Flow

Some things I’ve been learning throughout the month of August:

  • The Harry Potter books are even more fun the second time. I’m currently reading Order of the Phoenix again, which is my fave! We knew since The Sorcerer’s Stone that Dumbledore was a badass, but then this book happened. As Kingsley says, “Dumbledore’s got style.”
  • Meditation works wonders for the writer’s brain, and for every other part of the brain, too. If you haven’t tried the Headspace app, give the free trial a go. It’s awesome for stress, for focus, and there are some really fun animations to watch.
  • There’s something incredibly fun about hearing your audiobook for the first time.

Yes, you read that correctly! I’m so excited to say that THE CARVER is now available to listen to on Audible!

Thanks to Blaze and to the vocal talents of Kit Karlyle, all of the characters of The Carver have come to life in roughly eleven hours of audiobook awesomeness, and I have to confess I’m very happy with how it turned out. There are a lot of characters at play in this story. I found myself wondering, how is one man going to do all of these voices? But then I started listening to his rendering of Pietro. And then Hansel. And Rosana. Snow. Liam. The dwarves. Avoria! Bellamy!!! It’s so much fun, honestly.

In the meantime, I’m hard at work on the sequel, and I’m consistently blown away by how well Krystal and the Blaze team understand my vision. We’re about to crank it up and really forge it into the sequel I dreamed of sharing with you. In psychology, there’s this idea of “flow,” where you lose your sense of time and become completely immersed in what you’re doing. It happens when the level of pleasure meets the level of challenge and reward, and I can honestly say that when I’m writing and revising these books, it’s the ultimate flow experience.

One more thing I wanted to share with you this week: check out this amazing banner image! It’s my official “brand” now, and the artist made it even better than what I saw in my head! I’ve always been drawn to stories that start in mundane places, and then branch out into extraordinary worlds. (Think LOST, Kingdom Hearts, the Marvel movies, etc.) This is the image I strive to paint in your head, and I love the image the artist just created for me!

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Do what you love, and love what you do! Go find your flow this week🙂

Jacob

The Ivory Queen

Hello World!

So, THE CARVER has been in the world for about a month now, and if you’ve already finished it, wow, you’re fast! It’s been so fun watching the occasional email come in with questions, kudos to a favorite character, or just a friendly hello. THE CARVER has already surpassed every hope I ever dreamed for it, and I can’t wait to see how far we’ll get to take it!

For those of you who have already finished, I’m so excited to announce that the next part of the story will be available to you as an electronic download beginning on January 10, 2017!!! If you enjoy a good villain, I think you’re going to enjoy this deep dive into the mind of THE IVORY QUEEN!
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THE IVORY QUEEN is a novelette that will serve as the “1.5” of the ORDER OF THE BELL series, bridging a very short gap between THE CARVER and the official sequel, which I’ll have more news about very soon. We’re working on covers and blurbs this very moment!

Just in case you haven’t read THE CARVER yet, I won’t spoil anything by giving you the blurb! But if you’re ready, head on over to Blaze Publishing’s website and check out the full cover and the official blurbs.

Thank you all for your support of this series and I can’t wait for you all to spend some more time with the big bad of Florindale!

 

The Author Insider Summit

Happy Monday!

This week I want to invite you all to something special that’s taking place throughout the rest of the month of August. The Author Insider Summit is coordinated by author Kris Hack, and it was such an honor to participate in one of her interviews for the summit. We chatted about the idea of “the manchild” and how the Peter Pan Syndrome inspired some of the characters in The Carver. It was so much fun, and there are a lot of other great conversations to check out as the summit continues! There are ghosts, protectors, tortured souls, and many many other creatures to learn about. Read on and dive in with us!

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Have you ever wondered how an author creates a favorite character?

Do you wish you could ask them why they killed a character or why on earth a character chose to love him instead of the one she should have?

Want to see your authors in action, answering those questions and talking passionately about the characters they create?

Join The Author Insider Summit now to get just that in a series of never-before-seen intimate author interviews.

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Writing Rituals

Happy Sunday from the New World!

A couple of my upcoming projects are in Blaze Publishing’s nurturing hands right now, which means I get to busy myself with something new to hold myself over until revisions begin! I’ve had an Order of the Bell novelette brewing in my head for a very long time now and I couldn’t wait to dive in, especially because a small group of my favorite characters gets to come out and play! Anyone care to guess what the source material is this time?🙂

(Hint: It is NOT New Girl, or Agents of Shield.)

