Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What's Abigail Reading? Little Women

Abigail has been spending her time reading a classic. As is often the case, Abby became interested in this week's book when she saw the film version. Sometimes the movie version is a good way to get a child interested in a classic book. That was true in the case of Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott. Let's see what Abigail had to say about it.

Here's what Abigail says the book is about.

This book is about four sisters named Beth, Jo, Meg and Amy. In the beginning the four girls were lying around before Christmas day and thought about presents to get for themselves. They realize that instead of worrying about presents for themselves, they should buy presents for their mother (Marmee). Beth bought handkerchiefs, Amy bought perfume, Jo bought slippers and Meg bought gloves.

Then Jo and Amy went to Sallie Gardener's to go to a ball. Meg and Jo got there and at first Meg was scared, but then just got going by talking to people. Jo was scared at first, too, then saw a redheaded boy looking at her and trying to catch up to her. Then Jo slipped into a room and almost sat on a boy named Laurie.

Laurie was their neighbor. A couple of weeks later, Laurie and his tutor, Mr. Brooke, wanted to take Jo and Meg out to the theater. The youngest girl, Amy, wanted to go too, but Jo and Meg said they had reserved seats and that Amy had a cold. When they came back, Jo found out that her manuscript was burned in the fire because Amy was angry at her.

After that the four girls found out that their father was very ill and Marmee needed to go to him right away. Mr. Brooke asked if he could escort her. Jo cut her hair and got $25 to help. Finally everyone was afraid and worried.

Here's what Abigail liked best about the book.

I liked when Jo was writing her book because I think it would be cool to write a book.

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

I did not like when Beth got sick. It made me sad.

So, how did Abigail rate Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott?

She gave it five out of five dolphins.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Between the Lines: Anne Shirley

This week, I'm particularly pleased to introduce a very special guest, Miss. Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables fame. So, let's get right to the interview.

Greg:  Welcome, Anne. I'm so glad you could come down from Prince Edward Island to join us.

Anne:  Thank you for having me, I'm sure. It is most exhilarating to be here.

Greg:  Yes, I'm sure. I gather that you had a very difficult early life. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Anne:  No more difficult than the next person, I shouldn't think. I was born in Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia, but my parents died of typhoid fever when I was only three months old, leaving me all alone in the world. My parents, Walter and Bertha Shirley were both schoolteachers, a source of great pride for me. I would like to follow in their footsteps, and have endeavored to do so.

I was taken in by our housekeeper, Mrs. Thomas. But when Mr. Thomas died, Mrs. Thomas sent me to the Hammonds, where I looked after their three sets of twins. I have ever been cursed by twins, you know. But when Mr. Hammond died--my, an awful lot of people that I know seemed to have died, come to think of it--Mrs. Hammond packed all the twins off to relatives and packed me off to an orphanage on Prince Edward Island.

I spent some bit of time at the orphanage, but was taken in by siblings, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. Unfortunately, and nearly tragically, there was a slight misunderstanding that nearly sent me back to the orphanage.

Greg:  Oh my, what was the problem?

Anne:  Well, Matthew and Marilla were under the impression that the orphanage was sending them a boy. You can imagine Matthew's surprise when he saw a freckle faced red haired girl waiting anxiously for him at the train station.

Matthew picked me up and brought me to their farm, Green Gables. I liked Matthew from the very start, and I believe he liked me. He was so kind and gentle spoken. A prince among men.

Marilla Cuthbert was made of sterner stuff. She frightened me. She was all about manners and religion and being proper, and she wanted no part of a girl on the farm. But oh, how I wanted to stay. Green Gables was just so perfect. I needed a knight in shining armor riding a white horse to come charging over the hill and save the day. And do you know what? My shining knight came.

Greg:  Really? Who was your shining knight?
Anne:  Why Matthew Cuthbert, of course. He talked Marilla into it, you see. Oh I said he was kind and gentle, didn't I? A true knight.

Greg:  Of course. So I gather Matthew convinced Marilla to allow you to stay. Were you able to make any friends in, what town was it?

Anne:  Avonlea, the most wonderful town that any child ever grew up in. It was hard making friends at first. It takes a while to find out if someone is a kindred spirit or not. It didn't take long to discover that Diana Berry was just such a kindred spirit, however. We became bosom friends almost immediately.

It took longer with others. That Gilbert Blythe for one. The first day of school he teased me and called me Carrots because of my red hair. Diana said he only did it because he liked me, but I swore that I would have nothing to do with Gilbert Blythe until my dying day. In that, I was somewhat mistaken, but that was revealed only a great deal later.

Greg:  Can you tell us a little bit about Marilla's friend, Rachel Lynde?

Anne:  Oh, Mrs. Lynde was a kindred spirit, although neither she nor I realized it for quite some time. When I first came to Avonlea, there was a misunderstanding between her and I that drove a wedge between us. She had a nose for gossip, but was never a malicious gossip like some.

Greg:  You mentioned earlier that you wanted to become a teacher, like your parents. Was there anyone that helped you on the path to your chosen profession?

Anne:  My teacher, Miss. Stacy, yet another kindred spirit, showed me that I had the ability to teach. When she first came to Avonlea, many of the townsfolk did not take to her straightaway. They thought her too lenient. Spare the rod and spoil the child was their motto.

Miss. Stacy thought it better to encourage her students. That is what she did with me. She was my mentor, and gave me the encouragement that I needed to reach for the stars. The star was Queens College. I owe her a debt of gratitude that can never be fully repaid.

Greg:  And we owe you a debt of gratitude as well, Anne, for taking the time to share some of your life with us.

Anne:  Will this be in the newspaper? Because I want to make sure you remember to spell my named with an e, Anne. The e makes it much more distinguished, don't you think?

Greg: Yes, I suppose it does. I don't know if this will be in the paper, but it will be on the Internet, which is just as good these days.

Anne:  Internet? I'm not familiar with the term. Is that a newspaper chain? I've heard of those. Hearst is very prominent. I've not heard of the Internet family. Are they American?

Greg:  Mmm, from all over, I believe.

Anne:  Isn't that wonderful! I'll look forward to reading about myself. I don't care what Marilla says about vanity, I do enjoy reading about myself!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Writer's Week #91: A Golden Day

A lot of exciting things happened this writer's week. I worked out a big chunk of the plot and background information for The Deliverers 4. I met with illustrator Daniel Vogel to work out the concept for the cover of The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang. I'm preparing for a great show next weekend (see Appearance Alert at the bottom of this post). But all of that pale in comparison to what's going on today.

Today is my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. It's hard for me to believe. We held an anniversary party for them at the beginning of August. We did that for two reasons. Number one was because we wanted it to be a surprise (it was). Number two because with children coming from as far away as Vermont, Florida and Montana, the logistics worked better in the summer than late fall, and we wanted all five children to be there. We're so far flung that the last time we were all together was almost ten years ago. I'm so glad we were able to pull it off.

My parents are really fantastic. They raised five children without any of us being seriously damaged. My father, Albert Slomba, is brilliant. As an optical engineer, he was a leader in his field and worked on many important projects including the Hubble Space Telescope. My mother is equally brilliant, but made the decision to stay home and raise her five rambunctious children. She did an outstanding job and even managed to find time volunteer frequently and spent several year as the Director of Religious Education for our parish.

I can only imagine the trials of raising five children. My wife and I have two and the challenges of that are
The entire brood
huge enough to me. I couldn't imagine having five. Still, my parents managed to pull it off and made it look easy (to us). Along the way there were challenges, both mundane and extraordinary.

They had a son (me) who was so hyperactive that he danced on the desks of his first grade class when his mother came to visit. They bore the weight of a daughter who was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of six (she made it through with flying colors). They had a three year old son (not me) who decided to run around the neighborhood naked. This does not even cover the usual cuts, bruises, stitches and teenage angst that all parents deal with.

Through it all, they kept their cool and were always loving and supportive. They made it look so easy to us that we took what they did for granted. I was probably the most guilty of this. As the oldest, it was all just business as usual to me. I didn't appreciate it until I had children of my own. I try to follow my parents' and my in-laws' example (they've been married 51 years), but I am not always successful.

Whatever I do in life, through all my successes and failures, my parents have always been my yardstick. They set such a great example. Now that we're all grown and out of the house, it's nice to go over and see how much they enjoy just being together. They truly are best friends and that is the key, I think. All of us kids own our parents so much. Thanks,Mom and Dad for always being there and always being supportive. We love you and hope God blesses you with many more years of happy marriage!

