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Posts Tagged ‘Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys’


HERE IS THE FIRST CHAPTER OF “SECRETS IN THE FAIRY CHIMNEYS”

READ THE REST OF THE BOOK AND PROCEED TO THE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS BELOW.

PROLOGUE (July 10)

A Cave in Nevshehir, Turkey

“I’m afraid, Ahmet. I don’t want to go any further.” The girl stamped her foot, the sound echoing through the stillness of the cave.

“Oh, you little silly wussycat! I told you, it is like the story of Hansom and Greta. I left a trail of bread crumbs for us to follow out of this cave.”

“That’s Hansel and Gretel, you great fool,” his sister shot back, momentarily distracted from her panic. Looking up at her brother, and noticing the shadow of a mustache under his nose, she thought, Can I really trust this twelve year old brother to save us?

Her eyes took in the expanse of the chamber they were in, water dripping from some place their flashlights could not illuminate. The stone was irregular and gray. The light beam revealed only a small swath, leaving the rest of the cave in menacing shadows and deep black voids, leading away into a terrifying unknown. Yelda’s voice hitched as she tugged on Ahmet’s sleeve. “Let’s get out of here,” she implored once more.

Changing his tone to a more cajoling one, Ahmet reasoned, “Please, just a few more feet, Yelda. I’m running out of bread crumbs.”

“What!” she said through quivering lips, her voice a shrill peep. “You said this would be an adventure. You didn’t say anything about death traps.” She pulled more insistently at his arm.

Undeterred, Ahmet surged on. “Just over there. See, at the end of this cave.” He grabbed her hand and Yelda followed, sniveling, her body tense with apprehension.

Ahmet stumbled over a lip in the floor, pitching forward and dragging his sister with him. He did not let go of her hand in case she would give into her fear and bolt for the entrance to the cave.

“What if your breadcrumbs don’t help us?” Yelda said, the quiver in her voice giving way to fear.

Carefully picking their way, the two fell against a boulder which shielded a rocky ledge that fell off into an abyss which they could not see. Ahmet clutched his flashlight like a lifesaver while he tested for footholds, making his way around the boulder. As he did so, the boulder, which teetered precariously on the ledge, began to slide away from them. Before they could comprehend what that meant, the thin ledge they were standing on cracked and Yelda and Ahmet began to slide downward along with the boulder and the broken ledge.

The sound was deafening in the cave. The fall could have only taken a few seconds, but the sudden stop at the bottom raised a cloud of choking dust leaving the explorers in a daze.

Yelda was too stunned to cry. Ahmet never let go of either his twin sister or the flashlight.

“Stand up, Yelda!” demanded her brother, as he did so himself. “Can you walk? I seem to be okay.”

“Ahmet, if we ever get out of here,” hissed Yelda through gritted teeth, “I will kill you. Why, I say, why do I ever listen to you?’

“This is no time for us to argue. We are in big trouble. We must find our way out of here.”

“Even so smart, you are,” Yelda sneered. “In all of Turkey, there is not a more stupid boy!”

“Stop that! This is no time for your sarcastic poking at me, sister.” Ahmet sounded far more confident than he felt. “We need to think like the amateur archeologists we are.”

“Hah! You said it! Amateur! Yelda was choking back a sob.

“Get up,” Ahmet demanded. Their terrible situation was taking a firm hold on his gut, and he had to muster all his machismo to push down his own panic. They had fallen through the floor of an unexplored cave and no one back at the camp knew where they were.

Yelda got up feeling the seat of her pants. “I am either bleeding, or there is water here,” she said. “Did you lose the flashlight?”

“No,” he replied, realizing how tightly he was gripping it. “And it is still working.”

He played the beam around their new cave. They could see they were standing in a high-ceilinged cavern with a large puddle or small pond in front of them. There was no telling how deep the water might be. He played the flashlight upward in the direction of their fall. His heart tripped in his chest at what he saw. He could just make out the opening to the chamber fifteen feet above through the cloud of dust. There was no apparent way to climb back up. The wall between them and it was glassy smooth with marble-like limestone. The rock formations in this chamber were very different from the cave above. As Ahmet played the flashlight past the water to the other side, the wall of the cave sparkled as if encrusted with the glitter Yelda liked to glue onto everything she owned.

