Tag Archives: summer reading

Featured Interview with Isaac ben Levi

Standard
Isaac ben Levi

Isaac ben Levi is the author of the Great Railroad series.

I am happy to share my recent interview with author Isaac ben Levi. He is a young talented author that is a sophomore in high school already working on his third book in a locomotive series. He shares his expertise about the local Ozark Mountain Railroad from the point of view of a locomotive. The history of the railroad is told in the first book, Our First Locomotive, and continued into the second book. There is even a railroad terminology dictionary in the second book, Old Reliable Locomotives. It looks like a great start to the series and for any young train enthusiast to learn more about trains in the Ozark Mountains.

I had a chance to hear all about Isaac ben Levi’s hobbies, reasons why he writes, some train lore, and how he got his inspiration to write his books.

Great Railroad Series - Our First Locomotive

This is the first book in the Great Railroad series , Our First Locomotive, available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

  • What is your favorite memory from reading when you were younger?

Isaac ben Levi: I have many good memories of reading and so many from such an early age that I don’t have one favorite—they were all so good.

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Isaac ben Levi: Early in my life, Rev. W Awdry’s work, though the copies I had were mostly abridged and editing. It was his work that first gave me the love of trains I have now and you can say he has a portion of the credit for me writing the “Great Railroad Series”.

  • Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Isaac ben Levi: Generally speaking, because I am taking dual credits and finishing high school and going through college right now, I write in my spare time, early in the afternoon. I mull thoughts over in my head but mostly I write as I go—freelance except for the fact I have a large amount of reference material so I am consistent in the books. I am always reading and thinking.

  • What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Isaac ben Levi: I will probably be writing older kid versions of a series being published by another author from the same publisher titled: Homestead Friends: Welcome Home, Sweet Harley –Book 1. Each book is about an animal on the homestead. It is written for little children and I will write from the point-of-view geared toward elementary aged students. I will probably write historical non-fiction material as well at some point and have many topics of interest.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Isaac ben Levi: Writing represents an outlet to share one’s thoughts with anyone who cares to view them.

Great Railroad Series - Old Reliable Locomotives - Book 2

This is the second book in the Great Railroads series, Old Reliable Locomotives, available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

  • Do you plan to pursue your love of trains as a career? Maybe become an engineer?

Isaac ben Levi: My dream would be to own a Railroad Museum in the Ozark Mountain and introduce people of all ages to the wonderful history of railroads.

  • Besides school, what do you like to do when you are not writing?

Isaac ben Levi: I enjoy physics and science and am working on several experiments and inventions. I also am setting up a narrow gauge railroad on our homestead to move the wood from the pile in front of the home to the back of our home for the wood burner. I’m sixteen and my parents are understanding. I also love my animals including birds, cats and ten dogs—seven puppies were just born a few months ago. I helped to deliver the two that were breech births.

  • If you had the chance to build your own railroad line, how would you design it?

Isaac ben Levi: It would probably be a similar short-line to the Ozark Mountain Railroad if it were going to be a common carrier in the transportation business. I am currently planning to build a small estate railway on my homestead and separate from the wood hauling one. I am going to experiment on that railroad with an entirely new type of locomotive of my own design using a Stirling Engine/Hot Air Engine.

  • While researching your books, what is the most memorable interview with one of the local railroad experts?

Isaac ben Levi: In speaking with a local history museum director, she shared the original files of author James R. Fair. I learned a lot about railroads and one that operated south of my home from his excellent writing and research material. It proved to be the basis for book two of my series.

  • What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

Isaac ben Levi: My advice would be to write about what you love and then it will never seem like work. Personally, I have never enjoyed writing papers or projects for school, and then one day a story came into my head with all of the details in order. I just had to write it down. Then another, and another, and so on. It was never my plan or intention to be an author, but now I am passionate about it. My advice would be do what you love.

Isaac ben Levi’s Great Railroad Series has two books currently published: Our First Locomotive and Old Reliable Locomotives. The third is due out in August of this year. Plus, he has a new series releasing soon entitled The Li’l Great Railroad Series with its first title called “Happy Engines Back at Work”. The new series will also release in August. Isaac ben Levi’s books are available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For more information on Isaac ben Levi and his books, visit his website at: https://greatrailroadseries.com.

