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 stirred, sure she had heard someone calling her name. She imagined opening her eyes to find herself on her bedroom floor, having fallen out of bed. But no, the smell of musty old books filled her nostrils, and then there was someone calling her again.
“Allie,” Principal Eisner said, and Allie opened her eyes to see the principal’s warm face, her silver hair framing the deep lines around her eyes.
Allie became aware of the principal’s hands holding her head and intense pain running through her left leg. She tried to move.
“Wait,” Principal Eisner said. “Rest a moment.”
“Wh- what happened?” Daniel asked, recovering beside Allie.
“It’s still happening,” Principal Eisner said. “You aren’t finished.”
“You know?” Allie asked.
The principal nodded. “It is as we feared, but we never would’ve guessed Paulette.”
“What happened to her?”
“It appears a dark force is at work, something may be corrupting her, the one they call Samyaza. He became a shadow, one without form…. None of us could have known he had become so powerful as to take over someone’s body. Unless she was one of them, one of the Strayers. Yes, it’s all making sense now. Come, stand. You have been chosen to fight the dark powers.”
“But how do you know all this?”
“I was once one of you. I once carried a symbol like your own. The Bringers of Light, they call us.”
“What is she talking about?” Daniel said, staring at Allie. He rose to his knees and turned with confusion at the shield now lying beside him.
Principal Eisner reached to inspect the shield. She held it up and traced the tree pattern on its front, then nodded. “You have already begun.”
“What have I begun?” Allie asked. “What’s going on?”
Principal Eisner turned to her and helped her to stand. “You’ve saved your friend, but you aren’t done. The path has been passed to you.”
“And my mom?”
“You have the ring now, Allie. I couldn’t say before, because I had to be sure. It has chosen you, Solomon’s ring. The stone wasn’t as powerful by itself, in the necklace, but now it has found its other half, what your mom was searching for. The stone and the ring are united, as Samyaza hoped they would never be, under our control. With the ring you have the power to destroy the dark forces. You may be able to succeed where your mom never could, where none have before.” She smiled at Daniel. “The potential is unimaginable.”
Allie looked at her ring, a new awe building within her. “But how?”
“Focus, it may not be too late. You must trust in yourself, faith is the power that leads to light. Normally it’s just the one, but… you two are so young.”
“Wait, me too?” Daniel said.
“She’s going to need your help. You’ve already begun.” She nodded towards the shield. “It’s part of a set of armor, very special, and doesn’t work for everyone. If the dark forces were to ever get their hands on the ring and the armor, we wouldn’t stand a chance.”
“All of this is up to us?” Daniel stared for a moment in disbelief, then turned to the shield and slung it on his arm. “We already got the giant, let’s finish this.”
The principal smiled at Daniel. “You don’t have much time.”
Allie looked between the principal and Daniel, then reached out for Daniel’s hand and closed her eyes. She felt her body surging like at the end of a rollercoaster.
When she opened them they were once again surrounded by a dark fog, the army standing somber as Paulette kneeled over the spot where the giant had fallen. Smoke rose where only a shadow remained.
Murmurs rose from the army and Paulette turned slowly, her eyes glowing red now, black tears streaming down her cheeks.
“You dare to return?” she said, her hands glowing in purple flames. “You dared to deny me my desire!” She motioned and the army of darkness moved in, forming a dense circle around them. “Now you will SUFFER!”
Paulette raised her hands then thrust them forward. Black and purple flames shot out at Allie but Daniel threw himself into the flames’ path, shield braced. The flames licked around the shield and over their heads.
Paulette screamed and ran forward, motioning the Army’s charge. “Bring me that ring!”
The Army of darkness roared and advanced, their swords and spears held at the ready.
“Lead the way,” Daniel said, his eyes wild but determined.
Allie saw a dim path of light leading towards the collapsed hillside of Solomon’s Throne, emanating from her ring. “She’s there, she’s in the tunnels.”
“But how do we get there?!”
