Monday, December 18, 2023

Alyssa McCarthy's Magical Mission Tour and Giveaway


A world of magic and adventure awaits…

The Frights of Fiji

Alyssa McCarthy's Magical Missions Book 1

by Sunayna Prasad

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

A world of magic and adventure awaits…

Sent to live with her strict, aloof, and uncaring uncle after her parents are killed in a car accident, twelve-year-old orphan Alyssa McCarthy longs for the life she used to have—one filled with fun and love. Then one stormy night, a message appears in the raindrops on the window that will change everything.

"Your life will never be the same again, as magic will interfere."

Before long, Alyssa is kidnapped by Master Beau, a banished sorcerer with a mysterious connection to her who can only regain his power by weakening hers. Suddenly hurled into a world of wizardry filled with fantastical beasts and marvelous technology beyond her wildest imagination, Alyssa must defeat Master Beau if she ever wants to get home again. But Master Beau will stop at nothing, including using Alyssa’s friends, to ensure he is triumphant.

1


The rain turned black—as if ink fell from the sky. Alyssa leaned closer. She squinted to determine the shapes they formed on the kitchen window… letters.

No—that couldn’t happen. Yet, a message spelled out as more pigments dropped onto the glass. Alyssa gasped at it.


Your life will never be the same again, Alyssa McCarthy, as magic will interfere. 

What? Alyssa thought. It can’t exist! 

As a little kid, others had told her that magic wasn’t real, including when she’d learned the truth about the tooth fairy and Santa Claus.

Alyssa had lived here, On Orion Street, since she’d lost her parents in that car crash five years ago at age seven. Although they had designated her godfather as the priority guardian, she’d ended up living with her uncle, Bruce, and aunt, Laura right after her mom and dad’s deaths due to various complications from the state of New Jersey. But after her aunt died three years ago, her uncle had toughened up his attitude and rules. He even required Alyssa, and her 11-year-old cousin, Hailey, to earn fun, which involved too much effort.

Alyssa’s stomach compressed, as she considered her uncle reaction to the window’s writing. He’d yelled at her for minor issues ever since her aunt’s passing. So, if she told him about that message…he would deem that a lie—or perhaps, as an excuse to escape from this house. He’d already hidden her godfather’s phone number and mailing address shortly after Aunt Laura’s demise. Alyssa had forgotten that information since.

Footsteps sounded. The babysitter, Mrs. Hutchinson, stared at the kitchen floor and pointed in different directions.

Hailey sweated through freckled cheeks as she stood right outside.

Mrs. Hutchinson turned to Hailey. “You’re good.”

“So, can I have my break now?”

“Yes. But you’ve only got ten minutes till your next chore.”

Hailey went upstairs.

Alyssa sighed. Ever since Uncle Bruce had hired Mrs. Hutchinson, she’d Hailey’s abilities to do chores—but never with Alyssa.

“Alyssa, get back to work. You’ve been staring at the rain for too long.”

“Okay.” Alyssa turned back—only to see the message gone and the rain back to its normal transparency. 

“What did I say?” asked Mrs. Hutchinson.

Alyssa sighed. “Fine, I’ll finish washing the dishes.” She scrubbed her them under running water and focused only on those. Stupid rules. What was Uncle Bruce thinking—asking Mrs. Hutchinson to treat us like dirt? 

Mrs. Hutchinson was only in her sixties, but she’d seem to forget that it was 2010 and not 1960. Yet, it had taken Alyssa a while to realize that she wouldn’t even tolerate the mildest kind of nonsense, such as gaping at a windowpane when performing chores. 

Now that she finished washing her dishes, Alyssa put them to the side and grabbed some paper towels.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Mrs. Hutchinson asked. 

Alyssa stopped. “I’m just—”

“The last few times I was here, you left little bits of food on your dishes.” 

“But they were stuck.”

“Let me inspect them. Also, if something is rubbery, you have to wash it again.”

“Why?”

“Because clean dishes aren’t supposed to be rubbery. And boy, did you do such a sloppy job. Look at that stain on your sweater.”

Alyssa looked down.

“That looks like chocolate.” 

Alyssa blushed and arched her eyebrows.  “Hey—it’s just water.” She covered the stain at the bottom of her sweater’s V-neck.

But Mrs. Hutchinson waved her index finger. “Don’t you ‘hey’ me, Alyssa. That’s rude. In my days, kids respected their elders. We never would dare talk to them that way unless we didn’t mind them smacking our bottoms.”

“Things change.” 

“Not when I’m here, they don’t. Now let me do my inspection.”

Great—an inspection! How long would Mrs. Hutchinson take? She might spend twenty minutes, or even more. Alyssa crossed her arms and tapped her foot. She wanted her break now. She wished to read, rest, make lanyard-designs—anything but watch Mrs. Hutchinson.

“Mrs. Hutchinson?” Alyssa asked.

“Whatever you need to say, wait till I’m done,” she said. 

Alyssa sighed. Mrs. Hutchinson ran her finger down one of the dishes and rubbed it. She then put it down and nodded.

She spent a few more minutes of running her finger down the glass, put it down, and told Alyssa, “You’re good. Now what did you want to tell me?”

“Um . . .if I tell you, can you not give me a hard time?” 

“If it’s something stupid—?

“It’s not.” Alyssa breathed.” There was writing on the window.”

Mrs. Hutchinson pressed her lips together and tilted her head. “Nonsense.” 

“No, really, it was there.” 

“There was nothing there when I came, and there’s nothing there now. So don’t tell me stories.”

“But it’s not a story.”

“I don’t want to hear any more. Now it’s time for your next chore.”

“Aw, but I wanted my break.”

“Too bad. You’ve got to go vacuum the living room.”

Alyssa dragged her feet toward it and took the vacuum from the corner. She cleaned and thought about that writing as well as how Mrs. Hutchinson wouldn’t believe her. She couldn’t imagine a nicer babysitter believing her, either. Mrs. Hutchinson had watched her and Hailey for three years, and not once had she smiled or assisted with anything. 

After cleaning the carpet, Alyssa checked for remaining particles, which she didn’t find. So, she put the vacuum away.

“Hailey, you and Alyssa need to go get the mail now!” Mrs. Hutchinson faced the staircase.

“Coming!” cried Hailey.

Another rule Uncle Bruce had placed on Alyssa and Hailey was they could only go outside together. He worried about people taking them or something, even though Alyssa would turn thirteen next month. But that rule had been placed because a few months ago, Uncle Bruce had heard about a seventeen-year-old boy who had been shot while skateboarding in his neighborhood. That had shocked Alyssa, since it had occurred here in Bursnell, New Jersey, what many deemed a safe town.

The two put their raincoats on until Mrs. Hutchinson said, “It stopped raining outside.”

“Already?” asked Alyssa.

“Yes.” Mrs. Hutchinson went to the bathroom. 

The girls headed toward the mailbox. Alyssa pulled out the mail. But mud bubbled from the ground near the house. It piled up, resembling horse manure, and grew as more soil emerged. Alyssa’s jaw dropped.

“Alyssa, what’s going on?” Hailey asked. 

“No idea,” said Alyssa.

The dirt stopped piling up, but it still bubbled, and the effects spread throughout the whole pile. The bubbles stopped popping up and down. Alyssa and Hailey gasped as they expanded. They kept their mouths open as the bubbles merged, each one attached to another, forming a single bigger shape. Hailey and Alyssa stepped back as the now giant bubble swelled. And it . . . popped! Bits of exploding mud landed on the girls, and they shrieked. 

A glowering Mrs. Hutchinson opened the door. “What the heck have you two been doing?” 

“T-the mud . . . it e-exploded,” said Hailey. 

“Complete garbage!” growled Mrs. Hutchinson. “Get inside!”

The girls returned inside, pulling and wiping the mud out of their hair. Alyssa could spot the mud in her straight pale-blonde tresses, unlike Hailey, who likely needed more patience to search for globs in her elbow-length red locks. But Alyssa’s hair fell a few inches past her hips, so cleaning out the mud would take longer, even with the shorter layers in the front.

“How could dirt explode?” Mrs. Hutchinson stomped. 

“I-I think it was magic!” exclaimed Alyssa.

“There’s no such thing as magic!” screamed Mrs. Hutchinson. “Alyssa, you’re twelve years old. You’re too old to say things like that!”

“But nothing else can make mud explode!” Alyssa said.

“Mrs. Hutchinson, we swear it did!” whined Hailey. 

“Enough!” snapped Mrs. Hutchinson. “You and Hailey—go upstairs and take showers!”

Alyssa followed Hailey and sighed. Mrs. Hutchinson must have thought they’d play in the mud like small children.

“Alyssa, can I shower first?” asked Hailey. 

“Sure,” said Alyssa.

As Hailey entered the bathroom, Alyssa walked into her room. She scratched more mud off her skinny jeans, which is what she’d only ever since she’d noticed other girls wearing them and the back of her hand. She stood by her bed since she wanted to keep it clean. 

She thought about the writing on the window and the exploding mud. Someone wanted magic to interfere with her life. But who—and why?

There had to be some reason why no one had ever believed in sorcery—unless it’d just begun on Earth today, or recently.

Maybe magic might only interfere if she stayed remained her uncle’s house. But if her godfather could arrange with his lawyer to let her move in with him, wizardry could leave her alone. Unlike science, though, magic may do anything, which meant that it could follow her wherever she went. 

The bathroom’s running water sound ended, which meant that Hailey had finished her shower. Now Alyssa had her turn.

After about five minutes showering, she stepped out and headed back to her room, where she put on leggings and a long shirt. But she gasped as something appeared out of nowhere on her bed. That must have from . . . magic. 

She noticed that it was a folded piece of paper, which she opened, and read.

Hello Alyssa McCarthy,

You must be wondering about the writing on your window, the exploding mud, and the note that appeared here. Who was responsible for them? You’ll find out at some point.

Anonymous


How dare someone create incidents and not say his or her name! Without knowing his or her identity, Alyssa couldn’t report the person. Strange, magical occurrences might happen again.

But now she had proof to Mrs. Hutchinson that the writing and exploding mud had taken place. Mrs. Hutchinson had seen her write before, and that’d looked nothing like hers. She handwrote in a half-print and half-script style. This, however, was pure print.

Alyssa jogged downstairs and carried the note. “Mrs. Hutchinson, I have something to show you.” 

“Not right now, Alyssa.” Mrs. Hutchinson left the kitchen. “You and Hailey have to go wash my car.”

“But it’s quick.”

“You can show me after you’re done washing my car.” Mrs. Hutchinson turned to Hailey, who emptied the dishwasher and put dishes away. “Are you almost done?”

“I think so,” said Hailey.

“How many dishes do you have left?” asked Mrs. Hutchinson.

“Uh . . .” Hailey looked at the top rack. “Four.”

“Okay, hurry up.” Mrs. Hutchinson turned to Alyssa. “Why don’t you go put that piece of paper away?”

“But this is what I need to show you.” 

“Do I have to repeat what I said before?” 

“But—”

“Alyssa, do as you’re told.” Mrs. Hutchinson pointed to the staircase.

Alyssa sighed. This note contained so much crucial information. Only that paper itself contained evidence that those incidents had occurred.

After putting the note back in her room, Alyssa joined Hailey in the garage. The two grabbed sponges, buckets, and soap. They filled the buckets with water and scrubbed Mrs. Hutchinson’s car.

“I wish we had another babysitter,” muttered Alyssa. 

“What was on the piece of paper?” asked Hailey.

Alyssa told her. 

“Who wrote it?”

“There was no name on it. Just ‘anonymous.’”

A girl whistling turned Alyssa’s attention away from the car. She leaned her head toward the sidewalk and saw her friend from grade school, Madison Jennings, riding her scooter.

