Friday, November 30, 2012

A Writer's Week #47: The Kindness of Strangers

Well, it's been yet another busy week here at The Deliverers Publishing Headquarters. So many things have been going on, where to start? I attended another show this week--Ladies Day Out in Danbury, CT. It was a great success for all involved. My wife and children helped me out by gift wrapping copies of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel. We had a great time and it was fun hanging out with the other vendors. 

The biggest thrill of the day, however, did not result from the sale of any books. I've mentioned before that I am donating 50 cents of each online purchase and $1.00 of each in person purchase of The Deliverers until the end of the year to the Salvation Army. At the show we were gift wrapping books and asking for a donation to the Salvation Army. A woman walked up to our table, and started writing out a check. Then, she dropped it into our tip jar. When we got home and opened the jar, we found she'd written a check for $50 to the Salvation Army. So, than you so much Janice Lelsey Moore for your generous donation! All in all, I've collected $94.50 for the Salvation Army. Please help support the cause by buying The Deliverers for the children in your lives. It's a great book that they will love.

All right, enough with the sales pitch. The Deliverers 2: Order of the Crystal Lion is shaping up. I've spent the last week making some tweaks. It's mostly ready. There are still a couple things I found that I need to fix. I've sent advance copies of the manuscript out to a few children and adults for a test read. I hope they like it. 

I also was able to reach an agreement with Mother Goose Toys in Litchfield, CT to stock copies of The Deliverers. Thank you Susan, Stephanie and I had a great time visiting with you. So, now there are three spots in Connecticut where you can pick up a copy of the book: Mother Goose Toys in Litchfield; The Barn Gallery in New Fairfield; and Byrd's Books in Bethel. I think I'm going to concentrate on increasing the number of stores stocking my books in the coming year. It's an aspect that I've neglected up to now.

Artist Daniel Vogel sent me a mock up of the cover for The Deliverers 2: Order of the Crystal Lion yesterday. It's looking really good. We had to work out the background and the overall color. I think we figured it out, I just have to see how it actually looks before I'm sure. I hope to be able to unveil the cover sometime before Christmas. Exciting stuff!

The audio book version of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel is nearing completion. My hope is that it will be available in the middle of December. It really sounds terrific. I used my Kindle Fire to play a bunch of videos at the show including the book trailer, my YouTube interviews, and two sample chapters from the audio book. I received a lot of great feedback on the audio chapters. I'll let you know the minute it's available.

I also got a lot of work done on the plot outline for The Deliverers 3. I had hoped to begin writing, but there are still some plot points that I nneed to get settled before I begin. It won't be too much longer, though--either next week or the week after. I'll let you know how things are going next week.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What's Elizabeth Reading? Radiance

Young reader Elizabeth has been reading a series by Alyson Noel. Today, she'll be talking about the first book, Radiance. Let's see what she has to say about it.

Here's what Elizabeth says the book is about.

"In this summary I am going to tell the basic gist of the entire story, but if you read this story you will love it and get it in even more detail! This is the first book in the series by Alyson Noel. She is an amazing writer and I love all of her books.

"In this particular book, a girl named Riley just died, and she went on to an afterlife in a place called the Here and Now. She is brought before the council of angel-like beings and they show her a summary of her life. She realizes she spent the entire time trying to be just like her sister.

"After that, the council decides that she should be a soul catcher because of her deep attachment to the Earth Plane. A soul catcher goes back to Earth to try to convince lost and lonely souls to cross over the bridge into the Here and Now.

"So Riley and her guide/teacher, Bohdi, go back to a castle just outside of London to convince two souls to cross over. One is scaring the living daylights out of people--his name is Radiant Boy. The other stands up in a tower mourning her three lost sons day and night. Many dangers await them, and then they must be judged by the council..."

Here's what Elizabeth liked best about the book.

"I liked how the author made the story flow, and also how the story seems as if it could happen to any one of us."

Was there anything that Elizabeth didn't like?

