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HIDDEN JEWELS COVER

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If you are already a Skylar Robbins Secret Agent, also include your code name and badge number in the comments. If you would like to become a secret agent and help Skylar solve her next mystery, fill out the Secret Agent Application Form (S.A.A.F.). If you have the necessary detective skills to sleuth with Skylar, you will be able to find it.

If you do not receive your Identikit within three days, it is because you emailed from an address that I cannot reply to, and I respect the parental control that may have blocked me from responding. Carrie Cross is very protective of her readers! Parents: please p.m. me at Carrie at skylarrobbins dot com and I will send the Identikit to the address of your choice.

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Carrie Cross performs a Live Reading of Skylar Robbins

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Live Reading by Carrie Cross at the Waterford Public Library

It was wonderful meeting everyone at the Waterford Public Library in Waterford, Wisconsin Friday August 7th during my live reading of Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills. The librarian, Tricia Cox, planned some fun crafts for the kids, including drawing with invisible ink pens, and using a fingerprinting kit with different colored ink and stamp pads.

After reading chapter one from The Mystery of Shadow Hills (Author Carrie Cross, Teen Mystery Press 2013), I signed books and took pictures with all of the Skylar Robbins fans. Then we had a drawing for prizes! Five kids won free toy binoculars to start their own detective kits, and one girl won a signed copy of The Mystery of Shadow Hills. Thanks to everyone who attended, and to Marjorie Stark Suto photography for recording the event. It was a lot of fun and I hope to come back again next year after publishing, Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Missing Heiress (Teen Mystery Press, 2016).

Author reading: Mystery of Shadow Hills

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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.

Carpinello’s Writing Pages Interview

My new interview just went live on Carpinello’s Writing Pages: Information about books for Children/Tweens/YA, with a little bit of writing thrown in. Explore new books. Discover new authors. Uncover pieces of an author’s life. All with a focus on getting Young Readers to read and write more.

Meet MG Mystery Writer Carrie Cross

Carpinello’s Writing Pages welcomes Carrie Cross, author of the middle grade mystery series Skylar Robbins. First, a bit about Carrie:

Carrie Cross is an avid reader who fell in love with books as a little girl after reading Goodnight Moon. She wrote her first “book” at age four: Blackie the Little Black Dog and the Flying Washing Machine. Carrie discovered her love of mysteries reading Nancy Drew books and The Happy Hollisters series, and while writing Skylar Robbins mysteries, she continues to look for clues in unexpected places to this day.

Why did you choose to write books for Middle Grade?

Some of the happiest memories from my ‘tweens involve cozy nights reading in bed, especially during a rainstorm. Judy Blume is my all time favorite author. I must have read, Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret, fifty times or more. Nancy Drew and The Happy Holisters sparked my interest in mysteries. Zilpha Keatley Snyder was another favorite. How I wished I had a Velvet Room to retreat to, or a Changeling for a best friend!

My first book (never published) was written for an adult audience. While I shopped that, I started the first draft of a Skylar Robbins novel, and I was hooked instantly. I knew this was the age group I was meant to write for: the age I was when I read my favorite Judy Blume books.

What types of books do you like to read?

I still love to read MG and YA: Deb Caletti and Sarah Dessen are two favorites. I also can’t get enough of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, and Robert Crais’s Elvis Cole mysteries. I love biographies of those who lead unusual, superlative, or decadent lives, or books (fiction or non) about people who have overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

Read, read, read. When I’m not writing or reading, I love to cook and go out to eat, especially for sushi, or to graze on small plates. I also own my own business distributing clothing wholesale, so I’m super busy. But if I have free time or take a vacation, you’ll find me on a boat or at a tropical beach.

Tell us about Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels and how the story came to be.

Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels is the second novel in the Skylar Robbins mystery series, and it just won the LASR Readers’ Choice Award for January 2015!

When I was six years old, my parents decided we needed to buy a bigger house. We looked at a creepy two-story in Santa Monica Canyon, and I played hide-and-seek with the little girl who lived there. There were closets and secret hiding places with doors that opened into other rooms. Later, I wondered, “What if there was a clue hidden in one of those closets?” And the idea for the Skylar Robbins mystery series was born, starting with The Mystery of Shadow Hills.

