10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Elodie Tuck

I’ve decided to start a new blog post series in which I share fun or significant facts about the characters from Where the Woods Grow Wild, facts which aren’t mentioned or developed much in the book. These facts won’t be spoilers, so no worries there! It’s mostly just for you to get to know the characters ‘behind the scenes’ a bit more. And why not start with my favorite character from the book, the mayor’s Speediest Courier?

(For more info about the story and the characters, this in-blog page is the place to go.)

So, without further ado, here are ten facts you probably didn’t know about Elodie Tuck:

#1 Her parents are alive

Both of Elodie’s parents are presumably alive, though their whereabouts are unknown and irrelevant, as they abandoned Elodie on the doorsteps of a bakery in Aldenturf when she was only a few months old.

#2 She was raised by Mayor Clarenbald

Horatio Clarenbald unofficially adopted Elodie at the persistent request of his wife Marigold several years before he was appointed mayor of Bardun Village. They were visiting Horatio’s brother in Aldenturf (a certain baker), and Marigold threatened to put salt lumps in Horatio’s tea for the rest of his life if he didn’t agree to care for baby Elodie. Marigold became ill and passed away a few years later, and she made Clarenbald promise to continue providing for Elodie for as long as she needed it.

#3 She created the position of town courier for herself

Before she turned sixteen, Bardun Village had never needed an official courier. After her sixteenth birthday, it still didn’t, but Mayor Clarenbald insisted Elodie was well old enough to work for her room and board, and she refused to join his maid-infested staff, so she appointed herself as the Mayor’s courier, and that suited Clarenbald just fine.

#4 She once broke her arm in the apple orchard

She was eight years old the first time she tried to climb one of the trees in the apple orchard, and it didn’t end well. It was then that Horatio Clarenbald decided she ought to learn to read and write. Those first few lessons didn’t end well, either.

#5 She refers to Clarenbald as ‘Mayor Clarenbald’ on his request

While Clarenbald was willing to raise Elodie for as long as was necessary, he and Marigold never had children of their own, and he didn’t feel capable of developing a fatherly bond with Elodie, so he kept their relationship as formal as possible and taught her to always call him by his title.

#6 She tried to teach herself to swim by throwing herself into Clarenbald’s pond

It didn’t work very well. Clarenbald had to throw one of the current maids after her. Subsequently, Clarenbald let the pond dry out and replaced it with a flower garden. Elodie learned to swim in the creek north of town the next year.

#7 Martin Colter was her first real friend

The Colter family came to Bardun Village when Elodie was nine years old. She tried to befriend Martin right away, but it took him a full year to work up the courage to say a word to her, so for a long while she gave up entirely.

#8 Her birthday is on October 14th

When Mayor Clarenbald told her she ought to pick an official birthday (purely for legislative purposes, of course), she chose October the 14th because that was the very next day and she couldn’t wait to celebrate for the first time. In future years she wished she had chosen a warm summer date, but Clarenbald insisted it was too late to change her mind.

#9 She once saved Percy Durbity’s life

Though to be fair, it was her fault he rolled off the table to begin with. She was looking after a one-year-old Percy while the Durbity parents had a garden lunch with Mayor Clarenbald. Percy wouldn’t stop crying, so she put him on the kitchen table while she ran to find a sock or something for him to play with. Long story short, Percy rolled off and Elodie caught him in the nick of time. She never told him about the incident when he grew up because she didn’t want to be pestered with admiration for the rest of her life.

#10 She often dances in her room at night

Because she can, and she doesn’t need any other reason. She kept her shoes on the first time, but a coincidentally-awake, candle-wielding Clarenbald calmly informed her that dancing was for nymphs and nymphs weren’t real, therefore dancing shouldn’t be real either. Elodie decided she wanted to be a nymph, and so she danced with bare feet from then on.

I hope those were interesting facts! I’m definitely going to do more of these in the near future (maybe making it a weekly series?). Drop a comment below to suggest which character I should explore next! Or, if you have any more questions about Elodie, feel free to ask and I’ll try to answer those that I can.

Don’t forget to subscribe and follow me on Twitter to receive your complimentary fuzzy duckling. And as always, have a great day!


