Writers Don’t Get Downtime

Well, my next novel is currently in the hands of test readers. A couple copies have trickled back in, and so far the kids are enjoying Medical MECH. Once I have everyone’s feedback, I plan to revisit the manuscript for rewrites and edits. Afterwards, I’ll send the story out to agents and keep my fingers crossed that it will get picked up. In the meantime, I’ve started my next project: The Adventures of Maddie Jones.

If you’ve ever read anything on writing, or heard a successful author answer this question: What should I do if I want to become a writer? They will almost unanimously say to write, write, and write some more. Read a lot, and read different genres. So that’s what I do. I rarely have downtime between projects. I finish one and immediately move on to the next. Although Medical MECH is nearing completion (well, it’s nearly complete as far as the manuscript is concerned. Publication is a whole other beast), I have ideas for new stories that are itching to be told.

My newest project is a five book series for young adult readers. The series name is The Adventures of Maddie Jones. Each book will follow Maddie as she journeys to uncover mysteries of the past. The stories will be thrillers told in a James Patterson style–short chapters and a fast-paced narrative. Maddie’s “voice” will be akin to Percy Jackson’s from The Lightning Thief. I’ve diligently been working on book one’s outline, and it’s coming along nicely so far. At the moment, I’m wrapping up the third act. The outline will take several edits and rewrites to make it a solid start, but I’m excited to begin writing once the outline is complete. If you’re curious, here are the individual titles for each book:

  1. Maddie Jones and the Curse of the Terracotta Warriors
  2. Maddie Jones and the Grave of Robin Hood
  3. Maddie Jones and the Doomed Knights of the Round
  4. Maddie Jones and the Ghost of Coronado
  5. Maddie Jones and the Inca Mummy of Ecuador

I’ve written the story synopsis for each book. For now, check out book one’s premise:

When business tycoon Rico Raja kidnaps Hank Jones, a museum curator who deciphered an ancient text involving the Terracotta Warriors, his teenage daughter Maddie must uncover the secrets behind the greatest archaeological discovery of the twentieth-century in order to save him. But when those secrets reveal a 2,000 year old curse, and Rico’s plan to release the soul of the First Qin Emperor of China, Maddie must seek allies in the unlikeliest of places—from a Terracotta Warrior who has come to life, General Li Fei. Perhaps Maddie should call the National Guard, or the Army, or the Ghostbusters, because things are getting out of hand.

What are your thoughts on this new project? Which book title draws you in the most? Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email.

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Readers are begging for my story!

Monday, I read an excerpt from my story Curse of the Conquistador to 800 kids during my author visit. The story is about three kids trapped in their dad’s museum while they’re being haunted by the ghost of Francisco Vázquez de Coronado. I couldn’t read the entire story due to its length. Plus, the story will be published soon in The Syndicate’s Adventures in the Arcane, Volume II on June 1. I ended on a cliffhanger, a good one, too. Now kids are begging to read the story, literally. I keep telling them the story will be out soon. But they want it. Now!

Wow, there is no higher praise. In the past year, my storytelling has changed. I have been emulating my craft after popular young adult authors, and it seems to be paying off. My next novel Medical MECH was written for middle schoolers. And my next book series about a teenaged archeologist (who happens to be the main character in Curse of the Conquistador) will be, too. I believe these stories have a lot of potential to reach a mainstream audience. The challenge is getting them into the right hands–a literary agent who believes in the stories as much as I do. Time will tell how things turn out, but I’m excited about the praise I’ve received thus far.

Eight hundred kids. One author. And one cussing parrot.

Today I spoke to over 800 kids about my books and the process of writing. I had an awesome time, and the kids seemed to enjoy my stories and corny jokes. I began by talking about a cussing parrot (don’t shoot me, I didn’t say a single cuss word). But my tale hooked the kids from the start. From there, I talked about the three elements of great storytelling–character, setting, and plot–and I shared how I was inspired to write my first novel, The Prophet of the Dragon. I also talked about my latest novel, The Hero’s Ballad.

Afterward, I read an excerpt from a story soon-to-be-published called Curse of the Conquistador. The story will appear in The Syndicate’s Adventures in the Arcane, Volume 2. Anyway, I’m excited to announce that the kids were in the palm of my hand as I read the story. To say they loved it would be an understatement. I was even approached afterward by teachers and the principal, who were impressed by how even the at-risk students were enthralled. The librarians said they hadn’t seen a more engaging author visit, which uplifted my spirits. I thoroughly believe I’m on the right track to writing that story, the one agents want to represent and publishers want to buy. It may still be years in the making, but I’ll keep slogging along with the hope that it’s possible.

To end, I autographed books. And that’s probably an author’s favorite part: a copy of your book in a reader’s hand. What a day! I’m exhausted and my voice is nearly gone, but it was worth it. I love talking about stories.