DIEGO'S DRAGON
 

Diego's Newsletter

Leaving Tomorrow for Humboldt County Children's Author Festival!

In 24 hours I'll be dropping Little Man and Jesse the WonderCat off at their Mommy's house. They get to stay with her and their brother and sister while I'm up north at the festival. Poor Jelly has to stay here by himself because Mandy and Toby don't know him yet. That might be too much to expect from any babysitter. I have a caring neighbor who will look in on him every night, and he's come to love his new home. I think he'll be all right.

In 36 hours I'll be watching the sunset from my room at the Lost Whale Inn in Trinidad. I remember when I was in grad school and I heard about the Lost Whale being reserved three years out for each graduation. It seemed like this untouchable place I would never get to enjoy, but now I'll be there for a much needed rest.

I'll formally visit two schools during the festival, and the students are very excited. I hope to give them an experience they'll never forget. It's so magical for them to have an author come to their school, even if it's just little old me!

Thanks Conor and Diego for getting me invited to this awesome festival :-)

Here's a link to some incredible books - WOW

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

New Illustration for Diego's Third Fantasy Dragons Book!

Awesome!

Benito is working on the next illustration for Diego's third adventure book. Diego has a vision of traveling back 500 years to Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztec empire, where he sees a boy buying a statue of Magnifico from a vendor. When he realizes it really is Magnifico, he steals it and runs for his life. Four Mexica soldiers catch him and take him to the nobles, who will decide the outcome of Diego's crime. The illustration shows Diego being carried by the soldiers. It's just a sketch, so keep checking back to see it in its finished form.

This Hispanic book is going to be so amazing! I love writing fantasy, and like Conor's story, Diego's story is getting better and better with every fantasy fiction book.

Check out the Diego's Dragon blog on wordpress.com to see the illustration.

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Diego's Dragon Fan Creates Shrine to Her Favorite Book Series

Wow!

A fourth grade fan of Diego's fantasy fiction novels created the coolest shrine to the series. She put both adventure books together on a desk and decorated it with trees, dragons, and more!

I'm honored!

If you want to see a picture of this, go to Diego's fantasy dragons website (www.diegosdragon.com) and click the Reader Comments link, or go to wordpress.com and search for Diego's Dragon. I'm putting the picture on the website this morning.

Maybe that will be the next contest - having fans create their own shrine to Diego and Magnifico - but this one will be hard to beat!

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Winners of the Fantasy Dragons Book Three Subtitle Contest!

Congratulations to Starr, Star-Lynn, Taylor-Rae, Tamera, and Jordan, for entering the five best subtitles in this year's fantasy fiction novel contest. Starr Culwell's entry, Battle at Tenochtitlan, took first place - check out the cover on this web page:

http://www.diegosdragon.com/buybookthreesoon.html

Many thanks to all the students who entered subtitles for this Hispanic book contest. You are all dreamers, and don't ever change, for dreaming is what makes life an adventure.

A testimonial:

I love your fantasy fiction books so much! Tanner - Desert Charter School

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Humboldt County Children's Author Festival Starts in Less than 2 Weeks!

In a week I'll be jumping on a jet to fly to San Francisco, and then I'll climb into a prayer plane to fly to McKinleyville, CA for a much needed rest in Humboldt County. I'll be staying at the Lost Whale Inn for a few days and then at the Eureka Inn during the festival. Here's the website about the festival.

http://www.authorfest.org/

25 authors and illustrators will come to Humboldt from throughout California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Utah, Florida and Indiana. They will travel to 60 Humboldt County schools, talk about themselves and their work to thousands of school children, and spend a day at a public autographing session in the Main Library in Eureka, where their fantasy dragon books can be purchased.

I can't wait - 2011 was so much fun!

A testimonial:

"Conor and the Crossworlds is the perfect blend of fantasy and adventure.
Action around every corner! Conor is my favorite character for his courage and bravery. People can relate to him.” – Andrew – Portland, Oregon

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

More School Visits For Diego and Conor!

YEA!

Three more schools have signed on this semester for school visits. I'm psyched, and so is Diego, Conor, Magnifico, Purugama, and all the characters in my adventure books.

We love visiting schools and talking about awesome fantasy fiction books that they'll love to read! Can't wait to meet each and every student!

The action starts tomorrow at Fallbrook High School - let the fun begin!

A testimonial:

"I got a copy of your first book for my 4th grade class.  I need another copy of the first book because the kids have worn it down.  Let me know how I can get an extra copy. Thanks, Randy."

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Meet Taragon and Icoron, a Dragon and his Guide!

Here's the latest illustration for Diego's next fantasy adventure book. Taragon is the fastest fantasy dragon in Magnifico's army, and his guide, Icoron, is from the Andromeda galaxy. He's the best guide in the history of the Sol Dragones. They make an unbeatable pair!

If you want to see him, go to wordpress.com and search for the Diego's Dragon blog. I'm posting it right now.

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Finally, Finally, Really, Really Finished with Diego's Third Book!

Alright!

One of my critique group members chastised me for leaving him with too much of a cliffhanger at the end of Diego's third fantasy dragons novel. "Cliffhangers are good for chapter endings, but not for entire novels." I liked the ending, but I like a lot of things until good people make strong and correct suggestions that make my books better. Such was the case with this Hispanic book.

It actually turned out really well, and it gave me the ending I wanted, which will either be a brilliant move or a total catastrophe. No hints, but if I was a fan of my last fantasy fiction novel series, Conor and the Crossworlds, I'd be jumping for joy at the end of Diego's third book.

One more round of critiques from my writer's group and some comments from individual readers, and I'll be ready to move forward. I'll also do one final read through myself.

Benito Gallego, my illustrator, is coming up with some incredible designs. His depictions of Taragon, the fastest of the Sol Dragones, and Icoron, his guide from the Andromeda galaxy, are fantastic. Can't wait to post them.

A testimonial:

"Another fun little book by Kevin Gerard in the Diego's Dragon series. This time Diego, Magnifico and company take their adventure to the cosmos in order to save the world. My daughter (who is in the 4th grade, but reads at the middle school level) read this book right after she read the first in this series 'Diego's Dragon: Spirits of the Sun. She can't wait for the next one to come out. Anyone who loves dragons will enjoy reading this book."

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Humboldt County Schools Love Diego's First Fantasy Dragons Book!

Awesome!

I sent a copy of the new hardcover version of Diego's first Hispanic book to every school in the Humboldt County School District as a gift for their invitation to the Children's Author Festival. I've been receiving emails and thank you cards from librarians at every level, elementary, middle, and high school.

Every message includes a little note about how much the students love Diego's first fantasy fiction book, Spirits of the Sun. I'm slated to visit two schools, but quite a few librarians have asked me to stop by during the festival.

