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Reader review of Maximilian and Carlotta Are Dead on Amazon.com 



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Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Sextus Opus

It’s getting close now.

In fact, it’s so close that it might even be time to announce the title. But I won’t just yet. Once again I’ve settled on a moniker that comes up easily in web searches if people are actually searching for the title, but it has the problem that most people aren’t going to be sure how to pronounce it. As with Searching for Cunégonde up until that book’s publication, I still haven’t abandoned the idea of a better, more marketable, more searchable title. But I have a feeling this is its title. For one thing, I’m kind of attached to it. If the late J.R.R. Tolkien was able to sell a whole bunch of copies of something called The Silmarillion, then maybe I can sell a few copies of my book with Gaelic words in the title.

At this point I’m just waiting for a wee bit more feedback and, mainly, a block of time to do one final pass to find any remaining typos or problems staring at me right there in plain sight. Then begins the pre-press gauntlet where I try to remember all the things I did the previous time I went through it—now coming up on two years ago now—plus deal with all the things that will be different because things change over time. I love that part. If the truth be told, that’s the sort of stuff I’m built for.

Editing, copy-editing, formatting, pre-press prep and publishing are all basically about problem solving. At least in the way I personally view and approach those tasks. You’re taking something that’s been written and removing (ideally all) the flaws and delivering it to the audience. Generally, those are things that can be done right—or not. That’s my comfort zone.

I suppose you can view the writing task the same way: you’ve either done it right—or not. But the rightness of any piece of writing is ultimately subjective, isn’t it? When it comes to the creative process, rightness is in the eye of the beholder. And that’s kind of scary for someone like me whose mostly worked (for pay anyway) in areas where things are done right—or not.

Okay, now I’ve made it sound like I am, in my work life at least, one of those robotic personalities with no imagination. That’s not true. Hopefully, my five books to date demonstrate some level of imagination and penchant for story spinning. But, as I’ve previously confessed on my movie blog, I am not by nature a particularly visual person. My skill gifts were always more in abstract concepts. Having a brain that is attuned to images is useful for, say, filmmakers—and novelists.

The good news is that few if any of us is completely one kind of person or another. Our weaknesses can strengthened. We can learn and can train ourselves to do what we need or want to do.

Okay, that was a pretty major digression. Mainly, my message was going to be that the sixth book and sequel to The Curse of Septimus Bridge is getting very close now. The idea was to get you all excited about it, but now I’ve probably succeeded in putting you off. Did I mention that one of my other skill blind spots was marketing and self-promotion?

Anyway, keep watching this space for more teasers and, ultimately, announcements. I’m very excited about this new book and can’t wait to tell you more about it.

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