The countdown to the release of my second novel, Popstars, Friends & Lovers; a dreamer's tale, continues. This past week I had some great feedback from a few more beta readers and I'm in the final stage of creating the cover with Kim and Kitten at Deranged Doctor Designs.
|Award-winning book 1 cover|
As I said last week, the best way to prepare for book two is to read book one. So today I'm posting the second chapter from book one. Again, I remind you that the book is recommended for readers age 17 and older due to language and sexual content.
In today's installment you get to see Carrie and Ben and all the other characters at school, the place where their divisive cliques are most obvious. I have had so many people tell me that this chapter really reminded them of their lives in high school, no matter what group they were in. You also get to meet MG and Steve, the main characters in Popstars, Friends & Lovers: a dreamers tale. (Available on Amazon Nov. 2nd).
Enjoy the chapter and have a great week.
“You don’t look older.” MG was in her usual spot the next
morning, under the helicopter tree, waiting for Carrie to get off the bus.
Carrie rolled her eyes at the cliché joke. “But you look awesome in that
jacket. That from M&D?”
MG was all about fashion and changed her look constantly.
Today she had tossled her shoulder length blonde hair, and if Carrie had to
guess, she would say MG was aiming for a Britney Spears, good-girl-gone-bad
kind of look. She nailed it.
Carrie adjusted her brown leather jacket. It was the exact
one she had been wanting, and it was cool, but considering the way it was given
to her, it had already lost some of its sheen. She found it hanging on the back
of her closet door when she woke up this morning. It was still in the dress bag
from the department store, with the receipt pinned to the bag. At the bottom of
the receipt her mom had written, I’m sure
it’s the wrong one. I can’t get anything
right for you. Just return it. Gifts always came wrapped in guilt. “It was
M. I doubt D knows anything about it.”
Noticing the way Carrie looked at her jacket, MG cautiously
asked, “How’d it go yesterday?” After two years as her best friend MG knew how
crazy things could get at Carrie’s house. Not that her own was anywhere near
normal, but that was one of the reasons they understood each other so
Carrie exhaled a sigh, “Fucking weird as usual. She threw a
cake mix at me.”
“She hit you?”
Carrie had to smile at the way MG wasn’t thrown off for a
minute by her story. “No, she’s a shitty shot.”
Carrie nodded her head in agreement. Then she couldn’t
resist throwing something at MG that would shock her, “Ben Gorman hugged me.”
MG stopped short and spun Carrie around by her arm. “Shut the fuck up. Dennis the Menace from next door?”
Carrie nodded, enjoying MG’s reaction.
“What the hell was he doing gettin’ all up on you?”
MG’s attempt at ghetto had Carrie laughing. “It wasn’t like
that. He came over to eat some cake, and he was just being sweet ‘cause I was
in a shitty mood. Besides, Menace don’t do dat shit, and we both know it.”
Carrie threw in her own ghetto accent.
“True dat.” Carrie and MG stopped near the smoker’s picnic
table. “Speaking of the Menace.” MG pointed across the parking lot to the front
steps of the school where the religious weirdos and geeks gathered every
morning. Ben was standing behind Joelle, leaning his head on top of hers.
Carrie noticed how much he was enjoying his new-found height. It made her
MG caught her staring.
“Oooo, I see, you want some of that tall, blond and brainy, don’t you?”
Carrie smacked MG’s shoulder and rolled her eyes, “Shut
up.” They both laughed.
Steve Shrader grabbed Carrie’s math book from the stack in
her arms. “You do your homework?” She watched him pull a folded piece of loose
leaf paper out of the book, scan it, and try to commit her answers to memory.
“Got any paper?”
Carrie pulled a clean sheet of loose leaf from her binder
and handed it to him.
She dug in her purse till she found a pencil. Steve held her answers and his lit cigarette
in his left hand while he scribbled the answers onto the paper using his
jean-clad leg as a table. The result was
almost illegible, but Mrs. Dobson wouldn’t care. She cut Steve slack because he
was funny, and he tried.
“Thanks, Carrie-go-braless,” his nickname for her since she
wore her Erin Go Bragh t-shirt to school.
“No problem, Stevie-go-pantless.”
He smiled at her lame joke, “You just name the time and
place, babe, I’m there for you.”
He was flirting with her, but he flirted with all the girls
in their group and had slept with most of them too. Word was that he was pretty
fun. He had perpetually messy brown hair and dimple in one cheek that he
flashed often because he was almost always laughing and joking around. He was
actually pretty hot looking, and girls outside their group would probably be
more interested in him if he didn’t wear the same dirty, black clothes all the
time. Carrie had never actually been in his apartment, but she had seen it from
the car when she went with Chuck to give him a ride one time. He lived with his
dad in one of the old government apartments by the park. They were built in
like 1940, and she was pretty sure there was no place for a washer or dryer in
He handed back her math homework and flashed a killer
crooked smile at her. Yeah, she’d be
interested if it weren’t for Chuck.
