Friday, November 30, 2007

FIRST: The Minor Protection Act by Jodi Cowles



It is December 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!



This month's feature author is:






and her book:



The Minor Protection Act
Musterion (December 1, 2005)



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jodi Cowles caught the travel bug when her parents took her on her first international flight at six months of age. Since then she’s been in over 30 countries. Along the way she’s gotten locked out of her cabin on an all night train to Kiev, helped deliver a baby in Indonesia, taught English in South Korea, gone spelunking in Guam, hiked the Golan Heights and laid bricks in Zimbabwe. Her interest in politics stems from hunting Easter eggs on the south lawn of the White House as a child. For her 30th birthday she ran the LA Marathon and promised to get serious about publishing. Jodi resides in Boise, Idaho and this is her first novel.


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

If the politically correct set was searching for a poster couple, they would need to look no further than Erik and Roselyn Jessup. In college they lit up doobies while attending passionate speeches about legalizing marijuana and freeing Tibet. Erik was even arrested once for helping break into an animal research center. Roselyn bailed him out. After five years of dating they decided to tie the knot. Seven years later, after Roselyn had enough time to get established in her career, she gave birth to their pride and joy, Jayla Lynn Jessup.

Both had satisfying full-time jobs that left them only enough time to pour themselves into Jayla. They attended every event at school, even if it meant working overtime and paying the after school program for a few extra hours. When Jayla made the principal's list or won a spelling bee, they were cheering, and filming, from the front row.

Jayla began junior high at a brand new school with a brand new curriculum. It was being called "progressive" in the papers; the first program of its kind implemented in California with plans for a nationwide rollout over the next 10 years. Praise poured in from around the country, applauding the straight talk about sexuality and focus on tolerance.

Erik and Roselyn were thrilled to have their daughter in this groundbreaking program. Granted, it took several phone calls to district authorities to accomplish the transfer and Roselyn had to drive an extra 30 minutes each morning to drop off Jayla, but it was quite a coup to brag about in their circle of friends.

Jayla turned 13 two years into junior high. For her birthday she told her parents she wanted to order pizza and hang around the house – there was something she needed to tell them. Over pepperoni and Coke, Jayla calmly informed them that she'd been discussing it with her friends and teachers and had decided she was gay.

Though she had never had a girlfriend, or a boyfriend for that matter, Erik and Roselyn were quick to affirm her decision and let her know she had their full support. Roselyn applauded her daughter's honest, courageous move and told Jayla how proud she was. Erik was also supportive and went so far as to tease Jayla about her best friend Sara.

There weren't too many lesbians in her junior high and Jayla had a pretty average experience, but she attracted attention when she entered high school wearing the rainbow buttons specially purchased by her mother. Soon she was 15 and seriously involved with Carla, the 17-year-old senior who was President of the Gay Pride Club. When Erik and Roselyn saw the relationship deepening they sat Jayla down and had a heart to heart "sex talk," encouraging her to be responsible and safe, and only to have sex if she was truly in love.

She was. However, when the year ended Carla left for college on the east coast and broke off the relationship in a letter.

Jayla was heartbroken. Erik and Roselyn were quick to comfort, as any loving parents of a shattered teenager, but their answers seemed hollow to Jayla, their comfort cold. At 16 she began dabbling in drugs - a first for her.

By the time her senior year began the family bond that was once so strong had disintegrated to the degree that she seldom spoke to her parents unless it was to strike out in anger. She had not entered into another dating relationship, as much as they encouraged her in that direction. Rather, she seemed withdrawn from the world and spent endless hours either locked in her room or suspiciously absent. Finally, Roselyn had enough and took her to a doctor who prescribed an anti-depressant for teenagers that had just been released on the market.

By Christmas the medication seemed to be working. Jayla was coming around, spending more time at home. She seemed calmer and more at peace. They were even beginning to talk about college. But New Year's morning they found her dead, her anti-depressant bottle and a quart of vodka laying empty in the trash and a mass of journals and letters scattered around her in the bed.

Erik and Roselyn were devastated. Jayla had been their whole life. They dove into the letters and journals, trying to make sense of it all. What they found only served to inflame their anger. Some boy named Nick had been telling their daughter that she was a sinner, quoting Bible verses that said her sexual preference was an abomination before God. Jayla's journal was full of self-loathing, page after page about her relationship with Carla, page after page of rambling, agonizing pain. Why was she made like this if homosexuality was a sin? Why would her parents have supported her if it were an abomination? Why had she listened to the seventh grade teacher who told her experimentation was the best way to determine her sexuality? What was wrong with her?

They could hardly stand to finish it but they read every word. In the end their grief found relief, as it so often does, in bitterness and hatred. The day after Jayla's funeral, attended by hundreds of students from Jayla’s school, Erik and Roselyn met with the District Attorney. A year later, bitterness not yet assuaged, they went to see a lawyer. In the culture of America, where there is rarely tragedy unaccompanied by litigation, they found a willing law firm. Someone would pay.

And the Winner Is...

Song Stuck on the Brain: Sixteen Going on Seventeen from the Sound of Music

It's the thirtieth already and the last day of the birthday celebration. Christmas celebrations are around the corner and my days are filling up very quickly. I've got the final winner of the month to announce, so drumroll please........


Congratulations, Stephanie M.!

Stephanie won Prize Pack #4.

December starts a whole new month of fun with more contests to come, so be sure to keep visiting.

Thanks for celebrating my birthday with me.
A.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

CFBA: Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet

Song Stuck on the Brain: The Keeper of the Stars by Tracy Byrd

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:



AURALIA'S COLORS

by

Jeffrey Overstreet
(WaterBrook Press September 4, 2007)


ABOUT THE BOOK:
As a baby, she was found in a footprint.

As a girl, she was raised by thieves in a wilderness where savages lurk.

As a young woman, she will risk her life to save the world with the only secret she knows.


When thieves find an abandoned child lying in a monster’s footprint, they have no idea that their wilderness discovery will change the course of history.

Cloaked in mystery, Auralia grows up among criminals outside the walls of House Abascar, where vicious beastmen lurk in shadow. There, she discovers an unsettling–and forbidden–talent for crafting colors that enchant all who behold them, including Abascar’s hard-hearted king, an exiled wizard, and a prince who keeps dangerous secrets.

Auralia’s gift opens doors from the palace to the dungeons, setting the stage for violent and miraculous change in the great houses of the Expanse.

Auralia’s Colors weaves literary fantasy together with poetic prose, a suspenseful plot, adrenaline-rush action, and unpredictable characters sure to enthrall ambitious imaginations.

Visit the Website especially created for the book, Auralia's Colors. On the site, you can read the first chapter and listen to jeffrey's introduction of the book, plus a lit more!


