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.


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