Book Blitz: Love, Murder and Mayhem – an Anthology edited by Russ Colchamiro

~ Book Blitz ~
Love, Murder & Mayhem
 
About the Book
Love science fiction stories that all include elements ofLove, Murder & Mayhem?
 
Then welcome to the latest anthology from Crazy 8 Press! This amazing collection from 15 all-star authors will delight you with superheros and supervillains. AIs, off-worlders, and space cruisers. We’ve also got private eyes, sleep surrogates, time travelers, aliens and monsters—and one DuckBob!
 
With tales ranging from wild and wacky to dark and gritty to heartbreaking and fun, take the deadly leap with authors Meriah Crawford, Paige Daniels, Peter David, Mary Fan, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman Paul Kupperberg, Karissa Laurel, Kelly Meding, Aaron Rosenberg, Hildy Silverman, Lois Spangler, Patrick Thomas, and editor Russ
Colchamiro.

 
You’ll never look at Love, Murder & Mayhem the same way again—and that’s just the way we like it.
 
 
About the Editor:
Russ Colchamiro is the author of the rollicking space adventure, Crossline, the hilarious sci-fi backpacking comedy series, Finders Keepers, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, and is editor of the new anthology, Love, Murder & Mayhem, all with Crazy 8 Press.
Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, two children, and crazy dog, Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself. Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, and Altered States of the Union, and TV Gods 2. He is now at work on a top-secret project, and a Finders Keepers spin-off.
As a matter of full disclosure, readers should not be surprised if Russ spontaneously teleports in a blast of white light followed by screaming fluorescent color and the feeling of being sucked through a tornado. It’s just how he gets around — windier than the bus, for sure, but much quicker.
 
 

Release Blitz: Curiosity and The Sentient’s Oblation by Zachary Paul Chopchinski

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Curiosity and The Sentient’s Oblation by Zachary Paul Chopchinski

Series: Gabrielle Book #3
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: February 27, 2017

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The widowed wife of a North Carolina plantation owner, Gabrielle awakens in this life with a broken heart and a sharpened spirit. Living in one of the darkest times in American history, she finds herself running a safe house for the underground railroad during the American Civil War. In order to save a life, Gabrielle must make a sacrifice that could damn her host for eternity.
Everything’s different this time. The rules have changed, Morrigan has changed, and Arawn is more dangerous than ever. He has sent a hunter after Gabrielle and she has to use every ounce of her new powers if she is going to survive.

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Book Blitz: Court of Vampires by Megan Linski

Court of Vampires
Megan Linski
(The Shifter Prophecy #1)
Publication date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Mythology, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

Vampires and werewolves shouldn’t fall in love.

Lysandra was born for one reason; to kill shifters. Princess of vampires, the heir to Vlad Dracula’s throne and the last descendant of Princess Anastasia, Lysandra lives in a castle of witches and human slaves,engaged to a dark vampire prince and prophesied as the one who will end the war between vampires and werewolves forever.

Everything changes when Lysandra finds a dying werewolf. She takes him into her care and quickly falls in love, unable to explain the magical connection between them. If she’s discovered, she will be put to death. But how can she stop the war when her worst enemy is her true love?

A heart-stopping love story filled with shocking twists, Court of Vampires is a thrilling young adult fantasy that readers will devour over and over again. The legend of what really happened to the Romanov family is retold in Megan Linski’s newest haunting paranormal romance.

Goodreads / Amazon

 

Author Bio:

Megan Linski is the owner of Gryfyn Publishing and has had a passion for writing ever since she was a little girl. Her specializations are romance, fantasy, and contemporary fiction for teens and adults. When not writing, she enjoys ice skating, horse riding, and being outdoors. She is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and is an active fighter against common variable immune deficiency disorder.

In December 2016, Megan signed a deal with Amazon’s Kindle Press for her Kindle Scout Winner, Court of Vampires, due to be published 2017. You can find Megan at http://www.meganlinski.com, and receive a FREE book, The Witch’s Curse, by signing up for her VIP List there.

Megan Linski also writes under the pen name of Natalie Erin for the Creatures of the Lands Series, co-authored with Krisen Lison.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Release Blitz: An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur

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An Exaltation of Larks

Suanne Laqueur

Release Date: November 22, 2016

Synopsis

The paths of a married couple and a male escort cross in Suanne Laqueur’s fifth novel about the price of love.

“We’re so alike, you and I. It’s no wonder we kept finding each other.”

September 11, 1973: Eleven-year-old Alejandro Penda watches from his apartment window as Santiago, Chile falls to a military coup, destroying his family and his childhood. Arriving alone in America, he’s taken in by the Larks: a prominent family in the town of Guelisten. Though burdened by unresolved grief for his disappeared parents, he becomes fiercely loyal to the Larks, eventually marrying one of their daughters, Valerie.

September 11, 2001: Javier Landes watches from his apartment window as New York City falls to terrorism. As one of Manhattan’s top-paid male escorts, this professional lover has never lacked for company and is loyal only to himself. But in the wake of 9/11, Jav is named guardian for an orphaned nephew in Guelisten and must open his carefully-guarded heart to pain he’s long suppressed.

Alex, Valerie and Jav meet first in their twenties, with a sudden attraction each finds strange and compelling. When they meet again in their forties, they discover not only is their bond still strong, but their life experiences are strangely similar. All have been shaped by separate 9/11’s, and their unfinished business from the past will change everything they know about love, loyalty and friendship.

“Life has rules. You cannot come in the middle of the night and take what we agreed isn’t yours.”

Across three decades and two continents, An Exaltation of Larks explores the unpredictability of sexual attraction, how family ties are forged, torn and mended, and how love’s downfall can turn to exaltation.

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Author Bio

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Suanne Laqueur

Suanne Laqueur’s debut novel The Man I Love and its follow-up, Give Me Your Answer True, won gold medals in the 2015 and 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Both were finalists in the 2015 and 2016 Kindle Book Awards, and Laqueur was named a gold medal Debut Author with Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Laqueur graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater, and taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. An avid reader, cook and gardener, she started her blog EatsReadsThinks in 2010. She lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children.

With her Fish Tales series, Laqueur has gone from choreographing dancers to choreographing words. Her goal is to create a new kind of emotionally-intelligent romance that appeals to all readers, crossing gender, age and genre. Visit her at http://suannelaqueurwrites.com. All feels welcome. And she always has coffee.

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Blue Eyes Trilogy by B. Kristin McMichael

This is a promotional post for The Blue Eyes Trilogy by Kristin McMichael. The books are now available as audiobooks and the download links are available.
Genre: YA Fantasy
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All three books of the bestselling Blue Eyes Trilogy are now available in audiobook format.
Narrated by Caprisha Page.
Available at Amazon, Audible, and iTunes

Owners of the $0.99 Kindle edition of The Legend of the Blue Eyes can buy the professionally narrated audio edition for $1.99

*******
 

Audiobook LOTBEThe Legend of the Blue Eyes

www.bkristinmcmichael.com/lotbe

Arianna Grace liked her boring Midwestern teenage life where she ignored the many unanswered questions of her childhood. Why were her parents dead? Why doesn’t she have a family? Why do her memories only start at five? When someone offers to explain it, Arianna thinks she is just getting answers. Instead, she is thrown into a world of night humans that drink blood.

On Arianna’s sixteenth birthday, her world is thrown upside down when she changes into a vampire. Night humans, or demons as some call them, live in normal society. Learning all the new rules of a world she didn’t know existed would be hard enough, but it’s further complicated by two former-friends that now want to help her take her role as the successor to her grandfather.

There is a war going on between the night humans. Sides have been taken and lines are not crossed. Four main clans of night humans are struggling for control of the night. Divided into two sides, clans Baku and Tengu have been at war for centuries with the clans Dearg-dul and Lycan. That is, until Arianna Grace finds out the truth; she is the bridge of peace between the two sides. But not everyone wants peace. With the night humans divided onto two sides, Arianna is now a pawn in the war between them. Arianna must choose a side- her mother’s family or her father’s- and for once in her life decide her own fate.

