2016 Johnson County Fair Update #4

My Creative Consultant made her first appearance at the fair.  Unfortunately, she was not able to stay long and meet many of you, but she is going to be around all day tomorrow and Saturday.

Someone, please, find for me a statistic that proves that extreme heat causes a person to forget things.  There has to be a statistic for this because I really want to believe its true.  Is there something wrong with that?   I only mention this because there were several times during my eight hour shift at the fair today that I tried to strike up a conversation with someone who had either been there on a previous day, or who had already been by earlier in the evening.  Oh, but I did remember alma mater mom.  Although after I said “Hi <x> mom”, I realized that I had missed X’s name slightly.  It’s the heat!  I know it and someone is going to give me a study that proves it.  Right.  Someone.  Anyone.

We got to visit with some old friends.  I don’t mean they were old, necessarily, I mean that I had known them for a long time, but that it had been a while since I’d seen them.  So, maybe that does make them old.  If it does, it makes me old too.

There was no clear winner tonight of the “What type so of books do you like to read?” question.  The closest we got to a unique answer was one individual who explained to me that they enjoyed historical fiction.  I know this is a popular genre for some, but as for me, I like history.  I really do. I also like fiction.  I like it so much that I’ve chosen that as my writing platform.  But for some reason, if you’re going to look at history, look at history.  History in and of itself is very exciting — for the most part.  Adding fiction into the mix just muddies the importance of the events of history that the fiction is hung off of.  #EndRant

I did meet one young lady today that didn’t let me get past my opening description of the Guardian of the Silverwood book, before she had it in her hands and said I need to buy this.  I honestly didn’t know how to respond.  Don’t get me wrong, it was very cool and I was encouraged by it, but it really did knock me off balance for a second or two.

I’ve already mentioned in the last couple of updates about aspiring new authors.  Today I not only got to meet a woman who was working on a gargoyle series, but I also ran into a budding young filmmaker.  It was very neat to talk with both of them and I wish them well in their endeavors.

Tomorrow’s the big night — Friday.  If you’ve been by and haven’t gotten your copy of Guardian yet, I’m down to 4 copies.  I’m overwhelmed by the amount of support for series that I’ve received and I had no real expectation to sell as many as I have.  If you happen to miss it tomorrow, I promise to hold over the Fair price including FREE shipping until I can get a new batch printed and delivered over the next week or two.

Good night everyone.  I look forward to seeing you all at the Fair!

2016 Johnson County Fair Update #3

My mom just has to take my picture standing next to the booth.  Really mom, don't you have enough pictures of me!
My mom just has to take my picture standing next to the booth. Really mom, don’t you have enough pictures of me!

Today was family day, or so it seemed.  My mom, my mom’s best friend, my mother in law and her husband all dropped by to encourage me and visit the fair.  Really, I think they were there for the elephant ears or yummy rib eye steak sandwiches, but they told me they stopped by to see me.

So many stories today I can’t possibly fit them all into this post.  Well, I could, but I would be up until morning writing this post, and I really, really want to go to bed.  My feet hurt like I’ve been at Disney World for a week.

Probably the most exciting encounter today has to go to the young lady who is going to be a Junior at my alma mater.  What was even more exciting was to find out that she too is in the Computer Science program there.  And still more amazing, she’s even had a class with one of my former professors.  It was so cool to get a chance to catch up first hand on how the university has changed recently and what’s going on there.

Tonight I was also fortunate to run into not one but two young authors.  A young man and a young lady.  Both of them had very interesting stories to tell and I hope that they eventually get the chance to share them with the world.  I cannot stress enough how much I enjoy meeting other authors, especially ones that have just started this journey for the first time.  I was able to enjoy some extended conversations with them about the stories and their progress.

The winner for the night to the answer, “What types of books do you like to read?” was the young lady that answered with “Poetry”.  I don’t know why that surprised me coming from a young lady, but you don’t hear young people expressing a interest in poetry very often.

