01 November, 2017

The Case of the Flying Note By Alice Cotton Virtual Tour and Interview!

The Case of the Flying Note
By Alice Cotton
Genre: Children's fantasy adventure

Come dive into The Case of the Flying Note and read Alice Cotton’s imaginative musical tale where Detective Reed has to track down Presto, a newly written note who has flown out of his music. Detective Reed is hot on Presto’s trail as the flying note enters Sound City, the land where all music symbols live. Newly written notes sometimes do this and because they have wings, it is difficult to keep up with them. But Detective Reed, a highly trained half note, knows what to do.

The detective follows Presto into clouds of lost music notes far up in the sky where thunderclouds are booming. These lost notes are floating all around Reed when suddenly Presto plunges straight down towards the ground and into a strange green forest populated by hoards of musical rests.  Of course, Detective Reed is close behind him but never catches up with Presto. Why doesn’t Reed just grab him? Where is Presto going?

Detective Reed watches as Presto dives into the large petals of a singing pink flower and discovers an underground music academy within the flower’s roots. Reed makes his way into one of the school’s classrooms and almost gets hit by the shooting arrows of C sharps and then in another room, he witnesses a rare gathering of violins. Whatever are they doing? Finally, the flying note reveals the reason he flew out of his music. This inspires Detective Reed to use a most unusual, inventive strategy to help Presto solve his musical problem.

Who knew music symbols could be so interesting and fun? Readers learn music concepts as they zoom along with the detective. AND Detective Reed’s adventures continue with Reed’s next story, The Secret at Willow Wail, and again, in the upcoming Adventures on a Blue Moon.  Each story addresses a different musical concept as readers fill their minds with the fanciful characters that live in Sound City.

About the Author

In the beginning, in Cleveland, Ohio, ten year old Alice Cotton had her head stuck under the piano lid of her father’s baby grand piano, plucking the strings and listening to all the resonating sounds they made. For hours! Then, later, as a teen, after playing clarinet in a school marching band, she started performing and writing songs with her new guitar.  Unbeknownst to her she was also in the process of meeting her future music partners who would be accompanying her in creating successful music acts around the U.S.

Alice moved to New Orleans, where she collaborated with childhood friend, Cora McCann (Writer & editor, Content Marketing, Cleveland Clinic). They wrote songs and performed them as a duo acoustic guitar act called Sunstorm. They performed in some of the most popular tourist clubs in the New Orlean’s French Quarter.

Then, in Oregon, Alice co-led one of the top performing night club bands  that she shared with another childhood friend, Lisa Coffey, (harpist/instructor). Of course, their music was quite original with the sound of harp strings next to the guitar, bass and drums. Their band, Night Music, worked hard to become one of the top working bands in the American northwest. Alice completed their sound by playing electric guitar as a rhythm and lead player.

Later, she worked with a variety of other ensembles that played on weekends for dances and private clubs. Alice became one of the only female lead guitarists in Oregon.  

Along with performing, Alice also taught math, music and art to young students in various public and private schools, always encouraging her students to pursue their studies in fun, creative ways.

Alice Cotton’s goal now is to tantalize young people (as she was at age 10) into pursuing a life of music and art. Hence she writes books such as The Case of the Flying Note for all kids, young and old but particularly geared toward 8 - 11 year olds. 

Alice Cotton Books - https://www.facebook.com/Alicecottonbooks
Detective Reed -https://www.facebook.com/soundcityproductions/
Twitter: @AliceAlicot


Minuet’s Story (chapter 2)

From her place in the music, Minuet began her story, her voice clear and sure. 

“Well, a musician named Bell was writing a new piece called Guitar in the Clouds.  It’s a little bit jazzy and a little bit classical, and I am in it, as are all these other notes.”

“I see,” said Detective Reed as he wrote in his notebook. “So what happened?”

“When Bell left to have some dinner, Presto, the note next to me, turned from his normal black to a rather sad looking grey-blue color and flew off the page of music. He went out there!”

Minuet pointed to an open window next to the music stand and through it Reed could see a vine of pale yellow flowers and the green branches of a pine tree.

“Please go on,” said Detective Reed, though he was starting to get the picture. He had seen this happen before and it is why he went to Flying School when he was learning how to be a detective.

Minuet went on with her story. 

“When Presto left, I yelled for him to come back. I really want Bell to finish writing her composition so all of us notes will be heard. But how can she finish writing the music with a note missing? It will sound all wrong and Bell will give up and it’ll be the end of us all!”

For a moment, Minuet became so upset she couldn’t speak.

“I understand,” Detective Reed said. “What happened then?”

“Well, the other notes and I decided we had to bring Presto back, so I volunteered,“ Minuet continued. 

“I flew out of the window and looked right and left, up and down, and all around until I spotted him shooting across the sky yelling,  ‘Nooooo!’

“I followed his voice and then I saw him fly into a blue house with a big yellow door. I pressed against the door and heard, ‘Ah, eh, ee, oh, ew,’ the same sounds Bell uses to warm up her voice. So I knew a singer was in there.”

Minuet’s forehead wrinkled and she paused while Detective Reed continued to write in his notebook.

