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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Why I disappeared

We all have times in our lives when we just kind of disappear. This last month has been one of those times. I have kind of just shut down and avoided all of social media and sites. Probably not the best business move., but here is why it happened: We bought a house.

We live in a small town. Not the place we will stay, but it works for now. The opportunity to buy this house came along and we couldn’t really pass it up. Then we walked in to the place. I had to question my judgement.

We bought a house from hoarders. I mean, really, really bad hoarders. I am a minimalist and the overwhelming garbage in the house shut me down. It took us nearly two full weeks to clean out just the garbage. We filled a 12 yard dumpster in trash just from 3 rooms.

I then found out they were holding stuff for other people in the house, and didn’t bother mention it. So, we had people digging through the dumpster to get the stuff out that belonged to them. That’s fine I suppose.

When we were finally able to see the floors, I decided the carpet had to go. Luckily we found some pretty decent hard wood floors under it. If not for this scraper we would have never gotten to it. http://a.co/d/cKg0IfG

It is an ugly job, but it made it a lot easier. It helps to break the glue and under layers to remove the carpet. Finding the floors in the condition they were in made my day. Down the road we will rent a sander and refinish them. The house was built in 1920, so they need a little love. We have a lot of work to do, but it will be well worth it.

My next job is tearing out some plaster on a couple walls and hanging drywall over the lath. The shared wall between the living room and kitchen had a leak by the chimney and it messed up the plaster, so it has to go. That will have to wait until summer.

We are finishing up the bedroom paint and then we can finish moving in. It has been a long month, but the end is in sight. I am quick to get overwhelmed and shut down while I remedy a situation.

I have been doing some work on Good Knight Ricky and the Bad Joke Dragon. This is my latest short story that I am writing for my son. It has been a fun one too. I also have books for sale through my Biblio.com page, https://www.biblio.com/bookseller_info.php?d=2916574

I am also on Instagram and Pinterest both @danlittle104. Follow me there and feel free to check out Biblio. Give me a like and a share. If you comment, I will do my best to respond. I am really trying to start a harder push here. Things are leveling out on this end.

 

Book Review Stress

Hello again everybody.

Tonight is more of a vent session for a part of my blog. I love what I do. I love getting to read new stories and present them to my kids. The excitement in their eyes as I read them a new one is pretty much why I started writing.

So, what is there to vent about? Sometimes I can’t take a book past the initial reading stage with me, and it doesn’t get presented to my kids. It’s the hard part. Sometimes a book will just fall short for my standards, and I don’t feel comfortable writing a review.

At this point I deal with a serious personal conflict. I was asked for a review, not editing. I could post my opinion of the story at that time. I have seen people offer a positive review for a certain fee. To me, that’s crap. If a story is good, but delivery needs work, I can’t write an honest review.

I have to operate fairly. I will be the first to admit that my punctuation needs some serious help. I am eternally grateful for editors. I don’t use them here. Honestly, I hope my wife never reads a single post here. She would kill me.

So how do you handle a book that isn’t ready, but has been released. I struggle with this. I decided that instead of doing a review, I offer a few critiques to the author. Again, I am not an editor. I just try to offer a few tips to bring out a more complete product. I think we should all do that.

I don’t charge for my reviews. For me, it really is about encouraging the authors. It’s not easy having an editors eye and terrible grammar. I can tell you a sentence is wrong, but I can’t come close to telling you how to fix it. Infinite commas I suppose.

I am always looking for more books to go over. My kids range from 3 to 6, so naturally I look for that range. I you have something, please, let me know. I would love to do a review for you. Everyone will get the same treatment. If there is a problem, I will address it with you privately before I just throw up a review for some blog content.

I truly enjoy what I do. There is a world full of amazing talent out there. We get to tap into that. I love that. Shoot, we get to see what may be a big seller before its even in print. That’s why I don’t charge. I have considered a donation thing if someone felt so inclined. I try to always throw in a little bit extra for people I hire for my projects, so a donation is a fair idea.

Anyway, have a great night. I have to meet a school to see about a book reading for their elementary and preschool classes. That’s exciting. Take care, and thank you for letting me vent.

