Saturday, November 18, 2023

A Writer's Week #126: Nearing the Finish

 It's been a while since I gave an update on my WIP, The Deliverers 4: Sparkling Mist of Time. That's because a lot of great things have been happening--lots of shows to be specific. I have not been idle on the writing front, however. Book 4 is moving right along, and I am happy to report that the first draft is almost complete. 

Right now, I've written over 43,000 words, and am on track to hit 50,000. This book will definitely complete the Deliverers Series. My concern with writing the ending to the series has always been doing the series justice. I put pressure on myself to make sure that the end of a book works and is a fitting ending to the story. This time around, I'm really feeling it as I'm wrapping up the entire series.

As the book was initially coming to a close, I think I was trying a little to hard to figure out the ending. I was trying to force things, so all my ideas were a little bit contrived. Finally, I just kind of let it all go and stopped thinking so hard. Once I was able to do that, it started coming in bits and pieces. Finally, all the pieces came together. I think the ending as I picture it now is a natural and proper path to complete the story.

Book 4 is really starting to come together, I should have the first draft completed shortly. Emily Hurst Pritchett has started sketching out cover ideas. I'm also experimenting with the book layout. This will be the first time I'm doing it on my own, so there's a little more pressure than usual.

Anyhow, I hope to have the book out by either February or March. Stay tuned, I'll be sure to keep you updated. In the meantime, I hope you and yours have a very happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

IWSA Wednesday First Post

Hello! Happy November, and welcome to my first Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday post!

The awesome co-hosts for the November 1 posting of the IWSG are PJ Colando, Jean Davis, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diedre Knight!

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Remember, the question is optional!

November 1 question: November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?

Well, the short answer is no.  I just have trouble writing like that. My writing pace tends to be slow and slower.  After all, it's taken me nine years to write book 4 of the Deliverers Series.  After about 7 years off to pay more attention to my family as they grew up, it is almost complete.

Once I've finished writing, it's been edited, and artist Emily Hurst Pritchett has completed the artwork, it will be launch time. Hopefully that will be sometime in March. 

I've never really been very good at book launches, or marketing in general for that matter. Anyhow, I could really use all the suggestions you could give when the time comes.

I guess that's all I've got this time around. Thank you for allowing me to become part of the group and I look forward to traveling around and meeting you all. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Cal Endria's Journal--Entry #1: Sowing Seeds

 Note: Today is the beginning of a new topic. When Cal Endria left on his final journey into the Iron Mountains, he brought his journal with him. When he was lost, his eyewitness account of the founding of Calendria was lost with him. With the unexpected recovery of the journal, Calendrian historians have gained a new insight into the origins of the village.

Here is the first entry in the journal. Let's travel back to the beginning.

26 October, 4169

Sketch of Cal Endria's Journal by Emily Hurst Pritchett

Another day at sea, and I am restless. I have started this journal to chronicle what I hope to be a new phase of my life, and hopefully that of my descendants.

Of late, I have grown tired of life at sea, and especially of life under Captain Burt Sharky. As first mate, I must ensure his orders are carried out. Perhaps I am becoming too soft hearted, but these days it seems that he has become exceedingly cruel and vicious.

Only yesterday, we sighted a merchant ship on the horizon. The two masted vessel was under full sail, running ahead of us at a quick pace, The lookout on Deathwind soon sighted her and the pursuit was on. The captain of our prey was a skilled sailor, if his maneuvers were any indication. However, in spite of the merchant's skill, the fleet steadily gained.

It was not long before they were within range of our cannon. I gave the order to fire. Our lads are chillingly good in a fight, and this one was no contest. our first volley raked their deck, and cut through both masts. Once they came crashing down the ship was virtually immobile.

Deathwind and Carrion came up on either side of the disabled ship. the merchant crew tried to put up a fight, but we are battle hardened and merciless. It was not long before what was left of the crew capitulated.

Usually, we would plunder and scuttle the captured ship, and maroon the crew on a small sandbar or island. This tactic did not offer much hope of survival, but it gave some. However this time Sharky had something different in mind.

"Kill them," he hissed. "Kill them all."

"But there are women and children aboard," I said. "Surely they can be spared."

"Do as I tell ye or I'll disembowel all ye lubbers!" Sharky barked. "From this day forth, we shall leave no one alive!"

And so, there was no choice but to carry out the Captain's orders.

If I could pinpoint one moment in time when I noticed a change in the Captain's mood, it seemed to be when he "acquired" a ring with a blood red stone. The ring is not natural. I do not know how to explain it, but it feels evil.