Yelda was quiet, reality making her mute.

“Let’s see if we can find another way out of here,” Ahmet said as visions of their skeletonized remains decorating some deep chamber of this cave system spurred him on to do something.

“Maybe if we shout,” Yelda offered, but quickly added, “Maybe we need to save our voices.” She fell silent again.

“Ah! I have an idea. I will turn off the flashlight. We will close our eyes for a minute or two. When we open them we will be able to detect if there is light coming from anywhere. There might be an exit nearby.”

Ahmet clicked the switch off switch. The darkness was a velvety curtain brushing against them. Their ears seemed to pulsate, willing to pick up some hopeful sound.

Drip. Plunk. Another thirty seconds went by. Drip. Plunk.

“I am opening my eyes now,” Ahmet announced.

“I will not open mine,” Yelda replied. “If we don’t see anything, I will go crazy.”

Ahmet muttered, “Nothing. Maybe I need to close my eyes longer.” Yelda whimpered. Another thirty seconds.

“I have gone crazy,” Yelda hissed. “Do you see that?”

“What?” Ahmet hissed back. “Why are you whispering?”

“It might be some horrible cave creature. I don’t want it to find us.”

Both of them watched as the merest shimmer glimmered and dimmed on the surface of the pool. On the other side of the water there was a ledge with floor to ceiling limestone formations. They could not see behind it.

Ahmet pointed. “It’s coming from there.” He stood and made toward the pool.

“Ahmet, no!” Yelda breathed. “You just can’t cross this pool. What if it is very deep? And all that splashing? What if it is some fierce creature?”

He nodded. “Good thinking. We can keep to the edge, and go around the pool.”

Dimming their light, Yelda and Ahmet carefully tested each footstep before moving forward, making it around to the stone wall on the other side. The shimmer on the pool was getting brighter, but not enough to see by.

Yelda crouched down so they could both peer around the wall. That dim flickering in the darkness of the cave made invisible objects glint in its irregular pulses of light. It made threatening shadows, and obscured reality.

The source of the shimmering light continued to flick on and off in the distance, making shadows that seemed to clutch at them. Yelda and Ahmet held their breath.

“What is that?” Yelda mouthed in Ahmet’s ear. She sensed her brother draw in a breath to speak, and in her rising panic, put her hand over his mouth.

“Wha mmm uhmmm.”

“Don’t call out. You don’t know what it is,” She implored.

Ahmet exhaled and they crouched out of sight. A huge shadow was taking form in the growing light in the pool. They waited for their monster to appear.

As the light grew brighter, the features of the cave became more distinct. The walls were lined with recesses. They looked almost man-made. There were objects in the niches. Colors began to emerge. Light glinted off objects that looked golden. Sparks winked from other surfaces.

“This place is some sort of treasure trove,” Yelda whispered.

Ahmet’s attention was riveted on the approaching light. A figure began to take form. It was humanoid, but had an enormous lump on its back. It grunted as it approached. Some instinct made Yelda and Ahmet shrink back. This figure might not be their savior.

The monster made it to the middle of the chamber, where it shed the gigantic lump. It was not a monster, but a human with a dark hoody and trousers. The hump was a large sack. The figure quickly and methodically began to empty the sack, stashing the objects in the niches. When the task was done, it folded the sack and made quickly back the way it had come.

“We must follow,” whispered Ahmet. Yelda needed no urging.

“Why don’t we call out to them, Ahmet?” Yelda seemed to have forgotten her recent fears.

“Why are they hiding golden and jeweled objects in a cave, Yelda?  Let’s get out of here first. Then we can see who this is. What if we have come upon thieves hiding their loot? They may not want anyone seeing them.”

Yelda nodded. “That makes sense, Hurry, let’s not lose her.”

“How do you know it’s a her?’

“Shhhh. I don’t. Just a feeling. Later.”

The brother and sister followed, using their light and picking their way carefully. The deep blackness they had experienced in the cave was becoming deep gray.

“We must be close to the entrance,” whispered Yelda.

