Tuesday, October 30, 2007

School Presentation Becoming Increasingly Popular

Mark Twain once said, "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them." It has also been said that a reluctant reader simply hasn’t found the right books yet.

I have come to realize how important reading is to the education process. It is foundational to learning, and is the key to future success in life. Yet I grew up as a reluctant reader. Now I've joined the battle to help children develop a love for reading.

I'm available for a limited number of regional school visits and will consider traveling to more distant locations. My program is unique and the responses have been very positive. I prefer reading nights, where students and their parents attend together, and where copies of my books can be sold, but I'm also available for other in-school programs.

My presentation includes props that I use while writing. These are items that help me to visualize the scene better. I also use mood appropriate music and allow the students to stretch their imagination by listening to various pieces. Then I'll read an exciting chapter from one of my books.

For longer programs, I might read a chapter and then ask the students, "What happens next?" They will then write a few paragraphs to continue the story, as they see it.

I like to stress the fact that each of us is unique. No one sees the world exactly the same as anyone else. Because of this, there is lots of room for individual creativity and expression. In literature, this is called voice as students have an opportunity to put down on paper the way they interpret the world around them.

The reason I prefer reading nights, where the parents are also present, is because, once parents hear how I came to write my books, they see how these books can impact their children in a positive way. The books are entertaining, fast-paced, with lots of humor and heart-pounding action. Each book is also educational, without the reader even knowing it.

Max Elliot Anderson P O Box 4126 Rockford, IL 61110 (815) 877-1514 mander8813@aol.com
http://mailto:mander8813@aol.com Reviews http://maxbookreviews.blogspot.com/
Now, from an author who hated to read...comes books kids hate to put down.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sample Chapter - NEWSPAPER CAPER

Note: If you have a moment, I'd appreciate your comment concerning this sample chapter, after you finish reading, as well as why or how books for boys are important to you.

Thank you.

It’s time to post the next sample chapter. This one comes from the first book I had published, NEWSPAPER CAPER. The story actually was prompted by a series of stories in my newspaper about a car theft ring and a chop shop where the cars were cut apart and sold for parts.

This book, along with the others, is available on Amazon. Or, if you want to buy the book from me, I sign all of those. You can email for details at mander8813@aol.com.


Tom Stevens was a super salesman. He and his friends delivered newspapers early every morning. Along their route, the boys often saw some pretty strange things. Then one day they actually became a front page story on the very papers they delivered. Readers will like the humor, attack dogs, car thieves, and the chop shop Tom and the others uncover. This story reminds us of how important friendship is. It also teaches God isn't just for emergencies. He wants to guide our lives every day.

Chapter 8

Tom had been afraid a few times in his life. Like just before a big test, or when it was time for report cards. But he had never, ever been so scared as he was right now. Not only was it dark out, and the boys were all alone, but they were actually watching a car as it was about to be stolen. Worse than that, Tom knew one of the men. His heart began beating so fast, he had to sit on the ground for a moment.
“What’s wrong with you?” Jimmy whispered.
“I’ll be okay. Just give me a minute. I need to think of a plan.”
“Wouldya hurry up,” Matt said. “Because somebody’s car’s about to be hauled off to…”
“Get ready,” Tom ordered.
The boys watched as Jake stepped out of the truck. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a key. He slipped it into the car’s lock and tried to turn it. But the lock wouldn’t open. He tried again, but it still didn’t work.
“What’s wrong?” the other man asked. “You do have the right key, don’t you?”
“Of course it’s the right key. I’m not an idiot.” But the harder he tried the angrier the truck driver became.
He stormed out of the truck. “Here. Give me that,” he demanded. Then the driver tried the key. He couldn’t make it work either. So he walked around to the other side and tried that lock, but no luck.
“The guy at the hardware store must have made a mistake,” Jake suggested. “I mean, we haven’t had any trouble with all the others we’ve stolen.”
That sent a cold feeling through Tom.
The driver threw the key on the ground and went to the back of his truck. He hooked something under the front end of the car. Then he walked back to the levers on his truck and began lifting the car’s wheels off the ground.
The tow truck made a loud noise as the hooks continued lifting.
“I’ve got it,” Tom announced.
“Got what?” Jimmy squeaked.
“When they get ready to leave, we’ll run across the street so they know somebody saw them.”
“I’m not runnin’ anyplace,” Matt protested.
“We’ll be okay,” Tom said. “It should happen so fast they won’t know what happened. I just want to rattle them.”
“I’m already rattled enough for all of us,” Matt complained.
“After we run, we have to hurry to our bikes. If we ride fast enough, we might be able to see where they take the car. Then we can tell the police.”
“I don’t need this much excitement,” Matt said.
“Just be ready,” Tom ordered.
He tapped his friends on the shoulder. “When I give the signal, you guys follow me.”
As soon as the car was up in the air, the tow truck driver quickly jumped back in the cab, shifted into drive, and began pulling away from the curb.
“NOW,” Tom ordered.
The boys streaked across the street just a few feet from the front of the truck. By this time its headlights were on. Tom and Jimmy made it across, but Matt, well, he had a problem. He wasn’t as fast as his friends, but something else happened. Right in the middle of the street, Matt tripped and fell. The truck roared as it moved forward. The driver almost drove right over Matt, nearly crushing his body under the massive front wheels.
Tom turned back and looked in horror, thinking his friend was about to be squished to death. Somehow the driver was able to instantly move his foot from the gas peddle and jam on the brakes just in time to stop his truck only inches from Matt’s head.
At that instant Matt looked up into the powerful headlights. Tom could see Matt’s reflection in the truck’s bumper, but worst of all, the men in the truck got a clear look at Matt’s face. There was no way he could ever feel safe, walking around town after that.
“Run, Matt, run!” Jimmy yelled. Tom watched as the driver turned his head from Matt and looked directly into his eyes. Tom felt like he was going to pass right out.
While all of this was going on, something else happened. When the truck skidded to a stop, the car behind it flew forward. It hit the back of the truck with so much force that the whole front of the car smashed in. The crash made such a loud sound that people from a couple of the houses nearby turned on their lights as they peered out of their windows.
Matt managed to get back to his feet and limped to the safety of the bushes on the other side. Once he was out of the way, the driver gunned it and rumbled down the street.
Then a man ran out from one of the houses. “Hey. Stop them. That’s my car!”
“Let’s get to our bikes,” Tom called. “We can still catch them.” He and Jimmy made it to the bikes at almost the same time, but Matt was a little slower. This time it was because his knee hurt from hitting the pavement. But he still ran pretty fast. The three boys jumped on their bikes and rode off in the direction of where the truck had gone. Tom could still see its taillights in the distance as it turned onto another street.
“Come on, you guys. Hurry.” Tom stopped quickly to pick up the key from the pavement. He put it in his pocket for evidence later.
“Matt. You still got your cell phone?” Tom asked.
Matt reached into his pocket but sadly reported, “I smashed it when I fell.”
The boys peddled as fast as any racers they’d ever seen on TV. As they rounded the turn, Tom just caught a glimpse of the truck’s lights again.
“There. I see them.” And the chase was on again.
But the truck made a right turn onto one of the main roads in town. The speed limit was higher on that street. Tom knew there was no way they could ever keep up. He brought his bike to a stop.
“Hold it,” he ordered.
His friends pulled up on each side.
“What do we do now?” Jimmy asked.
“There’s nothin’ we can do,” Matt answered. “And my knee is killing me.”
“Let’s just go back to Matt’s house. It’s all over for tonight,” Jimmy added.
“I guess you’re right,” Tom sighed.
The boys turned their bikes around when Tom saw it.
“Wait just a minute!” he exclaimed.
The streetlights caused a reflection in something on the street. Tom hopped off his bike and knelt down beside a thin shiny stripe. He touched it with his finger, and then lifted it to his nose.
“Oil. The car is leaking oil,” he announced. He turned his head in the direction where the truck had disappeared.
“Follow me!”
Again the boys began peddling like Olympic champions. All along their route, streetlights transformed the line of oil into a silver thread in the night. Now it didn’t matter how fast the truck was going, Tom knew they could still find out where it went. The oil line only went straight for three blocks until it turned again onto a slower side- street.
“This way,” Tom called.
“Hey,” Jimmy yelled. “I hear something.”
“It’s a train,” Matt said.
“Faster. Ride faster,” Tom encouraged.
As they did, the boys were able to see the end of a freight train just as its last car rolled through the crossing and rumbled into the distance.
“There they are,” Tom yelled.
As the crossing gate rose, the truck sped away.
Jimmy called out, “We got ‘em now.”
They wound through an area with dark abandoned buildings. The street was rough, so the boys had to be extra careful not to get their bike tires stuck in the cracks and potholes all over the pavement. Tom noticed the truck couldn’t go very fast either. He watched as it began making a left turn.
“Let’s go down this alley,” Tom pointed.
The alley went in the same direction as the street where the truck drove, but this way there was no possibility for the men to see them. It was only a hunch, but Tom thought they might be coming close to the place where the truck was about to drop off the car before heading out to steal another one.
He was right. When they came to the end of the alley, the boys looked down the street. They watched as the tow truck stopped in front of a high fence. Tom lowered his bike to the ground.
“Let’s get closer.”
The boys hid in the shadows as they made their way closer to the gate. In this part of town there were fewer streetlights. Plus, most of the buildings looked run down. Tom wondered how some of them kept from falling apart.
He heard the truck’s horn as the boys stopped behind some rusty oil drums stacked near the fence.
The driver blasted his horn a second time, and something amazing happened. The gate began opening all by itself. Tom looked around to see if anyone was pulling on it, but they weren’t. It reminded him of a big prison.
Tom motioned to his friends. “Come on.”
They moved forward in a crouched position, making sure they stayed out of the light. The gate came to a stop, and the truck pulled inside the fence. Then the gate began to close.
“We’re not going in there, Tom,” Matt cried.
As the truck pulled up to a darkened building, a large door began to open, just like the gate. The truck moved forward and disappeared inside as the door closed again automatically.
Tom leaned against the fence. “We gotta see what’s in there.”
Suddenly the boys heard a low growling sound. Then another, and another. Tom looked up just as three mammoth guard dogs charged the fence. They slammed against it only inches from Tom’s head. He quickly pulled his fingers out of the fence and jumped back as the dogs barked their warnings. Lights came on inside the building.
“Dogs,” Matt cried. “Why did it have to be dogs?”
“We’d better move before those guys come out and catch us,” Jimmy suggested.
“Yeah, and don’t forget. They saw me,” Matt reminded them as he pointed at his chest.
“All right,” Tom whispered. “But we are going to find a way in that place.”
“You crazy?” Matt asked.
Tom looked back toward the dogs. “We just have to.”

Author web site: http://http://www.maxbooks.9k.com/

NEWSPAPER CAPER, TERROR AT WOLF LAKE, NORTH WOODS POACHERS, MOUNTAIN CABIN MYSTERY, BIG RIG RUSTLERS, SECRET OF ABBOTT'S CAVE & LEGEND OF THE WHITE WOLF, are compared by readers and reviewers to Tom Sawyer, The Hardy Boys, Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Scooby-Doo, Lemony Snicket, and adventure author Jack London.

Nearly 50 pages of reviews http://maxbookreviews.blogspot.com/

Homeschooling at the Speed of Life

Homeschooling at the Speed of Life: Balancing Home, School, And Family in the Real World, by Marilyn Rockett (B & H Publishing) April, 2007 - Includes CD

Have you heard about this book yet? Apparently a lot of families have, because it’s selling very well on amazon.com.

Marilyn has written numerous articles over almost twenty years for publications such as Homeschooling Today, The Teaching Home, Home School Digest, Family Resources and various state homeschooling organization newsletters. She has been active in homeschool support groups and was a co-founder and the first president of a large support group in Texas where the family lived at the time. She is a past board member of Maryland Association of Christian Home Educators (MACHE), a Maryland state homeschool organization. She edited the Maryland state newsletter insert in The Teaching Home magazine and was state coordinator for the Home School Legal Defense Congressional Action Program (CAP) and the MinuteM.A.N. (Maryland Alert Network) program for home educators in Maryland.

You can find out much more about Marilyn, and her book, Homeschooling at the Speed of Life, on her web site at http://www.marilynrockett.com

There are 21 reviews for this book on Amazon. Here are a few excerpts:

“This book has been the BEST resource I have found on the unique challenge of becoming an organized homeschoooling mom.” Michelle Rodriguez

“Marilyn has written an instruction manual for homeschool moms to get organized, stay organized, be good stewards of our time, and enjoy our families more.” Susan Namboodiri

“This is one of the few books available that offers a home schooling mom guidance in how to successfully run her home AND her "school".” Dawn Pittman

“This book is just what I needed!” Leigh Ann

Homeschooling at the Speed of Life sounds like just the book for busy homeschooling moms.

Max Elliot Anderson
Author of action-adventures & mysteries especially for boys 8 and up


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Choosing books for your children can be extremely difficult. Publishing statistics indicate that something like 200,000 new books come out each year. So I believe it’s important to read what others have said about a book or author.

Following are a few examples of what people have said about the books by Max Elliot Anderson.

A review for SECRET OF ABBOTT’S CAVE http://www.jandysbooks.com/children/abbottscave.html

3 reviews from Eclectic Homeschool Online - Mountain Cabin Mystery,
Newspaper Caper, Terror at Wolf Lake

A 30 minute radio interview on Book Bites For Kids Radio

With a simple search on Yahoo or Google, by entering Max Elliot Anderson into your browser, you’ll find many more pages of interviews and reviews.

You can also go to the review blog and find an extensive list of reviews for all of the published books at http://maxbookreviews.blogspot.com/

Remember, on Monday, October 29, the next sample chapter will be posted. This one comes from NEWSPAPER CAPER.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Welcome to the fourth sample chapter from one of my action-adventures & mysteries, written especially for boys 8 – 13. Girls like them too. Each Monday, from now through November 12, I’ll post a different sample chapter from one of the books.

The next adventure to be featured on my site, with a free sample chapter, is MOUNTAIN CABIN MYSTERY at http://booksandboys.blogspot.com/

Midwest Book Review said of this book, “…a rollicking adventure that climbs up your spine and hangs by its fingertips from the cliff of your skull."

Of course, you can still enjoy the sample chapters from SECRET OF ABBOTT’S CAVE, LEGEND OF THE WHITE WOLF, and BIG RIG RUSTLERS when you scroll down beyond this chapter.

Scott and his friends had dreamed and prepared for their first wilderness camping adventure. When they become separated from their group in a mountain fog, trouble begins. There was that bear, the decrepit suspension bridge over a bottomless gorge, the sheer cliff in the dark, those terrorists in the remote cabin, the Army, the helicopter ride, and…

