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If you do not receive your Identikit within three days, it is because you emailed from an address that I cannot reply to, and I respect the parental control that may have blocked me from responding. Carrie Cross is very protective of her readers! Parents: please email me at Carrie at skylarrobbins dot com and I will send the Identikit to the address of your choice.

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Skylar Robbins Clue Challenge!

Calling all Skylar Robbins Secret Agents, mystery lovers, and middle grade readers! Want to contribute to my next Skylar Robbins novel? Use your imagination and decipher a clue to a new mystery that Skylar could have found in one of these rooms. Your idea could be incorporated in my next book! The winner will receive a personally autographed copy of my latest book, Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Missing Heiress. Thanks to Pinterest.com for the great photos. Leave a post describing your clue and what it means in the comments.

The Skylar Robbins series is available on Amazon, and Gwendolyn’s Revenge is perma-free on Smashwords.

Gwendolyn’s Revenge is Available Now!


Gwendolyn’s Revenge: A Skylar Robbins Fantasy Novella was published today! 99 cents on Amazon or FREE in all formats on Smashwords.

Thick fog ballooned over the Malibu sand on Zuma Beach. The slate-gray ocean was deadly still. A mansion that everyone in Shadow Hills thought was haunted perched silently, shrouded in shadow. The back yard contained a magic garden where an eight-grade bully named Gwendolyn plotted revenge.

Gwendolyn opened her witchcraft box and looked at the nest of hair she had stolen from her cousin Skylar Robbins’s brush. She planned to use the teen sleuth’s shiny locks in a nasty spell. Maybe giving Skylar a giant patch of hairy warts. A year of horrendous dog breath. And loud, unstoppable farts whenever Skylar was around a cute boy! Unfortunately, Gwendolyn had skimmed the instructions, and missed one very important step.

The first day of eighth grade was right around the corner. Bullies who had known Gwendolyn since third grade and called her Dumbdolyn and Zitface would be joining her again in a few short days. So, with the help of a friendly wizard and a stolen hank of Skylar’s hair, she performed a beautifying spell on herself before school started. But she ignored the old wizard’s warning: “Don’t let your ego turn you nasty. Or the spell will slowly reverse. Or worse.”

Would Gwendolyn start eighth grade with a new gorgeous face and long, lustrous hair? Or would her mean-spirited actions cause a series of embarrassing middle school disasters that no eight-grader could ever have imagined?

Gwendolyn’s Revenge is a fantasy novella that is a standalone read, and a mini-sequel to Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills.

Grab a free copy today! Reviews are very much appreciated.

Contact AuthorBookings.com for Carrie Cross Appearances

CandFan

A middle-schooler reads the synopsis of Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills.

I’m available for live Skylar Robbins appearances and question-and-answer bookings regarding the process of creative writing and storytelling. My target audience is 4th-to-7th-graders in Southern California.

I have done readings and book signings at bookstores and libraries in various states across the U.S., and love to meet and interact with Skylar Robbins fans. I also welcome their input and enjoy incorporating my readers’ creative ideas in future Skylar Robbins plots.

For elementary or middle school appearances, please contact me here.

Which Creepy Door would Skylar Robbins Explore?

13-Year-old sleuth Skylar Robbins is always on the lookout for a new mystery. When faced with a variety of creepy doors to explore, which one would she walk through first, looking for clues to her next case? Leave a comment describing what you think might be hiding behind one of these doors, and you will be in the running for a signed copy of the new Skylar Robbins paperback: The Mystery of the Missing Heiress!

In Love with Words

I’ve loved words ever since I first learned to listen. Dr. Seuss’s silly stories enthralled me. Nursery rhymes, riddles, puns, tongue twisters…I savored them all. My parents and I used to make up funny names for people or things. A favorite velour jacket was my “scabaranzer.” When flowers died, they became “frivelly.” And when I got a knot in my yarn? It was a “boogle.” We imagined our new neighbors might be named Barney Bozoich or Rex Shekavondin. When my mom blew me a kiss at night, she said, “Zoot.” (Rhymes with put, not boot.) Zoot was the sound a kiss made, flying through the air. Apple breakfast bake was “applefumph.” Onomatopoeia. Now that’s a fun word to say. But why doesn’t its definition match its sound?

One cannot fall in love with words without falling in love with writing. I started writing “books” at age four. My first was an adventure composed in crayon: Blackie the Little Black Dog and the Flying Washing Machine. In junior high school my BFF and I wrote books, longhand, in our spiral binders. The plots were thin, involving crushes and unrequited, twelve-year-old love. But oh, how I loved to fill up those pages.

The books I cherished the most were those I read during that same time. Judy Blume’s Are You There, God, It’s Me, Margaret, Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s The Changeling and The Velvet Room. Harriet The Spy and Nancy Drew. These novels, devoured by a twelve-year-old only child who loved to read as much as she loved to write, shaped my future. These were the books that inspired me to write the Skylar Robbins series. I remember blissful Friday nights-–after watching the Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family—spent reading in bed. I couldn’t wait to crack open a new book, hold it in my hands, and read those exciting first words: Chapter One. My mom would make homemade molasses candy, each flat square individually wrapped in wax paper. A new Judy Blume book, a few pieces of molasses candy, a cat stretched out next to me, and maybe—a rainstorm? Now that was heaven!

