Have I got a middle-grade, fantasy/adventure for your Friday the 13th here on Cat's Corner. (But discovering this exciting new tale is nothing but good luck for kids, promise!)
I'm pleased to partner with Sage's Book Tours and introduce you to the Adventurous Ali: Temple of the Monkey God, by Tyler H. Jolley. Love that this story's protagonist, a feisty girl who's sucked into an action-packed quest through one of the most unique portals you'll find.
Read on to discover our plucky heroine's five companions, read an excerpt from the book, and meet the author. Happy tales!
About the Book
Title: Adventurous Ali: Temple of the Monkey God Author: Tyler H. Jolley | Publication Date: September 2019 | Publisher: Tyler H. Jolley | Pages: 61 | Recommended Ages: 8-12
* Amazon US *
After Alison Liv Isner is sucked into an old globe that sat on her father’s desk, she wakes beside a campfire in a lush jungle, surrounded by five talking animals. She quickly realizes these are the same friends her mom wrote about in her expedition journal. Now, at only eleven-years-old, she has the opportunity to complete her deceased mother’s unfinished expedition in the Temple of the Monkey God.
With her new found friends, a monkey, a fat rat, a bat, a burro with a piranha in a mason jar tied around his neck, Ali decides to face the treacherous booby traps inside of the temple and save the monkey idol from an evil group called The Geese.
As she learns more about her deceased mom through her adventure journal, Ali and her friends realize the book is the key to lead them through the tunnels of the dreaded Temple of the Monkey God. If not, their lives are at stake and Ali will be trapped in the expedition realm forever.
“Here we go.” Ali stepped into the dark opening. Cool, damp air tickled her nose. It reminded her of the inside of a trunk her dad had accidently left in the rain. The next week when they’d opened it, the moldy smell was pungent.
Just a few feet in, light from the entrance cast itself at an angle on the opposite wall.
Everyone had sidled up next to Ali.
“What are you thinking, human?” Figgy asked.
Ali shrugged. Chicaletta rummaged through the pack on Figgy’s rump and produced a metal-handled flashlight. Ali tripped just as Chicaletta flicked on the light. Ali looked down at what she’d fallen over. A skeleton with rotted clothes. She screamed.
Suddenly, a huge, square stone as wide as her father was tall and at least two times her height crashed from the ceiling and blocked the entrance.
Glenda’s high-pitched scream nearly deafened Alison Liv Isner. Chicaletta whipped around and pointed the flashlight at the stone blocking the door. Ali tried to speak but couldn’t find her voice. Adrenaline surged through her veins. The stone wasn’t just blocking the door, but it was also a weapon. Spikes of varying lengths jutted out at them from the rock.
Ali shook her hands, trying to calm her nerves. “What now?”
“We’re trapped,” Tristan said. “We’re going to die.”
“Never mind him,” Bait said.
“Ignore me all you want,” Tristan said. “But one day I’ll be right. Probably.”
“Chicaletta?” Ali walked toward Figgy’s pack. “Do you have another flashlight in there?”
“Yes,” Chicaletta said. “But we should save the batteries.”
“Just light one of those bones on fire,” Tristan yawned.
“What?” Ali nearly yelled.
“It’ll be fine, watch,” Tristan said. He scurried over to the bones. “Hey, skeleton, do you mind if we use your femur?” He held his pink hand up to his ear. “Skeleton, if you don’t want us to use your leg and clothes, speak now.” The skeleton didn’t move. Tristan turned back to the group. “See? He doesn’t care.”
Ali looked to the others for guidance.
“I’ll fish out the flint,” Tristan said. “No offense, Bait.”
Ali walked toward the skeleton with trepidation. But, Tristan was right, after all. Any adventurer would wish to be useful, even in death.
“I guess,” Glenda swallowed hard, “it should be okay.”
Chicaletta blinked and nodded at Ali. “Hurry.”
Ali knelt next to the skeleton and wrapped her hands around its leg; she closed her eyes and cringed. The femur was the largest bone and came free easily from the hip joint. She wrapped the tattered clothes around the end just as Tristan scurried back with a flint and steel.
Ali struck the U-shaped steel against the flint, and sparks fell toward the old cloth. It smoldered, and she blew on the embers. Flames encompassed the cloth. It cackled to life, illuminating a modest space in front of her.
Between Ali’s torch and Chicaletta’s flashlight, the tunnel was still fairly dark. The temple felt more like a cave. Musty air permeated the ten foot high stone tunnel. A hideous scraping sound of stone on stone grabbed their attention. The large block with spikes slid toward them. Slowly, at first. Then with momentum.
“Run!” Ali waved her torch toward a tunnel. “This way.”
