Monday, March 31, 2014

What's Abigail Reading? The Deliverers: Sharky & the Jewel

With the release of the latest book in The Deliverers Series, The Golden Dragon of Ang, my children wanted to mark the event by sharing their thoughts on the books. At first I was reluctant, but they really wanted to and finally managed to convince me. Today is Abigail's turn. She's going to tell us a little about the first book in the series, Sharky & the Jewel. Christian will stop by on Wednesday to share his thoughts on The Golden Dragon of Ang. 

Here's what Abigail says the book is about.

In the book the main characters are Kate, Eric, Stig and Hallo. They go through secret doors to different places to save the lands. This book is mainly about trying to defeat Sharky the pirate.

First, Eric had a bad dream about losing his dad. He heard an owl talking that night and the owl was named Stig. He lead Eric to a secret door. When they went through the door they were on an island. Next, Kate--a girl who lived there--went looking for Eric and Stig. Kate was planning to meet them there. When they met she told them about Sharky, the person who came to their island and ordered them around.

Then they had to think about a way to get rid of Sharky and his crew. Finally they thought of a plan and met a new friend named Hallo. Hallo helped with the plan, too. When Sharky came to the island they were waiting for him. They got the gem from Sharky.

They used the ring they got from the Guardian a twirled it in the air to get the ring from Sharky. After that, Eric and Stig had to go back home. hey said goodbye to everyone from Calendria, even Hallo and Kate their best friends, and left. There are still more trips to come!

So, how did Abigail rate The Deliverers: Sharky & the Jewel, by--um--me?

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

Friday, March 28, 2014

Gotcha Day

I'm doing something new here today. Since it's Gotcha Day, the day Stephanie and I received our daughter Abigail in China, I thought Steph could introduce Abby's version of what happened nine years ago today.

Today is Abby's Gotcha Day (9 years ago).... Just this week she wrote this up after interviewing Greg and I. I thought it captured the spirit of our little girl! (She said I could post it on facebook if I paid her $0.50, lol... I did!) In her words....

TRIP to CHINA by: Abigail Jiao Ying 

On my mom and dad's way to china to get their second baby they met my china sisters' parents by picking up their information in New York State and getting to meet everyone. When it was time to go to China they all got together again and went on the same plane. After that, they got off the plane and it was dark outside in China and the first place they went to is Hong Kong because they were going to stay the night there that day. Then they all flew on another plane to the mainland of China. they also filled out more papers and went into the new hotel, unpacked and did much more. 

The next day was gotcha day. Everyone was so excited to get their new babies!!! I came with a cold and it got worse the next day. I liked to play with cups and play with my feet. Next we went shopping in Changsha and bought Chinese pampers. We also went to get a beautiful dress and shoes that were hand made. I still have the shoes today. On the last day of Changsha my mom got sick by food poisioning. The next week we flew to Guangzhou. In Guangzhou my dad got a cold too from my cold. After that, my mom and dad finally got to take me home. 

When we got home we went to a restaurant and I met my grandparents and some cousins. When I got home I got greeted by a lovely sign saying: (WELCOME HOME ABIGAIL!!) Everyone was excited. I still see my china sisters today and celebrate Chinese New Year with them and go on fun trips too. I LOVE LIFE!!!!!!! I also have a Chinese book that shows pictures in china, money and all other things!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Uncover the Knowledge of Distant Lands For Only 99 Cents Each

With the release of The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang less than a week away, I've made the first two books in the Deliverers Series, Sharky & the Jewel and Order of the Crystal Lion, 99 cents each on Kindle from now until the release of book 3 on April 1st.

When you purchase and read these two books, you'll be swept away to worlds of wonder and imagination. Better yet, you'll learn the answers to many of the important questions of the universe. Questions such as:

  • How does a talking owl open a door?
  • Do dwarven women have beards?
  • Can a boy, a girl, an owl and a dwarf deliver a beatdown to an immortal pirate?
  • Will splicing monkey jeans into the DNA of a 13 year old boy make him overly sensitive or hyper or is that just their nature?
  • Is making a virtual tunnel out of sparkling mist a viable alternative to digging one?
  • What's the best way to stop a civil war? 

