Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Yearbook: Mike


NOTE: This concludes The Yearbook series. The following excerpt is from my WIP (newest novel) Gina's Journey. The novel incorporates this series. Let me know in comments if you're intrigued enough to want to read the completed work? 
  
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The year was 1982. We danced to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album and watched “E.T.” on the silver screen. John Belushi died and Prince William was born. We exercised  to Jane Fonda video tapes and never missed watching “Dynasty” on TV. Gas cost 91 cents a gallon and a stamp two dimes. We were spooked by the Tylenol scare and held our breath as the recession began.
It was a year of promise and pain, of sweetness and sorrow.

But it was OUR year. 

We were the Class of 1982, and we were ready to take on the world.     


Mike (Yearbook post/1982)

Gina,
To the best and sweetest girl any guy could have. You’re super in every way and you mean everything to me, and don’t ever forget that! You know I don’t like to write because I can’t express myself as well as if I would tell you but I’ll try anyways. I love you very much and want our relationship to last! You’re just a super girl, you care about me very much and I appreciate it because it makes me feel great inside, and I feel very lucky to have a girl as great as you. If I had to sum everything up about you in one word it would have to be fabulous! It probably sounds dumb but that’s the way it is. I just want to let you know that I do love you and will do anything for you that you want me to.
Love, Mike

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4/28/12
I remember his black hair and curls. His five o’clock shadow in the middle of the day. The way his smile took up most of his olive face and the way his dark eyes danced when I walked into the room. I remember the first time he told me he loved me and the first time we made love. Why is it that you never forget your first love? Maybe it’s because it’s the first person you gave your heart to, completely. The first time you were afraid to breathe for fear the moment would pass and you would miss some of the seconds. Life is seldom what we think it will be. Especially when you’re seventeen and the biggest concern you have is whether someone has the same prom dress.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

What do your hands say about you?

You can tell a lot about a person by looking at their hands. That’s how pastor Greg started his sermon yesterday. I’ve been thinking a lot about what he said. One look at a mechanic’s hands might reveal grease embedded in the nails. A farmer’s hands might be rough and full of callouses. The hands of a person who works with his mind might be smooth. 

    I remember when I played the violin, I had callouses on the tips of my three middle fingers on my left hand from pressing on the strings.  And I still have the writing lump on my middle finger on my right hand.

    Pastor Greg talked about the hands of Jesus. Jesus had the hands of a common laborer. Afterall, he spent 30 years as a carpenter. But his hands were also the hands of love. His hands went on to touch the eyes of a blind man and give him sight. They went on to touch the body of a little girl and -- “Talitha koum!” - give her life. And they went on to break the bread as he said, “This is my body, which is given for you.”

    Look closer at Jesus’ hands and you’ll see the scars of a man who hung on a cross, the hands of the one who reached out to the whole world.

     So, what does this have to do with writing? Well, it made me think of a writing exercise. I’d like you to describe the hands of someone. It can be the hands of a real person, or the hands of a fictional character. But try to show us this person by showing us his hands. Good luck!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

AKA teammate: John Newcomb


Meet another one of my AKA Literary teammates, represented by Terrie Wolf. 


Name: John Newcomb, a.k.a. Johnny Knew

Lives in: Denver, CO


Family: Wife, Nina; sons, Max, 5, and Connor, 10 months

Writes: Fiction Action Thrillers; Children's Picture Books

Titles of books you've written/sold: 


Children's books: I signed a six-book deal with the first book, The Tree With No Branches, to be released this May by Cutie Pie Publishing.  The books to follow are: Phoebe The Swimlazy Fish, The No Fuzzy Bunny, The Makings Of The Two Garoos, Moby The Unquiet Mouse, and I Know A Nose.  

Adult fiction:  Eternities Cross; and Friedman

Twitter: @Knewvillebooks
 
Favorite book character: Juan Cabrillo from Clive Cussler's Oregon Files

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Yearbook: Alicia


The year was 1982. We danced to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album and watched “E.T.” on the silver screen. John Belushi died and Prince William was born. We exercised  to Jane Fonda video tapes and never missed watching “Dynasty” on TV. Gas cost 91 cents a gallon and a stamp two dimes. We were spooked by the Tylenol scare and held our breath as the recession began.
It was a year of promise and pain, of sweetness and sorrow.

But it was OUR year. 

We were the Class of 1982, and we were ready to take on the world.     



