Seven stories, seven situations threatening the festivities. Will the holidays be a disaster? Will families be left out in the cold? Will there be tears before bedtime, or will there be happy endings all round? The MG BookElves group brings you its first anthology of tales to enjoy during the holiday season:
* Reliable Clooney Dockins delivered his town's mail on time for thirty-two years, until that strange and impossible Christmas Eve when he woke up late. M.G.King (Fizz & Peppers at the Bottom of the World, Librarian on the Roof)
* Max the Tonkinese cat finds Santa Claus on the roof and is whisked away to retrieve a very special message from another time and place. Wendy Leighton-Porter (The Shadows from the Past series)
* Shirley Link is an amateur sleuth who lives in a town that could use all the sleuths it can get! What is it about Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts that makes it such a hotspot for dastardly deeds? Even on Christmas Day? Ben Zackheim (Shirley Link Detective Series, The Camelot Kids)
* Champ may be a rescue dog, but he’s the best person around to stop the dognappers and save heartbreak at Christmas. Fiona Ingram (The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, Champ: My Story of Survival)
* When the railroad gets snowed under, the two bit town of Skunk Corners has to play host to a load of mighty difficult strangers. Can Big Al and the Ninja Librarian keep the season of goodwill from breaking into a riot? Rebecca M. Douglass (The Ninja Librarian, Halitor the Hero)
* Far away on the west coast of a western Scottish island, Dylan and Dougall face yuletide in Castle Haunn with no heat, light or food. Can Dylan get the message through to the mainland for help, or is there something nasty waiting for him in the hills? Jemima Pett (The Princelings of the East series)
* It’s Christmas holiday and Lily is stuck in a remote mountain village. With school out for a month and no internet connection, at first she wonders how she will fill the time. In this sweet romance, Lily discovers there’s more to gift-giving than just the giving. S. Smith (The Seed Savers series)
Each tale weaves its own seasonal magic. Each magician has already warmed the hearts of thousands of young readers with their stories. Enjoy these frantic races to meet the Christmas deadline while you curl up in your favourite reading spot this winter.
About the Author
Jemima Pett has been living in a world of her own for many years. Day-dreaming in class, writing stories since she was eight, drawing maps of fantasy islands with train systems and timetables at ten. Unfortunately no-one wanted a fantasy island designer, so she tried a few careers, getting great experiences in business, environmental research and social work. She finally got back to building her own worlds, and wrote about them. Her business background enabled her to become an independent author, responsible for her own publications. Her first series, the Princelings of the East, mystery adventures for advanced readers set in a world of tunnels and castles entirely populated by guinea pigs, now has seven books online and in print. Jemima does chapter illustrations for these. She has also edited two volumes of Christmas stories for young readers, the BookElves Anthologies, and her father's memoirs White Water Landings, about the Imperial Airways flying boat service in Africa. She is now writing the third in her science fiction series set in the Viridian System, in which the aliens include sentient trees. Jemima lives in a village in Norfolk with her guinea pigs, the first of whom, Fred, George, Victor and Hugo, provided the inspiration for her first stories, The Princelings of the East. She is now writing science fiction for grown-ups as well as completing the Princelings series, and writing more short stories for anthologies.
Rebecca M. Douglass mostly resides in Daly City, California, with her husband and two teenaged sons. Her imagination resides where it pleases, in and out of this world. After a decade of working at the library, she is still learning the secrets of the Ninja Librarian.
I can’t remember NOT having a book in my hand. My schoolmates called me a bookworm, and nothing’s changed since then. I was brought up on the children’s classics because my parents are also avid readers. My earliest story-telling talents came to the fore when, from the age of ten, I entertained my three younger brothers and their friends with serialized tales of children undertaking dangerous and exciting exploits, which they survived through courage and ingenuity (of course!). Ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and skeletons leaping out of coffins were hot favourites in the cast of characters that populated “Gruesome Gables” where all these adventures were played out. We also acted out the stories for my long-suffering parents, whom I see now were remarkably tolerant of my budding thespian and script-writing talents! I graduated from the University of Natal, Durban, South Africa, with a double first in my B.A. (French & Drama). After completing my Honors in Drama at Natal, I then went to the University of the Witwatersrand to do my Masters degree in French-African literature. I also studied drama at The Drama Studio in London and mime at L’Ecole Jacques le Coq in Paris. Upon my return to South Africa, I immersed myself in teaching drama at community centres, and became involved in producing community and grassroots theatre with local playwrights and performers in Natal for several years. A move to Johannesburg took me in a new direction—that of journalism. I have written freelance for the last fifteen years on everything from serial killers to relationship advice (making me a popular dinner guest to revive any flagging conversations). Writing a children’s book— The Secret of the Sacred Scarab—-was an unexpected step, inspired by a trip to Egypt. The tale of the sacred scarab began life as a little anecdotal tale for my 2 nephews (then 10 and 12), who had accompanied me on the Egyptian trip. We had a marvellous time and it truly was the catalyst in changing my career. This short story grew into a children’s book, the first in the adventure series, Chronicles of the Stone. The book has done well, even though the young heroes are South African, and has already garnered impressive indie award nominations. I've already finished in the next book in the series—-The Search for the Stone of Excalibur-—a huge treat for young King Arthur fans (and older ones as well). Look out for Book 3: The Search Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.
