November 29, 2007: Well how 'bout this?! Though it took me a year longer than planned to finish this book, the actual release will come a few days quicker than planned! Received my Preview Copy today and everything looked fine, so...now...it is available for purchase at Lulu.com! Within the next few weeks, it should also start showing up on Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com, as well as other major web-retail outlets which sell books - I'll have the links on this site, of course.
Well, though there were times when I thought I would never finish this one, it ended up coming together great! At times I had headache-inducing bouts of writer's block, while at other times it seemed as if the story just wrote itself. I'm pretty darn proud of what I came up with for this new book, and I hope everyone who purchases a copy will be thoroughly entertained.
The next major news update will probably come at the beginning of the new year - I will touch on a few things involving the third, and final(?), book in the series...of which I already have the title selected!
November 24, 2007: FINALLY!!! The book is finished! Just need to do some final proofreading, and if all goes well, March of the Evil Mard should be available for purchase sometime during the first week in December. Hopefully my Preview Copy won't have any errors in it - if it does, that could delay its availability.
Be sure to check back during the first week in December!!!
November 1, 2007: And down the stretch I come! I think I'm still on track to get this book wrapped up by Thanksgiving or so. That should leave enough time to get a preview copy created and sent back to me by December 4th (or around there) so that I can make it available for purchase.
These next 3 weeks are going to be pretty intense. As I've said all along, I really want this to be even better than the first book while setting things up properly for the next one...I feel confident it will, but it's really causing me to scrutinize every little portion I write. And like the first book, as I get closer to completion, I'm constantly worrying if people who read it will enjoy it, or just not get it at all and toss it aside. I fully realize that anybody who buys this, like the first book, is taking a chance on a complete unknown...which makes me double my effort in creating something that will give those people their money's worth. Not to mention the fact that I had originally planned on finishing this a year ago already, but that's old news...
Anyway, this month's dialogue tidbit is just that - a small tidbit...well, in size - but not in scope. The following is from the currently available book - The Battle of Caramel Castle...
"What's in the chest?" asked Zongel as he tried unsuccessfully to snuff back his tears.
As Grandpa's eyes began to close, his last breath whispered - "Hope."
October 1, 2007: Another chapter ran long enough to warrant splitting it into two chapters. So, the chapter count is now at 16...sheesh! I tell ya, I need to win the lottery or something so I can write full time - so many ideas, so much to write, so little free time. Anyway, the new chapter is titled "Stop! We've caught you red-handed!"...find out where it falls in the full Chapter List, which can be found in the March of the Evil Mard section.
This dialogue tidbit comes from the upcoming March of the Evil Mard...this comes from a chapter that I'm not entirely done with yet, so a few things may still change here and there - however, this is also a chapter that I'm having a lot of fun writing so far. I'm really proud of the new characters that will debut in this part of the book.
What follows is Zangela and Zongel's unintended discovery of these new characters...
Zangela and Zongel had made it to the densest portion of the Great Mint Leaf Forest. The source of the milky river leading to the dangerous Brownie Bayou was closer than ever – but so was one of the bigger dangers in this forest.
“Remember when Grandpa used to tell us bedtime stories of giant candies that would lurk deep within this very Great Mint Leaf Forest, snatching up little candies that were loud and noisy?” asked Zangela in a whispered voice.
“Yeah, those stories used to make me pull my cellophane covers up over my head when I would sleep,” remarked Zongel…in a normal-volumed voice.
“Well, this sure looks like the area he used to describe in those stories. You better keep your voice down, Zo,” noted Zangela, still whispering.
“Oh c’mon, Sis!” Zongel loudly remarked, “He would just tell us that stuff so we would be quiet and go to sleep! Nothing is going to snatch us up just because we talk too loud!” Zongel began to giggle at his sister’s gullibility, and then as an added measure, yelled out “YOU HEAR ME OUT THERE? NOTHING!!! HA-HA-HA!”
“Zo! Be quiet!” Zangela softly reprimanded. “Don’t you remember what they were called?” she added.
“Yeah,” Zongel answered, still laughing, as the two Gumballs turned a corner which led into one of the few clearings in this portion of the forest. “They were called - ” but Zongel screeched his Pattywagon to a sudden stop and Zangela’s mouth fell open - no sound escaping it.
“ – JawBreakers!” yelped Zongel in a barely-audible, high-pitched voice. A stream of gummy bubbles began to shoot out of his nose!
Zangela and Zongel were frozen in place as they stared wide-eyed at the five gumball-esque creations standing in front of them…five gumball-esque creations that were at least ten-times their size!
I'm tellin' ya, the JawBreakers are going to be a great addition to The Candy Bar Adventures!!!
