Fun with names

So I may have way too many possible stories I could be working on while I wait to hear back about the fate of Carnival Ink, but you know how an author’s mind works, don’t you? Bright and shiny ideas are always around waiting to displace your current story plans.  So while I was planning on starting my mad scientists story, I think I might be writing about falconers who may or may not be changelings. And it’s all the fault of my writing group.

Yesterday they had this fun game where you wrote a character name and then someone else came in and gave a character description based on only the name. Well….that was where I met Kathleen Moncton Heibam (Kathy to those who know her).  And thanks to one lady named Molly and myself, I know she’s 4 years old. She likes to say hi to dock workers as they walk past her house. She has an imaginary friend named George. She likes to keep real fairies in glass jars under her bed. She has the darkest black hair anyone has ever seen before. People in town think she might be a changeling, but are too scared to find out.

I mean, don’t you want to read a story about her? She won’t be the main character, but she’ll be important for sure. Anyone who can manage to catch fairies should be important.  And now I have to figure out if this is the story that gets written next or if I push ahead with my mad scientist. Because she’s pretty cool too. Ugh, decisions decisions.  Either way, i’ll be writing about strong girls and that’s just what I love to do.


PitMad madness

If you are not a writer, or not on Twitter, you might not know what Pitmad is. It stands for Pitch Madness and it is a way for un-agented writers to maybe land an agent or publisher.  In the last two years I have participated in Pitmad 6 or 7 times and it was only this most recent time that I actually got a any hits from agents. You see I’ve been through a small publisher, and it didn’t end well. I’m okay self publishing (even though I suck at marketing) but an agent would hopefully allow me to get a big publisher that would help me be better seen. And that is the dream.

I’m thinking that it appears that maybe pitching a picture book wasn’t in the cards for me, because the pitch I finally got likes on was a middle grade, Carnival Ink. So I have my queries sent out and am waiting to hear back from the two agents who liked my tweets. It’s not guaranteed that either of them will sign me, but I am cautiously optimistic. And I have a plan B, well, I guess it’s plan A, cause my original plan was to query agents with this story anyway.

I believe in this story. I’m proud of my first few forays into middle grade fiction, but I really believe this is my best work. I want people to read. I want people to love it. And I really believe an agent can help me with that. So, if you would, cross your fingers for me that I get good feedback? And since it’s out of my hands for now, time to start on the next story. But which one?

Book recommendations

Now, I will be the first to say, I don’t think books should be gendered. I am well aware I will get flack for that. I understand and am used to it.  Putting that aside for a minute, at the library this past week I stumbled on a treasure trove of wonderful girl books. As a rule I don’t push any agenda on my daughters, wanting them to make up their own minds, but I do continuously empower them with messages of they can do anything, because well, that is what any good parent will do.

And with those two things being known, let me tell you about these three books that shout girl empowerment, but also happen to just be really good books.

Two of them were by Ashley Spires who writes really fun stories about not giving up. About trying and failing and then trying again. I highly recommend them both, my daughters (5 and 9) both enjoyed them.  I also really liked the illustrations here, and will be on the lookout for more by her.

The third was Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty, and this is maybe my favorite because not only was she a girl scientist but she had a family that encouraged her. That learned with her. That held her up instead of holding her back. Which, I think is huge for boys or girls and we definitely need to see more of it in books for the elementary age set.

So I would highly recommend any of these three books if you have kids in this age range. Boy or girl, cause I really continue to hope that kids read more. All kids.


So it’s summer and that means less writing and more lazing around the house, reading all the books and trips to the creek.

This is my last summer before both my girls are in school. So once school starts at the end of august, both of my girls will be gone and it’ll just be me in the house with the dogs. I’m still not sure how I feel about this, but because of this, I’m actively forgoing any type of writing in order to spend more time with them. Being silly. All of us napping on my bed. Answering “would you rather” questions, or “what is your favorite” questions, or “what would you do if” questions.