Free Promotion: Where the Woods Grow Wild!

Hey, guys! Today’s post will be a quick one. I’ve got an exciting announcement. Starting today, from March 1st through March 4th, you can get a free Kindle copy of Where the Woods Grow Wild!


A forest looms over Bardun Village. Nobody goes in. Nothing comes out. The secrets in the oaks remain hidden until a mischievous escapade thrusts Martin and Elodie behind the silent trees. Separated and lost in a tangle of fantasy, they discover more than animals roam where the woods grow wild.

What’s the occasion, you ask? Well, today marks the beginning of month #3, and 3 is my 5th favorite single-digit number, so there’s always that. Additionally, I suck at marketing, so I’m going on a tactical ‘I feel like giving away free stuff’ strategy.

And no, you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to follow, subscribe, like, or sacrifice a naked mole rat (seriously, don’t do that). All you have to do is click *le fancy link* below and download your free copy from Amazon.

Where the Woods Grow Wild Free Download

Need some convincing? I understand! I’ll link to some fabulous writer/reader friends who were awesome enough to review Where the Woods Grow Wild on their blogs. (In this case, yes, you should go follow and subscribe to them, but go easy on the mole rats).

Constant Collectible’s Review

A Tea With Tumnus’s Review

Dragonthief’s Review

If you’re itching for a copy but don’t own a Kindle device, we can definitely work something out. Just let me know and I’ll get in touch! And if you do read Where the Woods Grow Wild, I’d be enormously grateful if you dropped a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Reviews are the fuel for an author’s success engine (crazy deep metaphor alert), but they can be hard to come by. Even just a quick rating goes a long way. You have my thanks and Gimli’s axe.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by! I truly hope you have a fantastic day.

Operation: 100 Sales on Launch Day!

Happy Saturday, everybody! So, I’ve got a minor announcement…Where the Woods Grow Wild is officially out! If you’ve been following the countdown on Twitter/Instagram or the build-up posts right here, then you knew this day was coming, and here it is!


A forest looms over Bardun Village. Nobody goes in. Nothing comes out. The secrets in the oaks remain hidden until a mischievous escapade thrusts Martin and Elodie behind the silent trees. Separated and lost in a tangle of fantasy, they discover more than animals roam where the woods grow wild.


I’ve got a few topics to cover in this post, so let’s move right along. First of all, a huge thank you to anyone and everyone who has encouraged me and supported me throughout the whole creation process of WtWGW, from family to strangers on social media. It hasn’t always been a smooth or pleasant ride, but you guys made it happen.


Second, I’ve set up a challenge/goal for today, as it’s uber-super-ultra-cool-launch-day. See that post title up above? Yeah, we’re going for it. 100 sales on day one. Today.

“But Nate, that’s a really big number. It’s way bigger than 99. How will you ever pull off such an extraordinary feat?” *polishes tophat in disbelief* 

I’m glad you asked! I need your help. Here are some things you can do to push the number up (and earn my undying love and servitude a thumbs up).

  • Treat yourself or someone else to a copy! Nothing helps sales like a sale, right?
  • Spread the word. Grab a Santa Claus costume and go yell about WtWGW on the street corners. Or just tell a friend. #thepoweroffriendship
  • Social media shares! For every retweet, like, share, or re-post this gets, I’ll chug some hot chocolate. If by the end of the day I’m a hyper, sugar-saturated hospital case, then we did it!
  • Mark it on Goodreads. More exposure is always helpful.


Now, it’ll take a while for the Kindle page and the Paperback page to link up into one Amazon page, so here’s a link to each version:

Where the Woods Grow Wild – Kindle

Where the Woods Grow Wild – Paperback

Want more information about the book? I’ve got you covered with past blog posts about the characters and the story world, so go check those out of you want to!

All right, now let’s see how close to 100 we can get! In the meantime, have a great day!


Where the Woods Grow Wild – Available for Pre-Order!

That’s right, you heard it here first: my adventure-driven fantasy novel, Where the Woods Grow Wild, isn’t releasing until December 10th, but starting today you can pre-order it on Amazon for your ebook reader of choice!

This is…extraordinary. WtWGW is my baby, and I’m pushing it out into the world. It’s exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. But I’m not here to talk about me, I’m here to talk about the book.

