Ten Gallon Sam Packs a Big Punch!

Yesterday afternoon, as I was coming home from a lunch break I discovered a special surprise waiting for me at my front door. An overnight package from our publisher (Warner Press). I ran inside and Allan joined me for the ceremonial opening of the first copy of our second book in the Heroes of Promise series.

This book is entitled, The Legend of Ten-Gallon Sam and the Perilous Mine. It was the first time either of us had seen the final result assembled. I have to say, the cover on this book turned out really cool. We chose to use a spot-gloss on the foreground characters and book title - and turned out to be very eye catching indeed. So much so, that our publisher has committed to printing our second run of Gid the Kid books with the spot gloss to match.

Anyway, tor those of you who have enjoyed reading the first book in the series Gid the Kid and the Black Bean Bandits you can rest assured that the second book is almost here. The copy we recieved was sent from Singapore to our publisher who overnighted it to us. It means that the first shipment of Ten-Gallon Sam books are on their way across the pacific on a shipping container from Singapore. Lord willing, the book will be in stores January 15th, 2008.

By the way, if you want a chance to win a pre-release copy of Ten-Gallon Sam (and all the bragging rights that go with it), all you have to do is visit and click on the wanted poster. You'll be sent on a site-wide quest to find those notorious Miller Brothers who are at large. When/If you can find us, there is a link provided that will take you to our website to enter in a drawing. The drawing will take place on January 10th, and 3 lucky winners will recieve personalized autographed copies directly from us before they arrive in stores.

P.S. If you are having trouble finding us on the website, I can give you a clue if you highlight the sentence below.

Spoiler Here >> Take some time to click through our Gid the Kid book online.

The Making of a Movie - Part 2

Follow "Gid the Kid" from book to DVD movie

So just how exactly do you fund a DVD movie production?

Traditionally, back in the hayday of direct-to-video releases (1990's), distributors themselves would pay a handsome amount up-front to secure distribution rights. From what we've learned about the market today, this is not so common. No, our route will have to be more of the private investment kind.

However, we know from talking first-hand with families who have bought our book that people care about seeing quality, moral-based content produced. It's what they want to show to their kids and grandkids. So, Chris and I spent some time considering how we could allow the people who care the most about seeing this film produced to get involved in the production process of our "Gid the Kid" movie.

We looked at what our typical supporter was already doing. Many of those who have bought our book have been faithfully spreading word about it, giving them as gifts, even adjusting them on store bookshelves so they would be better seen (we love you guys!). Beyond simply getting a great book out with a great message, the reality is that each book sale from our supporters' efforts generates a profit which, in turn, becomes a very real investment into the "Gid the Kid" movie production budget. Additionally, the more books that make their way into households, the greater the awareness of the "Gid the Kid" story will be - making the eventual DVD release that much more successful. Both financially and, even more importantly, socially, our grassroot supporters will be the ones to make the biggest contribution to this DVD's success in the marketplace.

With all of that in mind, we are excited to have developed a program by which our supporters can get involved in the "Gid the Kid" movie production. The idea is simple: keep doing what you are already doing - telling your friends about the book. For every 10 book sales you refer, you'll earn a movie credit as a "Production Partner" AND earn the chance to make a cameo appearance in the "Gid the Kid" movie.

We'll keep you posted on how this unique program works out. Until then, get on over to our website to see about getting your name in the DVD credits too!

(heh, heh... like our cameo in the ad?)

[ Read Part 1 ]

The Making of a Movie - Part 1

Follow "Gid the Kid" from book to DVD movie

"Is this a movie?"
That is the #1 question we are asked when people see our book, "Gid the Kid", for the first time.

Those of you who know Chris and I are probably familiar with our long-standing affinity for animated films. It goes far beyond just watching them. Even as kids, we had set up our own "animation studio" with drawing boards and light tables for studying and practicing the art of animation. It was that same passion for the art medium that led us to both pursue degrees in "Computer Animation & Multimedia" from the Art Institute of Seattle.

Granted, while our careers to date have steered us through non-film related paths so far, with our background and love for animation, it's no coincidence that our book illustrations for "Gid the Kid" have that "animated feel".

So, to answer that #1 question, "Is this a movie?", we say "Not yet. But that's what we're working on!"

Ever since the release of "Gid the Kid" in July, we have been exploring the market for making this story into a DVD movie. There has been a lot to learn, but no shortage of helpful individuals to learn from. Our research has put us in touch with some really great people who have worked on DVD projects from VeggieTales to Boz to Angel Wars at all levels of production, marketing and distributing. There have been talks with several high-profile distributors who have expressed their interest in the film. At each stage of the process, we have been excited by the positive response and enthusiasm over "Gid the Kid".

From the past months of networking and research, we have emerged with a solid budget, an exciting production studio partner, and several distributor options. Now we head off into the thrilling stage of Funding!...

[ Read Part 2 ]

Millions Meet The Miller Brothers

[Allan writes:]

Earlier this week, on Wednesday morning, Chris and I appeared as guests on a "live" international TV show called The Harvest Show. Our publisher, Warner Press, arranged to have us on the show for a 10 minute interview; even flying us all the way out to South Bend, IN! Wow!

The 6+ hours it took to fly each direction were not particularily enjoyable, but our brief time on the "live" set was special (So special, we both got to wear makeup - "manly" makeup I'm sure). Seriously, though, the entire production staff for The Harvest Show were very professional and made us feel right at home. While I know it was the prayers of our family and friends in our VIP Club that were most instrumental in calming the of nerves during the interview, the staff certainly did a great job with their part.

Watch the interview on YouTube™

Chris sharing Gid the Kid book with Notre Dame football statueAfter our TV appearance, we had a few hours to poke around South Bend. We had a quick bite at the local Steak and Shake restaraunt (Mmmm! Split Shakes!) and made a quick stop at the University of Notre Dame (see pic of Chris in front of statue).

While at the restaraunt, though, we had the chance to observe a young mom and her two sons, probably 5 and 2. It didn't take Dr. Phil to see that this was not the 2 year old's day. In the mother's own words, he was "awnry". Helpless to change his attitude, she finally had the waitress change her order "to-go". Through it all,Allan enjoying his Steak and Shake meal Chris and I were both struck with how well she handled the situation and impressed by the reminder of how much a mother gives to her children when she chooses to stay at home. It gave us a little glimpse of a day-in-the-life-of for our own wives; something we don't get to see that much as working fathers. So, "Thanks Moms!". We appreciate all you do, and all you endure for the sake of loving your children.

And thanks to all of you who prayed for our safe travel and successful interview.

Our First Interview!

As part of our whirlwind experience at the International Christian Retailers Show (ICRS) in July, we were given the chance to record an interview for the show Deeper Living. This interview aired coast-to-coast on August 14th (check out their listed broadcast stations).

You might think we were in some fancy downtown high-rise studio, but the truth is we were just in a conference room at the convention with a false backdrop behind the set... (sneaky, sneaky).

Thanks to our publisher, Warner Press, for getting us this great publicity! You guys have been the best!

Our Backstory

[Allan writes:]

To quote a famous movie line: "Let's start at the very beginning. That's a very good place to start."

Fairbanks, AK 1976-78 - Chris and I were born into a Christian bookstore. Well, we were both born in a hospital, but soon after our respective births were a part of running a Christian bookstore which our grandparents and parents owned and operated for 10+ years. That meant we got to sleep behind the counter and, as we grew older, make forts behind the bookshelves. More importantly, we were exposed to every new Christian children's book and product that came out. Many of those books left an impression on our lives that last to this day.

