~Markelle Grabo~

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The Stolen Child won an award!

Posted by Markelle Grabo on June 13, 2015 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (6)

I am so pleased to announce that The Stolen Child was recently awarded for excellence in independent publishing by the New Apple Book Awards! I'm very excited because, for me, The Stolen Child is the best (and most challenging) novel I've written thus far. It's also great to see a shiny foil sticker on the cover - definitely a highlight of my writing career.

First Writing Competition Pays Off

Posted by Markelle Grabo on January 19, 2014 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Early this past summer Journey into the Realm: The Elf Girl was submitted to Shelf Unbound's Writing Competition sponsored by Half Priced Books. I was so pleased to learn that The Elf Girl was named as a notable read in the category of teen books for best independently published books.  You can see the listing on page 60 of the December/January issue


The Toughest Book Yet

Posted by Markelle Grabo on July 8, 2013 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

As a writer and storyteller, I'm sure it's hard for people to imagine that I find blogging quite difficult. My posts are less than frequent, mainly because it's hard for me to turn little updates into an interesting segment people will want to read. But seeing as how I have some free time during the summer, I suppose I should suck it up and post something!


As many of you know, I'm currently editing the third book in the Journey into the Realm series, The Stolen Child. I wrote the first draft years ago when I was 15, and have followed up with multiple drafts since. To date, this is the hardest novel I've ever written. Why? A number of reasons. One, Journey into the Realm was originally intended to be a triology. That is, until I wrote the first two books. Then I realized I wouldn't be able to fit all of the remaining material in one, final novel. So I extended the series to four, then five, then six, then seven...Anyway, I think I've been able to take it down to six books in all, the six and final book acting as more of an epilogue to the series as a whole. But we'll see how it goes. At first, trimming wasn't an easy process because I felt that all of my words were important, but my editor quickly helped me realize what was and was not necessary as I finished the first two books.


For the third book, trimming isn't the problem, because I've never been satisfied with this novel. Something about it has always seemed off to me. It acts as a kind of a transition from the first two books into the rest of the series and until now it really wasn't its own novel. But I'm trying to make it just as strong as the rest of the books, so I've been far more critical with it than anything else I've written thus far. The trouble I'm having now is introducing massive amounts of new content and fitting it in with the few important already-written scenes I must keep. Insteading of adding a few paragraphs here and there to enhance a completed manuscript, I'm rewritting the third book around a few paragraphs here and there that must remain. The process is completely new to me, since I didn't have to do that for the first two books, so it's long and slow work. I apologize that it's taking so long to release the book, but I don't want anyone to read it unless it's at the same level or better than the previous installments. 


My goal is to release the third book by Christmas or sooner. At this point, I honestly don't know if that's realistic. There are also financial issues to consider. But I really don't want to push it farther than that. I'm going to try my hardest to make this goal a reality. Until then, know that I'm working hard to release the best novel I can. I believe I'll love it by the end and hopefully you will too.

Merton Primary School Visit

Posted by Markelle Grabo on May 21, 2013 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Had a wonderful time speaking to the 3rd graders at Merton Primary School about my journey as an author. They were a great audience and had plenty of awesome questions. These kids show an amazing enthusiasm for reading and writing. At the end, they even requested a writer's workshop in class - something they are usually never excited about! This is the most rewarding part of being an author. Here I am with a student who played a big role in setting up this visit. She also happens to be one of the two kids I nanny for over the summer.


First TV News Interview

Posted by Markelle Grabo on April 6, 2013 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

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Sanctuary

Posted by Markelle Grabo on September 12, 2012 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (1)

It's week three of my college experience. So far, I've had my ups and downs. I've been homesick. I've celebrated my freedom. I've been overwhelmed by school work. I've bonded with new friends. I've missed my friends back home. I've taken trains to the city and explored my lakeshore campus. I've become a college student. This is my life now...and it's crazy.


