What I Write

Every year around my birthday (August 11th), I try to write a self-reflective, personal post for the blog. This year, I decided to take a step of courage and talk more in-depth about my current writing projects–something that is, surprisingly, difficult for me.

I was on the fence about doing this because I didn’t want to be selfish or self-glorifying. I also go through periodic struggles with insecurity about my writing, especially since publishing Our Company of Fools, which was MUCH scarier than I anticipated. But if I truly believe that my writing is meant to be shared with others, then I think the greater error would be to hide it and keep it all to myself. Also, lately, I’ve genuinely felt excited about sharing my characters and stories with the world, and a huge motivator for me in this current season of writing is getting my work done and published so I can share it with others. I’ve never felt that before, at least not to this extent.

Keep in mind: everything I share is subject to change until it is published. I’ve often changed my mind and changed directions, and revisions may happen late in the editing process.

So, without further ado, let me share a preview of what projects I’m currently working on:

Whitman Court: If you’ve been following along with my writing updates over the past few months or years, you’ll know that this series is an intensely active project of mine and will likely be my next published project. What started as a single draft has now exploded into a series, all about a group of neighborhood kids who go on spectacular adventures powered by a magical crown discovered by Melody Evergreen, newest kid to the culdesac. I’ve mostly focused on book one, The Queen of Whitman Court, and the best way I can explain it is through my pitch for the book:

Though it might be impossible for one child to rule all of Imagination, it certainly doesn’t stop Melody Evergreen, age 9, from trying. But Melody’s not the only one who wants the honor—Cadence Maple wants the crown for herself.

When Melody Evergreen moves to the neighborhood, she isn’t interested in making friends. She knows she’ll only have to say good-bye to them when her family inevitably moves away in a year or two, and she’d rather not go through that pain again. However, when she discovers a magic crown in her backyard, she can’t help but use it to create an imaginary kingdom to play in with her brother and the four other families of Whitman Court. As Melody and her citizens explore their new kingdom together, Cadence and her own lackeys (that is, her younger siblings) work in the shadows, trying to find a way to steal Melody’s crown. If Cadence succeeds in getting the crown, she would destroy everything Melody created and rule Whitman Court with an iron fist once again.

And that’s just the beginning! I hope this book will launch several others. I have roughly twelve books planned (including this one), as many characters deserve their own stories and chance to shine, plus I have a lot of concepts for adventures that fit well into this world.

I’m planning to go more in depth behind the inspiration for this series in two weeks, so stay tuned for that post on where this story came from!

The Myth-Keepers: This series has the distinction of being my oldest consistently active project. What started as a kid spy series (titled Team Mission) eventually evolved into the modern fantasy epic that could be described as Lord of the Rings meets Avatar: The Last Airbender set on Earth, 2010s. The hope is for this series to tell a multi-generational story spanning 8-10 books, but my primary focus at the moment is on Zeke Eretan’s four book arc.

Zeke is a young teen longing to prove himself to his Aunt Cree, and when she’s kidnapped by a mysterious cult known as the Sistren, it seems like the perfect opportunity to be the hero. Only–Zeke’s never been outside his hidden homeland, a Rock-Speaker raised among his own people, and knows next to nothing about Ordos and their world outside the Fairydust-protected valley he lives in. With the help of his best friends–twins Matt and DJ–and an Elf warrior exiled from her home, Zeke sets out on the quest of a lifetime.

This series has existed since 2009 and, naturally, has evolved a lot over the years. I’ve lost count of how many reimaginings the story has gone through. In many ways, rewriting the first book has felt like writing a reboot. (In fact, I recently had a fleeting panic moment as I worried: “But if I change that plot point, the fans will be disappointed!” only to remember that it’s me, I’m the only fan, because I’m the only one who’s ever known the full story. Ha!) It’s a fun but weird challenge to work with this story, as there’s a lot of lore and characters who have stayed consistent over the years (as well as some that have completely changed). I’m perhaps most anxious to share this story with the world. It’s been on my heart for a while, and this most recent revision of the overall story has some incredible thematic elements that I can only credit the Lord giving me.

Currently, I’m revising my outdated world-building and character notes as I work on the rough draft of the rewritten first book, with the placeholder title Enter Destiny. I may just keep writing the four-book arc, as I have a clear idea of where the story will go. I’m not quite sure how to balance working on this project with Whitman Court, but it’s a good project to work on while I pitch The Queen of Whitman Court.

