All posts by drobertpease

Reading Isn’t Dead — And Middle Schoolers are AWESOME!

I did my first classroom visit this week. It was a seventh grade English Literature class that my daughter attends. And if I had one word to describe it, I’d say “Surprising!” Those kids just blew me away with their enthusiasm and creativity.

shutterstock_142487863I started out by asking the kids what their favorite video games were. I had a smattering of hands go up and kids throwing out names of games I’d never heard of (I thought I was somewhat up on such things, but apparently not.) Then I asked what their favorite movies were. A few more hands went up. Hunger Games, Iron Man, Beautiful Creatures and more. At least I’d heard of these. Finally, I asked about favorite books.

I went into this exercise thinking I’d do some kind of “Books can be every bit as exciting as the video games and movies you threw out.” You know, some kind of argument for why the kids should consider reading as something worthwhile. Boy was I in for a surprise. When I asked for their favorite books, the hands just flew up, and the room erupted in a chorus of noise. Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, Divergent… I had a hard time picking out the names because they were coming at me so fast.

After a minute or so, the teacher finally quieted the students down and I told them I was shocked at how enthusiastic they were about reading. One boy raised his hand (it took me a while to get used to the idea of kids asking permission to speak,) and he said “It’s because we’re all nerds.” It was true that this was an advanced English class, so I guess I can’t extrapolate what I learned here across all middle-school students, but I loved, I mean LOVED to see these twenty to thirty kids so excited about books.

I then talked about how I write. Starting with how I get ideas, how I outline (or don’t outline,) the actual writing, editing, and publishing. The most fun, I had was when we talked about coming up with ideas for stories. I started out by saying that there really is nothing new under the sun. So if they start a new story thinking they will write something that has never been written before, then they will only end up frustrated. I talked about how most of my ideas are basically twists on other stories. Noah Zarc is a future, time-travel twist on the story of Noah’s Ark. A new book I’m writing is a twist on the story of Joseph and his Coat of Many Colors. So I asked them to think of various old stories that maybe we could put a new spin on.

Again, ideas started flying left and right. Some were way out there, but all of them were awesome. It shouldn’t be surprising, after my two examples, that we settled on creating a story based on David and Goliath. Then we talked about how to make that story our own. How could we make the characters different? Some suggestions included lasers coming out of Goliath’s eyes. There were ideas about Goliath being a bully in school. On and on they went. At last we settled on Goliath being a small kid, and David being a giant (I had said how it can be fun to reverse roles.) And the setting was a school in space.

So for a while (not too long, I was running out of time) I asked them to think about what kind of story could happen with just these basic elements. The kids said it’d still be cool to have the small Goliath be the bully, and the giant be afraid of him (again lasers from the eyes was a good way to make that happen.) There wasn’t a kid in the room who didn’t throw out some kind of idea to flesh out the story.

I just stood there grinning, watching these kids debate and flesh out the story. I think the teacher felt like maybe they were getting out of hand, but I absolutely loved it. It gave me a renewed sense of why I write for kids. They are so free and willing to explore fantastical characters and worlds. But I also loved seeing their hearts, especially when they talked about making Goliath a bully. I could totally see a story like this being a whole lot of fun, but also able to address important topics.

If you’re an author who hasn’t had the privilege of doing a classroom visit, I totally recommend it. If you’re a kid who loves reading, THANK YOU! And, if you’re a kid who loves writing, keep at it! I’d love to hear what kind of crazy, funny, meaningful things you have to say.


DRobertPease500x500D. Robert Pease has been interested in creating worlds since childhood. From building in the sandbox behind his house, to drawing fantastical worlds with paper and pencil, there has hardly been a time he hasn’t been off on some adventure in his mind, to the dismay of parents and teachers alike. Also, since the moment he could read, books have consumed vast swaths of his life. From The Mouse and the Motorcycle, to The Lord of the Rings, worlds just beyond reality have called to him like Homer’s Sirens. It’s not surprising then he chose to write stories of his own. Each filled with worlds just beyond reach, but close enough we can all catch a glimpse of ourselves in the characters.

D. Robert has published three books in the Noah Zarc Trilogy: Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble, Noah Zarc: Cataclysm, and Noah Zarc: Declaration, as well as the complete Omnibus Edition of Noah Zarc with all three books in one volume along with twenty-two pencil illustrations from the author.

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New Releases from Two Emblazon Authors

Today marks the release of three new books. One from Mikey Brooks and Two from D. Robert Pease.

First up, Mikey Brooks with the second installment of his Amazon bestselling middle-grade series, The Dream Keeper Chronicles: THE DREAMSTONE.