Audiobook BALBecoming a Legend

www.bkristinmcmichael.com/bal

Arianna Grace is about to turn seventeen, and her life has been very complicated lately. She is the leader of four clans of night humans: dearg-dul, baku, tengu, and lycan. While the four clans seem to get along better with each other, there is internal conflict on both sides of her family, not to mention the three boys vying for her attention. Devin is set on keeping her safe above all else. Turner’s goal is to make her happy. And Andrew wants her for himself. At some point Arianna will have to choose between them, but first she needs to survive the plots against her.

Edward Lucan is making a chase for the power to lead the baku clans and is playing his cards by using his nephew Andrew to lure Arianna into a trap. Unfortunately for Lucan, Andrew has his own plans. He has spent the last year waiting for Arianna to see him as more than a friend, and he now finds it necessary to make a move for her affection, despite his uncle.

In the dearg-dul estate, Arianna discovers that the ambitious Lord Seeger has been laying his own strategies for power and is slowly poisoning her. After getting away with her grandfather’s murder, he is setting his sights on her. Luckily for Arianna, her team is on to all of the plans and is making their own counter strategies. Will it be enough to keep Arianna safe? Several people close to Arianna have been keeping secrets. If Arianna is to take power and control of the night, she will need to know the truth. Will someone finally tell her what it really means to become the legend everyone is waiting for, before it is too late to turn back?

Audiobook WTLWinning the Legend

www.bkristinmcmichael.com/wtl

Arianna has gathered the outside clans to decide her fate in marriage. A tournament will be held, and she is the prize, whether she wants to be or not. The only thing for her to do is watch the clan leaders fight over her, or is it? Thanks to her team’s well-made plans, Arianna has other strategies in place. Hopefully one of those plans will earn her freedom.

As the contestants gather and she learns more about the night human world, there are new allies to keep close and more enemies to keep even closer. Some even hold more secrets to her legend and possibly the actual reason to her existence. Now Arianna must decide what to do with the fate she has been dealt. The time has come to step out of the shadows of the men who protect her, and into her own power. The time is now for Arianna to take control, and fight for the destiny she wants to live.


bioAbout the Author:
Originally from Wisconsin, B. Kristin currently resides in Ohio with her husband, two small children, and three cats. When not doing the
mom//thing of chasing kids, baking cookies, and playing outside, she is
using her PhD in biology as a scientist. In her free time she is
currently hard at work on multiple novels. Every day is a new writing
adventure.
 
Contact the author:
Website | Mailing List (Sales and New Release Info) | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


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Three winners will win the full set of the Blue Eyes Trilogy in audiobook (via audible.com)
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Book Blast: Death Marks by Katy Walters

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Death Marks Very Latest  copy
Inspector Detective Dan Redd returns from an absence of leave with only one thing in mind – revenge for the brutal murders of his wife and child. The deranged killer is still loose, and Redd needs the contacts within the force to track him down. Due to police cuts in all departments Dan is faced with a skeletal force, with the profiling department closed. On top of that he’s lost his old partner and is faced with training in his new partner DS Dove.

He realizes within days; his immediate boss wants him gone – not just from the force but permanently. Called to the scene of a grisly murder, he suspects the worst kind of crime – ritual killing. Desperate, he calls in American forensic psychologist Tessa Davies, who tells him the mutilations on the bodies of the young couple, point to an ancient evil cult; the killers have just begun. Hell-bent on tracking down the perps’, he fights his attraction to her. Little does he realize the case will take him and his partner into the highest circles of the aristocracy and the police forces itself.

The body count is rising as Redd and his team race to save the lives of the intended victims – the clock is ticking, as Tessa disappears.

Buy on Amazon US / Amazon UK

About the author:

katyThank you for having me here today.

My main loves are writing, painting and singing. I began work as a PA but to my joy was spotted by an agent in London and had an exciting career as a singer, meeting and singing with some wonderful people. Singing meant a lot of travelling both in the UK and abroad. At one time, I toured Germany and Turkey singing for the American troops, which was a fantastic experience. But then, my husband and I wanted a family, so I said good-bye to the singing career, although I did the occasional gig. Having children is such a precious time, and I would say to anyone, treasure it, it goes so quickly and before you know it, you’re waving them off to Uni or pursuing their own dreams and their own homes.

