Monthly Archives: June 2016

Book Blast ~ DROP DEAD HANDSOME

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Drop Dead Handsome
by M.K. Scott

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GENRE: Cozy Mystery

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BLURB:

The Painted Lady Inn is open for business and limping along in the B and B world. A high school reunion package assembles Donna’s least desirable classmates, including the backstabbing cheerleader, her narcissistic high school crush, and Arnie, whose cheesy poem had everyone calling her, hot mama. It’s all something she liked to forget. These are the normal guests.

An octogenarian self-proclaimed sleuth, Father Christmas, a dognapping couple, and a pair who is copying everything in the Inn to set up their own competitive establishment rounds out the group. Maria, the sister-in-law, has a matchmaking agenda for Donna. Daniel, her brother, finds himself serving as a referee with one guest’s multiple wives.

High school reunions can be murder. Detective Mark Taber is on the trail of the murderer, when he isn’t interfering in a smitten Arnie’s determined bid to woo the no nonsense innkeeper.

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Dilapidated Victorian house appears "haunted"

Dilapidated Victorian house appears “haunted”

BOOK EXCERPT

“Hello. Welcome to The Painted Lady Inn. Thanks for choosing the Lady for your weekend getaway.” She held the smile in place, questioning her choice of a name for her bed and breakfast. Daniel remarked it sounded like something out of a horror movie, as if it would come to life.

The woman didn’t answer, but took two more steps closer, then placed her bag on the floor. “I’m glad to be here before the sun sets.”

“You made it.” Her cheeks were starting to ache from continually smiling. Well, that and acting like a genial innkeeper. Why couldn’t she’d just be normal Donna Tollhouse?

“Yes, yes, I did.” The woman glanced around the foyer that had several open doors to the front parlor, library, and dining room. Her lips pursed as her eyes flicked upward.

No dust anywhere and the floors gleamed where they weren’t covered by a floral runner.

“May I have your name, please?”

The woman gave a nervous laugh, which seemed out of place.

“Lorena, Lorena Fitzgerald.”

Convenient, since she was the first name on the list. Her hand gripped the heavy reunion basket and held it out to Lorena. “Compliments of the inn for your stay.” The woman’s French tipped manicured hand wrapped around the basket handle beside Donna’s. “Enjoy the reunion.”

Lorena’s eyes widened. “There’s a reunion? What type?”

Donna had relinquished the basket unaware that her guest didn’t merit it. Too late to take it back too, especially since the woman was now poking through it making pleasurable noises. With her luck, the couple out antiquing would hear about it and expect one too. Well, she did have a couple cases of Reunion Red.

“Ah yes, the local high school is having a reunion. Thirty-one years.”

Lorena fanned her free hand in front of her as if overcome by the thought of a reunion. “Thirty-one years. Goodness, I’ve only been out of school barely twenty years.”

Taking a page from Detective Taber’s book, she ran a hand over her face, hoping to hide her smirk. Okay, the woman looked good, but not that good. A woman in her thirties would wear something a little more playful, edgy, or even more casual. The shoes and sweater set declared her mid-forty. Once she recovered her innkeeper face, she dropped her hand.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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M. K. Scott is the husband and wife writing team behind The Painted Lady Inn Mysteries. Morgan K Wyatt is the general wordsmith, while her husband, Scott, is the grammar hammer and physics specialist. He uses his engineering skills to explain how fast a body falls when pushed over a cliff and various other felonious activities. The Internet and experts in the field provide forensic information, while the recipes and B and B details require a more hands on approach. Morgan’s daughter who manages a hotel provides guest horror stories to fuel the plot lines. The couple’s dog, Chance, is the inspiration behind Jasper, Donna’s dog. Murder Mansion is the first book in The Painted Lady Inn Mysteries. Overall, it is a fun series to create and read. Drop Dead Handsome is the second book in the series. Killer Review should be out in October 2016.