Nephilim: For those of you who have been around for a while, this is the tentative series title for the “Unnamed Fantasy Series” I talked so much about way back in Spring 2019. This project has stalled and started many times, and I’m still working out how the story should go. It is very much on the backburner, but often on my mind as I continue to jot down scattered snippets of plot ideas and dialogue. The series has my favorite world idea and most of my favorite characters I’ve created. It will likely explore a few weightier (but important) themes compared to my other works.

For now, what I can tell you about the story is this: it’s about a conflict between the Celestrions, a powerful race who live among the stars, and the Nephilim, who are part-human, part-Celestrion. There’s plenty of action, a unique magic system, immortal (or quasi-immortal) beings, and complicated family dynamics. It’s a bit of a darker story, and one that focuses on themes of grief, truth, and familial love. I’m anticipating at least six books for this one.

This project is slightly more daunting than my other ones, and a story I want to write carefully because of its thematic and character arcs. For that reason, I’m keeping it on hold while I continue to grow personally and professionally. I want to be a more seasoned writer before I tackle this project, because I believe the ideas and stories of the series need a more experienced hand to write and craft well. Nephilim is a project near and dear to my heart, but one that I’m not quite ready to write in this season.

Random Ideas Still Brewing:

Whitman Court, The Myth-Keepers, and Nephilim are my “Big Three” projects, the ones I feel most passionately about and must write, Lord willing. But there are a few other ideas for standalone books or smaller series that I may pursue eventually and don’t mind sharing some details about now.

First, I want to address the “secret project” I teased back in April. Imagine if Hogwarts alumni had the chance to go on to a Wizarding University. If Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits attended the University of Gondor. If the great wizard Merlin was the President of Camelot University. Those images set the stage for this project: a collection of fantasy short stories set at mythical and magical colleges and universities across the realms. Now, obviously it would be copyright infringement if I actually wrote about Hogwarts State University or Middle-earth Community College, but I think it illustrates what I’m going for: mythical creatures studying magic and other fantasy arts at the collegiate level. Short stories are something I’ve dabbled in from time to time, and I wanted to write a story or stories about a Fantasy University. I’ve worked as a college administrator for a few years now and have a master’s degree in higher education, so I’ve seen quite a few quirks of higher ed that sparked story ideas or that I thought it would be fun to satirize. So, I just started writing short stories of these ideas for fun. Though I did want to work on a collection for a 2023 release, it’s since been sidelined by my increased interest in The Myth-Keepers. I may come back to it, or I may not. Maybe I’ll put the stories on my blog just for fun. Not sure yet.

Another big idea that may take off: I’m contemplating an Our Company of Fools spin-off. Why spin-off? I have a lot of unused story and world ideas from the cut Fools sequel, but Leah’s story would’ve taken a dramatic shift if I decided to write said sequel as planned–hence why it was ultimately cut. However, I’m still interested in writing a human-demon conflict set in a dream world using those scrapped sequel ideas. I have an idea for an alternate main character and, if I were to write it, I’d probably want the original Fools cast to cameo. I think it would be a trilogy, and I think it would be a fun way to recycle those cut ideas. But we’ll see!

I have a few other scattered concepts that are less coherent, too. A comedic time travel novel. I would like to write a Viking story someday. I’d like to write musicals, too, one about the Whitman Court series and another that would be a romcom about a brother and sister who try to set the other up. And, most ambitious of all, I’d have a blast trying to write a crossover story with all of my stories. I intend to plant Easter Eggs about Nephilim in The Myth-Keepers and vice versa, as I see all of my stories taking place in the same world. An actual crossover story may never happen, of course, but I do have fun thinking about it sometimes. So who knows? Ideas are fun to chase, but I’m pretty locked in with Whitman Court, The Myth-Keepers, and Nephilim at the moment, and that’s been pretty steady for some time. (However, disruptions to my writing plans do happen–like Our Company of Fools, the book that came to me suddenly one day and was fully written a month later.)

Now you know a little more about me and what I write! If you have questions about any of these stories, feel free to ask. I can’t guarantee an answer, but I’m happy to answer any non-spoiler questions you might have right now.

And tell me about your stories! I’d love to hear about what stories you’re working on, too, so we can cheer each other on!

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