“What’s in it?”
“Oh my goodness.”
“What if it’s a zap lock?”
“Then we all go zap! Just like Jessie’s ring!”
Hi hi! It’s me Jessie! Remember when I said me and Talitha were writing everything down so when other people find what we wrote they’ll know about what we learned? Well, this is the story that we all decided to call the Monster Minute, because there’s always a monster in it!
Now most people probably think girls shouldn’t be fighting monsters, but we got magical weapons when we went on our first adventure, so I’m not afraid. Someone’s gotta fight ’em so it’s gotta be us! Ranko says it’s like Halloween every night around here, and she wasn’t kidding!
So now we gotta go find all the things that go bump in the night, and then like Alanna says we’re gonna bump ’em back into their spooky haunted caves and make ’em stay there! Have you ever been in a big cave where there’s treasure and magic and traps and stuff? We sure have! If it was Halloween there would be candy too!
Me and Talitha explored a big weird cave once, and it can be really scary if you let it. But we’re not going to let it, are we? We’re the Ajan Warriors! Just wait until I tell you all about the murky moss we found that tried to eat Talitha’s book! Icky! And the skitter spiders that chased us all the way up a stone staircase inside a volcano! I thought having a sword was going to make fighting monsters easier, but how do you fight millions of skittery jittery little spiders with a big sword?
You can join our adventures by visiting the Monster Minute Page, because Talitha’s gonna post aaaaaaaall our updates there. Bring your pets and your potions and extra light, because it’s better when it isn’t dark, right? See you in a minute!
The LadyStar Monster Minute updates daily!
Remember when I was asked to describe LadyStar in only a few words? It’s much easier to describe my main character than it is to cover the whole story, because Jessica Halloran is easy to recognize.
I wrote her to be a “human ray of sunshine.”
I have been frequently distressed at how mean many fictional characters have become over the years. When I was growing up, I had Looney Tunes and Mister Rogers to look forward to on television. While those cartoons sometimes got a little rambunctious, there was never any bitterness or gloom in them. Fred Rogers remains one of the greatest role models in the entire history of television. Not once did Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood ever have a negative message for viewers.
The LadyStar story has a positive moral core because of Jessica. She is relentlessly optimistic and positive. Her friends call her a “goofball.” All of the girls do their fair share of teasing each other, but when push comes to shove, Jessica is almost always the reason the LadyStar characters prevail in the face of peril.
But there is more to it than Jessica’s happy personality. In the story, Jessica wields a magical weapon called Aria. It is a golden-bladed sword of nearly limitless power. Initially, it is disguised as a ring called Dawnsong. Over the course of the first book, the characters discover that both ring and sword respond to honor, valor and selfless acts of kindness and goodness.
When Jessica helps others, heals her enemies, tells the truth and avoids subterfuge and treacherous behavior, she becomes more powerful. She is literally a source of light in the story, since several of her magical abilities cause her to give off a soothing golden glow. One of the key symbolic images in LadyStar is the fact Jessica is never in the dark, unless she’s asleep, of course.
This isn’t to say Jessica doesn’t run into obstacles. The necessity of her moral foundation leads her into more than a few dilemmas through her adventures. The other characters aren’t bound by the same kinds of restrictions on their behavior, so they sometimes push the boundaries and force Jessica to continually examine and sometimes adjust her approach. In the process, the other characters learn that sometimes the ends don’t justify the means and vice versa. The moral journey the LadyStar characters take is just as important as the choices they make.
Jessica can bless and strengthen her friends, not only making them stronger but amplifying their powers as well. This ability not only reinforces her role as the positive and encouraging member of the group, but it also underlines how important teamwork is. When Jessica and any other girl on the team work together, they get more powerful. When Jessica and the whole group work together, they can accomplish the impossible, and frequently do just that.
Jessica doesn’t lie. She never uses violence unless necessary. She prefers to defend instead of attack. She eschews subterfuge, disguise, poisons and deception. She almost always announces herself and challenges her enemies face to face. She is charitable. She gives away most of the wealth she collects. She shows mercy and gives quarter, sometimes to a fault. These values sometimes put her at odds with her friends, but for Jessica, doing the right thing always prevails.
