Interview With Science Fiction Author, Joe Prosit.

I had the wonderful opportunity this month to interview Author Joe Prosit about his new book “Machines Monsters and Maniacs.” Joe is an independent author living in Brainerd, Minnesota with his wife and family. Well known for his writing of short stories, he has won many awards for his writing. Science Fiction, Horror, and Psycho Fiction are not usually in my wheel house of readings. However, I enjoyed every short story in this book. Though it is important to note, I read them in the afternoons and not at night.

What inspired you to start writing?

I don’t know if there was a time in my life when I wasn’t writing. Playing with Star Wars and GIJoe toys turned into drawing comics which turned into writing books and I never really stopped. When I was a kid, writing was a way to funnel my hyperactivity into something cool and exciting during the long boring hours of school. Now that I’m a little more grown up, I still channel my angst and emotion into fiction. But instead of just superheroes, monsters, and laser beams, now it’s fear, grief, remorse, existential dread… and heroes, monsters, and lasers. 

What comes first plot or character?

Long before I get to work on the plot or character specifics, I come up with a general setting and vibe of a story. Right now there’s a proto-story swimming around in my head about this land full of meandering silent giants and two governments who are vying for the population’s faith and loyalty. There’s this girl who drives a fast car and smuggles magic drained from the giants across the borders, but I don’t know what she’s like yet other than she’s a nihilist. Do I have a character yet? Not really. Do I have a plot yet? Not at all. But soon, they’ll blend together into something that complements each other. It’s always a dance between character and plot. Without one, the other is nothing. 

Tell us about your new book, “Machines Monsters and Maniacs.”

Machines Monsters and Maniacs is a collection of sixteen short stories that have been published in various websites, anthologies, podcasts, and magazines over the past five years. Equal parts science fiction, horror, and what I call “psycho fiction,” if you enjoy the strange, the scary, the odd, the sinful or the mind-bending, there’s something in this collection for you.

Physical, digital, and audio copies are available at my website www.JoeProsit.com. If you already have a copy, let others know you enjoyed it by leaving a review on Amazon.

What advice would you give a new writer starting out?

The devil says the worst vice is advice, but I’ll try to come up with something.

First, have fun. Write what you want to write. Keep yourself excited about your characters, your plot, your setting, and your style. After you’ve had some practice, don’t be afraid to get your work out into the world where you can get some honest feedback from other writers, editors, agents, and the like. Don’t expect immediate success. Always work on your craft. Always try to get better. Keep writing. Put your butt in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard and write. 

Tell us what you are working on now and when we can expect to see it.

My current work in progress is titled, “The Shadows Between the Trees.” Right now it’s in its second draft and needs plenty of polishing. A long way to go before it’s ready to be published, but here’s goes my first draft of the elevator pitch:

The Shadows Between the Trees is an adult cosmic horror novel set in small-town Northern Minnesota. When Conrad, an out-of-work businessman, hears his abusive father died, he returns home after twenty-seven years for the funeral only to find he’s inherited his dad’s dilapidated barbeque joint and a half a million dollar debt. But his problems really only begin when he’s stalked by towering sentinel monsters who inject false memories into his mind to lure him away from reality and into the void so they can take humanity’s place on Earth. In order to stop them, Conrad must discern friend from foe, reality from lies, and come to terms with his own past.

Hopefully that’s enough to excite your curiosity while I finish it, edit it, and get it in print. As always, watch for updates on my website, or follow me on Twitter @JoeProsit. Thanks!

Kacie Clement’s New Release: Mississippi Moonshine: A Kamira Jackson Mystery.

I am proud to announce the first book in The Cold Case Chronicles: A Kamira Jackson Mystery is now available for pre-sale.

It was a fun book to write. The characters a joy to build. I especially like Willie Mae Gordon, Kamira Jacksons aunt. Willie Mae at eighty-eight years old is a Traiteur. A healer. She has her own specialized herb healing garden out back of her kitchen, and many people come to Willie Mae to be healed. Willie Mae does not take money for payment, as you will see when she answers the door to greet Kamira, holding a live chicken.

Read more for the description of Mississippi Moonshine.

