Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Excerpt - INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders by L Leander

Its excerpt day! This week we are joined by L. Leander and her book INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders

Sometimes life isn't what we wish for.  A Gypsy circus comes to a small Appalachian community in 1843.  A na├»ve, misunderstood farm girl is entranced by the sights, sounds and costumes and is persuaded to join the troupe.  Late one night she leaves the only home she has ever known and follows the Gypsy wagon circus.  She learns to ride the main act - an elephant named Cecil and she and the elephant form an instant bond.  She is given the stage name of INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders and is delighted.  

But all is not as it seems.  There are undertones of danger and sadness lurking in the shadows, as foretold by the old fortune-teller Vadoma.  Inzared finds true love and works hard to gain acceptance into the Gypsy world.  Someone is sabotaging the circus - but whom?  Inzared and Paytre (the boss handler) search for clues.  What of the family Inzared left behind?  Will they ever forgive her?  Does she miss them?

This book is for anyone who has ever had a dream so big, so overwhelming that it consumed his or her every waking minute.  Sometimes you just might get more than you bargained for and maybe it’s not what you really wanted after all.

Paytre turned to Shandor.  “She’ll need a stage name.”
Shandor thought for a moment.  She thinks she’s such a queen, she can be called Inzared.”
I gasped in delight at the foreign-sounding name he had given me.  “What does it mean?” I asked.
“Queen.  Queen of the Elephant Riders,” Shandor replied.  “We shall bill you as Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders. 
“Here, take Cecil while I get her a costume,” Paytre said.  Shandor led the elephant to the performer’s entrance while Paytre grabbed my hand and pulled me to the changing wagon.  “Lileth, the trapeze artist, is about your size,” he said.  The costume wagon was filled with racks of colorful, neatly-arranged finery.  Gauzy fabrics in every hue beckoned me, sparkling and enticing me to try them on.  At the base of each display were matching shoes, some with pointed toes, some slipper-like, all with sequins or gems attached.   Paytre reached for a bright red leotard and a headdress of red and white plumes set in a silver crown.  “Put these on.”  He shoved the clothing into my arms then reached for a pair of slippers off the shoe rack and a pair of white tights.  “Hurry, get dressed.”  He shut the door, remaining in front of it so no one could enter.
In disbelief, I stared at the armload of clothes I held.  Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders.  Even if only for tonight, I would ride Cecil to the call of the ringmaster and the sound of the trumpet in the circus ring.  I undressed, donned the costume, and deftly pulled my hair up using a comb I found laying on a vanity table.  Pulling on the tights and the glittering red suit, my eyes lingered a moment on the shimmery fabric and spangles sewn haphazardly all over the skimpy garment.  The headdress was a bit difficult, but once it was secured with pins, I put the slippers on my feet.  The girl who smiled at me in the mirror was unrecognizable.  She was beautiful.  She was tall.  She was mysterious.  A pinch of red powder from a jar on the vanity, rubbed into my cheeks and lips, gave my face some color.  Tonight I’d be a star.   I sure hope no one recognizes me.  A pang of guilt stabbed my conscience as I thought about the scanty outfit and what Ma would say, but I tried to ignore the voice and opened the door to Paytre’s admiring whistle. 
“You are beautiful, Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders.”  He took my hand and we ran to join Cecil.   “Don’t be scared, just follow my lead.  Cecil likes you and you’ll do fine.”
A line of performers was in place at the back entrance of the Big Top, waiting for the grand entrance.  Laughter tumbled out the door as the clowns went through their antics inside the tent, preparing the audience for the big show to come.

L.Leander is an author and award-winning singer/songwriter.  She spent her youth in small-town Michigan where life consisted of farming, blue-collar jobs and innocence.  Ms. Leander credits teachers for feeding her desire to learn and exposing her to the world outside.  She yearned to travel  and experience different cultures.  Her dreams have come true.

Ms. Leander’s interests include history and the circus.  She has combined the two to create a series of Young Adult books about a Gypsy circus and a young woman from Appalachia who joins them to become the star performer in the show.

Ms. Leander lives with her husband in Wisconsin and Mexico.

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INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders

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