PRAISE:

"Film critic and author Overstreet (Through a Screen Darkly) offers a powerful myth for his first foray into fiction. Overstreet’s writing is precise and beautiful, and the story is masterfully told. Readers will be hungry for the next installment." --Publishers Weekly



“Through word, image, and color Jeffrey Overstreet has crafted a work of art. From first to final page this original fantasy is sure to draw readers in. Auralia's Colors sparkles.” -–Janet Lee Carey, award-winning author of The Beast of
Noor and Dragon's Keep


“Jeffrey Overstreet’s first fantasy, Auralia’s Colors, and its heroine’s cloak of wonders take their power from a vision of art that is auroral, looking to the return of beauty, and that intends to restore spirit and and mystery to the world. The book achieves its ends by the creation of a rich, complex universe and a series of dramatic, explosive events.” -–Marly Youmans, author of Ingledove and The Curse of the Raven Mocker


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jeffrey Overstreet lives in two worlds. By day, he writes about movies at LookingCloser.org and in notable publications like Christianity Today, Paste, and Image.

His adventures in cinema are chronicled in his book Through a Screen Darkly. By night, he composes new stories found in fictional worlds of his own. Living in Shoreline, Washington, with his wife, Anne, a poet, he is a senior staff writer for Response Magazine at Seattle Pacific University.

Auralia’s Colors is his first novel. He is now hard at work on many new stories, including three more strands of The Auralia Thread.

Monday, November 26, 2007

CSFF: Scarlet by Stephen R. Lawhead

Song Stuck on the Brain: Elvira by the Oakridge Boys

Today the CSFF is hosting a blogtour for:


by



I've been a long time fan of Stephen R. Lawhead. It started with the Song of Albion series. From there on out I've been hooked, reading everything of his I can get my hands on. I've not been disapointed once. His detailed research is obvious, but never dry or boring. Instead, I'm usually left gripping the book with sweaty hands. Scarlet is book two in the King Raven Trilogy, but if you enjoy celtic mythology, his other series are well worth the read, as are the more main stream books like Dream Thief.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

After losing everything he owns, forester Will Scarlet embarks on a search for none other than King Raven, whose exploits have already become legendary. After fulfilling his quest--and proving himself a skilled and loyal companion--Will joins the heroic archer and his men.

Now, however, Will is in prison for a crime he did not commit. His sentence is death by hanging--unless he delivers King Raven and his band of cohorts.

That, of course, he will never do.

Wales is slowly falling under the control of the invading Normans, and King William the Red has given his ruthless barons control of the land. In desperation, the people turn to King Raven and his men for justice and survival in the face of the ever-growing onslaught.

From deep in the forest they form a daring plan for deliverance, knowing that failure means death for them all.

Scarlet continues Stephen R. Lawhead's riveting saga that began with the novel Hood, which relocated the legend of Robin Hood to the Welsh countryside and its dark forests. Steeped in Celtic mythology and the political intrigue of medival Britain, Lawhead's trilogy conjures up an ancient past and holds a mirror to contemporary realities. Prepare for an epic tale that dares to shatter everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stephen R. Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. His works include Byzantium, Patrick, and the series The Pendragon Cycle, The Celtic Crusades, and The Song of Albion.

Stephen was born in 1950, in Nebraska in the USA. Most of his early life was spent in America where he earned a university degree in Fine Arts and attended theological college for two years. His first professional writing was done at Campus Life magazine in Chicago, where he was an editor and staff writer. During his five years at Campus Life he wrote hundreds of articles and several non-fiction books.

After a brief foray into the music business—as president of his own record company—he began full-time freelance writing in 1981. He moved to England in order to research Celtic legend and history. His first novel, In the Hall of the Dragon King, became the first in a series of three books (The Dragon King Trilogy) and was followed by the two-volume Empyrion saga, Dream Thief and then the Pendragon Cycle, now in five volumes: Taliesin, Merlin, Arthur, Pendragon, and Grail. This was followed by the award-winning Song of Albion series which consists of The Paradise War, The Silver Hand, and The Endless Knot.

He has written nine children's books, many of them originally offered to his two sons, Drake and Ross. He is married to Alice Slaikeu Lawhead, also a writer, with whom he has collaborated on some books and articles. They make their home in Oxford, England.

Stephen's non-fiction, fiction and children's titles have been published in twenty-one foreign languages. All of his novels have remained continuously in print in the United States and Britain since they were first published. He has won numereous industry awards for his novels and children's books, and in 2003 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Nebraska.


Enjoy,
A.

Visit the other tour members at these blogs:

Trish Anderson
Brandon Barr
Wayne Thomas Batson
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Grace Bridges
Amy Browning
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Chris Deanne
Jeff Draper
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Kait
Karen
Dawn King
Tina Kulesa
Mike Lynch
Margaret
Karen McSpadden
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika or Mir's Here
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Lyn Perry
Deena Peterson
Rachelle
Cheryl Russel
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Rachelle Sperling
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Robert Treskillard
Jason Waguespac
Daniel I. Weaver
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise

Enter to win Prize Pack #4

It's the last week of November and the Birthday celebration is winding down. This is the last week of the mega prize packs.


Enter to win Prize Pack #4 and you could receive:

*Autographed copy of my book Missing Pieces

*2008 Projecting A magnetic Calendar

*CD of our original song Rain On Me

*The Evidence by Austin Boyd


Thanks so much for being a part of the celebration this month. Good luck in the contest.


A.

And the Winner Is...


Congratulations, Carolynn W.!


Carolynn is the winner of Prize Pack #3!

Friday, November 23, 2007

CFBA: The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Decked Out by Neta Jackson

Song Stuck on the Brain: How Does She Know from the movie Enchanted. Just saw it, loved it.



This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:




GETS DECKED OUT

by

Neta Jackson
Thomas Nelson (October 2, 2007)



ABOUT THE BOOK:


Turkey dinners, tree trimming, and decking the halls--it's that time of year again! And I Jodi Baxter, can't wait to celebrate. My kids are coming home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then all of us Yadas are getting decked out for a big New Year's party.

But God's idea of "decked out" might just change the nature of our party plans. A perplexing encounter with a former student, a crime that literally knocks me off my feet, a hurry-up wedding, and a child who will forever change our family...it's times like these that I really need my prayer sisters.

This holiday season, we Yada Yadas are learning that no one can out celebrate God. So let's get this party started!

THE YADA YADA PRAYER GROUP GETS DECKED OUT is a festive novella featuring America's favorite prayer group, the Yada Yadas!

Sometimes dubbed "chick-lit" for their bright covers and catchy titles, this series provides far more depth than witty banter and wacky situations. Inspired by a prayer group of real women, each book will have you laughing, crying, and perhaps praying anew.

In this highly anticipated installment, the Yada Yada sisters-a group of multi-cultural friends-and their families prepare for the event of the season.

But yes, eager readers, this novella—which picks up a year and a half after the end of book #6 The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Rolling concludes the series with some twists and turns that will amaze and encourage you. Plus, it sets the stage for Neta’s new series with new characters and new situations but also occasional roles for the beloved Yada Yada sisters in familiar Chicago neighborhoods with all their cultural richness.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Neta Jackson Neta Jackson's award-winning Yada books have sold more than 350,000 copies and are spawning prayer groups across the country. She and her husband, Dave, are also an award-winning husband/wife writing team, best known for the Trailblazer Books--a 40-volume series of historical fiction about great Christian heroes with 1.8 million in sales--and Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes (vols 1-4).