I get so excited when I hear news like that. I put my heart and soul into every adventure book I write, and instill so much love into each character. Diego is the star of the series, but everyone loves Magnifico, his dragon the most. He is, after all, an amazing creature with an unpredictable personality.

This phenomenon is very similar to the Conor and the Crossworlds series. Conor is the main character, but his big friend Purugama, the flying cougar, is the one readers love. Maybe that's why Conor landed in Diego's world in the third Diego's Dragon book, and why Purugama makes a surprise entrance as well.

Oops! I gave something away!

A testimonial:

"My son bought 2 books, Spirits of the Sun and Dragons of the Dark Rift, and is loving them! We were wondering when you will be at the market off Melrose again and if they are always on special if you buy them in person?"

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Latino Author Summit Here I Come!

In 90 minutes I'll be on the road to the Latino Author Summit at the University of LaVerne. Should be very interesting, and well attended, by the look of the location.

I'll be bringing a poster of Diego's new fantasy adventure book cover with me. This cover is so powerful, I'm sure the kids who like Hispanic books and fantasy fiction books are going to go nuts!

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Blessing of the Animals Ceremony!

I usually don't make departures like this, but this is something everyone should see at least once in their lives.

On the first weekend in October, churches all over the place celebrate a mass in honor of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals. Everyone is welcome inside the church, with their animal companions. Cats, dogs, birds, guinea pigs, I've even seen horses, cows, and pigs in rural areas.

The service is short for obvious reasons (20 minutes), and afterwards the clergy assembles at blessing stations outside the church. One by one, people bring their animals to receive a personal blessing, a St. Francis medallion, and maybe a treat or two.

The fascinating aspect is that while there might be hundreds of animals of every description, there's never a problem, an argument, a fight inside the church. I've seen these services many times (mostly because I want to pet the animals), and it's always a wonderfully serene experience.

I urge you to find a church the first weekend in October and witness this amazing event. If you love animals as much as I do, you'll be glad you did.

And don't forget to tell everyone you know about the best fantasy fiction books around, Diego's Dragon and Conor and the Crossworlds!

Onward!

Kevin Gerard

Rack Up Another School Visit for Diego and Conor!

YEA!

Going to visit a school in San Ysidro in November. Gustavo, the librarian, has invited me down to talk about Diego's and Conor's adventure books. I'll be speaking to roughly 600 students in two different talks, all 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. Those are my favorite age groups. They're so full of wonder and awe, and they love fantasy dragon stories.

I'm also talking to a librarian in the Ventura School District about a visit. If she agrees and I can convince another school up there, I can make a day of it. A fantasy fiction book talk in the morning, a quick lunch, and then another author visit in the afternoon.

I love it!

A testimonial:

"The day after you asked if the kids liked the book, I got a voluntary book report from a student on Diego’s Dragon.  He said (in the report) that it was interesting and he liked it, it would make a good movie and he would tell his friends that “it is like the coolest book ever."  This was without prompting . . . I swear!"

Judy - Librarian - Jefferson Middle School

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Diego's Fantasy Dragon Books Invade the New York Library

AWESOME!

A very nice librarian named Jonathan responded to a query of mine, asking quite a few questions about Diego's Dragon. He offered to put the first fantasy fiction book, Spirits of the Sun, into their collection if I sent him a couple of copies.

This is great because they have a good percentage of patrons that like Hispanic books. I'm hoping the kids back east go nuts for Diego's adventure book and spread the word everywhere.

It's the Eastchester Public Library by the way, part of the New York Public Library system. Maybe they'll ask me to come back there - never been to New York!

Give Diego your best thoughts!

A testimonial:

"Another fun little book by Kevin Gerard in the Diego's Dragon series. This time Diego, Magnifico and company take their adventure to the cosmos in order to save the world. My daughter (who is in the 4th grade, but reads at the middle school level) read this book right after she read the first in this series 'Diego's Dragon: Spirits of the Sun. She can't wait for the next one to come out. Anyone who loves dragons will enjoy reading this book."

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Two More Weeks to Enter Diego's Fantasy Dragons Book Contest!

Fifteen days to go!

The Diego's Dragon book three subtitle contest is winding down. I've received over a hundred entries, even twenty from one student, and all of the names are great. Now all I have to do is pick the winners (tough to do) and then pick the one that will be on the cover of the book (impossible to do with so many good entries).

The subtitle that wins it will be layered onto one of the best fantasy fiction book covers I've ever seen (see the link READ A BOOK THREE CHAPTER in Diego's website). The illustration just screams adventure book. I'm so in love with it I have it as my desktop image.

Thanks to all the students who entered so far, and to those who will get their entries in under the wire, you're awesome! Aside from the other two Diego books, this will be the best Hispanic book yet!

A testimonial:

"Every boy dreams of having a dragon for a friend. Diego's Dragon turns one boy's fantasy into reality in this story, but all is not what it seems as Magnifico comes into Diego's life. I won't spoil the fun. The book is a gentle read with a reading level that is appropriate for kids who read at a 5 - 7th grade level. I enjoyed listening my daughter read it to me. We're going to buy the second book by Kevin Gerard called 'Diego's Dragon, Dragons of the Dark Rift'."

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

School Visits Starting Up Again!

Okay!

School's back in session and it's time to start scheduling fantasy fiction book author talks. So far I'm locked into three schools and hoping for more. I'm going to call a school in Newport this morning, one that I spoke with last May. It was too late in the year to do a adventure books talk - when it's that close to summer kids don't hear a word you say - but now it's fall, and it's a great time to have fun with them.

The librarian at the Newport school seemed to be full of energy, which usually makes for a great visit. I hope I can get her excited about it. I'll be calling around to other districts as well. I like to have at least two visits a month, that keeps me busy and spreads the Hispanic books around.

It's my favorite thing to do after writing the fantasy dragon books. Visiting students is so much fun!

A testimonial:

"Here is the photo of you and my son Estebian taken at the Welk's
Resort. Please add us to your news letter. Estebian loves the books. We also enjoyed your reading of the book on youtube. Thanks for what you do in life...educating the future. Take care."

Norberto Bowen

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

School Visits Starting Up Again!

Okay!

School's back in session and it's time to start scheduling fantasy fiction book author talks. So far I'm locked into three schools and hoping for more. I'm going to call a school in Newport this morning, one that I spoke with last May. It was too late in the year to do a adventure books talk - when it's that close to summer kids don't hear a word you say - but now it's fall, and it's a great time to have fun with them.

The librarian at the Newport school seemed to be full of energy, which usually makes for a great visit. I hope I can get her excited about it. I'll be calling around to other districts as well. I like to have at least two visits a month, that keeps me busy and spreads the Hispanic books around.

It's my favorite thing to do after writing the fantasy dragon books. Visiting students is so much fun!

A testimonial:

"Here is the photo of you and my son Estebian taken at the Welk's
Resort. Please add us to your news letter. Estebian loves the books. We also enjoyed your reading of the book on youtube. Thanks for what you do in life...educating the future. Take care."