She looked to the sky, where the eagle from before circled high above. It gave her an idea. “We fly.”
She grabbed the back of Daniel’s shirt with one hand, her ring pointed down to the ground with the other. “Brace yourself!” she yelled and concentrated her energy into a focused beam of light. It burst from her ring, hitting the ground and propelling her and Daniel into the sky so that they flew right over the army as spears and bursts of dark fire narrowly missed them.
A stream of black fire appeared, flying right for them. Daniel spun and lifted the shield in time to deflect it. The light of her ring subsided, bringing them down to a soft landing at the base of the collapsed entrance to the cave. The army roared in pursuit.
Behind them, Paulette threw fire around her with no care for who she hit and sent more than one Strayer running in flames.
Allie pulled Daniel with her, running to the rocks where the stream of light showed a path through – as they ran, the light blasted the rocks apart and a tunnel formed.
“In there!” Allie said.
As they reached the entrance Daniel turned and yelped, raising the shield barely in time to block a massive boulder – the force threw him backward to where he collided with Allie and sent her sprawling.
She jumped up and pulled down the shield. With a burst of energy she sent a final blast of light toward Paulette, then turned and motioned for Daniel to follow. However, instead of running with her through the dark tunnels, he stood at the small opening with the shield, determined.
“You go, you find her,” he said.
“I won’t leave you!” she replied.
Something clanged against the shield from outside the tunnel and he braced himself. “Go!”
“But…” She couldn’t argue. She saw that if she were to make it without being pursued, this was the way.
“Go, find her, I’ll block them off!” he said again, and this time she ran.
“I won’t be long!” Allie turned and held the ring before her as she ran, a glowing trail leading from her ring down the cave tunnel.
She fought through the darkness, pushing herself forward with the thought of finding her mom. Concentrating all of her energy on that thought. She stumbled on a loose rock, then caught herself on the rock wall. She breathed deep, taking in the depth of the darkness, the impossibility of it all.
It all hung on her. No one would find her mom if she didn’t, she had to push through.
So she took a step forward, reaching out with her hand to follow the wall, but with the second step the ring began to glow, and with each successive step the light increased, and soon she could see the rock floor beneath her and about five feet ahead. Then she was running, calling out for her mom.
Before long she saw a large pile of rocks ahead, blocking her path. The glow hit the rocks, sparkling, and gleaming. This was the spot.
“Mom!” she shouted as she began to move the rocks aside, one at a time. “I’m coming Mom!”
She moved more aside, and then she came across one she couldn’t lift. She heaved and grunted, but it wouldn’t budge. Struggling with the stone, she fell to her knees, shoulders forward, in defeat.
A small whimper came from the rocks – her mom’s voice! Allie had no doubt.
She stood and pulled at the stone, and as she did so the light around her grew bright.
“I’m coming, Mom!” With a burst of light Allie pulled the stone free. As it moved the rest shot off down the tunnel.
Where the rocks had been moments before, her mom lay, weak but alive. Her frizzy hair fell around her thin face, large yellow bags of skin under her blood-shot eyes. She cringed at first to see the light, then her vision adjusted and her eyes fell on Allie. Her left hand reached weakly for her daughter.
Allie rushed forward to help her mom to sit. “I knew you’d be alive, Mom, I knew you wouldn’t give up on us.”
Her mom smiled up at her daughter and caressed her face. But she paused, eyes frozen on the ring on her daughter’s finger. “You, the Ring of Andaleeb, of Solmon. How?”
A crash echoed through the tunnel and Allie knew Daniel needed their help. “Not now mom, we have to get you home.”
They struggled through the tunnel, Allie attempting to support her weakened mom. The echoes of clashing metal on metal continued to pound through the rock walls around them, the source of it growing close. Almost to Daniel, the darkness surged around them and then pulled back like a great wind. The rock wall to their left lifted away, rocks flying into the distance.
Allie stood in the tunnel, now exposed to the army and the fog of darkness. In the center of the army stood Paulette, her hands in the air. Darkness swirled like a tornado over her head. She smiled wickedly when she saw Allie.
