CRICKET SCARLING and THE ISLE OF APPLE
CRICKET SCARLING, is a middle-grade, portal fantasy adventure featuring 11-year-old Cricket who has the ability to see a person's secrets and lies with just a touch of their hands. This story explores the concept of family in its many shapes, sizes, and flavors, as Cricket leaves her comfortable 1950s Fifth Avenue home in search of her missing friend, her only friend, the shadow who lives in her closet, Mister Inkpen. That search leads her to a forgotten island where magic still exists and children are being hunted by a carnivorous flock of blackbirds. Cricket takes the fortuneteller position with a traveling carnival reminiscent of those in the Dust Bowl era in hopes of finding Mister Inkpen. What she discovers instead is the family she hadn't known she wanted and the home she hadn't even known existed.
This 80,000+-word manuscript is in final revisions and currently under a "first right of refusal" agreement with an agent.
MARLY BONES is a middle-grade, magic realism story that tackles the inescapable life lesson that there are some things that cannot be undone no matter how unfair they might be. Twelve-year old Marly was abandoned with her grandparents when she was just three years old. No one has ever heard from her mother since. Marly's grandmother "Chick" is tough as nails and her grandfather hasn't spoken a word in almost a decade, so Marly is left to figure out life with the help of oft-drunk but well-meaning Uncle Davis and her best friend Fed whose Mexican-American family lives on the same property as the Boneses. It isn't until a teenage boy is killed on a neighboring ranch that the truth about what happened to Marly's mother comes to light.
This novel is based on a real-life tragedy - the murder of Esequiel Hernandez, Jr. by U.S. Marines in Redford, Texas, in 1997 - and was inspired by my own childhood growing up in the borderlands. The story draws heavily from personal accounts of Esequiel's murder. It also incorporates fantasy elements drawn from the legend and lore of the borderlands, which I studied extensively as part of my MFA thesis on the history of borderland literature and mythology.
MARLY BONES is in partial draft form. I am currently playing with a major revision that would covert the manuscript to a novel in verse.