Draft One of Book 2 – DONE!

ouroboros_maya_by_elgallomalo-d33edxpThe Jade Serpent, book two of the Treasure Chest Mysteries is finished.  Well, the first draft is at least. 🙂  I am so excited to have it outside of my head and ready to begin polishing.

I am now giving the adventure a rest while I concentrate on the story board drawings.  In a week or so, I’ll revisit and start the editing process using The Plot Whisperer Workbook and Autocrit.

For now, looking forward to expressing creativity in a different medium for awhile.  I’m playing with water color, acrylics, colored pencils and…this coming weekend…pastels.  Fun.

soft-and-hard-pastelsHappy creating everyone!

Gretchen

AutoCrit

Hi All,

I have just discovered an online software program that helps you edit your fiction manuscript before you send it to a human editor, saving you money.  I absolutely love it.  I just signed up for the free trial and I am already hooked.  I just wish I had found it before I published my first book.

So yes, I am shamelessly advertising AutoCrit, a great editor I just found and already believe in.

Check it out:

AutoCrit-header-logo

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

Music as Inspiration

As a writer, and as a person who loves nature, I tend to not listen to music very often as I prefer to hear the noises around me: birds chirping, the wind in the trees, the rain splattering on the windows…

But I recently found some music that is very inspiring to me.  I use it as background and let it filter out the car noises, other people talking etc. but low enough so that I can still hear a bird tweet.

The music I am referring to is resonant music – high frequency tones embedded in beautiful songs.  I found them through a link on Facebook and I am so happy I did.  The artist who created them is Michael Tyrrell and he calls them Wholetones.

Thinking about music and writing, it reminded me of a post I wrote, on one of my other blogs, and I think it is still very relevant today:

Musical NotesDoes music inspire you to write?

For instance, if you were listening to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture, the part where it is at the peak of the crescendo and the canons are exploding… do you see anything?

Is there a character running from the guns, blood-stained face with bayonet in hand?  Is the sky dark and brooding, then flares and explodes?  Do you hear the cries of the wounded soldiers?

I was reading one of my favorite blogs today: Nail Your Novel, and the focus was on a Russian writer that uses music to inspire his writing.  Here is a bit of what Grigory Ryzhakov said:

“Music was also very important to me when I first started writing fiction seven years ago. My so far unpublished and untitled Russian-language sci-fi novel contains several episodes of gripping action. I listened to the Inception film soundtrack by Hans Zimmer to get myself in the mood for writing them. Thumping drums and basses associated in my mind with escalating threat of peril, I could feel the adrenaline rush as if I was at my character’s side. This music affected the way I wrote those action scenes: with shorter sentences, rhyming syllables, like gunshots. No room for reflection.”

He goes on to say that he writes in silence.  He just listens to specific types of music before he writes to get himself in the mood.  I thought this was genius.  I have never tried it…

Do you use music to inspire your writing mood?  Do you listen while you write or just before?  Can the music have words?  Curious to know what you think – leave a comment below!

~ 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