by Ruthy Ballard
GENRE: Middle grade science fantasy
Adventurous ten-year-old Elvia is sick of her dull-as-dishwater existence, suffocating under the stifling watch her overprotective parents. She longs for a different life, with more freedom and fun. But she gets more than she bargains for when she discovers an alarming family secret and is swept away on an adventure 64,000 light years from Earth. Tanzanian witch doctors, child-eating lions, and submarine exploration on a two-mooned planet enliven this science fiction fantasy adventure, the third in Ballard’s award-winning Tales by Moons-light series.
Alive wasn’t a strong swimmer, but she knew enough to dogpaddle her way. The heavy silt in the water made it impossible to see more than a few feet ahead, but Exit Hatch 4 wasn’t far away, and she made good progress. Soon, the bold red lettering appeared out of nowhere, along with an air pocket, signaling that she’d arrived.
The hatch would open easily, she suspected, now that the boat was flooded. Soon she’d be out, kicking her way to the surface, to a big, wide world above, where air was abundant. She almost grabbed the hatch wheel to complete her escape, but she paused. What about Rats? Where was he? He’d promised to meet her at Exit Hatch 4. “I won’t abandon you in a shipwreck. Never ever. I’ll race down here and find you to help you escape. Won’t take me more than five minutes, I promise. But if I get hung up somehow, don’t worry. I can take care of myself. I’m just like any other member of the crew. I’ll meet you on the surface when it’s all over.”
“But Rats isn’t just another Urth sailor,” Alive thought. “He’s from Earth, and he’s vulnerable, just like I am. What if he’s trapped somewhere? What if I exit the boat and he’s still inside? I could never live with myself.”
It was a pivotal moment for Alive. Was she brave enough to look for Rats when safety for herself was so close by? She spit out her regulator and treaded water, her head in the air pocket, just below Exit Hatch 4. Her breath was rapid and shallow as she trembled in the cold, her Gone Bananas pajamas billowing out around her.
“Screw it,” she thought. “I have a tank full of air. I have to go looking for him, while there’s still time.
It was a terrifying prospect, and the dreaded Oh, no! Oh, my God, no! feeling returned in full force. Trying hard not to think more than one second ahead, she abandoned the hatch and its promise of life not far above, and headed ‘fore in the boat, swimming through the corridor that led to The Stowaway Room. Maybe she’d meet Rats along the way, coming the other direction. That was her fervent hope, for she didn’t want to have to swim very far.
Children’s book author Dr. Ruth (Ruthy) Ballard is a scientist by trade who never thought she’d be one. Intimidated by science as a kid, she almost gave up on pursuing it as a career though she found it fascinating. Fortunately, a mentor stepped in and showed her the way. Now, she’s passionate about doing the same for the next generation of science shy, but creative, smart and capable kids. Her award-winning science fantasy adventures lure children in with compelling characters and entertaining, twisty plots that incorporate science in fun, accessible ways.
When Ruthy isn’t writing, she is “Dr. Ruth Ballard,” a forensic DNA consultant and a professor at Sacramento State, where she runs a forensic biology research and training program while consulting with attorneys across the country on criminal cases involving DNA evidence. She’s also a folk artist who loves to draw, illustrates her own books, and enjoys hiking and camping with her husband and their four dogs near their home on the Oregon coast.
Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16577223.Ruthy_Ballard
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Ruthy-Ballard/author/B06Y6KVX5D
Buy Link: The Book is on sale for $0.99 during the tour
The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.