 

Advertisements

Interview with Alexandria Rose Rizik

Standard
alexandriarizik

Alexandria Rose Rizik is the author of the children’s book, Chocolate Milk.

I was very excited to interview my next featured author, Alexandria Rose Rizik. She is from Scottsdale, Arizona and is not only an author, but the founder of the award winning film production company, Princess Rose Productions. She is a female leader in the entertainment industry, and is seeking to help inspire the next generation and make an impact on current social issues.

chocolatemilkcvr

The picture book, Chocolate Milk, is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Alexandria Rose Rizik is the author of the picture book Chocolate Milk. She wrote it when she was seventeen participating in an anti-bullying campaign. A young cow is bullied and teased for making brown milk until everyone realizes it is really chocolate milk. The moral of the story is tied to being yourself and celebrating differences. It’s a great message and helps to connect children to literature and the bullying theme through their love of chocolate milk.

I had a chance to talk to Alexandria about her childhood reading memories, her writing process, and any advice for aspiring authors.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Alexandria Rose Rizik: My favorite memory from reading as a child was spending the hot Arizona summer days in the library, keeping busy with my mom and three sisters, sorting through books and reading.

2) Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Alexandria Rose Rizik: My favorite authors as a kid were Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary. Judy Blume wrote one of my favorite books of all time, “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” Maybe that’s why I love writing coming-of-age stories.

3) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Alexandria Rose Rizik: I don’t necessarily have a routine. I don’t do well with structure. Some days I go to a coffee shop and spend hours there, writing away. Other days, I write from home, just on and off at my desk.

4) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Alexandria Rose Rizik: I want to write about things that people can relate to…something that touches the world. I tend to cling to coming-of-age stories, specifically ones that revolve around first loves. I love to write about real people and the things they go through, in a way where the audience can connect. I would like to do stories that revolve around what is going on with our government and other political agendas that the world doesn’t even notice yet.

5) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Alexandria Rose Rizik: To me, writing is how I get through life.

Alexandria Rose Rizik’s book, Chocolate Milk, is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For more information on Alexandria Rizik and her other books, visit her website at: https://www.alexandriaroserizik.com.

Spotlight on Troy Gathers: Take Me With You Volume 2

Standard

takemewithyou2_flyerThe emergence of social media has captivated the world, yet blindfolded our logic on so many social concerns with both adults and youth alike. With social media having user friendly browsing capabilities, this is by far the easiest way for someone to be infiltrated and put in situations that they did not foresee. The idea of showcasing too much of one’s personal life has become a trend but is that a good thing? In a time like today where someone can make new friends with the click of a mouse, it’s important that we put friendships into perspective. Author Troy Gathers did just that with his newly released book Take Me With You Volume 2: The 7 Types of Friends in your Life. Troy believes that there are 7 types of friends in all of our lives and after reading his book, readers will have newly appointed wisdom to who they actually are.

Take Me With You Volume 2 is Troy’s third book and one that he is very passionate about. This is the second installment in Gathers’ book trilogy Take Me With You and like Volume 1, Troy provokes change in his readers. “I believe that in this microwave society we live in, someone needed to add some clarity on friendships,” says Gathers. Take Me With You Volume 2 gives an in-depth view into real life scenarios with biblical stories to add another viewpoint for the readers. “Growing up, I was always told by my Great-Grandmother Harriet Ladson that if I had any worries to read the Bible. The Bible is what we used for guidance in my family. I guarantee you that Take Me With You Volume 2 can provide the confirmation that so many of us seek regarding the closest people to us,” says Troy.

bio_pic (1)

Troy Gathers is the author of Take Me With You Volume 2 available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Troy Gathers hails from Charleston, South Carolina but is no stranger to the city life. “I had a very humble upbringing in Charleston but didn’t want my journey to end in my hometown. Throughout my experiences in school and in entrepreneurship, I’ve been able to interact with so many different personalities. Throughout all my experiences with others, I was able to pinpoint 7 characteristics that were similar across the board on how people treated one another. This insight is coming from someone who attended 10 different schools in his lifetime and lived in numerous neighborhoods as a youth.”

