Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The I Like Summer Giveaway Winner

Last night the I Like Summer Giveaway officially came to an end. I'd like to thank everyone for the tremendous response I received for this giveaway. Thanks to you, this was the most successful giveaway in the short history of The Deliverers blog. We had more entries by far this time than for our Spring Has Sprung Giveaway.

It was great to see such a great response. I really appreciate it. The blog is growing and reaching more people, which means more people are learning about The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel. That's really what this blog is all about, although it's become more than that in the ten months I've been doing it. It's become a lot of fun as well. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.

I also want to thank all of you, because you're the main reason I've been able to keep on track with my writing of The Deliverers 2. The fear of not having anything written to report about has kept me more productive than I would have been if this blog did not exist.

Hmmm, what's that? Oh, yeah the winner. Sorry about that, I got a little off track there, I guess. So, the winner of the I Like Summer Giveaway is....Elisha G.!!! Congratulations, Elisha. I'll be sending you your 5 autographed Deliverers bookmarks, signed copy of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel, and a $25 Amazon gift card shortly.

Once again, thanks to everyone who entered. Keep your eyes peeled for another giveaway in the near future!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Interview Series: The Grasshopper

Hello everybody! This week, I was able to pull a few strings and get someone from way back to talk with us. He's been a literary figure for centuries, ever since Aesop included him in what became a very famous fable. Please join me in welcoming the Grasshopper from The Ant and the Grasshopper to The Deliverers Publishing Headquarters!


Greg:  Welcome! It's so nice of you to hop by to talk with us.

Grasshopper:  Hey man, don't mention it, like I always enjoy hangin' with the press.

Greg:  Yes, well I know you're busy, so I appreciate it.

Grasshopper:  Actually, I don't have all that much to do, man. I think you're confusing me with that ant dude. Always rushin' here and there. It tires me out just watchin' him, man, know what I mean?

Greg:  Well, there are some who say that the Ant was rushing here and there to gather food for the long winter, so that he wouldn't starve. I'd say that was a pretty good reason to be busy.

Grasshopper:  Aw man, that ant is too uptight. Don't worry, be happy--that's my motto. I mean, just look around, dude. It's too nice a day to worry about all that gatherin' jive. Tomorrow's another day. Plenty of time for gatherin' then.

Greg:  That may be true, up to a point, but isn't there a saying that says never put off to tomorrow what you can do today?

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Writer's Week #29: Videos & Reunions

This week, while not as successful writing-wise, was still a good one. How can that be? Well, it's because I was makin' movies! No, Disney has not bought the rights to make The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel into a full length feature film, but I have made a new book trailer.

This video is called The Deliverers, Sharky's Vengeance. I took some footage from a couple old (ancient) movies that are in the public domain, combined it with some video footage I shot at Mystic Seaport last weekend, added another great piece of music by Kevin MacLeod, and voila! Video! Anyway, I've embedded the video below. Check it out and let me know what you think.


On the actual writing front, I did okay, I only wrote 1,000 words, well below my weekly goal of 2,000, and extremely short of my 3,000 word output of last week. However, I did manage to write a very tricky escape and a reunion--two very key points in The Deliverers 2, so I don't feel so bad about not making my weekly goal. Anyway, between last week and this, I'm still averaging 2,000 words a week, so I'll take it.


For those of you keeping track, that puts me at 36,000 words, 42 chapters, and 162 pages. We're getting closer every week, but after the writing will be the rewriting. I'll update you on my journey's progress again next week. Here's that video:



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What's Christian Reading? Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Christian is still deep into Harry Potter. Right now, he's reading the final book. This week, he's decided to tell us a little bit about one of his favorite books in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling.


Here's what Christian says the book is about.

"Harry Potter is at his aunt and uncle's house for the summer. He's attacked by Dementors and defends himmself using a Patronus Charm. Because of this, he's expelled from Hogwarts. He is taken by his godfather, Sirius Black, sends some wizards from the Order of the Phoenix to take him to his house.

"Dumbledore defends Harry at a hearing, and gets him back in to Hogwarts.

