Another New Book Review

I’m doing an author/teacher happy dance! I’ve been struggling to find writing motivation over the last four weeks.

The first three weeks of teaching from home because of the COVID stay-at-home order, I spent hours and hours writing each day, completely immersed in editing my story. The last four weeks, I’ve struggled to write for minutes. I stare at my screen. Nothing.

I’m so grateful for the review (pictured above) by my former student. There is nothing quite like positive feedback to motivate me to write, especially from my students. Thanks awesome former student for the encouragement!

Encouragement can mean so much any day, but especially during these long, hard days. Who has encouraged you or who could you encourage? I definitely want to pay the encouragement forward!

BACK OF BEYOND update! I’m editing chapter 23. There are 40 chapters.

Eight Year Blogiversary

Eight years ago this week, I registered on WordPress.com! It took me a while to get the courage to actually blog, but I finally started that journey a few month later. I published my first blog post on September 3rd, 2013.

As a child who hated writing, I never would have imagined how much writing I would accomplish in my life. Over these past 8 years, I wrote several pictures books (that I still hope to some day have published), journaled about ideas for seven chapter books (that I still want to write books about), blogged 149 times, gained 37 followers (look out J.K.), and became a real author when I self-published VERVE STONES, UNDER, AND NINTH NIGHT!!!

Thank you to God, my family, friends, and readers who have made “author me” possible! My wife is the reason my blog posts sound engaging and are mostly error-free!

What are exciting things that you can celebrate in your life? Now more than ever I find it is helpful to reflect on joys and accomplishments. I’d love to hear about yours.

BACK OF BEYOND: LEGEND OF SPOON (BOOK 2) Update – Editing chapter 22 out of 40 total chapters. I’ve experienced a tremendous of lack of creativity and major writers block for the last several days. Yuck. Hopefully I’ll feel inspired and focused again soon. These are strange days.

Encouraging Words Go a Long Way (Part 2)

These comments from friends and family members are vital to me and my motivation to write. Especially a self-published writer like me. Never in my wildest dreams did I envision having readers. Readers! Readers excited to read my next book.

It makes me feel like a real author. It reminds me of waiting anxiously to read the next HARRY POTTER book. Or FABLEHAVEN. Or STORMLIGHT CHRONICLES. So many amazing books have sparked similar feelings for me. It is surreal and inspiring when I hear that my book is exciting others.

By the way, our kids love your chapter hooks in Under. Tonight they were complaining, ‘Nooo, read the next chapter.’ Solid job!”

My son learned about cliffhangers when we read UNDER. Stopping was a special challenge every night. Thanks for that.”

“My friend’s 11-year-old son is reading your books and he’s really enjoying them. He’s going to use one for his next classroom book group.”

“My son read your books. He wanted to know when the sequel to VERVE STONES will be available.

“I cannot pull my daughter away from reading UNDER!”

When I read UNDER to my daughter, she repeatedly shouted out, “Dad this is so good!”

Most of these comments were texts or made in passing but they are what sustains me in my writing. What words can you give to someone that would encourage them? I’d love to hear about it.

Grumpy and Grizzled

I tend to enjoy grumpy, angry, grizzled supporting characters. I enjoy watching the relationship that they develop with the main character. It usually starts off tenuous but ends with some sort appreciation and respect. I love watching that play out. Here is my list I dug of some of my favorite supporting characters from years past.

1. Uncle Henry 100 CUPBOARDS

2. Bennett from MAGIC THIEF

3. Mr. Canis from SISTERS GRIMM

4. Thorgil from SEA OF TROLLS

5. Butler from ARTEMIS FOUL

6. Europe from MONSTER BLOOD TATTOO

7. Bean from ENDER’S GAME

8. Holt from RANGER’S APPRENTICE

9. Severus Snape from HARRY POTTER

10. Wolverine from the X-Men television series from the 1990’s

Who is one of your favorite characters and why? Leave your answers in the comments below.

BACK OF BEYOND Update. I’m editing chapter 20 out of 40! Halfway!!! Happy Dance!

How I Created My Favorite Supporting Characters (Part 2)

In my book UNDER, Mr. Langley, Boyd’s science teacher at the Academy in Sans Terra, is based on my favorite teacher, Mr. Fairbrother. He was my teacher in both third and fifth grade. He had a knack for making me care about learning. He was also the teacher that made everyone laugh and didn’t mind the occasional joke in class. I wanted to capture the balance of humor and inspiration when I wrote the character of Mr. Langley.

