Friday, January 20, 2017

M9B Friday Reveal & Giveaway ~ THE TICK TOCK MAN by R.M. Clark


Today R.M. Clark and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for THE TICK TOCK MAN which releases May 2, 2017! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive a eGalley!!


A quick note from the author:


The Tick Tock Man is my first foray into the world of speculative fiction. Here in New England, we are fortunate to have many wonderful clocks around. We have clocks in church steeples, parks, above banks and other locations. My idea for this story came from a simple "what if". What if there were a community of "clock people" who kept all these great clocks running? Furthermore, what could go wrong? Then I made something go wrong and the story "clicked." The Tick Tock Man takes place primarily in this fictional clock world, but the issues, conflicts and resolutions are not unlike those in the real world.


Title: THE TICK TOCK MAN
Author: R.M. Clark
Pub. Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: TantrumBooks
Format: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 237

When the clocks in town stop, thirteen-year-old CJ discovers an unusual "clock world" where most of the citizens are clock parts, tasked with keeping the big clocks running. But soon the seemingly peaceful world is divided between warring factions with CJ instructed to find the only person who can help: the elusive Tick Tock Man.

With the aid of Fuzee, a partly-human girl, he battles gear-headed extremists and razor-sharp pendulums in order to restore order before this world of chimes, springs, and clock people dissolves into a massive time warp, taking CJ's quiet New England town with it.



Excerpt


Chapter One

Something wasn’t right.

I’d planned on sleeping in Thanksgiving morning because, hey, it was Thanksgiving, and that meant no school and no stupid alarm to wake me up. Well, that was the plan.

At precisely eight a.m., the clock sitting a mere two feet from my head wailed.

Thunka thunka thunka thunka.

Stupid clock. That wasn’t even a real alarm sound. It was just an invented strange noise to annoy me. I checked the buttons on top. No alarm set and no radio. Maybe it was a dream? Just to be sure, I gave the clock a good whack.

All was well. Back to sleep.

Bonka bonka bonka bonka.

Now it was nine o’clock. I sat up and grabbed the clock with every intention of tossing it against the back wall. What a pleasure it would have been to see it smash into a million pieces. I win!

But, this clock was a birthday present from Uncle Artie. He’d said it was “a special clock for a special kid.” I didn’t like being called “special” because that had a different meaning at school. But it was a cool clock.

Until now. I mean, what kind of noise was that? Certainly not the alarm sound I was used to.

I tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t help but wonder what crazy not-real-clock noise Uncle Artie’s “special” clock would make next. So I got out of bed.

Since it was Thanksgiving, I was not at all surprised to see my mom up and in the kitchen. The turkey was on the counter in a large pan. Her arm was halfway up the turkey’s you-know-what. Not what I wanted to see this early in the morning, thank you very much.

“Good morning,” Mom said. “You’re up early.”

“Couldn’t sleep.” I wanted to mention the special-but-stupid clock that made strange noises at weird times, but she had grabbed another handful of stuffing and stuffed it “up there.”

“We’ll need a few guest chairs from the basement when you get a chance. Nana and Papa are coming over, of course. Plus Grandma and Grandpa Boyce. And Uncle Artie too.”

“Sure thing, Mom.” I was barely awake and she was already asking me to do math. Nobody was coming over for quite a while, so I wouldn’t need the, let’s see, two-plus-two-plus-one chairs for several hours. I had tons of time.

What better way to spend it than on the couch watching TV? It would probably be the most fun I would have all day, with both sets of grandparents coming over. It was annoying enough that they had different titles: “Nana and Papa” on the Barnes side, “Grandma and Grandpa” on the Boyce side.

Then there was Uncle Artie. He wasn’t really an uncle but that’s what we always called him. I’ve also heard him called a “distant cousin,” whatever that means. He said his job as an “importer” took him around the world to some pretty exotic places such as Vienna and Timbuktu and South America. No matter what faraway land he went to, he almost always brought us back a clock. We had wooden clocks, metal clocks, cuckoo clocks, and some that were just too odd to describe. Mom would open a package from him and say, “Hey, look. It’s a clock. Imagine that.”

