Wednesday, April 8, 2020

HELIX by Mary Ting Official Nerd Blast and Giveaway



Print Length: 366 pages
Publisher: Vesuvian Books; None edition (September 10, 2019)
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B07T8CC1P9


Praise for HELIX

"A stunning sequel! Mary Ting takes us once again into the inventive world of ISAN--one of intrigue and betrayal--but this time, with deadly consequences. A must read!" Jonas Saul, Bestselling Author of the Sarah Roberts Series 

"Captivating from the very beginning, this sci-fi novel explores issues of autonomy and survival in a world where there are few remaining citizens after meteors crashed into Earth... this thrilling dystopian drama has a splash of romance and tons of action. The fast-paced chapters will engage reluctant readers and fans of postapocalyptic scenarios." School Library Journal

"Addictive and impossible to put it down!" Addison Moore, New York Times Bestselling Author


Alliances are forming. The resistance is growing. Everything is about to change.

With her memory still fragmented, Ava returns to the International Sensory Assassin Network (ISAN) to find the twin sister she never knew she had.



But as Ava hunts for information, she finds herself tangled in a web of yet more lies and conspiracy. The Helix serum may not be required to access her superpowers, and the number of male assassins—previously considered too volatile to tolerate Helix—is growing in every territory.

The more Ava uncovers, the more of a threat she becomes to ISAN. Her only salvation may be to join the rebels—if she isn’t killed first.


GENES Storytellers BOX and COACH Necklace
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NERD BLAST GIVEAWAY
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Coach Necklace (US Only)
$25 Amazon Gift Card (INTERNATIONAL)

FANTASTIC NEWS BOOK NERDS!! We an awesome sale for Mary Ting’s HELIX running from now until 11:59 pm (PST) through April 10th (while supplies last).
Click HERE to purchase and fill out this FORM for once it's completed.

You can purchase Helix at the following Retailers:

 

Photo Credit: Michelle England Delavara

Mary Ting is an international bestselling, award-winning author. She writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers around the world. Her books span a wide range of genres, and her storytelling talents have earned a devoted legion of fans, as well as garnered critical praise.

Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching after twenty years. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.

Mary resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two little dogs, Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Being a huge Twilight fan, Mary was inspired to make book-themed jewelry and occasionally gives it away as prizes to her fans.

        

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Monday, April 6, 2020

WE DIDN’T ASK FOR THIS by Adi Alsaid Blog Tour Q & A



We Didn’t Ask for This

by Adi Alsaid
On Sale: April 7, 2020
Inkyard Press
Young Adult
978-1335146762; 1335146768
$18.99 USD
352 pages

About the Book

From Adi Alsaid, the acclaimed author of Let's Get LostNever Sometimes Always, and North of Happy


Every year, lock-in night changes lives. This year, it might just change the world.

Central International School's annual lock-in is legendary -- and for six students, this year's lock-in is the answer to their dreams. The chance to finally win the contest. Kiss the guy. Make a friend. Become the star of a story that will be passed down from student to student for years to come.
But then a group of students, led by Marisa Cuevas, stage an eco-protest and chain themselves to the doors, vowing to keep everyone trapped inside until their list of demands is met. While some students rally to the cause, others are devastated as they watch their plans fall apart. And Marisa, once so certain of her goals, must now decide just how far she'll go to attain them.

Q&A with Adi Alsaid

Q: What's your favorite thing about Marisa Cuevas?
A: Her willingness to fight for what she believes in.

Q: I love the juxtaposition of a lock-in against a political protest. What was the most challenging part of threading those two very different pieces together?
A: Honestly, it was the logistics of actually keeping the students locked in. The political protest wouldn’t work without it, nor would the plot. So I had to find a whole lot of justifications that felt reasonable within the story. Other than that, one of my goals was to show, embodied in different characters, all the ways people react to political protests, and to make them feel like actual people, not just symbols.

Q: What do you most hope that readers take away from the story?
A: Getting others to care about what you care about is hard, but you’re allowed to try, and it’s possible to succeed.

