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 name---Deliverers.net. 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.