Dan

New Book

Happy weekend, everyone. I decided to take the day off and do some fishing with the kids. They had fun. We caught nothing.

Just before we made it to the lake I got a message from my illustrator. She had a rough sketch ready for my book for my son.

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Good Knight Ricky and his dragon Colborn

He is almost 6, and a typical boy. He wanted me to write a book about him being a knight. I have had the idea for several months, but disappointing sales of Morgan Goes Fishing put it on the back burner as I tried to promote it some more.

I have sold 3 copies in the last 2 months. Createspace will be shutting down, so I will be looking for better options for printing.

The Lizzie Andrews Series series needs some serious help. If you are at all interested in genealogy, history, classic women, war, any of it. Stop by our kickstarter page. If it doesn’t get funding it doesn’t happen.

My partner is doing next to nothing to promote it, so I get to push for my own good. We will be offering a one hour genealogy help prize to any donors. This way we help them, for helping us.

Now, for my son’s book. It is called Good Knight Ricky and the Bad Joke Dragon. He is a 6 year old boy with his pet dragon set out to save the kingdom. It’s for 5 to 8 year olds, probably 4,000 words.

I will share little details over the next couple of months. It’ll be a slow process. I will have to get money up for the illustrations and go over all that. I am considering a kickstarter for that as well, but I am not likely to use it. It may be a good way to get a boost to Lizzie as they see both projects from me. So I don’t know.

These are all things I will have to get worked out. If I do it it will be a straight across the board cost for a copy reward. Basically treat it as a preorder setup.

Anyway, let me know what you think. I appreciate the support I get here. You all have a great weekend.

In the meantime, if you want to grab a copy of Morgan Goes Fishing, you can buy it here, in my book nook. They are for sale at $6.99, and I will send a coloring bookmark with all purchases when the shipment comes in.

Dan

Kickstarter

Hi everyone,

Today I launched the kickstarter campaign for The Lizzie Andrews Series. This is the project I have been working on for a while. I partnered with Kathy Jo Bryant to make this one happen.

She was looking for an author to share the stories of her 3rd great grandmother. These stories have been passed down since the 1800s, and have even been featured in newspaper articles.

Lizzie lived to be 110 years old. She lived in North Carolina, Virginia and Alabama throughout her life. She met General Washington around the time of the Siege of Yorktown. He gifted her a pair of silk stockings for her dancing skills at a cotillion he met her at.

That is actually going to be our first story set to release around presidents day. I am working on the manuscript now. Gypsi Walker, a college student, is working on our illustrations.

Our campaign will give you the chance to support the project and secure your own copy of the book before it is released. Take a minute and check out our link.

Have a great day

Dan

Bad luck, all the time

I have terrible luck. All the time, it’s just awful. I actually don’t believe in luck. I think it all comes down to what you are willing to out into something.

Anyway, we started looking for a new illustrator for the Lizzie Andrews Series. We have had some awesome submissions with a lot of real talent being shown off. They should be proud.

I have talked to probably 15 people who are interested. But then, my computer died. In the middle of all the emails and messages and file saving to forward to my collaborator, the computer died.

Oh and guess what else happened. My Neuro issues caught up with me and I missed 2 days of because I can barely walk. It’s been a great week.

It could be a lot worse. I can still use my phone to work on stories and get things in order. I should be back to work Saturday, but my wife has asked me to put in my notice.

She will be starting back to school soon and is working on getting her classroom ready. So, I will be a stay at home dad again. It will definitely help with the writing. The blog can get much needed attention, and I can spend time with Bella.

It’s been an interesting week, but nothing we can’t get past. I am looking forward to writing more. Maybe it was all just good luck at a bad time. It’s all in how you see it.

I may schedule some haunted trips too to add some stories there. I will be able to focus on my book sales on Biblio and promote my previous and upcoming works. There is plenty to do. It’s just overwhelming right now.

Author Interview featuring Tammi Van Hollander

Hi Everyone! Today we start our Author Interviews. I have been looking forward to these. I have several great interviews lined up to come at you over the next few weeks. Let’s all show some support to our author community. Let’s get it started with Ms. Tammi Van Hollander.

