Sunday, June 23, 2013

Excerpt & Giveaway: Strong Enough by Ellen Harger

About the Book
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Starting over is hard. 

And sometimes, you have to burn a few bridges to do it.

Whitney Brown is average--average intelligence, average height, average weight--but she wants to be someone new. To kick-start her rebirth, she wears formal mourning, a black veil and vintage dress, to a wedding in her hometown, Woods Cross, a community that treasures family values. Is it an attack on marriage or has she just gone bonkers?

Emboldened but lacking a plan, she forces her foot in the door of a radio station in Sundown. A small metropolis of nearly 150,000, Sundown is a notch of urban flair along the Midwest's Bible Belt.

Getting in proves to be the easy part and the anonymity of being a DJ suits her well. But off air (and in person), Whitney must stand up to Sadi, an angry feminist and the bane of her college years while an old friendship with her former roommate, Leah, devolves around a guy. 

It's 2002 and the Midwest radio scene is changing. Just as Whitney hits her groove, the radio station undergoes its own identity crisis. But what rocks Whitney to her core is the moment the condom breaks. Her abstinence only background leaves her embarrassed and facing a difficult choice.

Whitney’s Superman show:

The sweat runs down Whitney’s spine. For four days she worked this theme into perfection. Crystal assured her with bubble gum bursts punctuating their sessions that it's a quiet shift. She doesn't need a huge audience, but she hopes they call with suggestions. She hopes they listen.
John gives her a lead in. “Coming up next is Kelly Carter taking your requests with tonight’s special theme so stick around.” She smiles weakly at him, dizzy because her heart is stuffed in her throat, cutting off her oxygen. Gulping repeatedly, she attempts to swallow the organ back into her chest. Being breathless on air is bad. At least it is for Whitney. She sounds silly breathless. John nudges her with a pair of headphones. She slips them on and closes her eyes. The figurehead liked her show. Sue liked her show.
"This is Kelly Carter and I'm sitting in with you this Friday night. Last time I was here we did Black Box Songs, but tonight our theme is Superman. The request lines are open, so let's pay tribute to the man of steel in his many musical incarnations.
“Like last time, we'll start with a song from Bonnie Tyler 'cause she's ‘Holding Out For A Hero.’ Hey, she wants Superman to sweep her off of her feet!" The upper keys on the synthesizer pelt the anthem. The isolated speed-drumming simulated across electric skins is an entire riff in less than a beat, building to the full choir singing ooooo oooo ooooo! Even over the air you can see the light show and fireworks. Ah subtlety.
With programmed frenzy everything builds until it sounds like all the computerized instruments will explode on cue. Maybe the synthesizer became so hot the musician had to play faster and faster to avoid scalding his fingers. This was music for people who wanted to be on drugs. Desperately.
After the chorus she interrupts, "Does it remind anyone else of Fame? Just the chorus when she sings ‘Hey!’ Yeah, I sing Fame there. It just fits. I think this was also the opening for a TV show called Cover Up. The detective’s ‘cover up’ was photographing the models she traveled with—one always being a hunky guy, and her partner. Okay, enough of memory lane and terrible early 80s TV heavily influenced by, shudder, the sparkly side of the seventies. You know, I'd like to hear a discotheque version of this song. Note to self, hunt that down.
“Okay, so up next to introduce you guys to the complexity of tonight, I'm going to offer up a totally different style. Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm pleased to play Ani DiFranco's ‘Superhero.’"

About the Author
Ellen Harger was born at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. As a military brat, she moved often during her childhood--something she never resented and continued as an adult. The constant starting over influenced her first published novel, "Strong Enough."

At 14, her family settled in Missouri as civilians, permitting Ellen to attend one high school. She stayed in the Midwest to attend a small liberal arts college, studying creative writing and art. After 11 years, she moved to Boston. While there, she continued to study creative writing in Cambridge. Ever willing to explore new places, she moved next to the San Francisco Bay area. After 11 years away, and loving the symmetry, she returned to the Midwest to finish "Strong Enough." She has published a poem, "Guidelines," and released her novel as an e-book.

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  1. This sounds interesting, and don't we all crave a little more!

  2. Thanks for hosting me and sharing an excerpt! I really appreciate and love discovering bloggers this way.


    1. You're welcome and thanks! Glad to help


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