"I didn't like when Alyson Noel just made it so that her family members basically abandoned her so that they could fulfill their dreams that they couldn't fulfill on the Earth Plane."

So, how does Elizabeth rate Radiance, by Alyson Noel?

Elizabeth gives it five out of five blue dragons.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Did You Know? Charlotte's Web

After yesterday's interview with Charlotte, I thought it would be a good idea to see what interesting facts I could dig up about Charlotte's Web and it's author, E.B. White. Let's see what I found out.

Did You Know...
  • Publishers Weekly named Charlotte's Web the best selling children's book of all time?
  • Charlotte's full name, Charlotte A. Cavatica, was based on the scientific name for a barn spider, Araneus cavaticus?
  • Illustrator Garth Williams originally drew Charlotte with a ladies head, but E.B. White wanted her drawn as a regular spider?
  • The book originally started in the barnyard, but White added the what became the opening scenes with Fern and her family?
  • White's Maine farmhouse and barn were the inspiration for the book? His will stipulated that it remain off limits to the public to preserve the property.
  • The E.B. stands for Elwyn Brooks?
  • He wound up marrying the editor that hired him for The New Yorker magazine, Katharine Angell?
  • He updated and edited The Elements of Style? Today, it's known as Strunk & White's Elements of Style, the most commonly used grammar and usage guide.
  • White won an honorary Pulitzer Prize for his writing, including Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and Trumpet of the Swan?
Here's the trailer from the animated version of Charlotte's Web. I love Templeton. Paul Lynde was great:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Interview Series: Charlotte

Hi, I hope everyone's Thanksgiving break was very nice and you all got a chance to eat some good food and catch up with family and friends. This week, I was trying to think of someone extra special to interview. Then I saw someone just hanging around, and I knew I'd found the perfect person. I'm talking about everyone's favorite arachnid, Charlotte. Let's see what she had to say.

Greg:  Welcome, Charlotte. Thanks for taking some time out to talk with us.

Charlotte:  Not at all. Salutations to you and all your readers. It is such good fun to be here having a dialog with you.

Greg:  Oh yes, you like large words. You speak beautifully. What is your full name, if I may ask?

Charlotte:  Indeed you may. My full name is Charlotte A. Cavatica. It is a splendid name, don't you think?

Greg:  Yes, yes it is. I was wondering, why did you save Wilbur?

Charlotte:  Why? Because he is my friend. We became friends on his first night in thee barnyard. He was sad because his friend Fern had sold him to farmer Zuckerman. He was so lonely. I was lonely as well. He is such a dear. He befriended me, no questions asked.

Greg:  I see. How did you come up with the idea of messages in your web as a means of salvation?

Charlotte:  I knew that I had to make Wilbur famous, so famous that Zuckerman would not be able to slaughter Wilbur. People will not kill the goose that lays the golden egg is they have any sense at all. Now Zuckerman might not have a lot, but he does have common sense in abundance, so I thought it reasonable to assume that Wilbur's life would be spared if Zuckerman stood to benefit.

Greg:  A reasonable assumption, and one that turned out to be correct. But how did you learn to weave words into your web? Most spiders that I know can't even spell.

Charlotte:  Really? How odd. All spiders as a rule are exceptionally intelligent. I am dumbfounded that you have met any illiterate spiders. They weren't black widows were they? Black widows are intelligent, but they pretend not to be. It's their nature to be contrary, it comes with the name I believe.

Now, to answer your question. Spelling is one thing--most humans can do it--but spinning words into a web is quite another. Wilbur tried it once, but he did not get far. He lacked know how and spinnerets. I was lucky because I come from a long line of spellers, who are by nature most acrobatic. 

Greg:  It was fortunate that you were there for Wilbur.

Charlotte:  Yes, I suppose. It was also fortunate for me, because Wilbur gave me a very special gift.

Greg:  And what was that?

