Writing Plans for 2022
With the fun and adventure of the past two years, I have enjoyed working on several new projects. The challenge I’ve made for myself this year is to publish at least two books. And those are…
The Heiress and the Beanstalk
I have been working on the Heiress and the Beanstalk since 2019. I sent it out to beta readers in early 2021, with the hopes to finish editing and publishing it last year. However, the feedback I received was less enthusiastic than I hoped, so I have worked on it in between other projects in the past year, unstitching a few pieces here and there and replacing them with better pieces. I’m almost done with an updated draft and hope to have this screwball comedy adventure in the world of Pippington ready by the end of the year.
Hopefully, the insane amount of travel I have in the next five months will give me time for that…
The Heiress and The Beanstalk follows our heroine, Gwendolyn Lee, only wishes to borrow money to attend school and study botany. However, the bank denies her a loan, her parents refuse to help, and she is left turning to The Fairy Godmother Society for help. With the Society’s help, Gwen fakes her own kidnapping to try to get her dowry. Soon she is in far over her head, swept away in an adventure with magic, danger, and a dashing young police officer named Jack Kingston, who is there to either arrest or rescue her.
Here’s a Preview
Motorcars passed, kicking up mud as Gwendolyn Seo-Yeon Lee sat on a bench next to Porter Bank on Carter Avenue, the main boulevard of Pippington. Her tears washed off the remaining powder on her cheeks as the spring rain dodged around her parasol and dripped on her. She watched the ink smear across the loan application before she shoved it in her handbag, letting the paper crumple.
After visiting three banks in one morning to ask for a loan for enrolling in the city’s university, all she had gained were a few ink stains, a wet dress, and lost hope.
She rested her elbows on her knees, not caring how improper it made her posture. A sprig of a plant rose within a crack in the walkway in front of her. The leaves trembled in the wind, rain splashing on the plant. A man walked by and his shoe crushed the sprig, his step as heavy as the red stamp marking the bank papers.
She rose from the bench and crouched beside the frail plant. Most would see it as a weed and toss it away. Such a thing of potential beauty deserved better.
Glancing down the busy street, she cupped her gloved hands around the broken stem. No one was paying attention to her in her green-striped dress. She hummed quietly, her heart warming as light glowed along the stem. A nervousness pricked at the back of her neck as she prayed no one noticed her sending energy into the plant.
As a child, she had believed this energy was magic until she had shown her mother. The woman had screamed and dashed to take Gwen to the doctor. After much prodding and too many tests, the diagnosis of Septorim’s Disease came. It was a rare illness, which led to terrible seizures on her birthdays where waves of energy shot through her, powerful enough to send furniture flying.
Now that she was twenty-one, she had better control. Leaning down, she breathed on the plant with its frail stem and crumpled leaves. Light glowed within it. She could almost feel its fibers binding together as the plant straightened. Wishing she could place it somewhere safer, she formed the shape of a dome with her hand. She hummed and a shimmering light followed the curve of her palm, protecting the plant. The energy would only hold a few hours. Hopefully, that was enough to let the plant survive.
Gwyn picked up her handbag and rose. She nearly jumped as she found a woman standing close and watching her, holding an umbrella out to protect Gwyn. The woman had the confidence of being in her prime, her light-blue dress holding a quiet elegance. Somehow, the rain didn’t seem to touch this dark-blonde stranger.
“Some might see such things as a weed,” the woman said, “but we can see the flower it might become, can’t we?”
The woman’s gray-blue eyes kept hold of Gwen’s and she couldn’t bring herself to look away.
“Let me help.” The woman sang out a soft note and breathed on her hand. She waved her fingers as if scattering seeds and sparks of blue light circled before forming another shield around the weed and disappearing.
Gwen’s heart quickened. This woman had the same energy Gwen did. She had never met anyone before who did, nor who would use it so openly.
“Ms. Winter.” The stranger held out a business card. “Of the Fairy Godmother Society
Gwen took the card and stared at the gold embossed lettering. This did not feel real. Looking to the woman, she whispered, “You have Septorim’s Disease too?”
Ms. Winter winked. “What disease?”
Gwen frowned and looked back at the card. In stories, fairy godmothers fixed troubles with their magic. Even if magic were real, she doubted it could get her the thousands of macs she needed to attend university. She had already tried asking her parents. Her stomach felt sick as she saw herself standing in her father’s study, showing her acceptance letter and asking to go just as her brother had. Her father tore up the letter and pronounced, “The university is no place for my daughter.”
Her mother had tried to soften it with, “Perhaps you can take more gardening classes once you are married.”
It would take more than magic to persuade her parents that Gwen could do more than become the wife of some heir to a fortune. Such a life seemed enough for her sister but wasn’t nearly enough for her.
“We of the Fairy Godmother Society pride ourselves on granting wishes in the modern era.” Ms. Winter held out a handkerchief. “I try to keep an eye out for young women who deserve to gain their dreams. Perhaps I could help you just as you helped the plant?”
Gwen pushed away the handkerchief and forced a smile. “Thank you, but I’m not sure you can. Pardon me. I should be going.”
“My motorcar is just up the street.” Ms. Winter stepped toward her. “Perhaps I can take you to my office? There you could dry off and have a hot cup of tea.”
“Hot tea sounds lovely, but I really do need to be heading home,” Gwen said. “Can you help me hail a cab?”
Ms. Winter’s smile broadened. “If your wish is to return home, I will gladly grant it.” She gestured down the street. “I am happy to drive you myself.”
Gwen eyed the stranger. They had only just met, but it was a kind offer. As Ms. Winter offered her arm, Gwen accepted it, a calm coming over her as their arms touched.
“What was your name again?” Ms. Winter said as they strolled under her umbrella.
“Gwendolyn Seo-Yeon Lee.”
Ms. Winter’s eyebrows rose and she glanced at the bank. “Is your father Mr. Lee, one of the partners here?”
“He is.” Gwen bit back a grunt. Mr. Lee’s role appeared to have made her request for a loan even harder, with no loan officer willing to go against her father.
“And what is a bank partner’s daughter doing crying outside his bank?”
“I’m just trying to borrow a bit to build my future on.”
“And what is this future you dream of?”
There was a melodiousness in Ms. Winter’s voice that was soothing, despite the hairs pricking up on the back of Gwen’s neck.
“Just to study botany at university.”
“What a unique field of study.” Ms. Winter tapped Gwen’s arm. “Those plants will be well-served, given your care for that seedling. What do you hope to do after you graduate?”
Gwen glanced at the woman. No one had asked her that yet, but she’d thought about it often. “I’d like to work somewhere like the Serre Gardens, or open up my own nursery. Or, if I must marry as my parents want, I can manage my own garden and grow plants from all over the world.”
“Those are all admirable dreams, Miss Lee.” Reaching the motorcar, Ms. Winter held open the door for Gwen. “As a member of the Fairy Godmother Society, I would be glad to help you reach them.”
Gwen glanced at the motorcar. Ms. Winter’s presence had the same sort of warmth as walking into a kitchen and smelling fresh-baked cookies. Riding with her would be harmless, wouldn’t it?
While you wait for the rest, here’s an inspiration playlist for the story.
The Pirate and the Mermaid’s Tailor Book 1: The Mermaid’s Apprentice
Coming September 2022
The Pirate and the Mermaid’s Tailor is a story set in the world of Pippington that has taken on a more epic scale than I originally planned. It is a lot of fun and I am extremely excited to get this book out there. It has a mix of fashion, pirates, mermaids, and explores parts of the world of Pippington based on Latin culture. The third draft is complete and almost ready for beta reading – if you’re interested in beta reading let me know.
Here’s a preview:
Every woman in the room, except Mabel, was in love with Malcom Sinclair.
She knew her arrogant oaf of a brother better than anyone. Sitting on a silk-padded chair at the edge of the small ballroom, she contemplated how to ruin his chances with the women in matching, lacy ball gowns. It was a rescue mission, really, to save them from the sweet-spoken lies Malcom sold with his charming smile, tall frame, and sweeping, dark red hair.
Mabel sighed and switched which hand she rested her chin on. She was always amazed Malcom could tell the young women apart, with their hair the same set of ironed curls pulled into a bun, and their gowns only varying by color. The cut and drape of the skirts or curve of the bodice should be sculpted to the woman, instead of how these women were stuffed and molded. No one apparently was bold enough to tell half the women they resembled overstuffed sausages.
“Maybe I should,” Mabel whispered.
However, being so rude would only infuriate her mother further. Mabel never meant to let honest words slip out at inopportune times, but there were moments when it was necessary. Like during tea today, when no one would tell Mrs. Flemham how the pearls on her hat, hanging from behind a stuffed, red cardinal, looked like bird droppings.
Once Mabel had spoken, Mrs. Sinclair covered her horror with false laughter and patted her arm. “My daughter has such a unique way of seeing things.”
Given how several respected women at the tea table eyed Mrs. Flemham’s hat and tried not to giggle, Mabel didn’t think her observation was unique.
But Mabel found it best to only horrify her mother once per day, and so kept her silence as other young women strutted past in variations of the same gown.
At least she wore a unique dress, made in close collaboration with her father’s tailor. The narrow blue pinstripes complemented her light-blue eyes and didn’t accentuate her dark red hair. That called enough attention on its own. The dress’s lines ran along her slim, seventeen-year-old frame, designed to give her a hint of curves where she had little. Though, her mother had scoffed at the lack of layers of skirts, saying, “How can you catch the eye of a young man when you look such a child?”
Surveying the room, Mabel felt she looked the only sophisticated woman there. Especially compared with the women adorned in infantile lace, powder, and paint, seeming to mimic porcelain dolls.
As for these men in their polished tuxedos, she’d grown up with most of them, watching them laugh and joke like cads with her brother. In other settings, she wouldn’t mind the attention of a handsome young man. However, given the exploits Malcom and his friends boasted about after parties like these, she preferred remaining forgotten in her chair.
A hush fell over the ballroom and all men seemed to turn their heads at once. Stunning seemed an understatement as a woman in her early twenties strode in, her hair nearly gold as it gleamed, her blue eyes sapphire-like as the candles and chandeliers reflected on the dark blue satin of her gown. It had a full, sweeping skirt, but the fabric was gathered as if the sea were forming around her. Mabel found herself stretching up, trying to see past the others along the edge of the room, seeking a better look at the finely made clothing.
This was a woman who knew how to dress and Mabel wanted to learn from such a master.
Malcom’s grin was bright as he broke from the crowd of women around him and strode to this newcomer’s side.
“Madame Cassandra,” he said, holding his arm out to her, “I was afraid you wouldn’t come.”
“I made a promise.” She took his arm with one hand and unfurled a gold fan with the other. “And, how could I miss this opportunity to see you again?”
Malcom’s smile broadened as he raised her hand to kiss it. As his eyes turned away, a shadow of disdain rose in Cassandra’s eyes. It was only a moment, but it sent a chill down Mabel’s spine.
At least, though, she seemed the only other person in the room who saw through Malcom.
While you wait for the rest of this adventure of mermaids, pirates, and adventures in high fashion, here’s an inspiration playlist for the trilogy.