Wednesday, February 12, 2020

In the Spotlight: Sherry Ellis ~ Author of "Ghosts of Pompeii"

Over the coming weeks, the IWSG Anthology blog will be featuring posts
from each of the authors in Voyager: The Third Ghost.
Our author today is Sherry Ellis.

Sherry Ellis on her short story "Ghosts of Pompeii" . . .

It’s always interesting to learn the story behind the story. Here’s the scoop about "Ghosts of Pompeii" which is part of the middle-grade anthology, Voyagers, the Third Ghost. I have always loved travelling and learning about the history, language, and culture of the places I visit. This prompted me to write a series of stories involving two siblings, Bubba and Squirt, who travel through a magical vortex and end up in places all over the world. It is my hope that these stories will teach kids about different countries in a fun way and help enforce what they learn in school. I’ve been writing these stories for ten years. They are finally making it out into the world. "Ghosts of Pompeii" is one of them. What’s in the anthology is not the original work. The original is much longer with sixteen chapters and alternating points of view between Bubba and Squirt. It also takes place entirely in the present. One of the requirements for the anthology contest was to have the story occur in the past. I had to get creative. After doing some research, I discovered that Mount Vesuvius erupted after 79 AD in the not-so-distant past. Using that knowledge, I was able to tweak the story and have Bubba and Squirt go back to that time. I also decided to tell it entirely from Bubba’s point of view. His perspective can be quite entertaining! Reducing the word count to meet the requirements of the contest meant cutting a lot out of the story. Somehow it still worked. In case you’re wondering, yes, I did visit Pompeii many years ago. The places mentioned in the story are places I’ve seen. And no, Mount Vesuvius did not erupt while I was there. Nor did any ghosts appear and warn me that the volcano was about to blow. Those are creations of my own wild imagination.


Can everyone be warned before Mount Vesuvius erupts? Mount Vesuvius is about to blow and it's up to Bubba and Squirt to warn everyone, so they don't end up like the Ghosts of Pompeii. 


"Ghosts of Pompeii" by Sherry Ellis

I wanted pizza, and I knew just where to find it. Italy! Mama said the people there make the best pizza ever. Except, when I told my big sister, Squirt, that I wanted to go, she looked at me as if I had tomato sauce for brains.
“Bubba, what are you thinking? We can go to Papa Gino’s and get some.” “But it tastes better in Italy,” I said. “How do you know? You’ve never been there.” “Mama says it tastes better. That’s how I know. So there.” I made a face and stomped off to the woods behind our house. That’s where the big hole was hidden, under the sycamore tree. I’d dug it with the magic shovel Grandpa Joe found at a garage sale. I knew it could take me to Italy because it had already taken me to China and Belize. It goes wherever I want it to go. I stopped under the tree and stared at the pile of branches on top of the hole. Squirt came up behind me. “You’re seriously thinking about going through the portal for pizza?” “I’m hungry!” “What if something goes wrong?” “What could possibly go wrong?"


Sherry Ellis is an award-winning
author and professional musician
who plays and teaches the violin,
viola, and piano.

When she is not writing or
engaged in musical activities,
she can be found doing
household chores, hiking,
or exploring the world.

Ellis' books include Don't Feed the Elephant; Ten Zany Birds; That Mama is a Grouch; That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN; Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China; and Bubba and Squirt's Mayan Adventure. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information about her work, she invites you to visit her websites at and

Coming on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 . . .

Next up is Louise MacBeath Barbour who shares her backstory for "Dare Double Dare," a tale in which Sara and her brother Kelsey find themselves in dire circumstances a long way from home after a rash "Dare" and "Double Dare."

* * * * * * * * * *

The release date for VOYAGERS: The Third Ghost 
is May 5, 2020,
but purchase links are available,
and you can preorder a copy now.

Print 9781939844729 $13.95
EBook 9781939844736 $4.99
Juvenile Fiction - Historical / Action & Adventure / Fantasy & Magic
Dancing Lemur Press/Freedom Fox Press

Amazon - Print

Barnes & Noble -

ITunes -

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Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad you were able to shrink the story. Maybe the full one will appear as a book someday.

Sherry Ellis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sherry Ellis said...

You never know! :)

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Sherry!

Knowing the quality of your writing I am sure you are skilled at making a long story short. The magic shovel and portal to exotic faraway lands is an exciting and durable concept. Having visited the places you write about is a major plus. I'm happy to know Vesuvius remained dormant during your visit to Pompeii. I congratulate you for "Ghosts of Pompeii" and all your other entertaining works!

Fundy Blue said...

Congratulations, Sherry! I can't wait to read your story. I know that you are an excellent writer, and I'm looking forward to learning from you. I've been fascinated by Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius throughout my life, and I have walked all over Pompeii, so this will be great fun!

Sherry Ellis said...

Thanks, Shady! I hope Vesuvius remains dormant for a very long time!

Sherry Ellis said...

Then you'll know just what I'm talking about as you read the story!

Roland Clarke said...

Love that tasty excerpt, Sherry. Now I can't wait to learn about Pompeii Pizza and the past. Congratulations on trimming your story to make the anthology. As a archaeology addict, I envy you going to the site as it was on my wish list - at least, I got to see the volcano and ruins at Santorini in Greece.

Katharina Gerlach said...

This sounds right up my alley. I love time travel stories.

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

Promising start! What could go wrong, indeed!

Mason Canyon said...

Congratulations on the story, Sherry. I always enjoy learning the back story of stories I enjoy like yours. Love to see the whole story in a book.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I certainly want to know the whole story now.

Sherry Ellis said...

That's something I have not gotten to see. I'll put that on my bucket list. :)

Sherry Ellis said...

I bet you'd enjoy all the stories in this anthology then!

Sherry Ellis said...

Famous last words!

Sherry Ellis said...

Maybe we'll see it published some day.

Sherry Ellis said...

Maybe it'll be out there some day. The other three I'm writing in the series are not to Italy, so it may have been a story that was completely scrapped had it not been for the anthology contest.

Pat Hatt said...

That's a lot to cut down. Sure turned out great indeed though.

Bish Denham said...

It must have been difficult to shorten your story but your excerpt sounds fun. Looking forward to reading it!

Sherry Ellis said...

It was called breaking it down to the bare bones!

Sherry Ellis said...

Thanks, Bish!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Well done Sherry - Pompeii is amazing ... and sharing/giving up more of its history. Bubba and Squirt are wonderful names ... and I'm glad it's nearly supper time! Cheers Hilary

Fundy Blue said...

Thanks for visiting, Hilary! I too find Pompeii amazing and am looking forward to reading Sherry's story.

bazza said...

Well done Sherry. Incidentally, I have found the best pizzas NOT to be in Italy. I found the best right here in the UK (although admittedly some were in Italian Pizzerias!)
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s never knowingly novaturient Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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