I’ve done a few fun Q&A sessions for The Carver and one of the recurring themes is that people love hearing about writing rituals. It’s a fun point of discussion and it’s been fun to explore the idea as I cultivate my favorite hobby into a growing career.

I’ve found that writing can happen pretty much anywhere for me. The dominant place is usually my living room, especially since I upgraded my desk a couple of months ago and never want to leave it! Seriously, this desk has everything: plenty of room for my Funko Pops, two white boards built in where I hang pictures and write deadlines and ideas, book space, drawers . . . yeah. I love it. But, there’s a reason why I almost always carry a flash drive in my pocket and a notebook in my backpack. Inspiration can strike anywhere. Airports. The post office. On my day job. While driving. As a writer and an introvert, I think the natural inclination is to crave routine and comfort, but I think my favorite ideas have come from branching out and seeking novelty.

But then again, I do have some “constants” in my writing life. As you can probably guess, music is one of them. When my earbuds are in, I can slip anywhere. It’s often when I’m listening to music that the ideas come and I need to make a mad dash to my notebook or my laptop! I also gather all sorts of images and keep them close when I’m writing. Once I have a picture of a person and assign a character’s name to that image, the character becomes that much more real. I am now obligated to tell that person’s story. I acknowledge that I am the biggest jerk in the world if I don’t give that voice a chance to be heard.

Sometimes a certain story or character will introduce a separate ritual of its own. The first novel I ever wrote will probably never see the light of day. In many ways, I consider it my “practice novel,” and it breached some touchy boundaries in my personal life. There was also a therapeutic element to writing it, as the main character was based off a good friend who passed away only weeks before I started writing it. With her in mind, I used to light a candle every time I sat down to write the book. Of course, I had my playlist. I had a picture we took together. The character had a face. And every night when I was done writing, I’d blow out the candle.

I’ve also known people who play a game of Solitaire before they write, some who need their coffee, some who need their wine, and some who copy their favorite passages from writers they love before they sit down and make their own words. Every writer bonds with a different muse. Some are a bit more eccentric. I’ve been fortunate that mine pretty much follows me around wherever I go. Sometimes he sits on my TV. Others, he’s in the backseat of my car. But he’s always whispering, as long as he gets some music throughout the day!

What are some of your writing rituals?🙂

Pietro Volo’s Keys to an Epic Road Trip Playlist

Hello people of the world!

Pietro Volo here, also known as “Peter Pan.” I know you weren’t expecting to hear from me today, but let me explain. Our good pal J-Dev has been super busy signing books, attempting to catch up on Game of Thrones, and word on the street is that he’s already neck deep in the sequel to The Carver. Whaaat? I hope he’ll name the next one after me this time, the obvious star. (Love ya, Pino.)

Anyway, since Jay is doing authorly stuff, and since I had so much fun being interviewed here a couple months ago, I thought I’d jump in the driver’s seat this time. Let’s talk about road trips!

Now, when it comes to road trips, Rule #1 is that you have to have a good playlist. I hate rules, so this is the only one that matters besides, y’know, keeping an eye on your gas tank and paying attention to your bladder.

Below are Pietro Volo’s Five Keys to an epic roadtrip playlist. Click within and get a small glimpse of what the Son of Pinocchio and I jammed to on our adventure across the country.

  1. The playlist shall not be dominated by any one artist or band, no matter how much you love Maroon 5. Mr. Levine may be able to carry a tune, but no man can carry a car for seven hours. Also, would you want to spend seven hours sitting in an ice cream shop when all they have is chocolate? Okay, then.
  2. The playlist shall include a number of powerhouse karaoke songs. I recommend Journey’s Greatest Hits as a starting point. When’s the last time you broke down the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme? If you need more inspiration, the early 1990’s were a gold mine.
  3. The playlist shall include a number of songs without words, such as movie scores and other instrumentals. First of all, you’re going to get tired of your passengers’ terrible karaoke voices. Plus, have you ever zoomed down the highway listening to some badass escape music? Try it. You’ll love it.
  4. The playlist shall fall almost as much as it rises. You’ll probably do some driving in the dark. You’ll go through some boring places where all you’ll see for an hour is like, one windmill. Unless it’s raining, that’s the perfect time to roll down your window and contemplate life. You might even have the best cry ever, not that I have any experience in this area.
  5. The playlist shall be a collaboration. If you’re driving alone, you can do whatever, but if you have passengers, particularly a pair of angsty teenagers named Enzo and Rosana, then don’t be a playlist hog, okay? Share. You might even get feedback before you leave. Ask your friends such as Maira and Josh what they recommend.

