When a book is published, what the reader sees can have many changes from what the author originally wrote. Editors and critique partners help shape and refine the original rough draft. That's part of the writing process. For ROME REFRAMED, the original version did not have any time travel elements at all! There was magic in the story but it was about shifting how Lucas saw the world as he took photos...much more subtle. For revision, my editor Carlisa Cramer and I tried to think of ways to bring this book closer in style to Paris on Repeat, which has a very obvious and dramatic magical feature--the time loop. It was when I was pondering the Trevi Fountain and the coin that it all fell into place for me. The tradition teaches that wishing with a coin in the Trevi Fountain means you'll go BACK to Rome...so I thought, wait, if he wishes on the fountain, he'll go BACK to Rome... BACK IN TIME. And that realization shifted how I revised everything.
I had a scene set at what is sometimes called the Wedding Cake, which is a large museum with a huge metal sculpture of a famous Italian on a horse. My family and I went up to the roof of that building and saw some amazing views of Rome. I wanted to include that experience in my story. When it came time to add in time traveling, I struggled to find a historically important moment to travel back to, but I did find something interesting... I wrote it and loved it, but ultimately, it did not fit with the rest of the novel anymore. I needed every travel sequence to play a particular role in the growth of Lucas and Vivi and this one just wasn't doing it. So I cut it. But I still love it and in honor of Rome Reframed's first birthday, I am sharing it with you today, along with a few photos of the day that inspired this part of the story-that-was-not-to-be.
This scene originally came after his trip back to see Michelangelo. Sometimes I still can’t believe the Wedding Cake is only seen from afar in the published version! Note, since this is mid-book, there are some spoilers ahead, so read at your own risk!
Want to get gray hairs before you turn fifteen? Take your two little brothers out to see a super tall building in Rome without your parents and then go up to the very top and see your six-year-old brother dashing toward the edge of the building. I didn’t plan it that way, of course.
I thought I’d done pretty good at keeping both brothers from running into traffic in the big round-about in front of the building. The building does make you stop and stare. Even from the ground, you could see the graduated layers, frothy with curves and curlicues and a brilliant white in the morning sun. Wedding cake—yeah, it worked.
Thinking of the palm reader’s direction to see things from new perspectives, I took a few shots of the outside, but nothing really looked special. Plain ol’ tourist pictures wouldn’t be enough.
“Dumb pictures,” I muttered under my breath.
We climbed the first long row of steps, craning our necks at the big statue of the dude on horseback. They loved those here. I looked out across the lawn and road. Not bad, but still… it was no Sistine Chapel.
Will I end up back in time here, too? The thought was as whisper in my brain and I couldn’t tell if it was hopeful or scared. Probably both.
If I did, maybe I’d be able to think clear enough to try my camera phone. Talk about extra credit!
Vivi clapped. “Ready go to go the tip-top?”
“The tip-top?” Robby asked, eyes wide.
She giggled. Her laughter practically sparkled in the air. Robby’s eyes got wider.
We all did. She led us inside, skimming past through the museum part. I slowed us down long enough to write down a page full of facts, scribbling as fast as I could about the history of this place. I’d need to work some of that in to my next entry for my history teacher. Then she led us out the back.
“This is the best part,” Vivi said. “Sometimes tourists don’t even know this is back here.”
I could see why. It felt like we were in an alleyway, with not much in the way of signs pointing this out, but there was a glass elevator—a tiny one—taking people to the very top of the building.
Robby looked a little paler than usual. I kinda felt the same. “You okay, bro?” I asked him.
“Fine.” His eyes roamed all around him, taking in everything like he always did, but his lips were pressed so tight, they were almost white.
Maybe I should take pity on the kid. I said to Vivi, “I don’t think people belong on the top of famous buildings.”
“That’s all you know, then!” Vivi retorted and bought tickets for us.
I leaned down and whispered to Robby. “You really okay? I can wait with you here.”
He jutted his chin and was the first to march into the elevator. Okay then, I guess we were doing this.
The rest of us crammed into the small space. The world fell away from our feet and my heart fell down near my waist. Robby stood far from the glass, but read to us from a brochure he snagged somewhere.
If I shifted in time right now, would I fall to the ground? When were elevators invented, anyway? And what was triggering my little trips? If I could predict them, I’d be less afraid.
Trevor smashed his nose and hands against the glass wall and I winced at the steamy smear of his breath. I focused on my breathing—deep breaths in and out. I smelled something sweet…almost like…ice cream? No, not quite that. Flowers.
It was Vivi. She smelled really good.
I stumbled out of the doors as soon as they opened, blinking against the sun, and my brothers darted out like race hounds after the fox. Naturally, Trevor headed straight for the edge.
My heart kicked into high speed. My shoes squeaked as I took off. “Wait! Trevor!”
The little booger slid between adults and was nearly there when I caught up.
Thankfully my knees had begun working once we stepped onto the solid ground—and that giant building was extremely solid.
I shook his hand in mine and said, “Little man, you can’t do that again, okay?”
He pouted. A tear trembled. Ah man. He was going to cry. Up here, in front of everyone. I couldn’t even make a fast escape.
I glanced around for a likely distraction.
Right above us, hugely large, was a giant statue of a woman on a chariot behind horses. She was probably supposed to be Victory, based on her wings. Rome really had a lot of these. Why a winged woman would need a chariot, I don’t know, but there it was.
The horses pranced sat proudly, but from where we stood, we were looking right up one horse’s tail. Not quite so glamorous a view, but perfect for a six-year-old boy. Or, apparently, a fourteen-year-old one.
“Hey!” I whispered, kneeling next to him. “Look up there! That horse’s butt is bigger than your whole body. Better hope it doesn’t poop on you.”
Trevor laughed and laughed and laughed.
Vivi came over, thankfully holding Robby’s hand (something he’d never allow me to do.) “I’m so sorry he slipped by me, Lucas. What’s so funny?”
I squeezed Trevor’s hand. “He just likes it up here.”
Please, please please don’t say anything. And he didn’t, but only because he was wheezing too much from laughter.
The beauty of Rome was all around us, and I was pointing out a horse’s butt to my little brother. “Um. And look, Trevor, there’s the… the…” I gestured at some building with a big dome. “The thing!”
“That’s the Pantheon,” she told us. “A really famous temple-turned-church. 2,000 years old. Why don’t you take a shot of that, Lucas?”
I dutifully pulled out my phone one more time and took a picture. I frowned. Too dull. I needed something eye-catching. Something exciting. And my history teacher would not appreciate a horse butt in my journal. I had plenty of goofy shots, anyway. I needed something real.
But what if it was stupid anyway? Maybe any shot I took would be dumb. Like me. I hunched my shoulders.
Vivi took a deep breath and sighed with a smile. “It’s really something isn’t it? And look you can see the Roman forum from here, all spread out in its glory. It seems so much closer than the view from the Colosseum. I’d forgotten how impressive it is. Especially from this angle.”
Well, when she put it like that… I guess it was pretty amazing. On one side of Rome, modern buildings gleamed. On other side, the crumbling walls, columns, and arches of the ancient Roman forum were on full display.
The contrast of the modern and the old. Nice. I wanted something to document this day. Needed it. I carefully focused on the Forum, with the tops of modern buildings in the foreground, but my arm was yanked before I could press the button.
“Let me go closer!” Trevor begged. “I promise I’ll stay back from the very edge!”
His cheeks were getting pink, a sure sign of an oncoming tantrum. The sun was a white disk, beaming bright and hot on our heads. He tugged on me again and I staggered, nearly dropping my phone.
As I leaned over to catch my balance, my attention was snagged by unexpected colors along the street below. On the side street along the curve of a narrow road, there was a line of cars in a perfect rainbow. Bright red, orange, green, blue and purple.
“Look at that! What are the odds?” I held my brother’s hand tighter and tugged him toward the view.
I shifted back to the cars. My rainbow line of cars came into sharp focus. I clicked and caught a crisp image of color.
My brother looked toward the cars and pure delight lit his face. “And see how big that horse is? It could crush any one of those cars?” I pointed to the big statue with the dude on it, in the center of the whole shebang.
He laughed. I turned without thinking, moving to capture his expression, that glow of pure fun. Click. I glanced at the screen—focused and perfectly framed, with the top of a big horse statue visible below him and the rest of Rome spreading out like a cloak. A great shot. Excitement bubbled up, followed quickly by a gasp.
The coin. The coin was heating up.
My hand still held Trevor’s. “Hey, let go, buddy.”
He was too busy laughing, gripping me like a life-line. The coin was getting really hot now.
“Robby!” I shouted. “Come here! Get Trevor!”
Vivi and Robby both tried to pry my youngest brother away, but now he thought it was a game and he wrapped himself like a boa constrictor around my leg.
The coin was going to burst into flames. The light was growing brighter. My heart raced and I struggled not to drop my phone. I couldn’t lose all my pictures. “Please, buddy! I need you let go.”
And then came the roar. My brothers both screamed. Vivi, too. And then everything went totally white.
