Monday, September 30, 2013

Between the Lines: King Arthur

Happy Monday everyone! I am wrapping up the look back at early Monday interviews with King Arthur this week and Merlin's rebuttal next week. After that, I'll be lining up some fresh victims--er, interviewees--for us to chat with. So, here's the chat we had with Arthur a year and a half ago.

Today, we're taking a journey through the mists of Avalon to talk to a giant of myth, literature, and history--none other than King Arthur himself. We met with Arthur in his court at Camelot. Will he let us sit at the Round Table? We shall see...

Greg:  So, this is the wondrous Camelot, is it?

Arthur:  Yes, magnificent, is it not? It is the wonder of all Britain. Travelers come from far and wide just to gaze upon its beauty.

Greg:  Well, I can certainly see why. This hall is huge. There are magnificent tapestries hanging on the wall, a roaring fire, a table laid for a feast, and of course, the legendary Round Table.

Arthur:  Ah, yes, humility prevents me from boasting, but I must admit that it is all rather splendid. Of course, all this has been hard-won. It did not just fall into my lap. Britain was a mess. The cursed Saxons had the run of the place.

Greg:  Oh yes, that's right. You and Merlin united the whole country and rose up against the Saxons. Your success ushered in a Golden Age. That's how it went, right?

Arthur:  Well, yes, if you believe everything you read. To be brutally frank, Merlin did not have much to do with it. He wasn't as big a deal as he's made out to be. His magic was not really that spectacular. We once had a visitor from the far off land of Conn Ect Icut who could blot out the sun. Merlin could not perform such wondrous works.

No, it was due to myself and Excalibur, my magic sword, to which most of the praise and honor is due. After all, it was I who won the heart of Guinevere, the comeliest maid throughout the whole of Britain. Merlin could not get so much as a date.

Greg:  I see. There are some who say your origins are rooted in history, while others say you're completely legendary. What do you have to say about that?

Arthur:  Why sir, do I not stand before you in the flesh? Could a legend do that? Could a legend unite the whole of Britain, establishing an age of chivalry? I think not. No, I am very real.

Greg:  Well you are standing here. That reminds me. Merlin set up the whole idea of the Knights of the Round Table, right? What was it like to witness such a historical moment?

Arthur:  Witness? Witness! I was the architect of that most glorious institution. Merlin, bah! He wanted the table to be an octagon! It was I who said it should be round so that all men seated at it would be equal. 

Chivalry was my idea, as well. What could be a more noble pursuit than rescuing fair maidens and questing in a glorious cause. It pulled my knights together and made them the pride of the world. Merlin was always trying to claim credit for the entire thing. He was all show, no substance.

Greg:  That's an interesting take. I'd never heard that version of the story before. Is there anything else that we should know?

Arthur:  Yes, now that you mention it. The whole Lancelot thing is overblown. He didn't even start getting mentioned until the 12th Century. Talk about coming late to the party and taking the cake. And all that going off in search of the Holy Grail, well. It's enough to make me scream. If I wasn't such a level headed, magnanimous monarch, I'd have to take steps. 

Greg:  I think it's time we were taking steps--right back to the 21st century. Thank you so much for your time and the interesting information. It certainly puts the Arthurian Legend in a whole new light.

Arthur:  It was my pleasure. I'll have to be going, Morgan Le Fey and her son Mordred are stopping by to speak with me. I wonder what they want. Between you and me, they give me the creeps.

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Writer's Week #87: Holiday Planning

Trees in our yard a few autumns ago
Fall is here and the leaves in my neck of the woods are starting to change. I always love this time of the year when the nights get cool, but the says are clear and bright. The sky seems so much more blue when it is framed by red and gold leaves for some reason. Anyhow, I was brought up short earlier this week when I read that there were less than 90 days until Christmas. Man, that isn't very long from now is it?

This is the time of year when I start booking appearances at craft fairs and holiday festivals. I always enjoy appearing at them, because I always wind up making some new friends. Meeting thee children and seeing them get excited about my stories is always tonic for my soul. Hopefully, they get a little more excited about reading as a result.

