Today I'm visiting over at Sharon Ledwith's blog, talking about all kinds of weird and funny stuff, as usual. Head on over there and say hi, and enter my giveaway for an ebook or audiobook version of DANIEL THE DRAW-ER.
In May I started working on the second Daniel book, DANIEL THE DRAW-ER 2 [working title]. It's turning out to be quite an adventure, because there are a ton of great scenes and stories that want to be told. My goal was to hit 14,000 words (the approximate length of DANIEL THE DRAW-ER), but I'm just shy of 12,000 words tonight and there's so much left to be written. We'll see what happens when it comes time to edit.
In the meantime, here's a silly little peek to see what Daniel's been up to this summer:
A girl with a short red braid sits down in the grass next to me, and stares at the picture as I work. She's wearing a bright pink Glitter Ponies shirt. Glitter Ponies is a girl cartoon, and it’s nowhere near as cool as Bionic Aardvarks of Underworld Z. I can't believe she can wear that shirt without being embarrassed.
Who's ready to read more? Comment below and say hi! I'd love to hear from you!
Just validated my word count for Camp NaNoWriMo. Over 31k words edited and revised in April for my upcoming Young Adult novel, In the Middle.
Can't wait to share it with you guys! It's a cool, creepy story... but that's all I'm going to say right now. I don't want to give away too much. :-)
This was the other half of the writing challenge for my group. I'm not on this team, but I decided to give it a half-hearted shot. For this prompt, we were to write describing setting only.
The voice of the breeze carries above all others, hushing the chatter of birds and humming of the insects. They rush among the crowd and tap each one on the shoulder announcing the presence of the king. Throngs of green bow in reverence to the victorious fingers of the mountains. The rocks thrust themselves into the blue sky, challenging the threatening clouds.
The only ones brave enough to stand against the hills are the Juniper trees. Few they be, they stand straight as warriors. Wielding their prickles and thorns in gnarled fists, their scarred bodies defy the wind. They grit their teeth and squint against the rain.
How would you describe this picture?
In one of my writing groups, we were given a few pictures to choose from and the task to write a story either based on the character or setting to see which stories were more appealing to the readers. We were asked to keep the story under 1000 words, and told that it didn't need to be a complete story, a scene was okay.
With that being said, here's the picture I selected followed by my vision of this man.
Lines – Character/Plot
Lines. Ain’t that the story of my life? Always been standing in one line or the other, my whole blasted life.
Today I’m stuck in the soup line behind the old lady with rollers sticking out of her hair like pussywillows and tufts of cat hair clinging to her pink housecoat. Always bumped into by the guy waving his hands like he’s conducting at Carnegie Hall while talking three octaves too loudly about politician so-and-so to his buddy. Who cares about the crooks in office? I sure don’t. All those suits ever done is send innocent people to their death while they’re busy signing ridiculous bills and screwing some floozy on the side.
It was a handful of them crooks who gave me the lines above my right eye--my sightin’ eye. The one that saw every last second. I’d poke the cursed thing out if I thought I had the balls to do it. But I lost those as soon as I let that kid die.
He couldn’t have been more than 11 or 12, the age of my little cousin, Ben. They’d sent a kid into the stinking paddy with a rifle bigger than he was. And now the kid was a murderer. His big black eyes grew wide as he watched my buddy crumple, dead before he even hit the mud. Ray--that was my buddy’s name. Had a girl he planned to marry if we ever made it back home, and four younger brothers and sisters to help care for after his Dad passed.
The Vietnamese boy, the enemy, turned his rifle from Ray to me. The spot where my heart should have been. Truth be told, my heart stopped beating a long time ago, when I took my first step on this blood-soaked ground.
“Do it,” I said, opening my arms to expose my chest. “I don’t want to live another day in this hellhole.”
The boy blinked. His finger shook on the trigger. I may as well have been recitin’ the ever-loving Constitution, for all the English he knew.
I pointed at my heart, my fingers in an L-shape. A gun. “Bang!”
The tiniest bump at his throat bobbed as he gulped. He doesn’t want to kill me or he’d have done it already. I wish he’d make up his mind already, or at least run off before something worse happened. But he didn’t.
Another soldier, a guy named Lou, came around the corner and his boots slide in the muck. When he spied poor Ray on the ground, and me and the boy in our stand-off, his rifle locked on the boy with a click.
“Wait!” I don’t know who I was talking to, the kid or Lou. All I know was that I didn’t want to see another river of blood or another broken body.
Lou grunted then fired a round. The boy was too slow. His round eyes focused on mine as he fell to his knees, and then facedown into the muck. I didn’t cry for him, or for dead Ray who wouldn’t get to marry his sweetheart or provide for his family.
Instead, I stand in lines. Lines for food. Lines for shelter. Lines for everything because I’m not free to be me.
