Etzel
the donkey just couldn’t face walking to the mill this morning. His
knees and back ached as if the heavy sacks of grain or flour he often
carried were already on his back. His master, Herr Hofmann, stood at
the doorway to Etzel’s stall, clucking his tongue like an angry
woodpecker.



Ach! Are
you coming or not, you insolent, lazy beast?”


Etzel gazed at him.
He wouldn’t set foot from his stall, not for all the hay in the
field. Well, maybe for that he would.
But he certainly wouldn’t go out if Herr Hofmann expected him to
make a trip to the mill.


~*~


These
are the opening lines to my newest book,
The
Road to Bremen
,
which released this month.
It’s
quite different than anything else I’ve published before. It’s a
fairy tale retelling, thus fitting under the label of fantasy. It’s
100,000 words shorter than my shortest novel, measuring in at just
under 20,000. And it’s written with children in mind, though I
attempted to write like my favorite children’s books authors, whose
stories don’t talk down to their readers and are therefore
appreciated by older audiences, too.




When
I started writing
The Road to Bremen,
I wasn’t sure I would publish it. As my author bio relates, “
Bogged
down during the crafting of a much longer book, Kelsey started
writing a retelling of one of her favorite fairy tales, ‘The Bremen
Town Musicians,’ to resuscitate her creativity. She rather liked
the result.” I wrote it for fun, and as I wrote, the idea that it
would be a nice book to have illustrated began to take shape. I even
knew who I’d ask. (Check back for her interview!) Well, that meant
publishing, right?




The
rest is history, and here we are at the present day.
The
Road to Bremen

is available as a paperback and an e-book.




The
Grimms’ fairy tale “The Bremen Town Musicians” is about four
elderly animals who have outlived their usefulness, according to
their owners. I set my retelling in mid-1600s Germany. Etzel the
donkey can’t haul grain like he used to and just wants to rest.
J
äger
the dog is almost deaf and can no longer hunt or guard his master’s
house. Katarina isn’t a good mouser anymore. Rüdiger, being
replaced by younger cocks, is destined for dinner. But instead of
accepting their fate and concluding that they are indeed useless,
these old farm animals set off on a new adventure to pursue a dream:
becoming musicians in the grand city of Bremen. But of course the
journey is far from easy and far from what they expect.





We have been very
honorable in pursuing this music-making and doing such a noble thing
with our lives. It is only to be expected that our lives are in
danger.”



Rüdiger
the rooster




My
favorite aspect of writing the story was the characters. Etzel is a
humble and visionary leader, yet proud of being a donkey. J
äger
is a droopy, lovable hound dog who follows along and tries not to
cause trouble. Katarina is a spunky spitfire of a cat who can’t
help but be annoyed by
Rüdiger
the rooster. R
üdiger
is an intelligent creature who values dignity and honor and quotes
Aesop. Together, they make a band of musicians . . . and more
important, a band of friends and heroes.





My illustrator, E. Kaiser Writes, did a phenomenal job of bringing the animals’ images
to life on the page. I’m excited to be interviewing her in a couple
of days! And I hope you’ll join these animals on their quest if
you’re in the mood for a heart-warming read.
See on Amazon
 
Hey, everyone! I
hope your summer has been full of good times and free from
heatstroke. Maybe you’re one of those fortunate individuals who
live where summer is actually the weather highlight of the year. If
so, make the most of it for me!

Like many of you,
I’ve had a busy summer. Writing had to go on the back-burner in
May, June, and July, but I’m finally back and feeling a bit of a
fresh, north Atlantic wind in my sails. I’ve missed this blog. And
with the advent of a new book, it’s time for an earnest return.

 Thank you to
Deborah O’Carroll of The Road of a Writer for tagging me in the 777
Writing Challenge! She gave me the impetus to update you on my
retelling of “The Bremen Town Musicians” and share a snippet.


For the update,
the story is moving forward nicely, praise God. The tentative title
is The Road to Bremen, and
it’s topped out at about 19,000 words. Illustrations are being
planned and I’m working on a next-to-final edit and formatting.
November 2018 is my projected publication date, though it may slide
into December. I’ll share more as I begin the publishing process.



And now for the
snippet. Here are the rules for the 777 Challenge:

1. Open your WIP
to the seventh page.

2. Scroll past the
seventh line.

3. Copy the next
seven paragraphs and paste them on your blog for THE WORLD to read.

4. Tag seven
people. (I’m going to forgo this last one and tag whoever wants to
do it.)


Photo Credit: Ivana Ebel

 “Those robbers have been
terrorizing people for months. The forest must
be where they live,” the flutist protested. “Now let’s go
before . . .
before . . .”

Before we get stuck in the forest
at nightfall!” the violinist chuckled.
And with that, they were off without
so much as an Auf Wiedersehen.
Etzel was offended at first, but when
the musicians struck up a tune down the road, his thoughts turned.
Bremen musicians were paid well and in great demand? Why, he could
eat all the hay in the field and more! He’d never have to carry a
heavy load again! All he’d have to do was sing; he probably didn’t
even need to sing very often if musicians were paid well.
He had a fine voice: loud, deep, and
natural. It would drown out all the music humans could make with
their meager voices and instruments. Their instruments had a nice,
tinkling sound, but they were mere twitters compared to a donkey’s
voice.
So why shouldn’t Etzel go to
Bremen, too? He was condemned to death here at this thankless farm,
so why not leave and become a musician? It certainly seemed his true
calling, the more he thought about it; perhaps he ought to have
become a musician long ago and not spent all his life in farm
drudgery!
Turning away from the fence, he
looked this way and that. On the other side of the pasture, the draft
horses’ noses were planted in the grass, backs facing him. Herr
Hofmann was probably inside the large clay-and-timber barn or the
house behind, both under the same long, sweeping thatched roof. Etzel
didn’t like how the empty black doorway gaped at him, but at least
it showed no one was watching.

***
 What do you think will happen next?