At long last, LARPers, book 7 in the Milligan Creek Series is finally here! Here's a brief synopsis:
Epic fantasy meets real-life adventure! When Matt Taylor accidentally causes the untimely death of his friend Andrew Loewen’s beloved Mages & Monsters character, he attempts to make it up to him by launching a live-action role-playing (LARP) version of the game. While the players set out on an epic campaign to free Milligan Creek from a fictional curse, fantasy and reality come crashing together as outside forces become involved. Little do the kids realize it, but their little adventure could change the face of their small town forever!
Needless to say, after a five-month delay due to cancer treatment, I'm super excited to finally get this book out into the world. Like all the other Milligan Creek books, I had a blast writing it, and I can't wait to share it with fans of the series. Here's a look at the final version of the cover, illustrated by Hannah Doerksen.
Now that this book is done, I'm already 75 pages into a new non-fiction book on writing called No G.U.T.S., No Story. It's an adaptation of a screenwriting workshop I've been teaching for the past 16 years or so. I'm hoping to have that out by June. Then it's on to another book in the Uncanny Icons series before returning to Milligan Creek for another installment.
Walk through virtually any bookstore these days (though real-life bookstores are becoming few and far between), and more often than not, you’ll find science fiction and fantasy lumped together, as if they were virtually the same genre.
To be fair, on a surface level, this comparison holds true. For example, both sci-fi and fantasy stories involve imaginary worlds, strange creatures and forces beyond those that we experience in the “real world.” For this reason, the two genres also tend to appeal to the same sorts of readers, those who yearn for an escape from the everyday. But beyond these broad similarities, sci-fi and fantasy bear some key distinctions that most people tend to overlook or ignore.
You may think the need to distinguish between sci-fi and fantasy is a minor point, yet another example of the perpetual hair-splitting that typifies the world of geekdom. But when it comes to writing in either of these genres, such distinctions are vitally important.
If you’ve struggled to differentiate between the two genres, I’d like to offer five few general guidelines to direct your thinking in this area.
To read what those five guidelines are, you can find the rest of the article here. It's hosted by a website that represents my editing services.
More cover progress for LARPers
Here's the sketch I sent to Hannah Doersksen, my talented artist, along with some instructions.
Here is her initial sketch.
Followed by another sketch with color.
We're still in the very early stages, but I'm already excited by what I'm seeing. Meanwhile, I'm about 20% into my edit, and I like what I'm seeing there too. A relief after not reading that part of the book for several weeks. Stay tuned!
And it's a whopping 68,822 words! To put that in perspective, Up the Creek, book 1 in the Milligan Creek Series, is just shy of 32,000 words. I don't know what went wrong--or right--about this book, but the story just kept growing and growing. However, I will point out that J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books kept getting longer and longer too, so maybe I'm on the right track.
At any rate, I love how things turned out. This is always an exciting moment, a time to celebrate. Then it's back to the grindstone as I go back through the manuscript and edit. In truth, I've already done that a couple of times for a good chunk of the book, so it's only the last third that needs a thorough going over. I already have the uber-talented Hannah Doerksen working on the cover, so with any luck, the book will be available in March.
I've also been simultaneously working on another book, a non-fiction one this time, which I plan to release later on in the first half of this year as well. Stay tuned for more updates!
The Kindle version the Milligan Creek Series: Volume 1 will be featured in a free book promotion this weekend, starting on Friday. You can sign up at www.hellobooks.com to receive the link, not just to my book but to many others as well.
A fun way to procrastinate
Using AI-generated artwork to create cover mock-ups for a time-travel sci-fi series I plan to write.
If one Milligan Creek book isn't enough for you, I've just bundled books 4 and 5 into a second volume, now available on Amazon and everywhere else you buy books. You can also buy books 1-3 as a single volume as well.
Years ago while traveling to do writing workshops, I was listening to an episode of CBC's excellent Under the Influence podcast, which is about the world of advertising, when the host, Terry O'Reilly, did an episode about advertisers who did one thing different that set them apart from the competition. One of the examples he mentioned was the Hathaway shirt eye patch campaign, in which having the model where a five-cent black eye patch led to one of the most successful marketing campaigns in history, lasing for thirty years. Oddly enough, a version of that eye patch idea has found its way into LARPers, book 7 in the Milligan Creek series, and I'll hope you agree it really helps set this story apart as well!
Brief thoughts and updates on writing, publishing, and life