Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Favorite Books: All Creatures Great & Small

Way, way, okay, waaaay back when I was but a lad, I liked to read a lot of different types of books. I read middle grade, young adult, history, historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction, comedy--everything except romance, ugh!

When I was about 13 or so, my mother's cousin started mailing us books every once in a while. She was the original Amazon.com, only I didn't order the books, she just sent whatever she thought I'd be interested in. There was just one problem--she had no idea what I liked to read. I don't think she asked my mom, she certainly didn't ask me. I couldn't really tell her what I liked because these gifts were just sent randomly, and if I asked her for a book it would seem like I expected to receive one.

To be honest, I don't remember any of the books that she sent me. Except the ones by Alf Wight, a/k/a James Herriot. For some strange reason, I found I really liked these books about an English country vet. I think looking back it was because the books took me back to another time and place--Yorkshire in the 1940's and 50's with such vivid descriptions. Each chapter was a little individual story that dealt with universal truths about human and animal nature.

Cast of All Creatures Great and Small
I had become something of an Anglophile by that time. Many of the authors I was reading were English--J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and others. My entertainment was also decidedly Anglo-centric. I had just discovered Monty Python--don't get me started about Monty Python! Genius. My music was also dominated by English bands--Yes, Bowie, and the most English band of all--Jethro Tull. Some of their songs from the mid to late 70's were snapshots of the Yorkshire countryside.

All this combined to fuel my imagination of that green and pleasant land that English poet William Blake wrote about (sorry, English major in me coming out). Then lo and behold, while flipping channels one night (yes, those were the days when you actually had to get up and turn the knob), I chanced upon All Creatures Great and Small on PBS.

Alf Wight a/k/a James Herriot
Well, I was hooked all over again. The beautiful locations, the use of live animals on set (lots of shots of the actors sticking their hands up cows' butts), and the fact that they did all this in suits(!?), appealed to me. I loved seeing beloved characters and animals brought to life. It was awesome. So much so, that even today I love rereading the books, and my whole family likes listening to "vet stories" as the kids call the audio books and the DVDs.

So, thank you Cousin Kathy for giving me a gift that really did keep on giving. If you have children in your life, I heartily support the notion of sending them random gifts of books. You never know. You just might open up a door to a whole world of entertainment!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Sneak Peek

Today, I thought I'd give you a sneak peek at the first chapter of my next book, The Deliverers 2: Order of the Crystal Lion. It's my hope that the book will be released sometime in March, but it might be a little later than that, depending on art and layout.

This is the first part of the chapter. I'll share the rest of it in a future post. There might be a few edits still to be made, but I don't anticipate any major changes at this point. So, without further ado, here's the beginning of chapter one. Please let me know what you think. Enjoy!

The Deliverers 2: Order of the Crystal Lion

Chapter 1--Back in the Saddle Again

            Bam! Eric Scott’s face was smashed into the Plexiglas that ringed the skating rink.
            “Hey, where’d you learn to play hockey, Dork Magazine?” the larger of the two boys who had run into him said.
            Eric glared at them. They were his cousins, Jeff and Gordy Bungee, and they had been playing hockey almost since they could walk. Eric, on the other hand, could barely skate.
            “Oh yeah? I’d rather be reading than banging into walls!”
             “All right, enough jawing, ladies!” a dark haired, heavyset man yelled from behind the bench. “Let’s get back to practice! Eric, come here.”
            Eric skated over to the bench. The big man leaned over the railing.
            “Eric, what’re you thinking? You can’t let anyone check you like that. You’ve gotta be tough. When someone tries to check you into the boards, give them an elbow or something. Let them know you won’t take that kind of stuff. Now get back out there, and don’t let me see you getting pushed around anymore.”
            “Okay, Uncle Rocco,” Eric said. What did he want him to do, he thought, beat them over the head with his stick? He could barely stand in these stupid skates.
            His Uncle Rocco was coach of his cousins’ hockey team, the Slayers. He did not like hockey, really, but his mother had asked his uncle to add him to the team. She thought he needed more of a male influence. He’d been without one since his father had died more than a year and a half ago.
            Now, he skated unsteadily out to center ice, where the other boys were working on their passing.
            Eric tried to get into the drill, but when someone passed him the puck, it either went under his stick or he sent it in the opposite direction of where he wanted it to go.
            “Why am I doing this?” Eric muttered, as yet another pass skidded under his stick and slid down to the far end of the ice.
            “C’mon Eric!” Uncle Rocco yelled. “Head up, stick down!”
            Eric sighed as he slowly skated to retrieve the puck. He was bowled over by Gordy, who beat him to it.
            “Enough with the drills, let’s scrimmage!” Gordy yelled.
            “All right,” Uncle Rocco called back. “Let’s see what you boys‘ve got. Starters versus scrubs!”
            Gordy and Jeff were starters, and skated to one side of the ice. Eric made his way to join the scrubs on the other side.
            Gordy waited for the faceoff across from a smaller, skinnier boy. All of the scrubs were on the scrawny side, Eric noted, including himself. When Uncle Rocco dropped the puck, Gordy was on it like a flash, sending a perfect pass over to Jeff, who was streaking down ice. Eric, following him on the wing, tried his best to keep up with him. But after a few seconds, his heavy breathing had fogged up his face shield, and he could not see a thing.
            Man, how embarrassing, he thought as he tried to see through the fog. His attempts to see were unsuccessful, and he slammed into the boards.
            “No, no, no!” He heard Uncle Rocco scream. “What’s the matter with you, Eric? Are you blind?”
            “Yeah, kinda,” he said, pulling off his bulky hockey glove and running his bare hand across the inside of his visor to clear it.
            Just at that moment, something hit him in the head. Looking down, he saw the puck laying a couple of feet away from him on the ice. Excited, he turned toward it—and was slammed headfirst into the boards by Jeff.
            He lay there on the ice, feeling like a rag doll. Lifting his head slightly, he saw Uncle Rocco standing over him, flanked by his two cousins. His uncle was shaking his head. Then, Eric blacked out.
           
                                      #                                  #                                  #

            Eric was still a bit lightheaded on the trip home in his uncle’s SUV. Luckily, his helmet had absorbed most of the impact. He looked out the window at the winter scenery zipping by, but had to turn away when the movement started making him feel nauseous.
            “Man, for a second there, I thought you were dead,” Jeff said, chuckling from the seat next to him.
            “What?” Eric asked.
            “At the rink. You were laid out on the ice for, like, five minutes.”
            “Yeah,” Gordy said from the front seat. “I thought Jeff killed you for sure.”
            “Enough, boys,” Uncle Rocco said. “You did okay for your first time, Eric. You took a hard hit, but we’re not going to let that stop you. You’re a Bungee, and Bungees bounce back.”
            “He didn’t bounce back this time. He went splat!” Jeff said, laughing.
            “Shut up!” Eric snapped. “I’m not playing hockey anymore. And I’m a Scott, not a Bungee!”
            “You’re my sister’s son, and that makes you at least half a Bungee,” his uncle said. “It’s my job to make sure you do bounce back. You’ve had a tough break losing your dad and all, but I’m going to do my best to help you forget all that.”
            “I don’t want to forget about it!” Eric yelled, then sank back in his seat as flares erupted in his skull. “I’ll never forget my dad,” he murmured, but no one seemed to have heard.
I wish Stig was here, he thought. Then I could have some fun. Eric had made some new friends, some very different new friends this past summer. He’d met them on an incredible adventure that he still didn’t quite believe had been real.
A talking owl named Stig had taken him on something called an Assignment on another world. There, he’d had an adventure and wound up saving an entire world. He also realized that the accident that had killed his father had not been his fault.
When he had returned home, the feelings of guilt that had plagued him were gone. He was happy, or mostly happy. Then, his mother had decided that he needed to go and “hang out with boys.” She thought he spent too much time inside reading, or drawing. So she’d asked his Uncle Rocco to include him in some “male activities.”
The hockey disaster was just one of many. He just wasn’t an athlete, but what could he do? He couldn’t tell his mother, she’d just worry. So for now, he had to put up with it.
What he really wanted was to go on another Assignment. All through the fall, he’d looked for a sign, but none had come. He was beginning to think his friends had forgotten about him. He wished he could see them again. He needed them.
“I miss you guys,” he said in a whisper, as closed his eyes and laid his head back against the headrest.
So it was that he missed the large snowy white owl that flew in front of the car.
“Woa!” Gordy said, “Did you see that?”
“Yeah, that was some bird,” Uncle Rocco said.
“What was it?” Jeff asked.
“I think it was an owl,” Uncle Rocco replied.
Eric’s eyes snapped open and he sat straight up in his seat.
“A white owl?” he asked.
“Yeah, I think so,” his uncle said. “It just flew across the road.”
Eric looked out his side window, but could not see anything. Could it be…he wondered.

