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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Miracle of Small Things

       
     

       Please welcome Guilie Castillo Oriard from Quiet Laughter as she drops by for a stop on her tour to promote her book The Miracle of Small Things.  She'll also be revealing my song pick for the Battle of the Bands coming up on Sunday November 15th.

The Miracle of Small Things Book Tour 

       Thank you so much, Lee, for hosting me here at Tossing It Out today! What a treat it's been to work with you on this Battle of The Bands tie-in... And thanks for the honor of revealing your song choice for the upcoming Battle of the 15th! Luis Villalobos, the protagonist of THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS, might be uniquely suited to introduce that tune...


Hint #1: The song is one that Luis—and probably every other Mexican—knows well. BUT it's not a mariachi song, or a ranchera. No, it's not the Mexican anthem, either.


      Luis Villalobos moved to Curaçao for two reasons, and two reasons only. And beaches had nothing to do with it. First, the position he was offered with Ehrlich Fiduciary, one of the largest fiduciary service providers in the world, was one he'd coveted for a long time: Managing Director. A whole office — and one of international monster Ehrlich's busiest — under his responsibility. Everyone knows responsibility is the reverse side of opportunity, and Luis feels in his ambitious gut the exhilarating twitch of golden circumstances aligning. Second, the MD position wouldn't be forever. No self-respecting international company would expect someone with his track record to agree to permanent exile in a Caribbean island. Temporary exile, however, is the key to opening doors at any other Ehrlich office. Geneva. São Paulo. Madrid. Luxembourg. Manila. Johannesburg. Shanghai. Or, of course, Singapore, home to the neural center of the Ehrlich empire.

      Curaçao is just a stepping stone. A peeled grape. After living in New York and London and Hong Kong; after working at the biggest wealth management advisory firms and with three of the Big Five tax firms... Really, in spite of its size Ehrlich will be a piece of pie, and this island out in the middle of nowhere only a challenge in terms of staying awake until he can move back into the big-time.


        But the Caribbean is treacherous. Ask any pirate, from Blackbeard to offshore finance experts. It is especially treacherous—perfidious and unreliable—for those single-minded victims of arrogance who believe they've got any sort of control on the future. And Luis is lured straight into the ambush.

         The book opens with Luis driving back to his condo on the morning of New Year's Day, after having spent the night with Milena Durant, Ehrlich Curaçao's current Managing Director. The woman he's been hired to replace (she's moving to Singapore later that year). And she's going to use this transgression to control him, to make him toe the line—her line. He's trapped. A prisoner. And he has no one to blame except himself. So why doesn't he just leave? I mean, really. Just get on a plane, Jack. (I mean Luis.) Put to work one of those 50 ways to leave your lover—and the island.
(No, this is not a hint.)


       But, see, it's not the island, or the situation he blames it for, that hold him prisoner. Prisons come in really alternative shapes, and often these are more permanent, if less obvious, than steel bars and high walls. We can be prisoners to ambition, for instance. To passion, or to emotion. To family. To commitments. To society. To our belief systems. To expectations.

  Hint #2: One can also be prisoner to good things... Like besos—oops, sorry. Kisses, I mean.

Luis considers leaving, briefly, and then discards it as a non-option. He can't break his contract, for one: what's he going to do, tell the Ehrlich CEO he slept with Milena? Make something up, then? Like what? What could possibly be so serious that he'd leave a two-year contract only two months in? And what about his resumé? How does he explain this break in employment? At the level he functions, it'll be a black mark in an otherwise enviable career. No one will hire him. No one that matters. Backing out of this Ehrlich thing will, quite literally, cost him his career. A career that defines not just his life or his future, but his very sense of identity. So he lowers his head, he bends a knee, and settles in for the long haul.

       What else can he do? The Caribbean is treacherous, but it also has a (sometimes infamous) reputation as refuge for those escaping... well, whatever's kept them prisoner. But freedom is for the intrepid, for those alert enough to spot the opportunity before it vanishes like a mirage at sunset. Will Luis see it? Will he recognize it? Even if he does, freedom won't come at an easy price. It'll be a painful process of loss and shattered dreams. The question will be whether it's worth it.

Hint #4: Some prisons masquerade as luxury resorts of the type we'd be crazy to want to escape.



         Have you ever felt a prisoner of something? How did you break free? Was it painful? Was the sense of liberation worth it? Do you think mental prisons are part of human nature? Would we be better off without them, or do they play an essential function in our psyche—and our interactions? 