Here’s a peek at The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels:

 
After solving The Mystery of Shadow Hills, thirteen-year-old sleuth Skylar Robbins is ready for a new adventure. Sure enough, as soon as she decides to start her own detective agency a thrilling case falls right into her hands.

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 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.

Armed with her detective kit, and with the support of her BFF Alexa and a team of secret agents, Skylar embarks on a new and dangerous mission. 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–get in her way?

Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.

Skylar’s adventures began in The Mystery of Shadow Hills. 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. She has no idea how much excitement and danger awaits her in Malibu’s Shadow Hills.

As soon as Skylar arrives at the estate, unexplainable events begin to happen. She discovers a hidden garden in the huge back yard, and her new friend Kat pronounces it the perfect place to perform spells. 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?

Rumors are flying and the locals are afraid. Kat challenges Skylar to take increasingly dangerous risks while she tries to solve the mystery. Armed with her detective tools, brains, and a huge dose of courage, Skylar will face her deepest fears to find the truth.

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

Yes! At the end of Hidden Jewels, Skylar discovers a new and confusing clue, written in code. If she can manage to decode it, the note promises to lead her to a hidden diary containing the next clues to the whereabouts of a famous heiress who has been missing for three years. Skylar vows to crack that code and find out what happened to her. She does this in book 3: The Mystery of the Missing Heiress, which I hope to publish by the end of 2015.

What advice do you have for other authors?

This advice comes from one of my blog posts, “Carrie Cross’s Advice to Aspiring Writers #1”:

Enjoy the writing process and revise, revise, revise. Get as many people as possible to read your manuscript and give you constructive criticism. Don’t just rely on family and friends for feedback. They love you and will tell you your book is great, even if it isn’t.

Find beta readers in your target age group who you don’t know personally. For instance, I asked my account base at work if they had children who would be willing to read my book, Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills, before publication, and emailed the manuscript to those kids. Their feedback was invaluable.

Finally, don’t let rejections from agents deter you from getting published. Self-publish if you don’t get a contract; you’re going to do most of your own marketing anyway. Calvin Coolidge said it best: Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!

Anything else you want readers to know?

On my website: www.carrie-cross.com, there are free games, interactive sleuthing, and lots of other fun things going on!

Where can readers find you and your books?

Please follow me on:

Facebook
Twitter
Website
Goodreads

Amazon author page
Amazon: Skylar Robbins: Mystery of Shadow Hills
Amazon: Skylar Robbins: Mystery of the Hidden Jewels

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 is available on Kindle today!

MYSTERY OF THE HIDDEN JEWELS FRONT COVER

Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels is now available on Kindle! Get your copy on Amazon for less than five bucks, today. Enter to win a FREE autographed paperback copy by leaving a comment. If you know someone who enjoyed The Mystery of Shadow Hills, please help me spread the word!

Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Missing Heiress

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In the third volume of the Skylar Robbins mystery series, Skylar and her new heartthrob Daniel try to discover what happened to the famous heiress, Xandra Collins. She disappeared mysteriously three years ago, without leaving a trace.

Or did she?

One mind-bending clue was left behind: a puzzling poem written in Xandra’s hidden diary, pointing to a clue hidden underneath the Santa Monica pier.

Skylar risks her life to hunt for this clue and figure out whether or not Xandra Collins is still alive.

And it was worth every dangerous second.

Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Missing Heiress will be available on Amazon in 2016. The first two Skylar Robbins mysteries are available now on Amazon.

New Clue!

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Secret Agents: Please help Skylar solve the Mystery of the Missing Heiress (2016) by deciphering the clues in this poem. Skylar located Xandra Collins’s diary and it was bursting with hidden clues. What could this one mean? Please post your guesses by leaving a reply, and sign using your Secret Agent code name.

To become a Skylar Robbins Secret Agent and receive a code name and Identikit, fill out the S.A.A.F. on this site.

White foam sprays and seagulls cry.

Bleached, white planks toast in the sun.

The children laugh and still I cry.

My life has come undone.

 

Family ties unravel fast.

Money burns our sordid past.

Jewels do tempt my nephews three;

Afraid of what will become of me.

 

Three in line to inherit mine:

Will Richard cook me a poison stew?

Will Herman prescribe a pill to kill?

Will Frederick make me laugh until I cry?

Until I die?

 

Beneath the pier is dark and deep.

Water cold and still I weep.

Secrets locked inside a box.

Seven rocks by seven rocks.