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Launching My “Ain’t too Proud to Beg” Book Blog Tour and Book Release Party

That’s really a pathetic title, isn’t it? Seriously though, in the wise words of TLC, “I ain’t too proud to beg” for some book sales, and I also thought this fit the style of my books bringing back the nostalgia of the ’80s and ’90s through music and other now dated pieces of pop culture.

Releasing my second book in the Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl series is a pretty big deal to me…you know… because I wrote the book and all. Today is that big day and I want to share it with as many people as possible. And I want you to share it with as many people as possible. So I’m going on tour, virtually.  I begged (and possibly blackmailed) a few people to post about me and my book on their blogs through next week. Each day, I’ll link their posts to my blog. I’m also going to host a sort of Facebook release party a few evenings next week.  Join if you can. Trick someone else into joining if you can’t. I’ll have some trivia of the times, a few guest authors, and some Q&A moments. It’s a public event on Facebook I’ll be sharing on my author page.

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I like to mix the truth with imagination, so this is about one part truth, one part nostalgia, and three parts imagination.

Book Blurb: “It’s just another extraordinarily ordinary year in Drew Hotchner’s world, and one she faces again with wit and sarcasm.  Freshman year is the only thing that just might be more horrific and awkward than middle school, and Drew cannot avoid it.  Thankfully, she is not alone and still has her support crew of friends, because some things never change, no matter the setting.  Old enemies return and new distractions abound, such as a new crush, even while she holds onto the old, the advent of the grunge music movement, helping to plan a wedding, and the creepy neighbor boy down the equally creepy rural road.  Drew must again learn to hold her own in the unknown and to stay true to her identity while also learning that doing the right thing is not always the easy thing and may take a degree of maturity a fourteen year old often doesn’t realize she has.”

And here’s an excerpt to whet your Drew Hotchner appetite:

And so It Begins

As the casket slowly lowered down into the grave, tears were dabbed from damp faces with pristine, white tissues, stark against the corresponding black dresses. From my vantage point in class, I could watch entire funerals take place in the cemetery next to, and down the hill from, Florntayor High School. I wondered who these people had been and whom they had left behind. I found myself making up dramatic stories in my head about their lives and tragic deaths. This was the second funeral during this class period within the first two weeks of school. How fitting that it was during my math class, the most dreaded of all subjects for me.

Jolting me from my daydream, a hand reached back and grabbed my left ankle, which I had apparently been jiggling as I had crossed that leg over the other. This proved to be too much temptation for Chip, the huge redneck who sat directly in front of me and asked me out daily. The overgrown senior turned and smirked, not letting go of my ankle. I mouthed silently to him that he better let go, but he just held on tighter and shook his head, his frizzy mullet rustling over his plaid flannel collar and bare, yet Chewbacca-fuzzy shoulders (the flannel sleeves had obviously been ripped off to allow for a more functional summer shirt), so I used my other foot to kick him in the butt, just missing his can of chew. “Ouch!” he howled, drawing attention from Mr. Bunson, my worst nightmare.

“Mr. Dicksen, what seems to be the problem?” Mr. Bunson inquired, peeking over the oblong glasses that had slid down his nose.

“She kick’d me!” Chip whined as he pointed his thumb back my way.

“Is this true, Ms. Hotchner?”

“Only because he grabbed my ankle and wouldn’t let go,” I stated as matter-of-factly as I could.

“There is no reason to resort to violence, young lady,” Bunson reprimanded as he tried to get his lab coat unhooked from something sticking out of the table in the front of the room. This was pre-algebra. Why did he wear that thing anyway? It’s not like we were mad scientists mixing chemicals. We were just trying to solve for x and y, or in my case, trying not to fall asleep. In the very moment he unhooked himself the bell mercifully rang. “You keep your feet to yourself, Ms. Hotchner. Ladies do not kick, and I will not hesitate to write you up if it happens again.”

“But he grabbed my ankle. It was self-preservation. Why doesn’t Mr. Dicksen get in trouble?” I asked, almost a bit too mockingly. Realizing I probably should have kept my mouth shut, I quickly added, “I promise I won’t do it again, if you could just move him away from me. He bothers me every day and I’m afraid he’s hindering my ability to learn.” Maybe I could change my sass to a plea for help. A sort of “Help me, Mr. Bunson; you’re my only hope” type tactic.

“Is that so? I’ll consider that. Do not be as late for your next class now as you were for mine.” Ouch. I had already been late for Mr. Bunson’s class two times in as many weeks, quite possibly coinciding with the days of the funerals, though I could not remember for sure. I had to race all the way across campus after changing from gym class, and I had to stop at my locker because there was nowhere to keep my math book in the locker room, so even though I’d been halfway in the classroom at least one of those times, Mr. Bunson had written me up for being tardy both times. One more tardy would equal after school detention for me. The worst trouble I’d ever been in before was two days kicked off the bus and two weeks of bus probation when I was in middle school, which incidentally, was also an unjust punishment when I had stood up for someone. I could already tell Mr. Bunson did not care for me any more than Mrs. Nelson, my bus driver, cared for me.

