December Theme: LOOKING BACK AND LOOKING AHEAD...PLUS A GIVEAWAY by John Claude Bemis
I’m happy to share that today is my birthday. And a big one to boot. With the year coming to an end, as well as my thirties, I’ll take this as a time for reflection. A time to look back and to look ahead.
In 2012, my forth novel The Prince Who Fell from the Sky came out and became an Amazon Best Book for May. This post-apocalyptic animal adventure with its sci-fi Jungle Book elements felt like a departure from the American steampunk epic fantasy in my previous Clockwork Dark trilogy. I was thrilled to see how it found a new and different readership, as well as deepened my Clockwork Dark fan base. I was thrilled to have the first book in my Clockwork Dark trilogy The Nine Pound Hammer land on the North Carolina Battle of the Books list, and the last book in the trilogy, The White City, receive the North Carolina Juvenile Literature award, the second time I’ve received this honor.
Also in 2012, I left teaching again and most likely permanently. I love the classroom, and I’ve missed the day-to-day relationship with my students. But having the time to focus my attention on my writing, as well as to expand my school visits and public speaking at conferences and workshops, has been rewarding.
I’m excited to be working on my newest project, one that began in earnest in 2012 and will carry me into 2013. I superstitiously keep works-in-progress under wraps, but my local librarians pay attention to what I check out to try to figure out my next book. Earlier this summer when I was in the Hillsborough library, a librarian scanned two books on alchemy, one on the inventions of Leonardo Da Vinci, a history of the Venetian Empire, and the Carlo Collodi original version of Pinocchio. She raised an eyebrow and scratched her chin but didn’t hazard a guess. I’ll leave it to her and to you to try to put the pieces together. I can promise it’s exciting!
So 2013 will be busy with this new project, as well as busy at a new writing spot. As an early birthday present for my big Four-Oh!, my wife bought me a stand-up desk. With the touch of a button it raises and lowers, so I can save my back and break up the writing day between sitting and standing. Beautiful!
I’m looking forward to lots of school visits, conferences, and literary festivals in 2013. Most exciting, I’m attending Kindling Word, a writer’s retreat in Vermont this coming January, that will be lead by Gary Schmidt. If a long-weekend snowed in with lots of superstars of the children’s literary world isn’t an inspiring way to kick off the New Year, I don’t know what is.
So to all that came before, I send my thanks. To all that is to come, I welcome you.
Happy holidays, everyone! And happy reading and writing.
As a big thanks to you for reading Smack Dab In The Middle, I'm offering a giveaway. Post a comment below (make sure you're a follower of Smack Dab), and you'll be entered in a drawing for your choice of any of my book (signed and personalized) or one of my audiobooks. For more details on my books, see my website. On Saturday December 15th, my daughter will draw one of your names from a distinctly low-tech hat and I'll post the winner. Make sure to enter before 9 am EST on Dec. 15th. Good luck!