Barbara Casey will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
The Clock Flower
by Barbara Casey
Mackenzie Yarborough, one of the three FIGs—Females of Intellectual Genius—finds herself facing a terrifying death of an ancient evil dragon while in China working on a secret research project and trying to discover the truth of her birth parents.
Dara knew that once she started researching the ancient writing systems and language of Shandong Province, there was no way she was going to waste her time attending her required undergraduate classes when she could be working on her research. Therefore, with Dr. Chu’s permission and using the syllabi she received on the first day of classes, she simply completed all of the course work in advance and turned it in. Most of the professors only wanted a report anyway. “Now with that out of the way, I can turn my full attention to the Longshan period dating 2500-1900 BC and researching the early writing, language, and human sacrifice at the Shang Dynasty capital of Anyang,” she told Mackenzie, Jennifer, and Carolina during another one of their nightly visits by phone.
“I am so impressed, Dara,” said Carolina. “Not surprised that you could do it, but still impressed.”
Jennifer and Mackenzie agreed.
Dara had something else to tell them. “I was going to wait to talk to you about this once I had all of the details worked out, but since Mackenzie might be going to China over our winter break to visit the Yellow Sea Laboratories, I’d better go ahead and let you know what I am thinking.” Then she told them about Dr. Wu inviting her to the small village of Dawenkou in the Shandong Province over the winter break in order to meet the rest of the archeology team and see the dig site and their research facilities. “I was hoping the four of us could go together—check it out. Dr. Wu said you are more than welcome.” She hesitated, and when no one said anything, “Mackenzie, Dr. Wu said that the Yellow Sea Laboratories is also in the Shandong Province and near Dawenkou where the dig site is.”
“That’s right—Ling told me it is in the town of Puli.”
Carolina interrupted, “Did you say Puli?”
“Yeah, have you heard of it?” Mackenzie asked. “I don’t think it is a very big town—Ling calls it a village. It is located on the Yellow Sea, and it is near Qufu where Confucius lived. That is where her family and ancestors are from although she was born in Hawaii. And other than what I am doing at MIT, that is also where the research on the Clock Flower Project is being conducted.”
“Talk about coincidence,” Jennifer mumbled. “Well, I’m in,” but she couldn’t say anything else. The pounding in her chest, the painful heaviness of the rock, and the brilliance of the bright yellow and red took her breath. As the pain eased, she once again heard the delicate tones of the banhu—a little more distinct this time—a few more notes—another measure to be added to the symphony.
Carolina’s heart started to race, and it felt like all of the air had been sucked out of her lungs. Taking little breaths, she managed to say, “That goes for me, too.” Putting her hand on her chest and taking a deep breath, willing her heart to stop pounding, “I’ve never been to China, and this is too good of an opportunity to miss. Maybe they will let us tour the research lab, Mackenzie. And it will be great fun to see an actual working archeology site, Dara.”
But those weren’t the reasons she wanted to go; she knew when it concerned the FIGs, there was no such thing as coincidence. Larry had told her that he believed Mackenzie’s mother was from Puli and that is where she returned after giving birth. Something was happening which she didn’t understand. She had heard her mother’s warning, and she knew she needed to go to China. She needed to be with her girls. And she needed to protect Mackenzie.
Originally from Carrollton, Illinois, author/agent/publisher Barbara Casey attended the University of North Carolina, N.C. State University, and N.C. Wesleyan College where she received a BA degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and history. In 1978 she left her position as Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at North Carolina Wesleyan College to write full time and develop her own manuscript evaluation and editorial service. In 1995 she established the Barbara Casey Agency and since that time has represented authors from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. In 2014, she became a partner with Strategic Media Books where she is involved in acquisitions and day-to-day operations and oversees book production.
Ms. Casey’s two middle-grade/young adult novels, Leilani Zan and Grandma Jock and Christabelle (James C. Winston Publishing Co., Trade Division) were both nominated for awards of excellence by the SCBWI Golden Kite Award, the National Association of University Women Literary Award and the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary Award. Shyla’s Initiative (Crossquarter Publishing Group), a contemporary adult novel (occult romance/mystery), received a 2003 Independent Publisher Book Award and also an award of special literary recognition by the Palm Beach County Cultural Council. The Coach’s Wife (ArcheBooks Publishing), also a novel for adults (contemporary/mystery), was semi-finalist for the 2005 Dana Award for Outstanding Novel and listed on the Publisher’s Best Seller List. The House of Kane (ArcheBooks Publishing), released in 2007, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination. Another contemporary novel for adults, Just Like Family, was released at Christmas 2009 when it received “Special Recognition from the 7-Eleven Corporation,” and The Gospel According to Prissy, also a contemporary novel written for adults, received a 2013 Independent Publishers Book Award for Best Book in Regional Fiction.
The Cadence of Gypsies, a novel written for young/new adults, was released in 2011 and was reviewed by the Smithsonian Institute for its List of Most Notable Books. In 2012, The Cadence of Gypsies was expanded into a four-book mystery series called THE FIG MYSTERIES: The Wish Rider (2016), The Clock Flower (2018), and The Nightjar’s Promise (to be released in 2019).
Ms. Casey also writes book-length nonfiction for adults. Kathryn Kelly: The Moll behind Machine Gun Kelly was released in 2016 and has been optioned for a major movie. In 2018 her book Assata Shakur: A 20th Century Escaped Slave was released and it has been signed for a major movie.
Ms. Casey’s award-winning science fiction short stories for adults are featured in The Cosmic Unicorn and CrossTime science fiction anthologies. Ms. Casey’s essays and other works appear in The Chrysalis Reader, the international literary journal of the Swedenborg Foundation, 221 One-Minute Monologues from Literature (Smith and Kraus Publishers), and A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation). Other award-winning articles, short stories, and poetry for adults have appeared in both national and international publications including the North Carolina Christian Advocate Magazine, The New East Magazine, the Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer, the Rocky Mount (N.C.) Sunday Telegram, Dog Fancy, ByLine, The Christian Record, Skirt! Magazine, and True Story. A thirty-minute television special which Ms. Casey wrote and coordinated was broadcast on WRAL, Channel 5, in Raleigh, North Carolina. She also received special recognition for her editorial work on the English translations of Albanian children’s stories.
Ms. Casey is a former director of BookFest of the Palm Beaches, Florida, where she served as guest author and panelist. She has served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Florida, and was the Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 through 2003. She is a frequent guest lecturer at universities and writers’ conferences around the country including the SCBWI Regional Conference, the Harriett Austin Writers Conference in Athens, SIBA (Southeastern Independent Book Sellers Association), Florida Writers Association, and the University of Auburn, Montgomery.
In 2018, Ms. Casey received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award for her extensive experience and notable accomplishments in the field of publishing and other areas. She makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband and Benton, a hound mix who adopted her.