Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Pump Up Your Book Blog Tour - Monsterland by Michael Okon

We're thrilled to kick off the virtual book tour for MONSTERLAND by YA monster fiction author Michael Okon. If you would like to follow his tour, visit Pump Up Your Book!


By Michael Okon

YA Monster Fiction

Welcome to Monsterland—the scariest place on Earth.Wyatt Baldwin’s
senior year is not going well. His parents divorce, then his dad
mysteriously dies. He’s not exactly comfortable with his new stepfather,
Carter White, either. An ongoing debate with his best friends Melvin
and Howard Drucker over which monster is superior has gotten stale. He’d
much rather spend his days with beautiful and popular Jade. However,
she’s dating the brash high-school quarterback Nolan, and Wyatt thinks
he doesn’t stand a chance. But everything changes when Wyatt and his
friends are invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a
groundbreaking theme park where guests can interact with vampires in
Vampire Village, be chased by werewolves on the River Run, and walk
among the dead in Zombieville.With real werewolves, vampires and zombies
as the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?


“Michael Okon crafts a fabulous novel with unique, unforgettable
characters. …The world building was done fabulously. There were
believable backgrounds that explain how it could be possible for there
to be a world that had not only vampires, but also werewolves and
zombies, excuse me, the vitality-challenged. It all comes together
seamlessly as the plot lines converge to make for an explosive ending.” – Devouring Books 2017, blogspot

“I can assure you of this: you will not be disappointed. Nor will you
sleep well at night for a while, either. But isn’t that the mark of a
master storyteller! Hat’s off to Michael Okon” – Theodore Jerome Cohen, Author of “House of Cards: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Martelli NYPD, #2)”

“As this book deserves not only top of the New York Times bestseller
list but on the big screen as well. The moment I began to read my world
was transformed and I was living through the novel.” – Carey Hurst, Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Mom

“First rate YA fiction with a monsterous twist. Highly recommended.” – Richard Schwindt, author of “The Death in Sioux Lookout Trilogy”

“Okon does a fantastic job of creating distinct personalities for the
different monsters. The vampires are sly and cunning while the
werewolves are weary and brooding. Even the zombies have some
personality, albeit it’s only shown through thoughts they struggle to
string together.” – Alejandro Ramos, medium.com

“I enjoyed the beautiful prose, the great characters, and the
exciting plot. It’s hard to read this novel without getting emotionally
involved.” – Divine Zape, Readers’ Favortie (Five Star Review)

“I think MONSTERLAND provides something different for the YA
category that really isn’t otherwise present, not only in type of story
but in teen/adult relationships.” – litbites.com, Blog Tour

“This book has a charm often lost in supernatural stories. Michael
Okon sets a brilliant scene where you can hear and see the world coming
to life before your eyes. You don’t read this book, you live it. .. Monsterland makes for a fun yet harrowing horror read, with injections of comedy, and masterful execution.” – K.J. Simmill (5 Star Review)

Monsterland Awards

  • 2017 Readers’ Favorite Five Star Review
  • Feathered Quill Book Awards 2018 – Science Fiction/Fantasy – Second Place
  • Feathered Quill Book Awards 2018 – Teen Fiction, Graphic/Anime (13-18 years) – First Place
  • The Feathered Quill, The Write Companion Award for Best Overall Top Pick
  • 2018 Shelf Unbound – Notable
  • 2018 Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner in the Young Adult – Horror genre
  • 2019 International Book Awards – Fiction: Fantasy – Finalist
  • 2020 Feathered Quill Book Awards – Gold/1st Place – Best of Backlist

Amazon → https://amzn.to/31KQKFy

Barnes & Noble → https://bit.ly/2SCCo5P

Chapter 1

The Everglades

The sky was a sparkling, powder blue, mosquitoes droned lazily over the tepid water, frogs croaked messages while they sunbathed on waxy lily pads. The fire he created burned bright, rabbit roasting on a spit made from hickory, the juices dripping to hiss in the flames. Seven of them lay in scattered repose, enjoying the late afternoon lull—two napped, the others tossed a stuffed fur in the form of a ball around the clearing, hooting with amusement when it rolled into the brush. They traveled in a pack, his group, his makeshift family, foraging together, hiding in plain sight. It had been that way for generations. But the glades were getting smaller, the humans invasive.