Ahmet tripped and lost his grip on the flashlight. It clattered to the floor. The light ahead stopped bobbing. Instincts took over, and Yelda and Ahmet flattened themselves behind a rock. They could see a glimmer of daylight ahead. But the figure with the light had decided to investigate the clattering sound. It turned and was coming toward them, flashlight searching every nook and cranny.

BOOK DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Book Club Questions for Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys                    

For the author:

1. What research did you do for the book, especially the introduction to Istanbul?

2. Why did you pick Turkey?

3.  What draws you to choose the science aspects in the story?

4. Is Catalhoyuk a real place?

5. Thefts at archaeological digs are not uncommon. How did you develop the twist in the plot involving Dr. Radcliffe?

6. What is it about caves that fascinated you? How were you able to make them so real?

From the Author:

  1. How would you feel about working at an archaeological dig?
  2. Do you think Annie is brave, stupid or just a teenager?
  3. How would you rate Annie’s performance handling international travel?
  4. How close to being kidnapped do you think Annie was?
  5. Is Ty the same or different from the Ty in The Madonna Ghost?
  6. Is Ty overprotective? Is Annie rash?
  7. What did you think of Istanbul and Cappadocia?
  8. If you had to describe Ahmet and Yelda, what would you say?
  9. How important were the twins to the plot?
  10. I had fun with the Ouija Board. Did you?
  11. I tried to make strong male characters in this book. What did you think of Cedric Zeeks, Bruce McAniff, and Dr. Radcliffe, or even Dr. Atsut.
  12. What was your favorite scene in the book?
  13. What should I do with Annie? Should she marry Ty in the next couple of years? Should the next story include the wedding?

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Hi Kids! Hi Parents! Hi Gramma and Grampa, and Aunts and Uncles and Cousins. Give your favorite Kid a Thrilling, Page-Turning, Just Pure Fun Mystery for a Holiday Gift. 

Books make great gifts for the holidays

Books make great gifts for the holidays

ANNIE TILLERY MYSTERIES are just the books to fit that bill. Visit the website, lindamariafrank.com , to find out more about the books, and to order directly from the website.

 

Books make great gifts for the holidays

 

teen mystery, girl detective, ghost story, summer read

Annie and her boyfriend, Ty, uncover the secrets hidden by Fire Island and The Madonna Ghost.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

An exciting YA mystery

The Brooklyn Bridge leads to the mysterious brownstone in Brooklyn where Annie and friends must find the clues to solve the murder of John DiCristiani.        

New Annie Tillery Mystery

Take the magic carpet ride of your imagination to Turkey. Join Annie and Ty in the caves of mysterious Cappadocia for another thrilling adventure.         

Books make great gifts for the holidays

The latest Annie Tillery mystery takes us from the present to 1943. The ghost of Annie’s great grandmother helps her to solve a cold case involving the famous Avenger aircraft.             

Books make great gifts for the holidays

Great Teen Mysteries                                                                                                   

Books make great gifts for the holidays

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The Adventures of a Self-Published Author Proves to Be a Matter of Trial and Error.

Ideas can come. And then, they can go.

Ideas can come. And then, they can go.

The challenge continues to be marketing. I finished the fourth book in the Annie Tillery Mystery series late this year, and it’s with the editor, and the illustrator who is working on the three illustrations I have included in all the books of the series.

I hope to get it to the publisher by the end of January. If you are an author, you know how that feels. If you are a reader, the story you are reading happens from the germ of an idea, and travels through much brain work to paper.

I’m now planning my marketing strategies. This is what I plan based on what I have learned:

  • Expensive services usually don’t measure up to their cost.
  • Social media is necessary and takes constant searching for the right sites, and input. POST. TWEET. POST. TWEET. ETC.
  • Twitter is a great research tool. Search for author services, contests and reviewers, as well as sites where you can advertise your books.
  • I’m beginning to wonder if all the “cheap” services I pay for might be better spent on a publicist.
  • There is an endless parade of folks who want to market your books. Choosing the right ones is a challenge, falling under the category of, “Some you win, some you lose”.
  • Review services are a chancy business, especially if your plot, background material, and for me science, are out of the ordinary. I paid for a review that claimed I should check my facts about my setting, one that I visited, recorded in pictures, journaled, and interviewed residents to get my information. This was such a stupid, unfounded criticism that I have become leery about asking for reviews. Don’t pay until you see the review.
  • Local media can be your best friend.
  • Make an organized plan for marketing, one that involves daily, weekly, and monthly activities using various media. This is essential for a self-published author, and probably for traditionally published authors as well.
  • In summary, be careful what you pay for. A lot of marketing can be done by you for free, or little cost.