Where the Woods Grow Wild will be available for pre-order right until December 10th, the official release date. Pre-orders apply to ebooks only, so if you want to wait for a paperback copy, make sure to stamp your calendar!

Ready to pre-order your copy? Read no further (or do, I can’t stop you). Either way, click here to go straight to the Amazon page!

If not, here are some of the reasons why you totally should pre-order today (or tomorrow, if you really must):

  • You save money! The e-book will go up to full price once the pre-order period is finished, so grab it now and treat yourself to a snowcone with your savings. “But Nate, it’s too cold for-” Be quiet and enjoy your snowcone!
  • You’ll be the very first person to get your hands on a copy! Well, you and everybody else who pre-ordered. We can’t all be unicorns.
  • You get to wear a special badge! It’s a metaphorical badge, and all it says is ‘I pre-ordered this book’, but hey, it’s shiny. All that to say, if you pre-order and tell a friend, you get bonus points. And you feel good on the inside.
  • You help me out a lot! I only bring this up because the more pre-orders roll in, the more momentum we’ll have on release day. If you’re just deciding between now or later, do it now!

Also, I made this gorgeous thing. Look at the thing. Now do what the thing says.

A forest looms over Bardun Village. Nobody goes in. Nothing comes out. The secrets in the oaks remain hidden until a mischievous escapade thrusts Martin and Elodie behind the silent trees. Separated and lost in a tan.jpg

Pre-order Where the Woods Grow Wild

Now, let’s sit back and giggle over cups of hot cocoa until December 10th gets here. I know I’m excited, and I know a lot of you are as well. Thanks for coming along for the ride. We’re almost there.

In the meantime, have a great day!

Final Cover and Release Date for Where the Woods Grow Wild!

The blog’s been pretty quiet these past two weeks or so, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working non-stop behind the scenes (hint: I have). And, as a result of said productivity, I have several bits of exciting news to share! Remember that series we did a while back, in which you got a glimpse of the synopsis, characters, and story-world of Where the Woods Grow Wild? Well, now I’ve got more for you. Specifically, I’ve got the finalized cover design, and…wait for it…a release date!

That’s right, this is happening. I’ve just about finished working with the feedback from my beta readers, and that means the end of the journey is just around the bend (fittingly, since I started this project about a year ago).

In the near future, I’ll talk more about release specifics (parties and celebratory snacks and pre-orders and all that fun stuff), but for now, I just want to share the two main biggies. So, without further ado, as they say…here’s the final cover for Where the Woods Grow Wild!


I’m not 100% sure how the image will show up, so here’s the back-cover blurb in case it’s not at a readable size.

A forest looms over Bardun Village. Nobody goes in. Nothing comes out. The secrets in the oaks remain hidden until a mischievous escapade thrusts Martin and Elodie behind the silent trees. Separated and lost in a tangle of fantasy, they discover more than animals roam where the woods grow wild.

Now for the release date. I have yet to sort out details such as pre-orders (there will be plenty of time for that, don’t worry), and we all know how fickle Createspace can be. However, barring any unforeseen nasties, Where the Woods Grow Wild will be available in ebook and paperback forms on Amazon on December 10th, 2016. A month minus one day.

Mark your calendars, friends. We’re almost there. In the meantime, have a great day.

Writerly Plans for Fall 2016

Hello, friends and readers!

Another academic year is underway, and the Fall season is fast approaching. It’s a period of change and transition for a lot of us, and I’m no exception. Here’s a preview of what I have in store for the remaining months of 2016.

Day jobs

Last year I started work as an online class supervisor at a school here in Sant Cugat (best city in Spain). That job kicked back to life last week, and I’m in the thick of classes already.

This Fall I’m also adding a new day job, as some of you saw on Twitter. I got a job teaching private English classes (as a second language) at an academy, so that’ll fill up a few afternoons.

Writing plans

While my beta readers are going through Where the Woods Grow Wild, I have several plans to keep myself busy. I’ve already started writing a sequel, simply because I couldn’t bear to not spend more time with my characters.

