Spend the Summer on Another Planet

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In case you missed it earlier, here’s another reminder that the entire Star Trails Tetralogy, over 1500 pages of classic hard science fiction, is still on sale as a box set for only 99c from July 1 – 4. The price has NEVER been this low and won’t be again for a long time, so grab a copy now. Why? I’m celebrating the first anniversary of when the box set was released on July 3, 2015.

Each of the four novels are included as well as the Star Trails Compendium, which includes background information on Cyraria, a glossary of terms, and a section for parents and educators who want to use the series to stimulate discussions and learning of the various scientific principles. Remember, I’m a physicist and take great pains to assure the science is accurate, sci-fi excursions notwithstanding. You can learn more about the individual books at the series’ website.

Examples of what reviewers are saying:

“A magnificent space opera of epic proportions.”

“Master storyteller of the highest caliber.”

“In the vein of old #scifi literature this story could end up as another classic.”

“Drops us off in an imaginative world similar to Star Wars or Star Trek.”

Anyone who loves hard science will lap this book up.”

“Sci-fi at its best. This space opera is fast paced and action packed and will leave you breathless.”

“Imaginative hard scifi with real-life characters.”

“Everything a good sci-fi book needs including an author who knows her stuff.”

If you love hard sci-fi, what do you have to lose for 99c?

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1kAJxRn

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/550675

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set/id1007498996

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set-marcha-fox/1122157702

Stock Photo Copyright: kjpargeter / 123RF Stock Photo

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

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I’ve always loved that quote, which illustrates one of the many absurdities in the English language. And speaking of time flying, I can’t believe that on July 3 it’ll be a year since the Star Trails Tetralogy Box Set was released! Seeing the series as a box set was my goal as soon as I realized the Brightstar’s story wasn’t finished with the first volume, but had only begun. Considering it ultimately took four books that comprised 1500 pages, there was definitely a lot more to tell! So, I’m celebrating the first anniversary of this life milestone by selling the entire tetralogy this weekend for only $0.99 USD.

I started working on “Beyond the Hidden Sky” so long ago I hate to admit it. There were definitely a few life obstacles in the way between the late 70s and now. During that time I finished having my children, got a physics degree, moved from Utah to Texas, became a grandmother (and now a great-grandmother) and fulfilled my dream of working for NASA. Believe it or not, the degree and NASA gig were specifically to prepare me to be a better science fiction writer. I kid you not. I took “write what you know” to heart and I hope it shows!

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The first book was revised more times than I can begin to count. It was initially written on an archaic device known as a typewriter and then went through at least three different word processors, (Word Star, Word Perfect and Microsoft Word). In fact, artifacts from those earlier electronic versions brought some pretty mysterious characters into the first few electronic and even print versions, until I figured out how to get them out.

Much of what was science fiction at the time, such as my rendition of the internet, Craig’s List and a Bitcoin lookalike, became science fact during this lull between writing and publishing. Needless to say, this required upgrading the technology numerous times. Now, at the rate things are advancing, it won’t be long before the entire series is in the realm of science fact, except, perhaps, for cristobalite or devenite crystals. But you never know, given they’re busily creating new elements these days as well as making new discoveries in quantum physics.

Thus, to celebrate the box set’s birthday on July 3, I’m marking it down to $0.99 USD for the USA’s Independence Day weekend ONLY (July 2 – 4 for those outside the USA). So, if you’ve been waiting for a super-giant sale to get your copy, this is it! If you’re unfamiliar with the series, you can learn more about it and see the reviews at the series website, www.StarTrailsSaga.com.

Pick yours up at any of the sales outlets below.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1kAJxRn

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/550675

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set/id1007498996

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set-marcha-fox/1122157702

Stock Photo Copyright: kjpargeter / 123RF Stock Photo

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Blog Tour: Annie Douglass Lima’s Latest YA Adventure Tale

I’m excited to be part of Annie Douglass Lima’s blog tour to announce her latest young adult action and adventure novel, The Gladiator and the Guard, is now available for purchase! This is the second book in the Krillonian Chronicles, sequel to The Collar and the Cavvarach.

The Collar and the CavvarachFirst Things First: a Little Information about Book 1: 

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time.  With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

What is the Collar for, and What is a Cavvarach?

The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences.  One is that slavery is legal there.  Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone.  Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).

Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil.  It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with “have a rack”), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge.  Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades.  You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

Click here to order The Collar and the Cavvarach from Amazon for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!

And now, The Gladiator and the Guard, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!

The Gladiator and the Guard

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?

EXCERPT:

“Hey, it’s the new guy,” someone said, and heads turned. “What’s your number?”

“My number? Oh, um, I think they said I’d be Fifty-Eight.” A tasty-looking bowl of chicken and potatoes came within reach, but someone else picked it up, scooped some onto his own plate, and then passed it away down the table before Bensin could get any.

“So, you beat Ninety-Nine,” a Skeyvian gladiator across from him commented, his dark skin laced with pale jagged scars. “Soon as he gets out of the clinic, you better watch out. He’ll be out for blood.” He set down the vegetables he had just served himself, and Bensin picked up the dish, but the guy next to him plucked it out of his hands and sent it in the other direction.

“I didn’t actually mean to hurt him,” Bensin began, looking around for another dish of food. He was interrupted by derisive laughter from everyone within earshot.

“Fifty-Eight didn’t mean to hurt him! Ha! What kind of gladiator are you, kid?”

Bensin couldn’t think of an appropriate response. “Hey, could somebody pass me the chicken?”

“Dude, you better start meaning to hurt people if you want to make it here,” the burly Tarnestran beside him advised. “You can’t manage that, Gile will plan a blaze of glory for you sooner rather than later.”

Bensin wasn’t sure what the man was talking about, and his stomach was still rumbling. Everyone around him was eating now, but the serving dishes had all been passed down to the other end of the table.

“Gile won’t have to plan a blaze of glory for this one,” another gladiator predicted. “At this rate, he’s gonna starve to death first.”

