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Monday, November 17, 2014

Guest Post and Giveaway: Jake Kerr, author of Tommy Black and the Staff of Light

I'm excited to have Jake Kerr, author of the middle-grade Tommy Black and the Staff of Light, here today with a great Guest Post and Giveaway...

Tommy Black and the Staff of Light
by Jake Kerr
Currents & Tangents Press
For fourteen-year-old Tommy Black, nothing is worse than being raised by an overprotective grandfather in the city that never sleeps. That is until his grandfather is captured by magical creatures and Tommy has to save him with his family's magical staff. 
That wouldn’t be so bad, but the only magic he can do with the staff is weak--making light. What the heck can you do with light? 
Tommy finds out as he fights golems, shadow creatures, and djinn in a journey that features a magical river, an enchanted train, and an illusionary fortress. But the worst part of all? Tommy has to save his grandfather with the help of Naomi, a girl whose talent with magic is only rivaled by her ability to hurl insults. 
"Jake Kerr has told an exciting coming-of-age tale that asks serious ethical questions about the costs of magic. This is a world that will stay with the reader long after the last page." -- Ken Liu Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award winning author of The Grace of Kings 
From Nebula, Sturgeon, and Million Writers Award nominee Jake Kerr comes the Tommy Black trilogy, an action adventure series for readers of all ages.

by Jake Kerr

I want to talk about opportunity. We generally think of opportunity as a welcome surprise, a sudden way to advance our lives or careers. But opportunity can take many forms and sometimes when we seen a bright and shining opportunity we miss another opportunity that is perhaps not as obvious be even better for us.

For example, I am currently writing this guest post in the Night Hotel in Manhattan. Tomorrow morning I am meeting with an executive editor at a major publishing house who loves my writing. However, we are not meeting about book deals or editing or anything like that. We’re just going to hang out and have coffee.

The reason is simple: I’ve chosen to self-publish.

Why would I self-publish when I have amazing opportunities in the publishing world with both agents and editors? The reason is simple: As much as I appreciate and value those opportunities, I value the opportunity of self-publishing even more—the opportunity to publish my kids books back-to-back so people don’t have to wait for them, the freedom to pick the cover art, the opportunity to price my ebook low so as many people as possible can afford to read it. I could go on, but that this is a real opportunity should be clear.

This is an important lesson, I think. When we are growing up the world seems so full of wonder and opportunities abound. Little by little we start to see that what seemed like endless possibility has become limited by the world around us. Eventually wonder and possibility become so rare that we welcome any opportunity that presents itself to us. We cling to it as the blessing it is.

But is this true? Aren’t we surrounded by opportunities? What if we looked a little harder and embraced a different perspective? When you look for opportunities in the world, they are suddenly not so difficult to find. Sure, it may not be what you were looking for, but it exists, and it is real.

And isn’t that the nature of true opportunity? It is surprising and opens up new vistas for us. But there doesn’t just have to be just one, and even if that one looks like a dream you’ve always had—like publishing a book with a New York publisher—maybe there’s a different dream, a better dream, in front of you, as well.

Tommy Black faces this in my novel Tommy Black and the Staff of Light. Tommy is a boy who has the most amazing opportunity—to embrace a legacy of magical power while going on thrilling adventures.  But along the way he finds out that there is another opportunity for him, an opportunity to do the right thing and help others. It’s a decision we all face in some form or fashion as we grow up.

Actually, it’s the kind of decision we face all the time in our lives. Little opportunities, the kind that filled our imagination when we were children, are all around us. And a little opportunity may turn out to be more important to us than a big one, whether it is facing a legacy or deciding whether to publish your own books.

After fifteen years as a music industry journalist Jake Kerr's first published story, "The Old Equations," was nominated for the Nebula Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America and was shortlisted for the Theodore Sturgeon and StorySouth Million Writers awards. His stories have subsequently been published in magazines across the world, broadcast in multiple podcasts, and been published in multiple anthologies and year's best collections.

A graduate of Kenyon College, Kerr studied fiction under Ursula K. Le Guin and Peruvian playwright Alonso Alegria. He lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife and three daughters.

Win a copy of 
Tommy Black and the Staff of Light!
Jake has generously offered up two copies (one paperback and one ebook) of his fun book for two winners.
-ends 11/23
-there will be two winners:
  1 winner will get the paperback (US/CAN only)
1 winner will get the ebook in any format of their choice (open INT)
-must be 13+ to enter
-winners will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is NOT responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen items in the mail
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Molly Mortensen said...

This sounds like a fun book. Congrats on getting it published! :) I agree there are advantages to being self published and I'm glad you've decided to go that route. (So I don't have to wait for sequels. ;) )

Kat said...

Thank you for the giveaway! Congrats on the publication! Can't wait to read it.

Carl Scott said...

Move over Potter! Tommy Black's in the house!!