I've booked two appearances so far--one in mid-October, and a book signing in mid-November. I have two
more that I'm waiting for confirmation on that would take place in early November and early December. That's about all I'll have time for between all the activities my children have lined up. Still, it will be double the number I had during last year's holiday season. Hopefully, I'll have everything firmed up by the end of next week. If so, I'll provide a full listing of dates and times next Friday.

This week, I also updated the logo for White Owl Manuscripts. I used the font from the covers of the Deliverers Series books and changed the picture of the owl. It turned out rather nicely. It's got a bookish feel to it. What do you think?

I also completed the first round of rewrites and edits of The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang. My wife has read it all the way through and proclaimed it the best book yet. That's high praise. She's read all my books and is always brutally honest about what she feels needs to be rewritten. She's almost always right, too. I'll be rereading it one more time. There's a little part that she feels could be changed, and I agree. There are also a couple other parts that I think could be developed more. It looks like editing should be complete within the next week or so!

Finally, this week ended on a high note as I just found out today that The Barn Gallery here in New Fairfield has sold out its stock of The Deliverers 2: Order of the Crystal Lion. I found out because someone who had purchased the last three wound up on my doorstep looking for one more. Needless to say, I hightailed it over to replenish their stock--who knows what Saturday will bring?

Have a great week, and I'll talk to you soon!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Interview With Karen Pokras Toz

Today I have a very special treat for you. I have an interview with award winning middle grade author Karen Pokras Toz. She's a very talented author and a fellow member of the Character Book Club. On top of that, there is also a little information about her latest book, Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas and a GIVEAWAY. Read all the way to the bottom for a link to a chance to win a SWAG GIFT PACK & A $20 AMAZON GIFT CARD! Let's hear what Karen had to say.

Greg:  Tell us about Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas.

Karen:  “Pie” is really two stories in one book. First it is about 12 year old Georgie Harris. Georgie’s family just moved to a new town to be closer to her grandmother, Jane, who recently moved to a nursing home. Because of the move, Georgie’s family can no longer afford to send her to dance lessons. Instead, Georgie spends most of her time baking pies to bring to her visits with her grandmother. The second story in the book is about Eve – Georgie’s grandmother’s roommate, who we quickly learn was a ballerina in Russia “back in the day.” Not only that, Eve studied and danced with a world famous ballerina named Paulina. Georgie loves to visit Eve and hear stories about what it was like to study ballet in a different time and country, and especially what it was like to dance with the great Paulina Strofsky.
Greg:  What inspired you to write this book?

Karen:  I grew up dancing and now two of my three children dance. I knew I eventually would write a book about dance – it was just a matter of time. I began writing Pie while waiting for my daughter to go on stage at one of her dance competitions last winter. The book originally was going to be about the competitive dance circuit – but turned out much differently once I got to know my characters (which is usually the case).

Greg:  Are you working on anything new at the moment?

Karen:  Of course! I’ve just started writing the 4th (and final) Nate Rocks book – Nate Rocks the City. Normally, I write my Nate books pretty fast, but I find myself procrastinating on this one. I’m sure it’s because I just don’t want to say goodbye. I’m also working on another Adult Contemporary novel called “Woven Wishes” to hopefully be released this time next year.

Greg:  When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Karen:  I’m a writer? LOL. It still sounds odd for me to call myself that. I don’t know what I am. I’m a mom, and I write. Sometimes if someone asks me what I do, I’ll say I write children’s books (even though now I also write adult books, too). But I have yet to say, “I’m a writer.” I guess after six books, it’s time, huh?

Greg:  When and how do you find time to write in your daily life?

Karen:  All three of my children are in school all day, so I try to squeeze in some writing time then. Of course, I always think I’m going to have hours and hours to myself to write, but after I get done doing the million other things on my “to-do” list, there are some days where it is hard to fit it in. Sometimes I just have to put everything aside, and remind myself that this is my job now. It helps that I love to write.

Greg:  Any advice to aspiring writers looking to self publish?

Karen:  Be prepared to put in a lot of time and effort – and time – and effort. You need to think of your book as a product, and yourself as a brand. As such, you need to put out the best product possible, and be prepared to compete in a very competitive market. This means – (a) write the best book you can possibly write, (b) put together a test market/group of beta readers, (c) have your book professionally edited, (d) have a professional cover made, (e) have your book professionally formatted, (f) put together a marketing/business plan – and most importantly, keep writing and improving your craft.