Q: What inspired you to write this book?
A: I’ve been wanting to write a book that felt like my favorite book, Bel Canto, for a while now. So the very initial inspiration was a group of characters all stuck in the same place for an extended period of time. Then, to make it feel more YA, I thought of The Breakfast Club, but instead of cliques, just bring people with different passions together. Then, because of my increasing awareness over the last few years about environmental issues, combined with the fact that I was traveling and seeing those issues play out around the world, I brought in the fight for climate change.

Q: Is there a character that you found challenging to write? Why?
A: All my characters come easily to me. The challenge is working to get them right in revisions. Jordi Marcos, a sort of villain in the story, was one that was hard to get right, in order to make his actions feel justified. I also have a queer Muslim character in Amira, and I had to work—and had the fortune of being guided by a great sensitivity reader—to not make her representation be harmful.

Q: How does a typical writing day look like for you?
A: Assuming this means not in the time of COVID-19. I wake up and go straight to a coffee shop, where I work/avoid looking at my phone for about 3 hours or so. Then I usually have lunch, take a break by watching a movie, running errands, or something in that vein. Then another work session in the afternoon or late evening at another coffee shop or perhaps a bar, followed by cooking dinner. During deadline times there’s also usually a late night session at home.

Q: What are your current reading?
A: I’m about to finish The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy, listening to The Art of Logic in an Illogical World by Eugenia Chang, and my next read will probably be Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova. 

Q: Is there something secret you can share with us about anything in the book or your experience writing it?
A: I don’t know about secret, but I’ll say that I had the unique experience of traveling the world while writing it. So, many of its words were written in the communal areas of hostels, on airplanes, trains, on an island in Fiji, and in many, many coffee shops.







About the Author


Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City. He attended college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He's now back in Mexico City, where he writes, coaches basketball, and makes every dish he eats as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he's lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas and Monterey, California. His books include Let's Get Lost, Never Always Sometimes, and North of Happy. Visit Adi online at www.SomewhereOverTheSun.com, or on Twitter: @AdiAlsaid.

Social Links:

Author website:  https://www.adialsaid.com/
Facebook: @adialsaidauthor
Twitter: @adialsaid
Instagram: @uhhdee

Buy Links:



Thursday, April 2, 2020

NIGHT OF THE DRAGON by Julie Kagawa Blog Tour



Night of the Dragon 

(Series: Shadow of the Fox)
by Julie Kagawa
On Sale: Mar 31, 2020
Inkyard Press
Young Adult Legends, Myths, Fables, Young Adult Paranormal, Occult & Supernatural, Young Adult Fantasy
9781335146786; 1335146784
$19.99 USD
 368 pages

About the Book

All is lost.

To save everyone she loves from imminent death, kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko gave up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must make one desperate final effort to stop the Master of Demons from using the scroll to call the Great Kami Dragon and make the wish that will plunge the empire into chaos.

Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil—the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko to stop a madman, and to separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.

But even with their combined skills and powers, this unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realized existed…until now.

Excerpted from Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa. © 2020 by Julie Kagawa, used with permission by Inkyard Press.


One thousand years ago

In the long years of his existence, the number of times he had been summoned from Jigoku could be counted on one claw.

Other demon lords had been summoned before. Yaburama. Akumu. The oni lords were too powerful not to have some en-terprising blood mage attempt a contract with them, though such rituals often ended badly for the arrogant human who thought they could enslave an oni lord. The four of them were, admit-tedly, a proud bunch, and did not take kindly to an insignificant mortal attempting to bend them to their will. They humored the blood mage long enough to hear what the human was offering, and if it did not interest them, or if the mage foolishly tried to assert dominance, they would rip him apart and do what they pleased in the mortal realm until they were sent back to Jigoku.
It had always amused Hakaimono when a mortal tried to summon him. Especially that moment when they gazed upon him for the first time and fully realized what they had done.

