MG contemporary with quirky characters, revolving around family and friendship.
I’ve been writing for years and consider myself intermediate. I’ve had some short pieces published in kidlit ezines, but no luck with the novels.
I have three complete and revised MG novels, 2 of which are sci-fi and those have been shelved for now since they are such a hard sell. My latest contemporary involves quirky characters in a small town with some heartbreak, but a happy ending. I also am working on a new novel with a spy element.
I love to garden, hike, bake, read and take my dog for long walks.
I enjoy reading many different genres. There are not enough hours in the day to get to them all!
In children’s literature: Besides JK Rowling, my favorites are Neil Gaiman, Margaret Perterson Haddix, Ken Oppel, Gordon Korman, Scott Westerfeld, Rick Yancey, and Avi. But I have too many to list, really!
In adult literature, my favorites for mysteries are Deborah Crombie and Elizabeth George; for sci-fi, Kim Stanley Robinson and Stephen Coonts; for general fiction, Chris Bohjalian and Ken Follet. I’ll also read Dickens, Austen, Hemingway and Ellis Peters once in awhile.
Violence, Drug Issues, Gender/Sexual orientation
Dear Agent X,
Twelve-year-old budding graphic artist Brian Malone is in for a summer of trouble.
While his Army mom faces a long recovery in a hospital far away, he’s stuck in his grandparents’ small town with little brother Marcus and Nonna’s miniature piglet, both big time troublemakers. Some local kids snub Brian and the only other kid around is Kyra, a golf-cart-driving maniac.
To keep his mind off his injured Mom, Brian creates a piece of work for a local art contest, but discovers no graphic art is allowed. He switches to paints, but the piglet and Marcus destroy his newly acquired supplies, and he’s back to square one. Dad, who’s never supported Brian’s art “habit,” gives him no sympathy over his troubles. In his hurt and anger, Brian blurts out that he’ll make Dad a deal. If he wins the contest, Dad has to become his biggest fan, forever. Dad agrees.
Brian immediately regrets his big mouth since the only art available to him now is carving with Nonno and a neighbor boy named River, who proves phenomenal. Brian has many setbacks as he attempts whittling, but he knows he needs to pick it up fast if he wants to win the contest and Dad’s approval. He improves, but isn’t sure it’s enough to win the contest. When Mom slips into a coma, Brian uses a memory of her to carve a perfect dove and realizes he should send it to her. This begins Brian’s awakening to what’s important in life—family, friends, and respecting others’ talents, as well as standing up for your own.
My contemporary MG novel, TROUBLE IN HEMLOCK HILLS, a tale where RESTART meets THE SOMEDAY BIRDS, is complete at 46K words. It won second place in the 2018 WV Writers Contest, MG/YA novel category. It would appeal to kids who love doing art, those in military families, and those interested in folklore. I’m an active member of the SCBWI and have publishing credits in Guardian Angel Kids e-zine and Devozine magazine.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Juliana M. Jones
Chapter 1: Twists and Turns
Brian Malone wasn’t prone to grinding his teeth, but when Dad raced down the interstate exit ramp at seventy miles per hour, he nearly cracked a tooth. “Whoa. I know we’re in a hurry, but sheesh.”
Dad tapped the brakes and the car shuddered on its way to the stoplight at the bottom of the hill. He stared straight ahead, his slender fingers squeezing the steering wheel.
Brian unclenched his jaw and wiggled it around. “Where are we supposed to meet Nonno?” The sun beat down on his head through the moon roof, but the vent blasted frigid air. He shivered, waiting for Dad’s reply. Dad hadn’t said a word to either Brian or his younger brother Marcus in the last hour, not since they’d gotten on the interstate highway.
“Dad? Did you hear me?” Brian’s voice sounded little, like he wanted to jump in the back and join Marcus in his booster seat.
The light changed to green and Dad zipped into a gas station. He pulled up next to a pump and got out of the car. “Look for your grandpa while I fill up.” Hot July air whooshed in before he slammed the door shut.
Marcus yawned and asked, “Are we there yet?”
Brian unbuckled his seatbelt. “No, we have to switch cars. We’re going with Nonno, remember?” He turned around to face his brother.
“But what about the beach?” Marcus kicked the back of Brian’s seat, flipping off his sandals. “Mommy can meet us there.”
Brian blinked back tears. “No, she can’t.”
I love science fiction and have written two MG novels in this genre (one is a steampunk). I have looked for an agent for them the last 5 years with no luck, so I’m putting them on the shelf for now.
My latest endeavors are contemporary, but still have an element of weirdness to them. I have not idea what I’ll focus on after they are complete. Only time will tell.
I have written short stories over the years and have had some published in small magazines online. Since I’ve concentrated on my novels lately, I haven’t had time to focus on short pieces of work.
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