Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Adventures of Rupert Starbright Book 3: The Ghost of Winter Joy by Michael DiCerto (Chapter Reveal)

Strange creatures begin to appear in the normally dull Graysland after Rupert Starbright digs up a mysterious bell in his backyard. Rupert sets off on his latest adventure to discover the secret of a mysterious haunted mansion and its creepy occupant and the connection to the old holiday called Winter Joy.

Title: The Adventures of Rupert Starbright Book 3: The Ghost of Winter Joy
Author: Mike DiCerto 
Publisher: Zumaya Publications
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Language: English

About the Author:
A filmmaker and writer since childhood, Mike has directed numerous shorts, music videos, documentaries, promotional videos and two feature films (NO EXIT and TRIPTOSANE). His first novel, Milky Way Marmalade received rave reviews and was the winner of the 2003 Dream Realm Award.

He is very excited about the release of the first of his exciting new kid-lit series, RUPERT STARBRIGHT: The Door to Far-Myst.

Mike, a certified Yoga instructor, has many interests including gardening (loves growing chili peppers in his rooftop garden), playing guitar, cats (long-time volunteer at NYC’s Ollie’s Place Adoption Center), really good and really bad movies and 70s TV as well all kinds of geeky stuff. He is a dedicated MST3K fanatic. He thinks of music as his religion—especially Classic Rock.

He lives quite contently in a NYC apartment with his wife and soul mate, Suzy and their rescued kitties, Cosmo and Rupert.

You can visit Mike’s website at

Book Trailer:

Chapter Reveal:

Chapter 16 
Terrible Gold

The Hammerhead cruised along for two hours before Rupert felt the boat slowing down.  All he had seen during the journey was blue sky and a few puffy clouds overhead that slowlygrew darker and blacker. A slow rain began to fall, and McCoy decided he’d had enough and took off for a dryer corner to nap in.
Rupert peeked over the rim of the barrel and scanned the deck. It was quiet, although he could hear voices coming from below. He looked out over the railing of the boat and couldn’t believe his eyes. The boat was passing through a narrow channel past thick, dense trees and foggy land. The trees were ancient-looking, and many braches, like creepy hands, reached out towards the Hammerhead.
Where are we? Rupert wondered. He had never heard of Geelding’s Bay, and he had certainly never heard about a creepy place like this in Graysland or its surrounding regions.
The space between the shore and the ship grew less and less, and soon Rupert could hear occasional animal sounds coming from deep in the dense forest. Finally, the waterway widened, and they came upon an ancient stone building. It was built into the side of a hill and overgrown with thick brush.  A decrepit pier, held together by algae and dead vines, awaited the Hammerhead.
Rupert had to think quickly. Soon the deck would be busy, and his chances of getting caught would be high. As the ship slowly brushed the side of the pier with a dull screech, he closed his eyes to think of a plan. He had to Imagine something.
He reached into his jacket and took out the glass ball. It was hot, and the cat’s eyes were beaming ruby-red! Something dark and scary lay ashore.
Only the sound of the rain disrupted the eerie quiet that blanketed the land around him. There were no crewmen rushing on deck. Not yet. He needed to explore the boat and get some answers. He needed to move around quietly, invisibly.
He shook the sphere, and a wash of snow swirled around the little cat. The cat—even its red eyes—vanished behind the wall of white flakes. Rupert imagined how cool it would be if he could imagine snow that would swirl around him and make him invisible. Only the snow would also be invisible so he could wander around at will and not be seen.
Rupert focused his mind, and a wall of invisible snow, swirling like a cyclone, moved across the world, blanking out everything it passed. It then surrounded him, and in his mind, he became as clear as water. A soft whirring sound filled his ears, and he opened his eyes. Looking up at the sky, he saw a slight flickering. He looked down at himself.
He was gone! He is arms, his legs, his entire body were invisible. He could feel a slight tingling swirling all around him. His Imaginings had done it again!
Rupert climbed out of the barrel and walked briskly across the wet deck, his invisible feet splashing in the occasional little puddles. A staircase that led below the deck, and he quietly descended.
The steps led to a narrow passage with two doors on each side. At the end was an open area where hushed voices were busy in a discussion. The ceiling was quite low, and Rupert could easily reach out and touch it.
He made his way toward the voices, continually checking to see if he was still invisible. He was. When he reached the end, he was looking into the galley of the boat, where the captain and the crew sat around a large table. McCoy was curled up in a ball on Captain Stormwatch’s lap, and his ears twitched as he raised his head and sniffed the air.  
“It all seems like a child’s tale! If I may say, Captain, let’s just grab the gold and be on our way,” said a tall, skinny man with a blue woolen hat and a long mustache capped at each end with gold beads.
“Listen to me, Kreezer,” the captain said in a deep and serious tone. “This is your first run for this terrible gold. It <i>would seem a child’s fancy story to a fool like you! But perhaps you would like to be first off-deck to face it?”
McCoy hopped off the captain’s lap and made his way towards Rupert.
Kreezer mumbled something under his breath, and the captain stood up.
“Wicked spirits guard this gold. This terrible, terrible gold,” Captain Stormwatch began, lowering his voice to a whisper. “But an even more wicked spirit has sent us on this quest, and we must wait for his word. Then and only then may we leave this vessel and enter the crypt.”
Rupert’s mind was spinning again. What wicked spirit? A crypt? Why was this gold so terrible?
“That terrible spirit you speak of also wants to put a stop to Winter Joy,” said Wurmzy. He scratched the top of his bald head. “How will you face your children when there are no gifts for them under the trinket tree?”
A chorus of confused questions and complaints erupted.
“What do you mean no more Winter Joy? What sort of rubbish is that! Such a foul and evil demon!”
“Silence!” the captain ordered. “We have been hired to collect the gold. Never have I been told we were helping end the Winter holiday.”
“Perhaps,” Wurmzy replied, “but we all know what that gold will be used for. It’s even more terrible than you know. We’ll have the gold. Not even Gripper can stop us if we band together and refuse to just hand it over to him for the few crumbs he’s tossing at us.”
More conversation erupted, and the captain slammed his heavy fist on the tabletop.
“We have our mission, and we will complete it and head back to our homes. Let the evil demons do as they wish.”
Rupert felt a soft rub and looked down to see McCoy brushing back and forth against his invisible legs. The cat began his loud purring. Rupert tried to push him gently away, but it only seemed to encourage the friendly kitty even more.
One of the men at the table, a squat man who wore a green-and-yellow shirt and had a snake tattooed around his neck, glanced across the room and spotted McCoy’s antics. His eyes opened wider than his mouth. The axe-faced man who sat across from him chuckled.
“What’s wrong with you? Look like you just saw the ghost of your old great-grandfather!”
“I think maybe I am, as I live and breathe! Seems McCoy has made pals with it!”
All heads turned towards Rupert. Of course, no one saw him, just the orange-and-white kitty rubbing up against—nothing!
The captain slowly walked towards McCoy.
“Hey, there, boy, whatcha got? A little mouse, maybe?”
McCoy meowed and purred and made little happy sounds. Rupert wanted to run, but he was afraid to move. The captain stepped closer, squinting his eyes as if that might reveal what the cat was cozying up with. Very slowly, he extended his index finger closer and closer to Rupert’s invisible face.
It wasn’t even an inch away when Rupert lunged his head forward and chomped his teeth down on the captain’s finger. Captain Stormwatch screamed and snatched back his throbbing digit as chaos exploded. The captain looked like he wanted to run, but he couldn’t. He had to stay strong in front of his men. He grimaced and put his hands on his hips.
“Listen, you foul demon! I order you to leave this vessel!”
Rupert’s invisible smile went ear to ear. The captain frowned angrily and, with clenched fists, took another step towards him. Rupert took a deep breath and let out a deep and loud roar that even scared McCoy, who scampered under the table.
The captain got a silly expression, and he jumped back in fear. Many of his man raced out of the room.  Rupert was trying not to laugh when the captain pulled a large knife from the sheath hanging on his belt. Rupert’s smile vanished as he watched the knife rise into the air.
“They are attacking!” one of the crewmen cried.
The captain froze, and Rupert turned and escaped down the hallway and up the stairs to the deck. The moist air hit his face and felt refreshing. The rain had stopped.
There was a sound of clanging metal, and when he turned he couldn’t believe what he saw. Ten skeletons dressed in golden suits of armor were attempting to board the craft!
Captain Stormwatch rushed onto the deck, a mean-looking sword with a curved blade held out before him.  The rest of his crew rushed out behind him, all with swords, spears, and harpoons at the ready.
“Attack these gilded demons! The heads! Off with their heads!” ordered the captain.
The men rushed the army of skeletons as swords swung and metal clanged against metal.
Rupert stepped back and was not sure what to do. He watched as the captain, with a clean swing of his sword, lopped the helmeted skull off one skeleton. The body beneath it collapsed to the ground in a lifeless pile of gold. The captain laughed with delight.
But not all his men were as skilled, and two of them had been knocked off their feet and were wrestling with the invaders on the deck.  Another was pushed overboard and splashed into the water.
Rupert knew he had to help. If the skeletons defeated the crew, he would be stuck here forever. Maybe he would be discovered by the skeletons and killed! He closed his eyes and tried to think of something. He didn’t realize he was no longer invisible, nor that the glass ball in his jacket pocket was growing even hotter.
Rupert felt cold breath on his neck. He was afraid to breath.
“Hello, Master Rupert.” Gripper greeted him.

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