Armed with those answers you'll be ready to dive into The Golden Dragon of Ang to unravel further mysteries of the universe:

So what are you waiting for? All this knowledge and more awaits. Act now before this amazing deal disappears!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Character Interview: Kang

Eric and the rest of the Deliverers make a lot of new friends in The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang. One of them is a former member of a group known as the Denchi Assassins. The Denchi are assassins for hire. Kang was expelled from the group for calling out the leader of the Denchi, someone known as the Fang. Let's see what he's got to say.

Greg:  Thank you  for stopping by. I know you have been busy lately, but what was it like working with the Deliverers?

Kang:  It was unusual. I have always worked alone in the past, but Stig and Hallo had such a big stake in this particular mission that they had to be included. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by a mob.

Greg:  A mob?

Kang:  Yes. More people became involved than I bargained for and events unfolded very quickly.

Greg:  I see. Well, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Kang:  There is not much to tell. I was raised on a farm in Hindra, the Tail of the Dragon Islands. Thirsting for adventure I went home to seek my fortune. I was soon recruited by the Denchi Assassins, a group of renegades and rogues who are highly skilled killers for hire. After vying for the position of Fang, leader of the Denchi, and failing, I was scheduled to be executed. I managed to escape. Since then I have spent my time wandering the Islands, still looking for adventure.

Greg:  Okay. What about this Adventure appealed to you?

Kang:  I was given this task by the Governors of the Dragon Islands. It would have been dishonorable to refuse it. Besides, the little man, Hallo, amuses me.

Greg:  Yep, he can be a real hoot sometimes, especially when he's not trying to. What was it like travelling the Islands with the Deliverers?

Kang:  As I said, Hallo is an amusing little man. Stig is wise. I had never met a talking bird before. e speaks the Dragon's wisdom, I think. Eric and Kate are brave and determined children. It was a most enlightening adventure.

Greg:  What did you take away from it?

Kang:  First, that there are worlds beyond my own that I never before imagined. Second, that there are more important things to do with your life than to waste it seeking revenge.

Greg:  No doubt. Well, thank you Kang. It was great getting to know you a little bit. Thanks for stopping by.

Kang:  It was my pleasure. If you are ever on Hindra, look me up. I'm in Hensha, the capital city.

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Writer's Week #108: Here's Proof

Things continued to move along this week. On Sunday I received the final files for The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang from layout artist Ana Vogel. That immediately triggered my countdown to the book's release on April 1st. 

I submitted the files that evening and Createspace made it available to be proofed on Monday. I ordered four copies, then sat back and waited. Today, the proof copies arrived. They checked out okay, and so everything is now ready for the release of both the paperback and the Kindle versions.

As we get closer to the beginning of April, things will get even more exciting. For those of you who may not yet have acquainted themselves with The Deliverers Series, the Kindle versions of the first two books, Sharky & the Jewel and Order of the Crystal Lion, will be on sale on Amazon in the U.S. for 99 cents apiece and in the U.K. for 0.99. The sale will run from Wednesday, March 26 to Tuesday, April 1. Get caught up on the rest of the series before book 3 comes out!

Also, don't forget the contest to name the two carriage horses in The Deliverers 4. Submit two names by March 31st and I'll pick the pair I like best. The winner will receive an autographed copy of The Deliverers 3 and a special thank you printed in The Deliverers 4! You can leave the names in a comment on this post, or message me on The Deliverers Series' Facebook page. Good luck and have a great week!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Character Interview: The Gatekeeper

Since the release of The Golden Dragon of Ang is only about 14 days away, I thought it would be good to talk with someone who could give us a big picture overview of the Deliverers Series. He's very busy, which is why I haven't been able to tie him down long enough to speak with us. This morning, though, there was a knock on my door and there he was. He said he was finally ready to talk. Who was I to argue? So, here we go.

Greg:  Thanks for taking some time to sit and chat with us.

Gatekeeper:  Well, thank you my boy, it's wonderful to be here, but I really can't sit--too much to do.

Greg:   Yep, I got that. First off, we've received a little bit of information about the current Assignment from Eric, Kate, Hall and Stig. It sounds pretty mysterious. Can you clear things up a little bit, give us the inside scoop?

Gatekeeper:  Hmmm, it is all rather mysterious, I have to admit. You see, this whole situation hit me out of the blue.

