Check out the beautiful cover on this enchanting children’s story by Silke Stein.
Life has changed for eight-year-old Merel. Since the birth of her sick baby brother, her parents seem to have forgotten she exists. But when she finds a tiny silver violin in her bedroom rug, things take a turn for the worse. Merel learns that her sleep has abandoned her and that she must embark on a perilous journey to recover it or stay awake forever. Together with her devoted toy sheep, Roger, tired Merel sets out in search of Lullaby Grove and, before long, is haunted by a scary stranger.
Follow Merel into a surreal world. Meet a sleepy king with an obsession for feathers and a transparent old man on a night train going nowhere. Discover why the moonfish cry, why you should never walk across the Great Yawns, and whether Merel can escape her pursuer, win back her sleep, and realize what matters most.
- The Kindle e-book is available for pre-order right now.
- Ebook and paperback will go live on June 7th.
- The paperback will also be available through other retailers a couple of weeks after the official release.
EXCERPT FROM SLEEP, MEREL, SLEEP – CHAPTER 3:
Merel switched the bathroom light off, returned to the main room and began a more thorough search, monitored by the silent wall owls.After crawling under the bed, where she picked up a collection of dust balls on her jeans and shirt, checking behind the radiator, inspecting all the drawers of the dresser and the desk, and even lifting every unsettling bird picture, Merel felt exhausted.She sat down on the bed, opened her sling bag, which was still strapped around her, and had a look at Hulda: 2:47! So late and still no clue about where this stupid gate might be. But it MUST exist. The little guy had been adamant about it.Merel stretched out on the bed’s thin comforter. Its cover had a faded pattern of twirling fern leaves. The texture gave her goosebumps. Could something happen now, please? She stared at the ceiling. The eight-armed chandelier crouched above her like a glass spider. I’m not closing my eyes. No way.How she longed for a nap.At first, she had not believed a word the strange nightly visitor had told her. Later, she even thought the whole encounter was another one of her bad dreams; although she had not been able to fall asleep after meeting him. The next day, she went to bed at sunset and stayed there petrified, the comforter pulled over her head, listening to the blood throbbing through her body until her mom knocked on the door and told her to get up and dressed.The third endless time between dusk and dawn she had spent filling the blank spots in all her ancient coloring books, like a robot, till her favorite crayons were used up and her eyes burned. Hoping beyond hope her forehead would thud down on one of the smudged drawings of the silly creatures she had once loved so much. But it did not happen, and the morning sun had found her coloring Rainbow Dash’s tail with granite gray.“Hoo, hoo, try the key,” somebody whispered.Merel jolted up. Where’s this voice coming from?“Hoo, hoo, try the key.”The night table! The wooden owlet attached to the room key had spoken! And there, next to the key that had opened the door to room number eight, Merel noticed a silvery key that had not been there before. Or had she just not paid attention? It was tiny and shimmering, with a long cylindrical shaft and a small tooth at the end. Where could it fit?“Do you know where the gate is?” Merel asked the wooden bird, but the owl had closed its eyes and clammed up.With the key in her hand, Merel looked around. She had to find this door! She had to go through if she ever wanted to sleep again.Merel blinked. Something happened to her vision. The air was like a smeared glass pane. Streaks of red and yellow, white and indigo flew by in a hurry. She gazed at the two light-gray chairs and the gray curtain: Something is sucking the colors out of the room! Merel’s teeth pinched her tongue.But what is it? Where do they go?She turned her head. Radiance surrounded the foot board, beating like a living heart, growing bigger and bigger by absorbing the colors.Her lips let out a clipped scream. Could the carved rectangle be the gate?Merel crawled over to the end of the bed, close to the pulsating glow. She glanced at the key she held and back at the light. Her fingers tingled.The brightness flowed towards her and wrapped itself around her body like a shimmering armor, but she kept her eyes fixed on the wooden board. To the right appeared a gleaming lock. Merel tried to steady her trembling hand.The moment the key touched the lock, it jumped into the hole and turned around by itself.Merel grabbed her bag and hugged Hulda and Roger.The inside of the foot board disappeared. A squeaky voice exclaimed, “About time you showed up!” and then two brawny arms reached out of the wooden frame and pulled her through.
Silke Stein is a graphic designer and the author of the middle-grade novel Trina Bell’s Humming Summer. Silke currently lives in Victoria, British Columbia. Like her protagonist Trina, she enjoys roaming the city’s parks and listening to the squeal of tiny sparkling birds. Yes, she speaks to them and they answer ―but unfortunately, unlike Trina, she doesn’t have a three-legged dog who translates for her.
Having lived landlocked in Germany for most of her life, Silke fell in love with the Pacific Ocean when she came to Canada. Combing beaches has become her favourite pastime, particularly looking for mermaids’ tears. She cannot resist picking up those shiny, colourful pieces of sea glass and adding them to her ever-growing collection. This obsession has led to penning her first adult novel, Foam On The Crest Of Waves, which is scheduled to be released in September 2018.
When Silke is not at the beach, or writing, or helping her husband to playtest his latest board game invention, she designs book covers for fellow authors.
For more info about Silke and her books, please visit her website: