Monday, December 11, 2017

Totally Awesome Reads This Year



This year has been a year of totally awesome reads. I wanted to give a few shout outs to just a couple of these books along with a list of the books I got the pleasure to read. I totally recommend them all.

First up: Mustaches for Maddie, by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown Morris. Oh, my goodness, I don’t know where to start. I felt so many things while reading this book. I got chocked up several times and found myself laughing out loud other times. This is one of those books that will become a family favorite—and I can’t wait to start reading it to my girls. The voice throughout was incredible. Maddie’s character is funny, imaginative, and heart-stealing-good. I loved the themes, the trials, the triumphs, and the overall story. It was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful! My favorite moments are when we get to leave our everyday world and enter the imaginary world that only Maddie can see, from pretending to be a super ninja with alien powers to battling an even bigger monster (a brain tumor). This book had one of the strongest, emotional endings I have ever read. I loved it!

Second: Mysteries of Cove: Embers of Destruction, by J. Scott Savage. Kids fighting for freedom atop mechanical dragons—count me in! This was the third and final book of the Mysteries of Cove series and it was amazing! What I liked most about this book was how everything tied right back into the first book, creating the perfectly rounded story. My mind was blown by the imagery and imagination, the themes and conflicts—overall an awesome experience for any reader of any age. This series is now a family favorite we’ll read again and again!

I’ve had the pleasure to read so many more amazing books this year. My favorites always tend to be the ones geared toward middle-grade readers. I think it’s because I love clean fiction that reminds me of how awesome it is to be a kid. I also love clean suspenseful books. Below is a list of most of the books I had the opportunity to read (some of them I’ve read before but decided I needed to read again—they are that good). I hope you can at least pick up one of these books to start your new year of with.

The W.H.O. Files: Potions in the Pizza, by Mikey Brooks (I’ve read this one 3 times to my daughter since it came out in April. I am so happy she loves my book)

Mustaches for Maddie, by Chad and Shelly Morris

Mysteries of Cove: Embers of Destruction, by J. Scott Savage

Fablehaven Series, by Brandon Mull

Dragonwatch, by Brandon Mull

Wrath of the Storm, by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Adventurers Wanted: The Axe of Sundering, by ML Forman

Adventurers Wanted: Sands of Nezza, by ML Forman

Adventurers Wanted: Albrek’s Tomb, by ML Forman

Adventurers Wanted: The Horn of Moran, by ML Forman

Adventurers Wanted: Siathbog’s Gold, by ML Forman

One by One, by David A. Bednar

The 13th Reality Series, by James Dashner

Remake, by lima Todd

Resist, by Ilima Todd

Dark Memories, by Jeffery S. Savage

The Culinary Mysteries (12 books), by Josi Kilpack

Shadowed, by Stephanie Black

Sadie, by Rebecca Belliston

House of Secrets, by Jeffery S. Savage

Dead on Arrival, by Jeffery S. Savage

A Time to Die, by Jeffery S. Savage

12 Steps to Becoming Closer to Christ, by Toni Sorenson

Fool Me Twice, by Stephanie Black

Played for-a-fool, by Stephanie Black

The Scourge, by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Felicity and the Scary Bear, by Loralee Evans

Nature of the Gods: The Awakening, by Torres, D.J.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

20% Off Book Sale & Salt Lake Comic Con

Fall is coming can you feel it? September for me is the beginning of a new school year, the start of the change in leaves, and hopefully some cooler weather. It also happens to be the month Salt Lake Comic Con holds it's annual event. A few have asked me if I will be at the show and the answer is: YES! However, I will not be running my own table this year.



Several people have asked me, "If you won't have a table, how am I supposed to buy your books?" I've got good news and maybe better news. My latest MG release, The W.H.O. Files: Potions in the Pizza, will be avaible for purchase at the Shadow Mountain Booth. So you can at least get a copy of that book at the Con. I do have a signing scheduled on Thursday (see schedule below) and you can have me sign it then or come find me at one of my other panels.
 

