As of this moment, I am 29,711 words into Off the Hook, book 8 in the Milligan Creek Series. This story revolves around a fishing tournament, with a quest for fame, fortune, fish, and revenge driving the action. I'm having a blast writing it, and I can often be found laughing to myself in my office in response to my characters' crazy antics. The way things are going, I should have a solid first draft by the end of next week, and with any luck, the book will be available in the first a quarter of 2024.
In the meantime, I'm also very close to finishing the backstory for Teeth, book 3 in the Uncanny Icons Series, which is about some glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth that are far more than a mere novelty item.
Last month, I also completed The Stream Team, which is book 1 in a new six-book series called Game On that I'm writing for Bakken Books. It's about a group of unlikely gamers who are trying to become a championship Fortnite squad. The book will come out in the first quarter of next year.
And don't forget Danica Panica! The first six books in that series are now available from Bakken as well, and if you order before Dec. 15, you can still get them in time for Christmas!
Here's a brief quote:
There’s something about Kevin Miller’s middle-grade books that bring a giant grin to my face. It might be the nostalgia, the comedy, or the delightful Canadian read, but regardless these books are a hoot. It’s sometimes hard to believe we are seven books deep in this series, but they only continue to get more fun and better! The hijinks of this small Canadian town and its residents are absolutely hilarious and pretty relatable. Adults and kids alike will enjoy this book (and series!), which is packed with friendship, comedy, and adventures.
You can read the rest of it here.
Seeing as LARPers is about some geeky kids who are rather obsessive about tabletop RPGs (role-playing games), it seemed only natural that some of them had invented their own language to go along with their characters. To help me come up with that language, I turned to my oldest daughter, Gretchen, who just completed her third year of linguistics at UBC. She invented a language from scratch, and we had a lot of fun implementing it in the book. It comes complete with a glossary at the back, so you can put it to good use.
Incidentally, this is actually the second Milligan Creek book to feature a made-up language. See Snowbound for the other language, although I can't take any credit for making that one up.
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.
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!
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.
I'm deep into the throes of writing LARPers, book 7 in the Milligan Creek Series, which is about live action role-playing. Therefore, I'm deep into Dungeons & Dragons lore and resources. The purple thing to the left is the original D&D campaign I got when I was about thirteen years old. Then I also have the Player's Handbook and the Monster Manual open. I'm having so much fun with this!
Since 2016, it's been my tradition to release a new book in the Milligan Creek series every fall. Unfortunately, this year I ran into a bit of a snag: cancer. That's right, the big C.
I was diagnosed in mid-August, had my preliminary appointments from Sept. 3-12 and then entered treatment on Sept. 20, which lasted until Nov. 10. As you can imagine, not only the shock of the diagnosis but also the treatment itself rocked my world. I tried to write during treatment, but treatment was so difficult that I only managed to get out a chapter or two. I need to be in a positive, excited, happy headspace to write these books, and that's not at all how I would describe the process of undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.
Post treatment, I've had several difficult weeks of recovery during which eating, drinking, and sleeping have been difficult, but I'm finally back into a headspace and a place of physical health that I'm feeling the creative juices flowing again.
The good news is, not only has writing resumed on LARPers, book 7 in the series, my cancer prognosis is quite positive. The type of cancer I have has a 95% cure rate, and so far things are looking great. That means (hopefully), there'll be many more Milligan Creek books and other books in the years ahead. Stay tuned for updates!
Brief thoughts and updates on writing, publishing, and life