Sunday, December 24, 2023

A Writer's Week #127: Feeling Grateful

 Unbelievably it is Christmas Eve once again. It seems like just yesterday that it was Christmas 2022. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone this year! 

I am blown away by what I have been able to accomplish in 2023. I was able to find a fantastic illustrator in Emily Hurst Pritchett. She came up with new art and maps for the three books in the Deliverers Series. Then, I was able to arrange book signings and had great feedback on the books and the artwork. Finally, I was able to complete book 4 of the series and it will be published early in 2024. Completing the final book in the series means that Eric and company will finally have some closure.

It might never have happened if I had not had a talk with my dad on Christmas day. He wondered why I hadn't continued writing. I gave a couple lame excuses, but he would have none of it. I realized that I had been missing writing and feeling like I had some unfinished business.

My dad also suggested doing something that I had been struggling with. He said he thought I should get some new artwork to refresh the look. I had contemplated that several times over the past couple of years. After all, it had been 12 years since the first book had been released, and even Harry Potter had new art.

The next day, I began my search for a new artist. I also reread the manuscript for book 4. It was only 16,000 words at that point. The concept was good, but there were some plot issues. I did not know if I had a plot for one book or two. It took me several months to figure that out. In the meantime, Emily was working away on artwork for the first three books.

So, it's been a really great year on the writing front. Things have exceeded my expectations. Emily is currently working on the artwork for book 4. I've seen the sketches and I'm really excited by them. I'll share everything with you when they are complete.

Looking forward to 2024, I've got some new projects on the horizon. After the final book in the Deliverers Series is published, I am going to publish a collection of inspirational short stories. They are a little like fairy tales and should appeal to young and old alike.

After that, I am kicking around an idea for a book set in the Dragon Islands centuries before Eric and his friends visit. I'm starting to get excited about it. The Dragon Islands have a long history and several things were hinted at in The Golden Dragon of Ang that I am looking forward to exploring in more depth. 

I'm thinking of calling the series Tales of the Dragon Islands or maybe come up with a title and use the tagline A Dragon Islands Tale. Either way, I'm looking forward to exploring that world in more depth.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Cal Endria's Journal: Promised Land?

5th November, 4169

This morning we anchored in a secluded bay to take on water and forage for supplies. Every anchorage is a source of hope as our search continues for a plot of land on which to start our new settlement. I hope we find a place soon, for the Captain's behavior is becoming increasingly cruel and barbaric.

Just this morning Thompkinson was caught pouring an extra measure of rum. It was his bad fortune to be caught by Sharky. He doled out punishment immediately by stringing him up on a yardarm high above the deck.

It was not Thompkinson's day. The rope holding him up snapped in the gale and he was blown into the sea. Despite all my entreaties, Sharky refused to stop saying, "We're headin' inta that there harbor, he can catch up to us there."

Of course, he didn't catch up to us. So me and the lads are waiting until we find a likely spot to either jump ship or propose a deal to Sharky. I don't know how much longer we can wait. The way things are headed, it's only a matter of time until he does us all in.

Soon I must go ashore to gather water and supplies. It is my duty as first mate. I have to admit that it will be good to feel land underfoot once more. 

This bay has a pleasing look about it. The land starts out flat, then rises gradually. A large mountain range separates the bay from the rest of the mainland, and a waterfall cascades down into a river that flows into the bay.

Hold on, can it be? Why did I not see it until now? Of course, this is the very place we've been looking for! Oh merciful heavens, could our deliverance be close at hand? I must go and gather the lads. Not only will we go ashore to forage, but we will scout out the lay of the land to see if my hunch is correct! I will record our findings upon my return.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

ISWG Wednesday First Post: The Story's the Thing


The awesome co-hosts for the December 6 posting of the IWSG are C. Lee McKenzie, JQ Rose, Jennifer Lane, and Jacqui Murray!

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! 

December 6 question: Book reviews are for the readers. When you leave a book review do you review for the Reader or the Author? Is it about what you liked and enjoyed about your reading experience, or do you critique the author? 

I always try to review the book. If there is something I think the author did particularly well, I will point that out. For the most part, though, the book is the thing.

Speaking of books, Book 4 in the Deliverers Series is complete. I am currently rereading, proofreading and editing it prior to sending it out to my beta readers after the first of the year. If anyone out there would like to be a beta reader and perhaps post a review on Goodreads, please reach out in the comments section. 

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.