The better news about getting my books. I have created a coupon code for 20% off my books through the createspace store. Follow this link to find the listing of my books: https://goo.gl/4jX1E6 and enter the following code at checkout: 7T4XPGDK. If you order them now you'll have them in time for the show. I'm sorry I couldn't make them avaible for you there, but I hope this helps.
I'm participating a lot this year at Kid Con which is in SLComicCon. I'm a little nervous about it because I am doing my first ever reading of The W.H.O. Files there. I'm also doing my kickin' presentation with Ali Cross as well. I hope you bring the family by and see us. I'll make sure to bring my backpack filled with bookmarks to giveaway.

I hope to see you at the show this year. Below is my schedule. Please come try and find me. Hopefully at the signing which is an hour long (which might prove disastrous if I have to sit there without anyone to talk to the whole time). Thank you everyone for everything!

Thursday, September 21:
2PM: Signing at the Shadow Mountain Booth #1807
4PM: What to Watch on YouTube in Kid Con #155

Friday, September 22:
5:30PM: Reading Roost in Kid Con #155

Saturday, September 23:
4PM: How Kids Can Find Magic Through Writing & Illustrating in Kid Con #155 (with Ali Cross)
6PM: King Arthur in Context Panel 151A

Thursday, July 27, 2017

NEW BOOK



I am thrilled to announce that I have a new chapter book out. I've had so much fun writing about Nick and Katie's adventures through time. This book was particularly fun because I love all tales of Robin Hood and had a blast researching all the different historical accounts of this wonderful character. I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I did writing it. Some things to discover in this book:
  • Nick and Katie find a really cool artifact in medieval England, a sword belonging to Richard the Lionheart.
  • They have a run in with the nasty Sheriff of Nottingham.
  • You get a sneak peak at Book 3 and the cover for it.
Have fun reading. And don't forget you can get the first book, The Maya Mystery, free on kindle July 31st through August 5th. CLICK HERE to get the eBook. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Happy Book Birthday


I couldn't be more happy to share this book with the world. It came out on a crazy day, but I'm not fooling around, it's here! Thank you everyone for your love and continual support. Without you I wouldn't be able to write, which is what I love. Thank, thank you. This book is for all of you. Laugh out loud and enjoy the read.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

You're Invited to Party!



SAVE THE DATE… Hey everyone! I want to let you know that I’ll be releasing my new book soon and I want to invite YOU to the release party. It will be at this fun new bookshop in Sandy, The Printed Garden, on Saturday, April 29th at 1pm. I’ll have plenty of books there for you to buy, yummy cookies, exclusive W.H.O. File folders filled with games, and some extra goodies for coming out (everything is FREE except the books). I’ll post more information when it gets closer but I just want you all to write it down in your calendars. Have a great day!


A little about the book: Ten-year-old twins Ethan and Emmy’s parents have never told their kids what they do for a living. Then just before Halloween, Ethan, Emmy, and their best friend Jax discover a HUGE secret: could their parents actually be . . . witch hunters? Meanwhile at school, a new team of glamorous lunch ladies arrives on the scene, serving meals that taste way too good to come from a school cafeteria. There’s only one logical explanation: they’re witches, and the meals they serve are spiked with a dangerous potion! Why have witches come to Roosevelt Elementary? Ethan and Emmy have only one option if they want to save their school and find their parents: become witch hunters themselves.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Cutting back a little

I’m not very open with my health. Sometimes I complain here and there when I just have to complain to someone other than my wife, but mostly I try not to. Most people know I have arthritis because I carry a cane to walk (kind of hard to hide), but most people don’t know I also have Crohn’s disease. Both these conditions cause me a lot of pain on a daily bases and lately it’s just gotten worse and worse. Although I strive to be an optimistic and outgoing person, living with chronic pain makes it very hard. Sometimes I just want to be a hermit and hide away. Sometimes I’m short with people, say things I don’t really mean, and stress about a lot of stuff—which then only adds to the pain. If you have been on the receiving end of one of my irrational outbursts, I sincerely apologize. It is this “grumpy” behavior that has really made me step back and see that I need to take better care of myself—my heath—before I can benefit anyone around me. And for this reason I am cutting back on a lot of things.

