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Category Silverwood Chronicles Update

Flashback: Mary & Joseph The Musical

Cover Art for Musical

Many things get accomplished when you rearrange and cleanup your office. The workspace is refreshed, which for me sparks a new surge of creativity. Items that have accumulated finally get put in their rightful resting place, usually the trashcan. Items that have managed to survive such previous purging now have the opportunity to be revisited in hopes they survive the current round.

This is where we begin. I have accumulated a lot of paper. Now, most people garner their fair share of bills, tax returns, school papers from their thirty-year-old’s fourth grade math assignment as examples. In addition to all of the above — yes I’m guilty, I still have papers from my oldest’s (not thirty yet) elementary school days — I have manage to write a lot. Unfortunately, it has been left scattered to various binders and folders over the years, but this week, I consolidated.

What does that mean? It means I kept one copy of the fifteen copies of the same one page poem and eliminated the others. It dawned on me that I have more unpublished writings than I do published which I am sure is true of every author. My intent with this series is to explore some of these lost gems of yesteryear in hopes that I spur some fond memories in those individuals that I many of these items touched.

My first product that I want to reminisce is the largest theatrical endeavor I believe I’ve ever undertaken. Some of my prose readers may not realize that I began my writing career in the theatrical genre. Many of these flashbacks will cover some of the plays that I’ve written. Mary & Joseph, started out as a simple effort to craft a new play for Christmas. What I ended up with was a two act, nine scene musical with eight original songs. The story was just supposed to be a modern day retelling of the Biblical account of Mary and Joseph from Luke chapter 2. Simple, right?

Let me step back and give you some history. I had just closed down my computer business at the start of the year, and I had taken a new job in downtown Indianapolis working at the Indiana State Department of Health. More specifically, I sat in a basement office underneath the sidewalks of Meridian Street, where, when it rained hard, we had to throw plastic sheets over our monitors so as not to destroy our computers.

Another cool sign of the times were smartphones were becoming all the rage. I had procured a Samsung SPH-i500 flip phone.

Samsung SPH-i500

This phone had the ability to recognize a certain handwriting style called graffiti. You could literally, write letters in the little gray square above the number pad and it would translate them into characters on the phone’s apps. Needless to say, this is how I wrote the vast majority of this musical’s dialog, while sitting in the Indianapolis Arts garden on my lunch breaks.

As the dialog began to flow, the idea for some songs came along with it. Before the end of spring 2000, I had written most of the scenes and all eight of the songs’ lyrics, but this is where things got real challenging.

I love music. I was in choir most of my life. I took piano lessons when I was younger, but I was not a composer. Time was limited, so I grabbed an old Casio keyboard that ran on double-A batteries and stashed it in my car. Now, instead of the peaceful, inspiring atmosphere of the Arts Garden, I spent my lunch breaks in my burning hot car, plucking notes out on that keyboard day after day. Even after weeks and weeks of cooking myself, I still barely had a melody line for four of them.

This is where Pastor Ben stepped in. Pastor Ben is a musician at heart, and he knew that I was trying to create something . . . above average. So, he put me in contact with one of his old friends named Greg. I believe Greg was affiliated with the Symphony. He invited me up to his home/studio and I sat down with him for a couple of hours. I explained to him what I was trying to accomplish, and I shared with him the notes I had jotted down.

What Do I Do Music
Original Notes from Mary & Joseph The Musical

What he did next blew me away. After studying each score, and asking a few more questions, he sat down at his keyboard and started playing precisely what I had heard in my head all those days I spent hunting and pecking on my Casio keyboard in that car.

Unfortunately, we were only able to do a handful of the total songs, because I had simply ran out of time. Pastor Ben and his daughter Ashley composed the music for my favorite song of the whole musical, “Anytime Now”, which announced the birth of Christ.

To this day during the Christmas music season, I will find myself recalling the lyrics to that particular song. I know there’s a recording of it somewhere. Maybe someday, I’ll stumble across it.

September 24th, 2020, marks the 20th anniversary of Mary & Joseph first rehearsal (at least by my records). 13 rehearsals later would be our first of two performances on December 15th and 16th of 2000.

Many people from my church came together to pull this production. So many helped out. In looking at the program, I was amazed that we were able to get it all together.

Cover Art for Musical
Cover Artwork for Mary & Joseph

Is silent progress still progress?

Author Wm. Matthew Graphman

The title of this post is in reference to the old adage, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, did it make any sound?” This is to say, I’ve not been actively updating my blog for some time. My absence should not equate to inactivity, quite the contrary. I have many projects I would like to share with you regarding updates.

