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Happy Wednesday Everyone! Today I'm excited to have blogger friend Robert Kent here with a guest post and a giveaway of his new middle grade science fiction adventure story BANNEKER BONES AND THE GIANT ROBOT BEES that released in October. Details of the giveaway will be at the end of the post.

Here's a blurb of BANNEKER BONES AND THE GIANT ROBOT BEES from Goodreads:

Fifth grader Ellicott Skullworth has always felt out of place at public school and now he's tested into the Archimedes Program at Latimer University. While in Latimer City, he’ll be living with his world famous and insane(ly) brilliant cousin, Banneker Bones, the eleven-year-old inventor of robots. The only problem: Banneker doesn't want to share his room. And he's got an army of robots to make Ellicott miserable until he goes home.

When the boys are ambushed by robot bees as big as cars, Ellicott's only friend is carried off and held for ransom. To rescue him, Ellicott has no choice but to partner with his maniacal cousin. Ellicott doesn't know what's worse: facing a hive of giant robot bees or spending more time with Banneker Bones.

BANNEKER BONES AND THE GIANT ROBOT BEES features original illustrations by Adam Smith. It's a humorous, science fiction adventure for readers of all ages written in the spirit of a comic book.

Doesn't this sound like a great story? I can see boys especially really liking it. 

Now here's Robert. 

Voltaire famously declared the better to be the enemy of the good. I have not read Voltaire. I have, however, read that quote and a few others and determined that Voltaire is definitely someone whose work I should talk about wishing to read more of and never actually make time to read more of.

It is a great quote and I've been thinking about it for most of the past year as I've self-published 4 ebooks, 2 print books, and 3 (soon to be 4) audiobooks. I did this the same year my wife and I had our first child and while working 50 hours a week at a day job and while running my blog Middle Grade Ninja, which many readers of Literary Rambles will know from my interviews with literary agents.

When I offered to write this guest post, Natalie asked me to write about how I found time to do all this, which got me thinking, how did I find time to do all this? How does anyone find time to do anything? I guess we do the things we have to do and if there's time left over, we do the things we want. After all, I've read plenty of books over the last year, I haven't missed a superhero movie or an episode of The Walking Dead (all watched at least twice), I played The Last of Us and Saints Row 4 (both awesome), and I took my wife to dinner occasionally.

Truthfully, I'm a slacker. There are plenty of writers doing more than me, which is fine, as writing is really only a competition with yourself.  What motivates me in writing Banneker Bones and the Alligator People is not writing faster than Hugh Howey (not even on my best day), but challenging myself to produce a better book than Banneker Bones and the Giant Robot Bees. Also, I have young readers who ask me on a regular basis when there will be more Banneker, hoping that the answer is after lunch rather than next year.

I write because I have to, but also because I want to. I want Banneker's fans to have another book and I'm excited they're excited. I enjoy writing and publishing. Formatting fulfills all my OCD requirements and there have been few thrills as great as hearing David Radtke brilliantly narrate the audiobook for All Together Now: A Zombie Story. Yes, I had to listen to each chapter, provide notes, listen to changes made and so on and yes, it took a lot of time, but I'm a total narcissist and I loved hearing my own book:)

And approving audiobook chapters is something I can do while changing a diaper, doing the dishes, playing a video game, etc. I listen to audiobooks while I do most everything that's not writing or reading, which is a great way to knock out books I otherwise wouldn't get to. I've also developed a skill for writing with a baby on my chest.

Getting back to Voltaire, whose work I have not read, and his quote, which I have, "better is the enemy of the good." In an ideal world, I would sit down and write for 8 hours straight, producing 5,000 words everyday, read for another 8 hours, sleep for 8 hours, and never stop for a bathroom break. If you live in that world, Esteemed Reader, you should absolutely do those things. As I live in an imperfect world, I do things imperfectly.

I don't always write my daily goal of 500 words (told you I'm a slacker), but by finding time everyday to sit down and work to produce them, I get a book finished every so often. Every day with a baby is a little different and I don't always get 2 full hours of writing time, but I do the best I can with 1 hour or some days less. My son comes first and if he's hungry (always) or needs a butt change or wants to be tickled, I do that first and fit the writing in when and where I can.

If you don't love writing, you won't do it, and you shouldn't feel bad when you don't. Write emails and memos and whatever you have to write, but don't worry about not writing a book (read mine instead). I haven't written a single rap song, and it doesn't cost me any sleep. I don't especially like rap or rapping, so I'm not going to make time to do it, even if I felt I should, which I don't.

I love writing, so it's not a great sacrifice to carve out time to do it when I can. I don't write perfect books (or guest posts), so it shouldn't be a surprise that I don't write them perfectly. I simply spend the time I can find writing and I enjoy it. It's something I want to do. It would be better if I could write for 8 hours every day, but writing as much as I can each day is working out pretty good.

