Sunday, May 29, 2011

Of Ducks and Dragons…

Tonight on the blog: Fat Duck and the Hay Bale, my physical labor weekend, Greeks may be losing their Country, Zachary Pill a boy wizard and a dragon, my upcoming appearances, David Espinoza - review of From My Cold Young Fingers, and more…

Fat Duck and the Hay Bale: Those of you that are live near me know that I have three really great kids…who aren’t the greatest at following up with their chores (we’ll talk about that another timeJ). Because of this, my lawn is usually one of the last in the neighborhood to get spruced up in the spring (we have weeping willows that shed branches like my dog Patsy sheds fur, for instance). But we have finally gotten most everything squared away EXCEPT for the bale of hay that I left on the front lawn beside the pond this winter. Of course, we’ve already discussed how Fatty dislikes the water, so I was hoping that he and his like-minded friends would use the bale as a wind break from the terrible gales that sweep off from our seven-acre back field. The bale was a semi-successful and used about one fifth of the time this winter. Of course, it remained all spring and was just starting to grow a little moss on the edges when I finally gave up on child help and “thought about” moving it myself. As you all know, Fat Duck and I have had an ongoing “disagreement” of where his feathery butt belongs during the day. Well, this past week it almost seems he has “seen the light” and decided to stay OFF the porch during the day. Unfortunately, his replacement perch is on top of the hay bale. So, my wife and I have now accepted this new two-part lawn ornament. Fat Duck and the Hay Bale stay as is.

My weekend: This has been a physical labor weekend. Yesterday was cool in the 60s but today was beautiful in the 80s here in Maine. This spring we’ve had flooding like I’ve never seen in my fifteen years living in this home. The seasonal pond on the side of our well flooded and water actually rose up to touch the fieldstone edges about 3/4 of the way around. It is a dug well, and having unfiltered surface water seeping into drinking water is never a good thing. So, yesterday and today, my fourteen-year-old son and I shoveled more than half a truckload of sand into the area surrounding the well. The other half will, hopefully, be finished tomorrow. Later in the week, I’ll loam and spread grass seed, solving the problem until a REALLY BIG flood comes along, which I hope will be never.

The Perfect World (Tim’s take on recent news): It is incredibly dangerous for any entertainer (writer, actor, artist or performer) of any type to share opinions that can be construed as either too liberal or too conservative. For a fiction writer, it would be the equivalent of cutting out half of your audience. So, in the interest of assuring everyone that I’m not likely to offend either side, I’ll say I am a registered Republican but I often vote for liberals. In short, I think I’m often a moderate middle-of-the-roader like many Americans. I believe that politicians should be held accountable for what they say, and if someone from either side lies, we need to accept it (not make excuses) and hold them accountable. All that said, I will try never to get overly political.
My news commentary tonight (very short after the above ramble) is about the GREEKS who may no longer be able to control their own country’s economy. Yes, you heard me right. It looks like Greece is on the verge of total financial collapse again after the European Union already bailed them out once or twice. Now, if they are going to get further financial help, it looks like the EU might actually take over their tax collection and public spending policies until the mess is cleaned up. This is a sad time for economies all over the world, including ours in the US. The global meltdown was real and remains with us, contrary to what we’ve been hearing in the news. Most of the major economies in the world are still on their knees and struggling to find a way to recover. How long will it be before China or some of our other debtor nations decide they “need” their money back. What will the US do then? File bankruptcy? I’m not optimistic that a solution is at hand, but I absolutely disagree with every Republican and Democratic answer I’ve heard so far. We need to fix our own financial mess, and we need to do it without forcing retirees to eat dog food (I purchased a home from the estate of such a man) and without forcing toddlers to forgo medical treatments because their parents still owe medical bills to the local hospital (it happened to someone in my extended family.) I don’t have the solution, but it’s not going to look pretty on a bumper sticker and it sure as heck won’t be easy to vote for. Let’s keep our eyes on Greece…and, please, wish its people well.

Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End: Carrie Rourke at Focus House has asked me to spend a few minutes once or twice a week and talk about a past, current or upcoming project. Please email me about any subjects that interest you (past characters, questions about why I did or didn’t include or exclude scenes, whatever) and I’ll get to them in an upcoming blog.
Tonight, I thought I’d talk a little about the first book in my Zachary Pill series. It has literally swallowed up thousands of my hours over the last five years, but I think you will all appreciate the end result. Zachary Pill is a boy that wakes up one day to find that his entire family isn’t from Earth and isn’t human. He also learns that his father is a wizard. That knowledge comes just before bats attack them at their Boston apartment. Suddenly, Zachary is left alone to wonder why first his mother and now his father have disappeared and why creatures from another world want him dead! I’d like to tell you that things get easier for Zachary after that, but all I can say is that he has a tough road ahead. Werewolves, ghosts, orcs and trolls are all in his future, as is the discovery that at any moment he could forever be turned into a dragon!   
Tim’s upcoming appearances: For those of you that have been waiting for me to break loose with some information about my “rough” childhood, please check out either of the two blog interviews upcoming (or maybe already up) at both of the following:

David Espinoza, thank you for your kind review…
««««« (5 out of 5 stars) May 27, 2011 by 
Dave Espinoza (California, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: From My Cold Young Fingers - Advance Reading Copy (Paperback)
When I read the description I was interested right away. Then after reading comments on amazon I knew I had to buy this book. From My Cold Young Fingers is a very interesting story that I have recommended to numerous friends. When I started reading this book I felt the need to keep reading, onto the next page, and that next page did not let you down nor did it have you saying" this is a good place to stop" I really had an addiction to this book and the interesting plot Tim Greaton put in for this book and his characters. I could picture this a soon to be Hollywood motion pictures.
For those of you that want to know more about David and his great movie/web company, please email him at:  David Espinoza

In the next blog (Wednesday June 1st): My movie review of “I am Number Four,” a really sad story from my past, an update on “Ripped From My Cold Young Fingers,” and more…
Thanks for hanging with me :-)
Please have a great beginning to your week!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

All about the ducks, and other stuff….