Hint #5: Have you ever been a prisoner to love? Can that be a good thing?

Lee's song choice for the Battle of The Bands on the 15th is none other than José José's Preso... An ode to prisons not of steel or concrete but of flesh and blood (and hips and lips).



          Thank you, Lee, for making me a part of a Battle with this song. It brings back all sorts of wonderful memories... The original, certainly, but also (especially?) one of the covers you've chosen for the Battle. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the votes fall with this one.
~ * ~

About THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS (Truth Serum Press, Aug 2015): Mexican tax lawyer Luis Villalobos is lured to the tiny island of Curaçao anticipating a fast track to the cusp of an already stellar career. But the paradise we expect is so rarely the paradise we find.

Now available in:
Follow MIRACLE on Facebook, or add it to your Goodreads shelf.



About THE AUTHOR: Guilie is a Mexican export herself who transferred to Curaçao "for six months"—and, twelve years later, has yet to find a reason to leave. Her work has been published online and in print anthologies, such as Pure Slush's 2014 A Year In Stories and gorge. THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS is her first book. Connect with Guilie on Facebook and Twitter, at Quiet Laughter, where she blogs about life and writing, and at Life In Dogs, where she blogs about... well, dogs.

 About THE TOUR: To celebrate the release of MIRACLE in e-book formats, several blogs will be hosting Guilie throughout November to talk about writing, about the book, its island setting and its characters—including a 100-lb. monster dog rescued from the streets—and some of the issues MIRACLE touches on, such as the role of large and small things in the realignment of our values, and the power of place in our definition of self.



****************


Gracias por visitar Tossing It Out, Guilie!




70 comments:

  1. This was so much fun, Lee! Thanks for letting me be a part of this experiment; I hope everyone enjoys reading and—well, no, no guessing... This is one obscure choice :) But I'd be really curious to know if anyone had heard of Preso (or of José José) before today. And I'm really looking forward to seeing how people vote on the covers you chose for the actual battle, too!

    Thanks again, Lee. It's been an honor and a pleasure :)
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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    1. Guilie, I enjoyed having you promote your book and the BOTB at the same time. I doubt if many knew the song, but we'll see what readers say. Thanks for being here!

      Lee

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  2. Luis certainly seems to be imprisoned by his own foolish actions. He is such an interesting character!

    What a clever tie-in to the next BOTB. Had me going for a second with the non-hint and I was expecting Paul Simon. ☺ This is a lovely song that I've never heard before. Should be a fun battle!

    I felt imprisoned by my corporate job towards the end, but the decision to leave it was made for me. Yes, it was painful, but at the same time, there was an overwhelming sense of relief.

    Enjoyable post, Guilie and Lee! ☺

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    1. I'm glad you think he's interesting, Debbie... Sometimes (especially at the beginning) I couldn't help thinking of him as an emotional klutz, and I had a hard time warming to him. (But then, of course, he rescues the dog, and... well. The rest is history :) )

      Funny that you mention imprisonment by your corporate job, Debbie... I think you also mentioned it in your comment on Lee's Monday post about this, and I was going to say something then, but — of course — forgot. I find it funny only in the sense that it's one more thing you and I have in common... I completely understand the pain and the relief, and I'm glad you have such a fulfilling life now :)

      Thanks for the visit, Debbie! Over to your place now; I got a notification about a new comment that I haven't checked out yet. That was also a super fun post!
      Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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    2. "Emotional klutz" is a good description for Luis. That makes him vulnerable and thus, somewhat endearing. ☺ The dog seals the deal.

      Yes, the corporate life can be all-consuming and this led to burn out. Glad to be out of there, but I do miss those paycheques and benefits. It's a trade off!

      Thanks for that brilliant guest post and for keeping up with the comments. ☺ Hope you feel better soon!

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    3. Do NOT start me on the paycheques!!! Hahahahaha... It really is a trade-off, isn't it? I'm happy with my decision, though. (Lack of income notwithstanding :D )

      Al truly is Luis's redemption... In more ways than one, I suppose, but starting with winning me over. I might've ended Luis's story very differently otherwise :D

      Thank YOU, Debbie, for being a part of this, and for welcoming me to your space!

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  3. That is probably the best author photo I've ever seen. How beautiful Guillie is and how wonderful this book sounds!