Greg:  Out of the blue? I can't buy that, you always know what's going on. But I think we're getting a little bit ahead of ourselves. What is going on?

Gatekeeper:  It's a little complicated. I explained the little I knew at the time to Eric before the Assignment began. I told him about the nature of the sparkling mist and that he should be on the lookout for it.

Greg:  He told us that, but what I want to know is, what's it all about?

Gatekeeper:  To be honest, I'm really not sure. Something bad is happening that could affect the entire universe. Someone or something is using the sparkling mist to disrupt things on other worlds.

Greg:  What do you mean by disrupt?

Gatekeeper:  Undermine the stability of worlds. If one world goes, it could set forces in motion that will topple every other world like dominos. I haven't shared this fear with anyone yet, so please keep it under your hat. This is quite a serious problem.

Greg:  So how are you going to tackle it?

Gatekeeper:  The Deliverers are one of the teams I'm using to combat the situation. In the short time
they've been together, they've had quite a bit of success. They each bring their individual talents to the team and they all work very well together. I'm glad I decided to team them up.

Greg:  I have to say it was an excellent choice. What does the future hold for them.

GateKeeper:  Well, I really don't know, but it appears things are coming to a head. If they are able to contain the situation in the Dragon Islands, then perhaps we can begin to attack the root of the problem if we can just pin it down.   

Greg:  I hope that you all meet with success. After all, if the universe is in trouble it's bad news for us as well.

Gatekeeper:  Well now, I suppose you're right. Ah well, don't worry. I'm sure Eric and the others will win out in the end. All they'll need is courage, perseverance, teamwork and a bit of luck. Now, I really must dash, there is so much that has to be done. It was really great talking with you. We really must do this again soon.

Greg:  That would be great. Good luck with everything!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Writer's Week #107: The Golden Dragon is Coming!

Things have been moving along lately. I just received the final files for The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang from layout designer Ana Vogel and submitted them to Createspace. Once they've had a chance to review them, I'll order a few proof copies to make sure everything is in order, then the book will be all set to release.

With that in mind, I've set up a special counter here on the website. The release is set for April 1st-only fifteen days away! I'm really excited. I'll keep you updated on how things are progressing. In the meantime, here's the complete cover, front and back.

Illustrator Daniel Vogel did a wonderful job. I'll be back next week with a progress report on the new book and my work in progress, The deliverers 4. Have a great week.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Lost Chapter

Back when I was writing The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel, I took a writing class at Fairfield University that was taught by children's author Louise Ladd. Every week we submitted a chapter or so to be critiqued by the class. After the fourth week, Louise dropped a bombshell on me. She said that while my writing was good, the story was taking too long to develop.

That's when she issued the challenge. She said, "Greg I'd really like to see you boil down the first three chapters into one. Get them through the drainpipe through the Hallway of Worlds and into Calendria by the end of chapter one."

Gulp. That week I worked really hard and condensed everything down to one longish chapter. Louise could not believe it and I've got her to thank for teaching me how to get a story off the ground quickly. I wound up cutting the entire second chapter. It was hard to do, because it was all about Stig and I liked it. It wasn't necessary, though, so I cut it. Now I'd like to share it with you. Here it is.