* * *

Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard in Kindle format from Amazon for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!

 Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard from Smashwords (for Nook or in other digital formats) for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!

About the Author

Annie Douglass LimaAnnie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published twelve books (two YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, and five anthologies of her students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

(See my previous interview with Annie here.)

Connect with the Author Online:

Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com

Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/princeofalasia

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreads

Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/AnnieDouglassLimaOnAmazon

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AnnieDouglassLima

LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnLinkedIn

Google Plus: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGooglePlus

Now, enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of The Collar and the Cavvarach!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Sci-Fa Epic Adventure: Review of “Thunder Moon” by Jeanne Foguth

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The second volume in Jeanne Foguth’s Chatterre Trilogy, “Thunder Moon”, picks up where “Star Bridge” ends. As someone who’s read all three volumes, but not in order, I highly recommend that they be read in sequence so that the complex plots and character relationships are easier to follow. Each builds upon the other, weaving a fascinating and intricate Sci-fa saga.

In this episode, Nimri’s brother, Thunder Cartwright, is worried the madrox will invade his world unless the star bridge is closed. He borrows his brother-in-law, Larwin’s, environmental suit, and sets out to do so with the assistance of GEA-4, Larwin’s androtic assistant. Meanwhile, Larwin’s sister, Tem-Aki, is looking for her brother, who’s been missing from his world long enough that she’s concerned that he’s dead. (Background on Larwin’s arrival on Chatterre can be found in volume I, “Star Bridge”.)

As you’d expect from any misbehaving and unstable Star Bridge/wormhole, Thunder winds up on yet another world, Kalamar, which is covered with what he fears most–water. Furthermore, he’s severely injured, but fortunately, rescued by Raine, a dragon shepherd, who’s on patrol in her ship, Nambaba, trying to recover a rogue dragon calf.

And thus the fun begins.

As always, the science fiction/fantasy elements of these stories are masterfully integrated as simple matters of planetary diversity. Dragons, a.k.a. madrox, are Chatterre’s mortal enemy, threatening to reduce it to ashes. However, on Raine’s planet, Kalamar, they’re carefully managed, a seeming paradox that further drives the story’s plot and suspense.

Mistaken identities, culture clashes, alien creatures, and a variety of interpersonal conflicts, including sibling rivalry and political intrigue, ultimately explode in this fast-moving, complex tale. The world building is exceptional, particularly with regard to how a human culture would operate on a world comprised mostly of water. Not only are the mundane details addressed, but other intelligent species introduced as well as a convincing and convoluted political structure.

If you like an intricate plot, lots of action and continual suspense with all sorts of surprises you can get your teeth into, then this trilogy is for you. But don’t forget to read “Star Bridge” first and then this one before move on to the satisfying conclusion in “Fire Island.” (Note that all three volumes are “clean reads” suitable for all ages.)

You can pick up a copy on Amazon here.

“Fire Island” (Chatterre Trilogy Vol. 3): Sci-Fa at its Best

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This well-written novel is the worthy third book in the Sci-Fa Chatterre Trilogy. The author does an excellent job of melding science fiction and fantasy together in another convincing story of another world. This particular world is similar enough to what ours was a century or two ago to be vaguely familiar then mixed with high technology imported via a spaceship wreck you can learn about in the first book, “Star Bridge.” Having not read the second book, “Thunder Moon,” I was a bit lost on the full context of this one, but the immediate action and suspense were enough to grab my interest without knowing the full story of how Tem Aki got into her precarious situation.

Tem Aki is on a quest to find her brother, Larwin, whom you meet in “Star Bridge.” Her journey is substantially complicated when she finds herself on the other side of the planet via an encounter with a time/space anomaly. Fortunately, there’s a settlement nearby where once again you are treated to Jeanne Foguth’s outstanding ability to depict major culture clashes when Tem Aki meets Cameron, the somewhat reluctant leader of a tribe-like culture. Since she emerged from the ocean, albeit in a spacesuit, he thinks that she’s a goddess who has arrived to help him celebrate an upcoming religious ceremony as well as deal with some troublesome individuals who are losing their religious faith as well as trying to undermine Cameron as their leader.

Cameron’s culture is well-developed as is their traditional belief in the madrox dragons, specifically the great dragon-mother, Shaka-uma. The problem lies in that fact that no one has seen her in a long time so a few troublesome doubters are declaring that they never existed. Meanwhile, Cameron is trying to prepare for their annual pilgrimage to honor Shaka-uma, which his adversaries are trying to sabotage. Tem Aki is thrown into this controversy which is further complicated by the fact that there are no other females around in the immediate environment which can best be compared to a monastery.

The misunderstandings between them are at times hilarious and if nothing else demonstrate how easily such confusion can develop when two cultures collide. Tem Aki’s technology, which includes my favorite android, GEA-4 (whom you can also meet in earlier volumes), of course convinces Cameron of her godhood. His fascination when GEA-4 stares into the sun to recharge is classic. Tem Aki’s revulsion toward the primitive, chauvinistic culture is certainly convincing as is the rationale Cameron maintains that she’s some form of divinity.

Cameron’s challenges alone would make a fascinating read but adding Tem Aki into the mix is the coup de grace for a great story. I don’t want to delve any further into the plot because I don’t want to throw any spoilers out there, but believe me when I say that there are plenty of complications, surprises, believable characters, Kazza is joined by another delightful mystic cat, and a satisfying ending. I recommend reading the books in sequence, though this one can stand on its own if you’ve at least read “Star Bridge.”

Pick up your copy on Amazon here.

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Connect with the author, Jeanne Foguth:

Visit Webhome Jeanne Foguth

Follow on Twitter @JeanneFoguth

Get Pet tips, etc. http://foguth.wordpress.com

Another One Bites the Dust

2015over copy

Year, that is.

I suppose that title gives some clue to my age, at least to those who remember its context. They go by faster and faster. I’ve always liked the analogy comparing life to a roll of toilet paper, i.e. it goes faster toward the end. Scary but true.

