Sometimes books you remember as a child or adolescent disappear from shelves. Walt Morey is one of those authors. Some publisher had, cleverly, published a set of seven or eight of his stories in the 90s as the Walt Morey Adventure library. My parents bought them for us boys at Christmas one year, if memory serves.
They are almost impossible to find now.
Walt Morey is best known for writing Gentle Ben (his first children’s novel, proving that sometimes the first one is the best?). I’ve actually never read Gentle Ben. Walt Morey will forever be in my head for writing the best “boy” books of my early teens. His stories were transitional — the stakes were no longer non-existent. There was tragedy and drama.
He was a master of setting — his books are mostly set either in Alaska or in the Pacific Northwest. He loved those landscapes, and he writes them compellingly.
I wish I could say I had a favorite, but I don’t. I loved them all — Deep Trouble, Angry Waters, Scrub – Dog of Alaska, Runaway Stallion, Home is the North, Run Far, Run Fast, Year of the Black Pony, and Gloomy Gus.
I was telling Rebecca this morning that I need to go ahead and buy used versions of them all. They’re delightful. Especially if you have boys, these books are worth having around. I lost myself for hours in Walt Morey’s adventures. They’re a fun read.
(Boom… use of Title in Post… +10 bonus points!)
Archives for November 2014
I’ve always wanted to be a publisher of books. That’s a little different than my day job. There, I help other people become the publisher of their own books. While I enjoy that work, I want to publish books. I want to see an author’s vision and help them take it further. It’s something I’m really passionate about.
As we’ve gone about launching Brightener Books, one of the things I’ve had to figure out is what I think makes a book worth publishing. What kind of books do I want to get behind?
A few things have risen to the top:
– Technically sound
The writing can’t be technically bad. I’m not looking for perfect, but if the manuscript is rife with run-on sentences, misspellings, bad grammar and the like, I’m going to miss the good stuff for all the bad writing. Study the craft. It’s a must.
I like manuscripts that move. I don’t mean action on every page, but I want to feel like something is happening. Keep the story moving. Keep the characters developing. It’s important.
I have to want to come back for more. It needs to be fun. That doesn’t necessarily mean silly or funny. It can mean those things. But more than that, it has to be an experience that I think, ooh… I enjoyed that. It was fun.
Writers trade in the execution of ideas. There’s nothing new under the sun, I know, but your execution of your ideas should feel fresh. Be creative. It’s a wonderful way to reflect our Creator.
– Great dialogue
Good dialogue isn’t exactly “Characters who talk the way real people do.” It’s better than that. It’s crisp. It’s exact. It’s not wasteful. The characters need to exist for their own reasons and interact like they are not just moving a plot point along.
– A “cheer for them” / “make me cry” moment somewhere
At some point in the manuscript, I need to want to either cheer for the protagonist or cry for them. If you can accomplish both, even better.
If a manuscript has those elements, I’m going to want to read it. If it fits into the kind of stuff I want to publish at Brightener Books, I’m likely to want to help other readers find it to. At the end of the day, that’s the true job of a publisher. I can’t wait.
: a job or activity that you do regularly especially in order to earn money
: the place where you do your job
: the things that you do especially as part of your job
Full Definition of WORK
a : sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result
b : the labor, task, or duty that is one’s accustomed means of livelihood
c : a specific task, duty, function, or assignment often being a part or phase of some larger activity
b : the result of such energy <sand dunes are the work of sea and wind>
c : the transference of energy that is produced by the motion of the point of application of a force and is measured by multiplying the force and the displacement of its point of application in the line of action
b : something that results from the use or fashioning of a particular material <porcelain work>
The three great essentials to achieve anything worth while are: Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense.
– Thomas “Tommy T-Bone” Edison