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 blinked, trying to clear the light blotches visible in the dark room. Daniel rubbed his arms, as if to make sure his whole body had returned. Whatever had happened, Allie was more certain than ever that her necklace was the key to figuring everything out, and her mom hadn’t simply been on some development mission.
“Did you get it?” Paulette asked.
“What could my mom have been doing there?” Allie asked, ignoring Paulette’s question.
Paulette raised an eyebrow.
“It’s some Indiana Jones stuff is what it is!” Daniel said. “I mean, did you see those carvings? And then the room!”
“You found the room?” Paulette stepped forward and started patting Allie’s pockets. “What was in there, what’d you find?”
“Stop it,” Allie said, stepping back. “What are you doing?”
Paulette took a step back and leaned against a nearby wall, her expression discouraged. Footsteps pounded in the hall. The doorknob turned. “Listen, we have to get you back there, I don’t know what it was, but we were meant to find something. Something very important or my necklace wouldn’t be telling me to help you. But for now, we have to get you to safety.”
They were in a room with only one door, which at the moment was rattling as someone from the other side was trying to break the lock. Paulette looked at the floor and around the walls for vents, but there was no other way out. Then she saw a dim light from a corner of the ceiling. She ran over and beckoned Allie and Daniel to follow.
“I’ll give you a boost.” She held out her hands, locked together for one of them to place their foot.
Allie looked at her apprehensively, then back to the door when it shuddered with a heavy clash. She ran and stepped into Paulette’s hands for a boost up. She felt herself rise to the ceiling and pushed hard on a square ceiling tile. She crawled up into the ceiling as she heard the door’s lock breaking with a clang. Daniel pushed past Allie and scampered away from the hole. Loud banging on the door drove Allie to poke her head back down to find Paulette struggling to keep the door closed.
“Go on, get help,” Paulette said as she held the door tight. “I’ll keep them away.”
“It’s not safe,” Allie said, but she saw that it was too late. The door was open and someone pulled Paulette through.
Allie placed the floorboard back where it had come from. Allie started crawling along the narrow passage, Daniel ahead of her. When they reached a tile above them that budged, they kicked it up and found themselves in a florescent-lit classroom, with posters of rocks and a large map of the earth.
“How fitting,” Daniel said, his breathing heavy but his eyes returning to normal. “History class.”
“We have to find help.”
He nodded and they ran into the hallways, trying to re-orientate themselves.
“She’s right though,” Allie said as they ran. “There was a reason we were there. We’ve got to go back.”
“Allie, I don’t know if you noticed,” they turned down a hallway to the left, “but the sky was turning black in the middle of the day, we ran into wolves, and then that crazy necklace was shining all over the place.”
“We have to find whatever it is we were meant to find, it has to be the key.”
Daniel stared at her. He nodded. “Okay. But we have to research that place. I’m going to find out about Osh and Solomon’s Throne. You get someone to help Paulette, then figure out how we can travel back there. We’ve got to make sense of all this.”
He nodded. “Meet me in the library after school.”
After he took off, Allie ran to find the principal, or maybe the librarian. But when she turned down a hallway she stopped short of running right through Paulette.
“I’m fine, I escaped.” Paulette looked ragged, her eyes bloodshot.
“But how?” Allie asked.
“Those fools aren’t as quick as they think they are. I simply slipped through them, tripping one on my way so the rest had to stumble over each other.” She grabbed Allie’s arm. “Go on with your day, pretend like everything is normal, we’ll meet back up soon.”
Allie did her best to get through the rest of her classes and when the final bell struck she dashed for the library. Gabe the librarian gave her a nod when she entered, then motioned toward the far wall. She found Daniel back there, rummaging through a pile of books.
“So?” she said when she reached him.
He didn’t bother to look up from the page. “This Solomon’s Throne thing, I don’t think you understand what we stumbled upon.”
“This place is like this big tourist attraction in Osh.”
Daniel flipped through a large book, showing her pictures of the mountain named The Throne of Solomon – definitely where they were.
“Well, it was rumored that King Solomon used to travel through Osh, he may have founded the city actually.” Daniel closed the book and looked at her. “And some reports even say he may have been buried under those hills.”
“Wait, you don’t think…?”
“Yes, I think that room we found, it was his tomb.” He grabbed the book and headed for the front desk. “Come on, back to my place.”
For the first time on their walk home the sun decided to peek out from behind the clouds, but Daniel and Allie were too excited to notice. They went over what had happened, with the people in Kyrgyzstan being unable to see them, and then the darkness moving as if alive. And now this, the discovery of a long lost tomb. Allie hadn’t been into this Dungeons and Dragons or Warcraft type-nerd-fest stuff for a couple of years, but now she found her heart pumping and her words flowing out in excitement.
The first thing Daniel did at his house was turn on his laptop and start typing, leaving Allie to look over his shoulder and tell him to click on different links she thought sounded interesting. After searching for a while, they found they were no closer than when they began.
“Have you heard from Paulette at least?” Daniel asked.
Allie checked her phone and clicked on a text. “Paulette says she’s working on something, she’ll meet us at school in an hour or so.”
“Great. Let’s keep looking for now then.”
“We tried everything. What has this done for us?”
“Well at least now we know what we’re dealing with.”
“We do?” She fell backwards onto his bed. “All I see is a bunch of Wikipedia junk saying this and that about Solomon’s Throne. What’s this have to do with my mom? Some ancient guy who controlled angels and demons with his ring?”
“Sounds pretty awesome to me.”
“Where do we draw the line? How do we know what’s myth and what’s reality?”
“Welcome to the study of history.”
“Get serious,” she said. “Don’t you realize how important this is?”
“I am serious. That’s how history works, you can get as close as primary sources, firsthand accounts of how it happened and all that, but then who do you trust? How do you know how to interpret the facts? Because some ‘expert’ says so, that’s how.”
“You are truly a nerd, you know that, right? Seriously, how old are you?”
Allie let out a long sigh. “This is all useless anyway.”
Daniel swiveled around in his chair, his eyes determined. “If we’ve come this far, we’ll get back there. Otherwise what’s the point of all this?”
Allie fumbled with her necklace, agreeing with him but still completely confused and frustrated. “But we have no idea how to control this thing.”
“If you don’t want to wait for it to do its magic, maybe we could buy tickets and fly?”
“To Kyrgyzstan? How much would we need for that?”
He turned to the computer and clicked through a website. “About two-thousand, each, this time of year.”
“How about we take the more realistic route, I grow wings and we fly. You can sit on my back.” Allie allowed a smile and Daniel laughed, a nervous, uncertain laughter. Allie stood and started pacing, the way she saw her dad pace when he was upset. “How do we know we can even find our way back when we want to? Maybe it’s like Narnia or something.”
Focused on his computer again, Daniel pointed to the screen. “Maybe this has some connection. Look, legend has it that either Solomon or Alexander the Great founded Osh. Alexander was one of the Nine Worthies. Solomon wasn’t, but maybe there is a reason the two are connected here.”
Allie turned to the window and placed her hands against the windowsill, her forehead against the cold glass. “The Nine whats?”
“The Nine Worthies, historical figures determined to be of great spirit and—”
“I know we established this, but you truly are a nerd.”
Daniel ignored her. “I don’t know, it’s like I was born to read about this stuff you know? These Nine Worthies, all this stuff it makes me want to jump into battle and win the day for good, you know?”
“Wait, I remember a map, of Alexander’s empire, like it reached towards the area where modern-day Kyrgyzstan would be. Maybe Alexander went there for a purpose, to find something. Something of Solomon’s!”
Allie turned to him, a spark of hope in her eye. “Could this have something to do with my mom? I mean, her necklace took us there, and all this stuff sounds so crazy, but maybe?”
Daniel smiled at her then looked to the window with surprise. Staring in at them was Chris.
“Perfect timing,” Allie said, sarcastically, as Chris disappeared from the window to head for the door. “What’s he doing here?”
“Give him a chance,” Daniel said as he moved to the door to let Chris in.
She waited for them to return, then frowned to see Chris carrying a board game.
Chris smiled at her. “I was hoping me and Danny-boy here could finish our game from his birthday, but you can join I guess.”
“So you have nerd in you too?” she said. “We don’t have time.”
“I mean, we do need a break.” Daniel looked at her and shrugged. “Maybe clearing our minds would get the juices flowing.”
He had a point, how much longer could they look at Wikipedia? They were going in circles, and she could think of nothing else to try before meeting Paulette.
“Allie?” Chris said. They both stared at her, waiting. Something about the way Chris’s green eyes gleamed when he looked at her made her want to forgive him, to play this dumb game with him and Daniel.
“It’ll be fun.”
“We have forty minutes, then we have to go,” she said and sat on the bed. With a hint of scorn, she watched them set up the little soldiers on the map. She had never played Risk before, though she had heard her brother talk about playing it with his friends. When it came to sports in the family, she was the one to go shoot some hoops with her dad. She never thought that when she moved to a new school and started seventh grade, she would be sitting with two boys playing one of the many games she made fun of her brother for spending his Saturdays on.
Still, she enjoyed herself as they got into the game. Thirty-five minutes into it and she already owned South America and had moved over from Australia with plans for Asia. And Chris could be a real charmer – he had the sort of laugh that caught on in seconds, and more than once the three found themselves rolling on the carpet, holding their stomachs and cracking up.
After a quick break for Goldfish crackers and Cokes, Chris picked up his three white dice and smiled wickedly at Allie.
“I’m attacking in Asia,” he said. “Let’s see… From here to here.”
“Jerk,” she said playfully as he picked up four men and placed them at the border of China and Afghanistan, where she defended with three. “See if I care. I’ll come back and crush you from India.”
She rolled her two dice: a five and a four.
Chris tilted his head and rolled his three attacking dice. They hit the floor beside the board: six, six, six. Allie frowned and reached to pull away her two dead men, while Chris reached to move his men into her territory.
Her hand paused as she saw a glimmer of blue hit the board.
“Allie!” Daniel stood up, excited. “Your necklace’s glowing again!”
Chris continued to reach for the board, his sleeve creeping up his arm and Allie’s eye followed it with terror—at the bottom of his sleeve she first saw a bit of black. As the sleeve retreated further it was evident the black formed a pattern, the three circles and serpent.