Parts Coming Together

The parts for the book are coming together. Files for the hardback and paperback print versions, the ebook version, and covers for all three are ready. Many tasks still remain on the to do list, but I’m getting there. More stories are in progress, but work on them has been slowed because of these other tasks.

I’ve been learning more about archetypal character arcs. When I first began writing, I created stories based on the Hero’s Journey framework, which uses the hero archetypal character arc. As those stories developed, I realized they didn’t quite fit that archetype. My main characters tend toward the maiden archetypal character arcs, which is about the challenges of becoming an autonomous individual as a character moves from a state of child-like innocents to being an independent and responsible adult. With greater understanding of these character arcs, I see how they apply to various characters in my stories. This will help me improve my story telling. I’m excited to delve deeper.

Word cloud for the story
Word Cloud
High-level view of hardcover and paperback layout showing all the pages very small
Hardcover and Paperback Layout

High-level view of ebook layout showing all the pages very small
Ebook Layout

My Favorite 2022 Reads and a Streaming Series

Narrowing down my 2022 reading list to a short selection of favorites was difficult, but I managed.

Flames of Hope (Wings of Fire #15)
by Tui T. Sutherland
I loved all 22 books connected to this series.

The Last Graduate (The Scholomance Series, Book 2)
The Golden Enclaves (The Scholomance Series, Book 3)
by Naomi Novik
Last year’s list included
A Deadly Education (The Scholomance Series, Book 1)

The Shelterlings
by Sarah Beth Durst

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries books #1)
Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries books #2)
Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries books #3)
Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries books #4)
by Martha Wells

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
by Christopher Paolini

And, I’ll add to my favorites for 2022 a streaming series.

• Dreamworks’ Dragons Rescue Riders
(29 Netflix episodes followed by 24 Peacock episodes)

Dragons Rescue Riders is based in the Dreamworks How to Train Your Dragon universe, but unlike all of the other entries in that movie and TV franchise, which are stories about humans with sidekick dragons, Dragons Rescue Riders is about the dragons and their two human friends who can understand the dragon language. (Precedent was set in Cressida Cowell’s original How to Train Your Dragon books where Hiccup could speak dragonese.) The characters are wonderful, the stories are fun with great foreshadowing of future episodes and callbacks to previous episodes, and layering of complexity, inspirations, jokes, and insights. I loved it.

Book covers for Flames of Hope, The Last Graduate, The Golden Enclaves, The Shelterlings, All Systems Red, Artificial Condition, Rogue Protocol, Exit Strategy, To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, and title card for Dragons Rescue Riders
Book Covers and Streaming Series Title Card

Good Deeds

My 100-word Christmas story for 2022.

Good Deeds
by Lester D. Crawford

I looked. No one was there. Still, I felt someone was watching me.

It’s been a terrible year. My day job sucks, and this feeling of being watched makes me concerned I have mental health issues. My volunteer work helping people and the community is all that’s kept me going.

I looked again. A shimmering red and green and silver and gold Christmas dragon stared at me.

He said, “I have been watching you. You have been performing good deeds. Performing good deeds is the purpose of life. Continue performing good deeds.”

Then, he was gone.

Yep, mental health issues.

Audio version.


Years ago, Loren Eaton at I Saw Lightning Fall inspired me to write a 100-word Advent Ghosts Christmas story. Now, every year, I write a 100-word Christmas story. It’s always fun.

Read stories submitted by other writers here: Advent Ghosts 2022: The Stories.

Typesetting a Book

While in high school, I did freelance photography for a local newspaper. One assignment was to create a photo story to go with a feature article about a man and woman who published their own books. I don’t mean vanity publishing where one pays a publisher to publish your book. This couple hand printed and bound their books.

The woman wrote poetry. The man typeset the book using a composing stick, loaded the composed lines of type into a galley, and then used a screw press to print. Those printed pages were hand stitched together, trimmed, and bound in a hardback cover. I was amazed by the process. Ever since, I’ve wanted to print my own book.

What I’m doing now is probably as close as I’m going to get to physically making a book. I have typeset my Utopia Origins anthology. After more proof reading to ensure nothing has gone wrong, a print-on-demand publisher will print the book. It’s exciting.

