Q.A.F. - Questions Asked Frequently

What are the Squashbuckler Diaries?

The Squashbuckler Diaries is a daily blog of Joy Shelley’s life in the Dream. The books I’m working on, the Lost in Dreams series, tell the story of Joy, a.k.a. The Dream Girl, a.k.a. The Forgotten Girl, from her very beginning to her, um, end.

The first book will be about Joy at age 6. In the next, she’ll be at age 9. Then 12. Then 15. Then 18. You get the idea. Where it stops… Well, you are not going to get that yet. Although you will get clues as the series continues.

Each book concentrates on a big adventure, a big dramatic event that changes Joy’s life or her understanding of who she is and why she is the Dream. There’s a lot of life there that will never be told because most of her life is not huge events.

So I decided to create a daily journal of her life. Right now, while I’m working on finishing the first book, the diaries tell the stories of Joy’s life until the events in that book, until age 6. Once the first book comes out, all the daily journals will be about her from age 6 to age 9, detailing what happened after that first book and what happened before the next book starts. And so on and so on.

Who is Joy?

Joy is the girl born in Dream. She is raised by a father (Justin Shelley) while he dreams. When he falls asleep, he appears in the Dream, on Bonny’s Revenge, and the two have adventures. When he wakes up, he disappears and Joy gets left behind. That’s quite a life. You can read all about it in the daily Squashbuckler Diaries.

Is ‘Dragon Little’ a dragon?

Dragon Little is Joy Shelley, and Joy is human. The Red Dragon likes to call her Dragon Little and hardly ever calls her Joy. So when she tells the stories about Joy, she calls her Dragon Little. Red can’t have kids, and thinks of Joy as her own.

The Red Dragon calls Justin, her father, (human, of course,) Dragon Father, because he’s Dragon Little’s father.

Why the ‘Squashbuckler Diaries’? What the hell is a ‘Squashbuckler’?

Justin and Joy are swashbucklers. The full tale of how ‘squashbuckler’ came about and how it became a thing, well, that’s going to appear in quite a few diary entries. Here is the first. More will be/have been added so look for the the tag ‘The meaning of squashbucklers’.

What about the comic book?

Lost in Dreams #1 started first appeared as a comic book graphic novel, which you can still find in ComiXology. I actually started a comic book company called New Worlds Comics so I could create Lost in Dreams. At the time, I couldn’t figure out how to write it as a series of books so I wrote it as comics.

But then New Worlds Comics didn’t work, and at the same time I came up with an idea of creating a comic book store for the blind and visually impaired, which I called Comics Empower. Comics Empower didn’t catch on, but it was an amazing experience. The graphic novel Lost in Dreams #2 came out in audio, and you can’t find it anywhere unless you know someone who bought it.

But now… Now I’ve figured out how to write these stories as books. And that’s what I’m doing. In book form, I get an opportunity to make the world so much richer. I get to insert more characters, like The Red Dragon, into the first book, while she didn’t fit into the graphic novel.

As I write the books, I also write the Squashbuckler Diaries simultaneously, giving you a better view of her life, and letting you in on what happens after and before each book.

It’s a life project. It’s going to take years.

Yes, I know what happens in the end. I always plan my stories and books. I can’t wait to tell you the whole story. Hopefully, as I write each book, and as you wait for each book, you’ll be able to get a daily dose of Joy’s life every single day.

Who is this for? How did you come to think of it?

The books and The Squashbuckler Diaries are written for my three daughters.

I came up with it when there was just one. After a doctor’s checkup, where she cried heart-wrenchingly, I knew I had to write a book about a father, a daughter, and their love for each other.

The idea for Lost in Dreams came in minutes, the entire freaking saga from her birth, to why she was born in the Dream, to her father, to things that happen decades later.

So… I’m writing these books now. I’m writing them for my daughters. You are free to join that adventure. I do like to share it.

I’m writing The Squashbuckler Diaries now. I’m writing them for my daughters, too. In fact, they’re inspired by our lives together. The diaries and the books will be a fantasy diary of our actual lives together. Check out the YouTube channel HERE, where I show how I come up with each Diary idea.

I’m putting it online because I think you’ll really enjoy them. It’s okay not to. It’s really okay. You don’t have to read them or enjoy them or recommend them. This is a life project for my family, and you’re absolutely a welcome guest if you want to be one!

Are you crazy doing this project?

Could be. I’m doing something that’s never been done: A series of life-to-death books, and in-between what will no doubt be thousands and thousands of Squashbuckler Diary entries about Joy’s life. It’s never been done. But I can do it. It’s never been done. But I can do it. It’s never been done. But I can do it. It’s never--Huh? No, I’m not crazy.

But that’s what a crazy person would say, isn’t it?

How can a girl be born in the Dream?

Ah. Well… That’s a big question, isn’t it? Joy is going to do her best to find that out in the books. But first she has to realize she’s in a dream. That will happen in the first book.

Who is the Red Dragon?

She’s a dragon, enslaved since birth and freed by Joy and Justin. She calls Joy her ‘Dragon Little’ for a reason that may appear one of these days in the Squashbuckler Diaries and certainly appears in the first book. She calls Justin ‘Dragon Father’, because he is Dragon Little’s father. She tells you more about herself here.

Why Is Joy White?

I write this for my daughters, and it’s about me and my daughters. My three daughters are white and blonde with straight hair, and therefore so is Joy. BUT: It is absolutely unfair that Joy is white just as it’s unfair if Joy would have been born any other color or come from any country. Joy stands for every daughter, every girl, and no one should feel she couldn’t have been in her place. Joy could have been anybody. (See Lost in Dreams, Book #3 for what that piece of information means (ahem-ahem, not what you think, ahem-ahem).)

But Joy didn’t grow up like any of us. Joy grew up in her father’s swashbuckling adventure dreams. None of us did. Joy didn’t grow up knowing there was any such thing as a country, or continents. In fact, Joy never had friends until age 6 (Lost in Dreams, Book #1) because she’d never met another human (Quiet! Don’t tell anyone that’s not 100% true! Quiet! No spoilers!).

In my opinion, her color doesn’t matter because color is background, origin, history, biological parents, the way others around you see you - and Joy had none of those things until age 6.

Joy’s world is going to expand once she learns she’s in a dream (Lost in Dreams, Book #1), where she’ll meet more people that come from our world.

Why are there mistakes? Don’t you freakin’ edit what you publish? What kind of an author are you?

The site is not edited. I do my best to go over everything before I publish it on the website, but I’m going to miss tons of stuff. I’ll misspelllll words, I’ll put in the grammar wrong, I’ll press capsloCk by mistake, and so on. But I’ll try not to.

It’s more important to me to get this out every day than to make sure it’s perfect. I hope you understand I’m human.

The books, however, will be edited.

How are the books going to come out?

Oh, there’s about a year from the time I write this to the time the first book is finished. So enjoy the Squashbuckler Diaries until then. But here’s the answer: I’ve been published by many different kinds of publishers before, I have author friends, and I do not like what I see. I won’t go into a rant here, but I won’t do that to myself or to my future books. I’m not desperate for money and I don’t need the ‘reputation’ a big publisher supposedly gives an author. I’ve come the conclusion that Lost in Dreams is ONLY going to be released independently and without any publisher.

No one will control the Lost in Dreams world except for me, for better or worse, and no one will own it. If that changes, it’s going to be far, far in the future.

How many books are there going to be?

I told you. It’s a life-to-death story. Telling you how many books there are going to be IS a spoiler. There are going to quite a few books, but I’m not telling how many.