Archive for Family

Thank You

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , , on April 23, 2018 by Jessica Crichton

As I type, my beauteous friend Kitty is editing the first chapter for Scribbler’s Storytime. I’m feeling a strange kind of anxious, like this is the precipice of something huge that will change my life forever.

I’m at work. The day job. And everything here is as it should be. Calm. Collected. Organized. Just as it has been since I started here last July. There is no indication that today is any more special than any other day.

And yet, I’m feeling the universe… shift.

Maybe it’s just wishful thinking. Maybe it’s just that I haven’t done videos before so it’s exciting. Maybe it’s the whole new everything I’ve been working on these last few months.

Or maybe it really is the start of the rest of my life.

In any case, this feeling has given me thoughts of those who brought me to this place. I haven’t done this alone, and while it may be a bit premature, I want to make sure that I acknowledge those who have worked side-by-side with me through this journey.

From the very beginning to today.

So here is a list of people to whom this is a shout out, from earliest in my life to most recent. Thank you — so much — for your part in this great adventure I am on. Without you, some vital steps would never have happened. You have encouraged me, supported me, and cheered me on, and I will never, EVER forget that.

  • Sue Edmiston (AKA Mom)
  • Joanna Crichton (AKA Grandma)
  • Jill Charles
  • Beth Engelhard
  • Misty Robins
  • Anthony Sandoval
  • Cisily Sandoval
  • Conrad Sandoval
  • Jessica Suzanne Turner
  • Kim Thacker
  • Deby Fredericks
  • Kelly Milner Halls
  • John Bladek
  • Jairus Kelley
  • Erin Greene
  • Ronnie Ryno
  • Tim Martin
  • Shelley Martin
  • Nick Jensen
  • Molly Severns
  • Kaye Thornbrugh
  • Debi Schwartz
  • Robert McDonell
  • David Morris
  • Stephanie Regalado
  • Jill Roberts
  • Lesley Sabga
  • Roget Rachford
  • Ksenia Anske
  • Jessica Douglas
  • Brandie Maxwell
  • Kitty Keighley

Please realize that this is not an exhaustive list. It does not include the myriad of teachers, professors, professionals, friends, and family who have, at one time or another, given me encouragement, read my book(s), taught me how to be a better writer, and a billion other things. Those listed here are simply the ones who I can say have cheered me on the most consistently through the years, started me on a major part of my career path, and / or worked hard to edit, draw, paint, and otherwise perfect my worlds. If you’re listed here, it’s because I remember you as someone who gave me hope and help when I most needed it. If you’re on this list, you know why.

And you are thanked beyond words. Truly. Thank you.

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Website Revamp, Baby!

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , , on April 19, 2018 by Jessica Crichton

I’m gonna start with this awesome little nugget: I just found out I almost have 1000 blog followers! When and how did this happen? But most of you are very quiet. Say hi; I don’t bite! You all rock with your support. Thank you!

In case you can’t tell this site has had a bit of a makeover. I decided that if things pick up with “Guts and Glory” once the 3rd book is out, I MIGHT need this site to be ready. One thing I did was think about what people are looking for when they come to my site, especially those who ask for the URL from me in person — my books. Which before weren’t featured very well. *Facepalm* SO, now they are! I also shortened my menu and updated all the media and review information. I like it a lot more now. What do you think?

Other than FINALLY finishing Book 3, now it’s time for me to get on with completing http://gutsandglorybooks.com. That will take a lot more work, especially the fannish areas. My biggest challenge, besides Books’ Laboratory (anyone know how to create a game from scratch? EEP!) will be keeping everything safe for the kids who use it. I plan to have a requirement of the Nil Name quiz, so they can use that name instead of their own on, for example, the message boards (for the teens), the fan art area (for kids and teens), etc. I will also not have private message options, and I’ll need some mods and admins to help with the boards and chat.

Of course, the usage of these areas will be EXTREMELY small at first (and — let’s face it — possibly forever) but I don’t want there to be an issue I’m not anticipating, just in case. If anyone has any other ideas to keep the place on lock down, please let me know. The last thing I want is to make an unsafe place for my young readers!

But first, I need your help with the Nil Name quiz. I FINALLY got it to work for people other than me, so if you would be willing to take the quiz and tell me what you got and whether it was accurate, I’d really appreciate it. Thank you!

