Sneak Peek: INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders


INZAREDToday, we feature a sneak peek of author L. Leander’s young adult historical fiction book, INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders.

Bertha Maude Anderson was born in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Raised on a small farm, she lived a hard life far-removed from everything she craved. Misunderstood by her parents, her only confidante her brother Ezra, Bertha yearned for excitement. A Gypsy circus came to town and her world changed forever.

 Coaxed into joining the Romanoff Brothers Circus, Bertha’s name was changed to INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders. She learned to ride Cecil, the elephant, and the two forged an unbreakable bond. Inzared fell in love, learned to co-exist with the Gypsies, solved a mystery and grew into a woman, all the while searching for the life she had always dreamed of.

INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders is available on as an e-book.

Here is an excerpt from INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders:

Paytre turned to Shandor. “She’ll need a stage name.”

Shandor thought for a moment. She thinks she’s such a queen, she can be called Inzared.”

I gasped in delight at the foreign-sounding name he had given me. “What does it mean?” I asked.

“Queen. Queen of the Elephant Riders,” Shandor replied. “We shall bill you as Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders.”

“Here, take Cecil while I get her a costume,” Paytre said. Shandor led the elephant to the performer’s entrance while Paytre grabbed my hand and pulled me to the changing wagon. “Lileth, the trapeze artist, is about your size,” he said. The costume wagon was filled with racks of colorful, neatly-arranged finery. Gauzy fabrics in every hue beckoned me, sparkling and enticing me to try them on. At the base of each display were matching shoes, some with pointed toes, some slipper-like, all with sequins or gems attached. Paytre reached for a bright red leotard and a headdress of red and white plumes set in a silver crown. “Put these on.” He shoved the clothing into my arms then reached for a pair of slippers off the shoe rack and a pair of white tights. “Hurry, get dressed.” He shut the door, remaining in front of it so no one could enter.

In disbelief, I stared at the armload of clothes I held. Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders. Even if only for tonight, I would ride Cecil to the call of the ringmaster and the sound of the trumpet in the circus ring. I undressed, donned the costume, and deftly pulled my hair up using a comb I found laying on a vanity table. Pulling on the tights and the glittering red suit, my eyes lingered a moment on the shimmery fabric and spangles sewn haphazardly all over the skimpy garment. The headdress was a bit difficult, but once it was secured with pins, I put the slippers on my feet. The girl who smiled at me in the mirror was unrecognizable. She was beautiful. She was tall. She was mysterious. A pinch of red powder from a jar on the vanity, rubbed into my cheeks and lips, gave my face some color. Tonight I’d be a star. I sure hope no one recognizes me. A pang of guilt stabbed my conscience as I thought about the scanty outfit and what Ma would say, but I tried to ignore the voice and opened the door to Paytre’s admiring whistle.

“You are beautiful, Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders.” He took my hand and we ran to join Cecil. “Don’t be scared, just follow my lead. Cecil likes you and you’ll do fine.”

A line of performers was in place at the back entrance of the Big Top, waiting for the grand entrance. Laughter tumbled out the door as the clowns went through their antics inside the tent, preparing the audience for the big show to come.


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