“Not everyman can be famous, but everyman can be great!” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “When I first read those words from a memorial wall at South Carolina State University, I was touched,” Gathers said. “In life, sometimes all we can hold on to is words and a belief that they will manifest.” “Growing up, all I could do was dream.”

These words continuously push Troy Gathers towards his dream to strive for excellence. When asked about his childhood, Troy explains how it has played a major role in his future; Troy said, “The pain from my past has prepared me for the future.” “In college though, I found that I was very different. I found that welfare and section 8 were foreign to some college students.” The entrepreneur said that he began to see his purpose for his upbringing; “I have the voice to help people grow through trials.” After graduating from South Carolina State University, Gathers sought out to be a voice for the young and an inspiration to all. “As a public speaker, I have the stage to reach people far and near with my message”, he says joyfully. I’ve actually spoken to inmates on a continuous basis across the state of South Carolina in penitentiaries.” I have spoken to groups ranging from age eight to forty. Since I am one with the generation it is possible to hold their attention throughout the entire speech,” Gathers said. “Knowing that the speaker went through a similar situation less than ten years ago allows the audience to leave with a sense that there is a way to overcome their present adversities.”

By the time Troy reached seventeen years old, he had attended seven different schools and lived in six different neighborhoods. To escape the everyday troubles of society, Troy focused on success. In High School, despite the constant moving Gathers still managed to join NJROTC, the newspaper staff, and Future Business Leaders of America to name a few. Gathers stated, “Because of the constant moving, I spent a lot of time wishing for stability and praying for strength. Throughout my life I remained positive and knew that if I continued on this path I would be successful. Given my life experiences, I am able to communicate and relate to the younger generation.”

Once Gathers got settled at South Carolina State University he finally got a chance to show one body of students what he was capable of achieving. At South Carolina State University Gathers formed Intramural Sporting teams, served as the Vice President of freshman dormitory, joined the Young Democrats, SGA, wrote/directed two short films with students and made the grades for The National Deans List. Troy was also the host of the radio show B.E. Y.O.U. which aired on WSSB 90.3FM. (SCSU Radio) The show was based on positive individuals and their accomplishments. Gathers credits his focus at SCSU to his mother and mentors that assured his faith and head was always high. “Even in college people doubt you and try to bring you down, but I have special people that kept me focused on the big picture”.

After successfully completing his MBA program, Troy is currently enrolled in the Public Policy and Administration PhD program. B.E. Y.O.U. is Troy’s Educational Lecture Program for the youth that promotes success in their lives. B.E. Y.O.U is Troy’s cry to the youth to be themselves and step out of the crowd. Under his B.E. Y.O.U. imprint, Gathers has published 3 book titles. In all of Gathers endeavors he keeps God first and only expects great things for the future.

“If you’re a person that has a high regard for others, this book is for you. Don’t go another day without reading this book. So many times we are blinded by our very own loyalty and intentions, that we are oblivious to those that are tearing us down.” Take Me With You Volume 2 will give you a new outlook on your friends and those that you thought were your friends, Gathers concludes.

For more on Troy Gathers, visit his website www.troygathers.com and follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/beyoupublishing.

Take Me With You Volume 2 is available for purchase at Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.

Article submitted by Troy Gathers.

Edited by Tiffany Turner.

Picture Book Review: Elijah and the Key of Knowledge & Elijah and the City in Danger

Standard
ElijahKeyKnowledgeCvr

Elijah and the Key of Knowledge starts this fresh take on exploring reading skills.

I had the pleasure of reading Elijah and The Key of Knowledge for this June’s featured children’s book to get your summer reading started. The author, Zachariah Rippee, does a masterful job of pulling readers into the idea that reading gives you knowledge. In fact, the whole Elijah series is full of themes to get kids reading.

