Love the bump offered by Amazon this week.
Taking off from the Amazon editors recommendation for both Be Right Back [BRB] and Believe It Or Not [BION] in my See You Later [CUL8R] Time Travel Mystery Series here’s an excerpt from BRB. On 9/1/13 they announced BRB won 1st place in the Readers’ Favorite book awards for best young adult mystery in 2013! That and 19 of 21 5 star reviews I’m feeling like it’s a pretty decent story…hope you do too.
Kelly whirled around, startled. Her heart leaped into her throat as a tall young man was silhouetted against the bright sunshine. The sexual predator discussion with her aunt flashed through her mind, and she mentally measured the distance between her and the kitchen door.
“Hey, need some help?” The person stepped forward, and once inside the shadows of the garage, she could see he was just a teenage boy. He was several inches taller than she was and had medium-length dark-blond hair. Although he wore a tank top and baggy cargo shorts, his legs and arms were pretty white and boney, especially for someone who lived so close to the beach. His shoes were untied, the style of today, and he had a nice smile. Most importantly, he looked totally non-threatening.
She wiped her brow with the back of her hand, then regretted it because she knew she had probably left a dirty smear across her forehead. “Hey,” she greeted him neutrally.
“I live next door, and I noticed you were working pretty hard,” the boy said as he pointed to his house. “I’m Scott.”
Kelly’s lips relaxed into a smile. She was thrilled for any excuse to take a break. “Hey Scott, I’m Kelly.”
“Are you moving in or just visiting?”
“Visiting? No, not visiting. I’m moving in. Actually I’ve moved in. It’s my aunt’s house. I got all my stuff unpacked this morning. I told her I would help straighten out her garage. She wants to have a garage sale.” Kelly felt self-conscious and knew she was talking too much, so she forced her mouth shut and started pushing the big couch again.
Scott immediately grabbed an arm and started pulling. With his help, the couch moved easily, and they pushed it against a bare wall. “What’s her name again?” he asked.
“I’ve never met her. I’ve seen her around, but she always seems to be in a big hurry. She’s not home much anyway.”
“Good to know that she’s not just avoiding me. I haven’t seen her much yet either. In fact, I’ve met her maybe six times in my whole life . . . usually on holidays and at funerals.”
“I thought we’d stack all the furniture up against the wall. I think it’ll all go in the garage sale pile. Then we can stack boxes up against it.” She pointed toward an empty corner. “The maybe keep pile goes over there, and stuff that is obviously garbage goes up front by the doors.”
“Got it. Let’s move the dining table back in against the couch.”
It was much easier with him lifting one end. Scott spread a layer of flattened cardboard boxes on top of the table, and they stacked several end tables upside down on the cardboard.
“You’ve done this before?” Kelly asked.
“Nope . . . just naturally careful.” He smiled. “My mom might call it mild OCD.”
“My aunt will definitely approve. I think she’s borderline OCD herself.”
They used more boxes to cushion the edge of the table, then stacked a bedframe and a mattress-set vertically and shoved a dresser against them to keep them upright. “There, now we’ve got some room.”
“Thanks. That went a lot quicker with help.” They turned their attention to the boxes, opening them and sorting them into the appropriate area of the garage.
“Are your parents living here, too?”
Kelly hesitated. She had just met this guy. This was all still new to her. How much or how little should she tell him? She could feel the tears building, but she knew she would always have to deal with this question, so why not now? “My parents died in a car accident and my Aunt Jane is my guardian.” She felt strangely relieved just blurting it out.
“Oh wow, I’m sorry,” Scott rushed to say. “I didn’t mean to get into your business and all.”
“No . . . it’s okay. You’re just curious. I’d probably ask you the same thing if our situations were reversed.”
“I can’t even imagine what that would be like. I’ve lived in the same house with the same parents and the same stupid little sister my whole life.”
“I always wanted a sister,” she said wistfully.
“You can have mine.”
“I doubt your mother would agree.” Her smile didn’t really disguise the sadness she was feeling, but maybe under all the dirt, he wouldn’t notice.
Scott was obviously uncomfortable. He shifted from foot to foot and looked away as he thought about what to say next. Kelly hoped this conversation wasn’t going to be repeated with every person she met.
Kelly tried to shrug it off, both to make him feel better and to change the subject. “Hey, we’re going to be neighbors, so of course you should know something about me. But I should know stuff about you, too.”
“I’m really boring. Ask anyone.”