Each clock came with a wonderful story, so my parents loved to get them for just that reason. Unfortunately, both of them hated having all those clocks, with their constant ticking and chiming, so we kept them stashed away in the spare room upstairs until Uncle Artie came to visit. And since he was on his way, I sat up, knowing what was coming next. In three … two … one.

“CJ! Your Uncle Artie’s coming over, so you’ll need to set the clocks out.” Mom could sure belt it out when she needed to.

I knew the drill. I went to the spare room, pulled the special box out of the closet, and lugged it down the stairs. The crescent moon clock went in the living room, replacing a family portrait, which was fine with me since I looked like a dork in that picture, anyway. There was a special cuckoo clock for the bathroom that was pretty cool. The doors on the upper level opened at the top of the hour, revealing either a boy dancer or girl dancer. I set the correct time and adjusted the weights at the end of a long chain to keep the gears going. Six clocks later, I had completed the task, finishing it off in Dad’s basement shop with a clock made from a circular saw blade.

Uncle Artie’s favorite saying was, “You can never have too many clocks.” On this Thanksgiving Day, it was certainly true, even though I was sure my parents would disagree. Not me. Although I never paid a lot of attention to the clocks, I felt something strange as I took each one from the box and hung it in its rightful spot. The crescent moon clock had two huge eyes, one on the crescent side and the other on the orange side that completed the circle. The eyes were painted on but I swear they followed me as I moved around the room.

I double-checked the time on the cuckoo clock in the bathroom and admired the details in it. The entire clock was a house from a German village, with people dressed in lederhosen on the lower level. Lucky for me it was the top of the hour and the clock chimed, revealing the bird from a door at the top and children dancing in the two small doors just below it. Why hadn’t I noticed that before? What awesome detail!

I completed the clock replacement task, storing the non-clock items in the same box and returning it to the spare bedroom. That practically wore me out, so it was back to the couch. The smell from the great stuff Mom was cooking drifted into the room, reminding me I hadn’t eaten yet.

“I made you some scrambled eggs.” Mom smiled as I entered the kitchen.

“Thanks. I’m starving.”

She held out a plate then pulled it back, still smiling. “Just as soon as you bring up the chairs from the basement.”

This wasn’t fair, but it was the second time she’d asked. The third time would not be as charmed. On my way to the basement, I realized my early morning math was wrong. There were four chairs already in the dining room, so I only needed four more. I could easily get them all in one trip.

I passed Dad’s shop right at 10:30 and the heard the blade clock begin to make noise. I turned on the shop light to get a good look and, sure enough, the blade was slowly turning. Clockwise, not surprisingly. Even stranger was that the numbers never moved as the blade turned. A few seconds later, it stopped and went back to normal. Another clock I had never paid much attention to was suddenly freaking out. I hurried back upstairs with two chairs on each arm.

I got my scrambled eggs, finally.

***

At 11:00, things got even weirder. Dad was up by now, sitting in front of his computer, but that wasn’t the weird part. When the hour struck, the crescent moon clock made a strange clicking noise, and those crazy eyes began to wink at me. The painted-on lips between the four and eight went from a Mona Lisa smile to a full-blown grin. I wanted to say something to Mom or Dad, but who would believe me? I went into the bathroom, and the boy and girl dancers in the German village twirled next to each other while the bird stayed home. This was quickly moving into “bizarre” territory. It didn’t help when my watch—another gift from Uncle Artie—started chiming a sound I had never heard before. I took it off and stuffed it in my pocket. Problem solved.

***

I played video games in the back room, trying my best not to look at or listen to any of the suddenly crazy clocks in the house. It was working too, as I finished off another level of Mortal Warfare IV.

“CJ,” my mom called. “Please set the table.”

“Okay. Just one more level.” I sat up as the battle intensified.

“Now would be better. They’ll be here in less than an hour to watch the football game.”

“I’m on it.” I made it past the gatekeeper to complete the level, which allowed me to save my spot in the game.