Thank you again to all of you who stopped by today.  It was indeed my pleasure to talk with all of you.  Those of you that made a purchase, I truly hope you enjoy my stories, and I look forward to hearing back from you regarding your experiences.

My bed is calling me.  I must obey.  Must sleep.  Fingers . . . are . . . slow—–ing down.   Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

 

2016 Johnson County Fair Update #2

Tonight’s fair event had many exciting encounters.  First of all, there was no rain.  YEAH!  Rain has a tendency to dampen turn out, get it rain . . . dampen, that’s right, I’ll be here all week.  Don’t forget to tip your server.  If you’re in the Information Technology field, what is Server Tipping.  Is that kind of like cow tipping?

Most of the joking aside, we had a better turn out than the previous two nights.  One encounter involved a mom who is currently working on her own children’s book.  It was very exciting to talk to her about what progress she has made on her project and what all still needs to be done.  As I mentioned in the previous update, I find it both encouraging and exciting to hear other aspiring author’s stories and journeys down the road of publishing.

I’ve gotten some of the most interesting answers to the question, “Do you like to read?”  Or the alternate ice breaker, “Do you know any readers?”  Generally, the answer is either a solid “Yes” or “No”, but sometimes you get some very unique answers.  The funniest response to the follow up question, “What types (genre) of books do you like to read?” came from a young lady who indicated that she liked all kinds of books, but that fantasy fiction (essentially what I classify the Silverwood Chronicles as)  was on the absolute bottom of the list.  She even went so far as to tell me that if she ever found a genre that she liked less than fantasy fiction, she would make sure to come back around and give “Guardian of the Silverwood” a try.  We had a good laugh together.

My booth partner and I also had an encounter with a self-ascribed Atheist.  The conversation was very cordial and he was very encouraging to both of us even knowing that the world view from which both of us write is more Christian than secular.  He was interested in “Guardian”, but prefers his books as audio books.  He is not alone.  I know there is a growing market for audio books for “people on the go”, so I may have to look on more time at the possibility of producing an audio version.

We met so many nice and encouraging people tonight that this post would go on for an hour and I’m already so exhausted I can barely keep my eyes open.  My biggest fear is that I didn’t take in the “Book 1” effect of “Guardian of the Silverwood”.  By that I mean when we planned our order for this event, I tried to balance out the order.  This I now know was a mistake.  I should have ordered twice as many of book one as I did of “A Spy in Nightfall” because of the “try it” factor.  Oh well, you live and learn; hopefully.

Good night.  Blessings to all.  I hope to see some of you at the fair tomorrow between 2pm and 10pm.

Fair Update #1

After two days at the Johnson County Fair I can honestly say I’ve had the opportunity to meet a wide variety of people.  Book sales have not been what I’d hoped them to be, but the experience in meeting some of these wonderful people certainly helps make up for it.

For example, two young ladies stopped by the booth.  One of them is herself an aspiring writer.  I got a chance to hear about a story she’s working which sounds very exciting.  She did purchase a book, but more importantly, I hope I was able to encourage her to continue writing.

A second example was when another young lady and her family stopped by.  I introduced her to Chel & Riley and I immediately knew something was different but I couldn’t put my finger on it.  After my booth partner started talking about his book it was then that I realized the mom was deaf and the daughter was translating for her.  That moment was very special because I saw in that little girl’s eyes a love for her mom.  She was extremely patient with us in communicating our stories to her mother and we hope to see them back later this week.

I also got to meet some old friends, Warner & Tiffany, Craig & Virginia, Daryl, and Chad.  I hope to see more of you this week.  I’d love to say “Hi” and see how you’re doing.

Until next time,

Blessings

To The Fair We Go

I must say that I’m getting very excited about the Johnson County Fair, July 17-23. This will be my first fair promotion which I hope allows me to introduce my writing to a slew of new readers. Marketing materials have been ordered: two-sided bookmarks, business cards and a 2 x 6 foot banner. I have a reasonable supply of books to sign, but I can’t help but second guess if it is enough. I’m sure my book sales consultant would tell me to order more, but there’s always the website. We are still working on final pricing and promotions. If you’re in the area, stop by. I’ll be in the booth every afternoon and evening till close. Kathryn — my creative consultant and all around inspiration — will be there in the mornings when she isn’t at basketball camp.

If you won’t be able to stop by, please tell someone you know — preferably someone who enjoys reading — in the Franklin / Johnson County area to come say “Hi” for you.

With all this focus on the fair, progress on book three has been slow. Chapter six is finally complete and it ended up at nearly 6,500 words, which is one of the largest chapters I’ve written to date. There is just a lot of ground to cover, but maybe I can find a way during revisions to reduce it some. I’ve been listening to my readers and critics and I’m trying to add more details to each scene and still not bog the story down.

I’m starting Chapter 7 today, and hopefully I will be able to get into a groove over the next couple of weeks and start cranking out some serious . . . insert appropriate synonym for words. It won’t be long before I’ll have to start thinking about cover designs. I’ve also considered including some lead-in artwork on each chapter. That will probably happen if I have enough content, but that’s going to have to come from outside of these fingers as I cannot hardly draw a straight line with a ruler.

I look forward to seeing some of you soon. Until then, keep reading and keep dreaming.

Where has he been?

That might be a question some of you are asking that don’t see me on a regular basis.  Suffice it to say, I’ve been busy, but not working on book three of the Silverwood Chronicles like I should.

Instead, I went back to a project that I started almost two years ago.  A friend of mine with Indie Ninja Design had told me of a game he was working on and wanted to know if I wanted to play test it.  Being the game nut that I am I said sure , couldn’t wait.  So it was that I was able to play test a very early variant of a game that he still has regrettably not released yet.  It was intriguing and even fun.  We talked through some suggested changes and that was pretty much that.

I did ask him where he got the printed components – the cards – for the game.  They looked amazing.  He pointed me to an online source where he was able to put this prototype together and that got me thinking.  I had previously put together some video game ideas back in my early early days of programming.

(Begin Rabbit Trail) How many of you out there that consider yourselves geeks or are into computers/programming hasn’t at least tried to program a game?  Be honest?  (End Rabbit Trail)

I checked out the website and my brain instantly started working on a project related to the Chel & Riley book series.  At first, as it does with a lot of my projects, I just wanted to see what I could put together.  But as I got into the design, I really felt like I had put something together that was fun and enjoyable.  We pulled together some play testers and ran it through several iterations and we finally found a pretty good balance when I hit a roadblock.

I can’t draw.  Unlike my friend at Indie Ninja, who is a very skilled illustrator, I’m lucky to draw a straight line.  If you want an ripples in the water, I’m your guy.  The proof of concept game that I had put together I used clip art off of Google images.  The big problem with that is most of those images are not public domain and therefore require some licensing.  The realization that I would either have to source every one of the 100+ images I used in my product completely derailed my efforts.  And so the game sat in a Ziplock baggy on my shelf 90% complete for more than a year.

About six weeks ago, I hit a writer’s block on Chapter 6 and looked for other ways to be creative.  Sometimes writers have to do this, I’m convinced.  As it happened I pulled up the files for my game and started playing around with it.  I decided that I would make an honest attempt to locate a image library on the internet where I could procure the licensing needed for the images or close facsimiles and release the game.  This was a daunting task.  If you’ve never checked out the myriad of image libraries on the internet, don’t, unless you want your mind thrown through a blender.

