for it. I’ve just written 2 1/2 pages so far, but I have a few days left of vacation so should make a good start on it.

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/

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 proof 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.

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