I have spoken to some other members of the Pirate Nation who I believe to be of a similar mind. One of these, Barko Weatherbee, has taken it upon himself to search out a habitable area for settlement.
Our plan is to find a suitable bit of land, take our families, and leave the Nation to form our own farming and fishing community. There are some among us who are optimistically looking forward to our new life. I, on the other hand, am concerned about Sharky. He will never let us go off on our own, at least not without a price in return.

That is my burden. I must develop a plan, engineer some sort of deal, that will entice Sharky. It must appeal enough to his black and greedy heart to convince him to let us go, rather than kill us all. 
If I can accomplish that, and if Weatherbee can find a suitable patch of ground, then we may well and truly have a chance to live out our lives as free and honest men, although I fear we shall never fully escape Sharky's evil shadow.

My watch is ending, so I shall end here. Perhaps in the morning, after a few hours' rest, a solution to our dilemma will come to me. I pray that it does.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

A Writer's Week #125: Meeting Friends Old & New

 This week, I attended my first two shows in many years. Last Sunday, I was at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire and yesterday I took part in the Connecticut Book Festival 2023 held by the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association

I was a little nervous as I arrived at the CT Renaissance Faire on Sunday, as I'd never been to this venue. I was in Lebanon, CT (mid-eastern part of the state). In the past I've always stuck to the western part--Fairfield and Litchfield Counties for the most part.

Happily, it exceeded my expectations! Everyone was really nice. I had a lot of questions about myself and my books, and there was a lot of interest. I had a great time meeting people and talking about my books, books in general, and the love of reading.

Oh yes, I was also able to sell quite a few books. I hope everyone enjoys them.

I also had a great time hearing the shouted orders and huzzahs emanating from the stall next to mine. It was the home of the Get Baked Potato Company. As the day went on, the line to purchase their wares stretched in front of my stand and down the main thoroughfare. At first, I was worried that the line would block my customers. It turned out, though, that it was great for business. People waiting in line got to come over and take a look at my table. Some bought on the spot, while a couple others returned later in the day.

Yesterday, I attended the Connecticut Book Festival 2023. Once again, I had a wonderful time talking with festival attendees and getting to know some of my fellow Connecticut-based authors. I was able to reconnect with old friends Stephanie Robinson and Jessica Haight who have been generous champions of the Deliverers over the years. I was also able to meet Christopher S. Carlone and his helper, Michelle Baird. Michelle is a teacher and editor. I had visited her class way back when my first book was released. It was great catching up with her.

Stephanie Robinson & Jessica Haight

Christopher S. Carlone & Michelle Baird

I also met Christian author Melvin Douglas Wilson, two time liver transplant survivor and new author John Hoffman, and YA writer Billie Kowalewski.

Melvin Douglas Wilson


All in all, it was a great first week back on the road. I am grateful for all the people I've met and the friends I've connected with, old and new.

In between shows, I've managed to write about 3,000 words of Book 4: Sparkling Mist of Time. I am hoping to release it in February or March next year. I'll keep you in the loop in my next Writer's Week post. Peace.

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Deliverers 4: Chapter 6--Tavern Talk

On the night before my first show in forever (CT Renaissance Faire), here's the 6th chapter of my current work in progress, The Deliverers 4: Sparkling Mist of Time.

Matty’s mother got them what she called “some appropriate attire,” (which meant a linen shirt, cloth vest, and brown breeches for Eric and a homespun dress and bonnet for Kate.) and put them right to work. Eric was sent to chop wood to feed the fires in the kitchen and the taproom while Kate served drinks and meals to guests. After he was through chopping, Eric was sent to help Matty pour drinks. The taproom had filled up as the afternoon went on and soon it was filled with the buzz of conversation.

As they worked, both Kate and Eric kept their ears open for any information regarding the movements of the British but heard none. Most of the talk was about the harvest and the weather. Prospects for the upcoming winter appeared bleak.

“Aye, geese have headed south early this year,” one farmer muttered into his beer. “They don’t hang about when cold weather’s nigh. We’ll be gettin’ frost soon enough, I shouldn’t wonder.”

“You’re right enough about that, I’ll warrant Sam,” another said. “But I’ll take the cold over what I heard’s on its way.”

“What’s that, Nathaniel?” Sam asked.

“Now don’t tell me you haven’t heard the rumors from down Norfield Parish way,” Nathaniel replied.

“Well, I heard some talk about King George’s regulars makin’ raids and such down county, but I didn’t put much stock in it—especially after I heard some other rot.”

Here Eric, who had been sweeping nearby, pricked up his ears.

“And what rot would that be Sam?” Nathaniel asked.

“Well that good King George has enlisted spirits to fight for him or some such,” Sam scoffed. “Talk is they come screechin’ outta Devil’s Den. That can’t be right. The only spirits I’ve ever heard tell of were behind the church on Cemetary Hill, but I ain’t ever seen ‘em. It’s just stuff our mams used to frighten us when we were lads.”