The series begins with the picture book, Elijah and The Key of Knowledge. This book starts out with Elijah as an adventurer like in the Indiana Jones movies. He takes his animal friends, ie Calvin and Hobbes, on an adventure with many obstacles blocking the way. He has to enlist the help of his friends to best the things thrown into his path. It all ends when he finally discovers the secret to the key of knowledge. You guessed it, reading.

elijahcitydanger

Elijah and the City in Danger is the second in the Elijah series.

The second book in the series I liked better than the first. It has Elijah now using his imagination to become a superhero in Elijah and The City in Danger. In this picture book, Elijah is now a masked hero charged with the safety of THE CITY. He must fight giant dinosaurs, robots and aliens to keep the City safe all while using his imagination, the biggest super power of all.

I really enjoyed the spontaneous joy in these two picture books. Mr. Rippee presents a fun, playful world in which a child uses his reading powers to create big adventures and be the star of his own imagination. The series would make a great read-aloud for teachers wanting to emphasis reading skills, and parents wanting to motivate their little ones to read. The Elijah series would be a great way to start off your summer reading as well.

Elijah and the Key of Knowledge is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Elijah and the City in Danger is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

-Tiffany Turner

Head writer and editor of the Indie Children’s Authors Connection

*Tiffany Turner is the head writer and editor for the Indie Children’s Authors Connection and author of her own middle grade children’s fantasy adventure series, the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. She has taught elementary students the love of reading and writing for 18 years, and currently has moved to writing full time. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and cat. The cat, of course, is the center of attention.

 

 

UPDATE: The Lost Secret of Time: Final Book in Crystal Keeper Series Due out Spring 2018

Standard
LostSecretTimeTempCvr

Working cover for the last Crystal Keeper Chronicles book, The Lost Secret of Time. 

I wanted to give everyone an update on the progress of the last book in the Crystal Keeper series, The Lost Secret of Time. I’m proud to announce that there has been a schedule set up for it’s completion. It is outlined, and has 9 chapters of the 14 written thus far. It’s scheduled with my editor for the end of October, and I’ve been working hard with the help of Camp NaNo to get it completed.

I have to thank all of my fans for your patience. I know this one is taking longer, but sometimes life throws things at you that can’t be planned for, like a heart attack, going septic in the hospital and having acute pneumonia. I’m just happy to still be alive and be around for a second chance to finally complete the series.

I also have to mention I did try to end the series with the third book, but the characters WOULDN’T let me. They insisted that the story carry on. So, that is why the third book ends the way it does in a cliffhanger. There was just more story to tell.

Plus, once I wrap up this series, I’m planning a prequel in which Brewford, the cat sorcerer, will be the main character. There are a lot of things hinted about his past in the series, and I want to write a prequel that explains it all. So, the ending of the Crystal Keeper Chronicles won’t be the end of Wanda’s fairy world. It will continue in other forms.

It has been an amazing ten year journey so far. I’m sure many of you fans have grown up waiting for the books to be written. If anything, you’ve learned that writing is a process and takes time, an average of two years per book at least. The biggest thing that a reader needs to possess is patience for your favorite books. I know your pain. I’ve gone through the same thing with my favorite authors, Anne McCaffrey, Anne Rice and Mercedes Lackey. I think the secret is having LOTS of favorite authors so you can switch between them between new book releases. It’s how I cope. 😉

Until then, take care, and I hope you enjoy your other favorite authors until the new and last book in the series is released next Spring. Stay tuned for fun summer reading activities and giveaways. Have a fabulous summer.

-Tiffany (Mrs. Turner)

 

$0.99 Children’s Books For Summer

Standard

summerreadingpromo

The deals are on! 19 children’s books are on sale for $0.99 for the next two days through the website Lazy Saturday Reads. Several of the authors have been featured in past events on my website including Rachel Elizabeth Cole, author of “The Rabbit Ate My Homework”. Get your summer reading off to a good start. Load up for the Fourth of July weekend.

Here is the link: http://www.lazysaturdayreads.com/promo

Enjoy!

