Friday, December 26, 2014

2015 Journaling Challenge

I searched on-line for some sort of journaling challenge for the year to sign up for.  I didn't look too much, but couldn't find anything.  I checked Facebook, but didn't see anything for writers.  So, I've decided to create my own journaling challenge for 2015.  My hopes is that once a week, probably Sunday nights while anxiously awaiting The Walking Dead, I'll post a prompt, along with my writing to go with it.

What kind of prompts?  I have no clue...okay, maybe I do.  Some will be personal, some will be humorous, scary, fantastical, goofy, or whatever else comes to mind.  Yes, that's right, I don't have 52 posts with prompts ready to go.  I'll be making it up as I go.

If you'd like to join in, awesome!  If you just want to follow, awesome (but take the chance and write, too!)!

I'm hoping to use this experience to help improve my writing, and to explore different areas of writing.  I love writing and just want to write more, not just for manuscripts, but for myself.

I plan on writing in my journal first, then put it on here each Monday night.  I guess I need a new journal then :)  That's such a shame...

I plan on ordering one from in blue handmade on etsy.

I'll leave you with this quote from Neil Gaiman:

'Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.'

Monday, December 8, 2014

Writing can be soooo easy (insert eyeroll...)

No, it's not really, not all the time anyway.  Some days the words just flow.  Other days I stare at the screen, or my journal, and all I can think is...uuuuuummmmmmmmm...hhhhmmmmmmmm...

I saw this picture on Jennifer Frith's FB page and couldn't help but think, "Some days, it's just like this!"

"This is awesome!" You have the great idea that 'can't miss.'  You get to writing, your ideas are flowing and swirling all around your brain, and it seems like the story is just going to shoot right out of your brain, through your fingers, onto the paper.

"This is tricky..." As you type, the story doesn't quite flow like you thought.  You begin to have trouble with the wording, the right verbs.  What sounded perfect in your brain, just doesn't seem the same.  Getting your thoughts and images onto paper is not quite as easy as you thought.

"This is crap."  Ug, your story just doesn't seem to work.  It sucks.  You're ready to give up, but you still have more in your head, so you just keep banging on the keyboard like a monkey with a typewriter.  You don't even know if what you have is going to make sense...

"I am crap!"  Now you're just getting personal.  That monkey on the right?  Yeah, he's smarter than us.  That awesome idea?  It was the dumbest thing ever.  NOW it's time to move on!

"This might work."  Ok, so you've come back to that 'next great story' and decided to work on it again.  You hashed it out, you thought it sucked and you walked away.  It happens.  Sometimes you need to give those frustrating moments some time alone; time to think about what they did wrong :)  You get your journal back out, or open up for story file and get back to typing.  You read through your story and new ideas pop up.  Now it doesn't seem so bad.  This might be worthwhile.

"This is awesome!"  Wow!  Now it sounds like I wanted it!  It may have been a couple, or a dozen revisions, but you never gave up on the great idea you had.  You worked your butt off and your determination has been rewarded!  Your piece is exactly what you were hoping for!

Yeah, I have those moments, too.  How about you?  What do you do when you get stuck?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

What a day!

What a busy day!

I met with my first in person critique group. I was just to get to know each other- no MS sharing yet- but we talked about writing for about two hours. It left me feeling excited to meet again (though it won't be for a couple months) and wanting to write!

I went through a pdf of The Lost Squirrel, my latest children's self publishing effort illustrated by the amazing Jennifer Frith, checking for word placement

I wrote a PB MS and revised (a bit) two others. The MS I wrote was one of the ideas I got from PiBoIdMo. Tomorrow I want to rank my ideas to see if any others are good ones.

I got this back as part of an e-mail from an on-line critique group member "Thank you for the privilege of reading it." Wow! That made my day!!

And? I just submitted a PB MS to an author and his publisher for approval to use a quote from his book in the MS. Of course I'm hoping the publisher will love it and want to sign me to a PB deal!!

Now? Not sure...maybe a movie, maybe some idea creation time, maybe a bit of both.

Either way, I've got a warm fire in the fireplace, a cat on my lap, and the christmas tree lights are on. The sound of the flames (and the keyboard) is amazingly peaceful (sorry, Mr. King, for the use of the adverb).

How was your day?