Narrowing his eyes, he gazed around, peering through smoke and ignoring the brief feeling of vertigo that always accompanied being dragged from Jigoku into the mortal realm. A growl of murderous annoyance rumbled in his throat. Already, he was not in the best of moods. Akumu had been scheming again, trying to weaken Hakaimono’s forces behind his back, and he had been on his way to deal with the devious Third General when black fire had erupted over his skin, words of blood magic echoing in his head as he abruptly found himself in the mortal realm. Now he stood in the center of a ruin, broken walls and shattered pillars surrounding him, the scent of death thick on the air, and contemplated squeezing the head of the mage responsible until it popped like an egg in his claws.

The stones under his feet were sticky and had a sweet, coppery smell he recognized instantly. Lines of blood had been painted over the ground in a familiar circle, with words and sigils of power woven in a complex pattern. A summoning circle, and a powerful one at that. Whomever the blood mage was, they had done their research. Though it wouldn’t save them in the end.

“Hakaimono.”

The First Oni looked down. A woman stood at the edge of the blood circle, black robes and long hair seeming to blend into the shadows. She clutched a knife in slender fingers, her pale arm covered in red to the elbow.

A chuckle escaped him. “Well, don’t I feel important,” he said, crouching down to better see the woman. She gazed coolly back. “Summoned by the immortal shadow herself. I am curious, however.” He raised a talon, watching the human over curved black claws the length of her arm. “If you rip off an immortal’s head, do you think it will die?”

“You will not kill me, First Oni.” The woman’s voice was neither amused nor afraid, though the certainty in it made him smirk. “I am not so foolish as to attempt a binding, nor will I ask much of you. I have but a single request, and after that, you are free to do what you like.”

“Oh?” Hakaimono chuckled, but admittedly, he was curi-ous. Only the very desperate, foolish or powerful called on one of the four oni generals, and only for the most ambitious of re-quests. Like destroying a castle, or wiping out an entire gen-eration. The risk was too great for anything less. “Let’s hear it then, human,” he prompted. “What is this one task you would have me undertake?”

“I need you to bring me the Dragon scroll.”

Hakaimono sighed. Of course. He had forgotten it was that time again in the mortal world. When the great scaly one him-self would rise to grant a wish to an insignificant, short-lived human. “You disappoint me, mortal,” he growled. “I am not a hound that fetches upon command. You could have gotten the amanjaku to retrieve the scroll for you, or one of your own human warrior pets. I have been called on to slaughter armies and tear strongholds to dust. Fetching the Dragon’s Prayer is not worth my time.”

“This is different.” The woman’s voice was as unruffled as ever. If she knew she was in danger of being ripped apart and devoured by an annoyed First Oni, she did not show it. “I have already sent my strongest champion to retrieve the scroll, but I fear he has betrayed me. He wants the power of the Dragon scroll for himself, and I cannot let the Wish slip away now. You must find him and take back the scroll.”

“One human?” Hakaimono curled a lip. “Not much of a challenge.”

“You do not know Kage Hirotaka,” the woman said quietly. “He is the greatest warrior the Empire of Iwagoto has seen in a thousand years. He is kami-touched, but also trained in the way of the samurai. His talents with both blade and magic are so great, the emperor himself praised his achievements. He has killed men, yokai and demons in waves, and will be perhaps the single greatest opponent you have ever faced, Hakaimono.” “I very seriously doubt that.” The First Oni felt a smirk cross his face as he breathed in the blood-scented air. “But now, I’m intrigued. Let’s see if this champion of shadow is as good as you say. Where can I find this demonslaying human?” “Hirotaka’s estate lies outside a village called Koyama, ten miles from the eastern border of Kage territory,” the woman re-plied. “It’s not hard to find, but it is rather isolated. Aside from Hirotaka’s men and servants, you won’t be opposed. Find Hi-rotaka, kill him and bring the scroll to me. Oh, and one more thing.” She raised the knife, observing the bloody, glittering edge. “I cannot have anyone suspecting me of blood magic. Not now, when the night of the Wish is so close.” Her black eyes rose to his, narrowing sharply. “There can be no witnesses, Hakaimono. No survivors. Kill everyone there.”