Appearance Alert:  My next show will be November 2 & 3 at the Santa's Arts & Crafts Festival at the Coco Key Resort in Waterbury, CT.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What's Elizabeth Reading? Princess of the Silver Woods

Elizabeth is back to tell us about another book in the twelve dancing princesses series. This time it's Princess of the Silver Woods, by Jessica Day George. Let's see what she has to say about it.

Here's what Elizabeth says the book is about.

This book is about the twelve dancing princesses again, just mostly about the youngest princess, Petunia. You see, Petunia was traveling to visit a 'friend' when she was accidentally abducted by Oliver, a bandit/earl. She finds many secrets that have been pushed to the far reaches of her kingdom.

Along with Oliver, whom she has fallen in love with, Petunia, her sisters, Galen and Heinrich must stop the King Under Stone once and ffor all. Just a warning--do not read this book until after you have read Princess of the Midnight Ball!

So, how did Elizabeth rate Princess of the Silver Woods, by Jessica Day George?

She gave it five out of five blue dragons.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Between the Lines: The Brave Little Tailor

We are privileged to have with us one of the most valiant heroes of his age-perhaps of any age. He once killed seven...Oh, but perhaps I should let him tell you all about it instead. Yes, that would be more fitting, I believe. Here he is, the Brave Little Tailor.

Greg:  Welcome sir. I introduced you as a tailor, but that's not quite true as you now have title to half the kingdom and the king's daughter as well. 

Tailor:  Yes, that's true. Although I don't like to brag, I have managed to do rather well for myself.

Greg:  And to what do you owe your fantastic success?

Tailor:  I have had to live by my wits. I've been in many a tight place and managed to scrape through on nothing more than daring and cunning.

Greg:  How so?

Tailor:  It all started when I managed to kill seven flies with one blow of my hand. It might not seem like much, but I thought that I might be able to put that experience to some use. I had a belt made that proclaimed "seven with one blow". Then I left home and went to seek my fortune.

It wasn't long before I bumped into a giant. He was one of the most fearsome creatures I had ever met. When he saw my belt, he assumed that I had killed seven men with one blow--giants are not particularly bright you understand. Anyhow, he decided to challenge me. I managed to fool him into thinking I was a match for him physically. What can I say, he was a giant so it wasn't that difficult.

Greg:  It sounds rather simple when you put it like that, although perhaps you should not have taken advantage of the poor giant.

Tailor:  Well that's easy to say, but I am small and frail and have to live on my wits. I out-thought him so sue me. Anyhow, you shouldn't get up on your high horse until you've heard the whole story. After I "bested" him, he took me to his house, but he wasn't trying to make friends. He tried to kill me, he did. Can you believe that? Never trust a giant I always say.

Greg:  Well, that was kind of nasty of him. What did you do?

Tailor:  Well, the bed was too big. I couldn't get comfortable. I decided to sleep off in a corner, and that saved my life, because the giant and his family couldn't find me. They were so scared to see me still alive the next morning that they all took off.

Far be it from me to turn down an opportunity when it presents itself. I presented myself to the king. I told him I'd bested a whole giant family and asked to serve in his royal guard. The other guards didn't take too kindly to this. They heard what I had done to the giants and they were worried I'd lose my temper and take care of them one day. So, they went to the king and told him it were either me or them.

Greg:  What did the king say?

Tailor:  He didn't want to lose his whole platoon of guards, but he wasn't too keen on getting me angry, either. He decided to send me to kill two giants who were terrorizing the kingdom. If I succeeded, he would give me half the kingdom and his daughter's hand in marriage.

Greg:  Did you kill them?

Tailor:  I didn't have to. I got them to take care of each other on their own. See, I sneaked up to where they were sleeping and I tossed some rocks at each of them. One thought the other was doing it, and the other thought the first was. Soon they were really going at each other. It was something to behold, I tell you. After they did each other in, the king gave me a couple of other small tasks and I was in. The wedding was last fall--a most charming ceremony it was.

Greg:  Well, you certainly made the most of your opportunities. Thanks for chatting with us.

