Tag Archives: Young Adult

A day and night in the life with Sidonie “Sid” Rubin by Stefani Deoul

So I hear the usual ping. Which may not sound strange to you but it is for me. I mean, I can pretty much account for all my usual peeps—every one of them gets their own ping tone. So it’s not one of them.

And I know I should ignore it. But I can’t. I mean it’s probably spam. Or maybe even a wrong number.

By now I realize some of you might be thinking, “why don’t I just look at the damn phone and get it over with” which would demonstrate to me, that you, would be unaware of my present situation. You see, ever since the night my mother likes to call “l’affaire of the LARP” my electronic toys have been placed in durance vile – aka jail – aka the far wall of the living room of the apartment where the guards – aka my parental unit – sleep right along the other side of that wall.

Sleep. That’s what I should do. I should ignore the ping and go back to sleep. I look up at my glow-in-the-dark constellations strewn across my ceiling, seeking out Andromeda, “the chained lady”. I do love a bit of irony.

And you know I might have made it back to sleep, but for the follow-up ping. You know, the second one, reminding me I’ve missed the first one. And that’s the one that gets me. Which I suppose is the point. But that would be a debate for another night.

Tonight, it’s time for the Pink Panther sneak. I pull on my thickest socks, cue the theme song in my head and get my toes tipping. I remind myself to stick as close as possible to the walls. I read somewhere floorboards are more prone to squeak in the middle.

I peer around the corner. There it is. My contraband phone. Resting against my laptop, teasing, taunting, a mere two-sofa lengths away.

I wait, hidden against the hallway wall. I count to sixty. Inhale. I am so Ripley on a mission. Exhale. Go!

I pull the phone from its cord. The light blindingly flashes on. Fluck me! I freeze for just a second, gather my nearly exploded nerves and tip-toe-tear-the-heck out of there.

Victory. . .                                                                                                                                 . . . Of a sort.

I slide down to the floor, use my blanket to create a walled city of darkness and turn my phone on. It’s 3:20AM.

I look to see who pinged me. It’s a blocked number. But the two-line preview to the message leaves little doubt they know me. “Sid. . .thought you should see this.”

“Curiouser and curiouser said Alice.”

You know that might be a great quote for Mr. Clifton’s final exam!

No. Not now. Now is not the time to digress.

Time. That’s it. I look at the time on the message. 2:43AM. Over half an hour gone by already. Of course they didn’t need to be online to send it. They could have used a zillion services to ping me at a predetermined time. But who would pick 2:43 AM? Well, if I think about it, I might—if I wanted to seem casual about it, even if I wasn’t.

And it’s only to me. No Jimmy, Imani, Vikram or Ari. I wonder if this would bother me if I got it at 2:43 in the afternoon and not the middle of the night? But then, how would the sender know for sure when I’d find it?

I feel my arms kind of tingle. And suddenly my neck needs to twist. Maybe this is what people mean when someone says their “spidey senses” are at work?

All right Sid! Enough! You’ve risked being sentenced to permanent isolation for this. Open the attachment.

It’s a picture. Of a large purse, open at the top with what looks like the edge of a passport just peering out. And I don’t understand it. Why would I want to see this?

Talk about deflation.

WWVD, Sid! What would Velma do?

There must be something I am not seeing. So I two-finger enlarge and I two-finger enlarge again. End result is the checkered pattern gets fuzzier and fuzzier. I circle the edges, but there’s nothing there I can make out other than some kind of white wall and maybe an edge of a marble table thing?

And somewhere I must have drifted off, because enshrouded in my blanket tent, I do not see it, but I do hear it. Hear what, you ask? I hear the sound of sunrise aka the sound of my demise. It sounds like a very soft knock on my door.

“Sidonie?”

I manage to wince out, “Oui, Mama.”

“It’s 6:30. You have thirty minutes to be ready.” For just a second all is quiet. But I know we’re not done. “And we both know you will come straight home.”

And my night, which began with a ping, ends with a clank. And this time, my jailer will keep her keys just out of reach.


You can read more about Sid in On A LARP, the first book in the NEW “Sid Rubin Silicon Alley Adventure” young adult mystery series.

Question: Do any of you know the truly scary part about being seventeen?

Answer: Your brain doesn’t actually know, understand or care what it can’t do; and, while this sounds great in theory, in my particular case, my under-developed brain apparently didn’t know I couldn’t fly.