teen mystery, girl detective, ghost story, summer read        An exciting YA mystery     New Annie Tillery Mystery

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You never know, when you write a book, what the reviews will be. I’d like to share these reviews with you. First, because I am grateful that my work is appreciated, and second because the reviewers got what I hoped that you, the reader, would also get. Thanks for reading Annie Tillery Mysteries, great teen mystery books.

Raymond Klesc at New Book Journal has included “Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys” in the collection. See it at:

http://newbookjournal.com/2014/06/secrets-in-the-fair-chimneys-by-linda-frank/
at Pinterest at…

Simon Barrett at bloggernews.net gives all three books a lovely review.

For “The Madonna Ghost”

http://www.bloggernews.net/134804

I first encountered author Linda Frank when I read her third book in the Annie Tillery series The Secrets In The Fairy Chimneys. Linda Frank assured me in an interview that while the books were indeed a series, each one was a stand alone work with Annie and her boyfriend Ty as the central characters.
I rather like the book, so I am not prepared to take the plot discussion any further. I will leave that for readers to discover by themselves. But I will make some observations, Linda Frank knows her stuff. She is a retired science teacher at both High School and College level. One popular class was ‘forensics’.

The Madonna Ghost is a great way to introduce Young Adult readers to the often convoluted world of science. It is easy to confuse a fictional TV show such as CSI with reality. Linda Frank does use an element of science to tell the story, but much prefers good old common sense.

For “Girl with Pencil Drawing”

http://www.bloggernews.net/134885

Girl With Pencil, Drawing was the second in the series. In some ways it is also my favorite. Possibly it is because of the subject matter, stolen and forged art work. This is an area that I have spent countless hours researching. The book is fiction, but in true Linda Frank fashion, there is a huge amount of factual content. This is learning without realizing you are learning!
What jumped out at me while reading Girl With Pencil, Drawing was the close attention paid to detail. No art forger with his or her salt forges a well known work, Trying to sell a copy of the Mona Lisa, would likely not get very far in the art world. Forgers tend to go for lesser known artists. A good forger does not copy, he creates a new as yet undiscovered work by an artist. The master forger will even go so far as to weave a fictitious provenance for the work.

Linda Frank touches on all of these subjects and much more. Although billed as a YA (Young Adult) book I think it has much broader appeal.

For “Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys”

http://www.bloggernews.net/134466

This is third book that Linda Maria Frank has published in her Annie Tillery series. People love to put books in genres and the publisher has deemed that Secrets In The Fairy Chimneys is Juvenile Fiction. I personally would have labeled it YA (Young Adult), but that is of no matter. It is the story that matters, not the filing cabinet it is put in.

I rather like the style that the author uses, she does not talk down to her young readers, rather she treats them as peers on a quest.
I had the opportunity to talk to Linda before reading her latest book. It is amazing how much you can learn about a book before you read it. “CSI meets Nancy Drew” was a comment that I rather liked. Indeed Annie Tillery is much more modern than Nancy Drew. The writing style is also much more modern.

Growing up I was a fan of Enid Blyton and the Famous Five, even the Secret Seven. Those books are now dated. The youth of today are looking for stories that they can relate to. iPhones and computers are the key.

Secrets In The Fairy Chimneys is a great read, what I particularly like is that Linda Maria Frank manages to weave a good deal of factual material into the action and adventure. One could call it ‘sneaky learning’ 🙂 This actually should come as no surprise as the author was a school and college teacher before turning her attention to writing.

There is also a very interesting twist in the end of the book. It is one that I had not foreseen, yet makes perfect sense.

And from My Blog Tour, Enchanted Blog Tours

After all the hard work of writing publishing and promoting the Annie Tillery Mystery series, it is pure joy to get a review that gets what I have been trying so hard for. Thanks Mindy.

http://dream-reader-dreamer2229.blogspot.be/

Review:
I have fallen in love with spunky Annie and her mysteries. This is going to become part of the books I pass down to the children in my life.
I give this book 4.5 out of 5 clouds.

