I just got home from the final leg of my Water War book tour, which began way back on Jan. 8. Since then, I've done dozens of writing workshops for thousands of students at over 30 schools across BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and (for the first time ever) Manitoba. It's been a tremendous experience with many great interactions along the way. My thanks to all the teachers, principals, librarians, and students who made me feel at home and made the workshops so enjoyable. I was consistently impressed with the level of talent I encountered and the quality of the ideas we developed together. I could spend the rest of my life just writing those stories.
However, now that I'm officially off the road for the season, it's time to buckle down and focus on my other writing work, including finishing up my new feature-length documentary, completing my first draft of "The Great Grain Elevator Incident" (book 4 of the Milligan Creek series), and prepping the third issue of "Meth: The Immortal" for release. Thankfully, I don't have any trips booked until the end of September, so I can finally settle down and get to work.
"The Tree Planter's Survival Guide" was just featured on one of the biggest tree-planting sites on the web!
That's right folks, it's featured on the home page of www.tree-planter.com, one of the premier tree-planting portals on the internet, along with a little write-up by yours truly. The book was also endorsed by tree-planter.com co-founder and veteran planter Marcelle Chisholm, who said, "The book is so great! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it . . . you did a really good job condensing so much information and making it funny and oh so relatable!" Check it out here.
... the tables have just turned.
WAY back in December 2018, I had planned to finish the script for Meth: The Immortal issue 3, and then have it out by the end of February. Here we are in early May, and I finally handed in my final script pages yesterday. What happened? It's a bit of a story in itself.
At the end of issue 2, Methuselah and his buddies set sail from Kuwait to North America, but soon into issue 3, something goes wrong with their plans. I won't say what, but when that happened, it threw my brain for a loop, as if Meth had a completely different agenda, and he was being coy about revealing it to me.
The key to unlocking the mystery also turned out to be the cause of so many of my problems. It comes in the form of a child-sized coffin, which shows up on the back of a bike in issue 3. This was inspired by my own experience while in Kenya, seeing a man cycle past with a yellow child-sized coffin on the back of his bike. The more I thought about the comic-book-version of that coffin--which was originally included merely as background color--the more curious I became about knowing what was inside. The problem is, it took me nearly three months to answer that question, and then two more months to figure out how that would affect my fictional world.
The upshot is, all that time spent ruminating on this problem unlocked an entirely new dimension to this series that I hadn't anticipated. I'm talking about the mythology that underlies it all and the cosmic struggle in which Meth is about to engage. It's pretty exciting, and you'll get a hint of it at the end of issue 3, but it will really come into the fore in issue 4, which I'm anticipating will be a lot quicker and easier to write--if Meth doesn't kick my butt again!
In other news, once issue 3 is done (a huge chunk of the artwork is already complete), I'm planning to re-release issues 1-3 plus bonus materials in a single volume. That's originally how I planned to release Meth: The Immortal anyway, as a series of graphic novels. Kierston (my artist) already has created the cover for that. And we have a fun cover coming to you for issue 3. In the meantime, here's a thumbnail page from issue 3.
Years ago (more than I care to admit), I released my first book, The Tree Planter's Survival Guide, which was based on my years working as a tree planter in northern BC and Saskatchewan. I recently decided to release a significantly revised, expanded, and updated version of that book, and it just went live today. It's available in Kindle or hard copy versions here and on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca. Below is a sneak peek of the cover. Go here to read the table of contents and an excerpt.
The reviewer, Amy Westbury, was really hard on my first book, but I am continuing to win her over, getting 4 out of 5 stars! A brief excerpt: ". . . this third outing is an enjoyable read ripe with the fun of heat waves and summer vacation . . . a great choice for those looking for an engaging middle-school novel with a cavalcade of boisterous boys and humorous hijinks." You can read the full review here.
I've made a couple of forays into Manitoba this year as part of my multi-leg book tour for The Water War. While in Portage La Prairie, the local radio station came down to do a brief story, which you can see here.
For the past three years, I've brought out a Milligan Creek Series novel in the fall. This year is no different, though I must admit that, until this week, I was a bit further behind in my writing than I was on previous books. However, now that I actually have a bit of free time in my schedule, I'm using it to knock out a few chapters. I'm well into chapter three right now, and my goal is to have at least five chapters complete before I head out on tour again in mid-March, which will put me back on track. It feels great to be back in the saddle again, especially considering I wrote my initial outline for the book back in October. In keeping with its title, this story is going to be epic, and I can't wait to share it with you. Meanwhile, I'm also hard at work plotting book five, which is going to take place in winter and send things in an entirely different direction. More news on that book in the months to come.
I'm not sure why it took me so long to do this (the books have been available on Kindle for a while), but books 1-3 in the Milligan Creek Series are now available as ebooks in the Kobo store. And the price is right! Check it out here.
I just returned from a two-week book tour of Saskatchewan, so I'm finally getting back up to speed. Lots of things on the go, including finishing up a new feature-length documentary, preparing another one, and writing book four of the Milligan Creek Series, The Great Grain Elevator Incident. However, in between all the work and travel, the pages of issue 3 of Meth: The Immortal are trickling out. Hoping to release it by March, which is later than planned, but at least it's on its way. Incidentally, I was also delayed by a couple of story and character breakthroughs that caused me to pause and do a lot of reimagining of my overall story and world, which continues to evolve in new and exciting ways in my mind. At any rate, here's a quick thumbnail progress shot from p. 15 of the new issue just to prove it's actually happening!
It was a lot of fun, especially the chance to connect by phone with Rick and Glenn Larson, the two guys who inspired the original idea for the book. Have listen here.
Brief thoughts and updates on writing, publishing, and life