January was my best month ever for Magellan’s Navigator. Thank you readers!
January was my best month ever for Magellan’s Navigator. Thank you readers!
2017 was a breakthrough year for me. Sales of Magellan’s Navigator have been steady and it’s garnered many good reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. As a writer, it’s immensely satisfying to see people enjoying my work, like the gentleman from Cebu in the Philippines who recently wrote a review on Amazon.
The sequel to Magellan’s Navigator is outlined and a quarter written. Think Master and Commander on a galley as Albo spars with the Barbary pirates. I just need a title for it.
I wrote enough words for a novel in 2017, yet published nothing. That will change soon when my new science fiction books Mindfield and Mindgames come out. They can be read as space opera, but Mindfield is really about one man’s search for his identity. I hope readers enjoy this book as much as I do. The setting for these books is forty years after my Truth-Teller books. Some of the characters in the latter reprise as secondary characters in the new books.
So I’ll have three books out in 2018. Best wishes to all in the New Year.
Monday I have an author meet and greet at the Poulsbo Book Stop for Magellan’s Navigator from 1 pm to 5:30 pm. Stop by and let’s chat about sailing, or cloves, or the Mariners!
I’m one of the featured authors at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s historical fiction book signing.
I’ll have copies of my newly released historical novel Magellan’s Navigator.
There will be nibbles and a raffle.
Other authors and their books are:
Rebecca J. Novelli The Train to Orvieto
Deborah Lincoln Agnes Canon’s War
SJ McCormack Night Witch
I’d love to see you there:
Saturday, February 18th from 1 to 3 PM
at the PNWA Writer’s Cottage in Gilman Village, Issaquah, Washington
Magellan’s Navigator sticks closely to the known facts of Magellan’s voyage. The dates are accurate. Every person named, with one exception, did have a part in the first circumnavigation of the world. There was a master gunner named Andrew who was from Bristol and who died of scurvy soon after leaving Guam. However, Andrew’s wife, Ana Estrada is my invention. On the other hand, Fidelia was Ginés’s wife and believing he was lost, she did remarry before he finally returned.
I used Albo’s logbook to fix the time and place of the fleet during its voyage. Antonio Pigafetta’s Report on the First Voyage Around the World gave me an eyewitness report of the people he met and the places he saw. My descriptions of the rajahs Humabon and Almanzor are from Pigafetta’s book. Also borrowed from Pigafetta are the lengthy lists of gifts to the rajahs. I am indebted to the late Tim Joyner for his book Magellan. His meticulously researched book uses Spanish and Portuguese sources, unlike many other books about Magellan. His fleet rosters are by far the most complete I’ve seen.
So what is fiction? I really don’t know because the events as told in Magellan’s Navigator are both plausible and possible. Historical sources contradict one another about the details of some events, like the mutiny. For example, while my explanation of the San Antonio’s capture during the mutiny can’t be proved, it also can’t be disproved. It is known that for some reason one of the mutineer ships floated helplessly to Magellan’s ships, and Albo could very well have been responsible for that happening.
I did have to simplify things by focusing on a limited number of crewmembers. I did that after early drafts thoroughly confused readers when I included all Albo’s shipmates. I apologize to Leone Pancaldo and the others who deserved to be mentioned, but had to be excised from the story for readability.
One issue I’d like to address is Albo’s ethnicity. Wikipedia lists Albo as being from Rodas, Spain. This is questionable. The Spanish roster simply lists Albo as being from Rodas with a birthplace of Axio. This is consistent with my having Albo being born in Thessaloniki on the Axios River in Greece, and his being most recently from Rhodes (Rodas.) Roses is evidently an alternative spelling of Rodas. There is a small port of Roses in Catalonia, but I see no associated place name of Axios, which argues against Albo from being there. Andre Rossfelder’s In Pursuit of Longitude makes the argument that Albo was from Roses, but concedes he does not know whether Albo was Greek or Spanish. Numerous Portuguese and Spanish historians over the centuries have called Albo a Greek, so I went with the preponderance of opinion. In addition, S.E. Morison in his The European Discovery of America, the Southern Voyages cites a source that claims a survivor of the circumnavigation sailed with Piri Reis, the Ottoman admiral. We know what happened to most of the survivors afterward, except for Albo, who disappears from history. His being from Greece is consistent to his returning to the eastern Mediterranean and working with Piri Reis.
