Layla Mendoza is a thirteen-year old writer who participated in the Summer 2023 Elemental Writing Challenge in which she wrote a 5,000 word original short story this summer. Layla’s fantasy adventure tells the tale of Bringleclaw, a curmudgeonly villain desperate to return the flourishing kingdomof Betom back to the old ways, and a group of unlikely misfits determined to stop him.
Read the full story below!
Chapter 1: Bringleclaw
Far away, in a place that humans have scarcely seen, there was a kingdom called Betom, that had beautiful emerald green hills, sparkling bubbling brooks, tall, multi-colored trees that only you and I can dream of, and most of all: Magic. The magic that lived here dwelled everywhere, not just in the magical beings, but in the land itself, tucked away into the darkest corner, the smallest thorn, even small, unsuspecting insects!
And you can only imagine how joyous the creatures that lived here were! The elves often held grand feasts and dances. The goblins, as fierce as they might seem, liked to play wondrous music when they were feeling especially happy and even the smallest fairies would go about, joining in any festivities they could. Of course, it wasn’t always like this. In the ancient days, the Goblins liked to cause all sorts of mischief, wreaking havoc in not only their own realm, but as many others as possible.
But festivities and joyous occasions were the daily life for the citizens of Betom, and it went on for many years – the same things, the same celebrations. But then one day, everything changed.
Isaac McKinnie is a twelve-year old writer who participated in the 2022 Seafarer’s Writing Challenge in which he wrote a 5,000 word original short story this summer. Isaac’s sci-fi thriller involves a young motorcyclist participating in a race that takes a drastic and traitorous detour.
Read the full story below!
Roads are dull. There is no other way to describe them. They are just slabs of concrete shaped to make a meaningless line. However, roads are even more mind-numbing when no one is using them. On these occasions it almost hurts to see a sight so boring. Luckily for the road next the small harbor in Winfred, Sasnak, this was hardly ever the case; and today was no exception. If someone had been counting how many cars had passed through, they would have lost count in the first ten seconds.
Yet, in all the hustle and bustle of this road, one vehicle stood out. It was a motorcycle, a Hoss Boss to be exact. Its black body paint glistened like obsidian in the early afternoon sun. The beautiful Hoss Boss sped down the (still dull) road with the same amount of importance as King Arthur and his own steed would have. The driver was unfortunately neither wearing a helmet nor taking any safety precautions at all. You might say that he was not very smart. If you did, I would commend you for being smarter than him. However, he seemed to prefer riding without any safety measures. Dylan (for that was the name of the motorcycle rider) laughed as the salty sea wind blew back his black hair and lifted the smell of the ocean to his nostrils. After he finished admiring the view, he revved the engine and sped off. As he rode, he decided to take a route he had not taken yet before going to the meeting place. He sped and then took a random turn. This was what excited him about motorcycling the most: the constant adrenaline, the rush of fear when he took a sharp turn, and the idea that anything might happen. He wove his way around the roads until he finally found his way to the meeting place. There it was––an abandoned warehouse. Now, this warehouse might look like any other abandoned warehouse. But if you went inside and walked through the abandoned warehouse you would find a tear in the wall. If you squeezed through that tear, you would see a small shed. It was there that Dylan met up with his friends.
First line: Well, in The Beginning…there was a man in a kilt.
Summary: Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish, stars of the widely popular TV show Outlander set out on a trip around the Highlands of Scotland exploring the history, culture and landscape of this beautiful countryside. In their camper van they traverse the roads, lochs and pubs while sampling whiskey and traditional foods of the Highlanders.
My Thoughts: I highly recommend checking out the audiobook on CloudLibrary because I feel that this is what made the book much more interesting. Sam and Graham narrate the book. They recount times on set and with fellow cast members. They goof around and make fun of each other. I could tell that they really enjoy each other’s company and are good friends.
I learned a lot about the history of Scotland while reading this. As I listened I looked up the locations and people mentioned. It is astounding that there are homes older than our country. I could tell how proud they are to be Scottish.
I have always wanted to visit Scotland but I want to go even more after reading/watching Outlander. The land is beautiful and wild. The culture is rich and enduring. Much of my genealogy comes from Scotland. I want to experience the world my ancestors knew.
Summary: Virginia Reeve has spent years as a guide for settlers trying to cross the mountains to California until one day she receives a request for a new adventure. Upon meeting her new benefactor she learns that she is going to be leading a group of women into the arctic to find the ships and crew of the Terror and Erebus. Many men have tried and now it is time to let women try to succeed where the men failed. However, not everything turns out like Virginia and her hopeful crew had planned.
My Thoughts: I went into this book really excited because I loved the author’s debut novel, The Magician’s Lie. And I am not saying I didn’t like the book. I did. I found the story interesting and the setting fascinating but it just didn’t have the same magic as her first book. I liked how the author linked several very tragic events together in one book. Virginia kept referring to the Very Bad Thing. I guessed early on what this was but I liked that twist. I definitely did a lot of reading on the internet to get better informed about the true events behind the story.
One thing that surprised me was that there was very little time in the book dedicated to the actual time on the ice of the arctic. But the descriptions were stunning. I cannot imagine trying to spend time, especially months in the winter, in the arctic. I could tell that the author did research on survival skills, the time period and life on the ice.
It’s that time of year again, when reading can take center stage as you find time to relax and rejuvenate yourself. Whether you’re hanging by the pool, on vacation at the beach, or just lying in a hammock in the backyard, a good book can make that moment even better.
If you are in need of good, inexpensive reading material for times like those, the Friends of the Derby Public Library has got you covered. Come to the Friends book sale at the library July 21 and 22 to find reading treasures, at just 25 cents for a paperback and 50 cents for a hardcover.
There will be hundreds of books to choose from, so you are sure to find something you will enjoy. Music CDs, DVDs and books on CD are also available at the nominal cost of $1 for music CDs and $2 for DVDs and books on CD.
If you are a member of the Friends group, you are lucky enough to have access to a Friends-only preview sale 6:30-8 p.m. Friday, July 20. If you aren’t yet a member, you can join for only $10 at the sale.
The book sale will be 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, July 21, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday, July 22, in the Community Room at the library.
Volunteers are needed to set the sale up Friday; to work the sale Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday; and to box up what books are left after the sale on Sunday afternoon. If you are interested in volunteering, please email the Friends group at email@example.com.