Pixie Piper at the Puerto Rico ComicCon 2017


For the 3rd year in a row I’ve had a booth at the Puerto Rico ComicCon. Let me just start by saying that I love it! The ComicCon is a very happy place. It’s not only a great place for me to showcase my books, but also a wonderful opportunity to meet like-minded people and spread my writing wings. This year, I debuted volume 2 of The Adventures of Pixie Piper series: The Trove of the Water Dragon. I hope people like the book. Of course, my favorite part about the whole experience is the cosplayers. It’s all about the cosplayers. Thank you guys for being so creative and awesome. I leave you with the pics. Enjoy!

 

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Placement Is Everything In a Bookstore


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Cover illustration by Laura Diehl

Today I went to a local bookstore where they have copies of my book: The Bookmark. The idea was to stake it out, see where the books were placed and if people were looking at it. Well, at first I couldn’t find it at all as it was placed on a bottom shelf (not the best place for your book as you might suspect). To make matters worse, the 4 copies were facing sideways and you couldn’t see the beautiful cover. Well, I grabbed a copy and flipped it, placing it so the cover faced forward. Not 5 minutes passed and a little girl was holding my book. My kids’ grandmother was there (ex mother-in-law) and she’s the best salesperson ever. She quickly mentions to the girl that I’m the author and I can sign her book if she chooses to buy it. Of course it sold! Boom. So I grabbed another copy and placed it facing forward again so the cover showed. Another person grabbed the book! I had to leave at that point, but I passed again after I finished my back-to-school shopping and there were only 2 books left of the original 4. So, conclusion: Get an awesome cover and make sure it faces front. Especially with kid lit!

Good day to all! Now go and check your book’s placement at the shop.

Giant Spider – Deleted Scene From Pixie Piper: Vol. 1


Pixie woke up wishing she had died. Her whole body was covered in bruises from the fall and everything ached so much she wondered if she could move at all, even if she wasn’t securely fastened to a gigantic spider web in the middle of a horribly cold dungeon. There were familiar voices in the distance. She was sure one of them was Garm’s. There was no way she would ever forget his dreadful voice. Not after all the nasty things he said. The other sounded female, so she guessed it was Hela’s.

“We underestimated those little brats,” Garm said angrily. “Or perhaps it was your cage that was defective, mother.”

“Impossible! That ice is unbreakable. I’m telling you those two have some kind of powerful magic. How else could they melt both statue and cage?”

“Don’t be so full of it, old woman. Your magic is not the most powerful of Dahna,” he said.

“Neither is yours.”

“We’ll see about that soon enough. But for now, we must find another way to get to Delmes.”

“We could torture the brat,” Hela suggested. “Children never sacrifice themselves for their parents. They’re too afraid of pain.”

“Why mother, that’s a wonderful idea! Summon Hecate. She’ll take care of this in no time,” Garm ordered.

Pixie heard the sound of big heavy feet leaving the room far away behind her. It was probably a snowman fetching Hecate. She could only guess that would be her torturer. That meant she had no time to lose. She had to find a way to escape, but her arms were held fast to the web and whenever she moved it, it only seemed to tighten its grip. Soon all but her face was wrapped in the silky fabric and she couldn’t move at all. Desperate, she looked about the room in search of someone or something, maybe another prisoner that could help her or perhaps Meni. Where was Meni? Did he manage to get away?   Was he frozen in a corner somewhere? She suddenly felt terribly alone. What would happen to her parents? They would probably get killed all because of her. And Meni and his family, they had nothing to do with this, yet they would pay the prize. Once Garm was king he would probably seek them out and have them arrested. Perhaps it was best if she just gave up. They would never be able to torture her into giving her mom away if she was dead. And they wouldn’t have anything to bargain with. In her opinion, it was the only way out. But alas, the web was so tight around her she could do nothing. Only close her eyes and sleep. Which, surprisingly enough, she did. After all, she hadn’t slept a wink and her adventure was proving quite tiring.

When she woke it was because of the sound of feet. Several of them, and they were moving down a tunnel in her direction. She raised her head and opened her eyes just in time to see a humongous black spider appear from the right. The thorax alone was about three times Pixie’s size. She could swallow her whole. Pixie bit her lip to stop herself from screaming.