**Come back for another set of deals at the end of June. Happy Summer Reading!

Vacation Pairs With Learning in Allie Gator and the Seven Stones

Standard

Allie Gator And The Seven Stones by Sean Eckenrod

Allie Gator And The Seven Stones by Sean Eckenrod

The next installment for the summer reading book review series is Allie Gator and the Seven Stones by Sean Eckenrod, a Middle Grade novel that will inspire learning while visiting that next river or beach. Allie is frustrated with being the only kid while the grown ups drag her to different activities only adults would love. She’d rather be swimming in the Myakka river, throwing stones, or exploring in her purple with orange flower flip flops. Her love for the river is revealed as fate, when she falls in and discovers a world in turmoil. The animals of Charlotte Harbor need her help to save them all.
Featured Indie Book and Author

Featured Indie Book and Author

Allie discovers that seven stones must be recovered to put the real world to right. With an alligator companion, a catfish, gar, and three wood storks, Allie faces each new challenge to find the seven missing stones. She must overcome her self doubt, puzzling characters and obstacles, and learn that sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to deal with it head on.

I enjoyed this Middle Grade novel since it helps teach about the animals in Charlotte Harbor, Florida combined with self confidence. Anyone that has felt like the black sheep of any family may relate to Allie. As she goes through each challenge, new habitat and animals are revealed.

It was a learning experience for myself. I learned what a gar is. It’s a bottom feeder fish that lives mostly in brackish water. So, I have to say, everyone will learn a new nugget of wisdom while reading this book. I felt I was along with a park ranger in the form of an alligator while experiencing difficult tasks with Allie.

For more information and maps on the areas of Florida that are in the book, please visit Sean Eckenrod’s website. Book Club questions can also be found. Also on the website are chapter links that tell about each animal featured for each chapter in the book.

Turn the summer into an opportunity for learning about new habitats, animals in Florida, and a little kindness towards other living things. It’s a lesson that is so important to share.

**** Rating

Allie and the Seven Stones can be purchased at Amazon.com as a paperback or Kindle ebook.

To continue with your INDIEpendence Day Blog tour event, link back to the Indibles Writers Blog.

Get On The Train To Health

Standard

Chew Chew The Food Chain Train by Janet Michelson

Chew Chew The Food Chain Train by Janet Michelson

As part of my summer reading series, I’m starting off this first post with a great book to get your children or grandchildren eating healthy for the summer. “Chew Chew The Food Chain Train” by Janet Michelson is a wonderful picture book to help keep your little one on a healthy track. Speaking as a teacher, this is a great book to introduce children to the idea of eating healthier. Kids always want ice cream and candy. Teaching them why they need to eat other snack foods will help save many of today’s next generation from obesity or diabetes.

This story gives the role model to grandparents as they take their grandchildren out to a special restaurant that features “Chew Chew”, a buffet train, that rolls by with healthy snacks such as fruit, vegetables, and nuts. The children have to select healthy food choices for their dinner. This is a great way to promote why healthy snacks are a better choice. Plus, how to choose those foods is always hard to explain to little ones. This is a great way to do so, and have fun exploring some of the knowledge after the book is read.

“Chew Chew The Food Chain Train” is a great way to introduce younger children on how to eat healthy foods. Choice is important, especially in helping to preserve the health of the new generation. Teaching wise snack choices is necessary, and this is a great way to do it.

**** Four Star Rating

“Chew Chew The Food Chain Train” is available on Amazon.com as a paperback and Ebook. It’s available at Barnes and Noble for the Nook. Bilingual editions available in German and French.

Summer Reading For The Goblin In Your Life

Standard

Goblin Brothers Adventures Vol 1 by Lindsay Buroker

Looking for good summer reading for your child? Here’s a great fantasy adventure with a twist, the main characters are goblins. Not your ordinary goblins; the kind you might think that smell bad and maybe eat cats. No. These are a book worm and science obsessed pair of goblins that will win you over. Enter the world of Goblin Brothers Adventures by Lindsay Buroker. Enjoy short stories of how two goblin brothers get into and out of all sorts of trouble.

From saving human children, surviving bullies, or even almost being turned into goblin slaves, these two brothers get into all sorts of problems. But there seems to be an underlining theme to all the stories, they stick together. No matter what problems they encounter, Malagach and Gortok never give up. Their interest in books and science are a charming balance of skills they use to solve their problems.

