Blood and Fire: Book Two of the Talbot Trilogy by Tori L. Ridgewood

Blood and Fire Book CoverBlood and Fire: Book Two of the Talbot Trilogy, by Tori L. Ridgewood, was published in February 2014 is available for sale on AmazonSmashwords, and Lulu.


Book Synopsis:
What chance does one witch have against five vampires? Alone, not much. But Rayvin’s allies are gathering…
The battle between good and evil supernatural forces heats up in the long, cold November nights of the former mining town. But how will Rayvin’s motley crew of spellcasters and shapeshifters cope when they discover the threat they face is even greater than they imagined?
The Talbot Trilogy:
0. Mist and Midnight (prequel)
1. Wind and Shadow
2. Blood and Fire
3. Crystal and Wand


Excerpt from Blood and Fire:
Charlotte lay back in her luxurious double-wide lounge chair on the balcony and hugged her blanket closer, watching the sun come up over the Pacific.
In the distance, she could hear exotic birds welcoming the morning sun. Along the street below, Peruvian vendors were already beginning to set up their wares for the flocks of tourists to squawk over. But while the peaceful stillness of the morning should have been comforting, she felt disjointed and uncertain.
The sketchpad should have been filled with outlines of the gorgeous views in Lima, but its empty pages flapped in the early morning wind. She’d bought canvases in various sizes and a variety of new paints to reflect the exotic colours around her, but every time she took charcoal or paintbrush in hand, nothing happened. The creative spark flared only enough to invite the effort, and then it died.
She hadn’t been able to draw or paint for over a year. Not since the previous fall.
Not since being attacked for the final time by the disgusting vampire she’d imprisoned underground. She’d survived, and she was happy to have married Pike—overjoyed, in fact, to have found her match in him—but something had been irrevocably damaged in that encounter.
She played absently with the opal necklace Pike had given her to replace her golden ankh, left buried metres underground. It was beautiful, a blue Peruvian opal shaped into a teardrop about the size of her thumb, its tip wrapped in gold. Pike had found the original stone and had a craftsman shape it for her. According to local folklore, it was supposed to have soft relaxing powers, enabling the wearer to release tension in order to allow ideas to flow more freely. She had read more about it online one rainy afternoon. In addition to encouraging relaxation, the stone was believed to help lessen stress, heal the trauma of old injuries, and increase tranquility, especially for those with troubled minds and insomnia.
While it might have helped Charlotte to get to sleep, it wasn’t working on whatever was blocking her creativity. In addition, the bad dreams she’d struggled with for months after she had survived the vampire’s last assault had not only returned, they were getting worse.
Charlotte appreciated the thoughtful gesture of her husband, but she missed her ankh.
A hand touched her shoulder, and she jumped.
“Honey? What are you doing out here, so early?” Pike, her husband of only a few months, sat down next to her, clad only in his white boxer-briefs. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”
Charlotte tilted her head back and tried breathing slowly, to let her heart slow down. “It’s all right. I couldn’t sleep, but I didn’t want to wake you.”
His grey eyes were filled with concern. Gently, Pike reached out to run his fingers through her uncombed raven-black hair. “Another nightmare?”
She nodded, curling into his arms as he settled onto the lounge with her. The memory was with her even now. “It’s never the same, but it feels the same. I can’t quite remember the details, but I can see…fragments. People dying. His face, and his fangs, the awful way he grins. I can smell blood.” Her stomach heaved at the thought.
Pike held her close. “It took you months to stop having nightmares after last fall. And now they’re back. You haven’t had a good night’s sleep since before Hallowe’en.”
Charlotte took a deep breath. Her body was beginning to relax against the heat of his skin, the muscles supporting her tired body, the love she could sense in the tension of his arms. “I know. But it doesn’t have to mean anything. It’s probably just because our trip’s almost over. Or we passed the anniversary of the…of what happened.”
He kissed the top of her head. “It’s normal to remember. It’s part of the process when victims come to terms with trauma. We can take an earlier flight, maybe later today, even. Your mother’s fine, everyone is safe, but if it helps, we can go home.”
“That would make me feel better.” Charlotte sighed, drifting back to sleep in his arms. “Just keep holding me for a little while longer.”


