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Blog of the Week > The novel is done! Now what?

The novel is done! Now what?

I imagine pregnant women share the same feeling. You've had this inside you for so long, and you've tended it so carefully, and as much as you love it you can't help but feel: Get it out! Get it out of me! Now!

"Rome is Born! - Rise of the Republic" is finally finished. Nearly two years of research and writing went into it, more really, when you consider that I have been chewing on the idea for half a lifetime. It is a genuine relief to finally get it out of my head and down on paper. Even as I was writing the novel I had to keep hold on the throttle, and resist the temptation to rush to the finish. Just tell the story, I kept telling myself.

Chapter after chapter were added to the pile and still we had so much more to go. One generation down, the second generation down, and now we are into the third generation (Brutus and Superbus) and growing the fourth (their sons and daughters). I had to slowly grow their personalities and develop the motivations that would later play out on the pages of the novel - but not yet, not yet. Inch by inch I slowly progressed towards the finish line - and suddenly I stepped over the finish line. It was done. All the details I kept in my head were now transfered somewhere into the narrative. I could finally relax.

Next came the editing, folding chapter after chapter into the single narrative, smoothing out the bumps. Format the whole work, work in some necessary maps and some fun graphics, add a Table of Contents, title page, and it was complete. No, not yet. It was very hard to keep straight two families through four generations in a city where they all carry the same names. Better work up a genealogy.

Hard to believe, but I don't think anyone has ever told this story. I love to read about ancient Rome, and I have read almost everything there is to read on the subject - histories, historical novels, mystery fiction set in Roman times, and classic "sword and sandal" action novels placed in historical settings. But I have never read anything that covers the founding of this pheonominal civilization. And it is such a terrific story! It has all the elements you want in a novel: humans bonding and in conflict, lots to learn about, sea battles, chariot races, romance and celebrations, and global power politics. Add the mystical element (gods, sacrifices, temples, oracles and prophecies, visions of glowing children) and the intrigue (poisoning, secret societies, whisper campaign to take a city) and you have lots of juicy subject matter to work with.

A novel of this kind was long overdue.

Now I have to market the novel to the world. I first sent an email to friends and family, announcing the completion of the novel and inviting them to read it for themselves, commissioning a limited printing. I have to admit, it was thrilling to hold the thick book in my hands and flip through the pages, double-sided pages at last, with the novel's title heading the even numbered pages and the chapter titles heading the odd numbered pages. It is real, at last. I felt like a conjurer bringing into material form something that had existed only in my mind.

I invite anyone and everyone to visit the website and get a gist of the novel - for free. Between the chapter synopsis and an excerpt from the chapter itself, any visitor should have a pretty good idea of what they are purchasing. Plenty to read on the website: short stories, and excerpts from four E-Books. I hope people will purchase the reasonably priced E-Books and start off with a PDF file, which they can either print or read on-line. (Take your laptop with you on plane trips and long bus rides, or while you wait between classes!) I had "Acting Naturally" self-published as a paperback. I will make printed copies of "Rome is Born! - Rise of the Republic" available as well, though these will be nicely bound 'copier center' editions - the one I have now in my hand is the rival of any published hardback, lacking the glue binding on the spine, but more readable in its 8.5 x 11 wide-spaced format.

I hope to generate enough interest (and sales) through the website to interest an agent and a publishing house. The publishing house, in turn, will provide the promotion and distribution that a book of this caliber needs. Many other books of this nature have become best sellers on the NY Times list - why not this one, too?

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