Friday, December 5, 2014

November wrap up and EOY goals

November came and went like fall leaves on a tree.  One day you're admiring the colors, next day they're gone.

There were two main writing events that occurred (for me at least) this month:

1: I signed up for PiBoIdMo and ended up with 35 picture book ideas.


2: I got the images from Jennifer Frith for The Lost Squirrel!

Right now (well not right now) I'm working on the text placement, cover and formatting to upload to Ingram Spark.

As of now I don't have a specific date for when it'll be available, but, that's EOY goal #1:

1: Have The Lost Squirrel ready for sale!

2: To send out a manuscript to six agents.

3: (This is ongoing) To land an agent :)

I've been slow to go with mailing out manuscripts.  I have only three that I'm waiting on right now and that's too few.  You want to get an agent?  You need to have that one awesome manuscript and send it out to a boatload of agents.

4: To write at least one more manuscript for the year, preferably two.

I'm not going to force this one.  I went with quantity this year, I think..., and I really want to work through them and have several that are "ready" to be sent out.  For now, I have four picture book manuscripts and a poem that I feel are set.  Of course that doesn't mean I won't work on them.  I still send them to my critique groups (I'm in three right now and run one of the three).

That's it.  Just the four, but they are big ones :)

What are your writing goals for the rest of the year?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Lost Squirrel images are in!!!

And here's a sneak peak:

There's still a ways to go. What do I have done?

Text inserted into the images, the images saved into three different formats, in one format I cut the images in half for page sizing and then resized for eBooks (but forgot a step, so I'll have to redo that).

What's left?

Sending eBook to Jennifer (once I have it done) for formatting ideas, set up the cover, set up the ISBNs for various formats, centering into .doc format to create into pdf for file uploading to Ingram Spark and to Smashwords.  I think that's'll be a while longer, but it's oh, so close!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A sale on The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly!

Even more than a sale, but a permanent price decrease when you purchase the book through me. Unfortunately, the price on-line, and in book stores, will remain the same as the retailers need their percent of the cover price.
So, what's the deal?  Well, let's get through a couple images of the story first, in case you've never seen it before:

The cover

An awesome 'This book belongs to:' page

Title page even has a cute sleeping Kona

Uh-oh!  My friends are in trouble!

The end and a gorgeous sunset!
How could you turn down such awesomeness???

The original price was $9.99, but then I was able to cut it down to $8.99, after switching printers, for the in store price.  Recently I offered it for $6.99 through me.  Now?  Well, let's say I'm cutting that price down even more.

The new price?

$4.99 plus $2.00 shipping!

So, now is the perfect time to order a copy for friends and family!

Send me an e-mail at:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Oscar and Kona, a sneak peak!

The always amazing Jennifer Frith sent me an image the other day to share with you all.

Here's Kona, working on digging a temporary home for Oscar.  Why temporary?  Well, you'll have to wait and see, err, read, when the book comes out.

I hope you enjoyed the brief sneak peak!

To get more, head over to:

The Adventures of Kona and His Friends on Facebook and like the page and to

Art By Jennifer Frith on Facebook and like her page, too!!

Please share away!

I will be posting details about an amazing deal on The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly on Small Business Saturday!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I have 30!

Woohoo!  Just a quick PiBoIdMo update because I know you've all been hanging by the seat of your pants.  I have thirty picture book manuscripts done as of today!!  I came up with eight more over the weekend while at a casino.  Yes, a casino.  No ideas while playing the penny slots, but after that, after washing off the stank of smoke (and I was only in it for 45 minutes!!), I perused some writer web sites, and an art site.  It didn't take that long either.

So, now, I have another week to come up with the 10-15 more I was hoping for to get in the 40-45 range.

How are your ideas coming along?  How many do you have?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

PiBoIdMo ideas coming slowly, but they're coming.

Hey All!

Coming up with a slew of ideas has been challenging.  I seem to get a couple every couple days, or one a day for a couple days in a row.  I really thought I'd have more by now.  It's November 16th and I have 17 ideas.  The challenge is to get 30 ideas in 30 days, but that's not enough for me.  I want more.  I am a bit competitive.  I want to feel like I WON PiBoIdMo, not just completed it.  No official stats are kept, just whether you completed it nor not, but completing isn't good enough for me.  I need to crush it.