Metal chilled the palms of my hands. Hard, cold metal. My fingers clutched for anything I could grab onto, and slid along the smooth surface behind my back. I felt a hard board under me—I was sitting on something. The light faded…and faded…and then we were in near total darkness. As I blinked, I could tell that light glowed at one end of the container we were in, from the floor for some reason. My eyes adjusted quickly. Two small wooden benches ran along the walls that curved up over our heads and under us, but not too far. We were sitting near the end of the space. A table ran down the length of it… like we were sitting in the back of a very small dining room or kitchen. That was missing lights. Or lamps. Or candles.
“Where are we?” my voice echoed with a tinny sound.
“What. Is. Happening?” Vivi squeaked. She reached to pull Trevor tightly against her. “How did we move?”
There was no good way to answer that.
“I’ll peek out that hole.” I pried my hands from Trevor, who scooted over next to Vivi. The floor clanged slightly as I stepped. My fingers felt cool against the wall, like it was medal. It smelled metallic, too.
Before I could move an inch, a head popped up from the hole in the floor.
We all screamed. Four screams—actually, make that five, because the man did, too—inside a relatively small room in the dark? Terrifying.
Trevor clutched to one arm, Robby to the other, without even a drop of attempted coolness. Vivi scooted closer.
The man—as I assumed the head belonged to a full person—boomed out, “How did you kids get up in here? We have dignitaries coming later this morning to celebrate the inauguration of the Vittoriano! You can’t be in here—don’t touch the table! You’ll get your grimy hands on it, you hooligans!”
He wore a cap on his head that brought to mind the chimney sweeps from Mary Poppins.
“Where are we?” Vivi asked him, straightening her spine. I don’t think she liked being called a hooligan. Did people even use that word anymore?
My stomach sank. Oh, right! The question wasn’t just where were we. It was when were we. We’d definitely just jumped through time—all four of us.
Was that safe?
The man’s voice got louder. “As if you didn’t know, climbing up into the horse’s belly like you did! I’m surprised you were eagle-eyed enough to see the hole—it’ll be sealed up later after the inauguration of the torta di nozze, so don’t’ get any wise ideas unless you want to be stuck inside the belly of a giant bronze horse forever.”
“We’re in the horse that’s in front of the Wedding Cake?” Vivi interrupted. “The one with Victor Emmanuel II on it?”
“Seems obvious, doesn’t it?” the man snapped.
I kept my NO to myself, as he was still lecturing.
“And you’re lucky you didn’t break your necks. I suppose little mites like you wouldn’t stress the ladder, though. Some of our dignitary guests weigh as much as the four of you put together.”
He seemed to finally notice of Trevor’s terrified face, for his own softened. “Come on down, then. No need to cry, young ones. Just scoot on out before we’re caught and mums the word. I know it’s an exciting day, with the inauguration and fiftieth anniversary.”
“Of what?” I asked and received a look like I was stupid. Luckily, I was used to those looks from certain teachers in my past. I lifted my chin. “We’re not from around here.”
The man sighed and said, “Tourists. Of course. Yes, this is the bronze equestrian statue in front of the building. The horse’s belly is big enough for 20 men to sit in here—and they’ll be proving it later when the guests come for pastries and drinks. Then they’ll take down the last of the scaffolding and ladder. But we can’t let anyone see you here. People will be gathering in the square soon. And I’ve got to get this space ready for the real guests. Come on out now.”
I tried, but Trevor wouldn’t move. He was absolutely frozen, not that I blamed him.
Wait. I looked around the shape… we were in the belly, yes, but that curve part right behind us… I think that was… oh my gosh, how perfect.
“We’re in a horse’s butt, Trevor,” I whispered to him. Robby snickered, then giggled, then laughed.
Trevor finally relaxed enough to giggle, too. “Horse’s butt!” he repeated. “Butt!”
Soon we were all laughing, and Trevor unpeeled his legs from under the wooden stool.
We lowered ourselves carefully out the open hatch that was sort of under the horse’s chest, between his legs and up part of his neck. A scaffold was around us, but the ground was clear, way below us. Forty feet below, if I remembered right. There were already people in the square… it must be a big deal today. He’d mentioned the inauguration… I’d read something about that. This building was completed and inaugurated before World War I.
The man said, “I’ll go down first, and hold the ladder steady as you come down off the scaffolding, okay?”
I nodded, but my brain was whirring. As he lowered himself, I leaned over to Vivi. “I think you all came back in time with me,” I spoke low hoping my brothers wouldn’t understand. “And maybe it misfired because of it, stuffing us inside the horse instead of on the ceiling.”
Vivi shrieked. “WE REALLY JUST TIME-TRAVELED? Is that what happened?”
“Shh!” I said, but it was too late.