The biggest thing I’ll be cutting back on is presenting at conferences. I love writing conferences. I love being able to interact with fellow writers, learn great tips of the trade, and I love to teach. The thing is, I go to these conferences and have to either stand for a really long time or sit for a really long time. I try my best to put on a happy face and pretend I’m not hurting, but I can’t pretend anymore. I have to accept that I am living with chronic pain, I am legally disabled, and I have limitations. Most of the time I just barely make it through the conference, go home and complain to my wife about how much I’m hurting, and end up taking my stress and pain out on my family—something they don’t deserve.

I will not be cancelling all my conferences or visits I have set up. Just like prioritizing my health, I have to prioritize my career as well. I feel that conferences aimed at my readership like teen conferences, and school and library visits help sell my books and expand my audience. I’m fortunate enough to have a presentation partner, Ali Cross. She has recently been open about her limitations when it comes to her health and I feel we help balance each other out quite well. Without her I couldn’t do as much as I do. So I will continue to attend things geared toward children. While I love going to writing conferences, I don’t sell a lot of my children’s books to fellow writers. Which I understand—they are trying to sell their own books to make it. I have to put myself where I am using my energy the best way I can.

I am sorry to say but I will not be attending LTUE this year. I love LTUE. I have been either a guest or an attendee for the past ten years. I have watched this conference get bigger and bigger with each year and I have made so many dear friends as a result of this conference. This conference is where I met Jeff Savage, who has been instrumental in my writing career. It is where I first met great editors and publishers. It is where I have gotten so many tips on honing my craft. I will miss going. Honestly, I can barely make it through a three hour block of church let alone sit or stand for hours at a conference and then have to drive back home. It’s just not ideal anymore. I just hope that by next year my health will improve and I’ll be able add more conferences to the mix. I will miss seeing many of you.

I have to put this in here because I know if I don’t it will happen—honestly it will probably happen anyway. I am not looking for any remedies you might have, diet suggestions, or miracle oils or shakes. I have doctors that are doing their very best to help me manage a disease that, as of now, has no cure. I know you mean well and have heard of someone or perhaps you that has benefited from some miracle diet or something, but I’m really not looking for that. I’ve tried lots of things and will probably try lots more, I’m just not interested in getting a bunch of advice on how to manage my conditions. I do not mean to sound rude and I hope no one if offended by me saying this. If you feel you want to help me, just pray. Honestly, God is the best remedy for anything. I will appreciate and love you for it.

So this is a lot longer than I thought it would be. I just wanted to explain why you might not see me at a few conferences coming up or why I might decline if you ask me (which is a very hard thing for me to do). I love all of you. I am grateful for all you have done for me. I hope you all know that. Be well, my friends. And God bless you!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Update and Some Cool Reads



It has been a while since my last post, so I thought I’d share a little of what I am up to and also what books I have been reading lately. Things are moving forward with The W.H.O. Files: Potions in the Pizza. It is set to come out in April. I got a phone call from my publisher letting me know they were sending me some printed copies. I can’t wait to see this book in print.

I’ve been so busy illustrating projects lately that I my writing is coming in little spurts. I am working on a new project that my agent is currently reviewing. If all goes well I might be swapping the drawing for writing. My current illustration projects include a fully illustrated novel about dinosaurs and a picture book about a spoiled girl. It’s been fun to work on both—all though time consuming.

Since I am illustrating so much I’ve gotten a lot of audiobooks under my belt. Here are just a few that I recommend:


The Blackthron Key, by Kevin Sands. I enjoyed this mystery set in London during the 1600’s. It’s
about an orphaned boy who is an apprentice to an apothecary. It’s filled with twists and turns and great surprises. My favorite moments were solving the codes and riddles left by Christopher Rowe’s master.

Synopsis: Until he got that cryptic warning, Christopher Rowe was happy, learning how to solve complex codes and puzzles and creating powerful medicines, potions, and weapons as an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn—with maybe an explosion or two along the way. But when a mysterious cult begins to prey on London’s apothecaries, the trail of murders grows closer and closer to Blackthorn’s shop. With time running out, Christopher must use every skill he’s learned to discover the key to a terrible secret with the power to tear the world apart.


Mark of the Plague, by Kevin Sands. This is the sequel to The Blackthorn Key and it was just as good. I enjoyed the fresh spin the author takes with the main character, Christopher Rowe. This one has just as much mystery as the first book. I super fun read!

