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Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Kath Boyd Marsh, born a fourth generation Californian, roamed the USA and came to stay in the magical Bluegrass of Kentucky. Here she writes in an office filled with dragons. Her debut novel took a mere two decades and a multitude of drafts to find a publisher. But Kath, Cl’rnce Merlin Clan Principus Dr’gons, and Moire Ain would not give up. Learn more about Kath and her writing at her website. Today Kath talks about decades of both failure and frustration…and perseverance.

Never Give Up! Never Surrender!

I began working on The Lazy Dragon and the Bumblespells Wizard twenty-seven years ago. There were plenty of rejections, and then the one puzzling one, and THEN I found the editor/publisher who liked my writing and my manuscript. 

About eight years ago I submitted The Lazy Dragon and the Bumblespells Wizard to a mid-sized press, Blooming Tree. Got back an encouraging note saying they were laughing their heads off about it and passing it around. NEXT day I got a form rejection from them, no explanation. WHAT? 

So forward four years, I'm feeling like I'll never publish, that there's something fundamentally wrong with my writing. I see a listing for a small press called Children's Brains Are Yummy. I couldn't resist the name. I contacted them. The young adult editor liked the query enough to request the full manuscript. YAY! And quickly he decided he didn't like the main character. Boo. 

But I'm not particularly good at quitting. A month later the same press ran a contest with publication as the prize. I entered both the Young Adult and Middle Grade categories with two new manuscripts. Color me gobsmacked when each made the semi-finals! And even more amazed when the Middle Grade manuscript made the finals. I came in second, so no publication, but the publisher offered to work with me on the manuscripts. After working with her and seeing my manuscript grow better and better, I felt so good about her that I sent her The Lazy Dragon and the Bumblespells Wizard, my most precious manuscript. And she loved the main character! In Feb. of 2015, she offered a contract. 

Now, the spooky part. Childrens Brains Are Yummy started life as an imprint of Blooming Tree. Madeline, publisher of Childrens Brains Are Yummy, went to work at Blooming Tree at their new Childrens Brains Are Yummy imprint, apparently after my fail. When Blooming Tree moved out of children's books, Madeline bought Childrens Brains Are Yummy. And then I found her and Childrens Brains Are Yummy!

You just never know. Certainly not if you give up. 

The Lazy Dragon and the Bumblespells Wizard
For Cl’rnce, a perfect day would involve a nap, another nap, followed by dinner, and a nap. So what if he’s the only dr’gon his age without a wizard partner or the ability to fly? That sounds like work, and Cl’rnce is opposed to all forms of work.

Moire Ain, on the other hand, has never known anything except miserable, soul-crushing work. She has lived her whole life as a virtual slave to the evil Hedge Witch. When Moire Ain overhears Hedge Witch plot to have Moire Ain kill a king, the girl runs away with only a magic book, her pet raven, and a dream of someday becoming a Great and Mighty Wizard.

Moire Ain hasn’t even been gone a full day when she stumbles across an irritated Cl’rnce. Grudgingly, Cl’rnce has accepted a quest, and he now finds himself footsore, hungry, and trapped in a tree by a dragon slaying knight. With a bumbled spell, Moire Ain manages to save Cl’rnce’s life. Unimpressed, Cl’rnce tries to get rid of the little wanna-be wizard so he can get back to his interrupted nap. However, Moire Ain has gotten a glimpse of a way to free herself from Hedge Witch for the rest of her life. Convinced now that she would make an excellent wizard partner, despite the bumbled spells, Moire Ain invites herself along on Cl’rnce’s adventure.

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Ann Myers said...

Great column, Kath! Inspiring, and you and your book ended up in the right place. Lovely cover art too.

jo kittinger said...

It's a great story, filled with humor and redemption!
My own son tended to be lazy, and I wish I'd had this book for him to read as a kid. Like Kath's dragon, he eventually lived up to the potential I knew he had all along!
So glad to see the story finally find its way to the hands of kids!

Evelyn said...

What a fascinating and amazingly convoluted journey to publication, Kath! I loved reading about it. Congratulations on your persistence and on your success!!

Sherri Jones Rivers said...

Kath, I so remember the years in Augusta when you were in our writing group. Good to know you have not given up and will share your story with the world. Good for you. I am still plugging along!

Genetta said...

Kath, I love your persevering spirit! Congratulations to you!

Nogadamo Bhitia said...

I loved the lazy dragon and the bumblespell wizard, and so did my children. It was so clever and entertaining. Thank you for this blog post because it led us to a book we treasure.

Margaret Rutledge said...

I stumbled across this book months ago and absolutely loved it. It is terrific and I’m glad you were persistent so it was published. I likewise stumbled across this blog after reading Ms Winston’s books and am thoroughly enjoying the older posts.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much, Margaret! You've made my day!
I am so lucky. After The Lazy Dragon came out, I went to my local elementary school to talk to the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. And they asked me a magic question. Would there be a sequel? Yipes! They gave me the courage to ask my publisher. She was all for it, so Dragon Bonded releases Nov. 1! The dragons and I are Very excited. So are Bubbles and Smush. Their third short ebook, Dragon Rescue, will release Dec. 1. Bubbles and Smush are hardly jealous at all about Dragon Bonded releasing before their book. Hardly.