Robby whipped around, but he was in no danger of falling off. The scaffolding was sturdy. “Is that why the Piazza looks different?”
He pointed. “The cars look old-fashioned and there’s way fewer of them. And see that? That’s an old-looking trolly line. And somehow a whole building was somehow scooted over where the road should be. That that wasn’t there before.”
Of course he’d notice all that. That was all fascinating and everything, but--
“What are we going to do with my brothers here?” What if they get hurt back here?
My pulse sped up even more, which was saying a lot.
“How did you get back to our time before?” Vivi asked, glancing down at the floorboard of the platform. I didn’t like the look in her eyes, as if she might try jumping down any moment.
“I don’t know. Um, I guess it happened after I spoke with someone.” The random guy and then, well, Michelangelo.
“And now you’ve spoken to this gentlemen…but here we still are. Maybe he has more to share. I’ll go down first with Trevor, okay?”
Her eyes were huge, but she was taking it all in stride. In fact, that sparkle was already returning. She might not ever want to go home when she could adventure through time!
She and Trevor moved slowly and carefully down until I could just see the tops of their heads. What if they fell?
My palms went cold. We were 40 feet in the air, where no one was meant to be. They weren’t even alive yet in this time…could they die?
Was the magic coin trying to kill us now?
Robby’s eyes were bugging out of his head. “You’re not playing a joke on us? The building was mostly all put together by 1911 and--” he craned his neck—“I’d say this is before then. The tomb of the unknown soldier didn’t arrive until 1921 and it’s not below us where it should be. Are you saying we’re over a hundred years back in time?”
I brushed my hand against his shoulder “Don’t freak out, okay? We’ve got to keep our heads on straight.”
His jaw was down to his chest and his chest was pumping too fast. He’d paled just riding the glass elevator up. This was much worse.
Then he grinned—still pale, but a genuine smile. “Are you kidding? This is AMAZING! I bet we could learn so much. It’s an anthropologist and archeologist’s dream.” He gulped. “Though I’d rather be on the ground.”
There was my little academic dude. I was proud of him.
We managed to climb down with me half-holding onto him, talking all the while: “Rob, man, you’ve got open your eyes. Just look at the next rung. Not the ground, not the sky. All you have to do is hold that next rung. You’ve got this.”
When we reached the base and solid(ish) ground, I let out a long, slow breath. Sweat lined my arms and back. This was scarier than going back and seeing gladiators. A lot scarier. This was about my family, and keeping them safe. My brothers might be royal pains in my rear half the time, but I loved them like nothing else.
“All right, then no harm, no foul,” the big man said. “Get on with you.”
I looked back up at the horse, wishing I could take a picture but unsure if it would cause some giant time travel paradox to whip out a mobile phone in 1911.
“I didn’t realize the horse was so big,” I said, squinting up at the horse’s curving barrel sides. It looked so much smaller from the ground. Kind of like Michelangelo’s mammoth figures on the 60-foot-high ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I guess they figured, go big or go home.
The man scratched his head under his hat. “Yes, it’s a feat, for sure. It’s the largest statue in Rome. I guess they decided to be bold.” He glared at the bright white building behind him. “Normally I approve of that attitude, though I think they maybe too that a little too far with the building. But for art—yes, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well, I say. Lay it all out for the world to see. Art requires courage.”
Vivi smiled at me. “Sounds like a lesson for the ages.”
The sky grew lighter, too fast to be natural.
My pocket felt warm. The coin!
We waved our thanks and ran down the steps. As soon as we headed around the corner of the stairs, the roaring began. The coin felt like fire in my pocket.
Panic spurted through my veins. “Quick!” I yelled. “Just in case, we’ve all got to be touching!” I grabbed Trevor and pulled him close. I had to reach higher to touch Robby’s hand over Trevor’s head--he was growing up, getting bigger. Bigger than it looked at first glance, kinda like this horse. You couldn’t judge accurately from a distance. You had to get up close and personal. I hadn’t spent a lot of time with him lately, not focused time. Not with either of them. Just like my parents. Guilt weighed me down.
“Hang on, everyone!” I called. I grabbed onto my brothers and Vivi clasped her arms around me.
And then the flash happened.
Vivi’s scream followed me into the blinding light, and I realized as the ground solidified beneath my feet that she didn’t’ sound scared. Her scream was pure excitement.
The sun blazed down on us on the roof the Wedding Cake. Tourists milled around. And my brothers and friend were all safely with me. The cold ice of fear in my belly melted. We were okay.
A few tourists looked started and glared over at us, but my brothers started shouting immediately. “Man! That was nuts!” and “We’re back! We’re back!”
