Cover of the novel 'The Luck Uglies.'

Hotlinked from Goodreads.

My full review is on Goodreads!

This is the sort of thing that makes me want to read more Middle Grade.

I love YA, I write YA, I read YA, but goodness! How often have I written book reviews that said, “Well, it was fun, but I wish they would keep the romance from overpowering the story so we can just have an adventure?”

And oh, this was an adventure. The Luck Uglies is a charming and atmospheric MG fantasy. And that’s where it shines–despite being based on some common fantasy premises (like capricious, ignorant medieval lords and rouges with hearts of gold), the world is delightful, the atmosphere is great, and the characters are universally charming.

And, yes, it was a welcome break from all the YA I’ve been reading, as–in true MG fashion–there’s no romance at all. It’s all about the heroine discovering the truth about her family. Otherwise, it’s all childhood friends and wild adventure.

There were a few rough bits, sure. Those are in my Goodreads review. But it was still one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read this year.

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First off, WriteOnCon! I didn’t talk about it much ahead of time, but I participated. (And now it’s over, so this won’t be useful to anyone who didn’t already know about it.) WriteOnCon is a once-a-year, online-only “writing convention” for people who write anything in the range of picture books to New Adult. (So while they say “kidlit,” they mean anyone who isn’t writing adult.)

There were Twitter pitches and some Q&As, but the real gem was the forums. You could post your query, your first 250 words, and your first 5 pages. You got feedback. You gave feedback.

And it was fun! The community was helpful and enthusiastic. I got a metric ton of advice on my query. And now, armed with a better query and a boatload of encouragement, I am confident that I’m ready. I’m going to go query some agents.

But you know what? I’m not going to talk about it.

Here is a wonderful post talking about why. Once upon a time, on an earlier project, I kept a running count of how many rejections I got. And I posted about it! And oh my goodness gracious, why did I do that? Can you imagine? What agent would want to look someone up and say, “Hey, look! They’ve queried 20 people! I guess I was choice #21 and everyone else said no!” Yeaaaaah. Uh. That’s terrible.

So, yeah. I am querying. It is happening. Send me your good vibes and best wishes. I’m just not going to talk about it.

I generally blog about writing tips and books I’ve read. This is rough, because I was reading this last week:

Illustration of three children and a shadowy figure in the background.

Hotlinked from the Aoitori Bunko website.

It’s elementary school fiction. In Japanese. For 6th graders. It’s about some elementary kids who start a mystery club and hunt down the legendary thief, Papillon. And it is, obviously, nothing I would really write a book review about. This is just fun, random nonsense I’m reading to keep up my ever-decaying Japanese skills.

I’ve been busy otherwise. Real life got in the way for a long, long time, and now I’m finally putting the last-last edits on my manuscript so I can submit it to agents. I’m hoping to do that in a month or so. More about that later!

In the meantime, have this article from Writer’s Digest about overcoming self-doubt in writing:

Author C.C. Hunter Explains How to Overcome Self-Doubt | WritersDigest.com.

I’ve sold a short story–my very first one! I’m happy to announce that Aspidochelone appears in the Sea Monsters issue of Spellbound Magazine, a MG fantasy e-magazine.

I am completely over the moon about this. Seriously. I am still not sure how it happened.

They even tweeted about it!

That’s about something I wrote, omggggg

Aspidochelone is about a young runaway, an island-sized turtle, and the opportunistic traders she has to save him from. If that sounds up your alley, be sure to check it out!