Tonight in the blog: a review of Vegas Moon by John Locke, more about Fat Duck and Original Duck, Weeny the Cat is introduced, an update on and excerpt from Ripped From My Cold Young Fingers, my take on the latest news, news about my increased online appearances, finally some Tim home life information, the Greaton Easter Bunny story, why Tim is appearing at a soup kitchen near you, A very kind Fran Lewis review of The Santa Shop, and more…
Book Review: Vegas Moon (A Donovan Creed Novel) [Kindle Edition] by John Locke ««««
This is a surprisingly fun but still twisted novel. Donovan Creed, the hired hit man at its core, enjoys a lifestyle you'd more expect from a Hollywood leading man than an assassin. I have to admit I didn't expect to like this as much as I did. First, you don't imagine a cold-blooded hit man being the likable type, but he sort of is. Second, I never thought I'd enjoy a book written in present tense. John's style really works in that regard. Long and short, definitely a keeper. The ending was fun.
Fat Duck and Original Duck: As you all know, Fat Duck can fly and does when he gets bothered too much. A couple of days ago, I tapped him in the side to get him off the porch. He, of course, let go with a runny poop, then soared off the porch. Though he can fly, he isn’t particularly good at controlling it, so that’s when he plowed right into Original Duck, which sent both of them tumbling across the ground. Fortunately, neither got hurt. Sorry I didn’t have a video running J. Last night, Fat duck hopped/flew up one stair at a time (five stairs) to get onto the porch and walked right into his pen. He’s very close to being a trained Fat Duck. I just posted a video of the two of them on Facebook. I’ll try to post on YouTube (which I’ve never done) and link here in the next day or so. It’s about 8:30 in the evening as I write this paragraph. I was just informed I forgot to put Fat Duck in tonight. I scooted outside and found him sitting on the porch next to his cage. Like I said…trained J.
Weeny the Cat: I will also soon be posting a very short video of Weeny, one of our cats. She was originally called Celine, which became Shaleeny Weeny (when my kids were young) and now she’s just Weeny. She’s about 16 years old and we’re thankful she’s still healthy. One of my summer projects is to erect a post and birdhouse right outside her favorite window. It’ll be like TV for her J.
News Commentary: Here in Maine, it looks like all State of Maine funding is about to be cut for Maine Public Broadcasting (radio and TV). I, for one, am saddened and concerned. For one thing, our statewide Emergency Broadcasting System is largely managed by this public broadcasting system. More importantly, a non-commercial broadcast system just makes sense. I won’t get into my opinions about the stations programming, but I will say that to depend on “corporations only” for news, information, and emergency broadcasting is sheer folly. Our current governor is being called a crackpot and lunatic around the country and even around the world. I fear, at the very least, this is proof he has some of his priorities backwards.  
Comments about Online Appearances: I recently received an email from a friend out in California who said, “Your name is popping up everywhere online.” Thanks in no small part to Carrie Rourke my personal angel as Focus House Publishing. In each upcoming blog, I will post new sites where my links and information can be found J.
The Home Life: Those of you that know me personally know that I’m very careful not to expose my family to unnecessary exposure. It’s not fair to them. That, by the way, is one of the reasons I have turned down so many requests to recognize family connections on any of the social networking sites (sorry L). However, I keep receiving emails from friends and fans hoping that I can be a little more open about my home life. With this blog I’ll try to find a comfortable line.  Both of my college children are living home for the summer. My daughter has recently become engaged and I understand she’ll be moving out soon. I’m concerned but she seems to have picked a pretty good guy so I expect it will be okay. My wife and I have always felt our children are welcome to live with us for as long as they want (rent free--though I wish it wasn’t always chore free). My youngest, who is still in high school, has said he’s going to live with us until he retires. He says we’ll still be buying his game systems when the Playstation 26 is out. My U-Penn college son (yeah, he’s one of the smart ones) just recently found a job. I’m pleased to see how responsible he’s being.    
Scheduled dates (soup kitchen): One of my first tour stops will be at the Oxford Hills Community Table (soup kitchen) in Norway, Maine. I know it’s not a typical author stop, but I’ve never been a typical author. That event will likely be taking place early-September. I’ll be appearing in schools for the “Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End” series all fall and winter seasons. Please let me know if you have a location Focus House might want to schedule. I will also be visiting, nursing homes, hospitals, libraries, and bookstores throughout the season, so don’t be shy about requesting an appearance in any venue J.
A story from my past: Please don’t ask me to do this every blog or even every week, because either don’t have that many stories or I have a terrible memory (or maybe both). For this blog, I’m going to steal a story from my Facebook info. I’ll add more stories as our blog relationship grows J. The Easter Rabbit Catch: My dad was a great prankster, and I guess some of that rubbed off on me. When my three children were all between the ages of 5 and 11, I posted "No Rabbits Allowed" on every door in our home and built a cage to catch the Easter Bunny if he did 'manage' to slip inside. My children were so upset. I had been telling them for years that the big-eared criminal shouldn’t be allowed to enter people’s houses without permission. Well, when my children woke up Easter Morning, they found candy all over the house and their father handily locked and asleep inside the rabbit trap! The schools were absolutely abuzz with how handily that blasted bunny bested their dad.
I still dream of catchin’ that furry criminal J
Latest Book Update and Excerpt:  For those of you that are curious how “Ripped From My Cold Young Fingers” is coming along, I’m now about 47% done with my review of the first edits (3 more much faster, I hope, rounds to go). At the 20 pages a day I’m currently averaging, I should be done this round in another 8 or 9 days. Here is an excerpt from the latest edits…
“No!” I screamed. I struggled to my feet and charged him with my one good arm. I tried to punch his groin, but the butt of the gun slammed into my forehead. Quick like a snake, the man reached down and grabbed me by the hair before I could fall.
“Please,” I managed to say. I wanted to plead for the safety of my mother and sister, but I suddenly remembered all the noise from the kitchen where there was now only silence. If she had any breath remaining, she would have been protecting her children. Whiskey had bested her attacker but must have been too late to save her. My mother was dead. I knew it as surely as I knew my own life would soon be ending.
