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Siblings John and Sarah barely made it home last time, but in their next time traveling adventure the challenge really heats up. Surrounded by clashing cultures on the ancient Roman frontier, they must fulfill their quest to unite the emperor with his enemy, an Alemanni barbarian, or risk being stuck in time forever.
An action-packed fantasy full of sword fights, chariot chases, fearsome wild animals, and high mountain survival. For graduates of the Magic Tree House looking for a thrilling middle grade page-turner, read Sol Invictus, book two of The Eye of Ra series!
read an excerpt...
John’s whole body shook. His irregular breathing created a feedback loop of anxious nerves. On one side of him, Lucas was now armed. On the other, a squad or regiment or whatever you call it of Roman soldiers pointed spears at them, and they looked very, very serious. John’s worrying spiraled and he couldn’t steady himself and—
If only he could trace the eye of Ra again. Why on Earth had he thought tracing it would be a good idea in the first place? What was he thinking?!
Then Sarah asked for him to hand it over. Of course! She would save them. She got them out of ancient Egypt. She’d save them again.
He couldn’t get the leather cord over his head, so Sarah leaned in close and put her finger on the pendant. With the loop still around his neck, their foreheads pressed together.
“We’re going to get out of here, Johnny,” she whispered.
“Get up!” the boy standing over him said again.
Given that he was one of the fighters about to face a lion, John assumed he was a venator and thus wasn’t trying to kill them, or the other people in the ring. They were supposed to work together to overcome the lion, right? In fact, this boy had offered to help them. John examined Sarah’s face—her single pointed look of determination as she traced the eye. Why was she reluctant to accept this boy’s help, to work together?
Sarah finished tracing the almond eye and moved to the line with the curlicue finish while mumbling to herself in some kind of mantra, “Please work, please work, please work.”
about Ben Gartner...
Ben Gartner is the award-winning author of The Eye of Ra adventure series for middle graders (ages 8-12). His books take readers for a thrilling ride, maybe even teaching them something in the meantime. Ben can be found living and writing near the mountains with his wife and two boys.
more personal "stuff" about Ben Gartner...
The Hardest Part About Writing
The hardest part about writing is…. Drumroll… Finding the time! Now, an eyeroll because that’s a bit of a cliché answer, so let me elaborate a little.
First of all, I have a day job and a family, so that alone tells you that finding time to write can be difficult. However, I know that I am in no way unique. And, of course, I try to read and support other authors. And there is always the myriad duties for a writer that aren’t writing: marketing hooha, social media, etc. And and and… I won’t bore you because I don’t want it to sound like I’m complaining.
My best writing comes when I can spend at least a couple of solid hours in a sort of incantation trance mode. Sure, I can just sit down cold and belt out some word count for twenty minutes, but that is definitely not my best writing and often gets scrapped or rewritten heavily. My best writing comes when I can take at least a half an hour to re-read what I wrote the last time I sat, make some edits and tweaks, maybe review my outline, and fully dismiss my present reality in exchange for the mindset of my characters and my world. Immersing myself like that takes some time. Then, the writing comes naturally and, dare I claim, inspired. It flows. I spend the first bit getting back into the kayak, feeling the tug of the river, then I push myself off and let it take me downstream, paddling like mad all the way.
So, when I say that finding the time is the hardest part of writing, what I mean is that finding that meditative zone where I’m lost in the story and actually lose track of time, when the stars align and I have a quiet place to work and I’m not distracted and my todo list is clear and I can completely shed my own ego and zen out to the story. Sounds far out, man.
But, oh boy, when it does . . . I very much enjoy that time when it happens. Ultimately, it’s not about finding it, it’s about making it happen.
P.S. I love hearing from readers, parents, teachers, librarians, and the writing community. Don’t be shy about reaching out. My website is BenGartner.com. On Twitter and Instagram, I’m @BGartnerWriting.