Can you judge a book by its cover?

What if the cover isn’t quite done yet? What if the cover is almost done but the book isn’t? Can you still do the whole judging thing?

Markree Castle Book Cover

Markree Castle Book Cover

Let’s see, I have possibly sketchy WiFi next week on publishing day, so I figured I should upload the cover to Amazon while I still have fast non-Utah desert WiFi.

This also got me to start the whole Amazon Kindle publishing process. They make it very easy, but you still have to do the heavy lifting. Click and Clack (of Car Talk radio show) said it was easy to replace the engine of a car. Here are the instructions:

  1. Remove old engine.
  2. Insert new engine.

Easy peasy, right? Same with publishing a book on Amazon:

  1. Write book.
  2. Upload.
  3. Publish.

Wow, even more steps than replacing a car engine. I knew writing was complex.

Celebrate! Well, there’s also write description, build cover, choose categories, select age groups, think of keywords (that are not in the title or description–difficult!), and choose your DRM options, select platform. OK, so it’s more than two steps.

But it’s March 27 and we have a cover. I like to imagine that we’ll look back at this post some years down the road, when Li & Lu products sell at your local Target, and remember the days when I used to create a cover while watching UCLA lose to Gonzaga, make omelets for the kids and finish up some client work. It’ll all be a big blur of the past and I’ll look back with nostalgia, a smile, and … I don’t know what other emotion. I suppose I’ll have to wait and see.

I had to write up a description and I’m going to put it here to see how it flies. I’m sure it’ll be changed but hey, it’s what I wrote tonight so that’s what I’m thinking of the book at this moment. Driving to Utah tomorrow and I’m planning on at least chapter seven. I actually can’t wait … I’ve had so much client work the past few days that it’s put a real damper on my Markree Castle work. Just makes me want it more. Tonight a cover and Amazon is primed and in Draft mode. Tomorrow the four boys have lunch at the castle and plan their next (mis)steps.

Book Description as of Today

The babysitter flaked and four young boys have pretty much free reign of a castle. “Wait, what?” they ask. Yes, they heard it right. While one of their dads is getting married, the boys are free to explore the castle.

“They’re old enough to be responsible, aren’t they?” one dad asked the other. Ah, we soon shall see what the boys discover as they explore the castle, make new friends and learn of the secret of the Markree Castle.

But what is the secret of the castle? What lurks behind all of those doors down in the cellar? Who’s that scary old guy Killian? Is Alastar to be trusted?

You see, dear reader, I don’t know yet. These four boys are the creative behind the story. In many ways, I’m just the messenger. The story and magic and secrets of the castle are up to them. It’s a collaborative effort and we talk, we imagine, we have Skype calls with poor WiFi connections while two boys are getting ready for bed in San Francisco, California, and the other two are having breakfast in a restaurant in their hometown of Beijing, China.

How is this going to work? How are two dads and four boys going to write a book together? Who knows! Has it been done before? Who knows! Who cares!

What’s happening is that we’re all working on a project together. The kids are digging deeper into their creative minds and their dads are learning sides of their kids that they didn’t even know existed. What would your child answer to the question, “If you could have any magical power, what would it be?” Do you know what your child would answer? Of course not. But you might have an idea. Do you know what’s fun? Ask your child and guess (quietly) what he might say. Then listen to what he says and see how it differs from what you thought he would say. The answer might surprise you.

That’s how we’re writing this book. It’s a collaboration of these four boys and two dads (from different families). Three of us live in San Francisco and three of us live in Beijing. We’re using shared online documents and Skype calls to communicate the story, the characters, and what’s going to happen next.

This first book (available April 1, 2015 in honor of Li & Lu’s first adventure, The Secret of Kite Hill) has turned into more of a story that we had imagined,  and it’s going to make this book only the first part of a series with the four boys at the castle.

Oh, dear reader, I wish I could tell you what’s going to happen in books two and three, but I don’t know myself. We’ll have to see what the boys come up with. But for now, enjoy The Secret of the Markree Castle and please leave us a note in the comments as to what you’d like to see in the upcoming books.

Thanks for visiting. We hope you enjoy The Secret of Markree Castle.