And lastly from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Madonna-Ghost-Linda-Maria-Frank/dp/1491710624/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Linda Frank might as well be the next Carolyn Keene with her new age mystery luring readers from every angle–suspense, romance, and modern forensics. This is a perfect book for all ages, particularly young readers who might find Nancy Drew a bit old-fashioned. Written in a way where every chapter leaves you with a crisp, familiar image of each character and location. A great book to encourage summer reading, or satisfy the urge for a rainy day thriller.

http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Fairy-Chimneys-Linda-Maria-ebook/dp/B00IUQ7WZC/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Bravo to Linda Maria Frank! This third book in her Annie Tillery Mystery series is a stunner! Although written for a YA audience, even I as a senior citizen was captured by the mystery and intrigue interwoven throughout this story. And who could resist the element of romance embedded in the two oh-so-appealing main characters, Annie and Ty? But most compelling to me was an introduction to the history and topography of this country with its ancient Fairy Chimneys. Half way through this book, I began researching trips to this wonderland and have placed Turkey at the top of my bucket list for future travels. A beautifully crafted, impeccably edited work. Linda Maria Frank deserves many kudos and an equal number of followers. I know I will be looking out for more of her books to recommend to the young adults in my life, but not before I sneak a peak at them myself.
Lois W. Stern
Creator of the Tales2Inspire book series

http://www.amazon.com/Pencil-Drawing-Linda-Maria-Frank-ebook/dp/B00QWD2WA0/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

With strong characters, flowing dialog and layers of mystery, soon everyone is caught up in a real who-dun-it that involves a long lists of suspects and hidden clues. Twists and turns with all the dangers that come into play when an International Art Fraud has been perpetrated.
Learn the ins and out of the art world that include how scientists tests for authenticity in original paintings by world renown artist like Renoir and the lucrative forgeries that make this underworld as treacherous as any international mob association.

Follow the clues, wait for the DNA evidence and sift through the ashes left by an arsonist. Inspire a young reader to discover the innate detective skills of Annie Tillery who is fast becoming the next Nancy Drew. This series should be placed on our schools’ summer reading list.

Cold Coffee Press endorses ‘Girl with Pencil, Drawing’ and the Annie Tillery Mysteries by Linda Maria Frank. We received a PDF version of this book for review. Review completion date March 24, 2015. For more information please visit Cold Coffee Press.

 

See an AUTHORS SHOW interview with Linda Maria Frank

https://youtu.be/DOHR6JZuEts

 

 

 

 

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allowfullscreen></iframe>http://http://theauthorsshow.podomatic.com/embed/frame/posting/2015-03-18T13_53_58-07_00?json_url=http%3A%2F%2Ftheauthorsshow.podomatic.com%2Fentry%2Fembed_params%2F2015-03-18T13_53_58-07_00%3Fcolor%3D1c60ff%26autoPlay%3Dfalse%26width%3D440%26height%3D85%26objembed%3D0

 

Follow Annie and Ty, and their new friends Cedric Zeeks and Ahmet and Yelda Atsut as they discover the secrets at  a mysterious archaeological dig in Turkey

Follow Annie and Ty, and their new friends Cedric Zeeks and Ahmet and Yelda Atsut as they discover the secrets at a mysterious archaeological dig in Turkey

These interviews are great fun. Check out http://www.authorsshow.com

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Wish me luck! You can read my entry essay about DNA and authors by going to the following link. Just scroll down to my name. http://www.wnbnetworkwest.com/WnbAuthorsShow50Writers2014-VotingPageFinalists.html

Learn about my books and if you are interested in mysteries and mystery writing, contact me about the programs I do in libraries, museums, classrooms, and for book clubs. Looking forward to hearing from you.

http://www.freepublicitygroup.com/release_linda_frank_nov114.html

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In an interview I was asked what I did about “Writers’ Block”. In the first two books of the Annie Tillery Mysteries, I did not experience the dreaded blank brain/blank page syndrome. I attribute that to the settings of both, The Madonna Ghost on Fire Island, and Girl with Pencil, Drawing in NYC.