Tori L. RidgewoodAbout the Author:
After her first heartbreak, Tori found solace in two things: reading romance novels and listening to an after-dark radio program called Lovers and Other Strangers. Throughout the summer and fall of 1990, the new kid in town found reading fiction and writing her own short stories gave her a much needed creative outlet. Determined to become a published author, Tori amassed stacks of notebooks and boxes of filed-away stories, most only half-finished before another idea would overtake her and demand to be written down. Then, while on parental leave with her second baby, one story formed and refused to be packed away. Between teaching full-time, parenting, and life in general, it would take almost seven years before the first novel in her first trilogy would be completed. In the process, Tori finally found her stride as a writer.
At present, on her off-time, Tori not only enjoys reading, but also listening to an eclectic mix of music as she walks the family dog (Skittles), attempts to turn her thumb green, or makes needlework gifts for her friends and family members. She loves to travel, collect and make miniature furniture, and a good cup of tea during a thunderstorm or a blizzard. Under it all, she is always intrigued by history, the supernatural, vampire and shapeshifter mythology, romance, and other dangers.
Tori is currently working on Crystal and Wand: Book Three of The Talbot Trilogy. She lives in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada with her husband and two children. She is a full-time teacher at a local high school.
Connect with Tori on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.
To learn more, go to




New Christian Fiction Novel: The Secret Rebellion by Martin Baggen

The Secret Rebellion book coverMartin Baggen recently released The Secret Rebellion, a captivating Christian fiction novel that provides an interesting take on religious history. The book is recommended for readers who enjoyed The Da Vinci Code and The Passover Plot.
“The Secret Rebellion is a result of wanting to share a perspective on a story that has become a thread in the very fabric of our culture,” says Martin. “The accounts of Jesus that we know, that have now become biblical, may have had their roots in events of a much more earthly origin. The Secret Rebellion combines the drama of the New Testament with elements that we see every day in our modern world.”
The Secret Rebellion tells the story of Miriam and Yeshua. Miriam is a young, rightful queen who returns from exile to her homeland. Her mission is to reclaim her country from the grip of an oppressive foreign occupation. To achieve her goal, she must find a king.
Her quest leads to a charismatic and gifted man, Yeshua, who possesses the ability to help her lead a nation to freedom. But the mission comes at a cost greater than anyone can predict, and the misunderstood legacy of their secret rebellion will endure for thousands of years. A failed political movement that gave birth to a new religion.
“The Secret Rebellion is written in the style of the Bible… Much of the story parallels that of Jesus, with the huge exception being that Yeshua’s works were accomplished by the hands of man rather than by the hands of God… The Secret Rebellion is a well-thought out, well-researched and intelligent book.” – Amazon Review
The Secret Rebellion ebook is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Excerpt from The Secret Rebellion:
Years from now when I am telling stories to my children, this will be the moment they hear of the most. Months ago, I did not understand who this man is or what he means to all of us.
Even as the first steps are taken from the Mount of Olives I am frustrated at the slow pace we must move down the trail. The ass is in charge of this parade no matter how much force I put upon him with his line.
As we descend into the valley and start the climb up toward the gate I can see people as they move along the walkways atop the great walls. Walls that rise ten times the height of a man and seem much higher from where we are. There are hundreds and hundreds of people within my view.
The robe I have been given is for much cooler weather than today, and the desire to shed it is great. But what little instruction I have been given was to hide the blade at my hip, and the robe is intended for that purpose. I have never used a weapon against my fellow man.
At last we are at the ridge that completes our climb up from the valley, and we are on level ground to the Eastern Gate. I have never entered through this gate directly into the Temple Square. As we crest the hill and begin our final few hundred paces to Jerusalem I can now hear people, and I watch as they stop to look at us from above. At first it is difficult to understand what they are doing. I even slow my steps for a moment to look behind us. Yeshua is looking along the top of the wall as well. There are no others behind our tiny parade. The reactions we witness are because of us.
It is cheering. With only one hundred steps to the open gate, I can see their faces. Some are just staring and curious, but most are very happy and yelling. Many more have collected at the entrance. So many that if they do not make way, we will not be able to pass through. But I do not believe they mean to prevent our entry. The people are happy.
I am thankful the ass does not care about the loudness and excitement that is now all around us. If he suddenly decides to bolt away from here, there is little I could do to control him. It is that thought which is on my mind as we pass under the arch. My god, the noise is much louder as we pass within the walls. My God!