Tailor:  When opportunity knocks, make the most of it I always say. Thank heavens for dumb giants, otherwise I'd still be in my little shop, hemming and stitching. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Writer's Week #90: Fun Times

Another fun week has come and gone, but not before leaving me with a great feeling. First off, I had a very nice interview published on the New Fairfield Hamlethub. Kate Mattiace was such a pleasure to talk to. That's one of the cool things about being an author--I get to meet so many nice people.

All set and raring to go
That was never more evident than today when I exhibited at the St. Mary's Harvest Tag Sale and Craft Show in Stamford, CT. I met a lot of great kids and had a chance to chat a bit with most and quite a lot with a Couple who were really interested in finding out what it's like to be an author. Then, I was fortunate to be placed next to some lovely ladies who were a pleasure to talk to. Anyone who has spent seven hours sitting at a show knows that it can be pretty tedious if the people in the space next to you aren't too friendly. Thanks for helping the day roll by, ladies!

Another nice thing that happened to me today was a surprise visit from a very old friend of mine--Mike Argenio. We went to high school together and he lives and teaches in Stamford. He brought his daughter, Emma, to meet me  right after her soccer team scored an impressive 4-2 victory. I'm looking forward to possibly visiting his 6th grade class sometime after the holidays.

On the writing front, I did not have much chance to work out any more of the plat for book 4, but I did submit the completed manuscript of The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang to layout artist, Ana Vogel. I hope to meet with artist Daniel Vogel next week to check out the initial concept for the cover and discuss next steps. I'll let you know how things are going next week.

Appearance Alert:  My next show will be November 2 & 3 at the Santa's Arts & Crafts Festival at the Coco Key Resort in Waterbury, CT.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What's Christian Reading? A Tale Dark & Grimm

Oh boy. Christian's discovered another new book. This book is an interesting take on Hansel & Gretel. There are a lot of books out there that are modern versions of fairy tales, some better done than others, but A Tale Dark & Grimm, by Adam Gidwitz sounds like it's one of the good ones. Let's see what Christian thought about it.



This book is about Hansel and Gretel. It tells about the adventures that they had besides the witch and her gingerbread house. Hansel and Gretel were royalty. They fought dragons, went through hell, and got their heads sliced off in the beginning of the story.  

They also go to these two towns that have problems with their magical wine fountain and golden apple trees. They fix all of the problems and move on with their journey.

I won’t tell you all of the details but Hansel meets an old man who happens his family's old and faithful servant. They are very brave and bold. They had many more adventures but I won’t tell you everyone of them.

What I  liked

I liked when Hansel went into hell with the devil.

What I didn’t like

It didn’t have any thing I didn’t like.
 Five out of five Shiny Deoxys

Monday, October 14, 2013

Between the Lines: Three Blind Mice

Hello again. As promised last week, I am posting a brand new interview this week after featuring "reruns" for the past several. We're back with a bang, as I actually have three interviewees for the price of one. Allow me to introduce the Three Blind Mice. Let's see if we can get the inside scoop on them shall we?

Greg:  Welcome. I'm glad you all could be here together today. I gather that it's been a while since you've all been together.

Mouse #1:  Yeah, it's been a long time. We ain't seen each other in years.

Mouse #2:  Hah, that's a good one--seen each other. As if we could. You always was an insensitive bloke, Morty.

Mouse #3:  Now Fred, don't be so hard on the lad, you know he ain't one t' think before he speaks. It's just his way.

Fred:  You quit stickin' up for him Jasper. You was always stickin' up for Mort you was.

Jasper:  Now don't take on like that, Fred. It weren't his fault. He saw his chance and he took it. If it had worked out, I'm sure he would of gotten us in, too. But the whole plan went belly up and that's that. Then there was that whole deal with the farmer's wife.

Greg:  Hold on. I'm a little lost here. Can we take it from the top. What broke you three up?

Mort:  It's a long, rather painful story. I don't think we need to go into it.

Fred:  No, I think we should go into it, Mort. We got to get it out in the open-like. Maybe then everyone can judge for themselves.

Jasper:  No Fred, I think maybe Mort's right. There ain't no need to go dredgin' all that stuff back up.

Mort:  No, don't worry about it, Jasper. Maybe Fred's right. It might be good t' clear the air.

Greg:  Hey cool. It sounds like we've got a scoop here folks. Okay, we all want to know what happened to break you guys up.