Norberto Bowen

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

OMG! Diego's New Fantasy Fiction Book Cover is Awesome!

Benito sent me the color version of the cover for Diego's next fantasy dragons book. I can't wait for you to see this. It is so powerful!

I love everything about this Hispanic book cover! Magnifico looks incredible, and the reflection of the fire against his body is unbelievable.

And the Spanish galleon is amazing, with the conquistadors vaulting over the rails as Magnifico laces the ship with dragon fire.

If you want to see this color version, go to the Wordpress version of this Blog, at DiegosDragon - it's so cool!

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

I Wonder if Dragons Play in the Morning...

It's a little after 6:00 in the morning. I managed to obey my alarm clock and get out of bed at 5:40. I'll be very happy in about three hours after I've had my yoga class, I've run a few miles, and I've done my shoulder stretches.

I'm sitting here watching black and golden streaks flying by my office door. Jesse and Jelly are at full tilt, running up and down the hallway and tackling each other in various rooms. I can hear it when they run cleanly, and then when one gets hold of the other and the wrassling begins.

Made me wonder about fantasy dragons, and whether they play in the early morning. Couldn't you imagine, hearing them scuffling about in the darkness before dawn, and every once in a while what looks like the glow of a little campfire appears on a ledge or from around the corner. I'd think juvenile dragons would love the time after a long sleep. All that energy and other kids around - what a pileup for Mom and Dad to deal with every day.

One of the guests of honor at the next CONDOR in San Diego is an artist named Sarah Clemens. She draws pictures of dragons and cats together. She actually had a cat named Magnus, who, along with a dragon named Loki, became oft repeated subjects of her work. Google her, and come to CONDOR to see her. I believe it's March 21-23, 2014. You'll be glad you did.

My favorite dragon in Diego's third fantasy fiction book, besides Magnifico, of course - Furtivo - he's like a kid who refuses to grow up - just like me!

A testimonial:

I'm almost done reading the first book of the Diego's Dragon series. This YA book is one of my favorites! The best characters so far are Diego, Magnifico and Racquel. I couldn't stop reading and I can't wait until the next one comes out! Other fantasy fiction novels are nothing compared to Diego's Dragon. Thanks for signing my adventure book, you're great! :-)

Nicole - Island Creek Elementary

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

What Happened to the Waves?

The ocean has been a lake for almost a month. I think the heat is melting the waves before they get to shore. I've been down to Cardiff State Beach about five consecutive times now and - nothing - I jumped in the water the last time just because it was so hot outside. Water felt great, except for the 90 million metric tons of seaweed floating just off the shoreline. Bummer because there's only about a month left until the water temperature starts to drop.

Two weeks of school is "in the books" and the students haven't killed me yet. I have some good classes, good students, and of course they're all freaking out about statistics. Good to be back among the living, though.

I'm working on the corrections for Diego's third fantasy dragons book. This one is a lengthy process, but it'll be worth the time and effort. This story is amazing, and my writers' group gave some wonderful suggestions. Running through a 300 page adventure book to incorporate everything and keep it all together within the plot lines is a cool exercise.

Going to the University of La Verne on September 21 for the Latino Author Summit. Should see lots of fans, movie folks, and meet up with some contacts. I'll probably have the cover of this Hispanic book with me, so I'll be able to show it around.

Going to visit one of my fav librarians this Thursday. As usual she's done a terrific job getting the kids pumped about my YA books visit. If I had a dozen more like her...

A testimonial:

Kevin,

You are an amazing writer. You have inspired me to make a book of my own. It is about a kid who can jump through space and time just by jumping. The next few paragraphs are what I have so far from the book. Please read them and give me feedback.

Your #1 fan - Ryan

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Diego's Fantasy Fiction Book Three Cover Looking AWESOME!

Benito sent me the first pencil drawing of the cover for Diego's next fantasy dragons book. This comes after the sketch drafts he sent, about four of them.

I love everything about the cover! Of course, Magnifico looks incredible, and you can clearly see Diego standing atop his head, holding onto one of his horns.

It's the ship that looks so cool. A real Spanish galleon, cannons and everything, with conquistadors jumping over the side as Magnifico roasts the ship with dragon fire.

I almost missed something very important in this adventure book, but caught it at the last second. It would have been a major mistake, and that's what this process is all about, checking and re-checking.

I think I'm going to faint when I see it in color for the first time. Benito is a very talented illustrator!

A testimonial:

"West needs another couple of autographed copies of Diego's Dragon. We're going to have a raffle with your autographed books, posters and t-shirts! Diego's Dragon is still highly requested in our library! This is best fantasy fiction series we've seen in quite some time."

Julia - Librarian - West Middle School

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Boy Do I Need a Facebook Lesson!

I have a facebook page for Diego's Dragon, and I've tried communicating with people I've friended (is that a word?), mostly students around the country. Don't know what to say, really, and in many cases they don't know who I am.

I've tried to find some high school students to act as "Social Network Managers" for me, but no luck yet. I need some kids that love fantasy stories and are into facebook, twitter, etc. Hard to find them, though.

I think facebook would be a great way to promote, but I need some kids to teach me how to use it properly. Isn't that great? It's like having them program the remote or something.

Onward?

Rule #3 About Executing an Author Talk at a School

Just wing it, right?

WRONG!

If you have 50 minutes to talk about your Hispanic books or YA books with students, you better know exactly what you're going to do with every second. Here's how my talk goes:

1. I talk to them about how I came to be a writer and my writing process (the teachers will LOVE you for this).

2. I ask the students questions about movies, videos games, and books they like (yes, there's a reason).

3. I show a couple of trailers about my books. I create these myself in powerpoint or i-Movie. The kids LOVE them!

4. I have Q&A with the students. They'll be shy at first but then, trust me, the questions will come.

Remember to have fun with them. Kids love authors, and they love to be entertained. The better you are, the more they'll love you, and they'll want to buy more fantasy dragon books!

A testimonial:

Kevin,

This book is for my son. He bought the first fantasy fiction book from you at the farmers market a few weeks ago and has been really enjoying it.

If you could address it to Daniel I would appreciate it.

Thanks for writing a book that kids really like to read!

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Subtitle Contest for Diego's Third Fantasy Fiction Novel Still Going!

Thanks to all the wonderful students who've sent in entries!

There's a little over a month left in the contest to pick the subtitle for the third book in Diego's fantasy dragon series. There are more prizes now, too. The winner gets $100. Second place gets $50. The third and fourth place entries will each get $25. All four get their names on the publishing page in the book.

All you have to do is create the subtitle of Diego's next fantasy fiction book. It has to be something that reflects the story.

In the 16th century, the Spanish Conquistadors are sailing to the Americas to find Diego's ancestors, the Aztecs. If history repeats itself and the Mexica are destroyed, Diego's people will suffer in the present time. If the Sol Dragones can stop the Conquistadors, they can save everyone in the present.