Greg:  What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Karen:  I don’t know if it’s a quirk, but I have to have coffee, I need silence, and I don’t outline. I generally have a
very loose story idea and then let my characters guide me. Sometimes (like in Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas) the story goes in a completely different direction, and sometimes (as is the case with most of my Nate Rocks books) I have to steer my characters in a particular direction (Nate tends to get a little out of control.) Also, I always like to have a title in place before I start writing. I don’t know why – maybe that’s my quirky thing.

Greg:  Of all the characters you have written, who is your favorite? 

Karen:  Well now, that’s like asking me which of my three children is my favorite! So, no, I can’t really answer that one. I will tell you this – I had a great time writing Millicent Marie Is Not My Name, and I get a lot of requests to write more books about her. I don’t think I will, but she does live on with her very own blog on my website (

Greg:  Is there a writer that you would love to co-write a book with?

Karen:  It is no secret that I am a huge Judy Blume fan. Whenever someone compares my writing style or one of my books to her, I feel like I’ve hit the lottery (not in a monetary sense, but in a self-fulfillment sense). I recently (as in last year) sent her a fan letter (read – stalker letter) and was thrilled when I received an email back from her assistant wishing me well. However, I’m pretty sure I was put on some sort of ‘crazy lady stalker fan stay away from list. But – just in case they are reading this (In a ‘we should really be monitoring this nutjob’ sort of way)  well then ... Judy – call me ...

Greg:  Do people judge a book by its cover? Who makes yours?

Karen:  Yes, I do think so, and I also hope so! Now before you think I’m tooting my own horn – don’t. I do not make my own covers. I’m not nearly talented enough (in fact, I have zero artistic talent.). It was only by shear luck that I met my amazing cover artist Deana Riddle of She is the genius behind the incredible artwork that I am fortunate enough to have on my covers. Thank you, Deana!!

Greg:  What is your greatest challenge as an author?

Karen:  Time. Writing is only half the battle – and if you really want to break down the time, it’s probably only a quarter of the battle. The other three-quarters is marketing and there is not enough time in the day to market and write. If you are also self-publishing you have the challenge of distribution thrown into the mix and the problem of having upfront costs to deal with – as you can see, there are many challenges – but there are also many rewards.

Greg:  Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.

Karen:  Hearing from readers – whether through parents, educators, or the kids themselves. Nothing makes me happier than getting a note (whether it be via email, a tweet, on FB, through my website, through my blog, etc) that says my child usually hates to read, but I can’t get them to put your book down! THAT is what it is all about to me.

Greg:  What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

Karen:  Two things really: When I first started writing my adult contemporary novel Chasing Invisible (titled “invisible” at the time) it was the first anything I had ever written. I hired a writing coach to read through the first few chapters and give me advice. She told me it was awful. (Don’t worry - I have since re-written that story more times that I can count & I am proud to say it recently won an award!) Anyway – she told me that I had a very young voice, and I should consider writing books for kids. I had never considered this before, but I put invisible to the side, and started working on Nate Rocks the World. That was awesome advice, don’t you think?

The next piece of advice I received was when I proudly handed Nate Rocks the World over to my editor – she said, “I know you are tired and want to take a break – but don’t. Start writing the next book.” I didn’t. But, it was great advice, and it’s something I do follow now as I finish up each book.

Greg:  Can you see yourself in any of your characters?

Karen:  I get asked this question a lot. Now that I have several books out, you may notice a trend with my kids’ books. They all have moms who have “issues.”  For example... Nate’s mom is a terrible cook and homemaker, Millie’s mom is a little bit of a shop-a-holic, and now Georgie’s mom is a little high strung. Let me say this. They may or may not be based on me. That’s all I’m saying.

Greg:  What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Karen:  While I have always loved to read, writing was always my worst subject in school. I was always a math/numbers person. In college I took calculus and differential equations for fun (and they were!) I worked as a tax accountant until just recently and only started writing a few years ago. I have no explanation for why I suddenly felt the urge to start writing, but now that I’ve started, I can’t stop!