Social Media

Website http://www.morgankwyatt.com/

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMorganKWyatt

Twitter http://www.twitter.com/morgankwyatt

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5826299.Morgan_K_Wyatt

Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/morgankwyatt/

tsu http://www.tsu.co/MorganKWyatt

Buy Links

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EQML0RO
Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01EQML0RO
Amazon Canada https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01EQML0RO
Amazon Australia https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01EQML0RO
Amazon Mexico https://www.amazon.com.mx/dp/B01EQML0RO
Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/639885
Forthcoming on KOBO, iTunes & Barnes and Noble

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

The author will be awarding a prize to multiple winners such as $50 Amazon Gift Cards, $15 Target or Groupon Gift Cards and other GCs and books to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $50 Amazon GC or other prizes – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2016/06/book-blast-drop-dead-handsome-by-mk.html

VBT ~ The University Cat: A Tale for Grown Ups and Graduates

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About the Book

Title: The University Cat: A Tale for Grown Ups and Graduates
Author: Jessika Jenvieve
Genre: Urban Fiction

The University Cat Q

Gargoyles are said to frighten off harmful spirits and protect the buildings that they guard. They are evil creations and those approaching the University’s Gothic buildings at night are advised to use caution. If you think that a Gargoyle is simply made of stone, you are terribly mistaken.

Penny, a super intelligent, well-educated Siamese cat moves into Professor Eagle’s office and sinks her claws into the exquisite calfskin binding of his books. The Gargoyles have her firmly fixed in their sights. There are terrifying times to come in the University Museum and a wicked plot to prevent Professor Poppett and Poodle from winning the Dog Show. If you thought it was safe to go to university, you might need to think again.

Author Bio

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Jessika Jenvieve writes Urban Fantasy, combining the fantastic with the ridiculous and funny. She is working very hard at establishing a cult-following, and has spent a small fortune on dramatic black outfits. She lives in a small village in England, where her unorthodox dress causes gossip and scandal. She is passionate about sports cars, the blues and the ocean.

Life has taken her on a long and unexpected journey from England to Australia and back again. She is an alumna of Bretton Hall, and also City University in London. After graduating, she followed her heart and tried her luck as an actress and singer. She designed costumes and won some awards, then dabbled in lighting design and finally settled on a career as a stage manager. She landed the best job in the world as a stage manager at the Sydney Opera House, spending ten years backstage with some of the greatest performers and musicians. In 2015, she returned to the England and has completed her first crime fiction novel.

Links
The University Cat: a tale for Grown Ups and Graduates
http://amazon.com/author/jessikajenvieve
http://jessikajenvieve.com

Book Excerpt

Penny purred next to him. She sensed he would be very kind to her, having heard his conversation on the car phone. He ordered a special silk cushion, some fresh sardines and a pint of cream, ‘Oh and Darhling get her a brush, one of those with real bristles and a little silk glove for shining her fur.’ The Porsche screeched to a halt, and Erickson leapt out athletically and opened the passenger door. Penny was lifted gently into his arms, with the rug wrapped around her to keep her warm. She looked adoringly at her new friend.

When a cat looks at you in an adoring way, those who know about the ways of cats realise that this is not quite what you think it is. Penny, special as she was, was no different from the rest. Cats seek the best advantage for themselves and simply take it. The best spot by the fire or in the sun, the best piece of fish, and the best bit of your bed. You get the adoring look, and they get whatever they want. Adoring looks in the cat world cost nothing. Penny had her very special blue eyes and lovely fur that ensured she always got what she wanted. She just extended her little paw and wrapped you around it.

Erickson and Penny glided up in a green glass lift to the top of building and as the double doors to Erickson Jon Designs opened as if by magic, Penny was greeted by a throng of gloriously dressed people all squealing, ‘Darhling’ simultaneously. There was a short delay while a spate of air kissing took place, and finally, Penny was placed on her newly purchased cushion and everyone stood back to admire her. Penny, rather enjoying the attention, stroked a casual paw over her perky chocolate pointed ears and contently curled her tail in an attractive shape. Bruno, the visiting ‘photo-artiste,’ as his web site called him, pointed his impressive camera and started snapping away, while Penny opened her big blue eyes and stared straight into the lens. She posed and preened and even batted an imaginary butterfly orchestrated by a chorus of ‘Coos’ and ‘Ahs.’

Suddenly all eyes snapped to the door of the model’s dressing room and Magnolia Potter, model of the year, owner of BeEverSoBeautiful.com and the trophy girlfriend to the latest big thing in Rap and gold chains, burst in and posed herself for all to admire. Magnolia was not as tall as she said she was and rather thinner than she ought to be. She could sense the competition four blocks away, and her heavily eye-lashed face turned slowly to Penny.