So I jumped . . .
And I plummeted . . .

And I promise you, if I somehow manage to survive this act of immature-brain-encased-in-unbelievable-stupidity, I will gladly tell you exactly how I got here.

Which, for the record, is chasing a dark-web killer through the middle of a live action role-playing game, better known as a LARP.

On a LARP introduces readers to teen coder, Sid Rubin, a smartass—and super-smart—high school kid with a strong conscience and a knack for solving problems. This high concept, frenetic ride dives into the fascinating world of interactive role-playing when Sid recognizes the photo of a murder victim during an AP field trip to a police station. What starts out as an Aha! moment soon finds Sid and her unlikely posse of friends chasing a dark web killer through the middle of a live action role playing game. Sid and the gang work to unravel a deeply encrypted mystery while simultaneously enduring pop quizzes, endless Ted Talks, teenage heartbreak, suspicious parents, cosplay, and the irresistible lure of the NYC Public Library.

# # # # # # # # # # #

Meet the author
Stefani is an award-winning author and television producer. On A LARP is the first book in her new, critically acclaimed, young adult mystery series, A Sid Rubin Silicon Alley Adventure.

Stefani’s debut novel, The Carousel, won numerous awards and her writing has been featured in many publications, including, Curve magazine, Outdoor Delaware and a host of contemporary blogs.

As a television producer her resume includes TV series such as Haven for the SyFy Network, The Dead Zone and Brave New Girl, Dresden Files and Missing.

Along with producing five seasons of Haven, Stefani finally succumbed to the allure of acting, “starring” as the off-camera, and uncredited, radio dispatcher, Laverne. When not traipsing around the world filming, she calls Sarasota, Florida home. Stefani would love you to visit her website at stefanideoul.com and to connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

All comments are welcomed.

Buy Link

A day in the life with Nikki Black by Kristi Belcamino

Without any blinds on my east-facing window, I was up hours too early, when the sky was still pink with promise. My head hurt a little bit and I wasn’t sure if it was because I woke up too early, needed caffeine, or a handful of aspirin. Or probably all of the above.

The fourth-floor bathroom in The American Hotel was all the way at the other end of the hall. I splashed cold water on my face, rinsed my mouth out, and finger combed my hair. I wasn’t surprised at the dark purplish ring around my eye from getting slugged the night before. Rummaging in my bag, I tried on my sunglasses and squinted in the mirror.

Of course when I opened the door, that band boy stood there—with only a towel around his waist. I tried not to stare at his smooth bare chest. His fingers were wrapped around a beer bottle.

“It’s eleven in the morning,” I said, jutting my chin at the bottle.

“My schedule’s a little different than yours,” he said and took a big slug of beer. “Obviously.”

I scowled. “Whatever.”

We sat there in silence for a few seconds staring at each other. He was standing right in the doorway. Right in my way. But he just stood there half naked watching me with this look in his eye. Like he wanted to laugh.

Finally, I raised my eyebrow. I have serious Brooke Shields eyebrows. They usually do the trick and they didn’t fail me this time.

He swallowed. “Sorry about last night. That girl I was with … God, I don’t know. She only cares about . . . I don’t know . . . stupid stuff. And she doesn’t get my passion for music . . .”

It was my turn to shrug. “It is obvious that we can no more explain passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind.”

His forehead creased for a second. I wasn’t going to help. But he came through. “So . . . T.S. Eliot, huh? You like poetry?”

I didn’t point out that T.S. Eliot wrote more than poems or that his anti-Semitism was a huge turnoff.

“Not really. Remembered that line about passion. I’d rather read a real book.”

“You don’t think poetry is real?” That small smile crept back across his face.

“Sometimes it’s . . . affectation.” I peeked up at him through my bangs and saw his smile growing wider. “Some guy can scribble down a bunch of stream-of-conscious nonsense and then read it out loud in a theatrical voice and everyone around him will attribute some deep, philosophical interpretation to his rambling.

“Meanwhile, the audience — trying to seem cool and hip and with it — transforms it into some profound observation of life itself. So, yeah, poetry really doesn’t do much for me.”

Band boy burst into laughter, revealing that sexy gap, which immediately made my face grow warm.

“What?” I fidgeted and looked away.

“I just declared poetry as my minor in college.”

“Figures.” I rolled my eyes. “How old are you anyway?”

