Which Doorway would Skylar Robbins Explore First?

Our favorite teen super slueth, Skylar Robbins, is always up for a new adventure! She loves to explore creepy houses, abandoned buildings, or anywhere a mystery might be hiding. Dying to solve her next case, Skylar is faced with five tantalizing doorways:

Which one would Skylar walk through first, looking for her next mystery, and why? Leave your answer in the comments and your idea could be used in a future Skylar Robbins mystery! Doorway #1 is first, #5 is the last one in the row. Be sure to leave your doorway number and your reason for choosing it. Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a drawing for a personally autographed Skylar Robbins novel!

Skylar Robbins mysteries are available on Amazon. Gwendolyn’s Revenge, a free novella, is coming soon.

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.

Enter to win: Free autographed copy!

SHADOW HILLS COVER

ENTER here to win a personally autographed copy of Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills, described by reviewers as, “The New Nancy Drew.”

  • Fans of Nancy Drew and Harry Potter alike will love this fast-paced blend of detective action, mystery, witchcraft, and magic. The main character is a strong, intelligent teen sleuth who has a unique, multi-cultural group of interesting classmates.Thirteen-year-old sleuth Skylar Robbins is horrified to learn that she’ll be stuck at her bullying cousin Gwendolyn’s creepy mansion for the summer. Soon after she moves in, her new friend Kat introduces her to witchcraft. Practical Skylar is skeptical, until the magic appears to start working.Is Kat a real middle school witch and a true friend, or is she just interested in the cute stable boy? Did she use magic to control Skylar’s body, or was it all part of a complicated hoax? Who or what is making those terrifying noises up in Shadow Hills at night?Armed with her detective tools and a huge dose of courage, Skylar braves her deepest and most personal fears to find the truth. The end of the book perfectly sets up the sequel; this is going to be a strong series for teens and ‘tweens.It’s time to get your kid, your Kindle, and Skylar Robbins together!By Stephen Cody
    Skylar’s a great role model for girls. She’s smart, sassy, and has an unquenchable thirst to find things out. Oh, and she’s really good at solving mysteries. If you have a Kindle and a kid, get this book. Your kid is going to love making Skylar her new buddy.

    By Amazon Customer on December 16, 2014
    What could be more interesting than a detective story mixed with witchcraft and a touch of magic?

 

 

Skylar Robbins book 2: Synopsis

BoM 2014 December Skylar Robbins

A deserted mansion perches on a steep hillside, overlooking a rocky canyon. Tattered curtains hang behind broken windows, and a turret stretches toward the sky. Three years ago the wealthy owner disappeared suddenly, leaving behind a house full of secrets: A mysterious note, tantalizing clues, a hidden floor, one piece of a treasure map, and a missing fortune in diamonds.

Thirteen-year-old sleuth Skylar Robbins moves into the mansion with her parents and embarks on a new and dangerous mission. Armed with her detective kit, and with the support of her BFF Alexa and a team of secret agents, Skylar sets out to decipher the clues and find the diamonds. Can she outwit a gang of aggressive bikers and find the hidden jewels before they do? Or will the perils of middle school–like battling ruthless bully Emelyn Peters for the attention of class hottie Dustin Coles–get in her way?

The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels is available now on Amazon.

A Clue in a Poem

under the pier

Calling all secret agents! Skylar needs your help to solve her next case: The Mystery of the Missing Heiress. Three years ago, millionaire Xandra Collins disappeared “without a trace.” Detective Skylar knows that everyone leaves trace evidence, and sets out to solve the mysterious disappearance.

After deciphering a series of complicated clues, Skylar locates Xandra’s diary, which is filled with riddles and poems. Skylar realizes these poems contain clues and needs your help to decode them. What could this mean? Please post your guess in the comments using your Secret Agent code name.

Beneath the pier is dark and deep.

Water cold and still I weep.

Secrets locked inside a box.

Seven rocks by seven rocks.

ENTER TO WIN!

MYSTERY OF THE HIDDEN JEWELS FRONT COVER

Goodreads Book Giveaway:

Enter here to win a FREE copy of book 2 in the Skylar Robbins mystery series: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels! Contest ends March 6, 2015.

Here’s what one reader had to say about this book:

5.0 out of 5 stars
I LOVE Skylar Robbins!!! February 26, 2015
By Grace (Mequon, WI United States)
This review is from: Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels (Paperback)
I am 10 years old and I just finished reading both books. I am now
interested in sign language and mysteries. I am trying to study sign
language and get better at it. I REALLY want to read the next book. When
will it be done? My Grandma and Grandpa gave me your AWESOME books.

