Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Story Reviews for the Just-Released "Voyagers: The Third Ghost"

It's Out!
The IWSG's 2020 Anthology:
Voyagers:  The Third Ghost
was released yesterday on May 5th!

Over the past few months I've had the pleasure of organizing posts for this IWSG Anthology blog.  It's been great fun to meet my fellow authors in Voyagers:  The Third Ghost and to learn what went into the creation of their stories.  About a week ago I received a copy of the anthology, and I have been up late at night reading and rereading all the stories that I eagerly anticipated. I was not disappointed!  This is a book filled with adventures that span the globe and time.  The young protagonists tackle their challenges with courage, resourcefulness, determination, and great heart.  Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes scary, these tales will delight readers of all ages.  I hope that my reviews of the individual stories will entice you to read our book!

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Yvonne Ventresca
"The Third Ghost"

Among darkened,
arson-damaged streets,
a boy stops to help two ghosts
until he realizes his own family
is in grave danger.

Yvonne's story is suspenseful, atmospheric, and full of courage and love.  Lewis, almost thirteen, regularly sneaks out of his apartment at night, leaving his younger sister sleeping alone while he follows his mother home from the Hoboken train terminal where she works.  Torn between leaving Christina unprotected and worrying about his mother's safety, he sets out on this night, a night filled with danger and extraordinary encounters.  He suddenly receives a strange message:  Danger.  Burning.  Fire!  Forgetting his mother, Lewis races for home to try to save his sister.  The ending is not what I expected!

Yvonne is the award-winning author of Black Flowers, White Lies, (IPPY Gold Medal for National YA fiction) and Pandemic (SCBWI’s Crystal Kite Award).  Her other works include two nonfiction books and several short stories selected for anthologies, including the previous IWSG anthology, Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life.

Sherry Ellis
"The Ghosts of Pompeii"

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.

The lengths a boy will go to for authentic Italian pizza!  Bubba's mother told him that the best pizza is in Italy, and he heads there with his reluctant older sister Squirt.  No worries ~ They have a magical vortex that will transport them wherever they want to go.  Unfortunately they land in a dangerous place where a ghost warns them Mount Vesuvius is about to erupt.  Can Bubba and Squirt warn people in time to evacuate before the volcano blows?  Can they escape themselves?  This funny twosome will delight readers!

Sherry's 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.

Bish Denham
"The Blind Ship"

Will the Le Rôdeur reach port, or will it disappear below the waves taking its crew and passengers with it?

This harrowing tale of a journey on a slave ship related by twelve-year-old Jacques Romaigne stays with you.  Jacques sets out from Le Havre, France to join his father on their sugar cane plantation in Point-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe in the Caribbean.  At first the voyage is an adventure for young Jacques, but it quickly turns dangerous after the ship picks up a cargo of Negro slaves from the West African coast.  When a devastating disease strikes the crew and passengers, their survival is doubtful, and Jacques is forever changed.

Bish Denham is from the U.S. Virgin Islands, where her family has lived for over a hundred years. The author of two middle grade novels and a collection of retold Jamaican Anansi stories, she says, “Growing up in the islands was like living inside a history book.”   

Louise MacBeath Barbour
"Dare Double Dare"

Who can resist a dare to enter a forbidden room? Sara and her brother Kelsey find themselves in dire circumstances a long way from home after a rash dare and double dare.

It's impossible to objectively review my own story, because I've spent so much time and effort bringing it to its published form.  I feel proud of my story, and I'm looking forward to further adventures with Sara and Kelsey. 

Born in Nova Scotia and raised throughout eastern Canada, Louise is a writer and blogger who now lives in Colorado.  She writes fiction and nonfiction with the encouragement of her supportive husband.  "Dare Double Dare" is her first middle grade story.

L.T. Ward
"Return to Cahokia"

Will Tonalli, her mother, and her siblings, Warm Weather gods, complete their spring journey to Cahokia, and what will happen if they don't?

This story about the journey of Warm Weather gods from their winter home in the south to their summer home in the north was fresh and imaginative.  It was fascinating to accompany Tonalli and her family as they traveled across the clouds to Cahokia and to see how their progress affected the weather.  In pre-Columbian times Cahokia was the largest urban settlement north of Mexico City.  Today its culture is known through its archaeological ruins near St. Louis, Missouri.  Seeing the weather from a pre-Columbian perspective was fun and informative.  The story’s unexpected ending inspired me to learn more about Cahokia’s culture and mythology.  

L.T. hails from the Land of Corn, otherwise known as Central Illinois, where weather inspires her literary works. When not writing speculative fiction shorts and novels, she spends her days raising a brood of plague monsters (a.k.a. her children) as well as satisfying her never-ending thirst for knowledge through reading, meeting people, and first-hand life experiences.

Roland Clarke
"Feathered Fire"

Will the Firebird help Soviet sisters Vasy and Kalyna outwit evil during WW II?

What hope is there for a better future for Vasy, a 12-year-old goatherd near the Soviet-Nazi front during WWII?  Her parents were executed, and she is alone except for her sister Kalyna and the woman who took them in after her parents' deaths.  Kalyna is a Soviet pilot with the feared Nachthexen, the Night Witches, and flies nightly raids against the Nazis.  Vasy must travel through the night forest evading the Nazis to carry a message to the Soviet Red Army leaders. Accompanied by her goat Zoya and carrying a hoopoe bird feather, Vasy faces her fears and seeks her future in this suspenseful story that draws on the legend of Zharptica, the Firebird.

After diverse careers, Roland Clarke was an equestrian journalist and green activist when chronic illness hastened retirement.  But he hasn't stopped exploring rabbit holes and writing - mainly mysteries and alternative history.

Beth Anderson Schuck
"The Orchard"

Can Nels, with her magical connections to nature, and Della help each other survive in a remote area of Utah over a century ago? 

"We're not like the others," Della says to Nels.  No they certainly aren't.  Della is a 30-year-old spinster in Junction, Utah, and Nels is an 11-year-old orphan working as an orchardist in the remote community.  Over the spring and summer, Della tries to befriend Nels and to convince her to attend the local school where Della will be the new teacher in the fall.  During this time Della discovers that Nels has a special gift that connects her with nature and her dead father.  This is a mystical story that explores the lives of two strong and independent females in the canyon lands of Utah in 1910.  Misfits in the community, they must help each other or fail.

Beth Anderson Schuck is a retired librarian who believes reading can take you anywhere.  She writes historical fiction featuring willful female characters. Being in nature whether hiking, birdwatching or gardening makes her whole.

Charles Kowalski
"Simon Grey and the Yamamba"

Can the yokai help Simon and Oyuki escape deadly danger on a mountain?

This story has the feel of a horror movie, one where you yell at the characters, "Don't do that!"  You just know things are going to go from bad to worse.  Cabin boy Simon Grey has a special gift, the ability to see ghosts.  The only place he can escape them is at sea.  Unfortunately, he finds himself shipwrecked in a strange, dangerous, and haunted Japan in 1620.  He meets Oyuki, the daughter of an English sailor-turned-samurai, and together they struggle to stay alive and return home.  When fleeing the Shogun's agents they face a fork in their road.  First bad decision ~ They take a shortcut over a mountain at twilight. Second bad mistake ~ They stop at an isolated house.  Third bad mistake ~ You'll just have to read this suspenseful fantasy to find out!

Charles Kowalski has published the full story of Simon, Oyuki and their adventures through haunted Japan in Simon Grey and the March of a Hundred Ghosts.  In addition to to middle-grade fantasy, Charles' thrillers for adults, Mind Virus and The Devil’s Sonhave won prizes and nominations including the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' Colorado Gold Award, the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award, and the Adventure Writers Grandmaster Award.

Rebecca M. Douglass
"A World of Trouble"

Sneaking off to see their first aeroplane:  What could go wrong for Mattie and Gordon?

“We’re in so much trouble, Mattie,” her best friend Gordon remarks.  Life-threatening trouble.  Mattie and Gordon have to miss seeing their first aeroplane at the Conconully fair.  Mattie must take care of the family farm while her family goes to the fair, and Gordon’s father would never take his family on such a trip.  The night before the fair, the friends concoct a plan that will allow them to see the aeroplane fly and to handle their necessary chores at home without their parents discovering that they snook off to the fair.  What happened on their lark was scary and suspenseful.  Will disobedience and errors in judgment cost them their lives?  

Rebecca is the author of the delightful Ninja Librarian books, as well as a picture book for outdoor families, a mystery series for the parents, and her middle-grade fantasy, Halitor the Hero.  After more than seventeen years working at the library, she has retired still without learning all the secrets of the Ninja Librarian.

Katharina Gerlach
"Winter Days"

Will Katie's family be arrested after a blizzard delays their return from a Christmas trip to East Germany?

Twelve-year-old Katie’s father is a Republikflüchtling, a former resident of the German Democratic Republic who left to study forestry in West Germany prior to the building of the German-German border.  When he returns to East Germany on a Christmas visit with his family many years later, they are trapped by a blizzard beyond the date of their scheduled return.  This delay and her father’s past may result in the imprisonment of Katie and her family.  This story is filled with winter cold and great fear that had me racing through the pages to its end.  