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little about me and my books – thanks for having me on your blog!

Here's a little bit of information about Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas:

The story will grab you from page one, and keep you mesmerized until the last page. ~ Kristy James

My nine year old daughter and I enjoyed it very much. ~ Gman Writes

From the Award Winning Author of Millicent Marie is Not My Name

Ballet and baking pies – these are two of twelve year old Georgie Harris’ favorite things. When her parents decide to move closer to her grandmother’s nursing home, Georgie quickly learns the bad news: dance lessons are too expensive in this new town. 

Georgie spends most of her time baking pies to bring to her grandmother at the Willow Lakes Nursing Home. There she meets Eve, who inspires Georgie with stories of having danced with a world famous Russian ballerina many years ago.

As Georgie and Eve’s friendship evolves, their tales intertwine in this feel good story showing dreams really can come true.

Buy at Amazon and B&N

Karen Pokras Toz writes middle grade and adult contemporary fiction. Her books have won several awards including two Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, First Place in the Children’s Chapter Books category and the Grand Prize overall in the 2012 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, as well as placing first for two Global E-Book Awards for Pre-Teen Literature. Her books for children include the Nate Rocks series, Millicent Marie Is Not My Name, and Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas. For adults, she recently published Chasing Invisible. A native of Connecticut, Karen now lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and three children. For more information, please visit


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Monday, September 23, 2013

Between the Lines: Mary Poppins

It's that time of year where the winds have changed. Summer is breezing out and Autumn is blowing in. Now you know that whenever the wind shifts, a certain nanny is headed our way. Mary Poppins has dropped in, which is always a nice change. So please let's have a big warm fall welcome for Mary!

 Greg:  Welcome Mary! Thank you so much for coming by. Your timing was perfect.

Mary:  Naturally. I must say, what a perfectly blustery day it is. I haven't seen such wind since Bert the chimney sweep overdid it on the chutney at my Uncle Albert's. Frightful!

Greg:  Yes, well fall certainly can bring in a chill. But let's forget about that for a while. Tell us all a little bit about your charges at number 17 Cherry Tree Lane.

Mary:  The Banks? Marvelous family, simply marvelous! Mind you, they were in a frightful state when I first encountered them.

Greg:  Really? What was the matter?

Mary:  Well, where to start? The head of the family, Mr. George Banks, was positively too involved with work. He never had any time for his family. His wife, Winifred, had absolutely no head for managing a household. I don't know how they made it as far as they did before I came along.

Greg:  What about the children?

Mary:  I'm afraid the children, Jane and Michael, were in the worst state of all. They were always acting up. They went through so many nannies trying to get their parents' attention that they had developed quite a nasty reputation among London's domestic class.

Naturally, it was only a matter of time before they came to my attention, and I had to take matters into my own hands.

Greg:  It sounds just like calling in the Marines, or maybe the paratroopers.

Mary:  Quite so. I descended on them with the East Wind. Naturally, the parents put up a little bit of a fuss, but I managed to maneuver around them quite nicely. Grownups can be a frightful bore without even putting their minds to it, and I must say that those two put half a mind to it at least. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but it sounds good.

However, Jane and Michael were another story. Children are frightfully clever, and no one gives them any credit in that regard, or just about any other for that matter. They were veterans of the Nanny Wars, and were determined not to surrender. I knew perfectly well what was going on in their little heads, so I laid the cards on the table, spit spot. 

Greg:  What did you do?

I started pulling all sorts of things out of my carpet bag. That got their attention. It told them that here was someone out of the ordinary who was not to be trifled with. The next step was to alter their way of thinking. They looked at work as, well, work. I taught them to make a game out of it. That way, they got their work done and had a bit of fun at the same time.

Of course Bert was a big help. He can be very charming when he wants to be.

Greg:  Bert? Oh yes, good-natured, jack of all trades chap. What's the story with you two? In the film, it looked like sparks were flying.

Mary:  A proper girl does not talk of such things. Bert and I are just good friends. We could never be anything but, what with me flitting about to different children's homes all the time. I am far from ready to settle down in one place for the rest of my life. And Bert is hardly ready for that sort of life, either. He still enjoys a night out with the boys dancing on the rooftops too much for my tastes. No, he is not ready to settle down either.