So, what do I need to do?  I need to observe more.  I need to write down any little thought that might be helpful and might lead to a legitimate idea.  Just a name, a location, or a funny anecdote aren't good enough for me to be considered an idea.  This is what I need to fill out fully for it to be a legitimate idea (in my mind at least):

You may recognize this from here.
I have 30 set-up as my file in Scrivener, and 18 filled in (yes, I did have an idea pop up while typing this post!).  What do I consider a win?  Hmmm...40? 50?  Yeah, around there.  40-50 would be great for me.

But what would I consider a real win in PiBoIdMo?  Having 1 be considered a win by an agent and publisher.   That would be a true win.

How are you doing in PiBoIdMo?  Are you winning?  Got any tips?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Next Adventure of Kona and His Friends is Moving Along!

The amazingly talented Jennifer Frith has been working hard on the illustrations for The Lost Squirrel, the next book in The Adventures of Kona and his Friends series.  She sent me this illustration earlier today:
Bella in flight
I am continuously awestruck with Jennifer's talent.  She is somehow able to put into water color how I envision the story unfolding.  In this scene, Bella is flying over the forest where Oscar's home was cut down.

I was also sent this image recently from the mom of a new fan:
Loving The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly
And here's what Mom had to say:
"So, wanted to give you some great feedback on your amazing book! He absolutely LOVES it. We read it together the first time (he read it to me and we discussed it as we went along). He said after the first few pages "This seems like it will be a sad book!" and then as we went along we talked about their friendship and why he was feeling the way he was. Then, he got so excited about how he was able to help his friends escape. We talked about the moral of the story and he totally got it the first time! And, he loved the illustrations and was thrilled to write his name on the first page in the oval. I saw him pick up the book several times over the next few days happily reading along and even wanted his big sisters to take a look. I am so impressed, Erik - such a special book that has a wonderful message and really captured my son's imagination and heart. I am hoping I can buy some more signed copies from you!!! Any chance I can purchase 5 more? If so, let me know! I took a few pictures of him enjoying your book so you can see how much joy it brought him. Yeah! "

It's so gratifying to help instill the love of reading into a child!  Thank you!!

If you'd like to purchase a copy of the first book, The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly, e-mail me at:  $6.99 plus $2.00 S&H.  Thanks!!

Monday, November 10, 2014

PiBoIdMoing it up and MS's

Wow.  I'm finding so much inspiration from PiBoIdMo!  Today is November 10th, and I have 10 ideas!  10/10 so far.  I don't get an idea each day.  Sometimes I'll get a couple, sometimes a few.  But the key is persistence.

 Don't stop!  Can't stop! Won't stop!  Never stop!  Keep writing, keep creating.

That's my motto.  It's working so far, and I don't plan on stopping.  How do you get better at writing?  You write.  What else?  Critique groups, writing groups, reading about writing, and more writing.

12x12 Picture Book Challenge has been inspiring as well.  The 12x12 challenge is to write 12 picture book manuscripts in 12 months.  Right now, I'm at 13 PB manuscripts, 1 poem, and 1 kids chapter book.  Because of 12x12 and its member, I have mustered to join a critique group.  In fact, I now belong to three groups (one is sporadic, the other two are small), one of which I run.  I have seen my writing grow exponentially since I began with 12x12 back in late January.  I can not wait to sign up for next year!!

I've been working on a PB MS dealing with the loss of a loved one for the past couple weeks.  It's been a wonderful, sometimes tear filled, experience.  It may be a what have you done for me lately, but right now it's my favorite PB MS and I think it will be a winner once all is said and done.  Once I feel it is 'done' I want to send it to Rate Your Story for a professional critique on one of their 'free' submission days.  I may buy a speedpass for it, too.  We'll see.  Their professional option sounds wonderful, but it's the $$ upfront.

Have you ever submitted to RYS?

I did- I submitted one about a month ago and got a 4 (remember 10-1 scale) and was happy with the comments I received.  They were helpful!!

Monday, November 3, 2014

PiBoIdMo: So far, so good...

Well, PiBoIdMo is underway and we are on day 3.  So far I have 4 ideas, so I'm a bit ahead.  I'm hoping to peruse some nature photos to come up with more ideas, and also head over to and check out some amazing art to see what pops up in my brain.

