Friday, June 29, 2012

A Writer's Week #25: Little Bit of This, Little Bit of That

Well, nothing earth shattering to report on the writing front this week, I'm afraid. Unlike last week, where I did a lot of work on the blog, I didn't do a whole lot other than write.

I did manage to introduce a new series of posts, though. Cal Endria's Journal should be pretty interesting. Each week I'll be featuring an entry in the journal, which was written by Calvin Endria, Kate's great-great-great-etc. grandfather and founder of Calendria. It should be fun to see things from old Cal's perspective, and maybe clear up some things that were not explained in The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel.

Yesterday, I leaked out a little snippet of The Deliverers 2, just because I thought folks would enjoy it. Please take a look and let me know what you think. 

Writing is a solitary type of activity. I've been working on the sequel since December, and--aside from my wife--haven't shared anything with anyone. So, I'm just guessing that I'm on the right track. I'm pretty sure I am, since I've rewritten a few spots. Please check out the preview and let me know if I am or not.

This week, I was able to write about 1,000 words, but the going is slow. Summer's here and there's less time to write. The lawn needs to be mowed, the kids are staying up later. It's tough. However, the book is now about 28,500 words and the story is moving along.

There are still one or two plot points that will have me scratching my head when I get to them. I am trying to anticipate that and ideas are simmering in the back of my brain, but I still think I'll hit a roadblock or two before all is said and done. 

My completion goal has changed to Labor Day, with rewrites to follow that. I think it's aggressive, but we'll see. If I can up my weekly total to 2,000 words, then I've got a shot. I'll let you know how I'm doing again next week.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sneak Peek: The Deliverers Book 2

I've been working on the sequel to The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel for about six months now, and I'm a little over halfway through. If you've been following along in my A Writer's Week posts, you've got a good sense of my trials and tribulations. 

I thought now would be a good time to give you a little taste of the new book. This is an excerpt from Chapter 27. Let me know what you think.

Hallo handed the torches out to everyone, and Eric was able to get a good look at the sewers. They were much like Cy had described. There was a channel running down the middle of the tunnel in which brackish water flowed. Garbage floated in the water. On either side of the channel was a concrete walkway. The tunnel was dark, although Eric found he could see a little bit as his eyes adjusted to the darkness.

“Not the most cheery place in the world,” Eric said.

“Not even close,” Kate agreed.

“Now, now,” Hallo said cheerfully. “What kind o’ talk is that? M’ folk have a sayin’, ‘It’s better underground.’ Aint no truer words ‘n that I’m a thinkin’.”

Eric and Kate looked at each other, and then laughed. “Whatever, Hallo,” Eric said. “Which way do we go, Cy?”

Cy pointed off down the channel. “That’s the way to Pig Town. We better get movin’.We gotta catch up t’ Ari, an’ it don’t pay to stay in one place for long down here.”

Cy and Chunk started off at a brisk pace down the walkway, followed by Eric, Kate and Hallo. It was funny, but after a little bit, Eric found that he couldn’t notice the smell so much anymore. He did notice other things, though.

For one thing, he thought he heard a scrabbling and scraping as they walked. He couldn’t be sure if it was just the echoes of the group’s footsteps, or if it was the sound of unseen creatures in the darkness beyond the reach of their torchlight.

“Hey, does anyone else hear anything?” he asked.

“No, no I don’t,” Hallo said. “Unless by hearin’ anythin’, ya mean do I hear the sounds o’ some creatures followin’ us out in the darkness, then yes, yes I do, laddie.”

“I was afraid of that,” Eric said, and tightened the grip on his immobilizer as they continued down the channel.

Suddenly, the quiet of the sewer was rent by a horrible screech. Eric thought it sounded like part howl and part squeak.

“We’re bein’ tracked,” Cy said over his shoulder to them. “We gotta pick up the pace!”

They started jogging down the walkway, which was a difficult thing, because the stones were broken and slimy in places. The scrabbling picked up speed also. Eric thought it sounded like mice scurrying behind a wall, only much louder. Whatever creatures were out there were much larger than mice, and there were a lot of them.

Suddenly, a host of gray forms darted out from the shadows straight toward them. Kate screamed, and Hallo shouted. Cy and Chunk both gave a quick twist, and hurled two immobilizers at them. Instantly, two of the creatures froze, each suspended in a green haze.