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NAME: Tammi Van Hollander, LCSW, RPT
PUBLISHED TITLES: Casey’s Greatness Wings: Teaching Mindfulness, Connection and Courage to Children.
Q: Where are you from (City, State)?
A: A suburb of Philadelphia, PA
Q: How long have you been writing?
A:. I finished this book pretty quickly. Although it felt like a long time, it was about 6 months of perfecting the story, illustrations and formatting.
Q: What were your goals prior to writing? How did you becoming an author happen?
A: I always loved writing and wrote poetry in High School. My dream was to be an author and started a book for a large company, but life got in the way and I never follow through with it. The “Back” story of this book has not been told until now. My mother passed away 6 years ago and she told us that we would always be connected by rainbows and butterflies. As a child therapist, I was in session with a tween client who had experienced significant trauma. As a way to help her express her feelings , we colored mandalas. A mandala represents wholeness and it is often a symbol that is utilized to help people focus in on meditation and achieve a sense of oneness. Mandalas can be colored, made, or they are created in the sand tray On this particular day, my client and I both created separate mandalas and it happened to be the year anniversary of my mother’s death. I picked a butterfly mandala to color. We spent time listening to relaxing music, to help quiet the mind and nervous system as we colored and then on the back was a free write for a story to come out of it. I do not often do my own story with the client, but this client always wanted me to do the same activity as her. So, I did, and I began to write and write and write. The Brave Butterfly came to life and I wanted it to be a metaphor of her trauma and how telling her story could free her. After reading the story to her, she took over and began to make parts of it her own. This was a breakthrough in her healing process.
Fast forward 5 years later……In October I took a 5 day intensive training in FirstPlay Infant Massage Storytelling® http://www.mainlineplaytherapy.com/firstplay-r and Kinesthetic Storytelling®. I fell in love with this technique and was inspired to write a kinesthetic story. This is a story that is told on the child’s back. Reading to children is so important and the added element of touch enhances the bonding experience. Dr. Janet Courtney, my mentor helped me with the book process and really inspired me to get the ball rolling. I was connected to The Brave Butterfly, the idea of transformation and mindfulness. I am also a certified trainer in The Nurtured Heart Approach ® which transformed my practice and I really wanted to use the idea of greatness to empower others. Although the story started as a trauma story, I wanted to shift it to a mindful, empowerment story and go deeper to give parents, teachers , clinicians and others tools to ignite greatness, help kids understand their worries, and ways to quiet their busy minds. Casey’s Greatness Wings is for all ages and for everyone. I have had couples do it on each other, siblings, etc. The family can tell the story in a circle doing the story massage on each other’s backs.
Q: What genre(s) do you write? Why?
A: My passion is to inspire children, families and professionals working with children. I love my work and want to spread it with others. I am a national presenter and I am passionate and knowledgeable about my work.
Q: Did/do you self publish or traditionally publish? What was attractive about this option?
A: I self published. I knew I had a following and various ways to promote it independently.

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Q: Are you a full-time author? If not, do aspire to be?
A: No, I hope to write more books , but my heart is providing play therapy to my clients in my playroom and presenting workshops to others on my work. I definitley, want to do more work in schools with my book. I am receiving such a nice response from professionals working in the schools using Casey’s Greatness Wings and the activities provided with their students. I have a special section in the back of the book for professionals. There are activities to do with the child or classroom with a list of greatness words.
Q: How many books have you published?
A:. I have published chapters and creative play-based interventions, but this is my first independent book.
Q: What is one thing you wish you had done differently during the process of publishing your first book?
A: So many things……. The big one was that the size of my book made it very hard to publish and I had to change from CS a IS. This was very stressful as I did not know if my book was going to be published. If you were to ask me what was the hardest thing about my book…….the answer would be that there is so much information in it. It is a psycho-educational book, a children’s book, a guide on how to do stories on a child’s back and an activity book. That is a lot of info in one book.
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?
A: My favorite children’s author is Todd Parr. I love his books. I have a wonderful therapeutic library of children’s books. So many great books that aid in healing children, by offering that safe psychological distance from their problems.
Q: To expand on that, what is your favorite genre to read? I want to be a better reader and make more time to read.
A: Most of my books are psycho-educational and children’s books.
Q: What book or books have influenced you as an author?
A: Too many to list. I think it is really my passion for my work that inspires me and the children that touch my heart every day.
Q: What is your writing process?(time spent writing, planning, performance goals)
A: My writing process was so challenging because I had hand movements integrated into the story. The story was long and there needed to be many edits. I eventually made the story into two parts, so it could be divided up to read to children of all ages.
Q: Do you write each day?
A: no