I have always had a deep interest in psychology for various reasons, and especially the area of neurosis arising from abuse. Later, I was to study how we could use our body, mind and spirit to relieve pain and overcome some life-threatening diseases. One important thing here is, I always told my patients to continue with medical treatment along with the complementary and spiritual methods, for I believe medical research and medication is also a gift from God, Spirit or the Universe, as each of us wishes to name it.

I have loved writing from a child and during the years of study, research and treating some wonderful people, whom I called my friends, I would write at night, mainly short stories, and reams of poetry. I wanted to learn how to write self-help books for my clients, so I took creative writing courses at university, which led to writing a novel. So self-help novels turned to fiction but even so, I hope the novels help the reader through their own challenges, as the characters experience love, loss, passion, jealousy, illness, joy and conflict, even the threat of death.

At present, I am writing the third book in the series ‘Lady Phillipa’s Peril’ and also putting together some ideas for the self-help book.

This has been so enjoyable thank you.

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Love Potion No. 11 : Collection of 11 stories by different authors

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What do you get when you take eleven awesome paranormal authors, toss them into one box set, and turn up the heat?

Why, you get Love Potion No. 11, of course.

This box set contains ELEVEN full-length novels from eleven authors. And right now. . .for a limited time. . .it’s only 99 cents.

Talk about a bang for your buck.

Eleven full length paranormal novels celebrating strong women, sizzling hot heroes, and all the things that go bump in the night.

Secrets by Liz Schulte: While Olivia Martin observed life through her camera, the Abyss gazed back at her. She discovers mysterious men follow her around, people close to her are dying, and her dreams are no longer her own as she falls head over heels for a perfect stranger. A chance encounter leads to an obsession that could destroy everything she has ever known or loved. Olivia is about to find out there is a lot she doesn’t know and sometimes what you don’t know can kill you.

The Charmer by Autumn Dawn: Jasmine didn’t realize her friend Wiley was special until they were drawn into another world. Here Wiley is betrothed to the ruler of the Haunt, a wererace both dangerous and proud. Keilor is the master of soldiers, a man few would cross, yet he’d never met a menace like the little brunette his princess calls friend. Will Jasmine find the portal home, or will she find a werewolf of her own?

Forever Fae by L.P. Dover: He leans down, lips parted, and then our lips connect … We didn’t know that this one kiss has FOREVER changed the Land of the Fae. According to the Prophecy proclaimed many years ago, Princess Calista of the Summer Court is destined to change the Land of the Fae from the evil determined to destroy it. Her powers are phenomenal, and she secretly trains for battle with her handsome warrior friend, Merrick, who unbeknownst to her protects her heart as well, in hopes of keeping it for himself. At least, until the seductive Prince Ryder attends the Guardian Ceremony and instantly sends a fire burning through her veins and a connection so deep they both discover a love above anything imaginable.

Stronger Than Magic by Melinda VanLone: Water can be deadly, in the right hands. In a world of magic, hidden away from those who have no power, Tarian Xannon commands the natural forces of water, air, and fire. As heir to the Dolphin Throne, her job is to learn what it takes to lead—but she’d much rather forget the heavy weight of responsibility in the waves of the ocean. When Tarian is brutally attacked, she faces the shocking reality her talent, while strong, is no match for the demon-like creature. This power play for the throne ignites the Succession Ritual, forcing Tarian to make hard choices about the future of her unborn child, House Xannon, and the very fabric of magical society. As her defenses wane, his attacks grow bolder. All she knows and loves hangs in the balance. Tarian fights not only to keep the throne she thought she hated, but to accept her true place in the world. Will her power be enough? Or are some things stronger than magic?

Give Me by L.K. Rigel: A Romance Reviews top pick. All she wanted was a vacation … but Dumnos offered a new life. Lilith Evergreen has always lived in the California desert, but when she receives an antique ring as a gift, she dreams of a castle by the sea, a magnificent tree at cliff’s edge, and a mysterious woman who calls her to Dumnos, a land of mist and rain. Cade Bausiney is the future Earl of Dumnos, but at present he just wants to bolster the local economy with a scheme to increase tourism. When he meets Lilith, a tourist from the other side of the world, his attraction to her is overwhelming ~ but are the feelings real or magically induced?