I'm really enjoying this challenge.  I'm not sure how many of my ideas I will turn into a picture book manuscript, but I'm hoping a few will make the cut.  From there, having one winner of a manuscript out of thirty ideas would be fab-u-tastic!

Speaking of winners, I think I have one winner of a manuscript.  My plan over the next week is to get it out to some more agents.  I've only sent it to two so far, and that's not acceptable.  I need to get my butt in gear!  I've got a few more agents in mind, but I'd like to get it out to 6-7 more by next Monday.  I heard back and got a fantastic no (yes, that combo is possible!!) and have not heard back from the second.

Has anyone out there gotten their first agent or publishing deal this year?  Tell me about it!!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Getting Ready For PiBoIdMo!

I wanted to prepare myself for the onslaught of ideas that'll be running through my head...I hope...during PiBoIdMo in November.  I love using Scrivener, so I decided I would set it up for the month.  I took screen shots along the way to show you what I plan on doing.  If you use Scrivener, I hope you find it helpful!

1: I opened up my trusty Scrivener and selected a new fiction novel file:

2: You now have a new novel ready to change to your tastes.  I named the overall PiBoIdMo14 to keep it separate from all the other PiBoIdMos I plan on doing over the years to come (this year is my first!!).  On the right, I have the Status bar open, but I ended up changing nothing from it.  For the Label menu, I will have everything set-up as an Idea, but will also change the status of each idea as they get turned into the various stages of picture book manuscripts.
    On the left, I removed 'Novel Format', 'Chapter' folder, 'Characters', 'Places', 'Front Matter', but kept the 'Template Sheets' in case I wanted to use them to help develop any characters.

3: I then changed 'Manuscript' (on the left menu) to PiBoIdMo14 and added ten new documents which I then labeled as Idea 1 through Idea 10.  I also changed the Label on the right for each to Idea.

4: Next up was adding the basic outline for my ideas that I try to follow to each notecard.

5: From there, I will fill in the notecards for each Idea as I go (please note the story listed is not based on a true story...except that when my wife goes away, I love to torture her by using her favorite mug- a Thumper mug- and texting her the picture).

6: Then, when I click on Idea 1 (or whichever card it is on) I will begin the manuscript.  On the right side I will be able to see the noted from the notecard for that idea.  I'll also change the title of the card from Idea 1 to a possible title for the story.

7: This has nothing to do with Scrivener, but I also will be carrying a pocket sized writing journal with me to jot notes in during the month.  I usually don't carry it with me (except in my messenger bag to work), but I probably will this month.  If something comes up when I don't have it, I'll type something into my phone, or record a video of myself talking about my idea.

That's it!  That's what I plan on doing.  I hope you found it helpful- even if it's just one thing from the overall process I plan on using this year!

Happy Writing!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Look to your right! No no...on the screen...

Yeah, that's right- I changed my plans for NaNoWriMo for November.  My heart isn't into getting back to writing the fantasy novels and novellas I had planned on writing.   I eventually will, but not yet.

I've really been enjoying writing children's picture book manuscripts and attempting to find an agent and publisher.

Enter PiBoIdMo.

That's PIcture BOok IDea MOnth.

The goal?  Well, if you looked to your right (again!  on the screen people!), you'd see this neat little picture -------------------------->
and you might have figured it out: To come up with 30 legitimate picture book ideas to slowly turn into picture book manuscripts over the next year.

The thought of doing National Novel Writing Month just did not appeal to me as much as I thought it would.  It wasn't the work, 50,000 words in 30 days, it was the outcome.  The thought of having a novel, or the start of one, did not appeal as much as coming up with 30 picture book manuscript ideas.  My heart just wasn't into it and you HAVE to follow your heart.

So?  That's what I'm going to do- what I know I really want to do and what will make me happy: coming up with picture book manuscript ideas that, someday, kids will enjoy reading, and parents will enjoy reading to their kids.

Good luck to all the participants!

If you're interested, click the banner on the right side of this blog, it's linked to an official organizer of PiBoIdMo,

Enjoy! And follow along, I plan on blogging about my progress as I go.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Part of my writing process

I've been thinking more and more about my writing process.  I've gone through different processes for different manuscripts and for different types of books (kid vs. adult).  This post will focus on how I wrote a couple of my picture book manuscripts (PB MS).  The images you see below are from a few different kid's stories.
An idea, turns into notes/ beats (even a bad drawing to inspire you) 
Fro there, turn the notes into a manuscript
Then, type onto your computer- I love Scrivener!!!
Next? After editing on the computer, print and edit/ revise more.