“Aye, that may be true enough Sam, but the other day I had a visit from my brother who lives down on the coast in Norwalk. He said that the British had attacked Fairfield and burned the town, or part of it anyway.”

“They never,” Sam said. “Why would the King’s troops attack Connecticut? We haven’t made any trouble, not like those rabble rousers in Massachusetts or Pennsylvania. Why would King George want to bother with us?”

“There’s some that would not take kindly to that sort of talk,” Nathaniel growled. “We can’t let ol’ George and his lobsterbacks keep pushing us around, I say.”

“And there’s some that would call that kind of talk treason, Nathaniel Goodbody,” Sam snarled back.

“All right, all right, calm yourself,” Nathaniel replied. “I’m not tryin’ to pick a quarrel with you Sam Wainwright. I’m only tellin’ you what my brother told me, but you haven’t let me tell you the strangest part.”

“And what might that be, pray?”

“These lobsterbacks, oh all right have it your way,” he spluttered, catching Sam’s look. “These British regulars are being led by a blue man.”

“Blue man? What kind of rubbish is that?” Sam cried, smacking his pewter mug down on the table.

“My brother says it ain’t rubbish,” Nathaniel countered. “They’ve hit a good many towns. The blue man is all sparkly and leads a troop of spirit soldiers—the Ghost Brigade folk’re callin’ them.”

At the mention of the sparkling blue man, Eric’s stomach churned, and his knees shook. This was definitely not normal. He kept sweeping, fighting the urge to run and tell Kate.

“The ghost what?” Sam asked incredulously.

“The Ghost Brigade,” Nathaniel repeated. “The spirits are all sparkly, too—walk around in a mist that glimmers like fireflies. Folk say they’re the spirits of the dead what deserted from the French an’ Indian wars an’ were hung for it. They pop up in the night or the early morning, scare the dickens out of everyone an’ then the regular troops rush in, secure the town, burn part of it if there’s any resistance, an’ then pop up in another town a few days later and do the same thing all over again. Word is they’re headed this way fast.”

Sam stared at him as if he had sprouted wings. “Nat Goodbody, have you taken leave of your senses? You’d best get back to mending the roof of your house. You’ve had a drop too much to drink, I’m thinking. We’d both best be getting on home, any road. Hey lad, what do we owe you?”

“Uh, one and six,” Eric stammered.

“Here y’are,” Sam said handing him some coins as he and Nathaniel rose unsteadily from their chairs. “Keep the change, but you’d best hide it under your mattress. Don’t want any Ghost Brigade to get their hands on it, haw, haw!”

The two men lurched out the front door as Eric rushed to find Kate.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

There's Nothing Like a Show!

 So, now that Emily Hurst Pritchett has updated the covers and artwork for all three books in the series and September has arrived, I've set up some shows that I'll be attending. I'm very excited to be out and about, and I'd love to see you all at one or two. I'm looking forward to seeing folks and meeting more of my readers. 

They are all good events. Two of them will have up to 60 authors based in Connecticut, so you'll have lots of options to choose from to satisfy your book hunger and do some birthday or early holiday gift shopping.

Here are the ones I've got lined up so far. Please check the Appearances tab for additions as we move into fall. I'll also be posting them on the Deliverers Series Facebook page.

Sunday, October 1 CT Renaissance Faire

Saturday, October 7 Connecticut Book Festival

Saturday, October 14 Meet the Authors at Quarry Walk:

Monday, July 31, 2023

FInal Cover Reveal & a Little Story on How We Got Here

Here is the new cover for The Deliverers Book 3:  The Golden Dragon of Ang, Below, I've written about how the three new covers came about and my journey back to resuming work on the fourth and final book in the series, The Deliverers Book 4:  Sparkling Mist of Time.

So how did we get here? At the end of last year, the Deliverers Series was at a crossroads, although I didn't realize it. I had published book three almost nine years ago, and, while I had written about 14,000 words or so of book four, I had pretty much walked away and was trying to move on. 

Although a lot of people told me they liked the books, marketing the series was difficult and frustrating because getting the word out requires a whole lot of time and effort. As I was feverishly writing a blog post a day, writing the books, and attending fairs and craft shows on weekends, my children were growing up and I felt I was missing that. I also was starting to feel like a failure. So, I shut everything down, and I figured that was the end of it.

Still, over the years I felt like there was still some unfinished business. Periodically, I'd pull up the manuscript for book four on the computer and write a few paragraphs. I even wrote a couple of blog posts saying I was resuming work. But soon after, I would put everything back on the figurative shelf.

That is, until I had a conversation with my dad on Christmas day. He asked me (not for the first time) when I was going to finish book four. Now, my dad is a very smart man. He was an optical engineer and the companies he worked for had projects with NASA that he worked on from the 60's to the 80's. He was the last person I expected to enjoy a middle grade fantasy adventure series. However, he surprised me with his enthusiasm for the books each time I released one. It was more than just liking them because it was his son who wrote them--he really enjoyed them, and that was the best feeling.

All of this is an extremely long way of saying that my dad encouraged, well, I think told is a better description, me to finish the series. So, I decided that I would resume work on the fourth, and probably the final, book in the series. This would mean that I would have to go back out on the marketing trail and resurrect the blog, etc. 

With that in mind, I looked at everything with a view to updating what I had. I redesigned the blog a bit and got a shorter domain Then I looked at the books themselves. When I first started, I was very blessed to have Daniel Vogel as my illustrator. He drew the cover, map and chapter header for Sharky and the Jewel when he was just 14, and all his covers were really great. However, that first book was released back in 2011 and it seemed to me that since I was making a fresh start, it was time to do some revamping of the artwork. I mean, even J.K. Rowling has updated the art on her Harry Potter books.

That begged the question, who would do the art? Daniel was no longer an option as he had moved on to other interests. That meant I would have to find an artist. How was I going to do that? Well, I started with the Society of Children's Book Writer & Illustrators. They had a nice listing of illustrators that were willing to work with self-published (indie) authors. Listings included their portfolios and websites/contact info.

That's where I found Emily Hurst Pritchett. I loved her portfolio immediately. Her work seemed to match the spirit of the Deliverers. So I reached out and happily, we were able to strike a deal. She was great to work with and I heartily recommend her to anyone who has a project in need of illustration.

So, this year has been a whirlwind of new art, new readers, some old readers, and moving forward with book four. In October I will be making a couple of appearances (I'll have details in my next blog post), and I'm looking to add more.

Work on the fourth book has been progressing. I'm up to almost 28,000 words and have just about finished part one. I hope to have the book completed by the end of November for a potential release early in 2024. Emily has agreed to do the artwork for book four, which she'll start sometime in September. That should give me some time to get a decent way through part 2 of the book.

So, if you've been following me throughout the years, thanks for hanging in there. For all of you who are new, thank you for checking out my work and please tell your friends and neighbors! It should be a fun ride. And to my dad, thank you for never giving up on me and caring enough to get me back on track. Peace.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

A Writer's Week #124: Getting There

 It’s been a while since I shared my writing progress with all of you—all the way back in May, actually. A lot has happened since then. The new cover, map and chapter header illustration for the Order of the Crystal Lion was completed by illustrator Emily Hurst Pritchett. I was able to update the Kindle and paperback versions of the book, and got a new hardcover version published on Amazon. I made a completely new book trailer in addition to a cover reveal video.

Emily has also just completed the new cover for book 3, and I should have the updated paperback and Kindle versions, as well as a new hardcover version published shortly. She and I have agreed in principle to a deal for art for the upcoming fourth and final book in the Deliverers Series. This project will be slightly more ambitious than the previous three books. I’m planning to have a prologue, part one and part two. There will be a cover and a map, but there will be two different chapter heading illustrations, one for each part of the book. There will also be a pencil drawing for the front page of part one and one for part two. Emily does great pencil drawings, and I think this touch will make book 4 truly special.
Chapter heading for book 3,
The Golden Dragon of Ang

Book 4 is moving along slowly. I’ve almost finished part one, which has now reached over 27,000 words. I’m guessing that I’ll need another 2,000 to 3,000 words to complete it and move on to part 2. That should get the book to roughly 120 pages. Part two should be interesting to write. I’ve got a general idea as to what will happen, but I’m expecting that the characters will show me what will actually happen. Anyhow, I’m hoping (you never know for sure until it’s done) that the outcome will be successful and that the book will be a fitting conclusion to the series.

I have also signed up for two events in the beginning of October. I'll post specifics as we get closer. I'm hoping to add something in September as well, since the covers for all three of the books will have been updated well before.

That's it for now. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. I'll be back soon with my third and final (until book 4 is published!) cover reveal.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

The Deliverers 4: Chapter 5--Keller Tavern

The tavern looked like a large, rambling colonial house. It had several brick chimneys that rose up above the gray slate roof tiles at odd intervals. The two story building was clad in white clapboards. Green shutters flanked each of the many windows that looked out on the street. A square, painted sign depicting a rider on a horse stood on a post in front. Eric still could not believe how unchanged it was from his own century.

A sturdy carriage with a team of horses harnessed to it stood in the road in front of the tavern. The driver looked down at Eric and Kate disinterestedly as they went through the gate in the white picket fence that lined the road and approached the large green front door. Eric turned the worn brass doorknob and pushed the door open.