I grabbed plates and set them out on the table. I took one plate and placed it on the TV tray next to the window. That’s where I would sit. The rule was: adults at the big table and kids somewhere else. Sometimes it was a card table when my cousins showed up. Since I was the only kid this year, I would have to settle for a TV tray.

My mom’s cell phone rang, and she talked with the phone squeezed against her shoulder as she mixed something in a large bowl. She stopped mid-mix and put the bowl down. “I’m sorry to hear that.” Her voice was all serious. She walked out of the room before I could hear any more of it.

I returned to my table-setting duties, grabbing forks, knives, and napkins. The smell of turkey and all the fixings hit me hard as I placed the silverware around the table. Maybe all this work would be worth it. I took another whiff. Maybe.

Mom returned to the kitchen, put the phone down, and stopped stirring.

“Mom, you okay?”

She looked up at me with moist eyes. “Uncle Artie is in the hospital and can’t make it for Thanksgiving. He hasn’t missed one since your dad and I have been married.” She dabbed her eyes with her apron. “Fortunately, it’s nothing serious and my parents are heading there right now, so they can’t make it until the weekend. I’d better go tell your father. Looks like we’ll only need five plates at the table.”

No Nana and Papa Barnes? No Uncle Artie? I truly hoped Uncle Artie was okay, but this was my big chance to sit at the head of the table, something I’ve always wanted to do. The head chair was bigger and had arms, and it felt like a throne. Uncle Artie always got the honors while I was stuck with the TV tray under the window.

I followed Mom out to the garage where Dad was cleaning out the van, getting it ready for our traditional late-afternoon drive. Dad didn’t seem too bummed to hear the news about Uncle Artie or his in-laws. He barely looked up as he polished the dashboard. “Yeah, well, sorry to hear about Uncle Artie. He’s never down for very long.”

The time was right to pounce. “Mom? Dad?”

Dad turned toward me and nearly bumped his head on the visor. “Yes?”

“I wish Uncle Artie was coming today, I really do.” I tried my best to act like I was crying. It must have worked because I felt my throat tightening. “His are some tough shoes to fill, but I bet he’d want me to sit in his spot at the head of table. After all, he gave me this watch for my birthday last year.” I pulled it out of my pocket to show them. “And we have the same middle name and everything.” I, Carlton James Boyce, was merely guessing at his middle name, hoping neither of my parents knew the truth. “Please? I think I’ve earned it.”

Neither of them thought about it for too long. “It’s all yours, kid,” Dad said as he leaned on the roof of the van.

“Remember your manners at the table,” Mom said. “Uncle Artie would want it that way.”

Manners? Oh, please. Uncle Artie smoked a lot, drank a lot, and sometimes swore a lot. In spite of all that, he was my favorite relative. Over the years, besides the watches and clocks, he had given me several toy cars, baseball cards, stuffed animals, and even a five-dollar bill. These gifts were always “our little secret.” Plus, he told the greatest stories.

Grandma and Grandpa Boyce arrived a little later, and each gave me a quick hug. It’s a terrible thing to say, and I know I’m supposed to love my grandparents without question, but Mom’s parents—the “good ones” who actually liked me—weren’t coming. If Mom and Dad ever found out I felt that way, I’d be grounded for a month—Dad’s typical punishment.

Dad and Grandpa went to the living room to watch the game while the women got the food prepared. I tried to help, but I mostly got in the way.

Everything was ready just before two o’clock, and I grabbed the spot at the head of the table, with Grandma and Grandpa to my right and Mom and Dad to my left. Everyone sat down except Grandpa. He placed his hands on the table and leaned toward my dad.

“I guess this doesn’t rate as a special occasion, eh, George?”

“How’s that, Pop?” Dad said.

“The Hoffhalder. It’s a Thanksgiving tradition, isn’t it?”

“You bet it is.”

The Hoffhalder was a large mantle clock that sat in the corner of the dining room on what mom called the buffet. The Hoffhalder had been in the family for decades, and Dad would only wind it on special occasions. Uncle Artie always had the honors when he came over.