As soon as I hear back from my beta readers, however, I’ll dive into more edits accordingly. My top priority this Fall is to get Where the Woods Grow Wild perfected (in the achievable sense of the word) and published. A lot of people keep asking when it’s coming out, and my answer remains the same…soon!

Publication plans open up a lot of other boxes of things to get ready for: a release party, a book signing in town, final touches on design, etc. I’m working to have all that ready to go!

Fall is my favorite season by far. The cooler weather, rainy days with tea, and general festivities always invigorate me. I’m excited for what the following months have in store. What sort of plans do you have for the rest of 2016?

Where the Woods Grow Wild: Read Chapter One

Ladies and gentlemen, the time has finally come to lift the curtain and reveal the final installment in the sneak-peek series for Where the Woods Grow Wild. That’s right, today you get to read the first full chapter.

Today is also the day I send the whole book to my awesome beta readers. I didn’t plan the overlap on purpose, but hey, may as well lump all the nerve-wracking events into one day, right?

Well, I guess I don’t have much else to say. Thank you for your constant enthusiasm and encouragement. Click the link below to access the PDF.

Where the Woods Grow Wild (Chapter One)


If you enjoy what you read, please feel free to share the link with a friend, coworker, family member, or that nice lady that feeds pigeons in the park. The more, the merrier! (People, not pigeons.)

In the meantime, have a great day!

Where The Woods Grow Wild: Explore The Story World

In the first sneak-peek post, I shared my blurb for Where The Woods Grow Wild. On Wednesday, you guys got to meet some of the characters from the story. As announced in the schedule, today I’m going to give you a quick tour of the world where the events of Where The Woods Grow Wild take place.

Note: I found these pieces of art on Pinterest. Besides the map, none of them belong to me. Each talented artist will be credited and linked to. Their artwork is merely representative and inspirational, not an actual depiction of the locations.

If you were expecting expansive maps with kingdoms, countries, or provinces, you might be surprised to see that the world of Where The Woods Grow Wild (or at least the world affected therein) isn’t a world at all, but simple village on the edge of a forest.

map vector HDR.jpg
Art by yours truly! This one does belong to me.

While our story may not send characters on long journeys across the land, each side of the coin–the ordinary side and the wild side–has its share of peculiar places to explore. Let’s begin in…

Bardun Village

As you may have gathered by now, Bardun Village is a town for simple folk who prefer to live ordinary lives. Built around the grand clock tower, Bardun Village isn’t the biggest town, or the most important town, or even the prettiest town. But Mayor Clarenbald makes sure that the people’s needs are met, and at the end of the day, that’s enough.

Bart de Vries on Artstation

Two roads exit Bardun Village. The road to the north takes you to Aldenturf and the towns beyond Aldenturf, where many people end up going to find a respectable trade. The road to the south takes you nowhere in particular. You’re bound to hit a town or city if you follow it far enough, but with Aldenturf only a handful of hours away by wagon, there’s simply no need.

Besides the clock tower, Bardun Village consists of family dwellings, a few trade shops, an apothecary, a market square, an orchard, farmland to the west, and wild fields to the east. There are, however, two places that deserve a mention of their own.

The first is the Cabbage Cart, the large building off the south road. Though it’s technically an inn, the Cabbage Cart serves mostly as a place for the townspeople to pass the time in the evenings over bowls of onion soup. This is where we’ll meet our first protagonist, Martin Colter, as he works as the Cabbage Cart’s dish washer, wood stacker, and general handyman.

Art by Allan Bernardo on Artstation

The second is the mayor’s residence, a grand building jutting from the market square. This is, of course, where Mayor Clarenbald conducts his mayorly business, served by his team of giggling maids along with his trusty (sometimes) courier, who happens to be our other protagonist, Elodie Tuck.

Art by Jinwon Yun at Artstation

The rest of the village is, to be frank, quite boring, so we’ll skip it. However, should you decide to take the south road and cut across the fields on your left, you’ll soon stand in the shadow of…

The Forest

From the outside, the forest looks like…well, like an ordinary oak forest. It’s when you delve into the inner workings that you realize the woods are a world of their own. Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to tell you too much about it. The dryads wouldn’t be happy if I revealed the location of their island palace, for instance. Nor can I point out the Turtlegabble River, because it’s pretty hard to find, or the Minnowchuck River, because that delves into spoiler territory. I should warn you, though…don’t cross the Minnowchuck. Trunders live on the other side, and they’re vicious.