The sun started its slow descent into the horizon, hot pink and lilac clouds rippling against the empty canvas of the sky. Their color deepened as the sky filled, the rosy hue morphing into a burnt orange as the sun hid behind the condensation. The air thickened, moisture causing the leaves to lie heavily against the branches. Here and there, fireflies lit the gloom, doing a placid ballet in the humid air. The men moved closer as the sun sank into the western treetops, the fading sky promising another clear day tomorrow in the Everglades despite the moving ceiling of clouds.

A lone hawk cried out, disturbing the peace of the glade. Huge birds answered, flapping their wings, creating a cacophony of swamp sounds. The area became a concerto of animals responding to the disruption of their home—wild screams, squeaks, and complaints of the invasion of their territory.

The lead male stood, his head tilted. He heard it again. It was music, the strange organization of sounds, predictable as well as dangerous. Where those rhythms originated meant only one thing—they were not alone. They all rose, tense and alert, searching the waterway. Billy pointed, his dirty hands silently parting an outcropping of trees to expose a flat-bottom boat with strangers floating slowly toward them. It was filled with people, excitedly searching the banks of the swamp, their expensive khaki bush clothes ringed with sweat. Many held huge cameras. It was obviously a film crew, invasive, nosy individuals looking for something, anything, to enhance their lives. Men’s voices drifted on the turgid air. Billy stood, sniffing, his mates following suit. He glanced at the sky, gauging the time, his eyes opening wide. It was late. The bald top of the moon peeked over the ridge in the south, the sky graying to twilight with each passing second. Night came fast and furious in the swamp, dropping a curtain of darkness, extinguishing all light except for the beacon of the full moon. That chalk-white orb floated upward, indifferent to the consequences of its innocent victims. A halo of lighter blue surrounded the globe, limning the trees silver, the cobwebs in the trees becoming chains of dripping diamonds in the coming night.

What were the interlopers doing here? Billy thought furiously. This was their territory. The humans didn’t belong in the swamp. The moon continued its trip to the heavens, the familiar agony beginning in his chest. Billy fought the demons churning within his body, feeling the pain of metamorphosis. He curled inward, hunching his shoulders, the curse of his nature making his spine pull until his tendons and muscles tore from their human positions to transform into something wicked. A howl erupted from his throat, followed by another, and then another. Grabbing handfuls of dirt, he tried to fight the awful change, but, as the sun dipped to its fiery death, the moon took control of his life, and the unnatural force tore through his unwilling body. Reason fled; his heart raced. Falling on his hands and knees, he let loose a keening cry as his face elongated, his body changing into a canine, fangs filling his mouth. He raced in a circle in a demented dance, knowing his fellow pack members did the same thing. Slowing, he regulated his labored breathing, forcing the icy calmness he needed to keep some semblance of reason. He peered through the dense brush. Lights from the search party bobbed in the distance. The odor, the stench of humanity, filled the clearing.

He turned, digging furiously on the ground, throwing dirt on the flames, hiding their existence. It was no good. Discovery would ruin everything. No one could live with their kind. Humans brought disease, humans brought anger, humans brought hatred. They were there; he could smell them, see their clumsy bodies invading his home. “They’ve found us,” he growled in the special language they used. “Run!” he barked as he turned to his pack, watching his friends’ naked skin transform until it was covered with the same silvered fur. They cried out in unison at the pain, howling with the injustice, and then ran in fear from the interlopers threatening their habitat.

5 Things You Should Know About Monsterland

  1. I came up with the idea of Monsterland – a theme park with real werewolves, vampires and zombies – while watching a classic movie marathon one weekend with my kids. I figured if they made a theme park with dinosaurs, why haven’t they done it with zombies. I called my brother and he said is has to be all the monsters. I started writing that night.
  2. Monsterland was originally self-published in 2015. It was later chosen as my first published book with WordFire Press. The self-published version and published version are very different.
  3. Monsterland was optioned by Kerner Entertainment, the same company that produced The Mighty Ducks and Smurfs franchises. They hired two Disney screenwriters who pitched me their take on Monsterland. After 2 years, the option ran out.
  4. Monsterland is the first book in series of 6 books. The sequel Monsterland Reanimated came out in 2018. The third book, Monsterland Beneath is currently at 100k words, the largest of the series. I’m currently working on book 4.
  5. The Monsterland series has every monster possible. The first book is werewolves, vampires, and zombies. Monsterland Reanimated has The Glob, mummies, and a reanimated monster.  Monsterland Beneath has The Kraken, Killer Clowns, and Giants.