Every December I always look back at the list of goals I made the previous year to see how I did. I usually achieve most of them, which is a testimony for writing them down so you don’t forget what they are. Of course that works both ways. If you don’t record it then you may forget to pursue it in the first place but on the other hand, if you finished something without listing it then it could slip into the past unnoticed, meaning you don’t take credit for it. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need all the credit I can get.

Fortunately, I have tangible proof of at least some of the things I accomplished. Some have been hanging over my head for years. For example, finishing up my science fiction series, the Star Trails Tetralogy. I think I originally said the final volume would be coming out back in 2013. Hahahaha! That sure didn’t happen. But this year it finally did. Refractions of Frozen Time came out in March, about the same time my contractor, Tracy, finished up remodeling my sunroom into a guest room. I could have quit right there and taken pride in my achievements, with due credit to Tracy, of course. Both those goals had been on my list for years so those were biggies.

But once all four books were complete, then I set to work putting together the box set I’d envisioned ever since I realized my story would require more than one book to complete. I had some extra incentive to get that one accomplished when I agreed to share a book fair booth with three other authors. It took a lot more work than expected, but somehow I finished that one, too. Yay!

Then I had a couple nonfiction ebooks I wanted to get in print. Particularly Whobeda’s Guide to Basic Astrology and The Family History Fun Factor. Done! I still have one more to go but plan to get that out by the first of 2016.

So I’m celebrating and invite you to join me.

GIVEAWAYS!

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I’m giving away 3 copies of the Star Trails Tetralogy Deluxe Box Set here.  All books are autographed by yours truly and it includes a fun swag pack of goodies, too.

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If you’re interested in astrology, sign up to win one of three autographed copies of Whobeda’s Guide to Basic Astrology here.

Both giveaways end December 13 which will hopefully allow enough time for the winners to receive them by Christmas. (Sorry, USA only)

 

 

Here are some other deals you might like. If you have any sci-fi fans on your holiday gift list, remember you can always “gift” them a copy.

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THE SAPPHIRAN AGENDA

The Sapphiran Agenda, backstory of Thyron, the telepathic walking plant everyone loves in Star Trails, is now FREE on Smashwords here.

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BEYOND THE HIDDEN SKY

Star Trails Volume 1, Beyond the Hidden Sky, is free if you join my Preferred Readers here.

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STAR TRAILS TETRALOGY EBOOK BOX SET

Get the entire Star Trails Tetralogy box set electronically for half-price on Smashwords here.

Promotional price: $2.99
Use Coupon Code: VP22Z
Expires: January 5, 2016

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WHOBEDA’S GUIDE TO BASIC ASTROLOGY

Get Whobeda’s Guide ebook for 75% off here.

Promotional price: $0.99
Use Coupon Code: QD49E
Expires: January 5, 2016

If you’d like a paperback copy you can get one for 20% off at Create Space here.   Use Discount Code 4KCHSKEW

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and may you have a prosperous New Year!  Meanwhile, I’m going to go back and work on that list for 2016.  After I take a nap.  I’m pretty tired after realizing how much I actually got done this year…

 

Hard Sci-Fi in Western Disguise

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I must say that this story started out a bit slow and even got to the point I consider monotonous. However, the fact it was so well written, nicely edited and rich with beautifully rendered descriptions coupled with enough suspense to make me wonder what was going on, I kept reading and was not disappointed.

The author did an excellent job of creating a new world to which Earthlings are immigrating to escape their own as it loses viability. The colonists have agreed to live a simpler lifestyle, similar to that of the pioneers who settled the American West in the 19th century. Settling a new planet is not a simple, matter, however, with a variety of new hazards including byproducts of terraforming including a marginally sentient species known as owylls, which are predatory yet seem to act at the command of a tall, mysterious bearded man. Colonists are being afflicted by an epidemic of a malady known as “The Lullaby” which renders its victims comatose while muttering a mantra that spreads the disease to anyone who hears or perceives it, e.g. in writing.

The characters aren’t particularly endearing and I thought any emotional or romantic development between them fell flat. Nonetheless, they were interesting enough that I’d like to know more about them and why they’re the way they are. The main protagonists comprise two brothers, Walter and Samuel Starboard, who are transporting their Lullaby-afflicted mother, Alma, to Marathon, the site where their transport ship is located. Rumor has it that a cure is available there plus they also hope to find their missing father. Bear in mind that this journey is essentially a trail ride through dangerous unknown and uncharted territory which involves horses for transportation, tethered mules, and a wagon carrying Alma.

Along the way they encounter the Bridge sisters, Virginia and Miriam, who join them. There’s a considerable amount of tension between them, particularly from Miriam who is clearly a bitter, angry woman with a reputation for using men. She does prove useful helping Walt care for his comatose mother, however. Hopefully in the next volume the author will reveal more about her, whom I suspect is a very wounded soul with an interesting past beyond what was revealed in this volume. The part that really bogged down the first half of this book was their tedious journey which provided graphic descriptions of the planet and a strong sense of place yet in my opinion dragged on longer than necessary; some readers may not make it to the best part.

But once things started to move, then move they did. I don’t want to get into spoiler territory so won’t go into it other than to say all the questions that arose during the story to that point were answered and the plot, premise and details of the society of which the characters are a part was exceptionally well-developed, intriguing and enough to make me want to read the next volume of this trilogy. The irony of the title comes through amid numerous clever twists and turns, cool technology, most of which is environmentally friendly, and all sorts of other technological and societal goodies hard sci-fi fans like myself want and expect in a good read. As a former rocket scientist I’m always critical of the feasibility of the science in such novels and there was only one thing in there that seemed a bit of a stretch, so the author did well on that score as well.

World building is not an easy feat and getting all the details in place presents a challenge for any author. Derry has done an outstanding job doing so, established an interesting world with a variety of fascinating possibilities reminiscent of other sci-fi classics in print as well as film I wish I could mention but they would undoubtedly constitute spoilers.

If you like sci-fi adventure stories populated by ordinary people in an evolving off-world environment backed up by great imagery and detail, you will probably enjoy this story. It moves slowly at first (thus I only gave it 4 stars) but I admit that I stayed up way past my usual bedtime to finish it once it started to roll.

You can pick up your copy at Amazon here.

A Beautifully Rendered Novel that Operates on Multiple Levels: Papala Skies by Stephen Geez

papalaskiescoverI’ve always wanted to visit Hawaii and I must say this book was like having a personalized grand tour. The descriptions were vivid and conjured up outstanding imagery that virtually took you there, the prose as refreshing as a frozen pina colada on a hot afternoon. Don’t let the somewhat enigmatic title and cover fool you. This story was beautifully rendered as implied, but it comprises far more than lush tropical scenery.  Thus I can easily grant it 5-stars.

This complex and compelling story is as unique as its setting. While it has numerous elements of a coming of age story and dealing with tragedy, it went much deeper and at times much darker. The main character, Rochelle, has a troubling secret which she’s carried since she was thirteen when her mother died. She blames herself for her mother’s death, something children are prone to do whether justified or not when there’s a divorce, illness or other trouble that descends upon a family. While some teens might turn to drugs or alcohol, Rochelle instead becomes an over-achiever.

Many cultures and locales come into play in this multi-faceted novel. Her deceased mother is from France, which she longs to visit; she lives in Chicago, which she loves; and her father’s business interests are centered in Hilo, Hawaii. After her mother’s death her father brings her to Hawaii where she’s introduced to her soon to be Hawaiian step-mother, Lalani, and her children, one her natural-born son, Pocamea, and another blond boy, Mikalu, from San Diego who was abandoned to Lalani’s care by his father when his mother died giving birth to him. These kids live with Lalani’s father in an ancient stone house occupied by their ancestors for centuries. Running water is provided by a stream beset with waterfalls, the beach is within view below an inviting cliff with the orange glow of a volcano completing the picture. But the tropical, idyllic beauty is not without its shadows.

Native burial traditions by which the children of the land are returned to Pele are described in fascinating detail as their earthly remains are taken into the bowels of the land referred to as lava tubes. Rochelle, while so much an ambitious city girl, bonds with her step-brothers and falls in love with Coulee Makai as their homestead is called. But just as one major story element is resolved and you think the story is about to end, a swell of intrigue bursts upon the scene like a tsunami, pushing the story in an entirely different direction. Even in this primitive, idyllic land there are those who conspire to destroy it through development and commercialization through whatever means necessary. Death and crippling diseases fall upon some of the characters, Rochelle at the center where her loyalties are put on virtual trial in such a way that her life is on the line when she chooses sides.

Far more is confronted in this brilliant novel than the challenge of overcoming the death of a loved one, the complexities of family loyalty, or friendships stronger than blood ties. There is a well-sustained sense of mystery throughout as Rochelle’s life unfolds amid an initially alien culture of which she gradually becomes a part, driving choices which eventually deliver her to the last place she expected to be. Not only are the characters real but their lives and interactions as well. The level of detail makes you feel as if you know these individuals personally. You cry when they pass on and and will miss the others as you would a close friend when the story ends.

The one thing I found a bit disconcerting at first was how in the first third or so of the story it kept jumping back and forth between when Rochelle was in her teens to when she was a young college graduate from MIT with an engineering degree. Eventually, however, it all fit together like a Chinese puzzle, somehow “working” very effectively in a literary sense by creating a sense of depth reminiscent of how one might remember parts of his or her life as they had relevance, which rendered an entirely different texture than if the story had proceeded in linear fashion chronologically.

This story was chock full of themes, subplots, human nature and complicated relationships that bordered on being epic or perhaps one huge chunk of a family saga. The ending was satisfying enough to serve as a conclusion but there’s a tremendous amount of material begging for prequels and delving into the backgrounds of the different characters. I highly recommend this story as a great read to anyone looking for an intriguing, well-written story that will undoubtedly take you places you’ve never been before, even if you’ve been to Hawaii.

You can pick up a copy on Amazon here.

Baby Girl Series Box Set Now Available!

Babygirl bannerI’m excited to be one of the stops on the blog tour for the release of Elle Klass’ Baby Girl Series Box Set! I loved the stories the first time I read them as separate books, which tended to be several months apart, which meant that I often forgot who some of the characters were during the time gaps. Thus, I truly enjoyed being able to reread the entire story, start to finish, as one contiguous story. Some scenes were expanded or even added which further enhanced this amazing tale of an abandoned girl’s quest to not only find out who she really is but to survive.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Elle was born in Redwood City, California and spent her childhood growing up in the fabulous San Francisco Bay Area. She is an avid San Francisco Forty Niners fan. She has raised two beautiful daughters, and currently resides in Florida. For fun she reads, spends time at the beach, travels, and enjoys time with her favorite friends, and family. She is a night-owl known as most her creative energy and ideas strike after 9 p.m. I interviewed Elle here on my blog site a few months ago which you can find here.

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The box set includes the entire saga as told in the original four books entitled In the Beginning, Moonlighting is Paris, City by the Bay, and Bite the Big Apple. The story begins when abandoned at 12, Baby Girl is forced to face the harsh realities of life and struggles to find her path. She forages for sustenance, steals from the wealthy, and sleeps in any dark hole she can find. A ‘family’ of sorts forms between her and a band of other youngsters. Together they fight for survival, friendship, and love in the midst, but that is only the beginning. Life throws her one curve ball after another until secrets are revealed and the search for her true origins begins and ends with the powerful truth.

Here are excerpts from each of the individual stories that comprise the Baby Girl Box Set.

Book 1: In the Beginning

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Approaching Winter

We burned stray wood and paper in the trashcan for warmth, and stock-piled blankets, coats and extra clothes during the frigid winter months. Star and Peewee huddled together for warmth and Einstein held me close. The city was marvelous and bustling with life making it easy now to fit into a crowd and earn extra money. We tricked people out of hundreds of dollars in cash taking advantage of their generosity.