Charlotte:  Friendship. It is a gift that no one had given me until Wilbur, and it made all the difference in my life. So, naturally, I tried to make a difference in his life, too. When it comes down to it, that is the most that any one of us can hope to accomplish, to help make the lives of others a little better.

Greg:  Well, thank you for that though Charlotte. Please come back and visit us soon.

Charlotte:  Thank you. I enjoyed my time here. Now, I've got to be moving along. Templeton promised to find me some more words, just in case I need them in the future. He can be a real rat sometimes, but underneath it all, he's got the heart of an arachnid! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Writer's Week #46: On To Phase 3

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving filled with food, football, and even shopping if that floats your boat! I had a great holiday with the family, including a fun hike and pic-nic today.

This holiday week was also a very productive writer's week for me. I set up my table at the Run For the Turkeys this past Sunday, and had a really great time. I sold some books, got to meet a bunch of great people, and in the process raised a few dollars for the Salvation Army. So far, my donation total stands at $20. Remember, for every copy of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel that I sell between now and the end of the year, I'll donate 50 cents to the Salvation Army.

This Sunday, November 25th, I'll be at Ladies Day Out in Danbury, CT from 11 to 4 at the PAL Building. If you're in the area and want to get some holiday shopping done, there's going to be a wide array of vendors, many of whom will be selling locally handcrafted items. Come on down and say hello.

On the writing front, I have concluded all the major rewriting, otherwise known as editing Phase 2. This means that all that remains is to send The Deliverers 2: Order of the Crystal Lion out to an editor to have her review. Hopefully, I haven't missed anything, or overlooked some critical plot point. If I have, though, my editor will catch it.

The audio book version of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel is moving along. Narrator Jimm Singer has completed 24 chapters, and only three remain. I'm hoping he'll be finished shortly, but the holiday week has slowed things down a bit. I'm trying to be patient, but now that we're so close to the end I'm really starting to get excited. It sounds really great, and I think you're all going to love it. I'll let you know when it's out.

I am currently roughing out the idea that I've been working on for The Deliverers 3. I am hoping that I'll be able to start writing next week. The idea is a good one, I think, but I still have a lot of things to work out. A lot of the details usually iron themselves out as I write and the characters put their two cents in, but I still have some of the major ideas/themes to hammer out before I start writing. If I can do that this weekend, then I should have a green light to write. I'll let you know how it went next week!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What's Abigail Reading? My Extra Best Friend

My editing has been going very well. I'll give you a complete rundown on Friday. Tomorrow's Thanksgiving and I'd like to wish all of you a very happy, healthy Turkey Day! When I draw up the list of things that I am thankful for, you, my blog friend and readers, are right up there with my family, my health and all my blessings. Thank you all for the friendship and support you've given me over the past year!

This week, it's Abigail's turn to share a book that she's been reading with us. Abby has chosen My Extra Best Friend by Julie Bowe. Let's see what she thought about it.

Here is what Abigail says the book is about.

"It is about a girl named Ida. She goes to camp with her friends Jenna, Brooke, Stacey, Meeka, Jolene, and Randi. They go to Camp Meadowlark. When they were having a swim test, Ida fell and the boys could see Ida's underwear. Ida couldn't swim out to the dock because she had a pink wristband, which meant she was a tadpole.

"Ida meets an old friend named Elizabeth at camp. She didn't know she was going to be there. They end up wearing the exact same swimsuit, which is blue. Then Elizabeth wanted to still be friends with Ida, but Ida was disappointed because Elizabeth never wrote to her after she moved away. Ida didn't write either, but she was waiting for Elizabeth to write first.

"In the end, they all make up. There are some other things that happen that I can't tell you. You need to read the book to find out."

What did Abigail like best about the book?

"My favorite part is when they all made up, because it was happy."

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

"When they called Elizabeth, Elizabutt."

So, how did Abigail rate My Extra Best Friend, by Julie Bowe?