Dave and Neta live in Evanston, Illinois, where for twenty-seven years they were part of Reba Place Church, a Christian church community. They are now members of the Chicago Tabernacle, a multi-racial congregation that is a daughter church of the well-known Brooklyn Tabernacle.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Song Stuck on the Brain: Find Out Who Your Friends Are by Tracy Lawrence, Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney


Happy Thanksgiving, Cyberspace!

My turkey is roasting, the stuffing is prepped and the house is clean... enough. :) As per my tradition here at Projecting A, I wanted to pop in and list what I am thankful for this year.

1. My health. I know that seems like an odd thing to say after all I've been through in the last two and a half months, but it's true. I made it through major emergency surgery, I'm nearly healed from the complications and despite this nasty cold, I feel pretty good. Knowing that the tumor is gone and my health is good, makes me very thankful.

2. My Friends and Family. Obviously this one makes the list every year, but this year it's even more obvious how special they are. And how numerous. Nothing like a month long hospital stay to show you just who your friends are, and I have a lot. They are such a blessing.

3. My Job. They worked with me during all of this and made my transition back to work a breeze.

4. My Savior. It may be listed last, but that's because all the others rest on this one thing. Jesus carried me through the five weeks in the hospital. He comforted me when I was scared, He kept me upbeat and joyful, and ultimately He healed me. Maybe not the immediate miracle I hoped for, but still a quick healing. Jesus has held my whole family in His capable hands for as long as I can remember. The poem Footprints is special to me, because I feel like it was written for me. I look back, and see more single footprints than double, and I'm so thankful that Jesus is willing to carry me.



Footprints in the Sand


Mary Stevenson, 1936

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,

“You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”




What are you thankful for?


A.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

World's Best Sissy

Song Stuck on the Brain: Apologize by One Republic

I have the best Sissy in the world. Hands down. Look what she had delivered to me at work today.


Aren't they beautiful? I seldom receive flowers, so this was a really cool birthday surprise. You could have knocked me over with a feather when the delivery lady said they were for me. They're my favorite flowers too, lillies and roses.

Unfortunately, I've never had fresh stargazer lillies on my desk before. Turns out they're very fragrant and not in a good way. It might not have bothered me too much, except I finally caught the terrible cold that everyone else has had for weeks. The flowers were almost too much. I couldn't bear to part with them though, so I toughed it out.



I drove with the windows down on the way home so I wouldn't be confined in the car with them. It is so cold now. We've had our first real cold snap, even got our first snow, although it only stuck to the grass in places.

Tomorrow is due to be cold and wet too, but Thanksgiving will go on as planned. I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving.

A.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Vase of Many Colors by Rachel Thoene

Song Stuck on the Brain: Taking Chances by Celine Dion



Today, I'm reviewing a children's picture book by Rachel Thoene.


The Vase of Many Colors is a sweet story about a little girl and her grandmother that live in a picturesque little town. The girl is a happy child full of boundless energy that has her always dancing and twirling, despite grandma's warnings to be more careful. Then one day, the little girl knocks over the colorful vase and breaks it. Grandma, gathers the shattered pieces and takes them to a small shed in the back of their cottage. There she pours the broken glass into a pan and adds all the other little glass things that the girl has broken over the years. She melts it, and then dancing and twirling about, she blows the molten glass into a new beautiful vase.




It's a beautiful story. Love and forgiveness plain on both the surface and the subtext. Just as Grandma makes something beautiful out of all the broken things, so does Jesus when we give him our broken hearts.




I do think that the illustrations could have been better, but that's probably more of a personal preference. I would love to have seen a more realistic representation done in acrylics or oils. However, the illustrations don't detract from the story at all and small children will still enjoy the bright colors and sense of movement in the images.




Rachel Thoene obviously inherited her family's talent for the written word. I hope this is the first of many books for her. It has the potential to be a family classic and would make a great gift.




Enjoy!


A.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Countdown has begun

Song Stuck on the Brain: Are You Lonesome Tonight by Elvis

I'm not lonesome, just singing about it. Actually, I could stand to have a little more lonesome. I'm back to full time at work and I miss my afternoons for writing. I can't really whine too much though, having a job to come back to is a blessing.

I can't believe it's only three days until Thanksgiving. I'll be hosting it at my place again and there will be about 14 of us. We planned our menu two weeks ago and divided the dishes up between my mom and us 3 girls. My oldest sister isn't much a of a cook, so she's bringing drinks, whipped cream and paper goods. Mom is the pie baker, so she's handling that and the mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. We never know what kind of pie we'll have other than pumpkin, because it's just whatever sounds good to Mom at the time. Not that anyone complains. Angel's handling the sides and I have the turkey and dressing.

The problem we're having now, is that Mom, Angel and I keep watching the food network. Paula Dean, Emeril, Giada, etc. They all have great new recipes and we keep switching out things for the new recipes. I have no idea what we'll actually end up with when it's all said and done. Hopefully, our menu is set, because I've already been to the grocery store. It was a nightmare and I don't want to go back any time soon. If I do, I think I'll wait until midnight and hope there's less traffic.

For now it looks like our final menu is:

Roast turkey
Portobello and sausage dressing (my own recipe)
Mashed potatoes and turkey gravy
Paula Dean's Fresh creamed corn
Roasted Brussell sprouts
Green beans almondine
Cranberry sauce
Homemade pies w/whipped cream
Grandma's raw apple cake

The apple cake is actually for my birthday. Yes, I'm actually making my own cake. That's okay though, I enjoy baking. I think that's everything, heaven forbid we add another item, we're going to be overloaded with leftovers as it is. We always buy those snap together plates so everyone can take leftovers with them, that helps.

Now I just have to clean house, edit my book, do laundry, cook... . Nothing to it, right?

A.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Prize Pack #3

Wow, the month is already half gone. Only two more prize packs to go. Here's #3.




Enter to win:

*Autographed copy of my novel Missing Pieces


*Projecting A 2008 magnetic calendar


*Free to Fly our first original single on CD


*The Secret Life of Becky Miller by Sharon Hinck





To enter, click on the image at the top of the side bar and email me your entry. The contest is open to US and Canadian residents only, and ends Friday, November 23, 2007.





Good Luck!


A.

And the Winner Is...


Congratulations, Carrie T.!



Carrie is the winner of Projecting A's Birthday Prize Pack #2.

A God Thing

Song Stuck on the Brain: She's in Love with the Boy by Tricia Yearwood.

Well, here it is 1:30 am on Friday and I'm just now posting for Thursday. I'd planned to post earlier, but got tangled up in writing the last four chapters of my book. Yay! I have a first draft. It came in a little over 77,500, but once I do some editing it will probably drop a little. I still hope to have this baby in the mail to the agent before Thanksgiving. We'll see if that happens. It's only a week away and I'm out of half days at work. It's back to a full time schedule.

I did have a really cool God thing happen Tuesday at the doctor's office. It actually started a few days earlier. I'd started having a little pity party for myself over my scar.

Let me say first, that I am VERY thankful for everything. My doctors are fantastic, I couldn't have asked for better. My nurses were great, my friends and family were there every step of the way and more people than I could name prayed for me. I know I was tremendously blessed. I'm thankful that the tumor is gone, and that I am now healing very quickly. In fact, I've been very upbeat through out this whole thing.