Taming the Wolf by Stephanie Nelson: Attacked by a wolf while hiking, Anna Avery’s life just got a little hairier. Living in the Big Horn mountains in Wyoming, with a group of werewolves who are more animal than human, Anna must try to hold onto her human side. It’s not easy when the alpha continues to persuade her into his bed, while another wolf is chomping at the bit to become her mate. To top it all off, dead bodies are showing up and it just so happens that Anna was the last to see them alive. She’ll have to work to prove her innocence and taming the wolf who bites first and asks questions never.

Sweet Magic Song by Olivia Hardin: Belle Bittner was sold to the highest bidder when she was just a child, sought for the magic lying dormant in her blood. She grew up as the adopted daughter of a wealthy vampire couple, and serving the child-trafficking Org seemed her only option in life. But Belle has other plans, and she won’t let anyone get in the way of her escape, even if it means betraying those who try to help her. Desperate to stay free of an evil vampire who means to possess her no matter what, Belle decides she can use the protection of the flirtatious faery named Roon. The two of them flee to the faery realm where Rooney believes he can better protect her. What he doesn’t know is that taking the beautiful siren through the golden door will set off a cataclysm of events that will threaten the fabric of both the human and the faery worlds. Separating myth from fact to decipher the truth about her powers could mean the destruction of the new life Belle’s trying so hard to build.

Enlightened by Melissa Lummis: Loti Dupree is about to learn that karma’s a bitch. After her husband’s sudden illness and mysterious death, ominous nightmares and psychic attacks have her running for her life—and straight into the arms of a dark and broody vampire called Wolf. In his world of closely guarded secrets, every answer she uncovers leads to more questions. Sexy distractions teeter between dangerous and too good to quit, while Loti struggles with both losing and finding herself in the arms of this mysterious creature. When the attacks intensify and friends become casualties, she must face the truth whether she wants to or not. Someone out there will stop at nothing to kill her and only the vampire named Wolf and a destiny she isn’t prepared to embrace stands between her and an early grave.

Undeniable by Tawdra Kandle: For Rafe Brooks, running from a broken heart means losing himself in alcohol and women. Lots of women, none of whom will remember him, since he has the ability to manipulate their minds and make them forget. Numbing the pain works until he meets an irresistible redhead with secrets of her own. She offers him the opportunity to join forces with an organization that will use his powers for good rather than his own amusement.

Jocelyn rocks his world with her unapologetic passion and makes him believe for the first time he just might survive heartbreak.

When a mission takes the two of them undercover to infiltrate a commune with suspicious activity, they discover it’s just the tip of a plot to cause world-wide anarchy. Hiding their extraordinary powers and real identities is crucial to staying alive.For Rafe and Jocelyn, when life is uncertain, love is undeniable.

Hanna, Hanna, One-and-Two by Myndi Shafer: Twenty-two year old Johanna Cochrin’s world is broken. Eating mists ravage the plains, and wilder-than-most hunt and kill in all but the most protected lands. Sickness shadows the populace, and the minds of men are slipping. And even though there’s something she would do about it, she can’t. She’s a prisoner. After witnessing her brother’s brutal murder, she’s spent the better part of the last decade in self-imposed silence, hell-bent on taking his secret to the grave. Even if that means living the rest of her life confined in a remote government compound. But when she is kidnapped from that compound, her silence becomes a liability. Annabel Haier, the ruthless dictator of a fragile government, will stop at nothing to see Johanna back in her clutches and sacrificed to a time-altering Device. If Johanna is to survive, she must learn to trust people she has never met and share the secrets she never meant to share. And if she is to discover her place in the world, she must come to terms with her own mortality – a thing that has the power to save, or condemn her broken world.

Divine Destiny by Joanna Grace: Avery McClain is normal. Or so she thinks. Until her life is shattered and she is rescued by a Thracian warrior. He takes her to the Haven, a realm of safety for the magical race of Olympians. There she discovers her life was meant for a higher calling as the mate of an Olympian Prince. Her choice will change everything. Ryse Castille has one job: convince Avery to step into her role as a Divine Grace. As with any mission, there are obstacles to overcome. Including the fact he is captivated by her. Of all the gifts the gods have given him, romance was not included. But Avery belongs to him and he will stop at nothing to protect her. The enemy might be closer than they think. Can Avery find the courage to embrace her destiny? Or will evil separate them for eternity?