Stig’s Story

            “I was hatched many, many years ago, oh let me see—well over four hundred.”
            “Four hundred?” exclaimed Eric in surprise. “I didn’t think anyone could be so old.”
            “Yes, well I’m really considered quite young by the standards of my world—merely middle aged. Anyway, I spent my youth in the usual pursuits, many decades of school—an owl is nothing if not well educated—hunting by night with my parents and later, with my friends. Oh yes, what wild times we had then, I must say. Quite the rascals were we, always looking for a bit of excitement. There’s nothing like swooping through the trees at night, with the moon at your back, onto a juicy little field mouse or a blind mole.
            “As I grew older, my parents began hinting, and then stating, that I should make something of myself and get a respectable job like my father, who was a most respected judge in the forest’s high court. So I followed in the old bird’s footsteps. It was okay for a while. In fact, if I do say so myself, I acquired the reputation of being a wise and respectable owl—a far cry from the wilder days of my youth. As the years passed I continued to do well for myself, and moved into my own tree, although I was still only in early adulthood.
            “But I had soon had enough of that. I was looking for something more. I took to flying by day, something no respectable owl would do, and found that the world was much more interesting than I had imagined. I left my family, job and tree to explore my world. Humans are not numerous where I come from—they live in small tribes and make very little trouble aside from an occasional arrow or two—and we have many of the same animals that are found here as well as others that you would think quite different. I searched many beautiful forests and mountain ranges and flew across oceans and deserts. I explored for many years and met many interesting and intelligent creatures. As is the way with my species I collected a great deal of knowledge until, I daresay, I was the most knowledgeable of my kind, although not, perhaps, the wisest.
      “One evening, flying over a part of the world that I was not entirely familiar with, I saw a mountain rising from an otherwise flat landscape. All around was empty and barren—not a creature stirred on the plain below. As I flew toward the mountain for a closer look, I saw a narrow cleft in the rock about five feet high and three feet wide midway up the mountain’s stone slope. Without a second thought as to what I was doing, I flew straight through the cleft. It opened into a cave that was only about five feet wide, but very long. In fact, as I peered into the blackness I could not see the back of it. I landed on damp earth and looked around. The walls and ceiling were rough stone and the floor was dirt. It appeared to be uninhabited. Well, now my curiosity was piqued. I flew toward the back of the cave for a long way, it seemed to go on forever. When I did finally reach the end, I encountered something very strange.
            “You would call it a door, but I had never seen one. To me it looked like a large rectangle of wood with a square of some semi transparent material set in the upper half. It looked like I had come to a dead end. What to do? What was this thing? I landed in front of it, and could feel a warm stream of air coming from a crack underneath it. That got my attention—it wasn’t solid. As I looked closer, I could see that the right side of the thing was fastened to the cave wall by two shiny pieces of metal. I had seen metal used in the villages of men, but it was dark and dull, not shiny yellow like these.
      “I thought that perhaps this thing was not the end of the cave, but merely a covering for a smaller passage beyond, so I walked up to it and nudged it with my beak. It swung forward slightly—showing me a brief glimpse of some lighted space beyond—and then swung backward, nearly knocking me off my feet. Gaining courage, I took flight and flew at the upper corner of the thing.
      “I can tell you that I got a nasty bump on my head, but I got through. I found myself in a long passageway. Directly ahead of me was another wall and a door identical to the one I had just come through. In fact the passage, which ran from my right to left, was lined on both sides with these doors, and seemed to go on in either direction for a great distance. I landed in the hallway and gazed about me, thoroughly puzzled.
      “I walked across the passage to the door directly across the way and gave it a hard push with my beak. It swung open a little way, revealing a raging blizzard. A gust of mountain air hit me in the face before the door swung shut. Shivering, I turned back toward my door and froze.
