Author E. D. Bird (Zimbabwe-Southern Rhodesia-Southern Africa)

E. D. BirdQuote: “I was born in Scotland during 1955 and married in 1975. My parents immigrated to Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia as it was then) in 1957 and I have lived here ever since. I have two adult sons, the eldest of whom lives in New Zealand while the youngest, who has provided me with two grandsons, resides in England. I was divorced during 1987, but remarried the same person on the 20th anniversary of our original wedding date and we remain together living happily in Bulawayo with our two rescue dogs.

I am an animal lover and have over the years had a variety of pets including horses, dogs and cats, but I have to admit that dogs are definitely my favourites and at one stage had eight different breeds in my household.

I worked for a firm of attorneys for thirteen years and during the final three of those I studied law by correspondence, but was forced to give up my lessons after my divorce when I returned to my parents and joined the family business, a gold mining enterprise. Having been brought up in a rural mining environment and having been primarily involved in mining almost my entire adult life I have a sound base for the fictional events I have created in my books.

My favourite pastime is writing, but I am also an avid reader.”

Featured Book: Digby’s Diary by E. D. Bird

A delightful adventure set in the African bushveld of Zimbabwe.

The tale revolves around a gang of clever animals and two very brave young boys who make a daring rescue. The reader journeys through a series of exciting exploits before the experience ends with a twist in the tail.

The story is told by Digby, a standard French Poodle, using his very own style of writing.

Book Review: If your furry friend could journal, what adventure would be told?

In this charming story, a standard French Poodle named Digby begins his narrative by describing his homeland in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, southern Africa. He reminisces in a nostalgic way about his birth and early life with his mom and being part of a litter of five.

With both human and animal characters in this adventure the reader needs to be aware of doggy language usually kept private between furry friends. It is fun to mentally log the use of the dog’s conversation about human hands (paws) human man (two paws) and boys (young pups), etc. For an example I quote Digby. “Later that day I was sitting down at the bottom of the garden in front of the gate wishing it to open; I knew the young pups would not be back to clean the fish’s home for quite some time.”

A story for all ages as curiosity leads Digby beyond the gate. This adventure lends to new friends, danger, survival and heroism as these canines must work together with two young boys (pups) to rescue a kidnapped girl.

Author E. D. Bird uses the knowledge and love of furry friends to write this fast paced, hard to put down adventure that will warm the hearts of all animal lovers with an ending that will surprise you in keeping with the nature of Digby. I look forward to reading more adventures from Digby’s Diary in the future.

Theodocia McLean endorses Digby’s Diary by E. D. Bird as an animal tale that gives a dog’s perspective of the world on the other side of the gate. I purchased and reviewed this book from a Kindle format. This review was completed on December 18, 2015.

Genre: Action & Adventure

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Fiona Ingram (Johannesburg, Gauteng-South Africa)

Fiona-IngramFiona Ingram’s earliest story-telling talents came to the fore when, from the age of ten, she entertained her three younger brothers and their friends with serialised tales of children undertaking dangerous and exciting exploits, which they survived through courage and ingenuity. Haunted houses, vampires, and skeletons leaping out of coffins were hot favourites in the cast of characters.

Although Fiona Ingram has been involved in the theatre and journalism, writing a children’s book–The Secret of the Sacred Scarab–was an unexpected step, inspired by a family trip to Egypt.

The tale of the sacred scarab began life as a little anecdotal tale for her two nephews (then 10 and 12), who had accompanied her on the Egyptian trip. This short story grew into a children’s book, the first in the adventure series Chronicles of the Stone. The second book in the series–The Search for the Stone of Excalibur–a huge treat for young King Arthur fans, is now available with Book 3, The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper, on the way. Although Fiona Ingram does not have children of her own, she has an adopted daughter, from an underprivileged background who has discovered the joys of reading for pleasure.

Naturally, Fiona is a voracious reader and has been from early childhood. Her interests include literature, art, theatre, collecting antiques, animals, music, and films. She loves travel and has been fortunate to have lived in Europe (while studying) and America (for work). She has travelled widely and fulfilled many of her travel goals. She was born and educated in South Africa, and has worked as a full-time journalist and editor. Her interest in ancient history, mystery, and legends, and her enjoyment of travel has resulted in the multi award winning The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, the first in her exciting children’s adventure series—Chronicles of the Stone. Fiona has recently completed the second book entitled The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, a treat for young King Arthur fans. She is busy with Book 3 entitled The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.

Featured Book: The Secret Of The Sacred Scarab (The Chronicles Of The Stone Series Book One) by Fiona Ingram

The-Secret-Of-The-Sacred-Scarab-Book-One-The-Chronicles-Of-The-Stone-u2013-by-Fiona-IngramA 5000-year-old mystery comes to life in this exciting Middle Grade adventure set in Egypt!

A scruffy peddler gives Adam and Justin Sinclair an old Egyptian scarab on their very first day in Egypt.

Only when the evil Dr. Faisal Khalid shows a particular interest in the cousins and their scarab, do the boys realise they are in terrible danger. Dr. Khalid wants the relic at all costs.

Justin and Adam embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, taking them down the Nile and across the harsh desert in their search for the legendary tomb of the Scarab King, an ancient Egyptian ruler. They are plunged into a whirlpool of hazardous and mysterious events when Dr. Khalid kidnaps them.

They learn more about the ancient Seven Stones of Power and the mysterious Shemsu-Hor. They must translate the hieroglyphic clues on the underside of the scarab, as well as rescue the missing archaeologist James Kinnaird, and their friend, the Egyptologist Ebrahim Faza, before time runs out!

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab is the kind of adventure book boys and girls love!

The fast-paced action, the evil villain readers delight in hating, the secrets of the past, and the mysterious ancient setting make this novel a sure-hit favorite for all the young and adventurous at heart.

Ingram’s impeccable and fascinating research into Egyptian history illuminates the adventure and makes the secrets of Egypt’s past as thrilling to the reader as the boys’ dangerous encounters.

Book Review: A family holiday with Aunt Isabel and Gran to Egypt ignites cousins Adam and Justin’s quest for teenage adventure when a peddler who was showing the boys his wares, gives Adam several scarabs when he notices police. Unbeknownst to the boys, one of the scarabs has mystical importance in Egyptian mythology. With the scarabs stored away in Adam’s rucksack, their imagination tells them that there is treasure to be found.

With Eleven Book Award Nominations & Wins, enjoy outstanding story telling with realistic dialog that will draw middle grade and young adult readers into this action, adventure packed, suspenseful, historical fiction that rivals Indiana Jones. Boys will be boys and soon trouble will find them. Careful not to spoil the story, I quote a passage to whet your appetite.

“Quick as a flash, they dashed behind a marble pillar, trying to smother their giggles. “Now what?” Adam said.

Justin grabbed his arm. “I noticed a room leading away from the main hall. It was full of boxes and crates. The lights were off so no one was in there. Let’s go back and see if we can find something interesting.”

They retraced their steps to the small display hall Justin had seen. It contained several cabinets holding statues, and a few stone sarcophagi. Stacks of boxes and wooden crates lined the far wall. They wandered around, looking at the Arabic-inscribed labels and trying to guess what was inside the boxes. It wasn’t long before the sound of echoing footsteps sent them scuttling behind a large sarcophagus.

Two men walked in, speaking Arabic in low voices. Over the next few minutes, the voices floated around the room and then right past Adam and Justin’s hiding place, before finally disappearing near the back. After a moment of silence, they looked at each other, puzzled, and then listened a bit longer to make sure the men had gone. Then they peeked above the sarcophagus to check that the coast was clear before creeping out. They both looked toward the back of the room, where the voices had disappeared.

Adam pointed to a door standing ajar. The door was labeled with an Arabic inscription. “What do you think it says?” he asked, as they walked quietly to the door, giving occasional sideways glances to check they were still alone.

“Um … I have no idea,” Justin said. “It’s probably a notice for the museum staff. That door looks like a fire escape. I think those men we heard went down there.”

Justin pushed the door all the way open. A set of stone steps disappeared into inky darkness. If the men had gone through the door, then there was only one way to go—down.

Frightened and excited, they hesitated on the top step, unsure of whether to investigate.

Justin turned to Adam. “We should follow and see what they’re up to, but you know we’ll get into the worst kind of trouble if we’re caught.”

Adam gave a nervous nod.

Justin grinned. “Then let’s go. We just have to risk it.”

The Secret Of The Sacred Scarab (The Chronicles Of The Stone Series Book One) by Fiona Ingram is well researched. The book cover art and nine exquisite hand drawn graphics within the book are by South African Artist Lori Bentley.

Thirty-four riveting chapters packed with adventure will keep you turning the pages. Author Fiona Ingram continues the history lessons at the end of the book with a Readers’ Guide to Ancient Egypt that includes “Endnotes that will help book-lovers enjoy the story even more while reading. This additional material will increase your knowledge of the world of ancient Egypt, and help you uncover the meaning of the Stone of Fire and the secret of the sacred scarab. In this glossary, you’ll be able to look up information on words or ideas that you read about in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab. It will add to your enjoyment of Adam and Justin’s incredible adventure because there are clues everywhere!”

Theodocia McLean endorses The Secret Of The Sacred Scarab (The Chronicles Of The Stone Series Book One) by Fiona Ingram as a fictional story illuminated with history that brings Egypt to life for young readers. This first book in The Chronicles Of The Stone Series should be included on summer reading program book lists. The Search for the Stone of Excalibur (The Chronicles Of The Stone Series Book Two) is also available at Amazon. I purchased and reviewed this book from Kindle format. The review was completed on January 24, 2016.

Book Award Nominations & Wins for The Secret of the Sacred Scarab

  • Finalist Children’s Fiction 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
  • Finalist Juvenile Fiction 2009 National Best Books Awards
  • Winner Pre-Teen 2009 Readers’ Favorite Awards
  • No: 2 in the USA Children’s & Teens Book Connection Top Ten Favorite Books of 2009 for Kids, Tweens & Teens
  • Winner Silver Medal Teen Fiction 2010 Nautilus Book Awards
  • Finalist Children’s Fiction 2010 International Book Awards
  • Winner Bronze Medal Pre-Teen Fiction 2010 Moonbeam Book Awards
  • Finalist Children’s Fiction 2011 Rubery Book Awards
  • Winner Gold Award Mystery Pre-Teen 2011 Children’s Literary Classics Awards
  • 2nd Place in the 2011 YA Sharpwrit Book Awards
  • Gold Medal 2013 Wise Bear Book Awards Winner

A Young Explorer’s Companion Guide For Book One is available as a free download.

Genre: Children’s Books, Middle Grade fiction (juvenile fiction)

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