“I can do that.” A slow grin spread across the oni’s face, and his eyes gleamed red with bloodlust. “This will be fun.”

He would come to regret those words more than any other in his existence.



About the author

Julie Kagawa, the New York Times bestselling author of the Iron Fey, Blood of Eden, Talon, and Shadow of the Fox series was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish, and the odd eel.
When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her Math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job.
To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dogtrainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full time.
Julie now lives in North Carolina with her husband, two obnoxious cats, and a pair of Australian Shepherds that have more Instagram followers than she does.

Social Links:

Author website: http://juliekagawa.com/
Twitter: @jkagawa
Instagram: @juliekagawaauthor

Buy Links:




Wednesday, April 1, 2020

ANGEL RAVEN by Heather Burch Official Nerd Blast



Publisher: HezLand (April 1, 2020)
Publication Date: April 1, 2020
Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B0829F1KJR


Praise for HALFLINGS

'Packed with action, Halflings is stocked with a feisty, likable cast and a fantastically impossible love-triangle that made my heart flutter, race and sigh. This hard-to-put-down novel kept me up late into the night and burrowed itself into my imagination.' 
Serena Chase, USA Today 

“Sure to appeal to fans of both star-crossed lovers and Stephanie Meyer.” —Booklist

“A well-written, thoroughly thought-out, and utterly addicting read.” —USA Today

OFFICIAL NERD BLAST FOR ANGEL RAVEN BY HEATHER BURCH

This is a Nerd Blast, you will post the promotional info we provide you with, including the giveaway. No reviews required. Please mark your Calendar.


Sometimes dead is better.

Raven has always considered himself a casualty of war. An outsider to all he secretly longs for, his dark fate and a broken heart have isolated him from his fellow Halflings. He's lost Nikki--a devastating blow. So it's fine with him that the other Halflings assume he's dead.

When Raven overhears Dr. RIchmond--his favorite human--has a college-age daughter in mortal danger, he swoops in to save her.

Raven finds that like him, Jessica Richmond has a dark side. Fleeing together, the two fight an unbearable attraction while they outsmart the thugs sent to kidnap Jessica. Raven is falling hard for the kick-butt college girl.

But Jessica holds a dark secret. One that could threaten everything the Halflings are working to protect.

In this fourth installment of the Halflings series, you'll journey with Raven as he rides the thermal currents between darkness and light. Grab your copy now. It's time to fly.


You can purchase Angel Raven at the following Retailers:



Photo Content from Heather Burch

Heather Burch is a #1 bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She lives in Southern Florida with her husband, John. Her title, One Lavender Ribbon was in the top 100 bestselling books for the year on Amazon. In 2014, she became one of the most quoted authors by Kindle readers. Her deeply emotional stories explore family, love, hope and the challenges of life. Her books have garnered praise from USA Today, Booklist Magazine, Romantic Times and Publisher’s Weekly. Heather lives to tell unforgettable stories of love and loss—stories that make your heart sigh.

        

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

THE STAR DUNES by Trudi Trueit Nerd Blast and Giveaway



Series: Explorer Academy (Book 4)
Hardcover: 216 pages
Publisher: Under the Stars (March 17, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1426336810
ISBN-13: 978-1426336812


Praise for EXPLORER ACADEMY Series

“This series opener from a new imprint of National Geographic is a fully packed high-tech adventure that offers both cool, educational facts about the planet and a diverse cast of fun characters.” ―Kirkus

“This exciting series opener introduces young readers to the joys of science and nature.” ―Publisher’s Weekly

“Sure to appeal to kids who love code cracking and mysteries with cutting-edge technology.” ―Booklist

“A fun, exciting, and action-packed ride that kids will love.” ―J.J. Abrams, director and screenwriter of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Lost,” “Alias”

“Inspires the next generation of curious kids to go out into our world and discover something unexpected.” ―James Cameron, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and acclaimed film-maker