Another shot exploded in my ear.
I heard Whiskey yelp.
“No, Mr. Edds!” I pushed with my legs and drove my head into Casey Edds’ stomach.
Tommy’s father yanked me up by the hair so I was forced to stare at his grease-coated face.
“God damn it, kid! How the fuck did you recognize me?”
I heard Vicky’s window crash. My God, he was doing it, Whiskey was saving her!
The sound had barely registered in my ears when—with a twist and a jerk from a forearm that had pulled thousands of lobster traps from the briny ocean—Casey Edds, the highliner of Coldwell Bay, snapped my neck.
My soul fled that accursed house before my thin body even had time to drop to the floor.
Thank you Fran Lewis for your amazingly kind review of The Santa Shop! Her review...
Hope is something that everyone needs and never give up on. No matter what life throws at you it's too precious to take yourself away and out of the world. Everyone has a purpose in life and sometimes events happen that we cannot control yet feel that if we were present the outcome would have been different. Not always the case. Skip Ralstat was a lawyer whose family died at the hand of a thoughtless man who was on drugs. Going to an office party on Christmas Eve and arrive back home finding his wife and son burned to death riddled him with guilt. Deciding his life was worthless; his time on earth limited, he gave up on himself and decided to live on the streets. But, unknown to Skip although he lived alone and wandered the many streets in Albany each day and night he was never really alone nor lacking people who really cared about him and understood his despair.
The decisions we make in life can determine what happens to us in the present as well as the future. Not all decisions will be sound or right. But, making them we have to stand by what we decide. Replaying and reliving failures and successes will not help because you cannot rewind time and recreate the outcome of a decision or event. Skip decided to go to a Christmas party on Christmas Eve leaving his wife and daughter home. Unfortunately, one of the tenants where they lived was careless, on drugs and started a fire that killed many including his family. Was their death really his fault? Would the outcome have been different had he been home? Would the world be better off without him? Hard decision. What would your answer be?
Self- blame is a way out of facing reality. Suicide is one means of escape. As Skip wanders the streets one morning he meets Father Johnson he invites him into his warm church, gives him a warm meal, somewhere to sleep and much food for thought. Kind, caring and understanding and definitely not judgmental, Skip hears what the Father's message about life is but will he heed his words.
Leaving the church he meets a man named Barwood who shares his story with him and takes him to meet a wonderful woman named Martha who owns a soup kitchen. Justifying being homeless, explaining why he's living on the streets and yet encouraged the man to return to his life and not give up on himself. Christmas and the holiday season often brings out the best in some and the worst in others. Meeting Barwood would play some positive thoughts and remembrances in his mind as he remembers the good times and the wealth of having a family. But, yet he planned to take his own life and when Barwood tells him about Christmas Leap in the town of Gary, he plans to find a way to get there. Meeting several people along the way, Jenny who owns a lot of property and is striving to open her own shelter. The lady at the Governor's office who opens his eyes to prejudice and the waitress at the diner that was just plain rude. Yet, Skip in all of his despair and sorrow found a way to teach each one of these people and others a lesson in kindness, humility and understanding.
Arriving in Gary he befriends the man in the Santa Shop who explains how he came to own it and why. But, one toy truck, one man dressed as a reaper would make all the difference to him and many others. Living on the streets, not used to the kindness and caring of others he turns down the gift from the man who owns the Santa Shop, tells the waitress she is rude and finds a way to make a little girl at the inn smile. Why do people treat the homeless and those less fortunate as less than human? Remembering his wife and son he realizes that his own death should be imminent and finds the bridge famous for the Christmas Leap event each year and climbs to the top.
What does happen I cannot tell you or explain? The thoughts played in his head, the words that come out and the fear in his heart is immeasurable. The reality of the situation, what changes him or does not change him you need to read for yourself. The story begins with one man who needs to do something before he and his wife move to another place. Just how the beginning links to the ending you will have to read for yourself. Will he jump or will something in his heart bring him back and show him that life is fragile as delicate as a piece of blown glass which needs to be protected or it will shatter. Find out for yourself because this is one book that everyone should read.
I just lost my mom and my sister. There are times that I feel sad, cry and wonder why they are no longer here. I often wonder what more could have been done by the doctors to save them. I often wonder what would have happened had I been there or told sooner about my sister's heart attack. You cannot rewind the past but you can make them proud of you and your work in the present.
One man's heartfelt story and journey from despair to redemption. One man's voice heard loud and clear and one author who gave me the honor of reading and reviewing it.
Skip could be anyone. He could be your neighbor, friend, husband or brother. This book teaches so many important lessons. First, you are never really alone if you allow others to reach out to you. Second, the kindness of both Martha and Jenny was precious to him regardless of the end result. Third, never letting the words of others sting even though they burn your heart. The tears that came to my eyes were not only for my sister and mother but for anyone who loses faith and does not realize that life means easing the pain of others to sometimes help yourself. The only leap anyone should take is one of faith and hope.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
My Thanks: As many of you know, I often credit my current position in life, my very sanity, on the writers who provided me with books to hide in when things were tough during my childhood. Today, I feel the same sense of gratitude to you, my readers. I’m most assuredly not a bestseller yet (though I might be the bestselling author living on my street J) but each day I receive more emails, more acknowledgements that my books are not just reaching the hands of readers, but are being appreciated. There is no greater tribute a reader can give than to say that something I created was of value, that one of my books actually made a difference in someone else’s life. I hope you don’t get sick of hearing it, because I REALLY TRULY WISH TO THANK YOU ALL FOR GRANTING ME THIS LIFE, THE LIFE OF A WRITER!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tim - The Third Blog - and the last one we will have to count each time :-)

