Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. What a pile of snow. Well, snow this. I already checked out this guy named Rick Daley, and he’s a real person. Who’s to say he isn’t telling the truth? In fact, he’s offering one lucky winner a copy of his evidence–contained in a book. You can win his book in my Counting Book Blessings Contest, part of the larger Gratitude Giveaways Blop Hop hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer. Most important, you can have it before Christmas.
Still trying to wrap your mittens around the size of this discovery? Santa Claus is no small matter, no matter how you wrap him. So I’m going to let Rick convince you.
Okay, Rick, you’re on.
The Man in the Cinder Clouds
by Rick Daley
The freezing temperature is the only thing cool about Jason’s trip to the North Pole, but things heat up when his father discovers a book buried deep in the ice. This is no ordinary book, mind you. For starters, it was written by an Elf. And if that’s not enough, the book proves the existence of Kris Kringle—you know, Santa Claus.
Born human but abandoned as a baby, Kris is rescued by Elfs and grows up among them…but he doesn’t really fit in. Kris embarks on a quest to find his true family among the humans by delivering presents on Christmas day. But there’s a catch: the High Council of Elfs is convinced humans are wicked at heart, and Kris can’t return to his Elfin home unless he can prove otherwise.
His journey takes him all the way to the legendary Great Northern Glen, and from there to the town of Oldenton, where he finds two orphans who are about to lose everything they have to a greedy uncle. With only days before Christmas, Kris must try to help the kids, deliver his presents, find his family, and prove that human virtue does exist…even in the most unexpected of human hearts.
Amazon.com (print and Kindle)
BarnesandNobel.com (print and Nook)
Wow, Rick, not only did you provide evidence of Santa Clause, but it’s in a book written by an elf. A real one, not one named Ferrell. Awesome! Now I want to ask you some questions. I’m going to put my questions in blue and your answers in snow white, for obvious reasons.
Why did you start writing?
My love for writing started with a love for reading. Tall Tales were the hook in 3rd grade, then Judy Blume rocked my world in 4th grade. By 7th grade I was writing short stories frequently (short zombie-themed stories to gross out my friends).
Later in life, I used my writing to feed my family. Business writing was a good training ground—press releases, sales proposals, seminars, marketing copy for print and web, technical and training manuals, etc.—but that type of writing is very different from fiction. Except some of the marketing stuff, there the lines get blurry…
One weekend, while I was walking through the woods with my wife, I told her I was thinking about writing a novel. I was half-expecting her to laugh and tell me not to quit my day job, but I told her the idea for the story and she really liked it and encouraged me to try it. I’m glad she did!
Please tell about your WIPs, at least genre and age group, even if the rest is hush-hush.
I have three works-in-progress:
Rudy Toot-Toot: This 17,000-word chapter book will be released in spring 2012. It’s a great book for young readers, ages 7-10. Rudy has a special power, almost like a superhero: He can fart. It comes natural when you’re born on a bean farm. But Rudy struggles to find the right place and right time to use his talent, and after one monstrous emission scares all the customers away from the family bean market, it’s up to Rudy to find a way to use his power to bring the customers back before the bank takes away their home. Rudy Toot-Toot is first in a three-book series, I have rough outlines for the next two books.
The Man in the Cinder Clouds 2: That’s not even a working title, but I’m in outlining stage and haven’t even considered any titles for the upcoming sequel to my origins-of-Santa story, The Man in the Cinder Clouds. I need to stay spoiler-free here, but I will drop a hint that reindeer will play a prominent role, especially one particularly famous fellow who wasn’t born yet on Santa’s first Christmas…
Earth’s End: This end-of-the-world satire is most definitely not a kids’ book, but I’m having a blast writing it. My goal is to have Earth’s End in print by December 21, 2012…just in case the Mayans were right!
Are you an outliner or a pantser and why?
I’m an outliner by nature. Rudy Toot-Toot is the only book I’ve written as a pantser, and that came about working with an agent (and former Big 6 editor) who liked the characters when it was just a 500-word picture book and kept encouraging me to add more.
For my other books, they all started with a basic premise, and then I create a protagonist and write a 2-3 page synopsis of the main story arc.