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    1. Karen, you've made me blush. Thank you so much for your kind words!
      Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  4. congrats to lady Oriard on her book! Did the pup leave a pawprint in the manuscript?

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    1. Dezmond, you have no idea :D Pawprints were the least of it. Some of the manuscript pages had bitten-off corners. Some were just... gone, which was a problem because I had to retype them from memory—and we all know that never works out as well as the original ;)

      Thanks so much for the visit, and for the good wishes! Really, much appreciated.
      Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  5. Luis sure has/had an interesting life. Blackbeard aND ambushes...wow! Sure sounds like an adventure.

    Guilie, I wish you all the best with The Miracle of Small Things. And your author picture is great. Such a cute puppy. :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Chrys! Aw, that puppy stole our hearts... He (and his two brothers, whom we also kept) just turned 3 last week, and no longer fits on my lap, sadly. Not that he's noticed, though :D

      Thanks for the visit!

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  6. Wow! Excellent introduction for The Miracle of Small Things, Guilie! Best wishes!!!

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    1. Thank you, Tyrean! So glad you enjoyed it :)
      Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  7. Hi Guilie and Lee - certainly a fascinating tale and I'd definitely want to read more ... love the story line and then hearing Jose's 'Preso' - this sort of music I don't hear very often ... so it has a good ring. Cheers Hilary

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    1. Glad you liked it, Hilary! I can imagine this sort of music isn't one you get to listen to on a regular basis (some would say that's a good thing ;) ), and I'm glad you enjoyed it. If you can, do come back to Lee's for the Battle on the 15th; he's chosen two really different versions of this one, more modern but still romantic in all the right ways... It'll be a tough one to decide on :)

      Thanks for coming by!
      Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  8. LEE & GUILIE ~
    Hokey-Smoke! That was the most complex and best written introduction for a Battle Of The Bands contest EVER!

    The story sounds very interesting. I especially like the idea of a 100-pound monster dog! Why not just sic monster dog on Milena and then say, "Whoops! Sorry. I guess I forgot to feed him for a few days."

    As for the song, I'm not familiar with it (no surprise there) but I have heard of Jose Jose. Didn't he marry Mary Hartman Mary Hartman in New York, New York?

    Seriously, I liked the song. I grew up in L.A. which has a rich Mexican culture, or sub-culture, so I have heard and grown fond of different styles of Hispanic music, etc.

    Looking forward to the next Battle, Lee. And this was a great way to promote your book, Guilie!

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. You actually had me looking up Mary Hartman :D (Yeah, okay, I can hear you laughing all the way down here in Curaçao, Stephen... )

      You know, I don't think Luis would be averse to the sic idea (there's a pun there somewhere... my flu-addled brain won't let me get to it, though). I actually think he might go for it. I better keep you two from talking — or my whole plot goes down the drain, haha.

      José José (you know his last name is Joseph, right? Yeah, that was lame.) is huuuuuuuuge in Mexico... or was, actually, around the 70's and 80's... Maybe still is in some circles, I don't know, but back then he really was a giant. I'm surprised you hadn't heard this one; you were my one hope to redeem him from total BoTB-gang obscurity. (Plus it has electric organ in it. And a couple of cowbells too, right at the end, if I remember correctly :D )

      Thanks for the visit, Stephen. I'm so glad you enjoyed this experiment... Kudos go to Lee as mastermind and flawless executor of the build-up... He's good. Really, really good.
      Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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    2. STMcC, Guilie did such a great job with the tie in! I'll be interested in seeing which way you vote in the upcoming BOTB. I have a guess that I think will be correct.

      We'll see.

      Lee

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    3. >>... I have a guess that I think will be correct.

      How much you wanna bet? Don't don't tell me the name of the performer. I'll take that bet. You can tell me later when you expect to mail the check. SERIOUSLY!!! I take the bet! And you don't even need to tell me the details, because I TOTALLY trust you!!!

      I say: My vote will be the opposite of yours. (And you gotta let me vote FIRST!)

      If you say I lost the bet, I'll send you a (good) check, no questions asked.

      Love Ya, Lee
      ("John Wayne!", "John Wayne!")
      ~ D-FensDogG

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    4. STMcC, indeed you will have the first vote. We'll see what happens and I'll let you know.

      Lee

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    5. GUILIE ~
      Sorry to disappoint this time but... Si! I do hear the cowbell and the organ. Unless my ears deceive me, I believe I even hear a little bit of electric razor in there. Ha!