Tonight on the blog: a couple of great Fat Duck stories, an update on the current Ripped From My Cold Young Fingers edit review, my Supernatural TV thoughts, why Focus House makes me work too hard, classical music, and lots of other odds and ends...

Fat Duck: As always, we start with the stoutest of our Outdoor Children. He has had an interesting couple of days. On Friday, I think, he was still out in the yard near dusk, so I went to get him a handful of hay for his pen then tried to herd him toward it. I think he must have been frightened by the hay, because instead of doing what I wanted him to he waddled under the porch (after leading me on a grand chase from one end to the other of our sixty foot porch to the other and back). Finally, a little frustrated, I went inside and figured I'd wait fifteen minutes before trying again. I no more than sat down in my office before my son came in and said, "Fat Duck's on the porch next to his cage." I, of course, went outside and Fatty walked right into his safe pen and a snack. Yesterday, we had a little disagreement about his desire to be on the porch. I went outside about 10:00 in the morning to find him standing at the top of the stairs. He hadn't made any mess, so I thought I'd give him a few minutes while I watched the little birds build a nest in my brand new hanging strawberry plant (so much for strawberries). Fat Duck seemed perfectly content and even turned backward to sleep with his head on his back (it's a neat trick but not everyone should try it). After about fifteen minutes, I figured leisure time was over, so I walked over to gently coerce Fatty into flying down the stairs. He, of course, responded by making a HUGE mess before flying down.

Ripped From My Cold Young Fingers: Here's my semi-weekly whine session about how freakin' slow I am when it comes to reviewing, approving and returning edits. I have been working diligently on my first review of "Ripped..." edits for weeks, but I seem to barely have made progress after sometimes hours of effort. I'm at 36% complete, as of this moment. I would say I'm averaging about 4 pages per hour, but I fear that number is probably much lower. The editors have been kind, and I usually agree with most of their notations. My problem is that I keep disecting scenes. I imagine that I'm only doing it when needed, but if that's the case: a lot of them need it. In any event, I will keep on pushing forward. 'Hoping to wrap this up soon. The first round of Zachary Pill edits await :-)

Supernatural (TV Show): By now, everyone should know that I'm basically into any tv show or movie that involves aliens or fantasy/supernatural themes. Supernatural is no exception. What's really made me mad, though, is that both Friday and Saturday mornings (after midnight) when I tried to watch the finale segments on DVR, I nodded in and out of sleep both times. I now have to go back and watch everything that I missed. I do LOVE that Cas is apparently going to be back. I do HATE that none of the women from the show ever last. I think another Ruby-like character should join the cast next year. By the way, what did you all think of real-Sam marrying real-Ruby. Guess that happens a lot when you work so closely together in Hollywood. Unfortunately, it seems celebs split even more often than the rest of us. My excuse for marriage after 19 years is that I married an angel and she, for some crazy reason, keeps putting up with me. Go figure :-)

My Weekend: I'd like to say that I spent my weekend yaughting or traveling abroad, but since I'm neither rich nor famous (not until you tell everyone to read Tim's books! :-) I actually spent my weekend editing of course, working several hours for two really great charities, replacing brakes on the car my son is using for the summer, picking up a new washing machine because ours lost a lid switch and I hadn't made the time to change it yet, helping relative repair severely broken fender on a riding mower (I grew up working at my Dad's autobody shop). But, because it has rained on and off, I got very little lawn work done. Of course, I do have a college son home and a high school son who claims he wants to earn money...but I didn't hear anyone else running the lawn equipment :-(

Focus House To-Do Lists: If you have ever watched a military movie and seen the bootcamp instructor barking out instructions, you know what it's like to be an author on Carrie Rourke's list. She is the one who started me blogging and posting nearly everywhere you can imagine. I've been asked to find a few interesting discussions and join them on Goodreads before I wrap up tonight. If you think Carrie has been working me too hard, please feel free to email her at and tell her I should have more time to sleep and lounge around on the porch talking to Fat Duck :-)

Charity Visits and Tour Stops: No dates will be established until at least "Ripped From My Cold Young Fingers" and "Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End" have been released. Worst case scenario, everyone at Focus House is expecting me to be hitting the road in mid-September this year. If you have any stops you'd like to be included, please email Carrie at the address above. I don't even want to imagine what she's going to be like when I'm on the road. I suspect I'll be hearing from her more than from the woman on my GPS.

