Xander Zackery – Sixth Grade
There has been a little feedback asking about how and why I came up with the characters I did for Sugarbeet Falls. I can honestly say each of them have some sort of relationship with someone in my life.
Xander is the easiest. He’s based on my son Zack. Zack gave me the idea for the series after I watched him pretend to be different superheroes for an entire summer. He was never the traditional ones. He would run around at night as “The Nothing,” an ivisible hero who saved people without them even knowing it. He would always be some sort of fish man when we were swimming in the pool, or a hyper-jumping lizard creature at the grocery store as he bounced from colored square to colored square.
I always thought it would be so cool if any of these characters could come to life for him in print or on film so he could literally see what he had constantly going on in his mind. The idea was to write a book a year to loosely follow his life as he grew up. I started right on time, but by the time I got Volume 1 published, he is a 20 year old adult living in San Diego sneaking into San Diego State Football parties (that won’t make it into the next book).
Last night I got to open a box of books. They were all the exact same book, but it was one of the coolest package openings I can remember. Its a blast to see multiple copies of my book all in one place. I assume the only thing better will to see that many copies of my book disappear to potential readers. So far my friends and family have been amazingly supportive. I have books in multiple cities and even states already. I am sending one to Canton, New York tomorrow. I have never even been to Canton, New York. That’s cool.
Thanks to everyone!!
As a beer fan, I have a lot of favorite beers, but now I have two very favorite breweries as well. The Mighty Mo in Great Falls and Triple Dog in Havre have taken a leap on this newly published writer and allowed me to do book signings on what I hope can become a great Books and Brews tour.
I am having serious anxiety about signing my name. I haven’t practiced my autograph since I gave up my NBA dreams like 20 years, or maybe 20 minutes, ago. Regardless of my signature concerns, I am thrilled to get the chance to get my books to people in Great Falls and back home on the Hi-Line. The fact that I get to enjoy a frosty beverage with old friends and new just make it that much better. Add the fact that I am giving some of the proceeds to Project Semicolon and its hard to find a way to get me any more pumped up.
If I had my dream, I would hit a brewery a week. I’d sell some books and become a microbrew experts. Two bucket list items crossed off at the same time.
Thanks for reading the old bloggeroo. Hope to see everyone December 21 at the Mighty Mo or December 22 at Triple Dog!
Welcome to the first ever Sugarbeet Falls blog post. Get excited, its sure to be a fun blog journey.
For the initial post, I thought it would be sensible to lay out the synopsis of Sugarbeet Falls Volume 1, Fantastic Friends. I started writing this book nearly 10 years ago. When my son Zack was small, he loved to make up superheroes and pretend to be them while he ran around the yard with all kinds of wacky powers. I always wanted to write a book, and that was the perfect muse for sure. So without further ado, here is the synopsis of Sugarbeet Falls Volume 1:
Xander Zackery is a sixth grader at Sugarbeet Falls Elementary School. He is pretty much just a normal kid in a small Montana town. He lives with his dad Leo, his paternal grandfather who is nicknamed Lefty, and his maternal grandfather and confidant who he calls Pops. They all live together in a two story home that Pops affectionately calls a ‘three-generation bachelor pad’. Xander enjoys school, sports, and life with his two best friends Aaron, and Skeeter. Aaron is the best athlete in the class, Skeeter is the smartest. Xander would never pick a favorite, but the fact that Skeeter is convinced she is destined to be his wife can make her a bit annoying at times.
This spring, Xander is thrilled to start the baseball season. The Sugarbeet Falls Motors Mayhem baseball squad figures to have a chance to win the state championship. On the first day of practice however, there is a new kid that says he plays the same position as Xander. Over the course of practice, Pops, Lefty and Xander all realize that the new kid is Eli Normus the son of the new towns’ new hospital administrator. As the baseball players finish practice with a cool down lap around the field, Xander feels a push and falls to the ground, the next thing he knows, he is in an ambulance with his dad and a his very nervous grandfathers.