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

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gone Editing

Hi all! I've decided to forego this week's interview to concentrate on editing The Deliverers 2: Order of the Crystal Lion. I've finished with Phase I of the editing, and am now going to tear down and rebuild a couple of scenes. I'd like to get this done by Thanksgiving, so I'm spending the next two evenings editing and rewriting. I'll be back on Wednesday with someone from the Reading Crew and to wish you a happy Thanksgiving! See you then.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Writer's Week #45: Heading Into the Holidays With a Thankful Heart

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is now less than a week away, and we'll soon be (if we haven't been already) launched into the holiday season. I don't know where the year has gone, but I do know that I have a whole lot to be thankful for--a healthy, happy family; good friends; a good job that I enjoy; and lots of good news on the writing front.

With that in mind, I've decided to give 50 cents for every copy of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel sold online between now and the end of the year to the Salvation Army. I will also donate $1.00 for every copy of the book that I sell in person. So far, I'll be donating $6 at the end of the year. I'd love to be able to donate at least $50. The Deliverers makes a great gift for the young readers in your life, so pick up a copy or two and help support a great organization at the same time.

Production continues on the audio book version of Sharky and the Jewel. Narrator Jimm Singer says recording could be finished by the end of this weekend, then I'll be giving the whole book a final listen. After I give my approval, ACX will prep it for release on,, and iTunes. If all goes according to plan, it could be out as early as the first week in December. I'll keep you updated.

The editing of The Deliverers 2: Order of the Crystal Lion is moving along. I've edited 195 of 265 pages. Once I get done with the first editing pass, I'll go back and make the bigger changes--fixing or deleting scenes that don't work, and any other large changes that I think may be needed. So far, I've identified only two or three areas that need to be shored up, which is great. I was worried there would be more. We'll see how the last 70 pages go.

Artwork for The Deliverers 2 is progressing as well. Daniel Vogel has sent me a rough layout of the cover, and is working on a drawing of the crystal lion. I think the cover concept is good, and I'm looking forward to a final rough with some color.

All this means that I'm on track for an end of February, beginning of March release. I'll be off work for the last week of November, so I'm looking forward to being able to devote a lot of time to these projects. I'll let you know how I'm getting on next week. Until then, may you and your family and friends have a happy, safe Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What's Christian Reading? Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing With Fire

This week, Christian returns after a long hiatus to give us his thoughts on an interesting book; Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing With Fire, by Derek Landy. Let's see what he's got to say about it.

Here's what Christian says the book is about.

"Skulduggery Pleasant, the skeleton detective, and his apprentice Valkyrie Cain, once known as 12 year old Stephanie Edgley, have gone up against another one of Mevolent’s high ranking generals, this one much more powerful than Nefarain Serpine.

“His name is Baron Vengeous and like Serpine he would love to see the Faceless Ones come back to the world that we know and call home. Skulduggery and Valkyrie know that the return of the Faceless Ones would mean the destruction of Earth and would plunge the world into darkness.

“Baron seeks to wake the grotesquery, a monster that is made from the most harmful creatures of fable the world has to offer. It could make a portal that could let the Faceless Ones back into the world. Will Valkyrie and Skulduggery complete Valkyrie’s training or will the world be plunged into the reign of the Faceless Ones?" 

Here's what Christian liked best about the book.

"I liked the part when Valkyrie strode out of China’s bedroom and said, 'Here I am.' I think it was funny to read about the look on Baron's face."

Was there anything he did not like about the book?

"Was there anything I didn’t like? I have to say no. I loved every part of it."

So, how did Christian rate Playing with Fire (don’t try this at home) by Derek Landy?

He gave it five out of five flaming monkey heads.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Interview Series: Rapunzel

Today, I'm up in a tall tower speaking with a lovely young lady with the longest hair I've ever seen. Yes, that's right, I'm visiting with Rapunzel.

Greg:  Hi Rapunzel. Thanks for inviting me to spend some time with you.

