The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper

Temple of the crystal timekeeper ingramspark cover (1)Fiona Ingram’s latest book in the middle grade series, The Chronicles of the Stone, follows the intrepid adventurers to Mexico and The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper. Adam, Justin, and Kim are searching now for the third stone of power, and as always, they must find the stone before the villainous Dr. Khalid can get his hands on it–and them. But there’s an added twist to this tale, a warlord who believes himself the incarnation of an Aztec god. And he’s right in the thick of this adventure!

And so in this third book, the Aztecs come into play along with the Mayans.  From the beginning, when our trio’s plane crashes into the forest, until the end and the life and death game-changing action, there’s a ton of history, religion, and culture to soak up!

Lucky Fiona Ingram to have a book release on a subject that everyone’s talking about now! I was watching a riveting public TV documentary series about Mexico and there on the screen was a cenote (a sinkhole resulting from the collapse of limestone) and I literally sat up from my usual half-reclining position of viewing. I’d just read all about a cenote in The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper! And next came Tezcatlipoca, the Aztec god, and the temple ruins deep in the forests. Hold on! I know all about Tezcatlipoca! And then came…hey! I see what you’re doing and it’s not going to work.

Read The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper for yourself!

 

The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper is available to purchase on Amazon.com. 

 

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Fiona Ingram is a children’s author, but up until a few years ago, she was a journalist and editor. Something rather unexpected sparked her new career as an author—a family trip to Egypt with her mother and two young nephews. They had a great time and she thought she’d write them a short story as a different kind of souvenir…. Well, one book and a planned book series later, she had changed careers.

 

 

You can find Fiona at –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/secretofthesacredscarab/

Website: www.chroniclesofthestone.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/FionaRobyn

Author Site: http://www.FionaIngram.com

 

The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper is a hefty read but there’s plenty of action to keep the story moving. If you want to sneak in that Social Studies unit on Mexico and the Aztecs and Mayans, especially for your reluctant guy readers, here’s the book to do it. And check out Fiona’s website for more information about the story, as well as additional resource material to download for free.

 

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What You Never Knew About Mexico (And Fiona Ingram’s Latest Book!)

Temple of the crystal timekeeper ingramspark cover (1)I’m just going to put this out there first thing: I love fiction where I get a good story wrapped in history-come-alive or science-up-close or geography-made-interesting or…really, just about anything where I learn a lot and can show off later. (Yep, I’m the person who drops comments at gatherings like, “Well, actually, the Mayans were…”) So obviously, I’m a fan of Fiona Ingram‘s middle grade series’ The Chronicles of the Stone.  These books are just packed with fascinating facts interwoven into fun adventures.

Her latest book is all about the Mayans and Aztecs and Mexico and you know what? I think I’ll let Fiona take it from here:

Before I embarked on my children’s books series The Chronicles of the Stone, I had a list of favorite topics, historical subjects I enjoyed reading about or wanted to learn more about. Once I started the adventure series, this was the perfect opportunity to both indulge my list of favorites and create exciting adventures. I knew that somehow, some way my heroes would be swept into the ancient world of the Maya and the Aztecs. I learned so much about Mexico and its history that I hope you’ll read The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper and learn as much as I did about this amazing country and its history. In the meantime, here are 10 interesting facts you possibly did not know about Mexico, whose official name is the United Mexican States.

  1. The Olmec people, Mexico’s first complex society, emerged in the southeastern part of the country around 1200 BC. They were later followed by the Maya, the Toltec, and the Aztec peoples. Mexico’s ancient societies built great cities and huge pyramids, created remarkable works of art, and even studied the stars and planets to determine when to plant crops and hold ceremonies.
  2. The Maya civilization began around 2000 BC and was noted for its hieroglyphic script—the only known fully developed writing system of the pre-Columbian Americas—as well as for its art, architecture, mathematics, calendar, and astronomical system.
  3. FionaIngram.jpg (1)Despite the colonial invasion by the Spanish, the Maya people did not disappear. The largest group of modern Maya is found in the Yucatán region of Mexico. They speak both “Yucatec Maya” and Spanish and are generally integrated into Mexican culture. The Maya have continued to hold on to their unique way of life.
  4. The Aztec civilization was also highly developed socially, intellectually, and artistically and lasted from 1300 until 1521. Invaders led by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés overthrew the Aztecs by force and captured their capital, Tenochtitlan, in 1521, ending Mesoamerica’s last great native civilization.
  5. The world’s oldest team sport originated in Mexico! This ancient sport, the Mesoamerican ball game, has been around for over 3,500 years and could possibly claim the title of the world’s oldest and first team sport.
  6. Who invented chocolate? The history of chocolate begins in Mesoamerica. Fermented beverages made from chocolate date back to 1900 BC. The Aztecs believed that cacao seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom, and the seeds once had so much value that they were used as a form of currency.
  7. Size wise, Mexico is the 11th most populated country in the world with around 127 million people. Mexico is the 14th largest country by land area. There are 31 states in Mexico as well as the capital city (Mexico City).
  8. The northern part of Mexico is a desert. Like southern Arizona, this part of Mexico has saguaro cactus, scorpions and rattlesnakes. Water is scarce here. Southern Mexico is a tropical rainforest. Most people live in the middle of the country.
  9. The Mexican flag has 3 vertical stripes on it―green, red, and white. The green stands for hope, the white for purity, and the red for the blood of the Mexican people.
  10. Mexico is known for its flora and fauna and is one of the seventeen mega-diverse countries in the world. It is also considered to be second in the world of ecosystems. Mexico houses about thirty-four unaltered ecosystems and a number of parks and monuments. It also has seventeen sanctuaries and twenty-six areas for protected flora and fauna.

