Just a note to let my loyal readership, fellow bloggers, and fellow authors know that I have not fallen off the face of the planet. I’m still busy at the authoring business here at home-office central.
This summer I was busy with lots of day trips, some vacation adventures, and lots of family visits, which set me way behind schedule. But that is all now a thing of the past since the new school year has been off to a great start for my children–and me. Some of our summer fun here: a trip to Wisconsin, enjoying the lack of crowds (as compared to southern California) and the beautiful scenery and wonderful weather, especially in Door County on Lake Michigan; a trip around the San Diego harbor closer to home; an evening walk here at home with my daughter and our very own ‘Rosco the Rascal.’
Cana Island Lighthouse, WI
San Diego harbor tour, CA
Door County, WI
Peninsula State Park, Door County, WI
‘Rosco’ going for a walk at a local park
September and October are my favorite months of the year, for many reasons, not the least of which is that my life becomes more predictable and my time more structured once again as the kids settle into the routine of a new school year. This tends to mean that I can actually get a few things done now and then.
NEW RELEASE ON THE WAY
This brings me to my next point–that I’ve been trying like crazy to finish my Christmas-themed book in time for publication this year! I fell way behind schedule on it this summer. Unfortunately, it won’t be ready well ahead of the Christmas season like I’d hoped, but I’m determined to publish it within the next several months, nevertheless. It’s been three years in the making (having changed it drastically over that time), and I just don’t want to shelve it again despite the mad dash to the finish line. Even if it becomes January before it’s final, I am determined to publish it anyway.
Below, this picture hints at where I found some of the inspiration, walking through the holiday lights contest a few years ago here in our town.
I’m working furiously on edits right now and have been neglecting most other things (this blog and my newsletter, to name just a few) to finish it. So keep an eye on your inbox and social media feeds for news on the book. It’s titled Rosco the Rascal and the Holiday Lights and is a story about a local holiday lights contest in the McKendrick’s town. James and Mandy both have their own story lines in the book, from patrolling the neighborhood to marching in the holiday train car parade. Rosco’s got his own story, too, and well, you can imagine how that goes for a while before things get back on the uptick.
HARDCOVERS, BOOKSTORES, AND LIBRARIES–OH MY! That said, there have been some other interesting updates to the Rosco the Rascal series in the past several months. First of all, I’ve managed to put all four of my books into hardcover, complete with library-ready catalog blocks printed in them. They’re available on Amazon at the full price or to distributors and libraries through Ingram at the full retailer’s discount and are fully returnable.
Even more importantly, I’ve also managed to find some libraries (and my local book store) to carry them! I’ve had a great response in the past six months since embarking on this project and have sold about 50 hardcovers since then, with about 85% of those going to libraries, I’m estimating. Most of these establishments are across California where I’ve started my library marketing campaign, since I decided to start with libraries near home.
But I’ll be contacting many other regions this year, and of course, the books are available nationwide and internationally. If you know of (or personally work at or manage) a library or bookstore that might be interested in carrying any of my books, please email me and I’ll send you a one-sheet with series and purchase information if you need it.
In other, super exciting news, after many months working with Voyage Media,my screenplay project is nearing completion. I realize I’ve been rather hushed about this since announcing it last spring because, frankly, I’m working with some serious pros in the business and want to keep a lid on it until the project is finalized. For those who haven’t heard about this, I’ve got a writer and a producer adapting my book, Rosco the Rascal Visits the Pumpkin Patch as a screenplay in conjunction with Voyage Media, a creator-owned entertainment studio.
A few things I can tell you about it at the moment:
1) the screenplay is being written by a screenwriter/director with multiple movies under his belt. I am blown away by his knack for story. He writes fantastic dialogue as well and totally ‘gets’ my characters! Although he’s living and working in Hollywood, he’s from the American Midwest and knows personally what it’s like to be a kid running around on a farm, and what it’s like to get lost in a ‘real’ (as in, really, really big) corn maze. He has written and directed several family movies as well as romantic comedies, and more.
2) We have a producer overseeing the whole project who is acting as a script consultant, editor, and project manager. She’s also keeping us on target in terms of marketability. What strikes me the most is that she knows so well how to ask the questions that provide both the writer and me, (and I’m acting as both ‘client’ and collaborator, since it’s my book we’re adapting), with the inspiration that gets us to the next level at each stage of the project. Her credentials include work for top tier Hollywood studios and movies you have all heard of!
3) The script will be feature-length (about an hour and a half long) and we are looking to pitch it as a live-action production. We’re not opposed to thinking about it as an animated feature, however, but it’s being written with live action in mind.
4) It will be a PG production aimed at kids slightly older than the Rosco the Rascal books are, for the sake of capturing a wider audience (about ages 7-14, plus their parents, grandparents, and others who like Family films). The books are aimed at 6-10 year-olds and I’d definitely call them Rated G, but we wanted a slightly more thrilling, more tween-centric, scary-but-not-too-scary Halloween adaptation with situations that would appeal to a wider spectrum of ages.
5) The screenplay is wildly different from the book! I wasn’t quite prepared for this at first, but I am really loving the direction it has taken over the course of the last several months. The kid characters, Mandy and James, will be a couple of years older than they are in the books (they’ll be 9 and 12), and the story line involves an additional mystery. We’re giving the whole thing a sort of Scooby Doo vibe.
6) The screenplay also plays up the Halloween theme a bit more than in the book, and we’ve employed a Gold Rush-era ghost story to set the spookiness in motion!
I can’t wait to share more when I can!
ODDS AND ENDS
With all this going on, I haven’t been doing any school visits or book festivals this year, and as a result I’ve had loads of inventory (well, a couple of boxes of books) sitting around taking up space in my house. So, I decided to make some donations to worthy charities instead of watching them gather dust. I’d rather the books are out there in the hands of kids, being read, after all!
I’d like to spotlight the charities I’ve worked with here in case anyone else is interested in getting involved with these programs or donating books to them. And if you know of another charity that might interest me (or that you’d like me to share with my social media if I so choose), please drop me a line and I’ll take a look.