After the last image, I just make the changes in Scrivener.  Does that mean it's done?  No, not quite.  I go over some stories several times.  I also send them out to a critique group and also on-line (well, that group you only send the first 250 words- you're on your own for the rest!).

That's my basic writing process!  Hopefully I'll get picked up soon and be able to share this (or something like it ) with schools and libraries, too!!  Well, other than my own :)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

I met R.A. Salvatore!!

He's a big guy! Former hockey player,
boxer and bouncer.
Okay, about one hundred close friends of mine and I met R.A. Salvatore.  He was speaking and The Towne Book Center in Collegeville, PA this past Monday night, September 29th.  When I saw this past summer he was going to be at the book store, I became instantly excited.  When I got home, I told my wife I was going to be there, no matter what.  R.A. Salvatore is the fantasy author of my absolute favorite series of books chronicling the life of Drizzt Do'Urden and his companions, Regis, Breunor, Cattie Brie, Wulfgar and many other memorable characters here and there through out the 23? 24? book series.
signing at

R.A. told many interesting stories throughout the hour he talked.  He gave us some background info and told about where he is now in his writing for about 10-15 minutes, then went into some questions and answers.  What's coming up?  Well, definitely one more in the series, possibly two, but he didn't give anything definite about that.  During the Q&A he answered a question I had been wondering that someone else asked: Why the time jump?  The series hopped ahead 100 years, and left Drizzt alone- all his companions dead by battle or age.  Well, that's what Wizards of the Coast wanted (they own/run Dungeons and Dragons, the realm R.A. writes in), so he had to.

He talked about his writing process a bit.  He'll write at his computer while listening to instrumental music (I don't recall specifically to), and does his best work on a plane.  He said he hates flying and popping on his headphones, opening up his laptop and putting himself in another place helps the flights go by quickly.

He talked about how playing dungeons and dragons has influenced him in his writing and how a couple of the characters he played for longer periods of time became characters in his stories- Cadderly and an annoying character who's name eludes me (I should've jotted down some notes...).  Drizzt was never a character of his- one many of us there thought was one of his.

I waited, geekily excited,
to see my favorite author
Then came the signing.  I had gotten there early enough (I work nearby) to be the 7th person in line.  About a week before the signing, I searched the house for my R.A. Salvatore books, but didn't find any.  That's when I realized I had checked every book of his that I read (about 27-28 total) from the library (well, my mom was a librarian- as is my mother-in-law, so what do you expect?).  I ended up buying my all time favorite Drizzt story, the one that led me to R.A. Salvatore and his books, The Lone Drow, as well as his newest one, The Rise of the King, book two of the Companions Codex.

Signing The Lone Drow
When it was my turn, Kit, from the Towne Bookstore, introduced me as Erik Ammon, author of a self-published children's book (woohoo!) and will be talking with a writing group at the Towne Bookstore in October.  R.A. smiled and said he loves self-publishing (which he talked about doing during the Q&A) and said he'll always write since he can always self-publish his work.  He said he loves the freedom to be able to be in complete control of the project, which I readily agreed with.  I would have loved to talk more with him, but there were 90+ people behind me.

I got my books signed, shook hands, got a quick picture and practically skipped back to my car.

If you get a chance to see R.A. Salvatore speak, if he's within a couple hours of you, GO!  He was very funny, friendly, and informative.

Have you ever met your favorite author??  Who was it?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

YOU by Caroline Kepnes Book Review

First, I'd like to mention that I got this book as a Klout perk.  All views are my own...

But I also don't think I'd review a book I didn't like.  If I don't like a book, I won't finish it.  With that said, here's my review!  Oh, there may be spoilers...but nothing major...

YOU is a creepy thriller written from Joe's point of view.  The target of his sociopathic obsession, Beck, is written in second person- meaning YOU, the reader, are Beck.  It was this point of view that caught my interest first.  I'd never read a book like this since ye ole choose your own adventure fantasy books from the 80's that I read from time to time.  This was not a choose your own adventure by the least.