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The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light by Deirdra Eden

The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light

 

In England, 1270 A.D., Auriella (pronounced yurr-ee-ella) flees her village after being accused of witchcraft. Pursued by nightmarish creatures, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity.

Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, demons, and monsters, Knight of Light is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.

The Watchers Series has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural.

The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Traditional Apocrypha, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Kabbalah.

“The Watchers” are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness.
Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad. Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s The Watchers Series is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions

 

 

 

About the Author

 



“My goal in writing is to saturate my books with intrigue, mystery, romance, and plot twists that will keep my readers in suspense. I want to see fingerprints on the front and back covers where readers have gripped the novel with white knuckles!

Aside from writing, I enjoy jousting in arenas, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures.”

-Deirdra Eden

Find Deirdra Eden and The Watchers Series online on AmazonDeirdra’s websiteFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Pinterest.

 

Book Blitz: Dancing on the Edge by Kit Bakke

Dancing
Dancing on the Edge by Kit Bakke
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Synopsis:
Twelve year-old Dot is not a dancer, but after her mother’s sudden and senseless death, she finds herself dancing on the edge…of everything.  After her whole world unravels in seconds, Dot is propelled on a voyage to discover the meaning of her past, and of her mother’s greatest gift to her.

With all familiar anchors swept away, Dot’s trip becomes a struggle between finding that gift and running away from a future that feels so bleak.  Pack your bags for a memorable, powerful journey into life in the wake of profound loss.

 
AUTHOR BIO:
Kit
Kit Bakke spent the last half of the 20th century as a political radical (SDS and the Weather Underground), a pediatric oncology nurse, and an information technology consultant. In the 21st century, she became a published writer. Her MISS ALCOTT’S E-MAIL has led to further writing adventures, including being a founding member of Seattle7Writers (www.seattle7writers.org) and a chapter in HOTEL ANGELINE. Her latest book, DOT TO DOT, is a story of travel, discovery and possibly magic. Young teens, if they are good readers, like it, and so do adults.
Author links:
EXCERPT:

From Chapter 1: The Red Tsunami

 

No one had expected Dot’s mother to die. It was a freak accident, Dot heard the medic say when he screeched the van into the Emergency Room driveway of the hospital and doctors and nurses ran out to rush Thea’s prone body through a door labeled Major Procedures. Although everyone moved quickly, it was already too late to do anything but talk.

Staring at the blue yarn or the yellow walls wasn’t enough to block the pictures of that cloudy Saturday afternoon. Dot couldn’t stop them from unreeling over and over again in her mind. Against her will, she watched her mother and herself leave their neighborhood branch of the Seattle Public Library, as they’d done hundreds of times ever since Dot was two years old, happily loaded with two weeks’ worth of adventure, fun and, just possibly, wisdom.

Next she saw her mother and herself outside the library entrance, holding their books and pointing at the clouds in the sky with their free hands. Dot remembered every word of their discussion about the definite preponderance of nimbostratus formations. They agreed it might rain soon, so they decided they’d better take the bus instead of walking. Most of Dot and Thea’s decisions were like that—choices made together after an interesting chat. Thea always said she learned as much as Dot when they talked like that, which always made Dot feel good.

Dot stared harder at the tufts of blue, trying like crazy to hang on and not go past the cloud conversation. But she failed, like she always had this past week, and the next memory reel started up, the one where she walked to the corner with her mother. For the millionth time Dot watched as she and her mother stood waiting for the light to change so they could cross over to their bus stop. Then came the completely and totally unstoppable scene—the part when the big red trailer truck roared by and its huge, sticking-out side-view mirror hit Thea right at eye level. Dot heard the damp thudding sound echo again and again as it smashed the top of her mother’s head and broke her neck. It was over in a flash.

Dot never imagined the world could change so fast. One second she had a mother, and the next second she didn’t. One second she was an ordinary kid with ordinary problems, a second later she was an orphan who was afraid of everything. It wasn’t just her mother who had lost her hold on life.