I continued to write throughout high school, although by then my interest had turned more to music. I played guitar and sang, and began to write songs and poetry. By the time college rolled around my love affair with words was in full bloom, and I decided to major in Speech Communication. Linguistics, Journalism, Creative Writing…I can get a degree in this? Really? Sold! By then I was reading everyone from Ayn Rand to Stephen King, and after college I discovered Lee Child, John Grisham, and Robert Crais. I started to work on a rough draft of an adult novel, and analyzed the way they used foreshadowing and unexplained events to create suspense. When I wasn’t tapping out chapters on my computer, I was taking notes longhand on the techniques my favorite authors employed.

When I decided that I really wanted to write for the Middle Grade audience, I thought I’d better see what the current competition was like. Leaving the library giddy with an armload of Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti novels made me feel like I was back in junior high, gleefully looking forward to a weekend full of glorious escape reading. I couldn’t wait to curl up with the first book, kick off my shoes, and dive in. No tablet or e-reader for me, just a fresh hardcover in my hands, smelling faintly of paper. Alternating between reading a greatly written MG or YA novel, getting a burst of inspiration for putting my own words down on paper, and blasting out a new chapter—that’s a rush I look forward to experiencing whenever I have free time. I might just have to whip up a batch of molasses candy. And I hope it’s going to rain.

Thank you to 3 Guys, 1 Book for the interview!

Carrie Cross’s Advice to Aspiring Writers #8: How to Bounce Back from a Negative Review

Authors: like other creatives, we’re in a unique position. After spending months–maybe years–writing a book, designing a piece of art, or creating a musical score, we publish it for the world to read, see, or hear. And then, to critique on Social Media. Members of the general public (many of whom have never written, designed, or created anything) can mark us with one star, like a quick, red F on a report card. Devastating! Or is it?

When that first negative review comes, it can be crushing. How could this person not appreciate all the time and effort we put into our art? We threw a piece of our soul out there, and someone just stepped on it. A one star review adds an extra grind of the heel. Now it’s time to figure out why. Carefully read that review and look for clues. Remember that everyone was raised differently, with a wide spectrum of disparate beliefs and experiences that help form their opinions. Many of which differ wildly from ours.

One poor review I got was for my first Skylar Robbins novel: The Mystery of Shadow Hills. In this book, Skylar is stuck at her bullying cousin Gwendolyn’s house in Malibu for the summer, and forced to attend summer school where she doesn’t know a soul. In art class, a cool, creative girl named Kat befriends Skylar. Kat claims to be a junior witch, and introduces Skylar to “everything Wiccan.” They sneak down to the beach at midnight hunting for magic seeds, and cast spells together in a forgotten garden, intending to grow gems. By the end of the book, Skylar starts to question not only her friendship with Kat, but her own judgment. She wonders aloud whether everything magic and Wiccan Kat had introduced her was phony, slight of hand, and a series of hoaxes intending to fool Skylar for her own benefit. I inadvertently offended members of the Wiccan community with my portrayal of the witches and wizards in this novel.

Here is an excerpt from that long 2-star review which started out positive: “I did NOT like that the author felt compelled to label the Wiccan faith stereotypically, mainly as old women with rough hands and men who were socially inept, when there was a real opportunity here to be educational and accepting of the faith as much as she was accepting of person with disabilities.” When I took the reviewer’s perspective into account, the 2-star rating made total sense. It also made me revise Skylar’s opinion of “Wiccans” to “this group of Wiccans”. Look for keys to your reviewers’ personalities in their words. You might just find a priceless nugget of constructive criticism hidden there.

Finally, if you are still feeling down about a one or two-star rating, look up the works of some of your favorite authors on Amazon. I’ve been amazed that best-sellers also get poor ratings and reviews. How could everyone not have love that book as much as I did?! I think. Easy. They’re not me.

Skylar Robbins book 3 Now Available on Kindle!

Enter to win a FREE personally autographed copy of Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Missing Heiress, now available on Kindle!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Mystery of the Missing Heiress by Carrie Cross

The Mystery of the Missing Heiress

by Carrie Cross

Giveaway ends December 04, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

The first five Skylar fans to comment on this post will win a FREE Skylar Robbins ebook!

Gwendolyn’s Revenge

Skylar Robbins fans: I need your help! I’ve written a fantasy novella, Gwendolyn’s Revenge, which is a mini sequel to Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills. The theme is witchcraft, spells, karma, and payback. Which of the attached stock photos do you think I should buy to make the best cover? Please vote for #1 (blue/green smoke), #2 (Ouija board), #3 (Candles and star) or #4 (candles and feather.) Leave your vote in the comments and you will be entered to win a free copy of Gwendolyn’s Revenge!

Skylar Robbins’s Porta-Detective Kit

Porta-Detective Kit
New contest! What does Skylar Robbins’s Porta-Detective kit contain? If you have read Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels you will know the answer. The third book in the series also contains the information you need.

Enter your answer of 3 or more items in the comments here, and you will receive a secret underground Skylar Robbins mystery novella, Gwendolyn’s Revenge–not available for sale anywhere! Guess at least one item in Skylar’s Porta-Detective kit and you’ll get a personal email from Carrie Cross including a free chapter of Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Missing Heiress! Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Missing Heiress is available now on Amazon.