Classical Music: Okay, I'll make a tiny little admission here. I listen to classical music while I write (and edit, and blog...) I'm not sure when I picked up the habit, but it's been on and off for the last few years. I used to think it was because it was the only music that would block out the sound of my children's TV in the next room but also no break my concentration, but I've come to believe it actually helps me to think better. Of course, maybe that's complete bull---t and the reason I'm taking so long with my edits.

I hope you all had a great weekend. I'm off to edit this meandering missive, then I'll post :-)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

An experienced blogger now - Second Blog :-)

Tonight on the blog: More about Fat Duck, of course; My review of the movie Thor; My detailed disgust with how long my "Ripped..." edit-review is taking; A quick update on all my books, and...

Wow, the chat is busy tonight. Never tried to juggle so many conversations. Fun stuff though. Thanks, everyone for taking the time to spend with me :-)

Fat Duck: Let's get the most important item out of the way first: Fat Duck has been quite a character the last couple of days. First, he just plain won't take "no" for an answer about staying off the porch until evening. But then when I do successfully kick him off too late in the day, he forgets to come back so I can put him in his pen (on the porch). In short, today I finally got him to stay in the yard in the rain where you'd think a duck would like to be-but then he marched about a hundred feet down the driveway and stayed on the little strip of grass between it and a fifteen-foot drop to the pond. Tonight I had to herd him back to the porch where he finally remembered he belonged at night. He then walked right into his cage so I could close it. I did worry about him a couple of nights ago. He spent the night on the stone dam between our pond and brook. The fox would have a hard time surprising him there, but after he got bitten last week, I hate to see him out at all. He's been lucky, but I fear it has been more luck than wisdom. Of course, if he would just hang out in the water like Original Duck he'd be safe, but that would be too easy. When he first arrived last summer, I thought he was afraid of the water. In truth, he just doesn't like it much. I will likely post a picture of Original Duck for next Sunday (photos over at Facebook-couldn't figure out how to add it here).

Movie Review of "Thor": I got an opportunity to see "Thor" the movie this past week and have to say I enjoyed it. Unfortunately, the movie was divided into two major settings: Earth and Asgard. The problem, I thought, was that not enough time was spent to fully satisfy me on either front. I thought Thor's relationships on Earth were superficial at best, and the setting in Asgard was a little too ephemeral for me. I prefer a much more concrete place. It just seemed too much like a special effect and not enough like a fully realized world. As for the character appearances, I thought Chris Hemsworth looked fabulous and was obviously in super-buff shape. Natalie Portman was also beautiful, as always. Even Anthony Hopkins (as father Odin) seemed to be in great health. I often tell my children that if there is a clear hero and a positive ending, I'm usually happy with a movie. That was true here. A 6 on my scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best.

"Ripped From My Cold Young Fingers": Okay, the truth is I absolutely love what I do. I love creating stories out of the ether. I love creating characters and getting to know them both through invention and through following their motivations to a logical conclusion in any given set of circumstances. I, of course, especially love the fans, mostly because you're all readers to which I can relate endlessly about any number of authors and characters. Stick me in the middle of a book festival filled with writers and readers and I'm about as content as a man can be. I usually even like the process of editing. I know some writers who would prefer a root canal to editing a story after the first few drafts, but I'm usually not one of them. Anyone that knows me knows my work ethic and that I'm obsessive about getting the details right, about making sure the characters are as real and three-dimensional as possible. Most of you also know that I will work on the same novel for years if need be ("Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End," anyone) but my current edits review of "Ripped From My Cold Young Fingers" is really frustrating me. One of the main reasons I stayed with Focus House Publishing and my brother's team is that I wanted a lot of control over my stories, more than the big publishers would ever grant. I want the right to accept or veto editorial changes. What I never expected was that I would get so bogged down with those same edits. Let me describe: "Ripped..." has been done for several months. When I made the final decision to stay with Focus House a couple of months ago, the book received it's first edit. I received that edited version over four weeks ago and have been shocked at the gobs of time it's taking me to not just review and approving or denying each edit, BUT also I've wound up making so many of my own changes that sometimes I'm only managing to clear one to three pages an hour. That means that I will have likely invested over 200 hours just in edits. Worse is that I'm slated to go through this three more times, and I'm not even finished the first round (about 200 pages left to go!). Why four edit rounds, you ask: because the Focus House team is just as perfection oriented as I am. They figured that to give me as much input as I desired, it would require a lot more back and forth with the editors. In short, I think you're all going to love the finished product, but I'm struggling to put together enough hours to get it wrapped up. Fortunately, ebooks only take a few days from final version to get to market. The paper versions will be a few weeks past that (see last blog for the estimated release schedule of my next few books :-)

