In this middle-grade supernatural novel, a tween vows to pull the plug on a ghostly thief’s crime spree in her North Carolina
Eleven-year-old Dotty Morgan is a self-proclaimed “supernatural sleuth.” Two years ago, she spotted but failed to catch a gnome stealing fabric from her mom’s sewing room. Now, Dotty investigates any crime with a hint of the supernatural. And when she determines there’s no tangible explanation for why french fries vanished from her oven at home, she’s on the hunt for a spectral larcenist. Sure enough, potato products disappear from stores and restaurants all over town. Dotty has her alarm clock–turned-Arcanometer to detect phantoms, along with helpful pals—her fashion-savvy best friend, Parker Pose, and the new girl at school, wrestler Hannah Matson. Well-read Dotty puts together some spells to draw in and banish the phantom so that she can once again savor her cherished french fries. But she may be after a human suspect as well—a nefarious, formidable individual who summoned this ghostly burglar in the first place. Martin’s adolescent protagonist is endearingly odd. She dons a baseball cap lined with tinfoil (protection from mind control) and webcasts her detective exploits (“I’m staking out Mr. Tanner’s yard, investigating reoccurring instances of mysterious vandalism”). Dotty often finds herself immersed in absorbing, more realistic subplots, from school bullies to her mom’s new health kick subjecting her to such atrocities as sugar-, gluten-, and dairy-free pancakes that taste like Styrofoam. A supernatural element slowly creeps into the swiftly paced, enjoyable narrative, which includes a gratifying final-act payoff and an understated romance between Dotty and Hannah. Sadly, there’s not much sleuthing. Dotty relies on her Arcanometer to track down the apparition and doesn’t gather many clues, designating suspects based on a general wariness. Still, as this book launches a series, there should be copious future opportunities for her to shine.
An engaging paranormal romp with a quirky and witty young hero.
July 21, 2023 – Speak Up Talk Radio announced the recent FIREBIRD BOOK AWARDS contest winners.
One of the winning entries was from San Diego author Erik Christopher Martin, whose book titled THE CASE OF THE FRENCH FRY PHANTOM won in the Children’s Mystery & Children’s Diversity categories. The book is a middle-grade paranormal mystery featuring LGBTQ+ and BIPOC protagonists.
Authors and publishers worldwide submitted their work to the International Firebird Book Awards. Two judges from a select panel of 27 read each book and independently scored each entry. All judges commit to a set of standardized criteria that evaluates the quality of the writing as well as production aspects. Only entries with the highest scores are awarded the coveted Firebird.
Patricia J. Rullo, the founder of the Firebird Book Awards, says, “The Firebird Book Awards adds a charitable twist that allows the author’s entry fee to be tax-deductible. In return, we make handmade fun and colorful pillowcases and send them with children’s books to women and children who are experiencing homelessness, including the shelter Enchanted Makeovers, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. In this way, authors get notoriety for their work while helping to transform homeless shelters into bright and happy homes. While it feels good to win a book award, it feels even better to do good and serve others.”
The Firebird Book Award judging panel includes a diverse group who represent a cross-section of ages, cultural heritage, races, religions, gender, and experience. At Speak Up Talk Radio, we offer creative people a welcome place to promote themselves via book awards, podcast awards, radio interviews, audiobook production, and podcasting services, including free opportunities to be featured in the BOOMBANGOHMYGOSHWOW podcast, where authors share short but helpful tips with fellow authors as well as share guest posts on our Blogatini.
The Firebird Book Awards run quarterly contests so authors can receive recognition on a timely basis. Authors from all genres, mainstream, independent, and self-published, are welcome. For additional winning authors, titles, and entry information: