Welcome back to the Explorer Academy! and…
The Explorer Academy: The Dragon’s Blood Blog Tour!
To celebrate the release of Explorer Academy: The Dragon’s Blood by Trudi Trueit on October 5th, blogs across the web are featuring exclusive guest posts from Trudi, as well as 5 chances to win all 6 books in the series so far! The 7th and final book in the series will be released in Fall 2022.
A Sneak Peek Into My Deleted Scenes File
by Trudi Trueit
For each Explorer Academy book, it’s not unusual for me to have 50 pages or more of material that never make it into the first draft I turn in to my editors. I keep a file called Bits & Pieces on my computer where I store these extra pages. There are many reasons why I might remove a scene: it could be running too long, I decide to go in a different direction, or, more often than not, it isn’t moving the plot forward.
Sometimes, you love a scene, even though you know it doesn’t fit. These are the hardest pages to cut. In The Dragon’s Blood, I’d planned on having the explorers help rescue animals injured by wildfires in Australia. I created a rehab center on Orion’s CAVE where the explorers could look after the wildlife while the ship transported the animal patients to a real rehab center. However, I realized tell this mission was going to end up being bigger than I’d intended. It would divert Cruz too far off course from his task of finding the next piece of his mom’s formula. Sadly, I had to let the scene go, but I’m happy to share it with you here!
Deleted Scene from The Dragon’s Blood
“Vá!” exclaimed Bryndis, her head pivoting.
“Vá,” echoed Cruz. He knew the Icelandic word for “wow.”
Team Cousteau had stepped from the ship’s narrow passage into the CAVE and a vast open woodland stretched out before them. Pine, acacia, and eucalyptus trees grew in the thicket. Golden grasses tickled their ankles, fueled by a gentle breeze. Overhead, a thin frosting of cirrus clouds swirled across an azure sky. Even the CAVE walls were part of the scenery, blending in so well Cruz felt as if he could walk across the grassy landscape for miles. Here and there, scraggly bushes dotted the grove. Dugan reached to touch a spiky, orange bottle brush flower growing from the center of a cluster of long, leathery leaves.
“Banksia,” declared Lani. “We have them in Hawaii, too.”
“Did they do this for the animals or for us?” breathed Sailor, taking it all in.
Green and gold drops of amazement bounced through Emmett’s glasses. “I’d say both.”
Team Cousteau headed for the trio of huts, each with an attached outdoor enclosure. Inside the first hut, the team was greeted by Dr. Eikenboom’s assistant, Pendrina Antonov. “This shelter is for the patients who need the most medical attention,” she said. Seeing the worry on their faces, she quickly reassured them. “None of their injuries are grave. Most have singed fur or paws. Some are very young juveniles left behind by a fleeing parent. But they’re stable, which is why we are able to transport them to Melbourne and make room at the rehab center in Cairns.” She explained that the second hut was for diurnal animals, those that were most active during the day. The third building was reserved for the crepuscular and nocturnal animals. “Lani and Emmett, you’ll be working with Dr. Eikenboom and me here. Sailor and Dugan, please see Professor Ishikawa, who is leading the team in Hut Two. Cruz and Bryndis, you’ll be in Hut Three with Professor Modi. Thank you for coming.”
“We’re glad to be able to help,” said Cruz, and they all nodded.
Everyone quickly headed to their assigned locations.
In Hut Three, Bryndis and Cruz found Professor Modi dimming the lights. He grinned at them. “Ah, just in time to help me serve dinner.”
Their instructor led them to the outdoor enclosure where a pair of koalas were perched on the middle branches of a eucalyptus tree. Cruz noticed that each of the fluffy-eared marsupials had bandaged front paws.
“Minor burns,” said Professor Modi, as they filled the water troughs. “Koalas are especially vulnerable to bush fires. They’re slow movers and so, when threatened all they can do is climb higher in the tree. Usually, the flames won’t reach the top of the trees but this recent fire season has been severe. The trees contain oil and they burn extremely hot and fast. The bears end up trapped by the flames.”
A koala was leaning down from a branch. His head was moving toward Bryndis’s face!
“Uh . . . Professor Modi?” she gulped.
He chuckled. “It’s okay. It’s how they communicate—nose to nose. He’s saying hello.”