Think about the plot for this Hispanic book and create a subtitle.

Send all entries to this email address:
kevin@cryingcougarpress.com
Put "Diego Book Three Entry" in the subject line. Make sure and tell me your name, what grade you're in, and the name of your school.

Check out the web page for complete rules and explanations:

http://www.diegosdragon.com/cooladventurebookscontests.html

Good luck with the top new fantasy book series around!

A testimonial:

“I have been reading the Conor and the Crossworlds series since Kevin came by my school. It was and will be full of emotion, exciting characters, and meaning. All the books have great plots, and I can barely wait for the next couple of books. Conor is a perfect mixture Harry Potter, Bobby Pendragon, and Percy Jackson.”

Wesley – Indio, California

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

First Day of Fall Semester 2013 - CSU San Marcos

11 years? 12? Is that how long it's been?

I get to go scare the hell out of 130 new students today. Outside of my favorite dream vocation of writing fantasy fiction books for kids, I'm an evil statistics professor for a Cal State University. Going on 12 years there, by far the longest I've ever worked in one place.

I suppose it's probably because it's not really like work at all. I have a great schedule, I work with good people in a great department, and being around college students is a kick. And it affords me all the time I need to pursue my dream.

Every time I tell someone I teach stats they cringe. I didn't like it when I took it, but I had a crappy teacher. I'd like to think I'm good at what I do, so I make the subject come alive for my classes. Hell, I teach them how to use probability to play poker, what could be better than that?

As much as I love my time off, I know I'll be glad to be back around people again. Funny thing about human beings - we're pretty messed up - but we do need each other. Alone is not good.

I have a lot of work to do on Diego's next fantasy dragons novel, and that's the great thing about my "job." I'll be able to get that book out before the holidays hit, and I'll be able to hold another of my Hispanic books in my hand.

Life is good this morning. I'm glad. It's been a tough summer.

And... Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Rule #2 About Executing an Author Talk at a School

I hope I don't have to tell any author to have fun and treat the kids nicely.

Be excited that you're there, excited about the kids as they're walking into the library/multi-purpose room/gym. Fist bump them, high five, make little jokes, and S.M.I.L.E.!!!!!!

Every interaction you have with students will be remembered, so why not start right away, well before your talk begins? Don't just stand in the front of the room waiting to be introduced, interact with the students. Kids love cool adults, but be genuine. If you try and fake it they'll know instantly and brand you a geek/nerd/dork, or whatever term they're using that week.

Yes, it will seem weird at first. It's like any other social situation. I'm always nervous, but I dive in and the students like it. The more I interact, the easier it gets, and pretty soon I'm bouncing all over the place saying hi to everyone.

When the teacher/librarian/principal introduces me, we're all one big happy family and the author talk fun begins!

A testimonial:

Here is the photo of you and my son Estebian taken at the Welk's Resort. Please add us to your news letter. Estebian loves the books. We also enjoyed your reading of the book on youtube. Thanks for what you do in life...educating the future. Take care.

Norberto Bowen

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Received a Great Critique about my Adventure Books Last Night!

Sure is good to have courageous reviewers. I spoke on the phone with a member of a critique group I'm involved with, and he had many great ideas for Diego's third fantasy dragons book.

The most important tip concerned the ending, which of course I thought was brilliant and would cause everyone reading this story to scream to the high heavens about how I'd left things with the principal characters in the story. This is the third time in my fledgling writing career that someone I respect a great deal has strongly suggested I change the ending of a fantasy fiction novel. My gut reaction is always to object, to protect my creation, but having lived around folks who are better able to digest things like this, I've can let the suggestions settle.

Of course the reviewer is correct. The ending is far too abrupt and leaves too many questions unanswered. My hope was that readers would be screaming for more, and telling everyone they know about the story. He said they would probably be screaming - for my head - for leaving them hanging like that.

So the work continues. This is how an author creates the best book he or she can. Get the story out, let people tear it to shreds, make the necessary changes, and keep fiddling until you have the best possible book you can deliver.

A testimonial:

I finally finished Diego's Dragon! It was so good that I even recommended it to a few book clubs at my school! Your new series of books really are an inspiration, I've been writing books ever since I was five years old. I keep them in a small box, I've written over 50 long and small stories (sadly not published yet) When I grow up, I hope to write a series of books that could win awards! I hope you can count me as you #1 fan :) Good job writing books and continue writing the Diego's Dragon series!

Valerie - Island Creek Elementary

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Rewriting Diego's Third Fantasy Fiction Book - Again and Again!

And the work begins...

I finished the first draft of Diego's third fantasy dragons book in July, then submitted it to the critique group in August. I'm about 2/3 of the way through the initial rewrite, changing the historical aspect of the story. Then I'll run through everyone's line edits, and after that I'll look through their general comments and do another rewrite. Hopefully I can find a few eager beavers to read the "final version" after that, just to make sure everything's been done that can be done.

It's a process, but one that improves an adventure book exponentially. Some day I may let the Penny Dreadfuls have a whack at Conor's fantasy fiction story, but that's way down the line. For now I'll focus on Diego, even though Conor and the Champions have worked their way into his YA book. I think it's brilliant, but we'll see what the readers say.

A testimonial:

“Hello from The only radio station in the world owned and operated by kids, WKID 96.7 FM, located in Clearwater, Florida. For years we were looking for an exciting book to read live on air to our listeners. All the books that we thought would be interesting to read on air turned out to be very confusing to our listening audience, but three years ago we received our first book from Kevin Gerard titled Conor and the Crossworlds. After receiving the book we thought it was just going to be another boring book, BUT NO! JUST THE OPPOSITE! This book was awesome!! Not only did we love it and were able to relate to Conor because he was our age, but our listeners really loved to hear us reading the story on air every night. They begged us not to stop reading it due to the great suspense of the story. Every night when we would stop reading for the night the phone would start ringing with listeners very upset and wanting to know what happens next, of course our response was "you will have to tune in tomorrow night." If we ever had a night that we were unable to broadcast we would receive hundreds of e-mails and phone calls. We just wanted to say thanks again for writing such a great, exciting story and we look forward for the next book.”

Adam and Eric – WKID 96.7, Clearwater, Florida

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Rule #1 About Executing an Author Talk at a School

You're in the parking lot - hurray - that means you found the school! I usually find it the night before so I won't get lost the morning of the talk. At any rate:

1. Don't pile everything onto a rolling cart right away. Go into the school's administration building and find the office. You MUST check in, sign a visitor log, and get a visitor badge. You won't get far without one.

2. Smile! Tell the nice person at the desk that you are the visiting author and you'd like to see the librarian. You'll either wait for her or follow the directions and walk to the library yourself.