The hum of leisurely conversation and the slightly sweet scent of pipe tobacco washed over them as they stepped inside the foyer. Directly in front of them was a staircase leading to the guest bedrooms. On their right was a closed door. To their left through a wide, open doorway they could see tables and chairs and a fire crackling in a field stone fireplace beyond. It was from this room that the talk and the tobacco smoke emanated.

Suddenly, there was a banging and scraping from upstairs and three men in embroidered silk coats, white wigs and tri-corner hats came scrambling down the staircase. Pushing past Eric and Kate, they pulled open the door and hurried out to the carriage. As they left, one of them called back over his shoulder. “Hurry with that baggage, boy. We have to be in Hartford by dark.”

Eric and Kate turned and saw a trunk and several other pieces of luggage with legs teetering down the stairs. “Coming good sirs!” the baggage called. Under its breath it muttered, “If you swine carried your own bags, you might get out of here all the quicker.”

“Uh, hey, need a hand?” Eric asked.

The baggage stopped in the middle of the flight of stairs and a boy’s face peeped around the edge. He looked to be about the same age as Eric and Kate. His brown hair was tied back in a small pony tail. Stray wisps trailed across his pale face.

“Oh, hello, didn’t see you there,” he said. “Yes, I would gladly accept a hand, as many as you can spare. Thank you.”

Eric and Kate both relieved the boy of part of his load. Together they carried it all out to the carriage. Two of the men had already entered and settled themselves. The other waited for them at the rear, hands on hips.

“Make haste. We are already behind schedule thanks to the muddle at breakfast!”

The boy began strapping the luggage to the rear of the carriage with large leather straps and brass buckles. Apparently he did not do it fast enough to suit the man who pushed him aside and fastened the buckles himself. After tugging on the load, he gave a nod of satisfaction and alighted into the carriage without even looking at them. He gave a shout to the driver who snapped the reins and they were off with a pounding of hooves and a cloud of dust.

The boy snorted as he watched them go. “Humph, not so much as a farthing tip, ungrateful wretches.” He turned to them. “Hello, I am grateful for your help. My name’s Mathias. Welcome to Keller Tavern.”

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Another Cover Reveal

 Hi everybody! I hope all of you are doing well and enjoying the start of what looks like a great summer! Things have been busy here at Deliverers Publishing Headquarters, aka White Owl Manuscripts. This week, I received the final artwork and the map for book 2 in the Deliverers series, Order of the Crystal Lion. Illustrator Emily Hurst Pritchett did another fantastic job on the book, just as she did with Sharky and the Jewel.

With all the artwork complete, that meant that I had a boatload of work for myself this weekend. I am happy to report that I successfully formatted the interior and the cover for the paperback and Kindle versions as well as a brand new hardcover version of the book. The updated Kindle version is now live on Amazon (see link above), and the paperback version should be up in a few days. The hard cover will be available late next week or early next, depending on whether or not the Amazon formatting police find anything out of spec.

Oh yes, I also was able to put together a cover reveal video featuring a behind the scenes look at how Emily colors her artwork on the computer. Take a look and get an eyeful of the new cover at the same time:

In going through this book almost line by line after not having read it in many years, I've gained a new appreciation of the book. At the time it came out, all I saw were the flaws, but there are way more successes than failures in the book. I have a sneaking suspicion that I was being too hard on myself, perhaps because in my mind nothing could measure up to the first book. 

So, for those of you who want to see the cover right away, here it is (but please go back and watch the video later):

Once I have a minute, perhaps next weekend, I plan to make an updated book trailer and post it to YouTube. 

So, now it's on to Book 3. Emily is already reading the book. I have so many thoughts as to what would make a good cover that I can't pin a single one down. I think I'll see what Emily suggests. It was her idea to focus on The Machine, and it turned out great.

So, good bye for now. Please let me know what you think of the cover in the comments below.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

A Writer's Week #123: Remembering & Feeling Thankful

 Hi everybody! This Memorial Day weekend, it's appropriate to remember and celebrate those who gave their lives to make, and keep, our country free. I am thankful for and grateful to them for their sacrifice. Thanks to them, we can all enjoy a way of life in which we are free to be whatever we wish. This way of life is continually evolving and while we've experienced some hiccups along the way, I am confident that we are working our way toward an even more free and tolerant society.

In addition to the holiday, I am feeling grateful for all the family and friends who have helped and continue to help and support me on my writer's journey. 

My journey is moving forward with the release of the second edition of The Deliverers:  Sharky and the Jewel. Now, artist Emily Hurst Pritchett is almost ready to send me the final draft for the cover of The Deliverers Book 2: Order of the Crystal Lion. Very excited to see that! 