Michael Okon is an award-winning and
best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller,
horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island
University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in
business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has
storytelling in his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he
can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact
on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the
idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.
Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a
sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island
with his wife and children.




Pump Up Your Book Blog Tour - Britfield & The Lost Crown by CR Stewart


By C.R. Stewart

Middle Grade/Juvenile Adventure Fiction

Enter the World of Britfield: Adventure, Intrigue, Conspiracy, Mystery, and Suspense!

Tom has spent the majority of his life locked behind the cruel walls
of Weatherly Orphanage, but when he learns that his parents might
actually be alive, Tom is determined to find them. Together, with his
best friend Sarah and armed with only the word “Britfield” as a clue to
Tom’s mysterious past, the two make a daring escape. Now, they are on
the run from a famous Scotland Yard detective and what appears to be
half of the police officers in England! The hunt is on, but will Tom and
Sarah be able to evade capture long enough to solve an even bigger
conspiracy that could tear apart the country?

Multiple Award-Winning Britfield & the Lost Crown by C.R. Stewart, is the first book in a thrilling seven-part series based on family, friendship, loyalty, and courage that is written for pre-teens, Y/A, and readers of all ages. Britfield and its heroes, Tom and Sarah, take readers on an epic adventure as they travel across England. With its stimulating language and stunning historical and geographical asides, Britfield engages the reader from the very first pages and doesn’t let go until it reaches its exciting conclusion!


“A perfect mixture of fast-paced excitement, heart-stopping
surprises, fascinating history, and endearing characters with historical
references scattered along the way. Tom and Sarah’s devotion to each
other provides an excellent backdrop to the many mishaps and dangers in
which they find themselves. I could see this book being used in a
classroom setting both as a

literature piece and as a geographical and historical resource.
Stewart’s clever narrative draws you in and doesn’t let you go till the

– Dawn Weaver, Reader’s Favorite Book Reviews5 Stars!

“Tom just barely escapes the evil orphanage with his friend Sara
to follow the clues that his long-lost parents may still be alive! Could
Tom really be the heir to the British throne? Such a thrilling book
filled with so much awesome history about
England, crazy mysteries, and truly amazing characters. It had me hooked every second of reading it! I can’t wait for the sequel.”

– Hannah, Age 13, Kids’ Book Buzz5 Stars!

“An intriguing first-in-series read that is sure to capture the
attention of the middle grade and young adult crowds. Readers journey
through English cities and countryside beautifully rendered in the
narrative. The book also includes maps and intelligent background
information about the setting and history with access to online
illustrations and commentaries.
Britfield weaves plot, texture, storytelling, and fascinating characters into a winning combination and enriching experience.”

Chanticleer Book Review5 Stars!

“As a middle school English teacher of 28 years and a multiple bestselling author for middle grade books, I can honestly say Britfield and the Lost Crown has all the right stuff. Intriguing characters, foreshadowing, and suspense will draw readers in deep and have them gasping for breath for the next chapter and the next.”

– Wayne Thomas Batson, bestselling author of The Door Within Trilogy

Book Trailer:


Amazon → https://amzn.to/2FBPPgj

Google Play/Books → https://bit.ly/2uu2D63

Apple Books App → https://apple.co/2tM7ZJL



“Number forty-seven! Stop chattering to thirty-four and get back to work, immediately!” Speckle shouted from across the room.

“Yes sir . . . back to work . . . right away,” Tom replied instinctively, pretending to be a dutiful servant.

