doing some website maintenance – please stand by 🙂
Wow – talk about a neglected website. I think it’s time for an update.
Despite the fact I haven’t released any new books in a year, I have been writing quite a lot. The second book in THE CAMBRIDGE FILES is actually very much in progress and I’m happy with how it’s coming together. I also have a number of other projects on the go that I will discuss in the future, and that I’m quite excited about.
Also, my wife and I did welcome our newest addition to the family last month. Our fourth child, and second daughter, so now we have two of each and we couldn’t be happier. Luckily I have a long-held belief that SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK, so I have no complaints about the current level of deprivation I’m experiencing. And our other three kiddos couldn’t be more excited about her.
My goal is to have a proper update in the next few weeks so do check back or follow on facebook.
Hi, everyone. This is just a quick post today. I just wanted to let people know I’ve launched a giveaway for print copies of my 6th Grade Revenger books.
This is just a quick post today. I know a great many of the people who might read this blog are American and likely still suffering the effects of turkey, mashed potatoes, and fixings I’ve likely never imagined. I just wanted to let people know I’ve launched a giveaway for print copies of my 6th Grade Revenger books.
So, as you lie on the couch, wondering what in the name of all that is mighty compelled you to have that fourth helping, how about entering for a chance to win some free books? just wanted to let people know I’ve launched a giveaway for print copies of my 6th Grade Revenger books.
I will be releasing book 4 in my REVENGER series very soon, and so this giveaway is for the first 4 books in the series. As soon as the giveaway is over, I’ll get the books in the mail.
The link below will take you to the contest:
Since I was a kid, October was my second favorite month (second only to December as December hosts both Christmas and…. MY BIRTHDAY!)—but it was a very close second. It was the spookiness of the month I loved more than anything. The anticipation of Halloween, and sure, the candy was a bonus, but it was the idea that this part of the year had something otherworldly about it, something paranormal.
As I got older, that fear disappeared, and with it, the excitement of Halloween lost much of its edge. It’s an interesting time for me right now, in that my oldest child (5 years old) is just starting to understand that there’s something spooky about Halloween. I am torn between the fatherly need to reassure him there’s no such thing as monsters and the memory of my youth where I so enjoyed being afraid there really were ghosts and witches that came out around Halloween. For now, I’ll lean towards the former but reserve the right to change my mind in years to come 🙂
I am sure it wasn’t my parents who spurred my belief in all that went bump in the night. They likely did as I do with my kids, and reassure them monsters aren’t real. My four older brothers, on the other hand, likely had a lot to do with my fears. They were quick to remind me that monsters lived under my bed and in the closet and in the darkest corners of the basements. Those creaks I heard at night? Those had nothing to do with a house settling, and were, in fact, spirits wandering the halls looking, specifically, for me.
Like most writers, I never have a shortage of ideas for future books. I probably have 100 spooky book ideas in my “Notes for future books” folder on my computer. The problem is time. Writing a lot of books is tough to do when you’re not writing full time (i.e. splitting writing time with day-job time), but once I have my REVENGER series out, the 4th –and last– book in my DEAN CURSE series out, and book #2 in the CAMBRIDGE FILES released, I’m going to get one of those spooky books written. With a little luck, It’ll happen in 2017.
So what about you guys? Do you have a favorite month? Does October hold any special place in your heart? Or do you hate October and everything it stands for?
Welcome to my new site. Isn’t it shiny?
To be honest, it’s still a work in progress. There are a lot of components of the website I am still trying to tweak. Perhaps the most important part is the mailing list sign up. If you haven’t already signed up, you should. I won’t talk about everything coming down the line to people signed up there, but I’ll give you a hint — FREE BOOKS!
Today, since I’m well into the release schedule of my 6th Grade Revengers series, I thought I’d talk a bit about the journey to where I am with that series. And the struggle that goes along with marketing adventure and action books for the 9-12-year-old reader (and their parents/family/teachers since that is who really makes the decision about purchasing).
Blog posts without pictures = bad. So I thought it might be cool to share the progression of cover art for the series since those images actually do a good job speaking to the process.
In 2014 I was kicking around the idea with my sister. I wanted to come up with a series of shorter books that could follow two kids who seemed to do good despite their best efforts not to. The idea took shape and I started writing.
Originally, I called it The 6th GRADE ASSASSINS and book 1 in my series was the story that has become book 2 in the current series.
My agent and I kicked the idea around a bit, and decided “Assassins” as a title for kids who didn’t actually kill anyone, didn’t feel right (making them actual assassins, also, didn’t feel right– haha).6th Grade Revengers became the name, which was a title I’d loved just a bit less than “assassin.” So it went out on submission and, despite good feedback, wasn’t picked up.
I made a decision I’d put the titles out myself. I’d done a lot of work writing them, and I wasn’t keen on going with a smaller publisher (as my experience with small presses hasn’t been awesome). After some more feedback, and showing people the mockup of the cover above, there was a lot of people who thought an illustrated cover would be more easily marketed to the 9-12 audience.
I wanted to get an idea regarding what an illustrated cover would feel like, I gave that a try also.
