Back Up and For Sale

Phew!  My book is once again available on Amazon!  With the addition of a few photos of myself when I re-habituated two baby Howler monkeys back into the northern rain forest of Guatemala, my book has enough pages to have info on the spine!  Oh so important.  Thanks for your patience and enjoy!  And PLEASE write a review on Amazon!  🙂

Changes to “The Jade Serpent”

Hi All,

Due to the hurricanes that have been ravishing the US (and beyond), I didn’t receive my copies of “The Jade Serpent” until a few days ago.  When they finally arrived I found that the spine was blank. Oh No!

After investigation I discovered I needed 3 more pages in my book for it to have the title and my name on the spine. So I have been reformatting with old photos of me in Guatemala and added a map of the world showing where Koen and Titanus have been adventuring.  All this to tell you that, if you have been trying to purchase my book on Amazon – it has said the print version is unavailable. (Still available on Kindle).  If all goes well, it should be available again starting tomorrow – Sunday, 10/1.

Lesson learned…always buy a physical proof before launching.  Oh, and with the added pages, Createspace forced me to up the price to $6.20.

Thanks for your patience as I continue to learn this process.  And please -write a review on Amazon!  It really helps!  Thanks!

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.

 

Successful Day

What a day.  I have spent nearly 8 hours dedicated to illustrating and formatting “The Jade Serpent.”  It feels so good to be so close.

Koen, the seven year old protagonist in the story, is the artist. I simply place his drawings in the book.  Here is one of his latest:

A Couple Weeks in August

Last week I concluded the two creative writing classes I was teaching at Sacramento State University this summer.  It was really fun to witness the individuality and imaginations of my students.  During the class we went outside and played with bubbles and chalk, creating worlds within worlds, I threw in non-sequiturs and had them write from a variety of perspectives.  Their protagonists were made to be antagonists and ultimately they learned to build suspense and critique each other’s work.  Then they courageously stood up and presented their final story to the class.  It was fantastic to see their minds at work.

Now I am on vacation for two weeks, relaxing up in beautiful Oregon visiting friends and family.  Then a few days on a gorgeous river in the mountains at a little cabin hiking and illustrating.  “The Jade Serpent” is about to fly free in the world.  I can’t wait to share Koen’s next adventure with you all.

Happy Boy! Reminded me of Koen from “The Treasure Chest Mysteries.”

Happy writing.

~ Gretchen

Soooo Close!

The Jade Serpent is nearly ready for pre-orders!  I am so excited.  Finishing the final illustrations.  Stay tuned!

And…coming up: “My Year in Myanmar” – working title, but can’t wait to share my incredible experiences with loads of photos to boot.

Happy writing!  Gretchen

SCBWI Inspiration

Hi All,  I hope Spring has sprung in your neck of the woods.  It is lovely here in Sacramento, CA.  I’ve been out gardening and enjoying the lovely weather on hikes around the area. I’ve also been making some changes to The Jade Serpent. My protagonist is now a young writer.  He is documenting his adventures with his co-conspirator through his retelling of their escapades in writing.  I really like the idea of a young writer.  Maybe I’ll have him sketch along the way too!

Last Saturday I went to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Spring conference (#SCBWISPSP17).  It was my first writer conference and it was packed full of great advice.  I had the chance to speak with Kate Sullivan of Delacorte Press (an imprint of Random House) and learn more about what an editor does.  I also went to two talks by Beth Phelan with the Bent Agency and Peter Knapp with Park Literary – both agents.  Everyone offered such great advice and were so nice.  I left not only excited to write, but also determined to submit The Jade Serpent to an agent this spring – yikes!

So of course I came straight home and started reworking the opening, and changed up parts of my protagonist.  So now Koen is a young writer (and illustrator perhaps).  His adventures with Titanus McDuff, the Keeper of the Treasure Chest are still forefront.  But I like the added dimension of his character.  Not only is he afraid of heights, he loves to write.  Here is a doodle I did thinking of Koen awhile back.

Happy Spring to you all!

~Gretchen

Draft Five

For some reason writing has taken a back seat in my life this year.  I teach an after-school writing class and I love creating new ways to engage my class in creative writing.  But when I get home I do not write much.  I go in spurts.  I spend six hours writing on a Saturday and then do not touch my work for weeks.  I’m not sure what my problem is.  Although there hasn’t been consistent writing, I am on draft five of The Jade Serpent.  Through SCBWI, I joined a critique carousel, only to come down with the flu right before and was unable to attend.  I am excited to be going to the SCBWI conference on April 1st and thus am determined to have the book fully edited and flushed out by then so that I can show it to agents if possible.

So my goal by April 1:

  1. Rework one more time
  2. Go through AutoCrit editing software one more time
  3. Complete 5 illustrations

I think it is doable.

How’s your writing coming along?

Gretchen