Friday, May 3, 2019

Back in the Saddle: New Releases and Querying Again

Phew! After two crazy back-to-back semesters of university life, I am happy to be taking the summer off from my studies. Next Fall 2019, I'll be back at BYU, diving straight into my new major, NEUROSCIENCE! To be honest, I'm feeling totally Hermione about it. 

The Hermione we love, doing advanced magic in the girls room.

I already bought my textbook for Neurobiology and, I kid you not, all the reviews on Amazon are raving about this textbook. Apparently, it's a real page-turner! It's called Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain, 4th Edition, in case you want to pick it up for a bit of light reading...

Books on my desk right now... all the light reading you could wish for

I know you're dying to know what I'm up to now that school's out for the summer! Well, aside from pre-reading my Neuroscience textbook for fun, I'm writing again.

Phew again! I have missed this!

I recently published my first adult self-help/inspirational book, The Healing Bucket: How to Invite the Power of Intentional Growth into Your Life this Year! It's available as an ebook wherever ebooks are sold, and in paperback through Amazon. The audiobook will be available later this year.

A Christian inspirational journaling aid

This past winter I hired an incredible voice actor, Jay Spaulding, to narrate Drats, Foiled Again!, my first middle grade superhero novel. He did an enviable job! Seriously, I wish I could do voices half as well as he does. We've listened to him perform my characters half a dozen times already!

The most adventurous audiobook ever, fun for the whole family!

My sweet little almost-seven-year-old thinks audiobooks are an automatic thing. As I've been working on finishing up Bombs Away!, the evil twin's version of the story, I read a little bit of Chapter 1 to my three oldest kids. The seven-year-old didn't mind my reading too much... "But," he asked, "can I listen to this book tonight on your phone?"

What do you think, Jay? Want to read my kids to sleep from an unpublished manuscript? You're not too busy for that, right? Right?

My kids are totally into audiobooks. The donation I received to allow me to hire Jay is definitely my biggest blessing all year. It has been surreal to hear my story retold in such a dynamic, living way. I'm grateful--through the roof grateful--for the opportunity.

Bombs Away! will be available digitally in June 2019, and in paperback about a month later. So long as Jay agrees to voice it, and I wouldn't have it any other way, you can expect that to happen (hopefully, fingers crossed) by the end of 2019.

Pre-order here

Since the name of this series is The Drats Universe, people have asked me just how many installments they can expect. Well, the truth is I'm not sure yet. I know for sure there will be at least three books because I have another plot cooking right now in the back of my brain. (It gets hot in there!) 

My Van-Gogh-inspired rendition of the active brain: Alive and Awake

The uncertainty comes about mainly because of time constraints. I'm officially a junior at my university, so there's really only a couple years left of material for me to learn before I earn my bachelor's degree. 


Since I am the doting mother of five children whose education and upbringing is my number one priority, I will only be able to attend classes/labs part-time. 

BYU Eyring Science Center
The Neuroscience Center is on the bottom floor

Therefore, what could take two years will likely take four. The good news is that my oldest will be dipping his toes into the AP testing universe, so the fact that I'm taking all these science and math courses now will enable me to be a killer (I mean, not killer because we don't kill in our family) AP tutor.

No killing. Srsly.

Writing again for the middle grade audience is like coming back to my childhood playground and finding the swings empty and waiting. I am enjoying it immensely!

However, that part of me that is brimming with picture book ideas is still alive and well, too. So today I sent my first query letter in years! I sent it to a children's book publisher with whom I would absolutely love to work! I can't divulge too much about the picture book project, but it's about dragons and it draws on what I've been studying about neuroscience and behavior as I prepare to enter the program at the Y. All the studies that have been done on how to manipulate your own biochemistry and maintain a peaceful, productive mental and emotional state really need to be made available to children and families in ways they can understand and use. The family is where children receive their first instruction in emotion management. If parents never learned effective emotional management techniques, then the automatic dysfunctional habits they learned from their parents end up being passed along to the rising generation. 

The boys helping me pick up my St. George Marathon packet - 2018

As a mother, I speak from experience. Kicking my own bad habits and teaching effective emotional management is a personal mission for me in my own family. They say this generation deals with more anxiety and depression than any generation before it. There's much work to be done, and I believe we can usher in an era of optimism and health when people who care work together to raise awareness and teach mental hygiene skills.

As I continue to learn, I hope I'll have opportunities to share the useful tips and tricks of the trade with readers everywhere! That's the dream!

Tell me, what are your dreams and projects this year?