Book 5 of the Silverwood Chronicles, Savior of Dayspring, is now in production. I have high hopes that it will be available sometime in September. This is huge for me as this completes the five book series that I started back in 2014. I can remember on several occasions during one of the many planning sessions with my creative consultant (also known as daddy-daughter dates), that I was never sure I could get to the end. I knew what the end would look like, sort of, but I personally was never confident that I would make it. However, after 82 chapters, 428,140 words and over 1728 pages (I don’t have the final page count for book 5), I made it.

Next on the list is in the area of game development. Designing and building games is a passion of mine that I thoroughly enjoy, but requires a different aspect of my brain than writing does. Super Computer, the card game, has been a fun project. Along with the Core set, I have been able to produce a small expansion that allows the players to attack other system builders. The latest expansion is a step back in time. Builders get to add retro parts to their computer builds to score big points. This expansion is nearly complete, and should be available through my distributor or this website in time for Christmas. I have an third expansion in the works as well dealing with the Internet, but that development has stalled as other projects have gained traction.

Staying with the gaming genre. I’ve been working on a Silverwood game. I’ve gone through several prototypes, and I’m finalizing the rule sets now. Look for demos and opportunities to see this game coming up at future shows.

Finally, I’m looking at an old manuscript and dusting it off to see if it can make a nice Novelette. It happens to be that first fantasy story I wrote long ago, but there’s something about that story now that is hitting me as worth polishing up an telling. We will see. All it takes is time and with Covid limiting the external excursions, I seem to have a little bit more of it than usual.

Cover Designs for Book 5

Savior of Dayspring Cover Prototypes

Cover Prototype 7
Original Prototype for NaNoWriMo
Prototype 2
Prototype 3
Prototype 4
Prototype 6
Cover Prototype 7 Original Prototype for NaNoWriMo Prototype 2 Prototype 3 Prototype 4 Prototype 6

YouTube’s Newest Star . . . or Not

Opportunities like this do not come along often in one’s career, so when the opportunity came to share my story as part of an advertising campaign for a service I use, I took it.

Backup for just a second and let me give you some background information.  A couple of years ago, I registered with a website that provides various learning tools to authors called https://www.authorlearningcenter.com.  This website is home to a plethora of webinars, podcasts and whitepapers to help aspiring authors along their journey regardless of where they are in that journey.

I originally tried it because I was looking for ideas and ways to build my brand.  What I found was way more than that.  The site is constantly adding new content and ways to help authors continue to pursue their craft and be more successful in it.  One of the fun features the site has is called the “Book Launch Tool.”  It’s essentially timeline tool that helps you track your progress through the book creation and publishing process.  I’ve been using it on my last two book projects and while it hasn’t necessarily changed the way I write, it does help me keep on track and get a realistic picture of where I am on any given project.

A month or so ago, someone from Author Learning Center contacted me about being part of an advertising campaign on YouTube.  They wanted to know if they could include my journey as part of a ad that would run.  It seemed like a no-brainer to me and so I answered a series of questions and shared with them some photos and what you see is attached is what is running.

I say all of this to encourage any of my author followers to check out the site.  They have a 30 day free-trial option that gives you pretty much access to all of the features and after that its like $10 a month.  They are always adding new content and features.  There’s even a way to reach out to other authors and create circles that can be used to bounce ideas and review works in progress.

Christmas At The Monroe County Fairgrounds

On another note, now that November is here that means Christmas cannot be far behind.  My last event of the year where you can get an autographed signed copy of my book or meet me in person will be at the ever growing Christmas at The Fairgrounds Event at the Monroe County Fairgrounds on Saturday November 10th.

After this, we will be taking a break from events for a few months as we try to finish up book 5.  In the meantime, I hope to roll out a Silverwood Chronciles prologue piece, Free to the internet, by Christmas.

 

 

Busy, Busy, Busy, and then some!

Creative Consultant as Taya

This summer has been amazingly busy for me and the creative consultant.  There have been a number of events that we’ve attended both locally and abroad not the least of which was GenCon 2018, but more on that later.

The highlight of the summer thus far has to be my recent trip to India.  Because of recent changes in my job, I was given the opportunity to travel to our remote partner’s office in Cochi India.  It was here that I got to meet, some for the first time, around 30 co-workers who partner with my organization to support our IT department.   Many of these fine people I’ve had the pleasure to talk to for years via internet conferencing, but I have never met face to face.

The seven days I spent there were both amazing and overwhelming as my friends treated me like a superstar.  Most of them knew that I had written several books, and a few lucky (or unlucky, depending on your perspective) had received copies of one of my books.  In an effort to set things straight, I had planned a surprise for them.  I had ordered in advance a case of books and had them drop shipped directly to the office there.  Then during my last day there, I treated the team to donuts and a complementary book signing.  View all the pictures here.

Signing a flurry of books for my friends.

Everybody, had a great time and everybody got at least one of my books.  There was one special individual who went above and beyond the call of duty during my trip there and made my stay a world-class affair.  Arjun earned, and that’s putting it lightly, a full set of the Silverwood Chronicles.

Arjun holding his Silverwood Chronicles Set.

In case you noticed, it also coincided with a traditional celebration at the office, so in the spirit of cooperation, I dressed up in a traditional dhoti.  You can go to my India Gallery to see many more of my friends.

Fans of Chel & Riley and the Silverwood Chronicles

A close second to this was my opportunity to show my books at GenCon 2018, the greatest four days of gaming.  The CC (creative consultant) stepped up her game and cosplayed Taya from the Silverwood Chronicles.  We also meet some repeat friends from the recent InconJunction event who were ready to by the next book in the series.

Nathan and the Candy Conspiracy

 

We also got to share some time with other great authors.  I was very blessed to be near some great people that were there not just to sell books, but where very much interested in establishing relationships and having a good time.  Nathan was once such author.  He had a gimmick that included a cookie/candy jar in

the form of a TARDIS (Dr. Who’s famous time machine).  We got hours of comedy from the fact that no matter how hard Nathan tried, guests at his table were intimidated by the candy offered and had to be compelled to open the lid and see that there was indeed candy inside for the taking.  Thanks Nathan Marchand for the many laughs and being a great sport about it.

Coming up next is MakeVention and the Indy Toy and Comic Expo at the Bloomington Convention Center, August 25 and 26th.  Come see us there if you can.

Let Me Explain

I somehow managed to make it through the entire month of April without posting, well almost.  I should probably explain.  The month started out with my first book signing event which included a demo on Do-It-Yourself board game design at the fan run Who’s Yer Con and Indypendent Creator show.  However, due to some – I am sure unforeseen scheduling oversights (one being Easter Sunday and another being Comic Con was going on downtown) — the attendance for the show was less than exciting.

I did meet a few new friends there and generally had a good time, but the event was not what I or any of the other artists and authors were hoping for.  Needless to say, I had put a lot of energy and time into preparing for it, so I spent the next week recuperating (some would say brooding).  That very next weekend an event involving my son which could have cost him his life, and I spent several days in the hospital with him.  But God is good, and my son is going to recover fully.

Somewhere in this chaos we call life, book four of the Silverwood Chronicles was released with little to no fanfare.  I am playing catch-up now, and all of you should know by now of the exciting news.  (The roar of the crowd is deafening)  Soft covers are in stock as I write this post and hard covers should be available later this week.

My next opportunity to meet new friends is coming up at Indy Pop Con, June 8-10.  This will by far be the biggest event I have participated in, and should be an excellent trial-run for Gen Con coming up in August.  Somewhere in there I hope to be a part of InConjunction, but details for that event are still pending.

Having gone through this episode with my youngest, and having an equally traumatic experience with my oldest almost 24 years prior to the day, I remembered that the most important things in this life are the people we spend it with.  It’s not about things we have or the places we visited or the schools we attended or the degrees we’ve earned; those have very limited value in the grand scheme of things.  It is the relationships we have with those we love including but not limited to, our family, friends and our God, that will bring us true contentment and satisfaction.  Those other things — meh — they won’t mind that you pour yourself into people.

I am looking forward to hearing what you think of the Friends From Mountain Forge.  Let me know, please!

Who’s Yer Con and the IndyPendent Creator Show

My first event for 2018 is quickly approaching. I will be signing books as part of the Indypendent Creator Show on the last day of Who’s Yer Con on April 1st at the Wyndham West in Indianapolis. You can find more details on the events page of the Silverwood Chronicles Facebook page.

During the show, I will be doing a break-out session / workshop on DIY Board Game design. I am looking forward to interacting with anyone who has a board game idea or would find it interesting to publish their own board game.

Book Four: Friends From Mountain Forge is now in production and will be available soon! I cannot wait to share this adventure with you all. There are several chapters in this book that I think are some of my favorite scenes yet. Certainly the most memorable chapter has Rift risking his life to save his friends in a fight to the death against four rogue Battle Wolves. Should I feel weird that I notice a tear form in my eye by the time I reach the end of the chapter?