“I’ll do it, Dad,” I said.

“Can he handle it?” asked Grandpa. “He’s just a child.”

I’m right here! I thought. And I’m not a child anymore. I’m thirteen.

“Sure he can,” Grandma said. “Now, make Uncle Artie proud.” She gave me her patented don’t-screw-it-up look.

“CJ, just be careful, okay?” Dad said.

“Sure thing.” I had seen it wound a thousand times. I took the key from the drawer of the small desk nearby, carefully opened the glass in front, and put the key in the keyhole near the number four. There was another near the number eight. I knew it wound clockwise on the right and counterclockwise on the left.

“Whatever you do, don’t overwind it,” Grandpa said. He gave anyone who ever got near the clock got the same warning.

I started winding. One turn. Two turns. Then it started to get tight, so I stopped. I placed the key in the left hole and began to turn in the other direction with my left hand. One turn. Two turns. It wasn’t getting any tighter. Three turns. That was odd; it usually tightened up by now, but I figured it had just been a while. Four turns and still not tight. I switched to my right hand to finish it up. Five turns. Surely it would start to get tight. Then I heard a faint click, and the key wouldn’t move anymore. Uh-oh.

“Everything all right?” Dad asked.

I pulled the key out and put it back in the drawer. “Everything’s great.” I looked at my watch, and then spun the Hoffhalder’s minute hand around until the time was five minutes until two. After closing the glass, I gently moved the large pendulum at the bottom, and the Hoffhalder began to tick. Whew! All was well.

When the Hoffhalder chimed, it made a beautiful sound. In fact, it seemed to be the only clock sound my family liked. It was a perfect combination of bells and gears and springs working in harmony. We now had three minutes until it would chime on the hour, and everyone at the table waited patiently for the moment to arrive. As the last thirty seconds ticked off, Grandpa nudged Grandma. “Here it comes,” he said in a low voice.

The Hoffhalder struck two and began to chime. Once. Then another.

But the second chime lingered way too long and the pendulum began to swing wildly, knocking into the side walls. The chime sound turned into a grinding noise, and the pendulum stopped.

“CJ!” Dad yelled. “What have you done to my clock?”

“He overwound it,” Grandpa said while making a turning motion with hand.

“Clearly,” said Grandma. “And I’ll bet Uncle Artie is rolling over in his grave as we speak.”

“Artie’s not dead,” Mom said. “Just in the hospital.”

“I’m sorry, everyone,” I said. “I didn’t mean to. Honest. It was an accident.”

“You’re grounded,” Dad said.

“For how long?” I asked.

“A month.”

“A month? Mom?”

“Don’t you think that’s a little harsh?” she said.

I looked around the table, and three sets of eyes were on me. Mom reached out and touched my hand. At least someone was on my side.

“That clock’s been in the family for four generations,” Grandpa said. “Built by the finest clockmaker in Germany.”

“And smuggled out on a steamer ship during World War I,” Grandma added. “Truly one of a kind. Irreplaceable.”

I knew the details by heart, and it just made matters worse. “I’ll get it fixed, okay? I have some money saved up.”

“Sounds like you snapped the mainspring,” Grandpa said, adding a “break in half” motion with his hands.

Grandma leaned over and got as close to me as she could. “It’ll never be the same.”

“A month,” Dad said. He put a finger in my face to make his point. “For breaking my clock.”

He continued to glare at me as Mom began to serve the turkey. We ate in near silence.

I had ruined Thanksgiving.




R. M. Clark is a computer scientist for the Dept. of Navy by day and children’s book writer by night. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two sons.



3 winners will receive an eGalley of THE TICK TOCK MAN. International.


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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Blog Tour & Giveaway ~ Pushing the Boundaries (Off Limits #1) by Stacey Trombley



Pushing the Boundaries
(Off Limits #1)
by Stacey Trombley
Publication Date: January 16, 2017
Publisher:  Entangled Teen Crush


Myra goes to Haiti with one goal: take the photograph that will win a scholarship and prove to her uber-traditional family that she has what it takes to be a photographer instead of a doctor. Her camera has always been her shield against getting too close to anyone, but she didn’t expect the hot teen translator who has an ability to see past her walls.