Author Martin BaggenAbout the Author:
The Secret Rebellion is Martin Baggen’s debut novel. Martin is passionate about writing, reading, and music. He currently resides in Benton County, Oregon.
Connect with Martin on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.
To learn more, go to
To schedule an interview with Martin Baggen or request a review copy of The Secret Rebellion, please contact Kelsey McBride at

Honor and Innocence: Against the Tides of War by Glen Hierlmeier

Honor & Innocence small book coverHonor and Innocence: Against the Tides of War, a historical romance novel by Glen Hierlmeier, was released March 2014. It is available for sale on Amazon.
Honor and Innocence is the first in a series of novels that weaves together a deeply intriguing and heart-grabbing love story with the authentic historic circumstances and chaos in Europe that followed WW II. This first book in the series takes the reader through the devastation left by World War II across the European and Asian continents, following the course forced upon two unlikely lovers, Hank, an American soldier, and Roberta, a German girl, the twin sister of a German prisoner of war Hank is responsible for. Hank falls in love with Roberta, rescues her from the British Intelligence forces, and an improbable romance and death defying escape ensues. The reader is immersed in the intense and captivating journey with Hank and Roberta and learns history from a perspective often overlooked in the history books.
Hank Fischer is drafted into the American Army soon after high school graduation in 1945, which begins a six month saga of intrigue, horror, and love that takes him from his southern Wisconsin home to Texas, then Germany, Switzerland, Greece, and Singapore, revealing along the way the devastating truth of the tragic consequences of war. In the Texas prisoner of war camp where Germans were interned, a youthful and naïve Hank is targeted by Haynes who becomes his lifelong tormentor, but he also begins his closest, nearly unimaginable lifelong friendship with Max, a German prisoner of war under his supervision, whose twin sister, Roberta, back in their German homeland, is destined to become the love of his life and his wife.
Hank is drawn into a dangerous web of intrigue by the common heritage he shares with Max, a prisoner of war being returned to his homeland, and the intense love he finds with Max’s sister, Roberta. Because of their ties to the SS through their father, a senior Nazi official hand-selected by Adolph Hitler himself, Max and Roberta are pursued by the Intelligence Forces of the American and British Occupation.
Faced with a choice between his love for Roberta and allegiance to the Army, Hank chooses to collaborate with Max and free Roberta from a British prison camp, beginning a desperate flight through war-torn Germany where they witness first-hand the ravages of post –war Europe, while staying perilously ahead of pursuing forces. Their flight takes them to a secret refuge in the mountains of neutral Switzerland where Lazlo, a Hungarian born war-time profiteer provides the opportunity for their escape. Sadly leaving Max behind in Switzerland they set out for the port city of Trieste by train, only to survive an attack by post-war Italian Army pirates, then sail the seas on a merchant ship with a modern day Greek philosopher, Captain Koz, to search out hidden treasure in a small Greek village. Again forced to flee, Captain Koz helps them find refuge across the Indian Ocean, in Singapore, only to once again face the bane of powerful men…another war-torn country. Their very survival hangs in the delicate balance between their powerful love and will to live, and evil man’s violent quest for power and wealth. Their amazing journey, immersed in horrors of war, bombed-out cities, displaced person by the millions, desperation and hopelessness, give the reader a rare look at the despair of victims of the hubris of men seeking power for the sake of power, amidst their powerful love story.


