Tuesday 26 November 2013

Blog Tour: Bitter Like Orange Peel by Jessica Bell (Excerpt + Giveaway)

Displaying BitterLikeOrangePeelTourBanner.jpg

18086608Title: Bitter Like Orange Peel

Author: Jessica Bell
Publisher: Vine Leaves Press
Released: November 1st 2013
Pages: 179 (eBook)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Add on Goodreads

Six women. One man. Seven secrets. One could ruin them all.

Kit is a twenty-five-year-old archaeology undergrad, who doesn’t like to get her hands dirty. Life seems purposeless. But if she could track down her father, Roger, maybe her perspective would change.

The only problem—Roger is as rotten as the decomposing oranges in her back yard according to the women in her life: Ailish, her mother—an English literature professor who communicates in quotes and clichés, and who still hasn’t learned how to express emotion on her face; Ivy, her half-sister—a depressed archaeologist, with a slight case of nymphomania who fled to America after a divorce to become a waitress; and Eleanor, Ivy’s mother—a pediatric surgeon who embellishes her feelings with medical jargon, and named her daughter after "Intravenous."

Against all three women’s wishes, Kit decides to find Roger.
Enter a sister Kit never knew about.
But everyone else did.

Displaying jessica-headshot-219x3001.jpgIf Jessica Bell could choose only one creative mentor, she’d give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. This is not only because she currently resides in Athens, Greece, but because of her life as a thirty-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs she’s written. Jessica is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and annually runs the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca. For more information, please visit her website: www.jessicabellauthor.com

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His head is ripped off. In that photograph. Of him. Kit spots it buried among four years’ worth of undergraduate essays—the photo she stole from her half sister, Ivy, and misplaced in an effort to keep safe.
She drags her bottom dresser drawer out too far. The stiff wood clunks as it slips out of its casing and hits the floor with a thud. Sitting cross-legged and naked on the hot, itchy carpet, she stares at the photograph. At five-year-old Ivy’s carefree grin and trusting arms wrapped around her father’s knees at the Melbourne zoo. A drop of sweat tickles Kit’s crotch. She scratches herself and wipes her wet fingers on the carpet beside her thigh. Stares at her father’s hand placed delicately on the top of Ivy’s head, and Ivy’s sideways and upward glance toward his nonexistent face. Kit touches the top of her own head, imagining what his touch may have felt like, what she would give to have been Ivy those twenty-five years ago, before she was even born.
She stands. Her knees crack. They’ve cracked ever since she fell off her bicycle when she was six and the rubber seat supposedly ruptured her hymen. It didn’t hurt. She rubs her left hand on her thigh to dislodge the tiny beige pebbles that have embedded themselves into her palm. Stupid new garden path. She places the photo on her bedside table, propping it up against the wall behind her bedside lamp, where her four-year-old self drew a wobbly shape of a rainbow with blue biro on the cream parchment. It’s still there.
Kit sighs, squints at Ivy’s apparent joy in the photograph, and bites her thumbnail. It rips off too low and starts to bleed. She sucks it, then hooks it under the knuckle of her index finger to stop the flow. It stings like the time she accidentally lodged a sewing needle below the nail. She’d heard that the white crescents at the base of people’s nails were actually full of air and wanted to see if she could pop one like a balloon and listen to the air wheeze through the hole.
There’s no better time than now.
She scoops her university papers out of the drawer like an eagle catching prey, and with one swift movement drops her entire collection of archaeological lecture notes, research method essays, and Cypriot artifact analyses into the cardboard box on her bed. But the postgraduate application form she has to fill out and submit before the month is out, which is folded six times over and stuffed into the smallest pocket of her handbag, has a heart of its own. She whispers, “Not now. Not yet,” to the rhythm of its beat, and zips her handbag shut.

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