“Eighteen next month. Started kindergarten when I was four. My dad was a teacher and had me tested and stuff and I guess my IQ was off the charts, like 160 or something whatever that means.”

He stopped talking when he saw the look on my face. I decided not to mention that my IQ would give his, a run for his money. There’s only enough room for one overinflated head in this building.

“Jesus, I sound like an egomaniac,” he said, backpedalling. “I never tell anybody this kind of shit. I have no idea why I told you all that. Seriously, it doesn’t mean anything because now my IQ is back down to idiot range, which I’ve pretty much proved by acting like such a moron with you.”

I tried to hide my smile. “So, if you never tell people all this, why did you decide to tell me?”

He grew serious and looked away like he was embarrassed. “I don’t know.” He ran his fingers through his hair and took a deep breath. “Yeah, I do. I guess something about you makes me feel like . . . Well, I guess I don’t want you to think I’m just some dumb guy in a band.”

I looked at him suspiciously. Why would he care what I thought? I didn’t have time to figure it out. “I’ve got to go. I work today. Unlike some people.” I gave another pointed look at his beer.

I was halfway down the hall when he spoke again. “I broke up with her, you know. That girl. From last night.”

I kept walking.

“In case you care. Which of course you don’t,” he called after me. I heard him swearing softly and then mumbling something about what an idiot he was.

I didn’t turn around, but I couldn’t help the smile that spread across my face.


You can read more about Nikki in City of Angels, a young adult novel.

Nikki Black, 17, a self-imposed lone wolf since her mother died, fled suburban Chicago to escape her painful past. But when her so-called boyfriend reveals why he really lured her to Southern California — to star in child porn flicks — she ends up on the streets of L.A. with only the clothes on her back and a twelve-year-old addict named Rain trailing in her shadows. The girls seek refuge at a residential hotel above a punk rock bar in downtown L.A. a few months before the city erupts into chaos during the 1992 riots. At The American Hotel, Nikki makes friends and for the first time in years feels as if she has a real family again.

All that changes when Rain disappears. Everyone except Nikki, including the police, thinks Rain succumbed to the seductive allure of addiction and life on the streets. Nikki finds herself fighting for her own life the closer she gets to unveiling a sinister cover-up by a powerful group that secretly controls the city of angels. City of Angels is an edgy, gritty, mature Young Adult mystery about a teenager’s struggle to not only belong — but survive.

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Kristi Belcamino is a Macavity, Barry, and Anthony Award-nominated author, a newspaper cops reporter, and an Italian mama who makes a tasty biscotti. She writes books featuring strong, fierce, and independent women facing unspeakable evil in order to seek justice for those unable to do so themselves.

Her first novel in the Gabriella Giovanni Mystery Series, Blessed Are The Dead, was inspired by her dealings with a serial killer during her life as a Bay Area crime reporter. She is also the co-author of Letters From A Serial Killer, co-written with the mother of the girl kidnapped and killed by the serial killer who inspired Blessed Are The Dead. Her first YA novel, City Of Angels (Polis Books) was released on May 9, 2017.

Find out more at kristibelcamino.com. Find her on Facebook, or on Twitter at @KristiBelcamino. Sign up for her newsletter here.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ City of Angels by Kristi Belcamino

City of Angels by Kristi Belcamino is published by Polis Books, May 9, 2017

city-of-angelsNikki Black, 17, a self-imposed lone wolf since her mother died, fled suburban Chicago to escape her painful past. But when her so-called boyfriend reveals why he really lured her to Southern California — to star in child porn flicks — she ends up on the streets of L.A. with only the clothes on her back and a twelve-year-old addict named Rain trailing in her shadows. The girls seek refuge at a residential hotel above a punk rock bar in downtown L.A. a few months before the city erupts into chaos during the 1992 riots. At The American Hotel, Nikki makes friends and for the first time in years feels as if she has a real family again.

All that changes when Rain disappears. Everyone except Nikki, including the police, thinks Rain succumbed to the seductive allure of addiction and life on the streets. Nikki finds herself fighting for her own life the closer she gets to unveiling a sinister cover-up by a powerful group that secretly controls the city of angels. City of Angels is an edgy, gritty, mature Young Adult mystery about a teenager’s struggle to not only belong — but survive.

