The Jade Serpent is Published! Get it NOW

Hi Friends!  I am so excited to let you know that I have just published the second book in The Treasure Chest Mysteries: “The Jade Serpent.”

You can find it on Amazon in print and Kindle formats.

I’d like to ask your help in spreading the word to all your friends who might be interested (or know someone who might be interested) in a fun adventure story for approximately a 3rd grader (7-9 yrs old).

ALSO If you purchase one on Amazon – I’d be oh so grateful if you would write a review as that is how books get noticed and ‘suggested’ on Amazon.

Thank you so much for your support!  I hope you enjoy.    Gretchen

Outsmarting looters, crawling into dark, dripping caves, and escaping spear-throwing villagers is only half the battle when‘afraid-of-heights’ Koen is forced to jump off a giant temple, climb to the top of the tallest tree in the rain forest, and swing for his life – like Tarzan – through the jungle.

Putting his trust in: a medicine man, a monkey and a mouse…
No Problem.

Koen and Titanus are off on another adventure.
But it’s a race against time.

Can they find the stolen treasure before the thieves get their dirty hands on it and it is lost forever?

Diving into Myanmar History

As I wait for final proofs on “The Jade Serpent,” I have started outlining my next project – a nonfiction story about the history of Myanmar intertwined with my year of teaching in that very complicated country.

With current news of the mass migrations of Rohingya into Bangladesh (NY Times), women and children barely able to walk from sheer starvation and desperate fear, it feels important to share my experience with the kind, loving people I encountered as well as show the realities of bias and strong-armed governments.  I am looking forward to this next year of reflection and research.  You can follow my non-fiction blog as I develop this book here.

I will also be starting Book Three in the “Treasure Chest Mysteries” which has a preliminary title of “The Black Tortoise.”  It will take place in the exotic country of Vietnam:

Join Koen and Titanus as they journey deep into the heart of Vietnam, where conspiracy and danger await at every turn.

 

Adventures in Writing

Hi!  Lots has changed over the last month.  I’ve moved states, bought a house, started a new job, started coaching 3 volleyball teams, started teaching a youth creative writing class and…found a little sister – 2 months old/2 lbs – for my Oscar (cat) who lost his brother one month ago. PHEW!

So, needless to say, I have not been attending to my own writing.  My goal, once volleyball season is over, is to truly dive into editing book 2: The Jade Serpent.  Just writing this blog post is a start.  Teaching the kiddos in my creative writing class has brought my mind back to my own work as well.  So, my thoughts are churning and I am getting excited to get back to my book.

I hope you are happily writing.  I’d say don’t let life get in the way of your writing, but who am I to talk!

Have a great September!

Gretchen

Revamping to Make New

Hi All!

Summer is just gorgeous here in Oregon.  So gorgeous in fact that I am finding so many things to do that I have not been focusing on writing as much as I had planned.  But I have taken a few odd hours here and there to revisit some of my “old” stories.   Now that it has been a few years, I am reading them with new eyes and finding that I like, for the most part, their nuts, bolts and flow.  So I have started to revamp to make them fresh, with more twists, and more highs and lows.  I am also researching illustrators – as a couple of them are definitely picture books, via the website FIVERR, where I am finding some amazing artists.

But no worries – The Jade Serpent is still happening.  Apparently I need(ed) to work on something fresh for a bit.  I’ll return to fleshing out the parts that have me hung up once I have a couple other stories out on the market.

But as we move into July, I am determined to carve out a daily routine of writing.  And can you believe I am going to start by taking off on an adventure?  For eleven days I am going to be exploring two beautiful parts of Oregon, one in the mountains and the other at the edge of the Pacific ocean.  And to top it off, I will be with my mom and three cats! Ha! No, I’m not crazy.  I expect it will be full of hilarity more than anything.

First stop: Sisters, Oregon for the 4th of July (US Independence Day) weekend.  We will be hiking in the glorious Deschutes National Forest and wandering the adorable town of Sisters.

I’m expecting the winding rivers and tall trees to breathe creative, new story ideas into my head.  Deschutes National Forest

Then we head over to the coast for a a few days for long walks along the endless beach.  I’m thinking eleven days of fabulous hiking, writing, painting and relaxing.

surftidesbeach

I can’t wait!

So, with determination as my companion, I will be writing to you next with when, where and how my next book(s?) will be heading out into the public.

Happy end-of-June to you all!

~ Gretchen

The Re-Write

I’m finally settled in gorgeous Oregon.  I have been having fun hanging out with my mom soaking in all the beauty here.  As of yesterday I started to work on the second draft of The Jade Serpent.  I am already feeling better about it and I’ve only worked on the first six paragraphs!  Its going to take awhile to get this second draft completed but I am loving how it is shaping up already.

