Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ricky has a very busy year planned!

I have finally finished the text for Ricky’s Colorado Christmas. My writers group will be giving me feedback and then it will go through final edits. I am awaiting a few more illustrations and then I will send it to the publisher. Whew!

I have outlined Ricky Bikes the Front Range. This book will take Ricky on a bike ride from Palmer Lake, Colorado down to America the Beautiful Park in downtown Colorado Springs. As with all Ricky books, this one will describe all the sights on this 23-mile ride. I think I need to start riding my bike again on the nice warm Colorado days. In a few weeks, track season starts in the high schools so a large part of my schedule will be filled with coaching and attending track meets on the weekends. It is way too easy to make excuses for not writing… with that said, I will schedule writing time just as I can find time to watch my favorite television shows. Decide what is important in your life and make those things your priorities. I know, easier said than done. I should practice what I preach! Not to mention that I plan on getting my first winter adventure book, Ricky Snowshoes in Mueller State Park, done by the end of this year.
One of my biggest goals of the year is to continue to update this blog and keep you informed of what is going on with Ricky. I would now like to tell you a little story about how the original Pikes Peak book went through some major changes before it became the book it is today.
Ricky Climbs Pikes Peak was originally written as a story about four kids who hiked up Pikes Peak and back down. I had four kids of different nationalities. Two boys and two girls went on this hike. When I started working with a publisher, we had a long brainstorming session. In this session, it was discussed how unwise it would be to send four 12-year-olds on a 26 mile hike without parents. So which direction would the book go? Would we add Ricky’s parents to the story? Would we make the story about a group of teenagers who hike together? Since my desire was to write for early elementary kids, I needed to make it a story they could relate to and enjoy. It was very difficult to cut two of the characters. Ricky and Annie stayed in the book. I wanted a boy and a girl to participate in many Colorado outdoor adventures. I wanted both boys and girls to enjoy the story. We decided that an older sister would be a great idea. Ricky’s sister Julie (my wife’s name by the way) joined the story as a responsible character who had already climbed Pikes Peak. The distance in the book also changed. The group climbed to the top of Pikes Peak and that is where they stopped, meeting Ricky’s mom at the top.
Having the book end on the top of Pikes Peak actually made the book easier to write. Once I talked about everything they saw on the way up, what was left for the trip back down? At least this way I got to talk about the world famous high altitude doughnuts. If you ever make it to the top of Pikes Peak, I highly recommend them. And what other fourteener can you buy lunch, do a little shopping, and see people who have either driven up or taken a train ride?
One final note: the fact that Ricky packed a four-pack of toilet paper is actually based on a true story. It is amazing how funny real life can be.

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