Joe falls for Beck (you) as soon as she walks into the bookstore he works at.  They flirt and he ends up with her name and address (credit card transaction).  The creepiness also started in this first chapter.  The second chapter begins with him telling about how much he's learned about you because he's been sitting outside your apartment watching you.

The creepiness gets creepier from there...some examples?  Sure!

Joe wants to have you all to himself and will not let anything, or anyone, get in the way.  He mentions briefly how he's killed at least one person in the past who was in his was of an obsession that didn't work out.

He steals your phone from you and you just go get another.  He reads your e-mails, both incoming and outgoing, he reads your tweets, your Facebook, everything about you.  Here and there he slips, but you never catch on.

The story evolves, deepens as he goes after anyone he perceives as in his way- friends, ex's, therapist, etc..  He does everything he can to be near you- he watches you through your windows, finds a way to get to your therapist, follows you to parties (you don't know he's there, though) and weekends away.  He even hires you at the bookstore he manages.

The story kept me interested all the way to the end, to the final confrontation...

I highly recommend this story.  I absolutely loved it!!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Writing exercise: The Cat

Photo by Erik Ammon
Our cat, Kona.
Writing exercises.  I thought I'd give one a shot.  I didn't find this exercise anywhere, I just made it up.  It's not long, really just another way to to work at my writing.  I decided to take a picture of our cat, Kona, and write about it- the photo, not the cat.  Though, when he softens our laps to sit, it does seem like he's looking for a weak spot.  Anyhow, here's what I wrote (short, but what I wanted):

The cat sleeps now.  Sitting up, semi curled tail wrapped around his legs, his side rises and dips as his lungs fill and empty.  His fur glistens in the sun, making it look blacker than black.  Soft, warm, furry, the cat sleeps in my wife’s equally black chair, shedding his mark on her seat.  He twitches, moves and resettles without opening his eyes.  Now, completely curled, his white claws extend, just enough to let you know he has the capability to rip you to shreds if he wanted to.
Is he truly asleep or biding his time to strike?  One never knows with the feline persuasion.

What else would you add?  Leave it in a comment!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Meeting tonight for The Lost Squirrel!

Available at
Barnes and Noble!
I'm really excited to be meeting with Jennifer Frith tonight.  We're going to be going over the sketches for The Lost Squirrel, the second book in the early reader series The Adventures of Kona and His Friends.  I have the story ready in the same font and size the first book, The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly, is in, cut up and ready to be matched up.  Plus a second copy for notes- gotta be prepared!

We'll discuss the location of the text within the images and any possible changes, if necessary- which I doubt!  Of course I'll take some pictures, too, and post them here, the FB page and twitter (@RunningMoose13).  I'll definitely be enjoying a great coffee from The Towne Book Center and Cafe, too.  They rock-note to self...I need to RSVP while there for Monday night- they have R.A. Salvatore coming!!

When I first decided to self-publish The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly, I never imagined it would lead me down the path of writing as it has.  I thought I'd be writing and self publishing epic fantasies.  Instead, I've fallen in love with writing children's book.  This past year I've written over a dozen manuscripts.  The MSs are in various states of editing, from first draft, to polished and "completed".  My writing has come a long way, and I'm hoping to land an agent soon!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Winner winner, chicken dinner!!

Hey folks!

It's that time!

Time to announce the winner of the giveaway!

And, the winners are:

#31: Jenna O: Her blog post comment: I loved Cinderella book. I don´t know why it was my fav one, but I just loved it!


#54: Janis: Tweeted about the giveaway!

Alright ladies!  I'll e-mail you in a few minutes (ummmm...7:45 P.M. EST on 9/16... :) ) for details!!

Thanks to everyone who entered!!  Make sure you keep a watch here and over at Jennifer's blog for updates about Kona and Friends!!

If you'd like an autographed copy, feel free to shoot me an e-mail: erik@ erikammon. com (just remove the spaces...). They're $6.99 through me (plus shipping).

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Book Giveaway! Win one of two copies of The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly!

Hey All!

With the new school year under way around the country, I thought it would be great to give away two copies of The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly!  Many of you already have a copy, but wouldn't it be nice to have a copy to give to a friend, relative, school classroom or library to a new group of young readers?  What could be more altruistic than encouraging kids to read?