Einstein found an old small plastic Christmas tree in a dumpster and brought it to the warehouse. He insisted it wasn’t Christmas without presents so we found gifts for each other and placed them under the tree. It was the first Christmas in my life I celebrated. My mother never celebrated any holiday, nor did I ever receive gifts on special occasions such as my birthday. My mom’s gift every year was an expressionless ‘Happy birthday’. I found a working gold watch with engraving on the underside of the face plate, but that didn’t matter. I gave it to Einstein because of his preoccupation with keeping track of time. Star found and gave Peewee a new pair of shoes as his were falling apart at the seams and unsuitable for trudging through piles of snow. Star gave me a fiction book as I loved to read, and Einstein gave Star a tiara because she adored anything with sparkles and glitter. Instead of eating leftovers or cooking canned meats or hotdogs, we took our money and ate inside a nice restaurant. We splurged and partied creating an unforgettable Christmas.

Einstein survived on his own longer than the rest of us and wanted more than dumpster leftovers and abandoned warehouses. He grew eager to leave and developed a plan to heist jewelry and small valuable items from people’s homes while they were away on vacation. Later we’d sell everything for cash.

We became obsessed with staking out neighborhoods and houses. The four of us wanted the same thing, a “normal” life. We found homes spaced apart geographically, hoping to draw less attention than if we hit homes in the same areas. Einstein and I hit the first home and everything went smooth as melted caramel. We chose the house after observing the owner’s leaving the spare key hidden under a stone behind the house. The ordinary neighborhood and tract homes meant no alarms. For our first heist we made a wise choice.

Once inside the house we used our flashlights to find our way around, careful not to shine them towards the windows and take the chance of alerting the neighbors. In the master bedroom we found a solid gold chain, two gold rings with precious stones that Einstein said were amethyst, emeralds, and onyx but mostly costume stuff. How Einstein knew each stone stumped me. In the dining hutch we found crystal goblets. Einstein claimed they were real crystal because he wet his finger, swirled it around the top of one glass and made it sing. A cool trick I wouldn’t have known on my own. I took his knowledge of precious stones and crystal as clues to his upbringing and guessed he’d lived a more privileged life than myself.

“How did you know to do that?”

The corners of his lips turned upward in a smile. “I can’t tell you all my secrets.”

We wrapped the goblets in dish towels using great care and placed them into our backpacks.

After Einstein and I successfully hit a few homes, Star decided she wanted in on the scam. Einstein thought it was a bad idea because of Peewee, but Star insisted. She wanted a piece of the action. She and Einstein butted heads over it causing friction amongst us.

One night Star and Peewee followed us out and caught up to us as we finished hijacking items from the house. The second we stepped outside the house a familiar whisper, “Cleo” alerted me Star followed us. My body halted mid-stride as I caught sight of her and Peewee’s shadows standing against the wall of the house. Einstein motioned for them to edge their way to the back of the house where there were no light sensors. Star shuffled towards us, but Peewee stepped out too far and the lights went on brightening the entire side of the house. Oh crap! We fled in varying directions. I held the bag of loot in my hand and once I ran I didn’t turn my head to look behind me. I hastened my pace at the sounds of people. Several blocks away I cowered in an alley to catch my breath. Einstein was right behind me and ducked into the alley with me.

“Star and Peewee, are they with you?”

He shook his head as if to say ‘no’ and turned his eyes downward. “It’s time to leave” he said after a moment of silence.

“OK, yeah, we need to get back.”

He grasped my shoulders. “Leave – as in this city. There were too many lights, commotion, and sirens at the scene for Star and Peewee to slip away. They aren’t as savvy as we are. The police are gonna be looking for us next.”

My mind absorbed with escaping I missed the wailing sirens. He was right and my head reeled at the implications his words threw at me.

“You think they’ll tell on us?”

The nod of his head told me ‘yes’.

I couldn’t leave yet I needed my bag from its secret place.

“We gotta go back to the warehouse. I have something hidden there that I need.” His eyes grew soft, and he agreed.

Back at the warehouse, I went straight to my secret place. Within minutes the sound of voices tickled our eardrums and lights flashing beneath us.

“Squish in beside me.”

Without a moment to spare Einstein squeezed in the cubby hole. Radios blared on the other side of the cubby and police scoured the building but came up empty. I whispered in Einstein’s ear, “Star and Peewee squealed quick.”

“They did – or the police are here for something else.” ‘Something else’ was possible. Either way, neither of us wanted to get caught. Hours passed with Einstein and I scrunched on top of each other. Teenage hormones, close quarters, and our semi attraction to each other brought our relationship to a new level. Our hearts raced together from the excitement. Einstein held me flush against him.

“I love you Cleo.”

The sound of his words caused a wave of want to wash came over me and I kissed him. My first kiss ever. I drove my tongue deep inside his mouth. Einstein’s words and kiss melted my heart. My own mother never showed me any affection. As I kissed him, he kissed me back. We explored under each other’s clothes. Our fingers and hands discovering the joys of the opposite sex. I yearned for his love and firm embrace. The moment thrilled me, I didn’t want it to end.

The next day we waited for Star and Peewee, but we both knew the police found them. Under the cover of dusk we snuck out, taking great pains to not get caught.

Book 2:  Moonlighting in Paris

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00027]

Here and Gone

Our engagement party stood out as the soirée of all soirées: co-workers, friends, and I invited Kamisha. I unexpectedly grew used to the flamboyant lifestyle, but on the inside – it wasn’t me. The focus of the night centered on Didier and I and it overwhelmed me. People I barely knew, or never met congratulated me, and young ladies eyed me with envy. Whispers circulated the room: Who is she? Where did she come from? Then You don’t belong… You don’t belong in smudged lipstick echoed inside me. I snuck away finding a deserted room I closed the door behind me and took a deep breath then composed myself. The echoes in my head faded, and I emerged into the hallway.