 

VBT ~ Chaos Rising

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Title: Chaos Rising
Author: Perry Morris
Genre: Fantasy

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The Lemurian Chronicles by Perry Morris is an epic fantasy that began in 2015 with the publication of Children of the Blessing. Readers all over the world have been enthralled with the gripping tale of Renn and Avaris—two boys who were marked by the gods to become powerful magic users. Chaos Rising, the eagerly anticipated second book of the Lemurian Chronicles, continues the exciting epic story.

Avaris travels into the heart of the Cragg Caves—the home of horrifying beasts, warlocks and demons—to rescue his sister and best friend from slave labor in the mines deep underground. But getting out of the caves alive is only the beginning of his troubles as he is hunted by an army of evil magic users and blood thirsty beasts who have been given the assignment to kill him before he learns to fully use his powers.

Renn (Demaris) is studying at the castle on Elder Island under the watchful eye and protection of the lore masters. But a traitor is in their midst who is being blackmailed by Shamael Daro, the new Grand Warlock, to carry out a single task—eliminate Renn.

Shamael’s power has increased significantly since taking on the mantle of Grand Warlock and he discovers the dark secret of how the most powerful Grand Warlock of all time, Nefarian Drakkas, nearly took total control of Lemuria more than two thousand years ago. He uses this secret to create a group of soulless, magic using spies and killers to do his bidding. His plan is simple; create chaos across the land so the dark forces of the Aven lore can destroy those who follow the gods of light once and for all.

Author Bio

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Perry was born and raised in the greater Salt Lake City, Utah area. He is very happily married and has seven wonderful children and one grand-daughter. Perry works for a large, publically traded, international company in Provo, Utah, where he manages supplier management, procurement and packaging engineering functions. His first exposure to the great world of fantasy literature was, of course, J.R.R Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, when he was fourteen. After that, he read the books of Patricia McKillap, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Stephen R. Donaldson, etc…Currently his favorite author is Brandon Sanderson. He loves the unique and interesting magic systems Brandon creates, the memorable characters and interesting stories.

Perry is an author every day for an hour during lunch. He actually began writing the Lemurian Chronicles in 1993, and after more than two decades of rewrites, editing, re-editing, etc… finally decided to “take the plunge” and publish his epic fantasy. Don’t worry; each additional installment will be released no more than eighteen months to two years apart.

Thanks for you interest in Perry and his works.

Links
Author website:  www.perrymorris.net
Goodreads:   https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14062603.Perry_Morris
Amazon author page:  amazon.com/author/perrymorris
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PerryMorrisAuthor/

Kindle Countdown
Chaos Rising will be on Kindle Countdown during the tour! On the following dates, you can get the book at a reduced price:
June 28th = 0.99
June 29th = 1.99
June 30th = 2.99

And on July 1st, the book is back up to the regular price of $3.99.
Buy the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01G7FEORG

Book Signing ~ Dino Hunt

Max Davine book signing today @ Dymocks Watergardens. We even had a visit by a friendly croc 🙂

 

Interview With ….

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Isabelle, thanks for being my guest today. Tell us about you. 
If I were an animal, I would be a mountain goat – minus the goat. I love the outdoors, and mountains in particular and whenever I have a chance, I am on one: hiking, biking and/or skiing. Despite now calling myself a writer, my first love was math and quantitative models. I used to love just working with my computer. But my life now could not be more different. I hardly even build a spreadsheet, and spend my time talking and managing. It is interesting how life evolves when you are open to it.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
Whenever I get asked a question of who is my favorite person, or role model, or who I’d like to hang out, I could easily tell you that there isn’t one person in particular, but that there are a ton of people that I admire and that, them, collective, would give me the inspiration and all skill sets. But to properly answer the question, I’d have to say one of the players in the Warriors basketball team. I know they just lost… but I would like to be with them to feel the energy of their team, witness the camaraderie they built together, and have that feeling that only winning a sports game can give you.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
As it is usual with those who have early starts that are difficult, it becomes easier to just put it in the past and never truly revisit it. That is what I did. I creative a narrative for my life that did not include my childhood. I did not want to be defined by it, nor ever be labeled a “victim.” But when my first son was born, I felt this strong desire to tell my story. I wanted him to know who I was, what I overcame, and that all we had in our life was a result of a lot of effort to bring us to the fortune we currently we enjoy. And that desire never let up. I just kept writing and writing. Years after, I took a writing class on a whim and for the first time I shared my story, with total strangers. Their reaction astounded me. They wanted to know more, felt inspired by it and asked me to tell the rest. That is when I realized that a story of a girl who grew up within a dysfunctional family in the jungles of Brazil was actually relatable to many people. I believe it was the first time I truly realized that there was a common humanity to us all.

