Skylar Robbins Fun Facts

Please check out my latest interview from Mystery and Thriller Week to learn new Skylar Robbins fun facts!

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C
haracter Interview

  1. Character Name: Skylar Robbins
  2. Role in your story: protagonist
  3. Age: 13
  4. Description: Funny, quirky, vulnerable teen sleuth
  5. Nickname: Teen Detective Skylar
  6. Occupation: amateur sleuth
  7. Location: Santa Monica, CA
  8. Goal in life: to become a private detective like my grandfather and to  open my own detective agency
  9. Motto: Never give up!
  10. Family: Only child of intelligent mom (teacher at UCLA) and dad (scientist/chemist)
  11. Best friend: BFF Alexa O’Reilly: dyslexic, intelligent assistant detective
  12. Current conflict: taking dangerous chances while trying to solve my next mystery
  13. Favorite Food: Peanut butter on Graham crackers, and sushi (not at the same time!)
  14. Addictions: hunting for clues
  15. Pet Peeve: bullies and liars
  16. Favorite Hobby: decoding secret messages
  17. What do you do for fun? Explore new neighborhoods on my bike with my BFF, Alexa.

Favorite childhood memory:
My grandfather’s face popped into my mind, and within seconds I was longing to see him again. Grandpa had taught me all sorts of important skills for finding clues, investigating mysteries, and solving cases. I remembered how he taught me to lift fingerprints like it was yesterday:
 Grandpa treated me to a blue-eyed smile. Then he winked at me and held out his hand with a Kleenex covering his palm. “Let’s see that juice box.” I put the box of Juicy-Juice I’d just finished on the tissue. He moved it onto the table in front of him, careful not to touch the surfaces of the box with his fingers. “This is fingerprinting powder,” he explained, holding up what looked like a jar of dark ash. “Watch,” my grandfather said, sprinkling some of the powder onto the side of the juice box. Then he took a big soft brush and whisked most of the powder onto a napkin.
I leaned closer. A crisp, gray copy of my fingerprint stuck to the side of the waxy box like a decal on the back of my bike.
“Now we lift the print.” Grandpa removed a clear, sticky piece of tape from a roll. He pressed it down on top of my fingerprint, and then very slowly peeled the tape off of the box. “See?” he said, showing it to me. My fingerprint made a perfect picture on the clear tape. “Now let’s mount this on a Case Solution card.” He took a card off the stack he had in his detective kit, and pressed the tape down onto the card, trapping my print. I watched him fill in the case line. Since there was no case number he just wrote, SKYLAR ROBBINS’S FINGERPRINT.

Grandpa handed me the card. “It’s yours to keep. Next weekend we’ll print someone else and I’ll teach you how to compare fingerprints to see if you can find a match.”
“OK,” I said, wrapping my arms around his neck. “Let’s print Mom.”
“Let’s,” he agreed, his eyes full of fun.

 

  1. Dream job: Secret Agent
  2. Favorite part of your day: Getting to school before first period, hoping a cute boy will sit next to me in class.
  3. Pessimist, Optimist, or Realist: Optimist
  4. Beverage of choice: iced tea
  5. Most annoying person in your life: Pat Whitehead, school bully
  6. Taken or single? Single. Any love interests? Dustin Coles and Daniel Gannon
  7. Pets: none right now…
  8. Biggest Fear: failing to solve a mystery
  9. Guilty Pleasure: Telling secrets in sign language with Alexa
  10. Most embarrassing moment: Squirting Ketchup on my pink pants and smearing it into a big stain before going to class with Daniel.
  11. Greatest Strength: Using the tools in my detective kit to find clues and solve mysteries
  12. Greatest Weakness: I feel bad when I take dangerous chances and hide it from my parents.
  13. Who do you most admire? My grandfather: a retired police officer.
  14. Are you keeping any secrets? I take my Porta-detective kit to school in my backpack in case I need to dust for fingerprints or examine something using my Mini-Mag glass.
  15. Where do you see yourself in ten years? As a secret agent, traveling the world on top secret missions.
  16. Advice for the reader as they follow you through your journey? Learn to solve riddles and decipher clues using my detective skills. Crime scenes are three-dimensional: look for clues on the floor, all for walls, and the ceiling. Palm a compact to spy on people behind you. Learn sign language and Morse code so you can communicate without talking or when solving a mystery underwater.


The Mystery of Shadow Hills (The Skylar Robbins Mysteries) by Carrie Cross 
4 stars out of 5

​Of course, I am not part of the intended audience for this book, so my view might be a bit skewed by my age. Despite my age band, I was able to read it, and that in itself says something, considering the fact that I’m – unfortunately – a very picky reader and I get bored easily.
That being said, I definitely recommend this book to teenagers. The tone of the narrative is light enough to encourage them to continue reading and the plot is interesting enough for a twelve or thirteen-year old. It really made me remember some of the books I read when I was that age.
The protagonist is Skylar Robbins who wants nothing else in life but to be a Private Investigator like her late grandpa. The writer did a good job in presenting this young girl. It is believable and well anchored in the reality of the respective age. She has all the confidence and doubts characteristic to someone of her age and a young reader could identify themselves with her. The character is well developed and I think that the narrative in first person might have contributed seriously to that.
I always try to avoid writing a synopsis of the books I review and I will do the same here. Keeping in mind that the novel is for a young audience, I would say that the author succeeded in her task. Either she remembers how it felt and how one thought at that age or she is a good psychologist. Anyway, she did an amazing job in her incursion in the young psyche.
One thing might detract from the quality of the book (again, I repeat, I am trying to see the book through the eyes of a young reader): too detailed descriptions. I, for one, liked them, however, a young reader might not have the patience to read them.
On the whole, this is a good book for the intended audience. I would recommend it. 

The Mystery of Hidden Jewels (The Skylar Robbins Mysteries) by Carrie Cross 
5 stars out of 5

I read this second book of the series the same day as the first and probably that’s why the impact is so strong. If the first book in the series seemed good enough for a teenager, this second book was good enough for an adult, even though the protagonists kept being the same teenager as in the first one.
This novel is a real surprise. Authors evolve in time. Their writing gets better and better – if the writer is good to begin with, of course. However, it is surprising to see so much development in a second book. The fluidity of the story mesmerizes and simply catches you in: you can’t put the book down. I read it in one sitting.
The main character was developed in the first book, but here there’s much more substance. The author surprises the teenager’s evolution and if the first book Skylar was just a curious girl, tattering on the brink of evolution, now she becomes really interesting: there are some doubts but not so definite. She has the courage to stand for her convictions and thus the story becomes catchier.
I recommended the first book – mostly to children between 10 and 13. This one goes beyond that age band. If someone likes a good mystery, a fluid plot, catchy dialogue, then, they should read this book.

The Publishing Experience

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THE PUBLISHING EXPERIENCE: GUEST POST BY CARRIE CROSS

from Stories Unfolded

My experience getting published has been a long, winding, bumpy road. I had been writing for many years when I finally submitted my first manuscript, an adult novel called The Dark File, to several agents. While many had positive things to say, or provided constructive criticism and an invitation to resubmit, none of them ever offered to represent me.

I’ve always loved to read Middle Grade and Young Adult, so while The Dark File was being shopped (it takes months for agents to reply) I started to write my first draft of a Skylar Robbins MG mystery. This early version of Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills was called Magic Summer, and while I tried patiently to land an agent, I started writing the sequel, entitled Skylar Robbins: Secret Agent. Magic Summer never got a bite, but Secret Agent landed me…an agent.

I was picked up by Writers House, and had high hopes of getting a deal with a traditional publisher. However, after months of shopping my manuscript, all I had was a pile of apologetic rejection letters. Some were complimentary but said their house had another teen detective series which was too similar, and didn’t want to bring in a competing novel. Others contained excellent constructive criticism, which I implemented in my revision. This novel ultimately became The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels.

Most agents specify that authors should not “simultaneously submit” to more than one agent. They don’t want to waste their time reading a manuscript that might get snapped up by a competitor. It was my experience that agents typically take three months to read a submission and respond. So I did the math. If I wanted to try to get another agent, and then wait for that agent to submit my manuscript to various publishers (who also take months to reply) it could take many, many years before my books were ever in print. So I decided to self-publish.

My experience with Amazon’s Createspace has been excellent. Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills and The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels are now in print, and have gotten excellent reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I would heartily recommend aspiring authors to self-publish, as long as they are willing to do their own marketing. Traditional publishing houses no longer have the budget to spend on advertising, so authors will end up doing their own publicity anyway. I offer more Advice for Aspiring Writers on my blog: http://www.skylarrobbins.com/

Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk about my experience as an author. I hope this helps fellow writers complete their journey to publication.

THE MYSTERY OF SHADOW HILLS BUY LINKS:

AMAZON

THE MYSTERY OF THE HIDDEN JEWELS BUY LINKS:

AMAZON

ABOUT CARRIE CROSS

WEBSITE | TWITTER

Chase Tinker: Magic, Lies, and Secrets!

House of Magic cover
Fans of Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills should also enjoy the wildly creative Chase Tinker series. Malia Ann Haberman may very well be the next J.K. Rowling. Reminiscent of Harry Potter, Chase Tinker and the House of Magic transports the reader into an incredible dreamlike mansion with magic occurring in every one of its ten turrets and 300+ rooms.