Forty-six years ago, two brothers were killed and thrown in the Wolf River. Can a troubled detective surface the truth before her own life is at risk?

Atlanta cop Kamira Jackson can’t forgive herself for getting caught and held captive for ninety days. Feeling unworthy of her job, she flees to Mississippi only to be confronted by a police chief who isn’t happy with his jurisdiction employing a Black policewoman. And she fears she’s being set up to fail when she’s given a decades-old murder assignment, and only six months to crack the case.

Vowing to beat the challenge and with the help of a retired veteran, Jackson retreads the slaying of two men shot point-blank and found floating in the isolated swamplands. But exposing an almost half-century conspiracy implicating too many powerful suspects might be fatally hazardous to her health.

Can the traumatized investigator overcome her nightmares and solve the cold case?

Mississippi Moonshine is the gripping first book in The Cold Case Chronicles crime thriller series. If you like fast-paced action, determined heroines, and unexpected twists and turns, then you’ll love Kacie Clement’s thrilling mystery.

Buy Mississippi Moonshine to open a can of dark truths today!

Pre Order your copy today! Release date: November 1, 2020

Well, I must get back to writing Book Two, A Shooting, A Drug Deal and a Trail of Ants.

Interview With Author T. J. Jones

I had the privilege to sit down with Minnesota Author, T. J. Jones, to talk with him about his journey as a writer, and his wonderful Slater Mystery Series. I have read T. J.’s entire mystery series, and recommend this series as a must read, if you enjoy intriguing mysteries.

What inspired you to write?

I learned to read at an early age. Our family lived on a farm several miles from town and we had one channel on the television. Books became my obsession, and naturally I wanted to emulate the people who wrote them. The stories of far-off lands, gunslingers, and a man raised in the jungle by apes fascinated me. I was surprised to learn that people managed to make a living just by putting words to page, and decided early on that it was something I wanted to do. Would do. It’s taken a long time, but I’m finally giving it a shot.

What comes first plot or characters?

I’m not sure why, but all my fiction starts with characters. I do my best to be sure that the people in my books always react consistently and stay in character. Not to say that they can’t evolve, but there needs to be a reason for it. After I know who my character is, I start throwing them into situations that will challenge them, or change them somehow, hopefully for the better. I think the basis for all fiction, written or otherwise, is conflict and resolution. Sometimes the conflict takes place in the world around the character, and sometimes it comes from within. I never outline, but I sometimes jump several chapters ahead and write a scene, then work toward that point. I rewrite a lot, which is fine. Sometimes I find things, whole chapters, even whole new people that I hadn’t considered the first time around.

How much fun was it to develop Slater’s character, and how many books are now published in the series?

I wanted Eric Slater to be extraordinary, but not too much so. He’ll never take on a room full of bikers or hang from the side of a 747; but he does have certain talents, a good sense of humor, and an honest affection for the people around him. His relationship with Maggie wrote itself, and their bond will continue to grow throughout the series. In each of the books he learns something about himself, and the reader learns something about his strengths and his faults.

There are currently four Slater Mysteries, with one more in the works. Depending upon inspiration, the Corona virus, and the vagaries of fate, there may be many more. We’ll see.

What advice would you give a new writer before starting out?

Since you asked, Kacie, I will volunteer what I have learned not to do as a new writer. When I started my first book, Callie’s Secret, a second cousin who is in the publishing business gave me some advice. She told me to do my best work, rewrite until I was happy, then put it away for three months. Then, if I wasn’t happy, rewrite it again until I was satisfied.

Did I listen? No. Do I wish I would have? I’m really not sure. Getting that first book out as fast as I could was incredibly satisfying, and thanks to the wonders of self-publishing, I was able to do my rewriting after the fact. But my advice to others? Listen to my second cousin and take your time.

Tell us about your new release coming out.

The next Slater Mystery will be titled “Slater’s Game” and will probably drop around Thanksgiving. Happy reading everyone.  T.J. Jones

You can find T. J. Jones amazing Slater Mystery Series on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Sisters-Detective-Slater-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07KVQS669/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=tj+jones&qid=1598611368&sr=8-3

Author Rejuvenation: Drop the World

The Little Guy

Author rejuvenation, what exactly does that mean? I tried googling it but came up with nothing specific for Authors. We all know as authors we get bogged down in tasks that take time away from our writing. For me, it is cleaning house, laundry, caring for my mom in law full time with Alzheimer’s, or board member task’s for my writing group. Sometimes it becomes all so overwhelming. Especially since I am supposedly retired.

After conducting my research on rejuvenation for an author, and not finding any unique ideas, I took things in my own hands. How, when feeling overwhelmed and needing a break was, I going to rejuvenate myself both physically and emotionally?

I decided it was time for some radical rejuvenation time, to once again center, find my balance and focus. So, I did something few dares to do today. I rented a cabin with the spouse and spent the week with no Television, no I-Phone, and no WIFI. Detached from the world and all its problems.

Now, I have to tell you the first full day was a struggle, I couldn’t check my sales of books, status of my Amazon Ads, I could not tweet, or spend any time on Facebook or Pinterest. I survived.

One thing I noticed, however, is that with an I-phone and no WIFI, you still receive notifications for all emails, tweets, and so on. That made the first day a struggle. It was time to handle that one important notification. Yes, I had to walk a quarter of a mile to reach a WIFI signal and forward an email.

The next few days were perfect. Quiet, relaxing, and entertaining. There is nothing like waking to the sound of loons calling on the lake. Going for walks in the early morning, fishing, and watching the stars come out at night to rejuvenate the spirit.

After that first day, I no longer paid attention to any notifications. When I made that decision a sign of peace came across me. I relaxed. I was letting go of the daily grind and getting into nature. Specifically, a squirrel who liked animal crackers. We bonded over animal crackers. Well, as much as you can bond with a squirrel. But the little guy was entertaining. He was there each morning, watching me from a few feet away as I had my first cup of coffee, watching the sun come up over the lake. No doubt waiting for an animal cracker, as I do not think the little guy was there for me personally.

I would recommend to all authors you find the time to shut down from the world completely. Whether it is for a day or a week. Take the time. Find your center, your balance, peace, and the time to enhance your creativity. It is well worth it.

 I also have a plan for the next, what I now call my, “Drop the World Experience.”  Three days alone in the woods, with my laptop, doing nothing but writing. I fully plan to take this next experience in the middle of a Minnesota Winter. Our winters are snowy and often cold, so I will need a fireplace, sweatpants, sweatshirt, and wooly cabin socks. Most definitely some Cameron’s Lakes and Shores coffee.

How do you Rejuvenate? Let me know in the comments. Share your ideas, experience to help others in finding that peace and balance.

Review of Bryan Cohen’s Amazon Ad Challenge Program.

An author friend and I were talking one day and discussing the challenges of marketing our books as Indie Authors. During our discussion she mentioned Bryan Cohen had a new 5 day Amazon Ad Challenge coming up.

I laughed. Amazon Ads were not only a mystery to me, but had been a challenge as well over the past three years. She convinced me to try it. Five days, it was free, so I thought, why not? It might be a great way to expand my knowledge as a relatively new author, and then just maybe I could figure out how to do ads on Amazon.

Over the past two weeks, I have taken Bryan Cohen’s Amazon Ad Challenge. After the first video, I was excited and ready to get to work. The guy is inspiring if nothing else. Half way through the program, I was mind boggled, racing to write hooks for all my books, spending time daily making new ads on Amazon. Alot of new ads.

As the program went on I found, I put everything else aside and dove in headfirst, catching the next new class, and reviewing the past classes to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. I am a woman who often has many questions about everything. In this course, I had questions and emailed those questions to Mr. Cohen rapidly. The quality of his team amazed me. They responded almost immediately, answering each question thoroughly, encouraging me to keep moving forward, and were open to any further questions I might have had.

Now, again, this was a free course. The openness of Bryan and his team impressed me. I have taken many classes online in marketing, trying to learn something new. This course has been the most challenging one I have ever done, but it also was the one course that brought me proven results within a week of putting his theory to work.

Bryan takes you on a new and exciting journey. He easily explains the trials and errors of advertising on Amazon, provides wonderful resources and is fun, and has quite the thought provoking homework assignments. I give this training Bryan Cohens Five Day Amazon Ad Challenge a Five Star Rating! In just two weeks, my sales have increased and my Kindle page reads are through the roof!