The rest were still coming on. Kate threw an immobilizer, and another creature was frozen. One leapt on Hallo, its jaws snapping inches from the dwarf’s throat. Eric, not wanting to immobilize Hallo, fired at the creature with his laser rifle, and the beast fell lifeless to the stones.

“Thanks lad!” Hallo grunted. “Look out behind ya!”

Eric spun around just as one of the creatures bounding toward him leaped.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What's Marissa Reading? Red Scarf Girl

Since Abigail has not finished a book this week, and since Christian read a book that he's already reviewed, their cousin Marissa is pinch hitting again. She's read a very interesting book this week, Red Scarf Girl by Ji Li Jiang.

This memoir looks really interesting. Let's find out what Marissa had to say about it.

 Here's what Marissa says the book is about.

"It takes place during the Chinese Cultural Revolution in 1966. Ji Li Jiang is living a great life. She has brains, respect, and a great future. But things aren't right in communist China, Chairman Mao is taking control but hiding it from all of his people. So Ji Li is still loyal to the chairman and ignores all of the things people are telling her. But as her years go on she sacrifices things like her friends, her reputation, and even her father. Will she come out of Chairman Mao's brainwash? Or will she stay under his command forever? Read the book to find out!"

This is what Marissa liked best about the book.

"I liked how whatever Ji Li went through she always kept fighting for what she believed in."

Was there anything she didn't like?

"I liked it, but it wasn't really my genre. It was half way between fiction and non-fiction. But if you like that kind of stuff its phenomenal, even if you don't (like me) it's still a wonderful book!"

So, how did Marissa rate Red Scarf Girl by Ji Li Jiang?

She gives it four out of five baby giraffes.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Interview Series: Friar Tuck

In January, we interviewed Robin Hood. What fun it was to talk with the Lord of Sherwood! Today, we were able to catch up with his clerical buddy, Friar Tuck. This promises to be most enlightening.

So, without further ado, here's our conversation with the Fabulous Friar.

Greg:  Well, thank you for inviting us back to Sherwood Forest for a chat, my good Friar.

Tuck:  Well, why Lord bless you my son, it was good of you to drop by. Your coming, however much unlooked for will no doubt prove providential.

Greg:  Umm, no doubt. Anyway, in speaking with Robin the last time I was here, the conversation turned to which of his Merry Men  were his favorite, and he stated that it would have to be you.

Tuck:  Did he now? Well, that was mighty decent of him, I must say. Although branded an outlaw--unwarranted mind you--there is no truer, nobler or kind-hearted lad throughout thee entire length and breadth of England.

Greg:  That may well be so, but I'm really interested in finding out a little more about you today. You have carved yourself quite a little niche in the Robin Hood legend.

Tuck:  Why, that's good of you to say, lad. The good Lord knows that I never set out to become famous, just to aid the unfortunate as best I could where ever I found them. I have always done so.

Greg:  What was your childhood like?

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Writer's Week #24: Chhhhanges

Okay, so as you may or may not remember, I made my final school visit of the year last week. It was a great visit--the kids were great and very enthusiastic. During the visit, the teacher, Mrs. Brenning suggested to her class that they could visit my blog and leave comments for me and I could write back. That's true. I always welcome comments and would love to have a bunch of conversations going on.

But it got me to thinking. Why would kids want to visit my blog? Well, I've got some good character interviews, little known facts, and my kids do book reviews. That's a good start. But what else could I do to make it a little more kid friendly? I also thought that maybe I should weave in a little more information about The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel. After all, the land of Calendria and the people who live there have a lot to offer, and they're pretty interesting.

So I've made some changes to the blog. You may have noticed them if you've been stopping by regularly.  First of all, I changed the typeface of the headings to a fancier, more colonial Calendrian-like script. Ooooh, fancy. Then, I collected some pictures--many of them my own--to form a video tour of Calendria & the Lands Beyond to give visitors a little feel for the book (and besides that, it's fun!). I changed the name of a few pages to reflect this new Calendrian feel as well.

But I didn't stop there, I added a page about Sharky and the pirates of Calendria (Here Be Pirates). In there, kids can find out a little bit about what makes pirates tick, as well as a few links to kid friendly sites about pirates.

Another new page, Dwarf Kingdom History, is just that. It includes a brief history of their underground world as well as a few pictures. There are also a few links to kid friendly sites about geology and minerals for those who, like the dwarves, are interested in rocks and jewels.