The door closed behind me and a warm, sweaty hand slipped across my mouth. Heavy breathing followed by a crackling voice said, “You need to go back to wherever you came from, Justine.” Her voice reverberated inside me and Sam’s self-defense skills blossomed into action as I grabbed hold of the mystery woman’s arm and slung her over my shoulder. A puff of dark hair and a small frame came thundering forward, landing on the floor with a loud thud. I drove my shoe into her side for good measure and ran down the hall, rounding the corner I ran into Sam.

The expression on my face gave away my fear. “Wow! Where have you been? What happened?”

“I threw her in the hall, on the floor.” I squeaked. He burst down the hall.

Didier’s forehead creased with lines and his eyes grew dark as he walked towards me. He scrutinized our actions. “Where is Sam?”

“I used the skills he taught me. A woman caught me from behind, I flipped her, and left her in the hall crumpled on the floor.”

A look I didn’t expect came over his face as his lips curled into a smile of satisfaction. “I will remember not to get on your bad side. Was she the same woman from Aruba?”

“I don’t think so. Her hair was dark and short, although her size and frame are correct. With her hair covering her face, I can’t be sure.”

The woman disappeared by the time Sam arrived. He and security scoured every inch of the hotel, and scanned the video footage, though apparently she busted the camera in that hallway. My immediate thought was, how convenient you little bitch. They didn’t find her, although we didn’t come up empty handed. I threw her so hard she left a small blood stain behind, it got collected and sent in for analysis. In the cover of night she fled, but I would soon know who she was and I’d be ready. My devious mind schemed for her return.

Over the next few weeks, I assisted in planning my wedding and succumbed to being a public societal figure. In the past I worried about my transgressions slamming me in the face, but now I looked my fear in the eye and assisted in the hosting and planning of various charity events. I wanted this would-be assailant woman to find me. With my ears open and eyes peeled, I watched and waited.

Book 3:  City by the Bay

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00027]

The Tomato Shack

I worked up the courage over a weekend to visit the places my mom frequented, according to the letters, every three years with Slug. The Tomato Shack was a divey little sub sandwich shop outside Sacramento. The blue paint on the outside peeled and cracked from sun and lack of upkeep. Each window displayed the ad, Lunch Sandwich Special 12 inch Sub Plus Large Drink and Bag of Chips $5.00, along with multiple sets of fingerprints. Inside, dirt built up in the corners of the tile floor, and dark mucky splotches muddled the walls. The whole place reminded of an unclean public restroom. The counter and tables looked clean, although I doubted bleach had touched them for years.

A young girl, no more than sixteen, stood behind the counter. She twisted at her blond ringlets while smacking on what sounded like an entire package of bubble gum, her hands gliding over the screen of her phone. I grasped she wouldn’t be able to provide me any info, although I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask. She glanced my way with steely, battleship-gray eyes as I approached the counter, “Ready to order?” she asked, placing her phone on the counter with a sigh like I was intruding on her.

I flipped my P.I. card at her. “I’m looking for information. Is there a manager or owner whom I could speak with?”

“My dad owns the place. He’ll be in tomorrow.” Her words came out in spurts between chomps, followed up with a mega-sized bubble I expected to pop all over her face. She sucked it back in without a single strand sticking to her face. Her blank stare told me her synapses halted firing and her brain was a few walnuts shy of the tree.

“Thanks, about what time?”

Chomp, chomp, smack. Her eyes jolted to life alerting me that her synapses were back online. “‘Bout one in the afternoon.”

“I’ll be back then.”

My next stop was 1523 Tanwood Dr. Rows of duplexes lined the street on both sides circling around a cul-de-sac. The construction was ‘80s style with lackluster brown paint on each and every cloned home. 1523 sat on the outer edge of the cul-de-sac. I walked up the street, contemplating what to say. I considered this place had been something to Slug, not my mother, and many years passed since he’d sent the letter. Neighborhoods like these were transient, revolving doors for people trying to make a start or dealing drugs. Thoughts flopped around in my head something like a lizard’s tail missing its body. The front door coming ever closer with each step.

The door now stared me in the face, the doorbell a hands length away. Without warning heavy metal music blasted like an automatic rifle against my eardrums, and the sound of a sputtering engine halted me in my tracks. I turned to see a late model Camaro pulling into the driveway. A fortyish man stepped out of the vehicle, a mane of thick brown hair flowed in a bad mullet from his head, a denim jacket minus sleeves covered his torso. The sleeves handmade judging by the frazzled ends of the fabric around his arms, with a black rock T underneath, and jeans that boasted more holes than my worst pair during my homeless days, covered his legs. “I’m not buying, so go away,” sputtered off his lips with a vengeance.

Did I look like a saleswoman in my jeans and T-shirt? His obvious negativity towards me resonated inside my head, forcing me to make up a story and quick. “No, no, I’m not here selling anything. In fact, I’m hoping you can help me?”

“You’re a little young for me, but maybe we can work something out.” He murmured edging ever closer attempting to invade my space. I felt uncomfortable, and thoughts of planting my foot straight into his most prized bodily possession lingered at the edge of reality. Carefully, I chose my words, “Are you Frank Tomey?”

I knew Slug, Frank, or whoever, was sitting inside a jail cell; however, I meant business. He stopped a few feet from me; narrowed his eyes into tiny slits while rolling his fat sickly yellowish tongue across his lips. “Frank. What do you want with him?” Satisfaction overwhelmed me. He knew him. My fabrication formulated with every word that sprung from my mouth.

“I believe I’m his daughter. Many years ago he dated my mom.” At this point I pulled out the picture of Perdy I lifted from her mother’s and poised it in front of his face.

“I never seen her and haven’t talked to Frank in a decade.” His eyes prickled at me to go away, and with each ensuing second that passed the air thickened with tension. I stood my ground, an out of shape, ‘80s castaway was no match for me.

I drilled him with my cold hard stare until he relented. “Alright, Frank is my kid brother but we don’t talk. He got messed up in some bad shit I didn’t need rolling back on me.”

