Working Title: Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals
This Book Is In Development
Elle Burton is an ordinary kid...or so she thinks. On her tenth birthday, she encounters Eunie Mae, a tiny, fairylike being who comes from a world called Fiori. Other than some children under the age of eight, the only human beings who can see Fiorins are Guides-people who have been chosen to help protect the children of Earth. Being a guide seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. Elle has always loved helping others, and now she'll have magical assistance. But not everybody wants her to succeed. There are evil forces who do everything in their power to keep the guides from offering support to those in need. Can Elle be brave enough to oppose them? This is a Coming of Age Fantasy & Magic Book in the Lessons from Fiori Book Series. Elle and the Fiorins combat social injustices and the evils in this world while teaching the reader a Kind Heart is the basis for all success in life. The author utilizes magical realism to empower readers to fight social injustice.
I always wished I could attain the level of perfection the characters in my books had when I was young. Having a hero is an important part of growing up. Every child needs a role model, but do they truly need to be perfect? Life isn't perfect and neither is Elle Burton. In this scene in the book, Elle is on her way to school. Her mother explicitly warned her not to make any side trips on her way that morning. To Elle's credit when she first encounterd the tiny guardian angels, she thought they looked like little butterflies. Surely, this had to be a dream. Promises don't really count when you're dreaming, right? Would you tell what my grandmother called "a litte white lie" if it helped you avoid hurting someone's feelings? The key is to teach our children the difference between right and wrong in a way that teaches them to be the best they can be. Elle believes answering a few questions on a test incorrectly so the other kids feel smarter is a good thing. She's not the first gifted child to do that and she won't be the last.
Working Title: The Christmas Prayer
This Book Is In Development
Nettie Perkin’s life is turned upside-down due to her father’s financial problems. When an opportunity to teach opens in Wisconsin, she and Bertha Carlson jump at the chance for a new beginning. No one could have predicted they’d both fall in love with the handsome young man who accompanied them on their journey. Will either of them win his heart?
In 1805, President Thomas Jefferson ordered Lt. Zebulon Pike to purchase the Summit HIll area from the Dakotah Indians. I have driven down the streets of this area for the past 50 years, and the large trees and beautiful homes are part of my Minnesota history. It became clear before I began writing that this is the area where the girls would live before their big move to Menomonie, WI.
Every wedding is beautiful. I tried to be true to the period of the 1880's when I created the Christmas wedding for Nettie and Raymond. During the age that my grandmother and mother grew up, each young woman worked for months to create a crocheted tablecloth worthy to be handed down to their daughter one day. It is remarkable that the women of the church would offer their finest treasure for the pastor's wedding.
Life in the 1880's was difficult in the logging center of Menomonie, WI. When Nettie's pregnancy enters a difficult stage, her best friend offers to find a substitute teacher and help her at the parsonage, Nettie can't refuse Bertha's unselfish offer. Determined to make Nettie's holiday as perfect as possible, Reverend Henson and Bertha decorate the house for Christmas and attend to her every need. Even in difficult times, we have always made an effort to bring joy and blessings to those we love in the days before Christmas.
Elle's desperate to find her kidnapped brother. She teams up with the winged warriors from the dimension of Fiori to save him, but JJ isn't the only one in danger. What will Elle sacrifice to bring her brother home? Can she fulfill the ancient prophecy and restore the magic of the Bronze Pendant? If you like magical realism you will love this action-packed fantasy for middle-grade readers. Elle Burton's goal is to rescue her brother. What she discovers is pure evil. The author provides a female role model who strives to overcome her flaws and inspire kids everywhere. "Missing" blends the magic of a fairytale with the contemporary realities of the world today's youth inhabit. You will discover a new world order through the journey of a young girl who exhibits both compassion and jaw-dropping courage in her quest to fulfill an ancient prophecy. Find yourself caught in the ultimate struggle between good and evil. "Missing" is the second book in the "Lessons from Fiori" series.
My little boy was lost for nearly ten hours in the city of Minneapolis when a babysitter wasn't paying attention. I know the terror of losing a child and not knowing whether they wandered off or were kidnapped. That one episode in my life made it critical that I find ways to inspire children to seek the help of a trusted adult when they're in trouble. It was also critical that I remain true to the terror in a mother's heart when she discovers her child is missing. It was my intention for The Elle Burton series to be read together by mothers and daughters. There are so many things we need to talk to our children about before it's too late.
In the past decade, headlines reporting the tragic stories of a young person’s suicide death linked in some way to bullying (physical, verbal, or online) have regrettably become quite common. Our children try to protect us by not sharing the bullying they experience at school. That silence can become fatal when the pressure becomes more than a child can handle. I know. I was one of those children. The Elle Burton series is intended to inspire kids to find the courage to trust someone to share their feelings with and to step up when they see another child being hurt.