Because I knew those setting so well and loved them just as well, the story could sometimes just flow on the backs of descriptive passages and historical accounts. The development of characters became easier, because of the placement of plot elements in specific settings in these two novels. The settings helped me to capitalize on specific personality traits that were evoked by the settings.

The third of the series, Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys, set in Turkey, was not as easy. Although I visited Turkey to research the book, the fabulous setting I found there were not a part of my soul. I had to really work hard to achieve a credible air of intimacy with the settings that I had conveyed to my readers in books one and two.

great teen mystery

Fairy Chimneys in my mystery novel, SECRETS IN THE FAIRY CHIMNEYS

I was excited to have the book set in both Istanbul and Cappadocia. I had come upon a description of the archeological dig, a real place called Catalhoyuk, in an archeology journal, and was fascinated by the fact that it was the oldest known town ever found (9,000yrs.). The area where it exists is Cappadocia, rich with ancient history from Hittites to Christians to the “cave people”, as they like to be known, of the present. “Fairy chimneys” is the name given to the weird geological formations that exist there. The stone is so soft that inhabitants carve them into dwellings.

My tour of Turkey included much time in Cappadocia, allowing me to take many pictures and absorb the atmosphere of the place. As I wrote the book, I was gratified for the notes I took, and even wrote passages of the book and adjusted the chapter outline to make it fit what I saw. My photos were invaluable. I had a super guide book that helped me with words and phrases. I took note of peoples’ names, so that I could use authentic Turkish names in the book. I felt that Cappadocia almost became one of the characters in the book with its dry vegetation, dust, and of course, fairy chimneys.

Istanbul, once Constantinople, was captivating. This city setting can still be conjured up just by closing my eyes. The bazaar exceeded my expectations. It was a total assault on the senses. A surprise was the Cistern, a museum of the city’s ancient underground water system. It was so unusual, and its underground passages and chambers had to figure into the story.

As a writer, the lessons I took from my Turkey setting are: really research the setting. If you can’t go there, study maps, view travelogues, and learn the history of the place. Google maps and images are a great help too. I reviewed the tours we took on my Turkey trip, especially the walking ones, along with my photos and notes.

There needs to be a balance between setting, character and plot, but setting for me can be one of your characters, one that can provide your main characters with endless possibilities.

 

 

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New Annie Tillery Mystery

Take the magic carpet ride of your imagination to Turkey. Join Annie and Ty in the caves of mysterious Cappadocia for another thrilling adventure.

“Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys” is live! Annie Tilley’s latest adventure takes place in Turkey. In exotic Istanbul, and the mysterious caves of interior Turkey known as Cappadocia.  Read Annie, in her own words.

I got to go on this awesome adventure because my boyfriend, Ty Egan, was working on a project for his college degree.  He is digging up bones and artifacts in Catalhoyuk, the oldest known town in the world. They needed volunteers at this archaeological dig, and besides being interested in the project, jumped at a chance to join Ty.

Ty’s best friend, Cedric Zeeks, is in charge of the American volunteers. He is smart, charming, and an impressive scientist, proving the DNA links between the bones in Turkey and our human ancestors in Africa. When valuable treasures from the dig disappear, and accidents threaten the lives of the staff, ( even I am the object of threats), Cedric  teams up with me and Ty to solve the mysteries surrounding the dig. FC 6X9 RGB- blue eyed burqa

Whether it’s chasing down clues in the Bazaar in Istanbul, searching the eerie caves in Cappadocia, or analyzing DNA left by the bad guys, Cedric is the guy we want on our team. His keen ability to red people and situations make us an instant mystery solving trio.

 

Yelda and Ahmet Atsut, twin children of the dig’s director have eyes and ears everywhere. They point to some of the most valuable clues. Yelda and Ahmet explore the caves in the region, leading to some vital information, but almost costing their lives.

FC 6X9 RGB - twins in cave R1

 

 

 

FC 6X9 RGB - ouija board R1

What a surprise when they produce the Ouija board they claim to have the answers to the secrets in Cappadocia.

 

 

 

Not everyone at the dig is a friend. Sasha Borodin, assistant to the twin’s father, Dr. Atsut, hates me. She is secretive and uncooperative to any efforts to put a stop to the mystery and violence at the ancient town.

