Bummer! Last days of summer vacation, but keep calm and write on.

Back to school

Welp, summer break will officially be over for me Monday. It’s back to school, to teach those kids a thing or two about Civics and History. I enjoy my time in the classroom with my students. I’m looking forward to getting started, but I’m also sad to see the break end. I have enjoyed spending time with my wife and children tremendously. Usually, I’m in a funk for a few days once I start back to work. I will miss my family. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still see them every day, but my time with them will be lessened quite a bit–especially once my doctorate school starts back up at the end of August. Phew, boy. It’s going to get busy, and it will happen quick. Still need to find time to write.

I enjoy a challenge.

The year isn’t over yet. So far, 2017 has seen two book releases from me: The Hero’s Ballad, an anthology of award-winning short stories, and Adventures in the Arcane, Volume IIan anthology comprised of a myriad of authors written in a fun pulp style with arcane elements. Both are great reads, with strong tales filled with adventure, thrills and heart. But guess what. I still have one more book to release before the year is through.

That’s right. Medical MECH will be my second novel, a book written for middle school kids. The story follows thirteen-year-old Riley Davis as he attempts to stop a robot invasion from destroying his town. He discovers that the only way to defeat the machines is with music, and his bass guitar works best. But Riley will need the help of a punk rocker and her gang of misfit musicians if he is to succeed. Can Riley stop the robots before it’s too late?

Find out in September when Medical MECH hits store shelves. So summer is pretty much over, but life keeps moving forward. Although I will be super busy by the end of this month, I plan to keep devoting time to my writing projects. Not only in the form of Medical MECH, but also with the first novel in the Adventures of Maddie Jones series: Maddie Jones & the Curse of the Terracotta Warriors. Plus, I have set a goal for myself to send out my novels to literary agents this fall in order to secure representation.

Busy. Busy. But I believe hard work pays off.

Keep calm and write on

Hey you! Yeah, you! Will you like my Facebook author page?

Join me on Facebook

I know. Corny title. But hey, I finally got off my lazy butt and created an author Facebook page. I’ve been meaning to do it for quite some time. I just never got around to it. I blame the everyday hustle and bustle of our lives, I suppose.  But I told myself this week, “No more excuses,” and I got to work and created the page. Now you can follow me on Facebook if you’d like. Please do. I’d love to garner a group of followers who can help spread the word about my novels. Anyway, that was all. Nothing else to see here. Except…

… if you look closely enough at my Facebook page, you’ll notice a rough sketch for my next novel’s book cover, courtesy of the talented artist Rob Woodrum. Medical MECH is still in the pre-publication stages, but it’s getting close to complete. Stay tuned for more.

What do you get when authors, readers, food, and storytelling combine?

A good time, that’s what. Holy cow! Countless people converged on the City Arts Cooperative Saturday to buy their copies of Adventures in the Arcane, Volume II. Readers were treated to food and beverages, as well as excerpt readings from all the authors present. Readers were also able to purchase the authors’ additional novels, comics and artwork. I sold quite a few additional books, especially after I read the introduction to Curse of the Conquistador–which you can check out on my short stories page here on this very website. Warning! You’ll be left with a cliffhanger and will end up buying Adventures in the Arcane, Volume II in order to find out what happens to Maddie and her adventure inside her dad’s museum.

Anyway, I had an awesome time with my fellow authors. After the book event, we ended up going out for pizza and beer, fellowship and laughs. I feel blessed to be included in such an amazing anthology along such talented people. At the pizza joint, there was even an art show going on. A lot of people out there call me an artist, being a writer an all, but I never think of myself in that way. I’m simply trying to entertain people through story, and hope to one day make enough money to write more than I currently do. The artwork on display was quite impressive. I tend to not really get art–I’m a fairly simple guy, ask my wife–but I appreciate it nonetheless.

If you couldn’t make it, or live far away as I know some of you do, then check out the pictures from the event. My next novel, Medical MECH, debuts in September…so expect more news on upcoming book events this fall. Plus, there’s Creative Con to consider. Great stuff on the horizon.

Vacation Time!

It’s that time of year when my family enjoys time off from school and work. That usually means I don’t write as much, too. You would think my writing time would increase, but I get wrapped up in trips to the zoo, aquarium, big cities and baseball games. I tend to play as much golf as I can, enjoy the beach with the kids–plus we stay up too late and sleep too late. Ah, summer time is great.

I have family in Texas. We’re spending a couple weeks with them around the Houston area. We’ve enjoyed an Astros baseball game, a day at the zoo, another at an aquarium, played several rounds of golf, gamed at an arcade, gone to the movies, and the kids even had a snowball fight. Meanwhile, our hometown in Panama City Beach has been rained out for days on end. We got a bit lucky. But the storm causing much of the rain might hit here in Texas in the next day or so. Keeping fingers crossed we don’t get too much rain.

Amidst all the fun, I have managed to work on my next novel, but only for a brief bit. Medical Mech is slated to release this September. All of my test readers have returned their manuscripts, and I have several areas to work on in order to improve the story before publication. Fortunately, the kids LOVED the book and there isn’t a ton to do; but the areas needing work will require careful tweaking.

Anyway, that’s what has been going on with me since school let out a couple weeks ago. How are you spending your summer?

Check out the new Fan Art page!

That’s right. Fan art keeps coming in. Kids are loving the new book, and they’re expressing their enjoyment in super cool art. Check out the page HERE. Or click on the tab across the bar at the top.