Rapunzel:  It's my pleasure. I never get visitors here, except for Dame Gothel, and she's no fun. She says she's my mother, but we don't look anything alike. Her hair's way too short, for one thing. I wish I could get out of this tower and see the world. What's it like outside?

Greg:  Some parts of it are quite nice, but there are other parts that you'd do well to stay away from. So I take it you're not happy in your tower?

Rapunzel:  Oh it's not so bad. I've got cable, my laptop and my smartphone. 

Greg:  Really? I'm surprised Dame Gothel lets you communicate with the outside world.

Rapunzel:  She doesn't mind because she monitors my e-mails and won't let me disclose my location. But I can only update my blog and play Angry Birds so many times before it becomes tedious. That's why I advertised for a prince.

Greg:  You, what?

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Writer's Week #44: Irons in the Fire

The activity at The Deliverers Publishing Headquarters continued at a fevered pitch this week. There's so much going on that I'm not sure where to start. First off, I was looking around for a way to talk up my two appearances in Connecticut later this month, and reached out to Carolyn Mueller at the Danbury News Times. She has always been very supportive and did a nice interview with me when The Deliverers was released last November.

Anyway, not only is she putting a promo in her Book Notes feature a week from Sunday, but she also wrote a nice article that is already up on both the, but also I believe it will also run in either this or next Sunday's paper. You can check out the article HERE.  Not only did she talk up my appearances on the 18th and 25th, but she also gave a nice recap of the book, and a plug for The Deliverers blog. She even gave the upcoming the audio book and The Deliverers 2: Order of the Crystal Lion a mention! I don't think I could have asked for a better article. Thank you Carolyn for being so supportive!

I spent a good deal of time editing The Deliverers: Order of the Crystal Lion. I find that it's starting to go a little more slowly, mostly because I'm just getting tired of editing. I'd much rather be writing, but this is something that has to be done, so it's becoming more of a chore than anything else. I think I've said before that I am impatient by nature, and I'm chomping at the bit to get on with this and get the book published. But I know that a little bit of patience now will mean a better book later, so I'm soldiering on.

One reason that my patience is wearing thin on the editing front is that I am anxious to start work on the next book. I have to finish one book before starting another--I just can't concentrate on two at once. However, this week I did sketch out a very rough outline for The Deliverers 3. I even came up with a title, which is something new. I usually can't think of titles until I'm almost done with the book. I don't know if  starting with a title this time around is good or bad, but it was inspiring. I'm not going to reveal the title in case it changes along the way, but I like the idea it sparked and the outline so far. I can't wait to refine it and actually start writing!

The audio book version of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel continues to move ahead. It should be completed in two or three weeks, depending on how narrator Jimm Singer's schedule shakes out. I still can't get over how great it sounds. Hearing someone else's interpretation of the book is allowing me to step back and view it with some objectivity. I'm finding that it's holding up to my scrutiny quite well. There are a couple lines here or there that make me cringe, but I'm finding that there are many more that make me think, "Hey, cool!"

It kind of makes me wish I could have someone record the unedited version of The Deliverers 2. Listening to a book is a great way to make sure there's a natural flow going on. If you write a mangled sentence, it really stands out when you hear it read aloud. Hmmm, I've got a digital recorder, maybe I should give it a try...Oh well, enough speculating, time to get back to the editing. I'll fill you in on how things go next week!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What's Abigail Reading? Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren

Hi All! Abigail wanted to write the entire post, introduction and all. So, I'll turn it over to Abigail.

Today I wanted to do Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren by Barbara Park. I just got back to school on Monday. I had a fun time during the storm playing board games.

Here's what the book was about.

It is about a girl named Junie B. Jones. Junie B. and her friends, Grace and Lucille, play horses every day. But one day, Lucille was chasing a new boy called Warren. Junie B. and Grace chased him away, and Lucille got mad at them.

Grace was also in love with Warren. Lucille and Grace got into a fight over who was going to love him. At the end Junie B. and Warren called each other nutballs and rolled around on the grass.