He knew too well that talking violated the sacred Weatherly Rule Book, a seventy-five-page document of laws and regulations all orphans had to memorize when they arrived. Any violation of these rules resulted in punishment, the penalties varying in length and severity. However, some rules were made to be broken; it was the orphans’ only way to survive here. They did what they were told and got away with what they could.

Just then Speckle closed his laptop, walked over to Tom, and slammed his stick on the table. Everyone froze at the loud crack; the room went silent.

“One more word out of you, and I’ll send you outside!” hollered Speckle, looking around for other violators. No one moved an inch.

Speckle, the new supervisor, had arrived nine months ago. Over six feet tall with wavy grey hair, he had a deep, scratchy voice and a grip like a vice. He also managed Brewster and Sludge, two henchmen who helped keep order and discipline. These burly yet feeble-minded bullies followed his every command.

Tom grabbed a large piece of lumber, walked over to a table saw and ran it through the blade with ease. He then placed the wood on a workbench and started sanding the rough edges.

Every morning at 6:00, each orphan marched straight to this work area, referred to as “The Factory” because it was managed like an industrial plant. Their jobs consisted of putting together an assortment of handcrafted items: the girls made wicker baskets, and the boys built wooden chairs and tables. All these objects were hauled off in a large truck and sold by Brewster and Sludge in the local villages.

Glancing around the room, Tom quickly made eye contact with Sarah, who smiled and made a silly face. He began to laugh but stopped when Speckle trudged over.

“Is something funny, Tom?” he snapped, ready to strike with his stick.

“Ah . . . no sir, nothing at —”

“Perhaps you’d like to stand outside in the cold for five or six hours! Would that be funny?” he thundered in a threatening manner.

“N-no, it wouldn’t.”

Speckle lowered his gaze, closely examining Tom for any insincerity. Once again, the entire room went quiet.

Unconvinced by his answer, Speckle grabbed Tom’s arm, yanked him from his bench and dragged him outside. The door slammed behind them. The weather was frigid, a strong Yorkshire wind chilling the barren landscape. December was always a deadly time of the year.

“Don’t move!” ordered Speckle, his tone displaying a combination of contempt and indifference.

Tom nodded resentfully, his wiry twelve-year-old body shivering in the cold. Speckle angrily marched back inside, glaring at the other children as he hovered around their workstations. He randomly picked up an item, inspected it and tossed it back down. Every day he would find some flaw, tearing up a basket or smashing a chair. Speckle observed everything and missed nothing. No one dared to question him or make direct eye contact. But even Speckle could be outfoxed. The orphans feared his strengths and did whatever they could to exploit his weaknesses. Peering in from the window, his blue eyes glistening, and brown hair dampened by frost, Tom stood motionless. He’d been locked up at Weatherly for six miserable years, and this was the year he planned to escape.


Located in Aysgarth, Yorkshire, in Northern England, Weatherly was about three hundred miles northwest of London. Although it was the 21st century, the orphanage looked medieval. The main building was an enormous sixteenth-century Elizabethan castle constructed from bluestone. Towering seven stories high, it had four massive turrets, one in each corner. The entire estate was enclosed by a twelve-foot high granite wall, with a massive wrought iron gate at the entrance. About fifteen years ago, the property was purchased by the Grievouses and turned into an orphanage, which the British government helped pay for as long as it was run privately. Although the Grievouses were supposed to provide each child with new clothing, healthy food, heated rooms, and schooling, they kept the money for themselves.

Like many of the other orphans, Tom didn’t know anything about his parents, who they were or what had happened to them. But he hoped to find out someday.


After missing lunch, Tom was let back inside. He cautiously walked over to a workbench and sat down by Patrick, number thirty-four.

Known as the teacher, Patrick, at sixteen, was the oldest and wisest orphan, with nine hard Weatherly years behind him. If anyone needed to know something, he was the best resource.

“Got the book?” whispered Tom, scanning the room for Speckle.

“Yeah . . . you ready for the mission?” asked Patrick assertively, his eyes intense and focused.

Tom gave him a confident nod. “Of course. I’ve been planning for it all week.” “Good. See if you can find anything by Dickens or Hardy — and no more Shakespeare,” he said adamantly, leaning in closer. “Now remember, be extra careful. They’ve moved Wind to the east side of the house.”