So I thought I'd take the time to remark on this awesome place I've found to clear my stress away. For people who know me personally, this shouldn't be a surprise. But I'm sure to everyone else this may seem a little odd.


The place I'm talking about is my humanities building, where I'm taking my English course - Nature in Literature - this semester. I have it three mornings a week, which in my opinion is hardly enough. I wish I had this class every day. I wish I could be in this building every day, or even just around it. The Crown Center sits on the edge of my campus and is the farthest building from my dorm, about a ten minute walk. But this walk is my favorite. I cross busy streets, weave around buildings, avoid collisions with other students, shy away from scary fast people on bikes, and pass a noisy steam plant. And then I'm there. When I arrive, everything seems to grow quiet.


The architecture of this building is incredible. My description won't do it nearly enough justice, but I'll try. Basically, nothing is symmetrical. The building has many dimensions to it, making it intriguing rather than uniform. There are multiple levels. My class is on the lower level, which acts as the first floor. I have to take the outside stairs down until I'm underneath this giant overhang. What little sunlight is able to penetrate the shade illuminates the vine-covered walls, green and lush. The building borders the lake, so I can hear the sound of water lapping at the rocks and feel the lakeshore breeze. Even in the city, nature surrounds me.


The inside is nothing special. Average hallways paired with average classrooms. But as I walk in, I feel everything in me lift. This is where I belong, the one place on campus that actually feels more familiar than foreign. And for fifty short minutes, I'm not just another freshman trying to find her way. I'm an English major. I'm a writer.

College & Writing...

Posted by Markelle Grabo on August 26, 2012 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (2)

Today marks my fifth day at Loyola University Chicago. Classes start tomorrow. Thus far, I've been occupied with fun Welcome Week activities, meeting new people, and managing a life away from home. This leaves little time for writing. However, I have made several attempts. The first was in my dorm room. I had some free time, so I decided to open up the file containing Book 7 of the Journey into the Realm series and have at it.


It didn't go so well.


I'm a "comfort zone" writer. I'm inspired by my setting. Places like my room at home, a cozy local Starbucks, and my summer campground have fueled hours of productive writing time. In my dorm room, even with all my little fantasy pewter figurines lined up in a row and cheering me on, I couldn't find the inspiration. I wrote a few paragraphs and promptly gave up.


I tried again in the second floor lounge. Although I was frequently distracted by an episode of Law and Order: SVU (I mean, how could you not be?!), the open space actually helped. I found myself loosening up a bit more. Not enough to shell out chapter after chapter, but it was progress.


The end result? Well, I'm sure once I get used to college life and my anxiety lets up, I'll be able to write more than a few pages. But I doubt with all my classes and activities that I'll have large periods of time where I can just sit and write. While the thought of this depresses me a little, I can still look forward to trips home when I can briefly forget education and return to my own Realm of fantasy. And since I plan to be writing for the rest of my life, four years of interruptions can't be all that bad.

It's Finally Here!!!

Posted by Markelle Grabo on August 10, 2012 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (3)

After months and months of waiting, I can finally say that Journey into the Realm: The Spell Master, the sequel to The Elf Girl, is officially for sale! The book can be purchased directly from the publisher at Booklocker.com or online at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. The Spell Master is available in hardcover, paperback, and eBook format.


I'm very excited for people to read this book. It was one of my favorites of the series to write (so far it's tied with book 6, which I haven't finished yet). The editing process was surprisingly one of the best parts. I dissected every paragraph, every conversation, every inch of this novel because I want readers to love it as much as I do. I can't wait for readers to witness Ramsey's growth and change throughout The Spell Master as she struggles to balance her past, present, and future. Many questions will be answered, but with every answer comes a new question. This book will keep you guessing.


Expect more mystery, more danger, more drama. And the romance...well, let's just say there's a lot more of that than there was in The Elf Girl.


But above all, definitely expect more magic.

