As a writer, it is always important to surround yourself with other writers. However, my good friend Ryan McKinley wasn't writing much at all when I met him almost 10 years ago, but that has changed dramatically since 2007.
My other good friend Jerry Bennett wasn't a full time artist when I met him almost 12 years ago. He was making doors in a door factory, doing art on the side for people, doodling in his sketchbook constantly, making us all wish we had his talent.
Things have changed.
Last night I attended a release party for Ryan McKinley's new children's book The Lost Crew, which was the sequel to his first book The Pirate Bride. Jerry Bennett illustrated both books, and he was on hand to talk about how these two books launched his career as an artist.
The Pirate Bride, an exciting story about a young girl who feels burdened by her many younger brothers who then accidentally slips through time to sail aboard a pirate ship was a labor of love for McKinley. The project began when his daughter Anna developed the story and the two of them penned it together and published the book through Outskirts Press. The book has had some success recently, and in 2010 was a Forward View Book of the Year Finalist and last year was a Reader's Favorite Gold Winner. The Lost Crew is the sequel to this award winning book and is a fun read, full of McKinley's signature humor and Bennett's astounding artwork.
After reading both books, I am sure that if someone like Scholastic were to get their hands on them they would be hot sellers in schools around the country. If you have a young adult or pre-teen reader in your life, I would consider getting these two books for them. I'm sure they will find them as fun to read as my children find them to be. You can find The Pirate Bride in hard copy and soft copy on Amazon and as a Kindle edition as well. The Lost Crew is available on Amazon as a hard copy and as a soft copy here. Ryan also has a website where you can keep up with all the appearances and book signings that will be held in the future.
Jerry Bennett's career is flying high. Marvel Comics has been in touch with him, and he is in the beginning stages of a relationship with one of their editors, who told him to get a body of his work to them "whenever he finds time". I mean, who says that? They obviously are interested in him or they would have said "Don't call us, we'll call you". Secondly, one of Jerry's many t-shirt designs has been recently licensed by Lucasfilm and will be offered as a licensed t-shirt on WeLoveFine. Until then, you can get one of his Avengers t-shirt designs here. He also illustrates a local comic book entitled "Nadir Zenith" which can be found at Speeding Bullet locations all over Oklahoma.
I am so proud of my two friends who are following their dreams. I am doing the same thing, and as of today, This Broken Earth, Book 1 has been downloaded over 500 times since August 1st. Book 2 will be out on October 31st, and I can't wait for people to read it and then feel the tension when the cliffhanger comes at the end leading in to Book 3 which will release on doomsday, December 21st.
My message to you today is to follow your dreams. You cannot realize them if you sit and stew about them or never work hard to produce them. The only thing that will see your novel written is bum glue and fingers moving. Get busy and write!