September 6, 2007: A new target date has been set for the release of March of the Evil Mard - December 4th, 2007. Enough is enough. I gotta finish this, or else it'll end up being 2010, and I'll still be writing posts consisting of "well, almost finished" followed by another excuse as to why I haven't finished. December 4th, 2007...I will do it. I must do it.
A longer tidbit of dialogue, etc., this go around (because I missed my last scheduled update, and probably won't update again until the beginning of October). This newest bit comes from the currently available book - The Battle of Caramel Castle...The two Gumball siblings, Zangela and Zongel, have just begun their trek toward Caramel Castle, and Zongel is letting his negativity get the best of him again - much to Zangela's chagrin...
The candy sky was free of any cotton candy cloud cover, leaving the afternoon sun to freely bake the chocolate ground into a crispy, yet fluffy, brownie-like state. Zangela knelt down and, with a small metal spatula, cut out a wedge of the brownie-esque surface for both her and Zongel to eat. Returning the spatula to the backpack of assorted goodies hanging on the back of Zongel’s Pattywagon, she remarked with a mouthful of brownie, “I’m so glad it’s a nice, sunny day today. I was craving sun-baked brownie!”
“Yeah, it’s ok I guess,” replied Zongel, not really sharing Zangela’s enthusiasm.
“What’s your problem this time?” asked Zangela, as she was not in the mood to listen to any of Zongel’s negativity.
“It’s taking us forever to get there. We’re not even half-way there yet, and I’m already getting tired of rolling down this path,” lamented Zongel.
“Tired? How do you think I feel walking this whole way,” snapped Zangela.
“Oh, gee, sorry…I feel so bad for your two functional legs,” replied Zongel with sarcastic dismay. “Would you like to switch places with me?”
“You know, in this case I would! You basically have a little motorized vehicle carrying you along…you’re not so bad off in this case – so shut up!” retorted Zangela with much vigor as she was definitely not in any mood now to listen to Zongel complain.
“You shut up!” snapped Zongel, as he swerved and ran over Zangela’s foot before she could move out of the way.
“OUCH! ZO!” yelped Zangela, and she promptly hopped over and smacked Zongel in the back of his head, knocking his cap off in the process. The pain was really shooting in her foot this time which led her to do something she had never done before in the countless scuffles between her and Zongel…still in the process of putting his cap back on, Zongel was totally startled to find himself being picked up and tossed out of his chair – landing with a harsh thud on the ground!
“Let’s see how much you complain now!” snapped Zangela as she plopped herself into the Pattywagon, squeezed the “Forward” control, and sped off. Zongel laid on the ground a moment still in shock, and then without saying a word, began to pull himself along with his hands – besides being the only Gumball to ever be born without any legs, he was also the only one ever to be born with an oval-shaped body – a shape that did not allow him to roll like the other perfectly round-shaped Gumballs.
Zangela had gone a short distance when she turned around to face Zongel to let him have it with another round of scolding – but what she saw melted her gummy core instead of hardening it. The sight of her brother creeping along with just the use of his hands, and the sad look of determination in his big oval eyes, almost made her tear up. She quickly pushed the angering pain in her foot aside and rolled back over to Zongel.
August 2, 2007: The newest tidbit of dialogue comes from the upcoming March of the Evil Mard... A new character to the book series receives his first reward for his newfound kindness and caring toward others - a name of his very own...
Mr. Brittle paused for a brief moment to let the emotional tale of this young, lemony candy sink in. He pushed his small glasses up to settle in place on his peanut-y nose and lifted his gaze skyward in thought…“LeMint”, Mr. Brittle simply stated as he returned his focus to the forlorn candy in front of him.
The young candy gave a quizzical look in response.
“You are nameless no more. I’ll call you 'LeMint '...if you don’t mind?” remarked Mr. Brittle.
The normally sad, almost painful, look in LeMint’s face lessened somewhat to a fairly appreciative nod of acknowledgement. For a candy whose existence had rarely ever been acknowledged, let alone been seen as unique enough to warrant a name, the suddenness of now having a name, a unique name of his very own, was a bit overwhelming.
“Though sweet fortune may have picked the candies to the right and to the left of you from the onset, I believe it has found you now.”
“How so?” asked LeMint.
“Well, when you turn your sourness into sweetness, you cast…a ‘light’. That ‘light’ makes it easier for fortune to find you…cast your ‘light’ bright enough, and you’ll allow sweet fortune to find those around you as well.”
LeMint stared downward at the sun-baked chocolate and caramel-swirled ground as he tried to take in everything that Mr. Brittle was telling him. After a brief moment, LeMint looked back up and politely responded, “Thanks, Mr. Brittle. I think I understand. I better get back to work.”
