Nanowrimo 2017

It’s the first day of Nanowrimo! I’m editing this year instead of writing something new, but I’m still excited. Here’s a short excerpt of what I’ll be working on:

           Arvid Bunioncutterson wasn’t as surprised as a modest farm-boy should be when he woke in the middle of the night to raucous voices rustling with the late summer breeze through a gap in his linen curtains. He’d spent countless nights there at the top of the hoary farmhouse on the eastern edge of the Witch Knolls waiting to hear that very sound. It wasn’t because of a holiday that his neighbors were out so late and the shouts being carried into his bedroom couldn’t have been mistaken for the voices of merrymakers. Nor were they the voices of boisterous friends come to steal him away. Arvid had always been too much of a loner, preferring the company of his lumptoads and goats, to have made the type of friends who would fetch him out of bed for a night of reckless fun.  And yet the angry voices – or rather, the men they belonged to – were coming for him. He’d known they would eventually. After all, a person couldn’t murder his neighbor’s chickens night after night and get away with it forever.

          And so the gangling boy whose mind was already racing even if his legs were still tangled in the sheets of his narrow bed knew he shouldn’t panic . . . 


Fantasy and Reality

I love this picture of Terry Pratchett. This is what I want my office to look like some day, crammed with heavy, leather-bound books, a crackling fire going and steam rising off my coffee as I pour over the latest story I’m writing:

Image result for pratchett at work

This picture of Stephen King is pretty awesome too, especially the dog. There are so many piles of paper and notes posted to the wall that it almost doesn’t look posed:


And, of course, the cover of my friend, T.A. Henry’s, first novel is about as romantic as writing can get:

In comparison, THIS has been my writing desk while our kitchen was being renovated this summer:

Edgar and the Toad – A Post-it-Note Story

Once upon a time there was a boy named Edgar who fell in love with a toad. Well, needless to say, Edgar’s family did not approve of the relationship. And it was quite impossible for a boy to marry a toad where Edgar lived anyway. So Edgar and the toad ran away to Norway where they lived quite happily for the next two years, until the toad died of extreme cold.

J is for Jacks of All Trades – #AtoZChallenge

Within the first few pages of THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, Neil Gaiman hands the reader a wonderfully imaginative and vile villain named Jack, a member of an Order called the Jacks of All Trades. And he leaves no doubt about just how evil Jack is:

“The hunt was almost over. He had left the woman in her bed, the man on the bedroom floor, the older child in her brightly colored bedroom, surrounded by toys and half-finished models. That only left the little one, a baby barely a toddler, to take care of. One more and his task would be done.”

But the toddler escapes into a nearby graveyard, where he is sheltered and eventually raised by its resident ghosts. This unique story is at once a murder mystery, a fantasy novel and a coming-of-age book. And if my recommendation alone isn’t enough, it was also the only book to have won both the Carnegie Medal and Newbery Medal. While a bit dark and creepy at times, I would still recommend it for kids as young as middle elementary.

H is for His Dark Materials – #AtoZChallenge

Imagine a place where Dust is divine, bears wear armor and no person is ever alone but instead is kept constant companion by an animal-shaped dæmon. Welcome to Philip Pullman’s world. It’s so magical and imaginative that it entices the reader like a candy house lures lost children in the woods and yet it feels so familiar that the reader is instantly at home. Add one of the most vile villains in all of children’s literature and you have The Golden Compass, the first book in Philip Pullman’s amazing . . . (say it with me) TRILOGY. It is a beautifully written book that is great for any kid who can sit through nearly four hundred pages. Be warned, though, that the evil deeds done by the story’s villain can be heart-wrenching, especially to sensitive kids (and adults).