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…
… sign up for my author mailing list for a free copy (along with other free books, audiobooks and updates).
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.
A light shone, growing and pushing out slowly from Allie’s chest. It moved to her hand, pulsating as it sent tingles of warmth through her body. With a crack as if the air were a whip against the earth, the light expanded as far as the eye could see and then was gone, leaving the natural light of day.
She stood atop a small hill behind the brick remains of a house, Daniel and Paulette at her side. They were in a sprawling city of brick buildings and trees surrounded by mountains and foothills. The sun shone bright, doing nothing against the cold chill of the air on her skin. Her hair danced in the wind and she felt Daniel’s hand on her shoulder, but also jagged rocks beneath her. She looked over and saw him, his eyes wide and his bottom lip trembling.
“Come on,” Paulette said as she ran past. “There’s no time to waste.”
Allie shrugged at Daniel and ran after her, eyes wide with awe at the city. It was like nothing she had ever seen before. Houses of red brick with sheets of metal for roofs surrounded them, stuck together like thousands of toy blocks. They ran under arches and turned back once when they came upon a brown river, battered tires and unused chicken coups on its bank. Paulette ran, glancing around as if searching for something, while people in colorful garments walked past as if not seeing them.
“What…” Allie said between breaths, “are we… doing here?”
“We only have a bit of time,” Paulette said. “Your necklace isn’t powerful enough to hold the charge for longer than twenty minutes, I would guess.”
Allie stopped and held her necklace, it was glowing again. “How do you know this?”
“You aren’t the only one to ever have one.” Paulette turned back and grabbed Allie, pulling her forward. “You just happen to have the most powerful one I’ve ever seen.”
“I don’t understand,” Daniel said, finally catching up. Allie stared, dumbfounded at the thought that Paulette had known about her necklace all along. It was becoming clearer that somehow Paulette was involved.
“Neither do I, not fully,” Paulette said, pointing at the chain around her own neck that led to some sort of stone beneath her shirt. “They all work differently, and are connected in some way. But we have to learn to use them. Mine tells me where things are, and it says there’s something here. Somewhere.”
“Why didn’t you tell me all this before?” Allie asked, hysterical. “I mean, if I’d known—”
“Save your breath. I had to be sure you were chosen.”
Paulette paused to look down a side street, and then turned and played with her wavy hair. “Yes, just because you wear a symbol doesn’t mean it answers to you. We know now, yours does. But until you learn to properly use it, the charges won’t reach their full potential.”
“So this thing can make me travel and stuff?” Allie asked as they started walking again.
Paulette shook her head. “Kinda, but it’s not just that. It’s like it takes you to another plane. We’re here together, so we don’t have a problem.” She paused and pointed. “There.”
Through the streets they saw a massive rock extending from the earth. The greenery was sparse on the hill leading up the rocks. Clouds streamed into the sky from its peak.
“Is that…?” Allie said.
“The Throne of Solomon.” Paulette smiled and took off at a jog.
Allie stared in amazement. Paulette had done it, she had brought them back. She turned to Daniel. “We need to find out as much as we can from her, if we’re going to find my mom.”
They followed in a jog, two out-of-place kids running through the streets. Daniel turned a corner and nearly collided with an old woman in a zig-zag patterned blue dress, washing her feet by the side of the road.
“Excuse us,” Allie said, shooting Daniel a look of caution.
But the woman didn’t even look up. Daniel leaned in close and waved his hand before her. Nothing.
“She doesn’t look blind.”
“Maybe it’s that different plane thing Paulette mentioned?”
They continued on and soon reached the base of the rocks and Allie turned to look back the way they’d come. It was an expansive city, with brown and white hills in the distance and patches of trees between the many houses. Sunlight covered the city as if reflected from a rippling lake, sparkling like the entire city was blanketed in a swathe of gold.
“Where’d Paulette go?” Daniel asked as he took the last step to join Allie. He turned to the view and stood with his arms on his hips, his chest heaving. “Wow.”
“I don’t know,” Allie said.
Daniel wiped a light sweat from his brow. He looked up at the rock to where a red flag with a bit of yellow in the middle flew in the wind. “This is definitely Kyrgyzstan, like she said in history class.”
“Solomon’s Throne.” Allie looked up at five peaks of limestone. She could almost see how one of the peaks was shaped like a throne.
“Come on, we gotta find her,” she said as she began climbing a steep path.
Daniel darted up the rocky slopes, struggling to stay with Allie. A group of tourists passed, like everyone else, not seeing them. The path was narrow with jagged rocks and wisps of long brown grass. No trees or buildings were on this side of the hill, so the harsh wind whipped around the rocks. In September Washington wasn’t cold, but the biting air on this hill made Allie wish she had something on over her white sweater.
When they reached the top, there was still no sign of Paulette. Daniel caught up with Allie and she turned to see him join her but paused, then froze. The light over the city was dimming in spite of the sun’s position in the center of the sky. Past the city, night crept toward them. A dark shadow moved along the earth and sky, consuming everything in its path. As if it all vanished into complete nothingness, if black was nothingness.
“You are a weird friend to have,” Daniel said as he stared at the darkness that approached them like a tidal wave of night.
“Something tells me we shouldn’t wait here for whatever that is.”
Daniel looked back and shook his head vigorously. “I agree.”
Allie scrambled toward the other side of the hill, looking for the way back. She wasn’t sure where they should go. She knew they shouldn’t stay there, but the approaching darkness seemed to captivate her, pull her in, as if she could watch it forever. Still, she sensed something terrible would happen if she stayed in this spot.
She attempted to step across a gap but a dirt clot beneath her foot crumbled and she slipped, falling fast. She screamed and flailed. As she felt the air whipping around her and she knew she was falling, Daniel grabbed her wrist.
“Got you,” he said, then looked past her with excitement. “Look what you found!”
He gestured in the direction she was falling. The drop didn’t continue too far, sloping off at a forty-five degree angle, five feet down into the rock.
Allie looked into the sky and saw the darkness growing close. The sun was starting to turn orange, the edge of it purple. “We have to get into hiding.”
“What about your friend?” Daniel said, looking around frantically.
Allie nodded. “Let’s pray she found somewhere to hide herself.”
The rock was gritty and provided easy traction as they lowered themselves into the cavern. A cave opened up before them, but somehow the cave’s lack of light was nothing compared to what they had seen approaching. Its damp coolness welcomed them with the scent of untouched pools of water, which reflected when Allie opened her phone for some light.
“Let’s move,” Daniel said, and they started into the cave.
They kept walking and as they went deeper, the walls narrowed. Daniel expressed his worry more than once, but Allie assured him there would be no bears or snakes in the cave.
Something snarled ahead. Allie gulped and dropped her phone, but a light still shone. A light from her necklace reflected into the eyes of a wolf as it drew close. She bent down to retrieve the phone. More snarls rose around them, creeping through the cold air to chill her spine. The first wolf, with scraggly greying hair and paws the size of her face, began to circle her.
“Come to me Daniel,” she said. He did, and she held out an arm as if to shield him. She held out her other hand, and the wolf took a step back. A wolf to her right snarled and leapt into the air. It came at her, claws outstretched, teeth bared. She thought it was over for her and Daniel, then—
The beast fell back, rolling across the rocky ground. Allie looked to Daniel, but he still stood behind her looking scared and a bit curious. “What happened?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s like he hit a wall when he jumped for us.”
Allie inched forward, ensuring Daniel was behind her. She faced the wolves and watched as the larger one nuzzled the one that had failed in its attack. A third wolf came from behind, but approached the other two and lay on the ground, its shining eyes watching Allie and Daniel patiently.
“Just keep moving,” Allie said as they left the wolves in the dark tunnels behind them, moving deeper in.
The cave curved down deep, always descending. She couldn’t hear anything behind them, but she was sure they were there. One time she almost went flying onto her face when she came across a stair, but she leapt into the air and caught herself on the tunnel wall. Daniel wasn’t so lucky, but he only banged a knee. The deeper they went, the more her necklace glowed. That or her eyes were adjusting, she couldn’t be sure. Either way she was able to make out the surrounding walls. There were hundreds of carved patterns. Kings and queens, angels and demons lined the walls, an intertwined knot tracing the ceiling.
“Are you seeing this?” Daniel hissed. He grabbed her shoulder and she jumped. “I can’t keep running, slow down.”
“But they’re coming!” she said.
“Who Allie? Who? No one’s coming!”
She paused in the silence, hearing only an indistinct dripping of water somewhere in the distance. The light from her necklace began to glow brighter, increasingly illuminating the tunnel. Reflecting on the walls, the light revealed a relief of a man on a giant throne, surrounded by animals at his feet and angels above. Allie wanted to stay and inspect the intricate artwork, but at the same time she wanted to run. The sandstone felt soft to her touch, brittle. Her slightest contact made it crumble. At that moment, the light from her necklace became a single ray of light that shot through the hole in the rock wall that her finger had made.
With a glance at Daniel, she pursed her lips and raised her hand, palm flat against the wall. When she pushed, the wall gave way. It crumbled to reveal an arched entrance. Daniel stepped in first and she followed. The smooth rock walls rose into a broad dome above their heads, while on the floor the rock was carved to form an ancient map of the world – like in the library at school. Allie spun in amazement, then stopped as the light from her necklace reflected back bright against what appeared to be a wall of solid gold. The gold wall rose to a plateau too high for them to see, but Allie’s necklace pulled toward the wall as if it were alive and its home were at the top.
With a flash, the light became so bright they were forced to shield their eyes. Allie saw the white behind her scrunched eyelids, the reflection of gold from the wall, and then it was gone. They were back in the school, in the dark room with the globe. Among the color circles she could barely make out Paulette, staring at them expectantly.