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KIRKUS REVIEWS Gives Alone In A crowded Room An Adoption Story a Star


The editors have selected Alone In a Crowded Room, An adoption Story as one of Kirkus Reviews Best Indie Books of 2018! Only 100 books make the list, , and Kirkus appraises thousands of books through their Indie program every year. The winner will be announced later this year.
Stay tuned!


"A funny, bittersweet, and ultimately joyful  Engaging and easy to read, this gem of a book brought tears and smiles. Written in a conversational yet eloquent style, the life of a young girl through her grown-up years is described in funny and oftentimes emotional detail. Her adoptive parents are kind and loving in their own way, providing her a life rich in material things, but it is her grandparents' unconditional love that sustains her through the pain and longing for the mother she never knew. It is not until she finally embarks on the difficult task of searching for her birth mother does she realize it is that unconditional love that has given her the courage to try. Throughout, her life is wonderfully told in fascinating and delightful vignettes. This story is educational as well as entertaining and I recommend it to all, regardless of whether adoption is part of your life or not." Betsy A., Virginia

"Totally engaging. A beautifully crafted tale of an adopted young woman's journey. The author has an incredible talent for taking the reader with her as she details the pain and the triumphs of growing up in a family of privilege while enduring the emotional distance of her adopted parents. The author has a gift for engaging the reader with her beautifully descriptive writing. A must read for anyone." Lorie C., Colorado

"Wonderful story, so well written. "This book was a delight to read. Loved, loved, loved this book, the prose and descriptive first-person narrative brought it to life. But the clincher was it got to my heart! Oprah where are you? You have got to read this!" Christine B., California

"I loved this book. I just finished and am still crying. This is a completely absorbing read. With a riveting story and characters, I had to keep reminding myself that it's a true story. The grandparents are amazing." Judith B., Colorado

"A great read. I really enjoyed this book. So well written. The author pulls you into the story of Lexie and you just want to stay there! The story builds on Lexie's adoption, but, it involves so much more than that! I look forward to reading more from this author. Highly recommend." Laurie H., Colorado

"This beautiful story of an adoptee’s life is touching and enlightening. From the first page to the last, this beautiful account of an adoptee’s life is touching and enlightening. While every adopted child’s experience is unique to them, I found the author’s vignettes of time with her grandparents especially poignant. A quite revealing story for extended families of an adopted child to better understand all they quietly carry inside." Sandra W., Arizona

"A fascinating tale of privilege and loss. Alone in a Crowded Room is an engaging book and Bierkan is a beautiful, descriptive writer. The reader vividly takes you on a journey of her delightful life of privilege while at the same time allows you into her heart to feel her visceral undercurrent of loneliness and separation from her birth mother. Bierkan does a wonderful job..."

Donna M., New Hampshire

"This is an ultimately happy story and is beautifully written. An insightful and poignant story. I read it almost straight through. I have always been intrigued with adoption. Although I've never had a personal experience with it, I have listened intently to others who have. This is an ultimately happy story and is beautifully written." Jane W., Nebraska

"Adoption in the 50's. Such a readable book about the adoption story and very relevant to anybody adopted in the 50's or even to anybody born in the 50's. I found the writing beautiful and it really took me back to my own childhood but gave me keen insight into the feelings of my adopted friends." William B., Colorado

"You won't want to put it downI nearly completed this beautifully crafted gem of a book in one sitting. Written as a series of vignettes, the author’s engaging style is strong on insight, compassion, and humor as she explores the three aspects of the adoption triad and the search for her own birth mother. Regardless of whether adoption has been part of your life, you are bound to be touched by this sweet story." Kurt B., Colorado



When Lexie Saunders learns she is adopted, her life is forever changed. Instead of feeling "special," as her new mother encourages her to believe, Lexie is haunted by the mother who gave her up. The absence of her birth mother leaves a hole in Lexie's heart, keeping her separate and feeling different from others. She often experiences acute loneliness even in the midst of a crowd of friends or family. Were she to find her biological mother she might feel complete. This, however, could mean another rejection. It could also devastate the mother who has raised her. Will Lexie search for her birth mother or decide her past is better left alone? 