"When Harry gets to Hogwarts, he learns that the Ministry of Magic is denying that Valdemort is back, because they're afraid. Harry has a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher named Dolores Umbridge, who refuses to let them use spells in class and makes them read old, outdated textbooks. She also punishes Harry when he tries to point out that they should be learning to defend themselves against the Dark Arts.

"Harry also starts having dreams about a door at the end of a hallway. He sees things happening to his friends and doesn't know if it's actually happening or not.

"Harry starts Dumbledore's Army to learn to defend themselves against the Dark Arts. They find a room called the Room of Requirement that has everything they need to train themselves. It's a secret room, which is good, because there are all these new rules that Professor Umbridge, who is from the Ministry of Magic, has set up. Their training sessions are breaking just about all of them.

"I won't tell you what happens next, because I don't want to spoil the ending."

What did Christian like best about the book?

"I liked the part where he formed Dumbledore's Army, because I think it took a lot of wits to be able to do it right under Dolores Umbridge's nose."

Was there anything Christian didn't like about the book?

"I didn't like Professor Umbridge. She pretended to want to protect the students, but she was really putting them into even more danger by not teaching them the spells they needed to defennd themselves."

So, how did Christian rate Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling?

Christian gives it five out of five flaming monkey heads.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cal Endria's Journal: 6th November, 4169

Went ashore this morning with some of the lads to procure provisions. As we rode ashore in the longboat, I surveyed the approaching beach. It seems a fine place to build a wharf.

Beyond the beach, the jungle rose up, and a range of mountains towered over us, looming ever larger as we made our approach. The closer we came to this paradise, the more excited we became.

I had made sure that the landing party was made up entirely of those sympathetic to our cause. We were anxious for the chance to explore this new land. Sharky nearly ruined our plans by making rumblings that perhaps he should come along and stretch his legs.

I was able to put him off by pointing out that it was best we go ahead to scout things out first before risking the our leader's safety. He saw the reason in this and decided to wait until after our stores had been replenished to go explore.

When the longboats touched sand, we splashed ashore and went in search of provisions. We made our way through the jungle, the land sloping gently upwards as we went. 

When we crested the ridge, an open plateau stretched out before us. The lads were very excited by this feature of the landscape, for it seemed to be the perfect place for a fair sized village. It seemed the hand of providence was at work, for little work would be needed to prepare the spot for the building of houses, farms and businesses.

Beyond the plateau, the forest resumed, rising up to meet the mountains. A gigantic waterfall descended from the mountains, into a river that flowed down to the harbor.

Not wanting to take much more time, for fear that Sharky would become restless waiting for us, we concluded our exploration and went about the task of gathering supplies. This was not difficult as both fresh water and game were plentiful. The land yielded abundant fruit as well. Odds fish, if this is not a paradise, then I truly do not know what is!

Once we had filled our water casks and loaded the longboats, we returned to the Deathwind and Sharky. This I was loath to do, so in love with this bit of ground have I become.

We are all in agreement. We have found the site for our new village, and our new hope. Now, it falls on me to approach Sharky and bargain for our release from his crew. I shall have to bargain well and shrewdly for Sharky to let us live, much less agree, but I think I know just what will appeal to his black heart.

I must end here as Sharky has just returned from his explorations. I fervently hope my next entry is a happy one.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Interview Series: The Big Bad Wolf

We've got one of the all time fairy tale bad guys here this week. I'm really looking forward to sitting down and learning more about the Big Bad Wolf.


Greg:  Well, thanks for sitting down with us this evening. 

Wolf:  I'm happy to be here. Usually, no one wants to talk with me, so I appreciate you having me on.

Greg:  We're happy to have you here. So, I have to ask--why pick on the pigs?

Wolf: I've never understood what all the fuss is about me and the pigs. I love pigs. Paws down, they're my favorite. I love them baked, boiled, grilled, and as sausage. Why pigs? Why not pigs? Hello, I'm a wolf, eating pigs is what I do.