"The Santa Shop" and "From My Cold Young Fingers-Advance Reading Edition": Because we are all new to the ebook market, it came as a shock to find out that some authors/publishers are selling thousands of ebook copies per month. My ebooks are NOT selling nearly at that rate, and we all wondered why. In the last week, I have worked with the Focus House staff to add a couple of prologues and rework the book descriptions. You will be able to see the changes on Amazon, B&N or most other online bookstores within the next few days. We're hoping these changes will increase visibility and sales. If you have any ideas, please let us know. Of course, if you've read and liked my books PLEASE TELL EVERYONE, PLEASE POST EVERYWHERE ONLINE :-)

"Ancestor": This huge horror novel has had a long and storied history. I wrote the first draft over twenty years ago. The publishers at the time indicated it was much too long and needed to be cut down for consideration. At the time, I had a career, a new family and absolutely no time to redraft a book that might or might not have sold upon second submission. Well, its time has come. The Focus House staff and I are currently talking about the plot failures and about whether or not it should be released as one or two-plus books. I'm so swamped with edits that I really haven't had time to think through all the suggestions that they have made, but I can tell you Ancestor probably has too many characters, and The Ancestor needs to have his strengths curtailed to make his actions believable. I look forward to squaring it away so you all can see it :-)

"Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End": Okay, this first book in a young adult series has been on my drafting blocks for about five years. It has, of course, been finished for some months now (and is with one of the Focus House editors right now), but it is safe to say that I redrafted this novel no less than twenty complete times. And I don't mean twenty tiny rewrites, I mean I likely wrote twenty different books. I changed characters, settings, plots, premises, themes and even atmosphere (from more comical to more dark). This book has been through a middle school focus group and should be perfect for most young adult to adult fantasy readers. They gave it a "B" before I incorporated their suggestions :-) I really loved creating this book, and I'm hoping the edits don't get as bogged down as "Ripped..." has been, but either way I should be receiving the first edit draft back in the next couple of weeks. I'll keep you all posted :-)

"The Vampire Way": This is probably just a working title. While I was waiting for the edits on "Ripped..." I drafted a complete 60+-page outline for this book. It's a paranormal romance aimed at the teen to adult market. I think you'll love the new take on vampires (animals and even insects can carry the virus, and vampires turn into mindless zombies that have to be killed within 5 years). It's not a kind existence. So what happens when a whole group of teenagers in Groacherville, Maine are turned? Kayla is the center of this first-person story, and she is also one of the new vampires. I think this novel will likely be complete and available late in the summer, but with the current workload I'm not holding my breath.

"Heroes With Fangs": This is the first book in a middle-grade series based on the Zachary Pill books. Though I have done some basic outline work, there is a long ways to go. Focus House really wants to see this book on the market when fall school tour season starts. Fortunately, it's only planned to be about 200 pages. Unfortunately, I do have to sleep.

It's nearing midnight, so I guess it's time to do a quick edit and post. See you all Sunday. Remember I'm always available by email, Facebook, and chat on my blogging nights :-)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tim - First Blog

Hi, Everyone. You can thank Carrie or TJ over at Focus House for setting up this forum for me. I am actually not bad with technogy and social networking sites (especially after all my friends at Facebook helped me figure much of it out :-) But I am not sure how I would have found the time to establish a new blog without the help. In short, thanks Focus House!

A couple of friends over on Facebook asked me earlier tonight what I would blog about. My response, of course: You got me :-) 

"Be accessible and available," Carrie Rourke at Focus House Publishing told me, but she didn't have any other guidance.

