The Silver Strand
Ever since twelve-year-old Isabelle Tresdon’s silver strand of hair sprouted, it’s been nothing but trouble: bleeding pink dust and sparking like a firecracker. Refusing to be known as the girl with the freaky, grandma hair, she wishes it never grew and the hair withers and tarnishes.
The only problem is, the strand is Isabelle’s source of magic, and she can transform particles of energy into matter. It’s also her ticket into Mastermind Academy, a secret school inside the earth’s core. Five days remain before the strand drains her magic and life, forcing Isabelle to enter into a deal with two trickster Masterminds to save it. But what she doesn’t count on is there is more at stake than just her life.
The Silver Strand, a middle-grade fantasy adventure for 9-12-year-olds, is Book 1 in the Mastermind Academy series.
Author L.J. Clarkson
One thing you need to know about L.J. Clarkson is that she tells BIG lies. She tells everyone that she gave up her career as an Environmental Engineer and Project Manager to write full time. But that’s not entirely true. Ten percent of the time she sleeps in. Fifteen percent of her day, she spends surfing the internet, researching for new books and her business. Okay, fine. Two percent is for research. But she’s only admitting it so she doesn’t end up like Boldrick. For eighteen point seven five percent of her day, she runs her promotional and support site for authors called Indicated (www.indicated.com.au). The rest of her time involves writing, reading, watching movies and TV, walking her dogs and falling asleep whenever her boyfriend talks technical computer lingo. Truthfully, she hates early mornings, Mondays, grammar (yuck! just ask her poor editor!), broccoli and cleaning. If you would like to drop her a line and let her know what you think of the book, she would love to hear from you. Just not before 8:30 in the morning.
“Did you know Isabelle has a silver alien antenna?” Bigmouth’s voice sang out over the shouts and chatter of the school bus, capturing everyone’s attention. “In science class, a magnet flew out of Mr. Higgins’ hand and stuck to her antenna. How freaky is that?”
Isabelle’s back pressed against her seat.
Bianca leapt up like a jack-in-a-box. Her voice came out as a hiss. “Shut your face, horse mite, or I’ll shut it for you.”
Looked like the bus ride might end in death.
Bigmouth turned to face Bianca. “What if Isabelle’s antenna, like, turns us into alien zombies?”
A chorus of whispers broke out.
Catching the bus was a very bad idea. Isabelle prayed again for that black hole to open up and suck her in. Better yet, she wished it would gobble up the bigmouth. Isabelle tugged on Bianca’s arm and said in a low voice, “Just cut it off.”
Her friend’s eyes softened. “You sure, Boof?”
“The hair’s caused nothing but trouble since it sprouted.” The little voice inside Isabelle’s mind begged her not to, but she didn’t listen.
“Okay.” Something in Bianca’s school bag rattled as she riffled through it. She yanked a pair of scissors free.
Isabelle’s gut clenched as her friend laid the strand between the blades. “Wait!” She suddenly felt unsure about whether to get rid of it. What if it were special and magical like Bianca had said? A magnetic hair, although cool, was hardly magical. Isabelle decided to test it. Closing her eyes, she willed her strand to turn Bigmouth into a toad.
But Bigmouth’s voice still carried throughout the bus. “And in gym class, like, she bled this weird, pink dust.”
“Definitely an alien,” someone nearby agreed.
So much for Isabelle’s strand being magical. “Cut it,” she said, exchanging a sideways look with Bianca.
Her friend squeezed the handles together. Fuchsia-colored sparks shot out and scalded Isabelle’s right cheek. The strand sizzled and hissed like a firecracker, drawing the attention of Bigmouth.
She shrieked like a real girl. “Look! Isabelle’s antenna’s on fire.”
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