Courtesy of Heavy Cat Studios
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for considering the LadyStar™ fantasy adventure series. This short book will take no longer than fifteen minutes to read. It will describe why I believe the LadyStar series is important, and why I think my characters will serve to inspire, strengthen and encourage young readers like your child.
When we started this project all the way back in the summer of 2000, we knew we were setting some pretty ambitious goals for ourselves. My aritsts, my editor and my technical staff are some of the best in the world at what they do, and now I believe we’ve succeeded in launching one of the best action-adventure book series available today.
My name is W. Scott. I’m a fantasy adventure author. I’ve been writing professionally for video games, television, major corporations and my own publishing company for more than 25 years. I hold the degree of Bachelor of Arts in English Education. I’m academically qualified to teach the English language up to the high school level. My university emphasis was Creative Writing. Both my parents were award-winning television and newspaper journalists, so I come by my writing talent honestly.
When I first set out to bring Jessica Halloran and the Ajan Warriors to life, I was in the process of writing an episodic video game. My company had invented a point-and-click adventure playable in a standard web browser. I needed characters and a story.
My first thought was to license another company’s characters, but that proved to be more expensive and time consuming than I thought it would. So I created my own characters and a story world called LadyStar.
That first adventure game went on to rather impressive success. It became clear after a while that the characters and world I had created were far larger and had far more potential than just one video game. As I explored all the options available to me, I adapted the story and watched it grow. We published a print manga. We published a web comic with more than a quarter million readers. We produced a full line of licensed merchandise. We recorded an audiocast. I wrote a 79,000-word novel which remained my best-selling book for three years.
Each time we developed and released a new product, the story got stronger, the characters became more interesting, and the world they inhabited became more vivid. All we needed was something to bring it all together.
So in January of 2017, I sat down to a blank screen to reboot my series. I wrote an original full-length fantasy adventure novel called Dawnsong. I believe it is the finest work of my career so far.
Let me explain why.
Growing up, I played a lot of sports. I joined numerous organizations for kids my age including scouting, a swim team and finally marching band in both high school and college. The one thing all those experiences had in common was the primacy of teamwork and sportsmanship. I learned how important teamwork was for success in life from participating in those clubs and teams. I found out what it was like to be a champion, and why I was able to participate in so many victories.
I’ve been asked on numerous occasions to describe the LadyStar story in as few words as possible. Business executives call it an “elevator pitch.” I’ve gotten pretty good at rattling off shorter and shorter summaries of my work over the years.
Now I can describe it in one word: teamwork.
That word raises eyebrows from time to time. You see, all seven of my main characters are girls between the ages of 11 and 18. Unfortunately in American popular culture, we don’t do a very good job of portraying girls working together as a team. When America encounters more than one fictional teenage girl, they are usually rivals.
If you’ve spent even a little time watching television written for teenage audiences, you will instantly recognize how central rivalry is in many storylines. I call it the “homecoming queen syndrome.” The show starts with many girls, and ends when one claims the tiara and all her rivals are destroyed.
That’s not a healthy message. It becomes destructive when it is portrayed as normal. Treachery and bitterness are a reality, to be sure, but they certainly shouldn’t be presented as goals or as a basis for success in life.
In LadyStar, Jessica and her friends work together as a team to overcome challenges and obstacles. Each character has a different personality and brings different strengths and weaknesses to the group. Throughout the story, the girls put a great deal of effort into learning how to work together. They don’t always agree, but they never become bitter or hostile to each other.
There are no attitudes. There is no unacceptable language. The characters don’t betray or sabotage each other.
This basic focus on teamwork becomes very important later in the series because each character develops different powers and fighting abilities. They quickly learn to depend on each other. Jessica Halloran’s adventures powerfully reinforce the values of friendship and teamwork chapter after chapter.
We’ve never had a problem teaching young boys the vital importance of teamwork. There is no reason we can’t teach exactly the same values to girls. Communicating those values is one of the reasons I wrote this book.