Walter and the Secret Keeper – Meet Spence

Spence is one of the elves who moved to the ‘south’ with the Frost family.   He is intelligent, but impulsive. He acts without thinking about the consequences. His brash, compulsive behavior often puts him, and everyone around him, in danger.

He lacks the ability to sensor his comments during polite conversation.

His unfiltered comments are often what everyone is thinking at the time, but would never say out loud.

He is seldom invited to social gatherings, but typically shows up anyway.

A plan Emerges Out Of The Darkness

Hiding that fact your family is descendants of Santa Claus is no easy task.  Especially when you live with elves, build millions of toys each year and secretly deliver them to children all around the world. This, however, is something the Frost family must do… 

Mrs. Frost wants more for her children. She wants them to have the opportunities she and her brother never had. She believes the best way do this is to let them grow up in a ‘normal’ town. To make friends their own age. To understand they have choices and not just obligations. The Frost family decides to leave the cold North, where their ancestor’s have lived for centuries, and move to a southern part of the world.

Kings Village is perfect. It’s small, quiet and warm. It has an old, vacant building they turn into a toy store and chocolate shop. There is also an old, abandoned coal mine beneath it. As you know, one essential part of the gift-giving process is having access to coal. Traditionally, bad children receive a lump of coal instead of a present. IMG_0420

Odd things start to happen in Kings Village shortly after the Frost’s Arrive. Small things at first, things barely noticeable. Slowly things start to get worse. Some incidents include: A vandalize warehouse, the destruction of the school and the death of one of the residents.

Something is happening beneath the town. Someone, in the dark tunnels below, has set a plan in motion that, if not stopped, will destroy the town and kill everyone in it.

Character Illustration For Blog Followers

I am a writer, at least that’s what I keep telling myself.  I started drawing pictures as a way of connecting with my characters.  I recently started adding my ‘illustrations’ (term used very loosely) to my writing as a way to help others visualize the characters in my head, to the ones I was trying to describe on paper (I know, technically it’s a computer screen, but it doesn’t read as well using that term).

I going to state the obvious – I am not a professional artist/illustrator. However, I do think visuals help enhance a story for books focused on younger readers (and to some degree, older readers).

A few writers of children’s books have contacted me about the character pictures I have on my site.   I would be happy to draw a couple (1 or 2) free illustrations for a new writer if you:

  1. Are an unpublished/unrepresented writer of stories for younger readers (Many of us are trying to get published and the best way for us to reach that goal is to help each other out)
  2. Can provide a fairly detailed description of what you are looking for (I can only do characters, not scenes)
  3. Have less artistic ability than I do
  4. Have very low expectations

Me:

  1. I like to draw, so theses would be provided with NO past, present or future obligation, financial or otherwise. (I know there can’t be ‘past’ obligation, but it’s a general catch-all phrase)
  2. Contacting\requesting me for a picture does guarantee one will be drawn. I may, or may not, choose create a picture for you, depending on various factors. Mainly, if I can actually draw it
  3. I’m just trying to do something nice, so please don’t judge to harshly


You can see more examples of my work on my website at:

https://publishquest2017.com/
Feel free to contact me to review
Cody

The Truth Behind the Fairy Tale

img_0355-1It’s nearly impossible to keep a secret of any significance in the world today. Everything we do, say and write is captured and available for everyone to see. Cell phone towers track our locations. Security cameras record our actions. Businesses track our purchases. Our friends and neighbors post personal pictures of us. A complete record of our lives can be mapped out by anyone who has a couple of hours and a good computer search engine.

I said ‘nearly’ impossible. There is still one world-altering revelation that has not been revealed, at least, not yet. Secrets are often thought of as a single truth that is undisclosed to the people around us. This is not that type of secret. This is a secret of epic proportions. It is a story told in almost every country. A myth repeated by people of different cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds. The story may vary somewhat by location, but at its core it is the same tale. Without exception, it is told under the illusion it is fiction. This secret is not that what is being told is untrue. This secret is that the fairy tale told around the world is actually true.

img_0370Although, this story spans several centuries, the events written in Walter and the Secret Keeper are from a specific point in time. As secret stories often do, this one begins in a very unlikely place, in a little brick house with a tall, crooked chimney. Although, the house is located in the center of a thriving city, few people know of its existence. It is nestled within a grove of poplar trees, surrounded by office buildings, coffee shops and retail stores. You cannot find this house on Google Maps, or locate it on Map Quest. The computerized voice of your GPS will always proclaim “Address Not Found.” There is a constant stream of people walking passed, brief cases and double lattes in hand, but they don’t see it. But, that’s not surprising. People often don’t see what is right in front of them.

An Unexpected Hero

Everyone has the potential to be a hero. A hero is defined by their actions, regardless of their age, strength or abilities. This certainly is the case for Mr. Abernathy, who is one of the central characters in Walter and the Secret Keeper.IMG_0442

Mr. Abernathy is the crotchety, old man who lives in Walter’s town. You know the type, every town has one. The eighty year old man who like to yell at ‘disrespectful’ kids (which, by his standards is all of them).

Mr. Abernathy, however, is more than he appears to be. He has a secret that is revealed later in the story. On an exceptionally snowy Christmas Eve when Mr. Abernathy was a boy. He was awoken by the sound of a loud crash below his bedroom window. He ran outside to investigate. He discovered Santa’s sleigh landed on the roof of his house. The weight of the sleigh caused a section of snow-covered roof to slide off. Santa, the reindeer and the sleigh were buried beneath an avalanche of snow. With the help of a ‘special’ shovel he found, was able to dig them out. He and Santa Claus have been friends ever since.

