S 4j oan Jesse and Sylvia Medlong · Author · edited about 2 months ago · 1 like

Dear Readers:

We hope you are all staying safe and well in these unusual times.

It has been five long years since the beginning of our little passion project. Along the way, we’ve had many delays, and we’ve been grateful for the patience of our reader community, which stuck with us at every step. As you know from our last update, the manuscript is, in fact, complete now, and our publishers at Inkshares are working on getting signed copies of A Friend for Otter into your hands.

Having been responsible for so much delay, we wish we could say that there would be no more. Alas, it isn’t meant to be so.

While Inkshares has the manuscript, a combination of COVID-19 and more commonplace logistics have created a backlog. We thought this would mean A Friend for Otter would not go to press until December 2020 or January 2021. Today we learned from Inkshares that this timing will have to be pushed further, and we now expect the book to be printed in the summer of 2021, probably around the end of June or July.

Just as we were doing our best to get our story finished over the last five years, we know Inkshares is doing its best to bring the finished story down the final stretch. We remain happy and grateful to all of you for your support, and to Inkshares for working under difficult circumstances to bring our dream to life. So thank you all for sticking with us—your wait (and ours) is nearly over.

In the meantime stay safe, enjoy your holiday season, and we will look forward to being in touch with good news come summer.

Your devoted authors,

Jesse and Ván (Sylvia) Medlong

Dear Readers:

Thanks to you and your support for our project over these past years, we are now so close to sharing  A Friend for Otter with you that we can almost taste it! (Stories taste better than you might expect, actually.)

We have very recently completed a painstaking line-by-line edit of the entire manuscript, and although we want to be modest, we love it! Now we have sent the manuscript out to a diverse group of advance readers to get their feedback on every aspect of the story, from the occasional typo (although we hope we’ve gotten them all) to the insight and perspective that can be had only from people who have not spent years steeped in these characters and their stories. Now we must eagerly await that feedback, which is the final step before publication. We are very grateful to our advance readers, and we hope their input will help us further refine Otter’s story before we deliver it to you.

Otter is not the only kid in our lives, and a lot has happened in the Medlong-McCarthy family in the years since we began telling this story. All of us are a little older (although we can’t claim to be any wiser), Jesse is still trying to figure out how to make time for projects like this while working and helping to homeschool five kids, and Sylvia now answers to Ván (their middle name). In other words, life has gone on without regard to our progress on this project. And we expect it to keep going on afterward, even as we close this chapter on our work with Otter.

This process has taken us about five years, which is a lot longer than we expected. But you have stood by us and supported us at every step of the way. So once again, from the bottom of our hearts and inkwells, thank you for all of your patience, encouragement, and support as we have worked to make sure Otter’s story is the best we could craft. 

Happy reading!

Jesse and Ván (Sylvia) Medlong

Dear readers,

We are in the home stretch now! Check out the latest iteration of our cover art, courtesy of our talented illustrator, Senetra Busbee, on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/afriendforotter/photos/a.2192518047462491/2192517187462577/?type=3&theater.

Thanks as always for your patience and support! We are both really looking forward to bringing you the best story we can. Watch this space for more updates very soon!

Jesse & Sylvia


These may be the most amazing pair of words we have ever typed.

After years of plugging away, we are beyond pleased to inform you that we have completed the final chapter of our novel, A Friend for Otter. We will now begin a thorough editing process, which will include sharing the completed draft manuscript with a group of advance readers for diverse feedback. Once we incorporate all the editorial changes, we will begin the publishing process, and we hope to have your copies out in time for Christmas.

Thank you to everyone for your support and patience. This has been an amazing journey, but for Otter and for us. We could not have done it without your backing and encouragement.


Sylvia and Jesse

Dear Readers:

It has been a while since we’ve updated you, but we’ve been working hard here as we close in on the exciting climax of A Friend for Otter. For the first time in a while, we are on track to meet our publication goal. Given the significant progress over the past few months, we feel pretty confident that Otter will be heading out for final editing in the next few months. Thank you all for your loyalty, patience, and faith as we have worked to bring you the most vibrant and interesting story we have to offer!