Other folks at the dig seem to be friends at times, but not so much at others. Dr. Radcliffe, a U.S. army medic shows up to provide medical services, but his unexplained absences at other times tweaks my curiosity. His warnings to keep my nose where it belongs raises my defenses.

Bruce McAniff, an engineer, has my antennae twitching. He seems to be in the wrong place at the right time.

This cast of characters lead us from one clue to another in the puzzle of why Catalhoyuk is the target of the thieves who are raiding the treasures of the ancient world.

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In “Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys”, DNA is a very important clue. My dad asked me to explain DNA to him. I was shocked. “Everyone knows what DNA is, Dad!” I exclaimed. He replied that he knew it was called the code of life, that it controls heredity, and that you can establish links between individuals, but how does it work?

New Annie Tillery Mystery

Take the magic carpet ride of your imagination to Turkey. Join Annie and Ty in the caves of mysterious Cappadocia for another thrilling adventure.

Practically every high school student today knows about DNA, and how it works. DNA is a huge molecule that resides mostly in the nucleus of cells. It has the ability to duplicate itself, which is essential to the cell’s survival when it divides to make new cells. Every cell needs to have a complete set of
DNA molecules to function properly.

The DNA molecule holds a chemical code that translates into instructions for all cell materials and functions. Just like a computer works on codes made up of ones and zeros, DNA works on a code of tiny units within its structure. For simplicity sake we call these subunits, A, C, T and G. Just like the sequence of ones and zeros in computer codes establishes a set of instructions, the sequence of A’s, C’s, T’s and G’s determine the code for instructions for the cell’s functions.

dna molecule

There is more to the story, as you may have guessed. If the DNA code remains locked in the nucleus, it is useless. This problem is solved by another molecule, actually a relative of DNA, called RNA. RNA acts as a messenger carrying the code to another part of the cell called the ribosome. Cells have lots of ribosomes. They are protein factories where all the essential chemicals needed for the cell to live, function and divide are made. Any mistake in this process leads to disease, cancer or death. These mistakes are called mutations.

For the purpose of identifying individuals, scientists use a part of the DNA code that does not code for an essential protein, but exists in the molecule, differing from one individual to another in length. For each one of these “lengths” there is a finite number of variations that exist. Each person will fall into one of the length categories.  Just identifying a person to one of these groups is not enough to confirm their identity, because thousands of individuals make up each length category. Fortunately, scientists have located many of these stretches of DNA, called restriction fragment length polymorphs. Statistically combining the person’s locations in several of these fragments will yield a probability that is 99.9% confirmation of identity.

In “Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys” each person at the archeological site had been DNA profiled. This is to make sure that there is no contamination of the ancient bone DNA Cedric Zeeks is analyzing. This list of profiles later becomes key to solving the mystery, because Ty and Cedric and I figure out that only the thief can leave their DNA in one place that no one else has access to.

Can’t wait to get the book out, so you can tell me what you think!

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SECRETS IN THE FAIRY CHIMNEYS

New Annie Tillery Mystery
Take the magic carpet ride of your imagination to Turkey. Join Annie and Ty in the caves of mysterious Cappadocia for another thrilling adventure.

A Cave in Nevshehir, Turkey

“I am afraid, Ahmet. I don’t want to go any farther.” The girl stamped her foot, the sound loud in the still cave.

“Oh, you silly little wussy cat! I told you, it is like the story of Hansom and Greta. I left a trail of bread crumbs for us to follow out of this cave.”

“That’s Hansel and Gretel, you great fool,” his sister shot back, momentarily distracted from her panic. Can I really trust this brother? What does he know about cave exploration? Really!

Her eyes took in the expanse of the chamber, water dripping from some dark place their flashlights could not reach. The stone was irregular and gray. The flashlight revealed only a small cone-shaped area, leaving the rest of the cave in menacing shadows and a deep black terrifying void. Yelda’s voice broke as she tugged on Ahmet’s sleeve. “Let’s get out of here,” she implored once more.

“Please,” Ahmet said, just a few more feet, Yelda. I’m running out of bread crumbs.”