What is your writing process? 
I don’t really have a set process. As I usually have my computer nearby, whenever I have a block of free time, I open it up and start writing. In fact, I am writing this interview under the canopy of a redwood tree while my son is getting ready for a baseball game. My process is simply finding – and capturing – time.

Tell us about your main character
Leaving Shangrila is a memoir, so naturally, I am the protagonist of the story. It is challenging to write about oneself in a way that does not feel self-serving, self-critical, or its flip side, self-aggrandizing. I took great care to write about me, and all others in my story in the context of the facts that occurred. I did not want to portray myself as a victim, which I could easily have done. Nor did I want to portray myself as a hero, as I suppose I could have given how I was able to overcome the adversity in my life. But neither of those would be true. I had plenty of flaws, and not all of those because of how I grew up. I believe I owned them in the book. I believe they made me who I was and informed the decisions I made.

If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role and why.
I am not sure I am aware of the teenage actress within the age range for the story, but I would like it to be someone like Tora Birch (who is definitely an adult now and would not the person) when she played My Girl years ago. Mostly because she was so tenacious, and unafraid, even though she was still vulnerable and scared.
What are you working on next?

What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their book?
Start early. I heard this advice myself, that is, to start promoting the book a year before it gets out. I did not pay heed at the time… so when I finally started focused on marketing, I felt completely overwhelmed. There were so many avenues, at all kinds of different price points, and I also have to say, a lot of predatory people who offered their services for thousands of dollars, without much of a guarantee of what would be the outcome. It is challenging to sift through all the information and make informed decisions that are right for your book. I enlisted friends who have published books as advisors, but also I relied heavily on the Book Acquisitions Editor because I felt that he was someone I could trust. So besides the starting early (a must), do find someone you can trust – and who is willing to help you – to sort through the maze.

What is your favorite book on your shelf right now?
I suppose what seems to be everyone’s favorite: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I find the book extraordinary in how she developed the characters, told the story. It is the only book I can remember that made me cry. And I related to one of the sisters, Isabelle (not only because we share a name). She was so strong, so wanting to become bigger than everybody’s expectations of her. She wanted (and did) to make a difference. She took risks.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
It depends how you define that. I could brag about speaking multiple languages, or some prowess intellectually or professionally. But I don’t think at the end, life is about that. I just simply and actively try to be the best person I can be. I love deeply, I choose honesty, I persevere through adversity, I nurture my friendships and I try to help others. Is that special? I would hope not, because I wish all people lived like that.

You are given the choice of one super power. What super power would you have and why?
If I could have a superpower than I could impose on others, it would be to erase all lying from the world.

List 5 things on your bucket list:

  • Travel in Iceland for at least a month
  • Complete the 10 day (or is it 11 day) hike around Mount Blanc through France, Switzerland and Italy with my family.
  • See my children achieve happiness in life, however they choose to get there.
  • Achieve professionally something makes a meaningful impact in the world. My job is important, Leaving Shangrila hopefully will inspire countless people. But I mean something larger, some that can tangible make the world a better place. I don’t know what the metric it is for that yet.
  • Retire at 55 (by retiring, I mean not needing to work, but choosing to work if I want to).

Where can readers find you on the web?
My website is www.isabellegecilsauthor.com

Any final thoughts?
If you read Leaving Shangrila and wonder what it is you can do, do the following:
1) Choose honestly, always. The only people who benefit from lies are no one.
2) When something seems amiss with others, just ask whether all is right in the world. Do something. And something other than think “that is none of my business.” Imagine the people you could help!