This doesn’t mean that I’m not going forward with Carnival Ink. It is the one thing I am working on. Revisions are hard and going deep but I still hope to have it ready to query by the end of the month. I have my trusty beta reader/critique partner all ready to go forth once I finish the rewrites, which I have admittedly been avoiding because I know just how hard it is going to be. I will persevere though. I will.

So that’s it really. Not much more to report. It’s summertime and the living is easy, as they say.  So to make up for what is clearly a lackluster blog, here’s a pic of my Ash at the creek. She may be tiny but she is certainly a water dog 🙂


Visiting the creek

It’s that time of the year, the weather is warm and the sky is blue and it’s time to go see what the winter rains did to the creek. Every year it’s a little bit changed. But every year we love it all the same.


This year wee made our first trek through the brambles on a Sunday afternoon. The dogs came with us. It was our very on tiny slice of heaven. We found new growth like this little fern in the middle of a stretch of rocks. We found deer tracks from a momma and a baby.


The water was freezing but it didn’t stop my daughters from playing in it, swimming where they could, and splashing where it wasn’t quite as deep. The dogs had a blast, I had a blast, my daughters had fun. It was lovely. We even had our own little blessing in the form of a gorgeous green and blue dragon fly landing on my husband’s chest for a few moments.  (Also, he took the pictures. The man is a genius with a smart phone camera)

Our creek is one of my favorite places on earth. It’s fun for exploring and for daydreaming. And I really think everyone should get to play in a creek, it’s good for the soul.

A sneak peak

It took me a while and I know it need work, probably majorly since I am well aware I went off the rails, but….Carnival Ink is done. This is the book I’m going to polish till it shines so I can query it to agents. I’m hopeful, but I know it’s not an easy thing I’m undertaking. But since I’m still riding the high of it being done, I thought I’d share a sneak peak of it.

It might not end up sounding exactly like this once it’s all revised and shiny, but i’m pretty proud of this part.

Edith nodded once before closing her eyes. She pictured the sea. The crash of the waves on the beach. The sound as it hit the columns or the pier. How beautiful it was to look out and see forever. In her mind she floated just atop the waves, walking away from the dreary world she lived in. Peace filled her. Edith was awash in it, until a curse from Zora pulled her out of her dreams.

“What did you do? What kind of magic is this?” Zora stood back, her hands at her sides shaking. The needle she had held was on the floor.

“I didn’t do anything. Nothing! I don’t have magic.” Edith sprung from the table and looked down at her arm. When she had pictured the tarot card tattoo was now a arm full of blue. The card was there, Temperance, in all it’s glory, but it was not alone. Her whole arm was covered in swirls and an intricate design. Edith turned her arm this way and that, trying to see any pattern.  

falling into the world of Studio Ghibli

When you don’t know what to blog about and you have Kiki’s Delivery Service on in the background, animated movies seem like a fun topic to discuss.  I love animated movies. As an adult I feel no shame in this, as some of the best movies I’ve ever watched are animated. I’m looking at you Disney’s Robin Hood and another personal favorite, Jack and The Cuckoo Clock Heart.

Now aside from Disney, I find Studio Ghibli to be the most consistently awesome for movies. (and yes I know Disney distributes them in america) I’ve not even seen them all, I came to the game very late and started probably in a weird place. The Cat Returns was my first Studio Ghibli movie, given to me by my brother. Then I went out of my way to find My Neighbor Totoro simply because I saw Totoro stuff all over Pinterest and I was intrigued.  When both my girls loved it as much as me, I knew I was on the path to finding all of them that I could. We also found Princess Mononoke which is beautiful even if a bit gross.  Then by sheer luck on my daughters part, we found Kiki’s Delivery Service because she had a stuffed Gigi, the cat that belongs to Kiki, even though we didn’t know that’s where the cat came from. We found it in a bin at the bookstore. And now both my girls love this movie. It has become the, if there is nothing else to do, we watch Kiki’s. My youngest daughter takes our broom and pretends to be Kiki. Albeit a clumsier version.

