Tuesday, January 17, 2017

"Pushing the Boundaries" by Stacey Trombley

Pushing the Boundaries
(Off Limits Book 1)
by Stacey Trombley

Pushing the Boundaries by Stacey Trombley is currently on tour with Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Myra goes to Haiti with one goal: take the photograph that will win a scholarship and prove to her uber-traditional family that she has what it takes to be a photographer instead of a doctor. Her camera has always been her shield against getting too close to anyone, but she didn’t expect the hot teen translator who has an ability to see past her walls.
Elias needs his job as a translator to provide for his siblings. He can’t afford to break the rule forbidding him from socializing with a client. Except this girl Myra insists on going outside the city to capture the perfect picture, and he steps in as her guide in order to keep her safe.
The deeper they travel into the country, the harder they fall for each other. Now they’re both taking risks that could cost each other their dreams.
If they get too close - it could ruin both their lives.
Disclaimer: Caution! Reading this book will open your heart and inspire you to take risks. Only those searching for true love should proceed.

Chapter One
Sweat drips down my forehead the second I take my first step out of the plane. I wipe it quickly. Yeah, that’s cute.
I pull at the baggy green T-shirt. Paired with stupid khaki pants, I’m a full-on frump-fest. I guess it doesn’t really matter. There isn’t anyone to impress here. They dressed us in matching, hellishly bright T-shirts so we wouldn’t lose each other in the rush of a new country. Convenient, but ugly.
Hungry eyes watch us as we pass through the crowd, looking for our massive bags. It was only a two-hour flight from Florida, but I feel like we flew straight to Africa. No one speaks English. They shout out in a strange language.
I thought I was prepared for this trip to Haiti, but ten seconds here and I’m already feeling overwhelmed. I grip the camera around my neck. The world is much easier to cope with when you’re looking at it through a lens. I snap a picture of the big warehouse-looking room of baggage claim. It’s an ugly picture, but I feel better for taking it.
You’d think I’d be used to this feeling, this out-of-place, stands-out, “what’s up with that girl” feeling. I’ve felt that my whole life. A Pakistani girl living in middle-of-nowhere, bumfuck, Middle of America, where, I swear, some people must not have seen a person of color in real life before.
But here, it’s a totally different feeling. I’m still an outcast, still getting odd looks, still totally out of place. Only it’s not my darker-than-normal skin color, big eyes, and lush black hair that makes me stand out here. It’s how light my skin is.
It’s the first time in my life I feel white.
But really, it’s not the race these people care about. It’s my nationality. I’m American. To them, American means rich.
The people at the gates, the workers, the other passengers—all of them with skin black as night. It’s beautiful, really. It’s just clear I don’t belong here.
No one in my group does.
I finally catch sight of my last bag among the remaining luggage. With a huff, I pull my massive green suitcase from the conveyer belt.
“Myra! Get a move on.” I suppress an eye roll and heave the stupid heavy bag across the crowded airport. Thick voices bombard me.
A black man in a collared shirt I think was once white approaches me and reaches for the bag in my hands. I rip it from his fingers, taking a panicked step backward but having no idea where I’ll go. My stomach leaps to my throat. Oh shit…
But he doesn’t pursue me. He just shakes his head and says something in a language I can’t understand. Then reaches for the bag again. I take another step back.
“Mom?” I call out, looking for her in the mass of bodies around me. Dirty, sweaty men everywhere.
“Myra! Let the man have it, he’s toting the bags for us,” I hear the familiar accent call from somewhere in the huge crowded room, and my head clears. I can’t mistake my mother, not anywhere. No one has a Pakistani accent like hers. Not even my father’s is as thick.
I blink and find a flash of green through the crowd before me. Okay, maybe the T-shirts were a good idea. I see another man in the same yellowed-white shirt stacking suitcases on a big trolley thing. Oh.
I give the man next to me an awkward smile, and he takes the bag, mumbling under his breath. Like I could understand him in the first place.
Stupid Americans. Yeah, it’s probably something like that.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"I felt the emotions Stacey was conveying through her writing. She really sucked me into the story. I wish it was longer." ~ Christina Oswald, Goodreads Reviewer
"I loved this book so much. I was already interested in visiting other countries, not so much the tourist areas (though I want to see those, too), but where the people actually live. To see their culture and learn more about them. This book makes me want that even more now and I hope others get encouraged also. Not to go fall in love like Myra, but to truly learn and to appreciate our lives more." ~ Kristi, Goodreads Reviewer
"I liked Elias. He was working hard to provide for his family in a country where opportunities are limited and few and far between. His devotion to his family was heart warming." ~ Kristine, Twin Spin
"A beautiful reminder and a wonderful beacon of hope. Because as Myra discovered, instead of seeing the differences, when we see the similarities - the joy and hope we all share - we discover true beauty. I believe that humanity needs people like that and that we need to be reminded of this as much as possible. Beautiful subtext, interesting characters and some beautiful descriptions make this a truly different experience." ~ Deniz, Closet Geeks and Slow Mo
"I really liked the book being based on something totally different than normal and bringing the awareness of the problems in Haiti. I liked Elias, he was working hard to be the man in the family and provide for his family. He was really humble to who he was. It was hard not to like him." ~ Christina Somerville, Goodreads Reviewer
"The ending of the book was the best part in my opinion. Everything comes together." ~ Dee, Goodreads Reviewer
"It was a cute novel. Easy to read and the characters were likable." ~ Julie, Goodreads Reviewer
"The characters were really diverse. On one hand, we have Myra, who is a Pakistani. She feels the culture shock when she lands in Haiti. She steps into a world is completely different from the ones she is used to. And on the other hand, we have Elias, who is struggling to earn enough to support his whole family so that his siblings could attend school. Their lives were completely different from each other, yet somehow their friendship was so pure and I loved them together." ~ Poulami, Daydreaming Books