“A heather pixie!” Hecate roared. “And a child at that! I haven’t had a decent meal in months and this is what they send me? The only thing worse would have been a human!”

Frightened as she was, Pixie could see an opportunity when it arose. “I’m half-human,” she informed the spider trying to hide the grin that was starting to form on her lips.

“Is that so?” replied Hecate, her voice sounded calmer, yet still quite sinister. “Nice try young one. It shows you got a good head on your shoulders. But I’m afraid I don’t believe you.”

“I am, I swear. My father is one hundred percent human. I don’t even live in Dahna. I’m here on… on vacation.”

“If you are truly half human, then you shall give me a drop of your blood. It is the only way I can be certain,” the giant spider said.

“What for? If you’re gonna eat me, I’d rather you do it quickly.”

“My dear child, with all due respect, I may be quite hungry, but I will never stoop so low as to eat human. You’re the stupidest animals in all the earth. Drinking your blood would render me terrifyingly ignorant. I would like a taste, so I can make sure you are not lying. Once when I was still a young spiderling I lived in an old house with some humans. They tried to kill me so I had to strike. Poor chap tasted so badly I nearly spilled my insides. It was the first and last time I ever had human, but I’ll never forget the taste.”

Pixie didn’t know what to believe. Hecate seemed dishonest. She had a way of slithering the words so as to sound like a snake hissing. It made Pixie very uncomfortable. Then again she had nothing to lose. If this was a way to avoid getting eaten it was worth a try. “Very well,” she finally replied, “but just one drop.”

“One is all I need.”

With two of her front legs Hecate freed Pixie’s hands, leaving the rest of her body securely fastened to the orb-like web. Then she gave Pixie a small piece of broken glass.

“You will have to cut yourself,” Hecate informed. “If I bite you, you’ll be paralyzed and won’t be able to move for hours.”

Pixie stared at the glass. She could use it to cut herself free. But what good would that do? The spider would certainly catch her. She would have to try her luck. Closing her eyes, she pressed the tip firmly into her index finger. There was a bit of a burning sensation and a large drop of bright red blood emerged from the cut. Pixie held out her finger for Hecate to taste. The giant spider placed her tube-like mouth over her prey’s finger and sucked the blood right off it. She cringed and made an ugly face.

“Ugh! You are definitely human,” said the spider as she dropped Pixie’s finger with disgust. “Perhaps it’s time I went out hunting. There has to be something up there better than you.”

“Oh yes,” Pixie began. “I saw some really big abominable snowmen and a pool full of penguins in the castle. Those would certainly fill you up nicely.”

“Snowmen? The hairy ones or the snowy ones?”

“The hairy ones, with the big horns on their heads,” Pixie replied.

“You lie. Garm told me they have gone extinct.”

“Hey, I didn’t lie about being half human, did I?”

Hecate was silent for a moment, scratching her head with one of her legs. “I believe you are telling the truth,” she finally informed. “But just to make sure, I will go seek proof. After I come back I will decide what to do with you. In the mean time, I suggest you stay perfectly still. You see, I build a special web around my victims; the more they struggle, the tighter it wraps around their bodies. So if you move too much, you might end up being crushed to death by the silk.”

Apparently Pixie’s horror showed on her face because Hecate raised a leg to her mouth and said: “Oh dear, perhaps it was best if I had bitten you. Too late now, I don’t want another taste of YOU.” And she disappeared through one of the tunnels.

The moment she was gone, Pixie let out a wide, cheerful smile. Silly spider had forgotten to take back the piece of glass!   Trying to move as little as possible she attempted to cut the threads of silk, but the web was covered in a sticky substance that adhered to the glass and she ended up hacking away at the cocoon. The harder she sliced the tighter the sheet wrapped around her body. Finally, it was becoming difficult to breathe. She stopped moving all together, fearing even her next breath. Large drops of sweat began to glide down her brow. They seeped between her eyelashes, stinging her eyes. She had to find a way to get loose before Hecate came back.

Her lungs began to burn as her ribs pressed hard against them. There was hardly any room for air. She tried to breathe, but instead an all too familiar wheezing echoed through the icy walls.