Well-dressed women with their manicured nails and little yappy dogs shrink to the other side of sidewalk when I scuffle by. Men in business suits with cell phones attached to their ears tell me to get a job as they plink pennies at my feet. Problem is, no one wants to hire a ghost of a man who jumps every time a hammer strikes a nail or hits the dirt when someone drops a load of wood.
The lines will take me, though. I blend in here among the outcasts, the forgotten, the spooks.
This has been the longest week and a half of my life, but I'm happy to say that my children's novella, Daniel the Draw-er, is now available for purchase as a digital book and paperback on Amazon.
About the Book
"This pencil is no ordinary pencil,” says the cat sitting on the end of nine-year-old Daniel’s bed. "It's magic."
Everything Daniel draws with his enchanted pencil comes to life, from a talking cat named Whiskers to a group of pizza-loving aliens from the planet Beezo. Daniel’s mom said she wanted him to make new friends. This probably isn’t what she meant.
Join Daniel and his fantastic creatures on this fun-for-the-whole-family adventure as he discovers that friendship is the greatest magic of all . . . and that it can be found in the most unusual of places.
Ways You Can Help
~ Buy the book. If you have Amazon Prime, you can borrow it for free from the Lending Library. I've even enabled lending so you can let a friend borrow it for a couple of weeks at no charge.
~ Share the link to my book with your friends and loved ones. If you have a blog or some kind of following that would be receptive, share with your followers.
~ Leave a review on Amazon. Please be honest, and only leave a review if you or your child have read the book. My goal is to help future readers find a book they'll enjoy.
~ If you're on Goodreads, add Daniel the Draw-er to one of your shelves or post a review!
~ If you're on Twitter, follow me - @SunnyJHenderson
~ If you're on Facebook, "like" my Author Page
I'll write more about my experience creating and publishing "Daniel the Draw-er" in another blog post. For now, I wanted to say thank you for believing in this little bit of magic... and thank you for passing it on.
On July 22, 2011 I met Claire Darling for the very first time. At the time, Claire was an 18-year-old high school student by morning, horse trainer by every spare hour after that. She quickly became a friend of mine because she's sarcastic and self-deprecating, a good soul. Two-and-a-half years and three books later, she and I are pretty tight. I've fought for her to fall in love and I cried with her (over and over) when her heart was shattered into pieces. She's struggled and she's endured. She's no Super Woman, but that's why she's real. Well, real is a relative term, but you know what I mean.
Over the past couple of years, I've come to adore good guys Liam and Graham. I've loved to hate all those shady characters--Rayna, Rowan, and Maureen. Maybe you've found the strings of your emotions tugged by one or more of them, too. If that's true for you, then I thank you for investing yourself in my humble words.
There's so much I want to say, but so much I can't because I don't want to give anything away. That, and I'm so overwhelmed by the day that I don't know where to begin and where to end.
Maybe Liam says it best in the last paragraph I wrote today that brought the third and final novel to a close:
"With any luck, tomorrow his big heart will eclipse anything he lacks. At least, this is what I pray as I stare out at the stars strung in the deep blue. I want him to find his own place to belong, because I’ve found that place for myself, a home, and I’m homesick."
Like Liam, I've found a home in Hope Creek and I'm already homesick.
Thanks, guys, for everything you've given me. You'll never know what you've done for me.
I'm guilty of turning on an album and leaving it on repeat for days. Months, even. My husband hates this about me because he and I tend to have very opposite tastes in music (him: Anything Country. Me: Florence + the Machine, which is totally a genre, by the way!). Though it's not working at the moment, we had an iPod jack in our room where we could plug in our iPods or phones and play our music over speakers in the ceiling or on the porch.
At some point while Moe was sick, I turned on Right Away, Great Captain and left it on. I remember walking away from his still-warm but lifeless body on the grass and wandering back to the house wondering what could possibly be left without him. The only thing to do was crawl into bed in the middle of a sunny day and cry. Right Away, Great Captain crooned me to sleep on that horrible, beautiful day. I let it play on in the days to follow because it held Moe and I together, this thread of mournful music.
Tonight I'm getting ready to say good-bye to one of my characters and I don't want to because it's like letting my boy slip through my fingers again. My heart hurts and it feels right to play Right Away, Great Captain! again to pull myself back into the grief.
It's no more than two lines into the first song before I can see him stumbling and feel his slick neck against my cheek. The curl of dread tightens in my belly as I watch the vet check his pupils and slowed breathing over and over and over until he is satisfied and I know it's done. I'm broken, with pieces that will never go back together quite right.
Sixteen months and it surprises me how sharp the pain still is and how little it takes to bring me back to that good-bye. That is the power and wonder of art.
Oh. How will I ever do this?
Do you know joy? I do.
I hear it in the giggle of the girl bouncing along with her pony's trot.
Do you know joy? I do.
I see it in the grin of the man whose legs cannot move him, but his horse can.
Do you know joy? I do.
I feel it in the happy step of an animal connecting with their human.
Do you know joy? You should.
The random things that cross my mind go here...
All Rights Reserved, S. J. Henderson 2014