Until a couple of days ago.

I can actually see my scar now that the wound vac is gone. I change the dressings myself and let me tell you, right now it's absolutely hideous. Because of the complications and the nature of wound healing, the incision healed asymmetrically. One side of it sealed down and the other side of my abdomen (standing straight up) is now scarring over. My belly button is there, but it's been pulled around and under so that it's hard to see. I have a very visible gash.

I knew the scar would be big, and I already had a longer scar on my stomach from kidney surgery when I was 8, so I really hadn't cared that I would have a new, wider scar. I didn't expect it to looks so deformed. I told God that I was really thankful for everything, but why did I have to have such an ugly scar? I mean, I don't need anything else to make me feel more unattractive and freakish.

Hence my pity party, because really, it was ridiculous to be so upset over it. I could have worse scars in much worse places. It was just something that I got stuck in my head.

Anyway, at the doctor's Tuesday, he changed the dressing and we chatted, but I never mentioned my concern over the scar. As I was leaving, one of the nurses stopped me to see how I was healing. As I was getting ready to leave, she said, "And just think, in another week or two it will lay down and smooth out."

My jaw dropped a little and I laughed and said, "Well, that's nice to hear, I was beginning to think I was just going to be deformed for life."

"Oh, no. After a certain point in the healing, it softens and lays down flat. It won't always look like it does now."

Now, how cool is that? God knew I was upset about this petty little thing and even though it was a silly concern in the big picture of it all, He still took care of me. He gave me reassurance from someone who didn't even know I needed it. It's little things like that, that always remind me how much God is a present God. He doesn't just sit back at a distance and watch us float aimlessly. He's right there with us every step of the way, caring about even the little concerns.

That's what I call a God thing.
A.

By the way, I mentioned once before I'd post a picture of the tumor. It's not pretty, so I'm posting it as a link. Click to see Mini Me. Just for reference, the black arrow is pointing to my ovary. It's about the size of a walnut. The tumor itself is about the diameter of a basketball.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

CFBA: Try Dying by James Scott Bell

Song Stuck on the Brain: As the Deer by Maranatha Singers



This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:




TRY DYING

by

James Scott Bell
(Center Street October 24, 2007)


ABOUT THE BOOK:

On a wet Tuesday morning in December, Ernesto Bonilla, twenty-eight, shot his twenty-three-year-old wife, Alejandra, in the backyard of their West 45th Street home in South Los Angeles. As Alejandra lay bleeding to death, Ernesto drove their Ford Explorer to the westbound Century Freeway connector where it crossed over the Harbor Freeway and pulled to a stop on the shoulder.

Bonilla stepped around the back of the SUV, ignoring the rain and the afternoon drivers on their way to LAX and the west side, placed the barrel of his .38 caliber pistol into his mouth, and fired.

His body fell over the shoulder and plunged one hundred feet, hitting the roof of a Toyota Camry heading northbound on the harbor Freeway. The impact crushed the roof of the Camry. The driver, Jacqueline Dwyer, twenty-seven, an elementary schoolteacher from Reseda, died at the scene.

This would have been simply another dark and strange coincidence, the sort of thing that shows up for a two-minute report on the local news--with live remote from the scene--and maybe gets a follow-up the next day. Eventually the story would go away, fading from the city's collective memory.

But this story did not go away. Not for me. Because Jacqueline Dwyer was the woman I was going to marry.

In Try Dying, this fast-paced thriller, lawyer Ty Buchanan must enter a world of evil to uncover the cause of his fiancee's death--even if hie has to kill for the truth.

"Bell is one of the best writers out there...he creates characters readers care about...a story worth telling." ~Library Review~


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

James Scott Bell is a former trial lawyer who now writes full time. He is also the fiction columnist for Writers Digest magazine and adjunct professor of writing at Pepperdine University.

His book on writing, Plot and Structure is one of the most popular writing books available today. The national bestselling author of several novels of suspense, he grew up and still lives in Los Angeles, where he is at work on his next Buchanan thriller.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Shadow of Treason by Tricia Goyer

Song Stuck on the Brain: Wasted by Carrie Underwood

Today I'm hosting Tricia Goyer's new book, Shadow of Treason.


About the Book:





Book 2 in the Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War series



Sophie discovers that nothing is as she first imagined. When Walt, the reporter who helped her over the border, shows up again after Guernica is bombed, Sophie is given an impossible mission. She must leave behind the man she's fallen in love with and return to the person who betrayed her. Another layer of the war in Spain is revealed as Sophie is drawn into the international espionage schemes that could turn the tide of the war and help protect the soldiers from the International Brigade ... she must find a way to get a critical piece of information to Walt in time.

Read the first chapter here!

Q & A with Tricia:

Q: A Shadow of Treason follows A Valley of Betrayal. This is the first time you've written books as a series instead of stand alone. Which way do you like better?


A: I love writing in series. It was great to continue with the same characters. In my stand-alone books I fell in love with these people and then I had to say good-bye after one book. It was wonderful to be able to continue on.



Q: In A Shadow of Treason Sophie must return to the person who betrayed her in an effort to help the Spanish people. It makes the book hard to put down because the reader has to know how Sophie's heart will deal with it. Why did you decide to make this an element of the book?



A: There are very few of us who go through life without giving away a part of our hearts to someone who didn't deserve it. Even though Sophie had the best intentions, she gave away her heart and she was hurt-not only that she must revisit those emotions.



I wanted to include this element-to delve into the topic that emotions are sometimes as big of a trap as any physical cage. Emotions are real and they guide us -- even when we don't want to admit it. Poor Sophie, not only does she have to deal with a war around her -- she also has to deal with a war within herself. It's something I've battled, and mostly likely others have too.



Q: There is an interesting element that arises in this book and that is Spanish gold. I know you can't tell us what happens in this book, but can you give us a brief history of this gold?



A: Sure. When I was researching I came upon something interesting. The Spaniards, as we know, had taken much Aztec and Inca gold during the time of the conquistadors. Well, at the start of The Spanish Civil War much of this gold was still held in Madrid. In fact Spain had the fourth largest gold reserves in the world at that time. The Republican government was afraid Franco would take the city and the gold. They had to get it out of Madrid and this included transporting priceless artifacts. The element of gold does make its way into my story. It was great to include this little-known (and true!) element into my story.



Q: Another historical fact I learned about was the Nazi involvement during this time. Not only were the Germans active in Spain, but they had spy networks busy around the world. How did you find out about this?



A: I love reading tons of research books. Usually I find one little element that I dig out and turn into a plot line. This is what happened with my plot-line for the Nazi pilot, Ritter. I dug up this bit of research of Nazi involvement in Spain -- and the United States -- because a lot of people aren't aware of the Nazi involvement prior to WWII. The truth is they were busy at work getting the land, information, and resources they needed far before they threatened the nations around them. The Germans knew what they wanted and how to get it. And most of the time they succeeded!



Q: A Shadow of Treason is Book Two. When will Book Three be out? Can you give us a hint of how the story continues?



A: Book Three is A Whisper of Freedom. It will be out February 2008. The characters that we love are all still in the midst of danger at the end of Book Two. Book Three continues their stories as we follow their journeys in -- and (for a few) out -- of Spain. It's an exciting conclusion to the series!