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Writer's Week #55: The Road Less Traveled

One of the harsh realities of being an independent author (aka Indie) is that it's tough to make a go of it on your own. When I set out on this journey over a year ago, I knew this full well. I chose the path I have taken and I accept it. I could have gone the regular route, tried to get an agent to look at my work, waited to hear from them, then once I've secured said agent, waited for them to cast about for a publisher.

Photo by Jody S. Cipot. Check out all his photos
 at  Photography By Jody
Unfortunately, that's not me. For better or for worse, I'm just not patient enough. I'd rather be moving forward than standing around waiting, even if I wind up getting no further in the end. My favorite analogy is I'd rather drive the back roads than be sitting around waiting in traffic, even if I wind up getting there later. It feels like I'm doing something.

I also can't sit back and trust that things will work out in the end, leaving things in someone else's hands. I've got to be in control. Control freak and impatient--bad combination. Still, I think in the long run, I'll be happy with the choice I've made.

I've learned a lot along the road, and met many fantastic people. I think I'm better able to multi-task. Before, I would have stopped at one book and worked to get published. I needed that closure before starting another project. Now, I've published one book, have an audio book that was just released, a second book in final editing and production, and a third book that's almost a quarter done. Wow, tires me out just typing that!

The fact is, I never would have grown so much if I'd decided to take the traditional route. I may have been more successful monetarily, but then again, maybe not. All I know is I am enjoying the ride, although sometimes I still doubt myself. After all, it's hard to do any kind of marketing with little or no money, but I do the best I can. Sometimes when sales are slow (i.e. after Christmas) it bothers me that I don't have the marketing power of a publisher behind me, but thanks to the support of people like you, I know that the next sales run is just around the corner.

I wonder if there's a door in this drainpipe...photo by Jody S. Cipot
In the meantime, I'll keep moving forward with all my projects. Let me tell you, it's never dull. That's the reason why I love it so much. Thanks again for all your support. I can't begin to express how much it means to me.

Now, on to the weekly writing update. I hit my goal of 2,000 words this week. The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang, now stands at 12,000 words, 55 pages, and 11 chapters. The Deliverers 2: Order of the Crystal Lion is still waiting for a cover. I'm also waiting for the last of my test readers to give me their opinions/suggestions. I was gratified to hear from one this week that said book 2 is "amazing", and that it kept her guessing all the way through, and all of her guesses turned out to be wrong! I love that.

