The blogging of my book continues! You can pre-order it onKindle, iBooks, and Kobo, and I encourage you to do so if you enjoy the blog (Only $2.99 while on pre-order, $4.99 after). If you are intrigued and want to know what happens now…
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When the book goes live (November 15), it would be great if you have a review ready to go (hint hint). You can also pre-order book 2, Allie Strom and the Sword of the Spirit, which will go live mid-December (just in time for Christmas).
PLOT: Allie discovers that her new necklace and an unlikely friend are her keys to traveling across the world to save her mom from a cult and their otherworldly leader, and in the process learns that she has a greater destiny.
Without further ado, let’s dive into my MG novel, Allie Strom and the Ring of Solomon.
Allie and Daniel stood with Gabe in Principal Eisner’s office. Allie’s head was spinning, her mind reeling with the news that Principal Eisner had just told her—that her mom was missing.
“But no, I—I just Skyped with her like, two weeks ago.”
“And when did you find the necklace?” Principal Eisner said. “Or rather, when did it find you?”
“What’s that have to do with my mom missing, and how do you know this?” She looked at them, flabbergasted and annoyed. “This isn’t funny.” She stood to go, but the librarian stepped in front of her.
“Please, listen,” he said. “For the sake of your mother.”
Allie paused. Of course she couldn’t argue with that, if indeed there was some truth to what they were saying. None of it made logical sense, but if she were to accept the images from that morning or what had just happened in the woods, if all that had really happened, then she had better at least hear them out.
“Allie,” Principal Eisner said, her voice stern. “Please sit.” Allie obliged and Principal Eisner assessed her with great, caring eyes. “The necklace. When?”
Allie rubbed the stone of her necklace uneasily. “Early this morning.”
Principal Eisner and the librarian shared a worried look. “Then there still may be a chance, at least.”
“If you act soon, my dear. Your mom is in some sort of danger, that’s all we know. She wouldn’t have passed on the necklace unless something was wrong, and the necklace wouldn’t have followed the blood line unless you were ready.” Principal Eisner took a moment, staring at the necklace, and then shook her head as if waking form a spell. “It’s just so hard to believe it chose one so young.”
“Brooke was much younger when it chose her,” Gabe chimed in.
Principal Eisner nodded slowly. “Yes, but Samyaza was a mere shadow in the corner in those days. This is a different time, Gabriel.”
Allie suddenly stood, knocking back her chair. “Will somebody please tell me what exactly is happening?”
Principal Eisner sighed, as if she had wanted to avoid this. “That sign there, on the necklace. You wear the seal of King Solomon.”
“The Star of David,” Daniel said. “We got that.”
“No, not just that. I mean the actual stone that came from his ring. Now it belongs to you.”
“So?” Allie said, dismissive of what seemed to be yet another history lesson.
Principal Eisner raised her brow at this, but Gabe put a hand on her shoulder.
“Legends say he controlled angels and demons with his ring,” Gabe said. “This exact stone.”
“It belonged to your mother’s father before her,” Principal Eisner continued. “And who knows how many generations before that.”
“And it does some kind of magic or something?” Allie asked. “It showed me where my mom was?”
Gabe nodded. “Not exactly magic, but yes. It answers to a higher power.”
Allie took a moment to process this. She had seen something out there, and heard her mom’s voice. And there had been the vision that morning, but… magic? No way. But what then? A hallucination? An undigested piece of pizza dipped in rancid ranch sauce that was causing her to imagine everything?
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. And I don’t have to sit here listening to this ridiculous—”
“Allie,” Principal Eisner said. “You have a responsibility now.”
Gabe smiled, warmly. “You are a Bringer of Light.”
For a moment, Allie considered everything they were saying. Perhaps she could really be some fighter against evil. Could there really be angels and demons? A ring with some kind of magic? All of those days with her brother and his role playing games, and now these two were trying to tell her some of that was real. She wasn’t some kid that could be manipulated, she was smart enough to know reality from make believe.
Allie laughed—what other response was there? “I’m not some Bringer of Light or whatever else you want to tell me I am. I’m a teenage girl.”
She spun on her heels and stomped out of the office. She wasn’t going to sit around wasting her time and listening to these lunatics. There had to be a better explanation.
The rain was really starting to come down as Allie and Daniel walked home. For some reason, forty-five minutes east in her old city, the rain had not been so annoying, so incessant. Neither of them said a thing until they reached their apartment complex, where Daniel turned on her, soaked.
“Well,” Daniel said. “Today was crazy, but I’m with you, whatever happens.”
“Yeah?” Allie asked.
“That’s what friends do, stick together. So of course.”
She hesitated, then smiled. “Yeah, I suppose we are. Friends.”
He looked up hesitantly, then held out his fist for a fist-bump. She hesitantly pounded back with a smile.
He turned to go home. “Have a good night, Allie.”
With a wave of his hand he went into his apartment that, Allie was surprised to learn, was only three down from hers. She turned to the big brown building she called home, but stood there, listening to the pitter-patter of rain drops on the cement and smelling the fresh scent of rain. The water cleansed her spirit, reminding her of camping trips her family used to take on Mt. Rainier.
She had no idea how the day turned out to be so weird. Highs, lows, and so many crazy moments. When she moved to this town she had no idea what was to come, but hadn’t expected to be kicking balls at people, running through valleys, and especially not being told she was in charge of rescuing her mom. No, she decided. It couldn’t be true, none of what had happened in the woods could have been real, and her principal was delusional. That was the only realistic explanation. Was Daniel in on some prank? She couldn’t believe that, but had no idea what to think anymore. Her dad would know, and she would make sure to figure this out before she lost her mind, if it wasn’t already too late.
Something in the sky caught her eye and she looked up to see, way in the distance above, an eagle soaring, barely visible among the grey clouds. It let out a mighty screech, sending shivers down her spine.
A car drove by with a hiss of rubber spraying water, and then stopped nearby.
“Allie, where were you?” her dad said as he exited the car. I wanted to surprise you and pick you up.”
Allie continued to stand in the rain, letting it wash her clean of the day.
“Come on, dear,” her dad said. “Let’s get you dry.”
Snapping out of it, she ran over to him and, under the shelter of his umbrella, went home. At first she considered telling him everything, about what the Principal had told her, but she couldn’t. Somehow, voicing it would make it real, and she wasn’t willing to accept that yet. A haze filled her thoughts like a dream, settling in her gut with a darkness that made her want nothing more than to curl up in a ball and cry.
She made it through dinner, but then slid into bed with a picture from a drawer in her night stand. It was a picture of her mom and dad, holding each other and smiling. Her mom wore the Army fatigues, a duffle bag thrown over her shoulder, and a rose in her left breast pocket. It had been taken at the airport the day she deployed.
And that silver chain hung around her mom’s neck. The necklace.
Perhaps Allie’s was a fake and everyone was wrong? She caressed the stone, then tapped it with her fingernail.
A knock on the door and her dad entered with a full laundry basket. Allie tucked the necklace beside her leg.
“You have anything you want washed?” He smiled, but she could tell something was off.
She shook her head no. As for the necklace and her mom, it was best to leave him out of it. She wanted to be alone, but wasn’t sure how to tell him.
“Dad, not now okay,” she said. “It’s just, everything’s been too crazy lately.”
“You have to know, I can’t keep it in.”
She looked up at him, surprised to see the determination in his eyes. Was he going to start talking to her about Bringers of Light and King Solomon too? Did he know about all this after all?
He sat beside her, placing the laundry basket on the floor. “I received a message from your mom’s command.”
She hated the hesitation in his voice. She knew the answer before she asked, “And?”
Her dad breathed deep. “They haven’t heard from her for a couple days now, and, well, that’s not normal.”
So her mom was missing? Allie couldn’t accept it. “Dad…. Do you know where she is? Do you know what happened?”
He held her gaze, his eyes sad and helpless. No, he didn’t know any more than she did—less probably.
“She’ll be back soon,” Allie said, as much to herself as to him.
“I hope so honey, but we won’t be able to Skype with her tonight, so I wanted to make sure you understood.” He kissed her on the forehead. “No laundry then, kiddo?”
Allie shook her head.
“I can’t do this alone.” He heaved up the laundry and closed the door behind him, leaving her to wonder what he’d meant by that.
When Allie got up to use the bathroom later that night she heard a sniffling sound from her dad’s room. She stopped and peered in through the crack of his door. The computer screen cast a soft glow on his face, reflecting the tears in his eyes. He wiped his arm across his face and clicked off the computer screen. Even in the darkness she could tell his face was in the palms of his hands, his shoulders shaking.
She turned and rushed to the bathroom, closing the door gently so her dad wouldn’t hear it and know she was up.
Why was he crying? No way—the rough man she knew to be her dad never cried. He was too strong for that. But she had seen his tears, they had been real.
She turned on the cold water and splashed her face. If her mom’s command hadn’t heard from her in a few days that was one thing, but what if her mom were in some real trouble? What if she were…. Allie couldn’t bring herself to think it, it was too horrible. Worst of all, what Allie really did have the key to saving her mom, but was wasting time debating the reality of it?
Allie gripped the edges of the porcelain sink until her fingers hurt, sure she was going to tear it right off. No, she told herself, her mom had to be alive. This not knowing had to stop, and whether the Bringer of Light mumbo-jumbo was real or not, Allie had to act. Even if that meant believing in magic, believing in a reality she had lived her whole life knowing not to be true. Her mom would come back, and Allie was going to figure out what role she played in making sure of that.