Q: Wow, so we have a least one more fiction book to look forward to in the near future. Are you working on any non-fiction?



A: Yes, I have two non-fiction books that will be out the early part of 2008. Generation NeXt Marriage is a marriage book for today's couples. It talks about our marriage role models, our struggles, and what we're doing right as a generation. It also gives advice for holding it together.



I've also been privileged to work on the teen edition of Max Lucado's book 3:16. It was a great project to work on. What an honor!

About the Author:

Tricia Goyer has published over 300 articles for national publications such as Today's Christian Woman, Guideposts for Kids, and Focus on the Family, and is the co-author of Meal Time Moments (Focus on the Family). She has led numerous Bible Studies, and her study notes appear in the Women of Faith Study Bible (Zondervan).


She has written seven novels for Moody Publishing:
From Dust and Ashes (2003)
Night Song (2004)
Dawn of a Thousand Nights (2005);
Arms of Deliverance (2006)
A Valley of Betrayal (2007)
A Shadow of Treason (Fall 2007)
A Whisper of Freedom (February 2008)
Night Song was awarded American Christian Fiction Writer's 2005 Book of the Year for Best Long Historical. Dawn of a Thousand Nights won the same award in 2006.

Tricia has also written Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom (Zondervan, 2004), 10 Minutes to Showtime (Thomas Nelson, 2004), and Generation NeXt Parenting (Multnomah, 2006). Life Interrupted was a 2005 Gold Medallion finalist in the Youth Category.

Also, coming out in the next year are: My Life, Unscripted (Thomas Nelson, 2007), Generation NeXt Marriage (Multnomah, Spring 2008), and 3:16-the teen version of the a book by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson, Spring 2008).

Tricia and her husband John live with their three children in Kalispell, Montana. Tricia's grandmother also lives with them, and Tricia volunteers mentoring teen moms and leading children's church. Although Tricia doesn't live on a farm, she can hit one with a rock by standing on her back porch and giving it a good throw.

Tricia's blogs:
http://triciagoyer.blogspot.com
http://genxparents.blogspot.com
http://mywritingmentor.blogspot.com
http://www.myccm.org/triciagoyer
http://www.shoutlife.com/triciagoyer

Monday, November 12, 2007

Have you said thank you?

Song Stuck on the Brain: Anyway by Martina McBride. I love the lyrics, they are so moving.

Yesterday was Veteran's Day and since it is still being observed today, I wanted to take a minute to honor the men and women who fight to defend us every day. I strongly believe, that no matter where you stand politically, you should be standing behind the men and women in the trenches. They serve where they are needed and offer their lives on our behalf. For that they deserve our thanks.

These days, Veteran's aren't just the old men down the street rocking on their porches and telling war stories. They've been joined by young men and women, some just out of school, others raising families. It's a shame that this world requires us to have Veterans at all. Won't it be wonderful when peace finally comes and the need to fight is no longer there?

I wrote a song a while back that talks about my hope for that. It's a call for us to take back our country by putting God back in the center of our lives. Until that day of freedom comes, I'll gladly support the soldiers who do what I can't. In the mean time, here is my prayer for our country.


Title of Liberty
(c) April Erwin 2005


Living in the land of plenty
With our heads stuck in the sand
Chasing the American dream
Letting go of God’s hand.
Walked away from the covenant
Made in the beginning
And we don’t seem to understand
Why freedom is dying.

In memory of our God,
Our religion and freedom.
For our families and our friends
We pray that peace will come
Lets covenant again
For our land to be free
Pray that God will make us all
A land of liberty.

So many days have come and gone
And still we shut our eyes
Our ears no longer recognize
The sound of freedom’s cry.
All it takes is a single soul
To free us of the lies
Take the title of liberty
To lift the banner high.

In memory of our God,
Our religion and freedom.
For our families and our friends
We pray that peace will come
Lets covenant again
For our land to be free
Pray that God will make us all
A land of liberty.

Tear your clothes in honest grief
Spread ashes of repentance
Let’s renew our covenant,
And let’s pray for forgiveness.

In memory of our God,
Our religion and freedom.
For our families and our friends
We pray that peace will come
Lets covenant again
For our land to be free
Pray that God will make us all
A land of liberty.

Thank a Soldier today,
A.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Birthday Contest #2

Song Stuck on the Brain: Tattoo by Erwin. A country song I wrote a couple of years ago.



Our first prize package is on it's way to Dana. Now you have a chance to enter to win Prize Pack #2.

Prize Pack #2 includes:



* Autographed copy of my book Missing Pieces
*The Erwins Acappella CD
*ProjectingA 2008 magnetic calendar
*Fair Game by Carol Cox

For fun, you can view a book trailer of Missing Pieces. The video link is in the sidebar.


This contest runs until November 15th. To enter, click on the picture of the Prize Pack at the top of the sidebar to email me your entry. You must live in the US or Canada to play.


Good luck and don't forget to tell others to play also. I have a lot more to give away.

Oh, and be sure to eat some birthday cake with me sometime this month.
A.

And the Winner Is...

Congratulations, Dana N.!



Dana won the first prize pack of the month. Happy Birthday Projecting A!


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

CFBA: Deadfall by Robert Liparulo

Song Stuck on the Brain: I've Got Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks.

Garth is in town for NINE concerts in a row at the Sprint Center. Every one of them sold out. I don't get to see him this time around, although I saw him when I was 13 and it was AWESOME! Anyway, the radio is cranking a LOT of Garth right now. Which is just fine by me. :)


This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:



DEADFALL

by

Robert Liparulo
(Thomas Nelson November 6, 2007)






ABOUT THE BOOK:

Deep in the isolated Northwest Territories, four friends are on the trip of a lifetime. Dropped by helicopter into the Canadian wilderness, Hutch, Terry, Phil, and David are looking to escape the events of a tumultuous year for two weeks of hunting, fishing, and camping.

Armes with only a bow and arrow and the basics for survival, they've chosen a place far from civilization, a retreat from their turbulent lives. But they quickly discover that another group has targeted the remote region and the secluded hamlet of Fiddler Falls for a more menacing purpose: to field test the ultimate weapon.

With more than a week before the helicopter rendezvous and no satellite phone, Hutch, a skilled bow-hunter and outdoor-survivalist must help his friend elude their seemingly inescapable foes, as well as decide whether to run for their lives...or risk everything to help the townspeople who are being held hostage and terrorized.

An intense novel of character forged in the midst of struggle, survival, and sacrifice. Deadfall is highly-aclaimed author Robert Liparulo's latest rivetingly smart thriller.