“I doubt that.” There was something in his tone that touched Kelly and instinctively made her rush to defend him. “I’m not bored.”
“Yeah, but you’ve only known me about an hour.”
“Who’s to say that wasn’t the most exciting hour I’ve ever spent?” Kelly teased.
Scott looked at her and grinned. “Wow, that’s really sad.”
“And you thought you were boring.”
Scott laughed out loud. They turned back to the task at hand and continued to open boxes. “This is all dishes, really old looking dishes . . . it says Mary on the side,” Scott said as he lifted out a fragile china plate.
“They were my grandmother’s. I put a marker over on the table by the door. Put that over there as the start of the keeper pile for now,” Kelly ordered, pointing toward the corner.
Scott complied and returned to open another box. “More dishes, but these have Betty on them.”
“My great-grandma,” Kelly told him. “Keeper pile.”
Scott marked the box and carried it over next the first one. Within a few minutes a stack of her grandmother and great-grandmother’s dishes were in the keep pile, and a couple boxes of kitchen utensils were in the sale pile.
“Okay, you’re right,” Scott said.
“Here’s something about me. I’m kind of a geek which translates into not cool. I don’t have many friends in the neighborhood or school, but I’m okay with that. There are hundreds of things I’d rather do than just hang out with people who have nothing intelligent to say.”
“I mean it took you half an hour to answer me. What are some of the hundreds of things?”
“I read a lot and research . . . mostly on line.”
“Yeah . . . technical stuff. I invent things . . . mostly cell phone apps and electronic stuff. How about you”
“That’s a tough question. I used to go to the beach a lot, and I had a horse. That took up a lot of my time.”
“Horse wouldn’t work here, would it?”
“Nope. I gave her to my best friend, Gina. She and I used to ride together, so I know Scarlett will be well taken care of.”
“That must be hard on you.”
“Yeah, it sucks. But I don’t have a lot of options, you know?” She busied herself looking through a box of clothes, then marked Mary’s Clothes on them and pushed them to the sale pile.
“What grade are you going to be in?”
“My mom home schooled me, but I decided I wanted to go to public school in the fall. Every year I had to take an achievement test, and I tested out to senior level.”
Scott frowned. “I’m going to be a junior.”
“That’s great. I already told Aunt Jane I wanted to go in as a junior so I could have a couple years to get ready for college. I’m sure there will be a lot of adjustments going to a public high school.”
“High school can be brutal. Not the classes, but the kids.”
Kelly had to admit she was a little intimidated by what sort of people she would be around every day. She’d seen the movies and TV shows about mean girls. That was something out of her range of experience. But she knew that it was part of the socialization process she needed to prepare her for college. Now, hopefully, she would be starting with a friend. The fact that Scott was a little geeky and not part of the popular crowd didn’t bother her at all. He was funny and sweet and cute in a taller Josh Hutcherson sort of way. And she felt comfortable around him.
“Let’s look inside these big boxes next,” Kelly suggested.
Scott opened the top of the biggest one. “Looks like blankets, pillows and towels . . . all flowered.”
“Label it old linens, and I’ll help you slide it over to the sale pile. I doubt if anyone will buy them. If not, they can go to the Salvation Army.”
Together they started another row and within twenty minutes they had stacked up six boxes neatly along the wall.
Finally, Kelly and Scott stood, surveying the now orderly area with a real sense of accomplishment. “We made a lot of progress, thanks to you,” Kelly smiled and stood with her hands on her hips.
“Yeah, all we’ve got left is all the stuff on that old workbench and the boxes underneath it.”
Kelly hesitated, not sure if she wanted to attack that project. There were lots of tools, most really old and probably valuable to someone who knew something about tools. Kelly didn’t. Scott was poking around, looking at a few items with interest, but Kelly was too tired to dig in to the mess. There were dozens of little jars filled with screws and nails. Nothing on top of the workbench was boxed which meant a lot of item-by-item sorting. But underneath were two rows of boxes that they could probably easily be allocated to the appropriate pile.
“Why don’t we just do the boxes today?” Kelly suggested. “The stuff on top will take longer. That is, if you’re up for it.”
Scott shrugged. “I’ve got nothing better to do. Besides some of those boxes look really old. I’m curious what’s inside.”
The first row of boxes was just more really old household goods, some probably collectible, that were quickly moved to the sale pile. Kelly pulled out a small cardboard box labeled Mary’s Records.