“No,” she thought desperately. “I can’t have an attack now. I can’t even move!”

Pixie closed her eyes, trying not to think of her asthma. She knew panic only made it worse. But when you close your eyes, everything else becomes more intense. She realized she could hardly feel her feet. And the gooey, sticky substance of the web was freezing against her already wet skin. No wonder she was having an attack.

Suddenly, her breaths became faster and shorter and the wheezing louder until there was no way to prevent the panic. It was happening and there was nothing she could do. She was gasping for air now, but between the web’s ever tightening threads and her incapacitated lungs there was no hope.

She began to drift in and out of consciousness. She saw her mother napping on the couch back home. She looked so peaceful, without a care in the world. Pixie had never seen her so relaxed. Then everything became dark and cold and she was back in the cave, except Garm was there, and Mrs. Piper, and Hela. Her mother wore a long white veil made of spider webs. It trailed behind her, collecting dust and insects and everything in her path. She walked towards Garm with tears flowing freely down her face. Hela walked before her, spreading snow across her feet and all the way to the altar where her son stood waiting for his bride. Pixie tried to scream, but there was no air left in her.

“NO!” she whispered. “No, no, no… I won’t let this happen.”

10 Best Questions Kids Ask During a Reading


13103514_10154289693702494_7107582485137733516_nI love doing live readings for kids. There’s a really cool feeling when you read a part in your book and you hear a collective gasp from the kids in front of you. It makes you feel like you did something right. What follows a reading is usually a Q & A. I love this part because kids have lots of questions; questions that can be challenging, inspiring, and often times make you learn things about yourself. So here is a list of the 10 best questions kids ask during a live reading. Suffice it to say, some of these get asked more than once during the same presentation.

  1. Will there be a movie about your book? – I love this one. My answer is always the same: I certainly hope so!
  2. How long did it take you to write your book? – This one’s tough. I wrote Pixie 1 a few years ago, had it sit for a long time, then rewrote and published. In the end, years went by. After I explain, there’s usually a follow-up comment like: “So it took you 8 years?!” -Author nods in shame.
  3. Is this going to be a series? Yes
  4. Do you write other things besides books; poetry for example? Yes. Poetry, short stories, picture books, blogs, and essays. I hope to someday write a screenplay too.
  5. What is your next book going to be about? It’s a secret.
  6. What other books have you written and what are they about? I have a book about some kids who find a key to a portal into a different dimension. Coming in 2017…
  7. Who is your favorite character in your books? Tough one. I don’t think I have a favorite. I enjoy writing all of them, even the evil ones.
  8. What is your favorite book? Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass
  9. When did you start writing books? I was just a girl. It was a book about my dog.
  10. Are any of the characters based on real people? Yes and no. There are elements of real people in the characters, but no one character is based on a particular person.

The Dragon’s Den


In response to Chuck Wendig’s recent Flash Fiction Challenge: The Dragon, here’s a short story inspired on his prompt.

©2016. Maricel Jiménez. All rights reserved.

As she walked past the threshold she heard the characteristic sound of colliding beads. A whiff of cold damp air spanked her face. Ugh. The place smelled like yesterday’s fart. What am I doing here? she wondered. For the past week she’d been dreaming about the old building. She figured it was just her mind reliving old memories, but something felt different in the dreams. Perhaps it was the size of things. The last time she’d been into the Dragon’s Den she was 8 years old and in her memory, things were bigger, but in the dreams it felt like she was older, visiting the old “entertainment” spot as a customer, not the main attraction.

Why am I dreaming about this place now? The question burned her insides. She had relived nightmares over and over again and had long said goodbye to them and now, over a decade later, the place had come back to her like a haunt, demanding that her subconscious pay attention. Breathing through her mouth, she ignored the nausea that threatened to rise from her gut and belch all over the place. Nobody would mind anyway, so fuck it.

She had to hand it to the old place. Even after all these years, the flooding, and the fire, the den still had its charm. The red walls were now charred black, but an occasional glimpse of the original color peeked from behind old bricks bringing back the sense of oriental mystery that had been so characteristic. In the back, there was still a piece of the old stage standing and a few remnants of the thick velvet curtain hung from the ceiling. Behind it, she could see the bars of an old cage.

