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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've just posted to Kindle my first novel, Above the Fray, Part One and Part Two. This is a completely new thing to me, and I'm quite intrigued by the process. Please send me feedback at [email protected]

Here's a synopsis:

At the start of the Civil War, Nathaniel Curry is a fifteen-year-old telegraph operator in Richmond. He travels to Washington to see a balloon demonstration and finds himself, entirely by accident, assisting Thaddeus Lowe in directing artillery fire on a Confederate emplacement - the first use of an aircraft in warfare.

A pariah back in Virginia, Nathaniel joins the nascent Union Balloon Corps, the world's first air force. The Corps, a motley collection of adventurers, science enthusiasts and misfits, struggles to find its place within the Union Army. The aeronauts prove valuable, providing information on enemy positions and movements, but are too unruly to be accepted by the military establishment.

Nathaniel, a Southerner, is suspected of being a spy by both sides, even as he has to fight off being recruited as a spy. As the Balloon Corps descends into chaos, even his sweetheart turns against him. Soon his only friend is Abraham Lincoln - and Lincoln wants him to do something that terrifies him.

Meticulously researched, this book captures the sweep of the war, and highlights a little-known facet of history that today has come to dominate military thinking. It is the story of the coming of age of aviation, of modern technology, and of the nation itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, both of you, for the reply. Yes, this is historical fiction. It's my third novel, but the only one to see the light of day anywhere but in manuscript form. I'm just learning this self-publishing/self-marketing stuff, so I appreciate all the tips. I'm in the midst of house-cleaning at the moment, but I'll make those suggested changes at my earliest convenience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Carol, I don't see any special place to put a sample of the text. Maybe I'm just not used to the system here. Can you give me a clue?
 

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krisjackson said:
Carol, I don't see any special place to put a sample of the text. Maybe I'm just not used to the system here. Can you give me a clue?
Kris, Kindle owners can download a sample of the book from amazon. It's available by default, so no need to do anything special!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Stacey, I thought the interview went very well, too. Your questions were on the mark. I felt my replies even made sense. Usually I cringe when I listen to or read an interview I have given.

I'm not sure, but I think I have a couple of Kindle sales now. I saw a ranking on the Kindle site, and I don't think you get one of those without a sale.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks, Donna. Please let me know what you think of it.
I'd like to discuss the female characters in the story. Too often, the women in men's fiction are just there as decoration. There are several here that I think are interesting.
The first is my main character's sweetheart, Amanda. Her family owns slaves, though she herself is against slavery. Through the course of the story, though, she seems to change her mind, for reasons that are not entirely clear.
A second is Red Sally. She is a prostitute traveling with the Union Army, but it turns out there is more to her. She is like other characters I have written, in that she started out in a very minor role but little by little moved into a more important position in the story, almost by her own force of will.
Part Two of the book brings in two more women. One of them is a real person, Elizabeth van Lew. She was a leading figure in Southern society, although she headed the Union spy organization in Richmond -- this despite the fact that she was schizophrenic, and heard voices and saw things. The other is based on a real person, though I changed her. This was a white woman who posed as a white man and sometimes a black man in order to spy on the south. She was an extraordinary character.
 

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Sounds like you need to read Jeff Hepple's  Gone for a Soldier - great book and right down your alley.  Believe me I'll let you know what I think, but it might be a time before I get there.
 
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