3. Smile! Meet the librarian and check out the library location and the room. It might be all the way on the other side of the school, so you wouldn't want to be tugging a heavy, unstable cart full of books across the campus. If you can move your car closer, do so. Check out the setup of the room, primarily the lighting. If you're using an A/V setup, you want the room to be as dark as possible when the time comes. Are chairs in place for you? Are the students going to sit on the floor?

4. Smile! Ask how long you have for your presentation. If you have less time than you like, you want to be thinking about how you'll change it while you're setting up your gear. If you have more time, mark a couple of passages in your books to read to the students.

5. Smile! Find out if there's a tech person on campus, or a maintenance person who can help you with extension cords, tables, and a microphone if it's a large group. Someone who knows where things are can make or break your visit.

I'll reveal more in my next Blog. The more prepared you are, the better your visit will go. The most important thing is to be relaxed and ready when the students start coming into the library.

A testimonial:

“Kevin Gerard’s Conor and the Crossworlds series is an essential “must have” for any library or fantasy fan. Conor’s story stands out in the ever-growing fantasy genre as a fun, safe adventure for all ages. Mr. Gerard's work does not stay on our shelf very long and patrons are eagerly awaiting the next installment.”
Michael – Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

The Number One Regret of One's Life...

Heard the results of a survey the other day on the radio. It was about the top ten biggest regrets people have about their lives. The usual answers rang true; didn't play more, didn't spend more time with my kids, didn't travel more, but the number one regret by a wide margin was this - people didn't chase their dreams.

A lot of folks have ridiculed me for being the person I am, always with my head in the clouds, devising grandiose schemes, setting goals too high. I am SO glad I'm that way, SO glad I want to accomplish something spectacular with my life.

Your life - how brief it is - even in the context of human existence. In the overall flow of the universe? Forget it, we're nothing more than a blip, if even that. Have you ever heard about someone, a distant family member, or a niece or nephew, or a friend, and you suddenly realize that a big chunk of your life has passed without you even being aware of it? Our lives end so quickly, how could anyone waste a day of their existence without grasping for a brass ring.

I'll never forget the day - February 24, 2004 - almost ten years ago. That's when I stood up in my cubicle, said enough is enough, and walked into the director's office and quit on the spot. I was 46 years old, and I wasn't going to sell one more day of my life for less than it was worth. I secured some teaching gigs and started writing fantasy like a maniac. I've just finished my tenth fantasy fiction novel, eight of which I'll have published by the end of 2013.

Is it worth it? Is it worth the highs and lows, the extreme depression when I'm certain my stories will never go anywhere, or the overwhelming elation when I see kids lined up outside the library door waiting to buy Diego's and Conor's books?

Yes. I could still be sitting in that cubicle, and my biggest fear is sitting in a rocking chair 30 years from now, realizing I hadn't given my all to achieve my dreams. I love my characters, especially Purugama, Conor's teacher, and Magnifico, Diego's fantasy dragon.

Don't delay your journey for one more day!

A testimonial:

Kevin,

I have just purchased your 7 published books (Diego's Dragon & Conor/Crossworlds) and written a review on Amazon, which should be posted shortly. Did I see or read somewhere that a third Diego's Dragon book was in progress?  I certainly hope I didn't dream that up. I'll be in touch later when the books arrive, but there's no rush as they are for Christmas.  (How nice for you that Amazon was almost out of several of your books -- but more on the way soon.) Thanks again for your help in allowing Grandma to give a fantastic present!

   --Lyn-- a definite fan

Onward to the Stars!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

The Value of Joining a Writers' Critique Group

I belong to a writers' critique group called The Penny Dreadfuls. As far as I can recall, way back in history certain writers would pen stories and sell them for a penny. Most of them must have been dreadful, thus the name. They are an outstanding group of writers and they understand the components of a good story.

We act as fresh eyes and minds when taking turns reading our work. At yesterday's meeting the Pennies ripped apart Diego's third fantasy dragons book. I mean from the definition of the word "beam" all the way to who conquered the Aztec nation, Cortés or Pizarro, and how that can be incorporated into the strength of the story.

I sat on a panel last Spring with a fairly well known author. The subject was editing your work, and as moderator, I steered the discussion toward critique groups. The author in question demonstrably condemned such groups, giving an example of shouting at the audience member that their work was crappy and they'll never be a good writer. I was shocked, but if fairness, there probably are such groups. It makes me humbly appreciative that I fell into the Penny Dreadfuls. I've been with them for two or three years and my work has vastly improved because of it.

Google "writers' groups" in your city. Find a good one and see if you can get accepted. Your books will thank you.

A testimonial:

"I am so very impressed. I remember the darkness from the third book more than anything, although the second book had such cool fight scenes and characters. This story is pure pleasure for me, I think because it was quite visual and exciting, but also very tender. The ending was absolutely amazing, it evoked all the feelings you would expect from an extremely well-written fantasy.” – Karen – Tierrasanta, California

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Only 68 Days Until the Humboldt County Children's Author Festival!

I'll be heading north, way up north to Humboldt County (that's an hour south of the Oregon border) in a little over two months! I've been invited back to the Humboldt County Children's Author Festival, which happens in the middle of October.

http://www.authorfest.org/

The Humboldt County Children's Author Festival began in 1975 with goals of bringing well-known, published authors to Humboldt County and enabling them to visit schools to talk with students about fantasy fiction books and the business and craft of writing, and to reinforce the idea that people create books and that children and students can write fantasy as well as read. Begun as a one-time festival, its popularity with kids, parents, teachers, librarians, and the general public was such that the festival evolved into a biennial event.

This October, 25 authors and illustrators will come to Humboldt from throughout California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Utah, Florida and Indiana. They will travel to 60 Humboldt County schools, talk about themselves and their work to thousands of school children, and spend a day at a public autographing session in the Main Library in Eureka, where their fantasy dragon books can be purchased.

I can't wait until October. 2011 was so much fun!

A testimonial:

"Conor and the Crossworlds is the perfect blend of fantasy and adventure.
Action around every corner! Conor is my favorite character for his courage and bravery. People can relate to him.” – Andrew – Portland, Oregon

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
ConorandtheCrossworlds

Rule #5 About Approaching a School Librarian for an Author Talk

Great!

You've emailed the librarian kit, snail-mailed some fantasy fiction book cover posters, and encouraged the librarian to pick a few fantasy dragon illustrations for the coloring contest.

Now comes your part. Make sure YOU are ready when the date arrives for your author talk. Here are a few things to consider:

1. Books - do you have enough YA books on hand for the visit? If yes, great, but if you don't, make certain you give enough lead time for the order. You don't want the books for a school visit to arrive the day after you make your presentation.

     Make sure you bring enough adventure books! I always bring too many, but I don't ever want to run out. If you're selling a series, make sure you order a lot of the first book, and a handful of the rest. Some students will buy a new series of books, but most will want to read the first book and then see if they want to continue.

