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Tag Archives: Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl

Ain’t too Proud to Beg Book Blog Tour STOP TWO

I kicked off the tour on Saturday, and now I’ll have a stop each day through Thursday.  Many thanks to Shannan Williams for hosting me today.

Please read the post and consider following Shannan’s blog.

http://shannanwilliamsworld.blogspot.com/2014/06/memoirs-of-ordinary-girl-fresh-meat.html

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.

freshmeatbook2edit22

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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Interested in winning a copy of my ebook?  Click the link below.

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No Publicity is Bad Publicity: Mixed Reviews

I cannot believe I’m putting this out there, drawing attention to it.  Part of me wants to sweep it away under the dusty bed skirt where the broom and vacuum don’t even reach- but it would still be there.

The unthinkable has happened.  Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: The Middle-ish Ages got a review of 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.  My first C on a mostly A report card. Gasp! (Thankfully, my Amazon rating is still excellent)

5 stars

This was a reminder of what I told myself before I released the book, yet I had forgotten.  You cannot please all the people all the time and this world is made up of people of all different opinions and preferences.  It was always only a matter of time before it happened, especially once my readership began to grow. I should be thankful for that part.

I know I had much to learn from the experience of publishing this book.  I was totally on my own when I did it and really a bit clueless.  I’ve learned much since then that will help me improve for the next, and criticism has to be a helpful part of the growing experience.  We learn from mistakes, right?

Most of the issues mentioned by the reviewer were merely matter of opinion.  She didn’t connect with my character or like some of my choices in style, seemingly thinking I had done them by mistake when I had been quite purposeful.  Many adults have read my book and enjoyed the nostalgia factor, but my true target has always been tweens, so if an adult didn’t connect with Drew, I can live with that.  My reviewer didn’t like that the book seemed like short stories all tied together, but I told the story in vignettes on purpose to follow the fashion of a memoir, since that’s what the title says it is (though a fictional one).  All this means is this particular person just didn’t connect with the book.  Not everybody will.  I knew it would happen eventually.  Not everyone likes chocolate or dogs either, and though I cannot fathom it, I accept it.

The funny irony about this particular review is that it came from someone who won my book as a giveaway I did in order to call some attention back to the book on Goodreads while I prepare to release the next installment. I’m glad winning the book didn’t make my reviewer feel obligated to give a five star review if she didn’t believe in it though. Seriously, I can respect that, but I do have two genuine complaints that I hope anyone else planning to review any author’s book will keep in mind:

1) A 3 star review isn’t bad because it keeps the ratings well-rounded and shows people are being honest; however, if you give someone a review over one or two stars, instead of only highlighting what you do not like about the book, try to find a few positive things to say as well.

2) It was mentioned that there were errors in grammar and such, but if there were it was likely done purposefully (the title alone is incorrect).  In the early editions of the book I did find a few typos that horrified me, but I (and others) went back though it meticulously in various formats so as not to miss anything. That is the former English teacher in me coming out. I cannot say it is 100% perfect, but at least 98%.

My last bit of advice today is to other authors out there.  Use my lesson to learn to also accept what you cannot change.  Even if I rewrote the issues this reader did not like, there would always be someone else out there who wouldn’t like it.  Not everyone will love your book, but do you love it?

A Title-less Chapter from my Sequel in Progress

I’m almost finished writing the sequel to my Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: The Middle-ish Ages, and I feel like sharing a teaser today.  If you were a student anywhere around the time I was, enjoy the nostalgia.  Otherwise you might need to Google stuff.  I’m hoping to have my follow-up ready to release by mid-May.  Enjoy and spread the word:

The phone rang only one more time that night, and it was Adrienne.  Feeling defeated, I hadn’t even bothered to rush to the phone and just lay on my vermilion carpet, staring at the Spirograph-looking design on my ceiling until my mom yelled that Adrienne was on the phone for me.  I shuffled across the hall and all the way around my parents’ bed (normally I would have flung myself right onto it, grabbing the phone while I landed) to pick up the phone.  “Ok, Mom.  Hang up. I’ve got it,” I yelled then put my ear to the phone, not saying a word until I heard my mom’s line click.  “Hey, Adrienne.  Are you back to the world of the living?”

“Not quite.  I feel a bit like the undead.  I think there was a point where I almost went into the light, but my future husband Kurt Cobain called me back.”

“Are you coming to school tomorrow?”

“Probably not.  I also still look like the undead.  I was calling to give you my locker combo so you could grab a few things for me.”

“Adrienne Pierce!  You’re not going to do homework, are you?”  Adrienne was smart, but she was mostly lazy and she didn’t usually care enough to bring home work.

“I might.  I know I’m going to be really behind.  You know, if I can pass my tests and quizzes, I should be mostly ok, but I probably couldn’t do that right now.  I do want to actually pass.”

“Wow.  High school has changed you.  You’re growing up right before my eyes,” I feigned the whole choked up and crying thing.

“Yes, Master Drew.  I learned from you.”

“Ah, very good, young Grasshopper.”

“Anything non-academic I need to know about? Mom said you stopped by the other evening while I was all out of it.  Usually you just call, so I figured it might be a biggish deal.”

“Uhh…” I hesitated, embarrassed.

“Drew.  It’s me.  What’s up?”

“I don’t know.  I’m stupid.”

“I need a story to corroborate this claim.”

I told her everything, sparing not a single detail in the process, but I did it in record time because I just wanted it to be over.  And then I paused to give her time to consider.

“So he hasn’t called?”

“No.”

“Well, you’ll see him tomorrow.”

“I know!  What do I say?  I wish you were going to be there so I wouldn’t have to face him alone.  I made such a fool of myself.”

“Maybe.  Maybe not.  You’ll find out tomorrow.”

“That’s your wisdom for me?”  I asked incredulously.

“It’s all I got.  Undead, remember?”

“Oh, all right,” I whimpered.  “I need you feeling better.  I’m a disaster on my own.  I need my wing-girl.”

“I’ll be flying next week.  Just get my books and drop them off tomorrow.  I need socialization with someone outside my family or I’m going to have to drink Windex or something.”

“Will do.  See you tomorrow afternoon, if I survive.”

“You will.”

And I did, though I was only bodily present in each of my other classes that day.  Ms. Finch noticed right away, but we were fortunately given time after our vocabulary quiz to either write in our journals or read a book.  I reread the same page of Petals on the Wind about a hundred times.   Why did V.C. Andrews find it necessary for every member of the Dollanganger family to have a name beginning with a C?  I thought I’d sorted it out in the first book, but now I was getting the characters blurred and thinking about how my name, Danny’s name, and Dustin’s name all began with a D.  Of course, we weren’t nearly as twisted as that incestuous brood, but it did make my mind wander. She reminded us that our journals were due on Monday.

By photography, I was ready to face Dustin, no matter what.  The uncertainty clouded everything else.  I arrived with a smile on my face, which faded as the warning bell sounded, and disappeared completely when the final bell rang without any sign of Dustin.  Then relief spread though my entire being.  This explained it.  He was sick, or some horrible thing had happened to a family member and he was unable to attend school or call me last night.  The circumstances were entirely out of his control.

I expressed this theory to Adrienne as I dropped off her books that afternoon and we watched Paula Abdul and Keanu Reeves in her Rebel Without a Cause style video for “Rush Rush.”  Somehow we found her to be an acceptable pop artist, and we both drooled over Keanu, just as we had while watching him bring down surfer bank robbers in Point Break.

“Yeah, that makes sense,” she coughed out and then blew her nose.

“Man, you’re still sick.”

“Actually, I feel much better.  What are the dress-up days for next week?”

“You’re suddenly feeling the need to express your school spirit for Homecoming?”

“I like a chance to wear weird stuff.”  Adrienne had never really needed an excuse to do so before, but it would be easier if it was sanctioned.

“Uh, let me see,” I said as I opened my own bookbag.  I had come straight to Adrienne’s after getting off the bus and had walked with Emily.  At some point earlier in the week I had shoved the Homecoming flyer into the bottom of my front pocket of my hunter green Jansport.  At least four pieces of paper were uncrumpled in the process before I found it, straightening out the creases on the edge of Adrienne’s coffee table.  “All right.  Monday is pajama day.”

“Done.  Got that for sure,” she replied.  “Next.”

“Tuesday is crazy hat day.”  I paused, but Adrienne didn’t add any commentary that time, so I moved down the list.  “Wednesday is cross dress day.  No.  Wait.  They had to change it.  Apparently some parents complained because some of the senior guys were planning to wear miniskirts or something.”  We both looked each at each other and laughed.

“So what are we doing instead?”

“Uh, I can’t remember.  They announced it today during photography, but my mind was elsewhere.”

“Inside out and backwards day!”  Emily shouted from the kitchen.

“How do you even know that, Emily.  You’re in middle school,” Adrienne called back, annoyed.

“I hear stuff,” was her simple reply as she walked in front of us with a brownie to get to their bedroom.

“Hey!  Where’s my brownie?” we both asked in unison.

“I think they’re in the kitchen,” Emily said as she shut the door behind her.

Assuming we were both too lazy to make our way to the kitchen for brownies, I continued with the list.  “Thursday is blast from the past day.”

“Cool!  We are totally going to raid my grandma’s closet this weekend.”

“And Friday is spirit day.  School colors and stuff like that.”

“Yeah, I’m not doing that.  I don’t own maroon outside of gym class, and I don’t really wear it then either.”

“Same here.  I better go now though.  I came straight here and Mom will worry I missed the bus.  I’ll see you tomorrow if you feel better.”

“Cool.  Later.”