One thing we think gets lost in all this waiting is a sense of what our process is like. As you may recall, this story is a collaboration between me and my eldest daughter, Sylvia. We began this project a couple of years ago now, but our process is still largely the same as it was in the beginning: Sylvia teaches me who the characters are, what happens to them, and what the world is like around them, and I put the pen to those ideas. Working full time as a lawyer and having four other children, I don’t have a lot of time for my share, so I have to take time to write when I can. For instance, every day on my way to the office, I am on my phone typing up Otter’s latest adventures, so that I get at least some time every weekday to bring Otter’s world to ours. And I try to set aside time every weekend, too, although life sometimes overtakes our art.

That makes for a process that is steady but slow, which is why Otter has been growing up with us for quite a while as you wait to learn her fate. By all indications, our readers have been supportive of that process, understanding that we aim not only to tell a compelling story, but also to teach Sylvia how to be an author along the way. Authors, like Rome, aren’t made in a day, so your continued patience means the world to us.

Now, with our family on a plane to our ancestral homelands in Florida, I find myself with a bit more time than usual. I think I will use this time to check in on our good friend Otter, and see if we can’t help her out of a bit of—oops! I almost revealed a spoiler. You’ll have to wait just a little bit longer for that. In the meantime, thank you again from both of us, and we’re looking forward to introducing you to the rest of Otter’s world soon.

With gratitude,

Jesse (aka Sylvia’s Dad)

Dear Readers,

It has been too long! Sylvia and I are just dropping a short note here to assure you that we haven’t forgotten about you. Not only have we not forgotten about you and our immense gratitude for your support, but we are excited to say that we are closer than ever to bringing you the story of our dear friend Otter. The book continues to progress, and we are still hopeful that you will see it in its entirety some time this year. 

From the beginning, Sylvia and I knew that completing a collaborative novel alongside her studying and my working would be a serious time commitment and a challenge―and it certainly has been! But what we didn’t realize was how the extra time spent developing this world and these characters would bring them so far into our own world, where we have been pleased to grow close to Otter and Imbria’s other inhabitants. They have truly become like family to us. In fact, even as we work to bring you this story, we have had ample time to wonder about what will come after "The End" for Otter and her friends. And while we need to complete the task at hand before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we are increasingly convinced that Otter’s story will not end with the final chapter of this book.

We ultimately hope you will find A Friend for Otter to be worth the wait. But we also hope that, once you have read it, you will be hungrier for even more of her adventures.

So thank you, thank you, thank you for all the love and support you have given us in this process. And thank you again for bearing with us as we work to bring you the very best tale we can craft. We could not be doing this without you, and we hope you are as happy with the final result as we are with where it is right now.


Sylvia and Jesse

Dear readers, it has been a while since our last update. A lot goes on in the life of young author in a big family and whose co-author (dad) is also a pretty busy guy. That being said, our work continues, and we still plan to have "A Friend for Otter" completed and shipped in the first half of 2017. 

One of the challenges we have been working through over the last several months was to commission cover art. In case you haven’t seen it, that art is complete, and it now adorns our Inkshares and social-media pages. Sylvia and I are extremely happy with it, and we hope you will also appreciate the inspired work of Natassia Scoresby, our illustrator.

Beyond that, Sylvia and I remain really enthusiastic about telling you Otter’s story, and we are grateful for the outpouring of support we’ve received from our reader community. So please accept our gratitude as we redouble our efforts in 2017 to deliver a compelling and meaningful story to all of you. We couldn’t do it without you.


Sylvia and Jesse

It has been quite a while since we posted an update, so thanks to everyone for being patient as we move on to the next stage in this project.

First, thanks to all of you, we reached our Quill goal!  That means Sylvia will be a published author (and I her coauthor). We are extraordinarily proud of the campaign, and your support has meant a lot to us both.

