Today was a productive day. I finally completed the final revision of The Dream of Shiloh, the first part of my Shiloh Saga. I have decided to self-publish this first installment of the trilogy because after a careful revision, I have not been able to excise enough words to get the book into the preferred length for historical romances. I tried, but I think to remove any more would change the story I set out to tell. I will work harder on the next volume to make it fit between the 80,000 and 120,000 words the publishing industry in looking for.
I will read the manuscript through one more time and after Christmas, I plan to submit the book to Create Space. I think this is the best option for this book. I am pleased with the revision. I believe I have told a positive tale about Arkansas and about the hardy pioneer stock that took this state from a wilderness to a land where thousands of people eventually settle in their “Land of Opportunity.” I wrote about a woman, Laurel, who grows too. She struggles to put her past away as the controlling factor of her life. Through the support of a good man, a loving extended family, a welcoming church, and a growth in her faith in a loving Father God, Laurel loses her need to play the role of the Spinster of Hawthorn. In her growing, she provides an opportunity for her husband, Patrick MacLayne, to achieve his dreams of family and home in the Shiloh community.
The completion of this first part of the Shiloh Saga has taken more than four years. The creation of the story has been the easy part and the part of the task which has been the most enjoyable. I never realized how difficult editing and rewriting are until I returned from the Blue Ridge Novelists Retreat in October and began the serious task of making the draft of The Dream of Shiloh into a manuscript that can be submitted for self-publication.
Nevertheless, I am proud of reaching this new milestone. I have several people who helped me get to this point. Gretchen Campbell has been my encourager and motivator for more than three years. She urged me ever onward with her “demand” for more chapters to read. Beverly Thompson, a dear colleague from Westside High School, proofread The Dream of Shiloh. Her help has been invaluable. So many have supported my project, and I owe all of them a huge hug. Now I have to get to work on the second revision of ‘Til Shiloh Come, the story of Mac and Laurel’s first four years of marriage and their involvement with the new county of Craighead and Mac’s venture into the political world of antebellum Arkansas.
I hope that those of you who are reading about my attempt to complete my novel will drop me a line or two. Your comments are a source of great encouragement. I look forward to hearing from you all.