Ezobel shuddered. Could that be the same cage? Without much thought, she climbed onto the stage and pulled the curtain back as much as possible. The square box full of bars looked intact. Instinctively she ran her fingers along the corner bar. There it was; a small carving edged into the metal. It was indeed the same.

You shouldn’t be here Ezobel! The voice in her head was pretty much screaming now. Her heart began racing fast and her breathing quickened. This was a mistake. But it was too late. She was already there and it was starting to happen. She’d gone past the point of no return.

A thick drop of sweat travelled down her face and landed on the dusty wooden floor. The sound of the drop almost knocked her off balance. Damn it! The change always made her hearing extra sensitive for a few minutes. She had forgotten, but it was all rushing back to her: The heat, the sweat, the nausea, the heightened senses… Her skin turned goose bumps and she felt her bones begin to break.

The memories of all the years of changing for an audience filled her brain to the point of migraine. “No!” she yelled at herself. But the pain became unbearable. Suddenly she was eight years old again. Dr. Dracus was presenting her to the crowd. “Behold,” he said pointing towards her cage, his ugly face forcing her into a panic. Fear always made her turn.

The bones in her back cracked and her skin parted in a large gash. An extra set of arms and hands emerged from the gash, elongating until they were bigger than her height. The new fingers stretched and a fold of skin grew over them, creating a membrane. Her skin crawled, and where there used to be hair, shiny blue-green scales began to form. In her panic, she screamed, but instead of sound, from her mouth spewed forth a stream of fire.

The smell of smoke memory rushed into her brain. It was happening again. She would burn down the den again. Why did I come here?

A wall of fire rose up around her. The heat felt good against her scaly flesh. A rush of adrenaline filled her blood as her nostrils caught a sulfurous scent. There is another!

An image from her dream flashed in front of her eyes. A second cage. Yes. She remembered now. There had been another cage that night, an older female. Ezobel closed her eyes and pictured the old woman with the fiery eyes. She had been so serene during the whole thing. Like she had been enjoying it.

She searched the back of the stage and found it. A larger cage was clearly visible beneath a dirty tarp. Her gasp spewed forth more flames and the tarp caught fire. The entire backstage became alight and from behind the burning tarp, Ezobel heard a crack. She pushed the flaming cover aside and smiled.

The tiny creature shook the pieces of shell off of its back, cooed like a pigeon, and let out a smoky sigh, climbing onto her shoulders. “Guess it really was a dragon’s den after all.”

The End

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Image from Pinterest:  Dragon Girl

10 Little Known Facts About Pixie Piper


There are plenty of things revealed about Pixie (the regular girl turned fairy) in her first book: The Adventures of Pixie Piper: A Fairy’s Breath, but there are also rarely known bits of info that are not necessarily directly expressed in the book. In this article I will share some of the little known facts about Pixie and the world of the fairies that only the author can know 😉 .

  1. Pixie loves marbles and actually has quite a large collection. There was a scene in the book where she stops in the middle of a castle just to get a marble. That scene was later edited out.
  2. Pixie is Puerto Rican. Yes she is! I will probably never actually write it in the stories, but if you pay attention you can tell she lives in a tropical island (notice the trees and flowers). That island is Puerto Rico (hint: Coquíes, are native Puerto Rican singing tree frogs).
  3. Pixie is a bit of a tomboy. Surprisingly, a little girl noticed right away and asked me during a reading: “Pixie isn’t very girly, is she?” Kudos for noticing!
  4. Dalu’s original suit was green. The color was edited to better agree with the cover. There was too much green on the original image. To compensate, the suit now magically changes color.
  5. Not every fairy works as a Godfairy.
  6. Dalu is going deaf. He hates to admit it, and won’t, but it’s true.
  7. Part of the gold collected from the rainbow highway is traded for human coins and sent to the Tooth Fairy Delivery Corporation.
  8. The One-Eyed Decapus that almost kills Pixie doesn’t actually die.
  9. The Seelie Court Medal of Honor is only awarded when merited. Prior to Meni’s award, no one had received the honor in 30 years.
  10. Pixie always dreamed of having a treehouse, so in a way, she gets two wishes come true during the story: her adventure, and living in the Royal Tree.