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Sunday, June 23, 2013

A few stitches about me

Hello all. As you should be aware, The Crystal Needle has an underlying theme of embroidery. I have had several comments from true embroiderers complimenting me on how accurate my descriptions of the stitching were in the book. Well, it wasn't from intense book research, it was from personal experience. If you were not already aware, I am a stitcher.

Okay,  I want to help you understand where I started with stitching. Go all the way back to when I was a bouncing baby boy. Well, it was more like running into walls. You see, as a toddler I never really crawled, I pushed myself up and then ran....into things. No, I don't have any lasting effects from the head injuries, that purple zebra in my room told me so. One real lasting effect was that I didn't go through the stage where a baby crawls and refines the fine motor skills of his fingers. What did this mean? When I started school I couldn't tie my shoes, I had trouble managing a pencil, frankly anything to do with small finger skills I was terrible at. My mother worried and asked her doctor what to do. He made a suggestion that would change my life in more ways that one. He knew that she stitched so he suggested that she teach me. The motions of stitching would refine those skills into my fingers. I started with plastic canvas and yarn and worked up to cross stitch. I have been stitching for most of my memorable life and love it. It is relaxing, fun, semi-productive, and I am always learning. You would be amazed what stitching can teach you that has nothing to do with needle and thread.
Move forward a few decades and mom and I discovered the Embroiderers Guild of America. We joined the local interest group and have been a part of that for over ten years now. The EGA is an educational organization built on growing the knowledge and understanding of needle craft. We don't just sit around and embroider little pillows, we learn the intricacies of new and old stitches, we study the history behind the stitches, and we try to teach others about stitching. 

I started with cross stitch and have moved up to many new forms. Right now I am learning pulled stitch, which is where you use thread to stitch tightly on fabric in patterns so that the fabric is pulled open to reveal a lace like pattern. 

 This is my pulled work sampler that I am learning with. The stitching you can see over the fabric are not pulled, they are satin stitches and other basic stitches to enhance the designs. The actual pulled work is done with thinner thread that is tightly stitched and then pulled hard so to open up the fabric. It isn't the thread that is supposed to show highly in pulled work, it is the openings. I do hope that made sense.

So, there you have it. Stitching and me. I will try to keep updating with new pics of the project as I work on it, but it may be a while. What do you think? Let me know.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Coming Soon!!

Coming this July, 2013: Bark returns in another exciting adventure. Our hero is now a full fledged student of the United League of Heroes. Aside from taking classes in heroism, physical conditioning, and law, he has met an ancient martial arts master who has taken him under her wing. His relationship with Frost is getting better every day, and Dr. Tobias Glyph has come up with a small device that provides a voice to our hero. Life is good. Unfortunately, trouble is brewing behind the scenes. Someone at the ULH is preparing a trap to sell out all the other heroes and students to the evil Marshal Dae. Bark is left with little help when he must find a way to save the ULH and the students before they are all hauled off and never seen again. Can he save the ULH? Who is behind all of this? Who would betray their fellow heroes?
                         Find out in Bark 2: Seven Days at the ULH

Hello all. I have started the plans for publishing book 2 in the Bark series. Again it is a short novella, not a full length novel. It will also be free, just like the first one. I hope to have it out by the end of July, when I will have a release event with contests and prizes and lots of fun. What I am planning is to hold a Daniel Peyton Author event to promote all of my work, but to highlight the Bark 2  book. I hope to get donations from other authors so we can have a lot of great prizes, but right now it is just in the planning stages.

Side note: Again, I have been asked very often about why my Bark books are free. There was a whole post about it right here. What bothered me recently was an author who got a little angry with me about it, saying that I was hurting other authors by offering my books for free. I don't know about that, this is a novella, it isn't a polished masterpiece. It is just a bit of harmless fun for all ages. Aside from the publicity it provides me, I also have an obligation to the company that owns the rights to the base storyline. I was only allowed to publish it if I did so for free, otherwise they would have issue with me making money off of their property. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but honestly I don't believe my three Bark books being free are going to ruin the market for anyone. In fact it might help by drawing more people to pick up and read ebooks and decide to venture into the ebook market more.

If you have not read the first Bark book, it is FREE! Check it out on Nook, Kobo, Sony, iTunes, and many other formats.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Why I started

Just a picture of a cat.
I have said many times that I began writing in the fourth grade. From there it just exploded into being a part of who I am. My friends and family all knew that I loved to write. By the time I was in fifth grade I was spending more and more of my spare time just writing. No purpose, no class assignment, just for me. There wasn't another kid in my school who did that, I was unique. Okay, unique is the nice word, the real word is weird, but I love being the weird person.

How it all started. Well, back in fourth grade my teacher, Mrs. Rogers, allowed the class to have a section of each day to just free write. We weren't given more than half an hour each day, but in fourth grade that was excruciating for most kids. For me, it was like giving me chocolate for the first time. I loved it and wanted more. I began writing my own versions of tongue twisters, but then I tried actually creating my own story. I still know the story to this day, the adventures of Private Eye Peyton....corny but hey I was only in fourth grade. I was damned proud of that three page novel and even dressed up in costume to read it to the class. Private Eye Peyton had several stories, all where he is solving the crimes and saving the day.

Back story: I grew up with a mother who loved Simon & Simon, and Magnum PI. So, it certainly influenced my writing. But, what most influenced my work was the other television show/movies that she introduced me to at an early age....Star Trek.