      “Next to it, a desk strewn with papers had appeared. At the desk sat a little man with a long white beard. He wore a shapeless brown cap and a rumpled blue robe and sat looking at me through gold-rimmed spectacles perched on the end of his long, pointed nose. His blue eyes twinkled and his mouth wore an amused grin.
      “After I had gotten over my shock he said, ‘Hello, master owl. You have arrived precisely on time! Punctuality is a quality that is all too rare these days. Of course, I’ve always found it hard to time these things. I never seem to get here quite as quickly as I would like, and that always makes for a certain amount of confusion. I hope you have not been terribly put out?’
      “I was extremely confused, but the manners my mother had drilled into me from the time I was a chick automatically kicked in. ‘Oh no, not too much,’ I said, ‘It’s just that I’m not terribly sure what’s happened. I was exploring a cave and I ran into that wooden thing…’
      ‘Ah, that’s a door. I’m sorry, that’s how the gateways work. The best way, really, it’s hard when you don’t have hands to push with. If I’d been on time as I’d planned, I would have opened it for you. Oh well, these things happen,’ the old man smiled cheerfully.”
      “I studied him in silence as he gazed at me patiently. ‘Where am I?’ I finally asked.
      “The old man’s grin widened. ‘You are in the Hallway of Worlds!’ he said proudly, raising his wrinkled hands to indicate the passage. ‘Each one of these doors leads to a different world!’
      ‘But, there must be thousands of doors. There can’t possibly be that many worlds.’ The doors seemed endless to me.”
      ‘Millions, actually,’ said the old man. ‘I’m not sure of the exact number. It’s not constant, but it’s definitely in the millions.’
      ‘Why isn’t it constant?’ I asked.
      ‘Well, worlds come and go. Some end and some begin,’ he explained.
      “I thought about that for a bit. ‘So if I go through a door, I’ll be in a different world?’ I asked.
      ‘Right you are!’ he said, smiling because I understood, although I didn’t really. ‘But you couldn’t unless I let you into the Hallway.’
      ‘And you are?’ I asked.
      ‘I am the Gatekeeper.’
      ‘You’re the Gatekeeper,’ I echoed, trying to drink it all in. ‘And you oversee the Hallway of Worlds?’
      "His eyes gleamed. ‘Oh, I could tell that you were smart, but I wasn’t expecting you to catch on so quickly. Jump up on my desk and I’ll explain.’
      “I flew up onto his desk and settled in, ready for a long explanation.
      ‘As I said, each one of these doors leads to another world. I am in charge of traffic to and from worlds, something that is allowed only when there is a need.’
      ‘When there is a need?’ I echoed.
      ‘Yes. These doorways cannot be found by chance. They are found only if I want them to be. It used to be much different,’ he said. ‘There were no doors, no control, only blind openings. Back then, inhabitants from one world would constantly be stumbling into other worlds. It caused a great many problems. Then one day, I had an idea. I created the Hallway of Worlds. I set doors in each world—only a few mind you—and closed up all the other openings. That made it much less confusing and more orderly. Now, only people on Official Business can use the doorways.’
      “I had been following him okay up to that point, but that last bit confused me. ‘Official Business?’ I asked. ‘What do you mean by that?’
      ‘Well, there comes a time in the progress of any world where it seems to hit a snag, so to speak,’ explained the Gatekeeper.
      ‘A snag?’ I asked. ‘What do you mean by a snag?’
      ‘Oh, it could be a social development problem or a technology problem, or just a stubborn way of thinking—any major problem where some outside help is needed. It usually takes just a little nudge, really, to get things back on track,’ said the Gatekeeper. ‘Some worlds hit a number of snags over the course of their history.’
      “I nodded. ‘And the outside help could be another person, or a donkey, or an owl even?’ I asked.
      “His face broke into a smile so big that I thought his eyes would be lost in his cheeks. ‘Exactly my fine feathered friend, exactly!’
      “I can tell you, my boy, that was a little much for me to take. Somewhere, there was a world that needed my help. Me, of all creatures. What could I do?
      “Actually, it turned out there was quite a bit that I could do. I was scared stiff when the Gatekeeper briefed me on what needed to be done and ushered me through a door. But it turned out to be easier than I had thought. Oh, it was no piece of cake, but I think that the situation was suited to me. After that, he gave me other Assignments, and I’ve been working for him ever since.
      “I’ve been to many worlds, but I’m not allowed to discuss what I’ve done on any of them. The Gatekeeper says it’s nobody’s business—everybody has enough problems of their own. Except me, apparently.” Stig gave a wry grin.

      Eric was thoughtful after he had heard Stig’s story. He wasn’t exactly sure what it all meant, but he knew that Stig’s presence was important. Had the world hit a snag?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Character Interview: Stig & Hallo

As we move closer to the release of The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang, our character interviews continue. Last week we spoke with Eric and Kate about the new book, so this week it's Stig the owl and Hallo the dwarf's turn. I can't wait to hear their thoughts.

Greg;  Hey guys! It's great to see you again. We're really looking forward to The Deliverers 3. What can you tell us about it?

Stig:  I must say that it's very nice to see you once more, as well. I'm not sure we can tell you very much about the book as the Gatekeeper has sworn us to secrecy. However, I do believe it's one of our most exciting Assignments yet. It's got a little bit of everything.

Hallo:  You're right about that, birdie! There's all kinds of stuff goin' on, don't ya know. Things happen bam, bam, bam! First we get sent t' this place called the Dragon Islands where there are these five governors--each on has an island they govern ya see. When we get there, we find the dispenser o' wisdom, the Dragon's Voice, has died and didn't name no one t' come after. That had 'em all worked up ya see. Then we get there and they thing Eric might be the new Voice. From there it just gets wild.

Greg:  Wow, it does sound exciting. Is there anything else you can tell us?

Stig:  Sadly, no. As I said, we are not allowed to divulge much of anything. Isn't that right, Hallo?

Hallo:  Sure, sure. Hey, did ya know I get a chance t' hang out with a real Denchi Assassin? His name
is Kang and we done a lot of sneakin' around followin' trails and goin' through magic portals an' stealin' ships. Not that stealin' a ship is a good thing, but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. 

Stig:  Yes, well be that as it may that is all that can be said.

Hallo:  We should tell him the rhyme.

Stig:  Oh I don't think so. You've said far too much already.

Greg:  Rhyme? What rhyme?

Stig:  It's nothing really, merely a bit of doggerel--a children's verse.

Hallo:  Not important? It's one of the most important things. It's the final thing the last Dragon's Voice said before he kicked the bucket. Here, I'll recite it for ya:

From the mouth thou shalt hear
The wisdom o’ far off lands
The way t’ truth is clear
Head, then heart, then hands
Lastly, tail will point the way
T’ the world’s end
Then gold shall have its say

An’ foretell the doom o’ men.

There, I bet ya didn't think I'd remember it all, did ya birdie?

Stig:  I don't know why we even bother having you do these things, Hallo, you just seem bent on spoiling everything. I swear you're incorrigible.

Hallo:  Why thankee, birdie. You're right incorrigibibble yourself.

Greg:  Well done Hallo! Thanks for sharing some of your Assignment on the Dragon Islands. Eric and Kate mentioned that the sparkling mist from your last Assignment comes into play here.

Hallo:  Inta play? Well I guess ya could say that, although we didn't want ta let it in t' play with us. It kinda forced its way in, don't ya know. That mist is right powerful stuff, but I can't say much 'bout that or birdie will skin me alive. Instead, I'll tell ya 'bout this other person we met on our travels. Her name is Jiao and she's just about the prettiest little lass you could imagine. She was makin' eyes at Eric for a little bit there, too. Made him powerful uncomfortable. For some reason it didn't make Kate none too happy either come t' think of it.

Stig:  Hallo, that's quite enough. I must insist that you speak no more of the Assignment.

Hallo:  Okay, okay. I wasn't gonna say anymore. I ain't no blabbermouth ya know. Ya can't give away too much 'bout an Assignment--spoils the fun. Besides, I didn't say anything 'bout the livin' stone warriors or the golden sorcoress or the stolen children or nothin'.

Stig:  Hallo!!!!

Hallo:  Oh, er, um, yeah. Oops, I s'pose I just mentioned 'em, didn't I? Oh well, what's done can't be undone--ya just gotta smile an' keep movin' on.

Stig:  I think that's what we better do. Thank you so much for having us over. Smashing fun!

Hallo:  Yeah it was fun all right, but I didn't break nothin'--honest! See ya around!

Greg:  Thanks for stopping by guys. Good luck with your future assignments! Thanks for chatting with us!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Writer's Week #106: After a Slow Week--Contest!

This week was really slow. so slow, in fact that I almost decided not to write a post this week. But, the main point of the Writer's Week posts when I started writing them over two years ago was to share all the ups and downs in a writer's life. It's always fun to share the highs, but not so much when I have to share the lows.

The fact is, I've been feeling really uninspired for the past couple of weeks. There's no progress to report on the final files for The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang. The Vogels have run into a major bout of the flu, which means that I won't be able to submit the book cover and interior for a while yet.

Meanwhile, I was only able to write about 250 words on the Deliverers 4. I ran into a little sticking point in the plot that took a little bit of thought. That slowed me down big time. The weather was also bitterly cold. Come on folks, it's March, we should be done with temperatures in the single digits for goodness sake!

Anyhow, things they are a changin'. I think the coming week will be much better and I'll be able to get back on track. For one thing, Ana has informed me that things have improved greatly over their way and I should have the final files soon. I also hit upon a possible solution to my plot question, so I should be back to writing my usual 2,000+ words per week (don't quote me on that!). Finally, today the temperature hit 50 degrees. Yes, I definitely think things are turning around.

