Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Excerpt and Giveaway The Making of Nebraska Brown by Louise Caiola

Published: February 6th, 2014


The last thing eighteen-year-old Ann Leigh remembers is running from her boyfriend in a thick Nebraska cornfield. This morning she’s staring down a cool Italian sunrise, an entire continent from the life she once knew. The events of the eighteen months in between have inexplicably gone missing from her memory. 

All at once she’s living with Tommy, an attractive, young foreigner asking for her continued love. Though he’s vaguely familiar, she recalls a boy named Shane in America who she reluctantly agreed to marry. Juggling a new world while her old one is still M.I.A is difficult enough without the terrifying movie scenes spinning a dizzy loop in her mind: glimpses of a devastating house fire, a romance gone wrong, an unplanned pregnancy, and a fractured family – each claiming to be part of who she once was – a girl and a past somehow discarded. 

Ann Leigh must collect the pieces of herself to become whole again, but she doesn’t know who to trust especially when Tommy’s lies become too obvious to ignore. And above all, her heart aches to discover what became of the child she may or may not have given birth to. 

The Making of Nebraska Brown tells the story of one girl’s coming apart from the inside and the great lengths she’ll go to reclaim herself and find her way home.


I took a load off, sitting down next to the bag, looking up at the sky. What did I know about myself? What did I know that Tommy hadn’t told me?

I knew I had itchy, sore feet, a mother somewhere, a Fancy Room in Nebraska, a wealthy boyfriend, and someone named Shane floating around in my imagination. I loved green apples.
It wasn’t nearly enough. I needed to fill in more blanks. On my own. I closed my eyes. Inhaled.
I had breath, a heartbeat, and—someplace locked deep inside—a history. I willed it to come back again. It didn’t. A sweet, fruity breeze laid its fingers through my hair. I was tired, so very. I leaned into a wide-trunked tree behind me. The bark was rough against my skin. It was about as real as I’d felt in over a week. I dug in, inviting cuts, snags, slits, blood. Then they could type me. I could visit the doctor and demand to know my DNA. Ana Lisa Carcossi’s DNA. Because that’s who I was. At least that’s what Tommy said. My breathing steadied. I kept my eyes shut. A strumming started, like the plucking of a fiddle chord. The same chord, over and over. And then I was gone.


Last thing I remember, Shane Kirkland had his left hand on my right boob, and I could feel the nub—the missing chunk of his pinky finger that got chewed off in the gristmill. So I ran, mostly because the idea of marrying him and his sad punk of a finger sent a shiver straight through to my bones. Then I recall the wind under my feet as I left him in the raw evening mist that settled over the cornfields as soon as the sun was done burning a hole through the Nebraska day. And if memory served, I kept my mouth closed because my 12thgrade track coach used to say that if you don’t, you could unknowingly swallow an entire bellyful of summer gnats in less than a mile. I motored past the silo at McClusky’s farm and down the path that lays parallel to the stream. I don’t know why I was running so fast. He would never catch up, wouldn’t even attempt to. He couldn’t, what with his pancake-flat feet and bad ankles that dislocated at high speeds. Shane was as good as any maimed man, twenty-one years old, horny, in love, and gloriously imperfect.

“Ann Leigh!”

His voice certainly could carry. Always said he could holler clear across town. There was some talent to that; I suppose.

“Ann Leigh, come back!”

I kept the pace for a while, only slowing when I neared the water tower. The vision in my mind turns grey and sketchy from there. Had I scaled all the way to the top? If so, it wouldn’t be the first time. Had I reached that skinny lip of a ledge and lost my footing, toppling over? Or had I slipped somewhere along the climb?

I recall the moonlight slicing through the trees, a sharp silver spear on my face while thoughts slashed my brain like a razor—thoughts of becoming Mrs. Shane Kirkland the Second, thoughts of working in his daddy’s restaurant alongside his mother, slinging hash—whatever that meant— and refilling the tampon holder in the ladies room known as the Hen House.

“Ann Leigh, where are you? Where are you?”

I pried my eyelids open. A clean blue sky strung out above me. And then a face, a man’s face. His lips were moving slowly, his words like seasoned gibberish.

“Sta bene signorina?

I squinted against the light, so bright, so unlike a Nebraska morning.


“Pardon?” My own voice was tiny and far off.

“Sta bene signorina?” he repeated.

I felt the ground beneath me, a cool, damp mattress of low grass and smooth white pebbles. I sat up on my elbows to look around, over the man’s shoulder. My temples knocked from the inside out.

“I–I don’t understand.”

But somehow I did. I knew what he was saying. He was asking me if I was all right–young lady, are you all right. That’s what he’d said. How did I know that? There was no way. I’d transferred out of Spanish 1 in junior year to take Photography where we shot rolls and rolls of film—still life of apples and lampshades.

“Where...where am I?” I asked. “Campania,” he said.


“Si. Campania.” He smiled. His teeth were Clorox white against his skin, which was the color of toasted almonds. “Ho pensato che fosse morto. Non ha bisogno di un medico?”

I propped myself up enough to notice where I was. Some strange garden. Someplace I’d never been or even seen. Not Nebraska. Not remotely close to Nebraska. Campania?

“No, I’m not morto, not dead. At least I don’t think so. Don’t you speak any English?”

He lifted one hand in the air and pinched his thumb and pointer together. “Solo un po’.”

“Just a little?”

“Si. Just . . . a . . . little. Sei caduta?”

“I don’t know if I fell . . . I think I passed out.” There I was, again. Understanding his forked tongue. And it wasn’t Spanish he was speaking. It was Italian. “I don’t . . . I can’t remember. This Campania. This is Italy, no?”

“Italia, si, miss, Italia.”

About the author:
As a young girl who spent her allowance on Nancy Drew mysteries, Louise realized that one day, she might have a story of her own to tell. Maybe even more than one story. After years focused on raising her children she eventually reconnected with her passion for creative writing. She soon began to craft a large collection of short stories which were published in the inspirational online magazine, Faithhopeandfiction.com. Shortly thereafter, she authored her first novel, Wishless, a contemporary YA, released in 2011. 

Louise devotes a portion of each day to honing her skills. She has several other novels currently in various stages of development. A confirmed bibliophile, Louise enjoys reading outdoors on a warm spring day and watching her pup chase leaves on a breeze. She looks forward to meeting others who share her love of the written word and invites you to visit her blog, her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/16/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.a Rafflecopter giveaway


horade said...

Thanks for this giveaway !

Anonymous said...

Coperta ma dusese cu gandul la Italia, asta era clar, iar cand am citit, mi s-a confirmat cumva, cumva, ca da, am avut dreptate :))
E interesant cum Ann fuge de prietenul ei, cum fuge de toti si toate si ajunge altundeva. Apoi, apare Tommy, barbatul care ar trebui sa reprezinte Fat-frumos pe cal alb...si totul ar trebui sa fie perfect.
Dar se pare ca nu e.
As fi incantata sa-i urmaresc gandurile lui Ann cu privire la viitorul wi... mai ales cand are si un bebe.

Louise said...

Thank you for having me here! I hope you and your readers will check out the book and let me know what you think!