I’m planning on working on the illustrations this summer as well.  I will be moving down to California at the end of the month so life will be a little chaotic again then.  But I am determined to get settled and right back to editing.

As a teaser – here is the first few lines of the very first paragraph of the 2nd draft – what do you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The pounding of his heart was nearly audible. His breath was short and rapid as he crouched, ready to launch. Then, quick as a cobra striking its prey, Koen’s hand punched outward toward the flying dog. The mechanical wings veered, then flapped up and down just out of reach. But when the dog flew around again, Koen launched his whole body into the air, stretching both of his arms towards the beast.

So fun to tweak and tweak again.  Happy days to you all!

75 mph Winds!

This is crazy!  I am sitting inside looking out on what looks like a near white-out due to all the dust in the air.  Wow!  I’ve never experienced such a force of wind, and you can’t see it, but the sounds are ominous.  Powerful and a bit scary.

ouroboros_maya_by_elgallomalo-d33edxp

But, I’m inside, snuggled in with my slightly frightened cats, working on ‘The Jade Serpent.’  So much has happened and we are only half way there!

Happy writing all!

~ Gretchen

Building the Story

Over the past few months I have been working on the ‘Jade Serpent’, the second book in the Treasure Chest Mysteries series.  It has been really challenging compared to the first book.  The first story was so clear in my mind, a simple adventure, a present for my new grand nephew.

This book is a bigger story, full of adventures, overcoming fears and obstacles and perseverance when all seems lost:

Koen is pulled through the mysterious and magical treasure chest to the land of the Maya in northern Guatemala where temples loom tall, jungle abounds and monkeys swing and howl from the treetops still today.

I’ve started writing chapter seven and Koen and Titanus have just now obtained the necessary treasure map to find his great, great, great, great, great grandfather’s stolen gift.

I’ve also been dabbling with different types of art mediums.  Here is one I did first with colored pencils and finally in Photoshop.  Not sure I’ll use it but its fun to start seeing what things might look like.

Koen Swinging Orig

Koen Swinging BW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tikal, Guatemala These 4th century B.C. mammoth Mayan pyramids stand 47m high and are completely enshrouded in dense jungle.This one I started with a sketch and then worked on it in Photoshop.

My goal is to have a first draft done by May so that I can then start editing, tweaking and making it even better over the summer.

Here is a snippet from the first draft towards the end of chapter six:

As the men reached the top step, Koen ran towards Titanus and the edge of the enormous temple. The men were right on his heels. Just as the closest of the men reached out to seize Koen’s arm, Koen grabbed the whip handle, scooped up Titanus and jumped off into the air. The man came to a screeching halt, stones flying into the air, teetering on the edge and nearly falling off. The men cursed the boy with fists in the air but then swiftly turned and started running back down the temple steps.

Koen was dropping rapidly, and the tree was coming towards them with increasing speed. They hit it hard and the wind was knocked out of Koen. Falling, they hit branch-after-branch as they dropped, then a jerk and a thud and both Titanus and Koen were swinging upside down in the air. Shaking their heads, out of breath, they looked up towards their feet and saw two large Howler monkeys had caught them with their tails.  

Until next time,

~ Gretchen

Book 2 Working Title: The Jade Serpent

There is one lonely coffee shop in Gallup, New Mexico and it isn’t open on Sundays.  So Saturdays are my prime, out-of-the-house writing days at the aptly called “Coffee House.”  And today was a great writing day!

Although I only wrote one chapter, it is feeling good.  I really want to bring more emotion, more depth of adventure, more purpose to this book.  Although Titanus and Koen haven’t even started searching for the lost (or rather stolen) treasure yet, they have already had two major incidents to overcome.  I like it.  Fun.

Oh and for this book we are in the northern part of Guatemala where the Mayan Empire reigned for over 3000 years!  I used to live in this part of Guatemala and still feel it is where my adventurous heart got its foot in the jungle, so-to-speak.

And I have a working title: The Jade Serpent – what do you think?

~ A happy writer!  Gretchen

Launching a New Mystery Series for Children

What started as a fun book for the birth of my great nephew, has turned into a book for all to enjoy.  From a happy Amazon customer:

I love this book! My children love this book! We can’t wait for the next one!

Available now – the first book in the new series: The Treasure Chest Mysteries – on Amazon:

Seven year old Koen has just received an old chest for his birthday. He doesn’t think much of it until one night it starts making noises and flashing lights. The adventures begin when a magical mouse draws Koen deep into the chest and its treasure-filled history.

Cover Trade