Friday, May 28, 2010

Publisher's Weekly Glows About the Onyx Sun!

One of the great benefits of making it to the semifinals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards contest is that your manuscript gets attention from some serious industry players. This is both nerve-wracking and exciting as you learn that Penguin editors and Publisher's Weekly will be reading your whole story.

So, it was with a tremendous amount of relief when I read the following from Publisher's Weekly about my book:

"This space adventure yarn has the right stuff. Zack Goodspeed’s unusual grandfather, Professor Goodspeed, is an adorable nutty genius who lives next door and whose garage has been transformed into a laboratory where he’s invented, among other things, a small black cube called the Onyx Sun, which is “a source of unlimited power.” One night, soon after he has shown Zack the Onyx Sun, the professor disappears into the woods. Zack and his neighbor, Angelina “Max” Maximillian, follow him and discover a tree that opens up to an elevator that leads to the center of the earth, where the Onyx Pioneer, an enormous spaceship invented by his grandfather and powered by the Onyx Sun, is docked in preparation for its colonization mission to the moon. Zack and Max stowaway on the ship and quickly discover that the evil Dr. Machvel plans to steal the Onyx Sun and use its power for destruction. Together with their new friend, Sanjay, they work to foil Dr. Machvel’s quest for domination. The fast-paced novel keeps the reader engaged throughout. The main characters are nicely done, the plot is exciting, and there’s a clear jumping off point for a sequel, which young sci-fi fans would surely look forward to."

Exciting to see a respected member of the writing community enjoy my book. It feels validating after four years and almost a thousand hours of work.

Now, if I could just find an agent and a publisher...



Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Onyx Sun Reaches Semifinals of Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards

I can announce this now that I know where I stand.

After months of watching my book climb from a general submission, to making the first cut, to being a quarterfinalist, to finally reaching the semifinals, I at last know where I stand.

It is with mixed emotions I learned today that Amazon has selected the finalists for their 2010 Breakthrough Novel Awards. And although the first Onyx Sun book made it from a field of 5,000 entrants to only 50 Semifinalists, it will not be proceeding to the finals.

I'm very proud of my book, especially considering it is my first. To reach the top 1% of submissions is an achievement beyond what I expected. But I have to admit, as much as I tried not to, I was already visualizing flying to Seattle for the finals.

Ah well. My thanks goes out to Amazon for running such an amazing contest, Publisher's Weekly for their upbeat and positive review, and to the members of the community for reading and voting on my submission.



Sunday, May 23, 2010

Onyx Sun Wins a Writer's Digest Honorable Mention!

I got this news a couple of months ago, but since I am getting back into blogging, I thought I'd include it since it is exciting news...

The Incredible Origins of the Onyx Sun has won an Honorable Mention in the 17th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards!

I sent a copy of my hardcover book, complete with the final artwork and exclusive Epilogue, to Writer's Digest almost a year ago. Of the hundreds of submissions, only three books were selected in the Middle-Grade/Young Adult category for Honorable Mentions.

I couldn't be more excited!

You will see the announcement of the award in the March/April 2010 issue or you can check it out online here. I've also included a scan of the page with my book on it in this post.



Saturday, May 22, 2010

New Onyx Sun Web Site

What better way to commemorate my recent writing contest success, which I will announce in a day or two, than to launch a new web site too!

The new version of the web site is finally live! I've wanted to update it for a while as the last version had a few distinct flaws. The new site:
  • Loads faster
  • Has the navigation more accessibly located at the top
  • Takes up less screen space "before the fold" so people can see the content below the splashy graphics without having to scroll
  • Has a highlight box on the right for recent announcements
  • Integrates more Feedburner services so I can provide dynamic information easier, like updates from my blog!
I built web sites like this one for the last fourteen years (since 1996! yikes!), and I always like to watch how sites evolve. At the end of each iteration, I always remember being happy with the end product. Yet, as I learn the site's flaws and architect a new iteration, I look back and wonder how I could possibly have been happy with the previous version. I guess innovation is a ceaseless process like that!

Anyway, here are some screengrabs of each version from v1 on the top to the most recent on the bottom. You can also visit the new real deal online of course at



Thursday, May 20, 2010

I'm Back!

It's been a looooong time since I updated my blog, but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy working away on the Onyx Sun when I can. I have and because of that, there is quite a lot to update you on.

Basically, I went silent over a year ago - ironically right around the time my book was finally published - since I joined Sony PlayStation and found myself quite busy helping to get a new business unit off the ground. That didn't leave much time, even on the nights or weekends, after 60+ hour weeks to work on my book. Even when I had the time, I was exhausted and needed to recharge.

So, I held off on promoting my book, preferring instead to submit the book to a couple of contests. Those submissions didn't take too much time and were tasks I could punch out from the couch while watching SportCenter.

I'm glad I did do at least that because it earned my book and Honorable Mention in a Writer's Digest contest, praise from Publisher's Weekly, and a spot in the semifinals of Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Awards, where I was one of 50 people who advanced through a field of 5,000.

I'll cover each of these in a separate post, but for now, I just wanted to say: I'm back!



Sunday, May 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Aiden!

Wow, seven years old today. Happy birthday buddy! You're always in my thoughts.