So, what's the best way to pick up a slow week? With a contest of course. Part of my plot solution included the introduction of two horses that will come in handy to help the Deliverers and their new friend Mathias Keller, or Matty, spy on the British. That's great, but they need names. That's where the contest comes in. I need you to help me name the horses. They pull a carriage at the colonial tavern that Matty's parents own.

To submit the names, go over to the Deliverers Series Facebook page, like the page and private message me with the names of the horses. At the end of March, I'll pick the names that I like the best. The winner will receive a signed paperback copy of The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang, and a thank you for naming the horses in The Deliverers 4! Put your thinking caps on, I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What's Abigail Reading? Who Was Queen Elizabeth

One thing I've learned about Abigail's reading preferences lately is that she likes biographies. In fact, she just finished reading one, Who Was Queen Elizabeth?, by June Eding. Let's see what she's got to say about it.

Queen Elizabeth was a kind ruler of England. Elizabeth was born on September 7, 1533.  Elizabeth had an interesting life .  She also struggled with many things.  Elizabeth had a little bit of schooling but learned a lot.  Elizabeth also had a rough family. 

Elizabeth had a big family who she cared about. Elizabeth had a big family because she had a lot of mothers.  Elizabeth had a dad named King Henry the Eighth, a sister named Mary, and a brother named Edward. Many of her moms were executed or beheaded.  Elizabeth was born to Queen Anne. 

In the meantime, Elizabeth had private schooling. Elizabeth had a private teacher named Roger Ascham.  Roger Ascham also was an important person in her life. Roger taught her to read, write, and more. Elizabeth was a good student. Elizabeth had a governess named Cat who made sure she had everything she needed like pencils, books, and other things.

Later on, Elizabeth struggled with many things in her life.  Elizabeth struggled with smallpox when she was older and recovered. Elizabeth recovered from smallpox because she was wrapped in red carpet next to the fire. Later Elizabeth was unhappy to kill her cousin Mary Stuart. Elizabeth was unhappy to kill Mary because she had been protecting Mary for almost 20 years and Mary was Elizabeth’s cousin.  One other thing she struggled with is she fought against her sister Mary who put Elizabeth in jail.

As you can see Elizabeth had a big important family which who she loved.  She was also kind and caring to others. She had private schooling and an important teacher, Roger Ascham. She struggled with many things she didn’t like or bad diseases.  

How did Abigail rate Who Was Queen Elizabeth?, by June Eding?

She gave it four out of five dolphins.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Character Interviews: Eric Scott & Kate Endria

Happy Monday everybody! With the release of The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang right around the corner, I thought this would be a good time to check in with some of the characters to get their thoughts on their latest assignment. Eric Scott and Kate Endria enthusiastically volunteered to lead things off, so let's check in with them.

Greg:  Hey guys. I'm sure everyone's anxious to learn a little about The Golden Dragon of Ang. What can you tell us?

Eric:  Uh, well, there was a lot going on. I mean all of our Assignments are pretty wild, but we did a whole lot of traveling in this one.

Kate:  That's true. we wound up traveling all over the Dragon Islands.

Greg:  The Dragon Islands? Sounds cool. Why were you traveling so much?

Kate:  We were searching for the Dragon's Voice. He is the mouthpiece of the Golden Dragon of Ang. The Dragon advises the governors of the Islands by speaking through the Dragon's Voice.

Eric:  Yeah, but the last Dragon's Voice without naming a successor, so that really threw things out of whack. The Dragon Islands were in turmoil wondering if the Dragon was angry with them or had abandoned them.

Greg:  So you thought it was up to you to find the next Dragon's Voice?

Kate:  Well, that's what we thought, but things did not go according to plan.

Eric:  We got a little sidetracked. Funny how that can happen, huh? We got tangled up with these dudes called the Denchi Assassins who thought maybe either Kate or I was the new Dragon's Voice.

Greg:  Were you?

Eric:  Well, we really can't say--we wouldn't want to give anything away. All we can say is things did not turn out like we thought.

Kate:  Oh Eric, of course they didn't. They never do, do they?

Eric:  No lie. Still, I almost feel like just once they should. It might make things a little less stressful.

Kate:  Maybe, but they wouldn't be half as much fun!

Eric:  Kate, if you think being chased by ninjas in black robes and living stone warriors with swords is fun, then you're crazy. Man, girls are sure strange sometimes.

