The Case of the Crying Signpost

For 12-year-old Nelly Melcham, it’s hugely embarrassing to be afraid of flying—especially when your mother is the most famous pilot of 1937. So, when Nelly’s parents make plans for her to fly to Puerto Rico, it’s impossible to say no.

Trouble begins for Nelly at a stop in a Miami airport where she gets the surprise of her life in the form of a six-inch tall detective from London named Tim Morcombe. Tim tells Nelly he is on his way to New Orleans on a desperate mission to solve the mystery of a woman abducted by ghosts. At Tim’s prodding, Nelly changes plans and, together, they travel to the jazz-infused, racially segregated city of New Orleans to search for the missing woman. Their only clues to her disappearance? When it rains, her ghost sings sadly from the signpost in front of her house. And a Voodoo priestess has predicted the woman will disappear forever in the next great storm.

Can a girl afraid of flying find the courage to face ghosts, treacherous villains and a sinister, voodoo witch? Nelly has no choice. A life needs saving and it’s up to her to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

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Recent Reviews:

“Xavier’s history-infused mystery features an appealing pre-teen lead, a clever detective, and some of the best features of the genre: peril, family secrets, greed, conspiracies, and a satisfying bad-guys-unmasked conclusion. It is a compelling and enjoyable story that readers will be tempted to consume in one sitting.” —Children’s Literature

The Case of the Crying Signpost is exciting, instructive, and enjoyable—great for young mystery, history, and ghost-story fans.” —The Children’s Book Review

Five Stars from Readers’ Favorite, which calls the story “intriguing and engaging from start to finish.”

Neffatira’s First Challenge

Fourteen-year-old Neffie Anderson has it bad. She’s freakishly tall and dark-skinned, with ugly pink freckles on her cheeks. Just when she can’t imagine life getting any worse, a mysterious grandfather shows up with the life-altering news her parents aren’t from different continents, as she’s always thought. They’re from different universes.

Soon afterward, the newly discovered version of Neffie Anderson—now, the noble Neffatira Akou Sargie—is bending across the Tymes to take up her new life on the feudal world of Fastness, where rival blood-clans are vying for power and skilled noblewomen act as champions, fighting elaborate duels for honor, prestige and prizes.

Forget about being in the right clique at school or winning popularity. On her newly adopted world, a deadly civil war is looming and both sides want Lady Neffatira either with them or permanently out of their way. Neffie has much to learn—and she’d better learn it quickly!

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Praise for the book:

Midwest Book Review:

“Risks, battles, and the evolving powers of a teen who is at once human and light guardian creates the riveting story fueled by Neffie’s strong personality and lessons. The blend of action, quest, and personal growth encounters makes Neffie an appealing, believable character. Teen fantasy readers are in for a treat with Neffatira’s First Challenge as Neffie’s world moves from a quest for popularity to a pursuit of much bigger goals.”

Kirkus Reviews:

“Xavier’s latest novel is a fantasy that explores aspects of bigotry in intriguing ways. For example, people with green eyes, such as fellow human Kerem Alp, are automatically considered thieves in the Fastness. The novel also features striking visual descriptions; for instance, when Gannen activates Neffie’s power, “The stars brightened, crackled and began oozing… like drips of glowing water rolling down black glass.” In the end, although Neffie is too young to fully embrace her destiny as one of the Fastness’ “half-human super-champions,” she nevertheless risks all for love and life. After this installment’s cliffhanger, fans will likely flock to a sequel.”

Book Excellence Awards:

“It’s also wonderful to see some divergence from the typical female protagonist found in YA stories. Xavier has created a protagonist who is relatable and inspirational and readers will root for her as the story progresses. Overall, the book is well-written, well-structured, and explores themes that carry direct relevance to the target reader. A must read for readers looking for a compelling, impactful story.”

Dark Curses, Faerie Dreams

Young troll-girl, Duggan McDuggan, is desperate. Her habit of talking to trees makes her the most teased kid in her tiny village of Cowgrass. Giving up her tree friends would be the easiest way to fix her problem but there’s no way she’s going to do that.

To stop the teasing, Duggan comes up with a daring plan. With help from her two friends, she is going to journey to Eshmagick, the fabled realm of ancient Faeries. Embarking on this adventure will certainly stop the teasing—one way or another! No one in five hundred years has gone there and come back alive. Most end up burnt to a crisp or eaten whole—or they simply vanish.

To get to Eshmagick, Duggan and her friends will need a Faerie guide. Unfortunately, the old legends say harming a Faerie will bring down a terrible Curse—and it’s nearly impossible to catch a Faerie without hurting it. But Duggan is desperate and so she refuses to ask the gigantically important question: What if the old legends are true and the Faerie Curse is real?

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Reviews and Awards:

“The storytelling is engaging and kept this reader turning the pages. The pacing is good and the fantastic worlds the author took us to are quite imaginative. This is the reason we read fantasy novels, right? I loved Duggan’s narrative voice which is YA perfect, sympathetic, and relatable. In line with this, the author did a terrific job creating the world of the Woodsy Troll and its vernacular. I liked the Woodsy Troll back stories as much as the quest itself as they build upon the characters of Duggan and friends.” — Enrico Antiporda, fiction editor of the literary magazine, Conclave, a Journal of Character


  • Book Excellence Awards Finalist: Fantasy
  • Mom’s Choice Awards Gold Medal: Juvenile Fiction—Ages 9-12
  • Royal Dragonfly Awards Second Place: Young Adult Fantasy