      I wish you lots o' luck with the book! May it be the success you hope it is, Guilie, AND THEN SOME!

      ~ D-FensDogG

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    6. Aw, that's ok... I like to be surprised, so I try to avoid setting my expectations in stone ;) Thanks for the good wishes! If nothing else, it's been an extraordinary experience of generosity and warmth—and a LOT of fun. Fun counts, right? ;)

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  9. A wonderful post to read Lee and what an excellent book. Well done.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Thanks for the visit, Yvonne! I'm glad you enjoyed the post :)

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  10. Luis really got himself into a mess, didn't he?

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    1. He did, Alex. He really did :D

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  11. Best of you luck to you, Guillie and that picture of you and your puppy is precious. Who thought the beach would be such a terrible place, it's one of my favorites!

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    1. Thanks so much, Elsie! It's a fantastic photo of a fantastic moment by a fantastic photographer, and I'm really glad you like it :) You know, if Luis spent more time at the beach I'm pretty sure his life would improve exponentially ;)

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  12. The greatest handicaps are those of the mind. We are good at making our own prisons.

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    1. Too right, L. Diane. We might try to get better at breaking out of them ;)

      Thanks for visiting!
      Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  13. Great way to hook us into your story. I have been a prisoner inside a marriage. I had to get out. And, it was liberating.

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    1. I can't imagine the frustration and the powerlessness, Mary—and the pain it must have taken to get you to the point where you had to leave. But leaving must've taken guts, and self-respect, and you're a hero for doing it. Liberating... yes, it must have been. BRAVO!
      Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  14. Ok, Ok, mi inglés esta un poco oxidado con tendencia a ser "splanglish", por lo cual y a fin de no hacer mayor el ridículo dejare el comentario en español . . .

    Ahora bien, por el mismo motivo anteriormente cita'o, también deberé leer con calma para poder opinar . . . . .

    ¿'tons que hago aqui? aprovechando la oportunidad de felicitarte por todo lo que has logrado . . . . .

    Saludos, desde el jardín salvaje . . . . .

    PD, no entendi la cuestión esta del "comment as", y la de "anonymous" es la que me permitió publicar, pero estoy seguro de que sabrás quien soy . . .

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    1. Jajajajajaja... Sí sé quién eres! Y MIL gracias! Detallazo, dude.

      To Lee: No, this isn't Spam. It's a long-time friend (a quarter century, at least) from Mexico whose English is not as good as your Spanish, so you've got the advantage :) On his behalf, thanks for allowing the Anonymous option for commenting.

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    2. Guilie, I understood enough to know this wasn't spam. This is the kind of comment that made me want to accept "anonymous". I've had some cool comments from people who've known me in the past or recognized what I was talking about and I want to be able to receive those kinds of comments.

      Good to see you receiving one.

      Lee

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  15. A bit unhinged tonight. First thing that went through my mind when it was said the song would be one all Mexicans probably know was, "Ai yi yi yi... I am the Frito Bandito..."

    You gotta forgive me, I learned to talk in commercial first.

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    1. LOL, CW... That would be one song no Mexican would know :D Still, thanks for chipping in!

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  16. I love how Guile pitched her newest novel to us ~ cleverly intriguing approach to marketing your book, my friend. Best of luck to ya, lady!

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    1. Thank you, Cathy! I love that you loved it :) Thanks for coming by!

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  17. Okay, it's been ages since I've heard Preso--thanks for the trip down memory lane :) Sounds like a great read, and best of luck to you, Guilie!

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    1. OMG — LEE!!!!!!! Meradeth knows the song!!!!!!! Meradeth, you've made my day... I'd totally given up hope on anyone ever having heard of it, and here you are saying it brings you great memories! YAAAAAY!!!! (Sorry... A bit over the top, I know, but... I am Mexican, after all, and we tend to overdo the effusiveness :) )

      Thank you for the good wishes, and for coming by. Glad you enjoyed it!

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    2. I know, I was surprised to have someone else who knew the song. Yay, Meradeth, hope you come back to vote on Sunday and then follow up to see which version wins.

      Lee

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    3. Meradeth, YES! I'm dying to know which of the two versions Lee is presenting will earn your vote... Especially because you know the original, and know it well. I'm looking forward to that!

