Starting this out with a bit of a “what’s been going on” update for the fans—2023 has been pretty crazy!
So far this year, we’ve released Wyoming Bones and the Founder’s Blade, book 5 in the series and my personal favorite. Getting this out to the fans this year was a huge priority to me, and the reception has been great! I’m really glad you’ve enjoyed it!
I’ve also written and edited book 6, Wyoming Bones and the Southern Sea, and started writing book 7, Wyoming Bones and the Pearl of Atlantis. These two were originally going to be a single story but… I realized it was going to be at least three times the length of the first book. I knew I needed to split it into two parts to do the story justice without scaring away my fans with the size of the novel. Plus, it was going to look pretty out of place on the bookshelf next to the others in the series. This meant a significant rewrite to make both books have a satisfying story arc, and the results… Well, let's just say I think you are going to love these once I get them to you!
Before we release those two books, which still need polishing (and writing, in the case of book 7), we’ll be releasing a shorter adventure, Blurble and the Zombie Tear. This one is from the perspective of everyone’s favorite slime, and was a ton of fun to write. The advanced readers we have sent it out to have loved it, and I think you will too!
Book 1 Re-Release
BUT, the status of those three books aren’t even the biggest news! Drumroll please…. — We are going to be re-releasing book 1 in the series, Wyoming Bones and the Potion of Ever Life. Not only are we re-editing it, but the new version will feature illustrations!
Hot on the heels of this re-release will be re-releases of the rest of the books in the series, all with fresh polish edits and illustrations. We are planning on getting these out to you before Christmas… Which means we have our work cut out for us!
As for why the re-release? That has a few contributing factors.
Reason #1 - Writing Quality:
Earlier in the year, I went to a book convention at a nearby library for local authors and had a blast there. As one of the few children/middle-grade authors there, I got to do a live reading from Potion of Ever Life. We only had time for about ten chapters, but that let me introduce Wyoming, Leila, and Blurble.
It also let me discover a couple of typos that I had somehow missed on previous re-reads. The best I can figure is that after I had the final edits done on the book, some bug in our formatting software messed up the text to a previous, less polished version.
I quickly fixed those in the live versions of the books, so you don’t have to worry about them in the e-books or since-then purchased print books!
However, while I was editing them, I realized that my writing has improved quite a bit since I first wrote Wyoming Bones and the Potion of Ever Life, almost two years ago. That makes sense–I’ve written almost half a million words in that time! Hopefully I’ve learned something after all that practice.
Not that book 1 was bad. I still love the story, especially when narrated by the fantastic Keith Mitchell. (Seriously, if you haven’t listened to the audiobook, you really should. It's great.) But I didn’t feel like it fairly represented the quality of the series any more.
And so I started tinkering with the writing. The general story is still the same, but almost every paragraph has gotten touched, at least a bit. I think I added about six thousand words to the story, all while keeping it as easy to read as before. I ran it by a few beta readers to see if they preferred the earlier, less detailed version or the newer more dynamic version, and it was a unanimously approved shift to bring more detail into the world of Wyoming Bones.
At first I thought I might keep this version to myself as a personal pet project, but then came reason #2.
Reason #2 - Blurble Changes Everything
After writing book 6, while waiting for my editor to read through it, I wrote a new short story. Writing Blurble and the Birthday Surprise had been so much fun that I made Blurble the star of this one as well. And thus, Blurble and the Zombie Tear was born.
Like I said earlier, I think you’ll love this shorter adventure. The advance readers we sent it to definitely did! But, we also got consistent comments from the readers that they would like it more if it had a few illustrations. We’ve always wanted to present the Wyoming Bones adventures as a stepping stone between the more graphic-novel-esque heavily illustrated Minecraft books for younger readers and the more challenging genre of middle grade chapter books. I’m seeing now how adding illustrations to selected scenes helps us to even better bridge that gap and engage readers in the world with our characters.
And so we got with our illustrator who enthusiastically jumped on the opportunity to add more visuals to the books. What he’s created for Blurble and the Zombie Tear certainly makes it our most visually impressive book.
But then I got to thinking about the re-write of Potion of Ever Life. Re-releasing it just to update the text might not be worth it… But what if I also added illustrations at the same time? And how much cooler would the whole series be if we could offer them all with this exciting imagery?
Which brings us to now! Our illustrator has started work on illustrations for the first book, and I have started polishing edits on The Underground City. These won’t be nearly as extensive as what I did to Potion of Ever Life, I can already tell, but it should still improve the reading experience.
And, perhaps most importantly, they’ll now include illustrations!
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. I’m so excited to have these included to better help readers connect with the stories, and to bring the world of Wyoming Bones to life. I hope it makes it even easier for parents and children to connect together over the series and to add more adventure, gasps, wonder, and laughs. Because seeing Blurble faceplant into a stone wall is hilarious.
We don’t have a re-release date for Potion of Ever Life yet, but expect it in the next two months. We are hoping to get all five released books re-released before Christmas, so plan to grab them to put under your tree.
We’ll keep you posted!