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Cultivating a Fuji by Miriam Drori - Book Tour + Giveaway

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Cultivating a Fuji

Convinced that his imperfect, solitary existence is the best it will ever be, Martin unexpectedly finds himself being sent to represent his company in Japan. His colleagues think it’s a joke; his bosses are certain he will fail. What does Martin think? He simply does what he’s told. That’s how he’s survived up to now – by hiding his feelings.
Amazingly, in the land of strange rituals, sweet and juicy apples, and too much sak√©, Martin flourishes and achieves the impossible. But that’s only the beginning. Keeping up the momentum for change proves futile. So, too, is a return to what he had before. Is there a way forward, or should he put an end to the search now?

Gradually, as you’ll see when Martin looks back from near the end of his journey, life improves. There’s even a woman, Fiona, who brings her own baggage to the relationship, but brightens Martin’s days. And just when you think there can be no more surprises, another one pops up.
Throughout his life, people have laughed at ‘weirdo’ Martin; and you, as you read, will have plenty of opportunity to laugh, too. Go ahead, laugh away, but you’ll find that there’s also a serious side to all this…

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This extract appears shortly after the start of the novel. It shows how Martin’s life-changing episode came about.

October 1977
John replaced the telephone receiver with a little more force than usual. For a moment he remained still, his hand resting on the phone, his eyes half-closed. Then he stood and, always light of foot, strode to the corner of the open-plan office and knocked on the door marked: IAN CROMELY, MANAGER.
“Come in. Yes, John, how’s it going?”
John shut the door behind him and took two strides across the room to the empty padded chair, where he sat down opposite Ian at the large oak desk, decked as always with its neat piles of papers and two phones – one black, the other white. The black one was like all the others in the company, with a row of buttons below the dial that you could press to obtain an outside line. The white phone was connected to a separate outside line, and Ian used it for more private calls.
No point in beating about the burning bush. “Ian, we have to postpone the Japan demonstration.”
John kept his eyes on Ian’s face. He watched the bushy eyebrows drawing closer until they almost touched, and hoped they’d part company when all had been made clear and a new date fixed.

Ian peered at the younger man. In his twenty-four-year working life, he’d come across all sorts of people and learned to recognise their strengths and weaknesses. John had been working with him for three years. There had been a few sticky patches in that time, which was only to be expected in a small company like theirs – in any company, really. John, despite his youth, had handled them wisely and without panic. He’d never exhibited fits of hysteria. Not even that time when a flood in the computer room threatened to wipe out everything they’d worked on. He wouldn’t suggest postponing Japan because of some trivial setback. Something must be very wrong. Only one way to find out what that something was.
“Kevin was involved in some sort of fight last night.”
“Our Kevin? In a fight? Are you sure?”
“That’s what he told me. I didn’t ask for details on the phone; they were about to take him away – for an operation, I mean. All I know is that he’s broken his leg and has to stay in hospital for at least a week.”
“Isn’t there any way they can make it possible for him to go? Even if he has to go on crutches? In a wheelchair?”
“The surgeon made it clear he’s not releasing him in under a week. Apparently, the x-ray showed complications.”
Ian looked down through the lower part of his bifocals at the letter in front of him, printed on thick, cream-coloured paper. Amongst the neatly-typed characters in black ink, some bright red words and figures glared at him. In fact, they did more than that. They menaced him with threatening ominousness. They metamorphosed into red daggers all pointing at him.
He returned his gaze to the young man facing him and took a deep breath. “John, we can’t postpone Japan. Japan is our last hope. We have to succeed there, and we have to do it now. Otherwise the company will collapse, vanish in a puff of financial smoke.” He waved his fingers to one side to demonstrate his point.
Paleness was not a frequent visitor to John’s face. It didn’t suit his easy-going personality. Neither was his lower jaw in the habit of dropping. But Ian understood the reasons for both. Responsibility had recently fallen on John’s narrow shoulders in his personal life and he needed stability from his job to keep him afloat. He remained still, and Ian imagined an artist would be delighted to draw him like that. Ian, however, was not at all delighted at having to explain the situation to his dependable, hard-working junior.
“I’m sorry to have to tell you this, John. I know it’s hit you at a bad time, what with the baby and everything. But the fact is that there’ll be no more funding for this project until we have a firm order, and the only place that order can come from is Japan. I’ve kept it from you for as long as possible, but I had to make you understand that there’s nothing else for it. The show must go on. Our future depends on it.”
“But there’s no way. If Kevin can’t go…”
“… then someone else will have to go.”
“Who? You know it’s out of the question for me. My mother-in-law would never speak to me again. Besides, I don’t know all the details like Kevin does.”
“How about Sean?”
“Sean can talk his way out of most situations. He’d give a brilliant impression at first. But you and I know that deep down he doesn’t have a clue about how it all works. When it got down to details, the Japanese would see through his smooth, shiny veneer to the dull woodenhead underneath. End of deal.”
Despite everything, Ian felt his cheek muscles forming a grin. “Woodenhead, eh? Next, you’ll be warning him to watch the fags or he’ll set fire to himself. So Carol, then. Could she go to Japan?”
“She shows promise, but she’s still learning. Besides, I understand Japanese workplaces are very male-oriented. I don’t think they’d be comfortable being instructed by a woman, and a young one at that.”
“Then it’ll have to be Martin.”
“Martin?” John’s face was a mixture of incredulity and hysterics.


Author Bio –
Miriam Drori has decided she’s in the fifth and best stage of her life, and she’s hoping it’ll last for ever. It’s the one in which she’s happiest and most settled and finally free to do what she wants. Miriam lives in a delightful house and garden in Jerusalem with her lovely husband and one of three children. She enjoys frequent trips around the world. She dances, hikes, reads and listens to music. And she’s realised that social anxiety is here to stay, so she might as well make friends with it. On top of that, she has moved away from computer programming and technical writing (although both of those provided interest in previous stages) and now spends her time editing and writing fiction. NEITHER HERE NOR THERE (currently unavailable), a romance with a difference set in Jerusalem, was published in 2014. THE WOMEN FRIENDS, co-written with Emma Rose Millar, is a series of novellas based on the famous painting by Gustav Klimt. SOCIAL ANXIETY REVEALED (non-fiction) provides a comprehensive description of social anxiety from many different viewpoints. CULTIVATING A FUJI takes the social anxiety theme into fiction, using humour to season a poignant story.

Giveaway to Win copies of Neither Here No There and Social Anxiety Revealed  (Open Internationally)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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