If I could show you the woods, they might look something like this…

Art by Mikael Gustafsson at Dribble

I wish I could tell you more about the forest. I truly do. But it wouldn’t be fair for me to suck the mystery out of things, would it? Not to mention the fact that I’d have to tell the turtle blossoms, the sting finches, the sage vipers, and the bog boars why I’m posting random blog articles about their habitat (oh, and the less I say about the shape-shifting morpher, the better).

That brings this post to a conclusion! To explore the rest of the story world, you’ll have to take a walk where the woods grow wild for yourself…

Guys. Guys. Hold on. Next Wednesday, on September the 14th, I’m posting the entire first chapter of Where The Woods Grow Wild right here on You Write Fiction! Mark your calendar and be sure to come back for more!

In the meantime, have a great day.

Where The Woods Grow Wild: Meet The Characters

Hello, reader! Welcome to the second post in the sneak peek series for my upcoming fantasy novel, Where The Woods Grow Wild. If this is your first time joining the fun, you can check out the full series schedule or read the book’s blurb/synopsis from the first post.

Today is all about the characters in Where The Woods Grow Wild. Not all of them, of course. There’s too many for one blog post, and I want to keep some of them a surprise. And don’t worry, these introductions are spoiler-free!

Martin Colter and Elodie Tuck

We start things off, of course, with our leading duo.

Martin Colter washes dishes, stacks wood, and cleans up after Percy Durbity in the Cabbage Cart Inn just outside Bardun Village. While the rest of his family has moved on to bigger and better towns, Martin stays behind to scratch out his own living. He tends to think he can do more than he actually can, and that often leads him to frustration, especially once he loses his hand to…well, I’m not telling you what. Sometimes, the only thing that can brighten the long days at the Cabbage Cart is a visit from a certain town courier…

“I’m going to the bridge in the forest. I don’t care if a wolf took my hand, or a bear, or whatever other story people made up. I’m going to find the miserable animal and kill it myself. Maybe then they’ll see I’m worth more than pity-pennies, and I won’t be stuck in this cauldron for the rest of my life.”

-Martin Colter

Elodie Tuck is the mayor’s self-proclaimed speediest courier. She’s also the most restless and mischievous courier, and she spends almost as much time pocketing oranges and sneaking out for romps in the fields as she does running errands. Clover fields are her personal favorite, but anything with yellow flowers is good (that’s her favorite color, in case you were wondering). If she had to choose between a day out exploring with Martin and a day pranking the mayor’s maids…well, she’d find a way to get both.

“Fine, then, be that way. Yes, I found it when I cleaned out his old desk drawers, and I took it because he has enough brass rings to fill a bean jar. But the fact is I thought of you and I want you to keep it. It’s not the prettiest, I know, but some days an orange simply isn’t enough. But first, you have to promise you won’t make Percy lie to me and that you won’t run from me ever again.”

-Elodie Tuck

Percy Durbity

Peek in the pots or cupboards in the Cabbage Cart Inn kitchens and you’re bound to find Percy Durbity, the mouse-sized boy who works alongside Martin. Percy’s skill set includes dropping pots, squeezing into tight spaces to hide, and leaving the pig pen gate open. Constantly living in terror of kicks from his easily disgruntled boss, Percy somehow manages to keep his job and his rear end intact despite his constant blunders. At the end of the day, however, he’s as cheerful and talkative as can be…assuming he doesn’t forget to send that letter to his mother…

“My mother left a list of things I ought and ought not to do, and right between ‘you ought to wash your feet twice a day’ and ‘you ought to smile at people and say hello’—that’s a hard one—she wrote ‘you ought not to go in the forest, not ever.’ Sometimes I get it all confused and end up saying hello to my feet twice a day, but I know for sure I ought not to disobey my mother.”

-Percy Durbity

Illo and Fella

There may not be two sisters less alike than Illo and Fella, inside the forest or outside. Fella, the elder, tackles life’s problems with a level head, a matter-of-fact disposition, and a willingness to put the needs of others before her own. Younger sister Illo, on the other hand, tackles life’s problems shoulders first with a feral yell. Or if not, she’ll grab her bow and lethal arrows. Illo may sometimes struggle to grasp concepts like empathy and obedience, and Fella may not always keep her own fears in check, but one thing is certain: they both need each other.