You can find out more about Bryan Cohen’s Amazon Ad Challenge at https://www.bryancohen.com. I believe he has another class coming up in October. Give it a try, I highly recommend it.

Interview With Best Selling Author Carissa Andrews.

This week I interviewed Best-Selling Author Carissa Andrews. Not only does she tell us about her up-coming new book series, “The Windhaven Witch” series, but she shares advice for new and upcoming writers and authors as well.

What inspired you to start writing?

Originally, it was simply the love of reading. I would dabble with short stories and poetry when I was a kid. But when I was 14, I had a really vivid dream that felt more like a past life memory. For whatever reason, I had to write about. At the time, I was really into Fear Street novels by R.L. Stine, so I decided to write a story similar to that. It was the first time I wrote a novel. While that version will never see the light of day, the idea behind it was resurrected just this year.

But more recently, I began writing again in 2010, thanks to the nudging of my long-time best friend, Sherry. I had been struggling with trying to compete in the graphic design market space in our small town. She encouraged me to start writing again. At first, it started with a blog. Then, she gave me a story idea she always wanted to read. This was back in the day of Twilight, so having a strange romance was on her mind. She wanted a ghost story where the woman fell in love with a ghost. What ended up happening instead, was an entire new world downloaded into my brain and the Pendomus Chronicles was born. And no, there’s not a single ghost in that one. HA!

What comes first plot or characters?

For me, it’s a combo. I have some books that were solely developed based on the characters first. The Pendomus Chronicles and Oracle, namely. Their stories developed because I loved the characters and then I gave them a story to go with them. But others, like Awakening, Love is a Merciless God, and even my Windhaven Witches series were more plot driven. I knew what I wanted to share and cover and then I fit those characters around it.

How do you come up with the titles to your books?

Some of them come to me on their own. I knew the first book in the Pendomus Chronicles would be Pendomus because it was an introduction to the world, and since Pendomus is the planet’s name, it just made sense. Polarities came about because my main characters were split up on the planet. And Revolutions has a few meanings. Oracle is pretty self-evident if you read the book. Diana Hawthorne is the world’s most powerful psychic, but there’s more to it than that. Other titles, like Love is a Merciless God came about by searching for quotes on the internet. For that one, I searched forbidden love sayings. The title was a bit long for my taste, but it worked. Then, later I realized the acronym for it is LIAMG – and Liam is one of the main characters. So, it totally worked. And the G even does, too… if you think about it. With the Windhaven Witches, I was working with NYT Bestselling Author Rebecca Hamilton and we knew we wanted to develop a series of books that went together and were easily distinguishable. So, we bounced ideas off each other to create a pattern – Secret Legacy, Soul Legacy, Haunted Legacy, and Cursed Legacy.

What advice would you give a new writer starting out?

Learn to love outlines. We all start out with the love of a story, and there’s nothing wrong with it. But outlines will keep you from getting stuck. Especially if you plan on doing this as a career. I started out as a pantser, but ultimately transformed into a hybrid plotter. I’ll develop my storyline, my overall arc, and get as much detail as I can, then I start writing and let the story dictate whether or not I was on the right track. Typically, big elements will stay in place, but it’s the smaller things – how a scene is laid out, who’s in it, etc. that might change.

Tell us about your new release coming out?

My newest release is Secret Legacy, Book 1 of the Windhaven Witches. It comes out on September 15th, 2020. But the remaining 3 books rapid release through the remainder of the year – each a month apart.

Remember when I said I wrote that book when I was 14? Well, Secret Legacy is the resurrection of it. I took the dream and the original concept for the story and mapped out four books to tell the whole tale. Even now, I can still remember the dream like it happened yesterday.

The series itself revolves around a supernatural academy, various supernatural witches and beings, and delves into the darker realms of death, rebirth, and resurrection. Go figure, right?