Continuing: I continued writing stuff for a couple years, and had an urge to construct my own Star Trek story. Again, the central character was yours truly. My first attempts were childish, but I was just having a lot of fun. Then, in the ninth grade I had an English teacher who once again added a free write time to our day. We were using the block scheduling so our classes were 2+ hours long each, instead of just 1 hour. We had extra time some days. Mrs. Smith suggested that we write stories and keep working on them with each free write and then at the end of a certain period of time she would take them up and grade them as extra credit. My own personal practicing all those years paid off and  prepared me to create a more solid storyline. For the first time I planned it out more, I bought the encyclopedia of Star Trek (no kidding) and started jotting down notes as often as they came to my mind. This was my first true venture into novelizing.

Star Trek: The 11th Fleet was set during the Star Trek Deep Space Nine storyline, but in a distant part of the federation away from the main story. It told of a captain and his crew on a federation space station in orbit of Tarven 4. To prepare for the up coming Dominion conflict, starfleet orders the refit  of hundreds of outdated ships in a junkyard in the same system. Thus building the eleventh fleet to bolster the lines of the Federation when war broke out. The main character, the Captain, has to be convinced to come back since he was the one who came up with this notion years ago and knows more than anyone about the old ships and how they work. Unfortunately for them, he doesn't like Starfleet any longer. Ten years ago he was part of a team that made contact with a race of people called the Hakashans. The Hakashans took him in and treated him like family when he was facing a difficult time in his life. But, when they called for help from Starfleet, Starfleet turned it's back on them leaving them to be surrounded by enemies for ten years. Now, Starfleet needs him, and he gives them an ultimatum. He will return, but they must agree to allow him to lead an armada of starships into the Hakashan system, and drive out the enemy. What he was not prepared for was finding a small group of the Hakashans on his doorstep when he reaches the station. They have been lost and looking for help for nearly ten years now and he is their only hope of seeing home again.  There are Borg encounters, The Maquis, Dominion conflict, love, adventure, family, humor...all the right stuff to make a fun Star Trek story.....if I do say so myself.
This is one of the Hakashan's, and his son

I never intended on getting this published initially, but I had a change of perspective. My teacher, Mrs. Smith, took my story home with her and read it, graded it and then let her own mother read it. Her mother was an English professor at a State University and absolutely loved the story. She even brought it with her back to class and wondered who among her students wrote this. She had mistaken my work for a college students, and in her judgement a good student at that. When it finally made it back to me it had a note pinned to it from the mother telling me that I had something special and should think about becoming a writer. Not too long after that I won the writing section of the PTA Reflections contest. That year was a good year for my writers ego. I decided that one day I would find a way to publish my Star Trek adventures.

Unfortunately, there is a better chance of someone breaking in to Fort Knox, stealing every last ounce of Gold, and then getting away completely free than getting a new Star Trek novel published by an unknown author. So, I almost gave up on the idea of being a published author. What use was it to write when what you wanted to write was never going to see print? Fortunately for me I have a mother who doesn't give up on me as quickly as I do. She pushed me to write my own story based on my own ideas and see what came of it. I actually fought this notion for some time, but eventually a thread of logic hit me. All I could do was fail? So, I started writing again, this time solely with my own characters and story.

So far my only experience in traditional publishing has turned out to be fraudulent. But, I will hold onto hope a little bit longer. I am not the first author to be rejected, and I won't be the last. I don't know when my breaking point will be, but some day I will either make it or finally give up. That day hasn't come yet. For now, I write.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Check it out!!

A while back, okay several years ago, I met a fellow writer on Facebook. Wendy Siefken, who introduced me to other authors and to a Facebook page called Master Koda. I was, and am, relatively new to the authoring world and didn't know many people who were  going through what I have gone through. On Master Koda's Facebook page I learned I was not alone. I encountered many authors who choose the independent route for publication. Some did so because they wish to avoid traditional publishers for their own reasons. Some are like me, they simply cannot find a publisher who will accept them.....yet. Any way you look at it, we had many things in common and felt that helping one another was the best way to go.

Previous Bookcover 
Jump ahead and Master Koda decides to open up a publishing house all their own. They are a small operation with a BIG love of authors, books, and the industry. This has not made them cold to indies, if anything they now have new knowledge to share with those who wish to remain independent. They soon called for submissions. Let me tell you something, in the book writing industry, submissions are like ants to a jar of honey on a hot summer day, soon you have more than you can count. They accepted a few authors early, and one of them was....Wendy and Charles Siefken, Charles is her son. Wendy's book, Kai's Journey
had been a Kindle book for a while already, but Master Koda decided to refit it and bring it to an even better level.

Now much happened along the way with them, editing, rewriting, and a lot of internal book stuff. I was not privy to that, but I did see a lot of updates from Wendy and I noticed her looking around for an image to use for the book cover. I realized that they didn't have an unlimited budget and were hoping to get some pics off of the internet to use, by permission of the artist of course. That was proving to be more difficult than they realized. So, I jumped in and gave them a should know this by now, there was a long post about the cover art. If you haven't read it yet, check here.

Now, jump ahead another bit and it is finally time to release the new and improved book. On May 31, 2013 Master Koda Select Publishing released Kai's Journey: The New World Chronicles (The Kai and Clover Series.) 2nd edition.

I am very happy for them, and hope for great success. The book covers several popular genre's right now,
including Zombies and a hint of Fantasy. But, there is a level of pride involved with this release on my part. I am more than pleased to see my artwork being used as part of the bookcover. I knew it would be, but to actually see it was really rewarding. I hope it helps them be as successful as possible.

Now I am highly anxious to see the next book's bookcover that I helped with. But, if I have learned anything in dealing with the publishing industry, it's patience.