VBT ~ Leaving Shangrila

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Leaving Shangrila: The True Story of a Girl, Her Transformation and Her Eventual Escape
by Isabelle Gecils

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GENRE: Memoir

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BLURB:

Leaving Shangrila: The True Story of A Girl, Her Transformation and Her Eventual Escape by Isabelle Gecils, is the captivating memoir of a charmingly complex heroine.

Isabelle paints a colorful world as she tells the tale of how she forged her own path in the midst of turmoil. The story, set in Brazil where she grew up, is populated with fascinating characters, both good and bad. From a narcissistic mother to her perpetually flawed lovers to three resilient sisters, Leaving Shangrila’s motley crew make for an endlessly intriguing storyline.

Leaving Shangrila begins with young Isabelle, trapped in a hellish world. Surrounded by lies, manipulation, and abuse, Isabelle is desperate to escape the adversity of this place. Filled with tremendous strength and an unyielding drive to survive, she begins her journey toward freedom and self-realization. Through the trials and obstacles along the way, Isabelle goes back and forth to balance who she is with what she must do to survive.

With themes of perseverance, self-reliance, and the resilience of the human spirit, Leaving Shangrila: The True Story Of A Girl, Her Transformation and Her Eventual Escape highlights the important character traits one discovers on the path to finding their self. Truly empowering and inspirational, readers everywhere will relate to this coming of age story.

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BOOK EXCERPT

My entire class staged a school play, except that, unlike everybody else, I watched it rather than act in it. Joining the theater troop required almost daily rehearsals at one of my classmates’ lavish colonial homes near school. I was not invited to join the group. They already knew I would not come.

At the school grounds, my classmates cracked jokes about what happened during their afternoons together. They perched on one another as they traded stories and exchanged hugs. I heard about the English classes they took after school, their boat trips around the bays of Rio de Janeiro, the excited chatter that accompanied field trips I was never allowed to join. When the entire class decided to spend a lightly chaperoned weekend in Cabo Frio, a town with white, sandy beaches and coconut trees lining the boardwalks, my jealousy meter spiked. For two months, that is all anyone talked about. Since I did not even receive an invitation, nobody spoke with me.

I felt lonely observing them. I longed to be as adored as were the two most popular girls in my class: Isabela and Flavia. Isabela, despite the discolored white spots all over her skin due to type 1 diabetes, was the reigning queen. The boys swooned over Flavia, two years older than the rest of us although she repeated third and fifth grade due to her poor academic performance.

I observed these two girls, searching for what it was about them that made them special. Yes, they were both beautiful. While their beauty may have helped with their popularity, it surely was not the main factor, as there were other pretty girls too. I decided that what they had in common, what nobody else had, was that they were the best athletes in my class, even perhaps the best in all of the school.

Isabela and Flavia were always the ones everybody wanted to have on their team and as their friend. They were either team captain or the first pick. They seemed to try harder than everybody else. So I thought that if I truly focused on sports, then I could be just like them. If only I could excel on the handball field—as girls did not play soccer, despite the madness surrounding the most popular sport in Brazil—then maybe, just maybe, my social standing could change too. I made a plan. One day, I would be just as great as these two. One day, I would be chosen first.

At the beginning of each week, the P.E. teacher assigned two captains. They, in turn, each picked a team for the week. We played handball on Tuesdays, volleyball on Thursdays. And every week, for the past three years, I was the captain’s last, grudgingly chosen pick. I knew why. Had I been captain, I would have chosen myself last too.

I did not score any goals in handball. My throws were either too weak or out of bounds. Knowing this, my team did not bother passing the ball to me. I spent the game playing defense, barely succeeding at blocking the other team’s powerhouse players as they demolished the team I was on. When an opponent charged towards me dribbling the ball, I got out of the way. In volleyball, I removed my thick glasses for fear they’d be broken, and as a result, I could not see the ball coming to hit me in the face.

I did not particularly enjoy playing sports. However, to change my standing in the team-selection pecking order, I practiced with a purpose. During games, I became more aggressive. I wore my glasses. I reached for the goal, whereas before I simply stood on the sidelines. I blocked more aggressively too—even if it meant pulling my opponent’s shirt or hair—no matter that this often led to a penalty against my team. During these early weeks, I returned home with two broken eye glasses, earned a couple of red cards, and made my teammates angry.