After Xander’s surgery and in his sadness at the loss of this season of baseball, Pops comes to his room and gives him an early birthday present, seven dusty, old, leather bound books. Pops tells Xander these books are family tradition and that they are very powerful and exciting. When Pops leaves his room, Xander opens one of the books and assumes his grandfather has lost his mind. The book is completely blank. Xander then flips to the beginning of the book and after looking closely, drops it with a gasp. The book is a comic book that is writing itself, and the subject of this comic book is Xander, sitting in his room with a huge cast on his leg. The book is making a comic strip of Xander’s life! When Xander screams for Pops, the old man just smiles and tells his grandson to enjoy the gift.
It turns out that writing themselves is not the best part of the powers the books hold. One evening, while Xander’s father was still at the hospital finishing his second shift of the day, Xander had to get ready for bed, which included using the bathroom. Xander understandably didn’t feel comfortable using the help of his grandfathers in his bathroom needs. He began to imagine how great it would be to have a ‘super hero’ who had the power to deftly replace empty toilet tissue rolls. Within seconds a white-clad giant appeared in the bathroom, he appeared to be blind but effortlessly changed the toilet paper roll and handed Xander the latest copy of his favorite magazine. Xander let out a scream, but Pops assured him without seeing the character that things were okay.
The next day Xander calls Aaron and Skeeter over to share the story with them. While his friends agree that the magical comic book is cool, they don’t really understand the point of a book that writes itself. After hearing their questions, Xander decides to call his bathroom friend again. This time the man introduces himself as the Bathroom Manager and explains the true gift Pops gave his grandson. The Bathroom Manager is one of many characters called the Beings of Actual Fantasy (BAFs). These beings used to roam the earth along with humans in the form of fairies, unicorns, leprechauns, and other creatures. Then, the original leader of the BAFs was killed and a new leader took over, the new leader was evil and used some of the BAFs to terrorize humans as trolls, monsters, and other frightening beasts. One day, Shamus O’Kelly an ancestor of Xander inadvertently killed the new leader of the BAFs. Even though the BAFs were thrilled to be free of the rule of the evil leader, they agreed it was too late to safely roam the earth with humans, so they went into a hidden world but pledged their allegiance to Shamus O’Kelly and his direct descendents for eternity.
For generations, the BAFs have assisted the first born O’Kellys’ through their young lives, appearing to each family member in a different way through the magical books. To Pops, the books were novels and the BAFs appeared to him as literary characters, to Xander’s late mother, the books were song books, to Xander comic books appeared and the BAFs assisted him as superheroes. Xander enjoyed the novelty and used many of the BAFs for help and comfort with his injured knee. It was all a lot of fun until evil arrived in Sugarbeet Falls.
Xander and his friends realize through a series of events, that the new hospital administrator, Elizabeth Normus was far more than just an overfriendly business professional. She came to town not only with her home-schooled son Eli, but also with a creepy little assistant named Chuck. With the help of the BAFs, Xander learned that Chuck was actually Stormchuck, the right-hand-man and devout follower of the evil being that Shamus O’Kelly accidently eradicated centuries earlier.
It is completely by chance that Stormchuck ended up in Sugarbeet Falls, he pledges his alliance to the family of Elizabeth Normus just like the BAFs did to Xander’s family. But Stormchuck knows of the magical books and had been looking for the O’Kelly descendent for centuries himself. He knows that if he could get his hands on the books, he could gain control of the BAFs and continue the legacy of his former master.
As Xander learns more and more about Stormchuck and the unrelated evil plans of the Normus family he realizes he has a decision to make. He can destroy the books which put an end to the BAFs allegiance to the O’Kelly descendents and keep them in their world of hiding forever where Stormchuck could never take control of them. Or he could use the power of the BAFs to stop the Normus family from stealing from his town and hopefully defeat Stormchuck along the way.
With the help of his family, friends, and the BAFs, Xander decides to face Stormchuck and the Normus family. Even though he finds himself only seconds away from losing his life, those around him cooperate to save the his life, his town, and his family’s legacy.
At least for now…
I hope you enjoy!