Greg:  Okay, fair enough. You're a wolf, wolves eat pigs, among other things. I'll give you that. But what about that let me in, chinny chin chin, blow your house in rhyme?

Wolf:  What about the rhyme? You think fairy tales can't rhyme? Oh I know rhymes are usually reserved for nursery rhymes, but I should be celebrated for pushing boundaries. Wolves don't play it safe. Besides, the pigs came up with the "not by the hair on our chinny chin chins" part.

Greg:  All right, it's good to push boundaries--within reason. However, breaking and entering, even if you are pursuing your dinner, is definitely not cool.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Writer's Week #28: Rounding 3rd...

Wow, what a week here at The Deliverers Publishing Headquarters! I really don't know where to begin. Let's see, the blog made it to 100 followers this week. As of right now, the total is 101. Thank you to all the wonderful followers of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel! Thanks for reading.

I also started a great giveaway, called the I Like Summer Giveaway. Click to title of the giveaway to enter. When you do, you'll have a chance to win 5 autographed Deliverers bookmarks, and autographed copy of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel, and a $25 Amazon gift card. The giveaway runs until the end of July. Enter now, and have your friends enter, too. The more the merrier!

I have to say, I love these animations. It's kind of like reading the Daily Prophet, don'y you think? Now if only I could get the pictures I take to move like this, we'd be all set!

Where was I? Oh yes. My writer's week. So, that's two great things that happened this week. The best thing, though, is my actual writing. I wrote a best ever 3,000 words of The Deliverers 2 this week. I really knocked it out of the park! That puts me at a little over 35,000 words and 157 pages. This means, I'm 70 to 75% finished with the first draft.

In baseball terms, since there are four bases, I'm just about at third base, and soon I'll be heading towards home. It's a great feeling to finally be able to have the end in sight. There's still a bunch that has to happen before the story's done. Eric and company are in a tight spot, but help is on the way. Will it arrive in time? I sure hope so, but that hasn't been written yet, so I can't say for sure.

I do have a vision for the rest of the story, and I don't foresee any major snags remaining--although that doesn't mean one or two won't appear from nowhere. I'm also starting to turn my attention to thinking about rewriting. For instance, the first chapter needs to be rewritten for sure, and I have to weave in a couple of other elements that I thought of along the way.

After so much writing success this week, I'm hoping I'll be able to follow it up next week with more of the same. Will the hitting streak continue, or will I start slumping? I'll let you know next week.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What's Abigail Reading? Lincoln and His Boys

Abigail was really into what she was reading this week.Our local library has a summer reading program that offers prizes based on the number of books you read. Prizes are good. Abby loves prizes--she's got her eye on a couple things.

One of the books she really enjoyed this week was Lincoln and His Boys by Rosemary Wells. Let's find out what it's all about.



Here's what Abigail says the book is about.


"It's about two boys, Willie and Tad, and their father and mother. The father is President Abraham Lincoln. They moved to Washington, D.C. when he became president. There is a war going on. Mr. Lincoln had a person that protected him so that he wouldn't be killed.

"The boys used to interrupt meetings that Abraham was leading with their fooling around. Mr. Lincoln thought it was funny, but others did not.

"One boy Willie died because he had a fever. This made everybody sad. The other boy, Tad, was lonely and didn't have anything to do. He liked to hang out with his dad."

Here's what Abigail liked best about the book


"I liked when they moved to Washington the best. I liked it because they got to go on a train ride, and I like trains. I also like that it is a true story."

Was there anything Abigail did not like about the book?

"When Willie died, because it was sad."

So, how does Abigail rate Lincoln and His Boys by Rosemary Wells?


She gives it five out of five puppies and kittens.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Interview Series: The Emperor

Today I'm going to be speaking with the Emperor from Hans Christian Andersen's story, The Emperor's New Clothes. This should be exciting. I always wanted to know how he could be taken in by those two dishonest tailors.


Greg:  It's a pleasure to have you here this week, Emperor. Er, um, uh, did you forget something, perhaps, my lord?

Emperor:  Hmm, what? What are you talking about, my good man? Forget something? Me? Well of course I haven't forgotten anything.

Greg:  Really? Because I think you very well may have.

Emperor:  I most certainly have not. Why do you ask?

Greg:  Well it's just that...forgive me if I seem rude, but, well. You're in your underwear.

Emperor:  Am I? Am I really? Or are you too dimwitted to see these fine clothes? The tailors said that those who are unfit for their positions, or simply stupid would not be able to see the thread that these clothes are made from. It's too bad for you, really. You seemed so nice and not stupid at all, but there you are. You can't see them, so it must be so.

In fact, these clothes are so comfortable, that it hardly seems like I'm wearing anything at all. I think I should have some underwear made to go with them.

Greg:  No!!! I mean, how can you be so sure that the tailors were telling you the truth? After all, that little boy in the crowd could see that you did not have any clothes on.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I Like Summer Giveaway

It's been a while since our last giveaway, so I think it's time we had another--don't you? So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce the

I Like Summer Giveaway


Those who enter will be eligible to win a prize pack that includes:

5 Signed Deliverers bookmarks
A $25 Amazon Gift Card

The giveaway will run from July 15 to July 31, so make sure you enter to be a part of it!

Here's what you need to do to enter to win:

1. Like The Deliverers paperback edition on Amazon, and you'll get 3 points
2. Like The Deliverers Kindle edition on Amazon, and you'll get 3 points
3. Like The Deliverers Facebook Page, and you'll get 2 points
4. Follow The Deliverers Blog, and you'll get 2 points
5. Fill out the Rafflecopter entry below. *

*If Rafflecopter does not appear below, click HERE to enter.

Best of luck to everyone

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Writer's Week #27: Sticking to the Goal

The writing of the new book continued this week. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up the pace. I had set a goal of 2,000 words a week on The Deliverers 2, and for a while there I thought that I wasn't going to make it. Thankfully, I was able to write just under 2,100 words, thanks to some inspiration on Thursday evening.

All in all, I'm pretty satisfied with the new book, so far. I'm still not sure how I'm going to get there, although I'm pretty sure about where I'll eventually wind up. I've reached 32,000 words, in 37 chapters and 148 pages.

So I'm still chugging along. Each week brings a new challenge to overcome in the struggle to write. When I do write, I can write a lot fairly quickly. Unless I get stuck.

Right now, I'm in a fertile period, which makes me wish I had a whole week off in a mountain cabin. I'd get the rest of the first draft finished and be into rewrites. But, that's not going to happen. Oh well, it's nice to know that I'm close enough to finishing that it's at least conceivable. 


There's nothing much to report on the marketing front. Sales of The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel have hit a summer skid, but I'm really not that concerned. I'm too busy working on the next one. Oh yes, and I had a flash of inspiration for the third book. I have no real plot idea yet, but I think this is going to be a great theme. We'll see. 


The other bit of news concerns this blog. I'm on a crusade to reach at least 100 followers by the end of July. Right now, I'm at 93. If you're a follower, thank you. If you're not, there's a Join This Site button to the left of this post. If you've got a Google account, please follow. Oh, and don't forget to tell your friends! 


The goal for next week is the same--write at least 2,000 words and come up with interesting things to write about on the blog. Once again I'll let you know how I did next week.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Favorite Books: Just In Time for the King's Birthday

Today I'm writing about a book that's close to my heart. I don't know much about what it's about. Until today I couldn't remember the author, the illustrator, or even the title. However,Just In Time for the King's Birthday is a book that I will always think of with fondness--even if I don't remember much of it.

You see, this is the first book that I ever read all on my own. I "read" many books before this, if you count looking at pictures and picking out some of the words, or if you count the ones that had been read to me. But, Just In Time for the King's Birthday, written by E.B. Chance and illustrated by Arline Meyer, was the first book that I read through all by myself without any help.


Why this is one of my favorite books.

