I’m excited to be back this year entering my brand new, shiny middle grade fantasy, REVERIE.
A Bit About Me
Our family just moved from Wisconsin (Go Pack!) to Illinois. I work in education, and have spent 5 years as an elementary school teacher. I now work as an instructional coach, supporting teachers’ work in the areas of curriculum and instruction.
My husband and I have been married for 11 years, and have 3 children. Felicity is 6, August is 4, and Mary Charlotte is a year and a half. Mary is also like having 5 children in one. She is fearless!
I’ve been writing stories since I was in elementary school. I found some gems while packing for the move like The Necklace of Doom, along with a few others that took a dark turn. As an adult, I hope my writing is improving, though I still seem to cling to creepy tales.
I entered PitchWars last year with a (then) adult fantasy manuscript. I didn’t get chosen, but I made some wonderful writer friends and learned a ton. I followed along with some mentee homework on the feed, and I also had a very kind mentor give me some support outside the contest on revisions. It helped me improve so much over the past year. And while I still love my first manuscript, which is now YA, I am ready to take a break from it and see what can come out of REVERIE.
About My Story
For a long time, I’ve wanted to write a story inspired by my children, and some of their ideas and adventures. REVERIE is the first of what I hope are many stories inspired by them. It would be a dream come true if REVERIE became a real book by the time they will be old enough to read it. This story pulls on the relationship I see forming between my oldest daughter, and middle son. It also incorporates some of Felicity’s imaginative ideas into Reverie’s dream tents.
Here’s the Scoop on REVERIE:
It’s been three years since twelve-year-old Andrea’s little brother Francis disappeared. That night, she had soothed him back to sleep after a terrible nightmare with the childhood legend of The Sandman and his land of dreams called Reverie, a magical place where children can choose their own dreams. She had hoped it would send Francis into the dream he wanted most- a dream of their broken family put back together.
But now all Andrea is left with are memories of her brother, and her guilt about letting someone take him away while she slept. That is, until Reverie sets up its dreamlike circus in an abandoned field near her house. Desperately seeking any connection to Francis, Andrea enters inside Reverie’s gates, sampling its many delights and entering into a strange series of dreams, each tucked away inside a striped circus tent.
But when Andrea walks into Francis’ nightmare from their final night together, she realizes this is where he went when he disappeared. Or maybe, where he was taken. In order to find him and bring him home, Andrea must delve deep into the dark history of this seemingly enchanting land of dreams to learn what it will cost her to escape. Meanwhile, The Sandman will do his best to blur the line between dream and reality, and to convince her that Reverie, including Francis, is all in her head.
If Andrea succeeds in breaking free from Reverie’s circus-like prison, she will have the dream she’s wanted most ever since Francis disappeared: to get her brother back. But if she fails, she and Francis may never wake up at all.
It’s THE LABYRINTH meets THE NIGHT CIRCUS for MG. Other comps include an MG version of FULL TILT and THE HAZEL WOOD.
What Kind of Mentee I’ll Make
If my writer friends say one thing about me, it’s that I take feedback extremely well. After PitchWars last year, the mentor who had requested my full gave me enough information to know that I needed to rewrite my entire manuscript. I needed to learn about plot structure, and building scenes, and pacing, and getting close inside my character’s heads. It was a bit daunting, and I know I could have given up at that point. But I’m so proud of myself for digging in and working to learn those things I needed to learn so I could write a queryable (and hopefully publishable!) manuscript.
I love writing so much, and am always working hard on my craft. I love learning what is working and what isn’t working, and I also am so thankful for any opportunity to bounce ideas and brainstorm. I make time, even if kids are playing loud in the background, or if it’s in the quiet hours when everyone else is asleep. Sometimes it’s on a Saturday afternoon at Starbucks :). I am great with goal-setting and deadlines. And I am always ready and willing to learn and improve.
ISO: Writerly Friends
If you are a fellow hopeful and want to connect on a writerly level, please feel free to reach out! I haven’t been able to stalk the feed as much this year due to the move, but I am always looking to build on my network of CP’s, betas, or other writers who I can cheer on along the way.
Here’s a lil’ snippet from an early section of REVERIE:
Ugh. Andrea was so tired of everyone treating her like she was about to shatter. She wanted to be pushed to do hard things. Wanted to be told she wasn’t allowed to give up. Wanted to get in trouble like a normal kid when she let a bully get to her with his stupid, milk-breath words.
No one wanted to make Andrea feel bad, the sister who slept while her brother was taken away.
But if Andrea was really honest with herself, what she wanted most of all, was for someone to still think Francis was out there, somewhere, waiting to be found. But mostly people just went around acting like he was really, truly and forever, gone.
That’s why she looked for him still. If somehow she could make her brain remember what happened, find its way to any clue, somewhere in the house or in the forest. Something everyone else had missed. If she could just find him. Then maybe things would turn back to normal. Then everyone would know she had fixed it. Everyone would know it was because of her that Francis came home.
She pushed off her frustration, sinking the heels of her shoes heavy on the pedals until her thighs and calves burned. Then she pushed some more. The forest had only recently filled out again with leaves after a longer than usual Wisconsin winter. It shaded her path from the sun, that finally seemed to be remembering once again how to dispense heat. Up ahead would be a wide clearing, some long abandoned field that had overgrown with tall grass. On a normal day, she would take the path to the left, which would spit her out right next to her own back yard.
But a normal day, this was not.
Andrea skidded her bike to a fast stop as her nose caught a series of unfamiliar smells. She was used to the smells of the forest, from exploring them and biking through them for so many years. She was used to the scent of pine needles, and decaying leaves, and the soil after a rain.
But what greeted her now was an array of aroma that felt more like it belonged at a county fair instead of tucked in the woods. Cotton candy, cinnamon, nearly-burnt caramel and crisp, red apples. Fresh popped-corn. All swirled around her like a tendril, inviting her to continue forward, to find her way to the source. Andrea dismounted her bike and walked slowly forward, up a hill, and to the edge of the abandoned field.
But it wasn’t abandoned anymore. Andrea’s eyes grew wide and her mouth fell open as she took in what had filled this once empty space. She dropped her bike to the dirt.
A curling iron fence encircled the field. At the top of the fence, the tips of the posts flayed in every direction and a pointed star adorned the end of each, creating the effect of hundreds of star bursts.
The fence culminated in an equally impressive iron gate just next to where Andrea stood. The iron here also twisted into a pattern of stars, and one crescent moon, smiling like he kept a secret. Worked into the iron, over the gate in scrolling, glittering metal, was the word Reverie. And under it, in slightly smaller print: Land of Dreams.
Thanks so much for sticking with me and checking out my #BoostMyBio! Click here for the link to learn about the other awesome writers entering PitchWars this year.