Looking forward to coming back soon!
Looking forward to coming back soon!
I wanted to share a few updates to the world of Bob and the Cyber-Llama:
First, I’d like to say thank you to the staff and students of Mountainview Academy at HOPE Online and Antelope Ridge Elementary School for a couple of awesome author visit events! During the visits, I read a chapter from Bob and the Cyber-Llama to groups of students and spoke about being a self-published author. All the students were polite and attentive and had a great time; I had almost as much fun as they did!
These visits have proven to be one of the most rewarding parts of being an author. If you’d like to schedule such a visit, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Secondly, I’ve joined Snapchat! I’ve been happy with Twitter and Instagram, but Snapchat seems to be what all the kids are into these days. I’m always interested in finding out what “the future” of writing and social media are, which would explain my fascination with robotic tomatoes and hover dachshunds. I’m still trying to figure out the ins and outs of Snapchat, so tips are welcome.
You can find me on Snapchat under the username “Classysturgeon.”
Stay tuned for more Cyber-Llama related news.
Every great mind has its area of expertise. Einstein plumbed the physical secrets of the universe. Proust changed the world of literature. Edison pioneered modern invention.
And I write about llamas.
While crafting my life’s work, I’ve learned quite a bit about these wooly, flea-covered sheep-horses of the plains. I thought it might be fun to share a little of my knowledge. So without further adieu, I give you:
Monkey-Spankingly Fascinating Llama Facts
Stay tuned for more info on llamas, ancient treasures, and spongy snack cakes.
From 12:00pm to 1:00pm, I’ll be visiting the fine folks at Sable Elementary in Aurora, Colorado, for an author visitation and reading event. During the event, I’ll be reading a short passage from Bob and the Cyber-Llama, as well as speaking about my writing experience and self-publishing. I’ll also be hosting a Q and A. All three books in the series will be available at the event.
This is a closed event, so only the Sable students will be privy to its glorious, meaty goings-on. However, if you’d like to schedule an event like this, let me know by emailing me at email@example.com.
It’s thanks to your support that I’m able to hold events like this. Stay tuned for future updates. Excelsior!
In their third escapade, Bob Halibut and his cyber-llama butler, Jeeves, hit the adventuring trail once again, this time in search of the mythical sword Excalibur. As they comb through the remnants of King Arthur’s legacy, they find a world of armored knights, killer cockatrices, an evil sorceress, sweet snacks, salty snacks, sweet-and-salty snacks, and break-dancing.
If you’re ready to go medieval with Bob and his cyborg quadruped, pick up Bob and the Black Knight today!
Those of you who’ve been following Bob and Jeeves’ adventures for awhile have undoubtedly been asking the same questions over and over as you toss and turn to sleep each night:
“When is the third book coming out?”
“Why hasn’t Joe released the third book yet?”
“Will he ever get to work on the third book? I need it like I need my insulin.”
“What does he do all day? Lie in bed eating expensive chocolates while watching The Land Before Time on repeat? Watching it again won’t un-kill Littlefoot’s mom!”
Well, after much trial and tribulation, I’m glad to announce that Bob and the Black Knight will be available in the next few weeks.
In this adventure, Bob and Jeeves travel to jolly old England in search of King Arthur’s ancient sword, Excalibur. After an encounter with the mythical Lady of the Lake, they camp in the forest. In the dead of night, Bob is awoken by the armored ghost of the Black Knight. The ancient specter tells the young adventurer he can find Excalibur by traveling to the Black Knight’s castle.
Bob and his llama must face long-dead warriors brought to life, gnomes, cockatrices, axe-wielding rodents, break-dancing, and a sinister octogenarian sorceress if they’re to have any hope of recovering Excalibur.
The book is already written; I just need to finish the art. If you’d like to get a sense of the art process, check out this post.
Since I’d like to give readers more to enjoy this time, Black Knight will be significantly longer than Cyber-Llama or Pop-Up Book of Destiny. There’s more action, more humor, and more witty, llama quips.
Writing Bob and the Black Knight also required quite a bit of research. Since it’s based on the King Arthur legends, I read a lot of summarized versions of the Arthur stories with an emphasis on the story of Excalibur and the Black Knight. I took most of my information from The Story of King Arthur and his Knights by Howard Pyle. The research was worth the delay in book production; reading a book written in 1903 takes a little while.
So, in the coming weeks, be prepared to mount thy steeds and unsheathe thy weapons. Tis time to ride into the third Cyber-Llama book!
Let’s get psychological and play word association. What images come to mind when you hear the word “horse?”
If you’re like a lot of people, you’ll think of majestic, beautiful animals galloping through green meadows, their manes billowing in the breeze. Or maybe you think of a glue factory.
But of all the things that pop into my head when I hear the word “horse,” “evil mastermind” has to be one of the last.
That’s the premise of Diablo by Fallacious Rose, a new horse tale available here.
