Sprenkil Doodles

I’m at the end of the query list for The Sprenkil Adventures, and while part of me is disappointed that I haven’t more to show for my efforts than a few dozen rejection letters, I blink and realize I actually HAVE a few dozen rejection letters. Which means I’ve been doing something, and there is definitely something to be said for trying.


I’m not giving up, not yet. I’m taking a hard look at the manuscript and revising it further. I’m determined to get it under 1000 words, because I feel this needs to be a true picture book.


I’m also going to pursue the smallish list of agents who only want author/ illustrators. I’ve dismissed it from the beginning because my drawing chops haven’t been used since 2002, but the other day I started doodling for inspiration and the thought hit me I’d be a fool to explore all other options but this one.

So I’m going for it!



A while ago I posted a recounting of saving a hummingbird. You can look in the near future for other true animal accounts to appear on the blog! There are many tales from my childhood on the Blue Star Ranch involving llamas, cats, iguanas, chickens, and maybe the occasional snake, just to name a few.

We’re not only about horses here (although we do love them an awful lot)!


Well, Sprenkil made it to the moon.

africa-16831_640Now I just need to get him and Kathi home in one piece!

The initial edit of “Sprenkil Goes to the Moon” is almost done, and my goodness it looks better already! The first drafts always leave me a little appalled. (I wrote that? Seriously? What was my tea-sloshed brain thinking?)

Once the second edit is done, it will be a matter of polishing up, which means I can start thinking about the next book in The Sprenkil Adventures: “Sprenkil Visits the Zoo”. Now, this story is important because it introduces a new horse. She’s a very special horse because she’s a rescue horse.

Here’s where my readers will come in, because I have yet to write her specific history. I don’t know what breed of horse she is, and I don’t know what exactly her troubles are. Once I’m actively working on this, I will be polling you for ideas!


This morning I received my 4th rejection letter! This is actually exciting because I’m now averaging slightly more than 1 rejection a week. Given the general 4-6 week turnover rate, I’m also a little surprised, but definitely not complaining!


Waiting, waiting, and waiting. (But not doing nothing.)

reiter-913736_640Edit: Changed the title of the post. I wrote it late at night, and the next morning it struck me as rather misleading in meaning. Apologies to anyone else who thought so too!


It’s difficult sometimes to know what the next step is as a not-yet-published author. It’s kind of like the time my horse and I found ourselves ankle deep in a surprise swampy mire of ick. We slipped and slid our way out of it, sometimes slowly choosing our steps, sometimes wildly stumbling about in an effort to find lost footing. (It was an adventure of a trail ride, and both of us got serious baths when we got home.)

Right now I feel somewhere in between the two sensations. I’m not quite sure of where I’m at with The Sprenkil Adventures, but I’m not hanging on for dear life, either. Two rejections and counting! At least I know where I stand with two agents, so that’s something.

There are a number of websites and articles that have helped me learn about publishing, query letters, marketing, and formatting. Since I haven’t really an update about the book, I though I might share some of the resources I found especially helpful. Continue reading

Consolation in a Bavarian Teacup

“There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.” (Bernard-Paul Heroux)

ConsolationTeaI’m an officially recognized author now! This is the positive that I’m taking away from my first rejection letter. Yes, I felt some disappointment, but I’m not taking it personally.

To bolster my resolve and increase my motivation for today, I’m giving my afternoon tea something prettier than a heavy mug to rest in. Irish Breakfast, meet Bavarian china.

I pulled out a couple of the Sprenkil sketches from last year, hoping that would offer some extra encouragement. I still have no desire to illustrate my own book (and am very happy with the illustrator I’m currently working with!), but sometimes seeing the visual helps motivate the writing.

And so, Sprenkil flies on!


Sprenkil and magical realism

“…I saw another reflection in the water. It looked like a white flying horse!

I stood quickly to my feet and looked up, my eyes getting wider and wider as the horse flew closer and closer. He circled in the air like the eagle, and then in one graceful dive he landed on the other side of the pond.” (My Horse Sprenkil)

One of the comments I received during the “test reading” phase of My Horse Sprenkil mentioned the simple acceptance of a flying horse in an otherwise real world. The young protagonist is practical and sometimes literal, yet she has no trouble believing that the horse she meets really exists.


By LJP at age 8

For a time I contemplated trying to explain Sprenkil’s presence, but I realized doing so would shift the project more towards fantasy, which I don’t want. I don’t want magic. I don’t want to dampen the sense of “this could actually happen.”

A related anecdote: I remember watching Toy Story in theaters with my family. I remember being awed and impressed by the movie, and at the end when Buzz and Woody free themselves from the rocket and sail back to Andy, I cheered to myself because yay! They made it!

You know what my mom was thinking at that moment? “That could never happen.” She laughed about it coming out of the theater, because of course nothing in the movie could actually happen. It wasn’t until that point, though, that her mind actively told her this.

It is excellent story telling when you can keep your readers and viewers accepting and believing your words, even when they don’t match the real world. Part of the success in that, though, is not thinking about it too much.

And so I decided not to think too much about why Sprenkil is in the mountains, where he came from, or why he has wings. He just is, and he just does. Kathi accepts it, and her family accepts it.

It remains to be seen if all the other upcoming characters accept it too.


Guess what? The first batch of query letters is out! Now begins the waiting game.

While I wait, I’m hard at work on the second adventure Sprenkil Goes to the Moon. A horse in space. What could possibly go wrong?

Click here to read more about The Sprenkil Adventures.




Sprenkil’s Beginning

My Horse Sprinkle Page 01

(by LJP at age 8)

“Mom, can you read the Sprenkil stories?”


This is the question that leads me to hope that Sprenkil might find a publisher. I hear it daily from most of my children (ages 4, 5, and 7), and if the 6 month old could talk I’d probably hear it from her, too.

When I first sat down to re-write the stories (originally created as an 8 year old), I settled on two aspects that I wanted to make the focus: the horses (and Kathi’s interaction with them) and the land around the family’s farm house.

Sprenkil had to be special, and so I thought to fashion the “updated” Sprenkil after one of the most special horses I know–the Lipizzaner. To my mind, you can’t get any closer to a flying horse than a Lipizzaner performing the Airs Above the Ground.

The area around Kathi’s house had to be equally special, since it provides the setting for most of the adventures. One of my favorite childhood memories is camping in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, so what better way to showcase its beauty than to make it Sprenkil’s home?

My intent with the adventures is to incorporate in each book an element of nature learning, or at least nature awareness.* For example, Kathi’s ability to identify animal tracks in My Horse Sprenkil leads to her discovery of the pond where she meets Sprenkil (and the animal she was tracking).



*Understandably, this intent might have to adapt a little for Sprenkil Goes to the Moon.

Sprinkle Goes to the Moon Page 05

(by LJP at age 8)