I am just a few weeks away from launching my fifth book in as many years. That’s the cover pictured above. There were also two other completed efforts this year: one is a teacher’s lesson guide that supplements one of the children’s book and the other is a short manual to guide newbie self-publishers through the process of preparing a manuscript for publication. That’s seven items total that have kept me off the street corner during these, my early years of retirement. I’m pretty proud of myself having accomplished all this, despite the fact that I haven’t sold much of my work at all. One book, nonetheless, having won an international award, earned one of those embossed gold sticky things on the cover.
Since few buy what I write, I figure either I’m not very good at it, or I just haven’t yet figured out the marketing and sales parts of the process. It is a bit daunting, but I remain committed to this journey in hopes that eventually I can stand behind a podium somewhere someday and in my best Sally Field impression declare that “you like me, you really like me!” I hope I get to say it in present tense and not someone else on my behalf in past. I swear if I am discovered after I die I will come back and scare the hell out of everybody just for spite. Bury me not too deep, please.
So okay, what’s the latest salvo? It’s another children’s book, the first draft of which was written a couple of years ago. I put it away in an old sock drawer and let it grow mold and turn ripe before pulling it out and thinking seriously about rewriting it and then going through the self-pub process. So that’s where I am now. My faithful, artful sidekick, Lynda Louise Mangoro is finishing up the last few illustrations along with the cover. This is our third children’s book together…hopefully the charmer. It’s titled, The 11th Year of Christopher Arthur McDaniels.
Christopher is a typical American middle/upper class middle schooler who has a propensity for calamity. His pathway through day-to-day living is strewn with land minds that blow up in his face or detours that take him places he has no reason to be. As a result, Christopher is always in some kind of predicament and always paying the price. And here is where his life is a bit different from most kids. Christopher’s parents both work in the criminal-justice system. His father is a prosecuting attorney and his mother—get this—is a judge. When most kids do something wrong, one or both parents dish out some kind of penalty and the kid pays his dues.
In Christopher’s house, family court is held in the kitchen and his cases are regularly brought before Judge Mom and Prosecutor Dad. The outcome is almost always the same and when the verdict is read it simply says, “Christopher Arthur McDaniels, go to your room!” Christopher’s teachers, meanwhile, have concluded he is unlike the other troublesome students. They say he doesn’t have issues; instead, he has situations. If you are an 8-to-12-year old, it is these situations that will pull you in, tug your heart and have you cheering for Christopher as he attempts to reach his 12th year with as few bruises and as little time served as possible. Good luck to all with that!
The 11th Year of Christopher Arthur McDaniels...at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com in August. Of course, I’ll let you know when! Is that water boilin’ yet?