As you all likely have heard by now, I've decided to stay with Focus House Publishing. Though there are higher dollars available with the larger publishers, I just couldn't see losing the control I have on book projects now. Also, I think in the long run I'll do better with my current royalty arrangement. It also doesn't hurt that I know the boss pretty well (my brother :-).

On Facebook, I promised that I would update everyone on the upcoming release schedule. Please forgive me if the timeframes are skewed, but this is what they're telling me. Also, keep in mind this is the ebook schedule. Hardback and Paperback timeframes are apparently a few weeks beyond this:

"Ripped From My Cold Young Fingers" - May/June 2011
"Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End" - June/July 2011
"Ancestor" (horror that was originally slated under a pen name) - July/Aug 2011
"Vampire Way" (paranormal romance-title not final) - Aug/Sep 2011
"Heroes With Fangs" (big maybe if you ask me :-) - Sep/Oct 2011

Carrie emailed a little frustrated that I intended to blog about the release schedule (they're still working things out on the marketing end and apparently haven't committed to Ancestor and Vampire Way timelines). Let's just assume they're coming out someday :-)

Carrie did think I should mention Fat Duck. Anyone that know me knows that I live here in Southern Maine on 7 acres with a large pond and brook beside my house. We actually built a 60-foot porch along the waterside just so we could watch our "outdoor family" splash around. Sometimes in the winter, we can have as many as 300 Canadian mallards just fifty feet from my front porch (when they're not blocking the driveway :-( Anyway, quite a few years ago a local farmer found one of his domestic ducks had mated with a mallard and wound up with a huge duck that looked exactly like the Canadian breed. The only difference was that he was twice the size and couldn't fly. Well, in the summer he sometimes has no other ducks visiting for days on end so I went and purchased several other domestic ducks as friends. Little did I know, they would all be afraid of the water (or at least they didn't like it much). Fat Duck is the last of that group (the others disappeared--likely fox or hawks). He doesn't like to go in the water and is especially fond of sneaking up onto our porch whenever we're not looking (I do work from home when I'm not touring, but my office is on the opposite side of the house). It was cute at first, especially the day he knocked at the front door and while I was looking out to see who was there, he poked his head inside and would have gone right in if my wife and I hadn't stopped him. The non-cute part is that Fat Duck, like all ducks, can't seem to or doesn't want to control his "waste functions" and even when he is sleeping, he seems to be messing at the same time. For months, I have steadfastly shooed him away whenever he came up to visit BUT less than a week ago we found him on the porch one morning all covered in blood. He's white, which made him look all the more like a character out of Stephen King's "Carrie." I was horrified and soon learned that the fox had taken a surface chunk out from under one of his wings. I quickly rigged up a cage on the porch and kept him inside there for two days. The last few days, he and I have had a standing agreement: he shows up on the porch just before dark, and I usher him into the cage. First thing the next morning (when all good foxes should be sound asleep) I let him out again and, of course, shoo him off the porch. It seems to be a good trade off. We're still negotiating the "stay off the porch until dusk" part, but I have faith he'll come around.

The last note I got from Carrie about tonight's blog is that I should mention something about "needing your help for reviews," and, "Getting the word out about Tim Greaton books." If there ever was an author who loves what he does, it is definitely me. I write because I love to. I also write because I had what a lot of people would call a "crappy childhood." My dad is gone but my mom is still thankfully with us, and I love and will always love both of them dearly. Unfortunately, they didn't get along very well together and my childhood could best be described as a domestic war zone. NEVER did either of my parents physically or intentionally abuse any of their children (six of us) but the unintentional mental abuse and our living conditions were beyond description. If it weren't for the time I spent at my local library and the time I spent reading about normal people with normal lives, I'm not sure I would have come through even remotely functional. Today, with each book I write, I hope to provide a safe haven like the ones I enjoyed during my childhood. And with each Tim Greaton book you purchase, and refer, and talk about, you're allowing this writer to live a life that unhappy boy could only have dreamed of way back then. In short, THANK YOU for all the support.

Fat Duck also thanks you for the support :-)

Please don't forget. I need your online reviews, and I need your online chats, and in return I promise to keep writing the best books I possibly can.

I'm even thinking of getting a low-to-the-ground keyboard for Fat Duck :-)

See you all Wednesday!