2. Giveaways - I bring posters, postcards, and sometimes t-shirts to the schools. I don't sell these items, but I do give them away as prizes (posters and t-shirts), or just as freebies (postcards). Kids love free stuff, and the librarian is overjoyed when she sees her students excited at an event.

3. Reminders - I set at least three reminders in my outlook calendar; one for book orders, one a week ahead of time, and one two days before the event. I've never missed an author talk, and hopefully I never will.

     I said this in a recent post about school visits - VIEW IT HERE - if you think you're early, go to the venue anyway. I was way down in the south one winter and showed up late twice when I thought I had time to drive around before I was supposed to be there. Don't ever do that, early is always better than late.

4. Media - Contact every media source in the surrounding area. If you can get any type of coverage it will be a huge bonus for you. It's hard to get them to pay attention unless you're published by one of the biggies, but hey, a little time spent could go a long way if somebody bites.

5. A/V equipment and presentation - run through everything the night before your visit. Better to find out that something needs to be tweaked ahead of time rather than fifteen minutes before your start time at the school.

And remember to have fun!

A testimonial:

“I love the Conor and the Crossworlds books because in an instant Conor’s life goes from ordinary to getting to experience being in an alternate world beyond imagination. When Conor starts gaining abilities from serving as a warrior for the Crossworlds creators, it makes me wish I could escape to an alternate world of my own and meet majestic cougars like Purugama. The third book “Surviving an Altered World” is my favorite because of the quest for the five keys. The plot for the third book was awesome and the scavenger hunt that the author did for the five keys that went across the United States was a lot of fun! That’s why I love the Conor and Crossworlds books. Not only that but I’ve always liked writing, thanks to this series I am inspired to write so much more!” – Jade – Lumberton, Mississippi

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Going to my First High School Next Month!

One of my favorite librarians, Judy, has once again moved to a new school. People must know that she straightens out every library she's hired to oversee, so she gets hired a lot!

She loves her libraries, her students, and her YA books (not to mention her middle grade authors), and she just landed at a local high school. I'll be giving a talk there in September, and it will be my first at this level. I've stuck to middle and elementary schools to this point because that's how old my characters are, and I've heard that kids like to "read up," which means they like to read fantasy dragon stories about characters that are older.

She hasn't worked there for more than a week, and she's begun a program called "Literary Lunch in the Library." How cool is that? I'll be her first adventure books author, and I'll talk to the students about self-publishing and how to write fantasy for e-books.

One of my goals this year is to get Diego's Dragon accepted by the Accelerated Reader program. Librarians can make this happen just by filling out a form on their website. Perhaps Judy can help me accomplish this - we'll see.

At any rate, I'm always happy to help her. She's been with me since the beginning.

A testimonial:

“Hi, it's Ryan. Big fan!!!!!!!!! Love the books, but, I'm thinking you should make a movie. I want to see what colors the places are, I want to see how big they are. I can see the pictures; I just see them in black and white. And I'm almost done with the second book. I met you at the Clairemont branch Library 50th Celebration. That's where we bought the first book. Who won the key thing, or is it still going on? Please reply…” – Ryan – San Diego, California

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Fourth Attempt at Spirits of the Sun Hardcover!

Whew!

Here we go again. A few months ago I decided to take my distributor up on their offer of a free hardcover setup for my latest adventure book. If I'd done it correctly the first time it would have been free, but after mistakes one, two, and three, it's getting pretty expensive. Last night I reloaded the cover again. Now I wait for the proof and hold my breath.

I have a friend in Los Angeles who writes a very good newsletter. In a recent edition he made this comment, "I think I'm getting the hang of this publishing thing." He's worked very hard on his craft and has signed a handful of good authors. He does what the big six publishers do to create, distribute, and promote the books under his imprint. He's a mentor to me, and I'm proud of what he's accomplished.

I'm learning a lot, but I don't think I'm "getting the hang of this publishing thing" just yet. Perhaps with a little more time and a few dozen clones of myself I'll find the best way to launch a new book series. For now I'll keep an open mind.

My latest push to promote Diego's fantasy dragons story is into schools in the country of Mexico and Blogs for YA and middle grade fantasy fiction books. There are about 2000 Blogs, give or take a score. If I can find some good ones and they like Diego's story, perhaps they'll share it with others, and the fire will spread about one of the latest children's books to hit the shelves.

But first I have to see if I'll be going to a fifth proof on the Spirits of the Sun hardcover.

Here's a testimonial:

“I just love the Conor and the Crossworlds books! When I pick them up I can't put them down! I feel like I'm in another world!”
Jocelyn – Manchester, New Hampshire

Onward!

Kevin Gerard
Diego's Dragon
Conor and the Crossworlds

Rule #4 About Approaching a School Librarian for an Author Talk

Awesome!

Now you have a school librarian who's excited about your fantasy fiction books visit, and she's set a date! The next item on the agenda is to give her a ton of work to do to make the author talk as great as it can be, right?

ERRRRRRRRR - wrong!

You better make the process as effortless as possible for her. She has enough to do, trust me. Give her assignments, yes, but make them fun so she won't mind expending the energy to tell everyone about the fantasy dragons author who's coming to visit. She loves her library and she loves her students, and she wants to put on a great show for them. It's your job to help her do that, and to do as much as you can to take the load off of her shoulders.

Sure, there will be some librarians that just grab the ball and run with it, and that's great, but they will be few and far between. For the others, and that will be most of them, you need to carry the water. They'll love you for it.

Remember, you have a librarian kit with all kinds of cool YA book stuff she can use to prepare for the visit. Send it to her EARLY, and ask a few times leading up to the visit if there's anything else you can do. Don't be a pest, but let her know you're there for her to help her shine.

Okay? Now go set up that talk, and tell a giant group of kids about the top new fantasy books in the state!

A testimonial:

"I’m from the high school in Burlington, Vermont, that you visited. I didn't really get a chance to properly thank you, so I'd like to do that now. Not only is your series, Conor and the Crossworlds, one of the most imaginative, brilliant and overall best fantasy reads ever, you've also inspired me to write more than I can ever express. Keep speaking at schools; you're very motivating. I'm so grateful for your stories and kind words.
Thank you!" – Matt – Burlington, Vermont

Kevin Gerard
www.diegosdragon.com
www.conorandthecrossworlds.com
twitter - @DiegosDragon
Facebook - Kevin Gerard

More Prizes in the Book Three Fantasy Fiction Book Contest!

There are more prizes in the book three contest for Diego's fantasy dragon series. The winner gets $100. Second place gets $50. The third and fourth place entries will each get $25. All four get their names on the publishing page in the book.

Create the subtitle of Diego's next fantasy fiction novel. It has to be something that reflects the story.

In the 16th century, the Spanish Conquistadors are sailing to the Americas to find Diego's ancestors, the Aztecs. If history repeats itself and the Aztecs are destroyed, Diego's people will suffer in the present time. If the Sol Dragones can stop the Conquistadors, they can save everyone in the present.

