Rick Starkey is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. His main interest is writing novels for middle grade. Rick has sold short
pieces to Highlights for Children including a game, magic tricks, and a short story. Knowing that most writers often wish that they had started their career earlier in life, Rick teaches a basic course for the Talented and Gifted Program (T.A.G.) at Walter’s State Community College in Morristown Tennessee. Rick’s students learn the basics of magazine submissions including cover and query letters, market research, and manuscript preparation. The T.A.G. program is for students grades 5 – 8 and come from seven counties in East Tennessee.
Rick lives in a 200-year-old log cabin in the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where he and his wife, Betty, own and run Make It Magic, a magic shop and craft store. A day in Rick’s life includes recommending and performing magic tricks for customers of all ages, carving a bear from a log with a chainsaw, and working on his next novel.
Thirteen-year-old Rodney Becker has found the perfect cure for stage fright. Voodoo! Armed with the stolen finger bones of a dead blues guitar player, and a mishmash of Voodoo spells from the Internet, he and his best friend enter a graveyard at midnight. Now, all that stands in his way of winning a local guitar competition is the power of return. If Rodney doesn’t cast the spell exactly right, it could mean disaster three times as bad as the good Rodney was hoping the spell would bring.
Rodney is convinced the power of return is out to get him. How else can he explain jamming his finger so bad that he can’t hold a guitar pick, his part-time dad taking his guitar, and his mom breaking her arm and suffering from a concussion? Rodney must decide whether to return the stolen finger bones to stop the spell, or face more bad luck to win the competition.