March madness 2017

This year, March truly is mad, national politics not withstanding. The weather is being schizophrenic, periods of early summer mingled with windy cold February weather and the occasional snowflake. I’m in trad-book limbo, waiting for responses from publishers I’ve been querying with my non-fiction;  and I still have to root for my college basketball team, despite its lackluster and gaffe-prone year, because it just might quirkily prevail and take a spot in the Big Dance. Probably not, though.

And in Kathy-book-land, things are equally weird, thanks to a massive Amazon outage earlier this week which affected (my luck, of course) its East Coast servers. Yes, Amazon finally broke. I had just launched last-ditch ad campaigns for the five of my books available for sale: Wives, the Novice Master, and my three Irish historicals: The Raven Girl, Hounds of Nemhain and The Foreigner’s Stone. And then grew perplexed, as the various charts and graphs and rankings froze solid for a day or so. It soon  became quite clear, when I saw all the anguish  pouring onto the writers forums: Amazon had faltered, big time. But it all came back with a bang. The winner? My lowly little Raven Girl, which surged upward from obscurity, bypassing literally millions of ranking spots to capture the #3 slot on the bestseller list for Teen Historical Fiction.  Waiting to see if it hits number 1. Which shows you that even a six-year-old novel can eventually find success—thanks, I’m thinking, to Saint Patrick’s Day around the corner. Making it 99 cents didn’t hurt, either…

In second place was Wives, with a respectable cluster of sales even at full price, nudging it briefly into a five-figure ranking. The Foreigner’s Stone, a fairly recent offering which features my fair daughter’s face on the cover, limped in with a single sale. And the other two didn’t even make it out of the locker room. Not even Novice Master, with its spiffy new cover and price point. Go figure… Guess I need to tweak those keywords.

Even more perplexing, the two rather vague keywords propelling The Raven Girl: “book” and “fiction.” Seriously? Not “Ireland”? Not “history”? For Wives, it’s still “secret,” “wives,” and “husbands.”

Well, March can only get better. At month’s end, I’ll be travelling up to extreme Western New York to commence research on my biographical subject, and also meet some very interesting people. It will be a spiritual kind of trip as well, I’ll be spending part of the week with the Franciscans at their retreat center and the other part with the Cistercians up in Genessee. Ah, peace! The next three posts here will be excerpts from my Irish novels, which gives me a chance to revisit them and remember why I wrote them in the first place.

I’d like to thank my guest blogger Lori, who had quite the party in this space over the last few days. She really livened things up and I hope she can write for us again. Or maybe I’ll write for her blog one day…

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