I’ve been delinquent, blissfully delinquent. Three weeks ago I flew to Australia for a visit with some dear friends I hadn’t seen in six years. A week ago I flew to Thailand, to visit a country I hadn’t seen in nine years. Both have exceeded my every expectation. My delinquency? I promosed myself I’d outline two new stories while I was traveling and finish my latest book. Neither has happened. I’m actually forcing myself to start posting in the hope it will lead to some form of creativity.
In my defense, I’ve included a few pictures as an exclamation point on why I haven’t had the writer’s motivation. It’s not writer’s block, it’s writer’s insatiable appetite for ninety degree weather, eighty degree water, and the simple beauty of Thailand.
An update: March 14, 2015 – Thinking ahead, I’d made a reservation at a small hotel about one half mile away from the small, yet efficient airport. A crowd of languages pushed past three immigration stands where handsome Thai officers inspected passports and waved us through. A baggage belt sent children scurrying when it kicked into action only minutes later. This isn’t, I thought, anything like my first visit to Thailand, nine years ago, when porters pulled huge carts of bags into the terminal, some thirty minutes after arrival, if at all. I followed the green sign reading, Nothing To Declare, to outside the airport. A wave of sauna like heat pushed over me, some things don’t change. I expected to be assaulted by a throng of tuk-tuk drivers, but instead a small man in a white cap, inside a kiosk, called to me. I showed him the name of the hotel, and within seconds my bag and I were inside a new Toyota, speeding toward my nights sleep. Along a dusty road, blocks off the newly paved highway, the cabbie delivered me to the three story stucco building. He banged on the office door. A young man sleeping in the lobby hopped out, and carrying my bag, led me to my air conditioned room. Thailand, it seemed, had evolved.
What is Sammy and The San Juan Express? As a critique partner put it, “A young adult, middle grade novel about an orphan girl.”
The elevator pitch on the back of my business card: Thirteen year old Sammy is faced with her mother’s death, a drunken father, and being shipped off to live with her uncle, a bush pilot in the San Juan Islands. In two enlightening weeks she saves a sea lion, uncovers a plot to kill seals, is kidnapped to be murdered, and discovers her hidden gift. Only her strength, courage, wits, and a little help from her friends above and below water, determines whether she dies or lives to enjoy her new found power.
In parallel to blogging about creating my young adult/middle grade novel, Sammy and The San Juan Express, I will be blogging about my current writing activity—which is, creating an agent query letter. Kapow! It’s done. Not without grinding of teeth and cursing at critique groups comments (Not to worry, I’m most appreciative). But, three week into summarizing a 65,000 word adventure novel into three short paragraphs (266 words), many readings and many revisions, it’s ready to be sent out.
Now to compile a list of YA/MG agents, customize my email for each agent, and send them out. Nervous? Yes. Sweaty palms? Not yet, but I’m sure I will be when I push the send button.
Yet another domain (www.nickolaivasilieff.com). I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and I’m slowly builidng my platform for both freelance business writing and the release of my upcoming YA novel—Sammy and The San Juan Express. The latest addition—a new domain name. Why isn’t this easier? I’ll keep you posted and maybe we can figure this out together.
Samantha (Sammy) Carlisle’s world is turned upside down with the traumatic death of her mother. Her father, a gulf war veteran, is lost in anger and alcoholism. At thirteen Sammy is alone, frightened and abandoned. In her most desperate moment, she and her seven year old brother are sent to live with their Uncle Teddy, a bush pilot, in the San Juan Islands. The adventure begins.
Just two weeks in the Islands and Sammy’s world transforms from absolute grief to an awakening that leads to a fight for survival and if she succeeds, finding herself.
Along the way she meets a federal agent who in her words, “looks like a female Indiana Jones,” she meets a pathologist from the National Animal Crime Scene Investigation unit, meets a woman who, through experiencing a similar loss, becomes a sister, and encounters a marine biologist whose southern drawl carries Sammy to the realization that she can do anything.
Most importantly, Sammy discovers a special sensitivity to animals that opens doors to a new world. “You’re special,” her mother told her, and she now learns just how special she is.
Sammy also finds plenty of trouble along the way. “There are pirates in these waters,” Uncle Teddy told her, and she soon learns how dangerous modern day pirates can be. Thugs and killers might have been a better description. Whether she lives or dies depends on her wits and courage, and on the new family she’s gathered around her.
High adventure on the high-seas of the San Juan Islands. A must read for any eight to fourteen year old.