Overcoming the block

A while back I talked about the lack of creativity I have been dealing with. I figured out what it was. I had been to busy with home projects to focus on much else.

It’s a pretty lame reason to not be able to write, but it makes sense. Have you ever been there? You know, the point where anything else on your plate just kinda shuts you down? These are normal times.

Life happens. For me it was a mess of a house that needed a ton of work before we could move in. Then we had a bunch of projects after we moved jn. I would be up until 3 am working some nights.

When you mix in 3 kids and a wife with her hands full at school, and just needing some extra stress relief, it gets busy. Don’t let life make you feel like you’ve lost your edge.

Just a few months ago I was buried in writing work. The last 2 months, not a thing. I am trying to pick up more things here and there. I know it will come. Sometimes, you just need to empty off your plate.

Now for some updates, Morgan Goes Fishing is getting a new series behind it. It will be a sight words based series based on Morgan. I am writing them to be progressive stories. Each one more difficult than the last. Morgan Goes Fishing will be a more difficult book.

Good Knight Ricky and the Bad Joke Dragon, is being shortened. Write for the age, not the reading level if you are writing a story based on someone you love. Ricky is 6 and reads on a 4th grade level. You can’t combine those. Write for the age. They will enjoy it more. It will be out next year.

Bella and Betty Bear’s Big Fight will be out next year. This will complete the stories written for my kids. Illustration on Ricky and Bella will be my hold ups as I secure the funding.

I am moving forward with an eBay based book store. I have mostly history books listed now, but stop in and check it out. It’s at Little Books and Hobbies on ebay.

So, I can get moving again. When you come to these times, don’t force it. They happen. Writing will never stop. The creativity will slow down here and there, or your ideas will be crap. Don’t get discouraged. When the ideas hit, run with them. Even if they take some time to come to you.

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A Problem With Editors

Editors are an essential part of the writing world. They give insight we need. I desperately need all the input i can get, especially for punctuation. I welcome the critiques.

So where is the issue? Simple, a lack of professional response.

I had Good Knight Ricky and the Bad Joke Dragon sent to an editor. I know perfectly well it’s not perfect. She was eager, so I gave her a sneak peak. I didn’t expect a great review since it was it wasn’t finished.

What I got back was a less formal response than I have gotten from my chosen at random critique group. Some tips were well warranted. Others, well, I wondered if she even read the story.

As an editor you should have a clear and professional response. I expect a well and properly written response. Capitalize your sentences, punctuate. If I can criticize punctuation there is a problem.

A three paragraph run-on sentence is not the sign of a quality editor. No remarks on your horrible punctuation is also an issue. If you submit to an editor, expect them to respond as an editor.

Our stories are our passion. We want them to be the best they can be. When you reach the point of editing, be prepared to be crushed in many cases. Expect to be nitpicked.

If you get a response that isn’t professional, move on. The work you receive from them should have the same passion and thought as what you put in yourself. If they can’t structure a sentence, for the sake if your story, find someone else.

Just a little tip this week from a recent experience that really frustrated me. Being new to the business is no excuse for settling.

Let’s Promote Children’s Reading

Hello again. On an finally done with my month of insanity. There is still plenty to be done, but I can slow down. At least for now.

This means one really exciting thing, I can promote stuff again. I have some book reviews coming up that always prove to be popular. It’s coming this weekend.

As an author, I also get to push my own books again. Good Knight Ricky and the Bad Joke Dragon is well under way. For this month, and through my page only, Morgan Goes Fishing will be dropped to $5.99. Amazon is $7.99.

Education is important to my family. My wife is a teacher and I write children’s books. It works. So we are running a promo through the month of November.

Illustrations are in the planning stages for Good Knight Ricky and the Bad Joke Dragon. I added to it, and it has taken shape as either a short story or a small chapter book. Updates will be made on progress as we go along.

That’s all I have for today. Keep an eye out for the upcoming book reviews. If you have something you would like reviewed, please email me. It’s free and we can have some fun.

Also, grab your little reader a copy of Morgan Goes Fishing all month. Find it under my Welcome page. We can always use a like and a share, so go ahead, like it, share it. I promise, I don’t mind.