I continued my glare, attempting to boil information from his innards. “I didn’t know he had a kid, doubt he knew he had a kid. You gonna keep staring me down?” Since studying La Tige’s tactics this had been my first opportunity to use them and they worked far better than I expected. Sweat drops bubbled on his forehead. “He’s in jail, killed some kid a few years ago. He’s not a good guy. Not even when he was a young pup. Always played dirty.”

Now that he was talking I dared to reenter the conversation using the sympathy card. “I’m not looking for him to be a father figure. I just want to know about him.”

“It’s been a long night. Can this wait?”

“No, it took me days, and switching several busses to get here after finding a love letter he wrote to my mother asking her to meet him here, and to bring me.” I fudged the love letter thing, thinking that my continued appeal to his compassionate side would at least get me in the door.

He rolled his eyes. “A love letter? He’s a psychopath, an extreme narcissist.” He flopped his hands to his sides in surrender. “Come in. I’ll tell you what I got.” And whatever I asked he answered.

The tales he told were too far-fetched not to be true. “Frank left home at 17, went to Georgia, or Alabama. I forget. He hooked up with some chick, I’m guessing your mom. Then he got a big job in New York working as an enforcer for a rich, powerful family named Britt or Bridge, Bridd? I figured they were mafia, but the name sounded English. I’d figured it would be Scarletti or something Italian. After that he’d come visit every few years. Driving a truck, I’m on the road a lot, so I’d let him crash here. He talked big about his job, being the muscle for that family puffed up his self-centered ego. After a while I didn’t hear from him no more. He’s my brother, but he’s a bad egg, so I didn’t miss him. Then several years ago, he calls me from jail. Hadn’t heard from him in years and suddenly he wants money for a lawyer.” He clicked his tongue. “He’s not head smart, but I can’t remember him ever mentioning a kid.”

I pondered his words, swishing them around mentally. “I don’t think he wanted much to do with me. She raised me alone, never said a word about who my father was. When I grew old enough to ask she blew it off, changing the subject. I found the letters while snooping around her room.” It wasn’t a total embellishment; at least the snooping and single mom things were true. He gave me Slug’s (Frank’s) address in prison. One day I’d pay old Slug a visit, but not until I fit the puzzle pieces together.

The following day arrived with a chill in the air and fog so dense I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. By noon a carpet of blue sprawled across the sky, and the fog dissipated without leaving a trace. The sandwich shop looked just as dismal and murky as the previous day. A pimply faced young man replaced gum-smacking blondie at the counter. I went through the same routine without squandering a single second. “I was here yesterday and a young blond girl told me the owner would be in today?”

“Dad, a lady’s here to see you!” He hollered. His buzz cut moved as his mouth opened.

A family-run business, perhaps he didn’t sell enough sandwiches to hire real help. Within a few minutes a staunch, grossly overweight man shuffled towards me. His eyes were tiny beads set inside rolls of dough, and large wet stains filled the cloth beneath his armpits, I noticed as he offered me his hand, mumbling something that sounded like, “What can I help you with?”

I shook his pudgy, cold, clammy hand. “I work for a P.I. We’re looking for a woman. She used to frequent here about fifteen years ago.” I pulled out Perdy’s picture, which he took and examined, holding it an arm’s length from his face.

He rubbed his available hand across his mouth and nose as if deep in thought, his chest heaved in and out. “I remember her. She met a man in the parking lot once, called the police on him. He hit her right outside the door, and knocked her on the ground; her nose was flowing like a sieve. Scared my customers.”

I looked around at the vacant shop attempting to envision people eating here. He must have read my body language. “This place used to get business, high school kids, day time regulars, until crime moved in and everyone else moved out. Police cleaned it up, but it’s too late, everyone’s gone.” His voice laced with melancholy for the booming place his restaurant had been.

He talked in short sentences, followed by heavy breathing as if each word formed was a struggle. I felt no need to keep this man talking or reflecting on a time past. I had enough. I’d call the sheriff’s office tomorrow and get the police report faxed.

Book 4: Bite the Big Apple

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00027]

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00027]

Catch Me if You Can

I searched the surrounding woods looking in all the nooks and crannies I would have hid inside of. My advantage, I played in the woods as a child and knew the best hiding places. I found them in a hollowed out tree trunk, one of my favorite childhood spots. I walked up to the tree keeping my voice calm. “Come on out. I’m not going to turn you in.”

One at a time they crawled out of the tree trunk. Both stood before me staring at the ground. “We’re sorry. We didn’t know you lived there.” Said the girl.

“I don’t anymore. What are your names?” Their eyes met then both sets locked onto my eyes.

“I’m Rosey and he’s Thorn.” Obviously made up names, same M.O. as Einstein and I.

“Rosey and Thorn, nice to meet you. Are you hungry?”

Thorn grabbed Rosey’s hand. “Yes, thank you. What’s your name?” I envisioned the many times Einstein held my hand in a similar way.

“Shanna, I don’t drive but town is a short walk.”

“Why don’t you own a car?”

Rosey poked Thorn in the side and whispered, “She invites us to eat and you complain she doesn’t have a car?”

I chuckled. “I don’t like to drive.”

We strolled into town and chatted most the way. Once we sat down for dinner they ate like little pigs, another sign confirming they ran away. When they filled their bellies I asked them questions.

“I won’t waste my time or yours. Rosey and Thorn are not your real names. I want to help you but you have to trust me.”

“We can leave, thanks for dinner,” said Thorn.

I put my palm out instructing them to stop then waved my hand towards the seat for them to sit. They were compliant and planted their butts back into the booth.

“Spill.”

Rosey opened her mouth first. “My mother is ill. She can’t work and my father is dead.”

I raised my eyebrow then turned to Thorn. “And you?”

He sat silent for a moment his head angled towards the table. He rose his head without looking at me. “OK, Rosey is a better liar than me. Her mother isn’t ill and her father isn’t dead. We go into your cabin sometimes and smoke pot.”

I nodded. “The made up names?”

“We didn’t want to get caught. It’s still illegal for us.”

“Unless you have a medicinal card which two minors wouldn’t have. Where do you get the pot?”

