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.

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.

Overcoming My Own Fear

Whenever my students asked me if I’d read aloud one of my own books, my answer was always no thanks. As a self-published author, I convinced myself that the mistakes within my story would ruin my ability to use a story as a read aloud. I spent countless hours creating each story, pouring my heart and soul into it. I was terrified that when I reread them, I’d be forced to see that they weren’t as good as I hoped. Or even worse, I’d discover they were absolute failures.

I planned to use the same ridiculous excuse with my daughter, too. But things changed when my wife started reading UNDER. She commented that she got sucked into the story and forgot that I wrote.

When it was time to choose the next book I’d read to my daughter before bedtime, my wife’s words of encouragement came to mind. It was time to overcome my own fear and read aloud UNDER to my daughter.

As usual, my wife was correct! My daughter and I got sucked into the characters and the story. Insert my author-happy-dance here!

I’m still shocked at the lack of mistakes in UNDER. My success as a self-published author is directly related to my editors/friends like Robin Puelma, Jason Curry, Kate Shramek, and Dustin Terpening. Thank you again!

What fear have you overcome in your journey as an author? Leave them in the comments below.

I’m Back to Writing

Robin Puelma returned my second set of edits and feedback over a month ago. My excuses for not diving in as soon as possible include the Seahawks, fantasy football, school stuff, spending time with friends, rewatching The West Wing with my lovely wife, walking to the park with my daughter, and a lot of family time. I’ve reached the part of the school year where I don’t need to stare at a wall every night to recover the energy I lost teaching third graders in the middle of a school remodel. (So glad to finally have finally passed the “beginning of the school year exhaustion” and happy that my classroom remodel is almost done!) I can’t spend the hours on it that I want to, but I can now at least squeeze in ten minutes of editing here and a thirty minutes of revising there!

Things I’m looking to make happen in my writing world:

First, placing UNDER, NINTH NIGHT, and VERVE STONES on the local author’s shelf at the Lacy Timberland Library. Next, finishing Robin’s feedback and changes and sending the polished draft to another friend who wants to edit and revise. Last, I’m very excited to share the finished BACK OF BEYOND’s cover finished art from Jake at J Celeb Design. He created my VERVE STONE cover art. He outdid himself with his new latest cover. Truly, it is always even better than I can imagine (and I imagine it being very cool).

Do you have a time of year that you are least productive? Fall is obviously mine! I am so glad that that time is passing.

Superhero Stories in Disguise

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I believe many popular shows, movies, and books are superpower stories in disguise.

I LOVE superpowers! I grew up watching Spiderman, Batman, and the X-men cartoons just to name a few (otherwise the list would be too long). I wait eagerly for Superhero movies to be released and try to watch them in theaters as soon as they come out. I have always enjoyed learning how each hero got their powers. I am captivated by the evolution of the characters, watching them fail, train, and then grow into the heroes they needed to be to save the day. I love superheroes so much that my wife helped me decorate my classroom with a superhero theme. (She has tried to decorate it in all sorts of things before, but cutesy doesn’t work for me. This is much more my style! Thanks, Wifey!)

Every super hero has an origin story depicting how they obtained superpowers. Spiderman received his powers from a radioactive spider. Wonder Woman discovers she’s a demigod. Tony Stark keeps shrapnel out of his heart by building an arc-reactor that he later uses to power a suit of armor. Captain America receives super soldier serum. Batman trains his mind and body in order to gain superhero abilities. You get the idea.

I see other popular shows, movies, and books in the same light. In Harry Potter, characters use wands to produce superpowers. The Lord of the Rings, the rings of power give their wearers superpowers. The Stormlight Chronicles have superpowers in the form of shardblade or bonding with a spren. Mistbornhas superpowers from burning metals in their bodies. Naruto uses chakra. Gummy Bears use gummy bear juice. Ninja Turtles use ooze. Dragon Ball Z uses ki. I could go on and on. I have a feeling I could find superpowers even in some of those cheesy Hallmark movies my wife watches.

My love of superpowers means that I can’t help but have them in my stories, too. When I go to write a story, they are usually the first thing I research. I create worlds and storylines with superpowers in mind. In VERVE STONES, rare characters can access verve stones which give a variety of superpower abilities. In NINTH NIGHT, I included the mystery of a mythological creature so there is at least a possibility of a superpower. In UNDER, Boyd uses a superpower from the Glide-Suits. In a story in production, superpowers are passed down from descendants. For example, King Midas passes on his golden touch.

I nerd out about superheroes. What is your thing? What could you talk for hours on end about?