Typically I have a couple writing projects on the go at any given time, though I tend to get tunnel vision when I’m working on a good one.
After spending several years in hibernation to have my kids, I’m finally hopping back into the ring to take a swing at landing a great agent, getting published, and making a career out of this. My greatest dreams involve waking up each morning to write novels as my job, having an awesome agent to give me tips and guide me through the process, and to fill my library at home (and the home libraries of my amazing group of churchy and community supporters’) with spectacular books that I can spend the evenings reading to my kids by the fireplace on cool summer nights. (If I can get them to laugh out loud or beg me to keep reading after we’ve finished a chapter, then I’ve done what I set out to do.)
I have this brewing dream of riding a train across the country on some kind of book tour and writing during the ride. So, with my son in school now, it seems the time has finally come for me to dive in and chase some of these dreams.
Here are a few of my favourite completed novels:
A BURST OF COLD
This completed manuscript of just over 72,000 words is a Christmas story for the Young Adult market. Contrary to what might be expected, I wrote this in the middle of sweaty July while baking under the hot sun. Regardless of the time of year though, if you want to get swallowed into the world of Christmas, feel the pinch of the icy wind, visualize the sparkling lights, and get a near taste of the sweet gooey syrups, then you’re going to love this action-packed fantastical series that includes new and grittier versions of some of the famous characters out of our traditional holiday legends; such as St. Nicholas, The Snow Queen, The Nutcracker, Jack Frost, and even The Gingerbread Man.
Books this series can be compared to: The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Helen Bell is probably the most boring and useless girl on the planet. No wonder everyone ignores her and forgets she’s there. With her long history of being shamefully uncoordinated, being dressed head to toe in worn out hand-me-down clothes, and her slightly above average ‘booksmarts’ as her only advantage in life, she doesn’t even blame people for passing right by her.
But Helen’s stale life is about to be tossed into a blender.
On a particular chilly day while Helen is chasing her obnoxious Aunt through the streets of Waterloo, Ontario, to get to a family gathering she would rather miss, Helen collides with an odd-looking girl that possesses a strange twinkle in her eye. A twinkle that makes Helen wonder if this girl is not quite normal.
And Helen would be right.
Due to this strange encounter, Helen Bell, the forgotten girl of Waterloo, can now see everything. A whole world that was not there before rests before her. Helen needs only to enter.
As ancient mysteries of this invisible world begin to unravel, Helen finds herself in a brutal undertaking where she comes face-to-face with terrible monsters, collides with outlandish personalities, and witnesses the rise of powerful villains. One in particular, who seems bent on hunting Helen down and savagely ending her life.
Unfortunately, with the Red Kingdom and the Green Kingdom at odds with each other, Winterland is no kind place to strangers. And with only Zane, a young former Patrolman, to guide her through the turmoil, Helen doesn’t think she will make it home without getting caught up in the rivalry between the retired Patrolmen and the woman who nearly drove them into the ground, Mara Rouge.
This blend of thrilling action and warm Christmas tradition brings the old forgotten tales of the season to life. It’s the kind of story that would be best put to use in front of a cozy fireplace with a cup of hot tea in the middle of a blustery winter.
I’m currently working on Book 2 of this trilogy, CRANBERRY: A STAIN OF RED, and its proving to be just as exciting to write as the first.
A brief Synopsis of CRANBERRY: A STAIN OF RED:
Nothing could ever be the same for Helen after her first encounter with Zane and his kind from Winterland. Even though she managed to get back into the routine of her ordinary life, she finds herself getting antsy the moment the snow begins to descend upon Waterloo. Winter is coming. And Helen knows better than anyone that when winter comes, so do the monsters.
When winter villains cross the intersect to come find Helen at her school, she ends up racing back into the land she thought she might never get to see again. Only this time, things are different. Storefronts, clothing, and even a certain creature’s skin is marked with red or green. War is brewing beneath the Red and Green Kingdoms, and as the Ruby Legion rages against the Evergreen Host, all of Winterland is being forced to choose a side.
With nowhere else to turn, Helen is forced to impersonate a Red Kingdom celebrity, hiding in plain sight, attending lavish balls and even dancing with the Red Princes, in hopes of getting close enough to the Crimson King to save herself.
This second installment of the PEPPERMINT series is filled with fairy-tale-like magic, testing danger, and even a hint of romance. Christmas won’t be the same anymore without reliving the battles, unearthing the secrets, and getting sucked into the devilish charm of the PEPPERMINT series characters.