Still, if we both were ready, then I think Bert would be a fine choice. He is gentle and kind, charming and really quite funny in an oafish sort of way...but I digress. No, there's nothing there at all, really.

Greg:  Okay, if you say so. We'll leave it at that for now. You say that Mr. & Mrs. Banks were really no trouble, but is that really true?

Mary:  I said they were no trouble to maneuver around and get my foot in the door. Later on they proved to be quite a bother, Mr. Banks in particular. You see, he had this frightfully annoying idea that work was more important than anything else, his family included.

He stuck to that misguided notion for a long time, but I was able to change his mind on that score. Bert was very helpful in that regard, for Bert takes the entirely opposite point of view. Yes, in the end he came to realize that his family was more important than anything else in his life. When that happened, my work was done.

Greg:  Perfect! Well, thank you so much for stopping by. You've made this dreary day a little brighter by chatting with us for a bit.

Mary:  It was my pleasure entirely, Greg. Now, I feel the wind is changing, so I must be off. Do look me up when you're in London. I have to drop in on Bert, there's something I think I have to speak with him about...

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Writer's Week #86: Getting the Word Out

I've said this before and I'll say it again, my favorite part about being a writer is writing. I'm at the point now where even if no one read what I wrote, I would still do it. Of course, I'd rather that kids everywhere could read my books, but I'm working on that. However, there are other tasks that are necessary and those tasks are what I worked on this week.

First of all, I was featured in a wonderful article in my local weekly paper, the Citizen News. Here's the article (unfortunately, they don't have an electronic outlet yet):

It really was an excellent article. Thank you so much Ellen Burnett and Amanda Nisly!

I have also been blessed with a run on Amazon reviews for both The Deliverers 1 & 2! Right now, Sharky & the Jewel has 26 reviews (22 of them 5-star) and Order of the Crystal Lion has 8 (6 five-stars). Thanks so much to all of you who have read and reviewed the books--it is much appreciated. For all of you who have not written a review, what are you waiting for? It's quick and easy. All that's required is that you have an Amazon account and that you have bought a product on Amazon. So, hop on the bandwagon.

I really don't like to talk about myself, and that always holds me back when promoting my books. However, I am currently lining up a few appearances/signings over the next few months that are pretty exciting. I will update you as soon as I have details. So, that's what's going on in thee publicity department. The Deliverers 2 has had a soft opening without a lot of fanfare, but now that it has some reviews piled up, I'll be appearing here and there to promote it. 

Now, for my favorite part, the writing. I have begun research for the as yet unnamed Deliverers 4. That book will incorporate time travel back to the American Revolution as Eric and friends will have to put a stop to someone who is trying to end Eric's world saving activities by changing history. Since I'll be writing about our world 230 some-odd years ago, that puts a little added pressure on me. I won't be making up a world where anything goes, I'll have to be reasonably accurate--although the main town where the action will take place is made up and many of the people are, too, they'll be based on real places and people. It's going to be fun to write, but also a challenge. I'll keep you posted.

Rewriting and editing on The Golden Dragon of Ang continues to move along. I still believe I'll be finished with it all by mid-October. I've had to rewrite a couple of scenes that were too calm. Now they're more action-packed. There are some other, minor things I'll have to tweak, but I don't think there's anything major left, except perhaps for the ending. I'll have to see how that reads when i get to it, I'm a little doubtful. I need to make sure it sets up book 4 properly. 

Well, I guess that's it for now. Have a great week, and I'll let you know how I made out with the editing next Friday!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What's Marissa Reading? Divergent

My niece Marissa has updated me on the latest book she's been reading down in sunny Florida, and I thought I'd share what she has to say about it with you. It's always interesting to hear about what she's been reading, because her interests are so diverse. You never know what it will be. This time, she's reading a book about life in the future: Divergent, by Veronica Roth.

Here's what Marissa says the book is about.

This book takes place in the future. There are 5 factions, Erudite, Amity, Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, and Tris Prior must choose one  to decide the rest of her life. But it's not as easy for her as it is for every other 16 year old in the community. All the 16 year olds take an aptitude test to show which faction they would fit best in. But Tris's test was inconclusive, meaning that she could fit into multiple factions. And that is dangerous. It means Tris is Divergent. She must choose between factions and she has narrowed it down to Dauntless (the brave) and Abnegation (the selfless and the faction that she was born into).