Ever wanted to ride on a flying carpet, become invisible, or have the ability to walk through walls or swim through the air? How about travel back in time, read minds, or get rescued by a friendly whale–just as your nasty cousin tries to drown you? It all happens in the first volume of the Chase Tinker series.

In Chase Tinker’s world, magic, lies and secrets can be a lethal combination…

In this fun, thrilling MG/’Tween fantasy, 13-year-old Chase Tinker and his brother Andy find out the truth about their family’s magical heritage from a grandfather they thought to be long dead. He invites them to visit him in his magical house – a house where every room has its own unique super-power. When there, they learn their family’s magic comes from a mysterious “Relic” and that they have a Dark Enemy who will do anything to get their hands on this Relic. Now Chase must discover a way to stop these evil beings, find his missing dad, and unravel even more family secrets, while not letting on that he has his own secret crush on the housekeeper’s daughter.

Praise for Chase Tinker: The House of Magic:
“This is a phenomenal book for middle grade readers, who can very easily project themselves into this adventure. In the grand old tradition of Harry Potter and Star Wars, I hope we hear a lot more about Chase Tinker, as well as the author, in the future.”
Brian Katcher – School Librarian/Author
“I see this as the kind of novel that both boys and girls will embrace, which is rare for children’s literature. It’s well-written, professionally edited, and tightly plotted. I recommend it highly.” Amazon Top Reviewer
There’s plenty of action and mystery, and let’s not forget the magical house that is just built out of plain awesomeness. RallytheReaders

Visit Malia Ann Haberman’s website here.

The Chase Tinker Series is available on Amazon.

 

Award-winning children’s author, Kristen Mott, on Why Children Appreciate Animal Stories

OdieSKOdieBFKristen Mott, award-winning author of Odie the Stray Kitten and Odie’s Best Friend speaks out about Why Children Appreciate Animal Stories:

I am a children’s picture book author and avid animal person. I have recently been thinking about why certain stories stay with us over the course of our lives. I have always liked children’s literature because I believe it is one of the only genres that can be enjoyed for multiple lifetimes. By this I mean that the books we enjoyed as children we remember throughout our own lives and then enjoy those books again with our children. I asked myself a few questions while I was awaiting the arrival of my first child: Why are children drawn to a certain book and request that it be read to them over and over again? Why are animals such a big part of children’s literature? Not only are they a part of the stories, they are often the main focus and are given many human characteristics and qualities.

I have come up with three reasons why I believe children appreciate and relate to animal stories more than most adults.

1. Animals provide some type of connection. Maybe the child has not yet felt connected to a person in their young life (other than Mom and Dad or siblings). Children can recognize the spirit of animals and can perceive an animal’s energy and are able to connect with it more so than with another person. Not only that, but the stories can provide the child with a connection to the real animals of the world as well.

2. Animals are more imaginative. It is easy to think about a child in a story doing chores, going to school, making friends. This is not new or original in a child’s mind. These are things that they themselves do. But when an animal is accomplishing these tasks in a story, it becomes more imaginative and vivid for the child. What child doesn’t want to imagine a raccoon learning to cook or a frog getting married?

3. Animals are magical. And it’s not just those fire-breathing dragons of faraway lands. Children can appreciate animals more so than the average adult. I equate it to the whimsical nature of a child’s perception of Christmas. As we grow older, we lose the magic of the holidays and become overwhelmed with reality. Some of this is by our own doing, allowing the world to beat a sense of monotony into us. Some of it just happens by accident as we grow up and transition into the real world. As adults we have difficulty believing in the human characteristics of animals and therefore we cannot fully believe in the stories the way children can.

There is by no means any scientific evidence behind any of these points. It is simply my musings on why children can appreciate animal stories more so than the average adult. Looking back on my own childhood, I can remember some of the books that I enjoyed and have now read to my own child. And most of them happened to be about animals:

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff (1985)
Clifford the Big Red Dog (Series) by Norman Bridwell (1963)
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister (1992)
Corduroy by Don Freeman (1968)

Animal stories also have staying power. All four of the books I listed above are on the shelf in my child’s room, currently in the rotation to be read to the next generation and hopefully instilling an even deeper connection to the real animals of the world. And I want to use this very important connection to the animals in the stories and books that I create for children.

Kristen Mott is the award-winning author of the Odie the Stray Kitten Series. She strives for her writing to encourage children to read, write, and have compassion for animals. She lives on a small farm in Indiana with her family, horses and cats.

Odie the Stray Kitten and Odie’s Best Friend are available at Amazon and other online retailers and in all ebook formats. The third book in the series will be available in 2015.

www.kristenmott.com

https://www.facebook.com/odiethestraykitten
http://www.animalstoriesforchildren.blogspot.com/