Bookish Musings, Banter & More
It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing from UC Davis. While at Davis she met her husband, Scott, at auditions for a play. It was love at first sight.
Debbie and Scott now live on the island of Kauai. When Debbie is not writing and Scott has time off they love to indulge their passion for theme parks.
â€œSo, Candace, as one of the five finalists for The Zone Game Master Scholarship, you must be pretty excited,â€ he said.
Excited. Bewildered. Nervous. So many to choose from. Excited because the winner got a full scholarship to a college in Florida. Bewildered because she still couldnâ€™t believe her Balloon Races doodle could be taken seriously by anyone. Nervous because she didnâ€™t want to blow it.
Sheâ€™d finally forgiven her friend Josh for secretly entering her in the competition.
â€œYes, Iâ€™m very excited and pretty nervous,â€ she admitted.
â€œJust try to relax,â€ he urged.
â€œNow, as you know, there are many stages in the competition and youâ€™ve passed them all to get this far. During the first stage contestants who donâ€™t meet the qualifications are weeded out. Every year Iâ€™m surprised to hear how many of those there are. Next the Game Masters take a look at the attraction concepts for viability. Then they announce the top twenty candidates.â€
Candace vaguely remembered that and how shocked she had been. She had just doodled her Balloon Races idea for a new them park ride on a napkin. She had been about to throw it away but gave it to Josh instead and he had secretly entered it in the scholarship competition.
â€œAt that point we announce the candidates and give everyone who works for The Zone a chance to submit a recommendation for a candidate. Now, this isnâ€™t just some sort of popularity vote. Recommendations are serious things. The person filling it out has to take the time to submit a ten-page form evaluating your strengths and telling the search committee exactly why they believe you should have the position. Based on the strength and numbers of those recommendations, the group of twenty is narrowed to five.â€
â€œWow! I canâ€™t believe enough people recommended me,â€ Candace said, humbled at the amount of work it sounded like that would take.
â€œSeveral people here think quite highly of you. You had enough recommendations to just beat out a another young man for the fifth spot.â€
â€œSo, Iâ€™m here because I had one more recommendation?â€
â€œBasically, yes. Itâ€™s policy that we donâ€™t allow contestants to see their recommendations. However, since you are in the top five, I can tell you the people who recommended you.â€
Suddenly, Candace realized her heart was in her throat. This somehow made her more nervous than the interview itself. It was a reflection of what people thought of her and how they had chosen to support her. She found herself holding her breath as she waited for the names.
â€œYou had eight recommendations. The first seven came from your supervisor, Martha, Kowabunga referee Josh, Muffin Mansionâ€™s Becca and Gib, Sue from janitorial, Roger from The Dug Out, and Pete the train operator.
None of those came as a great surprise, but Candace was touched and flattered that they would all spend the time and effort on her. She made a mental note to thank them later. That had to mean that the final recommendation that had put her over the top had to come from her boyfriend Kurt. She felt a warm glow as she thought about him.
â€œAnd the last one to come in was from Lisa in food carts.â€
Candace was stunned. It wasnâ€™t Kurt, who had written a recommendation for her, but rather Lisa, the girl who hated her? â€œAre you sure about that?â€ she burst out.
John looked surprised. â€œYes. Why?â€
â€œNothing,â€ Candace mumbled, dropping her eyes.
The owner of the park chuckled. â€œSometimes itâ€™s a surprise when we discover who has actually noticed and thought weâ€™ve done a good job.â€
â€œAnd so, here you areâ€”one of the final five contestants.â€
â€œWhat happens now,â€ Candace asked, still a little unsure about the entire process.
â€œThis is it. I stay out of the selection process until the very end. Now I interview the five candidates and choose the winner.â€
Candace had suspected that might be the case but actually knowing it made her even more nervous
â€œYouâ€™ve been doing seasonal work for us, is that right?â€
â€œYou know, I think itâ€™s time to upgrade you. How would you like to work part-time at The Candy Counter?â€
â€œIn the Home Stretch?â€ she asked.
