Monday, November 11, 2019

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Black & Blue by Andra Douglas - Book Tour + Giveaway





Fiction
Date Published: July 2019
Publisher:  BookBaby

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Have you ever wanted to do something that everyone said was impossible? Then you’ll love BLACK & BLUE. Loosely based on the author’s own life, this coming-of-age novel will inspire you to pursue your dreams.

For as long as she can remember, “Toady” wanted nothing more than to play football.  But for Toady, the love of football is bittersweet – because Toady’s given name is Christine. She’s a girl, and girls “can’t” play football. Despite her exceptional abilities, she watches bitterly as the boys play on the high school team and win scholarships.  Reluctantly, she gives up her football dreams and moves to New York City – where she finds that life is full of surprises. Christine hears about a group of women playing flag football, and she joins their game. The players are so good that before long, they’re invited to become part of a professional women’s tackle league.

For Christine, this is the chance she’s always dreamed of. Not only does she play football, but she raises enough money to become the team’s owner. But that’s when the real challenges begin. Does Christine have the guts and the stamina to spite the odds? BLACK & BLUE will leave readers cheering as Christine doubles down to fight for her dreams and for the women who want nothing more than to play their favorite sport. If you loved Bend It Like Beckham or A League of Their Own, you’ll adore BLACK & BLUE.

Excerpt
LATE 1960’S / ZEPHYRHILLS, FLORIDA
NEIGHBORHOOD FOOTBALL GAME
I am last to be chosen. I am hurt. I am frustrated. I am a girl.
By Andra Douglas
I am nine years old. I am slight in appearance, but strong. I am tall and quick. My hands are good for catching. I have a good arm for passing. I know the game of football. I am standing in a group of neighborhood boys watching carefully as sides are chosen. e number seven on the front of my orange and aqua Miami Dolphin jersey is palpitating as my heart grows heavier, angrier while captains keep choosing and choices of players become few. I stand tall, accentuating my height. Taller than the others. I, wearing matching orange and aqua sneakers, become impatient and take a step forward, ring a pleading glance at the captain whose turn it is to choose. He looks past me and calls Pete Ahrens instead. Pete is a short, timid boy of scapegoat nature. I am last to be chosen. I am hurt. I am frustrated. I am a girl.
I am not new in the neighborhood. Nor am I new to admit my interests. I do not like lace. I hate cooking. I am too young to wear a bra and burn it, so I take Betsy Wetsy and set re to her diapers. I think girls are stupid much like all the boys in the neighborhood do. I show signs of domesticity in much the same manner as my pet squirrel, who imbedded her long, yellow teeth clean through my mother’s middle finger one morning, and bid a fast adieu while running towards the terra firma of the great outdoors.
I am not perky. Or loud. My father says I am “bullheaded.” I am. My views, though seldom verbally expressed, are communicated through other means. I usually get my way because I can badger with amazing results. My grandmother says it’s like being “nibbled to death by a duck.” Usually, I am pestering her or my mother for things like Matchbox cars or G.I. Joe’s. Or art supplies. I like to draw and paint and have won first prize at the Pendle County Fair for the last four years in a row. Today, however, after my grandmother has heard “for the last time, child!” the plea for a football of my own, she grabs my arm, takes her car keys off the kitchen table and pulls me out to her silver Cadillac to take me to the Western Auto. This car is the size of Rhode Island. It could hold every kid in the neighborhood, but we are all too embarrassed to ride in it. It is so big and so silver. Its two ns sloping up on each side of the trunk take up way too much space when they come slicing through the hot, gray asphalt of Fi h Avenue like a pair of mutant sharks. I am mortified now as we shimmer through town taking up the entire width of the avenue. Slunk down low in the seat, I am eager to dash from the Cadillac into the store as soon as we angle park right in front.
The Western Auto is run by Mr. Timmons. He has two daughters — one in each of my sister’s grades--six and eight years ahead of me. I have been in the store a lot lately. I stop in on my bike after school and pick up each football separately and have made a decision on just the right one. Somehow, it just feels better than the others. I run to it now—I have it hidden behind the basketballs—and fly up to the counter with it. My grandmother is just getting inside the store.
“Hello Bob,” she says.
“Good day, Dottie. I bet I know why you’re here!” he grins and adjusts his thick glasses. He looks just like Mr. Potato Head. He has a mustache right in the center of his long, bald, head, which has strange dents all over it just like potato “eyes.” Except his ears are too small.
“I’ll bet you do too. I don’t know what this child is going to do with a football, but no one will rest until she has it.”
“Cain’t wait ‘til Christmas, huh?!”

“Can’t even wait until dinner, Bob! How much?”

“It’s eleven forty-nine.”

“Fine. Here.” She pays and sends her ‘hello’ to Laureena —Mrs. Potato Head—and we leave.
Our house is only about a mile away. It sits on the edge of town. Western Auto is smack in the center of town. Gives you a good idea of how big the place is. It’s not. Plain and simple. But today it feels like we drive twelve bazillion miles before I get home and out in the yard to play with my new ball. is ball is going to change my life. Football is ALL anyone talks about in this town. Especially my dad. The varsity team, the junior varsity team, the Pee Wee league, the Gators up in Gainesville, the Dolphins down in Miami. Plus, all the fun around here is when the boys play football every a ftrnoon and all weekend long. They get to wear jerseys and cleats and don’t have to do stupid, embarrassing things with dolls. Or roller skates, or jump ropes. Or food-related tasks like cooking and washing dishes. And just from watching, I know the game. But I am tired of watching. I am tired of not being taken seriously when I ask to play, of never being chosen when sides are picked. I want things to change. All of life is a pigskin pie and now, with this ball, I’m gonna get a slice.
But first, I gotta get out of this car! My oldest sister Annie says, “It is not important how you depart from that godawful tank, it is only important that you depart.” I recall this as I leap without grace from the front seat.
“Thanks, Grandma!” I say.
“Well, dear child...I hope it makes you happy.” She walks to the edge of her drive- way and watches as I run with my new ball through the field separating her house from ours.
Excerpted from BLACK & BLUE by Andra Douglas (BookBaby/2019).  Available at Amazon at:  https://www.amazon.com/Black-Blue-Love-Sports-Empowerment/dp/1733583505/ref=pd_ybh_a_13?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=8DHM7RR02F84K4Z0S170



About the Author

ANDRA DOUGLAS is a native of central Florida and a graduate of Florida State University and Pratt Institute.  A national champion athlete in rugby and women's tackle football, she was the owner of the New York Sharks Women's Pro Football team for nineteen years and is the founder of the Fins Up! Foundation for Female Athletes, a non-profit to benefit at-risk teens.  In addition to her love of football, Andra is a professional artist and served as a Vice President/Creative Director at Time Warner for many years. Today, she lives with her parrot, 'Pie' in New York’s Greenwich Village where she creates mixed-media artwork.  To learn more, visit: www.andradouglasart.com.

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