The Dream Keeper:keychain front1

Dreams: Dorothy called it Oz, Alice called it Wonderland, but Nightmares call it HOME. When an evil shifter takes over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, it falls to 14-year-olds Parker and Kaelyn to stop him. Their only hope lies with Gladamyr, the Dream Keeper, but can they trust a Nightmare to save their world?

Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Amazon Hardback | Barnes & Noble

The Dreamstone:keychain front2

When Parker’s mom is dreamnapped by the wicked Mab, it is up to him and Kaelyn to save her. However when they return to Dreams, they discover Mab isn’t their only problem. Gladamyr has lost his powers and the only way to get them back is to become what he fears the most—a nightmare.

Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Amazon Hardback | Barnes & Noblegiveaways

GIVEAWAYS: Mikey is having a two week long blog tour and giving away over 35 books all by middle-grade and teen authors. 10 lucky winners will receive swag bags including a dream key necklace. Check out the full list of stops and a link to the giveaway by visiting his website at: http://www.insidemikeysworld.com/ Also, both eBooks will be on sale for the duration of the blog tour for just $.99 each!

In Praise of THE DREAMSTONE:

“The Dreamstone, by Mikey Brooks, is a wild stallion of a story: fast, thrilling, and unpredictable. I was hooked in chapter one. If he can snare the attention of an old reader like me, he’ll have kids sneaking this one into class underneath their text books…If this one isn’t a kid-pleaser, I don’t know what is.” –Michelle Isenhoff, author of the Divided Decade Trilogy and the Taylor Davis Series.keychain back

This is far out good and entertaining. It will become a pre-teen to young adult and the young of heart’s favorite. The tale is clean, wholesome and riveting. It is must have in every home and school library” –Anna del C. Dye, author of The Silent Warrior Trilogy.

“If you like the Percy Jackson, Fablehaven, or the Harry Potter series, you’ll love this!” –An Amazon Reviewer.

Mikey Brooks is a small child masquerading as adult. On occasion you’ll find him Mikey Pic 3dancing the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown up. He is the author/illustrator of several picture books including the bestselling BEAN’S DRAGONS, the ABC ADVENTURES series. He spends most of his time playing with his three daughters and working as a freelance illustrator and cover designer. Mikey has a BS degree in Creative Writing from Utah State University. He is also one of the hosts of the Authors’ Think Tank Podcast.

 


New from D. Robert Pease in the Noah Zarc Trilogy

Today the Noah Zarc middle grade, science fiction adventure is complete with the release of the third book: Noah Zarc: Declaration. At the same time the Noah Zarc Special Omnibus Edition is released which includes all three books in one volume, as well as twenty-two pencil illustrations by the author.

Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble

Noah lives for piloting spaceships through time, dodging killer robots and saving Earth’s animals from extinction. Life couldn’t be better. However, the twelve-year-old time traveler soon learns it could be a whole lot worse, when he is attacked at every turn by a foe bent on destroying a newly habitable, post-apocalyptic Earth.

Amazon Kindle ON SALE TODAY for $.99! | Amazon Paperback | Barnes & Noble | Signed Paperbacks from Publisher

Noah Zarc: Cataclysm

While searching for answers to secrets that have remained hidden for over a thousand years, Noah becomes embroiled in a mission which could cause the greatest cataclysm in the history of the solar system; the total destruction of life on Earth.

Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks | Signed Paperbacks from Publisher

Noah Zarc: Declaration

As battles rage across the reaches of space, Noah works to join together a rag-tag bunch of miners, farmers, and scientists who would rather just live in peace. With only a time-traveling ship full of animals and a general from the history books the Zarc family must stand against the most powerful man in the universe.

Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks | Signed Paperbacks from Publisher


Noah Zarc: Trilogy – Special Omnibus Edition

All three Noah Zarc books in one volume. Including twenty-two pencil illustrations by the author.

Amazon Kindle | Amazon Hardcover | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks | Signed Hardcover from Publisher




D. Robert Pease has been interested in creating worlds since childhood. From building in the sandbox behind his house, to drawing fantastical worlds with paper and pencil, there has hardly been a time he hasn’t been off on some adventure in his mind, to the dismay of parents and teachers alike. Also, since the moment he could read, books have consumed vast swaths of his life. From The Mouse and the Motorcycle, to The Lord of the Rings, worlds just beyond reality have called to him like Homer’s Sirens. It’s not surprising then he chose to write stories of his own. Each filled with worlds just beyond reach, but close enough we can all catch a glimpse of ourselves in the characters he brings to life.

Find out more about D. Robert online:

www.drobertpease.com | Facebook | Twitter