“My sister gets a lot of crazy ideas in her head, but I can usually pick out the truth. I know you don’t actually think you’re a trout.”


“Why, you clod brained, gimpy hog-moggins, I’m not evil!”



The final cast member we get a glimpse of tonight, Podgin is exactly what his name sounds like: a little man who lives in a little home underground and who wants nothing more than to be left alone with his oven and his mushrooms. Food is the love of his life, but he’s also a bit of a hoarder, and his house is a trove of mostly useless trinkets. He may say finding the next truffle patch is all that matters, but deep down, under his quivering nose and unravelable beard, he knows and cares a lot more than most people think.

“No, I’m not making stuffed mushrooms, and you can’t have any. You can’t come in, either. I don’t have time for your shenanigans, and I already feel a sneeze coming on.”


Of course, there are lots more characters that you’ll have to wait and meet when you read Where The Woods Grow Wild. I’ve had so much fun (and a fair share of trouble) telling the adventures of this group and more, and I can’t wait to share them all with you soon!

Thanks for stopping by. Come back on Friday for the next installment in the sneak peek series. In the meantime, have a great day!

Where The Woods Grow Wild: Synopsis Reveal and Beta Reader Request

*Deep breath* Okay, here we go. The sneak peek series for Where The Woods Grow Wild is officially starting. If you missed the announcement and the schedule last week, check out this post so you know what’s coming up.

Synopsis Reveal

First things first: the synopsis, as promised. This was no easy task. I tried to write the synopsis as close to the back-cover blurb as I could, as opposed to a long, dreary summary. It’s a bit on the long side to go on a book cover, I think, so I’ll have to make some cuts in the future. But for now, this is what we have.

Beyond the streets of Bardun Village, a forest grows. Nobody goes in. Nothing comes out. The townspeople abide by the unspoken rule not to meddle with whatever mysteries hide in the trees.

Martin Colter just wants to make it through another workday at the Cabbage Cart Inn. Elodie Tuck would rather climb trees in the orchard than run errands for the mayor. Together, they’ll do anything to liven things up, until a mischievous escapade lands Martin behind the tree line, where an unknown creature lurks in the dark.

Martin makes it out of the forest—barely. Left with one hand and a strange poison in his veins, he and Elodie must adapt to a new way of life.

But the forest isn’t done with them yet. When Martin and Elodie return to the woods in search of the animal that maimed him, they find more adventure than they bargained for.

Separated and lost in a tangle of fantasy, they discover that more than animals come to play where the woods grow wild.

Getting in was easy. Getting back out is the tricky part.

My main struggle with the synopsis/blurb was deciding how much to reveal. As a reader, I generally want to know as little as possible about the plot specifics when I pick up a book. I prefer concepts and hints. At the same time, I want my audience to know what they’re getting into.

Of course, feedback for improvement is always welcome! This is as close to completion as I could wrestle it for today’s post, but I’ll definitely come back to it.

Hopefully by the time the book cover finalization rolls around, I’ll have figured out how to condense the blurb even more without resorting to formulas and generic rhetorical questions. Will I be able to pull it off?


Beta reader spots are now filled!

NOTE: This is an edited version of the original post (obviously). I know the post has been up for less than a day, but all the beta reader positions have been claimed.

I’m blown away by all the positive responses to the synopsis and the request for beta readers. Thank you so much to those who volunteered to lend me a hand! I’m looking forward to completing this project.

To those who may still have wanted to volunteer or didn’t see the post until now, I’m sorry you missed out! I honestly never expected the spots to fly so quickly, and I even took on more beta readers than I had originally planned. Hopefully you’ll stick around for the release of Where The Woods Grow Wild later this fall!

Stay awesome, everyone.

I believe that brings the first sneak peek series post to an end! Thanks for stopping by to check it out. The next series post will go up Wednesday Sept 7th, and it’s all about the characters in Where The Woods Grow Wild. Be sure to come back!

In the meantime, have a fantastic day!