Mort:  Well, it was like this, see. In our younger days we was always lookin' for some good times. We never stayed in one place long. We was runnin' here, there and everywhere. We lived in this house with this farmer and his wife, boy was she scared of us.

Fred:  Yeah, we'd chase her all over the house, out in the barnyard, wherever.

Mort:  Sure, sure. She was always scared. It was a lot of fun. But that was our day job. We did more than that. We had an act.

Greg:  An act?

Jasper:  Sure, ya know Vaudeville--singin' an' dancin'. We was real good, too. Had a lot of Hollywood types interested in us.

Fred:  Yeah, yeah. They was interested in all of us--one in particular was real interested.

Greg: Who, who?

Fred:  Ya sound like an owl, talkin' like that. Ya gave me the shivers for a minute there. Watch it, will ya? Anyways, yeah, the big guy himself, Mister Entertainment--Walt Disney--was real interested. He wanted to talk t' someone, so Mort here volunteered t' go.

Mort:  You an' Jasper didn't have time t' go. You was both chasin' the farmer's wife.

Fred:  Ya sure took advantage of that, didn't ya?

Greg:  How? How did he take advantage?

Mort:  I didn't. I met with Disney, but he didn't want a trio. He was lookin' for a single, and he wanted me. I would be Mortimer Mouse and star in all his pictures. I went back t' the others with the news. I promised 'em I'd find a way to work 'em in with me once I got established.

Greg:  Sounds reasonable. So what happened?

Jasper:  Fred and Mort got inta it pretty good. They almost came t' blows. I tried t' step in an' make Fred see reason, but he wasn't havin' none of it. In fact, Mort was just about t' walk out when it happened.

Greg:  What happened?

Mort:  The farmer's wife finally got up her nerve an' came after us. She was totin' a huge carrvin' knife. She was swingin' it madly above her head. Finally, she cornered  us and chopped our tails off. Scared us blind it did.

Greg:  What about Disney?

Mort:  He didn't want no blind, tailess mouse, so he backed outta the deal. Hire some rube from Malibu named Mickey ad the rest is history.

Greg:  Oh, bad luck. But listen, you shouldn't let a little setback like that get you down.

Fred:  Yeah, I suppose not. I'm willin' t' let bygones be bygones if you are.

Mort:  Sure thing ol' pal. Put her there.

Jasper:  Aw, that's great fellas, I knew you'd make peace. Now let's see if we can't scare up an agent. I hear they're plannin' a remake of Cinderella, an' they're auditionin' mice an' birds, let's get a move on!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Writer's Week #89: New Paths

Things were jumping all over this week. At work I found out my department is switching locations to a nearby town. This will entail re-configuring offices ad training space to fit the new location. This is both a daunting task and a wonderful opportunity. My hope is that we can design a space that will better serve our department's role and personnel. Our bank is now bigger and having some extra training space all in one location will be ideal. I'm looking forward to the challenge.

On the writing front, the rewriting and editing of The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang is complete. I will now send it over to layout designer Ana Vogel. Artwork will take a few months, but illustrator Daniel Vogel will work it in between his schoolwork. At this point, we're still on schedule for a February release.

I have begun mapping out the story line for The Deliverers 4. There is one thing that is disturbing me about
the plot for this book. I pretty much know how it will go--at least the basics of the story. The problem is with the villain--I don't know who he is. I introduced him, or the idea of him, at the end of book 3, but I really don't know who he--or she--is. I know what they're supposed to do and why, but that's it. I have a feeling that I amm going to find out the particulars along with the characters. This always winds up leading to the best results, but it's nerve-wracking.

Finally, I have formatted an ebook version of Sharky and the Jewel that has been published on Smashwords. I had fiddled around with Smashwords last summer, but became a little frustrated with the process. This month, however, I dropped my exclusivity agreement with Amazon and decided to tackle it again. I now have versions that are compatible with Kindle, Nook, and other Epub formats such as iBooks, and Kobo. I'm not totally satisfied with the layout on the Epub version, so I'll probably tinker with it a little more. Once I get it set, I'll tackle the formatting of Order of the Crystal Lion. 