 

When You Have To Walk Away

Some decision aren’t easy to make. Sometimes if you are lucky they do the work for you. Today, I got the first one. It has been brewing for a while, but I was hoping things would level out.

After four months and little progress I stepped down as the Author for The Lizzie Andrews Series. There were a lot of factors that helped to make the decision. That didn’t make it any better, really it just made me mad at myself for waiting so long.

This project started in May or June. In had high hopes for it, but creative differences really do throw a lot of weight into a situation. It was set to be completed by October 1st, but it was changed. It was pushed back to the end if January. Then it was cancelled.

What were the problems? 1. My collaborator ignored all of my ideas. Try writing a 25,000 word book with less than a paragraph of information to work with, and creative license removed. It won’t happen. 2. The ideas would change by the day. What was the plan on Monday, would be changed a lot of times by Monday evening. 3. My opinion didn’t count because I was a man. I know, all the sexism stuff, let’s not start on it. If there was an idea, and there were several, that I didn’t think fit into the scope of the book, I would be told my opinion didn’t matter because I’m not a woman or mother. 4. Refusal to pay.

Now, I am a proud supporter of team work. I went well above my call of duty to make this come to life. I recruited a new illustrator when our original quit. Then I kept our new one from quitting, when our collaborator could never be pleased.

Finally, after countless hold ups and withheld information, I got the chance to write the first chapter. When I submitted it to her, I knew there would be edits. It’s part of the business.

The suggestions came, no problem. Then all of the sudden she was going to send my work to her sister to “See if it was any good” as she put it. This was my breaking point. The sister has never been a part of the project, and apparently she is an author as well.

I saw this as another piece I worked hard on that would be turned over and butchered by someone else. It wouldn’t be the first time in the process that I submitted I piece, like for a promo, and got back something I didn’t even recognize. So I had enough.

I listed my issues with the project, much like above, and told my collaborator that I had to take my name off the project. Our creative goals were too far apart, and the dealings were turning shady. I had to think about the goals of my business as a writer, and Lizzie no longer fit in.

When you get to a point that honesty is in question, it’s a red flag. Keep in mind, I have 4 months and 2 cancelled contracts with not so much as a penny received. Then she asked for all of my outlines and layouts for the book.

As an author, i put in my contracts, that a failure to pay means I keep all the work i put in. I think it’s common sense. I just simply denied her request and moved on.

I can’t take it all as a loss though. The $1,000 would have been nice though. This is not an easy business to be in. I love it, I love the stories and I love my fellow authors. I don’t think I am cut out to collaborate.

If you are, by all means, do it. Just watch your back and stick to your guns. When a job is no longer fun, consider it’s worth. Don’t be afraid to walk away and do what is a good move for you personally.

I am done venting now. Thanks for reading. I will be able to get back to my own writings more now. So, keep an eye out for Good Knight Ricky and the Bad Joke Dragon, and check out Morgan Goes Fishing. Y’all have a good day.

Dan

Morgan Goes Fishing

Ladies and gentlemen. Morgan Goes Fishing is being temporarily pulled from Amazon. I have the last 20 copies ready to sell. If you are interested in one I will be happy to hook you up. Find the purchase link below.

I am pulling Morgan for a short time. Maybe a week, as I make a couple small changes. I will be including reviews I have received for it as well as a few minor updates to list my website and a link for a printable version of the included coloring pages. They will be larger copies that can be printed for your use, and they will be offered for free.

Sales have been horrible over the last few months, so I feel these pages will be a great increase in value for my readers. This is a new readers book, and great for your favorite picture book lover.  Get yourself one of the last copies before they are all gone. Each copy will also include 2 free bookmarks for your little ones to color and enjoy. Ya’ll have a great day, and thank you for the support.

 

Morgan Goes Fishing

Morgan Goes Fishing follows young Morgan and her dad as they enjoy their first fishing trip together. Told through the eyes of a 3 year old, Morgan shares a special memory that will last forever. Join Morgan on her special trip, then enjoy the coloring pages in the back to continue your own adventure. This is a great book for any parent and child who want to hang on to these moments in life.

