CRICKET SCARLING is a not-so-traditional middle-grade, gothic tale that blends darkness with whimsy, magic with history, and the known world with the unimaginable.

It’s 1950 and eleven-year-old Cricket Scarling has almost everything, including a bedroom with nine windows overlooking Central Park. What she doesn’t have is her freedom. Her parents keep her locked up like a china doll in a cabinet and the only friend she’s ever had is the shadow who lives in her closet named Mister Inkpen. That is, until he went missing on her ninth birthday. Two years later, a string of clues has led Cricket to a discovery – there is “truth magic” in her hands and, for the first time, she sees the lies all around her. That house on Fifth Avenue isn’t her home. The Scarlings aren’t her family. And Mister Inkpen didn’t disappear; he’s on an island hidden on the “flipside” of Manhattan. And he is in danger. Finding him there won’t be easy because a flock of ravenous blackbirds called Nightgales steal and devour children on the island every night. Cricket joins a traveling carnival for safety, taking on the role of fortuneteller. That carnival turns out to be the home she always needed and the family she always wanted. Soon it becomes clear that the only way she can protect the people she loves and rescue Mister Inkpen is to use her magic to defeat the Nightgales. But the truth behind those birds is far more sinister than anyone could have guessed.

This 78,500-word manuscript is complete and I am currently querying agents. It is also under consideration by direct submission to an editor.