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Book Excerpt and Feature of You Can’t Shatter Me by Tahlia Newland
Today we would like to welcome Tahlia Newland to the blog! She is going to share an excerpt from her new novella You Can’t Shatter Me. If this sounds like something you would enjoy reading, use the buy links to snag a copy or two!
Synopsis: You Can’t Shatter Me
Sixteen year old Carly wants to write her own life and cast herself as a superhero, but the story gets out of control when she stands up to a bully and he turns on her. His increasing harassment forces her to battle flying hooks, giant thistles, doubt dragons and a suffocating closet. Dylan, a karate-trained nerd who supports her stand, turns out to be a secret admirer, and while he struggles to control his inner caveman, Carly searches for her own way to stop the bully. An old hippie shows her an inner magic that’s supposed to make her invincible, but will Carly learn to use it before her knight in shining armour risks all in a battle with a fire-breathing dragon?
This heart-warming magical realism story will inspire and empower teens and adults alike.
From The Author: This heart-warming novella is written in a unique magical realism style where magical elements are presented in a straightforward manner that places the “real” and the “fantastic” in the same stream of thought. The story inspires and empowers teens and adults alike with its solutions for the bullying issue.
To view the You Can’t Shatter Me book trailer click here.
Excerpt: Breaking the Habit
(You Can’t Shatter Me is told from the point of view of both Carly and Dylan. This excerpt is from Breaking the habit, one of Dylan’s chapters.)
At school, up until now, I’d rather be alone with a book or a computer than a girl, and a group of girls was just plain scary, but if I wanted Carly, I had to deal with her friends too. This hard drive just wasn’t programmed right anymore.
I looked at my watch. Still ten minutes until the bell. Was I going to hide, or reprogram myself so I could just amble up to her and say “Hi, what’s up,” or something equally as lame, without my face going red and my palms sweating?
My nerdy habit was as rigid as a lump of concrete. It sat on the ground in front of me, a clump of intersecting geometric shapes with smooth planes and unblemished edges painted in earthy tones, practical, no nonsense, well ordered. I kicked it and clenched my teeth at the spike of pain that shot up my toe. The habit didn’t budge. I suppose that shouldn’t have been surprising. I’d spent years building it.
“What ya doing, wuss?”
I spun around. Justin thrust his leering face into my personal space. I stepped back, trying to keep my disgust from showing.
“Dreaming about a bit of pussy, are you?” he continued.
“Nothing so gross,” I replied.
“If you think it’s gross then you ain’t never tasted any,” he jeered then sauntered off with a smirk, his buddy Ty trotting at his heels.
He was the gross one, but maybe I should be thankful for that. If he hadn’t threatened Carly, I might never have had the courage to talk to her. Urgency cuts through reticence pretty quickly. I didn’t have his help now though. Or did I? He still provided a topic of conversation. Would it be enough to draw her away from Kirsty? I figured it was worth a try.
I tried to walk towards her but my legs wouldn’t move. Heavy metal chains shackled my ankles to the habit. I yanked my foot against the weight, trying to break free, but only managed to rattle the chains. Better brains than brute force here, I thought, and examined the comfortable lambskin-covered shackles. For years they’d kept me close to an attractive lump of concrete that provided a seat, a desk and even a footstool. My laptop had buffed its well-used spot on the desk to a shine.
I turned at the sound of Kirsty’s laugh. She walked around the corner of the hall with Carly, but Carly didn’t laugh. She looked miserable.
I needed a block splitter or a hacksaw, or some machine to break this habit into tiny pieces so I could get away from it and cheer up my girlfriend. With a flick of my finger, I created a magnificent tool of destruction. A polished dark wooden tripod sat over the concrete habit. A large silver weight hung beneath the apex, connected to a silky white rope that ran through a series of golden pulleys into my hand. I held it with ease, the ability to break the nerdy habit at my command. All I had to do was let go.
I glanced at Carly then opened my hand. The rope whizzed through the pulleys, the weight dropped and smashed the concrete into several chunks. I stared at it, my heart doing strange little flip flops. It’d taken so long to make that habit with its comfy seat and nooks for every gadget a good student needed.
I took one step towards Carly then jerked to a stop. The chain on my left leg was still attached to a lump of concrete, one too heavy for me to budge. I had to smash this thing so completely that it would never weigh me down again.
I took a step back, hauled the weight up again and dropped it. Repeatedly, I lifted the weight and dropped it until I had the scene in the can, the chains had fallen apart and all that was left of the habit was dust. Freedom!
I strode down the path – to a gently building guitar rift – and touched Carly’s arm. “I need to talk to you for a minute,” I said, drawing her away.
“What?” She looked surprised but happy to see me.
I took her hand and looked her in the eye. “Is he still hassling you?”
She shrugged. “A bit.”
“I’ll help sort him out,” I said, feeling kind of heroic.
“What’s so private you can’t share?” Kirsty asked peeking her head around Carly.
I swallowed. My feet felt heavy and I thought I heard chains clanking, but I must have imagined it because I’d smashed my nervous nerd habit into dust and there was no way I was going to build another one. “None of your business,” I replied.
“Ooh, feisty.” Kirsty grinned and turned away.
I slipped my arm around Carly and drew her close. She looked up and me and smiled. My nerdy habit had given me safety, but without it, I had the excitement of a girl on my arm. I decided to go back later and bury the dust, just to make sure.
About the Author: Tahlia is an avid reader, an extremely casual high school teacher, an occasional mask-maker and has studied philosophy & meditation for many years. After scripting and performing in Visual Theatre shows for 20 years, she is now a bone-fide expatriate of the performing arts. She lives in an Australian rainforest, is married with a teenage daughter and loves cats, but she doesn’t have one because they eat native birds.
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