Featuring an exclusive excerpt from middle grade science fantasy Elvia and the Gift of Passion by Ruthy Ballard
Adventurous ten-year-old Elvia is sick of her dull-as-dishwater existence, suffocating under the stifling watch her overprotective parents. She longs for a different life, with more freedom and fun. But she gets more than she bargains for when she discovers an alarming family secret and is swept away on an adventure 64,000 light years from Earth. Tanzanian witch doctors, child-eating lions, and submarine exploration on a two-mooned planet enliven this science fiction fantasy adventure, the third in Ballard’s award-winning Tales by Moons-light series.
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Exclusive Excerpt from Elvia and the Gift of Passion
He lay down on the bed and gestured for Sally to join him.
“Move closer to me,” he said, drawing her in. “Let’s take a nap.”
The cool air from the fan was soothing and the thrum, thrum, thrum of its whirling was hypnotic. Sally soon felt herself relax. It was a moment of peace. A moment of sweet, quiet peace, holding her husband. Feeling him hold her.
A minute passed, then two. Then five, then eight. Thrum, thrum, thrum went the fan. Earl set the alarm on his cell phone for seven-fifty, and they lay on the bed together, locked in a loose embrace.
The fan thrummed and the African night came alive with the chirps and songs of a million insects. They had until eight to enjoy one another, and they fell into a peaceful nap, but only twenty minutes later, Earl awoke with a start. Jelani Kibiki’s cautionary words suddenly came back to him in full force, as if the man was standing right in front of him: Watch over that daughter of yours. She won’t be safe in my country.
A commotion came from down near the patio. A woman was shrieking.
Sally shot up from the bed, a jolt of fear running through her.
Earl was already out the door, peering down the path.
Another shriek came, followed by a third one. And then came the words that Earl and Sally Hill would never forget. The words that changed their lives forever: “Simba! Mtoto!” came an excited, breathless voice. Swahili. A local. A hotel maid, her arm in the air. Her hand clasping Mchawi!
She flew toward them, past the row of huts, screaming, knowing that Elvia’s parents must be inside one of them. Then they heard her, again, this time in English, running headlong into Earl.
“A lion! The child!” she gasped, her eyes as wide as dinner plates. “THE LITTLE GIRL… WAS SNATCHED BY A LION!”
About Ruthy Ballard
Children’s book author Dr. Ruth (Ruthy) Ballard is a scientist by trade who never thought she’d be one. Intimidated by science as a kid, she almost gave up on pursuing it as a career though she found it fascinating. Fortunately, a mentor stepped in and showed her the way. Now, she’s passionate about doing the same for the next generation of science shy, but creative, smart and capable kids. Her award-winning science fantasy adventures lure children in with compelling characters and entertaining, twisty plots that incorporate science in fun, accessible ways.
When Ruthy isn’t writing, she is “Dr. Ruth Ballard,” a forensic DNA consultant and a professor at Sacramento State, where she runs a forensic biology research and training program while consulting with attorneys across the country on criminal cases involving DNA evidence. She’s also a folk artist who loves to draw, illustrates her own books, and enjoys hiking and camping with her husband and their four dogs near their home on the Oregon coast.
The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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