Because we did not make the full goal of 750 preorders,  many of the services Inkshares can provide are unavailable for our book. Notably, we don’t have access to free professional cover illustration. So our current goal is to commission cover art for A Friend for Otter. We have some very specific ideas, and we’re excited to begin this process. We will certainly keep you all posted as things progress, and we’d love to hear from you if you have thoughts about what you’d like to see in illustrations to accompany our story (or if you’d like to recommend a good and economical illustrator).

With finalizing the remaining chapters and putting together the cover design and some minor illustrations within the book, we expect A Friend for Otter to go to press at the beginning of 2017. We will continue to update you periodically as we go, but please be sure to update your shipping address if it changes so that you will be able to receive your signed copies of the book when it’s released.

Finally, we have released one more chapter to the public in anticipation of the long publishing schedule ahead of us. We are holding on to all remaining chapters until the book is published in its final form. We very much hope you like it, and we would love to hear your thoughts in the interim. In case you missed it, you can read the new chapter here: Chapter 4 ~ Eliza.

Thank you again for all your support in reaching this goal. It was an incredible experience for Sylvia and me, and we learned a lot along the way. I hope you’ll continue to be a part of our story, and we look forward to sharing the rest of Otter’s story with you soon. In fact, there is talk around here of a potential sequel, too, so we can’t wait to hear what you think once you’ve had a chance to see where Otter’s journey takes her.

Happy reading!

~Jesse and Sylvia Medlong

Picture Amanda Orneck · Author · added over 4 years ago
Congrats on funding!

It has been a long time since our last update, but here we are! Beginning with the most exciting (to us) news since our last update, we reached our Quill goal, and A Friend for Otter will definitely be published! So THANK YOU for your support!

But back to the long time between updates. As you likely know, one of the key ideas animating our work on A Friend for Otter is the crazy idea that adults and young readers (often parents and their kids) can write books together. Crazier still, by using Inkshares as the vehicle for our storytelling, we set out to show that adult and kid coauthors can even sell their books together. These efforts take time—a lot of time. One of the central challenges of being a responsible coauthor with a young reader in your life is that you very likely have other responsibilities! In my case, I’m a junior associate in a large law firm, and if you know anything about the legal industry, you know this is a job that makes serious demands on your time. In other words, I can get really busy. And so you have my May. 

In May, I wasn’t able to pull my weight in promoting our book and updating you, our readers. But the bigger lesson is that Sylvia and I did not let this discourage us. When we decided to team up on a novel, we understood that real life might not always be the most cooperative setting in which to get things done. If you decide to write with a young reader in your life, you may at some point also find that getting your story out into the world is a real challenge. The important thing, though, is just to keep at it. So while we wish we could have been more engaged with our community about our story over the past month, we have not given up, and we still hope you can help us reach our final goal. Either way, thanks to your support, a signed copy of A Friend for Otter is now destined for your bookshelf, regardless of what happens next.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here are the actual updates.

First, we have decided to share Chapter 3 with you and the rest of the world! We had always planned to release four chapters for public consumption and save the remainder as something to look forward to when your copy arrives. That is still the plan. So we will also plan to release Chapter 4 in about a month. So please take a look at Chapter 3 and leave us your feedback in the comments.

Second, as you may have noticed, Sylvia and I have created a couple more videos since our last update. The first is a trailer for the book, and it appears on the front page of our campaign. We have also answered another question about our book, and we hope you’ll take a look. For both videos, we’d love to hear your feedback. In fact, the trailer was in response to reader feedback, and the question (naturally) was from a reader.

Finally, please, please, please, help us get the word out! We are counting on you to share our campaign with others who like a great story, but also with others who are inspired by our process. We also hope that you, as members of the Inkshares community, will take a few minutes to recommend A Friend for Otter to others through the site’s recommendations function. Because of the several weeks I took off from promoting A Friend for Otter, we have decided to extend the campaign until August 3. So you now have more time to help spread the word and to preorder your own copy (or copies!) of the book. 

Again, thank you to everyone who has been so supportive thus far. Your encouragement and feedback have meant an extraordinary amount to us. 

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