The Spell Master - Special Preview

Posted by Markelle Grabo on November 16, 2011 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (2)

Journey into the Realm: The Spell Master, is currently in the editing process, but I wanted to post a blog with a few hints of what's to come. I'm extremely excited for this book's release because it's one of my favorites of the entire series - and I can't hold back any longer!

But before I begin, if you haven't read The Elf Girl and you decide to continue reading this, you'll either be a) super confused or b) angry with me because there are spoilers. So don't read it if you're not prepared!

So what should you expect in book two?

  • New characters - The Spell Master introduces a wide variety of new characters, good and bad. Some will stick around for coming books and play key roles, others...well, not so much....
  • Emphasis on relationships - Although the aspect of romance is heavily disected, the real depth will be found in family relationships. Ramsey's growing relationship with Zora especially. You were given brief glimpses of their interactions in The Elf Girl. But The Spell Master takes place three months after Zora was rescued. Their current situation is very different, as you'll see once you start reading.
  • Education - Because Ramsey is now sixteen, she must attend ability school to learn about her power. Her classes will not only enrich her understanding of the Magical Realms, but yours as well. Lots of rich magical history and elfin practices will be integrated. So be ready to learn!
  • Secrets - Well, of course Ramsey's secret will be at the forefront. But she's not the only one with a past. You'll realize that soon enough.
  • Danger - Expect to see more than you did in The Elf Girl. Ramsey's new life isn't all sunshine and flowers. The Element fairies are always watching...
  • Magic - Whether the subject is elves, fairies, gnomes, or dragons, there will be a bountiful supply of new magic to witness.
  • Choices - Basically the grand theme of the novel. Plenty of forks in the road for Ramsey. Question is, will she make good choices...or horrible ones that make you throw the book against a wall? Hmmm...Well, I'm not telling.

So basically, The Spell Master is The Elf Girl - but completely amplified. More, more, more! Book one was just the beginning, the introduction, if you will. Book two is where the magic happens. Just be patient. Good things come to those who wait....

Ramsey's Character - Part 3 : Relationships

Posted by Markelle Grabo on September 29, 2011 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (0)

As I'm writing, oftentimes I picture myself as the reader to gain further insight into what I've written and how readers will react to the plot of the story. I ask questions and make comments as if I were reading my work for the first time. I did this several times as I wrote and edited The Elf Girl.


The majority of my questions came toward the end of the novel. And no, they didn't deal with Ramsey's secret or the dangerous Finn (shocker, right?). Instead, they concerned Ramsey's relationship status. After an enchanting dance with the Stranger, Ramsey lets him go and makes her way home, more confused than ever about her feelings and her future. All she knows is that she has to move past what happened with Stellan to focus on figuring out her secret and starting her new life. But does this new life include Stellan, or does he belong in the past with his mistakes? That's what Ramsey doesn't know as she stands on her doorstep. But then Stellan appears, and she's forced to finally make a decision. After declaring his love for her, Ramsey surprises herself (and some readers, surely) by forgiving him fully.


So why does she forgive Stellan and forget about the Stranger? Well, a lot has happened in Ramsey's life in the weeks leading up to this moment. After dealing with dangerous fairies, secrets, a long lost sister, a new ability - basically, a whole new life, Stellan has become her rock. What she's certain of are her feelings for him. She loves him - or at least that is her current definition of the word (remember, she's still a teenager who hasn't had much experience in this department...all right, none at all). But she isn't certain of what she has with the Stranger. Yes, they have a connection, but that's all she knows. And at the end of the day, Stellan is too important to throw away over a few strange encounters and a magical dance. He's made mistakes, but try as she might, Ramsey can't find it in her heart to stay mad at him forever. And she wants to give their relationship a chance, because after a life of rejection, she's ready to explore the avenue of acceptance. But will this love between them last? Well, that all depends on how their relationship grows as the physical distance between them grows as well.


As for the Stranger...Will he be a part of Ramsey's future? Sorry, but I can't answer that question. I've become the writer once again. You readers will just have to wait and see...


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