Get Downloads and EXCERPTS at www.LIPARULO.com


WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING:

"DEADFALL is drop-dead great!" -In The Library Reviews

"What if Mad Max, Rambo, and the Wild Bunch showed up-all packing Star Wars type weapons? You'd have Robert Liparulo's thrilling new adventure Deadfall." -Katherine Neville, best selling author of The Eight

"A brilliantly crafted thriller with flawless execution. I loved it!" -Michael Palmer, best selling author of The Fifth Vial

"In Deadfall, Robert Liparulo gives us a fresh fast paced novel that instills a well founded fear of the villians and an admiration for the people who refuse to be victims. It truly deserves the name thriller." -Thomas Perry, best selling author of The Butcher's Boy and Silence

"Another brilliantly conceived premise from Robert Liparulo. Deadfall will leave you looking over your shoulder and begging for more." -DAve Dun, best selling author of The Black Silent

BOB'S CONTEST:

A NOTE from Bob: I’d like to give away five signed copies of Deadfall to readers of CFBA blogs during my tour. All they have to do is sign up for my e-mailing list (they won’t be inundated!) by going to my website (www.robertliparulo.com) and going to the “Mailing List” page. Or email me with “CFBA giveaway” in the subject line.

And a second NOTE from Bob: I wanted to let you know that I’m holding a contest on my site:

**one winner a week till the end of the year for a signed Deadfall
**one winner a week till the end of the year for an unabridged audio MP3-CD of Deadfall
***and on Dec. 31, I’m giving away an iPod Nano, pre-loaded with an unabridged audio recording of Deadfall

Winners are selected from my e-mailing list—sign up at my site. If a winner has already purchased what he/she wins, I will reimburse them for the purchase price (or give them another—whichever they choose), so they don’t need to wait to see if they win before buying Deadfall.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robert is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly.

Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.

Robert's first novel painted a scenario so frighteningly real that six Hollywood producers were bidding on movie rights before the novel was completed. His acclaimed debut novel, Comes A Horseman, is being made into a major motion picture by producer Mace Neufeld and his short story "Kill Zone" was featured in the anthology Thriller, edited by James Patterson.

Bob has sold the film rights to his second book, GERM. And he is writing the screenplay for a yet-to-be-written political thriller, which sold to Phoenix Pictures, for Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, The Guardian) to direct!

He is currently working on his fourth novel.

Ban House Slippers

Song Stuck on the Brain: I can do anything you can do, better. I can do anything better than you....


YAY! I'm a free woman once again. Well, kind of. The Doc took me off of the wound vac today, so no more machine and umbilical cord to tote around. I do have bandages still, but much less obvious and way more comfortable. PLUS, now I get to drive again. WAHOO!

It's not like I was stranded, my parents and sister were very good about getting me around for the last 5 weeks, but it feels SOOOO good to be able to drive my car again. I love that sense of freedom. The ability to go somewhere whenever I feel like it and not have to tell a soul. Even if I don't, at least I CAN.

I'm noticing a really disturbin trend at the doctor's lately. Maybe it's just because I'm going to clinic at the hospital rather than a private office, but what is it with women going to the doctor's office looking like they just rolled out of bed? Not just young girls either. One lady was forty if she was a day. I saw three women today alone wearing fluffy house slippers. In addition they were wearing either plaid pajama pants or sweats and a STAINED and HOLY shirt. Hair greasy and pulled back in messy pony tails and no makeup.

I know I'm at a gynecologist's office, so some are pregnant. I understand the value of comfort. But come on. At least get dressed and brush your hair. It's not like we're stuck in the '50's where you're required to wear a dress, pantyhose, gloves and hat to go get your exam. But at least wear clean street clothes, regular shoes and BRUSH your hair. I mean really. Respect yourself that much. And if you can't do it for you, do it for your doctor. Doesn't he deserve that much? He dresses and bathes for you.

Okay, off my soapbox now. I had to rant. I couldn't very well say all that in the waiting room today.

A.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Third is better than fourth, right?

Song Stuck on the Brain: Once in a Lifetime by Keith Urban

Today has been a total Monday. I'm glad I'm still working half days.

I spent this afternoon pounding away on my book. I spent Sunday afternoon revising the last half of the outline, so now I think I'm ready for the final charge straight to the end. I need to manage about 6,000 words a day in order to reach my first self imposed deadline. I need time to revise and review a little before sending it off to the agent.

I had decent hope that she might really like the book, but today I received notice that I placed third out of the four finalists. Hey, it's not last place right? It has me wondering why she requested the full ms if I only placed third, but I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. As a writer, you can't ignore opportunity right? It doesn't knock regularly.

So, despite my lackluster finish in the contest, I'm going to continue killing myself and get this book done. If nothing else I'll have a finished book to work at rewriting. :)

It's funny how working on one book stirs up a ton of ideas for other projects. Today I decided I need to find out how to sabotage a car so that it creates an electrical fire while the driver is in route. The fire would then damage the electronic locks and trap her in her vehicle. I'm trying to decide who best to ask, without getting pegged as a psycho would be arsonist. :)

"I swear, officer! It's research for my book! What have I published? Um a sweet inspirational romance, but really I'm aiming for suspense in the next one."

Boy that could be an interesting conversation. Wait until I ask them about gun running... That's book three.

Got to go pound the keys elsewhere now.
Have a happy Monday,

A.

Friday, November 02, 2007

And the Winner Is... SPECIAL EDITION

Song Stuck on the Brain: The Monkeys theme song.... Hey Hey we're the Monkeys, People say we monkey around...
Last Friday, I posted a contest to choose the best inspirational post to submit to an editor. There were four choices to vote on. Four of you left comments voting. You each voted for a different post.

*sigh*

I guess I'll find another way to choose my entry. :) A promise is a promise though, and I appreciate you all taking the time to read them and vote. So I tossed your names in a bowl and the winner is...

Congratulations Bebemiqui! You won the drawing for the Projecting A surprise pack.
Bebe won a Projecting A tee-shirt and a Projecting A 2008 magnetic calendar.





Thursday, November 01, 2007

Guess What November is...

Song Stuck on the Brain: I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For by U2

Guess what? November is a very special month here at Projecting A. Do you remember why?

That's right, It's our BIRTHDAY!


Webfetti.com

Projecting A has been up and running for two full years now. WOW. I can't believe it. You all have been so fantastic and supportive, that I want to invite you to celebrate with me.

SOOOOO... that means lots of presents. Lots and LOTS of presents. A give away every week in fact. Awesome, right? I thought so too.

Webfetti.com


In addition to celebrating 2 years online, I'm asking you to let me know what you like (or don't like) on the blog. The only way to stay online is to be read, and to be read, you have to be interesting. So be sure and email or comment your opinions. (Which by the way are always welcome, but especially this month.)

You're probably wanting to know what the first contest is, right? Okay, this week from November 1st through November 8th, you can enter to win:

* Autographed copy of my book Missing Pieces
* Projecting A 2008 Magnetic calendar
* One Step Over the Border by Stephen Bly
* The Erwins Acappella CD


Prizes will vary week to week, so be sure and check back often.

Good luck and eat some birthday cake before the month is out.

A.

And the Winner Is...

Congratulations, Melissa M.!


Melissa is the winner of TWO books this month, both by author Chris Well.


FIRST: Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson



It is November 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:








and her book:


Hollywood Nobody
Th1nk Books (August 30, 2007)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lisa Samson is the author of twenty books, including the Christy Award-winning Songbird. Apples of Gold was her first novel for teens. Visit Lisa at http://www.lisasamson.com/

These days, she's working on Quaker Summer, volunteering at Kentucky Refugee Ministries, raising children and trying to be supportive of a husband in seminary. (Trying . . . some days she's downright awful. It's a good thing he's such a fabulous cook!) She can tell you one thing, it's never dull around there.