IMG_0420When Walter and his friends are trapped in the old coal mines, Mr. Abernathy, now eighty-two years old, is not deterred by his hunched back, and aging body. He boldly, but slowly, shuffles to the rescue.

Unseen Evil

img_0412Nearly eighteen centuries have passed since Saint Nicholas began secretly leaving coins in shoes and dropping gifts down chimneys. Saint Nicholas’ selfless actions, generosity and acts of good-will have continued through his decedents. When Saint Nicholas died on December 6 in the year 243 he was survived by his son and daughter. Since then, every new generation of Frosts has had two children. The first child is a son, and the second child is a daughter. At least that’s the way it was until Ivy Frost gave birth to not one son, but two, twins.

When Nicky Frost is killed in a tragic accident Nikolas, the older of the Frost twins, becomes the next blood-heir to become Santa Claus. Nikolas is different. He doesn’t want to give selflessly like his ancestors have done for centuries. He feels the time has come to reveal the truth. He believes his family should use their abilities to gain wealth and power, instead of working all year just to give everything away without any recognition. Although only twelve, Nikolas secretly begins to plan for the day when he will reveal the truth and begin his quest for the power and wealth he deserves.

And The Response Is…

I am a writer, a Young Adult (YA) novelist to be specific. The fact is, no one other than me knows it. My absence in the literary world is not due to a lack of trying on my part. I’ve reached out to publishers, literary agents and editors who according to their internet profiles are ‘actively seeking young adult manuscripts’. If I receive (emphasis on the ‘If’) a response it falls into one of three categories:

The first category is the ‘Thanks but, no Thanks’. This group is by far the majority of responses received.   These emails are typically auto-responses with two separate, but distinct parts. the first; a thank you for the submission, but … ‘this project is not for me’. Without fail, this statement is followed by a  version of ‘however, I’m sure someone else will love it.’ The the second statement is intended to soften the blow of the outright rejection found in the previous sentence. Clearly, this is included to make the sender (rejector) feel better and not the receiver, since, in most cases, as soon as someone see the “no” they stop reading.  Even though the ‘Thanks but, no Thanks’ responses are polite and include a few encouraging words they are basically saying – Your book sucks, never contact me again.

The second type of response is the ‘Fake-out’. This response is less frequent, but far more frustrating. These are often also auto-Responses (the first red flag goes up). this response starts with a statement of: We love your book! For a brief second, in the excited haze of seeing the word ‘yes’ you think ‘it’s finally going to happen’… they go on to say ‘We can start publishing this next week. (Another red flag goes up). The elation you feel is short-lived. It doesn’t take long to realize nobody at their ‘agency’ has actually read the manuscript. All I need to do is send them a ton of money and commit to selling vast number of my own book and they be happy to accept me as a client. Crash and burn…

I’m told there is a third category the ‘I’d like to see more’. I’m beginning to think this elusive response is merely a rumor, or a myth like aliens and Big-foot. This is the response we all dream about. ‘Thanks for you submission… I’d like to see more… please send me your entire book.’

Walter and the Secret Keeper

I am currently seeking an agent or publisher who sees the enormous potential in the Secret Keeper books.  Walter and the Secret Keeper is complete at approximately 100,000 words.  I am looking for an individual I can partner with long-term. I welcome comments, suggestions and editorial advice.  I believe that any writing project, whether it’s a three hundred page novel or a one page business letter, improves through collaboration with others.

If you would like more information on the Secret Keeper, or to request a complete overview or the manuscript in its entirety please contact me at publishquest@gmail.com.

Cody Pelletier

Diversity

img_0410Although the main thread of the Secret Keeper books is based on a concept associated with a specific belief, the content of this story is not solely based on any single group. It is important for readers of all ages, ethnicities, and cultures to identify with characters and plot lines within the the story.

As this story developed a conscious effort was made to include diversity of characters, cultures, traditions and beliefs.img_0373

True Historical Information

Saint Nicholas (Sinterklaas) AKA Santa Claus was a real person.   He lived in the early part of the 4-century.   His habit of secret gift-giving led to his being known in modern times as Santa Claus.

Below are some known facts about the man we know today as Santa Claus.  What is not written, but according to some just as true, is that Saint Nicholas had a son and a daughter.  For centuries the knowledge, abilities and magical relics have been passed down from parent to child.  Like many families, each generation tried to surpass the accomplishments of the previous one.   As people often do when they’re telling a story, they made little changes in their family’s history. They added tiny details to the facts. What started out as something ordinary evolved into something extraordinary.  What began as a simple act of secretly dropping coins down chimneys and leaving trinkets in shoes became a world-wide gift-giving extravaganza, and yes, they still do it all in one night.

Known facts:

Born: March 15, 270
Location: Asia Minor (Modern Day Turkey)

Died: December 6, 343 – Age 73
Location: Myra, Turkey (Modern Day Demre)

The tomb of Saint Nikolas became a very popular pilgrimage site. As a result of ongoing battles between the Byzantine Empire and Seljuk Turks the city was temporarily lost to the Turks in August, 1071. Many feared the access to the tomb would be lost. It was said the remains in the Myra tomb exuded a watery liquid that smelled like rose water. The liquid is called manna. Manna is believed to have miraculous powers. The Italian cities of Venice and Bari vied for the remains. In May of 1087 sailors from Bari broke into the Myra tomb and stole the remains inside and brought them to Bari. Due to the fear of getting caught, they only took about half of the bones. The bones that remained in the tomb were taken by Venetian sailors and brought to Venice (Modern day science confirms the half in Venice and half in Bari do, in fact, belong to the same person).

Today (2016), the relics continue to secrete the rose water. A vial of rose-water is collected each year.