A Bit of Essence – #2


Students entered into their Journey to Kokoroe Minecraft session through the hub. This amazing Asian inspired palace was where they found the links to take them to the weekly build site. The challenge for this week was to build the town of Erdo. Here is a summary of the story so far along with some terminology:

Terminology from Galenia:

Essence – this mystical substance is in all things; without it you die.

The Three Original Races:
  • Juro – this race has the ability to manipulate the Essence, they are long lived and have an average height of 3’
  • Jivan – these people are intelligent and work in all trades, are philosophers and have an average height of 5’5”
  • Jagare – these are the hunters and protectors with an average height of 6’ and have a muscular physique
The New Races: created by Mateo
  • Kameil – some were born Kameil others may have been Jivan or Jagare originally but were experimented on leaving them without any Essence and making them a sickly race
  • Yaru – born Jivan or Jagare Mateo’s treatment increased their Essence making them taller, stronger and with Ninja-like abilities
The Story:

Hanna was starting to get worried. She was enjoying her time in the small village of Kayu, but the longer she stayed the more aware she was that she was trapped on Galenia. She finally accepted the advice of the village leaders to seek out Master Juro; they insisted that if anyone had answers it would be him and he would be her best chance at finding a way back home. She tried to convince herself to just go along with it but when she realized it would be a two-week journey to Kokoroe, her travel companions had to convince her to carry on. Kazi, with his unshakable good mood and bright-side view of things, made it impossible for her to quit. He was so excited to be heading to Kokoroe to begin his training and she became more than a little curious as to what that might entail. What he revealed about Galenia fascinated her, but some things left her feeling conflicted. The treatment of the Kameil was unsettling – she felt she had a lot in common with them as she too was without Essence. Their banishment filled her with dread; she hoped she would not be condemned to the same fate. Hanna grasped the Essence gem she wore around her neck grateful to the people of Kayu for giving her the chance to survive.

Students at Gamed Academy were given this passage:

Six days after they left BaDaal they arrived at Erdo. Hanna loved the entrance to this town. The narrowed road was covered by a solid canopy of green as the trees merged together. The town itself had an interesting layout. It was made of three ring roads one inside another. Each road was packed with buildings leaving no space between them so the only way to the center of town was down the main road that cut straight through each ring. Like a bull’s-eye, a three-tiered fountain dominated the main square. Hanna wished she had more time to tour around each ring road, but they arrived late and left early, seeing only the small inn where they slept and the view from her window.

Stories Alive!


What I love about movies is seeing worlds come alive. For the stories we read it is up to us to visualize what the author has created. I’m so excited to say that my readers can experience both! In my upcoming blog series A Bit of Essence, I will share excerpts or summaries of my trilogy accompanied with photos of Minecraft builds created by students of GamEd Academy.

Students were given build challenges of certain scenes from the books – I love what they have created! (The above photo is a Minecraft version of Jack and the Giant on the Beanstalk.)

What is GamEd Academy you may have asked? It’s where learning & gaming collide! Students learn about a subject such as 7 Wonders of the Ancient World or the Boston Tea Party and are then given build challenges that go with their learning. In the creative writing series they learned some writing techniques as well as doing a novel study. The year is broken down into 6 week sessions and each session focuses on a different novel: Journey to Kokoroe, Flight to the Citadel and Into the Valley. In addition to these fantasy adventure stories they also learned about Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland to name a few.

If you want more information about this amazing online school check out their website. For now, here’s a glimpse at some of the awesome builds students did in my first creative writing series Stories Alive. Some were builds depicting scenes from fairy-tales and others were from their favorite stories.

Here we have a pixel version of Alice in Wonderland, another Alice crying her eyes out, the Gingerbread Man, the Golden harp from Jack and the Beanstalk, Humpty Dumpty on his wall, A Minion from Despicable Me (check out the laptop in the background from another story), and the Quidditch Pitch from Harry Potter complete with the characters on their broomsticks. What great creativity these kids have!

My Top 5 Fall Highlights

holiday-party-toastMy posts generally are intended to educate and inspire. I thought I would switch it up a bit and write about my own experiences that were, not only educational and inspiring for me, but rewarding and even worth celebrating. So raise your glass with me to toast a few great moments.

  1. I Started This Blogblog
    • This has been on my ‘to-do’ list for awhile now, but I’m really good at procrastinating (or at least filling up my time with other things!) I’m excited about being part of the blogging community, learning, sharing and discovering!
  2. Published My 3rd NovelCover3bordermap
    • I never thought I would have the focus or drive to actually write one full novel (see above: procrastination). I am so excited that I published all three in this trilogy – in fact, it’s become my obsession as I have written two more books with the last of the series in progress. Wahoo!
  3. Getting Out ThereFred_Stenson_-_Oct_25th
    • It has been a busy few weeks between visiting junior high classes and running inspiring parent sessions. In addition to those noteworthy events, I have had the Suzanne Harris 10-1pleasure of meeting local writers. Fred Stenson shared his fascinating story of his long career as a writer & novelist. CAA’s Writing Coach  Suzanne Harris inspired me when we met (as writers often do) in a quaint little coffee shop.
  4. Minecraft Brings My World AliveKokoroe_GateJPeg
    • I’m so excited! This week students from Gamed Academy  (Minecraft School) are working on a novel study of my book Journey to Kokoroe. They will be building scenes from the story – I can’t wait for Galenia come to life Minecraft style! I will be sure to post pictures on my Instagram in the coming weeks.
  5. Local Writer’s Novel DebutCOVER
    • Tyler Sehn’s fantasy novel Daughter of Shadow will be released this month. The synopsis below has me convinced this is sure to be a best seller…I can’t wait!

Born with one foot in light and one in darkness, she is torn between both.

Melea is the greatest warrior in the world. In service to the Lord of Light, she uses her abilities to kill for his divine vision.  Shadows grow larger as the Light spreads—the world and the forces that define it are changing and Melea is caught in the center.  Melea denies being a villain, refuses to be a hero, and would rather slash with the razors edge than walk along it.

Fate spins, or so it is said, and Melea is cursed with the luck of the dead.

Top 5 Video Games

My Top 5 games are engaging and fun with a bit of education thrown in. No harm in learning a little while gaming!

  1. Minecraftminecraft
    • This online game has something for everyone. The ‘digital lego’ allows players to build anything they want in creative mode using blocks of different material. In survival mode, they can fight against bad guys.
    • In addition, there are mini games where players can work together, do challenges or be the last man standing.
    • GamEd Academy takes this to a whole new level by adding an education spin.
  2. Nancy Drewnancydrew
    • These mystery games are filled with problem solving and challenges wrapped in story with historical references and fact-based tidbits throughout.
    • The games are engaging, fun. The cloak-and-dagger style keeps you guessing right up to the end.
  3. Portalportal
    • This first person puzzle solving game challenges you to think outside the box while trying to get outside the box.
    • The computers wit and discouraging comments add a level of entertainment to this unique game.
  4. MystMystCover
    • This graphic adventure puzzle map game has a compelling story telling aspect. The puzzles are challenging, the graphics amazing and even the music takes you away to the created worlds found in Myst, Riven and Uru (a free online game).
  5. Poptropicapoptropica
    • In this virtual world, players can travel to different islands, play games and compete. Each island has a different theme.
    • The game includes problem solving challenges and mysteries often with a narrative based in factual history. Poptropica offers a safe, online environment.