Think of a cool subtitle that reflects this plot. So far, Battle at Tenochtitlan is the best subtitle.

You remember book one, when Diego and Magnifico had to rescue the souls of those who'd died in the deserts between Mexico and America? That subtitle is "Spirits of the Sun."

And book two, where the Sol Dragones had to battle Vipero's army of dragons, that came from a place called the Dark Rift? That subtitle is "Dragons of the Dark Rift."

Think about the plot for this YA book and create a subtitle.

Send all entries to this email address:
kevin@cryingcougarpress.com
Put "Diego Book Three Entry" in the subject line. Make sure and tell me your name, what grade you're in, and the name of your school.

Check out the web page for complete rules and explanations:

http://www.diegosdragon.com/cooladventurebookscontests.html

Good luck with the top new fantasy book series around!

Onward!

Rule #3 About Approaching a School Librarian for an Author Talk

Rule #3 is simple - if you can't nail down a date for an author talk in three phone calls with a librarian, thank her very much and move on to the next school.

School librarians have been squeezed like no other in the last few years. They are being asked to do more while having their hours cut, and that means administration, book purchases, managing teacher requests, you name it, and they're bombarded constantly by book dealers trying to sell titles.

Another factor is the school administration. Some principals just roll right over faculty and staff. The bottom line is their only consideration. That makes sense in our world of ever diminishing school budgets, but when a librarian tells them about a free event and they brush them off without a word, that's tough to swallow.

With all due respect to the wonderful school librarians out there, if they can't set a date, they surely won't be able to do everything else to arrange and execute a great visit.

Wish them well and call the next school about the top new fantasy books around.

A testimonial:

I love your fantasy fiction books so much! -- Tanner -- Palm Desert Charter School

www.diegosdragon.com
www.conorandthecrossworlds.com

Rule #2 About Approaching a School Librarian for an Author Talk

Okay - now you have a school librarian on the phone, and you have 60 seconds to get her interested in having you present a talk about the top new fantasy books to her students.

1. Allay her fears immediately - tell her you visit schools for free because you know how strapped budgets are - she'll love you for that.

2. Ask her if she'd be interested in a fantasy fiction book librarian kit you've put together over the years, which includes a handful of black and white illustrations she can use to host a coloring contest for her students.

3. Ask her when the best time would be for a presentation, or presentations, at her school. Tell her at this point you are free on the following days.

4. Ask her if there's anything you can do to help organize the visit. Offer to send her anything she likes, even fantasy dragon illustrations, and tell her she can share them with the language arts teachers.

Many times, librarians are operating under administrative constraints. You'll have to be patient while she works things out. It's worth it, though, especially when it results in a great author talk.

"Hi there,

My son bought 2 books, Spirits of the Sun and Dragons of the Dark Rift, and is loving them! We were wondering when you will be at the market off Melrose again and if they are always on special if you buy them in person?
 
Thanks -- Adina"

www.diegosdragon.com
www.conorandthecrossworlds.com

Rule #1 About Approaching a School Librarian for an Author Talk

Do you write fantasy or YA books? Are you planning on calling any school librarians this fall, hoping you'll convince them to invite you for an author talk about the top new fantasy books around? Here's rule #1 - listen to what they say when they answer the phone.

a. If they say they have students with them, politely tell them you'll call another time and let them go.

b. If they say they're busy or they're having lunch, politely ask them if you can call back and when.

c. If they agree to give you a minute, make sure you give a quality 60 second pitch. Write it, practice it, and revise and practice it again.

You might only get one chance to convince them that your talk about fantasy dragons is something they and their students would love to experience!


A testimonial -- ..


My name is Eric and I like your book, "Diego's Dragon" a lot. My teacher brought the book to class yesterday.  He says he bought it at the La Jolla Farmer's Market on Sunday. I think you are a good author because your book is really good.

www.diegosdragon.com

Jesse and Jelly are Buddies!

It's rare when something works out exactly as I'd planned it. When it does, the world seems okay.

Some of you know Jesse the WonderCat, my five year old, orange tabby, best buddy in life? And if you follow me at all, you know I've wanted to get a playmate for him for some time. Well I did, and now he has a young little buddy who used to be called Braveheart. I don't have the "heart" to tell the couple I got him from that his name has been changed to "Jelly."

Yep - that Jelly - the funny mafia guy from the movie "Analyze This." Cats need names that end in an "eee" sound. I thought of Houdini because I could never find him, then Crazy because of the way he screams all over the house. I was with my wife the other day and she said "Jelly," and it stuck.

So now it's Jesse and Jelly, the two buddies. I'll post pictures on my Wordpress Blog from time to time.

Onward!

My Illustrator Sticks Up for Himself!

I've published seven fantasy fiction books so far. I'm kind of like a general contractor, hiring illustrators, book designers, sometimes even editors, in a way. In the past I've rolled over my illustrators, pushing my vision on them to the extent of ruining what could have been one of the top new fantasy book covers or interior illustrations. I've been careful about that in the last year or two.

Benito sent me a couple of sketches of the cover for Diego's third fantasy dragons novel. I picked one and asked him if he could raise the perspective of the viewer to see what I've described in the book. He wrote back and explained why the lower perspective is more powerful, in that it leaves much for the reader to imagine. He's absolutely right!

I love that, and I love that I've learned over the years to leave the writing to me and the rest to those who are talented in their professions.

Check out Benito's website - very awesome - http://www.benitogallego.com/

Onward!

And the Cover for Diego's Dragon: Book Three Emerges!

This is why I love to write fantasy!

Benito has sent me the first sketches for the cover of Diego's next fantasy dragons book. I can't even guess how awesome this is going to look, especially with a clear blue sky in the background!

The cover for the second fantasy fiction book, with Vipero blasting Diego and Racquel with dragon fire in Satadon's cave is spectacular, but the cave is too dark for the black lettering in the title. Jennifer did try to suggest white lettering, which would have shown up a lot better, but some dummy author told her he wanted the lettering to stay consistent - DOH!

With a sunny background, the lettering will stand out like it did on the Book One cover, something that's quite important in book production.

Anyway, check the Wordpress Blog if you want to see the sketches. I don't know how to place the images in this Blog - it asks for a URL, not a Jpeg file.

When it's all done, this will definitely be one of the top new fantasy books of 2013!

If you want to read a chapter from Book Three, go here:

http://www.diegosdragon.com/readabookthreechapter.html

Onward!

Diego's Dragon, Book Three: Battle at Tenochtitlan

The third fantasy fiction book in the Diego's Dragon series is finished.

YEAH!

As you can see by the title of this Blog, one lucky student has submitted the best subtitle for the contest, so far. The contest ends on September 30, 2013, so there's lots of time left. Seeing as how the major battle in this book is between Magnifico's fantasy dragons and the Spanish conquistadors, and it takes place in the bay near Tenochitlan, this student's subtitle works best for now.