Other Novels by Lisa:
Straight Up, , Club Sandwich, Songbird, Tiger Lillie, The Church Ladies, Women's Intuition: A Novel, Songbird, The Living End

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Hollywood Nobody: April 1


Happy April Fool’s Day! What better day to start a blog about Hollywood than today?

Okay, I’ve been around film sets my whole life. Indie films, yeah, and that’s all I’m saying about it here for anonymity’s sake. But trust me, I’ve had my share of embarrassing moments. Like outgrowing Tom Cruise by the age of twelve — in more ways than one, with the way he’s gotten crazier than thong underwear and low-rise jeans. Thankfully that fashion disaster has run for cover.


Underwear showing? Not a good idea.

Fact: I don’t know of a single girl who doesn’t wish the show-itall boxer-shorts phenomenon would go away as well. Guys, we just don’t want to see your underwear. Truthfully, we believe that there is a direct correlation between how much underwear you show and how much you’ve got upstairs, if you know what I mean.

I’ve seen the stars at their best and at their worst. And believe me, the worst is really, really bad. Big clue: you’d look just as pretty as they do if you went to such lengths. As you might guess, some of them are really nice and some of them are total jerks, and there’s a lot of blah in-betweeners. Like real life, pretty much, only the extremes are more extreme sometimes. I mean honestly, how many people under twenty do you know who have had more than one plastic surgery?

So you’ll have to forgive me if I’m a little hard on these folks. But if it was all sunshine and cheerleading, I doubt you’d read this blog for long, right?

Today’s Rant: Straightening irons. We’ve had enough of them, Little Stars, okay? It was bad on Helen Hunt at the Oscars, worse on Demi, yet worse on Madonna, and it’s still ridiculous. Especially on those women who are trying to hold onto their youth like Gollum holds onto that ring. Ladies, there’s a reason for keeping your hair at or above your shoulders once you hit forty, and ever after. Think Annette Bening. Now she’s got it going on. And can’t you just see why Warren Beatty settled down for her? Love her! According to The Early Show this morning, curls are back, and Little Me ain’t going to tell why I’m so glad about that!

Today’s Kudo: Aretha Franklin. Big, bold, beautiful, and the best. Her image is her excellence. Man, that woman can sing! She has a prayer chain too. I’m not very religious myself, but you got to respect people who back up what they say they believe. Unless it’s male Scientologists and "silent birth." Yeah, right. Easy for them to say.

Today’s News: I saw a young actor last summer at a Shakespeare festival in New England. Seth Haas. Seth Hot is more like it. I heard a rumor he’s reading scripts for consideration. Yes, he’s that hot. Check him out here. Tell all your friends about him. And look here on Hollywood Nobody for the first, the hottest news on this hottie. Girls, he’s only nineteen! Fair game for at least a decade-and-a-half span of ages.

I don’t know about you, but following the antics of new teen rock star Violette Dillinger is something I’m looking forward to. Her first album, released to much hype, hit Billboard’s no. 12 spot its third week out. And don’t you love her hit single "Love Comes Knocking on My Door"? This is going to be fun. A new celeb. Uncharted territory. Will Violette, who seems grounded and talented, be like her predecessors and fall into the "great defiling show-business machine" only to be spit out as a half-naked bimbo? We’ll see, won’t we? Keep your fingers crossed that the real artist survives.

Today’s Quote: "Being thought of as ‘a beautiful woman’ has spared me nothing in life. No heartache, no trouble. Beauty is essentially meaningless." Halle Berry

Later!


Friday, April 2

I knew it was coming soon. We’d been camped out in the middle of a cornfield, mind you, for two weeks. That poke on my shoulder in the middle of the night means only one thing. Time to move on.

"What, Charley?"

"Let’s head ’em on out, Scotty. We’ve got to be at a shoot in North Carolina tomorrow afternoon. I’ve got food to prepare, so you have to drive."

"I’m still only fifteen."

"It’s okay. You’re a good driver, baby."

My mom, Charley Dawn, doesn’t understand that laws exist for a reason, say, keeping large vehicles out of the hands of children. But as a food stylist, she fakes things all the time.

Her boundaries are blurred. What can I say?

Charley looks like she succumbed to the peer pressure of plastic surgery, but she hasn’t. I know this because I’m with her almost all the time. I think it’s the bleached-blond fountain of long hair she’s worn ever since I can remember. Or maybe the hand-dyed sarongs and shirts from Africa, India, or Bangladesh add to the overall appearance of youth. I have no idea. But it really makes me mad when anybody mistakes us as sisters.

I mean, come on! She had me when she was forty!

My theory: a lot of people are running around with bad eyesight and just don’t know it.

I throw the covers to my left. If I sling them to my right, they’d land on the dinette in our "home," to use the term in a fashion less meaningful than a Hollywood "I do." I grew up in this old Travco RV I call the Y.

As in Y do I have to live in this mobile home?

Y do I have to have such an oddball food stylist for a mother?

Y must we travel all year long? Y will we never live anyplace long enough for me to go to the real Y and take aerobics, yoga, Pilates or — shoot — run around the track for a while, maybe swim laps in the pool?

And Y oh Y must Charley be a vegan?

More on that later.

And Y do I know more about Hollywood than I should, or even want to? Everybody’s an actor in Hollywood, and I mean that literally. Sometimes I wonder if any of them even know who they are deep down in that corner room nobody else is allowed into.

But I wonder the same thing about myself.

"You’re not asking me to drive while you’re in the kitchen trailer, are you, Charley?"

"No. I can cook in here. And it’s a pretty flat drive. I’ll be fine."

I’m not actually worried about her. I’m thinking about how many charges the cops can slap on me.

Driving without a license.

Driving without a seat belt on the passenger.

Speeding, because knowing Charley, we’re late already.

Driving without registration. Charley figured out years ago how to lift current stickers off of license plates. She loves "sticking it to the man." Or so she says.

I kid you not.

Oh, the travails of a teenager with an old hippie for a mother. Charley is oblivious as usual as I continue my recollection of past infractions thankfully undetected by the state troopers:


Driving while someone’s in the trailer. It’s a great trailer, don’t get me wrong, a mini industrial kitchen we rigged up a couple of years ago to make her job easier. Six-range burner, A/C, and an exhaust fan that sucks up more air than Joan Rivers schmoozing on the red carpet. But it’s illegal for her to go cooking while we’re in motion.

"All right. Can I at least get dressed?"

"Why? You’re always in your pj’s anyway."

"Great, Mom."

"It’s Charley, baby. You know how I feel about social hierarchy."

"But didn’t you just give me an order to drive without a license? What if I say no?"

She reaches into the kitchen cupboard without comment and tips down a bottle of cooking oil. Charley’s as tall as a twelve-year-old.

"I mean, let’s be real, Charley. You do, in the ultimate end of things, call the shots."

I reach back for my glasses on the small shelf I installed in the side of the loft. It holds whatever book I’m reading and my journal. I love my glasses, horn-rimmed "cat glasses" as Charley calls them. Vintage 1961. Makes me want to do the twist and wear penny loafers.