She is also working on a new map for the book. Check out this Instagram link to a short video of the map in progress. Just click on the picture:

In addition to work being done on the existing books, I'm moving forward on The Deliverers Book 4: Sparkling Mists of Time. I've written another 2,200 words and have reached a very tense, exciting moment in the book. I'm looking forward to getting it all down on "paper".

In the coming weeks, I'll share chapter 5 of my work in progress and will be announcing several appearances I'll be making in the fall. I'm looking forward to seeing some of you in person then. Plus, some time in June I'll have the new cover reveal for Book 2!

Until then, have a great holiday weekend and let's make a toast to all those who have come before and given everything to keep our country free!

Monday, May 8, 2023

A Writer's Week #122: Forging Ahead

 Well, it's been a while, but I'm continuing to work on the fourth, and most likely final, book in The Deliverers Series. In the last week I've written a little over 2,000 words, bringing me to 20,250 words over 92 pages. 

Although shy of my regular goal of 2,500 words per week, I'm pretty satisfied with the output. That's because this has been a really busy week. I drove down to Georgia and back over 4 days to pick my daughter up from school. Although I did not do any writing on the trip, I was able to lock down the plot details for the first part of the book (I'm thinking of calling it Act I) as well as some ideas for the book's second act. Plus, I think artist Emily Hurst Pritchett and I have hit upon the right scene for the cover of The Deliverers 2.

Thumbnail sketches for Book 2

Hammering out some of the Book 4 plot details also helped me answer a question that I have been debating ever since I had the idea for Book 4 almost eight years ago--would the series run for five books as I'd always envisioned, or would Book 4 end it all? Originally, I thought that the material that will make up Act I would be Book 4, and that my idea for Act II would have been Book 5. The trouble is, Book 4 would have been the shortest book--probably about 170 pages. I would have ended rather abruptly, too, with book five picking up right where the previous book left off. In other words Book 4 would end in a "cliffhanger", but why? Yes, I know it might create interest for the series finale, but it seems better to move from one part, or act, right into the second.

So, that's what I've decided to do. Now, there's always the possibility that as I'm writing Act II I discover that the series is not quite done, but as of now I'm pretty confident that The Deliverers will be four books. Once it's complete I can concentrate on the next adventure. What that will be I can't say for sure, but I'm looking forward to whatever challenge awaits. Have a good week everybody. 

Sunday, April 23, 2023

The Deliverers 4: Chapter 4 - 1777

Eric felt like he was in a dream as he walked down the dusty road with his friends past places that were familiar but foreign. Many of the houses he was used to seeing were not there. Others were, but they were different—newer looking and less worn, and also less modern. He felt like someone who had been out of town for a long time. It was the same place, but it had changed.

As they walked, they encountered some of the townspeople going about their business—a farmer on a wagon pulled by a team of oxen, a middle aged woman in a long homespun dress and shawl shepherding a couple of children in linen shirts and patched breeches. Everyone they met wished them a good day, but it seemed to Eric that they eyed them strangely and perhaps a bit distrustfully. Eric guessed that the sight of two unfamiliar children and a dwarf being followed by a snowy owl in flight was the cause of their consternation.

They continued along the road toward the center of town. But it took longer to reach than Eric thought. The town center was much smaller in 1777 than in the present day. It seemed alien to him. There were no supermarkets or shopping centers, just houses and a few shops. Eric’s stream, which had followed the road widened out into a mill pond that powered a grist mill, the rushing water turning a large wheel to grind corn and wheat into flour.

“My town is really different,” he said.

“I think it’s nice,” Kate said.

“Yeah, you said that, but to me it’s like being in a museum. It’s also freaky to think that no one I know will be born for, like, 200 years or more.”

“That’s gotta be strange, sure enough,” Hallo agreed. “But it’s also somethin’ that few if any have had a chance t’ do.”

“What do you mean, Hallo?” Eric asked.

“Well I know I’d love t’ go back t’ the foundin’ of the Dwarf Kingdom, don’t ya know. It’d be great t’ see King Orvis I settin’ up the Kingdom and diggin’ the first mine. It’d be a chance t’ see hist’ry.”

A chance to see history. Eric had not thought about it like that. He might even get to witness the real Battle of Candlewood Corners. That would be cool.

They were passing by the town blacksmith’s shed. When he heard the clang, clang of a hammer ringing on iron, Eric realized how quiet it had been. In the 21st century he was used to hearing the constant rumble of traffic and the occasional jet or helicopter flying overhead. Here in the 18th century bird calls, the hum of insects and the mooing of cattle were the dominant sounds.

In the center of town, only a few things were recognizable. Just about everything was different. In the heart of the village, King’s Highway intersected the road they were traveling on. Directly ahead of them, Eric recognized the old Congregational church which would one day be converted into the town library.