Squinting, Bryndis let the koala tap his nose to hers.
Cruz grinned. “Not many people can say they got a nose bop from a koala.”
She snickered. “It’s the highlight of my year.”
Back inside the hut, Professor Modi gave Cruz a large leaf filled with a mixture of flowers, fruits, and grains. “This is for the tree kangaroos.”
Cruz took it with an unsteady hand. He was nervous. They’d learned that it was best to have as little contact as possible with the wildlife. He didn’t want to scare the animals. Cruz slowly slid the leaf through the bottom opening of the tree kangaroo’s cage. A little gold teddy bear face with round, dark eyes and long eyelashes inspected him then began to eat.
Cruz began to relax. The pair of explorers followed Professor Modi from cage to cage, feeding the rest of their patients. Cruz especially liked delivering a beetle-moth-spider-cockroach entrée to the boobook owl.
Peeking in the last cage, Cruz could see a striped head, bat-like ears, and a long, furry tail. “Chipmunk?” he guessed.
“Sugar glider,” corrected Professor Modi. “And far too young to be on her own. She should be in her mother’s pouch. One of the firefighters found her.” He took a wash cloth off a clean pile, reached into the cage, and wrapped it around the sugar glider. Professor Modi gently brought the tiny marsupial out of her cage. “Hi, little one.”
“She’s so adorable,” gushed Bryndis. “Like a stuffed animal.”
“Which is why they’re so popular as exotic pets,” said their teacher. “But they’re social animals and belong in the wild. We want to get her back with her own kind as quickly as possible.” He held the sugar glider out to Cruz. “Watch her for a moment, while I get her formula?”
Cruz shrank away. “Oh, no, she’s too fragile. I’ll hurt her—”
“You’ll be fine. She’s not injured. Just young. Hold firmly, but don’t squeeze.”
With a deep breath, Cruz carefully placed his hands around the burrito-wrapped body. “She so teeny.”
Bryndis sighed. “It’s a miracle she survived.”
She must miss her mother, thought Cruz. “Don’t worry, little one,” he whispered. “We’ll take good care of you.”
“a fully packed high-tech adventure that offers both cool, educational facts about the planet and a diverse cast of fun characters.” —Kirkus
“This exciting, fast-paced, far-flung story is full of science facts and James Bond-like gadgets, accompanied by colored illustrations. The ending is guaranteed to keep readers eager for the next series installment.” –Booklist
“Explorer Academy is exciting and smart.” —Karen Bokram, Editor-in-Chief, Girls’ Life
An explosive revelation and a familiar face heighten the mystery for Cruz and friends in the sixth book in this adventure-packed series.
Still reeling from the life-changing discovery he found buried in the mysterious archive, Cruz Coronado grapples with an important secret as the gang heads to China in search of the second-to-last piece of the cipher. Under the watchful eye of a new adviser, life on the ship returns to almost normal…Almost.
Just as things seem to be going smoothly, a familiar face shocks Cruz back into reality, and the final piece in this life-and-death scavenger hunt veers toward a dead end.
TRUDI TRUEIT has written more than 100 books for young readers, both fiction and nonfiction. Her love of writing began in fourth grade, when she wrote, directed, and starred in her first play. She went on to be a TV news reporter and weather forecaster, but she knew her calling was in writing. Trueit is a gifted storyteller for middle-grade audiences, and her fiction novels include The Sister Solution, Stealing Popular, and the Secrets of a Lab Rat series. Her expertise in kids nonfiction encompasses books on history, weather, wildlife, and earth science. She is the author of all the narratives for the Explorer Academy series, beginning with Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret. Trueit was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, and lives in Everett, Washington.
- One (1) winner will receive all 6 Explorer Academy hardcovers (The Nebula Secret, The Falcon’s Feather, The Double Helix, The Star Dunes, The Tiger’s Nest, and the NEW book The Dragon’s Blood)
- US/Canada only
- Ends 11/1 at 11:59pm ET
- Check out the other stops for more chances to win!
Blog Tour Schedule
October 18th – Pragmatic Mom
October 19th – Imagination Soup
October 20th – Mom Read It
October 21st – Always in the Middle
October 22nd – BookHounds