Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Denice Hughes Lewis, Hye-Jynx: Quest Two

AUTHOR: Denice Hughes Lewis
BOOK TITLE: Hye-Jynx: Quest Two
GENRE: adventure/fantasy
PUBLISHER: www.smashwords.com

1. Please tell us about yourself.

I am a wife, mother, grandmother, caretaker of a blind pony, a goat, two Pomeranians and a cat. Belonging to two critique groups keeps me actively involved with other writers. I also direct an occasional play for children and adults.

2. Please tell us your latest news.

I have just published my fourth eBook, Hye-Jynx: Quest Two at www.smashwords.com and my website. It the second is a series of chapter books about the adventures of two wizards and two siblings who travel to the ten most famous natural wonders of the world.

3.Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

I write full-time. Life interrupts the best intentions so I have learned how to pick up writing anytime of the day or night. I can write from two hours to ten hours a day, depending on write-for-hire projects or my own deadlines.

4.When and why did you begin writing?

I had to draw and write a picture book in the seventh grade. At the time, I thought I might like to write when I was old. That time came too soon. When my children were in school and I was in my twenties, I took two writing courses from the Institute of Children’s Literature because it was something I could learn while I was a stay-at-home mom. Writing was a way to free my imagination and observe the world around me. For the next forty years, I wrote on and off and sent out my work, receiving many rejections. It was when I started learning about the craft of screenwriting fourteen years ago, that writing became a passion - for the screen as well as for children.

5. Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?

I don’t have writer’s block. My mind never stops creating. I wrote in college classes for assignments. When I first started writing out of school, I was so excited with a concept that I was tempted to start writing. However, I was taking a course and followed the rules of organization. This is the key to avoiding writer’s block. I do a lot of thinking to arrive at an outline for the fifteen major plot points I want to include in a screenplay or book. These may change when the actual writing takes place, but I don’t worry about it. At any given time, I may be writing on two or three different projects. If I come to a place where I don’t know what happens next or my ideas have changed, I take a break and write on something else. I also walk my dogs and solve many problems that way. Or get ideas in the shower and have to rush downstairs to jot them down. I don’t force an idea and get caught up with being stumped. If a major problem arises, which isn’t often, I run it by my writing group members. When you’ve written over forty years and taken numerous classes and gone to many conferences, some parts of writing become easier, almost second nature because of the internalization of information. The more I write, the less I feel I know, however. So I keep on reading books to improve my craft. And I keep writing, writing, writing.

6.What are your current projects?

I entered five contests last year from screenplays to poetry to children’s literature.   While waiting to hear about them, I continue work on a YA novel called Enchantress. I am researching for the third Hye-Jynx eBook and entering three more screenwriting contests.

7. How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?
8. Tell us about the current book you’re promoting.

Hye-Jynx: Quest Two is the second in a projected series of chapter eBooks. Two small wizards, Hye and Jynx, travel to the Amazon Rainforest to find a second natural wonder with nine-year old Neil and his seven-year old sister, Sandi. The adventurers are transported in Magic-Time where they encounter a jaguar, anaconda, caiman and eagle. Their search is for a seedpod from a kapok tree, for without ten items with natural magic, Hye and Jynx can’t return home to save their world. Plans always go awry. The children get separated from the wizards and Jynx changes into a monkey, loses his magic wand and the travelers wonder if they will get home.

9. What genre do you write in and why?

I write fantasy mixed with adventure, humor and/or drama. I believe it provides a wonderful way to appeal to a child’s imagination as well as teaching life lessons in a subtle way.

10. What is your experience working or being around children or teens?

I’m a kid at heart. I love working with children and teens. Although I haven’t had the opportunity with my writing, yet, I do direct all ages in local stage plays.

11. What other types of writing have you done?

I write picture books, screenplays, music and lyrics.

12. Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children’s literature?

There are three things that I think are important for any writer in any genre for any age.

The first one is to write. Whenever you can. The more you write, the better you get.

The second one is to read, take classes and online courses for learning the specifics of your type of writing and to meet other writers.

The third is to buy two of Blake Snyder’s books, Save the Cat and Save the Cat Strikes Back. Although these are books for screenwriting, I find them invaluable for any kind of writer. They are entertaining, simple and provide a wonderful way to organize and visualize what you want to write as well as all the elements you need to incorporate in a story. I recommend them to all writers whom I critique.


1. What seven words would you use to describe yourself?

Quirky, fun, loving, imaginative, organized, driven, dependable

2. Describe your writing space.

I turned a bedroom into my writing space. It has a window, so I can watch my pony and goat and the wildlife that wanders through the property. It is a large room that has a closet full of books and files, a day bed for thinking and visitors, three plants, a piano for inspiration, a bookcase, a filing cabinet, computer table for writing, paintings, awards and prints on the wall, family pictures and a cabinet that holds my computer, books and more files. Hiding in nooks and crannies are fairies, dragons, tinkerbells, a fairy mermaid and a castle. Lying on the floor or in my lap are two Pomeranians and a cat.

3. What has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite?

There are so many favorite parts of being an author. My mind never stops absorbing the world around me. I had to take a picture on my window of a piece of frost that looked like a dragon. I simply love the creative process - from concept to creating characters and exciting plots - even rewriting. It’s not enough for me to entertain. I also like to incorporate a theme that hopefully impacts the reader. I would love to share my books with children once they are in print. Until then, I am very thankful that my books can be read around the world as eBooks.