“Got it,” replied Tom, ready to carry out his perilous assignment.

Patrick carefully removed The Count of Monte Cristo from behind his jacket and skillfully handed it to Tom under the table. It was a flawless transition, and Tom hastily stuffed the book in his shirt.

Speckle turned, mumbled something under his breath and continued to pace the room, searching for any sign of disobedience.

Tom returned to his work and started building another chair, his heart racing with nervous excitement.

If the orphans ever had a spare moment, they loved to read — it was their only way of escaping into another world. They had a total of eight books in their library, which consisted of a small dusty storage closet in the cellar. They had read each one probably twenty times, including a dictionary, an encyclopedia, and the history of the British Empire. But with so few books, they needed to come up with a strategy to get more, so they invented an exchange system. Each month, one orphan sneaked out at night, ran across the field, outmaneuvered a vicious dog named Wind, and climbed in a small window at the Grievouses’ beautiful Victorian mansion located close by. They borrowed one of the books from a well-stocked shelf in the study and exchanged it for one of their own.

When the clock finally struck 7:00 p.m., the orphans diligently put away their tools and cleaned up their workstations.

They filed out of The Factory two-by-two and down a long dark corridor.

This was one of the brief moments they weren’t monitored or supervised by any Deviants, a codeword the orphans used when describing authority figures.

Sarah ran up behind Tom and gave his shirt a swift tug. “So are you going tonight?” she whispered enthusiastically.

“I’ll head out in a few hours,” he replied nonchalantly, trying to mask his anxiety.

“You scared?” she inquired. “I’d be scared . . . especially of Wind.” “A little bit . . . but it’s got to be done, right?”

“Right,” she acknowledged, then hesitated for a second. “I wish I was going with you.”

“It’s always been a one-person mission — too risky for more.”

“Fine,” she said with a hint of disappointment.

“Although I wish you were coming,” he added earnestly.

Sarah smiled, then reached in her pocket and handed Tom a small golden locket.

“What’s this for?” he wondered, examining the delicate object.

“It’s for good luck. You’ll need it tonight.”

“I can’t take this.”

“Sure you can,” she said graciously. “Just keep it on you at all times.” “But it’s the only valuable thing you have.”

“There’s more to life than just objects, Tom,” she added philosophically. Sarah Wallace, age twelve, had arrived two years earlier from Edinburgh, Scotland. Coming from a wealthy family, she had led a privileged life before her parents died in a suspicious automobile accident. She didn’t have any relatives, except for a greedy uncle who only wanted the money, so she was shipped around to a few places and finally ended up at Weatherly. She had long, sandy-blond hair, hypnotic hazel eyes and an infectious laugh.

Just as they reached the stairwell, Mrs. Grievous appeared from behind a wall and advanced toward Tom. A cold chill suddenly came over him.

“What — do — you — have — there?” she snapped, her dark sinister eyes honing in for the kill.

Tom quickly switched the locket to his other hand and slid it into his pocket. Sarah faded back and watched intently, hoping her prized possession wouldn’t be confiscated.

“Nothing. Nothing at all,” he replied in mock puzzlement. “By the way,” he interjected, quickly changing the subject, “I made two chairs in the workshop —”

“Open your fingers!” she demanded, grabbing his hands and yanking them forward.

They were empty.

“See . . . nothing,” he retorted, playing innocent like a seasoned actor.

“Hmm, well they’re filthy.” She gave his hands a slap and pushed him aside. “I’ve got my eye on you, forty-seven. One misstep and you’ve had it. Now get to bed!” “Yes, Mrs. Grievous,” he muttered coldly, wondering why this awful woman was ever born.

Mrs. Grievous always seemed to appear whenever an orphan did something wrong. She had ghostly pale skin, kept her bright red hair compressed into a bun, and always wore grey flannel suits. Continually on edge, she had an explosive temper and made an unsettling clicking noise with her jaw. It was best to avoid her at all costs.

The children marched up the stairs and hastily retreated to their rooms. Speckle followed closely behind, making sure everyone was locked in and the lights were turned off. Standing by each door, he listened for any talking or movement. The orphans knew this, so they would wait about twenty minutes before they started exchanging stories and discussing the day.