Alicia (Yearbook post/1982) 
Gina,
To a really super friend and a great person to be with. Never forget all of the fun we had playing Barbies when we were kids.  I’m not good at words like you are but I hope you realize how much I value our friendship. Take care of yourself and I wish you the best of luck in everything you do.  Love always, Alicia

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4/19/12

Alicia and I spent many afternoons playing Barbies. She lived down the street, and I’d cart my Barbie house and my Barbie car and my Barbie case over to her house. She had a big bedroom, and there was lots of space on her shag carpet to spread everything out. We spent entire afternoons pretending.
 
Alicia and I vowed that when we grew up, we’d get an apartment together. Of course, we’d have fabulous jobs and fabulous boyfriends who would turn into fabulous husbands. And we’d live in fabulous homes and have fabulous kids. Everything would be fabulous.


Talk about a colossal fail because it wasn’t too fabulous for Alicia -- in fact, what happened to Alicia was devastating and changed her life forever.



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Yearbook: Jeremy


The year was 1982. We danced to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album and watched “E.T.” on the silver screen. John Belushi died and Prince William was born. We exercised  to Jane Fonda video tapes and never missed watching “Dynasty” on TV. Gas cost 91 cents a gallon and a stamp two dimes. We were spooked by the Tylenol scare and held our breath as the recession began.
It was a year of promise and pain, of sweetness and sorrow.

But it was OUR year. 

We were the Class of 1982, and we were ready to take on the world.    



Jeremy (Yearbook post/1982) 

Gina,
To a really nice girl that I always can hear over where I sit. You’re one of the good girls in this school. Good luck, Bean

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4/18/12

Thanks, Jeremy. You were just as loud. Maybe louder. Jeremy was the tallest guy I knew. He was 6-foot, 7-inches and the star of our basketball team. He was also thin. That’s how he got the nickname “Bean.” I think three of my steps equaled one of his. He also had perfect teeth. His dad was a dentist.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Yearbook: Sue



The year was 1982. We danced to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album and watched “E.T.” on the silver screen. John Belushi died and Prince William was born. We exercised  to Jane Fonda video tapes and never missed watching “Dynasty” on TV. Gas cost 91 cents a gallon and a stamp two dimes. We were spooked by the Tylenol scare and held our breath as the recession began.
It was a year of promise and pain, of sweetness and sorrow.

But it was OUR year. 

We were the Class of 1982, and we were ready to take on the world.    


Sue (Yearbook post/1982) 

Gina, to my dearest and closest friend.  Always remember the good times we shared. I wish you nothing but the best in everything you do. I know that you will go far. Thanks for being there when I needed someone to understand my problems. I’ll be forever grateful. You helped me throughout high school, and I hope in some way that I helped you. I will always be here if you need me. You can call me anytime, anywhere. Thank you for being there for me and sticking with me even when I pushed you away. I love you, Sue 


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4/15/12

Sue and I are still close. She’s the only friend from high school that I've kept in touch with. And that’s mostly because she made the effort long before I started to carry some of the water.

 After high school, Sue got a job as a secretary for an attorney. That’s how she met her husband. He was an attorney, too. Turned out he liked beating women. The only thing good that came out of that marriage was Chloe.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Yearbook: Jan


The year was 1982. We danced to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album and watched “E.T.” on the silver screen. John Belushi died and Prince William was born. We exercised  to Jane Fonda video tapes and never missed watching “Dynasty” on TV. Gas cost 91 cents a gallon and a stamp two dimes. We were spooked by the Tylenol scare and held our breath as the recession began.
It was a year of promise and pain, of sweetness and sorrow.

But it was OUR year. 

We were the Class of 1982, and we were ready to take on the world.    

Jan (Yearbook post/1982)

Gina, you are a crazy girl whose energy and enthusiasm is seemingly never-ending. I’ll never forget Mr. B’s class and how you always managed to get the answers from him without him realizing he was giving them to you.  Thanks to you, I survived that class. Lots of happiness and luck in all you do! Jan


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4/13/12

I had forgotten about Jan.  She was quiet and sat in the front of Mr. B’s class. Compared to her, I was a loud-mouth, forever-talking ball of energy. I haven’t seen or heard anything about Jan since high school graduation. I remember how she loved cats. She had four of them and she named them Eenie, Meenie, Miney and Mo.

I wonder where she is and how her life turned out. Maybe someday I’ll find out.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Yearbook: Frank


The year was 1982. We danced to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album and watched “E.T.” on the silver screen. John Belushi died and Prince William was born. We exercised  to Jane Fonda video tapes and never missed watching “Dynasty” on TV. Gas cost 91 cents a gallon and a stamp two dimes. We were spooked by the Tylenol scare and held our breath as the recession began.
It was a year of promise and pain, of sweetness and sorrow.

But it was OUR year. 

We were the Class of 1982, and we were ready to take on the world.    