What’s Your Nil Name? Quiz

Updates from the Land of Nil

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2018 by Jessica Crichton

Hot on the heels of the new and improved version of Dr. Fixit’s Malicious Machine (which, by the way, is currently free on Kindle — GO GET IT BEFORE IT’S NOT ANYMORE!) comes its brand-new little sister, The Counterfeit Zombies of Noc!

As you can see, the cover is all ready thanks to the beautious Jessica Douglas. Alas, I am not as prolific as she, and my edits aren’t QUITE up to snuff yet. That said, it will be finished and ready to buy within the week so keep checking back!

You follow me here, so of course you know about THIS blog, but did you know I have a brand new website just for Nil? It can be found at http://gutsandglorybooks.com and it will be full of TONS of fun stuff to do soon! For now, you can earn your Nil name (I’m still adding to that, so if it comes out wrong for now let me know please!) and there’s a contact form to talk to me. Keep checking back though because among other fun stuff, I’ll be adding:

  • A Kid area with games, prints, fanart, and more!
  • A Teen area with message boards, chats, fanfic and more!
  • A special game where you can build tons of fun inventions in Books’ lab!
  • An FAQ page for parents about the books, the world, and the website of Nil.

Don’t spread the news JUST yet though… it’s hush-hush between us for now. 😉 So much to be excited about! Talk to you again soon!

Adventures in Book Promotion Day 8-ish: Innocent Villainy

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2018 by Jessica Crichton

kiddo

Day 8… ish. I was off work for a week, so… yeah.

Anyway, HI! I have good news — thanks to my wonderful friend Molly, I have the ability to write at home again! W00T! Thank you Molly for letting me borrow your iPad; I will return it as soon as I am able to buy a laptop for myself. Does this mean I will be blogging more? I certainly hope so, but knowing my scatterbrainedness (and the fact that I kinda have a book to write) let’s just wait and see, shall we?

As for today’s subject, I want to talk a little bit about villains. Namely, making them 3-D in children’s books. The norm for giving villains depth in most stories is to give them a great backstory. A hard and fast — and even sympathetic — reason for doing what they do. Who are they? Why do they do bad things? What makes them really TICK, deep down inside? But for parents, who want their children to learn that it’s NEVER okay to be a villain no matter what the reason, and for kids, who see the world in black and white, just how do you keep your villain from being a parody, a shadow, or a mask?

This is a question I have run up against many times in my writing career. I am not afraid to say that 99.9% of my bad guys have been… bland and boring. Tropey. Exactly what you’d expect a villain to be.

Blech.

But I’m not alone in this. Think about the kids’ books you have loved. From Alice in Wonderland to Coraline, from The Wizard of Oz to “A Series of Unfortunate Events”, villains in kidlit tend to just be evil for the sake of being evil. The Queen of Hearts just is a bully. No reason given. Other Mother is demonic and therefore naturally bad. The Wicked Witch*… well… need I say more? As for Count Olaf, I like to say he’s like The Joker with fewer reasons to be nuts. And I won’t even get started on any of Roald Dahl’s monstrous inventions!

Not that there is anything inherently wrong with this. After all, a large part of what makes kidlit fun is the simple good vs. evil aesthetic often inherent in it. And every single example I have given is from a story (or stories) I adore. That said, can we give our young readers more in their bad guys?

As it turns out, the answer to that is a resounding YES! At least according to some contemporary authors who are doing just that.

One great example is, of course, J.K. Rowling. Is Voldemort evil? Yes. Does he do bad things? Ohhh yeah. But Rowling also delves into his past, weaving a tragic story of a boy who struggled with loss and defeat at a very young age. Does she use this to excuse his actions? Not at all! But it does show the reader that he is more than a scary mask floating on the wind. And this is even more prevalent in her “lesser” villains, especially in young Draco Malfoy, whose character development is a work of art akin to Michelangelo’s, in my humble opinion.

But I digress.

*Fangirls*

*Ahem*

Another example can be found in the “Percy Jackson” books, though to be fair Rick Riordan kind of cheated on that end, using myths and legends who already embody the rich depth that only comes from centuries of storytelling. But I digress. His villains still count.

Still, these examples are as few and far between as the list of fantasy and sci-fi children’s books on Amazon. (Hint: it’s small.) Maybe I’m just not seeing it. Maybe I’m reading young readers wrong. Or maybe — just maybe — we need more depth, more magic, more wonder, in kidlit overall. Not just in its villains, but in… everything?