Today’s chapter comes from MOUNTAIN CABIN MYSTERY

Chapter 6

The three lost hikers continued hurrying in the direction they were certain the others had gone. At first the descending pathway made their going a little easier. But soon it changed until they were into the most difficult climb of the hike so far. “This can’t be right,” Al complained. “Some of those older people could never make it up here.” A little farther along, the path turned into a narrow shelf with sheer rock on one side and what looked to be an endless drop-off on the other.
They continued inching their way upward until Scott groaned, “That’s it. We’re turning back. We already broke the first rule when you get lost. Remember?”
“Yeah, and I got that one right on the test,” Benji complained.
“Well I didn’t,” Al said. “What were you supposed to do next?”
“You’re supposed to stay put, right where you are. At least then you have a better chance of being found.”
“We can’t be that far off track. Let’s just go back where we came from,” Al suggested.
“What was that?” Benji asked in a half whisper. “I heard a growl.”
“It’s probably my stomach,” Al joked. “I’m already getting hungry again.”
“Be quiet,” Scott whispered. “I heard it too. It’s coming from behind us.”
Suddenly a big, ferocious-looking bear emerged from the fog. He was walking on the path and coming right toward them. The menacing bear had dark brown fur. He stopped in the middle of the trail and stood up on his hind legs. Even though he wasn’t close yet, the boys could see that this bear was bigger than any one of them.
As he sniffed the cold mountain air, blasts of white steam bellowed out of the bear’s nostrils. He seemed to look in the direction where the boys stood. As he did that he opened his jaws to reveal long, sharp, yellow teeth. But it’s what he did next that made the already frightened boys wish they’d never come up on that mountain.
The bear began to growl as if he hadn’t had his bear breakfast yet. Then he dropped back down on all fours and began lumbering up the path again.
“I didn’t think they were supposed to be up at this level,” Scott questioned.
“Try telling that to the bear,” Al muttered through clenched teeth.
Benji pulled biscuits out of his pockets and threw them down the path toward the bear.
“You aren’t supposed to have food on you either. I forgot about that.” he confessed.
“This is just great. You guys stop to take a stupid picture, and now look at us. We need to move it. Those things are faster on four legs than we are on two.”
“Especially with our packs,” Benji complained.
“Whatever you do, don’t run, and do not look that bear in the eye.”
“Who’s looking?” Al said.
“All right then, let’s start walking, nice and easy.”
They began to ease their way on up the path. But as they moved, the bear kept right on coming. That big, four-legged eating machine walked right past the biscuits Benji had tossed. He continued climbing directly toward the boys. Quickly, Scott looked around for an escape route. Then he saw it. “Guys,” he whispered, not even moving his lips. “See that narrow place over my right shoulder where those two big rocks come together?”
“Yes,” they whispered back.
“It looks big enough for us to squeeze through, but too narrow for fatso back there. I know you aren’t supposed to run, but it’s so close. I think we can make it before he gets to us. Are you guys up for trying?
“Uh huh,” they whispered with their eyes stuck wide open.
“We’ve only got one shot at it. When I yell, you’d better be right behind me ‘cause I won’t be looking back.”
The bear was only about twenty-five feet away now. In seconds he would be right on top of them.
“LET’S MOVE IT!” Scott screamed. In one fluid motion the boys were pushing their way between the rocks.
“I hope you’re right about that monster being too big,” Al cried. Scott was the first one through. Even with his backpack he still made it. Al was next, with Benji bringing up the rear. Just before he came to the opening, Benji slipped on a wet rock, and hit his knee, real hard.
“Ow,” he howled. That gave the bear the seconds it needed to catch up.
“Ben, don’t even look behind you. Just get up, right now, and come through here. Fast!”
“Hurry, Ben, hurry!” Al warned. Benji did what they told him and immediately he was pushing his way through the narrow opening. “Help me, I think I’m stuck.”
“Get out of your backpack,” Scott ordered.
“I’m trying, I’m trying!” Benji kicked his feet wildly, desperately trying to break free.
Al grabbed one strap while Scott gripped the other. Together they yanked them from Benji’s shoulders just as the bear reached through the opening and swiped with one paw. His long sharp claws instantly cut the back of the bag to shreds. Al and Scott took Benji by the shoulders, and threw him into the air. He landed behind them in a heap.
He turned back just in time to watch with the others as the bear opened its mouth, showed his full set of sharp, yellow teeth, and roared so loudly it almost made the ground shake. At the same time he used his powerful claws to pull the contents of Benji’s bag to the other side of the opening.
“My Mom is really going to be mad. That backpack cost a lot of money.”
“It could have been you on the other side of the rocks with the bear,” Scott reminded him.
“Now what are we going to do? All our extra food was in that bag, even some you guys didn’t know about.”
“You’d be bear breath right now if we hadn’t pulled you loose,” Al said.
“I hate to say I warned you, but don’t you guys remember talking about the kind of food we were supposed to bring? It was just for an emergency like this. And you, Benji, why didn’t you just paint a target on your backpack. You were practically a walking fast food restaurant out here. I can’t believe you did that.”
“I know. I’m sorry.”
“Sorry doesn’t cut it right now. We are in serious trouble, guys.”
“One thing’s good,” Al noted. “At least the bear can’t come through there and get us.”
“Yes, but we can’t go back that way either, now can we?”
“Empty out your pack. Let’s see what we have between us for food and water.”
They dumped the contents of their backpacks onto the ground. “From what I see, we have enough trail mix to cover breakfast, lunch, and dinner, three times over,” Al groaned.
“I’m not even going to tell you guys what was in my bag.”
The boys could hear the bear destroying the contents of Benji’s backpack on the other side of the narrow rock passageway.
“Well, we have plenty of water. That’s something we really have to be careful about so we don’t get all dried out. At least if we find more up here, it’ll be coming from melted snow.”
“So it should be clean?” Benji asked.
“Sort of. But we’re going to have to keep going. Right now, nobody knows where we are.”
“The bear does.”
“Al, do you ever stop? Let’s just go.”
“Hey Benji, was that a black bear or a grizzly?”
“Who cares?” Benji answered.
“Well you were the closest one to him.”
“Don’t remind me.”
Scott noticed right away that this path wasn’t like the one they had been on before. It didn’t show the same amount of wear. There were no footprints. Grass, weeds, and a few wildflowers grew in all the spaces between the rocks. “Looks like nobody has walked on this trail for a long, long time.”
“I think you’re right,” Benji agreed.
They continued walking for the next couple of hours. Since Benji didn’t have his heavy load any longer, he quickly moved to the front of the line. The climbers, Huff and Puff, struggled trying to keep up with him.
“Hey, Ben, slow up. We need to stop and catch our breath.” The boys sat beside the trail for a few minutes.
“It feels so good to get this thing off my back,” Al groaned as he let his pack hit the ground.
“Let’s go ahead and eat something while we’re here,” Scott suggested.
“Humm,” Al said. “Let me see. What shall I eat? Trail mix? Trail mix? Or… trail mix? I know, I think I’ll have some trail mix, thanks to my good friend Benjamin.”
“Come on you guys. I’m really sorry.”
“Why in the world do you think we bothered to take all those classes and the test that almost killed you? It was for something exactly like where we are right now.”
“I know.”
“Lay off him, Scott. He feels bad enough already.”
“That’s not the point. Not the point at all. We might not get out of this place. Have you thought about that?”
“Yeah I have. It reminds me of that story from church about the shepherd and his sheep. Do you remember it?”
“You’re the story teller. How ‘bout you tell us.”
“Well, this guy had a hundred sheep. But when he brought them home for the night and stood there counting, one was missing. He could have said, ‘Oh well, I have ninety-nine others, what’s the big deal about one little lost sheep? I can get more.’
“I remember that story,” Benji spoke up, “He left all the rest and went out to find the lost sheep. That was one of my favorite picture…the one where the shepherd came back carrying the lost lamb on his shoulders. My mom had it laminated for me. I use it for a bookmark.” He took a deep breath and sighed, “I miss my mom.”
Just then, a small sparrow landed on a branch above Scott’s head, so close he could almost reach up and pet it. The little bird sang out like a choir of angels at that moment. The boys listened to him until he finished. Then, as quickly as the little bird arrived, he flew away again.
“You guys are right. I’m sorry. It’s just that I feel sort of responsible for all of us. But one thing’s for sure; God knows where we are, even if no one else does. He’s watching us right now, and He’ll take care of us. You wait and see.”
That made everyone feel a lot better. They finished their rest break, packed up the trail mix, and stood up to leave.
“Anyone want some dried apricots for desert?” Benji asked.
Scott looked at him with surprise, “Where did you hide those?”
“I don’t even want to know,” Al said.
Again they hiked deeper into uncertain territory. Thoughts of the bear, even though they’d survived a serious attack, began to fade from their thinking and conversation.
“I’m feeling pretty good now,” Scott announced confidently. “I think the worst is behind us. All we need to do is follow this path. It has to come out someplace. Hey, Al, you still have that ball of string you were supposed to carry?”
“Got it right here.” He pulled out a roll of white kite string.
“We should mark our path. That way people might see which way we went. We can make arrows out of sticks on the ground to show the direction we walked.”
“That’s a great idea,” Benji said as he took a knife out of his pocket. “I’ll be in charge of string cutting.”
“And I’ll tie them on bushes every few feet,” Al said.
“While you guys do that, I’ll take care of the direction arrows.”
Having jobs to do helped take their minds off the trouble they were in, and it made the time go faster. That really wasn’t such a good thing, though, because it meant, sooner or later, it would be getting dark.
On, and on they trudged, not knowing what lay just around the next twist or turn. Then Al stopped, “Wait a minute, I think I hear something.”
“That isn’t funny Al,” Scott warned.
“No, I mean it. Listen.”
“Tell me it isn’t another bear, you guys. I don’t have a backpack to give him.” “Sounds like water to me,” Scott said. “Just over that ridge I think.”
They moved quickly toward the sound. But just as they thought it would be right around the next boulder or fallen tree, nothing.
“The sound must be bouncing off the cliffs around here,” Al explained. “That river could be miles from here.”
For another hour or so they kept walking and tying string onto bushes. The water sound faded too. Then all of a sudden Scott stopped dead still.
“You guys aren’t going to like this.” Al poked his head around Scott’s right shoulder while Benji peeked around his left side. What they saw would have made the bravest man sick. There, not more than ten feet ahead of them, a piece of white string flapped in the breeze.
“Hey, will you look at that,” Benji said. “Somebody else is lost out here too.”
Scott and Al slowly turned to look at Benji.
“No. Those are our strings. We’ve been walking around in one big circle for the last hour!” Scott groaned.
“Now what?” Al asked.
“You tell me.”
“The sound, we forgot to follow the sound. The path must take another turn someplace. We should follow our own strings, and arrows, and look for a cutoff.”
That’s what they did. Sure enough, there was a place where the path gave them two choices. The overgrown brush had hidden it from their view the first time.
“It was a fork in the path that got us into this mess in the first place,” Al complained.
“You got a better suggestion?”
“All right then.” The boys pushed their way through the brush and continued walking. It’s going to get dark pretty soon. Isn’t it?” Benji asked.
“Very good, Ben,” Al mocked.
“You mean we’re going to have to spend the night out here…alone?”
“No. We’ll stop at the first hotel we see, Ben,” Scott teased. “And I doubt we’ll be alone. There’s all kinds of stuff living out here that would be more than happy to keep us company.”
The sound of rushing water now rumbled like constant thunder.
“We’re getting closer,” Al said.
The path began to open up slightly, and it was mostly dirt now. The boys approached two giant rocks, which stood like immovable sentries, guarding something just beyond. They walked between them, pushing the branches from tall saplings out of their way. As the boys emerged from the last remaining brush barrier, no one was prepared for what awaited them.
“What in the world is that?” Al cried out.
“It’s a suspension bridge. You’ve seen them.”
“You mean the kind that don’t have any legs?” Benji asked.
“Uh huh.”
When they reached the bridge, the boys agreed that no one had crossed it in a long, long time. A large X had been tied across the entrance with heavy rope. Attached at the middle they found a metal sign, but the letters were all faded. Some of the paint had peeled away.
“A skull and cross bones. That’s supposed to be bad, isn’t it?”
“Cut it out Benji.”
“Well it is, and that’s what’s painted on the sign.”
Scott wiped his hand across the sign’s surface to reveal the word “DANGER” in big red letters. He grabbed one of the cable handrails and shook it. Fragments from the wooden cross-pieces broke loose and fell to the gorge below. That’s when they looked down to see how deep it was.
Al whistled, “Man, that looks like the Grand Canyon.”
“What are we going to do, Scott?” Benji asked in a whimper.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New Sample Chapter Next Monday

The next adventure to be featured on this site, with a free sample chapter, is MOUNTAIN CABIN MAYSTERY.

Midwest Book Review said of this book, “…a rollicking adventure that climbs up your spine and hangs by its fingertips from the cliff of your skull."

Of course, while you’re waiting for that chapter to appear next week, you can still enjoy the sample chapters from SECRET OF ABBOTT’S CAVE, LEGEND OF THE WHITE WOLF, and BIG RIG RUSTLERS.

I’ll see you next Monday with a new chapter, and don’t forget to leave a comment.


Sunday, October 14, 2007


Welcome to the third sample chapter from one of my action-adventures & mysteries, written especially for boys 8 – 13. Girls like them too. Each Monday, from now through November 12, I’ll post a different sample chapter from one of the books.

Now, in case you think this next installment is going to be some dried up, old western story, you’re in for a big surprise. BIG RIG RUSTLERS is a modern story with satellite radios, a police helicopter, and a band of high-tech rustlers.

Todd and Amanda live with their parents in a Midwestern city. The children are invited to visit their uncle, aunt, and cousin Drew, on their Wyoming ranch over spring break. Todd learns, in a unique way, why stealing is wrong. He decides to choose a new path for his life because of his uncle’s example. A band of high-tech cattle rustlers are caught, revealing that Todd was wrong about Travis, a shadowy character. Read about the round up, rattlesnake, and rustlers.

So get ready to hold onto your cowboy hat. This one just might buck you right off your horse.

Today’s chapter comes from

TEACHERS: You might like to try a writing exercise in your classroom, based on what I do with students in my live classroom presentations. After they read this chapter, have them write 1) What happens next? OR 2) How does the story go from here? OR 3) How do I think the story ends? They can write a paragraph and then those could be read to the rest of the class. Great for homeschool applications also.

I hope you enjoy this part of the story. If you’re interested in the book, it is available on Amazon or directly from me, and I sign all direct ordered copies when you write to:

Max Elliot Anderson

P O Box 4126

Rockford, IL 61110

Books are $10.95 each. Shipping and handling is $5 for up to 3 books, and $10 for 4 or more. Check or money order only.

I hope to see your comments after you've read this chapter.

Chapter 7

Uncle Reid’s plane rolled down a bumpy little road with two ruts in it just the size of the skinny wheels underneath. When they came to a wide grassy area, Todd’s uncle moved the plane into the center of that strip, stopped, checked some dials in front of him, and put his foot on the brake. Then he took a minute to look up into the sky and out both sides of the plane. Todd couldn’t exactly figure out what he was looking for because there sure weren’t any other airplanes for as far as he could see. The engines roared even louder than before. Todd felt the plane struggling to get moving, but the brakes held it back like the leash on old Stony at the park back in the city.
I miss Stony, he thought.
Then Uncle Reid took his foot off the brake and they started rolling, first slowly down the runway, then faster and faster until Todd noticed a queasy feeling in his stomach like the time his dad took him on a roller coaster. He looked out to see a shadow of the plane getting smaller and smaller on the ground below.
“Hey, Todd. Didn’t you say you wanted to see Devil’s Tower?”
“Yes. Could we?”
“I’ll take you over there first.”
The plane soon began flying level as the sun burst in through the windows. Todd couldn’t remember the sky ever looking this blue back home. His uncle had a microphone and headset on. He began talking to someone Todd couldn’t see, using words he didn’t know, and a lot of numbers and letters. Todd figured it must be some kind of pilot talk or something.
“Okay, kids. Devil’s Tower dead ahead.”
Todd strained to spot it, but all he saw were trees, tall grass, and a lot of rocks and dirt. “Where?”
“Out there,” his uncle pointed.
Todd squinted his eyes again, and then, way off in the distance, he thought he did see something. “You mean that little speck way out there?”
“Good eye. That’s it all right.”
“But it’s smaller than I thought.”
His uncle laughed. “That’s because it’s still a few miles away, and we’re up in the air. Don’t worry, it’ll get bigger. I promise.”
In just a few minutes Devil’s Tower began to look like a giant clay model sticking right out of the ground. The monument had a flat, almost round top, but it was the sides that were the most interesting. They looked as if enormous mountain lions had used them for a scratching post. There were straight lines cut right into the sides, all the way around. They stretched from the very, very top all the way to the very, very bottom.
“It’s huge!” Amanda exclaimed.
Uncle Reid began to make a wide, slow turn until they flew around the rock tower in a perfect circle. Todd counted and they circled three times.
“It looks exactly like the model my friend made in geography class. Only this one is much better.”
“The real thing usually is better. Okay, Drew. Wanna take over for me?”
Drew held the control tightly with both hands. Todd noticed that his knuckles started turning white, and little beads of sweat began forming on his cousin’s upper lip. His eyes were locked straight out the front window, and he hardly blinked.
“Remember, son. Relax. Make sure you keep the little plane in this control, here, level.” The plane was now heading away from Devil’s Tower and back toward the ranch. Todd thought Drew was doing a pretty good job.
“That’s fine, Son. Do you want to let your cousins have a turn?”
“Todd first!” Amanda yelled.
“Okay, you’re up.”
Drew squeezed between the front seats and made room for Todd to come up. After they had changed seats it was Todd’s turn to have white knuckles and sweat on his lip, plus everywhere else.
“This is fun. I didn’t know it could be so easy. Mand, wanna try?”
Then a gust of cross wind made the nose dip slightly so that Todd’s uncle had to grab the control.
“No thank you. That’s all right,” she said.
“You sure?”
Todd flew for about ten minutes. His uncle only had to make a couple of minor adjustments. Then he said, “Okay, I’ll take over from here.”
Todd slithered into the back seat again as his cousin moved up to the front. The plane dropped lower out of the sky until it looked like it wasn’t flying much higher than a tall tree. Todd quickly looked out all the windows to make sure none of those were nearby. His uncle flew past other rock formations, through canyons, over rivers, and rugged hills.
“Where are the animals?” Todd asked.
“Most of them should be over this way.” With that the plane made a steep turn and headed right into the sun. Todd had to cover his eyes for a minute until the plane turned again.
“There they are. Some of them at least,” Uncle Reid announced.
As Todd looked out, he could see hundreds of reddish-colored animals with white patches on some parts of their bodies. “Are those all yours?”
“Sure are. Those and a whole lot more. And that’s what we’re going to do this week. We’ll pack up a bunch of horses, food, and gear, then head out for our spring round up.”
“I can’t wait,” Todd said.
Amanda looked over at him. “I can,” she groaned.
“Hey, wait a minute. What was that?” their uncle asked in an alarmed tone.
“What was what?” Drew asked.
“I’m not sure. I’ll take her in for a better look.” They made another sharp turn, steeper than before. Todd had to look straight up in order to see his sister who was now sitting above his head. The plane leveled off again, then dropped down until Todd thought his feet could touch the ground if he put them out there. They went speeding along a barbed wire fence for several hundred feet. Then Uncle Reid yelled, “There, that!” Again the plane soared into the sky and made a steep turn in the opposite direction. This time Todd was looking straight down at his sister. And his stomach wasn’t feeling too good either.
“I’m sorry for the rough ride, kids. Is everyone okay?”
“Not me,” Todd said in a quivering voice.
“Well, it’s my fault. Sorry. If you’re feeling a little woozy, there’s a bag in the seat pocket in front of you. Feel free to deposit your breakfast in there if you need to.”
It was a good thing he said that, or everyone in the plane would have been wearing Todd’s breakfast. He grabbed a bag and ripped it open just in time to say goodbye to all those good things his aunt had cooked for him.
“We call that giving it the old heave ho,” Drew joked. “Don’t worry. It’s happened to me too. But you get used to flying after a few times. Now you’re a member of the Wyatt Urp Club.”
Todd looked over to his sister and noticed she looked all chalky white. She was staring straight ahead, didn’t blink, and didn’t say a word. He quickly grabbed another bag just in time to put it over her mouth. She made what he did look like a warm up act for the main event. It took her two bags until she was done.
“If we go up again, I think we should eat a smaller breakfast. Then we’ll have less to hurl,” he told her with a twitching smile.
Uncle Reid was intent on studying the landscape. “Look there, Drew. You see it?”
“Yeah. The fence is busted.”
“Cut is more like it. And do you see those tire tracks?”
“Oh yeah, I do. Rustlers you think?
“Rustlers I know.”
Uncle Reid flipped a switch on his radio and called out, “Base, this is Reid Rider, over.”
“Read you Reid Rider, what’s up?”
“That you, Travis?”
“Yes sir.”
“I don’t know what it is, but whenever you have radio watch, we seem to call in repeated rustler reports”
“I know. Got another one?”
“I think so. We’re off in the north fork area, and one of the fences has definitely been split wide open. I see two sets of big tire tracks, and three or four sets of smaller ones.”
“Want me to report it to the sheriff?”
“Affirmative. Get your map out and give him the coordinates.”
“Will do, out.”
“I’d like to give you a longer tour, kids, but we need to get to the ranch.” With that the plane turned again, but not as steep as before, and headed back. Uncle Reid had a serious look on his face. Todd could tell that something was very wrong. In about fifteen minutes the ranch came into view just ahead. The plane made one wide circle around the buildings and lined up with the grassy runway strait ahead of them. Softly the wheels touched the ground, bounced into the air, and touched again. They taxied up in front of the hanger. Todd’s uncle gunned the motors, and the plane turned around in a small circle. Then he switched off both motors and the propellers slowed to a stop. There was still a spinning sound in the front of the plane, but that also soon stopped.
“Okay. Everybody out.”
Drew turned and looked back to Todd. The look on his face said he wanted to tell him something, but he couldn’t. Not just now. Todd wondered why he suddenly seemed so serious. He remembered what Drew had said about Travis. Could he be helping the Rustlers? Todd wondered. Couldn’t be, he thought, He works for my uncle.

See you next Monday with a brand new chapter!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Next free Chapter

I hope you’ve been enjoying the chapters already from SECRET OF ABBOTT’S CAVE and LEGEND OF THE WHITE WOLF so far.

The next chapter will come from BIG RIG RUSTLERS.

Now, in case you think this is going to be some dried up, old western story, you’re in for a big surprise. BIG RIG RUSTLERS is a modern story with satellite radios, a police helicopter, and a band of high-tech rustlers.

So get ready to hold onto your cowboy hat. This one just might buck you right off your horse.

See you on Monday!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Legend of the White Wolf

Welcome to the second sample chapter from one of my action-adventures & mysteries, written especially for boys 8 – 13. Girls like them too. Each Monday, from now through November 12, I’ll post a different sample chapter from one of the books.

They didn’t call him a liar; they just couldn’t believe his story. Brian Fisher was determined to prove it was true even though it involved the risk to his own safety. His rescue of a wolf pup, from a steel trap, results in a mysterious relationship with surprising results. The story is set in the lower elevations near Yellowstone

Today’s chapter comes from

TEACHERS: You might like to try a writing exercise in your classroom, based on what I do with students in my live classroom presentations. After they read this chapter, have them write 1) What happens next? OR 2) How does the story go from here? OR 3) How do I think the story ends? They can write a paragraph and then those could be read to the rest of the class. Great for homeschool applications also.

I hope you enjoy this part of the story. If you’re interested in the book, it is available on Amazon or directly from me, and I sign all direct ordered copies when you write to:

Max Elliot Anderson

P O Box 4126

Rockford, IL 61110

Books are $10.95 each. Shipping and handling is $5 for up to 3 books, and $10 for 4 or more. Check or money order only.

I hope to see your comments after you've read this chapter.

“We gotta get out of here,” Tommy warned.
“No. I’m not leaving him.”
“Throw him in a cage with the others,” a deep voice ordered.
“Brian. Now!” Tommy said in a growled whisper.
“You go. I’m staying.”
“Go home as fast as you can. Tell your parents to call my Dad. Tell him about the collar. He’ll know what to do.”
Tommy hesitated even as it sounded like the men were right outside the truck now.
“Go!” Brian whispered.
Tommy slipped out of the back, let the canvas down, and dropped to the ground. Now Brian was all alone…except for those men and the sleeping wolves. He hurried in between cages stacked near the front. There he found a place where he could crouch down and hide under another tarp. Just as he made it to the floor, the tarp at the back went up and flashlights made him squint. He felt sick all over. When he poked his head out from the corner, he saw that the men wore helmets with night vision for their hunt.
“That’s it for tonight, boys. You can go back to the van and get out of here. We’ll take this load to the usual place.”
“It’s gonna be fun to watch that white one die,” another voice said.
Tears streamed down Brian’s face as he cried silently. Three of the men lifted a wolf into the truck where three other men had already climbed in. They took the gray wolf, opened a cage, and dumped him in like a sack of bones. The wolf hit the floor with a sickening thud.
“Nothing but a bunch of worthless wolves anyway,” another man said.
Brian wanted to rush out and fight them, but he knew he’d be no match for that many men. He wished he could open all the cages and let the wolves go, but they were unconscious. Still, he couldn’t leave his friend. Just then one of the wolves groaned. Brian turned to see him as the truck started.
“What am I going to do?” he whispered. The truck began backing up. It turned around in the road, and headed out of the forest.
The cages bounced around with every bump in the dirt road. Brian did, too. He was afraid they might all come crashing down on him. He reached up into Snowball’s cage and his hand found the wolf’s big head. He began scratching the ears. Snowball let out a low groan.
“It’s gonna be okay, boy. I’ll take care of you. Don’t worry.” He felt the truck bounce back onto the blacktop road. From there the ride wasn’t so bumpy. The corners still scared him, but he felt safer…for now.
Brian had ridden most of these roads with his father, but from the back of the truck, in the dark, he had no idea where they were. He was also getting tired. Glancing at his watch he whispered, “Two o’clock! No wonder.” He slumped down onto the tarp and fell asleep as the truck roared down the road.
Brian wasn’t sure how long he’d slept, but he felt the truck slowing down. Then it turned onto another bumpy road. When he looked at his watch, he saw that his nap had only lasted for about ten minutes. By now some of the wolves were beginning to wake up, and they were not happy. He heard them snarl and growl. A few whimpered. He moved away from the cages, just to be safe.
“I’m gonna get you guys out of here,” he whispered.
Just then one of them began to howl. The sound was the most pitiful thing Brian had ever heard.
One of the men inside the truck pounded on the top of the cab and yelled, “Shut up back there!”
It made Brian’s mouth go dry. He moved to the back of the truck, lifted the canvas flap, and looked out, but there was nothing but trees in all directions.
“Where are we?” he whispered.
Then the truck’s horn blew as they turned onto another road. Brian stretched his head around the back of the truck and looked toward the front. He saw an open gate where two men stood. He ducked down inside again, and then raised up to peer out over the back of the truck. As they passed through, the gates were closed. He could hear dogs barking and that made some of the wolves growl even louder.
The truck came to a jolting stop, which made the cages slam together. Several of the wolves cried out.
“I told you to shut up back there!” a man warned as he pounded on the side of the truck with something.
The back flap opened and Brian heard another motor driving up. Headlights shined in as a forklift moved into position to remove the first cage. Brian knew it wouldn’t be long until they found him. He looked around and noticed that the canvas covering the back of the truck had a place on the other side where he thought he could squeeze through.
After the forklift took the first cage, he climbed the other side of the truck and pushed his way out. Just as he crawled onto the top of the truck, the forklift was back. He crouched down and waited until another cage was taken out. Then he climbed down to the ground.
“How many did we get tonight?” a man asked.
“Ten or twelve, I think.”
“That’s a good night if you ask me. Let’s get them cremated as soon as we can.”
Cremated? Brian thought. He was able to sneak away from the truck and hide near a dumpster. From there he looked up to see sparks shooting out of a tall smokestack. He crawled along the ground until he found a dirty window. He spit on the glass and wiped it with his shirt. That’s when he saw several men inside. Next to them were a few of the cages with wolves inside.
The forklift drove in where they were, and the lights shined out the window. Brian ducked down. When he looked back in, one of the men opened a heavy metal door to what looked like a big furnace.
“What in the world,” he whispered as his heart began pounding harder.
“Hey,” a man said with a laugh. “Are wolves good to eat?”
“I don’t know,” another answered. “Why?”
“I just thought, since we’re gonna cook ‘em…why not eat ‘em at the same time?”
“You mean like wolf burgers?” another asked.
“Why not?”
The leader walked up to the group. “Look,” he said. “There isn’t anything lower on this earth than a rotten wolf. We burn up the evidence, and go out and find more. There’ll be no talk about eating any of them.”
Right now I’m looking at something lower than a wolf, Brian thought. Then he saw the forklift truck bring in a cage with a pure, white wolf inside.
“Snowball,’ he said right out loud. The men couldn’t hear him over the sound of the lift truck. He stood to his feet and gritted his teeth. “I gotta do something,” he whispered. Slowly he moved toward a door near where he’d been hiding. When he tried it…it was locked. He went back to the window and looked in.
“Which one you wanna fry first?” a man asked.
“Doesn’t matter to me, only we’d better hurry up before they all wake up.”
“How about that white one over there?” a man said as he pointed right at Snowball’s cage.
“Go for it.”
“NO!” Brian screamed before he could stop himself.
All of the men turned toward the window and looked straight at him. Brian’s legs gave out and he fell to the ground.
“Get him!” the leader ordered.
I hope Tommy makes it in time, Brian thought.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Watch for the Next Chapter

On Monday, October 8, watch for a new chapter. This one will come from
of the
White Wolf.

See you on Monday.
Max Elliot Anderson

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Film & Writing Interview

Keep watching for a new chapter, from a different book, each Monday through November 12. But I also thought you might be interested in the following interview. http://israelwayne.blogspot.com/2007/10/max-elliot-anderson-interview.html It covers some of my earlier film production. In particular, the questions were about Pilgrim's Progress. This was the first feature film for Liam Neeson.

Max Elliot Anderson