“Explorer Academy is sure to awaken readers’ inner adventurer and curiosity about the world around them. But you don’t have to take my word for it, check out Cruz, Emmett, Sailor, and Lani’s adventures for yourself!” ―LeVar Burton, host of “Reading Rainbow” and “LeVar Burton Reads”

“Absolutely Brilliant! Explorer Academy is a fabulous feast for the mind and heart — a thrilling, inspiring journey with compelling characters, wonderous places, and the highest possible stakes. Just as there’s only one planet Earth, there’s only one series like this. Don’t wait another instant to enjoy this phenomenal adventure!” ―T.A. Barron, author of the Merlin Saga

“In the midst of fast-paced action, Explorer Academy captures the power of learning through exploration. The excitement of hands-on discovery is modeled in Cruz’s adventures, which encourages kids to take on the mind-set of explorers.” ―Daniel Raven-Ellison, National Geographic Explorer and Guerilla Geographer

“A fictional setting like the Explorer Academy allows children to forge connections between science in the abstract and practical applications, holding their interest and fostering a love for, ‘all the different things the planet has to offer.’” Book Riot


Adventure, danger, and a thrilling global mission await 12-year-old Cruz Coronado at the Explorer Academy, where he and 23 other kids from around the globe are training to become the next generation of great explorers. But in addition to making new friends and attending cool classes, Cruz must also unlock clues to his family’s mysterious past and tackle the biggest question of all: Who is out to get him … and why? Secrets creep out from the shadows and leave Cruz with more questions than answers in this fourth title in the hit series.

A major discovery forces the Explorer Academy into the limelight in The Star Dunes, but Cruz has much more on his mind than 15 minutes of fame. A new face on board the ship brings Cruz's worlds colliding, and someone close to Cruz ends up on the brink of death. En route to Africa to dispense life-saving medications to gorillas, thwart pangolin poachers and capture images of the last known cheetahs in Namibia, Team Cousteau is now down a major player, and Cruz can't help but be preoccupied by the hole in his life. The discovery of his mom's next clue leads him to the most exotic location yet--a vast desert--with no other information to lead the way, while an unlikely ally helps Cruz pursue another piece of the puzzle. Just as things seem like they might turn out alright, Dr. Fanchon Quills has a technological breakthrough which gives Cruz a glimpse into the past and reveals more about his future than he may really want to know.


You can purchase Explorer Academy: The Star Dunes at the following Retailers:

 

Photo Credit: Bill Trueit

Trudi Trueit is a gifted storyteller for middle-grade audiences. She has written more than 100 books for young readers, both fiction and nonfiction, including The Sister Solution, Stealing Popular and the Secrets of a Lab Rat series. Trueit lives in Everett, Washington.

       

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Monday, March 30, 2020

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT ME by Jenna Guillaume Nerd Blast and Giveaway



Age Range: 12 - 16 years
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Peachtree Publishing Company (April 1, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1682631605


Praise for WHAT I LIKE ABOUT ME

“Debut author Guillaume's novel features funny dialogue and fresh takes on body image and personal relationships as well as a plucky heroine who slowly but surely comes into her own…. Perfect for fans of Dumplin’, a hilariously sweet yet complex romance.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Guillaume’s delightful debut deals with teenagers and their self-esteem, as Maisie’s story is relayed through her journal entries. This intimate lens will invest readers in Maisie’s journey to self-acceptance and confidence. A fun story, abounding in humor, romance, and inspiration and filled with multifaceted characters that readers will enjoy.” ―Booklist

“This book draws obvious parallels to Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’, but Maisie and her diverse cast of friends are fresh and distinctive, as is the Australian setting…. A fun, upbeat, and tender coming-of-age story written in an engaging and lively diary format.” ―School Library Journal


You know all those movies where teenagers have, like, THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES? This vacation is probably not going to be that.

The last thing sixteen-year-old Maisie Martin thought she’d be doing over vacation is entering a beauty pageant. Not when she’s spent most of her life hiding her body from everyone. Not when her Dad is AWOL and her gorgeous older sister has returned to rock Maisie’s already shaky confidence. And especially not when her best friend starts flirting with the boy she’s always loved. But Maisie’s got something to prove.