I became a writer in the third grade, when my best friend started the illustrious Cat Courier and needed reporters to capture feline news around the Jeffersonville, Indiana neighborhoods where we lived. We sold copies up and down the block for 5 cents each. I've held a few jobs since then. I've been a camp counselor, ESL instructor in Japan, and a registered nurse who has worked critical care, transplant, and surgical recovery. The only job I've ever been fired from was my brief stint as a short order breakfast cook -- I've never been able flip fried eggs over easy without breaking the yolks. Now I live in Texas with my husband and two sons, a Labrador named Bowzer and a cat named Mews, who all keep me laughing. We spend a lot of time looking for homework and lost keys under the books that clutter our house.
Wendy Leighton-Porter devotes her time to writing books for children after 20 years of teaching French, Latin and Classical studies. Shadows from the Past is a series of time-travel adventure stories, featuring three children and a rather special Tonkinese cat. She is currently working on the ninth book in the series, The Shadow of the Two Princes.
Sandra Smith grew up on a farm with a tremendously large garden. She maintains that if you can't taste the soil on a carrot, it's not fresh enough. Although she now lives with her husband and two elderly cats in the city, she still manages to grow fruit and vegetables on their lot, as well as tend to a couple of egg-laying and friendly hens. Smith has been writing since she could hold a pencil, although the lettering she left on her grandmother's books sometimes contained a reverse capital R. In high school, she won awards for her poetry and short stories, and later was an editor on her college newspaper. Upon graduating with a degree in Communication Arts, Smith accepted a job at a small newspaper in eastern Oregon. She later declined the offer, choosing instead to teach English in China. Though she had an idea for a novel or memoir back then, the only writing produced were the many letters home detailing her exploits to friends and relatives. After China, Smith spent many years teaching in private and public schools, filling hoards of notebooks with her writing--though mostly lesson plans. Along the way, she has written essays, newspaper articles, children's books, and poetry, very little of which she bothered to publish. Smith is the author of the Seed Savers series, a middle grade/YA series set in a future where gardening is illegal and real food unknown. She gardens and writes at her home in the beautiful and green Pacific Northwest.
Ben’s storytelling adventures started as a Production Assistant on the set of the film, A River Runs Throught It. After forgetting to bring the crew’s walkie talkies, losing Robert Redford’s jacket and asking Brad Pitt if he was related to Paul Newman (in front of Paul Newman) he decided that film production didn’t “speak” to him. Since no one else on the set would speak to him either he knew he needed to find work that required minimal human contact. Writing. THAT he could do. So he wrote Film and TV scripts for a few years, saw a couple produced and then made a lateral leap, which looked more like a clumsy stumble, into videogames (this was back when they’d take anyone who could say “joystick” without laughing). He enjoyed it. But even with millions of people playing his games online, he yearned for the writing life and so abandoned lateral leaps and clumsy stumbles and decided to belly flop into the life of an Auror. Wait, that’s not right. Author. His two series, Shirley Link and The Camelot Kids appeal to young and old alike. Emily Neuburger of Parents.com says, “[Shirley Link] is an amazing series!” and Julie Ann Grasso (author of the Adventure of Caramel Cardamom books) says The Camelot Kids will “leave you clutching onto your Kindle.” Stephen King says, “I’m not providing blurbs at this time,” but Ben is chipping away at King’s resolve. Ben is currently working on the next Shirley Link story (Shirley Link & The Party Poopers), The Camelot Kids: Book Two and a new Sci-Fi series titled Atticus. He's taken up the writerly life in the Forbidden Forest at 42.5098° N, 72.6995° W. He's about to begin teaching classes in digital marketing at New York's School of Visual Arts MFA Visual Narrative program in Summer, 2015. Sign up for Ben Zackheim's newsletter and enjoy peeks at his upcoming releases at http://www.benzackheim.com