I’d like to remind you all to drive safely as you implement your epic road trip playlist. In other words, make sure you stop by your local Starbucks if it’s gonna be a long one, stay alert, and please don’t play Pokemon Go behind the wheel, Kids. Pikachu ain’t worth it.

I gotta fly now, but I promise I’ll be back to hang out with you all again real soon! Until then, put a good word in with J-Dev, will you? I really want his next book to be called The Flying Man, but I still don’t think he’s having it.

Happy driving, and happy listening!

An Ode to Comic Con

 

Before I launch into this, I want to throw out a hearty THANK YOU to the fantastic bloggers, reviewers, friends, and Twitter enthusiasts who helped spread the word on THE CARVER over the past few days. The initial love and support for this book has been unreal. It got to the point that I couldn’t “like” every Tweet I got tagged in. There were just far too many, and that’s such an amazing thing to be able to say. I’m over the moon with gratitude for you all!

On the side, I may have been spending this whole entire week celebrating in San Diego! I don’t think it’s a secret that I’m a HUGE Marvel/superhero/comic lover, and it was a thrill to journey to the mecca of geekdom for my second year: San Diego Comic Con! YAY!

I have so much to say about this annual event and its special place in my heart. Some people tell me they don’t understand it, and I can’t judge that. From the outside, let’s be real: it sorta looks like a Black Friday sale on steroids. To be fair, there are people who go there and treat it that way. They throw things into bags big enough to carry me and push and shove (and sometimes get thrown out and it’s hilarious), and sometimes they don’t even know what they’re shoving into their bags. I can only speak for my own experiences and understanding, but ultimately, I feel that there’s a very beautiful side to this convention and a reason why I willingly braved the crowds a second time.

I think everybody needs something to believe in and something that they’re passionate about… the sort of thing they can’t outgrow and the sort of thing that grows with them. For me, that’s the culture that we celebrate about SDCC. It’s Marvel and DC and heroes and villains and the actors, writers, illustrators, and filmmakers who bring them to life. At its core, it’s stories. It’s the sort of life force that my mother imbued me with when I was going through chemotherapy almost twenty years ago. Superman would eat all his food; I should, too. Spider-Man would listen to the nurses; I should, too. Wolverine would be brave for the needle; I should, too. That’s where it started for me. Superheroes were role models, and as I grew, I saw the humanity in them and loved them for their flaws. For people who share my affinity for this culture, it means everything to stand in an endless line just to see Star-Lord/Chris Pratt flash the peace sign. It’s a thrill to think of Sabaa Tahir as some literary goddess and yet get to see her as a human who also geeks out over the X-Men.

One interesting thing that I keep remembering: talking to a fellow volunteer who has been doing this for 17 years and learning that at his first SDCC, there were 30,000 attendees. At the very first Con, there were maybe 100. This week, there were 130,000. I keep wondering: if I’m at SDCC in 15 more years, what am I going to be telling all the younglings about my first few Cons?

One thing I’d like to remember is the sense of comaraderie that one feels when you’re surrounded by superfans. This year, I camped out for the first time with the hopes of scoring some autographs from the cast of Arrow. The end result was that I got to spend about 10 seconds chatting with Charlie Hunnam and getting him to sign a poster for a movie I’d never heard of before. I may not remember that conversation in seventeen years, but I’ll definitely remember my first time camping out! I’ll remember how I thought I had such an edge on the other Arrow hopefuls by arriving at 1am. I’ll remember napping on the grass with a bottle of water, a blanket, and a couple of Cliff bars. I’ll remember that for about 9 hours, I was basically best friends with a few people I’ll probably never see again, all because we chose to suffer the #NotHallHLine for the exact same reasons!

Despite all the excitement, my legs feel like Jell-O. My eyes are a little red. I’m broke thanks to the corn dogs again. I’m a little relieved that SDCC is all done for the year and can’t wait to kick back and read my ARC print of A Torch Against the Night. But once my lower body strength returns, I’ll be anxiously awaiting next year’s SDCC!

On that note, who else is having a hard time waiting for the upcoming Harry Potter script book? What’s the “fandom” you geek out the hardest for, and why do you think you’re a fan?

Have a great week, friends!

 

 

THE CARVER Release Day!

Dear Friends,

Somewhere in a world we’ve never even seen (or I don’t know, maybe even New York), Peter Pan and all his friends are throwing a huge party. I’m sure there’s pizza involved. Mulan’s probably doing party tricks with her sword. Snow White’s probably trying to be the healthy one, so hopefully one of the seven dwarves are following her around and slapping the apples out of her hand before she can bite them.

