Saturday, April 20, 2024

A Writer's Week #130: Spring Fever

Well, spring has definitely sprung here in Candlewood Corners, Connecticut. Grass is growing, flowers are blooming, trees are budding. Activity has also been rising on the writing front---from scheduling new appearances to working on production of my recently completed manuscript to the launch of a new Deliverers Series video trailer to the writing of yet another new book, things are rising to a fever pitch around here. Good stuff indeed. Here are some tidbits about each project:


I've booked several already beginning in May, and I have more in the planning stages. I'll be posting updates on the Deliverers Series Facebook page as well as my Appearances page on this site.

Deliverers Series

I recently completed a video trailer for the overall series. Here it is if you haven't seen it:

You can view all of my Deliverers-related videos on a new video page on this site. There you will find a book trailer for each book, a couple interviews I conducted with myself long ago, samples from the audio book version of Sharky and the Jewel, and some other tidbits.

Book 4, Sparkling Mist of Time, has been receiving some great reviews, particularly from Fairday's Blog, as well as a 5-Star review from Readers' Favorite.

As the Owl Flies

The entire manuscript has been formatted, and Emily Hurst Pritchett is working on the cover and illustrations for each story. This is a really exciting project, as it will bring together short stories and poems I wrote pre-Deliverers. While geared for middle grade and teen readers, it is a departure from the fantasy adventure genre that I'm know for. I'm kind of taking a leap of faith with this little book, so to speak. In any event, I hope you all give it a shot and check it out.

When determining what formats to present the book in, I decided to publish it as an e-book and a paperback right away. After giving it more thought, I also decided to release it as an audio book. SO, once it's all put together, I will be posting it on ACX for auditions. I've already had one narrator indicate that they would be interested in auditioning, so I'm hoping I'll have some interest.

Here is the back cover blurb to give you an idea of what the book will be like:

As the Owl Flies is a collection of stories that warm the heart, and make you smile.
Originally written to be read aloud to friends gathered comfortably together, these stories convey simple, universal truths in a lighthearted, fun way. The whimsical illustrations help bring the characters to life, capturing their foibles and quirks. In between are sprinkled four poems of hope, optimism, and thankfulness that will make you (perhaps) think. Some of the friends you’ll meet within these pages include:
  • A squirrel who must decide how to use the gift that is given to him'
  • An old man forced to reevaluate his life.
  • A disappointing Christmas present, that becomes the greatest gift of all.
  • A beaver who yearns to soar.
  • A girl whose dreams signal disaster.
A fun, thought-provoking read for all ages, these stories are a breath of fresh air that will revive your spirit and restore your faith in human nature.

Tales From the Dragon Islands

I'll be getting back to middle grade fantasy adventure with my latest work in progress, Tales From the Dragon Islands. I'm not sure if that will be the title of the book, or the name of a series--we'll have to wait and see. I've been working slowly on this and so far, I'm up to about 2,300 words, so just getting started, really. It's about an event that happens on the Dragon Islands about 3,000 years before the Deliverers pay a visit. 

I've been a little nervous about where this manuscript is headed, because I have an idea of the protagonists and where they will end up, but almost no idea of how they are going to get there. This will be very much a case of letting the characters show me what will happen. When this happens to me, it's always very exciting, but also terrifying. Thankfully, after really wondering where this was headed for the first 1,300 words or so, the last 1,000 have given me hope that my characters might know what they're doing. I'll let you know if that continues as things move along.


Wednesday, April 3, 2024

ISWG: Blogging--Jogging or Slogging?


This month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question is:

How long have you been blogging? (Or on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram?) What do you like about it and how has it changed?

I started this blog in 2011, but I pretty much stopped in 2015 and did not resume until late 2022. I like that I can share news, writing tips, and insights into one writer's creative process. I used to also do interviews with classic children's book characters and share trivia tidbits related to authors' lives and works. Nowadays, though, I just don't have enough time and energy to do that. I am trying to figure out something fun to write every so often. If you have any suggestions, p?ease leave them in the comments.

So, I guess that's one way it's changed for me. I think that now, any followers I have get news of me from the series' Facebook page rather than the blog. In years past, it was the other way around. No matter how it's done, I always enjoy making connections with anyone who is interested. It always gives me a thrill whenever I receive feedback, and it inspires me to keep going.

So, that being said, here's a post from bygone days-- an interview with an interesting character.

Between the Lines:  Tom Sawyer

It's a new year, so it's the perfect time to introduce a new series of interviews with famous characters in classic children's literature and fairy tales. The interviews with the characters from my book proved to be so popular, that I thought, hey, why not interview characters from other children's books?

Today, we're kicking the series off with one of my favorite characters, Tom Sawyer. Let me know how you like it.

Greg:  Welcome Tom, it’s great to have you here!

Tom: Thanks, Mr. Greg, sir. It were nice of ya t’ have me.

Greg:  Tell us a little bit about yourself, Tom.

