Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday's Special is...Cynthia's Attic: The Magician's Castle!

CYNTHIA'S ATTIC: THE MAGICIAN'S CASTLE (Book Four!) by Mary Cunningham

Imagine the fun of meeting your twelve-year-old grandmother! Cynthia's Attic Series offers young readers an adventurous glimpse into the lives of Cynthia and Augusta Lee "Gus" as they travel through time from a magic trunk in Cynthia's Attic.

(From Gus’s perspective)

Maybe I should introduce myself. My real name's Augusta Lee, but if you're not looking for a kick in the shins, just call me Gus. I’m twelve years old (almost thirteen!) and the *star* of the series, “Cynthia’s Attic.” My best friend, Cynthia and I have traveled through time in three books so far, and have been real busy flying off to some scary castles in Europe for book four, Cynthia's Attic: The Magician’s Castle. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m going to give you a sneak peek! I’ve just returned from a finding Cynthia’s great-granddaddy, Beau Connor in Louisiana, and did I get a surprise! Someone, other than Cynthia, returned home with me.

To buy The Magician's Castle or another book in the Cynthia’s Attic series, CLICK HERE

Click to visit, Mary’s blog.


Cynthia had an attic. Not just an ordinary attic. Cynthia's attic was magic.

Cynthia and I came into the world just three months apart. We grew up on the same quiet, sycamore-lined street, our friendship as close as our houses. Fifty years earlier, our grandmothers were best friends. However, we didn't realize the extent of their friendship until after our experience in Cynthia's attic. This is the story of one of our great adventures...the way I remember it.

1864: The young woman paced. Be patient, Kathryn. He will get the letter and he will find you. It must happen quickly. Forces beyond her control were working to keep her there…keep her from her one, true love. Sebastien. Please, hurry!

Footsteps approached. She grabbed the book and flew up the basement steps of the castle.


Chapter One:

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah. She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah…

"An-neeee!" I reached Cynthia's bedroom moments after the Beatles record began blaring.

"This is just like the gramophone I saw at the circus, Gus, only you don't have to crank it! What's it called?" Her face was lit up like a Christmas tree.

Gramophone? She sounds like my grandmother. "It's called a record player, Annie, but, you're making too much noise! We can't let anyone know you're here. Not yet." I shut off the record. Too late.

"Who are you?" Suzette, arms folded, foot tapping stood in the doorway.

"She's with me, Suzette." This was bad. The last person I wanted to see was Cynthia's cranky older sister. "Her family is just visiting and, uh…Cynthia and I said she could hang around with us since she doesn't know…anyone…" My voice cracked.

Fortunately, Suzette didn't care enough to stick around and ask more questions. "Whoever you are…no more noise! I'm trying to practice." She stormed out of the room. "Pests."

I slumped onto the bed, head in hands. This is just a preview. How was I going to explain-away Annie's appearance? Or…disappearance. Now, where did she go?

"Wow, Gus! Look at all these clothes!" Annie flew from the closet, arms loaded dresses.

Oh, no. Cynthia will have a fit when…if she gets back from 1914. "Please put those back, Annie. Cynthia never lets anyone touch her clothes." I had to get through to her. "One day I got soaked in a rainstorm. Would she let me borrow a shirt and a pair of shorts? Nooo. I had to sit by the heat vent until I dried!"

Annie looked unimpressed with my lecture, but I continued, anyway.

"Cynthia could show up any minute and I, for one, don't want to hear her scream at the sight of wrinkles in her "precious wardrobe." I knew that my friend’s imminent return was wishful thinking because Annie had to get back to Beau's 1914 farm, before Cynthia could hope to travel home.

I unfolded the note that had appeared in the trunk moments after my return to the attic from my last trip through time.

Gabriella is sending the medallion so Annie can use it to travel back. Keep her hidden until it gets there. I'll see you soon, if I don't get food poisoning from Grandma Sam's dumplings. Ha!
Your friend, Cynthia.


Please answer the following question for a chance to win a free copy of the second book in the Cynthia’s Attic series: THE MAGIC MEDALLION. Or, pop in and chat with Mary!!
Where and when could Gus and Cynthia pop in to create the most chaos?

Author, Mary Cunningham, makes her home in the beautiful mountains of West Georgia with her husband. They are parents of three creative children, and a delightfully witty sixteen-year-old granddaughter.

She got the idea for her children’s mystery series, Cynthia's Attic, through a recurring dream. After realizing the dream was set in the attic of her childhood friend, Cynthia, the dreams stopped and the writing began. She has completed three books in the series and is working on a fourth, Cynthia’s Attic: The Magician’s Castle, due for release Dec. 2009.

Co-writer of a women's humorous lifestyle book titled, Women Only Over Fifty (WOOF), she’s a member of SCBWI (Southern Breeze Chapter), The Georgia Reading Association, and the Carrollton Creative Writers Club.