The first bell rang, and everyone around the picnic table
except Carrie and MG, who didn’t smoke, dropped their cigarettes and ground
them into the dirt. Steve folded his now-complete math homework till it would
fit in the back pocket of his jeans. Jim Ripton offered Carrie and MG a drink
out of his Big Gulp. Carrie declined.
She knew it was half vodka mixed in with his soda because he got one
almost every morning before school. Carrie just couldn’t face the thought of
her mom coming up to school if she got caught. MG took a big gulp and crunched
the vodka soaked ice on her way to homeroom.
Carrie wasn’t sure what MG’s mom would do if MG was caught drinking at
school. Probably put on a big show about being mad so the school would think
she was responsible, then never mention it again. Amber Stuart, MG’s mom, was
divorced and worked full time, plus more, selling houses. She was always busy
and hardly noticed anything MG did or didn’t do. Not that she was up for parent
of the year before the divorce.
Carrie was about to turn into her homeroom when a group of
the preppy girls crossed her path. Michelle Wagner turned and gave her a perky,
“Hi, Carrie!” then kept walking with her
friends. That stopped Carrie in her tracks. She shook her head quickly to reset
reality. Why was Michelle Wagner suddenly
talking to her? They had gone to school together since 2nd grade and never
been friends. Why, all the sudden, did
she keep waving and saying hi? It was like she was on some personal “greet
Carrie” campaign, and it was creeping her out. She made a mental note to try to
avoid her in Composition today.
The first half of the day was never Carrie’s favorite. Her
grades were pretty middle of the road, but her state tests put her in advanced
classes. Burnout kids don’t take advanced classes as a rule, so Carrie had no
one from her group to sit with. In first period History of China and Japan she
sat by Sylvie, the exchange student from Germany. Second period was
Composition, where Michelle Wagner kept sitting near her. Carrie didn’t avoid
the preppy girls, but she didn’t exactly talk with them either. Generally, they
sat near her and gossiped about their weekends while she kept her nose in her
American Lit novel ‘til class started. Everyone from Comp was in third period
American Lit, so the room would move, en masse, three doors down and sit in the
same pattern. Avoiding Michelle wasn’t going to be easy. There were no assigned
seats, but everyone had a favorite spot and there were no open seats. Unable to
concoct an escape, Carrie sat in her usual spot in Comp that day and decided to
let things play out to see if she could figure out Michelle’s motives.
“The Homecoming Dance is two weeks away.” Carrie was
startled out of reading A Tale of Two Cities when Michelle dropped her
books on her desk and slid into her seat.
Carrie raised her eyebrows, “And . . . ?” This was getting
stranger by the minute. Is she asking me
“We could really use your help on the posters and
decorating.” Her tone implied Carrie was obligated to help.
“Um, did I sign up for this?” Carrie tried not to sound too
combative, but she didn’t like the direction this was going in.
Sensing Carrie’s mood, Michelle switched to pleading, “No,
but we could really use your help.” Carrie still wore a mask of confusion. “OK,
I know you are a really good artist. I saw your 2nd place painting in the hall
yesterday and I thought, you know, that you would be great for our decorating
committee, and I think you’d have a lot of fun, and …” she trailed off, noticing that Carrie was
looking less than enthused.
Carrie did love decorating and painting, but the idea of
spending hours with Michelle and her crew. “I don’t go to homecoming.”
“You don’t have to go to be on the decorating
committee.” Michelle hesitated before
throwing another idea bomb at her, “You could
go. We could double.”
Carrie tried to stifle the laugh that bubbled up. Obviously
Michelle didn’t know who Carrie dated. Chuck
at a homecoming dance. The picture made Carrie laugh more. Her boyfriend,
the epitome of a bad-boy lead singer, 21-year old Chuck Parnell, in a suit, Did he even own a suit?, at a high
school homecoming dance. And even better, double dating with Michelle and …
somebody. Carrie had no idea who she was dating. “Um … yeah … I don’t think
“Oh.” Michelle looked dejected, and Carrie felt guilty for
laughing at the idea.
“I can help some, with decorations, if you really need me.”
Michelle perked up. “And think about doubling. You still
have two weeks to get a dress.”
Another crazy image, Carrie in a homecoming dress. She smirked.
“We have a decorating committee meeting tomorrow after
The reality of what she just signed up for hit her. If she
stayed for the meeting she would have to tell MG, who always gave her a ride
home. MG would give her shit, not that
that really mattered. She did all the time. But she would have to get her
mother to pick her up, and her mother would want to know why she stayed late.
And if Carrie mentioned homecoming, oh hell, her mother might get the idea
about Carrie going, which would bring up the whole boyfriend idea. Carrie had
managed to keep Chuck a secret from her parents for a year and a half, she
didn’t want to blow that over some homecoming decorations.
