James O. Youngcliff – Hard At Work

A Nice Pat on the Back

Given the Covid-19 “detour,” I’ve found succulents growing in a dark corner of what most consider a lack of inspiration. So, I can now report that my current fantasy/mystery/horror manuscript for YA is in its last phase of rewrite.

“Whee, for me!” you say? Thanks. But not so fast. The worse is to come. Since I publish my own work, the problematic aspect of book publishing still awaits. For those who are familiar, I won’t go into too many details. And for those who don’t know, I won’t burden you with my laments and only say, “I hate it!”

The New Manuscript, Title, and Cover?

As far as the manuscript goes: I’ve got 60 pages to go with 37,000 words thus far typed. A bit high in word count, but who’s counting? [FYI: I like to do my editing after I’ve physically printed out the manuscript and use a pencil to make my corrections. A little “old school,” I know, but that’s how I can get the most juice out of my oxygen-starved brain’s creativity pool. While I reread the corrections, I may change what I wrote or add more changes to the story.]

 The Title?

In a word: Struggling. It’s been through many major/minor changes. I rather not say here what or its many alterations, but I will say that I’ve made this work a series during the many changes. So, this will be the first book in a fantasy/mystery/horror series. (I’m dying to tell you the title, perhaps I will at the end of this blog—stay with me.)

One more thought on the title: I understand the industry is all about short and catchy titles —mine is not— I guess it’ll doom my novel from the start. Perhaps not. I’ll let sales determine that for me.

The Cover?

It’s for young adults, and once again (See The Pickled Man), I’ve dipped into the old genre of horror covers with a “touch” of psychological/Hollywood mix. I’ve used black, purples, and stark contrasts for the background and white, pale yellows, and light blues for some text and paragraph titles.

I’ve included a central “mystery figure” to dominate, placed inside a graveyard scene, including tombstones and an easteregg. I know, I know, a picture is worth a thousand words. Since you’ve stuck around this far, here’s a detail for those who are interested.

Cover Detail for next YA novel from James O. Youngcliff
Cover Detail for the next YA novel from James O. Youngcliff

You might think me a bit too paranoic with my stuff, but you can’t blame a writer/artist for protecting his work before publishing. And you know what, it’s not just that… I’m not yet “sold” on the cover, so there’s no sense in backtracking later if I decide to change it.

Any More to Say? Yes…

Trust me, I won’t go on for much longer. With a promise to write another manuscript for YA like this in the future series, I must take a break from it and get back to illustrating BluBerrie: The Botanical Garden. I have the cover, and one illustration started with nine or ten drawings remaining. Summer is here, and the artist who will help me out with the more “scientific” plant illustrations (i.e. posters throughout the book) can fit me in her schedule with more illustrations. A special treat for me demands I don’t miss this window of opportunity.

Publishing Dates

For sure, I will publish my new manuscript in time for Halloween, October of 2021. At least that’s a projection I can live with if the editor I like can get the final editing done in time for the holiday. As far as the next BluBerrie adventure? Happily, last quarter of this year—more than likely Christmas. We’ll see…

Okay–That’s It!

In summary, I’ve been fortunate to have had a relatively fruitful inspirational spell so far this year—as ideas go. And what it lacked in getting off my butt and putting to “pen” those ideas remains a lick and a promise to do better.



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Published by James O. Youngcliff

James O. Youngcliff is a children’s fiction writer who has published several exciting “telling stories” for adolescents with his BluBerrie Series. In addition, he’s written several fantasy novels for the advanced young adult reader. His works, however, never fail to impart wisdom for those willing to take the time to go down the “road less traveled.” So, prepare yourself for the strange, surreal, and twisted. Originally from New York City, he lives in Dade City, Florida and when not writing, he oil paints, and exhibits in art galleries throughout his home state. Currently, he is working on his fifth BluBerrie Chapter Book, BluBerrie: The Botanical Garden, publishing soon. Be sure to check BluBerrieBooks.com for more book details or visit his blog at JamesOYoungcliff.com. To purchase his books, go to Amazon.com at: https://www.amazon.com/James-O-Youngcliff/e/B07DR671HL?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1627826452&sr=8-3

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