Appearance Alert:  I will be appearing at St. Mary's Harvest Craft and Tag Sale in Stamford, CT on Saturday, October 19th from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Please stop by and visit is you are in the area. I would love to see you!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What's Elizabeth Reading? Princess of the Midnight Ball

The Reading Crew continues to read at a furious pace. This week Elizabeth has been reading Princess of the Midnight Ball, by Jessica Day George.  Let's see what she had to say about it.

Here's what Elizabeth says the book is about.

Have you ever heard of the twelve dancing princesses? Well, that is what this story is, just with a twist. This is a story whose main character/knight in shining armor is a soldier-turned-gardener. He tries to find out the mystery of the twelve princesses' worn-out dancing slippers. You see, the princesses have supposedly been cursed by some evil doings of a guy their late mother, Queen Maude, knew. And Galen, knight in shining armor, has been assigned the task of saving them (without his knowing) by an old lady onn the side of the road.

There's just one problem-part of the curse makes the princesses unable to speak of their curse--or King Under Stone, the evil guy their mother bargained with--to any human being. So...this is where Galen has to single-handedly trick the princesses , find out their secret, and save them--all with in a very limited amount of time.

I loved this story and was unable to put it down. It may have been slightly cheesy at points, but it was worth it!

I give it five out of five blue dragons.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Between the Lines: Merlin

This is the last of the early character interviews for the moment. Next week, we'll have another new interviewee. This interview is a rebuttal to last week's interview with King Arthur. Here's his wizard friend, Merlin:

Well, things have certainly been exciting here at The Deliverers Publishing Headquarters. First of all, I am offering the Kindle version of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel for free for the next three days (5/8, 9 & 10), and they've been going like hotcakes. At one point today, I was giving away a book a minute! Heady stuff. Now I know how J.K. Rowling must feel (numb). Would that folks were paying for them! Oh well, hopefully this will generate some word of mouth and some reviews!

The other thing that's been occupying my time has been the controversy generated by yesterday's interview with King Arthur. In case you missed it, he had some rather unpleasant things to say about his onetime friend and mentor, Merlin. I have to admit that I was shocked.

So, I suppose it wasn't a surprise when I received a phone call from the venerable wizard. He was upset that Arthur painted him in such an unflattering light, and that I had acted in his words, "like a most hard hearted and shameful accomplice." Well, what could I say? I offered him equal time to tell his side of the story, if he was willing.

He jumped at the chance. So, straight from Merlin's Cave, here is Merlin's rebuttal.

Greg:  Well, Merlin, it certainly is nice to meet you, although I wish the circumstances might be a little more cheery.

Merlin:  Thank you for the opportunity my boy. It really is good of you to allow me some time to defend myself.

Greg:  Not at all. We don't usually do two interviews in one week, but I thought the situation warranted it. Now, why don't you tell us where Arthur went astray in his recollection of events.

Merlin:  Gladly. Unfortunately, most everything he said was sheer fabrication. I was the guiding force behind the throne. I've known Arthur since he was a mere boy. I was his teacher, and schooled him in the ways of the natural world, government, morals and ethics. I suppose I did not do a very good job on that last item.

But to address your question, Arthur might think he accomplished what he did on his own, but it was I who laid the groundwork. As for my magic not amounting to much, I'll have you know that I have performed many extraordinary feats. I am a master shape changer, and used that power to great effect in Arthur's education.

Greg:  Yes, but what about the time traveler from Connecticut who blotted out the sun?

Merlin:  Argh! It was that Twain person. He had it in for me from the very start. Always painted me as a villain, a fool. What he did was not magic, mere looking back to the past. Hindsight is always 20/20. I look into the future. My specialty is seeing what shall be.

Greg:  Then why didn't you see what was coming?

Merlin:  Er, um, I was looking too far ahead. You see I was about to meet my fate. The lovely Lady of the Lake was my future. Unfortunately, I was too enamored of her to pay attention to the road immediately ahead.

Greg:  Well, we can talk more about that a little later. I'm interested in whose idea the Knights of the Round Table really was. Arthur claimed it to be his, and that you wanted the table to be octagonal. Is that true?

Merlin:  That was just an early sketch. No, of course I hit upon the round, all knights are equal concept soon after. I will admit that Arthur selected the majority of the knights who would make up the order, but the chivalric concept was entirely mine. Of course, I had nothing in mind at the time but the unification of Britain and the betterment of the world.