Plus, it'll help Jennifer and I as we will be publishing the second book in The Adventures of Kona and Friends titled The Lost Squirrel later this Fall!

There are many ways to enter, but the one that will get you two entries (make sure you click on the Rafflecopter link below to get the two points!!!) is to answer this question in the comments:

What was your absolute favorite kid's book growing up?  What about it moved you?

Here is Jennifer's favorite:
My favorite books were the Bugg Book series, written by Stephen Cosgrove & illustrated by Charles Reasoner. They're not in circulation anymore, but you can find a few on Ebay. They were stories about bugs, and the 1st page always started with "don't look up into the skies; instead look down and squint your eyes. Squint them both so very tight that if you look with all your might You'll find the land of Morethansmall. And in this land are buggs, that's all. (I still have it memorized!). I loved how imaginative it was and would pour myself in the stories of these little bugs... crickets, june bugs, and the mean old "Evil Weavel". It was a big reason I fell in love with art as a kid. I hoped to create magical vivid worlds on paper too.

Here is my favorite:
My favorite book as a kid was Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I always dreamed of entering some sort of fantasy world, and I think this desire has directly led me to writing. When I write, I can create, and enter, any world I want! The drawing of Max and the monsters made it easy to imagine what it would be like to be Max and be King of the Monsters!

Good luck and share this contest with the world!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 5, 2014

End of August Writing Report

I thought it would be a neat way to keep track (for me) of my writing over the course of a year (well, the rest of it anyway...and into the future) by doing end of the month writing reports.  Words will not be exact, but I can add in about what I worked on.  So, here goes!

I wrote three manuscripts: 2 picture book, 1 chapter book
I wrote about 3500 words for an adult urban fantasy (for Part 2 of the Demon Hunter Series)
I wrote about 11,500 words total (my goal was 15k).
I also came up with an idea for a non-fiction picture book.

I was hoping to hit 15,000 words for the month, and most of them in the epic fantasy novel I'm working on, but I ended up not touching that book at all.

I also wanted to hit 3 manuscripts for children's books as well, and I hit that!!

The kid's chapter book manuscript was an early reader MS I wrote a while back, but never really liked.  I loved the idea of the story, but the 2,000 or so words were not enough to tell the story how I wanted it.  After a dinner with some fellow writers, I felt inspired to change it.  I did some research on a locale in Mississippi, added more action and narrative, and voila!  A nearly 9,000 word chapter book manuscript!

I felt like it was a productive month.  i didn't hit goals, in terms of numbers, but I love the words that I created!!

How about you?  What creative goals did you hit this month?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Live Your Passion!

We must create who we are.  Waiting around for life to happen to you is a waste of your time, your creativity, and your future.

What in your life are you truly passionate about?  That is what you must do.  It will not happen over night.  I may not happen in the first year.  If you put in the time and the effort, all the bumps, bruises and setbacks will, in the end, have been worthwhile.

Never give up working towards your dreams.

Your dreams are there to inspire you.

Now get off your ass and make those dreams, that "it" you are passionate about, happen.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A new creative outlet

I believe it is beneficial to our souls, to our human side, to engage in creativity.  Writing has been that creative outlet for me.  Once in a while I'd dabble in some rudimentary sketch: a tree, a sword, an axe- nothing major.

I've been longing for more.  I tried to sketch a dragon from a 'How To' youtube video.  My dragon was ok, which is what I expected.  But then I tried to use water colors to paint it...WRONG.  So, I gave up the idea of sketching.  I was frustrated.

Maybe I just needed time.  About six weeks later (now last week) we, my wife, kids and I, were at the Firefly Bookstore in Kutztown, each of us looking for a book to read.  I found one, used, that I read in middle school or high school that I've been wanting to read again.

While waiting for the others, I was perusing a craft/skills aisle hoping to find a book on writing when my eye crossed something...a beginners guide to sketching fantasy art.

It spoke to me...can you hear it?   'Take me home with you...'

There it was!  I heard it loud and clear.  I put the other book'll be there for another time, or to get from the library, but I did not pass up on the voice aka: my creative outlet.

After getting home, I quickly got my sketch pad (that I used for a couple sketches and a bunch of writing) and began work on a barbarian:
Not quite the beginning, but close

Darken some important lines-umm...kinda made the head pointy...

Add some details, erase some unneeded lines to neaten it up...and round the head :)

And the final result!  My first real attempt at a drawing!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Highlights Foundation Writers' Unworkshop

Just wow.  Just plain ole wow.

The Unworkshop was simply amazing!  It was so much more than I expected.  I got to eat and chat with so many published authors (including a NY Times best seller!!), and even a couple editors one night.  I really thought I'd be my typical anti-social, introvert self and walk my meals back to my cabin to spend the entire four days and three nights by myself, but I'm so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and didn't.  I even talked to people :)

When I arrived I was told where my cabin was... was the one with my name on it :) 
My writing area in the cabin- you can see 2 of the 3 beds (we all had our own cabins) 
coffee zone...I did bring my own coffee, almond milk and raw sugar.  But, none was needed as they had all those things in the kitchen if I needed it!
The cabin was amazing- totally modern, full bathroom, ceiling fan, AC, heat, mini fridge, and coffee pot.

When I got there, I kept walking around it, as small as it was.  I had no idea where to start!!  So, I opened our goodie bag...
Inside the bag were a couple Highlights magazines, the Boyds Mills Press publishing catalogue, a notepad, pen, name tag, and a folder with our itinerary (meals schedules) and other info.
Once I went through this, I got my writing area set up and got a nice surprise from my wife- a picture saying, 'Write from your heart'.  It sat perfectly by my computer :)  Then, I wrote for a bit and headed to our first dinner.
My writing area!  The sign is behind my computer.
Dinner, and breakfast, and dinner were ALL AMAZING!  I haven't eaten that good, that healthy for that many meals in a row in I don't know how long.  All the food at every meal was delicious!

Here's a view of the dining area from the loft.  The back area between the doors are the snacks.
And in between?  Well, there were always snacks out, including ice cream, and drinks- both alcoholic and non alcoholic ALL DAY AND NIGHT at no extra charge.  All the food was included!

After a couple days of sitting in my room and writing, emerging only for meals, one trail run, and a tour of the Highlights publishing facility, I became a bit stir crazy and headed to the loft to take advantage of the wonderful lighting and comfy chairs.
I was sitting in a chair even more comfy than the one you see.
I really do enjoy sitting in a comfortable chair and writing in a journal, but I hate transcribing...
Handmade journal from Haiti my wife picked up on her mission trip last January
 One of the many perks of The Highlights Foundations is their outdoor fridge stocked with soda and beer.  You can hit it up any time, day or night.

The Fridge!  I was happy to see Yuengling!
Of course, hitting up the free wine and beer whenever you want can lead to some...
They had dozens of word rocks for creating phrases in a rock garden
But, unfortunately, all good things must come to an end...
My crazed killer look...really supposed to be a sad face...
I met some amazing people on my trip, and I hope I get to see them again at another retreat or SCBWI conference in the future!!  I will be back to the Unworkshop again.  Here's a list of upcoming retreats they have!!

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Bookstore Reading

Thanks to Kit of The Towne Book Center and Cafe in Collegeville, PA I had my very first bookstore appearance!

The book store has been a favorite of mine since it was in Trappe, PA, as it was one I'd head to once a year for books for my classroom.  I know it's also a favorite of my students, past and present, as well as many teachers and parents.  They have an amazing selection and an amazing staff (plus some fabulous coffee).

This being my first appearance as an author at the book store, or ANY bookstore for that matter, I was quite nervous- more than I thought I would be!  I had it planned out in my head what I wanted to talk with the kids about before, during and after the story, but even with that, I was nervous.  Kinda like I am on the very first day of school every year.

I delivered my books to sell (I sold three to parents and a fourth to a teacher friend who happened to stop in specifically for my book- she had no idea I was there!), and to leave (they kept 15- they've sold 17 total there!!), and also some bookmarks.

I then checked out the coloring sheets the amazing Jennifer Frith made for the event...

I found my nice, comfy spot...

And began reading to the kids...

And afterwards, I autographed a few copies for some very happy kids...

I had an absolute blast reading to the kids!  They had some great questions and were amazing listeners!

If you'd be interested in having me come to your bookstore, please contact me at erik (at) erikammon (dot) com!

Note: All photos were taken by my amazingly talented wife, photographer extraordinaire, Jane Ammon!