This was my NaNoWriMo project that I wrote in November of 2015. The completed manuscript of just under 94,000 words tells the story of a sassy outspoken girl whose childhood nightmares get her sucked into another world’s terrible conflict.
Books this novel can be compared to: The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, and Now That You’re Here by Amy K. Nichols
It started when she was just a little girl. The dreams that came at night would go back and forth between full-length colour features and simple flashes, like scattered home video footage, creating bizarre worlds that Ella White knew didn’t exist outside of her dreams. Was she crazy? Probably. Thus, her sarcastic humor began, forming beautifully into her best method to cope with dreams that no one else seemed to understand. However, even though the visions were confusing, bothersome, and never quite painted an entire picture, there was almost always one common feature.
At the age of sixteen, Ella’s dreams seemed to have mostly subsided, to her utmost relief. But one month before her seventeenth birthday, Ella let her eyes drift close only to be sucked into a terrible nightmare, the worst one of all, because not only was she in some bizarre foreign universe that she couldn’t place, in this dream she felt herself brutally die.
But it wasn’t all bad. After this traumatic experience, the dreams ceased completely. Ella believed that after all this time she had finally been cured. Things in her life started to feel normal. Orderly. Predictable.
Two years of calm organized bliss went by without a hitch, and it was glorious, right up until the moment Ella walked down the main street of her hometown in Stratford, Ontario, and she saw him – the boy she watched so many times in her sleep. A boy that she was certain did not actually exist, until this moment.
PARALLEL VIEW is a standalone novel, with the potential to be turned into a series. This story weaves together realistic reactions and fantastical danger; a satisfying blend of comical dialogue and just enough intense encounters to justify rapid page-turning.
STRAW, STICKS, AND HANDMADE BRICKS
This story is loosely based off of the fairy tale, The Three Little Pigs. As a child I always loved fairy tales. Unfortunately, todays book market has become saturated with retellings of the most popular ones. Even though these based-on-fairy-tale books are doing extremely well, I knew going into this that if I was going to write a novel that was based on a fairy tale, I would have to recreate one of the lesser used ones, and fill it with sharp twists, for it to stand out.
At just under 75,000 words, this was the sort of story that I could not leave until I typed out the final word. The compelling rivalry and the subtle build of romance made it so exciting that even while writing it, I became desperate to find out what might happen next.
Books this novel can be compared to: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth, The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Upon the grassy plains of what used to be Arterria, a woman named Nadessa Kyntorren was known to pace. To the untrained eye, Nadessa might have seemed harmless enough. But she was not. This woman, who was often decorated with the blue stones her people loved, carried a reputation that was known across all the lands of her enemies. The horrific screech that came from her throat was deafening, rendering her enemies useless. As the appointed guardian of the remnant that remained of the Arterrian people, Nadessa Kyntorren was considered a desirable target to the Sutherspen Warlords, as the warrior who might finally bring her to her end would be praised for the rest of his days. But for many years, every Warlord failed.
Until Goram Norsmith.
Being the King of Sutherpsen, Goram spent his life devoted to bringing down the Squealer, Nadessa Kyntorren, publicly naming her an “Arterrian pig”. After beating the odds and finally overcoming Nadessa once and for all, all of Sutherspen rejoiced at the fall of their greatest enemy, and Goram was revered as the greatest King that ever ruled the Kingdom.
But Nadessa Kyntorren had secrets.
Nearly fifteen years after Goram succeeded in brining upon the woman’s death, he discovered, to his utter dismay, that he did not bring an end to the reign of the Squealer. Reports reached Goram Norsmith that the woman had left behind three sons, all of whom inherited her terrible gift.
These three boys, now young men, were coming for revenge.
As Goram’s two daughters had always been at each other’s throats, competing for his attention by becoming Warlords, and vying for the love of the people, Goram makes the ultimate decision to challenge the two of them to bring down the three little pigs of Arterria. With all of Sutherspen as witnesses, Goram Norsmith claims he will hand over his kingdom to the daughter that can bring an end to these Arterrian Squealers, once and for all.
This births the competition and heated Kingdom-wide rivalry that puts loyalty on the line, skills to the test, and forces Bane and Zienna Norsmith to face their greatest fears, even possibly at the cost of their lives.
For Bane Norsmith, this contest sounds too good to be true. Even though Bane is the illegitimate, controversial daughter of Goram Norsmith, she is the better Warlord; the better hunter, more trained, more patient, more heartless, more feared. For her, this should have been a simple task, an easy victory, even with all of Sutherspen rooting for beautiful Zienna, their beloved Princess, and coming to Zienna’s aid.