$5.99

Writing, writing, and avoiding issues

Hey everybody. It is another late night. We have a few more projects in the books and some more that are past due. Yay. The nature of the beast I suppose.

I am pretty well pulling the plug on Lizzie. I have lost any real reason to move forward. My partner is ignoring the very obvious issues in front of her. I have tried to explain that she needs a physical book in her hand to have a successful Kickstarter campaign.

I have told her we need to coordinate our illustrations for the layouts. She wants it all done now, and is willing to do no work to get it there. Now they want to put a video on our campaign, with still nothing to offer. So it is at a standstill. I will be closing the Kickstarter in the next couple days and refunding the contributions. I feel that’s fair.

Ricky’s book is coming along nicely. We have a rough character sketch. We have a killer story built and about a quarter of the writing done. He is pumped. I love it.

I am submitting my 3rd script tomorrow on Tuesday for our educational videos. Keeping it down to 2 minutes has been quite that challenge with the subject matter we are trying to pack in.

Finally, I wrote a script for an individual I sold a story to a while back. He is wanting to make a Kickstarter campaign for a cool digital book setup. That script is out of the way. I can see a little light in front of me.

It’ll be nice until the next burial. But hey, that’s my job. I think until then, I am going to do more fishing. We went 3 times this weekend and I caught one. So that sucked, but it was relaxing.

Have a great week, keep an eye out for a couple more book reviews coming your way, and other nonsense as I see fit.

Dan

Review of Sweet Dreamer and Nightmare

It’s time for another book review. Today we are reviewing Sweet Dreamer & Nightmare And The Power of Positive Thinking By Natasha and David Breen. This is the 2nd of 3 books they asked me to review. Honestly, this book has been the hardest for me to review, but only in jest.

This book is terrible. It never stays in one place. When I find it, it disappears again. I usually find it in my sons room. Come to think of it, maybe my son is horrible. Or neither are horrible.

It’s a really cute book, even if it won’t stay put. My kids have loved it. It is an awesome book that shows the power of good thoughts.

Sweet Dreamer and Nightmare are exactly what you would expect them to be. They are cats in charge of good and bad dreams. Nightmare learns that it isn’t always so easy to scare someone.

We have read this book probably 30 in the last couple weeks. They cannot put it down. I tell them I need to use it, they have it hidden somewhere again. They love the art. It reminds me of the Thundercats from the 80’s.

The title sounds like something that would be scary, but my daughter Morgan loves it. She is afraid of everything. Disney movies included. There is nothing scary about it. It is a creative way to show that it’s good to be brave. Surprisingly it has helped her to be braver.

My favorite part, they won’t put it down. If my biggest complaint is that I can never find it, I won’t complain. It’s a great message written in a clever and friendly way. I highly recommend it.

David and Natasha are a talented team. They have a niche and they know how to use it. Go pick yourself up a copy of Sweet Dreamer & Nightmare And The Power of Positive Thinking. You will like it, your kids will like it, and it won’t scare them. It’s an awesome book. You can grab a copy on Amazon today here: http://a.co/d/4zg6HdO . You can also check out their Facebook page Feisty Cats.

Our next review will be the last in our series from Natasha and David Breen. But we have more great books to bring you. Have a great day.

Dan

 

One of those days, all month

You know those kinds of days that just kick your butt all the way through. It has been one of those days since about June. But hey, why be negative? I don’t have time for such nonsense. I am going to vent for a short minute though.

I have mentioned several times that I am writing a genealogy series. This is a fascinating series. The woman we are writing about was amazing, history is amazing and I love writing. It’s a good gig.

What’s not great? Easy, collaborating. I am an author. It’s simple to grasp. However, i am not a promo writer or designer. I am not a mind reader. I am not the kind of person that gets a great deal of joy out of my phone blowing up all hours of the night with more questions. The biggest one, I am not a hand holder or babysitter. (except for my kids, that’s being a dad.)

These have apparently all been misunderstood. In the two months I have been working on this series, i have written 3.5 pages. This is infuriating to me. I have told my partner that I need to be able to work on this book if we expect it to be done. I have accomplished bearly nothing. Most of my time has been spent wishing my phone would literally blow up.