Elias needs his job as a translator to provide for his siblings. He can’t afford to break the rule forbidding him from socializing with a client. Except this girl Myra insists on going outside the city to capture the perfect picture, and he steps in as her guide in order to keep her safe.

The deeper they travel into the country, the harder they fall for each other. Now they’re both taking risks that could cost each other their dreams.

If they get too close—it could ruin both their lives.


Click HERE to add to Goodreads

Chapter Two
Elias
The roar of the planes overhead is just another reminder of how insignificant we are in this tiny forgotten country. Stuck. My little brother watches through the chain-link fence, eyes wide, mouth open as they soar over us, so close the air sends ripples through our clothing.
“Kouman rich ou panse yo ye?” he asks without taking his eyes from the huge white plane. How rich do you think they are? I mentally translate to English. I need all the practice I can get. My palms sweat just thinking about it, and my first test is just minutes away.
“Who?” I ask.
He turns to me and blinks his big eyes, his eyebrows high in question. Oh, right.
“Ki moun?” I repeat in Creole so he’ll understand me.
My stomach sinks. I can’t even get this right with my little brother. The whole double language thing is harder than I expected. I need it to be easy if I’m going to be any good at my job.
“Moun nan avyon yo.” The people in the planes!
I shake my head, but he doesn’t see. I explain that there are hundreds of people in those planes. Some are probably rich, and some are probably poor.
“Yo ap toujou pi rich pase nou, dwa?” he asks.
I sigh. If they can afford a plane ticket… “Chans.” Yes, they are likely wealthier than us.
Our world is tiny, a country that is only half an island. To people who can afford a plane, the world is limitless.
My pocket buzzes, making me jump. I fumble with the little plastic device and flip it open. “Hello!” I say, pressing the phone against my face.
“Elias! Pull the van around. They just landed.”
“Yes, Mr. Rowland.”
“Remember that line we talked about? Don’t step over it.”
My head swims. There’s so much for me to remember, but the most important? Don’t get too close to the Americans. Mr. Rowland made it very clear that I’m not one of them and I shouldn’t expect anything from them. If I make any of them uncomfortable I’ll be out of a job faster than one of their huge planes can take off.
“Yes, sir.”
There’s a click and then silence. I put the foreign technology back in my pocket and hope he doesn’t call again.
Luke grabs at my pocket, seeking out the phone, his eyes alight with envy. “Ki jan ou fè jwenn yon telefòn?”
I swat his hand away. The phone is not mine. It’s Mr. Rowland’s. “E si ou kraze li?” What if you break it?
Luke rolls his eyes but then shuffles his feet.
He may only be eight, but he knows what this job means for us. I’m only eighteen, with a chance for the kind of job that will keep his belly full, permanently. Not to mention our mother and sister.
I point across the parking lot and tell him to get to the van. It’s time to work.
Luke’s eyes get big again, and I smile. He runs to the parking lot, fast as a bullet, jumping up and down once he reaches the van. I unlock the door, and he climbs in, looking tiny in the massive vehicle.
We pull up to the front of the airport to wait for the Americans, and I try not to let myself get too worked up. The more nervous I am, the harder this will be.
“Ou jwenn yon telefon, yon ti bis, e al rankontre tou Ameriken yo. Pi bon travay pou lavi!” You get a phone, a van, and get to meet all the Americans. Best job ever.
I roll my eyes and tell him to keep working on his English and maybe he can have a job like this someday, too.
I take in a deep breath. To him, this is an adventure.
To me, it’s dangerous. 


Stacey Trombley lives in Ohio with her husband and the sweetest Rottweiler you’ll ever meet. She thinks people are fascinating and any chance she has, she’s off doing or learning something new. She went on her first mission trip to Haiti at age twelve and is still dying to go back. Her “places to travel” list is almost as long as her “books to read” list.

Her debut novel Naked released from Entangled Teen in 2015. Find her online at www.StaceyTrombley.com and on twitter @trombolii.
  





Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Book Blitz & Giveaway ~ Horribly Marvelous: The Diary of Cyndi Victoria Chase (Part One: Miracle Week) by Troy CLE

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Hello Readers!
Welcome to the Book Blitz for
Horribly Marvelous: The Diary of Cyndi Victoria Chase (Part One: Miracle Week) by Troy CLE!
 
This book is part of the Marvelous World series published by Simon and Schuster and Random House Listening Library.
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
 
hmdvccover
 
Cyndi Victoria Chase’s junior year was supposed to be about fun and getting into college while desperately dodging the pitfalls of being awkward and painfully self-conscious. All of that was derailed when the massacre of two of her Alonis Academy classmates marked the beginning of a local epidemic. That did not sit well with Cyndi, who is a highly imaginative girl living in her own “Naturally Augmented Reality” where she can flawlessly detect when someone is lying and see people’s words come to life right in front of her eyes. She’ll discover that she’s up against a vicious trans-dimensional and intergalactic threat that has dropped chaos upon her life, school, and town. Cyndi is Cyndi and will always be compelled to fight back; her powerful foes better be prepared for a battle that will become historic throughout the galaxy.
This book is part of the Marvelous World series published by Simon and Schuster and Random House Listening Library.
add to goodreads
Horribly Marvelous: The Diary of Cyndi Victoria Chase (Part One: Miracle Week) 
by Troy CLE 
Publication Date: November 29, 2016

Available for Purchase: AMAZON
 

Excerpt
Entry 921

Alonis Academy Junior Year, Day One, Part I
Tuesday (5:31 AM PST)

#TrueLegend

MIDLANDIA – the only element from that crazy dream that I could hold on to.

So yeah, I just woke up from another one of those outlandish dreams I’ve been having for the past few weeks.  I can’t really explain them because I usually never remember anything about the experience once I wake up. DAUNTING. They just take a lot out of me like I haven’t slept at all and leave me in a really weird place like something major has been ripped from my life. I feel silly writing this but these dreams are like the rare ones when I've met some really great guy, and we fall into that perfect all-encompassing dream love that I’m totally invested in and a sucker for. Then I wake up realizing that I lost the love of my life that I could NEVER really have ANYWAY because that type of guy doesn’t even exist. SUX!

These dreams are the worst because whatever I was a part of or whatever was taken from me seems to be way bigger than love. What’s bigger than LOVE? I feel totally abandoned in an eerie way, and it’s like parts of my soul were left behind in the dream. That’s a real feeling and maybe why I keep having them- I’m trying to get the lost parts of myself back. IDUNNO. I do know it can take a few hours for me to feel like myself. Double SUX!

I normally only wake with that “feeling” but this time, I was able to grasp that word – MIDLANDIA. Wrote it down as soon I woke up. Maybe it’s a code word or something, but I’m going with a place. Nothing relevant to the wonder I perceived it to be came up in an online search. 

Note to self – must investigate MIDLANDIA further…

Wait! That dream really has me off center because I totally forgot what I’ll be walking into on this first day of school after such an overly odd Summer. A few people went missing and most importantly it’s still very hard to believe that The Cannon Drive Murders horrifically took the lives of some of my classmates this Summer. We live in the Desensitized States of America where “Walking Dead” head shots pull in copious ratings and “Call of Duty” kills equal great entertainment- both of which I love. Still, that could never prepare me for the level of violence that took the lives of my used to be friends.

Nearly three months have passed without an answer about how it happened, and there are absolutely no suspects. Why did Amy, Bron, and Carey lock themselves in what was literally a basement panic room with no windows and only one way in or out.  #LockedRoomMurder. How long had they been down there before anyone noticed they were missing and the door had to be professionally taken down? Amy’s dad and mom, who is also  Carey’s aunt, were right there when the door was opened. That was a heinous sight equivalent to visiting a circle of Dante’s Hell.
About-the-Author2
Troy CLE is the author of the Horribly Marvelous and Marvelous World book series (Simon & Schuster / Random House Listening Library Audio) along with being the creator of Marvelous World University. He is a graduate of New York University (BA American Literature and English, MS Digital Design) and a highly experienced lecturer who has spoken Harvard, UCLA, Colorado College and many other well know and respected institutions.
 