Sales of the audio book in its first week of release have been a little slower than anticipated. I had hoped that the audio book listening community at Audible and Amazon would have checked it out. I think it suffered a little due to the fact that the category Audible originally placed it in was Teens 11-13  scifi/fantasy. I've had a word with them, and just yesterday they moved it to Kids 8-10 scifi/fantasy, which I think is more appropriate both from a story and a performance standpoint. We'll see how that works out. I'll update you again next week!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What's Abigail Reading? Amber Brown is Tickled Pink

Abigail continued on her reading blitz this past week. I'm really proud and pleased with the way her reading has increased since heading back to school after the holidays. I think she's actually starting to enjoy her evening reading time. Great to see!

This week, Abigail was reading  Amber Brown is Tickled Pink, by Bruce Coville & Elizabeth Levy. Here's what she had to say about it.

This is what Abigail says the book is about.

"It’s about a girl named Amber. Amber’s mom is getting married to a guy named Max. They decide to have a tiny wedding at Camp Sukatteutt. Then Amber’s mom and Aunt Pam helps Amber pick out a dress. It is hard to pick out a dress because she doesn’t like any of them. Then Amber has to pack because she is spending the weekend with her father for the weekend and they are going to stay at the Plaza hotel. Amber’s dad said that they are going to see a Broadway musial, so then Amber got really excited because she was going to her first Broadway musical.

"When they were leaving to go drop Amber off back at her house she saw the perfect dress that she could wear to her mom’s wedding. Her dad saw it without telling Amber and said that he would buy it for her so then they went into the store and tried it on and it fit so then he bought it for her. Then they drove back home.

"Then when they were all finished they drive home to meet Max and pick him up. Max, Aunt Pam, Amber’s mom, and Amber drive in a car to Max’s grandmother’s and grandfather’s house. Their name was Rose and Herman. Rose and Herman were in the band that played for Max’s and Amber’s mom’s wedding. When they got to Rose and Herman’s house they played a little tune for them and then they all started to dance. Then Max, Aunt Pam, Amber’s mom and Amber drove to Camp Sukatteutt to see how they did for decorating and fixing the camp for Amber’s mom’s and Max’s wedding. Then the wedding came and finally Amber’s mom got remarried."

Here's what Abigail liked most about the book.

"I liked when they went to the Plaza, because I went to the Plaza once and I liked seeing it."

Was there anything she didn't like?

"I didn’t like when her mother got upset with her because Amber’s father got her the dress and it reminded her of her ex-husband."

So, how did Abigail rate  Amber Brown is Tickled Pink, by Bruce Coville & Elizabeth Levy?

She gives it four out of five dolphins!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Interview Series: The Boy Who Cried Wolf

This week we've got a very special guest, Mr. Harry Potter! Ha, got you! No, we couldn't get Harry. I was fibbing. Well, okay, lying actually. Sorry, but I just couldn't help myself. You see, our guest today is one of the most famous liars of all time. I'm talking of course about the Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Greg:  Hello and welcome. It's very nice to have you here.

Boy:  It's very nice to be here. Funny you should mention Harry Potter because he and I are very good friends.

Greg:  You are? Well, that's strange. I hadn't heard anything about that.

Boy:  Oh yes, always we're hanging out together. I'd go up to Hogwarts to spend the holidays with him, he comes over to the field to help keep the wolves at bay. He's a real wizard with a wand is Harry. Big help when it comes to frightening away wolves and all.

Greg:  Really? That seems a bit far fetched to me. You're not just making that up are you?

Boy:  Oh no, no. Well, yes, a bit. You got me. Me and Harry aren't as close as all that. In fact, um, he doesn't really know me. But I'm a big fan of his. Well, that's not strictly true. To be totally honest, I've never met him, just thought it'd be fun if he were my friend, that's all. It's just a harmless bit of fun.

Greg:  Do you lie like this often?

Boy:  No, not often. Oh, well probably more than your average boy, but that doesn't necessarily mean often. You might say I don't tell the truth somewhere between frequently and often.

Greg:  But why?

Boy:  Why? Why? Because I'm the Boy Who Cried Wolf, that's why. I mean, what else am I supposed to do?

Greg:  Well, it's just that I though the incident with the wolves would have discouraged you from any further lying. I thought that was the whole moral of the story.

Boy:  Oh it was. Sure, obviously. That was the whole moral of thee story. Tell too many lies, and no one will believe you when you're telling the truth, blah, blah, blah. All very true. No one should ever lie. I want to stress that in no uncertain terms. But it's just not me. Try as I might, I just can't stop lying. 

Greg:  But why?

Boy:  Because I'm the Boy Who Cried Wolf. I can't do anything else. It's in my nature, I suppose. I tried telling the truth. I really did. But it's just so much fun to make things up. People get so upset. It's funny, I tell you.

Greg:  Hmmm. It doesn't sound funny. You can really get people into trouble by lying, not to mention yourself.

Boy:  Too true, too true. I know. I witnessed that firsthand, but I still can't help myself. I've tried everything, clinics, medicine, shock treatment. Nothing works.

Greg:  Really?

Boy:  No, not really. I'm lying again. I admit it. Boy, you're easy.

Greg:  I guess that brings our discussion to an end. Too bad, because I really enjoyed myself. You're fascinating to talk to.

Boy:  Well, that's very nice of you to say.

Greg:  Well guess again, because I was lying!

Boy:  I'm shocked. Really? How deflating.

Greg:  No, not really. I lied about lying. It's really been a lot of fun.

Boy:  That's good, because I didn't want both of us to be lying about enjoying ourselves.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Writer's Week #54: Another Nice Week

Hi everyone, how are you? I hope you've had a great week. For me, this has been a fantastic writer's week. The cover of The Deliverers 2: Order of the Crystal Lion is progressing, and I hope to have something to review soon. The writing of The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang is going so smoothly, that I have to wonder if it's not going too smoothly. More on that in a bit.

My biggest thrill, though, had to do with my first book, The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel. That's because the audio book version was released on Wednesday on Audible.com, and yesterday on Amazon. It will be available on iTunes shortly, too. What a great feeling! Narrator Jimm Singer worked long and hard on the production, and it shows. It's a great sounding book, if I do say so myself. Here's a video I made of the audio book sample. Blogger does not have an easy way to display audio files (if anyone knows of one, please comment below!), so I produced a video. Take a listen and leave a comment.

video

As I mentioned earlier, The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang, is really moving along quickly. I have not found myself getting bogged down with plot questions. This week, I wrote 3,200 words, bringing me to 10,000, which works out to 10 chapters and 46 pages. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it continues.

I think one of the reasons that it's going so well is that I really planned this one out from the start. It's not that I did not do that for the first two, it's just that I spent more time on it this time around. The vision was there from the start, and I think I'm wiser now and more experienced. Will I ever get to the point where I'll be so inspired that I can write a book in a few weeks? Maybe one day. But even if I do, where would I find three uninterrupted weeks to do it? Right now, I'm just glad that I'm on pace to finished the first draft by the end of June rather than the end of August. Will I be able to keep up the pace? I'll update you again next week. 



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Deliverers Sounds Great

I'm writing today with good news. The audio version of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel was released today on Audible.com! It's been a long process which began in the middle of September, but along the way, but I've learned a lot and made a great friend in narrator Jimm Singer.

The audio book is currently available at Audible.com. In the next few days, it will also be released on Amazon and iTunes. The cost is $19.95 for the 5 hour 17 minute production. Please check it out and tell your friends.








Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What's Abigail Reading? Mallory on the Move

Abigail has been reading up a storm so far this year. She's showing a new interest in reading, sparked by reading to her mother every evening. I think she really enjoys some alone time with mom. Sometimes Stephanie will read to her, too. Abby has been reading Mallory on the Move!, by Laurie Friedman. Let's see what she had to say about it.

Here's what Abigail says the book is about.