Not to be outdone, Kate insisted that I set aside a page to highlight Calendria. So, in the Calendrian History page, I review that village's history. Kate wrote the introduction. I also have some links to a few places that are decidedly Calendrian.

I think these changes make the blog a lot more fun and interesting I'd like to know what you think, please take a look around and post a comment or two.

Now for this week's rundown on the Deliverers sequel. I had unraveled a bunch of problems, but as soon as I started moving forward last week, I hit another roadblock. I think I panicked a bit to be honest, because this week I came up with an answer that was laughably simple.

In the problem section, Eric, Kate and Hallo are helping some other characters evacuate some families through the sewer (stinky, I know). I had them in the middle of the party. When the whole party is attacked, I could not figure out how the three of them could be captured from out of a group of about 200 people. I thought about it for a week, off and on, and could not figure it out.

Then, it hit me. Instead of placing them in the center of the group, why not put them at the end? They allow the rest to escape and get captured along with one or two other people. Problem solved. With that, I was able to write over 1,000 words and move things along. It's easy when you can think straight. Unfortunately, thinking straight is not always an easy thing to do.

Oh my, this post has turned out longer than I thought it would. Oh well. If you made it this far, perhaps you'd enjoy this little snippet of the 70's. I'll update you again next week!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What's Abigail Reading? Junie B. Jones and That Meanie Jim's Birthday

School will be officially out in our neck of the woods tomorrow. Abigail is not a big reader, at least not as big a reader as her brother who almost--almost mind you--prefers reading to any other activity. For Abby, it's more about competition. She wants to have a post on the blog just like Christian.

So, I'm hoping these posts will motivate her to read a little bit more over the summer than she ordinarily would. This week she has been reading pretty steadily, but she would not let me find out what she was reading.

Today, she finally saw fit to tell me. It's Junie B. Jones and That Meanie Jim's Birthday by Barbara Park.

Here's what Abigail says the book is about>

"Jim didn't invite Junie B. Jones to his birthday party. She was the only one in their class that he didn't invite. He didn't because Junie B. Jones calls him names. She almost punches Meanie Jim in the face. So she had to go to the principal's office. She hid under a bag so the principal wouldn't notice her.

"The principal had to talk to her about not punching people. She had to call her mom and her mom was yelling at her for doing it.

"The next day, she said she didn't want to go to school because she didn't want to see Meanie Jim, but her parents forced her. So she did. When she got to school, she didn't talk to anybody, but at recess she got an invitation. I won't tell you what happens next, you'll have to read it."

Here's what Abby liked best about the book.

:"I liked the part where Junie B. Jones went to the principal's office. I liked that because she really needed it, because she always, always, always misbehaved in class."

Was there anything she didn't like about the book?

"I didn't like that she almost punched Meanie Jim in the face. That wasn't nice."

So, how does Abigail rate Junie B. Jones and That Meanie Jim's Birthday by Barbara Park?

Abigail gives it four out of five puppies and kittens.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Writer's Week #23: School's Out (Almost)

This was another terrific week. First of all, I was privileged to be interviewed by the gang at Lollipops and Books. They asked some great questions. You can check it out here. Once again, thanks a lot for letting me chat with you!

Today, I visited Mrs. Brenning's 5th grade class. It was a lot of fun. The kids were great, and had a lot of questions. This was the first class that read the whole book before I visited them. That was really cool. I was able to talk to them about what they were writing.

They had been writing in journals. One of the things they did was write a description of their favorite scene in The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel, and draw a picture of it. It was great to see what they drew--they were all very good! Since they'd read the whole book, I was able to ask them about their favorite scenes. It was a great perspective that I hadn't had before.

Hey, we all match!
I had a really great time, and I'd like to thank Mrs. Brenning and her entire class for making me feel so welcome. The muffins and juice at the end were great, too! This visit was a great way to end the school year. All in all, I visited seven schools and spoke with ten classes, and I enjoyed every visit! I'm looking forward to visiting more classes next year.

On the writing front, I've hit a little snag. I know what I want to write next, but I'm not quite sure of how I'm going to get there. So, I've been wrestling with that this week. Oh well, no one said it would be easy. I know when I figure it out, the solution will be great, and it will set the stage for the resolution of the whole book. I guess that's why I'm struggling so much with it.