At home, after completing my homework, I begged my two sisters to play ball with me. They did play, but not for long. When they grew tired, I threw the ball against the wall, attempting to increase my arm strength. When my arms felt tired, I ran around the farm to increase my speed and reflexes by dodging a pretend ball. At night, as I drifted to sleep, I prayed silently so that my sisters would not hear me plead: “God, please, make me be chosen first.”

As weeks turned into months, I became quite adept at catching the ball as it ricocheted from the wall towards me. I was no longer chosen last. That horrible fate was bestowed on a shy and almost as awkward classmate who had the extra disadvantage of being overweight, which slowed her down compared to me; I was slight and scrawny. Yet, despite months of effort, I did not score any more than before, did not throw the ball any harder or more accurately, and hardly touched the ball at all. Since I often increased the penalty count with my new, more aggressive tactics, the coach had me sit out whenever there was an odd number of players.

A year into this futile attempt, I felt a deep sense of disappointment but realized the foolishness of pursuing an utterly impossible dream. Maybe one had to be content with their lot in life, I concluded. Any attempts to try to change who one was, or what one wanted, were futile. Feeling defeated and deflated and knowing that, despite any effort, the sports court was not a place for me, I talked myself out of my goal. I stopped practicing in the afternoons. I removed my glasses again during games. I accepted that I was not meant to be popular and that the world where my classmates lived did not belong to me.

I hated my life. I hated going home where there was nothing to do and nobody to play with. I hated how different we were—with our round house, with our religious meetings, with our inability to do anything other than go to school. Not knowing what to do to change any of it, I returned to my routine, finding friendship in books and getting all my validation from my grades.

Two months later, I felt sick.

My head and muscles hurt; my nose was running; and I coughed uncontrollably. I barely slept. My mother suggested I stay home. No matter how sick I felt, I would never choose to stay home with my stepfather lurking around. Anywhere was better than home. Despite my illness, I dragged myself to school that day. It was a Tuesday, which meant handball day. That morning, I walked to the handball court, hoping my swollen eyes and drippy nose would help me avoid playing at all.

“Coach, I am sick,” I said with narrowed eyes. “Can I sit out the game today?”

“Being sick isn’t enough reason not to play,” the P.E. teacher said, not even bothering to look at me. “So, go play.”

Although students never questioned the decisions of a professor, I protested feebly.

He dismissed me again, treating me as a little pest who could not be taken seriously.

“Here is what you will go do,” he told me. “Your team needs a goalie. Go defend it,” he said, pointing towards the goal. The regular goalie was also sick that day, but unlike me, she had the good sense to stay at home.

Off to guard the goal post I went, grateful at least that I did not have to run or be pushed around on the court. I hoped that a strong team defense would prevent me from having to exert much effort. My teammates groaned and shook their heads in disbelief as they saw me standing in front of the goal, mumbling that the team had already lost. The opposing team congratulated themselves before the whistle blew. “This will be easy,” they bragged within earshot, ensuring I knew they considered themselves to have already clinched victory. Having me guard the goal was the same as having no goalie at all.

A surge of anger and despondency bubbled up within me upon hearing their snickers. I felt tired of always being at the bottom of the totem pole, tired of feeling ridiculed and different. I puffed my chest as if this would make me larger, ignoring how painful it felt to take deep breaths.

My team’s defense did not keep its end of the bargain. The balls from the opposing team flew towards the goal at unreasonable speeds, from what appeared to be impossible angles. Yet, I blocked them out. I blocked every single ball that came towards me. I shielded that goal as if my life depended on it. At the end of the game, my team won by a landslide.

Not used to the taste of victory, I did not distinguish the elation I felt from the confusion at this unexpected turn of events. My dumbfounded classmates looked at me as if they saw me for the first time, trying to make sense of what had just happened.

They, and I, were in awe.

My feat as the goalie made the gossip circuit and by the following week, despite some lingering doubt about my abilities, I was picked third in the line-up. I had jumped seven places in one week! This was better than an improvement; it was a major victory!

At the sound of the whistle, the players moved. I tried to concentrate. Not feeling as angry as I did the previous week, my confidence waned even before the game started. But I wasn’t playing for the game. I was playing for my dream, my rank in the social pecking order, and my desire that for once, people would pay attention to me.

Nobody pierced my defense of the goal. My team won again.

