Ten Self-promotion Actions to Market Your Book by Karen Hulene Bartell – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. A randomly drawn winner will receive a $25 Amazon/BN gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Ten Self-promotion Actions to Market Your Book

For me, marketing is the nightmarish counterpart to the dream of writing. Ugh! Promoting my books is the hell to the heaven of authoring them. I’d much rather keep “plugging away” at finishing a chapter than “plugging” myself on social media. But despite dreading self-promotion, I’ve learned a few marketing tricks over the years to make the task less onerous.

Authoring a book is no easy task, nor is getting / having it published. According to various sources, roughly three percent of people who begin drafting a novel ever finish it. And only twenty percent of those completed novels are ever published.

So if you have a published book, congratulations! Pat yourself on the back and take a bow! You are one of an elite minority!

But can you rest on your laurels and stop there?

Nope. Marketing your book is just as important as writing and publishing it. Whether you’re self-published or you work with an indie publisher, small publisher, or a major house, your next challenge is your book launch, and book launches require your 3Ts–talent, time, and treasure.

Because my bread-and-butter job has been technical writing in MarCom–Marketing Communications–for over twenty years, I’ve done almost all my own marketing for the past 26 of my 27 published books. Am I a multi-billionaire? HAH-LOL! BUT let me share ten relatively easy actions that authors CAN take to self-promote their books.

Take Ten Self-promotion Actions!

  1. Create an author website (https://karenhulenebartell.com/)
  2. Create an Author Central page on Amazon (com: Karen Hulene Bartell: books, biography, latest update)
  3. Create a Goodreads Author page (https://rb.gy/qyvrev)
  4. Accumulate blurbs for your book from trusted friends and acquaintances.
  5. Add your book’s title and link to your automatic email signature.
  6. Trade guest posts on your blog with other authors https://karenhulenebartell.com/f/january-newsletter
  7. Accumulate Amazon book reviews https://rb.gy/haasnb
  8. Gather Goodreads book reviews https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/204849593-kissing-kin
  9. Write self-promotion articles for LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:share:7152697619885051907/
  10. Create a launch team by asking trusted friends and acquaintances to read / review your free book on Amazon and Goodreads. (That’s right. I said FREE. Quid pro quo. A favor for a favor.)

Complete each of these actions in the six to eight weeks prior to your book’s release–one task at a time. Each action is doable, and if you complete all ten, I promise you’ll raise your book’s visibility.

Happy self-marketing!

 

Maeve Jackson is starting over after a broken engagement—and mustering out of the Army. No job and no prospects, she spins out on black ice and totals her car.

When struggling vintner Luke Kaylor stops to help, they discover they’re distantly related. On a shoestring budget to convert his vineyard into a winery, he makes her a deal: prune grapevines in exchange for room and board.

But forgotten diaries and a haunted cabin kickstart a five-generational mystery with ancestors that have bones to pick. As carnal urges propel them into each other’s arms, they wonder: Is their attraction physical…or metaphysical?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Our shoulders rubbed each time we moved. The downy hairs on the back of my neck tickling from the electricity passing between us, I shivered as the currents barreled down my spine.

“Cold?” Eyes wide, he caught my gaze.

I opened my mouth to speak but, forgetting what I meant to say, lost myself in his inviting brown eyes and could only nod.

He reached his arm around my shoulders and pulled me close, sharing his body warmth.

With the faint scents of leather and saddle soap wafting from his jacket, his nearness was intoxicating, and I was tempted to lean into a kiss. Yet huddled together on the bone-chilling ledge, I gazed instead at the rugged wilderness surrounding us, content to savor the sweet ache of longing. If more is meant to be, it’ll happen.

Then thoughts of Cody froze me like a blue norther. Why did he come to mind?

****

So close, Luke felt the rise and fall of her chest each time she breathed. Her hair tickled his ear, raising goosebumps–and possibilities. If she turns toward me or gives any sign…But her sigh signaled something else. He side-glanced to read her mood, but she stared at the scenery, apparently oblivious of his rising libido.

“Want…” His voice cracked. Clearing his throat, he tried again. “Want some water?”

“Sure.” She turned her head quickly, her hair brushing his cheek with a citrus scent.