Yep, I learned all that and lots more reading Fiona’s book. Come back on September 4th when I review The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper. And just maybe, you’ll find out what knowledgeable Mayan gems I’ve been showing off at gatherings!

Five Questions for Margo L. Dill, Author of Finding My Place (And A Giveaway!)

Final Finding My Place CoverI’m SO excited to have Margo L. Dill joining me today! Her debut middle grade historical fiction, Finding My Place, has been out for a month or so and Margo is visiting blogs to share her story and her wonderful writing expertise. So I put five questions to her that I thought might be helpful to any and all writers out there, a little something for everyone! And P.S. You’ll want to read to the very end because Margo has something special for one lucky commenter!

 

1. Finding My Place is set in Vicksburg, Mississippi during the siege there in 1863, and honestly, I think the setting really makes this a unique Civil War story! I often wonder whether, when it comes to historical fiction, writers have an idea, then jump into the research? Or if a writer falls in love with a subject, then comes up with a story. So which came first for you, the history or the plot?

What came first for me was the history. I was teaching fifth grade social studies, when I read in the book, ONE PARAGRAPH about Vicksburg, Mississippi. It said how the citizens showed remarkable strength, lived in caves, and ate rats to keep from surrendering to the Yankees. I needed a novel idea because I was taking a correspondence course about writing for children, and so there was my idea!

 

2. Your heroine, Anna Green, has several siblings, but it’s her younger brother, James, who really tries her patience! How much of your own sibling relationships came into play in the story?

You are going to laugh at this—I am an only child. I have no idea what it’s like to have a sibling, but my husband has two younger siblings—a brother and then a sister. Whenever they are together, they talk all about the past and all the awful things they used to do to each other. Now, they love each other and are close—but back then, my husband is lucky that he has all of his limbs! Actually, my brother-in-law is the one that is lucky—one time my husband accidentally shot him in the leg with a bow and arrow!

 

3. I know this is totally geeky, but I love research notes as much as story, and you had some wonderful tidbits of information in your notes! What surprised you the most about life in Vicksburg during the war? And what made you say, “Ewwww. You’ve got to be kidding!”?

The substitutions that the Vicksburg citizens used so they wouldn’t surrender to the Blue Bellies were amazing to me. Instead of drinking coffee, they created coffee out of acorns! When they didn’t have any paper left, they printed their news on the back of wallpaper. They were creative and resourceful, and I love that spirit. As for gross—all the stuff I read about wounded soldiers and their treatments—gross—it is amazing anyone survived the Civil War. I couldn’t put a lot of that in my book since it’s middle-grade, but I do have some in there when Anna goes and works at an army hospital.

 

4. The road to publication for Finding My Place seemed to hit a few bumps along the way, but I’m so glad you succeeded! What advice can you give to writers struggling to get their novel published?

Don’t give up. It took 11 years from the idea to holding the book in my hand. Part of that was the fact this was my first novel, and I had no idea what I was doing. J I had a critique group that helped me , and I went to writing conferences. Once I had it revised and ready-to-go (really!), I found a publisher fairly quickly—I think I sent to three or four and got two responses—to get to that point took five years. Then once I signed my contract and turned in my final copy, instead of 18 months to publication, it took almost five more years! This was because of the economy and things beyond my control. I just kept writing and kept publishing and kept communicating with my publisher. In the end, it all worked out!

 

5. So we’ve talked about history, but now it’s time to take a look at the future. Inquiring middle-schooler (and older) minds want to know, so what can we expect to read about in the next Margo L. Dill novel?

I am working on a few things—I have a YA that is almost finished—my critique group says send it out, but I have a few more things I want to do. I also have a rough draft finished for a middle-grade mystery novel (contemporary, humorous) that I want to work on in the winter and hopefully send out in the spring. I have two picture books under contract, and those will be out in the future, too. As for more historical fiction, I’m not ruling it out, but it is very time-consuming and difficult to write. I’m going to have to wait until my daughter is in kindergarten!

 

Margo short hairSo there you have it–all you wanted to know about Finding My Place! Oh! Hold on a tic. I didn’t give you the story itself. As it happens, I read Margo’s wonderful book and was lucky enough to review it over at The Muffin. I’m also lucky enough to know Margo, in a virtual way. She’s a contributing editor at WOW! Women-on-writing, which brings me to another lovely surprise for you!

Margo is offering one of two professional critiques/evaluations. There will be one winner and she/he may choose one of the following:

**Professional critique of the first 5 pages of any novel, nonfiction work, or short story
OR
**Professional evaluation of a blog or social media profile with a written summary of what works and suggestions
All you have to do to win is leave a comment here and I’ll draw a name. It’s a swell prize, right? And Finding My Place is a swell book. You can find out how to get an autographed copy for your favorite young reader right here. It’s so easy, even I could do it. (And P.S. I did.)