Synopsis: The Black Death has returned to London, spreading disease and fear through town. A mysterious prophet predicts the city’s ultimate doom—until an unknown apothecary arrives with a cure that actually works. Christopher’s Blackthorn shop is chosen to prepare the remedy. But when an assassin threatens the apothecary’s life, Christopher and his faithful friend Tom are back to hunting down the truth, risking their lives to untangle the heart of a dark conspiracy. And as the sickness strikes close to home, the stakes are higher than ever before…



Going Wild, by Lisa McMann. I thought this book was going to be just a normal “moving to a new town” kind of book, but it was surprisingly fun. The main character finds this bracelet that gives here super animal powers. Sounds kind of corny but it was a great read. I plan on continuing the series when the next book comes out.

Synopsis: Charlie Wilde knew her life would change forever when her family moved from the city of Chicago to the suburbs of Arizona…and that was before she found the bracelet. After putting it on, she notices odd things start to happen. Suddenly Charlie seems to have the speed of a cheetah and the strength of an elephant—and that’s just the beginning. She would be thrilled about her transformation if she had any idea how to use the device or control her amazing powers. So Charlie is forced to put her trust in new friends to help her uncover the surprising truth behind the mysterious bracelet.


The Unwanteds, by Lisa McMann. I’ve seen this series around but hadn’t had the opportunity to read it until now. I enjoyed the premise of the book and was hooked on the first chapter. I didn’t enjoy how the narrator head hopped so much—sometimes in the middle of a scene, but I understood why. It was creative and I think I’ll continue reading the series.

Synopsis: When Alex finds out he is Unwanted, he expects to die. That is the way of the people of Quill. Each year, all the thirteen-year-olds are labeled as Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. Wanteds get more schooling and train to join the Quillitary. Necessaries keep the farms running. Unwanteds are set for elimination. It’s hard for Alex to leave behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted, but he makes peace with his fate—until he discovers that instead of a “death farm,” what awaits him is a magical place called Artimé. There, Alex and his fellow Unwanteds are encouraged to cultivate their creative abilities and use them magically. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation. But it’s a rare, unique occurrence for twins to be divided between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artimé that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate magical battle.


I’ll post some more in a few days. Like I said before, I am listening to a lot of audiobooks.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Some Really Cool Updates

Where has fall gone? It is almost Thanksgiving and I have so much to tell you. I've had some HUGE changes happen recently and you should probably know about them.

The first announcement is that my newest middle-grade book with Future House Publishing, The W.H.O. Files: Potions in the Pizza, had its release date changed from October 2016 to April 2017. Why? It was selected by FHP's distributor to be their spring lead title. This means it will be getting more attention not only by the publisher but my their team of distributors. Hopefully they'll have a better chance of getting this book into your local bookstores. I'm all geared up and ready for that book to come out. So mark your calendars for April 1st, 2017. Yeah, NO JOKE! You can also pre-order the paperback already on Amazon by CLICKING HERE.

Another great thing that’s happened is I finally signed with an agent! This has been a long time coming but I can proudly say that I am now represented by the super-agent and new partner, Michael Bourret, at Dystel, Goderich & BourretLLC. I’ve known Michael for a few years now. We first met when I interviewed him for the Authors Think Tank Podcast during a Storymakers Conference in Provo, Utah in 2013. That was our ice breaker. The day after the interview I pitched a book to him. Since then I have been trying everything to win his favor. I’m happy we finally get to work together on something. Already it’s been a fun experience. This guy is brilliant and really knows his stuff.

So that’s about all I have to update you on right now. Right now I’m looking forward to the New Year and I’m starting to really think about the goals I want to set for myself as an author/illustrator on 2017. As you know, I’ve been an indie author for all of my current books. With the publishing of The W.H.O. Files I will become what's called a hybrid author (publishing both traditionally and non-traditionally). Making the switch from indie to traditional was hard. I’d become so accustomed to doing everything myself it was a challenge to let go on some things. I think a lot of my goals for next year will be embracing the traditional route. I don’t think this means I will no longer indie publish, just trusting it more.