(Obviously you should consider this as Copyrighted material and not try to pass any of it off as yours)

If You’re Thankful and You Know It

I just ran a three-day free promotion on my book.  It was both amazing and frightening as I watched the number of giveaways climb higher than I had expected. I was like a nervous mother watching my baby take her first steps (or so I imagine, since I don’t have any kids and all). So far the number of my actual sales has only been about 10 percent of what I just gave away for free!  It’s like I just gave away part of myself, and I’m not sure if I’m getting anything back yet or not.  Scary!  Either I’m really stupid and just forfeit some hard earned and much needed cash, or this was a great idea and now that so many people have my book, they’ll all tell their friends and write up great reviews on my book’s page on Amazon.

So, here’s hoping the second is true, and that is why I need your help.  If you are one of the people who took advantage of my book’s free promotion and you have enjoyed the book (or once you have a chance to read it, if you enjoy it), please say thanks to me by going to my book’s page and hitting the “like” button at the top. Then, if you loved the book, please write up a quick review.  This will help me make some actual sales.

In case you somehow missed it…  My book’s page at Amazon’s Kindle Store

I wrote the book because I love to write, but I would also love to spread the word more and make some sales.  I know the book is amazing, but I need other people to know it as well.  Word of mouth, Facebook shares, and good book reviews are some ways you can say, “Thanks for sharing your hard work and awesome book with me, Terri.”

And speaking of Facebook, if you aren’t my fan yet, go like my page now.  I want so much for people to like me, to really, really like me!

Thank you for your support.

Why Buy the Cow if You Can Get the Milk for Free?

Or why buy a book when you can get it for free? Ok, so it isn’t really the same thing, but now that I’ve got your attention I want to share the limited time free promotion for my book.  For a few days only Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: the Middle-ish Ages will be available through Amazon’s Kindle… for absolutely nothing.

Why am I doing this?  I don’t know.  I guess with the holiday coming up next Thursday, I’m just feeling thankful and like giving.

Of course, you can always wait until the promotion is over and actually buy the book in order to show your thankfulness for my awesome writing talent.  It’s up to you.  Either way, I just want people reading it.

You can check out a few excerpts in some of my previous blog posts.  It’s a quick and humorous read, I promise.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008TT8Z6K

It’s My Book and I’ll Brag if I Want to

Self publishing= self promoting= a difficult equation (I hate equations anyway because I hate math).

My book was finished over two years ago, but as a teacher, I found the only time I really had to put into the process of trying to publish it came in the summer, and so each summer I would research and see that trends were constantly changing.  I know this is usually true of most anything, but technology is changing the publishing world so quickly that I just couldn’t keep up with what I would need to do anymore, so I risked self publishing. I figured it was the only way I’d ever actually have time to publish my masterpiece.

Now I have to self promote, and that seems even harder.  I use Facebook, this blog, and word of mouth, because that’s really all I have.  The thing is, I know my book is awesome.  I’m not usually the type to seriously brag, but why not do it when I’m sure of something?  Yes, I’m biased, but it’s true.  The book is funny, and real (well, it’s fiction, but it’s realistic), and covers a time in life we’ve all had to survive…middle school.  I’ve also been told by some people who know me that reading the book is like listening to me talk, which means I managed to capture my “voice” in the book, something of which I am proud.

Cover art by the talented Sydney Schake

As of now, my book is only available through Amazon’s Kindle Store.  So, of course I get people who say things like, “That’s cool, but wouldn’t you like to actually have it published- you know in a real book?”  (…as if my book is the Pinocchio of the book world). Yep, that hurts.  They might as well be saying, “You know you didn’t really get your book published.  I wasn’t planning to read it anyway, but I just really wanted to pop your bubble in case you were proud of your accomplishment.”  Thanks for the support people!  How’d the book you wrote do?  Oh yeah, that’s right, you didn’t write one!  Stop tinkling in my Lucky Charms!

Yes, I would love to open up a real printed copy of my book, press my nose up to the pages and breathe in that new book aroma, and to fan the pages against my skin like feathers.  I also have this secret dream that maybe someone will just happen to come across my book and I will get an offer for it to be printed.  It could happen, right?  Of course, there’s also the print on demand setup I’m thinking about doing.  It’s still not quite the same, but some people told me they’re holding out because they don’t want an electronic copy.

For now, I really just want to promote my book as much as possible.  Most of the people I know who are actually going to read it already have, so I need help from the outside.  You can help by checking out my book (teaser included on Amazon page) and “like” my Facebook author page. 

“If you don’t expect too much, you won’t be disappointed. This isn’t a ‘self-help’ book to boost your friend and/or money making abilities. In fact, I’ll teach you how to NOT throw the perfect party, how to NOT land the boyfriend of your dreams, and how to NOT be popular.”

Set in the early 1990’s, in this story the author retells the experiences of Drew Hotchner, an “extraordinarily ordinary” girl through Drew’s possibly wiser and honest adult self. Drew struggles not only with the unavoidable awkwardness of being in middle school, but also with having to start over again her entire social world after she experiences the culture shock of moving across the country. Through her humorous adventures in trespassing, accidental theft, and throwing punches at her best friend, the relatable Drew learns who she really is. And if you can admit you are also extraordinarily ordinary, just as Drew claims to be, that we all just want to know who we really are, and that sometimes we surprise ourselves along the way, this might be the book for you.