***Find it on Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, LifeRich Publishing, and iBooks***


    I was five when I found out I was adopted. I remember that night because it began with a star-flooded sky. I was sitting in Mother’s lap with my back to her chest, my pajama-ed legs dangling on either side of her. We were in front of the fireplace watching the flames dart up the chimney in a happy riot of crackling yellow and orange.
    “Where do babies come from?” I asked. I was looking for the birds-and-the-bees story, not for what came next.
    “You’re chosen and that, little girl, makes you extra special.” I must have turned around to look at her because I remember how the moonlight poured through the window highlighting her face. She looked odd. I can certainly guess why now, but not then.
    “How come I’m chosen?” For some peculiar reason I remember noticing the little bird feeder with its windows and shutters hanging from a branch of our old cherry tree. A few chickadees were huddling there.
    “I picked you out of a nursery of babies. And it was these strawberry blond curls which caught my eye.” She coils one around her finger, letting it go to spring back. “When I picked you up, you grabbed this little finger right here.” She wiggles it in front of my face and adds, “You squeezed it so tight, I just knew you were the one for me.”
    I take her finger but am distracted. Through the lacy etchings of frost on the window panes, icicles are glittering on limbs of dogwood. An unblemished carpet of white lies over the lawn, catching the moonlight and making it sparkle. It’s like magic outside, but inside my thoughts are suddenly flying out in all sorts of scary directions.
    “But I thought, um, I had to come out of you.” I point to her tummy. “What if my real mommy comes back for me?”
    “Your birth mother couldn’t keep you. I’m your mother now.” Mother tightens her embrace.
    “Didn’t she love me?” I wail. “If you picked me it means she un-picked me, doesn’t it?” The corners of my mouth turn down and my lips tremble.
    “I don’t know why she couldn’t keep you, Honey, but I’m so happy she didn’t because now you are mine, and I love you very, very much!”
    Outside, the bird feeder sways as sheets of snow begin falling in a slant. The chickadees are gone. The stars are missing, too, and in front of us, the fire has turned into a bed of ash with embers barely glowing.
    I think I must have become very still, because from that moment on I swear I felt my real mama hover beside me. She was like a presence, who from that day forward never really left my side. That star-studded night ended with a blizzard of snow falling gray/white and spooky, I torn between wanting to know the mother who belonged to me and wanting to belong to the mother who wasn’t mine.
    And so began a lifetime of missing Mama. It was like living with a hole inside me. I often ached with the hurt of not belonging, of feeling lost. Even in a crowded room I could feel lonely.

  Connie Bierkan 

BIERKAN is an American who grew up in Zürich, Switzerland and London, England. She sat her Ordinary and Advanced Level exams administered by the University of London in ’68 and ‘70. Bierkan attended Skidmore College and graduated Goucher College earning a BA in English Literature with a minor in Semantics. She worked toward a Master's degree at Fairfield University in Psychology. Bierkan’s debut novel, ALONE IN A CROWDED ROOM - AN ADOPTION STORY, published in 2017, received a Kirkus Star and was named Kirkus Best Book 2018. Presently, FREE TO BREATHE is about to be published and she is researching her third book, working title IN SPITE OF IT ALL about love lost then found set against the backdrop of the Allies’ discovery of Nazi Propaganda Art in 1945. Fluent in French and German, Bierkan loves to read, people watch and travel. She and Kurt, her best friend-husband-Naval Aviator-vet-airline-pilot-gentleman-tree-farmer, live at 8200’ in the Colorado Rockies with their dog, Oliver.

"Honest hearts produce honest actions."











Available March 2020


A coming of age story

Free To Breathe is a coming-of-age story about seventeen-year-old Ryder Tibbs, who hankers for a college education his father adamantly forbids. The novel primarily takes place on a Wyoming Ranch at the turn of the twentieth century. Ryder loves the Rockies, but since America is in the throes of a rambunctious industrial revolution, Ryder dreams to experience it.

Free to Breathe is a tender story exploring the sorrow, confusion, and identity issues so many young men endure. Without resorting to platitudes or invalidating Ryder’s journey, the novel offers very real hope. Thanks to Aunt Sarah who comes back into Ryder’s life, Ryder will learn two essential elements for healthy adulthood: how to love authentically and how one must not live for others.

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These are collections written and published by my fellow students and me. Teacher Carolyn Campbell, renowned poet, novelist, playwright, and composer has encouraged us to write about our pasts. She is a six-time winner of the Colorado Author's League for play, books of poetry and novel; the Colorado Book Award for Tattooed Woman; and her novel, Fireweed, was a finalist for the Willa Award. I owe so much to this remarkable woman.


"Memoir represents a slice of life in which authors reflect upon intimate issues, family stories, specific events or personal relationships. It is a glimpse of the past, vividly recreated through creative writing. As friends and family come and go, it is vital to record our point in time."                                                           

Carolyn Campbell


"Poetry is a way of life, a way of looking at the world in new ways, of expressing oneself, of bringing into view thoughts and feelings which run through the veins of humanity. Poetry is passion, a new awareness, an awakening.

Carolyn Campbell