Arthur was really the one after the glory. The lad does have a vain streak a mile wide, despite his many good qualities.

Greg:  Ah, so you admit that Arthur is not all bad?

Merlin:  Admit? I do not have to do anything of the kind. Of course he has many good qualities. That's why I chose him for the task. That's why he was able to pull the sword out of the stone. It was because he was destined to unite and rule all of England. I just resent the fact that now that he's reached the pinnacle of success, he's trying to minimize my considerable contribution to the whole affair.

Greg:  Speaking of affairs, what's the story with you and the Lady of the Lake?

Merlin:  It's a painful part of my life that I don't like to talk about, but since you've been kind enough to give me equal time, I'll give you the lowdown. She was such a temptress. First, she tosses Arthur that magic sword, then she starts making with the small talk. Then next thing you know, she's enchanted me and locked me in this cave. It took me ages to get out.

Greg:  I guess this is where we get out. I think our time is up, but I really did enjoy our visit together.

Merlin:  I did, also. Thank you again for giving me some time to give my side of the story. Now that I'm free, I think I'll go have a talk with the Lady of the Lake. She's bound to have gotten over our spat by now.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Writer's Week #88: Fall Cleaning?

I've never hear of fall cleaning, but that's what I wound up doing this week here on the Deliverers Blog. There were a few pages that needed some serious tidying up, and I noticed that there were a couple that could be combined. Then I thought of a couple new pages to add. Before I knew it the row of page buttons at the top of the sight was looking a whole lot different.

The main reason I thought to look at them in the first place is that I have confirmed a few appearances over the next couple of months. So, there is now an Appearances button. Please check it out, and if you happen to be in the area on any of those date, stop by and say hello! It is my intention to be appearing somewhere at least once a month whenever possible. Let's see how that works out! :)

Next, I decided to add a Reviews page. I have been receiving a lot of fantastic feedback on both books, so five-star review from Readers' Favorite for The Deliverers: Sharky  & the Jewel. This is a great organization that reviews books for authors for free. If the book is worthy of a four or five star review, then they start a book page on their site for it. If the book receives three stars or less, the review is not published, but the author is given an objective critique to help them improve their book. Thank you to fellow author Karen Pokras Toz for telling me about Readers' Favorite!
I figured I'd feature a nice sampling. I received one of the most exciting reviews just this week. It was a wonderful

Some of the other pages have received face lifts. I combined the Calendria and Dwarf Kingdom pages. It is now called Calendria & the Kingdom. I also redid the picture layout on the Characters page so that readers can have easier access to the actual interviews. Some of the less popular pages have gone bye-bye, such as the Maproom and Doorways. I have some ideas for a couple of new pages based on Order of the Crystal Lion and The Golden Dragon of Ang, those are projects for another week.

Some sparkling mist for you
On the writing/editing front, editing continues on The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang. It should
be ready to go by the end of next week. Daniel Vogel has done a rough sketch of the cover, based on conversations we've had regarding subject matter. I have not seen it yet, but I know it will be great. He is currently working on a group shot of the Deliverers that I plan on using as the header for the blog and as a banner for shows. That should be complete in another couple of weeks.

So, thing are definitely moving forward. If you have a moment, feel free to tour the blog and let me know what you think of thee updates. If you have any suggestions on improvements you'd like to see, please let me know. Thanks and have a great week.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What's Abigail Reading? Starring Jules (as Herself)

Abigail's first book report of fourth grade went over very nicely with her teacher, so I decided it would make the perfect Reading Crew installment. She read Starring Jules (as Herself), by Beth Ain. Let's hear what she had to say.

Here's what Abigail says the book is about.

The book that I read was Starring Jules. It is about a girl named Jules who has a new best friend named Elinor. Jules tried out for a mouthwash commercial. She was waiting for her turn to go and then it was time. When Jules was getting taped she almost threw up, but didn't. Jules' video was good and she was happy.

Jules told her grandma what happened after and she was happy. When they got home Jules found out that she wasn't going to be in the commercial, but that she would be on a TV show!

Here's what Abigail liked best about the book.

That Jules was going to be on a show, which is cool.

Was there anything Abigail did not like about the book?

When she made milk bubbles, because that is disgusting.

So how did Abigail rate Starring Jules, by Beth Ain?

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