Robert Kent is the author of the middle grade novel BANNEKER BONES AND THE GIANT ROBOT BEES and the young adult novel ALL TOGETHER NOW: A ZOMBIE STORY. He runs the popular blog for writers, MIDDLE GRADE NINJA, and lives with his family in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he's hard at work on his next book. 


Robert has generously offered a copy of BANNEKER BONES AND THE GIANT ROBOT BEES for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through January 31st. I’ll announce the winner on February 2nd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry.This is for a print book or e-book for US and Canada and for an e-book for International. 


Here's what's coming up:

Next Monday I have a fantastic guest post by Dianne Salerni on writing a trilogy and an ARC giveaway of INQUISITOR'S MARK, the second book in her middle grade fantasy.

The following Monday after that I have an interview with follower and blogger friend David Powers King and his co-author Michael Jensen and a giveaway of their fantastic YA fantasy WOVEN.

Friday that week I'll be participating in the Favorites Giveaway Hop. I'll have a lot of your and my favorite books to choose from and will also offer an Amazon Gift Card if you don't see a book you want.

The following Monday I'll have an interview with debut author MarcyKate Connolly and a giveaway of her MG fairy tale story MONSTROUS.
Hope to see you on Monday!


middle grade ninja said...

Thanks so much for having me. It's a great honor to be featured at Literary Rambles:)

Jessica Lawson said...

Hooray for this book! I bought it for my Kindle and adore Robert's writing style~ such a fun reading experience! Thanks for the advice, Robert~ I've got kids, too, and you're right, every day is different and you just have to do the best you can :)

Christine Rains said...

The book sounds like so much fun! Congratulations to Robert. :)

Crystal Collier said...

Yup. I'm totally thinking that's a book for my youngest. He geeks out on that kind of stuff.

David P. King said...

Robert has a zombie story? I better look into that.

Good to meet you, sir. :)

Patchi said...

So not all teachers torture their students with Voltaire's Candide?

The Banneker Bones series seems to be the kind of books my kids would love. Thanks for the chance to win.

Cherie Reich said...

Congrats, Robert! And that's so true. We make time for what we really want to do.

Erin Fanning said...

Great posting! Thanks for sharing!

M Pax said...

Congrats to Robert! I have a book involving volcanic killer ash bees. We must be on the same brain wave. :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Congratulations, Robert! Having a word count goal for each day is great. I vary between that and how much time I have to write (30 min. minimum) each day.

dolorah said...

Writing time can be hard to schedule even without kids. You have a very busy life. Good to have that word count goal, and one that is achievable.

Unknown said...

As someone who writes as well, I found this to be somewhat inspirational. Though I would never consider it a great thing to have other authors struggle with their own craft, I do like the idea that I'm not alone with the same problem.
Thanks for the words of wisdom!

Michael G-G said...

Robert Kent--the Middle Grade Ninja--is my hero. One of the first bloggers I ever knew--I am in awe of all he does and creates. Great going, Robert.

Mary Preston said...

A wonderful post thank you. I will have my daughter read through as well. Sounds fabulous.


Unknown said...

Thanks for keeping those author interviews coming. Love this one!
I'd like to be entered for the giveaway. I posted to facebook, too.
tlcnine @ gmail.com

Danielle H. said...

Thanks for the interview and giveaway! I love humorous stories. I will share on Twitter.

Valerie Bodden said...

Sounds like a book my kids would love--and me too! Thanks for the giveaway!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a FUN read!! Thanks for sharing :-)

Stina said...

Writing with a baby on your chest? I'm impressed!

Rosi said...

This looks like a great deal of fun. I bet the kids will gobble it up. Please let someone else win, though. I am still buried in books.

Unknown said...

This sounds exciting and funny and great! Congrats on all the ebooks, print books, and audio books. That's so impressive. Good luck with the new one!

Anonymous said...

Robert's books look like great reads. His book looks delightful. Thank you for the giveaway. sharif(at)sharifwrites(dot)com

Mary Warth said...

Thanks for the great interview!

Greg Pattridge said...

Sounds like a fun read and one that boys and even a few girls will enjoy. I'm impressed that Robert gets so much accomplished with a little one in the house. Keep up the great work on all fronts.

bison61 said...

thanks-my grandson would enjoy reading this book

tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

Rachna Chhabria said...

Nice to see our middle grade ninja here. I love the name Banneker Bones. Robert's book sounds super. The title itself has hooked me and so has the blurb.
Robert, you amaze me, 4 ebooks, 2 print books, and 3 (soon to be 4) audiobooks plus 50 hours work day, plus a baby, not to forget your amazing blog, honestly, how do you manage it all?