Two weeks later, the captains planned the team selection for the school’s annual Olympic Games. The teams played together for two months in preparation for the week-long competition, held at a sports complex where all the parents—and the large, extended families that most Brazilians had—watched the games. The Olympics was the talk of the school.

My class split the girls into teams; these teams would play both handball and volleyball. The P.E. teacher selected the team captains. To my utter surprise, Isabela was not one of them. Thus, there was a possibility that Flavia and Isabela, the two best players, could be on the same team together. And that, I was sure, would lock in victory for whichever team they were a part of. I hoped that I would be chosen, even if last, to the better team. It was obvious to me that the opposing team would have no chance and would simply be crushed.

There was an air of excitement and nervousness at the school playground as the captains readied themselves to make their picks. Flavia was one of the captains. Ana Cristina, a strong but not stellar player, was the captain of the opposing team. After a coin toss, Ana Cristina was first to select players.

“I want Isabelle,” she said pointing at me.

She clearly meant Isabela, with an “a”, and not me, with the French spelling of a name most Brazilians did not get right. It made no sense to me that she would have chosen otherwise. So I did not budge.

“You heard her, Isabelle,” the coach said, tapping me on my shoulder. “Hurry up and move to Ana Cristina’s side.”

I was too stunned to hear the loud murmur emanating from the cluster of the other girls at this unexpected choice. This could not be right. I thought Ana Cristina had been crazy to select me. This choice guaranteed that Flavia would pick Isabela next. Ana Cristina’s team would be decimated. No team could win against the two stronger players.

I looked at Ana Cristina with panic in my face and shook my head. “Don’t do it,” I whispered. “Pick Isabela first.”

She looked at me, puzzled.

“Why?” she asked

“Get the next strongest player. Don’t let them be on the same team. Worry about the goalkeeper later!” I stated, with a modicum of desperation in my voice.

She stared at me with a serious frown on her face and gestured impatiently, beckoning me.

“Isabelle, just come over here.”

As I walked, she spoke loudly enough for all the other girls to hear. “If I do not choose you, Flavia will. Then my team will not ever have the slightest chance. Nobody can score when you are defending that goal. You are the most important player here and the one I want on my team.”

Still stunned, I moved next to Ana Cristina as the selection continued until all girls were sorted into teams. Once I got past my horror that we would now face Flavia and Isabela together, I remembered my wish made months earlier, the one I gave up so easily, about being chosen first. Yet, even in my wildest dreams, I had never expected that it would happen during the most important and visible athletic event of the school year. I felt an unfamiliar feeling of elation fill my chest. I felt I could burst. A broad smile spread across my face. I went home, screaming with joy: “I was chosen first! I was really chosen first!”

And for the first time in my life, I believed I was good at something.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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Isabelle Gecils grew up in Shangrila, a remote farm in a lush jungle in Brazil. But who really knows where she hails from? Her immediate family hailed from 6 different countries: France (dad), Egypt (mom and grandma), Turkey (grandpa), Lithuania (grandpa) and Poland (grandma).  There is a freedom in belonging nowhere and everywhere at the same time.
Leaving Shangrila is the story of Isabelle’s journey from a life others choose for her to one she created for herself. To support the writing of this memoir, Isabelle completed the Stanford Creative Nonfiction Writing certificate program. She currently lives in Saratoga, California, with her husband, four sons and two territorial cats.
Isabelle_gecils@yahoo.com
www.Isabellegecilsauthor.com

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/IsabelleGecilsAuthor/
@IsabelleGecils
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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Isabelle Gecils will be awarding a $30 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $30 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

https://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2016/05/vbt-leaving-shangrila-by-isabelle-gecils.html

Book Launch ~ The Intergalactic custody battle

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Last Sunday (June 19th), Lee J. Mavin launched his book, The Intergalactic Custody Battle at Glee Books, Sydney.

What a turn-out! The book launch was a fantastic success! Thanks everyone for coming

Stay Tuned for more events

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Provisionally Approved Episode 37 – Bogan Bachelor

This week some of us from Bogan Bachelor had the pleasure of being guests on Provisionally Approved, with host Maria Romas.

Some candid fun moments BTS, and more. Check it out peeps! 🙂

So many thanks to the crew of Provisionally Approved and RMITV.