Hopefully, I'll get it right this week. Whatever happens, I'll let you know all about it next week!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

New Interview on Lollipops and Books

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the gang at the Lollipops and Books blog. They asked me some real thought provoking questions, and I had a blast answering them. To view the interview, click the link: Lollipops and Books Interview.

They're also hosting a giveaway at the bottom of the interview. Enter to win a free Kindle edition of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel

That's cool, but what's even cooler is the fact that I am also participating in a giveaway being run in support of Autism Speaks. If you make any kind of donation to this worthy cause, you will be entered in a giveaway to win a fantastic prize pack. I've donated a signed copy of The Deliverers as well as a bunch of signed bookmarks. The giveaway runs until July 1st. To enter, click here.

Here's a rundown of the prizes being offered. Note: This list will probably grow as the month goes on.
  • 2 Elmo Board Books
  • I'm Squirrely by Brenda Lochinger *Kindle Edition*
  • Sheet of Puffy Sea Creature Stickers
  • Moo Cow Eye Pop Pen (super cute)
  • 2 Kid Erasers
  • Shrinky Pinky by Jim Jinkins Level 2 Reader
  • The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel *Signed Copy*
  • 5 The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel Bookmarks
  • Fern Valley Tote Bag
  • Fern Valley Notebook and Pen

Please check out this fantastic new blog, and give what you can to a great cause. If you're an author or publisher and would like to donate a book or something book related to the giveaway, please click here

Look for news of a new review of The Deliverers next week!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What's Christian Reading? The Hunger Games

Last week, my wife found out that The Hunger Games was only $5.00 on Kindle, so she decided to buy it. That was good news for me, because I'd been planning to read it forever, so I figured I'd be able to get around to it as soon as I had some free time.

Meanwhile, Christian was looking for something new to read. I suggested starting Narnia or The Hobbit, which have been gathering dust on his shelf, mainly because I've been suggesting he read them. Anyway, he heard Hunger Games, and immediately was lost in it  He read it in two days, thanks to a late night session where I had to take the bulb out of his light when I found him reading at 11 pm on a school night.

So here's Christian's take on The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Here's what Christian says The Hunger Games is about.

"It's about a girl called Katniss Everdeen, strange name I know. Her society holds something called the Huger Games every year. When you reach the age of 12, you qualify to be seleccted. You don't want to be selected because it's a battle to the death.

"Katniss' sister Prim gets selected even though she has only one ticket to put in the pot. Katniss had 20 tickets to put in the pot. Against the odds, Prim is selected. Katniss volunteers to go in her place to save her little sister.

The boy who is chosen from her district is Peeta, the baker's son. Now, they'll have to kill each other and the other contestants to win. In the middle of the games when most of the contestants are gone, they announce that two people if they're from the same district can win together.

"I'm not going to spoil the rest for you. You'll just have to read the book to find out what happens nnext."

What did Christian like best about the book?

"I loved all of it, literally. If I had to pick one thing, I liked how Katniss gave herself to the Hunger Games to save her sister."

Was there anything he did not like about the book?

"No, I liked it all."

So, how did Christian rate Thee Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins?

Christian gives The Hunger Games five out of five flaming monkey heads.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Deliverers Interview: Mr. Marrow

We'll be wrapping up this latest round of Deliverers interviews with someone truly nasty. Yes, that's right, we'll be speaking with Captain Sharky's first mate, Mr. Marrow. Now Sharky was violent, cruel and brutal, but Mr. Marrow is  just plain creepy. I always thought he added another layer of evil to the pirate band in The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel.

In spite of the way he creeps me out, I thought it would be interesting to get his point of view on the whole Deliverers rebellion. What did he think of Sharky, the villagers, the pirates? Let's see if we can get him to spill his guts. Umm, might not have been the best choice of words there...

Greg:  Hello there, Mr. Marrow. It's a er, umm, pleasure to have you here tonight.

Marrow:  Oh and it's extremely nice to be here, I can assure you.

Greg:  Well, heh, that's awfully nice of you to say. Have you been sailing with Sharky for long?

Marrow:  Aye squire, that I did. Now Sharky lived infernally long. I rose through the ranks to become his first mate. All told, I sailed with him for over 30 years. Before I came along, he went through mates like he changed clothes--every year or so.

Greg:  How did you manage to stick around so long?

Marrow:  The Captain and I complement each other. He is more direct, more forceful--like a Force 5 hurricane. On the other hand, I am much more subtle. I keep him calm enough so that he doesn't rip someone limb from limb before we squeeze every ounce of usefulness from them. Waste not want not, it's the most prudent course. Torture is more effective than force in most cases, I've learned. Sharky sometimes forgets that.

Greg:  Well sure, yeah, of course. I could see that. So what is it like, sailing the high seas with Sharky and his crew?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Deliverers Interview: Jeremiah Tosis

As we head into summer, I thought it might be a good idea to interview some more characters from my book, The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel. Please click the link and "Like" the book's Amazon page if you have a second. Last week week spoke with Charles Endria, the Lord Mayor of Calendria, and Cordon, blacksmith and town Council Member.

This week, I thought we'd journey beneath the Iron Mountains to the Dwarf Kingdom to speak with Hallo's father, Jeremiah Tosis. I thought it might be interesting to find out a little about Jeremiah's career and to see if he could give us any insight to Hallo's childhood.

Greg:  Thank you Jeremiah for letting us visit you here in your lovely home.

Jeremiah:  You're welcome. It aint no big deal t' have Big Folk visitin' the Kingdom nowadays, but back before all the recent hubbub, it were unheard of.

Greg:  Recent hubbub? Oh yes, you mean before Eric and Stig's visit. Well, yes there wasn't much traffic between the Big Folk and the dwarves back in the day. The dwarves kind of kept themselves hidden, didn't they?

Jeremiah:  That's so. I didn't do no good messin' with things that weren't none of our concern. Leastways, that were the prevailin' line o' thought.

Greg:  So, Jeremiah, what's your role in the Dwarf Kingdom?

Jeremiah:  Well sir, I don't mind tellin' ya that I hold a right important position within the Kingdom. I'm the Royal Goldsmithy t' His Majesty, King Angus Thunderhelm. I'm in charge of the precious metal-works what makes all sorts o' rare an' wond'rous things for His Majesty. 

I'm not ashamed t' say that m' creations're deemed t' be rare an' wonderful by them as should know best.

Greg:  Well that's just fine, Jeremiah. I've seen your work and it's definitely of the highest quality. I'd like to talk a little about your son, Hallo Tosis, who accompanied Eric, Stig and Kate on their journey.

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Writer's Week #22: Another Productive Week

This was a fantastic writing week. While work remains busy and will be for the foreseeable future, I was still able to buckle down and get some serious writing and editing done on the new book. In addition, I resumed my school visits this week. On top of that, I received a great review a couple weekends ago in A Book A Day. So things are moving along pretty well in Writer's Land.

As far as the new book goes, the sequel to The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel is back on track. After the massive rewriting/editing job I was working on last week, I still had another, smaller section that needed some work. So, I finished that up early this week. I turned a journey through a sewer where there was one small problem into a flight through the sewer where Eric and company were pursued by a horde of beasts and attacked by some nasty creatures. The whole Chapter is muuch more tense and scary now. That's become my writing mantra lately--instill a sense of urgency. I'm not all the way there yet, but I'm getting there!

With that finished, I was able to start moving the story forward again. In addition to adding about 500 words in the rewrite, I wrote about 1,000 words of totally new stuff. So, my word count now stands at 26,500, and I've just started chapter 32. My first book was only 27 chapters and it was 200 pages and 53,000 words long. Obviously the chapters in the new book are shorter, mainly because I'm cutting back and forth between two sets of characters. Eventually, they'll meet up again, but they seem to be doing everything in their power to keep that from happening.

Today, I was privileged to spend some time with Mrs. Baird's 7th grade classes. I sat in on three classes, and really had a blast. These were the oldest students that I've met with so far, and I was a little nervous. I wasn't sure how into it they would be.

Thankfully, I didn't have to worry. For the most part they were enthusiastic, and asked great questions. I also enjoyed hearing about their writing projects. Mrs. Baird let me read a few of them, and they really had some great ideas--things that I never would have thought of, but which were extremely creative.

I am always amazed at the ideas and insights that students of all ages provide when I visit. I remember the affect that authors who visited my classes had on me when I was in school. I can only hope that my visits have a similar affect for at least one or two students. That alone would make this whole writer thing worthwhile.