There were fifty-six children at Weatherly, thirty boys and twenty-six girls, ages ranging from six to sixteen. If the number ever dropped below fifty-six, the facilities would be taken over by the government. The orphans hoped this would happen, because they couldn’t imagine anyone else allowing what went on there. As far as they were concerned, anything was better than the Grievouses.

The boys and girls were kept in separate rooms with the bunk beds spaced two feet apart. These cramped quarters had water-stained walls and plaster crumbling from the ceilings. When it rained, the roof leaked and flooded most of the castle. The summers were hot and humid. The winters were chilly and bleak, with the cold creeping in through loose stones and broken windows.

Their garments were tattered and sparse: the girls wore dark brown dresses, with their hair usually pulled back; the boys wore brown trousers, long sleeve shirts and at times, overalls. Their shabby attire felt more like prison uniforms than normal clothing. Most orphans hated these outfits more than the dilapidated rooms or horrible food.

After everyone was asleep, Tom patiently rested on his bottom bunk bed and watched the clock on the wall. The minutes slowly ticked away until it finally read 11:00 p.m., the perfect time to leave, for the Deviants were usually asleep by then.

Tom quietly slid off his wafer-thin mattress, got dressed, and snatched the book from under his pillow. As he tucked it in his shirt, the bedroom door slammed open. It was Speckle shining a flashlight directly in Tom’s face.

My Back Story:
First, a little about myself. I am originally from Newport Beach, California, and I have always been creative. I loved reading, movies and storytelling as a child, so all these areas had a huge influence on my life. Some of my favorite books growing up were The Mouse and the Motorcycle, by Beverly Cleary; James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl; and the Hardy Boys series. 

As I grew older, I enjoyed Charles Dickens and his ability to take a Shakespearean cast of characters and seamlessly weave them through his stories (Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and Great Expectations). I was heavily influenced by C. S. Lewis, his amazing depth and creativity as an author. Jane Austen captured the aristocracy, the intrigue, the forced etiquette and the psychological games and hypocrisies of the upper classes. The Bronte sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, wrote mysterious, romantic gothic novels that are powerful, moving and deep, such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Thomas Hardy took simple characters living in a rural setting and created complex, multilayered stories. And Daphne du Maurier, such as her epic novel Rebecca. I have visited most of the places these stories took place or were based on.

The Writing Assignment
My first real writing assignment, the one that I remember and that impacted me, was to write a book for sixth grade (around 30 pages). What a wonderful teacher and an amazing class. Can you imagine an assignment like that, where do you start? Well, you write about what you know and what you love. I loved the James Bond movies, so I wrote James Bond Eat Your Heart Out. I was a secret government agent working for the British government and had an assignment to track down a notorious villain. My partner was Jaclyn Smith (that should date me). We traveled all around Europe tracking down the villain and were involved in high-speed chases and plenty of combat. I had so much fun writing this and the experience never left me. I still have this book, wrapped in a leather binder with embossed lettering. This was when I knew I wanted to be a writer, it just took a long time to get there.

By eighteen, I was attending script classes and started writing feature-length films, which I worked on for the next 20 years in my free time (great training for a writer). I shifted to non-fiction and was eventually published for a non-fiction series I was writing, but felt I was getting away from my creative background of writing something fun, exciting and adventurous. Fast-forward to 2010 . . . 

Britfield & the Lost Crown
This is an interesting 2-part story. About 13 years ago I was traveling through Eastern Europe. I was in a local shop in Bratislava, Slovakia when I saw this wonderful ceramic balloon hanging from the ceiling. It was a round balloon with three ropes attached to a basket that had a boy and a girl. I can still see the image. I purchased the ceramic for my sister and her children, thinking nothing more about it. 

Three years later, I was working at an investment bank in Boston and was at a boring weekend seminar in Providence, RI. I started to drift so I began to doodle. I simply drew an image of a circle (balloon), three lines, and a basket with a boy and a girl. The idea for Britfield suddenly hit me—two orphans living at a horrible orphanage (Weatherly) in Yorkshire, England escape the awful conditions, commandeer a hot air balloon and head towards London. However, they are relentlessly chased by the illustrious Detective Gowerstone, who is renowned for finding missing children and runaway orphans. 