 

ENTER TO WIN! Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels (Book 2)

Book Giveaway for Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels (Book 2 in the Skylar Robbins mystery series)

MYSTERY OF THE HIDDEN JEWELS FRONT COVER

  • Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels (Book 2)
    by Carrie Cross (Goodreads Author)

          A deserted mansion perches on a steep hillside, overlooking a rocky canyon. Tattered curtains hang behind broken windows, and a turret stretches toward the sky. Three years ago the wealthy owner disappeared suddenly, leaving behind a house full of secrets: A mysterious note, tantalizing clues, a hidden floor, one piece of a treasure map, and a missing fortune in diamonds.
         Thirteen-year-old sleuth Skylar Robbins moves into the mansion with her parents and embarks on a new and dangerous mission. Armed with her detective kit, and with the support of her BFF Alexa and a team of secret agents, Skylar sets out to decipher the clues and find the diamonds. Can she outwit a gang of aggressive bikers and find the hidden jewels before they do? Or will the perils of middle school–like battling ruthless bully Emelyn Peters for the attention of class hottie Dustin Coles–get in her way?

    Giveaway dates: Feb 21 – Mar 06, 2015
    Countries available: US

 

Girls looking for clean mysteries with a modern twist, here’s your series!

MYSTERY OF THE HIDDEN JEWELS FRONT COVER
4 stars!

By S. J. Henderson on February 2, 2015

     Although I’m not in the target audience for the Skylar Robbins series, I’m definitely still a kid at heart. Pretty sure that still counts. Anyway… the book.What a great story! I’ve always been a fan of mysteries, and read quite a few of my mom’s Nancy Drew books growing up. Spooky settings like Xandra’s mansion always draw me in, too, so Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels drew me in almost immediately even though I started behind the game by not having read book 1.
     Loved the dumbwaiter idea, a childhood dream of mine since the TV series “Webster.” And the turret and gazebo and… yes. The setting was great.Because I missed that first part of the series, I assumed I’d know more about the Secret Agents. I also assume there’s an online community somewhere where readers have the opportunity to win mentions in these books. That’s a fun idea, and I know younger readers would enjoy seeing their screen names in print. This bit of missing info/back story didn’t ruin the reading experience for me. The author did a decent job making sure new readers could pick up this book with a minimum of confusion.
     As an adult, I wanted to shake Skylar more than a few times for not alerting her parents to the Crew Gang’s menacing behavior. It made for a tense story, but I don’t think it’s a great idea for kids to imitate that in real life. If someone is threatening you or your family for any reason, seek help. Jewels or boys or whatever aren’t a good enough reason to let sociopaths persist. That aside…I’d definitely read another Skylar Robbins book, and I’m happy to recommend them to girls looking for clean mysteries with a modern twist.
     Read more reviews of SKYLAR ROBBINS: THE MYSTERY OF THE HIDDEN JEWELS here. The Skylar Robbins series is available on Amazon.

SKYLAR ROBBINS: THE MYSTERY OF THE HIDDEN JEWELS IS AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON!

HIDDEN JEWELS FULL COVER FINAL

My second Skylar Robbins mystery just went live on Amazon. Get it in time for the holidays!

A deserted mansion perches on a steep hillside, overlooking a rocky canyon. Tattered curtains hang behind broken windows, and a turret stretches toward the sky. Three years ago the wealthy owner disappeared suddenly, leaving behind a house full of secrets: A mysterious note, tantalizing clues, a hidden floor, one piece of a treasure map, and a missing fortune in diamonds.

Thirteen-year-old sleuth Skylar Robbins moves into the mansion with her parents and embarks on a new and dangerous mission. Armed with her detective kit, and with the support of her BFF Alexa and a team of secret agents, Skylar sets out to decipher the clues and find the diamonds. Can she outwit a gang of aggressive bikers and find the hidden jewels before they do? Or will the perils of middle school–like battling ruthless bully Emelyn Peters for the attention of class hottie Dustin Coles–get in her way?

Here’s what one reviewer had to say:
5 stars: A real gem!
By JV on December 6, 2014
Carrie Cross has created a jewel of a story with Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels. A follow-up to Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills, in Ms. Cross’s latest book, Skylar is now fully teenaged: more assertive, technologically savvy and into boys. It was fun seeing how Skylar has matured as she embarks on her latest adventure – solving the whereabouts of an heiress’s missing jewels. All while dealing with the trials and tribulations of adolescence. And with some bad guys looking for the same thing, it becomes a race against time as Skylar tries to stay one step ahead of the bad guys (and some mean girls at school). In this latest edition of the Skylar Robbins Detective series, Ms. Cross captures a young person’s curiosity which will surely inspire young readers. As an adult reader, while I would’ve appreciated a little more rising tension in the plot, I found that the story was a wonderful reminder of the enthusiasm only a teenager can have.