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A little over a month ago, I sent a copy of Battle of the Blocks 2: Nether Nightmare to my wonderful beta readers.

Then, I promptly went into hiding.

I explained my fears in this post, but it turns out I didn’t have to worry. It’s not because my writing was any good, but because my beta readers are truly fantastic.

Without exception, they all read the story and sent back thoughtful insights, amazing typo-fixes and incredibly valuable Minecraft corrections. They caught when I gave the Zombie Pigmen iron swords when they should have gold swords (d’uh.) They pointed out a kind of major flaw in my logic with my world building. They even identified dozens of pesky typos that I had missed.

I asked them for broad comments and feedback and they gave me in depth, detailed analysis and proofreading. It was truly fantastic. But it gets better.

My totally awesome GamingEdu pal, Diana Maliszewski read the book to her lunchtime book club (as well as offering others the ebook files to read on their own.) As Diana read, the kids drew what they were seeing. As Hamid and Jaina chased their runaway principal through the Nether, the kids turned my words into pictures. Yeah. Kind of epic.

Even better, she shared the pictures with me to share with you. Check them out!

Some of them captured a single scene from the book:



Jaina digs deep beneath the Nether, while Gonquin the Zombie Pigman and Bano the Mysterious Villager look on.


Others created a collage of scenes and characters:



Hamid is confronted by an army of endermen, Ant presents the Seed to the Alpha Slime and below them the Wither hunts for its first victim.


Another collage of scenes (note the piles of TNT – a key plot element!)


Jaina’s warning appears on the school’s computers while the massive piles of TNT wait for their eventual blowin’ up!


It’s really hard to explain how fantastic it feels to see readers bring your stories to life with honest sketches like this. Massive thanks to Diana and her creative students! I’m still smile every time I look at them.

And speaking of smiling, I’ll have another big Battle of the Blocks announcement very soon. It’s had me smiling for days and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Until then, happy reading!

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