There is more work to do before reaching my goal, but I’m getting closer as I tick off each task.

Slow and Tedious, but I’ll Get There

Many of my skills and experiences are adjacent or even contiguous with the skills needed to publish a book. All I have to do is learn the aspects of the process I don’t know. That is a challenge — there is so much to understand — but I am learning, even if the process seems slow and tedious.


I spent the month editing, submitting more stories to various markets, and studying the many aspects of independently publishing a book. Ebook and print book formats are selected and a cover concept art created, but I still have a lot of work to do.


While I have been editing various stories, I haven’t written any new material lately. The stuff in my head desperately wants to be written. I need to take some time to satisfy that urge.

I’ll get there.

A dragon curled around a girl who is having a picnic in a forest glade.
Picnic with a Dragon, inspired by The Dragon Universe: Utopia Origins, Tipping Point

Building a Book

I continue to work on creating my Utopia Origins anthology by adding print book layout skills to my ebook layout skills. It’s a lot of work with many things to learn, but it is rewarding and worth it.

I rendered a test image of one of my dragons to help visualize a possible cover. That was fun.

And, the first few days of October will see more submissions going out.

Onward I go.

Computer generated image of a brown dragon with red edges on her wings, green and blue stripes running down her neck and tail, and yellow lightning bolts on her cheeks, neck, arms, legs, tail, and wings, and tan horns.
One of My Dragon Friends

Interminable Effort

I continue to work on Utopia Origins by making more edits and studying best practices for eBooks and print books. The work never ends.

I’m also working on Hope and the Last Dragon. Hope needs to feed a baby dragon. Dragons are obligate carnivores. She has to find something she has access to to feed him that doesn’t make him sick at his stomach (she discovers fruit doesn’t work). I researched mock-meat. In real life, making mock-meat from vegetable proteins is not easy. In this story, hand-waving* and phlebotinum** will be needed to allow Hope to prepare food that works for the dragon.

The Nyxie and Sky story is also roiling in my head, but I can’t spend time on it yet.

In addition to all of that, I’m waiting for more submission windows to open so I can send out more short story submissions.

Interminable effort, but indomitable persistence.

* Hand-waving: Not explaining a detail in a story while expecting the reader to accept that it exists and works.

** Phlebotinum: A versatile substance that may be rubbed on anything to cause an effect needed by a story’s plot.

2022 Clarion West Write-a-thon Finished

During this year’s Write-a-thon, most of my effort was in making more editing passes on The Dragon Universe: Utopia Origins.

During last year’s Write-a-thon when I was preparing a draft of Utopia Origins for my beta readers to review. Since then, I have made multiple revisions and additional editing passes honing the manuscript to perfection, or as close as I can get.

I also worked on other projects during the year and sent out more short story submissions. I sent one a few days ago and will send out others when the target markets open for submissions.

For now, I’m creating a glossary for Utopia Origins and working on more projects.

I’m always moving forward.

2022 Clarion West Write-a-thon

I’m participating in the Clarion West Write-a-thon again this year. If you wish to contribute to Clarion West by sponsoring me, go to my event page and select the Donate Now button.

Most of my effort during this write-a-thon is editing my Utopia Origins anthology — a collection of five stories that tell the tales of a few of the courageous heroes, both human and dragon, who challenged their societies’ beliefs and in so doing changed the world.

For one of my editing steps, I examined dialogue. I wrote a macro in MS Word that extracts dialogue into a compilation that removes the dialogue from context. This gave me distance that helped me refine the words. The task was tedious, but I definitely improved the content.

Now I’m doing another read-through. While doing that, I’m collecting a list of characters and glossary terms for an appendix at the end of the book.

I’m forward looking and forward moving.

Every Day, Progress Is Made

As I write and edit, I read aloud because I want my words to flow with sounds and cadence. Also, it’s fun to hear what I’ve written and helps me become immersed in the words. Nevertheless, I also find that editing silently has its uses.

The issue is I get lost in the sounds of my words, which interferes with seeing ways to make the words better. Reading silently helps me be more aloof. I make the improvements, and then read the results aloud to ensure the words are still beautiful.

That might sound odd, but it works for me.

I’ve been doing a lot of this style of editing, sending out more submissions, and preparing an anthology for publication.

Every day, progress is made.