“Not this time!” Paulette called out, her voice deep, a mixture of Paulette and a much darker, more powerful force.
“No…” her mom said, her voice halting, her eyes unbelieving. “Samyaza, he’s taken her.”
“How about now Ms. Strom, how about when your twelve year old daughter is all that stands between me and victory? Her and her little friend…”
Paulette moved her hands toward Daniel and a streak of black lightning fell from the sky upon him. Allie let out a scream and pulled her mom toward his collapsing form. Her body wavered under her mom’s weight.
Paulette faced them with fiery red eyes, a gloating smile across her face. She lifted her hand to strike again.
“Daniel, no!” With a final burst of energy, Allie pulled herself and her mom to Daniel’s side. She fell to her knees. The dark lightning filled the sky. Her mom shrieked and grabbed her daughter in her arms, but the darkness hit nonetheless.
Allie felt her head falling, aware of its weight, aware of the softness of Daniel’s chest as her head landed on him with a thump. She couldn’t move, she couldn’t think. All she could do was see the frail frame of her mom, reaching…
“Get up,” her mom said, kneeling beside her daughter. “You didn’t come all this way for it to end like this.”
Allie’s head rolled back. High above she saw the Eagle, again darting through the clouds, pushing them apart to reveal a ray of light.
“Take me home,” her mom pleaded.
Allie, eyes to the heavens and using all her energy, lifted her ring. A smile met her lips, but her eyes slowly closed.
Her eyes burst open as the streaming light careened over the rocks of Solomon’s Throne, overtaking the mountain like a sunrise come to life. The light intensified, speeding towards the darkness. Light and dark met in an explosion of color. In golds and oranges Allie saw faces, heard the swooshing of wings.
Then there was a face she only remembered from pictures, her grandpa, barely visible, and her mom was smiling up at him. His thick voice filled the air, “Go Allie, go!” The flapping of wings intensified a thousand fold, and the light surrounded them like streamers, capturing the dust and reflecting like diamonds.
Allie felt her strength returning. She managed to lift her head to see the Army retreating, followed by Chris and the wolves. But Paulette ran for Allie, her hand outstretched, her mouth in a silent scream.
The ring glowed bright and the darkness whipped back toward Paulette, around the retreating army. It enveloped Paulette like the shadow of the mountain taking solid form, like a net that pulled her back.
“Noooo!” Paulette screamed as her eyes flickered between fiery red and their normal green of the girl that may still have been within.
The light became too bright and they saw nothing but explosions of gold and white. Were those smiling faces in the light? As the light began to fade, she no longer knew where she was. Someone was saying her name, softly.
She blinked and could make out blurry pillars, then blinked again and saw she was in the school library, laying in the middle of the school map. She remembered the day the librarian had asked if she had traveled, if she had been to Central Asia. She wanted to laugh at that question now.
She turned, rotating onto her elbows. Her mom and Daniel lay beside her, smiling back. She reached for her mom and their fingers touched. Allie wanted to jump up and hold her mom, but she felt the blood rushing to her head and the room spinning, and then the walls seemed to shift in size and dimensions. They blurred and went black as her eyes lost focus.
“Allie,” her mom called. “Allie…”
She was on the ground, feeling her consciousness returning, then fading out again. A knot in her stomach felt like it was clawing its way out. Someone approached, as if running at an angle, but Allie realized it was her perception. She forced her eyes open long enough to see Gabe the librarian, and then she felt herself fading out again.
She woke in the school nurse’s office, someone caressing her cheek. The smell of sterility filled her nostrils like cut metal. Her vision blurred again and she saw her dad’s loving face, inches from her own, worried. Her eyes closed and reopened to reveal her mom and dad holding each other. She was in a real hospital, her mom with a tube in her arm connected to a bag that hung from a metal bar. But she was alive, and standing, and her dad caressed her mom’s hair. They kissed as Allie lost consciousness once more.