Katharina currently writes stories of varying length in fantastical and historical genres. She runs the Indie Authors’ Advent Calendar each year, a free for all story feast.

Coming on Wednesday, May 12, 2020 . . .

Find out everything about this year's IWSG Anthology Contest and learn some insider tips for the competition.

Till next time 
Fundy Blue 

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Reviews of Voyagers: The Third Ghost:

1. Check out a review by author Beverly Stowe McClure at Goodreads. Beverly has just
published her latest teen novel Gabe's Guardian Angel.

2. Here's another by a teen named Julia who reviews YA books, middle grade, and adult books
at her blog Pages for Thoughts.

Interviews with Authors:

1. Yvonne Ventresca with Stacy Horan at The Bookshop at the End of the Internet

2.  Sherry Ellis with June McCrary Jacobs at Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic

Blog Features:

1. Voyager Authors with Mason Canyon at Thoughts in Progress.

Upcoming Events:

1. Wednesday, May 19 and 21, 2020 . . .
      A great opportunity to learn about publishing!
      Diane, the publisher of our IWSG anthologies, will be hosting two webinars:
      May 19th:  How to Publish Your Book Now Part 1     Cost: $10.00 US dollars
      May 21st:  How to Publish Your Book Now Part 2     Cost: $10.00 US dollars

     Register at &

2. May 6 - C. Lee McKenzie, Author

3. May 6 - Natalie AguirreLiterary Rambles

4. May 8 - Sandra Cox

5. May 11 - Juneta Key  

6. May 5-7-12 - Mason Canyon  Thoughts in Progress  

7. During May - Elizabeth Seckman

8. May and June - Stormdance Publications https://stormdancebooks.

9. At various times - IWSG Instagram

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You can preorder a copy of
VOYAGERS: The Third Ghost 
at the links below.

Print 9781939844729 $13.95
EBook 9781939844736 $4.99

Juvenile Fiction - Historical / Action & Adventure /
Fantasy & Magic


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

They were all really good in their own way. I couldn't pick a favorite.

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

Thanks for reviewing the stories! I'm having to wait to read it because of a couple of deadlines, and it's killing me!

Sherry Ellis said...

Thanks for reviewing all of the stories. It's a great collection!

Fundy Blue said...

I could not pick a favorite either, Alex! I loved them all!

Fundy Blue said...

Thanks, Rebecca! I was scratching my head over what to do for this post since I had promised to do "something." Every story was unique and different, and when I was about halfway through the book, I realized reviews were the answer! Yours was scary and suspenseful. It's amazing what trouble two kids can stumble into ~ This must be some kind of universal plot!

Fundy Blue said...

Thanks, Sherry! It is a great collection. I love Bubba and Squirt, and I plan to read more of their adventures. I so like how you handled the "traveling."
Kids will love the humor in your story!

Roland Clarke said...

More great promotion, Louise many thanks. My book arrived yesterday evening so yet to enjoy all these gripping and fascinating tales.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

All of the stories were a delight because they were all so different.

Thank you for mentioning my seminar.

Fundy Blue said...

Thanks, Roland! I loved your story ~ and in my mind I can see a book in it! I loved the characters, and I'm so glad that Zoya was taken care of!!! Seriously, think about a book!!!

Fundy Blue said...

That's the aspect I loved most about our book ~ each story is unique! Obviously the genre and theme were successful because they produced this range of stories. Next week I'll add in your new seminar. Unfortunately, I didn't read your recent post until last night. A few great friends of mine have already bought the book! Wow!

Roland Clarke said...

Thanks Louise!! I'd be tempted by the book idea after my research revealed so much, but I'm juggling too many draft novels already. But then again.........NaNoWriMo 2020?

Fundy Blue said...

LOL ~ I so get where you're at, Roland! NaNoWriMO would kill ADHD me! You're a braver person than I!

Katharina Gerlach said...

I'm still reading... but I love them all so far.

Bish Denham said...

Wow! Great reviews of our stories. Now that I have my copy of our book I'm looking forward to reading all the wonderful stories!

And thanks again, Louise, for all your good work setting up these posts.

Fundy Blue said...

I've read every story in "Voyagers" at least three times. It's so good!

Fundy Blue said...

Thanks, Bish! I've had lots of fun working on the blog ~ even when I'm tearing my hair out (over layout issues bedeviling me and technical challenges perplexing me). Happy reading. I loved your story ~ Perfect for all ages, and kids will so get it!

Toi Thomas said...

These are great reviews. I got my copy but hadn't picked it up yet. I need to fix that.

Fundy Blue said...

Thanks, Toi! Enjoy reading your copy!