Kate:  Really? What about your girlfriend?

Greg:  Huh? What's this about a girlfriend?

Eric:  She's not my girlfriend, she's just a girl we met, that's all.

Kate:  Her name is Jiao and she seemed very interested in Eric. She mooned over him constantly and kept grabbing his hand and pulling him all over the place. Then there was that romantic boat ride alone in the moonlight.

Eric:  What?! What romantic boat ride alone? Everyone was there. Nothing happened! 

Kate:  We may have been there, but they didn't seem to notice. Besides that's not all. They danced together by the fire.

Greg:  Is that true, Eric?

Eric:  Uh, well, um, yeah--but it's not like it sounds. We were all dancing in front of a bonfire. It was, like, a tribal ritual. Like I said, we were in trouble and she helped us out. We're just friends.

Greg:  Okay Eric. It sounds like this Assignment presented a whole new set of challenges. Besides being chased by Denchi Assassins, what else happened?

Eric:  We learned more about the true nature of the sparkling mist.

Greg:  Sparkling mist?

Kate:  The substance that Selango used to build the virtual tunnel in our last Assignment. He had said that it was a powerful weapon, but we didn't really believe him. Turns out, he wasn't lying.

Eric:  Yeah, it was just about the only time he wasn't. Who knew? Anyway, on this Assignment we find out just how powerful it really is. It's really messed up.

Greg:  Wow, sounds serious. I'm looking forward to finding out more about that. So, do you think this was your last Assignment, or are there more in store?

Kate:  The Gatekeeper made it clear that there is at least one more in our future. From what he told us we'll be learning more about the sparkling mist and how it will affect the course of the universe.

Eric:  Right, things are coming to a head. We're starting to get to the bottom of things. That's going to continue in future Assignments.

Greg:  Well, we're looking forward to seeing it all unfold. Thanks for stopping by to tell us a little bit about it.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Writer's Week #105: Lights, Camera, Action

This was a very productive Writer's Week. The thing is, I did absolutely no writing. Now how could that be? Well, while I did next to no work on The Deliverers 4, I got a lot done in preparation for the launch of The Deliverers 3: The Golden Dragon of Ang. 

Last week I received the interior layout of the book. This week was spent reviewing it and making changes. It's always amazing to me that with all the eyes that look at a manuscript there are always a number of errors that slide through unnoticed. It was the same way at the magazine I used to work for. We had everyone in the office rereading the magazine before going off to the printer and there were still one or two typos that would appear when we received the finished product.

It's one reason why I never read any of my books after they're in print. I know I'll find a couple of typos and it will drive me nuts. I also tend to second guess myself. I'm not the same writer now that I was when I wrote Sharky and the Jewel. I like to think I've improved. If I were to go back and read that book, I know there would be spots where I would think that I could have worded things better, or where I repeated the same word three or four times over a couple of paragraphs, or spots where i could have inserted a little more action and less back story--you get the idea.

Anyway, I should be receiving the "final" interior layout shortly. I'll review it to make sure the changes look okay, then I can upload it to Createspace. Once the interior is set, layout artist Ana Vogel will be able to set the spine width on the cover and I'll be able to upload that. Then I can order a few proof copies and we should be in business.

My other major project for the week was the writing and production of the book trailer for The Golden Dragon of Ang. I had already done a storyboard and a script, but it was long--almost two minutes. That's still an acceptable length for a book trailer, but only just. The thing was, instead of titles, I wanted the video to be narrated. Because of this, I tried to force too much information into the video. I completed a cut with a lot of pictures and some lengthy narration. It was okay, but I wasn't really happy with it.

I did some cutting and edited down the narration. The final version is a minute and twenty one seconds, which coincidentally is the same length as the Deliverers 2 trailer. It moves along nicely now. I like having narration rather than titles that the viewer has to read--it makes it more like a movie trailer.

 My goals for the coming week are to format the Kindle version of the book. I have all the elements I need to do that, I just have to add the changes that I specified in the pdf layout to the Word document that I'll be converting. I have Daniel Vogel's final artwork and maps. I'm toying with the idea of releasing the Kindle version ahead of the paperback, but I haven't made up my mind. I should also be able to resume writing book 4 at some point next week. I'll let you know how that goes. Here's the video. Peace.