In between editing and getting her twelve-year-old characters, Cynthia and Gus in and out of trouble, the author enjoys golf, swimming and exploring the mountains.


Sarah Laurenson said...

Good Morning!

It's time to take the grill into an attic and see what we can burn. Now if I can just find where to plug in the coffee pot...

Mary Cunningham said...

Thanks for having me, Sarah. Would you believe I'm on my 3rd cup already? I admit it. I'm a coffee fiend.

Keeping busy today finishing "The Magician's Castle." It'll be interesting to see if I get some ideas for the ending!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Well if we poke around in some of these old trunks, we just might find that ending. Mind the dust everyone. It's been here longer than you.

Sarah Laurenson said...

So Mary - Have you got an attic in your house and what have you got stored there?

Mary Cunningham said...

I have an attic, and right now, the repair guy is up there trying to fix our air conditioner! No story there!

Cynthia (my real childhood BF) was the one with the exciting attic and it had all the elements I describe in the books; an old trunk, boxes, discarded toys from Cynthia's older siblings, "dress up" clothes and plenty of cobwebs!

Sarah Laurenson said...

A hunky repairman would be a good thing to store in the attic.

Mary Cunningham said...

Stacy (yesterday's roastee) can write about that!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Too true. ;-)

Working on the fourth book today? Have you got a handle on book #5? Did you sell the first one as the start of a series?

Diana Black said...

I'm voting for the hunky handyman!!

Bravo, Gus...Uh, I mean, Mary!


Sarah Laurenson said...

We'll have to see if Antonio's available today, Diana.

Regan Black said...

I knew there was a connection between great authors and coffee!

I just love Gus - and Mary too of course!

And if your place is anything like mine, a hunky handyman is an attic essential!


Mary Cunningham said...

Okaaaay, I'm with ya. It's gonna be hunky-handyman day, huh? So that means I probably shouldn't destroy the fantasy and say he was somewhat less than "hunkish."

At least he fixed the AC!!

Thanks for stopping by Diana and Regan. Appreciate the support for Gus!

Mary Cunningham said...

A serious book question, Sarah? Go figure. LOL

I sold the first two books as a series, never expecting to write a third and certainly not a fourth!

Haven't quite decided whether "The Magician's Castle" is going to have a cliff hanger leading to Book Five.

Maybe y'all can help me decide.

Julie Schoerke said...

For me, on a hot day, any man is hunky that can cool me down:)I'll bet it's not every day that this guy gets international exposure (thanks Book Roast!) for what he does!

Sarah Laurenson said...

It's hard to stop reading about great characters, Mary.

And hunky men in the attic are an essential. We writers need our muses after all.

norm said...

I'm jealous. The only thing in my attic is the Pink Panther ... insulation, that is.


Mary Cunningham said...

So right, Julie. I'm happy for the air!

Although...musing about Johnny Depp, in my attic...sweating.

Ahem! Back to work!

Mary Cunningham said...

Ah, Norm. Thanks for your persistence! Sure you don't have any vampires up there?

Sarah Laurenson said...

Vampires, hunky men and Johnny Depp? Attic's getting nicely crowded.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Anybody got suggestions for where and when Cynthia and Gus can explore next?

Sarah Laurenson said...

How much more do you have to do for book 4?

Mary Cunningham said...

I have around 4 more chapters to complete. (19 written, so far)

I need inspiration, people! Getting down to the wire. Help!!

Sarah Laurenson said...

*rummaging in an old, brown trunk*

Inspiration? Hm. We've got a cracked hand mirror - ornate bugger, a letter to the editor about paying for fencing around the state fair grounds, a cat bowl with paw prints around the outside and a goldfish painted on the bottom. Hm.

Sarah Laurenson said...

What's in the purple trunk you're sitting on, Mary?

Chris Eldin said...

Sorry I'm late!!!

I LOVE this book!!!! So fun and magical, and really sweeps you into the lives of the two girls!!!

Chris Eldin said...

I meant *series* !!!! not book!

I need some of your coffee!!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Hey Chris,

Come on in and rummage through a trunk near you. We're seeking inspiration.

Anything inspiring in the land of sand?

Mary Cunningham said...

Good to hear from you, Chris!

Uh, Sarah, I'm sitting on a purple trunk? Okay, let's see.

A magician's wand, a book of spells (crucial missing page), amethysts plucked from the eyes of a stone giant, oh, and a fairy named Elly Elloway.

Your turn.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm in a magical mood right now, having been reading the Harry Potter series.

laughingwolf said...

welcome mary; saucy excerpt, sarah ;) lol

where could 12-yr-old girls POSSIBLY create more chaos than in King Arthur's Court?

