Imagine a raven appearing out of thin air and guiding you to an exquisitely carved icon that glows with ancient light and pulses with shamanic power.
This is how the adventure begins for Nadia and Aidan Shaw, 13-year-old twins, who live in idyllic Cold Spring, New York. Armed with the power of the Ravenstone and their own special gifts, they embark on a harrowing quest across centuries, at the bidding of a mysterious old shaman. They must depend on their courage, their faith in their friends, and luck. Or is it destiny?
If they succeed, what they bring back could change the course of human existence.
“Solomon and Carey’s imaginative storytelling sweeps you into a fascinating tale of mystery and adventure. Young twins stumble upon an ancient power that could help their family in the future, or trap them in the past forever.”
~ Linda Zimmermann, successful author of 30 books about the paranormal and mysterious stone sites.
Targeted Age Group:: 8 -13
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
When my husband, Mark Carey, and I decided to write a novel together, we simultaneously said, "A kid's book!" And we knew we wanted to focus on middle grade. We played the "What if?" game, focusing on all the areas in which we are both interested: twins, time travel, shamans, Native Americans, healing herbs, ancient Celts, redemption… Add in a shape-shifting raven and two wonderful courageous young 13-year-olds, and the story evolved over a snowy New Hampshire winter.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I love the development of characters! Creating characters always involves an amalgamation of many people I have known, or observed. We knew we wanted honorable, courageous characters, who, although flawed as we all are, have good hearts and choose the right path. (Except for our evil character and he must reap his just rewards!)
Nadia and Aidan, the two protagonists, are 13-year-old twins, who have special gifts. Nadia is profoundly intuitive, can read or feel other peoples' emotions or thoughts. She is impulsive, impatient, passionate, loving, generous, loves her family, and is a bit anxious. Aidan is thoughtful, rational, has been gifted with a photographic memory, and is courageous and highly honorable. He may be just a wee bit geeky and careful, but he is the perfect foil and complement to his twin sister. Together they are greater than the sum of the parts. One and one = three.
June 16, 2016, Cold Spring, New York
"You feel invisible," Nadia said in a matter-of-fact tone.
"Yeah, that pretty much sums it up." Her twin brother Aidan kicked at a rock on the sidewalk, sending it skittering across the pavement. "The only A in the whole class for my Wappinger Tribe paper and he didn't say a single word about it."
"I know Dad has a lot on his mind right now – "
Aidan cut her off mid-sentence, "He’s always had a lot on his mind, but he used to be so proud of me. Now he doesn't even seem to notice anything I do."
"I don't think it's that simple, Aidan. I know Mom is worried about something, about Dad, I think. I’m just not sure what it is yet."
Aidan muttered, "She always fusses over the genius scientist. How is this any different?" Then he stopped suddenly in his tracks and grabbed her arm. "Oh, no. You don’t think they're getting divorced, do you?"
"No, no, that's not it, it doesn't feel like that." Nadia started walking again. "I can't quite put my finger on it… but it feels big. And not in a good way."
As they turned the corner to their own road, Nadia shook off the bad vibes and the nagging worry that had been haunting her. Beautifully tended historic homes lined both sides of this pretty village street. Nadia waved and shouted hello to Mrs. Hanley, who was in her front garden admiring the pink peonies the size of dinner plates. She loved this walk home, where she caught up with her brother's day and decompressed from school.
Her own home filled her with happiness every time she saw it. It was the only house she had ever lived in and she'd heard stories her entire life about her grandmother, who grew up in this house. Built in 1845, it seemed to hold all of her connection to the past, present and future, her memories, her life and loves. White, with black shutters on the windows, it nestled in a garden of rhododendrons and azaleas, with a wide lawn and blueberry hedge separating it from the road. A deep porch wrapped around the front and side, where Nadia loved to park herself in one of the big wicker chairs and gaze at the meadow-like lawn, with its fruit trees. If she sat very still in the spring, she often saw tiny fawns gamboling around in the wildflowers. Down near the stream separating their property from their neighbor's, she loved to catch the tiny toads she had named "micro-toads." And, her dad had built the kids an awesome tree house in the huge black walnut tree in the back yard. The twins' friends always loved to come to their house.
As the kids ran up the porch stairs, an enormous Maine Coon cat lifted his head to greet them, from his favorite wicker chair. He stretched, arched his back, then plopped his front paws down on the floor of the porch while his hindquarters remained on the chair.
"Hey Nicky, I see you had another hard day, didn't you? Huh, kitty?" Aidan chuckled and reached out to the cat, who answered with a soft "Mmmrrraaa." Nicky wandered over and was rewarded with an ear rub from Aidan.