Tom: Shucks, taint much t’ tell, really. I started m’ life very young, but I growed up. Now, I live free an’ easy, ‘cept when I got t’ go t’ that ol’ school. Aunt Pol’s always tryin’ t’ git me t’ go, but I outfox her more often than not. Got a nice place up in the piney woods. It’s a whole fort where I fight off injuns an’ hide treasure an’ such.

Sometimes I got t’ go t’ church, too. Go t’ Sunday school an’ larn Bible passages ‘n’ things. I won me a Bible oncet. Yep, I sure did. I got enough o’ them there tickets the Rev’rand give out for learnin’ Bible verses. I traded a whole pile of treasure with the boys in school t’ get them tickets. It was worth it, too. Preacher called me up, an’ I got me that Bible in front o’ the whole class, includin’ Becky Thatcher. I was slicker ‘n’ a greased pig, I can tell you.

I’m also good at fightin’. I just about licked every boy in school, an’ some o’ the girls, too. “Course that comes from m’ piratin’. Ya got t’ be able to lick anyone that crosses your path, iffin you’re a pirate. I recall the time me ‘n’ Joe Harper ‘n’ol’  Huck Finn run away t’ be pirates. Boy did we have a time!

Greg:  Where do you live, when you’re not terrorizing the seven seas, I mean?

Tom:  I live in the town of St. Petersburg, Missouri with m’ Aunt Polly, m' half brother Sid. I live next door t’ Becky Thatcher. We’re engaged, but don’t tell no one. It’s supposed t’ be secret. Keep it mum. Wouldn’t do no good if Becky was t’ get wind I told ya.

Greg:  In all of your adventures, what’s the worst thing you ever saw?

Tom:  I don’t rightly know. I seen a lot o’ worst things. I saw Injun Joe all laid out an’ starved t’ death after bein’ trapped in McDougal’s Cave. Me ‘n’ Becky was trapped in the cave with Injun Joe.

I s’pose the worst thing I ever saw had t’ be Doc Robi’son getting’ killed by Injun Joe. See, the way it happened was me ‘n’ Huck was in the graveyard with a dead cat tryin’ t’ catch some devils. All of a sudden, along come Doc Robi’son, Ol’ Muff Potter, an’ Injun Joe. Me ‘n’ Huck hid an’ watched as Muff ‘n’ Joe started to dig up a grave.

Well, when they got the body up, they all starts agruin’ over how much the doc was gonna pay ‘em. Before ya know it, the doc had whacked ol’ Muff Potter over the head with a gravestone, which was just a painted board. Then Injun Joe took up Muff’s knife an’ jammed it inta Doc Robi’son’s chest.  It chilled m’ blood an’ curled m’ toes. Me ‘n’ Huck lit out o’ there like the Devil himself was chasin’ us.

From that night on, I had t’ sleep with one eye open, on account of I was s’ skeered.

Greg:  What’s given you the most pleasure?

Tom:  I’d have ta say coming back in the middle of m’ funeral. Ev’rybody was so surprised. Me ‘n’ Joe ‘n’ ol’ Huck got so much attention. We was top citizens, I reckon. I was in m’ glory. Ev’ryone was fussin’ an’ carryin’ on. I aint never seen such a big t’ do.

I s’pose I should also say getting’ engaged t’ Becky Thatcher an’ findin’ all that gold were high points, too. But nothin’ can compare with the attention the town give me when I come back from the dead!

Greg:  Are you afraid of spirits?

Tom:   Shoot, spirits aint nothin’ iffin ya know how t’ handle ‘em. First, ya take a stinkbug an’ make him a leash out of a shoelace. Put the stinkbug on the ground, holdin’ the leash. Then, ya draw a circle around the bug in the dirt. Next, ya gets a pin an’ pricks your finger. Then, ya squeezes two drops of blood out of yore finger onta the stinkbug. Then ya says an incantation, an’ that’ll keep the spirits away the whole night. Simple as that, but I shore wouldn’t want t’ tangle with ‘em without the right gear.

Greg:  After all your adventures, are you ready to become civilized?

Tom: Oh law, I aint never gonna get civilized. Aunt Polly’s done tried, but she aint been able t’ do it. Aint no one gonna do it, not as long as I draw breath!

I tell ya the one I feel sorry for. It’s ol’ Huck Finn. The widder Douglas done took him in t’ live with her. I anyone’s gonna civilize a body, it’d be the widder Douglas. Ol’ Huck don’t stand a chance with that one, I kin tell ya.

She won’t let him go piratin’ or nothin’. Me, I done give Aunt Polly the slip agin, an’ if Sid don’t blab on me, I’ll be off down the Missisip’ on a raft an’ no one’ll be the wiser. Come t’ think on it, I still owe Sid a lickin’ for squealin’ on me the last time!

Mr. Greg, I sure have enjoyed settin’ here an’ talkin’ with ya a spell, but I got t’ get movin’. There’s ships t’ plunder an’ wayfarers t’ rob, an’ the night’s getting’ on!

Greg:  Sure thing, Tom. Thanks for taking some time to chat with us. Good luck with your adventure!