As I said before, it's the first book I ever read on my own. This made such an impression on my that I remember it clearly over 40 years later. I also have a vivid memory of proudly marching out of my room to read (pretty dramatically I might add) the entire book aloud to my parents. I thought that this was quite a treat for them--the equivalent to appearing on America's Got Talent or something like that today.

It was a Scholastic book that I ordered at school--I loved ordering those books, just as my kids do today! There was no better feeling than coming in to school and seeing the big brown box on the teacher's desk. Right then all the kids knew she'd be handing out books. This particular book also came with a little record or the book. I thought that was cool.


What I didn't know when I first read it.

I had no idea about the world that I was about to enter. I had just cracked open the door to a land of a world of infinite imagination, knowledge and adventure. 

Here are some things that I either knew then and had forgotten, or that I never knew. The book is 31 pages long. On the flip side of the record is a little song called Over In the Meadow by Joe Raposo. He wrote songs for Sesame Street for years. Many of his songs you knew growing up, including Bein' Green and C is for Cookie. I also did not remember much about the book, as I said. 


I was able to find an audio copy of the book on the web, courtesy of Recordo Obscura. I took it and turned it into a video on Windows Movie Maker. As I listened to this for the first time in 40 years, it immediately brought me back to that moment. I am amazed how much of it was familiar, like it had been lurking around in my head just waiting to be drawn forth. Hmm, there's a book idea in there somewhere. The narrator is Robert Dryden. Anyway, here it is:


video




Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What's Christian Reading? Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban

Well, he's finally done it. I've been after Christian for ages to check out Harry Potter, but he kept saying no. I swear, that boy just will not do something if I suggest it. But, I was persistent--and crafty. The boy is just like me. You see, I waited a long time before I caved in and started reading the series. I think the fourth book had just come out when I read book number one.

Anyway, like I said, Christian absolutely refused to read them. Then, I had a brainstorm. On the evening of the fourth of July I suggested to Christian that we have a father & son movie night. I listed some videos that I knew he wouldn't want to watch. Then I said I'd surprise him, and put Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in. To my surprise, he didn't say anything, he just started watching. The next day, the kids went to the library, and Christian came back with three of the books.

Since then, he's been reading. He even squeezed a different book in between books 1 & 2. He's just finished book 3. He wanted to read book 5 after book 2. I stressed to him the importance of reading this series in order. Again, to my surprise he listened. He must really like these books! So, here's Christian's take on book 3, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K.Rowling.


Here's what Christian says the book is about.

"It is about a boy named Harry Potter who is going to school at Hogworts' School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.Sirius Black, a convict from the magical prison of Azkaban has escaped. He is believed to have killed 13 people with a single curse.

"Dementors, the really scary guards of Azkaban are guarding Hogworts because it is thought that Black might be heading to the school to kill Harry.Harry has many encounters with the Dementors, and develops a fear of them. The new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Lupin, teaches a Harry a spell to repel the Dementors.

"Harry and his friends, Ron and Hermoine, are wrapped up in another mystery that includes a hippogriff, a madman, and a race through time. I won't tell you what happens, but it's very exciting."

What did Christian like best about the book?

"I really like how they went back in time. That was a cool idea, and the author did a great job! I also liked how J.K. Rowling came up with innterestinng names for the wizard exams (O.W.L'.s and N.E.W.T.'s)."

Was there anything that Christian didn't like?

"I liked all of this book."

So, how did Christian rate Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling?

Christian gives it five out of five flaming monkey heads.



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Did You Know? The Brothers Grimm

Since we featured an interview with Rumpelstiltskin yesterday, I thought it would be a good idea to feature the brothers Grimm in a Did You Know? post. We haven't had one of those in a while, and those Grimm lads always seemed so interesting.