I am not going to tell any more.

Here is my favorite part.

When Junie B. and Warren call each other nutball. I like it because it's funny.

Here's what I didn't like.

When Grace and Lucille fight. I don't like it because it is mean.

So how does Abigail rate Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren?

Abigail rates it four and a half dolphins.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Giveaway Winner

Last night the Happy Birthday Giveaway officially came to an end. I'd like to thank everyone for the tremendous response I received for this giveaway. Thanks to you, this was a very successful event.

It was great to see such a fantastic response. I really appreciate it. The blog is growing and reaching more people, which means more people are learning about The Deliverers: Sharky and the JewelThat's really what this blog is all about, although it's become more than that in the year that I've been doing it. It's become a lot of fun as well. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.

Hmmm, what's that? Oh, yeah the winner. Sorry about that, I got a little off track there, I guess. So, the winner of the Happy Birthday Giveaway is....Renee G.!!! Congratulations, Renee. I'll be sending you your $50 Amazon gift card shortly.

Once again, thanks to everyone who entered!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Interview Special: The Deliverers Group Interview

Today is a special anniversary for me. The paperback version of my first novel, The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel was published a year ago today! When I first published the book, I never thought that I'd be able to do the things that I have this past year. For one thing, I've made a ton of friends through this blog. I've been lucky enough to visit many classrooms and talk to student (and parents) of all ages. I've written a sequel and have mapped out a third book.

This last year has been so great, that it makes me wonder what the next 12 months has in store. Right now I have an idea, but who knows how it will actually turn out? Here's what I'm envisioning: the release in the next month of the audio book version of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel; beginning to write The Deliverers 3; the release early next year of The Deliverers 2: Order of the Crystal Lion; more classroom visits; continuing to grow and improve this blog. Wow, it looks like the coming year will be as busy as the last!

Since this is such a special day, I wanted to do something a little bit different. Normally, I interview someone from a classic children's book or fairy tale. Today, I was able to get all four of The Deliverers here to give us their thoughts on what the past year has been like for them, what they've been doing, and what their future plans are. So, without further ado, I give you Eric Scott, Stig the owl, Kate Endria, and Hallo Tosis the dwarf.

Greg:  Well, thank you all for coming and happy anniversary! I must say that you're all looking well.

Stig:  Thank you. It's quite good of you to say so. Happy anniversary to you as well. A most auspicious occasion if I do say so myself.

Eric:  Yeah, it's pretty cool. Thanks for having us.

Kate:  Yes, it's very exciting. I love anniversaries and birthdays and things like that. They're always such fun!

Hallo:  Yes siree, I love a good party, m'self. M' Pappy always said, work hard, play hard. Thank'ee for havin' us here t' celebrate, don't ya know.

Greg:  What has the last year been like for all of you?

Hallo:  It's been like a ride on a dragon's back, don't ya know. Lotsa comin's an' goin's. Everybody sayin' hey, really like the tale, whatcha doin' for an encore. We've also been enjoyin' visits from a large number o' Big Folk. It's a big change from the old days, don't ya know.

Eric:  It's been really exciting. Lots of people have told me they really like the book. I don't think a lot of people at school really believe that it actually happened. They think you just used my name. That's okay, though, because everyone thinks that's cool, so I don't mind. If they really believed I did those things, it would make me feel kind of, like, weird and they might treat me differently. So I'm happy with things as they are. There's an election coming up tomorrow, so everyone's, like, excited. 

Stig:  Things have been rather quiet in my neck of the woods. We owls tend to take things in our stride, and don't get all a twitter about our deeds. To be honest, most owls tend to lead rather exciting lives, so in some respects it's rather old hat back home. I've been doing a little bit of lecturing at university in my spare time.