As LeMint returned to helping with the construction of another grand Carmelot home, Mr. Brittle looked on with pride and remarked softly to himself, “Don’t worry LeMint, through your sadness you will find happiness.”
Even though this book is taking so much longer to finish than I had ever thought, I'm really happy how the story is finally fitting together. I guess I initially thought I merely had a 100-piece puzzle on my hands when it was really a 1000-piece job. I'll just be that much prouder when I finally get it all put together.
July 16, 2007: Another exchange of dialogue from the currently available book - The Battle of Caramel Castle...
King and Queen Caramel are having a heated "discussion" with the traitorous General, Sir Cus Peanut. Chief among Sir Cus Peanut's many character flaws are jealousy and a false sense of entitlement (two items which mix together effortlessly...kind of like peanut butter and chocolate - but in a bad way); these two flaws shine flawlessly in the following exchange:
“That’s a little better. A weaker confection might have suffered a hollow core from that remark, but as for me, it just keeps the fire burning…thank you for lighting it so many years ago,” said Cus, as he now stood directly in front of Queen Caramel just staring.
“Where are you Cus?!” yelled King Caramel as he tried to twist and turn in his chair to see behind him. “If you even attempt to touch her -”
“You’ll…do…what?!” interrupted Cus. “Just shut up brother and go back to dreaming your silly, useless dreams. They call you the ‘Dreamer King’ with such affection, but all I ever saw was laziness! Some king you are. You’re pathetic! The only reason you’re a king is because you were lucky enough to be born into it. You’ve earned nothing! I’ve earned everything! I deserve everything you have! EVERYTHING!” and with that, Sir Cus grabbed Queen Caramel’s soft, chocolate and toffee swirled neck and planted a kiss right on her lips!
So what happened next? Well, purchase a copy of The Battle of Caramel Castle to find out! Aw, c'mon, you knew that was comin'!
July 1, 2007: The following nugget of goodness is from the currently available book - The Battle of Caramel Castle...
“...HA-HA! Get it? The pepper-meant to do it! Ooooohhhh yeah...peppermint...pepper-meant...Sweet sugar! That was a good one," marveled Mard at his witty punch line.
"Heh...heh," snickered Snick the best he could. If this is his form of torture, it's starting to work, he thought.
June 14, 2007: As mentioned in the last update, here is the first of the biweekly (or fortnightly for you more sophisticated speakers of English) dialogue tidbits.
The following exchange of dialogue between the ever-ridiculous, ever-evil scheming Mard and *???*, takes place in the upcoming March of the Evil Mard...
Mard had both fists planted on the side of his hips as he stared up and off into the distance, unblinking.
“So, what’s with the ‘superhero’ pose? Joining the Hero Squad?”
“Well, no, I, um, I had big news to share with you and I wanted to be ready when you walked in. Big news deserves a big pose!”
“Mmm-hmm, and just how long have you been standing there like that?”
“About five minutes,” Mard flatly stated.
May 27, 2007: Took a month off from working on this book. As mentioned in the previous update, whenever I sat down to write, I would get ideas for other stories popping into my head which distracted me from the current task at hand. So, instead of fighting it and pushing those ideas back, I just went ahead and jotted those other ideas down and well, I have two pretty cool story ideas now mapped out! However, they're totally unrelated to this book series.
Anyway, I'm now refocused on this book and the vast majority of my spare time will once again be filled with completing this grand adventure!
On a side note, I was looking over my website, and I realized - "hmph, it's kind of boring." Most of my updates consist of me whining about the struggles of writer's block and/or staying on track to finish writing, rather than neat details about the books themselves. So, less of me, more of The Candy Bar Adventures, I say!
With that in mind, every couple of weeks until the latest book is released, I will post a bit of dialogue from either the upcoming book (March of the Evil Mard) or the currently available book (The Battle of Caramel Castle).
I really enjoy writing dialogue in my stories the most (it's why I use character quotes as Chapter Titles) because I believe it's through the characters that a reader really gets drawn into the overall plot. I mean, if you don't care about the characters themselves, how can you care about what they go through? Additionally, I find that what a character says and how they say it, goes so much further in bringing them to life than any vastly detailed physical description and/or background narration ever could. It's just like in real life...what people say and how they say it speaks volumes more to who they really are, than how they look or what their personal history is (though both of those factors can affect what they say and how they say it). I know the old saying is "Actions speak louder than words" when it comes to truly defining one's character, but are words/communicating not an "action"?
Look for those little updates to start mid-June.
April 10, 2007: Pretty decent month of writing - but with that said...have you ever had a fully detailed creation stored in your head, but when you try to sit down and get it out, you get overwhelmed and just go blank? Man, that's annoying, and it's what I've been dealing with over the last couple of months. I've had the main nuts and bolts of this book in my head for so long it gets tiring just thinking about revisiting it and getting it down on "paper" in an entertaining and cleverly readable fashion.
