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It’s Richard’s birthday and after receiving a rare birthday gift, his best friend Jacinta comes over to celebrate his birthday with him. Richard and Jacinta have shared an interest in crystals, gems and minerals for as long as they can remember.

Everything about this fun day seems quite normal until they head off to the park while Richard’s mother prepares lunch. While totally absorbed in a conversation about their favourite subject crystals, they encounter a strange man….

Richard and Jacinta begin a journey beyond their wildest imaginations. They enter a colourful world of fantasy and intrigue. They have entered a completely new realm, the Realm of Crystalia.

The children meet characters along the way and discover the personality traits of these unique characters are much like the spiritual, healing and energizing qualities of crystals.

Now, Richard and Jacinta set out with their guide Jasper, to follow the map of treasures and pursue the ominous Black Onyx, who is slowly absorbing all the positive energy, which will eventually destroy Crystalia and ultimately the world.

In Store Price: $18.95 
Online Price:   $17.95

Format: A5 Paperback
Number of pages: 106
Genre: Children's
Cover: Kaye Forster



Author: J. Badham Howard 
Imprint: Poseidon
Publisher: Poseidon Books  
Date Published:  2004
Language: English



J Badham Howard 

Jeanette has enjoyed reading and writing from an early age.  She recalls her weekly trips to Mosman Library in Sydney with her father, who is an avid bookworm.  Though she wasn’t gifted with her father’s almost photographic memory, she was inspired to start writing. 

Having written her first short story at the age of seven, Jeanette’s teacher was impressed with her efforts and invited her to read the story to the class.  Later in high school, Jeanette came top of her class in English. 

After finishing high school, Jeanette studied a secretarial course and for some years held secretarial positions.  During these positions, she became an excellent letter writer and was frequently asked by employers to write correspondence for them saving them time for other business.  In later years, Jeanette also became efficient preparing and writing reports. 

Jeanette moved on to become involved in marketing and promotions and for over a decade has provided marketing services for shopping centres, tourist attractions and event management organisations.  During this time she has written hundreds of media releases, most of which have been successful in obtaining publicity in all forms of media. 

After her son was born, Jeanette wrote an article about Karitane Mothercraft Hospital, which was published in Australian Mother and Baby Magazine in 1988.  She wrote a weekly advertorial column for Niecon Plaza in Gold Coast Newspapers for twelve months in 1994. 

Other accomplishments include writing advertising copy for brochures, TV and radio commercials, newspaper and periodical advertisements plus websites and posters.  She has a natural creative flair that has provided her inspiration for ideas both during her career and her writing accomplishments. 

Jeanette believes that learning stimulates the mind and has studied a Public Relations, Publicity and Promotions Diploma; a wide range of Marketing Diploma subjects; Creative Writing; Writing for Children and the Certificate IV in Workplace Assessment & Training. 

In addition Jeanette has been invited to write and deliver speeches, training notes and seminars on various subjects.  She has written a collection of poetry and short stories.



Richard raced across his room and peered through the bright sapphire blue blinds that framed the large window of his room upstairs. No sign of Jacinta yet. Richard was small for his age, lots of people had often thought he was a year younger than he actually was and he found this very irritating. He had olive skin like his mother and his hair was brown, a little straggly in parts and he had bright blue eyes.

It was Richard’s birthday, twelve years today ‘WOW! Mum can’t believe I am twelve already’ thought Richard. Jacinta, Richard’s best friend was coming over for lunch to celebrate his birthday with him. Richard’s mum had bought him a new crystal painting, which he hung in his room and he was longing to show it to Jacinta. She had a new crystal to show Richard too. Jacinta had bought it with her pocket money.

The painting Richard had received was like no other painting he had ever seen. It wasn’t actually new; it was an antique. Two months before Richard’s birthday, Mrs Webster had decided to go shopping and, to Richards disappointment, had noticed a new antique store on the corner of Galloway and Tallow Streets.

‘Oh, there’s a new antique store Richard and it looks quite interesting. I must have a little look around. Would you like to wait outside or come in and have a look too?’  Richard was reluctant; he did not share his mother’s passion for antiques, though he decided to wander inside to have a look anyway.

Richard never liked the smell of antique shops. The combination of old wood, moth balls and that dreadful musty smell taunted him to hold his breath so he could not smell the air. When he finally drew a breath, Richard realised this store was not as bad as some he had been to; perhaps it was too new to take on those terrible smells just yet. It also looked even a little interesting. Well, it wasn’t too bad considering it was a boring old antique store.

