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Book 3 in the 'Pinch Of Magic' collection

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Book 3 in the 'Pinch Of Magic' collection

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Heya, I'm Gisele.

I write feel-good women’s fiction with a little magic and places like characters…

Heya, I'm Gisele.

I write feel-good women’s fiction with a little magic and places like characters…

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The Anywhere Hotel

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THE ANYWHERE HOTEL

Ava’s phone buzzed against a cup of coffee long gone cold.

She’d become the type of customer she loathed to serve, back at the deli in Shepherd’s Bush. The type that ordered the cheapest beverage on the menu and then sipped on it forever, waiting for a bus, a date, or maybe for the rain to stop.

Only Ava wasn’t waiting. She was already half an hour late.

Hence, the phone call.

“Are you going to answer that?” The businessman beside her raised an eyebrow in annoyance. Wordlessly, Ava pressed the power button to reject the call. Downing what was left of her coffee in one last gulp, she savoured the cup’s complex character – vibrant and fruity, but with a mild body. A peaberry, her favourite bean. She stood and grabbed her bag. “Thanks,” she called toward the counter and strode out the door, glaring at the businessman now taking a call himself. As if his stock market shouts weren’t more annoying. He didn’t even fit in at a place like this.

She’d arrived at Canary Wharf earlier than planned, and it had taken her a while to find a decent coffee shop to bide her time in. London’s financial district was littered with franchises: Pret A Mangers, McDonald’s, and, of course, Marley’s Cafés. There were three on South Colonnade alone – absurdly, within view of one another. Way to mark your territory, Ethan…

But Ava never stepped inside a Marley’s, not since her mother’s passing.

(…)

Zanzibar’s Old Town was a cacophony of colours and sounds, a maze of alleys with crumbled walls, mouldering from centuries of monsoon rains. Ava had landed at the island’s tiny airport earlier that afternoon. Now she sat on her narrow balcony at the Kasa Bed and Breakfast, a charming guesthouse Mel had recommended next to the freight port. Her room boasted high ceilings, ornate wooden furniture, and a canopy bed with mosquito netting. The air conditioning unit rattled like a washing machine in spinning mode but provided a welcome respite from the stifling humidity.

As Ava watched the bustle below her feet, the muezzin’s call to prayer blared from an ancient speaker on a nearby rooftop. The air smelled of the ocean and jasmine, of tropical fruit and old frying fat. Power cables snaked in knotted bundles across an alley so narrow a car wouldn’t fit through yet teeming with activity: Street vendors touting their goods, kids chasing one another, motorcycles rattling past a pair of elderly gentlemen engaged in a game of Bao, sipping tea as they contemplated their next moves. The traditional Tanzanian board game was a local favourite, as Ava had learned from the receptionist earlier.

This place was everything she needed now – a bustling city where she could be just another stranger. So chaotic and vibrant and noisy, it drowned out any thoughts about her future as soon as they arose. She could have spent hours sitting here, observing life without being a part of it. Her peace, however, was disrupted when she spotted a figure lurking in the shadows – a Zanzibari woman who had fixed her gaze directly on her, sending an unsettling chill down her spine. Ava withdrew back into the room, feeling uneasy to have become the watched instead of the watcher.

(…)

Ava woke on her stomach, cheek in the sand, head heavy as a coconut. Gentle waves resounded from a distance. Wetting her lips, she tasted salt.

“What the…” she mumbled, feeling a tickling at her feet. Drugged with fatigue, she flutter-opened her eyes. “What the hell?” A fully grown cow was licking her toes! She crab-crawled backwards, and the cow moved off, utterly unimpressed.

Ava frantically scanned her surroundings, her hands checking her body for any signs of injury, her eyes darting around in search of something – anything – familiar to lock onto. Before her, a beach of glinting white sand stretched out as far as the horizon, where giant clouds billowed in the vibrant colours of early morning. The air was thick with humidity. Cicadas buzzed. Seagulls chit-chatted as they glided overhead. Palm trees snaked along the shoreline, where thatched umbrellas sprouted like mushrooms from the sand. In their shade, dilapidated steamer chairs gave the impression that this beach didn’t see many tourists.

How the hell did she get here? And where even was here? Had she been kidnapped? Worse, had someone spiked her drink and taken advantage of her? Her panic surged when the realisation hit: She had absolutely no idea.

Ava picked herself up. She had a splitting headache, and her mouth felt dry like the caked sand on her cheek. The remains of a campfire smouldered beneath a nearby palm. Next to it: her bag. She crept toward it, grasping the worn leather strap like a lifeline. A wave of relief poured over her when she found everything inside was still there – wallet, passport, phone.

She hugged the bag to her chest, and her panic faded to confusion. Her mind was like a closet in the lead-up to a first date; nothing was where it belonged anymore. The last thing she remembered was Safari Tom chatting her up on the rooftop, followed by the phone call from Laura. Everything after that had become a blur. She didn’t even remember going to bed last night. There had been a reason for her going to the beach, though – she still remembered that – but she couldn’t for the life of her remember what it was.

Ava fished out her phone. No signal. The display, however, flashed green with old messages from Laura, desperately trying to get a hold of her after last night’s call. But, hang on… that had been on Wednesday night. According to her phone, it was Friday morning now. What happened to Thursday?

(…)

Podcast

The Earthy Writer

My podcast is a documentation of ‘my rewilding year’: Every new moon, I set a new rewilding intention for the month, and every full moon I share my learnings with you, such as:
  • Manifesting with the moon phases

  • Creating a slow, feminine business

  • Living in harmony with the seasons

  • Tuning into Mother Nature for guidance

The Earthy Writer Podcast Cover (YouTube Thumbnail) (2)
Podcast

The Earthy Writer

The Earthy Writer Podcast Cover (YouTube Thumbnail) (2)
My podcast is a documentation of ‘my rewilding year’: Every new moon, I set a new rewilding intention for the month, and every full moon I share my learnings with you, such as:
  • Manifesting with the moon phases

  • Creating a slow, feminine business

  • Living in harmony with the seasons

  • Tuning into Mother Nature for guidance

Works in progress:

PINCH OF MAGIC COLLECTION:
🇬🇧 THE ANYWHERE HOTEL: Published
🇩🇪 DAS HOTEL DER TAUSEND ORTE: Published
🇬🇧 THE EVER AFTER DIARY: Published
🇩🇪 DAS TAGEBUCH DER STERNE: Published
🇬🇧 THE AGE OF ELEPHANTS: Published
🇩🇪 BOOK 3 (German): Translation / Release: June 2024
SECRET NEXT PROJECT 🧙‍♀️:
Free Novella: Editing Phase / Release: Mid-2024
BOOK 1: Drafting Phase / Release: End 2024
BOOK 2: Outline Phase / Release: Early 2025
BOOK 3: Outline Phase / Release: Mid 2025