We were back on the rooftop, staring down at the giant bronze horse and his rider, stunned.
“We were inside there,” Robby said, voice rising.
“In the horses BUTT!” Trevor added. He really did test as a genius, but hey, he’s only six.
Robby put a hand to his head, shaking it in wonder. “We were in 1911, during inauguration day!”
“What’s that?” Trevor asked.
Finally a question I could answer. “Inauguration is when a building is brand new and gets a big kick-off, like when they opened the new library and we had that ribbon cutting ceremony at the college, remember?”
Trevor shook his head, but I remembered it like it was yesterday. My parents’ coworkers asked things like, “What classes are you taking? Bet you’re taking all the honors ones, huh?” with a wink and nod and I’d nodded and felt heat creeping along my face. I’d totally lied. I wasn’t in any honors classes. I was struggling in my regular classes. I didn’t want my parents to have to explain the mystery of the weird cuckoo in the nest of academics that was our family.
But I’d bet none of those super smart people knew there’d once been 20 men eating dinner inside that horse sculpture.
I smiled, and took another picture of it. This time, I zeroed in on the horse butt. I’d sat there. Maybe one day I’d be able to tell Andrew. Or not. It sounded way too crazy to be believed.
I met Vivi’s eyes, wrapped an arm around each brother. At least these three believed me. I wasn’t alone in this adventure anymore.
Vivi gave a breathless laugh, brushing hair from her face. “That.Was. Amazing. Oh, I know just where I want to go next. I want to try this again! But how does it work?”
Shrugging, I said, “I don’t know. Why now? Why here? Why then?”
“Well, it seems clear that it’s to teach you lessons for your project. And maybe for life, who knows. You’ve sure got all sorts of juicy details for your report. What were you doing just before we… left?”
Thinking back was hard. It felt like years ago already. Let’s see, we were…up here, I saw the cars… and Trevor was upset…
“I was taking a picture of Trevor!” I held out my camera, with the last picture of my brother laughing with Rome behind him. “But I had taken other pictures there, too! I don’t know what the trigger is for the coin to kick in.”
She looked over my shoulder and that same quick glow lit her face. “How delightful!” she said. She flipped back one picture and her smile got even bigger.
Geez, it was a row of cars.
But it was cool.
It was a freaking row of cars.
But I liked them. The colors all lined up. The rounded shape of the hoods one after another. They’d sparked something tingly inside me, a sort of …fun…feeling. And then when my brother saw it, he had the same reaction. It was fun sharing it with him.
It was almost like a piece of art. Or something.
“Well, those are way cool,” she decided. “You should post these somewhere else besides a report. These belong out in the world.
I wasn’t sure that was such a good idea, but I couldn’t tell her no, not in the moment with her hair all blowing in the wind and her smile a little sly like that. “Maybe.”
Art requires courage. The old man’s words floated through my mind, sinking in like ink on wet paper. Well, I wasn’t an artist, but the least I could do was try to make my pictures better, if I was going to have to take them anyway. Go big or go home, right?
Thinking back to a picture I didn’t take at Constantine’s Arch, I said, “Come here—I have an idea.” We took the elevator back down, and then ran down all the steps—it was a lot of steps. Next to the tall equestrian statue of Emmuael II, I laid down right there on the cement, angling my camera looking straight up. People might stare or step on me—let them.
I had a photo to take.
This crowd of men were inside that metal horse belly! That's how big it is. It's hard to tell unless you get really close.
Fall Sale: The World of Aluvia series is on sale for U.S. Kindle! Fairy Keeper is FREE through Monday, October 18th. Mer-Charmer and Dragon Redeemer are just 99 cents each. If you've had them on your to-read list, this is a great time to grab the series! Please let your friends know, too! Thank you!
Discover the World of Aluvia
The world of Aluvia is home to magical creatures such as fairies and mermaids, but their magic has grown weak over the years. When the fairy queens vanish, it marks the beginning of a long journey for three girls who seek to heal their world.
Sierra was born irresistible to fairies and hates her calling. But when the fairies vanish, she must use her gift to find them and save her world. (Book 1, Fairy Keeper)
Phoebe must help the gentle merfolk reclaim their magic once more—by first discovering her own, earned at a steep price. (Book 2, Mer-Charmer)
And Nell must find the fiery sword of Aluvia to defend against a powerful enemy with ice-breathing dragons, risking the very magic they’ve worked so hard to restore. (Book 3, Dragon Redeemer)
Already read the World of Aluvia? Return to Aluvia with my short story "The Real Prize" in the YA Anthology SING, GODDESS! with Snowy Wings Publishing. This short story retells the myth of Atalanta and the Golden Apples, set among Aluvia's merfolk, many years before the series begins. You'll also get to enjoy ten other short story retellings of Greek myths, from historical to contemporary to science fiction!