Tris decides on Dauntless and she must face many of her fears, train to be strong, and get used to things that she wasn't allowed or supposed to do in Abnegation. During and after her fierce training she learns more about the people she is with and something dangerous going on between the factions.

What did Marissa like best about the book?

I liked how it was in the future and the new things that we don't experience everyday. Also there is constant action and something that leaves you on the edge of your seat.

Was there anything Marissa did not like?

There was nothing I didn't like!!!!

So, how did Marissa like the book?

She gave it five out of five baby giraffes.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Between the Lines: Sherlock Holmes

This week we're talking with that master of deduction, Mr. Sherlock Holmes. Now, let's see what we can deduce from his conversation.

Greg:  Good evening. It is a singular honor to be speaking with this week’s guest. He has solved some of the most baffling cases in history, always through outstanding feats of intellect and deduction. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Mr. Sherlock Holmes. Welcome Mr. Holmes.

Holmes:  Thank you.

Greg:  Tell me a little about your early life.

Holmes:  I don’t like to talk much about myself. It could give my enemies valuable information with which to do me injury. However, since I am retired and most of my enemies are jailed or dead, I shall indulge you just this once, although I shan’t go into too many specifics.

I was born in England in 1861. My ancestors were country squires, but the thought of lounging around on an estate all day never held much appeal for me. So, after sitting two years at Cambridge, I left school in 1880 to fight in the Second Anglo-Afghan war, where I was wounded.

Upon my return from the war, I decided to apply my immense powers of reason and my ability to disguise myself to use as a consulting detective. I had always had a talent in this line. In fact, it was while at university that I had first used my powers of deduction to solve a number of trifling cases that had been puzzling the local constabulary.

Greg:  How did you meet Dr. Watson?

Holmes:  As I said, I had been working as a consulting detective in London, but times were hard. Financial difficulties required that I advertise for a boarder. Dr. Watson turned up on my doorstep the day after I posted the ad in the Times. Wonderful bit of serendipity, that.

He and I lived and worked together for a number of years, quite successfully, until he decided to get married. After his wife’s untimely death, Watson returned, and I was happy to receive him. He has chronicled all of my most formidable cases.

Greg:  You’ve got a reputation as quite a clever fellow. It’s said that you can deduce anything about someone just by looking at them.

Holmes:  Quite.

Greg:  What can you deduce by looking at me?

Holmes:  That you love muffins, and that you have been through quite a lot to obtain one.

Greg:  How do you mean?

Holmes:  I mean that you set out for the bakery in your automobile, but ran out of petrol on the way. You found that your cellular phone was dead, so you hiked to the nearest telephone, and rang the automobile club. You were picked up and transported back to your car, where you refilled the tank. You then purchased a muffin and a medium cup of coffee for yourself and the driver as a thank you.

Greg:  That’s remarkable Holmes! It’s almost like you were there with me through the whole ordeal. How did you deduce it?

Holmes:  Elementary. First, the crumbs on your shirt, and your slightly portly physique pointed to an overindulgence in sweets. Next, the mud and drops of petrol on your shoes were indications that you recently journeyed on foot and had filled your petrol tank. Behind you, I see that your cellular telephone is being recharged, which lead me to believe that you were unable to use it to telephone for help.

Greg:  Incredible, Holmes. But how were you able to sort out the bit about the automobile club and that I had bought the driver a treat?

Holmes:  Quite simple, really. On the table at your elbow lie your automobile club card and a receipt from a bakery. The receipt shows that you purchased two muffins and two medium coffees.

Now, while it is entirely possible that you  purchased two muffins for yourself, I do not think that even you would have purchased two coffees for yourself alone.

So you see it was really quite an obvious deduction. All one has to do is observe the clues.

Greg:  You’ve solved a great number of cases over the years. Which has been the most satisfying?

Holmes:  My cases have involved many lofty, even royal, personages throughout the years. While these have carried a certain amount of satisfaction, I find that I am most satisfied when dealing in cases involving the common man, for it is there that we see both the worst and the best that humanity has to offer.