I was talking to Mrs. Baird and Mrs. Riter, another teacher at the school who is a friend of mine and a big supporter, between periods. We were talking about how this generation's texting and emailing has become more important to them than actually talking. It's true things are changing, but being able to speak to people directly is a skill that we as a society cannot afford to let die.

Thankfully, one thing that seems to be going strong is our students' love of reading and literature. When it comes right down to it, kids can't pass up a good story. But they have to be introduced to those stories and the main source is our teachers. So to all the teachers out there who are so passionate about reading and writing and are dedicated to passing that on to your students, thank you!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Favorite Books: Bums, an Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers

I'm going to start this post off by saying, I know. This book does not have anything to do with children's literature, my life as a children's author, or anything else that this blog is about. I get that. However, there's more to me than children's books, and the whole purpose of the My Favorite Books series of posts is to talk about, well, my favorite books.

Bums: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers by Peter Golenbock has been one of my favorite books since I was in  high school. For one thing, I have always been a baseball fan. My favorite team is the Los Angeles Dodgers. So, my parents must have thought I'd like the book and gave it to me one Christmas.

Why this is one of my favorite books.

This book traces the history of the Dodgers before they moved to LA. From 1890 to 1957, the club was based in Brooklyn. The team's history is highlighted through interviews conducted with everyone connected with the team throughout those years. Many of them were still living at the time the book was written. 

Reading the book gave me a sense of where the team came from and how it grew to be the team it is today. I learned a lot about the importance of Jackie Robinson breaking the color line in baseball and was proud that my team had been the one to make that happen.

The book also connected the history of the team with other historical events and trends, like the spread of the population from cities to the suburbs, which eventually forced the team to move out west and expand Major League Baseball beyond the Mississippi River. That appealed to my interest in history.

What I didn't know when I first read it.

I did not know much of the history of the Dodgers, other than the fact that they used to play in Brooklyn, but moved out west, which ticked everyone in New York off. So, the book taught me a lot about the history of the team and baseball in general. I guess that's obvious.

It would not be until years later that I learned this book had a local connection to me. Fast forward twenty years or so. My wife and I were expecting, and were looking for a pediatrician. It turns out that the pediatric medical group that we selected had a Dr. Golenbock.listed among its doctors. Could he possibly be related to the author, Peter Golenbock? 

Sure enough, they were brothers. Small world, isn't it?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What's Abigail Reading? Michelle, the Not-So-Great Outdoors

Okay, so here's the deal. Abigail has been lobbying to be able to talk to me on the blog about books she's been reading. So I've managed to negotiate an accord whereby Christian and Abigail will talk with me about what they've been reading every other week.

Last week, Christian talked about a book, so now it's Abby's turn. We'll see how this works out. I really don't know if this is a passing fad with Abigail or not.Like many second graders, she wants to do what her big brother is doing if it seems cool. I'd like her to stick with it as it will encourage her to read. If you like what she has to say, please leave your comment at the bottom of the post--it will give her some encouragement. Thanks!

This week, Abby is reading a book featuring characters from the old Full House TV show, Michelle, the Not-So-Great Outdoors.

Here's what Abby says the book it about.

"Michelle and her family are going camping. Michelle signed up for an outdoors class. When the family got to the campsite, they ate dinner because it was getting late. The next morning they had pancakes with mint syrup, and Michelle didn't like it. Some of the syrup got on her clothes. 

"So Danny told her to go to the bathrooms, where there were showers. So she went into the shower and put her clothes on the door. When she was ready to get dressed, she found her clothes were gone and had to run back to camp in a towel. That was the start of her not so good camping trip.

"She meets a girl named Elizabeth who doesn't get along with at first. They are competing against each other for the Chipmunk Trophy. Whoever gets the most points in different events wins. I won't tell you what happens, but they work things out in the end."

Here's what Abby liked best about the book.

"I really liked when Michelle went to her first day of outdoors class. I liked it because they got to build shelters out of leaves and branches, whatever they wanted."

Was anything she didn't like?

"I didn't like that Elizabeth and Michelle got lost in the woods. I imagined what it would be like if I was lost. I didn't like that."

So, how did Abby rate The Not-So-Great Outdoors?

Abby gives it five out of five puppies and kittens.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Deliverers Interview: Cordon

Our second Deliverers interview this week is with Cordon the blacksmith and Calendria Council member. Let's see what he's got to say.

