Rick Starkey is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. His main interest is writing novels for middle grade. Rick has sold short pieces to Highlights for Children including a game, magic tricks, and a short story.

Rick lives in a 200-year-old log cabin in the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where he and his wife, Betty, own and run Make It Magic, a magic shop/craft store. A day in Rick’s life includes recommending and performing magic tricks for customers of all ages, carving a bear from a log with a chainsaw, and working on his next novel.

The Rocking Writers performing You Can Go in a Story. Recorded live!

Rocking Writers performing at the SCBWI MidSouth KidLit Dinner 2017
Debbie Dadey and Rick Starkey are the Rocking Writers.

I had a blast singing our original reading song with the fabulous Debbie Dadey at the SCBWI Midsouth 2017 Conference!

It’s Party Time in Tennessee! SCBWI Midsouth Autograph Party.

Come join us at the SCBWI Autograph Party Friday, September 29 at 7:30 pm. It’s free and open to the public. Meet some great authors and pick up some great books. Embassy Suites Cool Springs, TN.


Back to School Bash at B&N Chattanooga

It’s a party at B&N Chattanooga! I’m excited to have been invited. You are too, so come on out August 26!

There will be a Mermaid Party with live mermaids.

The authors include:

George Bove (The Little Orange t)

Debbie Dadey (Mermaid Tales and Bailey School Kids series) AND Guest of Honor at our Mermaid Party starting at 1pm!

Stephanie Faris (Piper Morgan series and Best.Night.Ever.)

J Elliott Kay (The King’s Elite series)

Angelique Monet (The Bravest Worrier)

Rick Starkey (Blues Bones)


Listen to an original summer reading song! Yep, that’s writing friend, Debbie Dadey, and me having fun while we were recording our song. You Can Go In a Story is our 2017 Summer Reading Song!

When I’m not writing you’ll find me doing stuff like playing guitar, carving with a chainsaw, and performing magic tricks. See, you just learned some things about me.

Thank you, ICL!

Here is a link to an interview on the Institute of Children’s Literature site.



Scroll down to read part of a graveyard scene from Blues Bones.

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Here is a taste of Blues Bones. Just for you! Rodney and best friend Max are going to the graveyard.

We didn’t say anything for about two minutes while Max watched the glowing dial of his watch. The air even started to feel weird. A breeze would blow, and it was like someone turning the thermostat up and down. First, it was warm, and then it would feel cool. After a few seconds, it would get warm again.

“It’s fifteen ’til,” Max said. “Time to start.” He struck another match and lit the candle.

“Why fifteen ’til?” I asked. “I thought we were supposed to do it at midnight.”

“Midnight is the time between good magic and evil magic. Fifteen ’til is the time to start because we’re doing good magic. According to hoodoo anyway.”

“Hoodoo? I thought we were doing Voodoo.”

“We’re using a little of both, I guess. Okay, get ready to start reading.”

Max dripped rose oil onto the dirt mixture in the bowl.

“Give me the pencil.” He pulled a goldfish-shaped sharpener out of his backpack and used it on the pencil, letting the shavings drop into the mixture. He handed me a stick of incense. “Okay, now light this.”

I held it over the candle to light.

“Blow it out!” Max said.

When I did, the end of the stick glowed red and started to smolder. “That stinks. What scent is it? Rotten gym socks?”

“It’s Dragon’s Blood.” Max took the smoking stick and stuck it into the ground beside the bowl. “Now read your paper.”

I had to lie down and hold my paper up to the candle to see the words. It was supposed to be a spell, but it sounded more like a poem to me. Max dangled the Voodoo bag above the candle as I read.


What could go wrong, right? This was one of my favorite scenes to write. Hope you enjoy Blues Bones! Go ahead and order yours today.


Thirteen-year-old Rodney Becker has found the perfect cure for stage fright. Voodoo!

Armed with the stolen finger bones of a dead blues guitar player and a mishmash of voodoo spells from the Internet, he and his best friend enter a graveyard at midnight to perform their ritual. Now, all that stands in his way of winning a local guitar competition is the power of RETURN – a side effect of the voodoo that spells disaster for Rodney.

His cure has become a curse. How else can he explain jamming his finger so bad he can’t hold a guitar pick, his part-time dad stealing his guitar, and his mom getting into an accident that could have taken her life?

How much is Rodney willing to risk to achieve his dream of being a guitar legend?

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