Ah, the teenage years! We’re often miserable, we’re occasionally happy, we yearn for…something, and we’re never really sure what that something might be. We’re choosing our style by trying out lots of them, many of which we will live to regret. Hairstyles. Clothing styles. Oh, yeah, one more thing; lots of us have skin problems, especially pimples, which truly do not go with any look. Ever. Wouldn’t we just love to go back and point out to ourselves as teens that, of all the things we try, this particular thing right here at which I’m pointing this minute does not work, and there’s a better choice?
But which, of all the vast multitude of truly silly things we tried, would be the one thing to point out to our younger selves, from the vantage point of our future, uh, brilliance? For me it would be the ever popular ‘what are you going to do with your life?’
In my teenage years, I tended to rethink career choices as often as I changed the length of my bangs. I wanted to be a scientist, specifically an oceanographer. Hmm, maybe being a poor swimmer might go against that as a career path. How about the time I wanted to be a nurse, mostly because mom was? For someone who doesn’t deal well with puke and snot and blood and stuff, perhaps not the optimum choice. Teacher? Translator? Astronomer? Archaeologist? Engineer? All considered at one time or another.
As you can see, I was conflicted, especially since I was pretty good in math and science, being a card-carrying science fiction geek from the moment I learned to read, but I also wasn’t too shoddy in literature and languages, winning awards in French and Latin to go along with my science and math awards. Yes, I admit it, with some pride: I was a geek-with-a-capital-Gee.
But let’s deal with the ‘moment I learned to read’ comment. Nothing, nothing—and I’m including boys here, thank you very much—but nothing was then and has ever been as important to me as reading. A natural progression, one might possibly consider, would be to become a writer. Ya think?
Sadly, it took me many years and several interesting-yet-unfulfilling career choices to finally hit upon what I had already known forever was my path in life—writing.
I would give a lot to go back and tell thirteen-year-old Me, “Hey, think about becoming a writer, why doncha? You’re gonna love it. Trust me! I’m an adult. I know these things…”
Of course, I’d expect Me to laugh hysterically at that last comment, especially knowing Me, then and now.
K.G. McAbee has written a bunch of books in genres like YA, Regency, fantasy, steampunk, pulp, horror, and even comic books—some of them quite readable. Her most recent releases are the first two books in the Clockwork Pirates YA Steampunk series: THE JOURNAL IN THE JUG and THE HEIRESS ON THE ISLAND, from MuseItUp Publishing. Her short work can be found in lots of anthologies, both print and electronic. She lives in upstate SC in a 200 year old log cabin with gorgeous husband, officially confirmed ghost and spoiled dogs. Check out her author page at Amazon for more info: https://www.amazon.com/author/kgmcabee or email her at email@example.com
‘When the paintings seem to glimmer, then the portals start to shimmer…’
Twelve-year-old Noah Macgregor can’t get that ridiculous line of poetry from an old journal out of his head. And he certainly didn’t plan to get his older sister Holly, their dog Gilbert and himself trapped.
It was an accident. He and Holly were just following Gilbert through the dark hallways of the old house that had belonged to a pirate two hundred years before. They find Gilbert just in time to see him run full speed into…and it looks like, through…a painting. Naturally, they follow their dog; wouldn’t you? And Noah has at least a vague idea of what might be on the other side, thanks to stuff he’d read in that same old journal he’d found inside a jug.
But on the other side of the painting, he and his sister find themselves in a strange sort of colonial South Carolina, where animals do some pretty surprising things and men made of brass and bronze walk and talk. And it gets worse. Captain Ambrose Craven is alive and even badder than expected.
Holly Macgregor is trapped back in 1750s South Carolina, held captive on the island prison of the dread pirate Captain Ambrose Craven. Alone except for fellow captives Lady Isabel, who feels that a lady should always wait to be rescued, Holly makes a desperate plan to escape.
Meanwhile, her brother Noah is making plans of his own, with old friends and new to help him out. Sticky-fingered Rowley the Raccoon is onboard, plus Don Orlando the less-than-brave opossum and a new member of the team: blacksmith Fergus Macgregor. Noah and his friends are on the way to Charles Towne, where they hope to find a boat to take them to the island to rescue Holly.
And what of the brave, if tubby, black Lab Gilbert? He’s disappeared into a painting, on the trail of the treacherous tavern boy Barnabas.
Throw in an ill-tempered metal skull named Mr. Wrycroft, a sneaky ocelot named Ozberto, a helpful spider and a tearful alligator, not to mention the threat of a highwayman called the Grey Ghost, and the mixture could be explosive!