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The Fairies of Turtle Creek
by Jill K. Sayre
The Fairies of Turtle Creek is Jill K. Sayre's first novel. It is a fantasy suitable for young adults and children aged 9 and up.
The ebook will be FREE on iTunes on 29 November, 2 December, and 26 December. On those days, it will be ON SALE for $0.99 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It will be listed at the discounted price of $3.99 (save $4.00) from Thanksgiving Day (28 November) to Christmas Day (25 December) on iTunes, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble (excluding the days previously mentioned).
Claire Collins is a scientifically-minded 8th grader living in Highland Park, Texas, near Dallas. Her home life changes dramatically when her brother leaves to fight in the Iraq war, and she fears her world will be even more disrupted when her estranged and eccentric grandmother comes to live with her. Grandma Faye begins telling about her own life as a 13 year old in the 1920s, through stories, diary entries, and old letters, including the fact that she believes in fairies of all things! At first, Claire is skeptical, but soon strange occurrences down by Turtle Creek make Claire question what she thought was impossible ...Could fairies really exist?
Lacey and I walked along the creek bed on our way home every Friday, but on that particular day, strange things began happening. As we hopped from rock to rock, our balance was thrown off by the heavy backpacks we carried, and our feet slipped into the water now and again. Splash! Splotches of sunlight broke through the greenery overhead, flashing across our faces. The warm air whispered reminders that summer vacation was just around the corner.
“I can’t wait ‘til we can do this all day long!” With my arms straight out, I spun around, my feet sloshing in an ankle-deep pool. I slid on the slimy creek bottom and almost fell, teetering over far to the right. But, finding my balance, I landed and struck a superhero pose. “Ta-da!”
“Easy there, Claire,” Lacey laughed. “Ya nearly wiped out!”
“Are you saying that wet school books wouldn’t be a very good thing?”
Lacey raised an eyebrow and tilted her head, a smile bursting on her lips. “No, it wouldn’t.” Standing there, her black hair gleaming in the sun, she looked so pretty and confident. It was no wonder that she had so many friends. I caught my own reflection in the water and sighed.
“I’ll try to be more careful, Lacey, but hurry up. We’re almost to the stone bridge.”
We continued along the wet, rocky creek, edged with trees that quietly cheered us on with their waving leaves.
“There it is.” I pointed at the great grey arch made of giant stones just as we came around the bend. As we got closer, the cement plaque in the middle got clearer: “1913.”
“Let’s sit on the bank and soak up a few rays,” I suggested, scrambling up the vine-covered slope to sit atop a boulder.
Lacey climbed up the bank and sat on the rock next to me.
“All of this here goopy moss is getting on my new water shoes.” She frowned and began picking the green muck off of the toes of her pink spandex with a long stick. “And it smells so musty in these parts.”
“I told you to bring an old pair of tennis shoes for creek hiking.”
“Sorry, Claire, but the shoes you’re wearing are far from fashionable,” Lacey replied, bobbing her head from side to side.
“Who cares about fashion when you’re in this mini-ecosystem? Down in this creek bed, creatures, plants, and lots of algae grow as if they’re in a cool forest. We are in a microclimate. They don’t realize they’re really in a hot, dry city.” I spotted a smooth stone on the ground next to me and stretched my arm down to pick it up. I studied it—all grey with a nature-made hole in the middle. Cool.
“I love how the hustle and bustle of the world passes overhead while we are down here in a calm, organic place. We’re in what they call a chasm.” I held up the stone and stuck my finger through the hole to illustrate.
“Chasm—really, Claire? You’re always using such big ol’ words.” Lacey examined the rubber soles of her shoes. They were caked with green mud. A gush of air came from her lips. “I give up,” she said, tossing her stick to the ground.
“Shh! Did you just hear someone say something?” I looked around for another person, slipping the holey stone into my pocket.
“Hear what? I was just saying that I give-”
“Just listen a sec.”
We sat there quietly. At first we heard only birds chirping and water trickling, but then it happened again.
She’s coming! She’s coming!
“Did you hear it that time, Lacey?”
“I did. Someone’s whispering.”
“Who’s here?” I called out, jumping to my feet, searching the banks.
“I think it came from under the bridge,” said Lacey.
“Come look with me.”
Lacey stayed seated on her rock, wide-eyed.
“Lacey, I need you for moral support. You wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to me, would you?” I gave her my best sad puppy look.
She rolled her eyes. “All right, but I’m bringing a weapon.”
Lacey got off her rock, picked up the stick she’d been using to clean her shoes, and hurried over to me.
I saw how tightly her hand was clenched around the stick. “Are you scared?”
“Maybe a little. The voice didn’t really sound human. It sounded strange.”
“It’ll be okay. I’m sure there’s a logical explanation for what we heard.” I grabbed her other hand. “I’ll show you.”
Wading through the water, with backpacks on, our shadows looked like two Ninja Turtles. Just when we’d reached the inside edge of the bridge bottom, we heard the hiss of She’s coming! She’s coming! again, but this time it was mixed with squeals of Soon! Soon!
“Goodness gracious!” Lacey quickly wrapped her arms around me, still clutching her stick. “There are many voices!”
We froze, standing just inside the arching blackness.
“Hello?” I called. “Who’s there?”
We waited, but there was no answer. “Let’s go in a little further.”
Lacey gulped really loudly and I could feel her body trembling. Huddled together, we cautiously took a few more steps into the dark.
By Nancy Himes
Being a long time friend of the author's, and having never read any of her writing, I opened her book for the first time with anticipation and curiosity about her ability to create a worthy story and to maintain the readers interest. I was completely impressed on many levels. First, as an artist myself, I found beauty starting with the soft, whimsical cover, continuing throughout the novel, with graceful lettering for each chapter title paired with charming drawings of impeccable detail. Second, the story has a perfect blend to appeal to a pre-teen and teen audience. It embraces family issues (brother leaves for war, grandmother moves in), mystery, romance, science and nature. Third, the author's descriptive writing enables the reader to vividly imagine the characters and surroundings. I highly recommend this magical story!
About the Author
Born and raised in southern California where flowers bloom year-round, Jill K. Sayre loves plants and gardening. She grew up in a small town, just outside of Los Angeles, full of beautiful Arts & Crafts homes, with her antique-collecting parents. While attending UCLA, Jill modeled and received her degree in Art. She continued on to receive her Teaching Credentials in Elementary Education, specializing in gifted learners.
Her husband’s work moved them, and their three children, to Dallas ... twice. She fell in love with the beauty found in Highland Park, Texas where she resides today. Her first book, The Fairies of Turtle Creek, is woven with the things she loves, like nature, science, art, folklore, and the early 1900s. Jill illustrated the beginning of every chapter and much of the story takes place along Turtle Creek, where she often walks her vizsla dog, Bella.
Jill currently works at an acting college, instructing teens in the areas of acting, modeling, and etiquette. She loves to help other writers and speaks on "Want to Write a Book? Let’s Get Started!", and assists parents by sharing her educational strategies when she speaks about "How to Help Your Child Become a Better Reader". She is active in her local chapter of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), is the founder of a Dallas writer's salon, The Little Read Writing Hood, and is co-chair of the 18th annual Highland Park Literary Festival.
She is currently working on a different trilogy, the first book of which is called Grotesque, with gargoyles that come to life. There are also plans for a second book in the Fairies series, which is set in Maui, Hawaii, with sea sprites, mermaids, and the Hawaiian fairies called menehunes.