The cost was staggering to license the desired images.  I was ready to give up when I stumbled across another site that offered images under the Creative Commons licensing.  I was amazed and inspired.  I was able to drudge up most of the images I wanted and some that were better than my originals.  So, I’ve been applying myself to re-skinning the game with all of these CC0 images for the last several weeks, and the game is complete.  I will be requesting a beta copy from the printers soon and assuming the product quality is satisfactory, I will make a public announcement and release the information so that all two of you that read my stuff can go out and encourage me by buying a copy at a steep discount from me — meaning you’ll say you want a copy and can’t afford it so I’ll just give you one.

Here is a peek at the box cover.

Box Top

The good news is, I’m done, mostly.  The better news is, this means I can get back to writing book three.

Until next time.

A Hawk Lord never forgets . . . or something like that.

You’ve heard the old adage, “An elephant never forgets.”  Well, in working on book three, I’ve stretched that paradigm just a little.  Let me explain.

The opening of the book which is built on the first three chapters or so, are very important to me.  For me it is here where I set the stage for everything that is going to happen in the rest of the story.  Going into this book, I had a very focused idea of what I wanted to accomplish in the opening and so I wrote.

Writing, as I’ve stated in may Facebook posts, does not always come in consistent patterns for me.  Some weeks I’ll get to write several times over the course of as many days and then there are times where I’ll not have an opportunity to write for a week or more either by outside force or by self-procrastination.   This has a tendency to cause writers to forget and lose their way.   This impacts my writing time as it often takes me fifteen or twenty minutes just to get started.  You may find that strange, but consider it time necessary to mentally shift gears.

Anyways, while cruising through chapter four, I got to a point in the story and I immediately noticed that something wasn’t right.  Now, when an author gets to a point in the story that he/she is creating and something is right, you know you have a problem.  So, I did what any sane human being would do, I asked my creative consultant what was missing.  She too acknowledged that something was amiss and we quickly set out to discover what it was.

Allow me to deviate from that thought for a moment.  Keep in mind in book two I tried to re-introduce to a limited degree each of the main characters just in case someone happened to pick up book two before picking up book one.  It’s good practice so that they will have some since of who’s who throughout the book.  They certainly won’t know all there is to know about them, but they will at least be able to identify the main characters.  I executed the same strategy in book three and was mostly successful.  I say “mostly” because I realized that what was missing wasn’t a what, but a who.  Raskin, our faithful, life-bound hawk lord had been completely left out of the manuscript up to this point.

I was ill.  I couldn’t believe I had left out this character.  Keep in mind, I listen to all of the feed back I receive from my readers and by in large, Rift is everyone’s favorite character.  I get that, but Raskin has a special place in my heart.  Unlike most of the other characters, Raskin up till now has an innocence that everyone else, even Taya as you’ll see early in book three, doesn’t always project.

This required me to go back over the previous chapters and find out where I had went wrong.  By that I mean, where does Raskin naturally fit into things.  I have to introduce him, because he’s needed in this story.  Fortunately, it didn’t take long to figure out where to introduce him.  In fact, in doing so, I was able to put in some much desired foreshadowing of things to come.

It goes without saying, now that I’m done with chapter four and onto chapter five and just over a quarter of the way done with book three, I now feel like everyone’s on the road they need to be.  Let’s just hope I have them on the right road going in the right direction.

Blessings,
Wm. Matthew Graphman

Goodreads Giveaway results

So, my first Goodreads.com giveway has closed. 1,207 individuals registered for the giveaway. Goodreads has notified the ten winners and I will be sending their signed copies of the book out in the next couple of days. In the meantime, book two is buzzing through production. I’ve attached a preview of the title banner.

Preview of A Spy in Nightfall
Preview of A Spy in Nightfall

Once I’ve had a chance to make some subtle changes to the cover, I’ll be sure to release share it with you.

If you haven’t done so, please check out my author web page: http://www.matthewgraphman.com/ It’s a work in progress, but I hope to be adding more details to it soon. I’m using WordPress, which is new to me, so I’m still getting familiar with the features and capabilities. Any of my Bloomington friends that are familiar with it and want to provide me with guidance, I’m all ears!