Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe by Sarah Mandell @theshyauthor @GoddessFish

Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe
by Sarah Mandell


The McElroy brothers find trouble easily. Dylan plunges headfirst into it, while Daniel cleans up behind him. That’s the way it’s always been, ever since their mother left them to be bounced around the foster system, causing trouble wherever they went. The soon-to-be euthanized giraffe they just stole from the Northside Animal Park may be their biggest predicament yet, in more ways than one, but there's no undoing what's been done.

Lost in Nebraska without a plan, clueless how to care for the ornery old beast in the back of the trailer, the well-meaning brothers stop to rest at an abandoned-looking barn. A pretty redhead with a snappy temperament and a shotgun discovers the boys and their sixteen-foot stowaway. Her name is Josephine, she lives on this farm with her father who is spoken of, but never seen, and her root cellar has more locks than a bank vault. She’s got a way with animals and plenty of secrets, not to mention the interest of two brothers who swore they’d never let some girl come between them. 




“I’ll open the door. You can bait her off the truck.”

With their roles designated, Dylan reached for the lever. The back door of the trailer flew open with a loud crash. Daniel winced at the noise. They were supposed to be doing this quietly. He peeked around the barn to see the farmhouse, in case a light had come on in response to the bump in the night, but there was nothing. He returned to his spot by the trailer and squinted his eyes, looking into the rectangular cavern. There seemed to be no sign of life in there either, which was odd, considering all the signs of life thumping around in that very same trailer pretty much nonstop since Chicago.

“Crap. Did we kill her?” Dylan asked, his tone wavering just enough to give away the tightening in his throat. “Millie?” His voice echoed in the metal room lined with hay, but no sound could be heard in response.

Daniel stepped forward and held out one of the salads, just like he was supposed to, while balancing the bag with the sandwiches in his other arm. Sure enough, the smell of food inspired movement. The boys smiled at each other in relief. Millie was still alive back there, concealed by darkness, and perhaps she was hungry enough to follow her dinner down the ramp, off the truck, and into the barn. Surely they could lure her like a kitten. How they got her into this huge trailer was something no words could describe, but how they planned to get her out wasn’t likely to be any easier.

A long blackish purple tongue emerged from the dark and licked the salad, pulling out a piece of iceberg lettuce to chew. Daniel, no longer pissed at his brother for thinking up these stupid adventures, was now in awe of the creature before him. Her crooked bottom teeth chomped the lettuce against the flat roof of her mouth, just inches from his hand. Next, she inspected the paper bag that held the sandwiches, curious by what was probably her first up-close sniff of fried food, and Daniel let her, thinking nothing of it. She stuck her whole pointy face in the bag, coming out with Daniel’s chicken sandwich. It was still wrapped in wax paper, but she didn’t seem to mind. Her jaw slowly opened and closed, rolling in circular motions like a cow, as she savored a meal not intended for her. She ate the paper too.

Guest Post:

What is your favorite time period?

The 1930’s are definitely my favorite time period. I know what you’re thinking – the depression era? Yep! I’m not saying I’d want to go back in time and experience it for myself, I’m only saying it’s the time in history that has always been the most fascinating to me. I can’t seem to get enough of it. If a book or movie takes place in the 30’s, count me in! In fact, I seriously considered writing my new book, Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe, as taking place in the 30’s, but I chickened out and went with a contemporary setting instead. I feared getting bogged down in historical research and appropriate dialog might keep me from what mattered most in the story, which were the characters. Even with the giraffe story taking place a contemporary context, there’s a lot of elements in the novel that hint of simpler times, and many of the struggles faced on this fictional farm in Nebraska could have occurred during that time in history with just a few modified details.

The reason the 1930’s are so interesting to me is because there was such a wide range of hard times occurring all across the country, all at once. Americans in every state struggled and endured, and I admire their resilience. Hard times make for incredible stories, as weird as that is to say, and some of the true accounts I’ve read or watched are far better than fiction.

During the 1930’s, Americans got by on very little, they endured long term unemployment, dust storms so terrible some thought it was the end of the world, and they listened to the radio in horror as the Hindenburg exploded. The 30’s had some positive events as well, like the World’s Fair in NYC, the end of prohibition, Amelia Earhart’s flight across the Atlantic, and FDR’s efforts to get America back on her feet again. The country was packed with immigrants from every European country (including my great grandparents from Poland and Ireland!), and they certainly had some culture clashes, but they were all after the same thing: a better life. In my new book, that’s all the characters want, but just as real people who lived through the 1930s knew all too well, it wasn’t such an easy thing to achieve.  

So much happened during this favorite decade of mine. Life was simple, life was a struggle, and I think that combination is always going to be worth studying. Maybe one of these days I’ll accept my own personal challenge and write historical fiction where my favorite decade has the spotlight!


Sarah Mandell is a professionally trained artist with a background in commercial interior design. She's also the brains and busy hands behind a thriving indie craft business called Once Again Sam in Greenville, SC. Even with an ever-expanding collection of creative outlets, she's truly the happiest when she's writing. Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe is Sarah’s second novel. Her debut novel was Celia on the Run (Untreed Reads, 2012).


5 handmade laser etched wooden pendants 

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