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Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
 
 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Blog Tour & Giveaway ~ DAMAGED GOODS (Blank Slate #2) by Jennifer Bardsley



DAMAGED GOODS
(Blank Slate #2)
Author: Jennifer Bardsley
Pub. Date: January 17, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Pages: 300
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Blanca has everything she ever wanted, a hot boyfriend named Seth and the loving support of her foster father, Cal. She’s finally escaped the abusive control of her birth father, Barbelo Nemo, and her tortured childhood at Tabula Rasa School.

But the scars of Blanca’s Vestal upbringing run deep, especially when the FBI start asking questions. Blanca feels abandoned by Seth who is hunting for Lilith, Blanca’s only blood relative. The Defectos, a support group of Vestal-Rejects, offer Blanca comfort instead.

While the Vestal order crumbles, Chinese rivals called the Guardians rise to power and wrest control of important Tabula Rasa contacts. Now Blanca’s life is in peril once more, and this time, Blanca struggles to recognize friend from foe.

 “We’re almost there,” says Headmaster Russell. He slides open the divider once more and smiles back at me in the rearview mirror. “Wait until you see what I’ve planned for your Virus.”
Now’s my moment! I can’t wait any longer. I grab the crystal decanter and pound my arm through the opening to the front seat. But in my haste, I miss Headmaster Russell and shatter the windshield instead.
“What the?” shouts Headmaster Russell as glass bombards him from every angle. Shards scatter back to me, and I feel wetness. My whole body slams forward as the car lurches to a stop. I hear the screech of wheels. I barely pick myself up from the floor when I see Headmaster Russell, his face gashed and oozing, lean back to attack me with the pepper spray.
“No!” I hold up my arms like a shield.
But the expected assault never comes.
Instead, somebody flings the car door open and hauls me out with strong arms.
When I look up, I see Keung.
And he smiles.
The row of perfect teeth gleams, but Keung’s grin does nothing to soften the sharp, square edges of his jaw. Keung is a head taller than me and almost twice my size—in pure muscle. His black shirt bulges at the biceps, the cloth stretched across broad shoulders. The last time I saw Keung, I was sixteen and he was eighteen. Now, three years later, the pull of attraction is as strong as ever.
Guardians swarm all around us. Black cars are parked behind, blocking the road. I hear rapid-fire Mandarin and Headmaster Russell screaming obscenities.
Keung sets me on the sidewalk with steady hands. “Are you okay?
I nod. “It’s you!” I say like an idiot. Then I glance back to the limo. “Seth! He’s tied to an explosive.”
Keung barks an order to one of his companions, a tall skinny guy I don’t recognize with a scar across his face, who releases Seth from the car.
I know Keung is here to rescue me. I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life. But I’m not positive that protection will extend to my boyfriend. “Please help Seth before it’s too late,” I blurt.

“Don’t worry,” answers Keung. “We’ll take real good care of Seth.”  






GENESIS GIRL
(Blank Slate #1)
Author: Jennifer Bardsley
Pub. Date: June 14, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Pages: 280

Add to  Goodreads  




Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she’s been protected from the Internet. 

Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint makes her extremely valuable, and upon graduation, Blanca and those like her are sold to the highest bidders.

Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeals are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is. All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable. 

By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online. 


Jennifer Bardsley writes the parenting column “I Brake for Moms” for the Sunday edition of The Everett Daily HeraldShe also blogs at Teaching My Baby to Read with the mission of sparking a national debate on the important roll parents play in education. Jennifer is a graduate of Stanford University and a member of SCBWI. She lives with her husband and two children in Edmonds, WA.
GENESIS GIRL will release in 2016 and is about an 18 year-old girl whose lack of a virtual footprint makes her so valuable that she is auctioned off to the highest bidder, the sequel  will come out in 2017. Jennifer is represented by Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Literary AgencyLLC.