The book follows Kim, a teenage girl who dreams of owning a horse. Though her family has failed with a horse before, Kim’s dreams become sweet, juicy reality when she moves to the country with her brother, her mother, and her mother’s boyfriend, Alan, hoping to endear himself to his girlfriend’s kids and with no hypnotists in sight, Alan buys Kim her dream horse, Diablo.
The horse’s name proves to be apt. Diablo refuses to be ridden, stay in his pen, or even budge when it doesn’t suit his schedule. Despite Kim’s best efforts, Diablo turns up his nose at proper horse behavior and is, Kim suspects, secretly plotting world domination.
After a few lessons in “natural horsemanship” techniques, Kim begins to take control of not just Diablo, but of her own relationships. She makes peace with her obnoxious brother Jake, deals with the mounting tension in her family, and bests, then befriends, her rival, Ebony. Through a lot of trials and horse poop, Kim learns to control her emotions and not to base her behavior or happiness on her reactions to other people.
My favorite part of Diablo was the horse dialogue. The horses talk just like any other characters, but only some of the humans, those who are attuned to the animals and “speak horse”, can understand them. A lot of dialogue scenes play out like this:
“Diablo started hopping around on three legs like it was a novelty race and I was his partner. Only compared to his great hairy legs, mine are like twigs.
I tried to get a back leg up to look at, but Diablo just leaned on it and said,
‘You want my back hoof? You’ll get my back hoof, if you’re not careful.’ and swished his tail suggestively. It was time to move around the front end.
‘Ok. Now what about your halter?’
‘Huh? Haven’t I already told you I’m busy? What does a guy have to do around here –put up a big sign up, Do Not Disturb?’
‘Just give me your nose for a second.’ I got down on the ground in front of him, trying to get his shiny new halter over his hose while he’s chewing like it’s his last meal, and before he opens his mouth to take another great mouthful.”
The conversations between Kim and Diablo are a lot of fun to read and give the book a jaunty feel.
Another unique trait of this book is its use of horse terminology. I have about as much experience with horse ownership as I do with sponge-bathing William Howard Taft.
Through Diablo, I learned a lot about basic horse care. I didn’t know what a “grazing muzzle” or “carrot stick” was or what it meant to “plait” a horse’s tail until I read Diablo. The book teaches these terms, but never comes across as textbook-y. The horse care terminology slides easily into the characters’ world and helps it spring to life.
Diablo has a laid-back tone. It’s no Tolkien-esque adventure and instead simply lets you immerse yourself in Kim and Diablo’s world. The tone causes the story to feel more lifelike and makes the handful of intense moments, like Jake’s near-death encounter with a snake, all the more suspenseful.
If you’re in the mood for something easy, fun, and entirely unique, get your hands on some okra-flavored Pillsbury Toaster Strudel. And read Diablo. It’ll have you laughing and learning as you get sucked into a world of country living and snarky horses. Come to think of it, Snarky Horses is a great band name. I think it’s time to dig out my trombone and get the guys together…
When I visit with kids and parents about my own books, I’m often asked about books I recommend to young readers. I usually mention my own books first. Because, you know, books about cybernetic llamas don’t sell themselves.
But I do have several other suggestions of books for kids in roughly the same demographic as my readers. I decided it was high time I shared them:
1. Double Vision (Reading Level: 6th Grade and up)
Described as “James Bond for kids,” this series of books keeps the adventure and surprises coming at a rapid pace. The author, F.T. Bradley, has been a big help to me in my own writing endeavors.
2. Captain Underpants (Reading Level: 3rd Grade and up)
If I had to name only one book that got me into reading as a kid, it would be Captain Underpants. The misadventures of the two boys who transform their principal into a bombastic, briefs-wearing superhero has been beloved by kids for over twenty years, and the books were recently made into a movie.
3. Redwall (Reading Level: 5th Grade and up)
I started reading the Redwall books in sixth grade and devoured them like a starving poodle devours cupcakes. The books focus on small forest creatures such as mice, squirrels, and hedgehogs, who live in a medieval society. They go on epic quests, fight intense battles, and desperately try to defend their precious Redwall Abbey.
4. Treasure Island (Reading Level: 8th Grade and up)
There’s nothing wrong with the classics. Written in 1883, this book features adventure on the high seas, a treasure hunt, and an island full of mysteries. Treasure Island created many of the pirate tropes and traditions still seen in books and movies today and features some of my favorite characters in literature.
5. Two Dogs in a Trench Coat (Reading Level: 3rd Grade and up)
Though it hasn’t yet been released (the first book is set to come out next year), this series about two dogs who don a trench coat in order to follow their boy into the human world promises to be a lot of fun. One Scholastic editor recently described it as “the soul and essence of a Looney Tunes short [written] into a middle grade book.” I’m inclined to believe him.
6. Books based on movies, television shows, etc.
One of the best ways to get into reading is to read books based on franchises you already enjoy. Many movies and other media also have book adaptations. For example, there are mountains of Star Wars books, most of which are a lot of fun.
Feel free to email me for more reading recommendations, as these are really just the tip of the iceberg.