Composition class started, and Mrs. Hemming droned on about
tense agreement or something. Carrie was focused on keeping her two worlds from
colliding. Except for MG, her home life and school/friends never touched. Her
parents lived in their own self-absorbed bubble. As long as Carrie kept a low
profile, they didn’t question where she and MG went every weekend. As far as
they knew, MG was Carrie’s only friend.
Lunch was the start of the fun half of Carrie’s day. It was
almost impossible to eat with MG, Gina, and Casey. And if Steve and some of the
guys joined them, there was no way to stop laughing long enough to finish a
sandwich. MG started it all today. She stole a pack of Twinkies from Steve’s
tray. He practically crawled on top of her trying to get them back. She threw
them to Carrie, who tossed them to Gina, who opened the package and tossed one
to MG. Steve was just about to grab it back when MG slid it into her mouth,
then back out again, suggestively. He stopped and stared. Using her most
suggestive stare, MG slid it in again, and slowly back out, licking around the
“Fuck me.” Steve exhaled and smiled as he watched.
“Been there.” MG smirked at Steve.
“Done that.” Added Casey, bringing on a burst of laughter
from the group.
Behind Steve, Brian something, one of the few sophomores in
the group, turned beat red. MG noticed and burst out laughing, which only made
poor Brian turn redder. Gina leaned toward him, licking her Twinkie
suggestively. Carrie and Casey tried not to laugh at him, but his innocent
shock was hysterical. Sophomore Brian’s entire Irish head and neck were red
now, which had Casey doubled over laughing. Carrie started to choke on her
soda. A little dribbled out of her mouth and down the front of her shirt before
she could spit it back into the cup.
“Trouble swallowing?” Steve shot Carrie a suggestive look,
which only made all the girls laugh harder and louder.
“Is there a problem here, Steve?” Mrs. Dobson was monitoring
lunch and stopped at their table.
“No, ma’am.” Gina answered, wiping tears from her eyes.
“Uh, yeah.” Steve turned around to face the teacher. “MG and
Gina stole my Twinkies.”
Mrs. Dobson thought she was being played, but went along,
“Is this true MG?”
MG looked up from under her lashes, guilt written all over
her face. She handed the wet Twinkie back to Steve.
“Ewww, she licked all over it.” He complained.
“MG, did you lick his Twinkie?” Mrs. Dobson realized how
that sounded as soon as she said it. Everyone burst out laughing. Carrie had to
hang on to the table to keep from falling off her chair. Mrs. Dobson’s cheeks flamed, then she started
laughing too. She walked away, shaking her head, trying to suppress it.
Art followed lunch. Carrie would have an A in the class, but
Mrs. Winter said her behavior pulled her grade down. She sat between MG and
Casey, who were both failing, because MG turned everything Mrs. Winter said
into innuendo: brush strokes, baroque period, flying buttresses (her favorite).
Most of it wasn’t even that funny, but the combination of MG’s lewd expressions
and post-lunch sillies had all three falling off their chairs and laughing ‘til
It was a beautiful, sunny fall afternoon, so MG put the top
down on her car for the drive home from school. She had a convertible Mustang
that her mom’s current boyfriend bought for her. She had no idea what the man
did for a living, something about house loans, but he was the richest guy she
had ever known. He rented a mini mansion with a pool for them to live in and
the Jag that MG’s mom drove. He had been around for almost two and a half
years, which was a record for her mom. Carrie and MG both thought he was kinda
ugly, but he and his money made Amber happy, and happy parents are always a
“I won’t need a ride home tomorrow.” Carrie figured now was
as good a time as any to open this can of worms.
She took a breath, readying herself for the questions. “I’m
staying late to help with homecoming decorating.”
MG turned the radio down. “I thought you said homecoming
decorations, but I know that’s wrong.”
Carrie brushed off the joke and held her ground. “I did.”
“Cause I like painting stuff, and … I don’t know … they
asked me to.”
“Who asked you to?”
“Weird, perky, preppy girl, Michelle Wagner?”
“Yeah, OK. I know,
but it’s just a couple of meetings to make decorations. You know I like this
shit. Look how many times I’ve redone my room and yours. This way you can keep
your room the way it is for a while.”
“My room is pretty amazing right now.” MG hesitated, “You
are good at that shit. Just don’t, you know, turn into one of them.”
“Yeah, right,” Carrie rolled her eyes. It was funny that MG
even thought she would want to hang out with the preppy girls. They were
boring, and what the hell would she have in common with them?
From the outside, it probably looked like she had a lot in
common with them. Her parents weren’t divorced or in jail, she was in class
with them part of the day, she had a closet full of preppy clothes that she
rarely wore. It was the stuff they couldn’t see, the stuff that no one saw,
that separated her from them.
Labels: #amwriting #IndieAuthor #mondayblogs #♪☺♥ #wwwblogs #NAromance