Author reading: Mystery of Shadow Hills

2015aug7CarrieCross (495x640)

Can’t wait to meet my Wisconsin fans on August 7th!
Author Visit: Carrie Cross
Waterford Public Library
Friday, Aug. 7, 10:00am
Author Carrie Cross presents: Skylar Robbins and the Mystery of Shadow Hills
Ms. Cross talks about being an author, performs a reading from her book, and explores the world of detectives with some fun crafts and activities.

Secret Agents: If you don’t get a quick reply…

1513303_10152140056806357_1508345748_n

Agents: if you are not getting an Identikit email within a week, it is because you are emailing from an address that can not receive emails. I have had repeated requests from prospective agents and have replied to the address they emailed me from, and my return emails did not go through. Some schools, home computers, and libraries have blocks on their computers and can not receive incoming emails. This is for the students’ safety and I respect this!

Skylar responds to every Secret Agent request and fan letter. If you don’t get a response, it is because of your computer’s settings. Please ask your mom or dad to email me from an address I can reply to.

Happy sleuthing!

Love,
Skylar

THE SECRET OF THE BURIED KEY

In Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills, Skylar spends the summer in Malibu at her bullying cousin’s estate. She meets an intriguing classmate named Kat who claims to be a witch. Practical Skylar didn’t believe in magic–until the spells they perform in an abandoned garden actually begin to work.

One day inside the garden walls, they unearth an ancient key:

ancient keyWhat could it unlock? What’s your guess? If you have not read the book, leave a reply with your idea.

If you have read the book, leave a reply using Skylar’s secret code and tell me what the key unlocked. If you are a Skylar Robbins Secret Agent, please reply using your code name.

The first 3 correct answers win a prize!

Skylar’s Secret Code: A=1, B=2, C=3, D=4, E=5, F=6, G=7, H=8, I=9, J=10, K=11, L=12, M=13, N=14, O=15, P=16, Q=17, R=18, S=19, T=20, U=21, V=22, W=23, X=24, Y=25, Z=26

SHADOW HILLS COVER

Drawing Contest!

camobinoculars_400x400Your illustration could be published in the next Skylar Robbins mystery! While hunting for the hidden jewels in her new adventure, Skylar found a treasure map, torn in several pieces. Some of them were hidden in a bird’s nest, and were fragile and a little bit shredded. I would like to include a picture of it in The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels. Can you draw the map, based on the description below?

A free pair of kid’s binoculars goes to the artist with the best drawing of the treasure map, and their illustration will be included in the next book. Please upload your drawings to the website and sign your Secret Agent code name. If you don’t have a code name, please fill out the Secret Agent Application Form (S.A.A.F.) on this website under “About Skylar.”

“Reaching up, I pulled the bird’s nest down and set it gently on the table. Then I carefully lifted out three soft pieces of dirty paper. They were stained and a little bit shredded, but I could still make out numbered footsteps on all three of them. After replacing the bird’s nest on the rafter, I picked up the fragile pile and cradled it between my hands while I raced upstairs to my office.

Sitting down at my desk, I unlocked my clue box and took out the partial map from the hidden floor, smoothing it out in front of me. I set the first torn piece of bird’s nest paper next to it. “Wait a minute,” I said aloud, picking up another piece. The footprints on the bird’s nest paper had the missing numbers on them. There were also some curving shapes on the strips that looked like C’s, other marks that looked like L’s, and a hexagon on the far side. I rearranged the papers until C-shapes met each other and formed whole circles, the L’s combined to form squares, and all of the footprints flowed in numerical order. Then I carefully taped the map together. There was still a big chunk of it missing. Smack or Ignado must have found it, I thought. That explains why they were looking in the greenhouse! It must be part of this clue.

And if they figured out there was a clue in there with just one small piece of the map, they aren’t as dumb as I thought.

After the final footprint there was an X. The same curved X that was written on the back of Xandra’s picture.

X marks the spot.”

*  *  *

“That tree there is this circle,” I mumbled, “and the hexagon on the map must be the gazebo, so I have to go over there to start.” Even though the footsteps on the map seemed to lead toward the greenhouse, I figured I better follow them in order in case there were extra clues hidden along the way. I walked toward the side of the house opposite the canyon and backed up against the wall where the footsteps looked like they began.