So, now we’re looking for the rest of the back catalog. I think Howl’s Moving Castle is next. Because, well, castles..So do you watch animated movies? At 9 or 90, they are made to make you smile.

Carnival Ink

In my last blog I talked about the new story I was working on, tentatively titled Carnival Ink. It was going to be a depression era, kinda bleak story about traveling carnivals. Well…now it’s a play on the Robin Hood mythos. And there are pirates. And magic. It’s interesting how a story evolves, isn’t it?

I wanted the magic. It was important to me to have it, and I had to make it work.  We all know that readers don’t really like a story to go, “because magic” so I had to weave it into the story in a believable way, that made it an actual part of the world, not just a mcguffin.

So I took a look at our world, the unrest and the worry and the division, and had an “ah ha” moment. So now my story is alternative history with some pretty major big guys of our past in a whole new light, pushing the story to a reality that isn’t completely out of reach. If magic were alive within us, that is.

The words are flowing and I really, really love the story. It has all of my favorite things. A strong young girl, a sassy pirate, magic and cool steampunk clothes. My goal is to have the story written this month, so I can work on edits and polish it. I want to query this one. Having an agent is the goal, and something about this story makes me feel it might be possible.

I’m back in the saddle again

I thought and thought and thought some more about what to blog about today. You see, I’ve been on a break sort of. Not purposely I don’t think, but more of a I need a break before I go postal sort of thing.  Being an author is a lot of work. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, not even a tiny bit, but it is hard work. It’s not just writing the book, its the marketing and cover decisions and teasers and all that.

Now I don’t want to complain too much. I’m blessed, I know that. I get to write as my job. It’s not a very well paying job, but it’s okay, because I love it. Creating worlds and people and creatures…who doesn’t want to do that?  But even loving it as much as I do, I still got burnt out. Expectations and limitations, and then add in a folded publisher and you have a full on old time recipe for a crash and burn.  Add to that, this is a pen name, which means it’s my secondary writing profile. I write under my real name too and that means I have two totally different genres and age groups warring for space inn my head. It’s a lot. But….here’s the thing. I think I got it figured out. I mean, it’s a simple plan I’ve worked up, but it should allow me ample time for both personas to get the spotlight. And boy do I have some fun stuff planned for the middle grade audience.

Dragon Child 2 is done and waiting on edits and a cover, and then I’m veering off course to write about small town carnivals during the great depression. And lets not forget my viking girl, she’s nearly fully fleshed out and waiting patiently for her story to be written. So, here’s hoping it’s a good year for writing. I hope you’ll stick around for all the fun stuff coming.

I’m adding a picture of my cat Felix, he’s my mid grade writing mascot 🙂

Deja vu anyone?

Sitting down to write my first blog post in a good long while and I realize, the last time I wrote one was for a release for another former Booktrope member. Which is why I’m dusting off the blog once again.  Funny how life works out, right?

Anywho….on to the cover reveal for the quite amazing Kandi Wyatt.


It’s beautiful right? So lovely. It helps that the author is a kind soul, and the books are a great read. I mean how could I not be a part of that kind of situation.

So there’s the cover, and here is a blurb:

Is there really a right way to braid leather? Ruskya doesn’t know anymore. Is it worth fighting over? Twenty-one winters ago, he was ready to take on the turquoise dragon rider, but now he fears facing his oldest son.

Kyn, Ruskya’s youngling, wonders if he’s going crazy when an image begins haunting his dreams. Soon, he realizes it may be the key to helping not only Ruskya and his son Ardyn, but all younglings and their trainers as they adjust to growing up.

Will Kyn be able to help Ruskya, Ardyn, and the other young riders? Follow your favorite characters from the exciting Dragon Courage series as they empower the next generation and give dragons to their posterity.

Sounds great right? It is. be sure to go out and grab your copy when it drops in early December. Want to be in the loop about the release? Make sure you follow Kandi on her website  and FB