The block slid forward with spikes inching closer to Ali and her friends. But then it momentarily stopped, caught on the dry skeleton. Bones crunched and twisted. The skull had become wedged. The spiked stone lurched, and the skull exploded, filling the room with white dust behind them.
Meet the Author
,The author's debut novel, EXTRACTED, came out in 2013 with Spencer Hill Press, and has been a Spencer Hill Press Best Seller, as well as an Amazon Best Seller. PRODIGAL and RIVEN, the second and third books in The Lost Imperials Series, were released in May 2015.
Over the Moon - Sweet T and the Turtle Team Places in Wind Dancer Films FINALs and Scores Silver Medal
Beyond excited to share with YOU...
Sweet T and the Turtle Team
is one of 10 finalists
being considered by
Wind Dancer Films
for adaptation as a movie or TV film.
scored its 4th award
for excellence in children's books
with a silver medal - animals category -
from Readers' Favorite Book Awards.
Excited and proud
to be recognized by
Readers’ Favorite and Wind Dancer Films!
Still feeling numb here.
I was catching up on emails after being off the grid on vacation
when the Readers’ Favorite announcement unexpectedly popped up on my screen.
I’d been hopeful I might place in its book awards division ...
,,, but I
expected the additional honor
of being a finalist
in its Wind Dancer Films contest.
Couldn’t stop my hands from shaking all morning!
Sweet Hub had to scrape me off the chandelier -:D
For me, entering a writing contest
is usually a last-minute decision
after an exhausting convo with myself.
Confident Cat: You should definitely enter your book.
Scaredy-Cat: I don’t know. So many writers enter. What chance would I have?
CC: You won't even place if you do nothing. What’s the problem?
SC: Too many deadlines. No time to pull it together. Cost factors, too.
CC: Prioritize and make it happen.
SC: Maybe I could try.
CC & Yoda: “No! Try not! Do or do not, there is no try.”
Sweet T and the Turtle Team
has scored 4 accolades to date
excellence in children’s literature.
It has taken me
4 books, 6 years, stacks of rejections,
and countless hours of ...
wanting to quit
and burning out more times than I care to admit
to reach this point.
For you, dreamers, lonely and toiling to away.
Wondering if anyone is paying attention
Ever noticing what you're doing....
Don't give up!
Beyond grateful to YOU
for reading my books
keeping me company
on my writing journey!
Before you go.....
Tag Along on Photo Walk to an Equine Farm as This City Girl Researches Horses for her Middle Grade Tale
What I know about horses:
I also spent a weekend at Tanglewood, a working horse farm in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Join me on easy hour’s drive down US1 from my writing den to explore that unique equine community and discover juicy factoids for Rosie’s and my WIP.
Horses are BIG animals.
They can sense energy from humans around them.
Horses often wear
for protection from pesky insects that plague them.
Mischievous horses even figure
out how to remove those masks!
Horses don't like to be petted
on the front of their faces.
Would you like it if somebody pat you on your nose?
Since horses can't see your hand if you pet their nose,
you will startle them, too.
And caring for them
labor of love.
Putting it All Together
Now for the synthesis of researching and writing!
Have a peek at how Rosie and I
weave our discoveries
into this draft scene from our work in progress:
Our protagonist, Olivia, and her friend, Isabella,
introduce new girl Candace to Olivia’s horse, Lucky.
“I was explaining the best way to pet a horse,” Isabella said, “but before I could finish, Candace reached over and petted Lucky in that small blind spot in front of his face. It startled him, so he bucked sideways.”
“There now, boy,” Olivia crooned, moving to Lucky and stroking him gently alongside his neck. “Candace is just trying to be friendly.”
“Your horse doesn’t like me,” Candace blurted. “He’s mean.”
“He’s just not used to you. It’ll take time for him to know you, that’s all,” Olivia said.
“Try a friendly horse handshake like this, Candace.” Olivia suggested. She stuck out her hand with fingers held down and slightly bent. “Hold your hand like this near Lucky’s nose. That way, he can smell your hand and get to know you.”
Unconvinced, Candace kept her distance, hands clasped securely behind her back.
Draft scene excerpt from Cat and Rosie's WIP
What's your experience with farm life or horses? What tidbits might you share about rural living and equines that Rosie and I could use in our tale? Any feedback on that draft scene above? (Hey, please contact me if you'd be interested in being a beta reader once our 150-page book is done this winter.)
All photos by Cat Michaels or Hub except where noted
Most grateful to Tanglewood Farms, Southern Pines, NC, and Dancing Horses Farm, Port Orchard, WA, for generously sharing their equine knowledge.
Writing about family, books, authoring, life, movies, travel and more.
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