"Can I at least pull my hair back?"

She huffs. "Oh, all right, Scotty! Why do you have to be so difficult?"

Charley has no clue as to how difficult teenagers can actually be. Here I am, schooling myself on the road, no wild friends. No friends at all, actually, because I hate Internet friendships. I mean, how lame, right? No boyfriend, no drugs. No alcohol either, unless you count cold syrup, because the Y gets so cold during the winter and Charley’s a huge conservationist. (Big surprise there.) I should be thankful, though. At least she stopped wearing leather fringe a couple of years ago.

I slide down from the loft, gather my circus hair into a ponytail, and slip into the driver’s seat. Charley reupholstered it last year with rainbow fabric. I asked her where the unicorns were and she just rolled her eyes. "Okay, let’s go. How long is it going to take?"

"Oh." She looks down, picks up a red pepper and hides behind it.

I turn on her. "You didn’t Google Map it?"

"You’re the computer person, not me." She peers above the stem. "I’m sorry?" She shrugs. Man, I hate it when she’s so cute. "Really sorry?"

"Charley, we’re in Wilmore, Kentucky. As in Ken-Tuck-EEE . As in the middle of nowhere." I climb out of my seat. "What part of North Carolina are we going to? It’s a wide state."

"Toledo Island. Something like that. Near Ocracoke Island. Does that sound familiar?"

"The Outer Banks?"

"Are they in North Carolina?"

Are you kidding me?

"Let me log on. This is crazy, Charley. I don’t know why you do this to me all the time."

"Sorry." She says it so Valley Girl-like. I really thought I’d be above TME: Teenage Mom Embarrassment. But no. Now, most kids don’t have mothers who dress like Stevie Nicks and took a little too much LSD back in the DAY. It doesn’t take ESP to realize who the adult in this setup is. And she had me, PDQ, out of the bonds of holy matrimony I might add, when she was forty (yes, I already told you that, but it’s still just as true), and that’s
OLD to be caught in such an inconvenient situation, don’t you think? The woman had no excuse for such behavior, FYI.

My theory: Charley’s a widow and it’s too painful to talk about my father. I mean, it’s plausible, right?

The problem is, I can remember back to when I was at least four, and I definitely do not remember a man in the picture. Except for Jeremy. More on him later too.

I flip up my laptop. I have a great satellite Internet setup in the Y. I rigged it myself because I’m a lonely geek with nothing better to do with her time than figure out this kind of stuff. I type in the info and wait for the directions. Satellite is slower than DSL, but it’s better than nothing.

"Charley! It’s seventeen hours away!" I scan the list of twists and turns between here and there. "We have to take a ferry to Ocracoke, and then Toledo Island’s off of there."

"Groovy!"

"Groovy died with platform shoes and midis."

"Whatever, Scotty." Only she says it all sunny. She’s a morning person.

"That phrase should be dead."

Honestly, I’m not big on lingo. I’ve never been good at it, which is fine by me. Who am I going to impress with cool-speak anyway? Uma Thurman? Yeah, right. "Okay, let’s go."

"We can go as long as possible and break camp on the way, you know?" Charley.

I climb back into the rainbow chair, throw the Y into drive, pull the brake, and we’re moving on down the road.

Again.



Sample from Hollywood Nobody / ISBN: 1-60006-091-9
Copyright © 2006 NavPress Publishing. All rights reserved. To order copies of this resource, come back to www.navpress.com.



Q&A with Lisa Samson, author of Hollywood Nobody


Q. What inspired you to write Hollywood Nobody?

A. NavPress approached me at a publishing conference about writing YA fiction. They felt my writing voice would transition naturally into YA. Well, that day, I was sitting in my car in Opryland's parking lot, and the idea just gushed out. Nav loved it, and here we all are, me, Nav, Scotty Dawn and her fabulous readers.

Q. What message would you like readers to take away after reading Hollywood Nobody?

A. Be yourself and don't think the grass is always greener "over there." Chances are, somebody's looking at your yard thinking you've got it made.

Q. What does faith mean to you?

A. Faith means trusting God even when you have no idea what's going on around you, or what lies ahead. Faith means that somehow, somewhere, the bad stuff will be turned into good, even if that seems impossible.

Q. Can you describe what a "normal" family means to you? Did you grow up in a "normal" family?

A. Honestly, I don't think there is such thing as a "normal" family. We're all odd in our own way. Sure, some families look normal from the outside, but we're all weird in our "own special way." Of course, some families' abnormalities are dark and painful, and I just hope and pray that Hollywood Nobody will provide young women in those situations with a little bit of escape and encouragement.

Q. How did that help you?

I was always encouraged in the arts. My Dad played boogie-woogie for pocket money in college, and painted when he came home from his practice at night. My Mom worked at our church, was involved in other causes, so I became aware of my social responsibilities through her.

Q. In Hollywood Nobody, Scottie really struggles to find authentic relationships due to her nomadic lifestyle and the pervasive Hollywood influence in her life. What do you think Scotty would say to Britney Spears or Lindsey Lohan if she had the chance?

A. She'd say, "Are you kidding me?!" :-)

Q. What book is coming up next? Will Scottie find out who is chasing her?

A. The next book is called Finding Hollywood Nobody and yes, she will figure out who Biker Guy really is!

Q. What book(s) are you reading now?

A. Right now I'm reading, Growing Up Hard in Harlan County and Jesus of Nazareth.

Q. If your book were turned into a movie, who would play the main character(s)?

A. Amanda Bynes with a dark, curly wig. Adam Brody would nail Seth Haas. Charley could totally be played by Kelly Preston.

Q. Which one of your characters is most like you? Why?

A. Well, Scotty thinks a lot like I do. But I don't think any of the characters in this book resemble me. I am 43 dontchaknow. :-) Scotty, however, is an awful lot like my 17-year-old daughter Ty. I really felt like she was whispering in my ear as I wrote the book.

Q. What do you want your readers to know about you?

A. I guess I hope they know I remember how awful being a teenager could be! I'm not the person who says, "This is the greatest time of your life. Just be happy." I wouldn't go back to High School if anybody paid me to do it. It's a hard gig.

Q. There are many references woven throughout Hollywood Nobody to F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Is this a favorite book for you? Why did you choose it as a backdrop for Scotty?

A. Yes, The Great Gatsby is a favorite of mine. I chose it because I was re-reading it when I started writing the book. There are a lot of parallels between the two storylines. Unrequited love, the outsider looking in, wanting what we can't have. Beyond that, I wanted Scotty to be the literary type and to encourage the readers of Hollywood Nobody to venture out into something more classic than my book!

Q. Are you a vegetarian like Scotty or her mother?

A. I've tried it a time or two. And I wish I could stick with it. But usually it's fried chicken that knocks me off course every time. (I love fried chicken!)

Q. Scottie struggles with defining faith and how it fits into her life. Can you describe your experience coming to faith?

A. I've been in church all of my life! When I was three I remember asking Him into my heart. But faith isn't just a nice little formula, it's embracing Christ and God's faithfulness, day after day after day. Honestly, each day I hope I come to Christ a little more, hoping to draw closer to Him, to be more like Him, to love Him more.