I would recommend this book for children that still enjoy a good fantasy read, but may have trouble focusing on a full chapter book. The short story adventures can be read aloud and enjoyed one at a time. This is especially wonderful for kids that have trouble reading. Your child will enjoy this as a start to their summer reading adventure.

**** 4 Star Rating
Available as a Kindle and Smashwords editions.
An interview with the author, Lindsay Buroker, is available in the Interviews Section of this blog.

For more information on Lindsay Buroker, visit her website at: http://www.lindsayburoker.com.

#SampleSunday June 12, 2011 Summer Reading Tribute

Standard

I was out on my porch enjoying the summer weather, when it dawned on me. This is the time that my first book, The Lost Secret of Fairies, takes place. What a perfect time to put up the beginning of the story to get everyone into the summer reading mood.

Before the excerpt, I will share the inspiration for this part of the story. As a kid, I would love to hop the fence and read in quiet seclusion in the middle of the orchard behind my house. I grew up in the Silicon Valley before all the orchards were torn down and turned into computer companies.

Back then, it was more often called the Santa Clara Valley. I was lucky enough to grow up with an orchard that was the starting point of many kid adventures. Throw in a creek nearby, and you have a perfect run-around adventure playland.

My books include many of the childhood adventures come to life. At the start of the first book, Wanda is reading in the orchard behind the fence. Many summers started out in the same way for me as a kid. I invite you to enter into that world of adventure with an added bonus, fairies and cats. They seem to go well together.

Excerpt from The Lost Secret of Fairies pages 7-9:

So, you want to know how I became a Keeper? I’d probably have to explain the last few years. I guess I could begin at the beginning, but that would be too much like a fairy tale. This is anything but your average fairy tale. But then, the fairies always say “There is a beginning to every ending,” so maybe I should start there.

Let’s just say my name is Wanda, and no one understands me. That’s why I was out there in the middle of the orchard that first day I had free from gymnastics practice. It was the end of June, you know, that time you’re finally free from school. You know, when no one bosses you around.

I had escaped from my mom long enough to sneak over the back fence of my house and hide in the orchard. I was reading my favorite fantasy series at the time. Nothing much different than what I normally do.

I didn’t notice the air smelled extra fresh. I remember my hair tied back in a ponytail because of the heat, and wanting it to be a different color than my stupid, boring brown. I’d make a better outcast if I had some cool off the wall color hair, like jet black or cherry red. I’d studied the bottles carefully in the drug store.

I didn’t notice the sun doing strange reflections as I walked out to my favorite spot to read. I mashed down the grass into a perfect fairy bowery. The kind that is perfect to read in, hidden and secluded. I could see around the orchard at cat level. Nothing was crawling or walking around. There was just a slight breeze to disturb the tall grass growing around my hiding spot.

I remembered the last scene of my current book-de-jour. The princess was escaping from Landau, the dark sorcerer who was trying to take over her kingdom. Now, what would she do?
Would she use her secret power of flight? Or would she some how find the way to the locket she needed to free her frozen Mother Queen?

Yes, she’s going to have to fight him. I checked to see how many pages were left. Twelve. Good, I’m getting close to the climax.

I wiggled to get more comfortable in my grass hide-away. Glancing up, I blinked as the sun above me looked no different than before. A sharp bright flash came to the side of my vision. I shrugged, and figured it was a reflection of my glasses. Back then; I thought most things were just a flash, or something that I imagined. I know better now. But back to the story, or it just won’t make sense to you later.

I closed my eyes to listen to the breeze drifting across the grass. I was feeling pretty free right then. No more Jessica Newark to bother me. I hated her making fun of my fashion sense. Like I really cared about their group of popular trends and know-it-all about boys. What point was there? I liked being a loner. It was easier.

I was going to have to see them at gymnastics class. Thing with being in the same area of school and community center, sometimes the two overlapped. But for now, I could ignore them as long as I stood on the other side of the gym. Too bad Michelle moved. Emailing isn’t the same as being there. Good friends are hard to find when you’re fighting to save the world. But that comes later in the story.