This YA book turned out to be very strong. I'd love to tell you all about it, but then I'd spoil the story for you. I just completed the first editing pass, so now I consider it done. A year ago it was an idea, nothing more. I knew the Sol Dragones were going to fight the conquistadors, and that Satadon was going to change history somehow, but that's all it was at the time, a head full of thoughts. I can't express the joy I feel when a simple idea becomes a finished novel, especially one as powerful as this one.

So now the work begins. You've seen the illustration of Captain Pizarro. Benito is working up ideas for the cover (you're going to love it!), my critique group is tearing the first draft to shreds, and I am hoping to have one of the top new fantasy books available by October (ha-ha).

Eight and a half years ago I decided to follow this path. I'm so glad I did.

Onward!

Latino Times Follows Diego's Dragon on Twitter!

What a great development!

The Latino Times is following Diego's Dragon on Twitter. That means they'll receive notices about one of the top new fantasy books on my Wordpress Blog every time I post. Hopefully, other media will catch sight of Diego's fantasy dragons and decide to follow him as well.

Here's a link to Latino Times on the internet - http://latinotimes.com/

I'm 232 pages into the first edit of Book Three. I hate to pat myself on the back, but it's a great fantasy fiction novel!

Onward!

Entering Diego's Spanish Book in the Children's Moonbeam Awards!

Here we go again!

I've decided to enter the Spanish version of Diego's fantasy dragons story, Spirits of the Sun, in the Children's Moonbeam Awards.

The Jenkins Group and Independent Publisher magazine are hosting the contest (as they do every year). It gives them the opportunity to find the top new fantasy books around the country and give them the exposure they deserve. They've been at this for 25 years and have achieved a great deal of respect in the literary world.

Wish me luck, even better, wish Diego and his fantasy fiction book luck!

Here is the website for the contest - http://www.MoonbeamAwards.com

Onward!

www.diegosdragon.com
www.conorandthecrossworlds.com

About a Month until School Starts Again...

A month and a day - Ugh!

I'm such a baby!

The fall semester starts August 26, and that means I have to go back to work. At least that's what I call it. Trust me, if you have to have a job, this is the greatest gig in the world. I work Tuesday and Thursday, 10:30 - 8:00, four classes in a row each day. Other than that and a few office hours, that's my commitment to Cal State San Marcos.

Are you kidding? And I'm dreading that? Somebody slap me!

Okay - back to Diego and Conor.

I've rewritten Conor's first fantasy fiction book, and as soon as I get the files I'll load them into LSI's system and let you all know. The other editions will be quite valuable some day, should I ever become the writer I hope to be, so hang on to them!

I'm 125 pages into the rewrite for Diego's third adventure book. It's looking really good. I especially like the chapters detailing Captain Pizarro's voyage to the Americas. The scenes on the ship are described quite well (patting myself on the back). Diego's visions are pretty cool, too. It's all about fine tuning now, just to make certain this fantasy dragons book is as good as it can be.

I love Diego's story - it will be one of the top new fantasy books around - I'm certain of it!

Onward!

Got a New Kitty Cat in my Home!

Finally picked up a playmate for Jesse!

He's two years old, his name is Braveheart (at least now, until I think of a different name), and he's jet black like his older brother Little Man. He has the most amazing golden eyes, they are full of life and curiosity.

He and Jesse are play pals now, which I'm happy to see. I felt bad for Jesse, he's five and needs someone to rumble with while he's young. Brave hasn't let me pet him yet, but he's letting me get closer. I'll be patient, he's worth the wait.

Working on Diego's third fantasy fiction novel, the first of many editing passes. So far so good, and we'll see what my writing group has to say about this fantasy dragons book when they critique it. This is where the real work begins, but it pays off.

I'm reading a good story written by a young kid I met at ConDor last March. I really like the story, but the writing is so technically poor it's painful to read. You just can't do that and expect to make it as someone who likes to write fantasy.

I'll continue to work hard on this new book series!

Onward!

The End of Diego's Third Fantasy Dragons Book is Awesome!

I finished the first draft of Diego's third fantasy fiction book a couple of days ago. You'll love the final battle at the end, and you'll love me or hate me or both for what happens at the end of this YA book. Either way, I'll be yanking on your emotions, and if an author does that, they're doing you a favor.

I have to do a little tweaking on the last chapter, then after that I'll go through the entire book again. Then I'll print a copy and go through it word by word. My critique group will slash it to ribbons, I'll have a few more passes at it, some select readers will pick it apart, and then maybe it will be ready. It is a process, but it gives my readers one of the best new fantasy novels to read.

I set a grueling schedule for myself this summer, but the first draft is done. That's always a wonderful feeling, that and the emotional explosion I endure at the end. I didn't really cry after typing the last period this time, but I balled my eyes as I wrote the final battle. That should give you a hint about the outcome, that and the fact that Diego's Dragon, like Conor and the Crossworlds, will be a five book series.

Here's to one of the best fantasy fiction series ever!

Onward!

New Illustrator for Diego's Fantasy Dragon is Awesome!

Wow!

I received the first adventure books illustration from my new artist, Benito Gallego. He's drawn the first of five illustrations for the third Diego's Dragon book, which still doesn't have a subtitle :-)

Some students have sent in good fantasy fiction novel titles, like "Battle at Tenochitlan," or "Saviors of Fire," and "The Aztec Saviors," but the contest continues until the end of September, so we'll have to wait for the title of the book.

Benito lives in Spain! I found him through an internet site called Freelanced. By the look of his first illustration, he's going to be an amazing illustrator for Diego's latest children's books.

I'm so excited about the third YA book now. I can't wait to see what Benito comes up with, especially the cover.

This is so cool!

Diego's Dragon, Book Three, Just a Few Pages from Completion!

Wow - do I love to write fantasy!

Yesterday I was typing like a madman and crying my eyes out. The fourth and final battle between the Sol Dragones and Captain Pizarro's Spanish conquistadors came out in a furious flood of words. The Spanish army has seven galleons, over two hundred fifty cannons, and an endless number of crossbows and muskets.

Arrows and bullets against fantasy dragons - wouldn't that battle be over in seconds? Not if Pizarro's weapons were controlled by an evil lord with revenge on his mind, revenge against Magnifico and his meddlesome guide, Diego.

I'm introducing some new dragons and guides into this fantasy fiction novel, including Icoron, and alien guide from the Andromeda galaxy. He rides with Taragon, the fastest of all the Sol Dragones.

There's a surprise visitor at the very end of this book, a character the fans of Conor and the Crossworlds will be very happy to see alive again. Here's a hint - he's a very important jungle cat in Aztec folklore.

This should be one of the top new fantasy books this year!

Onward - to the pinnacle of the literary world with Diego and Conor!