I’m in danger of getting off-topic here though. Let me return to villains. (Though I’m seeing another blog topic in the near future…)

Rowling and Riordan (and maybe others I missed; add them in comments!) have shown us that yes, kidlit villains can be 3-dimensional, if we choose to focus just a little more on them. In fact, keeping with the “marketing” aspect of this blog series, making a children’s literary world deeper and richer overall has proven to be extremely successful and popular among young readers. So why don’t we do that more often? That’s the question I’ve asked myself lately, and why I plan on doing the same with my villain in “Guts and Glory.” At the moment Dr. Fixit is little more than a shadow. I’ll be changing that in book 3.

It’s time to make Nil real.

MUAAAHAHAHAAA!

 

*(I hope it goes without saying that I’m talking about the ORIGINAL CHILDREN’S book by L Frank Baum.) 

 

Books 1 and 2 of “Guts and Glory” are now LIMITED EDITIONS!

Posted in kidlit, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2017 by Jessica Crichton

 

ggfullbannercropped

As all who read this blog now know, I am revamping the “Guts and Glory” brand. To that end, even as I write book 3 I will be revamping books 1 and 2, both in edits and cover design. I will, therefore, be taking down the versions that are now on Amazon to replace them with the new ones on January 31st, 2018.

SO!

If you want an original copy of “Dr Fixit’s Malicious Machine” and / or “The Counterfeit Zombies of Noc“, you MUST order before January 30th, 2018 or forever be without!

This has been a public service announcement. More to come!

Adventures in Book Promotion Day 5: Social Media Madness

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2017 by Jessica Crichton

Hello all, and I hope you had a Merry Christmas!

I’m back at work now, and therefore back writing to you. Today I’m thinking about social media marketing, this blog, and ways to use them all in-tandem to their best advantage for getting the word out there about “Guts and Glory”.  Things I’ve thought about so far are…

  • Some kind of “ad” campaign where Books’ inventions are being promoted in apocalypse punk style (But I don’t know how interesting that would be to people, especially my young readers.)
  • A”recruitment” campaign into the Dark Crows
  • A “call to adventure” style campaign where readers have to sort clues and such to find their way into Nil
  • A Nil-related contest of some kind
  • A quiz or quizzes related to Nil and its characters

Hmm… What do you think? What would get the kids excited to see Book 3’s debut? What would get the young readers interested in Nil and its denizens? If you have any other ideas or just brainstorming, please leave them in the comments.

Whatever the campaign ends up being, for the full Social Media gauntlet I’m looking at linking:

  • This blog
  • My Facebook fan page
  • My Twitter feed
  • Goodreads
  • YouTube (Especially for book trailers!)
  • Patreon (Gotta do some more research into how to utilize it for kidlit in particular.)

Still thinking! Gotta find a way to get a computer at home, too. I can’t do everything I need to do by February on my work breaks alone… Hmm…

Adventures in Book Promotion Day 4: Pushing Through

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2017 by Jessica Crichton

I want to write.

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m at work. I don’t mind that at all, especially since I’m off at 3:30 and don’t work tomorrow. Plus, it allows me to write to you. Unfortunately unlike this blog, I can’t write my book at work. The zone is too powerful; I’d forget my responsibilities here and that could be catastrophic to my financial stability. I can make notes, which is nice, but when I’m ready to write the book itself… I don’t know how I will do it without a computer at home. (If only my hands weren’t aging faster than the rest of me, I could handwrite it…)

Sorry. Kinda melancholy today. Being tired will do that to you, I suppose.

There are so many steps to this plan, but many of them I can’t do until I have the capitol to do them, and others aren’t doable until the book is finished. Other steps, such as research and planning, I have been doing a lot of lately, but the biggest, the hardest, and the one that takes the longest… is writing the third book itself.

That one is VITAL. And I can’t do it.

I WANT to write, too. I do. But my Muse has been fickle lately and I don’t know how long she’ll stick around. I’m going to be honest here: today, I am afraid. Afraid I will never write this book. Afraid I will never actually make this plan — this DREAM — happen. Afraid and frustrated.

It is a hard day. A low day. But these, too, must be documented, so that I can look back and see that I pushed through them. So that others can see that as well.

Today, I am tired and afraid and frustrated. But today, I am still a writer nonetheless.

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