“Hey, look at this.” She opened the box and took out a handful of small vinyl records with large holes in the centers. They were still lovingly stored in their colorful paper sleeves. She flipped through them one-by-one and read the labels aloud. “I Saw Her Standing There by The Beatles, And I Love Her and We Can Work it Out, also by The Beatles, California Dreaming by the Mamas and the Papas, Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel, Last Train to Clarksville by The Monkees, Good Vibrations and Barbara Ann by The Beach Boys and Daydream by the Lovin’ Spoonful. Wow, these are so cool.”
“Save ‘em. My parents have an old record player. They keep saying there’s no sound like old vinyl, so we can check it out and see if they’re right.”
“I’ll take these to my room later. Aunt Jane might want them, but if not, I’ll keep them. They look like they were played a lot; some of the grooves are pretty worn. My grandma Mary must have really loved these for her to have kept them from when she was a teenager.”
“My parents listen to music from the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties,” Scott agreed. “Some of it is pretty good.”
Kelly closed the box and placed it on the floor by the kitchen door. It would be fun to listen to the old songs and try to imagine how Grandma Mary had felt when she was Kelly’s age, hanging out in her room, playing her stereo. She returned to the workbench just as Scott was dragging out an old wooden crate that had been tucked in the far corner in the back. It wasn’t big, but it was pretty heavy, and it took both of them to pull it to the middle of the floor where they could open it. On the side in neatly printed, but badly faded letters was the word “Darby”.
“Darby! My great-great-grandfather’s last name was Darby. Do you see a claw hammer?”
They rummaged through the pile of tools and Scott held one up. “Got it.” He held it out to her.
“Go ahead . . . you can have the honor.”
Scott smiled, “Thanks.” He kneeled down and worked the lid off the box, being careful not to damage the wood and then set it to the side, nails pointing down. “Safety first.”
He removed a layer of dried straw from the top, revealing a large yellowed envelope. He opened it and slid the paper out. “Holy crap!” he exclaimed as he quickly scanned it.
“What is it?”
“A letter from Thomas Edison.” Scott stood, barely able to contain his excitement as he walked toward the front of the garage where the light was better. The ink had faded and was almost impossible to read in spots.
“Really?” Kelly followed and peered down at the letter in amazement.
“I wrote three different term papers on Edison. I love this guy. He was America’s greatest inventor. His house and museum aren’t very far from here. I’ll take you there when you’re settled. We can spend an entire day there easy.”
“Jeez, Scott . . . what’s the letter say, anyway?”
Scott began to read the letter out loud. “From the Laboratory of Thomas A. Edison, Fort Myers, Florida. April 14th, 1929.” He held the letter out for Kelly to see. “ I love how they used to write letters back in the day.”
“Really, that’s what it says?”
“No . . . no . . . that was me. Okay, it says, Mr. R. J. Darby, As you and many of my people already know, I am reducing my workload on several of my inventions. This decision has been a long time coming. Deciding what to work on and what to not work on has been very difficult. One of the items I have decided to stop development on is the Telephone to the Dead as you and I have called it. It has been two years of collaboration which I have greatly valued, but I fear it will not be widely accepted. In appreciation for your many years of dedicated work for me, I am officially giving to you this device and all rights forever. You are free to continue its development on your own time and with your own resources as you see fit. I wish you the best of success as you fine-tune it for commercial use. Signed, Thomas A. Edison.”
Scott sat in silence staring at the letter almost in disbelief.
“My great-great-grandfather worked for Edison?” Kelly was equally shocked and impressed. She had no idea that someone in her family had had such a close brush with greatness.
“He was a mucker,” Scott said with authority.
“Did you make that up?” she asked skeptically, not really knowing if he was insulting or complimenting her distance relative.
“Nope. That’s the name that Edison gave to his helpers who actually did the metal work, carpentry, you know, all the manual labor on all his inventions. He had so many inventions going at the same time, he couldn’t do all the work on them, so he hired young men right out of college or technical school to help out. I’ve talked with a lot of people around here and no one knows where that name came from, but it’s real.”
You can find BRB on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Right-Travel-Mystery-Romance-ebook/dp/B00C8SK9JO/
Find book #1, OMG on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/CUL8R-Travel-Mystery-Romance-ebook/dp/B00AF2Q30E/
Find BION, book #3 on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Believe-Travel-Mystery-Romance-ebook/dp/B00E5141ZK/
Looking for great book ideas stop in at the virtual book fair athttps://www.facebook.com/events/387674678021918/