Archive for the Reading Category

A Sneak Peek at Book 3!

Posted in Reading, Writing with tags , , , , , on April 27, 2018 by Jessica Crichton

The actual writing of books is an isolating experience. One in which readers don’t hear much about the stories they’re waiting for. Taking that into consideration, I’ve decided to post the first chapter of Guts and Glory book THREE! here so you can have a sneak peek at what I’m working on. Happy reading! ~ JC

The Legend of Guts & Glory: Book 3 (Title Pending)





Back and forth, up and down, my new sword hacked at the weeds of swampy Noc. Some were slashed off instantly, others — the big ones — took a few more whacks. I didn’t mind. Those were the most fun.


“Might wanna aim higher,” a voice said from behind me. “I hear those ‘dults’re pretty big.”

“WHO–” I spun around in the mucky swamp floor. My boot didn’t.


Face, meet mud.

The voice laughed. I looked up, wiping green muck from my eyes, and saw a girl I’d never seen before.

She was a Teen — I could tell that from the three-stripe tattoo under one brown eye — but she looked about my age. I figured she couldn’t be older than 13 but since Nil Kids don’t celebrate birthdays, she wouldn’t have known if I asked. She had darkish skin, and black hair pulled back into a tight braid. She was skinny everywhere but her face, her round cheeks even rounder from the huge smile she was giving me. Like everyone from the city of Nil, she wore layered rags, heavy boots, and old tires on her arms and legs for armor. Unlike most, she carried no weapons that I could see, though she did have a few multicolored ropes tied around her waist. From them hung a floppy leather bag.
She leaned down and held out a gloved hand, still smiling like a loon. “Yer mighty-tighty Guts the brave! Hero ‘a Nil! Right?”

I took her hand and pulled myself to my feet. “Something like that,” I muttered, trying to wipe big slabs of mud off my knees. “You know it’s dangerous to sneak up on someone who has a weapon, right?”

She laughed again. “I ain’t too worried ‘bout YOU anyhow. MUD-MAN.”

“Mature,” I muttered. Spotting my sword in the muck, I picked it up and wiped it off as good as I could on my dirty pants, careful to keep the sharp edge away from my skin. It was small, curved, and made of a few different metals patch-soldered together. It wasn’t much more than a glorified knife. At least, on the outside.

Gripping the hilt, I flipped a hidden switch under the hand guard. With a FOOSH! of electric blue sparks, the blade lit up in dancing lines of electricity. Books had been pretty excited about that.

“See? It matches yer buzzballs!” He’d said when he showed me.

To my satisfaction, the girl jumped back a little.

“You know me,” I said to the girl, flipping the switch off again. The sudden loss of blue light made me realize how dark it was getting. “But who are you?”

“Goin’ by the namea Wendy fer now,” she said. “I’m here ta take ya ta the meetin’.”
I grimaced and sheathed my sword. “That’s what I was afraid of.”

She turned in the darkening shadows. “C’mon Hero ‘a Mud. They’re gonna start fast.”

Groaning inwardly, I followed Wendy-the-Teen back to Camp Zombie.



I’ve Gone AUDIO!

Posted in children's books, Reading, Writing with tags , , , , , on April 25, 2018 by Jessica Crichton


YO! Scribbler’s decided ta make a audiobook transmisshun ‘a “Dr. Fixit’s Malicious Machine”! Check out Chapter 1 here, an’ happy readin!

The Adventures of Bailey Boots #8: Nothing Moo Here

Posted in Bailey Boots, Comics, Kids, Reading with tags , , , on April 10, 2015 by Jessica Crichton


Bailey Boots is a curious girl. She tr–

Wait. Where is Bailey Boots?



… uh… says Bailey Boots? Silly B–

“I won’t come out! You can’t make me!”

But… Bailey Boots. Don’t you want an adventure?



But… why not?

“It’s scary.”


Please come out.


Okay, okay. If I promise no more cows, will you come out?


“No more cows?”

No more cows.


Cross my heart.


“Oh… okay. As long as there’s no more cows.”

… says Bailey Boots?

“Don’t push it.”


Okay! We’re back in business!


Bailey Boots is a curious girl. She tries new things every d–



… what now?


“Where’s Moo?”



“Yeah. He’s supposed to be on my shoulder now, remember?”

You… never really had Moo. You know that, right? Moo was a charac–


“No Moo, no me.”

Bailey Boo–


“Get Moo back, then we’ll talk Miss Big Writer Lady.”

Bailey, be reasonable.

“Moo first!”




Sigh. Fine. I’ll be back later.


“You’d better be. You’d. Better. Be.”

Bailey Boots #5

The Adventures of Bailey Boots #6: Mooo-d Science!

Posted in Bailey Boots, Comics, Reading, Stories with tags , , , on March 20, 2015 by Jessica Crichton


Bailey Boots is a curious girl. She tries new things every day.


Today, Bailey Boots is at school. Her teacher is talking about the science fair. Bailey Boots is curious AND excited!


But what should her science fair project be?


“Moo!” says Bailey Boots’ parrot friend.


“Moo?” says Bailey Boots with a giggle. “That’s your name, silly parrot, not a science project!


“Moo,” insists Moo.


Bailey Boots knows that Moo can say more than that. She starts to wonder what he means.








“Moo project!” Moo says excitedly. “Moo science!”


Bailey Boots wonders if a cowshark or a cowtree are real science. She’s not convinced.










“Nah,” says Bailey Boots. “I think I’ll just stick with a volcano this year.”

Happy Bailey Boots!


Blight: Chapter 1

Posted in Books, Fiction, Literature, Reading with tags , , , , , , on March 18, 2015 by Jessica Crichton

Here is the first chapter of my new YA novel, Blight. I thought I’d already posted it here, but I looked and can’t find it. Very odd. Please let me know what you think! Thank you. ~JR


by Jessica Rising

Chapter 1


The ancient word hangs in my mind as I kneel in the dirt. My fingers, chalky with dust, working slowly. Carefully. I can’t afford another mistake. Already the rocky ground is littered with broken bits of metal, cracked cogs and de-twined springs. Here and there, peppering the mess, shiny bits of white glass reflect the low light from outside.

That, I broke on purpose.

Even in the beginning there were only two of the fragile globes. The most important pieces. But I had to know how they worked, and the glass cover hid the details inside. I’d had to sacrifice one to understand the other.

A pointless sacrifice.

I lift up the uncovered innards to study them again in the faint light. The tiny bits are as mysterious to me now as they were when I’d first killed the Knight, three days before.

The bottom is curved around and around like the hand drills we use in the quarry, only much shorter and fatter. Above, surrounded by a jagged lip of the broken glass that had covered them, two tiny metal wires stand up side-by-side, connected at the bottom by a small cube of clear glass. Another wire runs along the top, connected back to the glass cube by even thinner, springy wires.

I’ve studied it for days, at every angle, but it still makes no sense. Both globes worked perfectly when I saw them focused on me within the hollow eyesockets of the Knight, blinding me with their bright glow. But they’d gone dead with it. I haven’t been able to make them glow since.

Frustrated, I pull my book out of its secret pocket in my robes. Something hits my knee. I look down to see its sister has followed it. I’ve had both books for as long as I can remember and known they were dangerous for just about as long. Books are heresy against Bask, outlawed in the Under. Nobody here can read.

Nobody except me.

I don’t know why I can read. Neither of my parents can. Nobody I know can. I don’t remember learning how, I just always have. Just like I’ve always had the books.

I pick up the second book. It’s smaller than its sister, thinner, with a brown cover that almost matches my robes. I’ve always wanted to read it but I can’t. The lock on its side keeps its secrets well hidden.

I put it back in my pocket and focus on the other book, the one I can read. A little bigger than my open palm, its title is 8th Grade Physical Science. I’ve read it so many times I can almost recite it word for word, but I still understand so few of those words. I open it to a wrinkled page with a picture of a bulb. My lips move as I whisper the caption under my breath.

“Electricity is a force created by a difference in charges due to gained or lost electrons. Electricity flowing between two points is called an electrical current. In order for these electrons to flow, there must be a difference in charges between the two points. Electricity always flows from a location with a negative charge to a location with a positive charge.”

Words. So many words, so little sense in them.

I stare at both bulbs — broken and whole, and bite back a scream of frustration. It’s right here. RIGHT here. Light for the Under. Freedom for my people. So close, but so impossibly far away.

The small cavern where I kneel vibrates to the long, low toll of a bell.

The waking-bell. And today is Atonement. I won’t have another chance at lighting up our darkness for another whole day.

The Adventures of Bailey Boots #5: Polly Wanna Moo?

Posted in Bailey Boots, Books, Comics, Reading with tags , , , on March 15, 2015 by Jessica Crichton


Bailey Boots is a curious girl. She tries new things every day.


Today, Bailey Boots is curious about pets. She’s had such fun with her cow adventures that she’s decided to get a pet of her very own to have lots of adventures with.

So today, she’s at the pet store.


But what kind of pet should she get? Bailey Boots is confused.


“Hello, cat,” says Bailey Boots to the first pet she sees. “Do you want to be my pet?”




Bailey Boots decides to try another animal.


“Hello, doggy,” says Bailey Boots to the next pet.






“H… hi s… snake?” Bailey Boots says to the next pet. “Nice snake?”




“Um… that’s… that’s okay,” says Bailey Boots. She wasn’t sure she wanted a snake anyway.


But what will Bailey Boots do? She can’t find a pet of her very own.


But she won’t give up! One last try, Bailey Boots!


“Hello birdy,” says Bailey Boots to a pretty parrot. “Um… moo?”










“Hello!” says Bailey Boots to her new pet. “I’m SO glad you didn’t say moo!”


“Hello Bailey Boots! Hello!”


“Let’s go home, Parrot,” says Bailey Boots happily. “What do you think about that?”





“Oh, well,” says Bailey Boots. “Close enough!”

Happy Bailey Boots!

The Adventures of Bailey Boots #4: Hello Mooey

Posted in Bailey Boots, fun, Reading, Stories, WebComic with tags , , , on March 12, 2015 by Jessica Crichton


Bailey Boots is a curious girl. She tries new things every day.


Bailey Boots has met a lot of cows lately, and she feels sad that she was mean to them. After their swim, her CowShark friend told her that to meet a real cow and make friends with it, she has to go to a farm. So today, she is visiting a farm.


Look Bailey Boots! There’s a cow over there!


“Hello cow,” says Bailey Boots.


BaileyFarm1Bailey Boots is confused. Why won’t the cow say hi?

“Wait!” she thinks, “I’m so silly! Cows don’t speak English!”


“Moo!” says Bailey Boots. She’s learned to speak cow very well.


















No new cow friends. Poor Bailey Boots.

John M. Cusick

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