When they reached the King’s Highway intersection, Eric looked to his left and gasped. There stood Keller Tavern. What had surprised him was that it looked almost exactly like it did in his time.

“Wow, I guess some things never change,” he murmured.

“What was that, my boy?” Stig asked as he landed beside him.

“The tavern—It looks the same. The people in my town treat it almost like a shrine.”

“Why’s that?” Hallo wondered.

“There was, or will be, a battle here,” Eric explained. “The British came up this road looking for stores and ammunition collected by the colonists here in town. The local militia mustered under and around that tree,” Eric pointed to a large oak across the street from the tavern. Eric noted it was a lot smaller than it was in his day. “It’s called the Liberty Tree, or that’s what it will be called someday. The militia stood against the British troops. In the fighting, the tavern was hit by several cannonballs. One even lodged in the wall. In my time, it’s a museum and the cannonball is still stuck in the wall.”

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Sharky and the Jewel New Cover Reveal

 Hello, everyone! The time has come to share the new cover for Sharky and the Jewel with you. Many thanks to Emily Hurst Pritchett for her great work on the cover art and design, the map, and the chapter heading illustration. She really has knocked it out of the park if you ask me. 

Here is the new cover:

The 2nd edition of the Kindle version of the book is live. The paperback version is, too, I'm told, but the old cover is still showing on Amazon. However, if you click on that, the "Look Inside" has the new paperback cover and interior. I'm told that it might take a few days for the cover to appear on the product page.

I have updated the book trailer as well. Here is the new version:

Emily has started knocking around ideas for the updated book 2 cover. I hope to be sharing more news on that sometime later this month.

Please let me know what you think of the new cover in the comments below. Also, please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested in checking out my books. It's a great series, but I'll need all the help I can get in spreading the word. Have a great week!

Saturday, March 25, 2023

A Writer's Week #121: Cover Reveal Coming Soon

 It's been exciting times here in Candlewood Corners, Eric Scott's home town. Illustrator Emily Hurst Pritchett has come up with the goods, delivering (no pun intended) the final map, chapter heading, and of course cover for The Deliverers:  Sharky and the Jewel

I must say, that Emily did a fantastic job. It really gets me looking forward to what she's going to do for the next two books! You might also have noticed that the blog design has changed a bit as well. While I'm not usually a big fan of black as a design color, I think it works for a refresh. I had considered white, but it just didn't work for me. This is just much crisper and fresh. You can also see a glimpse of the Deliverers themselves at the top of the blog. I've been dying for a "portrait" of our four heroes, and Emily delivered a good one.

Now, I'm not ready to reveal the cover quite yet. I've reformatted it and uploaded book interior changes to Amazon's KDP. I'm currently waiting on a proof copy to review to make sure everything worked out all right. For now, I'll share the new map of Calendria and the chapter heading picture:

Not too shabby, right? Right now, I'm working on updating the Sharky and the Jewel book trailer. When that's done, I'll post it on my YouTube channel as well as here on the blog.

With all this going on, writing has taken a back seat, but I'm hoping I'll have some time to sit down and type out a few lines over the next week or so. I'll see you again soon. Be well.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

A Writer's Week #120: An Illustration in Progress

 Hey there, everybody. As I've noted here in my previous posts, I've partnered with Boston illustrator Emily Hurst Pritchett to produce new covers and maps for the first three books in the Deliverers Series. I'm hoping to have the completed cover any day now, and I'm on pins and needles with excitement and anticipation. So much so, that I've let my writing completely slide.

I'm finding it hard to concentrate because I'm thinking of everything I'll have to update once I have the finished cover. First, I'll be redesigning the blog to whatever color scheme will match the cover. I'll also have to change the blog's title and graphics. I'll also have to update the interior of the book, the cover and interior for the Kindle version, and the audiobook cover. I'll also have to redo the book trailer. I've always been proud of the original as it's the first video I ever produced:

Actually, while all this is true, I have to admit the real reason I haven't been writing is that I've got a massive case of writer's block. I've never really had trouble in this area before. Usually I'll puzzle over a sticky situation for a couple of days--no more than a week--and get back on track, but this has been going on for over a month. Part of it is due to distraction, but most of it is because there's a major plot twist, and I just can't work out exactly how the rest of the book will play out. Hopefully, I'll get it sorted out soon and will be able to move forward quickly.

Anyway, here is a look at the final two cover choices I picked out of the half dozen or so that Emily presented to me:

These are both extremely rough, but you get the idea. I won't tell you which one I picked. We'll save that for when I have the final version!

Saturday, February 25, 2023

The Deliverers 4: Chapter 3 -- Brave, Old World

As soon as they were through, the door disappeared, just as it always did. Eric surveyed the landscape.

They were standing next to a stream that was bordered on the left by a steep grass-covered rise and on the right by a dusty dirt road. It was fall—the leaves on the trees off in the distance were a fiery mix of red, yellow and orange.

A few large oaks bordered the road, but the nearby area was mostly farmland. Stone walls marked off fields. On the ridge above them a herd of brown cattle grazed.

“This is your world, any idea where we’re at, laddie?” Hallo asked.

“Uh, I’m not sure,” Eric replied. “If this is the Revolution, then it’s almost 250 years before I was born.” Just thinking about the meaning of that was creeping Eric out.

The sight of the hill, the stream and the road gave him a funny feeling. It all seemed so different, and yet familiar…then it hit him.

“Hey guys, I think this is my stream.”

“What do you mean?” Kate asked.

“Well, there’s a stream a lot like this one that flows through my front yard, right by the state highway,” Eric explained. “And there’s a hill that leads up to the yard on the other side.”

“Ah yes, I think I see what you mean,” said Stig, who had been to Eric’s house before. “That’s the hill you had to blunder down to get to the drainpipe, only now there are no trees or undergrowth and the state highway is just a dirt track.”

“Oh wow,” Kate gasped. “Very weird.”

“Yeah, real freaky,” Eric agreed. “Hey, my house was only built 50 years ago. I wonder what was there before.”

“It seems to me you’ve been given a unique opportunity to find out,” Stig said.

“Well, what’re we waitin’ for?” Hallo asked. “Lead the way, laddie. Let’s see what the ol’ homestead looks like.”

“Okay, let’s go,” Eric said.

With Eric in the lead, they all crossed the stream and climbed over a stone wall. Eric was gripped by a strange sense of unreality as he walked up what would have been his driveway toward his house. But there was neither driveway nor house. Instead, he saw a meadow where cows were grazing on thistles and dry autumn grass. A few fields away was a small farmhouse, wisps of gray smoke rising from its chimney.

Eric’s legs went a little wobbly. This was a little too much to take.

“Oh man, this is messed up,” Eric said. “My yard is a cattle field.”

“That farm reminds me a little of home,” Kate said. “I kind of like your world, Eric.”

Eric gave a weak smile. “Um, well Calendria sort of reminded me of descriptions of the American colonies during the Revolution, but I never thought I’d actually get a chance to find out for sure.”

“I say, it must be quite a shock to you my boy,” Stig said. “But I really think we should see about finding someone who can get us up to date on what’s been happening around here—er, no pun intended.”

“Yeah, I guess that would be good,” Eric agreed, nodding absently.

“Which way to town?” Stig asked.

“Town? Um, uh it’s that way,” he said, pointing vaguely toward the road.

Stig flapped his wings. “Splendid! Then I daresay we should be off.”

The owl took to the air and Kate turned and started back the way they had come.

Hallo took Eric gently by the arm. “Come on lad, ya can’t stand around lookin’ for what won’t be here for a couple hundred years, don’t ya know. Let’s be off.”

They headed down the hill to the road together.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

A Writer's Week #119: Drawing Up a Plan

 Since I've resumed posting this year, I've been talking about refreshing the Deliverers Series brand in order to breathe new life into the books ahead of the intended release of Book 4 by the end of 2023. The refresh will include a redesign of the blog, including a new propriety domain name, new book trailers, and new marketing.

The biggest and most important change is going to be a complete redesign of the books themselves. That includes new cover illustrations, titles, maps, chapter heading illustrations, and chapter title fonts. I searched for an illustrator for a while, and I found a cracking good one. Her name is Emily Hurst Pritchett, and she is based in Boston. She is a seasoned illustrator with a number of book covers to her credit, along with numerous other projects each year.

I really love her illustrations, and I think her style is perfect for the series. She's already started on Sharky and the Jewel. Artwork for all three books should be completed by early summer. Here are several examples of her work:

Here's the bio from her website:

Emily was raised on a steady diet of animation and comic books that built her love of storytelling through art. She studied illustration at Brigham Young University. She has illustrated picture books, middle-grade books, and role-playing game materials, including three Christmas books and two Christmas projects based on Dungeons and Dragons. She especially enjoys working on any fantasy story.

Emily currently lives in Boston with her husband and two children, where she enjoys sketching the interesting characters she meets on the street and admiring old churches. She fills her time with reading, video games, Dungeons & Dragons, and acting in community theater. Her dream is to travel through Italy, where she will also sketch interesting characters and admire old churches.

Check out her collaboration with her husband Luke, a physicist and aspiring poet, at 

In my next post I'll share some proposal sketches that Emily prepared from which I chose a couple to work up into more polished samples.