Keep in a Cold, Dark Place
Michael F. Stewart
Publication date: May 18th 2017
Genres: Horror, Middle-Grade
Reaching for her dream, Limpy unleashes a cute, fluffy, NIGHTMARE …
Keep in a cold, dark place. That’s what’s written like some ancient law on every bag of potatoes the family farms. And it’s where Limpy fears she will always remain.
It’s also carved on a box of spheres she discovers in the cellar. Spheres that hatch.
Cute at first, the creatures begin to grow. Then the chickens disappear. The cat is hunted. And something sets the barn ablaze. To survive, Limpy will need to face her greatest fear. The whole family will. Or they may end up in a cold, dark place indeed.
Michael F. Stewart is winner of both the 2015 Claymore Award and the 2014 inaugural Creation of Stories Award for best YA novel at the Toronto International Book Fair.
He likes to combine storytelling with technology and pioneered interactive storytelling with Scholastic Canada, Australia, and New Zealand’s, anti-cyberbullying program Bully For You. In addition to his award winning Assured Destruction series, he has authored four graphic novels with Oxford University Press Canada’s Boldprint series. Publications of nonfiction titles on Corruption and Children’s Rights are published by Scholastic and early readers are out with Pearson Education.
For adults, Michael has written THE SAND DRAGON a horror about a revenant prehistoric vampire set in the tar sands, HURAKAN a Mayan themed thriller which pits the Maya against the MS-13 with a New York family stuck in the middle, 24 BONES an urban fantasy which draws from Egyptian myth, and THE TERMINALS–a covert government unit which solves crimes in this realm by investigating them in the next.
Herder of four daughters, Michael lives to write in Ottawa where he was the Ottawa Public Library’s first Writer in Residence. To learn more about Michael and his next projects visit his website at www.michaelfstewart.com or connect via Twitter @MichaelFStewart.
Michael is represented by Talcott Notch.
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What I Really Think About This Novel
I enjoyed this novel about a young girl desperate to find a way off the farm she has lived her whole life. She has a good shot at winning a scholarship to a prestige art school, but lacks the support of her family. Her dad wants nothing but for her to cook, clean, and work the potatoes on the cursed land. She has enemies at school and yet she persists in working on her art project in order to submit it before the deadline. Things get exciting when she finds the hatchlings. Mischief abounds as her new pets grow creating more problems for Limpy to overcome. It's a story of fears, a story of family being torn about, and a story about unity. The author has created characters with depth and I had great empathy for the protagonist and the life lesson she learns.
It could be considered a scary story for children who are extra-sensitive. I would compare it with the 1984 film Gremlins, but an understated version. It is not violent as the film was, nor is the town over-run with the creatures. I think the story has just the right pace of excitement for young readers.
Write every day. Even if it's just a little bit.
The rules are simple. Set your timer for ten minutes. Begin to write and include the prompt somewhere in your mini story. The word he or she can be changed to reflect whatever gender you want to use. Optional: Share your writing prompt in the comment section.
Today's prompt is:
The gopher surveyed the lawn.
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