Friday, May 22, 2015

And Black String is on its way

After about three months of rewriting, my next manuscript is (hopefully) done. BLACK STRING is about two years in the making, so far.

For fans of The Tilting House, BLACK STRING is very much in that style. It's a middle reader novel, meaning it's aimed at the tween age range. It's set in Tacoma. It's full of mystery, magic, and suspense.

The main characters of BLACK STRING are:

Marcus - a seventh grade boy whose archeologist father disappeared five years earlier.
Aster - a new girl at school. She's smart, bold, but has a secret that makes her sad. Did I mention she's from Ethiopia?
Lucas - Marcus' younger brother - fearless and a bit of a brawler. He's addicted to Junior Mints.
Jannie - Marcus little sister. She's obsessed with cats and Leonardo da Vinci. She doesn't say much, but may be smarter than anyone.
McLean - the mysterious madman who moves into the tree in Marcus' front yard.

The setup:

It's been five years since Marcus' father disappeared from an archeological dig. The family has finally put itself back together. Marcus is struggling through seventh grade. At the end of one particularly lousy day, a package arrives in the mail. It's a simple ball of black string.

As soon as the string arrives, Marcus' life turns upside down. His house begins to glow. A crazy man moves into the tree in his front yard. And strange clues about his father's disappearance begin to build one one another.

Who sent the string? What's the meaning of all these bizarre events? And why would such a simple delivery cause such complete chaos?

My agent, the esteemed Abigail Samoun said a few words about this manuscript that make me both hopeful and nervous: "If we get this right, I think this could be a big breakthrough book for you." I've spent the last three months following her editing advice and hope we've gotten it right. In her most recent email, she said she hopes "to pitch it in NYC when I’m there at the beginning of June."

So tie a string and cross your fingers. I like this one. The nervous side of me says it may not go. But the hopeful side thinks it's got potential.

Friday, April 24, 2015


I'm working on a kids' novel called Black String. I've spent about three weeks doing major edits, based on the direction of my agent, the esteemed Abigail Samoun. Today when I opened the Word doc, the file was corrupted. I've been trying with no luck to restore it, rescue it, something. 

I am astonishingly frustrated. Is it time to abandon Word for Google Docs? 

Bleah. I feel pretty unmotivated right now. 

Friday, April 3, 2015


Just came back from a short vacation in Vancouver, BC. It's a wonderful city. My wife, Deb, and my four kids and I explored a lot of it. Line most of our vacations, we drove each other crazy, but had a (mostly) great time together. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Preview page for The Shadow of Seth

The good folks at Poisoned Pen Press have a preview page for The Shadow of Seth and it's lovely cover, designed by my dear friend Lance Kagey.

The book is coming out in August of this year--2015.

I didn't write the  back cover description. Publishers don't like it when you butt into that part of their business. But they did a good job here. It says:

Sixteen-year-old Seth Anomundy is a product of his environment: in this case, Tacoma, Washington. What L.A. was to Chandler, Tacoma—a working-class port city now undergoing urban renewal—is to author Tom Llewellyn.
Seth has grown up in Tacoma’s tough neighborhoods, where he’s perfectly at home in Choo-Choo’s boxing gym and Miss Irene’s soul food palace, the Shotgun Shack. With his mom working nights as a cleaner, Seth goes to high school, gets decent grades, and makes money where he can: filling in as cook at the Shotgun Shack, working as a sparring partner, and running errands for Nadel, the clock repairman. Life is hand-to-mouth, but okay—until he gets the news that his mother has been killed.
The police don’t care about the death of just another drug addict, so a bewildered Seth takes it upon himself to find the killer. On a clock delivery run, he meets a beautiful rich girl named Azura Lear, who encourages Seth and tries to help track down the killer. But instead of finding answers, Seth finds only trouble. He faces down a gang of baseball-bat-wielding high school jocks and deals with the contempt of Azura’s suspicious father. And then there’s King George—a teenage thug Seth has previously managed to avoid—who has for some reason let it be known that he wants Seth dead. Right now.