Available now on Amazon for pre-order!
November 1, 2018 release
Described as hell on earth, Manchester in 1866 was the hub of industrialization in England. Its chimneys rose high above the landscape, spewing out smoke from the factories. While men, women, and children spun cotton in the mills, bricklayers built the workhouses, warehouses, and terraced residences of the city. They were skilled in their craft but also experts in enforcing the rules of their union demands, hoping to escape the bondage of serfdom to gain a better life.
Born into obscurity and a descendant of men who slung mortar from their trowels as a trade, William Leighton, swore that one day he would rise above his poverty-ridden class. The means in which he chose to climb out the slums differed from his brother, who believed that violence was the only way to bring about change and close the gap between laborers and masters.
The clash of siblings in Toil Under the Sun creates the foundation of family and is the first book in a saga that spans three generations.
The book is currently in the final stages and in the hands of Victory Editing. I will probably have it back by mid-September or later, and October will be spent finalizing the eBook and print versions. I’m going to launch on November 1, 2018, and will have it up for pre-sale from all vendors in early October.
In the meantime, I’m redesigning the covers after finding one that I liked much better, which I will share with you eventually. I’ve been too busy to start book two but plan to do so very soon.
As far as a dedication for book one, I’m memorializing my third-great-grandmother, Phoebe Holland, who committed suicide in 1862 by hanging. The newspaper stated the coroner’s report came back as, “hanging whilst in a state of unsound mind.” The situation has caused much conjecture on my part and a few of our relatives as to why she took her own life.
All my best,
I discovered this quote while surfing the Internet about the pain of editing. Recently, I’ve experienced an increase in headaches and this could explain why!
In all seriousness, I’ve been doing my due diligence on the text and story and feel semi-satisfied that I may be getting close to sending it to Victory Editing. I’ve run the program through ProWriting Aid, which is by far the best on the market. It has this wonderful MS Word add-on that integrates and creates a menu (part of which can be seen below). You click on what you want to be analyzed and viola! You swear you’re the worst writer in the world when the results are returned in the text.
Presently, the book consists of twenty-six chapters and 56,003 words, but that could change before release. When I am done fiddling with it, I’ll send it off to my regular editor and it should be back within three weeks. I’m going to shoot for October 1 as the release date but it’s subject to change. When I get closer, I will go up for pre-order.
In the meantime, I’m writing down plot points for book two and hope to start soon.
I’ll admit that I had toyed with the idea of sending my manuscript to a U.K. publisher to see if I could get the four-book saga picked up since it’s so heavily based on Manchester history. After researching quite a few publishing houses that take direct submissions, reviewing the timelines to hear back on “yes” or “no” and the horrible payout of 10% royalties, I quickly threw that idea into the circular can.
As an independent publisher, I will admit I have always wanted the validation of being picked up by a traditional publishing house. However, when you consider it takes three to six months to get an answer (and usually if you don’t hear back by three to six months you can assume a rejection), and then having to wait another year or more to see the book published, it sours my quest. I’ll let my readers validate me instead as you have so kindly done in the past. My patience to travel the road to traditional publishing is non-existent at my age.
All my best,
I can’t help it. I’m collecting some of my favorite brick quotes and will keep posting them on this page. Who knew such wisdom and humor could be so brick related?
It’s not often that I write a book in four weeks. Of course, it’s only the first draft and editing begins, i.e. rewrites, embellishments, additions, deletions, etc. After that comes the other kind of editing–grammar, sentence structure, syntax, spelling, punctuation, and further reviews with the help of ProWriting and Grammarly. Then off to Victory Editing to be poked at again.
Some of what you’ll read in Toil Under the Sun may shock you and lead you to believe that I have an evil imagination. The incidents you’ll read about are actual occurrences I discovered while researching and reading the proceedings of the Manchester Assize Courts in 1867. These acts make Boucher throwing a rock in Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South appear like child’s play.
Here is a short, but shocking list, of terrorist-like activities, perpetrated by union members against those who defied their rules. You’ll read about those rules in the book, which were put in place to supposedly protect the trade. The newspapers and courts called them “outrages.”
- “Bottling” – throwing bottles full of combustible substances into rooms where brickmakers, their wives, and children slept.
- Use of pistols to intimate watchmen and shoot watchdogs during their nightly raids.
- Hamstringing of horses or slitting their throats. Setting stables on fire and burning horses alive.
- The stabbing of cattle and other livestock owned by brickmakers.
- Brutal beatings of employees, including young boys who worked for brickmakers, often resulting in permanent physical damage.
- Destroying bricks sometimes as many as 60,000 or more at a brickmaker’s business.
- Destroying buildings under construction that used machine-made bricks or bricks not made by union men.
- Blowing up brickmaking machines with gunpowder.
- Other atrocities that earned them this comment in the newspapers that their acts were the “despotism of their own class.”
As you can see, brickyard bullies were the hooligans of the day who would do anything to protect their trade, including murder those who stood in their way. A policeman was killed at one of their outrages.
Keep checking back for updates! While editing, I’m going to dive into book two, Slave to None, and continue to the next era of 1870’s and how the trade changed and businesses grew. These are the years of prosperity and growth, and the foundation for family riches.