“Oh now I remember,” she said. “I found an open window and went into the house.  I saw a young man standing next to an upright piano, and as he was singing, colorful notes were leaping around the room. I couldn’t imagine why, but it looked like fun.”

“All notes that are sung do this,” Reed informed her.

“I see,” Minuet said, her eyes wide. 

Then she continued. “I saw a cheerful-looking green note sitting on top of the piano so I joined her. She was very friendly and said, ‘Hi, would you like to bounce around the room with me?’

“‘No, but thank you for asking,’ I said. Then I explained that I was looking for a grey-blue note that had left his page of music. ‘Have you seen him?’ I asked.

“The green note looked around the room, and pointed. There was a marble sculpture sitting on top of the piano and on top of the statue was Presto!

“I instantly glided over to him, but I wasn’t sure what to do, so I wrapped my stem around his stem and gently pulled. I was so relieved when he came with me back to Bell’s house. I placed him onto his spot on the page and asked him why he flew away.

“Presto sat quietly in his place, but as soon as I let him go, he yelled ‘Noooooo,’ and took off again! I couldn’t believe it!” cried Minuet, and she flung up her wings.

“Hmm, I have seen this before,” Reed said. “New notes do this when something isn’t right with the music. So what did you do?”

“Luckily, Bell was done composing for the day. So the other notes and I agreed that I should go and look for him again.” 

“Really!” exclaimed Detective Reed, trying not to smile. ”You should be a detective! So tell me what happened next.”

“Well, another note on the page handed me your card and said ‘Let’s try this!’

“I did what it said and here you are!”

Minuet handed Detective Reed the card and he read it over. It was one of his cards, all right. It said,

by following these instructions:
1. Sing a limerick about your problem.
You will be immediately connected to 
Detective Reed.
2. Detective Reed will hear your limerick 
and ask where you are.
3. Hum the music you are in and he will 
come to you at once.

Reed handed the card back to Minuet, who was still visibly worried. He knew that the loss of this note could be a disaster for Minuet and the other notes in the piece. Composers often give up and never finish writing their music when a note disappears, and the sheet music often ends up in the trash. No wonder Minuet was frightened. 

Reed put his pencil and notebook into his pocket.

“I have what I need. I will find your note,” he said with confidence.

He examined the empty space next to Minuet and then he looked around the room until his gaze stopped at a spot right above the music stand. He stared. He squinted. Then he glared.

Minuet and the other notes twisted around and stared at the same spot, where a grey-blue blur was climbing from behind and onto the top of the music stand.

“OOM PAH PAH,” Detective Reed heard the young note say.

“Oh no!” Minuet exclaimed. ”He is going to escape!”

Sure enough, red lines appeared in the air and turned into a red door. A profusion of musical sounds could be heard as the door opened.  Reed immediately leapt up and followed the departing note as he flew through the portal to Sound City. 

“So Detective Reed can fly,” Minuet said, her eyes wide. 

“Grown-up notes can’t fly,” she said to the note sitting next to her. “They don’t have wings anymore!  How does he do that?”

The note next to Minuet shrugged his shoulders and they both stared, while, in the beat of an eighth note, Presto entered the doorway and skyrocketed into Sound City with Detective Reed hot on his trail. The red door closed behind them and they were gone.

Interview with the author!

Tell us about your genre.  How did you come to choose it?  
I was a musician since the age of 8 when I would put my ears near the strings of our piano.  I would pluck the strings and let the sounds reverberate into my body and through my mind. Thankfully the piano top stayed up.  Since then, a life of music unfolded and I became (no surprise) a professional musician. I played piano at recitals and concerts, clarinet in the junior high marching band, became a singer/songwriter guitarist as a teen and later I was the lead guitar player in several working bands.  It was so much fun, hilarity AND a lot of work. ALSO I trained to be a teacher of art and mathematics. My wish now is for music to live fluently in the raising of our children and in our homes as it was for me. To keep this passion alive, I am authoring and illustrating musical fantasy storybooks.

Why does it appeal to you?  
I love and still love to amuse my younger siblings by making up these fantastical stories. I see that I am doing that with my books: Musical Tales and The Detective Reed Mystery Series.

What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
The most challenging aspect is finding ways to get these stories into the hands of my readers who don’t yet have any money. They depend on their parents, librarians and teachers to give or to suggest books for them to read.  My challenge is to find them and show them how important it is to include music in their children’s lives. 

When and where do you do your writing? 
At home on the computer, laying in bed imagining what my characters are doing and visualizing the landscape where they live. Then I sit in my easy chair and drum up the most fantastic ideas I think my readers will love.

What have you learned about promoting your books?
It is helpful for me to visit school music teachers, go to music teacher conventions, bug my musician friends, parents and grandparents to read my book samples at alicecotton.com (on my blog site) and for me to continue teaching music and story writing workshops to children.

What are you most proud of as a writer?
My characters are always keeping me focused and engaged. I love the subtle ways they keep my readers engaged and learning about music and life without me dictating the learning process. I like to let learning be natural and fun and I love to watch reader imagination spring forth and blossom.

If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about? 
Lewis Carroll, Ursula Le Guin.  We would talk about having a good time in life and the interesting ways we each come up with to amuse and entertain our young readers.

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