MY FRIENDS! The Carver is officially in the world today! You can finally hold the book in your hands and get to know these characters as friends of your own. As a heads up, I will probably be running on caffeine and sheer adrenaline all the way through Sunday. This is the only “first release” I’m ever going to have as an author, so I want to remember this amazing feeling. I want to preserve these emotions in a jar and keep that jar by my bed for the rest of my days. It’s hard to describe the emotions, but the jar would probably look ethereal and fun, with some shiny cloudy smoky stuff swirling around inside.

I want you to know that this is a time I will never forget. I will always remember and appreciate that Blaze Publishing offered me the life of a story spinner, and The Carver will always hold a special place in my heart as the first adventure we got to share together. I hope you enjoy this little road trip I planned for you. It’s just the beginning of a much larger journey, and I don’t know about you, but I’m in it for the long haul!

Ultimately, I could ramble on forever, but Pietro and Enzo are about to jump in the car and hit the road, and I don’t want you to miss the trip. We’re partying on Facebook all day long. If you check out the Twitterverse, I’ve seen a few bloggers doing some really fun things already… gifs, playlists, excerpts, and don’t even get me started on that interview with Ryan Hill.

Enjoy The Carver, everyone, and make a wish!

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-Jacob

 

The Guardian of the Old World

Well, friends, we are getting down to the final stretch in waiting for The Carver‘s release! We’ve heard from most of the key players, we’ve adventured through Nashville and braved thunderstorms, and throughout this wait, we have grown together! And so it’s definitely  fitting that we hear from the character who helped Peter Pan, Pinocchio, and Alice grow up in the first place. I want to warn you first. Violet’s a little strange. I never knew somebody so morally gray could be so purple. She kinda looks like this:

I’ve been looking forever for the name of the artist who did this… when I find it, I’ll update this because they rock!

Jacob: So tell the readers, Violet: What’s your story? What’s your role in The Carver, and where are you when it starts?

Violet: I’m the fairy guardian of the Old World. Technically I’m a princess–informally acting as the queen, but I tend not to think of it that way. I just keep an eye on things and make sure the people of Florindale are living in peace.

Jacob: Which of course leads to a great question: Are they living in peace?

Violet: Hmmm, mostly. But there are of course some rascals to watch out for. Am I allowed to say who?

Jacob: Sure, why not?

Violet: *sigh* I feel rather uneasy about Hansel these days. I fear he may not be himself.

Jacob: I actually interviewed him a few months ago. It was… interesting. You’ve known him for a long time, haven’t you?

Violet: Yes. It was I who delivered the news to him about his sister’s disappearance many years ago.

Jacob: That couldn’t have been a pleasant conversation for either of you.

Violet: The most difficult part was his silence. I think the poor man was in shock for a while. It almost would’ve been easier if he had screamed or shouted at me. Now, I feel like he’s always stabbing me with his eyes.

Jacob: Do you think he blames you? Maybe we should back up: What in the world happened to Gretel?

Violet: I’m not emotionally prepared, nor am I at liberty to discuss Gretel’s fate.

Jacob: You must have known I was going to bring this up, Violet. You’re one of the final interviews before The Carver launches. The readers are itching for a preview!

Violet: I’m sorry, Mr. Devlin, but I will say no more on Gretel. What else would you like to know?

Jacob: Lame… Why don’t you tell me about the Order of the Bell, then?

Violet: I do rather enjoy this topic. You’ve met them all, yes?

Jacob: I have. Is it true that you assembled them? How did you get so lucky as to get a hold of Hua Mulan, Merlin, Captain Hook, and the others?

Violet: The Order of the Bell has existed since before my birth, but I assembled this particular group many years ago. We had some problems to fix in Florindale. Dragons had become a bit of an issue. There was a beast terrorizing the Woodlands and devouring children. Giants were our biggest problem–no pun intended.

Jacob: So when things get out of hand, you call on them to save the world. Do you feel like you’ll get to do that any time soon?

Violet: One hopes it wouldn’t be necessary. It has to be a catastrophic danger for me to ask them for help. To give you some perspective, do you remember what happened to Snow White long ago?

Jacob: Are you referring to the incident with her stepmother? The poison and whatnot?