Guest Post by the Author
The Story Behind the Story: My Trips to Haiti
When I was eleven, my middle school youth group organized a trip to Haiti to work at an orphanage. I thought nothing of it, really. A cool adventure. Didn’t matter that my parents wouldn’t be able to come with me, or that I was barely out of Elementary school going to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Looking back it seems a bit crazy that it happened at all.
We went back two consecutive years and those times my family came along. The first year we helped at a running orphanage (painting, cleaning, and giving new mattresses to the children.) The next year we helped with the construction for a new orphanage, and the next year a new school. All the while doctors and nurses who came along ran a temporary clinic for the locals (the real work).
It’s no secret that these trips inspired Pushing the Boundaries, where my main character goes to Haiti to help at a clinic her mother runs, in hopes of getting a good picture for a photography scholarship. But she ends up falling in love with her interpreter Elias with some not-so-good consequences.
Much of the logistics of Myra’s trip were inspired by my own experience. The house Myra and her group stayed in, the city they drove through, the clinics and how they ran them. Yes, we even had an interpreter who also drove us around. His name was Fan Fan (pronounced more like fon-fon) and he was one of the kindest, most humble men I’ve ever met - though he was middle-aged and married (with two2 kids), and my pre-teen self certainly didn’t fall in love with him.
So unfortunately, I don’t have a fun Haitian romance story but my trips to Haiti definitely have a heavy hand in this book. My love of Haiti, the country, the atmosphere, and of course all my memories!

About the Author
Stacey Trombley lives in Ohio with her husband and the sweetest Rottweiler you’ll ever meet. She thinks people are fascinating and any chance she has, she’s off doing or learning something new. She went on her first mission trip to Haiti at age twelve and is still dying to go back. Her "places to travel" list is almost as long as her "books to read" list.
Her debut novel Naked released from Entangled Teen in 2015, followed by Pushing the Boundaries in 2017.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a prize pack including: a signed copy of Naked by Stacey Trombley, a signed copy of Pushing the Boundaries by Stacey Trombley, and Haitian Art as shown in the photo (US only).