“Hi, Alyssa,” said Madison. The wind blew her long dark-brown waves across her face. She stopped at Alyssa’s driveway, and her hair went limp. Hailey and Alyssa ran to her. 

“I missed you,” said Alyssa.

“How’ve you been” Hailed asked.

“I just moved onto Draco Drive a few days ago,” Madison referred to a road off Orion Street.

“So, how do you like the middle school?” asked Alyssa. 

“Oh, I go to Catholic school now,” said Madison. “What about you?”

“Hailey and I are homeschooled now,” said Alyssa. “I never got to tell you.”

“That’s okay,” said Madison. “So, you guys want to come over to my house on Saturday?”

“What time?” asked Alyssa.

“I’ll ask my mom and let you know,” said Madison. “Okay, bye, guys. Nice seeing you again.” She rode back in the direction she’d come from as Hailey and Alyssa waved goodbye to her.

After washing the car for a while, they cleaned up and walked back inside. A snore suggested to Alyssa that Mrs. Hutchinson slept. Buts she’d never napped while babysitting.

Alyssa strode toward the living room—Mrs.  Hutchinson slept on a couch. 

Hailey asked, “Why is Mrs. Hutchinson sleeping?” 

“I don’t know,” said Alyssa.

“Can you show me the note?”

Alyssa nodded and led her up the stairs. She opened her door but gasped…the note that she’d left on her bed was gone.

“Where’s the note?” asked Hailey.

“It was right there,” Alyssa pointed to the bed.

But another piece of paper appeared onto the mattress. Alyssa read it.


Hello again, Alyssa,


I have put your babysitter to sleep to reveal magic to you. You’ll find out why she is sleeping later.

Anonymous


“Not again,” mumbled Alyssa. “Why won’t they say their name?” She showed the note to Hailey.

“Let’s go call my dad before anything happens,” said Hailey.

How much worse could this get? Alyssa thought as she followed Hailey down the stairs.



A Curse of Mayhem

Alyssa McCarthy's Magical Missions Book 2

History, like magic, has a habit of repeating itself

It’s been six months since thirteen-year-old Alyssa McCarthy left magic behind for good. Or so she thought…Then the enchanted objects that protected her disappear. Now a skeleton named Errol has cursed her with magical powers that keep getting her in trouble. Suddenly strange things are happening with disastrous effects, and if Alyssa can’t remove the magic, she will lose everything she holds dear.

In order to get rid of her unwanted wizardry, Alyssa will have to boost her bravery and confidence and determine who Errol really is. But every time Alyssa uses an enchantment, Errol is one step closer to getting his flesh back and becoming alive, and he will do anything to achieve his goals…even if it means destroying Alyssa's happiness.


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The New Enchantress

Alyssa McCarthy's Magical Missions Book 3

Cursed by a sorcerer’s hex, Alyssa McCarthy finds herself in a fight she can’t afford to lose, or everything she knows will be lost!

After she finishes her final year of junior high, fourteen-year-old Alyssa faces an uncertain future in more ways than one when a sorcerer casts a hex that leaves her with involuntary magical powers that are too dangerous to remove.

Unable to control her newly gained abilities Alyssa’s end-of-middle-school sleepover ends in disaster when she knocks her friends unconscious when her powers go out of control. If Alyssa can’t learn to master her magic soon, she will be cursed to forget her loved ones and serve as the warlock’s slave for all of eternity.

Her only hope is to focus on controlling her emotions if she is to break the curse. However, the difficulties of adolescence, along with the perils and growing disasters she faces, make Alyssa struggle even more. From putting her friends’ lives at risk to losing their trust, she continues to fear what will become of her if she fails.

Will Alyssa be able to break the hex and become the enchantress that she was meant to be, or will she become enslaved to the sorcerer forever?



Sunayna Prasad has published a few books between her late teens and her mid-twenties. Aside from writing, Sunayna also likes to cook, do art, and watch videos online. She has graduated from college in May 2017 and is looking to continue more writing. Sunayna lives on Long Island, NY.


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