Greg:  Hi Cordon. Thanks for taking some time out of your busy schedule to talk with us.

Cordon:  Don't mention it. Always happy to chew the fat with one of Eric's friends.

Greg:  You were one of the first Calendrians to push for actively resisting Sharky, is that right?

Cordon:   I'm not rightly sure what you mean. If you're asking was I one of the first to say that we should stand up to Sharky and his lowdown band of scum, then yeah, I'd say I was. THe majority of the village was afraid of Sharky. I guess I couldn't blame them, seeing as how he seemed to live forever.

Greg:  But you weren't aftraid?

Cordon:  Oh sure, I was afraid. But I got to thinking. Did I want to go spending my life always under that filthy dogs thumb? As far as I was concerned, that wasn't any way to live. So what could I do? Sit around while he robbed us blind and made our lives miserable, or do something about it? I chose to do something.

Greg:  So what did you decide to do?

Cordon:  Well, sir, I started making weapons. I figured one day they'd come in handy when I convinced everyone that resistance was the only course of action. And they did come in handy, eventually.

I never put much stock in the Deliverers legend, but I have to admit to the truth of it now. It took the arrival of Eric and Stig to spark the village. If they hadn't arrived, I don't know what would have happened.

Greg:  So what was your plan?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Deliverers Interview: Charles Endria

Well, some time has passed since The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel was published--seven months tomorrow to be exact. It seems like a long time ago. Some of you may recall that when I first started this blog, I conducted interviews with the main characters in the book; Eric Scott, Kate Endria, Stig, Hallo Tosis, and Sharky. I thought it was a good way to introduce folks to the book. If you missed those, you can find them here.

Now that more of you are familiar with the story, I've decided to feature a few more characters. I'll have an interview today and tomorrow, and a couple more next week. Today, we'll be chatting with Charles Endria, the Lord Mayor of Calendria.

Greg: Welcome to Deliverers Publishing Headquarters. It's great to have a chance to speak with you.

Charles:  Thank you for having me. 

Greg:  For the benefit of those who may not be familiar with the book, you are the Lord Mayor of the village of Calendria and the father of Kate Endria, who assists Eric and Stig on their Assignment.

Charles:  That's right, Greg. Our village had been victimized for centuries by the pirate captain Sharky and his band of cutthroats. Eric and Stig arrived to help us. It was Kate who first recognized them as The Deliverers, heroes of an ancient legend.

Greg:  Yes, and she managed to convince you that the legend referred to them. How was she able to do that?

Charles:  Well, first of all you have to remember that one of the Deliverers was an eagle with the gift of speech. Now, Stig is no eagle, but he can definitely talk. That caught my attention. But I suppose the main reason that she was able to convince me was she passionately believed that one day The Deliverers would appear. It was a belief that she shared with her mother.

Greg:  Yes, I've heard that. You lost her when Kate was a little girl, I believe.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Writer's Week #21: Moving Forward

This was a good week. Everything at work went smoothly. I was able to catch up on onne or two things, while at the same time holding some training sessions for our big project, and also getting in some one on one training with some folks who had just joined the bank.

I was also reasonably successful on the writing front. While I did not move the new book from where it's stood for over a month now, I was able to enhance what I've written so far. I added some tension by following Stig on his mission, showing what happened to him rather than having him recount it later.

I cut back and forth between him and what the others were doing to heighten the tension even more. It turned out to be a nifty little sequence that yielded two new one or two page chapters. What's more important, it makes the whole book better. I still have to tidy up a few loose ends and inconsistencies, but I can do that at my leisure.

While I was working on that, another idea occurred to me that will add a sense of urgency to another scene. This one involves Eric, Kate & Hallo. I'm going to try and work on that tonight. I may be able to get through it by the end of the night, but even if I don't, I'll be moving the story forward this week--finally.

I'm finally satisfied with the book as it stands now. I think it's better, more plausible, and I'm feeling more connected to this world as a result. Are there still things that I have to refine? Sure. Will some elements of the story need to change after I've finished it? Probably. But now I'm sure that I'm on the right track, and that this book will be a fitting sequel to The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel, and that's very empowering.

So, in the next week or so, the book will start moving forward once more. I'd love to have it all written, rewritten, and edited by the end of the year. Will it be? Keep checking in, and find out along with me!