Emma and the Banderwigh | October 12 2015


In early 2014, Curiosity Quills (my publisher) put out a call for short story submissions to their [at the time] upcoming Chronology anthology. I figured I’d send something in, but I had too many ideas to decide on one. As those who know me will likely attest, I often have trouble making up my mind on multiple choice situations. So, I did the nuclear option: I wrote them all.

I wound up sending in about eight different stories for consideration, one of which was a short-story version of Emma and the Banderwigh. While waiting to hear back, I wound up sharing it with some people as Emma was my first attempt at middle grade fantasy (middle grade being intended for readers around 8-12 and up). One early reader, Tiffany, more or less grumbled at me that the story was too short and she wanted more.

The idea seemed to resonate with CQ, so I set about expanding the story. Originally, I got the idea for the Banderwigh while thinking up creatures to populate a fantasy roleplaying game I designed back in the 1990s. As luck would have it, the creature didn’t lend itself to the sort of stories that my group tended to play – being more of a story monster than a critter amenable to a party fond of combat. It existed, with all its lore, but didn’t much do anything until I got the idea for doing a middle grade story. The Banderwigh is a creature that preys upon the sadness of children and it offered a perfect ‘bad guy’ for a fantasy story aimed at that age group.

Meanwhile, due to the number of short stories I sent them, they got the idea to do an anthology of my short stories separately from theirs (Far Side of Promise, due out next year). The original short story form of Emma & the Banderwigh was in an early draft of this book. However, once I had a full-length novel, it bothered me to maintain two separate versions of the story.

I spent about a week mulling over if I wanted to come up with a replacement short story for the anthology or leave two versions of Emma. I tried to think of a replacement story, and kept circling back to an idea that would become the short Innocent Deception. (That one, I sent in to CQ as a ‘I want to replace the Emma short with this in the antho, what do you think’ situation – and they wound up choosing that one for their Chronology anthology too.

It felt a bit like coming within four inches of getting run over by a bus. I almost didn’t write it (to replace the Emma short) at all, and having that be the one they choose for their anthology was a O_o moment. (Granted, a thrilling O_o moment.)

Once I’d finished the Emma novel, I sent it to Tiffany as a beta reader. (Expanding the short to a novel was her suggestion after all). She shared it with her kids. A few days later, I hear that her then-four-year-old kept insisting that she check under the bed for “emery creepies” (emerald creepers). That made me smile for damn near a month, and I still think of that whenever I think of this book.

Emma & the Banderwigh is due out on October 12th, and I am quite excited for this book to finally become available to the public!

Please join me on Facebook on Monday 10/12 from 5-9pm Eastern time: here.

There are prizes to win including signed copies, ebooks, swag, and a few stuffed plush wolves. Feel free to share / invite anyone you like.

Also, enjoy a sneak peek of Chapter One: here.

Please add Emma & the Banderwigh to WTR on Goodreads

Click to enter the Goodreads giveaway for a paperback here

Cover Reveal | Emma and the Banderwigh


I’m thrilled to be able to reveal the cover for my upcoming middle-grade fantasy novel, Emma and the Banderwigh! Artist Chris Malidore did an amazing job capturing the mood of the story.

Awhile back, my publisher put out a call for submissions seeking short stories for the Chronology anthology. I had a lot of ideas and machine-gunned them with about 8. While coming up with ideas for short stories, I decided to try my hand at writing middle grade and came up with a smaller version of this story. Someone I had shared it with (whose daughter still checks under her bed for ’emery creepies’) told me the biggest problem was that the story was too short. After hearing that, I decided to novelize it.

It’s going to be a long eight months until this one comes out 🙂

(Probably around September, I may be looking for people willing to read pre-release ARCs and post reviews on Amazon.)

Ten-year-old Emma doesn’t believe in faerie tales or monsters that secret children away in the night–until she meets one.

She lives in a quiet village at the edge of Widowswood with her parents, her Nan, and her little brother, Tam. Ready to abandon the whimsy of childhood, she finds the boredom of chores comforting and Nan’s fanciful bedtime stories silly.

One morning, a wan and weary older girl staggers out of the woods and sets the entire town aflutter with whispers of a child-stealing monster lurking in the forest. Nan tells her of the Banderwigh: a dark soul who feeds on sorrow and drains the life from children’s tears.

Darkness comes calling on Emma’s happy home, threatening the reality to which she desperately clings. The impossible becomes more and more real, forcing Emma to reach inside herself for the ability to believe. Her family depends on it.

Add it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22005757-emma-and-the-banderwigh


#Books #Fantasy