Greg:  Well thank you so much for spending some time with us. It was most enlightening.

Holmes:  Yes, I am sure it was.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Writer's Week #85: Feeling a Draft

I got a lot done this week. For one thing, I was interviewed by my local weekly paper. It was a great conversation and the article should be in next week's edition. I also signed up for a show in mid-October, so I'll be hitting the road selling some books shortly. I'm also looking for some other venues in November. 

There are also plans in the works for a book signing. I got the go ahead from a friend of mine here in town. It will be on a Saturday from 1 to 3 in the afternoon. I just have to decide on a date between now and Christmas. Does anyone have any insight on which weekend is best for selling between Thanksgiving and Christmas? The day after Black Friday would seem to be most obvious, but I'm wondering if people might be away or flocking to the mall...

Now for the biggest news this week--on Monday I completed the first draft of The Golden Dragon of Ang!!! It turned out pretty nicely. I honestly think it's the best of the Deliverers Series so far. Of course, I know of two sections that will need extensive rewrites, and there are a couple of other elements I want to strengthen, but all in all it's a great story.

Here are the final statistics on the first draft (I know, bear with me. I'm part banker, statistics are important to me)--62,951 words, 62 chapters, and 273 pages. After the rewrites, the word count will probably be a little higher. Interestingly enough, this time I think I nailed the first chapter right out of the gate. Those of you who have been following this blog for a while may remember that I totally rewrote the first chapter of the first two books at least once. In the case of Sharky and the Jewel, it was twice.

This time around, I'm not sure I am totally satisfied with the final chapter. I haven't read it yet, and won't until I work my way through the editing process, but I didn't have a warm, fuzzy feeling as I was writing it. We'll see if my impression was correct when I get back to it. Artist Daniel Vogel has completed the maps and will be working on the cover in the coming weeks. If all goes well, book 3 will be out in February! As always, I'll keep you in the loop. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What's Christian Reading? Magyk

Ha! Here's a book that I actually read before Christian! I really enjoyed Magyk, by Angie Sage. Let's see what Christian thought about the book.


 In Magyk, by Angie Sage the Supreme Custodian guard has taken over the castle and banned the use of magyk. He has killed the Queen and the Extraordinary Wizard at the palace. The baby princess has however evaded death after the Extraordinary Apprentice Marcia Overstrand killed the assassin that was sent by the Supreme Custodian. the princess is given to a local family of wizards called the Heaps.  

Ten years later the Heaps celebrate Jenna’s (the princces’) 10th birthday. Marcia (now the Extraordinary Wizard) comes rushing in and tells Sarah and Silas Heap that Jenna is in trouble. The Supreme Custodian and the Althier, the deceased Extraordinary Wizard--and Marcia’s mentor--have tracked down the princess. Jenna is whisked away to the wizard tower before she opens her present.

Silas and one of Jenna’s brothers come barging into the Extraordinary Wizard's room and give Jenna her present. The Young Army boy that Marcia found earlier stirs. Marcia gives him new clothes and the Supreme Custodian starts to bang on the door. Then they all take a plunge down the garbage chute to escape

    What I  liked
        I liked everything!
     What I didn’t like
        I liked it all.
 Five Out Of five Shiny Deoxys

Monday, September 9, 2013

Between the Lines: Captain Nemo

Today, we're leaving The Deliverers Publishing Headquarters to take to the seas. We're going under the sea--20,000 leagues under the sea--to talk to the mysterious Captain Nemo. We were lucky enough to be invited aboard his wonderful submarine, Nautilus, to spend a little time getting to know him better.

Greg:  Thanks for inviting us to spend a little time with you, Captain. I know that you don't like to talk much about yourself, but I was wondering what you did before taking to the seas.

Nemo:  I was once known as Prince Dakkar, the son of a Hindu Raja of the Indian Kingdom of Bundelkund. In my youth, I watched as the imperial forces of the British Empire conquered my beloved land. In the fighting, I lost both my kingdom and my family.

I decided to devote my life to scientific endeavors in order to put an end to imperialism and lead the world into a new era of peace. To that end, I and those loyal to me worked to devise a fantastic machine, capable of diving to great depths.