"The book is about a girl named Mallory and her family. Mallory and her family move to a place called Wish Pond Road but when Mallory finds out that she is moving she gets all upset because she doesn't want to leave her best friend MaryAnn. Then when they get their new house they show them their rooms. Mallory’s brother gets a bigger room than her so then she complains that her brother gets a bigger room. Next she meets a girl next door named Winnie.

"Mallory asked her if she wanted to come to the wish pond with her but she just stared and said NO! Then MaryAnn her best friend came over to spend the weekend. They had a lot of fun. They painted their nails purple and Mallory gave MaryAnn a tour of the house. Then MaryAnn said she wanted to see the wish pond.

"When they were walking to the wish pond Joey, her other next door neighbor, asked if he could come along too, and she said yes. Then MaryAnn asked if he wanted to play their favorite game where they put out food on the table and spin around. Whatever food they get they have to try it. When it was Joey’s turn he had to try cat food. He said it was disgusting and then he went home. The last day that MaryAnn was there, she heard her mom and Mallory’s mom say goodbye then when it was time to go MaryAnn hid Mallory in a box in her car to go home with her."

Here's what Abigail liked best about the book.

"I really liked when Joey ate the cat food, because it was funny. When I was two I ate some cat food and it was delicious!"

Was there anything that Abigail did not like about the book?

"I did not like when Mallory hides in the car, because it is not right to leave home."

So, how did Abigail rate Mallory on the Move!, by Laurie Friedman?

She gave it four and a half out of five dolphins.



Friday, January 11, 2013

A Writer's Week #53: Trying to Make My Goal

This week was another typical one for me, one I'm sure that you experience rather frequently as well--busy. There wasn't a whole lot of time for me to do the things I really needed to do writing-wise. Naturally, I was worried that I would not be able to hit my weekly writing goal of 2,000 words.

Now if you think about it, that is not a very aggressive goal. It's less than 300 words a day. But it's really all I can realistically hope for on average these days with everything else I've got going on in my life. Some weeks, I find myself scrambling to reach it. Like this week.

The weekend was busy, so no writing was done there. Then on Monday, I figured I'd get to work setting up my author blog. Cyber dunce that I am, I wasted a lot of time on a technical glitch (that I'm still waiting for blogger to clear up--sigh), which resulted in me using two evenings that could have been spent writing trying to figure things out. Oh well. Although the domain issues have not been hammered out, I have made great strides in setting up the new site and it's looking pretty good. 

That left just Wednesday and Thursday evening for me to get some writing done. Suddenly my 300 words a night had shot to 1,000. Oh boy, now I was in trouble. Luckily, I have a very understanding wife who let me hole myself up in our room for two nights to write. Then again, after hearing me growl at my computer for two nights while I struggled with the site, maybe she was happy to be rid of me...

Anyway, in spite of things, I managed to write 2,100 words. The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang now stands at a little over 6,900 words, which is five chapters and 30 pages. It's coming along very nicely, I must say.

My other projects are still in their holding patterns. I had been hoping that the audio book version of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel would have been released by now. However, it has to go through a stringent review process before ACX releases it, and my book is not the only one they're getting ready to release, so that makes for a longish wait. I'll let you know as soon as it's released. Who knows, maybe that will be next week! I hope you have a great one.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Did You Know? Winnie-the-Pooh

Since I had a chance to interview Winnie-the-Pooh this week, I thought it would be fun to see what kind of interesting facts I could find about the book Winnie-the-Pooh and its author, A.A. Milne. Here's what I found.

Did you know...