Nadia fished out her keys from her backpack. "Mom said she'd be back about five and asked that we get started in the attic when we got home. The 'Big Brother, Big Sister' truck is coming tomorrow and Mom said she wants to clear some of that stuff up there." Nadia sighed.
Aidan headed for the kitchen. "First things first. I'm starving. My stomach thinks my throat's been cut."
Nadia laughed. He could always make her laugh. "I'll head up – can you bring me one of those blueberry muffins? Oh, and bring some black garbage bags." She took the stairs two at a time.
The huge attic was three flights up, above the second floor, reached by a steep staircase at the end of the hallway. Her mom and dad dreamed of converting the attic into a media room, office, or playroom. But, she and Aidan liked it just fine the way it was and had played up there since they were little kids. Putting on plays was a favorite pastime and the trunks full of clothes from many generations was like having their own Hollywood wardrobe department. One wall consisted of endless shelves of books and boxes crammed full of even more books were stacked nearby. A trunk full of games and toys that no one had looked at in years sat open on one side of the vaulted space. Then there were the odd miscellaneous items no one could manage to toss: an ancient rocking horse, a dressmaker's dummy, an ornate headboard, an old painting or two, some tired old braided rugs. All gathering dust and awaiting their fate.
"Why don't we just rent a big dumpster?" Aidan spoke through a mouthful of peanut butter, so it came out a bit garbled.
"That kind of destroys the point of giving stuff away to people who could use it, don't you think?"
Aidan handed her a muffin and looked around. "Yeah. But, honestly, this house has been in the family for over a hundred years, why does Mom want it sorted out today?"
Twirling her long dark hair, Nadia clipped it up on top of her head, then dropped to her knees in front of another old trunk. "Some of my favorite books are here." She dug around. "I just found 'A Wrinkle in Time.' That goes in the keep pile."
The twins sat down in the shaft of sunlight from the window. As they ate, the quiet was broken by a sudden, raspy, cawing sound.
"That's not from the window – that sounded like it came from in here! Is there a bird trapped up here?" Nadia hopped up to investigate.
"Better make sure the door is shut to the stairs, or Nicky will eat it."
They heard it again. "Graa, graa."
Nadia followed the sound, which took her to the far corner of the attic, where an antique cheval mirror stood. Its glass was smoky with dust and the silver backing so oxidized that her reflection always looked like an old tintype photograph. She looked around for the bird, but a subtle movement in the mirror caught her eye. Was Aidan behind her? No, he was still sitting by the window licking the last of his sandwich off his fingers. She whirled back to the mirror. Just as she began to wipe the dust off the glass with her hand, she jerked back and gasped.
"Uh… Aidan. Aidan, get over here… quick."
The tone of her voice had him up in a flash and hurrying to join her.
"What is it? What's going on?" He focused on the mirror.
Nadia's eyes were huge as she gaped at the old mirror. There, in the glass, was the shimmering image of what appeared to be a very old man. Wizard-like, he was tall and lean with a long, gray beard. A spark of light reflected from his eyes but she could not make out his features. A deep hood, topping the long brown robe he wore tied at the waist, cast a shadow across his face. He held a gnarled wooden staff in one hand and a large black bird was perched on his shoulder. Suddenly the old man moved! He raised one hand, palm outward and reached slowly toward them.
The kids tripped over each other as they pulled back away from the incredible sight.
"Geez, Aidan, what on earth? Who… what is that? Is this a trick? Is there a camera in here?"
In the mirror, the old man and the raven shimmered in and out of focus like a rippling reflection in a pond, and then they both vanished. Aidan and Nadia were frozen, staring and blinking in disbelief at the dusty old mirror.
Then, they heard the back door slam and their heads snapped in the direction of the sound.
"Hey, Aidan, Nadia, I'm home. Where are you?"
It was their mother's voice and she was heading up the stairs.
They looked quickly back at the mirror but all they saw were their own reflections. But, in front of the mirror, a single black feather appeared before their eyes. For an instant, it hung suspended in the air, then floated gently down to rest on the dusty wooden floorboards at their feet.
Links to Purchase Print Books
Buy The Ravenstone: The Secret of Ninham Mountain at CreateSpace
Links to Purchase eBooks – Click links for book samples and reviews
Buy The Ravenstone: The Secret of Ninham Mountain On Amazon
Buy The Ravenstone: The Secret of Ninham Mountain on Barnes and Noble/Nook
Buy The Ravenstone: The Secret of Ninham Mountain on Smashwords
Buy The Ravenstone: The Secret of Ninham Mountain on Kobo
Have you read this book? Tell us what you thought! All information was provided by the author and not edited by us. This is so you get to know the author better.