About the Author:
Author of the Trans-Pecos and Sacred Emblem series, Karen is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, wife, and all-around pilgrim of life, who writes multicultural, offbeat love stories. Born to rolling-stone parents who moved often, Bartell found her earliest playmates as fictional friends in books. Paperbacks became her portable pals. Ghost stories kept her up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was her passion. Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, she began writing her first novel at the age of nine, learning the joy of creating her own happy endings. Professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, Karen resides in the Texas Piney Woods with her husband Peter and her “mews”—three rescued cats and a rescued *Cat*ahoula Leopard dog.

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The Dark Court by Vyvyan Evans


The Dark Court by Vyvyan Evans
Publisher: Nephilim Publishing
Genre: Science Fiction
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

A genre-blending dystopian, sci-fi mystery-thriller that will make you think about communication in a whole new way.

Five years after the Great Language Outage, lang-laws have been repealed, but world affairs have only gotten worse. The new automation agenda has resulted in a social caste system based on IQ. Manual employment is a thing of the past, and the lowest soc-ed class, the Unskills, are forced into permanent unemployment.

In a world on the brink of civil war, a deadly insomnia pandemic threatens to kill billions. Lilith King, Interpol’s most celebrated detective, is assigned to the case.

Together with a sleep specialist, Dr. Kace Westwood, Lilith must figure out who or what is behind this new threat. Could the pandemic be the result of the upskilling vagus chips being offered to the lowest soc-ed class? Or are language chips being hacked? And what of the viral conspiracy theories by the mysterious Dark Court, sweeping the globe? Lilith must work every possible angle, and quickly: she is running out of time!

While attempting to stop a vast conspiracy on an intergalactic scale, Lilith also faces shocking revelations about her origin, coming to terms with her own destiny.

This book is the second in the series that explores and warns of what could possibly happen in our near future society. You can read our five-star review of the first book in the series here. Rather than a language outage, this book focuses on a deadly pandemic that seems to be targeting the lowest socioeconomic group…those who have been deemed from testing at birth to be Unskills, permanently unemployed.

Even though it’s the second book in the series, THE DARK COURT can very much stand on its own as it takes place several years after the events of the first book; however, I strongly recommend reading them in order because, while the majority of the book can be understood, the ending will make a lot more sense if you are familiar with the first book.

THE DARK COURT, as does the first book, offer a cautionary tour, but also reaches out beyond our current technology and into more of a sci-fi bend. I really liked this as well as the deeper view of what is going on behind the scenes and the part that Lilith plays in them.

I loved Kace and Lilith and their interactions together. Without giving away an spoilers, I really hope I’ll be able to see them in future books.

This is truly a book that is almost impossible to put down, and I was lucky as I got to read it during a storm when I was without power and internt..no distractions, which I absolutely loved!

There is only one problem with reading a book like this… now I have to wait patiently for the next book in the series!!

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Private License by Kevin R. Doyle – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kevin R. Doyle will award a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

All Lorie Jones wants is a little help with her divorce. Some extra information, a bit of ammunition to take into court against her no-good husband. And when she hires the biggest and best investigation firm Kansas City has to offer, that’s exactly what she gets. But after their operative wraps up Lori’s case, he decides he doesn’t want to move on, and Lori soon realizes that she’s got an even bigger problem than she had before, one that threatens her privacy, and maybe even her life.

It’s up to Sam Quinton, one-man detective agency, to take on the largest firm in the business, and as Sam digs into the background of Lori’s harasser, he soon finds something bigger, and much more dangerous, than one overzealous guy who just can’t let go.

 

Enjoy an Excerpt

Lorie hadn’t reported the latest invasion of her home. Maybe she was tired of running to the police and getting nothing accomplished, but when I considered the last intrusion and threatening note had happened before Karyn Roberts had suggested coming to me, my stomach fluttered a bit.

“Not exactly the kind of stuff you go to local cops for,” I said. “No offense.”

Sloan grunted. “None taken, mainly because you’re right. And actually, she didn’t initially bother us with the first two incidents.”

I nodded. “It was the third went over the top for her.”