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Q: How do you set your writing mood? Is there a routine you follow?
A: No, I wish I had a routine and I highly recommend you having a schedule. Lesson learned for next time.
Q: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
A: From the time I committed to really writing this book, I put my heart and soul into it and it took about 6 months.
Q: Do you prefer paperback, hard cover, or eBooks (reading and writing)? Why?
A: I like to have a book in my hand and never read e-books. I think this is because I read so much to children and we need a physical book.
Q: Who would your dream co-author be? Why?
A: Someone like Dr. Dan Siegel who I admire. I am a huge fan of his work and he has made a massive contribution to the field of parenting, therapy and mindfulness. His work on the brain and helping children to understand how their brains works is brilliant. I am a fan of all of his books.
Q: What will be your next book release?
A: Probably a book on all of my greatness interventions for children to compliment my first book. I also plan for the other characters in my story to have their own leading role. Next, may be the worry elephant, but no spoiler alerts just yet.:)
Q: What are some of your goals outside of writing?
A: Now that I have written my book, my other dream is to one day do a TED Talk. I am heading to India with my daughter this summer and would like to travel more and to continue volunteer service projects in the future. I also have been wanting to do more crisis management work.
Q: What is your biggest obstacle when writing?
A: Organization and time management
Q: Do you have any advice for new authors?
A: It is a lot of work and get as many people to read your book as you can. My clients were so helpful with the hand movements and they were a big contribution to my book. Get some good people in place from your illustrator to your formatter. The process can be frustrating and exhausting and I wanted to quit many times. I figured if my book can help one child or family then I am happy.
Check out Casey’s Greatness Wings on Amazon today https://www.amazon.com/Caseys-Greatness-Wings-Mindfulness-Connection/dp/1643167782/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1529500009&sr=8-1&keywords=casey%27s+greatness+wings&dpID=51iw73XoGzL&preST=_SX218_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch and show Miss Tammi some love. You can also visit Tammi’s website at http://www.mainlineplaytherapy.com/children-s-book. She has a good story here, with a good message.
Check out our next Author Interview when we talk to Kerry Orchard, author of The Adventures in Behaviour Series – How to Tame Dragons and Hush Hyenas.

Kickstarter Update

A while back I agreed to help a guy by promoting his Kickstarter campaign. It’s for a neat concept, but it’s not generating interest. It’s a campaign to start a cartoon series about a group of friends gaining powers.

It’s raised a whopping $1. My concern is that it’s too similar to other things out there and the market is over saturated with them. The other possibility is it’s just a bad idea.

We have set up different rewards for help, including signed thank you pictures, all the way up to a cameo or mention in one of the episodes. Still no interest.

Check it out here. Something isn’t clicking like it should.

Pilot for Fantasy Adventure Animated Series, via @Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1420291301/pilot-for-fantasy-adventure-animated-series

Kickstarter Update

Pilot for Fantasy Adventure Animated Series, via @Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1420291301/pilot-for-fantasy-adventure-animated-series

Hey guys. This is a neat project. The creator used a lot of his life experience and imagination to come up with this project. His hopes are to make it into a series, and is raising funds to make the pilot episode and maybe the second.

Check him out. Show him some support. It’s got some pretty cool donation rewards. You can even be included in an episode. Kinda cool.

Back In Action

I have been away for a few days, but still tried to post stuff. It failed. We have been swamped with a move and getting a million things done.

I will be posting regularly again in the next few days. Hopefully by the end of next week we can start getting some author interviews going. It depends on the response.

In other news Morgan Goes Fishing has sold almost 40 copies. It’s moving along nicely. It could be better, but I’m happy with the progress.

I will also be setting up a page to share some antique books that i lucked into. There will be others along the way. I’m looking forward to those. Until next time.