Richard wandered amongst the old furniture hardly taking any notice of much in particular. He sidled past the bulky items and squeezed past a couple of people browsing the store. ‘Why did they always pack these stores so tight that you could hardly move around them?’ he wondered.

There were some pictures on the far wall, so Richard ventured down the back of the store to take a closer look at them. He was thinking that when he finally got a place of his own, it would definitely be decorated with modern furniture.

As Richard got closer to the back of the store, he glanced across the rows of paintings, mirrors and prints. It looked depressing; the wall was painted a deep burgundy colour, a dark contrast compared to the other walls that were painted a soft cream.

Suddenly something strange happened, something actually caught Richard’s eye and sparked an interest. In fact Richard was moving in for a closer look. It was almost lit up, about halfway up and positioned two-thirds towards the right of the wall. It was approximately three feet wide and five feet deep. It stood out against the darker, more dismal surroundings and was so out of place. The frame was an intricate leafy design of gold with a fine silver trimmed border along the inner edge.

The colours of the image were magnificent and Richard was completely drawn to the painting as if it was sending out vibes to attract him to it.

‘Richard, oh there you are. Well my goodness, something has actually attracted your attention in an antique store,’ laughed Mrs Webster. ‘That is a sight to see.’ 

* * * 

‘Good afternoon, we have breaking news!’ Richard’s TV snapped him out of his daydreaming,  ‘An amazing event has happened today, scientists and astronomers around the world have observed the planet Saturn has moved out of alignment from the other planets. Researchers are attempting to find out why this sudden change has occurred. It has not had any impact on anything else and the rest of the solar system remains unchanged. In other news a jewellery shop was robbed in Cheltenham today…’

‘Knock, knock!’ a small voice said and Richard looked up to see Jacinta’s long brown wavy hair, soft fair skin and pretty green eyes waiting by the door.

‘Oh come in’, said Richard as he switched off the television. Jacinta entered and sprung over to the chair by the window.

‘Wow!’ she said, ‘I see what you mean about your new painting, it, it’s simply magical.’ Jacinta sat in the chair; her legs curled up under, her hands on the armrests and just gazed in awe at the picture.

The painting was enchanting, the colours and design were almost magical, Jacinta was right. The two children sat quietly for ages and just looked and looked into the picture, totally mesmerised. It was all sorts of colours that flowed into each other yet with a definition that was bright. It was a cave, and instead of stalactites and stalagmites, as usually found in a cave, it had crystals shaped like stalactites and stalagmites. Some crystals were bright iridescent blue, some were green as an English countryside, some were yellow, like daffodils, plus there was orange, purple and pink. The painting was almost 3-dimensional. There was a hole in the top of the cave, a skylight and where the light was shining through from the sun above, it reflected off the colours of the crystals. In the foreground, on the right hand side was a dog, of a reddish brown colour. Jacinta was thinking how real the dog looked.

Richard and Jacinta had formed a fascination for crystals when they were five years old. They were playing in the park next door to Jacinta’s house and noticed a shimmering light by the swings. As they moved closer its aura seemed to grow. The sun reflected on it and made it brighter and brighter. They’d raced over to see what it was. As they bent down to pick it up they felt some sort of energy coming out of it. It was clear, and as they held it to the light, it reflected all the colours of the rainbow. It was too pretty to be a rock and not the right colour to be gold, as they had hoped.

‘Maybe it is a diamond,’ said Jacinta ‘my mum has a ring with a diamond and it is so pretty. Perhaps we could ask her what it is.’ It had turned out to be a small piece of crystal quartz. They thought this discovery was so beautiful that from then on the two children had started a collection of crystals. They read and studied books on crystals to find out more. Later, when he was about seven, Richard decided to become a geologist when he grew up. He found rocks and minerals and the study of their origins fascinating. Now, Richard and Jacinta had a great collection of crystals, books and ornaments with crystals in them. Richard’s favourite was a dragon ornament; the green malachite dragon perched on a blue base of lapis lazuli. He particularly loved malachite as it represents courage, strength and endurance. Jacinta’s favourite ornament was a white flying horse whose massive yet elegant wings were tipped with tiny pieces of rose quartz. Jacinta particularly liked rose quartz for its nurturing qualities plus it entices creativity.

Richard’s mother felt they were too old to still be playing with rocks. They should be playing computer games or basketball, anything but collecting rocks. The only time Richard went near a computer was to look up information on rocks. ‘They’re crystals Mum,’ Richard had informed her ‘not just rocks’. ‘Crystals have very special powers and energies. The people of Atlantis had really special crystals that gave them great power.’