“Yeah.” Sloan closed the file. “Which kind of fits because messing around with someone’s home is cop business. The rest of it lies with the post office and the banking people.”

“So what did you do?”

“About what?” Sloan looked up at me.

I sighed and managed to keep myself from shaking my head. And here we’d been getting along so well. “Did you look into her allegations?”

“These would be the allegations that a respected employee of a respected firm in the city was screwing around with her mind and emotions.”

“No,” I said, dropping my voice an octave or so. “Those would be the allegations a licensed private investigator, an ex-cop at that, was harassing and intimidating his own client.”

“You implying somehow we slow walked this because the guy she mentioned used to be a cop?”

About the Author:

A retired high-school teacher and former college instructor, Kevin R. Doyle is the author of four novels in the Sam Quinton mystery series, all published by Camel Press. He’s also written four crime thrillers, including And the Devil Walks Away and The Anchor, and one horror novel, The Litter, along with numerous short horror stories published in small magazines over the years. The first Quinton book, Squatter’s Rights, was nominated for the 2021 Shamus award for Best First PI Novel, and the fifth in the series, Private License, will be out in August of 2024.

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Why My Books are Essential Reads by Delicia Niami – Guest Post and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a randomly drawn winner a signed special edition copy of the book. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Why My Books are Essential Reads

Hey there, fellow book lovers! Today, I want to dive into why my ResilientAF series books aren’t just stories but transformative experiences waiting to be explored. As an author I’m deeply passionate about inspiring resilience in everyone. I pour my heart into every word, crafting narratives that I hope will resonate with readers on a profound level.

In my books, resilience isn’t just a theme—it’s the beating heart of every story. I take readers on a journey through the gritty realities of my own life, exploring the highs and lows of my journey. Whether it’s overcoming trauma, navigating personal challenges, or finding strength in the face of adversity, my character embodies resilience in its purest form. Through my struggles and triumphs, my goal is to remind readers of their own inner strength and capacity for growth.

Self-discovery is another cornerstone of my storytelling. I embark on my journeys of growth and reflection, where readers are invited to explore their own identities, values, and beliefs. Through introspection and exploration, I hope my readers will discover new insights about themselves and the world around them. My books reflect back the complexities of the human experience and encourage readers to embrace their true selves.

Above all, my books are about empowerment. They’re not just about escapism or entertainment—they’re about sparking real change in the lives of readers. By sharing stories of resilience, hope, and liberation, I aim to inspire others to embrace their own journeys of growth and transformation. Whether it’s overcoming past traumas, pursuing dreams, or embracing newfound passions, my books encourage readers to step into their power and live authentically.

So, why are my books essential reads? I firmly believe that my books offer readers an unparalleled journey into the depths of resilience and self-discovery. Through the raw and authentic storytelling in Kissing Asphalt and the forthcoming releases of Not My Circus and The Queen of Silver Linings, I strive to provide reading experiences that linger long after the final page is turned. Your support and engagement as a reader mean the world to me, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to connect with each and every one of you. So, let’s embark on this literary journey together, where the possibilities are as endless as the human spirit itself. If you’re ready to embark on an adventure, pick up one of my books and let the journey begin!

Resilience isn’t inherited. It’s a hard-fought skill forged by our ability to pick up the broken pieces of our past and remake them into something new.

Meet four-year-old Delicia, a poor but carefree child who is about to have her world shattered. Along with her seven-year-old brother Nile, she is kidnapped from her Los Angeles home by her estranged father and taken to Iraq, a foreign world she has never known. This is just the beginning of a string of traumas, hardships, and assaults Delicia will endure throughout her tumultuous childhood.

Now an adult living back in California, Delicia Niami bravely recounts how she survived the unimaginable in her debut memoir. Kissing Asphalt, the first in her memoir trilogy, ResilientAF, grapples with the power of resilience, acceptance, and self-love. She revisits her terrifying past with vulnerability, compassion, and the honesty of a true survivor. Hold hands with Delicia as she faces her childhood scars and learns how to confront her fears, accept her true value and identity, and embrace her unique gifts. It’s a multi-decade roller coaster ride that is the beginning of her liberation, propelling her to live an inspired life and embrace her full human potential—a human potential she knows lives inside everyone, no matter what life has thrown at us.

