Further Up and Further In

Yes, that’s a shameless Narnia quote. But this is no “Last Battle”. Instead, this is likely just a new beginning.

Greetings all! In my last blog post I promised that my next post would be “soon”, where soon was defined as less than 8 months away. Well, it’s been 6 months, so I suppose this post represents a Pyrrhic victory. But it’s a victory nonetheless.

First, the agent update. As of this post I am no longer represented by Jessica Schmeidler of Golden Wheat Literary. I still hold Jessica and her team in the absolute highest regard, but over time (and after much prayer) it became clear to me that I needed to move in a different direction for agent representation. I am therefore back in the hunt for a literary agent, which is a scary prospect given how long it took me the first time. But I must be as brave as my main characters and set off on the next leg of my writing adventure.

Second, I have completed a new Middle Grade (MG) novel! The http://www.KevinEJackson.com website now features new pages for THE MAGIC STONES OF MIDNIGHT KEEP, the second entry in “The Magic Stones” collection. As with the first book, THE MAGIC STONES OF LAKESDAWN CASTLE, the new book takes place in the same areas of the Known Land as THE PROVING and there is at least one cameo appearance by characters in The Proving Trilogy. Just as when I wrote Lakesdawn Castle, writing THE MAGIC STONES OF MIDNIGHT KEEP was an extremely fast-paced and exciting event. It clocks in at around 49K words and – including a first draft re-write – was complete in less than 30 days. Some books just write themselves! Here’s the blurb for the new book.

Twelve-year-old Aril’s parents, teachers, and even the General in charge of Midnight Keep always warned about the desert’s dangers. But Aril loved adventure despite her parents’ desire for her to become a scholar like them. Besides, decades of peace continued between Aril’s home country Touran and the barbaric Dramini Warriors who lived far away among the dunes. What’s the worst that could happen while sneaking out to explore the ocean of sand?

Dramini scouts kidnapping Aril’s friends and the General herself, that’s what!

The night of the terrifying attack, Aril finds a pair of mysterious magic stones that give her amazing powers. With the help of the stones, she treks into the heart of the desert to find her friends. But instead Aril discovers rivers of magically flowing sand, strange villages and creatures, and a pair of evil sorcerers planning to destroy all she holds dear.

In the end, it will take all of Aril’s courage, her new-found magic, and the help of surprising new companions to unravel the desert’s endless secrets, save those she loves, and learn the truth about her destiny.

If you are a MG reader of any age and would like to read-and-critique THE MAGIC STONES OF MIDNIGHT KEEP, please let me know. I am a huge fan of critical reviews… all they do is improve the final product. Be warned, however… the book does not standalone. THE MAGIC STONES OF LAKESDAWN CASTLE is a prerequisite. Check out the new book and read chapter 1 at THIS LINK.

Finally, an update on the long-awaited YA sequel. I am making progress on the first draft of THE COUNCIL OF LORDS, book 2 of The Proving trilogy. Most interestingly, the events and characters that came to light within the two MG novels have directly improved the plot of THE COUNCIL OF LORDS (TCoL). More specifically (and spoiler alert!), both of the main characters in the MG novels appear in TCoL with significant roles and impacts. This has the “tie-in” feature between the two series rising to a whole new level, one that I have not personally seen done before in YA-MG crossover books. I imagine readers as young as 8-10 enjoying The Magic Stones collection then learning a few years later that there are pre-teen-and-older books set in the same world that continue the adventure. Similarly, YA readers of all ages will find interesting clues and Easter eggs about The Proving trilogy and the greater Tome of Pasaron books by reading the Magic Stones collection. I find this idea very compelling, and yes, I am biased. But my hope is that an agent and acquiring editor out there will soon share my vision. TCoL is up to 40K words now, with a target length of 90-100K words by the completion of the first draft this fall.

That’s all for now, friends. Thanks for reading.

~Kevin

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