Book Blurb:

☆☆~~ 50% of Royalties Donated to the American Cancer Society! ~~☆☆


Nestled in the woods of Windhaven, Blackwood Manor waits to unleash a dark and deadly legacy…

When Autumn Blackwood shows up at Windhaven Academy for the Witching Stick Orientation, she hopes to find out what dormant powers she could possibly possess to have been accepted to the elite supernatural school. Instead, the academy is in chaos as everyone frantically hunts for two missing girls.

But as school begins with Autumn no closer to figuring out her powers, strange occurrences start to follow her everywhere. Even at home, Blackwood Manor keeps many secrets, and Autumn can’t escape its haunting past.

New friends urge her to learn more about her family’s history in order to unlock her powers and make sense of what’s happening at Blackwood Manor, but Autumn’s not so sure. Once an accident brings Autumn face-to-face with death, however, she realizes her gifts are tied to a legacy that can either save or doom them all…

Fans of Kelley Armstrong, Joe Hill, and Jennifer Armentrout will love The Windhaven Witches!

Link: https://www.carissaandrews.com/secretlegacy-amc/

You have taken your writing experience to a new level, can you tell us a little about Author Revolution?

Absolutely! Through my company, Author Revolution, I teach budding authorpreneurs how to craft stories that resonate and how to get them out in the world with a rapid release indie publishing model. Author Revolution started officially in 2019, but I’ve been teaching indie authors how to write and publish their books since 2015 or so. My background in publishing is pretty extensive. I’ve worked in the front-end at multiple bookstores, I’ve worked for publishers, printers, marketing firms, and I have a degree in graphic design. There isn’t much I haven’t learned about the world of indie publishing at this point and I love taking that knowledge and sharing it with others. I have taught both online and in-person courses.

Author Revolution has a weekly podcast, 3 online courses currently available, and my flagship course, Rapid Release Roadmap is in the process of being built now.

You can learn more about Author Revolution by going over to: www.authorrevolution.org

What Are You Researching?

Who has spent entirely too many hours researching their newest novel? I know I have. Sometimes to the point I can spend an entire day watching how to build a pipe bomb video. Yes, I do believe one day the FBI will show up at my front door at which time I will award them with free books of my mystery and thriller crime novels. Note to self: keep fresh cookies and coffee on standby.

I have found self-discipline seems to be the key. I often found I was getting sidetracked by minor research as I was writing. Which ended up in my loss of consistency in writing. My advice to new writers is, keep your inner perfectionist under control, be practical in your research. I am a Virgo. Therefore, I am a perfectionist.

I have finally developed a plan for researching each new book I write. I break my research down into two categories. The first category being, before writing research and the second category, after the first draft research. I keep my research organized, using Evernote. It is a magnificent tool for research.

My before writing research consists of researching the locations I am using as a reference. Right down to location, culture, history, plant life, etc. I try to visit that location if my checkbook allows. If not, the internet allows you to travel to that destination and research key points.

From that point, I am developing my major character arcs. For example, one of my characters in my new upcoming series, The Cold Case Chronicles, is a Traiteur. A healer. I researched everything I could find on Traiteur’s, building it in to her character arc.

Once I finished my character development, my story outline, and scene progression. I then start to write my current book. Which brings me to step two in my research development. Researching after the first draft. This is the simple part. When writing, when I come to a part in which I need more research to make my story more interesting, I insert (Research) and highlight it in yellow. It is as easy as that.

After the first draft, I go back and make notes on what added research needs completion, and why. I then conduct my next step research and start my second draft.

Remember, always put your story first. Often authors feel a lack of research and feel they need more and more research. That can often be nothing other than a lack of confidence. Be Bold! Self-discipline is the key. Many hours of research can cause authors to become sidetracked by minor research while writing. Some writers spend so much time researching, they never quite get around to writing that next best seller. So go forth, be bold and write your next best seller!

What are your tips for researching? Leave a comment below.

Writer Fashion: What’s Your Writer Style?

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In my vast research I have found that writers come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Which brought me to the thought process of what do you wear when writing that first novel?

When I worked in the professional world, I was someone who dressed every day in business attire. Then came retirement and my fresh adventure of being a novelist. The first month, I dressed as I would go to work. Writing a novel is work, right?

Then my family started asking me where I was going? Even though the sign on my home office door said, ‘Halt, writer at work. Enter at your own risk.’ It seemed they were expecting me to leave at any moment.

Then I joined a writer’s club and seen what they were wearing. That is where my confusion began. Some wore casual office attire, some wore jeans and t-shirts, some were lucky to be wearing any clothes at all. They all looked different. I had dressed professionally for the occasion of my first meeting.

It was then I started my research of how writers dressed. This the result from my massive research:

The Artsy Writer: included scarves, flowing tunics, bright and earth colored, were confident and bold.

The Eclectic Writer: leaned more toward vintage clothing, with cowboy boots paired with lace.

The Sexy Writer: leaned towards short-short skirts and plunging necklines.

The Business Writer: included, skirts, hose, heels, and button-down shirts.

The Casual Writer:  leaned towards clean and comfortable. Making the statement, I need not impress anyone vibe.

The Funky Writer: dresses in ripped jeans, a Queen t-shirt, rainbow colored hair, kind of rock-band vibe.

After all that research time, I threw the research conducted away. I have now published five books and have concluded that it did not matter how I dressed. I realized my writing attire at all times is to wear pajamas. It is inspirational and comfortable. When I leave the house, well, it is whatever is available in the closet. Dress for success is no longer in my vocabulary. I look at going to the store, post office, or whatever errand I am on, as going incognito. You never know what you may hear while waiting in line that generates your next big story.

So if you’re a writer, wear what makes you most comfortable, even if the UPS guy reminds you it is three in the afternoon, as he takes in your pajamas when you answer the door.

For further research, let me know what your writing style is in the comment section below.

Kacie’s Review of The Corps Justice Series by C. G. Cooper.

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I love adventure, crime, and political fiction books. C.G. Cooper’s brilliance shines in new and unexpected ways in the Corp’s Justice series. I have just finished the sixteenth book in the series, and every one of those books has an unexpected twist. It is a journey through the lives of an elite team of former soldiers.

The principal character is Cal Stokes, who is extremely brave, loyal, yet has many vulnerabilities. Watching him grow, fall, and get back up is not only a joy, but inspiring. His friendships are amazing, funny, and when one-character dies, you grieve right alongside Cal Stokes. Every book in the series grabs your interest in the first few pages, holds you close, and takes you on the adventure with them as they fight for this country’s freedom.

Amazingly enough, as an avid reader I wonder how I did not find C.G. Cooper’s books earlier. How I came to find this brilliant author was, I had just finished another crime series, and was searching my Kindle for a different read. I came across the Daniel Briggs series and thought it might be an interesting read. I can honestly tell you it took me exactly four days to finish that series.

The Hubby was wondering if I would ever cook again and asked me if he should be concerned with whom this Daniel Briggs was. He has since reminded me that while I was reading the Daniel Briggs series; I was telling him each day what Daniel had done that day. He did not realize I was talking about a book. He was wondering where I met this guy.

After finishing that series, I took a few days off, fixed the Hubby some food, but could not get my mind off on how great these books were. Daniel Briggs dragged you right there beside him through the entire series. So, I pulled out my Kindle, and I was off on a search for another series by C. G. Cooper. I came across and read the Corp’s Justice 1-3 box set, not yet realizing there were an overall of 16 books in the series.

The most striking thing about the Corp’s Justice series is the brilliance of C. G. Cooper’s ability to build characters. Throughout the series, new characters come in, and a few lost. It shows how their team builds their friendships and have fun arguing at the same time. The challenges the team face, the foes, or enemies they face in each book are nothing short of riveting.

I cannot name a single aspect I did not like about this series. The result, sixteen books composed professionally, fully researched, and filled with diverse personalities. I give this series five stars and highly recommend you take the time to read this series. It will take you on a course filled with action, adventure, crime, and romance.

I am also now impatiently waiting for October to come, when book seventeen, “Matters of State” is due for publication on Amazon. Now that I have finished all sixteen books over the last few months, I am sad to say the Hubby has lost ten pounds, but he now knows how to order take out delivery.

Giant By Nature: A Short Story – Part Two

Welcome to part two of my Giant By Nature Short Story. Enjoy! Watch for the last part of the Story next Saturday.

The next Saturday morning, I was at the fence waiting for Tommy to arrive. I saw his father waiting in line with his friend, one of the zookeepers. I didn’t see Tommy. I was worried. Why would Tommy’s father be there without Tommy? I waited for their turn to come. Tommy’s father said, ‘Hello Fernando, I have your carrots.’ I stretched my neck, looking around him, trying to find Tommy. I reluctantly took the piece of carrot; Tommy’s father gave me.

I heard Tommy’s father say to his zookeeper friend, ‘He is looking for Tommy. I was at the hospital this morning, and the doctors told us that Tommy only has a few months left, that the seizures in his brain are getting worse. I don’t know what to do. Tommy’s only wish in life is for Fernando to be safe once he is gone.’ I watched Tommy’s father’s eyes fill with tears. I honked, trying to let him know I understood. I listened closely as his friend said, ‘Then that is what we will do. Tomorrow night we will take Fernando. I have a friend who owns a boat. Fernando originally came here from the Galapagos Islands to bring his species back from extinction. He has done his job. What do you say we take him back home?’

I got excited. These two men wanted to take me home. I started honking loudly, shaking my head back and forth. I needed them to realize that I understood them. Tommy’s father said, ‘I think he can understand us.’ Then he gave me a fat earthworm and said, ‘I will be back tomorrow night with Tommy, Fernando. We are taking you home.’

I ambled up to my favorite rock wondering how to say goodbye to the girls. The next morning, the girls and I went for a swim and sunned ourselves on the rocks. It was time to say goodbye. I said to the girls, ‘Della, Corrine and Fancy, I have news. I am leaving tonight. Tommy’s dad and that zookeeper, Bert, are coming to get me tonight to take me home to the Island. I want you to know I will miss all of you. It is time to say goodbye. Soon another turtle will come to take my place.’

Poor Della, she couldn’t breathe. She said, ‘I don’t care who they bring, I will have no part of him. None of us will, right, girls? There will no longer be any eggs laid at this zoo. I will miss you Fernando, but I am glad you are going home to live out the rest of your life in peace. If a distraction is needed when they come for you tonight, we have that covered.’

Never have I felt such love. I spent the rest of the day sunning and wondering what life would be like on the Island. Darkness fell, and I heard a truck and I knew Tommy’s father had come. They had a gigantic box and had laid carrots out. I believe they thought they needed to entice me into the box. I was ready. I was going home. I went willingly into the box, picking up a few carrots on the way.

We were off! I could hear Tommy in the front of the truck say, ‘Thank you Dad. Fernando will be happy on his Island.’ I was happy to hear Tommy was with us and not in the hospital. I didn’t mind the bumpy ride at all.

Suddenly, I heard loud noises. I had heard them before, coming from the road in front of the zoo. My box filled up with blue and red lights. The truck started to slow. I could hear Tommy’s father say, ‘It’s okay Tommy, we will get Fernando to his Island.’ I shuddered. I knew something was wrong. I listened carefully to the men talk outside saying, ‘Bert, what do you have in the box?’  Bert laughed, and said, ‘It’s Fernando, the missing sea turtle. Looks like the old guy went for a walk. Found him five miles from the zoo, just strolling down the boulevard.’ I saw a face looking through the slats in the box. I smiled at him and started to sing, letting him know I was fine.

I heard the man say, ‘You are not headed back to the zoo, Bert. Where are you going?’ Bert laughed and said, ‘I was having dinner and thought Tommy here would like to go help search for Fernando, I am just dropping them off at home and heading back to the zoo.’ Listening, I heard the other man say, ‘Sounds good. I will let the zoo know you found Fernando and are on your way back.’

The lights moved away, and I heard Bert say to Tommy and his father, ‘We have to move fast. The boat is waiting.’ It felt like the truck I was in was moving fast. I was having a hard time keeping my balance and for a seven-hundred-pound turtle that is not easy.

It wasn’t long after that I could smell the saltwater. Wouldn’t you know it? I could hear those noises and see the blue and red lights again. It seemed like the truck was going even faster. Then the truck turned to the left, and I almost tipped over. I didn’t know if I was going to make it. I didn’t know what Tommy would do if I had to go back to the zoo.