Violet: Yes. That was devastating. But even that wasn’t big enough to get the Order of the Bell involved. Sure, everybody had a small role in saving Snow and making sure she got justice. But the bulk of the work fell to other names. Prince Liam and the seven miners. Oh, I should mention that Hansel may have been involved as well. He tends to be left out of these stories, eclipsed by bigger names… that poor, poor man.

Jacob: Do you mind if I ask you one more question?

Violet: Ask away, my dear.

Jacob: What are you doing on July 19th?

Violet: Logging onto Facebook for your release day party, of course! There will be fireworks and cake and frolicking, yes?

Jacob: Whatever you want, Miss Violet! Tell me what you want and I’ll write it up for you. That’s what Authors do!

Violet: May the light be with you, Lore Master!

So she wasn’t so bad after all, right? I just keep on wondering what happened to Hansel and Gretel… Luckily, we’re only about 10 days away from the answer! *cues up Europe’s The Final Countdown*

Interview with The Order

Everywhere I’ve gone in the past few weeks, I’ve been attracting thunderstorms–the kind that rip your trees out of the ground and totally freak your pets out. I love them.

This week, one of those storms blew some eccentric visitors into town. Their arrival was straight out of a horror movie, honestly. There I was sprawled out on my couch with my goofy Wolverine snuggie and a book, and then one of those crazy flashes of lightning fill the sky. When the lightning went away, there were five dark shadows standing stone still outside my window. Seriously, it was like the lightning zapped them down from outer space or something. Terrifying, right?

And then I remembered that they were supposed to be here. I invited them over for an interview. WHEW! How could I forget?

When I opened the door, two women, two men, and a very large creature entered my apartment. Here is a part of the conversation that took place between us.

Old Woman: Greetings, Lore Master. We are The Order of the Bell, and we’ve come to share our story.

Jacob: *wearing a ginormous grin because the old woman just called me Lore Master. How epic!* Good evening, all! Thanks for braving this crazy monsoon tonight. I swear this storm came out of nowhere.

Old Woman: Don’t fret, Lore Master. Dealing with danger is our specialty. Shall I put on some tea for us all?

Jacob: Sure, if you want. The Keurig’s over by my laptop.

Bald Man: Nonsense, my boy! Let Ms. Rose prepare something real for you. Do you already know our names? She’s Ms. Augustine Rose. I’m Merlin the Magician. We are also joined tonight by Ms. Hua Mulan, Mr. James Hook, and Sir Jacob Isaac Holmes. He’s really not as frightening as he appears.

Jacob: It’s great to see you all! You’re legends. I named my book series after you!

Augustine: We always wondered if somebody would tell the story of the Order.

Mr. Holmes: But let us be clear. It is not our story. We are merely here to assist the heroes from the sidelines and keep the worlds at peace.

Jacob: That sounds like a giant responsibility.

Hua Mulan: We’ve all had our trials. Fortunately, we were appointed to the Order because we live for the thrills. After you experience the rush of saving China from invaders, the day-to-day gets a little boring. I jumped at the chance to save the world again and again. I especially enjoy dealing with dragons.

Jacob: So Mulan saved China. What’s the story for the rest of you? What’s been your biggest challenge until the events of The Carver?

Mr. Holmes: There are some rather unpleasant entities hiding in the Woodlands. Aquamantulas, witches, wolves–

Augustine: Oh, the wolves are nothing, dear. Leave those to me. The Woodlands are my turf. It was the giants we really needed to worry about.

Merlin: Valid. I personally enjoy dealing with any object touched by a solid, well-constructed curse.

Jacob: Wait, did I hear you correctly? You enjoy curses?

Merlin: Don’t misunderstand me, Sir Lore Master! I only enjoy dismantling them. I suppose the skill is somewhat comparable to what the younglings in your world do when they take on computer viruses. ‘Tis such a thrill to discover all the little threads and back doors in what would otherwise be an infallible curse. There’s always a flaw. I wish curses never existed in the first place, but the genie has long been unbottled. Speaking of which, that’s quite a thrilling tale for another day…

Jacob: I can only imagine! How ’bout you, James? You’ve been pretty quiet. What’s been one of your challenges?

Hook: Peter Pan.

Hua Mulan: James! Did we not agree that the subject of Mr. Pan is off limits tonight, and always?

Hook: Aye. And yet Mr. Devlin posed a query. Shall I lie to our Lore Master?

Augustine: Maybe just pick something else, dear. You’re not so fond of alligators, for instance.

Hook: Crocodiles, lass. There’s a difference.

Augustine: Potato, potahto.

Jacob: So you protect the Old World from danger. How do you know when to come together?