Kate:  Calendria is still buzzing about everything that happened, but to tell you the truth, I think I can speak for all of us in saying that we really haven't had too much time to rest on our laurels. I've been working with Papa. He's been showing me what I'll have to do when he retires and I become the first Lady Mayor of Calendria. The audio book is coming out soon, and we all spent some time with Jimm Singer, the nice man who's narrating it, so that he could get our voices sounding as realistic as possible. 

Eric:  Yeah, he did a really great job. It was kind of freaky, because he'd be talking to me and it was like listening to me talking to me.

Greg:  So, how has that process been?

Stig:  Quite fascinating, really. It is really quite remarkable how well he's been able to capture the tone of my voice. Mind you, it is extremely difficult for a human to capture all the nuances of the owlish accent, but he has done much better than I had expected.

Hallo:  Aye, he's a fine lad is ol' Jimm. He's got m' way o' speakin' down pat. M' Pappy heard a recordin' an' thought it was me talkin'. Wouldn't believe it weren't until Jimm done it for him in person, then Pap about keeled over he were so amazed.

Kate:  It's going to be a wonderful production. I can't wait for everyone to hear it. Everyone in Calendria is really excited about it. You should hear Jimm do Sharky--it's like he was right there in the same room with us. It was quite scary.

Eric:  It's really cool. My friends are so jealous that I'm going to be in an audio book. They think it's my voice, but they still don't believe that I actually did the things in the book. Maybe they will after they read about our next Assignment. Oh well, I still find it hard to believe myself! 

Greg:  Can you tell us a little bit about the next Assignment?

Kate:  Well, we really can't tell you too much, we wouldn't want to spoil anything. But we can say that it was really exciting, and a little scary.

Eric:  Yeah, we have to stop this civil war. These people called the Vynistri and their leader, Chancellor Trelango take the DNA of lions and combines them with humans to form a warrior class called the Chazum. Anyway, they're fighting to be free and equal. It's different from the first Assignment.

Stig:  Thet's the way it is with Assignments, you see. They are all different. You never know what might happen. That's what keeps things interesting.

Eric:  Yeah, it was scary there for a while, but it was cool, too. I learned that I could do more than I thought I could.

Hallo:  Aye, I think we all learned some hard lessons on this here Assignment. It were a tough one, don't ya know.

Greg:  Well, thanks for taking some time to fill us in on what's been going on this past year. It looks like the coming year will be just as exciting, so please stay in touch.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Writer's Week #43: The Middle of Phase I

It was another productive week on the writing/editing front. I've completed the preliminary edit for the first half of The Deliverers 2: Order of the Crystal Lion. My editing system consists of three phases. I give the book a read through, fixing punctuation, spelling, and conducting minor rewrites.

During this phase, I also identify areas that need major rewrites, either because a story point has changed or something doesn't work. So far, I've identified two of these. When I complete the first phase, hopefully by the end of next week, I'll go back and rewrite the trouble areas I identified in phase one.

After that, phase three will consist of giving the book another read through to hopefully pick up anything I may have missed previously, and find anything that doesn't sound right. I'm hoping to have everything completed by the end of November. Then, I have to decide if I want to spend the money to have it professionally edited or not. That will hinge on what I've got in the budget, and how good I feel about the book.

So far, I'm feeling pretty good about the book. There are fewer holes and things that have to be shored up than I thought there would be. Of course that could change as the book goes on, because there were a lot of twists that came up later in the book. I'll let you know as I work through the process.

This week was also busy on the audio book front. At this time last week, Jimm Singer had completed 11 chapters of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel. As of today, he's completed eight more chapters. It all sounds really great. Yesterday, I posted an interview with Jimm along with a sneak peek of the audio book--chapter 14. I'm looking forward to the release of the audio book so that you all can hear it. It makes the book really come alive.

I have another appearance scheduled for November. I will be at the Ladies Day Out event on November 25th in Danbury, Connecticut. Again, if you're in the area, stop on by. I'd love to see you! Have a great week!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Interview Special: Jimm Singer

Today, I'm very pleased to be able to bring you an interview with voice over actor Jimm Singer. Jimm is currently recording the audio book version of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel, which will be available on, Amazon, and iTunes before the end of the year.