A riveting drama. A strongly worded plot that immediately grabbed my attention. This fast-paced drama was visually descriptive and led me to see and feel all that taking place in this action-packed drama. The narrative had me completely immersed in all that was happening, evoking all kinds of emotions that surfaced to the top. The trials and tribulations of Nikki showed determination and guts as she took on what life presented in her path. The author did a great job in telling a captivating tale filled with the tenacity and strength of a young woman and those around her in this tightly woven and intriguing story. This was an engagingly wonderful book.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher.

A Day in the Life of Tanzania Grey by Pamela Beason

Race to TruthI named myself Tanzania to honor my mother, who came from Africa. Grey? That comes from having one black and one white parent.

I’d give anything to go back to my old life and my birth name. Years ago, my parents were murdered, and as I watched, the masked killers captured my brother. I barely managed to escape. The next day, I discovered my family had been completely erased—our house was cleaned out and sold and everyone who knew us was notified that my family had been transferred out of the country. The cops thought it was a joke when I tried to report the murders; they kept asking me who I was and where I was. For all I know, they were in on the plan to eradicate the Robinsons.

Only a powerful organization could pull off that sort of complex operation.

So at fourteen, I had to reinvent myself. Not only have I become an expert liar, I’ve also become a champion runner. I compete in extreme cross-country endurance races in exotic countries and in all sorts of treacherous terrain—forests and jungles and mountains where wild animals are more common than people. I wish I could just race my way around the planet, win every competition, and live off my prize money.

Yeah, right. In the real world, I lose as often as I win, the annoying sportscasters call me Zany instead of Tana, and when a race is over, I go back to my regular life as a Habitat Maintenance Technician at the zoo. In other words, I shovel crap for a living. And I had to pass my GED at sixteen to get that job. Still, it’s a big step up from picking crops, which is what I did when I lived with Marisela Santos, the amazing woman who taught me how to survive under the radar of the authorities.

Only one person knows that I am really Amelia Robinson—my excellent friend Sebastian Callendro. Bash, I call him. He and I couldn’t help but bond after being partners in the Verde Island Race and nearly losing our lives there. Bash knows all about keeping secrets. He wishes he’d been able to keep more of his.

So I spend my days cleaning animal habitats, training for my next race, and trying to educate myself with online apps. Every day I wonder if my brother Aaron is still alive, and I am always, always looking over my shoulder to make sure my parents’ killers haven’t tracked me down.

Every day I get stronger and smarter and more determined to turn the tables and track them down. I have to know why my parents were murdered and what happened to my brother. I will expose the killers, whoever they may be, even if it costs me my life.


The character of Tanzania Grey is introduced in Race With Danger, the first book in the Run For Your Life series.

Race With DangerChampion runner Tanzania Grey, 17, has to win the Verde Island Endurance Race’s million-dollar prize to save the life of her friend Bailey. The treacherous five-day race traverses a remote volcanic island that’s home to beasts that slither, fly, swim, and slink through the jungle. But the wildlife turns out to be the least of Tana’s problems when she draws the name of Sebastian Callendro as her partner. Sebastian’s personal life has put him in the national spotlight, and his nosy followers are the kind Tana can’t afford.

Her name isn’t really Tanzania, and everything else in her biography is invented, too. She’s been running for three years—from the men who murdered her parents. If her cover is blown, she could be next.

Race To Truth is the second book in the Run For Your Life young adult suspense series, published by WildWing Press, May 2016.

When champion endurance racer Tanzania Grey accepts a mysterious invitation to the Ski to Sea Relay Race in Bellingham, Washington, she knows she may be risking her new life and identity. Born Amelia Robinson, she’s been living on the run for four years after masked “ninjas” killed her family. By returning to her hometown, Tana hopes to find clues to the murders. But will discovering the motives behind an apparent conspiracy help her find justice, or lead the killers to her doorstep to threaten her patched-together new “family”–a rescued elephant, five goats, a former street child, and a wounded veteran? Can she stop the assassins from completing the job of erasing the last Robinson?

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Pamela Beason works as a licensed private investigator and escapes into the wilderness as often as she can. She constantly juggles book projects between her Summer “Sam” Westin wilderness mysteries, her Neema (the signing gorilla) mysteries, and her Run for Your Life young adult series. As well as numerous blue ribbons and First Place doodads, she has won a Chanticleer Grand Prize Award, a Library Journal award, a Mystery & Mayhem Grand Prize, and the Daphne du Maurier Award. Her author website is pamelabeason.com.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a Kindle copy of Race To Truth. The giveaway will end June 9, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.