Things I Like Doing When I’m Not Writing by Sarah Mandell – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sarah Mandell will be awarding 5 of her handmade laser etched wooden pendants that she is launching as a new collection in conjunction with the release of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Things you like doing when you aren’t writing
Sarah Mandell – author of Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe

There’s so much I want to do every day. Everything inspires me, and I’m never bored. Writing fiction is one of my favorite things to do, but when I’m not dreaming up stories or developing characters, I can usually be found doing on of these things:

5. Reading: surprise, surprise, I love to curl up with a good book! I’m also a huge fan of audio books, and get a lot of reading done while I’m in the car, out for a jog, or working in my studio. I mostly read fiction (contemporary, historical, dystopian, and pretty much anything that’s a little offbeat or bittersweet), but will occasionally pick up non-fiction or biographies.

4. Joyriding in my Mini Cooper: I’m not much of a car person, but I love driving my Mini, especially in the wide open country with the windows down. I found a lot of visual inspiration for my new novel, Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe, while driving around to nowhere in particular with my husband, taking in the gorgeous scenery here in the upstate of SC. Sometimes I’ll take my camera and pull over when I see a cool run-down barn or colorful field at sunset, but most of the time I just enjoy the wind in my face, the scent of wild honeysuckle up my nose, and the company.

3. Watching documentaries: I realize many of them have some sort of angle, but even still, I always feel like I learned something after watching one, or at the very least, had the chance to see something from someone else’s perspective. A few of my all-time favorites include The Dustbowl: a Film by Ken Burns, The Crimson Wing, and It Might Get Loud. I’m also a sucker for anything that has to do with bees, circus life, and Scandinavian design.

2. Learning new things: I love to create, as you’ll soon find out if you keep reading to my #1, but I also love to learn new art techniques and creative skills. In the last few months, I’ve take a week-long metal smithing course, a woodturning class, a block printing class, and a shibori dying workshop. In the future, I’d love to learn pottery, weaving, glass blowing, blacksmithing, casting, embroidery … and the list goes on and on!

1. Working with my hands: I’m primarily self-employed through my indie craft business called Once Again Sam, and it’s such a pleasure to create with my hands each and every day, not just as a hobby, but as my job. I bounce around from needle felting, to wood turning, to leather working, and am currently trying to improve my landscape painting skills. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into running a small business, it’s not nearly as glamorous as people might think, but it’s so rewarding to spend time in the studio creating a custom jewelry piece or fiber art sculpture knowing that someone somewhere is going to treasure it.

MediaKit_BookCover_TwoBrothersOneRedheadAndAStolenGiraffeThe 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.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Daniel and Dylan McElroy snapped their eyes open only to be blinded by a billion-watt flashlight aimed in their faces. It might as well have been the sun. They scrambled to their feet, unable to see who or what was behind that blazing white light. They shielded their faces, begging for mercy.

A female voice came from behind the painful brightness. She managed to get out, “What in the hell…” before the beam of light shifted upward, illuminating Millie’s unimpressed face. The giraffe’s long eyelashes blinked downward, inspecting the people below. Her nubby horns cast strange shadows on the ceiling of the barn.

While the beam of light from the girl’s torch shown upward still, locking Millie in the spotlight, Daniel got a good look at the person holding it. She was a teenager with fiery red hair all mussed up from sleep that fell well below her shoulder blades. Her eyes were pale in color, but he couldn’t be sure if they were blue or hazel in this severe lighting. She had delicate features, a snobby little nose, and a pair of pink lips parted in astonishment as she gazed upward at the out-of-place creature. This girl, a member of the Larsen family perhaps, was a pretty thing, but she was not in good spirits being woken in the middle of the night only to find two strange young men and a reticulated giraffe in her family’s barn. She had a shotgun at her side, which she now raised up and aimed at Dylan.

Daniel cleared his throat, ready to say just the right words to save young Dylan from certain death. Again. “We didn’t mean to cause no trouble,” Daniel explained, palms open with vulnerability. Daniel had always been the spokesperson when trouble found them, or more likely, when Dylan found trouble. He was the explainer of the mischievous pair.

“Am I hallucinating, or is that a giraffe?” the girl demanded to know.

“That?” Daniel asked, glancing upward in hopes she was referring to something else. “Uh. Yeah. That would be Millie. Millie the giraffe.”

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TwoBrothersOneRedheadAndAStolenGiraffeSarah 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).

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share a little bit about myself today!

  3. I love reading posts like this, where you get a peek into the author’s world. Thank you for sharing!

  4. nice excerpt

  5. I enjoyed reading the excerpt. This book sounds like such an interesting and intriguing read. Looking forward to checking out this book.

  6. Lisa L. says:

    such a fun concept of a book. Looks like a fun and unique read.

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