"Hey, 4-Eyes, can you see me?" I still cringe when I hear those words. It started in Kindergarten and continued until my tenth birthday. My eye doctor was one of the scientists who developed modern contact lenses. More than that, he was a man who knew how to talk to kids. He really listened to my stories of how hard things were for me wearing such thick glasses because of all the bullying. That's how I became the youngest child in the U.S. to be fitted with the newest lenses. Children deal with bullying every single day, but what we often overlook is the fact the bullies have often been targets of abuse. The Elle Burton books are designed to encourage kids to talk to each other and trusted adults when things become unbearable.
Some of the best lessons I learned as a child came from stories. How I wished for stories about abuse and bullying I could discuss with my mom. I thought, just perhaps, those discussions might lead to me sharing my "secrets" with her. The Elle Burton series is written to appeal to mothers and young girls. My hope is they read the stories together and engage in the tough discussions I longed for. “This is a story of kindness, enchantment, and magic, and the author weaves the fantasy elements along with life lessons through this whimsical story. Elle Burton’s character will inspire children to follow their passions in life.” The testimonials from mothers who have read this book with their daughters is amazing. We can learn from Elle's experiences.
When the truck came across the center line and hit my car head-on in 1979, everything I'd dreamed about in life was no longer possible. I would no longer be able to purchase the company I worked for when the owner retired. My dreams of controlling my destiny vanished in a heartbeat. The specialists all considered me to be permanently damaged. They gave me no hope of beating the traumatic brain injury or living a life anything close to normal. Elle's childhood is disrupted in the excerpt here when she learns she has fulfilled the challenges of an ancient prophecy. Life can change, but the direction we take and the success we may or may not realize is all up to us. Set small goals and watch as they become even larger goals.
There were two things that gave me hope as an abused child. One was the books I loved to read. I could disappear into a beautiful story whenever I was frightened. I also believed in the guardian angels who comforted me when I was scared. This excerpt from Missing follows the kidnapping of Elle's baby brother, JJ. His assigned guardian angel, Eunie Mae made a mistake when she thought his crying might alert the cashier in the grocery store to a problem. She was wrong. Yes, I believe in guardian angels. JJ's angel is named after my grandma Burton. Eunie Mae was born a Kennedy. She was a favorite visitor to all my friends and a cousin to a President of this great country.
While writing the Elle Burton series, I realized children struggle with all the same challenges I have faced in life. In this scene, Elle is taken to the dimension of Fiori by the winged creatures who protect Earth's children. It is in the aftermath of a scene in which Elle is inhabited by one of the demon Zorins. Elle is no longer able to speak. Elle's grandmother is a human guide to the winged creatures and hopes this trip will restore her daughter's voice. I lost my voice after a brain injury in 1979 when a truck crossed the center line and hit my car head-on. When I awoke from the coma, I couldn't speak normally and my short-term memory was destroyed forever. I pray this portion of the book will give courage to every child who struggles with disability as I did. It's taken decades, but I talk normally now and have published four books and two anthologies. We are all capable of working through the challenges of life.
As an artist, I've always been fascinated by the vast array of flowers existing throughout our world. As an author, I wanted to write a story to help everyone believe there can be hope in even the most desperate of situations. To escape the abuse of my childhood, I made up stories in my head about Guardian Angels and the #peace I believed I would one day find in heaven. I believe it's a place filled with flowers as large as tractor tires! Knowing children throughout the world suffer unspeakable abuses I decided not to name the winged creatures angels nor would I speak of heaven. Children of all ages need to believe there is help available when they are in trouble. Believing winged creatures like Amara are always watching over us is comforting. My vision of heaven is a place filled with flowers and a place where there is peace among all the inhabitants. Fiori is the Italian word for flower and if you want the winged Fiorins to be fairies, that's what they are.
When my little co-author told me she wanted me to make the class bully one of the Guides to the Fiorins, I tried to convince her that Jimmy Backus was the bully in our story. She continued to beg me to save Jimmy and that process became one of my favorite chapters in book 1. As a kid who cried more than once because of the bullies, I decided that although Jimmy had changed, there should still be some payback for all the mean things he'd done to other kids. Now, I grew up in farm country and one of the most smelly things about life on a farm is the manure pit. I had some fun with poor Jimmy Backus when he is tasked with helping the Fiorins save a young boy who fell into the manure pit and broke his arm so he couldn't get out by himself. For all the boys and girls who have been bullied, Jimmy's distress at being a hero in a manure pit is a little payback for their tears.
The goal of every book for our youth is to inspire and empower them. Kids who suffer bullying or abuse are desperate to believe they can overcome the challenges they face every day. As I wrote "Missing," I knew I had to show Elle at her weakest point in life. That's what makes the story so real for those who have already read it. When any child discovers a role model who finds the courage to overcome adversity of any type, the child reading the story begins to believe they just might have a chance to solve their crises. Elle Burton is the kid every young girl wants to be. She brings hope to the reader. And, that means everything to a kid in distress.
