Life of an “Award-Winning Author”
Yes, I’ve won ten literary awards, as many as three for one book. Some are regional (the New Mexico Book Award), many are national or perhaps international: the Indie Next Generation Book Award, the Eric Hoffer Award, the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, and the Willa Literary Award. Yes, I’ve had good success… or have I? No Pulitzer. No Booker. I won’t mention Nobel.
Do awards add up to sales? Not in my experience. You see, I belong to those myriads of authors whose publishers expect the author to craft her own publicity campaign. Yes, a bright gold sticker might get a remark from a prospective buyer: “Gee, that’s nice.” But then, likely as not, the book goes back in its slot. No sale.
As many other guest bloggers have told you, you’re much more likely to be struck by lightning than to become a best seller. Rarely, very rarely, can you expect to live off the proceeds of your writing, especially not fiction. Non-fiction of all kinds is doing better, along with middle school and young adult fiction. But regular old fiction? At best, it will contribute now and then to your grocery bill. If you have a job, keep it. If you’re retired, you’d better have retirement income plus social security.
Why do I keep writing, keep publishing? Because I’d die if I didn’t! I’m an addict. I’ve been fortunate to find Twilight Times Books, a small, traditional publisher that produces trade paperbacks and also e-books, including Kindle and Nook. They’ve published all my books so far, eight of them since 2005. They keep on believing in me, so maybe I can keep the faith, too, baby.
My advice to you? Stick to it, that is, if writing gives you pleasure. Since I mainly write historical fiction, I’ve had a truly wonderful time traveling. I’ve traveled around the US, in Mexico, Spain, France and Germany, working in archives and making good friends I’d never have met otherwise. Writing can be liberating and educational. So, my writer friends, there can be rewards. I wish you a lightning strike—that you go viral, I mean!
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Born in the high desert country, in Alamogordo, New Mexico, Florence loved exploring the wilderness on foot and horseback. Those grandiose landscapes formed her sensibility. Hidden pockets of unexpected greenery tucked away near springs in folds of barren mountainsides spoke to her of gentleness and beauty in an otherwise harsh world. She published her first poem in a children’s magazine shortly after she learned to read at age four; wrote her first ‘novel’ at age six, entitled Ywain, King of All Cats. She illustrated the ‘book’ herself.
She traveled extensively with her military family during World War II. With her husband the brilliant scholar and teacher, Kurt Weinberg, she worked and traveled in Canada, Germany, France, and Spain. After earning her PhD, she taught for twenty-two years at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY, and for ten at Trinity University in San Antonio. She published four scholarly books, many articles and book reviews, doing research in the U.S. and abroad. When, after retiring in 1999, she was freed from academia to devote herself to writing fiction, she produced ten novels, ranging from fantasy to historical romance and mystery. An avid researcher, she grounds most of her publications in historical fact. She spends hours combing through web sites, books and periodicals, and historical archives to enhance her writings with authenticity.
Eight of her ten books are now in print: an historical romance about the French Renaissance, published in France in French translation by Editions Lyonnaises d’Art et d’Histoire, and two straight historical novels, Apache Lance, Franciscan Cross and Seven Cities of Mud. In addition, four historical mysteries starring the 18th-century Jesuit missionary, Father Ignaz (Ygnacio) Pfefferkorn. Two of these are set in the Sonora Desert, the third in an ancient monastery in Spain,and the fourth, Unrest in Eden, follows Pfefferkorn’s fate after his release from Spanish prison. Five of the historical novels have received a total of ten awards. Unrest in Eden is now published in German translation by Dr. Renate Scharffenberg under title Unruhe im Paradies.
The most recent book, Anselm, a Metamorphosis: metaphysical suspense, weaves an aura of black magic and nightmare that should fascinate all levels and ages of readers.
Florence also serves as Lector at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, as well as appearing as a guest lecturer to various groups throughout the country and abroad.
Her favorite animals are horses-an intense love affair over many years-and cats, her constant companions. She enjoys music, traveling, hiking, biking, gardening, and swimming.