It's here! Detours, Book 2 of the Secret Psychics, is finally published! I've rarely had such fun writing a book, and I hope you will enjoy it, too. It can stand alone, but you definitely will miss some of the references from book 1 if you haven't read it. Luckily, Shortcuts is on sale for 99 cents this week on US Kindle in celebration of the release of its sequel! So you can grab a copy and catch up fast!
Detours is available everywhere books are sold. If you do read and enjoy it, I hope you'll take a moment to leave a review on retail pages (Amazon and B&N) no matter where you bought it. Especially in this time of so much online shopping, reviews help get the word out to readers looking for their next book!
Thanks so much!
About the book:
Parker Mills still has it all. She’s the two-time winner of the Miss Divine Pecan Pageant, the chair of the 8th grade social committee, and a secret psychic empath. With her gift, Parker experiences the strong emotions of everyone around her, which is trickier than it sounds. Luckily, she's finally developed better control. Even better, Parker has five awesome friends who are just as gifted as she is, each in their own unique way. It's going to be a great last few months of middle school.
But when kids from Archer, the rival middle school, are forced to share Divine Middle, threats and fights explode. Unfortunately, the Queen of Archer, Gabby Durand, has no interest in using their mutual influence to smooth out the tensions. Nor does she welcome Parker’s award-winning help. She's too busy trying to take Parker's top place in everything, as if she ever could. But with new dangers coming at the secret psychics from all sides, Parker needs to work with Gabby before their rivalry literally burns down the school.
Ready to cool down for the summer? Why not take a vacation to an ocean with mermaids or an icy land with ice-breathing dragons? Mer-Charmer and Dragon Redeemer are on sale this week on Kindle (U.S.) for 99 cents each.
If you ever read book 1 (Fairy Keeper), this is a chance to finish the series for a great price! And if you just love mermaids or dragons, both books can stand alone, especially book 2, though the series is richest when read in order. The World of Aluvia is upper middle grade, sometimes classified as lower YA, perfect for ages 10-14 and up.
And while we're talking books, don't forget that DETOURS is releasing August 10th, so please put that on your to-read list on Goodreads and even request an e-ARC if you're a book reviewer! You can send me a note on my Contact page. I'd love to hear what you think of the second book in the Secret Psychic series! Thanks for your support!
I'm so excited to share that I will have a short story in the Greek myth retellings anthology SING, GODDESS! with Snowy Wings Publishing. My story is a retelling of Atalanta and the Golden Apples, set in the world of Aluvia many years before the start of the series, among the merfolk. I loved being back in that world and hope you will, too!
The beautiful cover was designed by Najla Qamber Designs. Here are more details on the anthology, releasing on August 24th:
Aphrodite. Zeus. Medusa. Hercules. You’ve heard their names. You thought you knew their stories… until now.
Lose yourself in this collection of eleven young adult re-imaginings of Greek myths from the authors of Snowy Wings Publishing. From magical kingdoms under the sea to the halls of a modern high school, from Ancient Greece to the distant future, you will find romance, courage, fantasy, danger, and more. With each story bringing a twist on a classic legend, there is something for everyone to enjoy again and again.
Across the ages, the Muses call: SING, GODDESS!
Featuring stories by:
Title: Sing, Goddess! (A Young Adult Anthology of Greek Myth Retellings)
Edited By: Jane Watson
Genre: Young Adult Anthology
Cover Designer: Najla Qamber Designs
Release Date: August 24th, 2021
#greekmythology #anthology #youngadultbooks #bookstagram #coverreveal @snowywingspub #comingsoon
Welcome! If you are participating in BOWS (Book Owl Word Search), you've landed on the right page for the Purple Team! Not sure how to play? Read here first. Hi, I'm author Amy Bearce and my book, Shortcuts, recently re-released from Snowy Wings Publishing. Book 2, Detours, is out this August.
Everyone, meet PARKER. She wanted to greet you herself and share a bit.
Hey y'all, thanks for stopping by! Just so you know, you're in good hands because I know a lot about having fun and taking care of people. I'm not only the winner of the Miss Divine Pecan Pageant (twice) and head of the 8th grade dance committee, but I'm also a secret psychic empath (and the word psychic seems pretty important, all bolded and purple like that on the page.) Being a psychic empath means I like to keep people around me feeling good, so I can, too.
Sometimes my closest friends ask me what it's like to feel other people's emotions. They can't do that-- but they've got other awesome gifts. Deshawn can listen in from a distance to what people say. A psychic eavesdropper, if you will. Super handy when you need to know the real scoop. Ethan (my forever crush but DO NOT TELL him!) can move things with his minds. Not big things, mind you-- but enough to get us in trouble if someone ever saw his pencil leap back into his fingers from the floor. He's not exactly as careful as he could be. (But you should see him play the drums...*swoon*). And my very best-bestie has visions sometimes. Yeah, like, of the future. They aren't the clearest or anything, but when Avery speaks, we listen.
The thing is, Avery warned us that the new girl Mia is going to get us caught by some mega-bad guys if we don't help the poor thing to feel better fast. Since happiness is kinda my gig, I'm up to bat. One happy Mia coming up...but it's tricky. See, not only does she randomly blare pain at me like a semi-truck passing by, the rest of the time, she's got some sort of natural wall that keeps me from reading what's in her heart. I'm going to have to pull out all the stops to help her.
That's okay. I like a challenge. And I always win.
Umm, okay, thank you, Parker! How about a glimpse into what her gift is like to experience, since she didn't really get around to it here. She's a little distractible sometimes, but we love her just the way she is.
I couldn’t sense everyone’s feelings all the time, thank goodness, but sudden or powerful emotions often slipped past other people’s natural walls to ambush me. Some flares of emotion were like fireworks: sudden and bright, then gone in a heartbeat. More powerful feelings slid slowly from my senses, stubborn ghosts that would rather haunt than disappear.
Full of psychic powers, secrets, crushes, and fun friendships, SHORTCUTS is upper middle grade, perfect for ages 10-14, but also enjoyable for older readers who are young at heart! Detours is the next book in the series and is also told from Parker's point of view, showing what happens when two psychic divas clash.
If you'd like to win an e-ARC of the book 2, Detours, for early review, just leave a comment in the blog! Up to ten winners will be selected! Winners will be notified in a reply comment here on May 24th.
If you could change people’s hearts, would you?
As a psychic empath, Parker Mills can sense strong emotions in others, and the new girl, Mia, is so sad it’s like a punch in the gut. It hurts Parker to be around the hurting, and she prefers parties over pain any day. That’s why she’s developed a toolkit of tutoring, coaching, and match-making to keep everyone around her as happy as possible. But Mia isn’t interested in any of Parker’s tips and tricks. This is more than just annoying (which it totally is.)
Parker is one of four secret psychics in their small town, and her precog bestie has a vision that Mia’s pain will lead to the psychics’ discovery by some very dangerous people looking for human lab rats. It’ll all go down at the middle school Halloween dance if they can’t help Mia first. But when Parker’s gift goes haywire, keeping everyone safe suddenly gets a whole lot harder, and with the dance looming, she’s running out of time to stop the coming destruction.
Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to write down the secret word for your search and leave a comment if you'd like to be entered to win an e-ARC of Detours. I think Parker spilled the beans, but in case you missed it, my secret word is PSYCHIC.
For your next stop for Purple Team BOWS, you'll get to learn more about fantasy author Jeffrey L. Kohanek and his books! Hop on over to his website now: https://jeffreylkohanek.com (It's on the main page...scroll down a bit if you don't see it.)
Finished with Purple Team's posts? Pick a new team and start all over! https://www.snowywingspublishing.com/book-owl-word-search/bows-teams/
I'm so delighted to be a part of Changing Hands Bookstore's Tween Reading-Go-Round, to kick off their summer reading program! Join us for this free, fun event with lightning-fast questions! 4-5pm Central, Saturday May 8!
From their website:
It's time to play the 2021 Summer Reading Bingo! Join us for our virtual kickoff party at the Reading-Go-Round with Amy Bearce, Melissa Hope, Terri Libenson, Graci Kim, Kwame Mbalia, Prince Joel Makonnen, Dusti Bowling, and Justin A. Reynolds.
You'll rotate through a variety of Zoom rooms to meet the authors one at a time for 10 minutes of Q&A before moving into the next room. The authors will be challenged to answer as many questions as they can, as fast as they can! It's a quick-paced Q&A blitz!
The Changing Hands Summer Reading Bingo celebrates diversity and inclusion in children's literature. Read great books, connect the squares to win prizes and enrich your reading experience.
RSVP HERE »
*Changing Hands Bookstore Zoom events are password-protected with wait rooms enabled. The password is entered automatically by clicking the event link when logged in to a Zoom account. They will admit guests shortly before 4PM Central and throughout the event. If you join late, please be patient—they'll admit you when they see you.
Don't forget to check out all the books and authors for this event! So honored to be included in this amazing list!