MonsterKid said...

Good Morning all. Hello Mary. I too am a Cunningham - I like to think there is some good blood running through that historical family tree.

I find that a pair of magical shoes in a trunk are useful. Especially when they let you leap through time.

Mary Cunningham said...

Love HP, Charles. JKR was a big inspiration to me. Her writing gave ME permission to "write outside the box."

King Arthur's Court?! Now, there's a thought! Cynthia would be find, but I'm afraid Gus would spend her time at the "round table," eating.

Hey MonsterKid Cunningham! Good to meet you. Love the idea of "leaping through time" with magical shoes.

Thanks for the comments!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Love King Arthur.

MonsterKid said...

Mary, going for 2nd cup of joe myself. Loaded with that horrible for you sugary goodness - vanilla creamer - that is actually flammable.

Curious, how long does it take for you to write a first draft?

Chris Eldin said...

Okay, I just now sat down and read the excerpt and comments.
LOVE it!!! I knew I would!!

Inspiration for last four chapters? All I got is my stuff. Want a few of my chapters to cut and paste? hehehe!

The great thing about Mary's books is that they keep getting better and better. This is very difficult to do in a series, but she pulls it off well!!!

Mary Cunningham said...

Aw Chris...shucks. You're making me blush! (I'll let you know when to send those 4 chapters!)

MK, it depends. The first two took about a year. Book 3, Curse of the Bayou took over a year and The Magician's Castle has been over a year in process and I'm still not finished!

I seem to struggle more with each book, but I think it's because I know so much more, now, than when I first started. I'm really trying, as Chris mentioned, to improve my writing with each book.

Thanks for the question!

MonsterKid said...

Thanks for the answer! I have another question, okay two, bag full of them today.

When you write a series, do you have a plan of what you would like to happen over several books?

Does a publisher like to know what you have mapped out when you give them the proposal?

Chris V. said...

It's the trunk! Boy I'd love to hop in there. The new book sounds great Mary!

Mary Cunningham said...

I didn't submit a proposal, just a query and was asked to submit both (completed) manuscripts. I also submitted a synopsis for book three.

After the first three were published, I'm on my own to come up with stories. The editor knows my style and leaves me alone to do the first draft. Then it goes through editing.

Interesting story about the first book, "The Missing Locket." I was asked, at the last minute, to add another 4-5,000 words! Didn't know if I could do it, but ended up adding in a great character; one I'm convinced made the book much stronger.

Thanks, again, for asking, MK!

Appreciate your stopping by, Chris!

MonsterKid said...

I always thought it would be great if King Arthur was a clumsy teenanger who was lousy with a sword but great with a needle and thread. He could trade sword fighting lessons with Cynthia (if she was handy with a sword) for custom made garb.:)

Thank you Mary, for answering my questions. I really appreciate it!

Mary Cunningham said...

Just realized I didn't answer one of your questions about planning books in advance.

I usually don't know what the next book is going to be about until I write the last chapter of the previous book. And, if Cynthia and Gus want to venture into a 5th adventure, then I guess I can't stop them!

Thank YOU for the great questions, MK.

MonsterKid said...

I like the idea of the unknown myself. Although I am big on outlines for the present book.

I certainly hope there will be a 5th adventure!

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

This sounds like a great series, Mary. What age group is it for? (even though I want to read them, too!) Could my 7 1/2 yr old read it. Or my 9 yr old nephew?

Mary Cunningham said...

Hi Stacy - Your 7 1/2 year-old could probably read it with you. The series would be perfect for your nine-year-old nephew.

Boys and girls, alike, love series because of the time-travel element. And, I think you'll enjoy the books, too.

Thanks for your comment!

Anonymous said...

If I jumped into the trunk in the attic, would I come out younger??

Anonymous said...

Hunky repairman? I think I need more estrogen.

Chris Eldin said...

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for dropping in and chatting!!!

Many thanks to my good friend Mary for hanging out with us and sharing behind-the-scenes tidbits!!!!

It's a bit after 9m, so we're going to close the contest. Mary can announce the winner at any time.


Mary Cunningham said...

Such a fun day! Sorry to see it end. Thanks, Sarah and Chris for hosting Cynthia's Attic.

The questions and comments were fun and thought-provoking.

The winner is MonsterKid. Not because of keeping me busy answering questions, but by virtue of suggesting King Arthur be a seamstress. However, Cynthia with a sword in her hands? Too scary to even imagine, MK.

Thanks, everyone!! I've had a blast!

MonsterKid said...

Wow!! I am so honored! Thank you, Mary. It was great to be a part of today's event. Thank you to Sarah as well for hosting.

laughingwolf said...

grats mk... and thx mary :)

Mary Cunningham said...

Thx, Laughing Wolf. Appreciate your comments and support.

I love this site!