  • Milne named Christopher Robin after his son, Christopher Robin Milne?
  • Christopher Robin Milne's stuffed bear was named Edward was renamed Winnie-the-Pooh after a black bear named Winnie, which was used as a military mascot in World War I? "The pooh" comes from a swan called "Pooh".
  •  E. H. Shepard illustrated the original Pooh books, using his own son's teddy, Growler as the model? 
  • The rest of Christopher Robin Milne's toys, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Owl, Rabbit and Tigger, were written into A. A. Milne's stories and are now displayed at what used to be the main branch of the NNew York Public Library?
  • The Hundred Acre Wood where the Pooh stories take place is based on the Five Hundred Acre Wood in Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, South East England?
  • One of A. A. Milne's teachers was H. G. Wells?
  • Milne was one of Britain's first film writers? He wrote a series of four films in 1920?
  • Milne also wrote a play based on Kenneth Grahame's novel The Wind in the Willows called Toad of Toad Hall?
  • In 2008, a collection of original illustrations featuring Winnie-the-Pooh and his animal friends sold for more than £1.2m at auction in Sotheby's, London

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday Interview Series: Winnie-the-Pooh

I was scratching my head wondering who I was going to interview this week. I've interviewed so many lovely characters from children's literature this past year, that it's getting difficult to come up with someone new to chat with.

So I was sitting in my favorite thinking place with my eyes closed, tapping my head saying "Think, think, think...think think," when it hit me. I really needed to track down one of my favorites when I was little. I'm talking, of course, about Winnie-the-Pooh. I hiked on over to the Hundred Acre Wood, and was fortunate to find him at home and in an agreeable mood.

Greg:  Well, it certainly is a pleasure to have a chance to chat with you Pooh Bear.

Pooh:  Likewise, I'm sure. Um, that wouldn't happen to be a honey pot you're holding would it?

Greg:  Why yes as a matter of fact it is. I was going to have some a little later.

Pooh:  Later? Oh, well you can have it later of course. But, uh, I usually find that later, while very nice on its own, is not quite as nice as er...

Greg:  Not a nice as what, Pooh?

Pooh:  Well, not as nice as now. Now is usually better, I find, than later.

Greg:  That may well be true, but I'm afraid if I give you any honey I won't get another word out of you. I would be happy to share this with you after our interview.

Pooh:  Oh bother. If there's one thing that's worse than later, it's after. 

Greg:  Patience Pooh Bear. I promise we'll get to the honey. But first, this is a very interesting house you live in. I noticed the sign above the door. Who is Mr. Sanders?

Pooh:  The memory escapes me at present, but I remember that my family has lived under the name of Sanders for time out of mind. It is a cozy house, but it feels rather empty now as there is not a drop of honey in the place, which makes me all rumbly in my tumbly, you see.

Greg:  Yes, I do see. Not to worry Pooh, every minute brings us closer to the end and honey.

Pooh:  That's not what Rabbit says. He says that every minute brings us closer to the end, and then that's it. There isn't anything. Piglet does not agree. He says that there is something very lovely when we get to the end. Christopher Robin agrees  with Piglet, but Eeyore thinks Rabbit makes a lot of sense. What do you think?

Greg:  Well, I've always been of the opinion that there's something very nice at the end, like this jar of honey.

Pooh:  I'll tell you what I think. Mind you, it's probably not right. My thinker does not think too well, you see. I think once one story ends another begins. The first story, if it's any good, makes you excited for the next one, and that one will lead to another even better one. That's what I think, although I'm probably wrong.

Perhaps all there are in the next story are heffalumps and woozles and Jagulars. That would not be a very happy story. I thought I was in a story like that the other night. It was quite blustery. There were lots of thumps and bumps. I would have thought they were after my honey, if I had any that is.

Greg:  Oh dear, how terrifying. What happened?

Pooh:  Well, I hid under the bed quite a bit. But it turned out that it wasn't a heffalump or a woozle. It was a Tigger.

Greg:  A tigger. What sort of creature is that?

Pooh:  Very stripedy. Orange and black stripes. He laughs and jokes, too. Mostly, though, he bounces. He bounces all over the place. He scared poor Piglet half to the next story when he met him. Poor Piglet. He always gets so scared. I'll have to introduce you sometime.