Like I said, I was enjoying the summer weather, in my favorite reading spot, alone, how I liked it. I heard a little swoosh of something approaching. I thought it was my cat Brewford coming out to visit me, so I looked up.

“Caw!”

I was startled by the bird squawk. Shaking my head, I tried to find the source and saw nothing. Oh well, time to get back to where the princess was just about to make her move out of her hiding place to reach for the magic locket and….

“Caw.”

Not again! I looked around for the source of the awkward noise. Nothing. I shrugged, looked down to read and…

“Caw. Caw!”

A great black bird hopped into the grass alcove I had created. The bird stalked forward with a grace that gave him authority. His large beak dipped down as he pointed one eye to look at me.
This was odd, but I wasn’t scared. Animals can be friendlier than people most of the time. “What are you doing here crow?” He continued to eye me, twisting his head back and forth. Then hopped up next to my arm. Now, this got me to back up a little. Mind you, it was only from being startled. I mean, how scary can a crow be? Except that normally crows didn’t act like this.

“Caw.” He fixed his eye on me again.

I was afraid to make any movement. Mostly, I was fascinated why the crow was doing this. Was I in his territory? Was it a female crow guarding her nest? I looked around for something in the grass. I thought of my butt crushing her eggs. Oops.

The crow came forward and dropped something that sparkled as it landed in my lap. It hopped backwards and looked at me with puppy dog eyes. This was definitely a strange bird.

I picked the thing up by the cord, and let it dangle in front of me. The crow watched, moving its head to follow the crystal pendant.

“Caw.” He/she/it continued to eye me sideways as I looked at the pendant.

The leather cord was worn, but still strong. It wrapped around a clear quartz crystal. Hints of sunlight sparkled as I turned it in my palm.

Definitely weird. “Curiouser and curiouser” kept repeating in my head like from a bad “Alice in Wonderland” cable movie. I turned it over watching the crystal catch the light. Etched into the crystal were lines or maybe writing, but it was nothing I’d seen before.

If I had known better, I would have dropped the crystal, and ran for my backyard fence. I could have never looked back. But I didn’t want that. And that Alice in Wonderland movie in my mind kept playing. Where did curious get her?

“Is this what you’ve been cawing so much about crow?” I held up the crystal.

“Caw.”

“Are you trying to tell me something,” I felt like one of the heroines in my books. Strange. I sat down leaning closer to the crow.

“Caw.” He hopped away from me and looked back. “Caw.” He began to bob up and down, moving back and forth.

“You want me to follow?” I kept my voice calm as the crow bobbed again, seemed to nod, and turned hopping through the tall grass.

That’s when I took a moment to think. I mean, this could have been my way out? But my sense of adventure was sparked. What was going on? Crows didn’t turn up out of nowhere, drop a crystal pendant in your lap, and hop away beggin’ you with a look to follow? That stuff only happened in movies or books.
I wanted to see what was going on. It could be a trained crow out drawing unsuspecting kids to some weirdo’s house. Like what they show on the news. Or even some new reality show catching unsuspecting kids in orchards. You know, cameras in the bushes somewhere. I tried to look around for something mounted on a tripod. But I doubted it. Nothing that exciting could happen to me. So I thought.

I looked at the crystal. It winked back a flash of light. Was there movement in it? What would the princess do? I had a choice, I guess, like her. I could go after the crow, or go back to reading.

I looked around. There was a rustling movement along the tops of grass stems as a flutter of black feathers rose above the jungle of high grass.

I got up, brushed off the clinging grass stems. I placed my book down under a half-covered rock, and held the crystal in my hand. I felt the wire wrapped tightly around the crystal.
Something began to puzzle me. I guess that’s why I decided to follow. Why was the crow doing this? What was this pendant? And if the crow was leading me on an adventure, it might be more exciting than just sitting here and reading. There was only one way to find out. I headed out after the crow and towards my destiny.

**The Lost Secret of Fairies is available on Amazon.com with paperback and Kindle editions. Also available at Barnesandnoble.com as paperback or Nook editions.