Rome Reframed By Amy Bearce
Sea of Kings By Melissa Hope
Truly Tyler (Emmie & Friends) By Terri Libenson, Terri Libenson (Illustrator)
The Last Fallen Star (A Gifted Clans Novel) By Graci Kim
Last Gate of the Emperor By Kwame Mbalia, Prince Joel Makonnen
Aven Green Sleuthing Machine, 1 ) By Dusti Bowling, Gina Perry (Illustrator)
Miles Morales: Shock Waves (Original Spider-Man Graphic Novel) By Justin A. Reynolds, Pablo Leon (Illustrator)
I really hope to see you there! You don't have to use your camera for the Zoom if it makes you anxious--you can type your questions in the chat and that's totally cool! No worries! So register for free and join us on Saturday!
Secret Psychics, Book 2, is called Detours and it will be releasing from Snowy Wings Publishing August 10th, 2021! The same awesome people who did book 1's new cover did Detours as well: cover layout and typography by Qamber Kids, with the cover illustration by Katie Archambault! Najla and Jenn at Qamber Kids listened to all my ideas and helped me narrow down the focus for the new look for this series. Here is the cover for Detours!
About the book:
Not even psychics always know who to trust.
Parker Mills still has it all. She’s the two-time winner of the Miss Divine Pecan Pageant, the chair of the 8th grade social committee, and the new lead in her school’s spring play. Even better, Parker has five awesome friends who are just as gifted as she is. As a secret psychic empath, Parker experiences the emotions of everyone around her, even influencing them if she’s not careful. But she finally has her power under control, and spring is shaping up to be the perfect end to Parker’s middle school career. At least it was perfect until the kids from Archer, the rival middle school across town, are forced to share Parker’s school.
Threats and fights explode, but since Parker and her psychic friends are kind of the reason the other school got destroyed (long story), she figures they should do everything they can to make the new kids feel welcome. Unfortunately, the Queen of Archer, Gabby Durand, has no interest in using their mutual influence to smooth out the tensions. Nor does she welcome Parker’s award-winning help. She's too busy trying to take Parker's top place in everything, as if she ever could. But with new dangers coming at the secret psychics from all sides, Parker needs to work with Gabby before their rivalry literally burns down the school.
Are you a book reviewer, librarian, or book seller? I have e-ARCs available! Contact me!
Find Online for pre-order:
IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads
As I have shared, Shortcuts is moving to Snowy Wings Publishing and getting a sequel. I'm so excited to get to share the next step in Parker's story with you. The cover for Detours will be revealed in one week and today... today I'm so happy to share the new cover for Shortcuts:
I love it! Heart-felt thanks to go to Qamber Kids and illustrator Katie Archambault for this beautiful cover! The cover layout and typography is by Qamber Kids, with the cover illustration by Katie Archambault! The entire Qamber Kids team was amazing to work with (shout-out to Najla and Jenn!), and I could not be happier with the final results! Please feel free to share-- sharing is great for spreading the news.
About the book, for those who haven't read it:
If you could change people's hearts, would you?
Parker Mills has it all. She's the two-time winner of the Miss Divine Pecan Pageant, head of the 8th grade dance committee, and a secret psychic empath. Since she absorbs strong emotions from those around her, Parker has committed herself to finding shortcuts to happiness. Whether acting as a tutor, coach, or matchmaker, Parker knows that when others are happy, she's happy. Granted, all that fixing other people's drama means her own crush has no idea how she feels, but it's still a win-win so long as her psychic method remains a mystery.
At least, that's how it always worked until Mia came to town. With her mysterious past and dark cloud of depression, Mia's moods threaten to rain on Parker’s happiness parade. After Parker's usual shortcuts fail-- even after bringing super cute Josh on the scene--she's forced to kick things up a notch, or two. But when Parker's psychic power goes haywire, dangerous secrets unravel... starting with her own.
A few of the older reviews were lost when the books linked, so if you haven't given a review for Shortcuts but have enjoyed it, I'd be grateful if you could add your review to Amazon, even if it's a one-liner!
There is also a new Goodreads page for Shortcuts, which is happily linked to the old one. If you want to share your thoughts on the book there, you can jump to that here. To pre-order the new ebook on Amazon, click here. If you'd like the paperback, well, it's on sale early on Amazon, so you can already grab a copy and leave a review even before the official publication date of April 13th! The new edition is not available in hardcover, but I still have copies of the old hardcover edition for sale.
Thanks for all your support! More information on Detours coming soon!
To those of you in 4th-8th grade and older, I hope I can offer a smidgen of help & encouragement as you traverse the waters of intermediate school, middle school, and high school.