Greg:  To whom, Tigger or Piglet?

Pooh:  Both, actually. I'll introduce you to everybody, because you can't know everybody until you've met them. Once you meet them, then I'm sure you'll recognize them because I've told you so much about them, you see?

Greg:  Strangely enough, I think I do. Listen Pooh, my head is starting to hurt, so how about ending this interview and having some honey? Thanks for chatting with me.

Pooh:  Yes, please. Chatting is lovely in its way, but it can't really compare to some nice honey. Mmmm, yummm. Oh this is very, very good. Oh yes, this is definitely fine clover honey with a hint of lavender. Mmmm, mmmm. Oh, bother.

Greg:  What's the matter Pooh?

Pooh:  It's gone already. Not even the sticky parts are left.

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Writer's Week #52: Getting Ready to Soar

Let's see, where to start? This has been a very productive week. First off, I was able to donate $100 to  my local Salvation Army. If you remember in November I pledged to donate 50 cents for every book I sold online and a dollar for every book I sold in person during the last two months of the year. Thank you to everyone who purchased a book for Christmas and holiday gifts! The funds I donated were used to help bring Christmas gifts to needy children.

This week, I also launched my own publishing imprint. All of my future books will be published by White Owl Manuscripts, not Createspace. Createspace will act as printer and distributor. White Owl is now listed as publisher of the Kindle version of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel. With that in mind, I have designed my own logo. You can see it at the left.

Now that White Owl Manuscripts is off the ground, and with the upcoming release later this year of my second book, I'm going to be assessing this blog. I'm thinking about renaming it and switching the domain to my own name. This would give me more flexibility the more titles I release and if (when) I start writing other genres.

Okay, enough of the business stuff. This was also a great week for writing. I left my weekly writing goal of 2,000 words far behind. I wound up writing 3,100 words. The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang is progressing nicely. I'm at 4,800 words, which gets me up to 22 pages and into chapter 4. At this point of the story, Eric and company have been given their Assignment and been sent through the door to yet another world that needs their help. Eric has also had a chat with the Gatekeeper, who has some troublesome information for him.

As for the other projects I've got going on, there's nothing to report on the audio book front. Jimm and I are still waiting for ACX to complete their review process. I'm guessing they'll release it sometime next week, but don't know for sure.

As for The Deliverers 2: Order of the Crystal Lion, I'm waiting on my test readers and my art department (a/k/a Daniel Vogel) before I can move forward. I'm champing at the bit, but know that patience is a virtue, so I'll keep smiling and waiting. I'll let you know what happens next week!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What's Abigail Reading? Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

This week, Abigail is taking a cue from her brother and reading a Wimpy Kid book. She's going to tell us all about Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney.

Here's what Abigail says the book is about.

"The book is about a boy named Greg. Greg and his family go to the town beach to swim. When Greg gets called into the pool by his baby brother he finds out that he doesn't want to go into the pool because it was to crowded and that his baby brother peed in the pool. Then his dad wanted to have quality time together so they did all kinds of fun stuff like going fishing, joining a camp, and join the army.

''Then Rowley invites Greg to come with him to the beach. On the way they sing one hundred bottles on the wall.  Then they finally got to the little cottage. When they got all settled they played a game called 'I love you because'. Then Greg begged to go to the boardwalk but they said no then finally they said that they could go for a couple of hours. Then when they get back it was time to go to bed. When Greg saw that Mr. Jefferson went to use the bathroom he quietly sent a message to his mom. When Greg gets home he gets a call from Rowley saying he can't get invited to country club anymore because of what happened. Then Greg got his big brother to play at Heather Hill's party."  

Here's what Abby liked best about the book.

"I liked when his baby brother Manny peed in the pool."

Was there anything Abigail did not like about the book?

"I didn't like when they went to the boardwalk, because they got in trouble."

So, how did Abigail rate Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney?

She gave it four out of five dolphins.