Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Excerpt Tour + #Giveaway: City of Lights by Kelly Byrd @FFHSeries @GoddessFish


City of Lights

(Book 1 in the Far from Home Series)

by Kelly Byrd

GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy


What happens when oh so ordinary Mary Jingo, follows her instincts (and her nose) and ends up in a magical land Far From Home?

In City of Lights, author Kelly Byrd introduces readers to Mary, who is one week away from finishing fifth grade. Mary’s mind is on starting middle school in the fall and finally getting her own phone. But then this ordinary girl notices glimmers of light and meets a strange little man who conjures the best smell she has ever smelled. Before she even stops to consider what she’s doing, she agrees to accompany the man to the land of LeeChee, where our Mary Jingo from the Shadowlands in seen as warrior and a great hope.

Now this very ordinary girl must find a way to help save LeeChee from Thrall and restore the Everything—a magical life- and joy-giving force that somehow connects Mary’s world to LeeChee. How can she face the Void, the foul-smelling Shoeboxians, or the evil Mellie? And how can she do all of the Far From Home?


They had spent the night under a stone that jutted out of a wide, flat field that was covered at random by some of the most beautiful flowers Mary had ever seen. They swayed in the wind, their colors playing against the blue sky. Bobble and Mikeala had broken into a game of tag that Mary very much wanted to join but could tell instantly that she would lose. Every time one or the other would get far enough away, there would be a small pop and the other would appear at his or her side. They would tag each other, break into a fit of giggles and start all over again.

She wandered away from the rock, listening to Bobble’s and Mikeala’s laughter. She reached her hand out and touched a particularly brilliant purple flower. By its smell and the way that it looked, Mary knew that the flower was incredibly shy.

I’m sorry,” she said out loud reflexively. The flower’s petals seemed to shrink a little and then they shook merrily, as if to say, ‘Nice to meet you!’ Mary laughed as Bobble and Mikeala ran up, and Mikeala darted behind her legs.

You can’t see me!” she shrieked. They both smelled wonderful. Like they were the morning, all bottled up and contained in two People. All the beauty and vitality in any world seemed to radiate from them.

I can see you, Mikeala. Mary cannot make you invisible,” Bobble said, swatting at Mikeala around Mary’s legs.

Yet!” Mikeala cried. With a pop she was off again. Mary wanted to know where the stream was that Van Clare had mentioned and she also needed to relieve herself.

Mikeala!” Mary called after her, trying to catch the keeper’s attention but found it difficult in the middle of the game. Mary ran down the hill after them, “MIKEALA!”

Mary tripped on a stone, her bare toes crunching on the rock as she flipped head over heels down the hill. Mary felt herself rolling and tumbling across the earth, the ground coming up quickly over and over again. On the next roll, Mary saw a giant rock. She was headed straight towards it. Mary squeezed her eyes shut and braced herself for impact.

Suddenly, she stopped.

Mary Jingo!” Mikeala called. A pop sounded by Mary’s left elbow, and Mary looked down at Mikeala’s concerned face. “Are you okay? Lucky the fleurs caught you. That might have been awful. I would have never forgiven myself.”

Mary looked around her. She was being held aloft by a bed of purple flowers like the one she had just met a few minutes ago.

Thank you,” she said to the flowers. “Thank you for catching me.”

A rustling sound like the wind blew through the petals, as if the flowers said, “You’re welcome!”

They shifted and lifted her until Mary found herself standing in front of Mikeala. Mary turned towards the flowers and brushed her hand ever so lightly over their petals. In her heart, she thanked them deeply. The flowers seemed to bow their purple heads in response.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Kelly Byrd is a middle-grade author by choice, a writer by discipline, home-grown chef, and amateur gardener. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and two cute-as-buttons rescue pups. The Far From Home series is about growing up, finding your voice, and rescuing the Everything.

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Kelly Byrd said...

Thank you so much for hosting! Mary's connection to the living things in LeeChee was so fun to write.

Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt.

Sherry said...

Sounds like a very good book.

Victoria Alexander said...

Great excerpt, thanks for sharing!