As she writes down all the ways this vacation is going from bad to worse in her school-assignment journal, what starts as a homework torture-device might just end up being an account of how Maisie didn’t let anything, or anyone, hold her back.

Jenna Guillame’s American debut features a plus-size protagonist with a compelling, funny, and authentic narrative voice. This relatable and charming novel about friendship, confidence, and self-love will draw readers in as Maisie’s realistic emotional journey unveils the importance of embracing one’s body and celebrating one’s self.


You can purchase What I Like About Me at the following Retailers:

 

Photo Content from Jenna Guillaume

Jenna Guillaume was editor-at-large for BuzzFeed Australia, where she wrote about very important things like pop culture, identity, feminism, social media, and Chris Hemsworth's biceps. Previously, she spent more than half a decade in the features department of Girlfriend magazine, editing the sealed section (yes, all those questions are real), and writing about everything from bullying and body image to bad kisses and boy bands. She was also a contributor to Girlfriend Life Hacks, an essential guide to navigating a girl's completely-awkward-but-totally-awesome teen years.

      

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

MUSIC FROM ANOTHER WORLD By Robin Talley Blog Tour




MUSIC FROM ANOTHER WORLD
By Robin Talley

On Sale: Mar 31, 2020
Inkyard Press
Teen & Young Adult 20th Century United States Historical Fiction
Teen & Young Adult Fiction about Emotions & Feelings
Teen & Young Adult Gay & Lesbian Fiction
9781335146779; 1335146776
$18.99 USD
384 pages


About the book

It’s summer 1977 and closeted lesbian Tammy Larson can’t be herself anywhere. Not at her strict Christian high school, not at her conservative Orange County church and certainly not at home, where her ultrareligious aunt relentlessly organizes antigay political campaigns. Tammy’s only outlet is writing secret letters in her diary to gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk…until she’s matched with a real-life pen pal who changes everything.

Sharon Hawkins bonds with Tammy over punk music and carefully shared secrets, and soon their letters become the one place she can be honest. The rest of her life in San Francisco is full of lies. The kind she tells for others—like helping her gay brother hide the truth from their mom—and the kind she tells herself. But as antigay fervor in America reaches a frightening new pitch, Sharon and Tammy must rely on their long-distance friendship to discover their deeply personal truths, what they’ll stand for…and who they’ll rise against.

A master of award-winning queer historical fiction, New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley once again brings to life with heart and vivid detail an emotionally captivating story about the lives of two teen girls living in an age when just being yourself was an incredible act of bravery.

Excerpted from Music from Another World by Robin Talley. © 2020 by Robin Talley, used with permission by Inkyard Press.


