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Jun 30, 2023

A mysterious creature roams the woods of medieval England, much to the horror of superstitious villagers. Always clad in a cloak that conceals all, the creature has never been seen, but rumors abound. Nearly twenty years ago, I created my own world set near the little English town of Seascale not far from Scafell Pike in the Lake District. Ten years ago, the Wynnewood series entered the world. This year, it's getting a whole new look! Listen in and see what happened on my actual trip to the fictional world of Wynnewood!

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Why Did I Give This Series a Makeover with Exciting New Covers?

We've all seen them--book covers that never should've been. I can think of one super-modern-looking Anne of Green Gables a few years ago. Ugh. I still get the shivers.  Other times, stuff just gets dated. I'm reading an Agatha Christie right now that screams 1970s. Hopefully, my books fall into the latter category--especially the last one (I really loved how Beneath the Cloak turned out!).

But middle-grade fiction has definitely moved strongly into the "illustrated cover" zone. Especially with fantasy. So as I talk about in the episode, I needed to catch my covers up to current trends so kids would know where the books fit in relation to other things they'd read. :D

And then I went to England.  I took a 3.5-hour train ride to Seascale. Walked around in the rain. Took a 3.25-hour ride home. And though I didn't get to do everything I wanted to, I did manage what I needed.

I experienced Wynnewood. I walked where Dove and Philip would have walked. I saw where the dragon caves might be, where the castle would have stood, and I felt the mists coming in from the sea.

Seriously, guys... dripping with water, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

Stay tuned to my YouTube Channel for a video about the trip, the covers, and the maps inside!

Shadows & Secrets by Chautona Havig

No one knows what the cloaked creature is or why it is so terrifying. The villagers of Wynnewood only know that they must stay away from “the creature” for fear of their physical and spiritual safety.

An unfortunate encounter with a dragon introduces Philip Ward to the creature. To his surprise, he finds a friend, confidante, and companion in more adventure than he’d ever dreamed possible.

Follow Philip and the creature in their adventures. Among the forests of Wynnewood, they rescue a lame child, discover “pirate treasure,” and test the mettle of true friendship.  Shadows & Secrets is the first book in the Annals of Wynnewood.

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