So, it was rather nice to have a fresh idea for the 3rd book pop into my head while I was grinding away on the current book. I had a neat idea (well, I thought it was anyway) for a new character in the next book, so I immediately stopped what I was doing and got my ideas down so I wouldn't lose them. Well, I not only ended up writing a little profile for this character but I also wrote a few pages worth of final draft material that will show up in the 3rd book!
So, how 'bout that? I've already got a few finalized pages of the 3rd book written while I'm still hunkered down on this one. Will that mean that I'll get the 3rd book done quicker?...meh, probably not.
March 4, 2007: Added most of the new characters that will debut in March of the Evil Mard to the Character Profiles section. These characters are: Szalonodi; Cinny-Mon; LeMint; The JawBreaker Gang (Mouth McCracken; Eye McBlacken; Noggin McSplitty; Snout McFlatten; and Miss Coressa McCrush); The Vanillas; and the mysterious, cloaked Gumball.
Writing, proofing, editing, finalizing, all continues on this new story that I'm eager to unleash upon the public!
March 3, 2007: The previous update probably sounded like I only have the first three chapters written - but that is hardly the case. Actually, I have most of the book written - the first 1/3 and last 1/3 of the book are about 98% completed...it's that pesky middle 1/3, which ties the front and back together, that I'm only about 25% done and completely satisfied with.
I was just thinking, wouldn't it be nicely appropriate to finish and release March of the Evil Mard sometime during the month of March? I'm not even going there though...I'm just taking things "one day at a time" now in finishing this.
Look for an update to the Character Profiles section by the end of this weekend. Will be including all the new characters which debut in the new book...well, at least most of them, anyway. ;)
February 27, 2007: Well, just as I had mentioned in my Jan. 2nd update, if I didn't finish the book in time for a Feb. 28th release, I'd give myself a swift kick in the ol' behind! I'd do that except my splitting headache is beating me up quite good by itself right now.
What can I say? This book is turning out to take longer (...and longer) to complete, as it is turning into a longer book. So far, my original 2nd chapter ended up being so long that I split it into two chapters. Additionally, as I'm starting to go back through and proof my original 3rd chapter, it may need to be split into two chapters as well! I'm really putting a lot of pressure on myself to make this book even better than the first one, and unless I think every little bit of it is perfect, I just continue to re-write and re-edit, etc...I think that's why I've been having some pretty severe headaches over the last few weeks - including tonight. When you're an unknown author trying to establish yourself, you have to make extra, extra, extra sure that the product you put out is the best it can be - and that it can hold its own with the folks who have already made a name for themselves! When all is said and done, I'm 100% certain that this book (along with the first book, and the next one to follow) will be something I'll be proud to put up against even the best of the best-selling authors.
Anyway, I'll expand more on all of this in another update tomorrow, when I have more time.
January 17, 2007: Received a cool piece of mail yesterday...Last year I had entered The Battle of Caramel Castle in Writer's Digest's 14th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards. Well, I had already found out that I hadn't won in the category I had entered, or for the Overall award, so I took it like any "good sport" would and dejectedly mumbled - "I bet they didn't even read my dang book! How could I have not won anything?!"
Turns out, though, my book did get read and judged, as not only did I receive my Certificate for participating in the Awards competition (Yeah, I know - whoop-dee-do!), but I was also sent the Judge's Score/Commentary Sheet. Upon reading said Commentary Sheet, I instantly swelled with pride as the judge's comments really gave me a nice shot of confidence! Read the scanned image below:
So, basically if it wasn't for my rather plain cover design (and I'm sure my somewhat lame artwork on the back) I might have won a dang award! Ah, oh well - I just care about the quality of my writing and story-telling, and it seems I really did quite well! I know my cover design and art skills are below par, but the writing is what matters most to me, and I have to admit, it felt really good to read such complimentary remarks. And you know, I think I may just take that judge's advice and start submitting my book (and the next one when I have it finished) to the major publishers. Perhaps they could team me up with a professional cover designer and pump a little promotional clout into these books - then who knows? - maybe The Candy Bar Adventures series could finally hit the big time!
Though a poor cover (packaging) prevented my book from possibly winning an award, it just goes to show - You can't judge a book by its cover!!!!
January 2, 2007: Added an expanded preview for March of the Evil Mard
Additionally, I'm looking towards February 28th, 2007 as an actual release date. I didn't want to write any more updates that began with - "Well, looks like I'm not ready this month either...", so I put down a date that I feel will be attainable and will keep me focused. If I can't get this book finished by that date, then I will give myself a swift kick in the ol' behind!
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