I hope you enjoy Magellan’s Navigator. It is available in print and paperback on Amazon. Just click the photo above.
For me 2015 was a good year for writing.
In a nutshell:
Over 100,000 net words written
One book published: Truth-Teller Revenge
One book completed: Magellan’s Navigator
One book in beta edits: Mindfield.
2014 was a year of learning how to edit and hone my craft. For this I give thanks to my traditional publisher’s editor. I spent 2015 using my improved craft.
The year started out in a frustrating way. My trad publisher punted the copy editing of Truth-Teller Revenge, so my wife Teresa and I edited it under a tight deadline. That completed, I rewrote my first novel, a historical fiction work about Magellan’s voyage of discovery. That book represented several years of research that I wasn’t willing to flush. Originally, this book was 120,000 words, had multiple points of view, and was too boring. I rewrote the book as an 80,000 word “discovered” memoir of the armada’s navigator and am now proud of it. That took until summer, when it went off to my wonderful beta-readers Dave, Kerry, and Laura. In the fall, I reedited it based on their recommendations. I’m now flogging it to agents as Magellan’s Navigator.
I conceived Mindfield in February, thanks Pam for the title, and started writing a few months later. I had a decent draft by October and edited it through year-end. It’s now in the hands of my beta readers. Final editing will start soon. I’m excited about this book. It’s my best book of the six I’ve written.
Publishing and Promoting:
I made a few baby steps in learning the world of publishing and book promotion. It began in frustration. Truth-Teller Revenge, which as a traditionally published book I have no control over pricing, bombed. I discovered promoting on my blog and to Facebook groups doesn’t cut it. My self-published thriller Download substantially outsold and outearned Revenge even though I had Download at a lower price point.
A glimmer of hope came when an author friend, Ann Roth, got me into an indie publishing Facebook group. What an education. Thank you, Ann. I’m now much better equipped to navigate the publishing world, be it traditional or self-publishing. It’s still a steep mountain to climb, but now I know where the path is and what boots to wear.
This year I’ll write Mindfield’s sequel and get Mindfield and Magellan’s Navigator published. It should be another fun year.
The final final copy editing of a book is my least favorite part of publishing. No matter how many times I go over, my wife goes over, and fellow writers go over a manuscript, little typos, mostly dropped words, leak into the final product until they’re finally laboriously bludgeoned out.
BUT NOW THERE IS HOPE. Several months ago, someone in a writing group mentioned having my Kindle read my manuscript back to me. Yesterday, after a few misfires, I uploaded Magellan’s Navigator to my Kindle and started listening. I wouldn’t want to experience a book this way. The Kindle runs together sentences and uses no inflection, but for editing this technique WORKS! I’m finding minor typos that eluded myself and three other editors. In a day or two, this edit will be done and I graduate to other fun things, like writing a query letter and summary.
I find it less enjoyable reading most books since I’ve seriously been writing, although I appreciate the well-written book more than ever. For example, last night I started a space opera that’s a top ten-seller in its category on Amazon with good reviews. Clearly, lots of people like this book. However, several pages in the point-of-view character passes by a guard holding a rifle. For some reason, the author feels compelled to stop the whole story, and give us three sentences about the rifle. Now this data dump was small, and may be critical later in the story, but it wasn’t the thoughts of the pov character. It was just out-and-out author intrusion, which took me out of the story for a brief moment. I hate to be yanked out of a book like that.
In the author’s defense, weaving the technical stuff into a story isn’t easy. I was proud when a reviewer of my first book, Truth-Teller Rebellion, complimented me on the way I let the setting and Truth-teller world come out in the story, rather than giving it as a data dump.
I’ve found this even more challenging in Magellan’s Navigator, my historical fiction that is nearing completion. I believe a reader of Magellan’s Navigator will want to read about how sailing ships of the time worked and the circumnavigation of the world. I wanted to get that information into the story without slowing it down too much and without obvious author intrusion. It isn’t easy to do that. In the final analysis, that information isn’t the story, which is of the man, Francisco Albo, who piloted the one ship that made it around the world. The book is out with beta readers now. I hope they think I got the balance of story and historic content right.