Thorn shrugged. “My dad’s stash.”

“Do you live close?”

“I do, Thorn is my cousin. He’s staying with me this weekend.” Rosey slid out of the booth.

“I’ll walk you both home.”

Relief washed over my body until I saw Rosey’s house. The siding missing in spots, junk cars littered the driveway, and the front window had a long crack in it. Poor didn’t mean her parents weren’t loving people. I sucked in my judgements until I met her parent’s.

“Thanks, you don’t need to follow us inside.”

“I’d like to say hi to your parents.”

An outside light lit up as we walked towards the house. And the front door opened. A bulky man stood in the doorway, blocking the inside light. “That you Jen?”

“Yes dad.”

“Who’s that with you?”

“Shanna, we met her in town today.”

Her father carried his large bulk towards me. “Shanna, nice to meet you and thank you for seeing they got home safe. Would you like to step inside for a minute?” I accepted his offer as I worried for the teens. After thirty minutes of discussion he passed my test, and I left. The shack stood on the other side of the patch of woods from their house.

Crickets chirped their night time song, and the gibbous moon lighted my way. I stayed one last night. The next morning I bought $346 worth of groceries and had them delivered to Rosey’s (Jen’s) house.

* * *

Cleo is the main character in the Baby Girl series so let’s learn a little bit more about this feisty and resourceful girl.

MF: What is your name?

Cleo

MF: Do you have a nickname?

I’ve had more names than blades of grass on a lush lawn Justine and Shanna to name a couple.

MF: What is your hair color?

My natural color is dark brown but it’s been various shades depending on my persona.

MF: What is your eye color?

Green

MF: How old are you?

21

MF: Where were you born?

Brennan California. Not really, I grew up there but was born in a hospital in New York.

MF: Where have you lived since then?

Most everywhere in the U.S. – Alabama, California, New York, Seattle. I also lived in Paris for a couple years.

MF: Where do you currently call home?

Where ever my heart takes me.

MF: What is in your refrigerator right now?

I love to cook so a little of this a little of that. You won’t find any hot dogs or junk food.

MF: What is on your bedroom floor?

The carpet. OK, seriously my favorite pair of flip-flops. They’re black with beads adorning the toe piece.

MF: What is on your nightstand?

A picture of my fun in Santa Cruz. Fetch, Kacy, myself, and Javier took a group photo in the hot tub. The picture brings back fun memories I like to think about when I’m falling asleep. I have an alarm clock shaped like a shell that plays Wipeout.

MF: What is in your garbage can?

Trash, an empty bottle of Sauvignon blanc,

MF: Who are the people you are closest to?

La Tige, Kacy, James and Will. We talk and visit every chance we get. La Tige isn’t a big talker so I dominate our conversations but he’s like a father to me. Kacy is the best friend a girl could ever have.

MF: Who is your funniest friend?

Kacy! She is crazy and makes silly facial expressions while doing impressions.

MF: What is your most treasured possession?

My back pack memories – pictures of Einstein, memorabilia of our times together.

MF: What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Einstein was my first love. A huge part of my heart will always belong to him.

MF: What do you most value in your friends?

Their big hearts. I grew up without a “real” family. My best friends are my family. La Tige has done more to help me than any single person without prodding. Kacy and I have an inseparable bond and Will is Will. James was always there for me when I needed shady business done. It felt really great to do something for him.

MF: What is your motto?

Don’t give up!

Cleo’s Pinterest Pagehttps://www.pinterest.com/elleklass/cleos-favorites/

* * *

BUY LINKS:

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00YDJX24K/

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Youtube Trailer- https://youtu.be/pVBnqyMGAY4

ELLE’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

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.

“Beyond Vica” by T. C. Booth: A heartwrenching story of love and friendship

beyondvicacover

This beautifully written and skillfully rendered tale of love and friendship is a heartwrenching story about three teens, Gabby, Sam and Brody, who have been friends since childhood. Their mutual love of astronomy inspired them to designate three stars as their own personal constellation which they named Vica, each star representing one of them and their bond of friendship. The backdrop the symbolism of this constellation provides for the story is genius in itself.

In my experience one of the most difficult years anyone has to navigate in life is fifteen and that is how old this trio happens to be when Sam is diagnosed with cancer. As if there aren’t already enough issues to deal with at that age such as school challenges, peer pressure, relationships with the opposite gender and their own developing sexuality, Gabby and Brody are now faced with supporting their lifelong friend to the end.

Written from Gabby’s viewpoint in the first person present tense, the immediacy draws you into her mind and heart as she’s not only torn apart by the thought of losing Sam but also the distant memory of the car wreck she experienced as a five year old where her father died before her eyes.

The rocky journey of losing a loved one will be endured by everyone at some point in life. Managing highly charged emotions at such a difficult time is shown in this touching story for what it is, which can serve as valuable information for those who have not experienced the loss of someone they loved and even if they have, they may have dealt with their feelings in an entirely different way. This touching story can thus promote understanding and compassion for those undergoing such an experience whose behavior at times may seem erratic, moody or express itself in unusual ways. Thus, the matter of dealing with the attendant emotions constructively as opposed to keeping them bottled up to fester inside in a potentially harmful manner is also touched upon along with the benefits of organizations such as hospice and the services they offer to grieving friends and relatives.

Truly this book is one that everyone can benefit from since the characters are so engaging that the reader can easily experience the impact of such a situation vicariously. It’s rather short and can be completed in an afternoon, but I don’t recommend it as a “beach read” unless you enjoy crying in public because I suspect tears are inevitable as you get pulled into this story. Yet it’s done in such a way that it’s not maudlin or overly sentimental, but simply addresses the situation in an entirely believable way. I highly recommend this story to everyone whether as comfort or reminder that you never know when someone you love will be taken from you and that someone you know is probably dealing with such a situation right now.

Pick up a copy today.  Only 99c at the Amazon link below.

http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Vica-T-C-Booth-ebook/dp/B00LMD7N1S/