Jimm Singer
Jimm is a really great guy. He's been awesome to work with. I find that he's great at interpreting the characters in The Deliverers, and he's got a talent for characterization that I really admire. The whole experience of creating the audio book has been fantastic for me as an author, and it's a pleasure to work with someone as professional, and nice as Jimm. Let's see what he had to say.

Oh yes, don't forget to check out the end of the interview where I've posted a chapter from the audio book for you to check out.

Greg:  You’ve been a narrator and voice over actor for many years. Can you tell us a little about some of the projects you’ve been involved in?

 Jimm:  I’ve done voice overs for many different genres, from typical radio and TV commercials to public service announcements.   Some of the more fun projects that I’ve been involved in have been doing character work though—video games, phonetic learning toys, ebooks. 

 One of the most fun on-going projects that I’ve worked on over 15 years I’ve been doing voice over has been as a sound-a-like for Elmo!  Not the REAL Elmo of course, the wonderful and talented Kevin Clash is Elmo’s voice and puppeteer.   I’m the voice of the “test” Elmo that the executives hear.  I become “Elmo”—I laugh, sing, tell jokes and have a great time!  My son, who is now 9, has grown up with “Elmo”.  Many times, he’ll sit in the recording booth with me while I’m doing my work and just laugh, laugh, laugh.  It’s great fun!  

Audio Book Cover

 Greg:  That’s really cool! How is recording an audio book different from other types of narration?

 Jimm:  Sometimes there is no difference except for the time involved.  Some narratives are exactly the same as producing an audio book, it just depends on the length of the book.   If the narrative is a non-fiction read with only a narrator, it’s very straightforward.  If the narration is fiction and involves many characters, like The Deliverers, it can take several weeks or months, depending on the length of the book.   Fiction audio books are fun, but they’re a lot more work…in a good way!  :-)

 Greg:  What about recording The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel was appealing to you?

 Jimm:  All the characters!  They’re so diverse and different from one another that it’s made this project really compelling and fun.   

 Greg:  How is the recording going so far?

 Jimm:  Pretty well so far.  I’ve had to take a few days off here and there because I have to work on other projects but when I work on the book, I like to work on it for an extended amount of time. 

 Greg:  How do you prepare for narrating a book?

 Jimm:  I re-read the chapter first to get a sense of what’s happening.  If a new character is being introduced, I try to “find” that character’s voice before beginning.   Then I drink lots of hot tea, baby and pamper my voice a bit, and jump in the booth!

Greg: You have a studio in your home. What sort of equipment do you use?

Jimm:  My default set up for audio books and commercial recordings is: an AKG 2000B studio condenser microphone with an Art tube pre-amp, Tascam US-144mkII audio interface and a dbx 266xs Compressor/Gate. My recording booth is a super quiet space and nearly soundproof, the noise floor is very low, about -70db.

Greg:  What do you like to do in your spare time?

 Jimm:  I live in California and love taking advantage of our amazing national parks, coastline and natures beauty.   I’m drawn to water, I go kayaking, go to the ocean to walk, swim or just relax and enjoy the scenery, head up to Lake Tahoe…point to a body of water and I’m there!   I’m a pretty good cook too and enjoying whipping up new dishes for me and my son.  I’m a single Dad and very devoted to my son, so I spend much of my spare time with him.

 Greg:  What sorts of projects are you available for, and how can folks contact you?

 Jimm:  I’m available for corporate and educational narration, commercial voice overs (radio / television), children’s educational projects (toys, ebooks, educational narratives).   I love projects that involve lots of characters, (no surprise there) so if an animated series falls in my lap, that would be pure heaven…how does the saying go, “from your lips to God’s ears”, just sayin’. :-) You can reach me on my website: 

Jimm's a fantastic narrator. Here's a sample--Chapter 14 of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel. Give it a listen, and let me know what you think!