For anyone who has struggled with childhood trauma, Delicia’s unflinching journey through darkness and back to light will resonate. She has decided to share her story publicly in hopes that it will serve as a guide to the many who have suffered in silence and continue to struggle against the daunting weight imposed by childhood trauma.

Enjoy an Excerpt

It was a sunny day in Arleta, California. A layer of smog covered the sky, giving it the most illustrious orange hue. My brother and I were anxiously awaiting our five-day Easter vacation with our father. Our parents were going through a tumultuous divorce and had been separated for about a year at this point. I felt extremely sad because I never got to see my “dad.” I thought it odd that he cut all ties with our family, especially his own children. At only four years of age, I couldn’t understand the concept of a father wanting nothing to do with his kids. Imagine the excitement my brother, who was seven at the time, and I felt after almost a year of not seeing him. Now we were going to get to spend five whole days for Easter with our “dad.”

About the Author: Delicia Niami is an acclaimed memoirist and LGBTQ+ advocate, whose raw and edgy storytelling has touched the hearts of readers worldwide. Residing in Santa Cruz and an alumna of UCSC, Delicia draws inspiration from her own journey of resilience and empowerment. Through her memoirs, she fearlessly addresses topics such as sexual abuse, trauma recovery, and the importance of self-compassion. Delicia’s work not only sheds light on difficult experiences but also empowers others to find their voices and embrace their own resilience. Her passion for advocacy shines through in her writing, making her a powerful voice for change and healing in today’s world.

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge for June 12, 2024

Each Wednesday, Long and Short Reviews hosts a weekly “blog hop”. For more details on how to participate, please click here.

Characters I See Differently Now Than I Used To

Catch a Cowboy by Rachelle Paige Campbell – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Rachelle Paige Campbell will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Kincaid Ranch’s lead cowboy, Ted Stirling, isn’t looking for romance or entanglements. He settled in Herd, Montana over a decade ago after a devastating loss. He’s seeking comfort and friendship. Nothing more. If he was going to try for love again, he would pick someone sweet and sunny, exactly like kindergarten teacher, Stephanie Patricks. But she’s too young for him.

Stephanie has nursed a crush on quiet, handsome Ted for years. Unfortunately, every time she’s around him, she gets tongue-tied. She only seems to be able to find her words when she’s working with her students. When Ted’s sister unexpectedly arrives in town with his five-year-old niece in tow, he needs help, and Stephanie is just the woman to provide it.

A sudden emergency puts into sharp focus exactly how fragile life is, and Ted needs to decide whether to open his heart again, or let love slip away forever.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPTS (Please choose only ONE to use with your post):

Excerpt One:

Ted didn’t land on the ground with his usual grace. His jeans snagged on the top rail and his back foot caught. His palms scrapped against the rail. He fell in a heap on the ground.

Tires squealed as the car stopped on the shoulder.

“Ted? Are you okay?” Stephanie shouted.

He winced and sat up, easing his legs out in front of him. Testing his muscles, he’d ache in the morning but hadn’t twisted his major leg joints. He waved a hand. “Yeah, I’m fine.”

“No, you’re bleeding. Hold on,” she called.

He sucked in a breath and flipped over his palms. She was right. He’d torn through the top layer of skin and bled in several sections. The wounds didn’t look deep enough for stitches but he’d have to keep bandages on and use his work gloves for a few days. He should have worn the gloves before he’d hopped the fence, but he’d been so sure of his abilities his ego led to his fall.

“May I see?” Stephanie asked in a soft voice.

He met her concerned gaze and swallowed the lump in his throat. With her knees pressing into the ground, she was close. Almost as near as last night when she’d kissed him.

His cheek burned from the memory of the tender press of her lips. Would she kiss his palms? He didn’t think that would make him all better but he wasn’t about to stop her from trying.

“May I?” she asked again.

About the Author: Rachelle Paige Campbell writes contemporary romance novels filled with heart and hope. She believes love and laughter can change lives, and every story needs a happily ever after.

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Shakti of the Illuminated Lotus by Luki Belle – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Luki Belle will award a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

In a fictitious, mysterious, and futuristic Earth, the Western and Eastern continents are poised to become entangled in an ancient holy rivalry and epic battle.