I hope to see many of you up at Who’s Yer Con on Sunday, April 1st (Easter Sunday). Yes, I know, ‘what were they thinking?’

Book 4 Updates and New Events

This is a very exciting post for me.  Book Four is currently in the revision stages with edits and comments flying in from all over the place.  The army of editors and proofreaders that are pouring over the manuscript have been providing some amazing feedback which I can only be thankful for.  I am hoping to have most of the reviews back to me in the next week or so.  In either case, I plan on working on the next revision starting either this weekend or on Monday at the latest.  The goal is to have the book ready for production by the end of February at the latest.

I am also excited about the prospects of some upcoming book signing events that I have been working on.  The next event I will be at is the INDYpendent Creator Show on April 1st.  This event is part of the larger Who’s Yer Con 10 which will be held at the Wyndham West Hotel in Indianapolis on March 30 – April 1.  There will be artist, authors and comic book creators from all over and should be an exciting time.  The overall event is a great family gaming event, and you simply cannot beat the admission price — FREE.

The next event that I am working on, but have not finalized, is  InConJunction, July 6-8 at the Indianapolis Marriott East.  I am awaiting confirmation for the event, but everything is looking promising.  I will share more details about this event as it gets closer.

The last event I will share with you could be a game changer for me.  I have submitted an application for the author’s avenue at this year’s GenCon.  Some of you may not know this, but it is the largest event of its kind and it is held in Indianapolis every year.  Last year’s attendance was over 200K.  My application has been submitted, and I suspect that the review process as well as the competition for spots will be fierce.  The opportunity to showcase The Silverwood Chronicles would be an enormous boost and something I’ve considered for the last two years.  I’ll keep you posted as I know more.

Finally, the remaining chapters of book five now have a rough outline.  I hope to begin work on the draft very soon.  Given GenCon’s August date, it is possible, although unlikely, that I could have it completed by then.  Prayers are appreciated.

2018 and Beyond

Welcome to 2018.  I know, I am a little late to the game.  This should come as little surprise as those of you that know me understand I like to juggle many things at the same time.  Some of you would say, and rightly so, too many things.

While I’m not a big resolutions type of person, I do like to make plans.  So, I’ve been thinking about what some goals would be for 2018.  For purposes of this blog, I will focus on some goals I have for writing in general and The Silverwood Chronicles in particular.

As I’ve tried to be clear whenever I talk about it, The Silverwood Chronicles was planned around five stories and book 5 is a little over half done.  One major goal of mine will be to finish book 5 and get it out before the end of the year.  I would be really happy to have it out by mid-summer, but more on that later.  Book Four, is currently in the revision stages and should be out in the next couple of months. I am hopeful it will be available before spring.

Another goal I have for myself is to move into some new venues for promotion of my books.  Writing, I have discovered is hard, but not as hard as marketing.  I have known for many years that I was lousy at marketing, and I am just now realizing that without lots of spare cash, its up to me to make this thing happen . . . or not.   Therefore, if anything spectacular is going to happen, I need to move things forward.  This means searching out new avenues to make my works available.

One major venue will be the 2018 GenCon Author’s Avenue.  The application process opens up later this month, and I hope to be accepted.  I have no idea what the competition for the few spots that they have available are, but getting into that venue could be a game changer.  Another big opportunity is the annual Indiana Historical Societies Holiday Author Fair.  For the last two years, I have known about this event, but I have been unsuccessful in securing the information necessary to apply for it.  This year, my hope is to at least apply.

I continue to search for other opportunities in and around Central Indiana.  I am also looking for at least one, maybe more, chances to speak at an elementary or middle/high school setting.  This gives me an opportunity not only to expand my exposure but to give back to the community and encourage children to write as well as read.  I could use your help in this regards.  If you are a part of a PTO, or have insight with a school board and can drop my information off, I would be very appreciative of it.

The last goal I will share with you is discovering the “next thing.”  Once The Silverwood Chronicles is done, I will be left with a vacuum of sorts.  I hope to participate, as I have the last two years, in the National Novel Writing competition this coming November, but as of now, I am project-less for that event.  I have a few ideas that I have shelved over the years that I could try to resurrect.  One option is an old fantasy novel that is mostly done but needs serious updating or possibly a mystery that I have in mind.

Thank you all for your continued support.  I am getting very excited about book four’s upcoming release.  I’ll share more with you on that as the time nears.  Until then, happy reading!