Thursday, April 28, 2011

Trailer for Aldric and Anneliese

The book trailer for Aldric and Anneliese is now ready:

It plays best, I think, going to U-tube and hitting 'Expand' button at bottom right.

Check it out and let me know what you think of it.

Aidana Willowraven did a wonderful job with the three illustrations she created for the trailer, don't you think?



Saturday, April 23, 2011

My new poem: Who Were the Savages?

Yesterday I wrote a new poem entitled "Who Were the Savages?"

Who Were the Savages? is a long, free-verse poem addressing the fate of the Indians during invasion of the West.

The old warrior chief sits
atop his magnificent stallion
on a high hill overlooking
the green valley below
through which a wagon train
of many Conestoga wagons
is snaking its way slowly.

Anger fills his body, giving way
to dread and consuming despair.
Like a plague upon the land,
spreading their contempt
for both Nature and the Red Man,
in more and more increasing number
come the White Man with his hatred,
his lies, and his superior guns.

Once the buffalo herds roamed
in great number, flowing across
the land, providing his Native Peoples
with plentiful food and hides.
The buffalo were like the stars
high in the nighttime sky,
but then came the White Man
to slaughter the buffalo for
hides and for sport, shamefully
leaving the meat to rot in the sun.
Now Indian children hunger and die.

The White Man considers
Indian ancestral lands to be his
for the taking. The Native Peoples
tried to make peace with these invaders,
but the White Man has broken treaty
after treaty. They murder Indian women,
Indian children for fun and bounty.
They consider Indians an inferior
race of men, even though Indians
have lived for centuries in complete
harmony with the land. The White Man
doesn’t see the soul of Nature that resides
in everything they are destroying.

The old warrior knows his tribe
soon once again must fight gallantly
to attempt to preserve their heritage.
But he also knows deep in his heart
that they cannot stop the humiliation
of his people and the destruction
of their way of life. He understands
loss of their lands and confinement
to a reservation at the mercy of the
White Man will be their pitiful fate;
he also understands his proud people
will fight as long as they are able
against the passage of their culture.

As he turns his horse to ride away,
his heart breaking with sorrow,
he’s spotted by the wagon train.
He hears them shout as they point,
“Up there. It’s one of those savages.”
The old warrior gallops away peacefully
as shots ring out from the White Man.
All too soon the shameful decimation
of the Indian Nations was complete.

[Note: To read more about this shameful chapter
in American history, read the new book
“Conscience: Breaching Social Amnesia”
by vehoae. Look for the warrior on the cover. ] ]

I was an editor at 4RV Publishing for vehoae's informative book. Her book should be read in every American history class. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting more information about treatment of the Indians during "settlement" of the West after the War Between the States (otherwise known as the War of Yankee Aggression).



Monday, April 4, 2011

My Kirkus Indie Review for Aldric and Anneliese

I paid the exorbitant $425 fee charged by Kirkus Indie for obtaining a review from them. I bought into their claim of a review from Kirkus being a high-quality and widely respected review, making it worthwhile to pay the excessive fee. Well, here are two salient points from their review of Aldric and Anneliese:

1. “There are no surprises in store for the reader, delightful or otherwise.”, according to the Kirkus Indie reviewer.

This surprised me immensely since almost all other reviews that Aldric & Anneliese has received commented on the surprising twists and turns of the plot:

Excerpts from reviews which you can read at at Gilleland/dp/0982659407/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1299221085&sr=1-1 ,
stating they were surprised at the plot’s surprising twists and turns:

"Gilleland throws us quite a curve ball, as the plot proceeds through a series of implausible twists, turns, and surprises, but we stay with it, leading us to an ending that I didn't expect and nor did I predict." Norm Goldman

"The twists and turns are sometimes surprising, but always fun to follow." Ben Langhinrichs

"Readers everywhere will be unable to let go of this adventure with its surprising (and sometimes quite tragic) twists and turns---and they will find a very satisfying end for seeing this tale through." C.Cuadro

"It is an interesting book full of unexpected twists and turns!" Kim Aures

"I did find myself captivated enough to keep reading to find out what would happen next. The plot has several twists and turns and I did not see the final twist coming at the end, which is always a good thing." Tyler Tichelaar

“The author does well with the mystery, the love, the turmoil and the reactions of the audience. It is a quick read and because it is a page turner you will most likely read it over again … This is a real neat story, the details are wonderful and the author keeps you engaged.” J. Cormier

“Read this book to see what happens next. This is a big surprise, … Believe me, however, it holds your interest and is a fascinating and unpredictable story. Wow. Read it.” By Donna Doyle of Romance Reviews, posted at Romance Reviews

When I questioned the editor at Kirkus Indie about the fact their reviewer seemed to be the only one not surprised by the twists of plot, this reply was provided by the reviewer:
“I have a long history of devouring romance books, especially historical romance, …written with no big surprises for a seasoned romance book reader."

I invite you to read Aldric & Anneliese and see for yourself if you agree with the Kirkus Indie reviewer or with all the other reviewers about being surprised by the twists in the plot. You decide!

2. I wanted readers to have mixed feelings about several of the main characters and have to argue whether they were good or not. The reviewer seems to have not seen any of this. For one example, Aldric ordered all the wounded and captured enemy soldiers after one battle to be murdered instead of letting them survive as Edmund had always done in the same circumstances. Hardly the act of a "good guy". Yet the Kirkus Indie reviewer said, “Characters are predictable, yet likeable, and fall into either good guys or bad guys.” Aldric is considered your typical “good guy” no matter how many people he murders. Hmmm.

I’ll leave it up to you readers to decide who is correct in this instance about the nature of the characters in Aldric & Anneliese, whether they are always predictably “good” or “bad”. You readers decide!



Saturday, April 2, 2011

Contacting Public Libraries to Buy Aldric and Anneliese

I spent the last several days mailing material to more than fifty-five libraries across the U.S. asking them to consider buying copies of Aldric and Anneliese for their library's book collection. The mailing was a cover letter, a two-page "Excerpts from Reviews Received" with excerpts from eight reviews received to date, and a press release for Aldric and Anneliese. Each letter required a 61-cent stamp, which the Post office actually sells.

I mailed materials to fourteen Louisiana public library systems, covering all the major cities in the state. I emphasized that I was a Louisiana author with them. Then I mailed letters to selected cities in Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, emphasizing my being a regional author. Finally, I mailed materials to a variety of libraries in major cities across the country. I chose the ten most prosperous cities according to a Google search, along with random cities by size.

It was a lot of mind-numbing busy work to get this accomplished. And, I'll probably not get any favorable results. But, if you don't at least try to market your book, then you know you'll get no sales. You gotta keep plugging away with marketing!