Glen Thomas Hierlmeier About the Author:
Glen graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, then earned a Masters of Business Administration at The University of Wisconsin at Madison. He served in the US Air Force on the Manned Orbiting Laboratory space exploration program and on the design phase of the development of the F-15 fighter aircraft. After leaving the Air Force, Glen returned to Wisconsin and became Vice President of the largest bank in his home state, First Wisconsin National Bank. In 1979, he moved on to become President and CEO of several real estate development and management companies. Glen retired in 2009 to devote full time to his grandchildren and his writing. Glen is the author of Honor and Innocence, We Had to Live: We Had No Choice…, and Thoughts From Yesterday: Moments to Remember.
Connect with Glen on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.
To learn more, go to


New Sports Fiction Book Helps Kids Exercise Their Minds

The Hoop Kid from Elmdale ParkLOS ANGELES, CA (January, 7, 2014) – As college basketball’s most exciting and serious time of year [March Madness] approaches, Elmdale Park Brand founder Teko Bernard hopes to encourage young basketball fans to read more for fun with his new book, The Hoop Kid from Elmdale Park.
“Kids devote a lot of their time to sports participation these days, and it can get pretty hectic and serious,” says Teko. “I wrote this book to help fill the need for fun, sports themed fiction books for active kids who love sports but are reluctant to read. I hope to inspire sports-minded kids to reach for a book more often to exercise their minds.”
According to Nickelodeon Kids and Family Research, almost 50% of kids ages 7 to 14 play sports 3 to 4 days a week during their sports seasons. Most kids seem to be participating in 2 to 3 organized sports in a year.
Kids who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers. The Institute of Education found that children who read for pleasure made more progress in math, vocabulary and spelling between the ages of 10 and 16 than those who rarely read.
The Hoop Kid from Elmdale Park is a fun, upbeat story dealing with themes of courage, teamwork, and overcoming defeat. The length and pace of the book was created with the reluctant reader in mind. The occasional cartoon like illustrations add a fun break while reading.
In The Hoop Kid from Elmdale Park, all Bernard Jones wanted to do while staying with his grandparents for the summer in Elmdale, was work on his basketball skills. When Bernard excitedly enters a team into the Annual Elmdale Park Basketball Tournament, he’s shocked to discover that the future of the park is at stake. The town of Elmdale hasn’t won the tournament in 20 years, and Victor Franco, a ruthless millionaire, is planning to shut down the annual tournament for good and turn the historic Elmdale Park into a landfill for his own profit. It can all be stopped if Bernard and his team, the Elmdale Warriors, win the tournament this year. Can the courageous Bernard and his fun and wacky crew defeat their Oakdale rivals and save the historic Park?
The Hoop Kid from Elmdale Park is available on Amazon.
The Hoop Kid from Elmdale Park
By Teko Bernard
Age Range: 8 and up
Grade Level: 3 and up
Paperback: 126 pages
Publisher: Elmdale Park Books
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0986059307
ISBN-13: 978-0986059308
To learn more, visit:
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A Gift from the Enemy: A True Story of Escape in War-Time Italy by Enrico Lamet

A Gift from the EnemyEnrico Lamet recently released a revised and enlarged edition of A Gift from the Enemy: A True Story of Escape in War-Time Italy, a compelling childhood memoir of World War II.
Enrico Lamet was born in Vienna, and spent the first eight years of his life in a comfortable middle-class atmosphere with his Jewish mother and father in Austria. At only 8 years of age, the Nazis invaded Vienna, changing the lives of all European Jews forever. The Lamet family fled to Italy, where they spent most of the next twelve years.
Follow along as Eric and his mother face struggles in fascist WWII Italy, attempting to forge friendships and make a new home. Lamet recounts his mother’s struggles to adjust from sophisticated urban living to a primitive bleak setting. Despite the world crumbling around him, Eric still manages to live an adventurous life.
In a style as original as his story, the author vividly recalls a dark time yet imbues his recollections with humor, humanity, and wit. Lamet offers a rare and historically important portrait, one you will not soon forget.
While the story takes place in Fascist Italy during the Holocaust period, it is not a Holocaust book.
A Gift from the Enemy was published in October 2013 and is available on Amazon.


About the Author:
After World War II ended, Lamet settled in Naples with his family. He finished high school in that city and studied Engineering at the University of Naples.
In 1950 the family moved to the United States, where Lamet continued his engineering studies at the Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia, near his family’s home. Deciding that business would be more in keeping with his personality, he embarked on a business career. Over the years he became involved in a variety of enterprises until his eventual retirement as a CEO in 1992.
Fluent in German, Italian, English, Spanish, and Yiddish, Lamet served as an interpreter for the U.S. State Department and taught Italian for several years. Lamet has studied piano and voice and, to this day, enjoys performing Neapolitan songs.
Enrico Lamet, together with his wife, has 5 children, 7 granddaughters and two great-granddaughters. The Lamet’s live in Pittsfield, Mass. For more information, go to
To schedule an interview with Enrico Lamet or request a review copy of A Gift from the Enemy, please contact Kelsey McBride at


Adventures of Retirement Living Chronicled in New Novel ‘Time to Retire’ by Jon Foyt

Time to Retire by Jon FoytTime to Retire, by Jon Foyt, is a new mystery/romance novel that offers a glimpse into the adventures of retirement living.
Things are not quite what they seem at Sunset Gardens, an active adult retirement community in California. The directors of the Homeowner’s Association has been handling money in questionable ways, there’s secret meetings occurring at The Silent Front, a former speakeasy, and an influential resident recently committed suicide. Reporter Willy Herbst, approaching retirement, is curious about what’s going on in the neighboring community “over the hill.” He and his eager intern, Sally Saginaw, team up to investigate. Their discoveries are surprising…
Time to Retire is filled with mystery, romance, and adventure, as Willy and Sally explore the lifestyles of aging retirees.
“A gripping narrative that reads like a mystery, entertaining and thought-provoking.” – Doug Hergert, columnist and author of Nothing in Paris and Can’t Get It In France
“A realistic description of a retirement community. Living in such a place, I recognize the foibles of members, the clubs, and the Board as vivid and humorous. Holds your interest… an enjoyable read that I recommend.” – Samuel P. Oliner, author of Altruism, Intergroup Apology, Forgiveness and Reconciliation, and The Nature of Good and Evil
“…A current American chronicle poignantly surveying the dreams, heartaches, and successes of our life scene.” – Walter M. Bortz II, M.D., author of Next Medicine: The Science and Civics of Health and Roadmap to 100
Time to Retire is available for sale on Amazon.
Striving for new heights on the literary landscape, along with his late wife Lois, Jon Foyt began writing novels 20 years ago, following careers in radio, commercial banking, and real estate. He holds a degree in journalism and an MBA from Stanford and a second masters degree in historic preservation from the University of Georgia. An octogenarian prostate cancer survivor, Jon, 81 years old, is a marathon runner (60 completed), hiker, and political columnist in a large active adult retirement community near San Francisco. Jon Foyt is the successful author of 10 fiction books. He currently resides in Walnut Creek, CA. For more information, go to
To schedule an interview with Jon Foyt or request a review copy of Time to Retire, please contact Book Publicity Services at

Author Tori L. Ridgewood Announces New Paranormal Romance Book Series

Wind and Shadow by Tori L. RidgewoodLOS ANGELES, CA (November 12, 2013) – Author Tori L. Ridgewood recently announced her new paranormal romance book series, The Talbot Trilogy.
Wind and Shadow: Book One of the Talbot Trilogy, published by Melange Books, was released on June 20, 2013. This first book introduces Rayvin Woods, a photographer and natural witch. After a series of misadventures including being accused of attempted murder in high school, Rayvin left her hometown of Talbot in Northeastern Ontario, hoping to start her life over and never return. Ten years later, circumstances force her back to face her past and her former crush Grant Michaels.
Malcolm de Sade, a cunning vampire, escapes from an underground prison looking for vengeance. His accidental release unleashes his hunger and ambition on a small, sleepy town. Rayvin’s power is all that stands between de Sade and his domination of Talbot, and beyond.
Grant Michaels, a police officer, thought Rayvin was a murderer. He will do whatever it takes to protect the community he loves from danger… but will he learn to trust his heart, and the word of a witch, before it’s too late?
Rayvin didn’t count on rekindling a lost love or battling a malevolent vampire and his coven for her life when she came home to Talbot. Facing the past can be a nightmare… It’s worse when a vampire is stalking you.
Wind and Shadow is available for sale on Amazon.
“During a period of writer’s block on Wind and Shadow, I wrote a prequel novella titled Mist and Midnight to help myself find answers to questions about how my vampire was trapped, and why he had come to the small town of Talbot in the first place. Mist and Midnight was released in 2011 as part of the Midnight Thirsts anthology, published by Melange Books. It’s a stand-alone piece, but it’s a terrific companion to The Talbot Trilogy,” said Ridgewood.
Blood and Fire: Book Two of The Talbot Trilogy will be released in February 2014.
Tori is currently working on Crystal and Wand: Book Three of The Talbot Trilogy. She lives in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada with her husband and two children. She is a full-time teacher at a local high school.
To schedule an interview with Tori L. Ridgewood or request a complimentary review copy of Wind and Shadow, please contact Book Publicity Services at
Tori L. RidgewoodAbout Tori L. Ridgewood
After her first heartbreak, Tori found solace in two things: reading romance novels and listening to an after-dark radio program called Lovers and Other Strangers. Throughout the summer and fall of 1990, the new kid in town found reading fiction and writing her own short stories gave her a much needed creative outlet. Determined to become a published author, Tori amassed stacks of notebooks and boxes of filed-away stories, most only half-finished before another idea would overtake her and demand to be written down. Then, while on parental leave with her second baby, one story formed and refused to be packed away. Between teaching full-time, parenting, and life in general, it would take almost seven years before the first novel in her first trilogy would be completed. In the process, Tori finally found her stride as a writer.
At present, on her off-time, Tori not only enjoys reading, but also listening to an eclectic mix of music as she walks the family dog (Skittles), attempts to turn her thumb green, or makes needlework gifts for her friends and family members. She loves to travel, collect and make miniature furniture, and a good cup of tea during a thunderstorm or a blizzard. Under it all, she is always intrigued by history, the supernatural, vampire and shapeshifter mythology, romance, and other dangers.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon


Kitty Hawk book cover

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

Kitty Hawk book cover
Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new young adult series of adventure mystery stories by Iain Reading. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations.
After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales, Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty’s adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada. As the plot continues to unfold this spirited story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada’s Yukon. It is a riveting tale that brings to glorious life the landscape and history of Alaska’s inside passage and Canada’s Yukon, as Kitty is caught up in an epic mystery set against the backdrop of the scenery of the Klondike Gold Rush.
Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves as Kitty prepares for her next adventure – flying around the world!
There are currently four books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (book 1), Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost (book 2), Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3), and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (book 4). Each book can be read as a standalone.
“In the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series the heroine finds herself in a new geographic location in each book. The series will eventually have a total of 13 books in it (maybe more) and her flight around the world will be completed in the end,” says Iain. “The books are sequential but one could definitely read any of the later ones before reading the earlier ones.”
Excerpt from Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold:
As soon as the engine began to sputter, I knew that I was in real trouble. Up until then, I had somehow managed to convince myself that there was just something wrong with the fuel gauges. After all, how could I possibly have burnt through my remaining fuel as quickly as the gauges seemed to indicate? It simply wasn’t possible. But with the engine choking and gasping, clinging to life on the last fumes of aviation fuel, it was clear that when the fuel gauges read, “Empty,” they weren’t kidding around.
The lightning strike that took out my radio and direction-finding gear hadn’t worried me all that much. (Okay, I admit it worried me a little bit.) It wasn’t the first time that this had happened to me, and besides, I still had my compasses to direct me to where I was going. But I did get a little bit concerned when I found nothing but open ocean as far my eyes could see at precisely the location where I fully expected to find tiny Howland Island—and its supply of fuel for the next leg of my journey—waiting for me. The rapidly descending needles on my fuel gauges made me even more nervous as I continued to scout for the island, but only when the engine began to die did I realize that I really had a serious problem on my hands.
The mystery of the disappearing fuel.
The enigma of the missing island.
The conundrum of what do I do now?
“Exactly,” the little voice inside my head said to me in one of those annoying ‘I-told-you-so’ kind of voices. “What do you do now?”
“First, I am going to stay calm,” I replied. “And think this through.”
“You’d better think fast,” the little voice said, and I could almost hear it tapping on the face of a tiny wristwatch somewhere up there in my psyche. “If you want to make it to your twentieth birthday, that is.  Don’t forget that you’re almost out of fuel.”
“Thanks a lot,” I replied. “You’re a big help.”
Easing forward with the control wheel I pushed my trusty De Havilland Beaver into a nosedive. Residual fuel from the custom-made fuel tanks at the back of the passenger cabin dutifully followed the laws of gravity and spilled forward, accumulating at the front and allowing the fuel pumps to transfer the last remaining drops of fuel into the main forward belly tank. This maneuver breathed life back into the engine and bought me a few more precious minutes to ponder my situation.
“Mayday, mayday, mayday,” I said, keying my radio transmitter as I leveled my flight path out again. “This is aircraft Charlie Foxtrot Kilo Tango Yankee, calling any ground station or vessel hearing this message, over.”
I keyed the mic off and listened intently for a reply. Any reply. Please? But there was nothing. There was barely even static. My radio was definitely fried.
It was hard to believe that it would all come down to this. After the months of preparation and training. After all the adventures that I’d had, the friends I’d made, the beauty I’d experienced, the differences and similarities I’d discovered from one culture to the next and from one human being to the next. All of this in the course of my epic flight around the entire world.
Or I should say, “my epic flight almost around the entire world,” in light of my current situation.
And the irony of it was absolutely incredible. Three-quarters of a century earlier the most famous female pilot of them all had disappeared over this exact same endless patch of Pacific Ocean on her own quest to circle the globe. And she had disappeared while searching for precisely the same island that was also eluding me as I scanned the horizon with increasing desperation.
“Okay,” I thought to myself. “Just be cool and take this one step at a time to think the situation through.” I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing, slowing it down and reining in the impulse to panic. Inside my head, I quickly and methodically replayed every flight that I’d ever flown. Every emergency I’d ever faced. Every grain of experience that I had accumulated along the long road that had led me to this very moment. Somewhere in there was a detail that was the solution to my current predicament. I was sure of it. And all I had to do was find it.
Maybe the answer to my current situation lay somewhere among the ancient temples of Angkor in Cambodia? Or in the steamy jungles of east Africa? Or inside the towering pyramids of Giza? Or among the soaring minarets of Sarajevo? Or on the emerald rolling hills and cliffs of western Ireland? Or on the harsh and rocky lava fields of Iceland?
Wherever the answer was, it was going to have to materialize quickly, or another female pilot (me) would run the risk of being as well-known throughout the world as Amelia Earhart. And for exactly the same reason.
“It’s been a good run at least,” the little voice inside my head observed, turning oddly philosophical as the fuel supplies ran critically low. “You’ve had more experiences on this journey around the world than some people do in their entire lifetime.”
“That’s it!” I thought.
Maybe the answer to all this lies even further back in time? All the way back to the summer that had inspired me to undertake this epic journey in the first place. All the way back to where North America meets the Pacific Ocean—the islands and glaciers and whales of Alaska.
All the way back to where this entire adventure began.
About the Author:
Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations. 
Iain has published 4 books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series (Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold, Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost, Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue, and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic). He is currently working on the 5th book in the series. For more information, go to
Iain is also the author of The Wizards of Waterfire Series. The first book in the series The Guild of the Wizards of Waterfire was published in April 2014.
Connect with Iain on Twitter and Goodreads.