Merlin: We listen for the bells. Although, now that we’re here, perhaps we should all invest in smart phones? I understand there’s a curious new brand of magic called GroupMe. I’m most interested in trying it.

Mr. Holmes: Does it require one to know how to read? Because I’m afraid Mr. Hook here hasn’t learned to distinguish his As from his Zs.

Hua Mulan: The bells are tradition. Leave them as they are.

Jacob: So which one of you would I call if I were to find a spider in my room?

*silence*

Jacob: Any of you?

Hook: There be a reason I sail the seven seas, lad. The more distance I put between me and the shore, the more distance I put between me and those infernal demons. I’ll take my gamble with the crocodiles.

*more silence*

Jacob: Come on! You can’t be serious right now!

Augustine: Poor thing, I’m afraid you’re on your own with the spiders. We specialize in dragons, evil queens, werewolves, apocalyptic spells… you’ll understand if we acknowledge our weaknesses. There are certain types of evil we’re not equipped to deal with.

Jacob: I hate you all just a little bit right now.

On a dark and stormy night, which team would you call upon to save the world?

Next week, we’ll meet the person who first called upon the Order of the Bell. It’s kinda hard to call her a person, though. She’s more of a fairy, and she’s seen some weird stuff. I can’t wait to get her insight on her role in The Carver. Hope you’ll be there to meet Violet!

The Carver in Utopia!

Tonight I’m writing you from Nashville, Tennessee. I used my afternoon to get a little touristy. I walked along the river, checked out the Opry Mills, strolled Broadway and popped in and out of some local bars. I’ve never exactly been a huge country guy, but I appreciate what Nashville has to offer. The air was a little too thick with humidity, but in a charming way it reminded me of Charlottesville. Unfortunately I left my cowboy boots back home, but the smell of brand new leather and the flashing neon on Broadway reminded me that I easily could’ve picked up a new pair from one of about seven or eight different shops along a 3-block radius. Oh, and did I mention I stumbled on a FREE showing of Independence Day Resurgence in IMAX 3D? (Not a great movie, but I loved it! We all have movies like that, right?)

Anyway, the real reason I was here this week was to hang out with Blaze Publishing and to learn from fellow authors at Utopia Con. Honestly, I’d never heard of Utopia until this year, but now that I’ve done one, I think it’s so fitting that they hold it in Music City itself. I believe that writing can function a lot like music if you let it. Spinning a story that speaks to the soul is half the fun, but spinning language so it can breathe and sing to the soul? There’s nothing like it.

Utopia was an incredible experience and I’d do it all again. Here are five “shining moments” I took from it and a few things I learned:

5. I finally got to meet the people of Blaze Publishing in person! They’ve been so supportive and caring and they work tirelessly to bring their vision (and their authors’ visions) to life. Thank you, Blazers, for being a great publishing family, and for doing pizza and karaoke with me!

4. I met my child BOOK in person! It’s real! It exists! What made this so fun was getting to see it for the first time in a room full of vendors and tables and book displays. It gave me some great ideas for “book swag”, branding, and table banners. Also, it’s an amazing feeling to see total strangers geek out over The Carver as much as I do… to give the “elevator pitch” and watch their eyes light up, to sign a copy and know the reader is already imagining it on the bookshelf, and a few people even asked for pictures with me! Thank you, Utopians, for showering this story with love and enthusiasm.

3. The panels were very informative. If you love to write, I don’t care whether you’re published or not, the value of learning from other writers is priceless. I noticed a few recurring themes resonating with me this week:

  • We all have our “juggling acts”: full-time jobs, family and social lives, maybe we go to school, or maybe we eat up our own time scrolling through Facebook or binge-watching Arrow. But if writing is truly in your heart, you make it work!
  • Even the big names experience a little doubt sometimes.
  • How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time🙂

Thank you, panelists, for your wisdom and inspiration this week!

2. I’m so bad at Twister. That is all. No thank you, Hasbro, for the burn in my thighs and shoulders. Hmph.

1. Oh, and the cherry on top: the exclusive pre-release copies of The Carver SOLD OUT. Whaaat! I’m still trying to wrap my head around this statement. The Carver sold out. Once upon a time, I thought my mom and a handful of friends were the only people who would ever read my story, and The Carver sold out. Thank you to those who so willingly jumped on board for a #RoadTripWithPeterPan! I’m a giant goof and cheese up my smile in moments like these, but the happiness behind it is still 190% genuine. I hope you all enjoy this tale and can’t wait for the rest of you to jump on board on July 19th!