Taking four steps, I curved to my left and took another three, then veered right for six. I hit the first tree marked on the map. I hunted around the base of the trunk and looked up carefully at every branch. No clues. I crossed behind the tree and went left five paces, then turned left for nine and walked to the right four steps. The gazebo was right in front of me. The hexagon. I’d already searched the gazebo and found the partial map. Besides that it was clean. From the gazebo, I headed sideways three steps, then forward six. I stopped at the doorway to the greenhouse, opened it, and walked inside.

Let’s Play, “Silent Detective!”

1525542_10152139976036357_1282891918_nMoms and Dads: need a fun game to keep your kids quiet in restaurants? Check out this passage from SKYLAR ROBBINS: THE MYSTERY OF SHADOW HILLS, and learn how to play, “Silent Detective.”

My grandfather always made everything fun. I remembered going to my favorite seafood restaurant with him when I was six years old. “Don’t worry, I’ll keep Skylar busy,” Grandpa said, winking at my mom as we followed the hostess to our table.

Goody! We got a window seat. Waves crashed right next to us on the other side of the glass, spraying white foam into the air like someone had just turned on a gigantic fountain. It was exciting and I talked too loud.

“Use your restaurant voice please,” my mom said.

Grandpa held up one finger, catching my attention. “Let’s play Silent Detective,” he whispered. I nodded fast, wiggling in my seat. “I see something…blue.” My grandfather’s merry smile and folded arms challenged me to figure out what it was. If I said anything out loud, I would lose. After looking around the restaurant for a second, I pointed out the window at the ocean.

I raised my eyebrows but Grandpa shook his head. Too easy. I tugged on my ear, signaling that I needed my first clue. He pointed at me with both index fingers, and then moved them closer together. Something smaller.

A lady sitting near us wore a light blue blouse. Grabbing a tuft of my shirt, I tilted my head in her direction and mouthed, “Her top?” while raising my eyebrows.

Was I right?

Grandpa blinked twice, signaling no. Brought his fingers together again. Something smaller than that.

I looked slowly around the restaurant. A big, multi-colored bouquet sat on a table near the entrance. Bright blue peacock feathers poked up in between green ferns and some weird-looking red-orange flowers. I pointed at the bouquet and flapped my arms like a bird. “Peacock feathers?” I mouthed silently.

Blink, blink. Wrong again.

I needed my second clue and tugged my ear again. If I couldn’t guess it after two clues, I would lose the game. My grandfather touched his fingertips together and pulled his hands toward his body: Silent Detective language for something closer. I concentrated on our table. Nothing on it was blue. I looked at my dad’s colorful tie. No blue there either.

A busboy set down four glasses of ice water and my mom reached for hers and took a sip. Her ring sparkled. Grinning with my success, I pointed at the blue gem on her finger and watched Grandpa touch his nose and smile. I’d won Silent Detective.

“I’m proud of you,” he said, reaching forward just as the waiter came to take our order. Grandpa pulled a quarter out of my ear, and I got to keep the prize.

Skylar Fun Fact Quiz:

Which ones of these things did Skylar not find in The Mystery of Shadow Hills?

  1. THE FEATHER FROM A RESCUED BIRD
  2. DEAD FINGER PLANT
  3. OVAL STONE
  4. MOLDY PINK CUSHION
  5. LOVE NOTE FROM A SECRET ADMIRER
  6. BURIED BOX
  7. EMERALD CHIP
  8. HIDDEN GARDEN
  9. CRUMBLING FOUNTAIN
  10. WITCH’S BREW
  11. TIGER’S EYE
  12. BOOK OF SHADOWS
  13. NANTA BAG
  14. DEAD AUNT EVELYN’S ASHES
  15. RABBIT FOOT
  16. OUIJA BOARD
  17. BUSH WITH DEAD CAT HEADS BLOOMING ON IT
  18. ANCIENT KEY
  19. GWENDOLYN’S FINGERPRINT
  20. THE THIRD CAVE
  21. THREE CUTE BOYS IN THE SAME CLASS
  22. GEM SEEDS
  23. A REAL WARLOCK
  24. THE MEANING OF TRUE FRIENDSHIP
  25. HIDDEN GARDEN
  26. CARLOS’S THUMBPRINT
  27. RUSTY METAL GATE
  28. NINE STEPPING STONES
  29. A CLUE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SWIMMING POOL
  30. A SECRET TURRET

Post your answers by leaving a reply, using your Secret Agent Code name, if you have one. (If not, fill out the S.A.A.F.–Secret Agent Application Form.) Answer key will be posted soon.

Love Skylar