â€œThat would be the one.â€
â€œThat would be great,â€ she said, not sure what else to say at the moment. She hadnâ€™t really had a chance to think about working during the spring. There was a part of her that was instantly excited, though. Working at The Candy Counter meant she wouldnâ€™t be working at a cart.
â€œSo, shall we begin the interview?â€ he asked, the smile leaving his face.
She nodded mutely.
After the interview, Candace headed straight for the Muffin Mansion. There were no customers inside and Candace made a beeline for Becca, who was manning the cash register. Candace walked around the counter and gave Becca a big hug.
â€œWhat was that for?â€ Becca asked.
â€œFor recommending me! Iâ€™ve got a hug for Gib too. Is he here?â€
â€œHe should be back from break in a minute.â€
â€œSo, how did the interview go?â€ Becca asked.
â€œIâ€™m not sure. I feel like I totally blew it,â€ Candace confessed.
â€œEveryone probably felt that way.â€
â€œI donâ€™t know. Iâ€™m still not even sure how Iâ€™ve gotten this far in the competition.â€
â€œAre you kidding? Balloon Races looks awesome.â€
â€œHow do you know?â€
Becca smiled. â€œJosh has been showing a copy of your drawing to everyone.â€
Candace rolled her eyes. â€œGreat, one more thing Iâ€™ve gotta kill him for.â€
â€œHey, go easy on the guy. If you get that scholarship youâ€™ll owe him big time for entering you.â€
â€œYeah, I guess,â€ Candace admitted.
â€œWhatâ€™s with the frown face,â€ Becca said.
â€œKurt didnâ€™t recommend me for the competition,â€ Candace admitted.
â€œOuch,â€ Becca said, wincing.
â€œAnd Lisa did. Isnâ€™t that weird?â€
â€œHow did your interview go?â€ a deep voice asked.
Candace jumped off the counter and hugged a surprised Gib. He patted her back awkwardly.
â€œThank you for nominating me,â€ she said.
â€œNo problem. Glad to do it.â€
â€œKurt didnâ€™t nominate her,â€ Becca said.
â€œKnave!â€ Gib said, his face darkening.
Before Candace could respond, customers streamed through the door. She gave Becca and Gib a little wave and headed out. Once in the clear she headed for the Splash Zone, hoping to catch Josh who had started again a couple of days earlier in anticipation of summer. She saw him in his tank top and shorts in front of the Kowabunga ride.
â€œYouâ€™ve gotta be cold,â€ she said as she walked up.
â€œItâ€™s worth it for not sweating through the summer,â€ he said with his customary grin. â€œSo, howâ€™d it go?â€
â€œI donâ€™t know,â€ she confessed as she gave him a hug. â€œBut thank you for nominating me. Thank you for entering me,â€ she said, laughing a little.
â€œTold you the Balloon Races was cool,â€ he said.
She stepped back with a laugh. â€œRemind me to listen to you more.â€
â€œThatâ€™s an easy one.â€
â€œSo, do you think I have a shot?â€ she asked.
He grew serious for a moment. â€œI hope so, but I donâ€™t know. I entered you and I nominated you. That was really all I could do. Itâ€™s out of my hands.â€
â€œI know. Iâ€™m just nervous.â€
She was about to tell him who had nominated her when she remembered she had other news. â€œI did get a part-time job out of it,â€ she said.
His eyes widened. â€œSeriously? Part-time, not seasonal?â€
She nodded. â€œIâ€™m going to be working at The Candy Counter.â€
â€œThatâ€™s great! Congratulations. Iâ€™m going to miss seeing you on the carts, though.â€
She shrugged. â€œWe can still hang on breaks.â€
â€œAbsolutely! Well, that is, after the Talent Show. My team and I are practicing a lot.â€
Candace blinked at him. â€œTalent Show? What Talent Show?â€
Josh laughed. â€œSame old Candace.â€
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