It’s an easy 9 hours a day 3 to 4 days a week going over the same details over and over. Part of this pertains to the book, the rest is nonsense that doesn’t apply and could be saved for another time. So now, my writing happens after 1 am. Which is awesome since I get up at 6:30 with the kids for school when my wife leaves.

Now for good news, my computer died. Luck for me, I sold a poem last week and was able to afford a new used one with what that paid. This venture is starting to show some progress. I was also asked to write another poem for the same guy who bought the last one. Good deal for me.

In more good news, I am starting to see about making appointments for doing book readings for Pre-K through 1st grade classes. To help with this I placed an order for some bookmarks and business cards. This should look a little more professional.

All the bookmarks have a small note on the back to direct to my site and order a copy of the book. I will also be setting up a spot to print off the coloring pages. Back to the bookmarks. They are black and white, on a matte finish for the students to color their own bookmarks. I enjoy the idea of a kid having a little interaction with the book, more than reading it.

The business cards are simple. It will be attached below. My wife loved them. I feel like sometimes she doesn’t want to disappoint me, so I want some feed back from you guys about it. Let me know if you would notice it, if it’s clear and offers the right information, and if it would sway you to go to the site. Yes, if i am disappointed by the response I will sit in the corner and cry for…seconds. It’ll be embarrassing for all of us.

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Finally, I am looking into carrying a few of the books I will be reviewing and holding author interviews with. They will be in the Book Nook for you all to check out. I will also have my books from my Biblio.com page.

Okay, it has been a long day. I am exhausted, and I have a lot more to get done before I can go to bed. Tomorrow is another day with my Bella baby, 20180821_125948so I need a little energy for her. Have a great night and a better day.

Dan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Day Job for Santa Claws Review

Hey guys.

I am back tonight with a new book review. This one is a little early in the year for it, but it’s only because I want to support it a little extra for the Christmas season. This one is called A Day Job for Santa Claws by Natasha and David Breen.

The first thing I want to say, This book is adorable. Santa Claws is a cat. This is the writers niche and they do it well. Anyway, Santa is a cat.

After an especially bad year he has to find some work to get by. He tries a few different jobs, and even gets in trouble. I won’t say how. Buy the book to find out. You’ll like it.

As he goes through the year, he has many different opportunities. He doesn’t like any of them. It carries the story really well, and it shares a good lesson. The book is awesome. My kids loved it. I will highly recommend A Day Job for Santa Claws to any parent. You can find it on Amazon here http://a.co/d/3aZmRI0

It is a new twist on Santa and it’s a really good one. I have 2 more books from this duo that i get to review this week. Keep an eye out for those over the next few days. I also have a couple e-books to review.

If you are interested in a book reading in the Humboldt County California area, please reach out to Feisty Cats Storybooks at www.feistycats.com They look forward to hearing from you. Stay tuned for more reviews over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, check out Little Books and Hobbies on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/littlebooksandhobbies/ or Instagram and Pinterest @danlittle104 . Have a great night everybody.

Integrating

Hey guys. I am officially a stay at home dad again. My son starts school tomorrow so it will be me and my Bella girl. It’ll be quieter too, so I can have a chance to do more writing.

We will be able to take little adventures too, so we can have more exciting posts. She may be my ghost hunting buddy. She’s 2, that’s the right age for it right?

I will also be able to focus on my book collection too. My book nook has been untouched since June. Summer set me way off for my goals.

Another thing I am looking at is setting up more book reviews. I got 3 books in today, so reviews are coming. I might make a promo thing where I sell a few of the books on my site too. Morgan Goes Fishing will be available at a lower price as well.

I intend to get things going in the next week or so. Keep an eye out. There are good changes coming now that I have the time to do it.

One final thing, what would people think about me writing a custom story for them. Kids, grandkids, pets, stuff like that. I’m not sure how it would all work yet due to illustrations, but that would be fun.

Anyway, you guys have a great day. Let me know what you think. I have a lot of ideas and don’t want to get going down the wrong path.

Dan