I wished I could start this school year over again, maybe with a different schedule, or in an entirely new location. High school was supposed to be better than middle school, but being a freshman sure didn’t feel like a step up. I was content to not stand out in any way for the rest of high school, as I was certain it would be easier to survive that way. For this reason, I was glad my friends and I had chickened out of our original plan to make an impression on our new teachers and fellow students…

Copyright 2014

To read this book, please stop by Amazon to purchase either the ebook, the print book, or both. The good news is that even though it’s the second book in the series, you don’t need to have read the first to make sense of this one, but you may find you want to anyway, just because it’s awesome.

And if you do, please review

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Christmas in October, a Peek at Drew’s Freshman Year

Chrsitmas in October

While many people are attempting to write a book in one month, I’m admittedly a bit slower.  I’ve been working on my sequel to Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: The Middle-ish Ages since June, and I’m not halfway there yet.  I’m ok with that as I would rather take my time on this project.  I have mixed feelings about the continuing story of my heroine Drew, and I just want to get it right and keep the integrity of her character, even as she stares high school in the face.  She will not be tainted by the horrors of teenage angst!

To prove that life does go on for Drew, here’s an uncorrected excerpt from Drew’s Halloween.  Remember, the year is 1991.

Christmas in October

My friends and I all met at Joey’s Pizza Palace the Saturday night before Halloween so we could plan our attire for the day and for the collection of goodies that night.  We all landed on the theme idea of Christmas, mostly at the prodding of Adrienne and me, who had recently amassed a collection of crazy Christmas socks and planned on wearing them as often as possible.  We only had until Thursday to gather our costumes, and none of us could drive, so we had to be resourceful, and this seemed like a theme we could pull off.

Amid the scary masks and cutesie prep costumes, the red and green splendor my friends and I brought to campus was jolly indeed.  Since Adrienne and I had been wearing our Christmas socks for about a month already anyway, we knew we had to add color and accessories.  I wore red leggings under a pair of black shorts and a green silk blouse hanging loose over that.  I couldn’t decide between my dancing reindeer or Frosty socks, so I wore one of each.  Adrienne and I had both streaked our hair with alternating green and red food coloring stripes, wore wreath earrings, and decorative garland as boas.  When my friends all gathered together that morning we all had to congratulate Anne for actually showing up dressed as a Christmas tree, adorned with ornaments, lights, and strung together popcorn.  “Excellent costume. Nice trunk,” Shane said as he pulled off a piece of popcorn, tossed it up and caught it in his mouth.

Anne tried to playfully slap his hand, but without full range of motion, she simply swatted at air.  “Don’t eat my popcorn, Shane.”

“Yeah, ok.  It’s a little stale anyway, I think,” he replied, gagging a little for effect.

By lunchtime, Anne had only a few random kernels of popcorn hanging on.  “I kid you not.  A bird dive-bombed me when I was walking between buildings.  I will never wear food again.”

Halloween is pretty much an eat junk and do nothing in school day, so my good mood could not be ruined, not even by Chip and Mr. Bunson or Mona and Violet.  I had gotten back my first set of journals for Ms. Finch’s class and received an A and an encouraging note about my writing talent potential.  It was a good day.

Mona was wearing a New Kids on the Block t-shirt with a balloon stuffed underneath.  We made regretful eye contact when I entered chorus.  “Ugh- what a scary costume ya’ll have’on. Yer givin’ me th’ begeevers, yer mask is sooo frightnen’!”

“Ugh- your insult is sooo unoriginal.  And what the heck are you anyway?” I asked, because in spite of myself, I was curious.

“Jordan Knight’s preggers wiyfe, obviously,” Mona exclaimed, holding up her left hand and flitting her ring finger at me, on which she had placed a silly plastic dress-up ring.  I hated to admit it, but it was original.  So I only admitted it silently and to myself.  Audibly, I simply grunted acknowledgement as I turned and flung my silver tinsel garland over my shoulder, purposely hitting Mona in the face with it.

While I scanned the costumes in the room after entering photography, Freddy Krueger snuck in behind me and placed his creepy blade-fingers, which were thankfully just plasticy-rubber, on my shoulder.

“Dustin?  That better be you, so I can punch you.”

“You don’t like my costume?”

“Freddy gave me nightmares and I never once visited his creepy Elm Street either.  I hate horror movies!”

“You’re pretty passionate about it.”

“Yes.  Just the previews to those movies always freak me out, and there’s a poster up at the video store where his eyes follow you around,” I shivered.

Dustin laughed a bit at my misfortune.  “Sorry. I was trying to decide between Freddy Krueger or Freddie Mercury, but I was out of wife beaters and spandex, and I already had this dingy red and black striped shirt.  And it looks like you both, what, robbed the Polar Express?” he added, indicating Adrienne and I with a wave of his hand.

“Something like that,” she responded with a smile, pressing a button on her reindeer necklace that started playing “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”

(Just in case you’re wondering, yeah it’s copyrighted.)