In 1989 our family moved from Alaska to Washington state. The bookstore was behind us, but the books were not. In the years that followed, our parents started a Christian School Book Club, became Northwest representatives for God's World Book Club and eventually Lifetime Books & Gifts. This filled our pre-teen and teen years with lots of travel, conventions, and, of course, books. During these later years, books continued to leave their impressions on us, both figuratively AND literally. Moving boxes of books from one location to the next is heavy work!

For our Jr. High & High School years, we also had the distinct privilege of being homeschooled. Our mother made the effort to bring us the richness of learning at home. This unlocked a whole world of experiences that took us beyond the basics of education and gave us the opportunity to really explore our learning with our God-given talents and interests. We became more involved in art and animation; even setting up our own "animation studio" where we could practice story writing, storyboarding, and animating our creative ideas.

Upon finishing my highschool studies in 1995, both Chris and I pursued our interest in animation at the Art Institute of Seattle. In 1997 we graduated with degrees in Computer Animation & Multimedia and a dream to create imaginative stories and films that would bring the God's truth to life.

However, the next ten years would find us building a website design company, growing our families, volunteering at our church bookstore (yes, the books came back when our mom became manager for our church's bookstore), and wondering when and how this dream would ever happen. Did God have a plan?

He did.

In Spring 2005, our parents attended a Christian writer's conference at Seattle Pacific University for a project they were working on. After the first day of seminars, they felt prompted to offer their tickets to Chris and I. "There's some great children's book sessions and we think you'll be encouraged", they said. Well, they were right. We were greatly encouraged and met some incredible people. It also provided a key spark for us. During a lunch break, Chris shared how his morning devotions in the book of Judges had a verse that really stuck out to him, Judges 21:25 - "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes." To us, that verse just sounded so much like the Wild West. No sheriff. Every man was a law to himself. And right then and there a book series was born, Heroes of Promise, where we could retell powerful biblical accounts in a fun, wild west setting to inspire and challenge today's youth. Over the next months, the idea crawled it's way out onto paper in words and illustrations.

What happened from there was a two year period of forming a new business, Lumination Studios, and submitting our manuscript and sample illustrations to numerous publishers. There were some near-acceptances that ended in the dreaded "no-thank-you"; each time testing our faith. But God, in His providence, opened doors and directed us to ultimately land a contract with Warner Press (our wonderful publisher!) for our Heroes of Promise book series. In July, 2007 our first book "The Legend of Gid the Kid and the Black Bean Bandits" was released at the International Christian Retailers Show in Denver, CO.

And so it has begun: a new chapter in our lives, now as Authors and Illustrators. Looking back over the previous pages of our life, it is exciting to see the purposeful design with which God has woven our story from childhood to today. He is the perfect Author. Nothing is by chance. Everything is so carefully crafted. He has been and will continue to be faithful. We simply follow his lead and look expectantly forward to what He has planned for us in the future.

And what do the next pages hold for us? We invite you to keep coming back to this blog to find out. Whatever it is, we know it's going to be good.... and for HIS glory.

Ten-Gallon Sam Slated for January 2008 Release!

Good News, Gid Fans! Warner Press has approved our manuscript for the next book in the Heroes of Promise Series (Ten-Gallon Sam and the Perilous Mine). The story is based on the Biblical account of Samson, and deals with the concept of using your gifts to bless others and please God. After all, it's not the hat that makes a man, it's the heart!

The book is scheduled for release January 2008 with the third book in the series planned for July 2008.

To watch us develop the Ten-Gallon Sam illustrations, sign-up for a FREE VIP Pass today!


Christian Retailing Magazine Gives Gid the Kid Top Review!

Christian Retailing Magazine, one of the premier sources for christian products, spotlighted the anticipated release of "The Legend of Gid the Kid and the Black Bean Bandits" as its top story for the children's section. The magazine article has led to increased interest in the upcoming book series among christian retailers, who are the primary target of the magazine.

The story was soon followed up by Ken Walker, a columnist for the magazine who is developing a feature story on the Miller Brothers and their background in Christian retailing for an upcoming issue.