But when Bane captures Lucan Kyntorren, everything changes. The second-oldest Kyntorren brother has a special gift, something Bane did not know about prior to his imprisonment. Something that is much worse than being a Squealer. After the mind games, Bane is forced to battle through Lucan’s walls to try and discover what it is he really wants, what he might be willing to turn on his brothers for, so that she can draw the other two Kyntorrens out of hiding. But after exhausting all of her methods, Bane finds herself at a crossroads when she comes to realize that perhaps Lucan Kyntorren was not actually the one being persuaded all this time.
STRAW, STICKS, AND HANDMADE BRICKS is a standalone novel. It is part of a fairy tale inspired collection of standalone novels I am working on. I like to call them “Bathtub Books”, because lets face it, some books are just read better while relaxing in a hot bath with bubbles up to your chin.
This is a book I finished only recently, based on the tale, The Ugly Duckling. It needs some editing and lots of refinement, but it’s finished being written! UGLY is more of a spy/thriller than my other books, but still takes place in a Kingdom, with a few fairy-tale elements. It’s a story about revenge, love, and using street smarts to unearth deadly secrets.
Stories this book can be compared to: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn (Not in the historical fiction sense, but in the general nature of the story), and The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
When Hectora Roland ran away from home, it was to escape the cruel Lords of Ellette and their relentless mocking. But, as fate would have it, Hectora lands a job in the city and for the next six years the scar-faced girl with crooked teeth and gangly limbs finds herself working as a maid for a particular woman; a woman who just happens to be a Lieutenant for the secret army of the Kingdom of Charity.
When word of trouble brewing in the small town of Ellette reaches the Lieutenant, the Lieutenant calls upon her maid and gets the idea to send Hectora back into Ellette to try and locate an enemy spy. Hectora, being the only one at the Lieutenant’s disposal with a vast knowledge of the town, including personal histories, common rumors, and family businesses, undergoes a full body transformation. Now, being beautiful and trained to lie, Hectora heads back into the town she hoped she would never set foot in again in an attempt to expose the traitor to the Kingdom and burn the town to the ground.
But there is one thing that stands in her way. His name is Atticus Coreblair, and he was the only boy that had been kind to her when she was young. Being debatably the wealthiest young Lord in Ellette now, Hectora finds herself struggling to remain focused on her mission, as she realizes that even though she wants to see Ellette burn, she does not want to see Atticus fall with the town. And as time goes on, and Hectora begins to grow attached, slipping up in his presence as a result, she becomes certain that Atticus Coreblair will find out who she is.
UGLY is a standalone novel; also part of my fairy tale collection of “Bathtub Books”.
This is a novel I am in the process of writing, with only a few chapters left until completion. With clever bickering at its best, and a love-interest antagonist, ACHE is a sassy Young Adult fantasy novel based off of the fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea, filled with outspoken characters, creepy monsters, meticulously crafted religions, and royal snobs.
Stories this book can be compared to: The Maze Runner by James Dashner, The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
For most of her life, Iva Thresh was able to hide in the Royal Armani Isles, pretending to be an Armani citizen, and fooling everyone with practiced words and the dyes she created from the plants in her garden that she used to darken her light hair.
But when they came, she was not ready.
Ensons; creatures of a dominating race that killed the weak and took the strong humans as slaves. They arrived in villages and cities all over the Royal Armani Isles in a unified formation, giving the citizens no chance to escape in any direction.
When Iva was taken from her house and thrown into a cage with another prisoner; a boy around her age who seemed to have a hard time keeping his hands to himself, Iva thought it was all over and reluctantly accepted the fact that she would be a slave to the Ensons for the rest of her life.
But later, when she is forced into her sleeping quarters and climbs onto a hard mattress to go to sleep, she feels an uncomfortable lump pressing into her back. When she finally unwraps her clothes to investigate, a ring falls from her belt. But it’s not just any ring. As Iva lifts the gold piece from the floor, she recognizes it right away as a Signature Ring. And only royals carry them.
In that moment, it dawns on Iva that the boy she’d been with in the cage had slipped the ring into her belt. He did it so he wouldn’t be discovered with it. And with good reason.
He was the last living Prince of the Royal Armani Isles. He was the one the Ensons were looking for.
ACHE is part of my fairy tale collection of “Bathtub Books.”
Thanks for reading about all my projects and I sincerely hope you are dying to dive into one of these epic stories and get lost for days.
I don’t currently have representation for my books. If you are a literary agent and want to contact me about any of my projects, please get in touch! I’d love to chat.