The enigmatic and powerful king of Asukhas rules over the technologically, scientifically, and militarily advanced Western Continent, closely guarding his blissfully ignorant population of captive humans.

The golden-haired spirit, Ahankara, is suddenly released from captivity in the void and unleashes a powerful reptile upon the world’s oceans.

Associate professor of philosophy Anjali Valpolicella seeks psychotherapy from renowned Western psychologist Dr. AlexanDRA, and their therapy sessions may reveal an important secret to possessing the much-coveted Trident of Kumarun.

In Shakti of the Illuminated Lotus: A Dark, Erotic & Futuristic Fantasy for Adults oceans roil as factions doggedly compete in a dark and erotic quest to find the Trident, hidden by the Eastern continent’s divine panthers for centuries. The fate of the World teeters on the brink. Who will possess the Trident? Do they want to use it to gain access to the holy realm of Juwala, or will they use the Trident to destroy the realm and take command of military forces of unimaginable power?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Did you know that you are a descendant of the Asukhas? You are both holy and unholy, human, and divine, gifted in profound ways that lie dormant in your being awaiting the touch of Shakti to ignite the fire of the Asukha in you! Yearn not for the blissful abode of Juwala, the place of eternal happiness, behind the deep blue sky, for in Kumarun’s realm you will revolt for what you are which is an Asukha in body, spirit, mind and in your thirst and hunger for self-enlightenment. You are beast and you are divine, never forget that!

The Rise of Asukhas

It now comes to the story of your ancestors, dear reader. You hailed from the Spirits of Illumination and from the once holy teachers of Juwala, Vrishaaktan, Balaktaan and Golikdan. After the separation from Kunjahl and Ahankara, the three teachers and seventy-seven Spirits of Illumination suffered for months, fighting their uncontrollable hunger for flesh. The impact of Trishna upon them was severe but through the unholy powers, which they had acquired in the caves of the ocean, after banishment from Juwala, these beings resisted being destroyed by Trishna’s essence. They all went into hiding, afraid of themselves and of what they were becoming. The terror of their unholy selves was fearful. The powers that they were gaining overwhelmed these once holy beings. Unable to provide solace and comfort to each other, the three teachers parted ways, seeking out dark places on earth to hide and suffer.

About the Author:Luki Belle works in the media industry. Listening avidly to stories from diverse cultural fiction books read to her by her extended family, storytelling was a fixture from early childhood. Pouring over magnificent and enchanting illustrated books in her family’s library, Luki was drawn to the mythology of South Asian Indians, Greeks, and Romans. These diverse mythologies were her strongest inspiration when, many years later, she started penning the first outline for her debut novel, Shakti of the Illuminated Lotus.

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Exiles by L.J. Ambrosio

Exiles by L.J. Ambrosio
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Historical, Literary Fiction, Coming-of-Age
Rated: 4
Review by Rose

In this final chapter, Ron’s story concludes from Reflections on the Boulevard (2023). Michael’s wish was for Ron to exile himself in the heart of Paris with its beautiful culture and citizens as they protest and fight for the soul of the city. Ron’s journey is met with life-affirming friendships and lessons along the way. The final book in the Reflections of Michael Trilogy, which started with A Reservoir Man (2022).

I had the chance to review the final book in The Michael Trilogy. You can see our reviews of the first book, A Reservoir Man,  here and the second book, Reflections on the Boulevard, here.

This book continues Ron’s story after Michael dies. He self-exiles to Paris, per Michael’s advice, and he mentors a young man, Louie, much as Michael mentored him in the previous book.

Not only do we get to see how the characters grow and change over the course of the book, we’re given an extremely detailed look at the Paris of that time period. There was so much going on in France at this time that I wasn’t aware of. The setting is as much a part of this book as the characters are (I now have a visit to the bookstore, Shakespeare and Company on my bucket list!

Over everything else, however, this is a story of human love – love that transcends sex and gender. There is a deep spirituality throughout this in addition to heartbreak, tension, and drama. The characters are well-drawn and three dimensional, and at the end of the book, I felt like I was leaving good friends.

