New Novel: Joint Custody

Started a new book!  The working title is Joint Custody.

Genre: Kids’ fiction (middle reader/realistic fiction).

Length: 5 chapters/62 pages/~18,500 words.

Status: In progress/on hold/back burner.

Tag line: “Mom’s house” or “Dad’s house.” Where’s “my house”?

Keywords: KIDS’ FICTION: Juvenile, school, divorce, family issues, animal rights.

Protagonist: Bainbridge Kavin Cassidy (“Bay”).

POV: First person, present tense.

About:

I started writing Joint Custody after a long string of reading Newbery Award-winning books that disappointed me. I heard myself saying “I could do better than THAT!” several times before it struck me that if that was the case, I should do so. Joint Custody is the result. I figured it needed to address a relevant issue for children these days, so I picked divorce. But it also needed to be unique, and if anything, Bay is unique. When I finally finish this book, I hope many kids will relate to him. This is aimed at upper elementary school kids.

This book catalogs the mental wanderings of a confused kid called Bay. It reads a bit like stream-of-consciousness, but in his roundabout way, he really is saying something and making observations. Bay’s parents split up when he was very young, and now he feels as though he has no home. He is either at “Mom’s house” or “Dad’s house.” Bay is kinda thinky for an eleven-year-old, and he shares his philosophical ponderings about roadkill, conformity, having two houses, and the mysterious girl named Marz who’s always taking his picture. First-person present-tense story about a kid who thinks a little differently and just wants to know where home is.

Completed New Short Story: “The Curse”

Finished a new short story called “The Curse.”  This one’s a very peculiar story and it’s on the long side—about 10,000 words.  Speculative fiction, coming of age.

Half of the story is dedicated to detailing the effects of “the Curse,” a change that suddenly and without warning or explanation was visited upon everyone on the planet. Suddenly everyone’s vision has shifted to include other input.

The progression of humanity’s acceptance of the Curse is one plot, and the activities of Balthazar—Zarry to his friends—make up the other plot, interspersed with the first in a switching pattern. Zarry’s mission is to remove the Curse from mankind, which ultimately involves his intellectual battle with the Keeper of the Sight.

It’s really more of a commentary on human nature than anything else, but I dunno who’s gonna get it.  I’ll see if any magazines want it.

Completed New Short Story: “Uncle Avery’s Garden”

Finished a new short story called “Uncle Avery’s Garden.”  It’s actually on the short side, at about 1,400 words.  Sentimental fiction.

A college girl debates over whether to spend her hundred-dollar bill that was given to her as a child by her departed Uncle Avery. She wonders whether it will be disrespectful to do so, even though she really needs the money, because she promised not to and has managed to hold out so long. A dream she has helps her clarify the importance of the gift.

Probably will not try to publish this.  I think it’s kinda sappy. But maybe someone will think it’s also kinda sweet?

 

Completed New Short Story: “The Escape”

Finished a new short story called “The Escape.”  It’s about 85% autobiographical—realistic fiction about childhood, about 3,000 words.

Kelly is disturbed by the idea of growing up. Her friends’ eagerness to act more adult bothers her, and she reminisces in a bowling alley about their past together and how she’d rather move across the country (which she will be doing) and totally lose touch with them than have to see them grow up.

Probably won’t be looking for a place to publish this, but I had to get it out.

Completed New Short Story: “Bloom”

Finished a new short story called “Bloom.”  It’s really long, though, more of a novella.  About 20,000 words, YA coming-of-age fantasy, first person/present tense.

Kamber is concerned about her inability to make her doll dance, which is a sign of becoming mature in the Kinfolk culture. She does not know what to do to make this doll dance, and the only two girls who are Kin from her school make fun of her because she hasn’t done it yet. Because of this abuse and the fact that another girl, Joanne, shows interest in learning about her, she stops eating lunch with them.

Through the story she learns to harness her natural energy, a Goddess-given gift, to demonstrate magical abilities such as calling butterflies and controlling fire and wind. Unfortunately she seems to be demonstrating competence in the so-called “male” elements rather than the “female” elements of earth and water. This and the fact that her doll hasn’t danced are distressing to her, and she attempts to find enlightenment through talking to her grandmother, talking to Joanne, and soul-searching while talking to her Goddess.

She feels like a failure until her grandmother picks up on signs that she has not noticed that show Kamber is growing up. She is given a very important role in a festival for Bloom Day and finds she has much more potential than she thought—and that it has nothing to do with whether she can make a doll dance.

Maybe one day this will be a novel, since there’s no way in heck I’m going to have an easy time finding a magazine that’d want something this long?

Completed New Short Story: “Protector Cat”

Finished a new short story called “Protector Cat.”  Sort of surreal fiction, at about 2,500 words.  Science fiction, experimental fiction, something.

Cat lives in a sort of communal building with his gang. He has no idea how he got to be living there, why he lives there, or even who he lives with. He has problems with his memory; he doesn’t seem to be able to remember even things that happened just a few minutes ago, much less hours or days. It makes his life sort of a moment-to-moment experience, and his one comfort is his girlfriend Bonne, whom he remembers more vividly than anyone else. Cat also seems to have some kind of ability or special power but he is unaware of what it is. He uses it to protect his gang but doesn’t know what it is he is doing to be “special.” This story is just a typical day in his life.

The story has a lot of foul language and a sort of meandering style of storytelling, but maybe it’s publishable.  I based it on a weird dream I had.

Completed New Short Story: “Baby Talk”

Finished a new short story called “Baby Talk.”  Shortest story I’ve ever written, at 650 words.

A baby plays with “baby toys” while wishing she was allowed to play with her mother’s “toy,” the telephone. Basic record of her thought process as she tries to tell her mother she wants to play with the phone instead of her own toys.  Inspired by my child development class.

Julie Sondra Decker’s Official Site

Thanks for visiting!  I’m Julie Sondra Decker, author of fantasy, speculative fiction, and young adult novels.  I use this site to provide information about my work, blog about writing and publishing, give and get advice, distribute my latest news, and chronicle all the ups and downs of being a writer.

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