Mr. Fairbrother, and my own dad (another awesome teacher though I didn’t get to have him), are the main reasons I became a teacher!

Who was your favorite teacher growing up? I’d love to hear about them.

BACK OF BEYOND: THE LEGEND OF SPOON (BOOK #2) update. I‘m editing chapter 18 out of chapter 39.

100 FREE e-Books Provided!

Between last Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I “sold” exactly 100 FREE Kindle eBooks. <insert big smile> That happened because of my incredibly supportive friends and family! Thank you for getting the word out! I hope all my new readers are enjoying the stories!

BACK OF BEYOND: THE LEGEND OF SPOON (BOOK #2) update: I just finally finished chapter 17 out of chapter 41. I created a new chapter this week.

Free E-Book Promotion

On behalf of social-distancing, school closures, and many parents working from home due to the Coronavirus, all THREE OF MY KINDLE E-BOOKS ARE FREE for a limited time. Download your free copies on Amazon today!

Click HERE for your FREE Kindle e-book copy of NINTH NIGHT.

Click HERE for your FREE Kindle e-book copy of UNDER.

Click HERE for your FREE Kindle e-book copy of VERVE STONE (THE LEGEND OF SPOON BOOK #1).

Please share so that others can enjoy too! Thanks!

How I Created My Favorite Supporting Characters (Part 1)

When I get hooked into reading a book, I often fall in love with one of the supporting characters. They add humor, wisdom, and depth to a story. Some of my favorite ones I’ve written are in NINTH NIGHT.

Liam’s twin brothers, Carson and Kyle, were hands down the most enjoyable characters to create. I wanted the humor of a bickering old couple that’d been married for sixty years in the form of a pair of six-year-olds. I tapped into my time teaching third graders to help Carson and Kyle come to life. When I got their combined voice in my mind, I found myself building a scene and letting the twins loose within. Carson and Kyle’s actions helped me navigate through parts of many chapters. I hadn’t imagined anything like them when I first came up with the idea to write a love story on the Washington State Coast, but now I can’t imagine the story without them.

Grandma and Grandpa Davidson are based on my own Grandma and Grandpa Aries. My Dad’s parents always wanted to send us home with food, money, or the shirt off their backs. Super generous!!!

Who are the supporting characters you remember from your favorite books? What did you love about them? I’d love to hear from you!

BACK OF BEYOND update: I’m partway through chapter 17 out of 40! I’m adding new material to this chapter so it’s taking longer to create.

Gramhammer Tattoos

In VERVE STONES: THE LEGEND OF SPOON (BOOK #1) The people of Gramhammer use weaving tattoos to pass on their families’ history. When a boy becomes a man, he gets his family history on his arm.

Each family has distinct shapes and patterns. Those in the family are able to decipher their own symbols. Others cannot. To tell your family’s story to someone outside your family is punishable by death.

The idea for Gramhammer tattoos came from a Native American speaker who came to visit the school I taught at several years ago. He talked about how in his village it used to be that family stories were kept secret and telling others could be punishable by death. This idea intrigued me so much that I decided to make it part of my book.

I love that inspiration for stories can come at any moment. As a writer, I’m always on the lookout for how simple details, stories around me, and things I experience can become part of my books. Got any good stories to share with me? Maybe it will end inspire part of my next book.

BACK OF BEYOND: THE LEGEOD OF SPOON (BOOK #2) update! I FINALLY finished chapter 16. Now I’m editing chapter 17 out of 40 chapter. YES!

How Did Silverwood Get Its Name?

In VERVE STONES: THE LEGOND OF SPOON BOOK #1, Silverwood is the name of the Essenzian’s homeland. (For those of you that haven’t read my book yet, Essenzians are like elves. Also, you should read it. 😉 If you look at the map, you’ll find Silverwood in the northwest corner of Altrea.

The name Silverwood was inspired by my grandparent’s cabin. (If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you know this is my favorite place.) It is also called Silverwood because of the silver colored boards which wrap the exterior of the cabin. And while it is as fun to me as any amusement park, it is not named after the one in Idaho.

The name Silverwood is etched into the beach wood hanging above the door of the cabin. Look closely and you’ll see it peeking out under the awning above that wonderful blue. It too leads to a magical place, but since I can’t bring you all there, you should check out my book, a door into a magical world that I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I do!

BACK OF BEYOND: THE LEGOND OF SPOON BOOK #2 update! I almost finished editing chapter 16 out of 40 chapters.