I actually loved the illustrated artwork, but getting an appropriate title treatment was a nightmare (I really don’t like either of the options above. Furthermore, since I was going to put these books out on my own, I was the one who’d have to conceptualize the cover and give direction to the illustrator. It took quite a lot of time and effort to get the scene depicted above, and I wasn’t convinced I’d picked the correct one. Illustrated covers aren’t cheap, and getting it wrong wasn’t appealing to me, so I went back with the other design, tweaked somewhat.
And there you have it. The birth of THE REVENGERS.
Don’t forget, if you want to read the first one for free, subscribe to my newsletter and it will arrive in your inbox right away (well, you have to confirm you subscribed to the newsletter first, but after that, BOOM!)
Yes, I know, I know, I was doing so well blogging semi-regularly, and then… nothing. But that is how things go when I’m working hard on a project. I tend to let my writing gobble up every spare moment I have.
But today I bring good news. News that will give you a chance to laugh at my complete and utter lack of artistic skill. You may recall I shared, not too long ago, my mock up for book 4 in the Dean Curse books, and how the designer I’d commissioned had turned my mess into something pretty dang spectacular. I called that post WHY I DON’T DO MY OWN COVERS
Well, today I give you round two in that saga.
What you’re looking at is a mock-up for the third book in a new series I’ve been working on for well over a year now. I will have a lot more to say about the books in the coming weeks, but wanted to start with something that blows my mind: Art, and how an artist can take my stick-figure drawing and spin it into something beyond what I could have hoped for.
For information purposes, the artist is the same gentleman I’ve used for all my covers. His name is PINTADO, and his website is HERE
(and yes, I know I spelled exhaust wrong in the picture :/ )
And the other side doing something like this:
The point of this post is, instead, to right a problem I’ve had with the debate since the first time I heard it. The arguments are entirely unoriginal. “With a kindle, I can hold a million books in my pocket!” or “Printed books smell like unicorns!” Both are totally true, but just not original.
I took this challenge hoping I’d really hit all 30 days, but clearly I’ve missed a couple :/ so I’m revising the challenge and calling it BLOG AS MUCH AS YOU CAN IN 30 DAYS! Okay, that’s not technically too far off from what I usually do. Gonna consider this baby-steps 😛
Today I wanted to give a quick peak into what I’ve been working on in terms of writing projects. Ready?
My MG series:
I’ve been working on a new series of MG adventure books. No, that doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned my DEAN CURSE or my CAMBRIDGE FILES books. In fact, DEAN CURSE 4 (PLUNGE) is well on its way, and Book 2 in the CAMBRIDGE FILES is actually done (well, done to the pre-professional editing stage anyway).
I don’t really like to talk too much about my works in progress, but I will tell you that I’ve written a fair number of books in this new series and I’m really excited about it. My agent is presently pitching the concept to publishers.
So here’s a simple image collage about the books to keep you interested: Now… fair warning: My artistic skills can generally be put to shame by a toddler with a crayon and access to a wall. Something I made oh so evident when I revealed the before and after for my DEAN CURSE book covers HERE
Okay, okay, get on with it, Steve! Here you go:
See what I mean about the lack of art-skills? Okay, let me try again with my YA novel. I recently turned in to my agent for some feedback. In collage form it would look a bit like this:
I also have a number of ideas in the rough stage but those are the books I have complete for now. I look forward to putting some updates together soon for these books.
Okay, what do you think? Should I give up this whole writing thing and just go in to business as a professional collage maker?
The other day I was asked by a parent what book I’d recommend for their 9 year old son. They wanted me to give them some tips for ‘boy-books’ that they thought he’d like
My initial thought was that they were looking for books that had a little more:
And a little less:
And don’t get me wrong. It didn’t bother me. When faced with a choice between the latest Avengers movie or something pulled from a Nicholas Sparks book, a betting man would put money on Avengers being a more popular choice for guys. And that’s fine.
Okay, back to my story and the point of this post. They asked for a boy book, I suggested a book and they shook their head saying, “They were looking for something with more action and fighting.”
Cool— I made another suggestion:
“Ah, but it has a girl on the cover. I want one geared for boys.”
Wait a second… the book can’t have a girl on the cover? But it’s got these two kick-butt characters who are total fighters and they’re out for revenge… and … and … nevermind. You know your kid better than I do. Could they really have been saying that the simple fact the main character is a girl disqualifies it from being one a boy would want to read… Ahem… HUNGER GAMES!!!
I looked around the net and sure enough, I saw countless comments and message board threads and book reviews pointing out this trend of thinking boy books MUST be about boys. That’s too bad, and I think we’re teaching kids a lesson we don’t mean to be teaching them when we do that..
Again, I’m not saying that boys and girls will always like the same books. Of course not. But neither will all boys like the same books as other boys, or girls as other girls. And I’m not saying that publishers can’t target their marketing strategy to parents with boys, or to boys themselves. I’m just saying that we, as readers, and parents, and writers, should perhaps not paint books with the same predetermined gender color palette we seem to have for clothing.
My son’s into action adventure, Steve, what do you recommend?
This is one of my favs. Totally a clean read for kids under 12, and loaded with action and adventure and … Oh, wait, even though that looks like a boy on the cover, it’s actually a girl since the main character pretends to be a boy…. Darn. Luckily they have two covers. One with a character and one without!
My son loves books that involve soccer players. He’s 8 years old, any suggestions?
Oh, darn, foiled again.
What are your thoughts? Am I over thinking this?