The least favorite part of being an author is marketing my work. I have a tendency to resist this important step. It is not enough to write for myself. I do want to share with the world. Keeping up with the varied ways of marketing distracts me from writing and I need to get much better at it.

Thank you, Penny, for this wonderful opportunity.

Chapter 2: Decision

The wand threw the wizards across the room.

“Oofff.” Jynx landed upside down in Neil’s wastebasket.

Hye shot into the dirt under the rubber plant.

Jynx mumbled some magic words and zipped backward out of the wastebasket. He flipped into the air and plowed face-first into the fish tank. He made a funny face and spit out a beta fish. He climbed out of the tank. Shaking his wand he said, “It is harder to control my wand.”

Neil helped Sandi off the floor.

Hye crawled out of the plant. “I was afraid of this.”

Chills crept down Neil’s spine. “What does that mean?”

Hye explained, “Since Jynx’s wand has been broken and repaired, it may not work the same way it did.”

“Great,” Neil said. He threw himself on the bed and closed his eyes. Would this
nightmare never end?

Jynx aimed his wand at his wet clothes. “Yrd,” he ordered. His clothes shrank,
squishing Jynx. He squeaked some magic words and waved his wand. His clothes grew vary large and he disappeared inside. “Stupid wand.”

“Stop fooling around,” said Hye.

The wand wiggled under the pile of clothes. The clothes shrank to the right size. Jynx jumped up and smiled. “Got it. Time to go.”

Hye closed his eyes. His hat glowed, giving him the answer to their problem. He sighed. “By traveling in Magic-Time, the pattern has been set. The wand will only work if we all go together.”

“You expect me to go on nine more trips!” exclaimed Neil.

A knock on the door startled everyone.

Neil grabbed the wizards and threw them under the bed.

“Oof,” said Hye.

“Uff,” mumbled Jynx.

Mom stuck her head inside the door and said, “Everything all right in here?”

Sandi ran to Mom, raising her voice to hide the tiny noises made by the wizards.
“We’re playing.”

Mom said, “I’m glad to see you two are getting along for once.”

Sandi said, “Neil is teaching me about science.”

“That’s nice,” Mom said. “Would you like to have lunch outside in an hour?”

“Thanks, Mom,” Neil said, as his mom walked out.

He closed the door. Sweat trickled down his shirt. Half an hour ago in Earth time, he was at his computer, traveling the world and studying science in the safety of his room. No wizards, no magic, no crazy trips that lasted days in Magic-Time. He wondered if life would ever be the same.

Hye and Jynx limped out from under the bed.

“That was mean, Neil,” Sandi said.

“You’d rather Mom saw them?”

“Are you okay? Sandi asked the wizards.

“Your floor is hard,” said Jynx rubbing his rump.

“I’m sorry,” said Neil.

Hye shrugged and said, “We need to go.”

Sandi looked at her brother. “I’m ready.”

Neil sighed. “Okay. This time, nothing better go wrong. We’re taking rubber boots, raincoats and layers of clothing. I’m not freezing again.”

“Isn’t the rainforest warm?” asked Sandi.

“In the daytime,” said Neil. “At night, the humidity makes it colder than it really is.”

“You’re really smart,” she said. “I’ll get my clothes.” She ran out of the room.

Sandi’s words made Neil feel good. Maybe having a younger sister wasn’t so bad.
He went to the closet and pulled on two extra t-shirts. He stuffed his tennis shoes into his rubber boots and grabbed a raincoat.

Sandi ran back inside. She grabbed Whiskers. “Ready!” she said, her eyes sparkling.

“No stuffed animal,” Neil told her.

Sadly, Sandi put Whiskers on the bed. She joined her brother. They placed their
hands on top of the wizards’ hands in the middle of the circle.

Neil looked at his clock. It was ten-thirty. “You’re sure this will only take fifteen
Earth minutes?”

Hye said, “Hopefully.”

Neil didn’t like the sound of that. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He tried to ignore his jumpy nerves. He peeked at Sandi and shook his head. How could she be so excited after what happened on their last trip?

Jynx waved his wand. “Ekat su ot eht nozamA tserofniaR.”

Green sparks zapped out of the wand, but Jynx dropped it before the sparks hit anyone.

“We’re still here,” sighed, Neil.

“I’m afraid we have to take Whiskers, Hye said.

“Magic-Time has it own rules. We started the first quest with the stuffed animal. It will have to remain so.”

Neil moaned and glared at his sister. He snatched Whiskers off the bed.  “What about my petrified stick?”

“You got that in Magic-Time. I don’t think it matters,” said Hye.

“I’m taking it anyway,” said Neil. He picked up the petrified stick that had saved
Jynx’s life.  “Let’s get this over with.”

Jynx started the spell, circling his wand over their heads. “Ekat su ot eht nozamA - ”

“Wait,” said Neil. “It’s going to be night in Brazil. We need a - ”

It was too late. Jynx finished the spell, “tserofniaR.”

Instantly, the four travelers disappeared.


  1. Nice excerpt!

    And I have yet to meet a writer who enjoys the marketing part!

  2. Thanks, Cheryl! I would love the school visits, though.

  3. I always enjoy learning more about you and your creative process. So much writing and never enough time for all those fanciful ideas. So I wish you more uninterrupted hours!

  4. Excellent interview! Fun story, too...you're so good!

  5. Great interview, and fun to learn more about you, Denice! You're a busy and creative person!! Thanks to Penny for featuring Denice. :)