Jacob & Wihelm Grimm
Did you know...
  • In the Grimm's original edition in 1812, when the miller's daughter  guessed his name, Rumpelstiltskin ran away? This was later revised in 1857 where he sank one foot deep into the ground, got real angry. pulled his other leg and tore himself in half.
  • A gnome-like character resembling Rumpelstiltskin appears in stories from many other cultures? 
  • The Grimm brothers collected and rewrote many German and European folk stories? The first edition of their collected folk tales contained 86 stories. That number eventually grew to over 200.
  • The brothers also published a collection of German mythology as well as a German dictionary? It was not finished in their lifetimes.
  • Some of their folk tales were transcribed directly from traveling storytellers? They were greatly modified as they were being transcribed.
  • A pre-1812 manuscript containing 53 tales was discovered in a church in Alsace in 1920?
  • From 1815 on, Wilhem edited and rewrote the stories? 
  • Many changes were made after unfavorable reviews stated that some of the stories were not suitable for children? Because of this, many sexual references were cut out, but the violence in the stories generally increased.
  • Both brothers were strong advocates of German unity? Germany was made up of separate states during their lifetimes.

Here's the story of Rumpelstiltskin as performed by our friends, the Muppets.


Friday, July 6, 2012

A Writer's Week #26: Full Steam Ahead

This was a busy, hectic week. First off, Wednesday was the 4th of July. I only had the one day off, but I managed to cram a lot of activities into it, none of them being writing. Then, work was busy. People were on vacation, and there were a number of classes that had to be covered. So, hectic, yes, but I managed to make it through.

Most weeks, that would have been enough to totally throw me off my writing schedule. When I'm going in a bunch of directions at once, I usually can't focus enough to do anything but maybe scribble down a few ideas/thoughts for another time.

Thankfully, this week was a different story. I managed to buckle down and carve out a couple hours on the weekend, and a couple more one evening to write. Thanks to my family for giving me the time. Thanks to them, I was able to write almost 2,000 words. That puts me at 30,000 words, 135 pages, and 35 chapters into The Deliverers Book 2.

So, everything is full steam ahead right now. I'm hoping it keeps going that way. Thanks to the dead period I suffered through from mid-April to early June, I've got a lot of ground to make up.

I can now envision most of the remainder of the new book's plot. There are still some elements that are a little hazy, so I'm not out of the woods yet. And I've got a sneaking suspicion that the outcome is not going to happen exactly as I now see it in my mind's eye. I mean, there are always some unexpected twists and turns, courtesy of Eric, Stig & company. They really do have minds of their own. That's exciting, though, because they always seem to make it better.

On the marketing front, I received some very nice reviews for The Deliverers: Sharky and the Jewel on the book's Amazon page this week. You can check them out here. It's nice to get some feedback. Anyone who has read the book is welcome to review it on Amazon, even if you did not purchase it there. All you need is to have an Amazon account, and to have purchased at least one item from Amazon. When you stop by the book's Amazon  paperback and Kindle pages, please click the "Like" button. That would be very helpful!

This week was busy, but successful. Next week promises to be a busy one, too. Some things don't change! Will I be able to put my nose to the grindstone and move closer to the book's conclusion? I'll let you know next week!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Interview Special: Authors Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson

Today I have a special post-holiday treat for everyone. I was lucky enough to have a chance to chat with authors Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson.

A while back, Christian reviewed their wonderful book, The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow. You can check that out here.

They also have a fantastic blog. You can explore it here.

Now, without further ado, let's get the show on the road.




Where did the idea for The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow come from?

Jess: The initial story was partially created by my grandfather. When I was a kid, I stayed with my grandparents for a while and they lived in a spooky house in Ridgefield, CT. Sometimes it sounded like someone was walking around upstairs when there was no one up there, and my grandfather used to tell me it was Ruby Begonia clomping around in her high-heeled sneakers. I spent years trying to catch her, but never did. Ruby’s story took shape through the years as I grew up. When I was in my twenties, I wrote the children’s poem, Ruby Begonia and the High-Heeled Sneakers. One day, I thought how cool it would be to turn the poem into a chapter book and the name, Fairday Morrow popped into my head. I thought to ask my best friend and book buddy, Stephanie Robinson, if she wanted to co-author it with me, and happily she agreed. Stephanie and I both love books; we love to read and talk about the stories. So, we started writing and talking about Fairday and the adventures of the DMS.