The next step in outlining is to break the book out into scenes. I write a numerical outline, and jot down 5-10 words to describe the major plot / character points for each scene, expanding on the original synopsis. I think this makes my writing easier because I know what I am writing toward…it keeps me from getting stuck.
I also think this type of outlining is a good way to look at the book as a whole in terms of pacing and character development.
One thing I do not do with an outline is set things in stone. There are still many times where the real magic comes in the actual writing, and I will add / move / delete outlined items as I go.
What is your editing system, a local critique group, online partners, beta readers, pro, etc.?
I have a diverse group of critique partners I met online. Some critters write literary novels, some write MG, some YA…a good mix of perspectives, and they all tend to focus on different aspects of word choice, characterization, and plot…but when they all agree on a problem, I know they hit something critical.
I also use friends, family, and I’ve been building a great relationship with teachers at my kids’ elementary school so I have access to an audience of kids to give my novels a real road test before I publish.
What are the top three reasons you decided to publish as an indie?
1. The time is right. I think indie publishing is on the verge of a breakout fueled by the rise of the eBook and social media, both of which empower the indie author-publisher to market and distribute books in ways that simply didn’t exist a few years ago.
2. Speed to market. The Man in the Cinder Clouds is a Christmas book (an origins-of-Santa story), and had I gone the traditional route it is likely this book would not be published before Christmas 2013. It’s silly to wait that long!
3. The challenge. I have an entrepreneurial business background, and the idea of starting my own publishing venture is appealing. I’m looking at this as a start-up company, and while it’s certainly hard work, I think it’s fun and it feels right.
Is there a message in this book for your readers or is it just meant to entertain?
The Man in the Cinder Clouds is definitely entertaining, with a good mix of humor, action, and Christmas spirit. My first goal as a writer is to entertain, but the story does have a strong theme about virtue and doing the right thing, and that theme is critical to the plot so kids won’t feel like they’re being lectured. I would like to get into more detail, but it would be difficult without being very spoiler-heavy!
Rudy Toot-Toot also has a strong theme: There is a right time and a right place for everything. Rudy must learn self-control, and the humor of his “ability” is well balanced with the consequences of his actions.
That’s all for Rick’s interview but read on for his Bio and links:
Rick Daley has been writing professionally for over 15 years. His experience includes marketing copy for print and web, press releases, business proposals, training and technical manuals, and whitepapers. His essays, ranging from family life during the holidays to his first skydiving experience, have been featured in The Columbus Dispatch.
An experienced public speaker with a background in music and theater, Rick has also authored and delivered numerous training seminars and workshops.
Rick lives in Lewis Center, Ohio with his wife and two sons (and a neurotic schnauzer).
I hope all of you are as excited as I am to read Rick’s book. I also hope you’ll buy it now rather than waiting to see if you won it, then if you do win you’ll have an extra gift copy. My Counting Book Blessings Contest ends at midnight Nov. 27th when the Gratitude Giveaways Blog Hop ends.
Rick will ship an autographed copy of The Man in the Cinder Clouds direct to one lucky winner. And he’ll deliver worldwide, just like Santa does. How cool is that? Icy cool with Frosty on top, that’s how cool!
I haven’t forgotten that I promised to add at least 2 books to my pot in each post. I had another book lined up, but since I found out the second of my two favorite vanguard female SF authors died, the first being Andre Norton, I decided to offer Anne McCaffrey’s Lyon’s Pride. It’s not in as good condition as the other 3 hardbacks up for grabs (see my last blog post). It has a 3 inch tear at the top of the back dustjacket. But it’s my last hardback of hers, and I can’t think of any better way to honor her than to share her book. I’ll put up a picture later.
The contest entry requirements are easy, one entry per person. Do whichever applies:
That’s it unless you want to win both books and chocolate. You can do that through the contest tab at the top of my blog. There’s a Book Depository option for International followers and another drawing every month. I’m so happy that my blog went over 200 followers yesterday, I may choose 2 winners.
Don’t forget to comment below for this contest and a chance to win one of multiple drawings. My prize is a medium size priority box of books (US shipping only), including one of the hardbacks offered, plus enough of my used paperbacks to fill the box. International entries can win one of the featured author books posted during the contest. After you comment, you can find the entire linky list of 300+ easy contests in this post. Enjoy!