“What!” she said through quivering lips, her voice shrill. “You said this would be an adventure. You did not say anything about death traps.” She pulled more insistently at his arm.

Undeterred, Ahmet pushed his sister on. “I’m only kidding about the bread crumbs. I used string,” he admitted. “Come. Let’s see what’s at the end of this cave.” He grabbed her hand and Yelda followed, sniveling, her body tense.

Ahmet stumbled on a loose stone, pitching forward and dragging his sister with him. He didn’t let go of her hand in case she would give into her fear and bolt for the cave’s entrance.

“What if your string doesn’t help us?” Yelda said, her voice quivering with fear.

Ahmet ignored her pleas and pulled her along. Carefully picking their way, the two bumped against a boulder.

“Did this big rock move a little?” Yelda demanded.

Ahmet clutched his flashlight like a life preserver as he tested for footholds. He pulled his sister along, moving around the boulder. As he did so, the boulder teetered precariously. He couldn’t see how thin the ledge they were standing on was. As they both moved around the huge rock, it began to slide away from them. Suddenly, the thin ledge they were standing on cracked and Yelda and Ahmet began to slide downward along with the boulder and the broken ledge.

The sound in the cave was deafening. The fall took only a few seconds, but the result was a cloud of dust that left the explorers dazed and choking.

Yelda was too stunned to cry. Ahmet was still holding onto his twin sister’s hand and the flashlight.

“Stand up, Yelda!” demanded her brother, as he did so himself. “Can you walk? I seem to be okay.”

“Ahmet, if we ever get out of here,” hissed Yelda through gritted teeth, “I will kill you. Why, I say, Why do I ever listen to you?’

“This is no time for us to argue. We are in big trouble. We must find our way out of here.”

“Ever so smart, you are,” Yelda sneered. “In all of Turkey, there is not a more stupid boy!”

“Stop that! This is no time for your sarcastic poking at me, sister.” Ahmet sounded far more confident than he should have. “We need to think like the amateur archeologists we are.”

“Hah! You said it! Amateur!” Yelda choked back a sob.

“Get up,” Ahmet demanded. His terror was rising. He had to muster all his macho to push down the panic. They had fallen through the floor of an unexplored cave and no one back at the camp knew where they were.

Yelda got up feeling the seat of her pants. “I am either bleeding, or there is water here,” she said. “Did you lose the flashlight?”

“No,” he replied, realizing how tightly he was gripping it. “And it is still working.”

He played the beam around the new cave. It  revealed a high-ceilinged cavern. A perfectly smooth black expanse lay in front of them.

“Is that water? It could be a lake,” Yelda observed.

There was no telling how deep the water might be. This chamber was very different from the cave above. As Ahmet played the flashlight across the water, the wall on the far side of the cave sparkled as if encrusted with the glitter Yelda liked to glue onto everything she owned.

Yelda, tears glistening on her cheeks, just stared.

“Let’s see if we can find another way out of here,” Ahmet said as visions of their skeletonized remains decorating some deep chamber of this cave system spurred him on. Leaving the cave the way they came in was no longer an option, even with his carefully laid string.

“Maybe if we shout,” Yelda offered, but quickly added, “Maybe we need to save our voices.” She fell silent again.

“Ah! I have an idea. I will turn off the flashlight. We will close our eyes for a minute or two. When we open them we will be able to see if there is light coming from anywhere. There might be an exit nearby.”

Ahmet clicked off the switch. A velvety curtain of darkness brushed against them. Their ears seemed to pulsate, ready to pick up a sound, any sound.

Drip. Plunk. Another thirty seconds went by. Drip. Plunk.

“I am opening my eyes now,” Ahmet announced.

“I will not open mine,” Yelda replied. “If we don’t see anything, I will go crazy.”

Ahmet muttered, “Nothing. Maybe I need to close my eyes longer.” Yelda whimpered. Another thirty seconds.

“I have gone crazy,” Yelda hissed. “Do you see that?”

“See what?” Ahmet hissed back. “Why are you whispering?”

New Annie Tillery Mystery

Take the magic carpet ride of your imagination to Turkey. Join Annie and Ty in the caves of mysterious Cappadocia for another thrilling adventure.

Read Full Post »