Tuesday, June 7, 1977
Dear Harvey,
I hope it’s okay for me to call you Harvey. In school, when they taught us to write letters, they said adults should always be addressed as “Mr.” or “Mrs.,” but from what I’ve read in the newspaper, you don’t seem much like the adults I know. I’d feel wrong calling you “Mr. Milk.”
Besides, it’s not as if I’m ever going to send you this letter. I’ve never kept a diary before, but things have been getting harder lately, and tonight might be the hardest night of all. I need someone I can talk to. Even if you can’t answer back.
Plus, I told Aunt Mandy I couldn’t join the prayer circle be­cause I had too much homework. Tomorrow’s the last day of school, so I don’t have any homework, but she doesn’t know that. If I keep writing in this notebook, maybe she’ll think homework is really what I’m doing.
I guess I could write to my new “pen pal” instead. That might count as homework. It would be closer than writing a fake letter to a famous San Francisco homosexual, anyway, but I can’t handle the thought of writing to some stranger right now.
Technically you’re a stranger, too, Harvey, but you don’t feel like one. That’s why I wanted to write to you, instead of “Dear Diary” or something.
It’s ironic, though, that my pen pal lives in San Francisco, too. I wonder if she’s ever met you. How big is the city, any­way? I read a magazine article that said gay people could hold hands walking down the street there, and no one minds. Is that true?
Ugh. The prayer circle’s starting over. Brett and Carolyn are leading the Lord’s Prayer again. It’s probably the only prayer they know.
We’ve been cooped up in the church basement for five hours now—my whole family, plus the youth group, plus a bunch of the other Protect Our Children volunteers. Along with Aunt Mandy and Uncle Russell, of course. The results from Miami should come in any minute.
You probably already know this—wait, who am I kidding? Of course you know, Harvey—but there was a vote today in Florida. They were voting on homosexuality, so our church, New Way Baptist, was heavily involved, even though we’re on the opposite side of the country. Everyone in our youth group was required to volunteer. I worked in the office Aunt Mandy and Uncle Russell set up in their den, answering phones and putting together mailings and counting donations to the New Way Protect Our Children Fund. We had bake sales and car washes to raise money to send to Anita Bryant, too.
You know all about Anita Bryant, obviously. You’re prob­ably just as scared of her as I am. Although, come to think of it, whenever I see you in the newspaper, you look the oppo­site of afraid. In pictures, you’re always smiling.
Don’t you get anxious, having everyone know? I’m ter­rified all the time, and no one even knows about me yet. I hope they never find out.
Maybe I should pray for that. Ha.
Okay, the Lord’s Prayer is over and now Uncle Russell’s making everyone silently call on God to save the good Chris­tians of Florida from sin. I hope I can keep writing without getting in trouble.
Ugh, look at them all, showing off how devout they are. The only two people in this room who aren’t clasping their hands in front of them and moving their lips dramatically are me and Aunt Mandy, but that’s because I’m a grievous sinner—obviously—and Aunt Mandy keeps peeking out from her shut eyes at the phone next to her.
I’m not sure how much you can concentrate on God when you’re solely focused on being ready to snatch up the receiver the second it starts to shake. Maybe she’ll grab it so hard, it’ll crush to a pulp in her fist like one of Anita Bryant’s fucking Florida oranges.
I wonder what you’re doing tonight, Harvey. Probably waiting by your phone, too. Only you’re in San Francisco, and if you’re praying, you’re praying for the opposite of what Aunt Mandy and everyone else in our church basement is praying for.
It seems pointless to pray now, though. The votes have already been cast, so we’re just waiting to hear the results. There’s a reporter from my aunt and uncle’s favorite radio station in L.A. sitting at the back of the room, ready to in­terview Uncle Russell once we know what happened. Even though we basically already do.
My mom showed up at church tonight with a box of bal­loons from the supermarket, but Aunt Mandy wouldn’t let anyone touch them until the announcement, so at the mo­ment the box is sitting in the closet under a stack of old com­munion trays. The second that phone starts to ring, though,
I just bet Aunt Mandy’s going to haul out that box and make us all start blowing up those crappy balloons.
I wonder if you’ve heard of my aunt. She wants you to. She knows exactly who you are, of course—you’re her enemy.
Which makes me your enemy, too, I guess. I’m not eigh­teen, and it’s not as if I could’ve voted in an election in Miami even if I were, but I’ve still spent the past two months fold­ing up comic books about the destruction of Sodom to mail out to churches in Florida.
I’m a soldier for Christ. That’s what Aunt Mandy calls me, anyway. And since I do everything she says, she must be right.
Writing to you instead of praying with the others is the closest I’ve ever come to rebelling. That’s how much of a coward I am, Harvey.
I wish I had the nerve to tell my aunt to go shove it. That’s what I’d really pray for—the nerve, I mean. If I thought prayer ever helped anything.
Shit, the phone’s ringing. More later.
Tammy


About the author


Robin Talley studied literature and communications at American University. She lives in Washington, DC, with her wife, but visits both Boston and New York regularly despite her moral opposition to Massachusetts winters and Times Square. Her first book was 2014's Lies We Tell Ourselves. Visit her online at robintalley.com or on Twitter at @robin_talley.
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