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  18. Good Luck Guilie! That sounds like an interesting premise, trying to work in an exotic location, with a string tied around your neck. . . the corporate world can be full of snakes, the human ones.

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    1. Too right, D.G.! Though I suppose human "snakes" can be found pretty much everywhere... But, somehow, the corporate world draws them in serious numbers :) Thanks so much for visiting!

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  19. Amazing book, amazing intro to the battle! Great job, Lee and Guilie!

    Sorry to leave a link, Blogger won't allow my wordpress comment:
    Daily (w)rite

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    1. Damyanti, legitimate reader links are always welcomed here. We like it to be easy to find you.

      Thanks!

      Lee

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  20. Congratulations on your new book, Guilie!

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  21. Terrific blog hop thank you Lee and Guilie! Anticipating the BOTB, hard to imagine what it could be. I like Luis; he meets the challenges that life presents and clearly un-prison's himself. Takes courage to do that!

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    1. Thank you for visiting, Susan! I'm so, so glad to find your name among the comments :) And I hope you enjoy Lee's Battle... I'm very curious to see which version you'll like best :)

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  22. Love the music, can't wait to see how the BOTB turns out. Congratulation Guilie, this was a great way to introduce The Miracle of Small Things, Luia sounds like such an interesting character. Looking forward to curling up on a cold winter day to read of his eventual escape!

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    1. Thank you, Yolanda! I'm glad you enjoyed this, and I'll be looking forward to Lee's BoTB results, too!

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  23. Lee and Guillie -

    As everyone and said, what a great and innovative way to do so many things at the same time! All aspects are interesting in and of themselves - the book, the song itself, teasing the upcoming BOTB, the collaboration of two bloggers - but to combine them was fun and brilliant! The book sounds great by the way!

    Good job, you two.

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    1. SBB6, it's always helpful to have an innovative collaborator like Guilie. She's done a great job with her post.

      Lee

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    2. I'm beyond flattered, Sheboy, and so very glad you enjoyed the post. Indeed, the combination of all these things was genius—and it was all Lee's doing (I suspect we'll have a hard time getting him to admit it, though).

      Thanks for your kind words!
      Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  24. That sounds like an interesting read! I like how it ties in to the BOTB. I have a job that feels like prison most of the time, and it isn't just money that holds me to it. I feel obligated to my coworkers to not leave them at a point when they need help the most, something that many of our recent "turnovers" do not understand.

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    1. I hear you, Elizabeth... I've felt that way, too, and I think that kind of "obligation" (maybe more of a sense of commitment?) is stronger than any financial reasons to stay. Well, at least for some people :) Your coworkers are lucky to have you.

      Thanks for the visit!
      Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  25. Super guest post! I look forward to your battle of the bands post

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  26. Great book from the sounds of it-Luis is just a hapless fool at the moment. I think we all have been there in some form or another. How else can we learn and grow? Unfortunately I have met people who refuse to grow and actually like to stay in their own prison of their own making. I have not heard of this song but I enjoyed listening to it for sure. Looking forward to BOTB

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    1. Too right, Birgit... Nothing makes us grow—makes us better people—than hardship. Unless, of course, one decides to wallow in self-pity... What gets me about people like that is that they expect others to also feel pity for them. And that I cannot do :)

      Thanks for the visit, Birgit! Both Lee and I will be looking forward to how your vote falls on this one :)

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  27. Thanks to everyone for their comments and especially to Guilie for helping me out with this post.

    Lee

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    1. Lee, can I just say... You have a fabulous audience. Thank you, everyone, for giving me such a warm welcome—and thank you (again), Lee, for making me a part of your community and sharing your space with me; it's been fantastic, and I've enjoyed myself epically. When can we do it again? ;)

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    2. My audience is pretty great, I agree :) I enjoyed your post and you did a wonderful job of following up on comments.

      We'll do another collaboration in the not too distant future.

      Lee

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  28. Good luck with your book, Guilie! I certainly felt imprisoned during the eleven months I couldn't walk, following my car accident. At one point early on, I even wished they'd just cut my leg off so I could start walking again with a prosthesis. I already felt helpless and trapped because I still couldn't drive yet, and now I went from being unable to not only drive but walk as well.

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    1. What a terrible situation, Carrie-Anne—I can completely understand feeling imprisoned. Eleven months! Recovery must've been long, too... Kudos to you for getting through it.

      Thanks for the visit!

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Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee