Sunday, March 24, 2024

Somebody Else's Interview

For a long time now, I've been planning to interview illustrator Emily Hurst Pritchett. However, being the procrastinator I am, I haven't quite got around to it. Now, I suppose the point is kind of moot as Annie's Book Stop of Worcester conducted a great video interview with her.

It's up on YouTube, but I've posted it below. The interview is really great. In it, Emily gives great insight into her creative process, her own personal taste in books and pastimes, as well as what it's like illustrating for independent authors, publishers, and what she's up to with her personal art. As you watch, you might even see a couple familiar books being flashed. 

Emily is working on illustrations and the cover for As the Owl Flies and I have started the Tales of the Dragon Islands book. I'll share more of that shortly.



Monday, March 18, 2024

A Writer's Week #129: What Next?

 As I noted in my last post, the Deliverers series is now complete. That brings to an end a huge writing chapter in my life. Leaving Eric, Kate, Stig and Hallo behind has been a very difficult thing. The question is, what to do next?

Re-opening the writing side of my life at the end of 2022 was a big decision. The main focus was to refresh the existing three books and complete the fourth. I accomplished that in 2023, and book four was released in February, completing the series. So, mission accomplished.

Greg & Abby writing at Hampton Beach, NH c. 2013

I guess that could be the end. I could stop knowing that there were no loose ends, no hanging threads. Actually, though, there is one thread still dangling. Years ago, when I was fresh out of college, before color was invented and everything was still in black and white, I was a youth advisor to my church's high school community group. It was there that I first started writing with the purpose of sharing what I wrote with others. I wrote a story for the group's Christmas retreat at the request of my deacon. I wound up writing a story every year for 15 years. I would read the story at the retreat and the teens seemed to enjoy them. Each one was tied to the theme of that year's retreat. I would also give copies out to friends and family as Christmas presents.

In a number of those stories, a white owl would appear to guide the main character. A couple years after I left the group and got married, I decided to write a book. As I was casting about for some sort of story idea, my mind strayed back to that white owl and I began to wonder just who he was and where he came from. That's when I discovered that his name was Stig and that he would be sent to help a boy named Eric.

So, there's the loose thread. I've decided to publish 12 of those stories, and I've made the decision to present them with minimal editing, keeping them the same as they were when I first read them all those years ago. This will be going out on a limb somewhat, as these are more spiritual/religious stories rather than straight middle grade fantasy. They are geared toward middle grade/teen readers. The best way to describe them are modern day fables or fairy tales with a religious or spiritual theme. 

Definitely a new market for me, and I hope readers of the Deliverers won't be put off and will give them a look-see. I have reached an agreement with Emily Hurst-Pritchett to design the cover and to do 12 half-page illustrations, one for each story. I'm hoping to release the book in early summer.

I am kind of at a loss as to how to market the book. I might start another blog, but that seems a bit much. For now, I will post updates on this blog and on the Deliverers Facebook page. The book also includes four of the poems I wrote in college. I've asked my wife to do some sketches for those. 

I'm kind of excited about the new project, but also a little nervous. I'll post an excerpt from a story and the artwork, once that's set to give you all a taste. What are your thoughts? Have you ever taken a chance and done something different? What were the results? I'll share what happens for me as this moves along.


Wednesday, March 6, 2024

ISWG First Wednesday: Monthly Question & a New Release!

Well, another month has come and gone. Right at the very end of February I had a significant event, but I will save that for after this month’s question:

March Question:

Have you "played" with AI to write those nasty synopses, or do you refuse to go that route? How do you feel about AI's impact on creative writing? 

No, I have not used AI for any element of my writing. I am hesitant to use it, even for synopses, because I think it’s sort of a slippery slope. So far, I’ve even held off using it to develop illustrations for my blog posts. It’s just not a place I’m comfortable going right now.

Will my outlook change as time goes by and the technology, and the ethics evolve? Could be. But for now, I’m going to keep it old school and wait and see what the future brings.

Now, on to more exciting things. Leap day was an exciting one here at Deliverers Towers. The final book of the series, Sparkling Mist of Time, was set loose upon the world.

So far, it's been well received. I've written before about what a convoluted process it was to complete this book. In the end, though, it was worth it all and I believe that I could not have ended the series any better than this. Many thanks to everyone who has assisted along the way. 

So what's next? I've already alluded to that. I'll have more info as things progress. The point is, the journey will continue and I will be following my own path. How cool is that? If you had asked me a year and a half ago, I would have said they journey was over. Just goes to show that you can never say never.

I'll be making another post soon. Until then, Peace!