Mr, Ambrosio, thank you so much – not only for this book but for the entire series. Michael left such a wonderful legacy- and his lessons live on.
4 stars.

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge for June 5, 2024

Each Wednesday, Long and Short Reviews hosts a weekly “blog hop”. For more details on how to participate, please click here.

Books that are Tearjerkers

Secrets About My Favorite Genre by William A. Glass – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. William A. Glass will award a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Secrets About My Favorite Genre by William A. Glass

I mainly read non-fiction. Always have. Biographies, diaries, narrative histories, and sometimes even historical source material. That’s one of my secrets. I write fiction but read non-fiction.

So, it stands to reason that my favorite fiction genre to write is related to history. My first two novels, As Good As Can Be and Off Broadway: A Marriage Drama, are historical fiction. The new one, Crossing Day, is Alternative History, a sub-genre of speculative fiction.

One secret to writing historical fiction is research. It’s essential to be accurate right down to the tiniest details. Getting historical facts wrong is jarring for readers who have followed your story back into a far-gone time. For example, if it’s 1973 in your narrative and some characters go to see the movie “Chinatown”, readers who know film history would realize it hadn’t been released yet. Now, all the work you’ve done to write a plausible story is wasted. Your credibility as an author is shot.

Historical accuracy is important even if you intentionally change history, as happens when writing alternative history. It’s a sub-genre of speculative fiction, so one might think real history is not involved. In fact, alternative history almost always depends on actual history up to a point. Crossing Day is set in 2024, and the characters live in the Confederacy. That’s because they are in Huntsville, Alabama, 160 years after the South gained independence in the Civil War. In the novel it slowly comes out how this happened. To make it plausible, true historical facts, including the names of real Civil War generals, are included. To learn more, you’ll have to read the book!

It’s been one hundred and sixty years since the Confederacy won its independence at the Battle of Altamaha Crossing. Slaves of African descent still perform most of the work in the South. This seems normal to Ryan Walters and his friends who attend high school in Huntsville, Alabama. Like teens everywhere, they enjoy sharing videos, playing sports, and hanging out with friends. Jaybird’s drive-in is their favorite gathering place. There, they befriend Mish, a slave girl who works as a car hop. When the drive-in’s owner sells Mish to a dirty old man, Ryan and his friends awaken to the injustice around them. Despite the danger, they decide to help Mish escape. Will they succeed?

Enjoy an Excerpt

The referee blows her whistle and points to the Joseph Johnston High School goal. It’s a foul, just outside the penalty area. Hastily, several defenders form a wall. Liam Larsen, the goalkeeper, shouts directions.

“Block that kick, block that kick,” the Johnston cheerleaders yell.

Melanie Montgomery, wearing her purple and gold cheerleader outfit, catches the eye of one of the boys on the squad. He nods as she runs toward him and then leaps, placing her foot into his waiting hands. Melanie’s world dissolves into a swirl of color. She comes to earth with a thud.

“Nice landing,” the boy says.

“Thanks.” Melanie glances at the scoreboard and sees that despite their efforts, another goal has been added to the visitor’s tally. “I hate these German schools,” she pouts.

“Yeah, they act like they invented the game,” one of the other cheerleaders exclaims.

There’s no injury time added in high school soccer, so the match comes to a screeching halt when the clock winds down and the buzzer goes off. Most players line up to shake hands, but three of the Germans laugh and walk off. Their coach gives a Hitler salute to the Johnston stands. A chorus of boos greets his gesture.

“Everyone on the line,” Sam Gorman, the Johnston soccer coach, shouts. He crosses his arms and glares at his players threateningly until the whole team is on the touchline. “All right, Ryan,” he says to the team captain, “cool down.”

About the Author Bill is a retired business executive who now lives in a small southern town with his wife, Bettina. She’s a retired high school German teacher. Bill coaches soccer at a small college. Often, Bettina, who has a commercial driver’s license, pilots the soccer team bus to away games.

Bettina and Bill have three sons, Alex, Robert, and Gordon who have all graduated from college and moved away to pursue careers. Instead of having an empty nest, Bettina and Bill now host three rescue dogs. They enjoy finding promising hiking trails to explore with their dogs.

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