If you’ve got fan art you’d like to submit, head over to the Contact page and shoot me an email.

Medical MECH Fan Art (AMAZING)

Artist: Andrea Putre

Kids are Talented, Continued

A couple days ago, I shared artist Andrea’s character art for Medical MECH. Today, I figured I would showcase a former student’s writing. I’m a U.S. History and Civics teacher, on top of being an author, but from time to time I also teach Creative Writing. This story was written several years ago by a student named Hector. It’s called The Wizard. Enjoy, and let me know your thoughts in the comments.

“I sure hope this works,” said the wizard, as he stepped off the cliff. As the wizard was falling, he said some magic words: “Hokus, pokus, robababa lobus!” and a broom appeared at the wizard’s feet. He said with hope in his voice, “Fly!” But the broom did not fly. It was just there being a broom. The wizard kept trying different commands, but the broom refused to fly. He looked at the ground, which he was about to hit, then he looked at his broom, and he cursed it. 

Splat! went the wizard. Then the broom came to life and cleaned up the mess.  

Wizard

Kids are Talented

I am thrilled to share Andrea’s fan art for Medical MECH. She did a stellar job portraying both Riley and Natalia, the two main characters from the novel. What really stoked me about her work is that it was the first time I got to see Natalia. Up until this point, she has only existed in my mind and on the written page. When I saw this piece, I couldn’t stop smiling–and I couldn’t stop staring at Natalia, because Andrea nailed her look to a T. Awesome job!

Rob Woodrum, the insanely talented artist who has drawn all of my book covers, hasn’t fleshed her out yet. But he was proud to say he is inspired by what Andrea has done with the character’s art direction. He will likely compare his work to hers as he creates Natalia from my story descriptions. Way cool! Rob is a commercial artist who has honed his craft over years of experience. Did I say Andrea is only about eleven or twelve years old? Wow! Andrea, keep drawing, writing, and inspiring others! You rock!

Medical MECH Fan Art (AMAZING)

If you want to be a millionaire…

I once heard that if you want to be a millionaire, you should start thinking like one. Do what they do. Follow in their steps and you’ll be successful. Well, if it were that easy we would all be rich.

Although I wouldn’t turn down a million dollars, what I want is to be a successful writer. But if I’m going to make it–truly, truly make it–then I need to learn from the best. One of the authors I admire is Rick Riordan. He’s the creator of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series for kids. Like me, Rick started out as a middle school teacher. I believe he taught science. I teach social studies. When he was working on his first young adult novel (you may have heard of it. A little known title called The Lightning Thiefhe decided to recruit students to read his work and give him feedback. His test readers were kids, the target audience he was writing for.

I’m excited to announce I have learned from the best. Tomorrow, six middle school kids will each get a copy of my young adult novel, Medical MECH. I can’t wait to hear what they think. And, most importantly, to use their feedback to make the book a potential bestseller.

Oh, if you can’t tell, I’m super optimistic about my novels being successful. Writers must be their greatest cheerleaders. There’s a lot of rejection out there, and not many people believe you’re going to make it. But that’s a message for another blog post.

 

Readers are begging for my story!

Monday, I read an excerpt from my story Curse of the Conquistador to 800 kids during my author visit. The story is about three kids trapped in their dad’s museum while they’re being haunted by the ghost of Francisco Vázquez de Coronado. I couldn’t read the entire story due to its length. Plus, the story will be published soon in The Syndicate’s Adventures in the Arcane, Volume II on June 1. I ended on a cliffhanger, a good one, too. Now kids are begging to read the story, literally. I keep telling them the story will be out soon. But they want it. Now!

Wow, there is no higher praise. In the past year, my storytelling has changed. I have been emulating my craft after popular young adult authors, and it seems to be paying off. My next novel Medical MECH was written for middle schoolers. And my next book series about a teenaged archeologist (who happens to be the main character in Curse of the Conquistador) will be, too. I believe these stories have a lot of potential to reach a mainstream audience. The challenge is getting them into the right hands–a literary agent who believes in the stories as much as I do. Time will tell how things turn out, but I’m excited about the praise I’ve received thus far.

Eight hundred kids. One author. And one cussing parrot.

Today I spoke to over 800 kids about my books and the process of writing. I had an awesome time, and the kids seemed to enjoy my stories and corny jokes. I began by talking about a cussing parrot (don’t shoot me, I didn’t say a single cuss word). But my tale hooked the kids from the start. From there, I talked about the three elements of great storytelling–character, setting, and plot–and I shared how I was inspired to write my first novel, The Prophet of the Dragon. I also talked about my latest novel, The Hero’s Ballad.

Afterward, I read an excerpt from a story soon-to-be-published called Curse of the Conquistador. The story will appear in The Syndicate’s Adventures in the Arcane, Volume 2. Anyway, I’m excited to announce that the kids were in the palm of my hand as I read the story. To say they loved it would be an understatement. I was even approached afterward by teachers and the principal, who were impressed by how even the at-risk students were enthralled. The librarians said they hadn’t seen a more engaging author visit, which uplifted my spirits. I thoroughly believe I’m on the right track to writing that story, the one agents want to represent and publishers want to buy. It may still be years in the making, but I’ll keep slogging along with the hope that it’s possible.

To end, I autographed books. And that’s probably an author’s favorite part: a copy of your book in a reader’s hand. What a day! I’m exhausted and my voice is nearly gone, but it was worth it. I love talking about stories.