Stephanie: After Jess asked me to work with her on changing her poem into a story the ideas began emerging from all over the place. We would meet, talk, brainstorm, and dissect each other’s ideas. Each time one of us shared something we would spark new ideas in the other person. Some of the elements of Fairday’s story have appeared in my dreams and others that have happened in my everyday life.  

Author Jessica Haight
 You wrote this book together. Can you describe your writing process? How did you split up the writing?

Jess: We sort of write off the cuff- it’s the same way we used to put together the pieces of a puzzle. It’s like we get the picture in our head, and then play it out with our words. It’s amazing to work with Stephanie- she is probably the only person in the world that I could connect with in this way. But, we always loved chatting about books and playing games together, so it all just fit!

Stephanie: Jess and I spoke daily about Fairday and her adventures. We flushed out characters, storylines, and everything else both in person and on the phone. Our meetings were always productive and helped us to be on the same page. We used Google Docs, which allowed us to write in one document from anywhere. Usually one of us would start a chapter and the other person would go in and start working their magic- adding, deleting, and crafting the writing until it was a blended expression of both of our ideas. Jess and I agreed early on that we would always be honest with each other and that we wouldn’t take things personally. We wanted to create the best story we could, and we knew that we would need to put our egos aside. Luckily, we have always had a relationship in which we could tell the other person exactly how we felt. It was a blast writing with Jess!
  
Author Stephanie Robinson

How long did it take you to write the book?

Jess: I would say just about a year.

Stephanie: Well, if we only count talking about it, mapping it out, and beginning to type the story, then I agree it took a little less than a year to write it. Of course, we revised over one hundred times during that year, and since the book has been completed we continue to revise all the time. 

What books did you enjoy most as a child? Who were your favorite authors?

Jess: I loved the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary- and Ellen Tibets was one of my absolute favorite stories. I also really enjoyed fairy tales, preferably Grimms. And, oddly enough, books about space and astronomy.

Stephanie:  I started out in first grade as a struggling reader.  I couldn’t wait to read, and once I got the hang of it I couldn’t get enough! I devoured books growing up and would find an author and read everything I could by them. The authors that stand out the most to me are Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, and Roald Dahl. I loved fairy tales and Shel Silverstein poems. I read every Nancy Drew book and the Little House series. I wanted to be Nancy and Half-Pint!

Describe your perfect day?

Jess: About 85 degrees and sunny, with fluffy white clouds and low humidity- there would be horses, a lake or river, lots of greenery and flowers, and something delicious to eat- corn on the cob and clams for instance. Anyplace will do under these conditions : )

Stephanie:  I would start my perfect day with sleeping in! I would enjoy the sunshine and warm, dry temperatures. A delicious mug of coffee would accompany some reading as I relaxed on my outdoor patio. It would be a treat to spend the day with my husband eating lobster and laughing.  Any day without pressures or obligations would be peaceful and welcome.

Do you listen to music when you write? What do you like to listen to?

Jess: Yes and no- sometimes, it really depends. The music can range from Madonna to Pink Floyd. I’m all over the board. What can I say, I love a good beat!

Stephanie: I can work in all kinds of conditions, but I usually prefer not to listen to music when I write.  I love to listen to music and like a wide range of music. I am a big fan of The Beatles, Zac Brown Band, The Beastie Boys, and Ray Charles. Different songs and artists appeal to me depending on my mood!

If you had a pair of high heeled sneakers, what would you do with them?

Jess: If they fit, I would be over the moon ; )

Stephanie: Actually, I have a pair ; )

Are you working on a sequel? How is it going?

Jess & Stephanie: We are! The Talking Library will be the second book in the Fairday Morrow series and it’s coming along brilliantly. Fear not the unexpected!

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us. I'm looking forward to the next DMS Files adventure!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What's Abigail Reading? How to Be Cool in the Third Grade

Happy 4th of July everyone! I hope you've all had a great day. Our family did the usual--parade, cook out, eat, now home watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. 


This week, Abigail read a book that hits close to home, as she's entering third grade in the fall. How to Be Cool in the Third Grade by Betsy Duffey sounds like an interesting book. Let's see what Abigail thought about it.


Here's what Abigail says the book is about.

“It was about a kid named Robbie. He was nervous on the first day of 3rd grade because Bo Haney made fun of him. When he got to the school list of class names, he hoped he would be in Mrs. Williams’ class. He didn’t see his name, but his friend Doug saw his own name in Mrs. Williams’ class as well as Bo Haney’s name in it too. So then Doug saw Robbie York’s name in the corner of Mrs. Williams’ class board. 

“Then Robbie makes a plan to be popular. The first stage is to get rid of the name Robbie. Number two is to start wearing jeans. The last part is to avoid bullies like Bo Haney. Will he be successful and be popular in 3rd grade? You’ll have to read the book to find out.”


What did Abigail like best about the book?

“When Bo Haney stops annoying Robbie. I liked that because it was nice to not be bullied.”
  
Was there anything Abigail didn't like?

“When Bo Haney made fun of Robbie’s underwear. I didn’t like it because it was not nice.


So, how does Abigail rate How to Be Cool in the Third Grade by Betsy Duffey?


Abigail  gives it four and a half out of five puppies and kittens.



Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cal Endria's Journal Entry #2: Promised Land

5th November, 4169


Anchored in a secluded bay to take on water and forage for supplies. Our search continues for a plot of land on which to start our new settlement. I hope we find a place soon, for the Captain's behavior is becoming increasingly cruel and barbaric.


Just this morning Thompkinson was caught pouring an extra measure of rum. It was his bad fortune to be caught by Sharky. He doled out punishment immediately by stringing him up on a yardarm high above the deck.


It was not Thompkinson's day. The rope holding him up snapped in the gale and he was blown into the sea. Despite all my entreaties, Sharky refused to stop saying, "We're headin' inta that there harbor, he can catch up to us there."


Of course, he didn't catch up to us. So me and the lads are waiting until we find a likely spot to either jump ship or propose a deal to Sharky. I don't know how much longer we can wait. The way things are headed, it's only a matter of time until he does us all in.


Soon I must go ashore to gather water and supplies. It is my duty as first mate. I have to admit that it will be good to feel land underfoot once more. 

This bay has a pleasing look about it. The land starts out flat, then rises gradually. A large mountain range separates the bay from the rest of the mainland, and a waterfall cascades down into a river that flows into the bay.


Hold on, can it be? Why did I not see it until now? Of course, this is the very place we've been looking for! Oh merciful heavens, could our deliverance be close at hand? I must go and gather the lads. Not only will we go ashore to forage, but we will scout out the lay of the land to see if my hunch is correct! I will record our findings upon my return.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Interview Series: Captain Hook

Today we have the rare opportunity to speak with one of the most notorious pirates in history. He's sailed the seven seas, plundered many a ship, keelhauled countless unlucky souls, and is the scourge of children everywhere. Of course I'm referring to none other than Captain James Hook.



Greg:  Welcome, Captain Hook. I must say, I'm surprised that you left the comfort of your ship, the Jolly Roger, to visit us here on dry land.


Hook:  I find it amazing myself, but when I heard what an enjoyable time my friend and colleague, Captain Burt Sharky had with you, well how could I resist the invitation?


Greg:  Well, I must say that for a pirate you are incredibly, um, well spoken.


Hook:  Ah yes, that does tend to throw one off I've found. I must admit that most pirates I've been exposed to are terribly uneducated and, er, course. I, on the other hand--or should I say hook?--was fortunate enough to attend one of the finest colleges in Her Majesty's empire in my youth.


Greg:  Oh yes? What college was that?


Hook:  Eton College. I was studying political science, but I also enjoyed the arts, especially the works of Shakespeare. Unfortunately, my father, a nobleman of some renown, took me out of school and sent me to sea. That, alas, is where I have been ever since.


Greg:  You sound depressed about that. I always pictured you as the scourge of the sea. It seemed like you enjoyed it.