Just drove from Kimberley, BC, to Swift Current, SK, to kick off the second leg of the Unlimited book tour. I spent some of that time in the car thinking through a few final story points for book three in the Milligan Creek Series, The Water War. I was so inspired that, after grabbing a quick bite for supper, I sat down in my hotel room and banged out the first chapter. Excited to finally break the ice on this book. It's gonna be great! Meanwhile, over the next seven days, I'll be making my way through Saskatchewan and Alberta, doing writing workshops at various schools and also at the Young Authors' Conference in Edmonton this Saturday. See my other tour stops and contact me to book a writing workshop here.
This fall, things are really heating up in terms of writing workshops across Western Canada. I'm excited to be visiting so many places across Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC. See my events page for more details and to book a workshop at your school or conference. But first, a quick trip Down Under to teach a one-week screenwriting class in Brisbane.
Meanwhile, work on The Water War, book three in the Milligan Creek series, is progressing nicely. I'm also laying the groundwork for another stand-alone novel, The Judges, which I'm adapting from my own screenplay of the same name. It's about three friends who accidentally resurrect the most terrifying outlaws ever to to menace the Old West. Stay tuned for more details on these and other books!
Today I have been doing some preliminary plotting for The Water War, the next instalment in the Milligan Creek series, and I have just settled on my antagonist, whose name came to me courtesy of my nine-year-old daughter, Lark. I won't share her name yet, but it's a lot of fun to say and unlike any name you've heard before.
The problem is, once again, my antagonist is a woman--in this case, a teenage girl. That's two books in a row. (In Unlimited, the antagonist is Henrietta Blunt.) Is that a problem? Am I secretly at odds with the female half of our species? I don't think so, and I certainly hope not, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see how this book turns out!
Things are really heating up on the Unlimited book tour. So far, I am booked to do writing workshops in 13 schools across Saskatchewan and Alberta this fall, including the Young Authors' Conference in Edmonton on Nov. 4. I also have a couple of schools booked for the spring with more waiting in the wings. See the events page for more details. It's exciting to see all the interest, and I can't wait to get out there and get kids reading this book! If you'd like to book me to do a writing workshop at your school or event, just let me know. Go here to see some of the workshops I offer.
What is the Canadian Children's Book Centre, you ask? It's a national, not-for-profit organization dedicated to encouraging, promoting and supporting the reading, writing, illustrating, and publishing of Canadian books for young readers. You don't have to be a writer or illustrator to join; just someone who loves children's books and wants to promote reading. If you do become a member, you'll get the nifty publications pictured below. You can check out my profile and the workshops I offer here.
Our local newspaper, the Kimberley Bulletin, was kind enough to do a story on me and my recent books. You can read it here.
I'm so excited to get people reading Unlimited that I'm willing to give away five signed copies for FREE.
Sound too good to be true? It is. To qualify for a FREE copy, you must:
1. Finder a clever way to work "unlimited" into a sentence and then post that sentence, along with a link to this blog post (http://www.kevinmillerxi.com/blog/free-book-giveaway-contest) and the hashtag #Unlimited, on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram. Each social media platform you post on counts as one entry. Winners will be chosen based on cleverness, but if there's a tie, those extra social media platforms could prove to be the tipping point. :)
2. If you are lucky enough to receive a FREE signed copy (!), all I ask is that you post a brief review on Amazon.com or Amazon.ca after you're done reading it.
Sound simple? Then get to it. Winners will be announced Friday, September 22, 2017.
On October 2-3, I'll be in Herbert and Gladmar, SK, to do writing workshops and promote Unlimited. I'm also talking to several other schools in SK, Alberta, and BC about a tour in November. If you're interested in having me at your school, just hit me up through the contact page on this website. I work with all age groups, and I love doing it, so drop me a line!
From November 2016 to the end of August 2017, I had one main focus: finish Unlimited and get it published. Immediately, my focused shifted to an entirely new goal: making people aware of the book.
When you don't have a big publishing company behind you, marketing a book falls solely on the author. Therefore, over the past couple of weeks, I've spent countless hours sending thousands of emails to teachers, librarians, and other "gatekeepers" who can alert children about the book (kids are hard to reach directly online). I've also submitted the book to contests, advertised on social media, given out a few free copies in exchange for reviews, reached out to organizations to see if they'll recommend it to their members, sent press releases to newspapers and magazines, and pretty much everything else I can think of to get the book noticed. It's a daunting task, which I've only just begun, and I dare say by the time I'm done, I'll probably have spent more time marketing the book than I did writing it.
Meanwhile, I've also been laying the groundwork for book 3 in the Milligan Creek series, The Water War. It involves a game Matt, Chad, Andrew, and Dean come up with to help get them through a long, hot summer. We even got a chance to test a version of the game at my son's birthday a couple of weeks ago. I've decided I'm going to tackle the narrative structure a bit differently than in previous books, adopting a non-linear approach. I'll experiment with the first few chapters and see how it goes.
In the meantime, dozens of copies of Unlimited have gone out into the world, and I can't wait to start hearing back from readers. Now it's back to the emails . . .