Saturday, 9 August 2014

Book Feature and Excerpt: Worth the Effort by Kai Strand

Hi, my name is Kai Strand. I want to thank Dorothy for letting me stop in to share my latest release with you.

Worth the Effort~Ayden’s Story:

Seventeen-year-old Ayden Worth shouldn’t have to seek peace of mind in the streets. But as family pressures mount, his anxieties increase, and he turns his back on comfort for a life in homeless camps and back alleys.

Then one fateful day he runs into the only person he ever wanted to know better. Ella Jones. His memories paint her as kind and undemanding, and it seems the years haven’t changed her. Her simple expectations draw him to her. Against all odds, a relationship buds and grows.

Yet, as Ayden repairs his life, Ella suggests he help others who also struggle. Will Ella turn out to be just like his dad, expecting more from him than he can give? Or will he prove that he is worth the effort?


Days, or maybe weeks, went by, and I continued to sleep in the alley just to see Ella for five minutes each morning. Five life-altering minutes. My outlook, my hope, my will to continue changed daily because of the way Ella was with me. Maybe that was infantile, but that’s how I felt emotionally and mentally.

One morning I screwed up the courage to talk first. I’d thought of what to say the night before.

“Yesterday’s peanut butter bagel would have tasted better with coffee sweetened by two sugars and a shake of cinnamon.”

My awkward attempt to start a conversation made my heart pound. The statement sounded better—more like a quip—in my head and I wished I could take it back. Did I sound unappreciative?

She tilted her head, and the stray hairs sticking out of her bun waved around like the plume of feathers on a quail’s head. My responding smile started at the core of my belly.

“Is that how you take your coffee?”

Her eyes were squinted, the corners turned down like she was considering it more seriously than I intended.

I shrugged and nodded, silently berating myself for trying to make small talk.

The next morning, I tipped my cup for the first sip of her gifted coffee, and my taste buds were flooded with the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. I was stunned into silence. I stared at the cup.

She mistook my quietness to mean I didn’t like the drink. It took some doing, which included direct eye contact, to convince her it truly was my favorite combination.

Frequently, I reminded myself that I was homeless, probably a charity project, definitely not as special as she treated me. Yet, all the coffees she brought, the words she uttered, the multitude of smiles she shared became mental stitches, repairing my tattered inner self.

Buy Link:

I call the Worth the Effort stories novella duets. They are individual stories that don’t have to be read in a specific order. Though they each tell a story, reading both gives you a harmonic experience in storytelling.

~Ella’s Story:

Ella Jones is a coward. There is a teen boy living in the alley behind her work and she is terrified of him.

Desperate to leave behind the stereotypical and judgmental world she was raised in, Ella forces herself to make a true connection with seventeen-year-old Ayden Worth. As their friendship grows Ayden’s quiet, gentle ways teach her true courage.

But there’s more to Ayden’s story than Ella knows. When their worlds collide in the most unexpected place, Ella feels betrayed. Will she find the courage to learn who Ayden really is, or will she determine he’s not worth the effort?

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What was Ayden thinking during their conversation in the den? Why did Ella befriend Ayden in the first place, when she was so obviously afraid of him? Readers get a unique chance to find out what the other character was thinking during crucial scenes, just by reading the other story.

Seriously, don’t you wish you could get this chance in real life situations?

About the author:

When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website,

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1 comment:

Kai Strand, Author said...

Thanks, Dorothy for featuring Worth the Effort today. I appreciate the opportunity to be on your blog.