Greg:  Let me guess, we're in it, right?

Nemo:  Correct. This wondrous vessel, called Nautilus, is my masterpiece. It is a world unto itself, free of the greed and evil that thrives upon the land. With it I could liberate treasure from sunken ships. With that treasure, I have been able to create a Utopian society where man is free to evolve into a higher order without the mundane thirst for power that drives the surface dwellers. True freedom only exists beneath the sea, for it is the only place beyond the greedy grasp of mankind.

Greg:  Very impressive and admirable ideals, Captain. But isn't it true that you indulge in some of those very things yourself? For instance, haven't you been known to attack ships?

Nemo:  You are correct, up to a point. It is true that I, we--my crew and I--have attacked ships. However, I never attack unless attacked. The vessels that I have sunk were ships of war, those whose express purpose is to wreak havoc upon the weak and oppressed.

No sir, I do not indulge in violence, as you say. Rather, I protect the seas and all creatures in them from the marauding forces of man. Besides, the laws and conventions of the surface dwellers do not apply to those of us who live beneath the waves in tranquility and peace.

Greg:  Okay, okay, no need to get so uptight. I get it. Since we're down here under the waves as your guests we'll just go with it--when in Rome, and all that. It must be an exciting life, living beneath the sea. Can you tell us a little about your adventures?

Nemo:  Ah, yes, my adventures. Where to begin? There was our journey to the ice fields of Antarctica, in which we journeyed underneath the ice. The Nautilus was trapped there for a time, but I and my crew worked 'round the clock to free her. After that, I was able to claim Antarctica for my own.

We have been lucky enough to view most all of the marvels that the sea has to offer. But perhaps the most magnificent was the lost City of Atlantis. Magnificent and wonderful are its buildings and streets, but cold and lifeless. Wonders there are, but also memories of pain and suffering that the sea will never be able to expunge.

Then, there was the time we were under attack from a school of squid. It was difficult to fend them off, and I lost a member of my crew in the process--very disturbing. My crew are my family now. Losing one of them is heart wrenching, I must say. I have lost so many that have been close to me...

Greg:  It must get pretty lonely traveling through the sea, although I have to say the Nautilus is lovely.

Nemo:  She is magnificent, is she not? I have tried my best to make my crew as comfortable as possible, although I myself do not indulge in such things. This sitting room for instance, is finely appointed with works of fine art and sculpture. There are also pearls, coral and other rare and beautiful treasures of the sea that I have harvested.

My one indulgence is my organ, which I love to play. I must say that, with all modesty, I am quite skilled. It's notes are the only thing that can sooth my tortured soul.

Greg:  Well, Captain, I must say that this conversation has been very enlightening. Thank you so much for your hospitality. Uh, do you think you could drop us off now?

Nemo:  I'm afraid that I can't do that. You see, there's always the chance that you will alert the authorities to our whereabouts. You will be spending the rest of your life with us. Gotcha! just kidding! I really had you going, didn't I? I could see you getting worried. No really, we'll drop you off. Is Mystic Seaport okay?

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Writer's Week #84: Fun, Fun!

What a fun week! A lot of great things happened, not least of which was that the Kindle version of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel was free from Labor Day until today (hint--click on the link, you can still get it free tonight!). The book has done very well. At one point it had hit #1 in children's sword & sorcery and #5 in children's action & adventure. It's been a great opportunity to make the book more visible, and I want to thank all of you for helping me spread the word.

On Labor Day, I had the pleasure of being interviewed on the great blog, My Book and My Coffee. Ara was a very kind hostess. Now, here's a great way to get yourself a chance to win The Deliverers 2: Order of the Crystal Lion. When you check out the interview, continue down to the bottom of the post. There you will find a giveaway to win one of two ebook copies. Good luck!

So, this week has really been extraordinary. I even managed to do a fair bit of writing. I wrote about 1,500 words this week. That means that The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang is up to over 59,000 words in 60 chapters over 258 pages. We're getting close to the end of the first draft. This week's writing had some nice moments after some difficulties the previous week. My hope is that next week I'll be able to report that the first draft has been completed. I'll let you know how I made out then!