There is no adequate description for a mother's reaction when she discovers her child is missig. I know, my babysitter lost my young son in Minneapolis back in the 70's. During this excerpt, Elle is convinced her magical powers will be sufficient to find her baby brother and bring him home. Her biggest problem is protecting the dimension of Fiori and the winged guardians who help safeguard the little children of Earth. How can Elle possibly let the adults know the location of the kidnappers without exposing her involvement?
I loved creating the character of Jimmy Backus for the Elle books. He is loosely formed based on my son's numerous encounters with the class bully. The teacher thought I was nuts when I requested a class project be assigned to my son and the bully. The project would take an entire weekend to complete and the bully would be spending all that time at our home working with my son. Like Jimmy, the boy was nasty and rude as the project began. The two boys built a beautiful replica of an early American fort. They remained best friends throughout the rest of their years in school. Sometimes a little kindness can change everything. It's an important lesson to share with our children.
When I was a little girl, I believed my Guardian Angel watched over me. She held my hand tightly during the abuse and comforted me when I hid under my covers. At church on Sundays, I would look at the stained glass windows of the angel and Jesus, and pray that I could be saved. While writing "Missing," it was important to create a moment for Elle where she could be comforted by her father who was killed in Afghanistan and also by Jesus who admonished us to protect all children. Are Guardian Angels real? I believe they are and Elle Burton does too.
The babysitter never asked my permission to take my child from the suburbs into Minneapolis. He had been missing for over four hours when someone thought to call me and tell me what had happened. I understand the blood-draining range of emotions that a mother endures when her child is missing. My child had recently had surgery to restore his hearing, so I knew all the sights and sounds of an unfamiliar city would be terrifying for him. A woman found my four-year-old cuddled under a bush in her front yard crying and called the police. The terror I felt during the time he was missing is what I wanted to share in this book. I also wanted to show how a sister becomes the motivating factor in the search for her little brother, while her mother remained paralzed by fear.
I wrote the first two books in the Elle Burton series to give parents an opportunity to use the story characters to discuss difficult issues with their children. I'm convinced if I'd had a story like this, I could have gathered the courage to tell someone about my childhood abuse. I was delighted when I heard from a mother who shared the audio versions of both books with her daughter. She told me of the rather deep discussions they had about the social injustices Elle's friends experienced in the story. She shared with me that it took a really long time to get through the story because of those discussions, but went on to say that she believes that's what a really good book should do. She ended by saying she hopes these books show up in every school library in the nation. Share the love with your children this Valentine's Day. Forget the book club this month and share a book with your child that may make all the difference.
Every girl dreams of getting a doll house for Christmas, but Elle's gift became so much more than a replica of the home she loved in Fiori. Christmas is a time of love, hope, and a promise for the future. When Mother Blue presents Elle with a miniature of her castle, it includes a Fiorin fashioned from Elle's very essence to become a counselor for the young girl who everyone believes is the girl the prophecy predicted would arrive to save the world from ruin. Home is where the Christmas spirit brings hope to children both young and old. Isn't that what you're looking forward to this Christmas Season?
Children disappear and soldiers die in battle far from home. I wrote this series as a way for parents to begin the tough discussions with their children. One of my readers summed it up very well when she described reading the book with her 11-year-old daughter: It took us considerable time to read through, however, as it prompted much discussion about some of the issues she sees/faces at school and with her friends (like her best friend's recent loss of her dad, for instance). That's the best reason for a book to take a long time to get through, of course, so I'm certainly not complaining! We both truly appreciated the beauty, heartfelt compassion and lessons contained in this lovely tale - a wonderful read all around!
The abuse I suffered as a child was horrendous. The one thing that saved me was my belief in Guardian Angels. That's why I've written this series...to help kids believe in something if they're being hurt and to help heal the other moms out there who suffered as I did. You'll love the Christmas ending to this fantasy about a young girl enlisted to help winged creatures protect the children of Earth. Elle Burton is the child I always wanted to be. She's compassionate, filled with faith, and has the spunk to stand up to the bullies and abusers who plague our world.
Elle Burton was frantic when she discovered her brother was missing at the Dunn County Fair at the end of book 1 of the series. Desperate to get to the winged protectors of Earth's children, she pulled Jimmy Backus, the class bully, through a reflective portal into the dimension of Fiori. They landed on the back of Pegasus with the warrior, Amadeus. A deadly battle with a monster on the cliffs above Fiori nearly cost them all their lives. This excerpt picks up when Jimmy is taken to the leader of the Forins after the battle. It’s up to the Fiorin leader to determine what Jimmy’s fate will be. Elle’s immaturity created a major problem in Fiori. Jimmy is the only human from Earth who has ever entered the dimension of Fiori without being a designated guide to the winged creatures there. Elle and Amadeus have already returned to the Fair to find Elle’s baby brother. Jimmy is now alone with the Fiorins and his fate will soon be determined by Mother Blue.
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