29 March 2011

Sharing Research Finds

I'll be at the Welsh League of Arizona meeting in Phoenix on April 2nd, sharing the information I found whilst researching Dragon & Hawk:  Here  is the newsletter alert with directions and a map. Hope to see a good number of familiar faces!


12 – 2 P.M.

Construction Alert:   Due to the Celtic Library construction the Central Avenue entrance is closed.  Come in on Portland (just south of the center) and through the hotel parking lot into the Irish Cultural Center lot.

Our Program
Jude Johnson will share findings of her research on Welsh immigrants in the Arizona Territory, including prominent and not-so-prominent citizens and their impact on towns in Southern Arizona prior to statehood. Tucson pioneers Samuel and L.C. Hughes will be included as well as Copper Queen mine managers Ben and Lewis Williams, plus a few of the Cymry who ended up on the Bisbee deportation list of 1917.

Jude has written three novels utilizing this research. Dragon & Hawk, the first of the series, is in the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, and she is happy to report that it, as well as any and all sequels, have now been contracted for publication through Champagne Books of Alberta, Canada. Dragon & Hawk is scheduled for initial ebook release on 11 April 2011.

"Native by proxy" to Arizona, Jude has kept her day job as a chiropractic physician in private practice. She lives in Tucson with her husband, son (when he isn't in college at Point Loma University in San Diego), two deranged cats, Bob the Gila Monster, and Big Kitty the Bobcat who frequents the back yard.

New Contact Information For Welsh League
Our New Mailing Address: 4326 N. 57th Place, Phoenix, AZ 85018
Our New E-Mail Address: azwelshleague@gmail.com

Language Classes
The Phoenix Welsh class meets Tuesday evenings at the Irish Cultural Center.  There is an intermediate class at 5:00 p.m., a beginners’ class at 6:00, and a more advanced class at 7:15.  All are welcome to stay for all segments. For more details on the schedule check with John Good at 623-939-0209.

The Tucson Thursday night language meets at Lynn Watts’ house.  Call her at 520-403-7210.

All Are Welcome

Welsh League of Arizona is an inclusive group.  If you are interested in the culture of Wales and enjoy a good time relaxing and mingling with lively people you are welcome.  You do not have to be of Welsh ancestry or speak Welsh – but you might be surprised at how many are learning in Arizona.

Welsh League of Arizona is proud to be a member of the Arizona Celtic Cultural Association.  This group promotes co-operation among all the Celtic groups in the state.  See more at their web site: azcelts.org

The Irish Cultural Center is on Central Avenue just south of McDowell Road and the bridge over the I-10 Freeway.  It is located in Hance Park but has its own entrance and generous parking lot entered from Central Ave.  The easiest way to reach it is to drive down Central south of McDowell, cross the bridge and take the first right into the driveway. The building is made of stone with a slate roof and looks like a large cottage.   Note the construction alert at the beginning of this e-mail. 

Welsh League of Arizona
4326 N. 57th Place
Phoenix, AZ 85018
E-mail: azwelshleague@gmail.com

If you are not yet a member we would welcome you to join our active group.  Annual dues are $15 for an individual and $25 for a family.  You can pay on our web site through PayPal, send a check to the address above or bring it to a meeting.

22 March 2011

It's a Whole New Book Game

Publishing is changing by the moment these days. Espionage-thriller author Barry Eisler recently turned down $500,000 (yes, a half-mil) advance to write his next two books in favor of publishing them himself in ebook formats. He tells about it HERE:  Ebooks and Self-Publishing - A Dialog Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath

One very telling exchange about the paper v digital dialogue:

Barry: The question, then, is what advantages does the previous technology retain over the new technology? If the answer is “none,” then the previous technology will become extinct, like eight-track. If the answer is “some,” then the question is, how big a market will the old technology continue to command based on those advantages?
Joe: You’re talking about niche markets.
Barry: Exactly.
Joe: We’ve discussed this before. Paper won’t disappear, but that’s not the point. The point is, paper will become a niche while digital will become the norm.

Now, two things to keep in mind: 1) Barry Eisler is already a major selling author with a huge fan base and megabuck advances already under his belt, and 2) he barely mentions ebook distribution here. Sure, you can publish your ebook yourself but how are you going to get it to markets where readers shop such as Fictionwise and other lists?  

Ebook publishers are popping up all over. Authors need to do a bit of research, look at longevity, royalty payments, stability, and distribution prospects, but the bottom line is an ebook publisher can get your book out there. YOU still have to do all the marketing, but hey, you get to keep a larger slice of the pie than a traditional print contract. My ebook publisher is Champagne Books, established since 2005 with a large stable of authors and continuing to expand.

The point is, digital publishing is taking off like a land rocket. Those who look down on ebook authors and indie-published authors need to pull their heads out of their big fat -- uh, the sand -- and realize not only are these authors adventurous innovators, many are just as good as or even better writers. 

So to those new authors out there wondering where to submit a manuscript, look at digital publishers first. Read Eisler's blog interview for the information on how quickly a digital book can be out on the market, how large the royalty percentage is, and the troubles the print industry is experiencing (Borders closings, anyone?) to weigh options. 

Would love to read what you think...

17 March 2011

A Way With Words

Ah, 'tis St. Patrick's Day, a day of smiling eyes and leprechauns, and lots o'blarney. There are many gifted cultures out there, but the Irish are right up at the top of the list of those who work magic with words. Every child (and naughty adults!) know about Limericks, lyrical poetry so fun to compose and recite, named for the town in mid-West Ireland in Country Limerick.

Then there are the toasts and sayings. Her's a  blog of toasts to tickle your fancy...
And of course, a few witty sayings:

May your home always be too small to hold all your friends.

There are many good reasons for drinking,
One has just entered my head,
If a man doesn't drink when he's living,
How the hell can he drink when he's dead?

May you have warm words on a cold evening, 
a full moon on a dark night,
and the road downhill all the way to your door. 

"Blue sky thinking" is a distinctive Celtic trait, especially evident in the Irish and the Welsh, and often credited for their tendency to jump headfirst into new endeavors without much thought about possible consequences. 'Tis the adventure of the journey that matters...

So here's to the Irish today!  Sláinte!

13 March 2011

Starting Out

This is one hell of a scary proposition, this writing stuff. Putting your ideas, radical and crazy as they are, out "there" for everyone to see? Oh mah gawd! What if they don't like it, or don't "get it," or worse - don't ever read it? Such are the questions that have plagued every writer, even J.K. Rowling and Stephen King, once upon a time.

Don't let doubts keep you from writing. Seriously, what is the worst that can happen? No one reads it - so what? You life isn't any different than what it was before. But if I can do anything with this blog at all, it is to encourage anyone who truly wants to tell a story that yes, yes, yes - you can do it. Take the chance, step up to the plate, and swing away. You can't get anywhere if you sit in the corner. Enter contests, go to conferences, attend meetings.

But be warned. Writing can change your life in ways you never expected. You'll meet fabulous folks - and some not so fab. You will view your world in a completely different light from vantage points you did not know existed - and you will grow.

C'mon, what do you have to lose but your old notions?