Four years and 2,500 hours later Britfield & the Lost Crown was completed. From conception to finally launching the first in the 7-book series (15 August 2019), it took ten dedicated years of patience and discipline. Since our launch, it has been amazing. As part of our 2019/20 Britfield School Tour, I have traveled 7,500 miles, through 15 states, and presented at 125 schools to 20,000+ students. Our 2020 Spring Tour will be 27 states, 150+ schools, and over 30,000 students. Our European/Eastern European Tour hopefully begins in Summer/Fall 2020.

As an author, I was previously published by Pelican. The process is long and difficult. Everything from finding a proper literary agent, to finally getting a publisher. The little secret that no one tells you is that publishers do relatively nothing to help authors sell their book (it’s all up to you), an archaic publishing model fast becoming extinct. It becomes a full-time job if you want success, such as marketing, media, book signings and events. 

I knew for the launch of the Britfield series (7-books) that we would need complete creative freedom and build a team to support the marketing, nationally and globally. This is why I founded Devonfield Publishing: we have built a national infrastructure, marketing company, and work with over 50 independent contractors, everything from graphic design, editing and printing to advertising, and media.

Advice for aspiring writers
I have heard three important things about writing: Write about what you know, write about what you love, and Write! I believe that for every final, published page, it will take an author around 4-5 hours to complete. Which means a 100 page book will take between 400-500 hours to complete. Also, writing is 10% writing and 90% rewriting (editing). If you asked most writers what is the one thing that they most need, it’s uninterrupted time. 

Story is everything. It can be simple or complex, but it must be interesting and well told. Find a unique story and start writing. First create your structure: beginning, middle and end. It’s easier when you think about the story in chapters: where’s the book going, what happens next and how will it end? Develop your characters and know them well—give them depth and obstacles that they must overcome. Do your research and master the subject you’re writing about. Also, read. Enjoy reading and understand what’s out in the market. Find writers you like and learn from them: how they tell a story, the way they structure or pace their narrative, how they describe things. Analyze these books and figure out what makes them interesting or compelling—why they’re successful or why they work as a novel. 

You never want to copy a style or another writer, but it’s essential to study the literary world you want to enter. If I were a painter, I would study other painters. If I were a composer, I would study other composers. It’s very important to develop your own style and what makes you unique, but this will come with time and experience.

Remember, nothing happens overnight. It takes commitment, discipline and endurance to produce an engaging and inspiring novel. To write and finish a book, you must first begin and spend time with it. Don’t worry about your first draft; just get your ideas and words onto paper (or the computer). Challenge yourself each day to produce a certain amount, perhaps two or three new pages. If you’re stuck on the next chapter, but you know what happens in another section, then jump to that scene. Just keep writing. If you can’t think of anything new, then start editing what you’ve already written, but just keep writing. 

This is the discipline and commitment needed to finish a book. However, it’s one thing to create your story, structure, characters and a compelling narrative; it’s another to edit. The more you edit, the better your story becomes; the more you edit, the more polished your writing becomes. Nevertheless, there is a time when you must finish and let it go, so you can move onto your next story. Most importantly, have fun. Write because you enjoy it.

Originally from Newport Beach, California, C. R. Stewart has twenty
years of experience writing fiction, nonfiction, and movie screenplays.
His areas of expertise also includes film and media production, global
strategy, and international marketing.

Britfield & The Lost Crown was conceived as an idea
over 10 years ago while I was enduring a boring finance seminar. It
started as a sketch of a hot air balloon with a young boy and girl
trapped inside. From this simple drawing sprang the entire concept and
story for Britfield.”

C.R. Stewart received a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature and
European History from Brown University; did post- graduate work at
Harvard University; earned an MBA from Boston College; and is pursuing a
Master of Science in Advanced Management and a PhD in Strategy.

Now based in San Diego, C.R. Stewart is a strong supporter of
education and the arts. He enjoys world travel, reading, riding,
swimming, sailing, tennis, and is currently on a National School Book
Tour with Britfield & The Lost Crown speaking to students on the importance of creativity!