‘Oh yes,’ said Mrs. Webster ‘and look where that got them, they sank.’  Mrs. Webster was smiling, though not the kind of smile that was mocking him, just an understanding smile that made Richard realise that she wasn’t too bothered really. In fact Mrs. Webster was quietly appreciating that her son had not grown up too fast and was still enjoying being a child and loved collecting things instead of being out causing trouble.

 Mrs. Webster came into the room, lightly knocked on the open door and suggested that they go to the park for an hour while she prepared lunch. She handed them a small white plastic bag. ‘OK, let’s go,’ said Richard and he took the plastic bag and strapped it to his belt.

Richard and Jacinta raced down the stairs, along the hall, out the front door, hopped on their bikes and set out to the park. The park was huge, it had tracks and footpaths running through it and there was a large pond in the middle with ducks and swans. They rode around for a while and propped their bikes against a park bench. Richard took out the bag, opened it and handed Jacinta some bread. They sat down on the grass by the pond and threw some breadcrumbs into the water. As the bread floated away, three ducks swam towards the bread. They quacked and pecked at the bread then two more ducks came closer. A short time later, a swan resting in the banks on the far side of the pond, stretched up her neck, headed for the water and gracefully slid in and floated towards the ducks.  

It was very peaceful at the park and the children often came down to feed the birds. They loved watching the birds’ antics when they where feeding and fighting over the crumbs.

The children had not noticed anyone behind them. An old man had stumbled over to the bench and sat down beside their bikes.

‘Hey!’ said Richard, ‘you still didn’t show me your new crystal. What sort did you get?’  Jacinta took the purple satin bag strapped over her shoulder, opened it and took out a small green crystal. ‘It’s Nephrite, from New Zealand; it aids forgiveness and takes away anger. It also releases fear,’ explained Jacinta.

Jacinta went on, ‘You know the Egyptians?’ 

‘Yeah the ones that were obsessed with dead people!’ said Richard laughing.

Jacinta smiled at Richard’s attempted humour. ‘Did you know they used crystals and stones for make up: lapis lazuli for blue eye shadow and malachite for green. Mum has just bought some foundation that has tiny crystals in it too. She says the crystals diffuse the light and make her look younger, or something like that.’ 

‘Wow,’ said Richard; ‘I thought the Egyptians only used it for jewels, paintings, coffins and stuff, that’s really cool. I did know that not only the Egyptians used lapis lazuli, they also used it in Afghanistan because it was superior to other materials and its colour represented the heavens above.’

‘Also,’ Jacinta went on, ‘did you know that in Ancient Rome, they engraved small gems and used them to make rings? Imagine carving a piece of amber or cornelian or jasper. That would be really hard to do, so intricate.’

‘I hear you speak of crystals,’ boomed a deep shaky voice from behind them. ‘Have you heard of Crystalia?’  Richard and Jacinta jumped, they hadn’t even realised anyone was behind them. They swirled around to see an old man sitting on the bench. His dark shiny skin was black as coal and he was dressed in old ripped blue jeans that were too short for his long legs. He wore a black t-shirt and even though the weather was warm, a thick grey jacket that matched his long grey hair. The soles of his white shoes were hanging off at the sides and his short black socks were frayed at the edges.

‘Uh, there is no such place,’ said Jacinta.

‘Oh but there is, been there myself. What about Atlantis or Lemuria, have either of you heard of them?’ said the man.

‘Yes,’ the two children said at the same time.

‘Although nobody knows for sure about them either,’ said Richard.

The strange man stood up and walked towards them: ‘Crystalia is what Atlantis and Lemuria should have been. Well it was until the Black Onyx took over and started doing his dirty work around the place. He has turned evil and someone must stop him, if it is not too late already.’ Richard and Jacinta felt a little nervous, then Richard gave Jacinta a nudge and they started to get ready to leave. They didn’t have to say anything to realise with an instant glance at each other they should be a little wary. The stranger had piercing eyes; it was as though he looked straight through them and he kept coming closer until suddenly the children became transfixed by him, it was like they were frozen to the ground with fear yet curious at the same time. Then the man produced a small wooden box, heavily engraved, and handed it to Richard. ‘Happy birthday,’ he said boldly, ‘these will not do me any good until the Realm of Crystalia is put right. Just then Jacinta noticed the white stick by the park bench where they had left their bikes and suddenly realised the man was blind. By this time, Richard was totally bewildered, ‘How could this stranger know it was my birthday?’ he asked under his breath.

Richard hesitated, then opened the wooden box and peered inside. There was a small collection of crystals placed in the box. He showed Jacinta who looked as astonished as he did. As they both turned towards the park bench again, he was gone.  



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