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Black Star Cover Reveal, Events, Advocates, T-Shirts, & Less:Blasting May to Smithereens

SD SMith BLAST Better

(What follows is merely part of my newsletter…a day late and shorn of the crummy special offers and pathetic exclusives you can only have if you are subscribed. Do it here, yo.)


Hey Friends!

This is gonna be a quick one. Life has been good. Good and busy. My second book has gone to press! The Black Star of Kingston is out of my hands and about to get printed in terrifyingly large quantities.

The book should be available to pre-order very soon.

Also, I am VERY excited to share the cover with you today.

Thanks to Zach Franzen for the amazing art and to Paul Boekell and Andrew Mackay for the design. I think it looks amazing.

I just wanted more and more fireballs. Because I believe you can never have too many fireballs. That’s my take. But the suits were all like “image composition” and “there is such a thing as too many fireballs” and I’m all like uh, what? like, okay? for real? and stuff.

We have a page set up for all things Black Star here.


I’m excited to be coming to Lewisburg, West Virginia on this Thursday, May 28th, at 3:30! I’ll be at the Open Book talking to kids/grownups/whomever and signing copies of The Green Ember. If you’re close, I hope you can come. I will be handing out high-fives, stickers, bookmarks, and laundry advice maybe who knows.

Here’s the Facebook Event page. If you’re local, please share the event. If you aren’t local, move here by Thursday.

We are getting ready for Inkwell in just a few weeks, our second ever family conference in Charlotte. (Our first ever was last year. Our third ever will be next year, probably). I’m excited about what’s happening with Story Warren, and Inkwell in particular. I hope to see many of you there! I’ll be the bald guy who is talking too much about the Women’s World Cup. (Go USA!)

I enjoyed a wonderful visit to Ravenswood Grade School last week! I got to speak on “What Makes a Good Character?” to over 300 kids. Peyton Manning was there. In cardboard cutout version. He was like a good angel over my shoulder yelling “Omaha!”

What a pleasure this trip was! (<—passive writing) My friend Brenda Conley put it together and Adam Hagartook some pictures (see them here). Thank you!

I also got to visit Hinton Area Elementary and had a great time with Miss Tabor’s 3rd Grade class. (Fun fact: My 3rd Grade teacher was named Miss Tabor. She was a great teacher.) Thanks to Cheryl Kula for inviting me!

We’re Number 1?      

Well, we are definitely NOT number one. But in a small category (that includes, however, C. S. Lewis’sRansom Trilogy–often called the “Space Trilogy”–and Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga), we did get to see that fun little #1 Best Seller tag on The Green Ember. Yay! That was cool. Tune in for next month’s newsletter where I will brag even more.

Thanks to all of you who have rated and reviewed The Green Ember at Amazon and Audible. It helps so much and it just takes a second. And by “a second,” I mean possibly 120 to 8,000 seconds, not the traditionally understood “1” standard second.

Raise your hand, if you hope to go bald like me?

So, would you consider helping us out by pre-ordering Black Star when it’s available? That would be amazing.

The Shirt 

Lots of people have asked about t-shirts and I’m happy to say that we’ll have those for sale soon. We were torn about it because it’s hard to get nice, high-quality shirts at a good price. But we decided to avoid the cheap stuff and to go for quality. We have to charge a bit more than we had hoped, but we think they’re going to be worth it. They are really comfortable! Soft and attractive, we think you’ll love them. And who do we have to thank for designing these amazing shirts? Our friend Erin Tegeler, from Washington state. She’s an amazing photographer and we really love this design. We hope lots of you will want one of these beauties for your own!

Needs a wee ironing, eh? Sorry, I literally just pulled it out of my drawer. 

Dear, DEAR Advocates

I just want to express how deeply grateful I am to all of you, but most especially to those of you who have adopted The Green Ember as a book and me as an author, to be your very own cause. Like Brenda Conley getting my book in the hands of 300 kids at a rural West Virginia school. Like Sarah Mackenzie and her legion of Read-Aloud Revivalers who are determined to tell everyone they know about my books. Like the countless numbers of friends new and old who have shared my story with everyone they know. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! You know who you are. My family and I are so grateful for you. I’m honored to have you as partners, allies in this adventure. Here’s to many more!
Grace and peace to you,


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