Frank (Yearbook post/1982)

Gina, to a really neat girl I’ve known for awhile now. I thank you and the others for trying to keep me awake Period 6. I also enjoyed the friendship we had in calc. You’re a very special person and I wish the best to you in everything you do. Love, Frank

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4/11/12

Frank was forever falling asleep in class. But I would, too, if I were stocking grocery store shelves until 2 in the morning. By the time he got home it was almost time to get back up. School started at 7:40. But Frank’s family needed the money. He never talked about his dad and I got the feeling that he left when Frank was really young.

His mom worked at the mini mart in town during the day and cleaned office buildings at night. He had three sisters who weren’t old enough to work. He told me one time how embarrassed he was that his family got food stamps and that he qualified for a reduced lunch at school. He hated being poor.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Yearbook: Keith


The year was 1982. We danced to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album and watched “E.T.” on the silver screen. John Belushi died and Prince William was born. We exercised  to Jane Fonda video tapes and never missed watching “Dynasty” on TV. Gas cost 91 cents a gallon and a stamp two dimes. We were spooked by the Tylenol scare and held our breath as the recession began.
It was a year of promise and pain, of sweetness and sorrow.

But it was OUR year. 

We were the Class of 1982, and we were ready to take on the world.    

Keith (Yearbook post/1982)

Gina,
To a really sweet girl who has a nice personality. Keep up the good looks and keep working hard and you’ll go far.  See you over the summer. Love, Keith

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4/8/12

Keith was the first boy I ever kissed. It was in sixth grade and we were playing Spin the Bottle in my girlfriend’s garage. There were eight of us, four boys and four girls. We sat in a circle – boy, girl, boy, girl. If the bottle pointed at someone of the same gender, you kissed the person to their left. I got to go first because I picked the longest blade of grass. I spun the empty bottle of Budweiser that we dug out of the trash. When the bottle stopped spinning, it was pointing at Keith.  

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Yearbook: Bill

The year was 1982. We danced to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album and watched “E.T.” on the silver screen. John Belushi died and Prince William was born. We exercised  to Jane Fonda video tapes and never missed watching “Dynasty” on TV. Gas cost 91 cents a gallon and a stamp two dimes. We were spooked by the Tylenol scare and held our breath as the recession began.
It was a year of promise and pain, of sweetness and sorrow.

But it was OUR year. 

We were the Class of 1982, and we were ready to take on the world.    


Bill (Yearbook post/1982)
Gina,
To a very special girl that I think about a lot and I will never forget you as long as I live. I have many memories about you that I wouldn’t trade for the world, and I’m sure you have some memories too and I hope you never forget them. You made this past summer something very special and something to always remember and I want to thank you for that. I’m sorry what we had together had to end but it seems like it’s been for the best. I’m really glad that you and Mike found each other and I hope your relationship always lasts. I don’t know Mike very well but it seems like you two were made for each other and I’m really happy for you. You deserve the very best that life has to offer and I hope you always get it. Best wishes and please take good care of yourself. Love, Bill

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4/6/12

I dated Bill the summer before I started dating Mike.  I learned how to make out and French kiss hard and deep. We never went the whole way. We were both too scared. And while we knew we liked each other a lot, maybe quite not enough to go that far. So we had a summer romance filled with fun days and steamy nights.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Yearbook: Joe


The year was 1982. We danced to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album and watched “E.T.” on the silver screen. John Belushi died and Prince William was born. We exercised  to Jane Fonda video tapes and never missed watching “Dynasty” on TV. Gas cost 91 cents a gallon and a stamp two dimes. We were spooked by the Tylenol scare and held our breath as the recession began.
It was a year of promise and pain, of sweetness and sorrow.

But it was OUR year. 

We were the Class of 1982, and we were ready to take on the world.    


Joe (Yearbook post/1982)



Gina, to the one girl who I think has the best personality out of anybody I know. Always keep those good looks and special smile. I wish you luck at anything you try to accomplish in the future. You are very special to me as a friend. Take care, Joe

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4/3/12

I’ve never see anyone battle drugs like Joe. He started drinking heavily our junior year in high school and then got into pot and other stuff.  I liked Joe. I always tried to talk to him about what was going on. I knew he was in trouble. He always said that he could handle it and that he could quit anytime he wanted. We both knew that wasn’t true.

I watched as his smiling eyes turned into a blank stare. As he lost weight and stopped caring about his appearance. As he started skipping school and his grades plummeted. Looking back, I’m surprised he graduated.

Watching Joe was like watching a fly become ensnared in a spider’s web. I wanted to rescue him, but I didn’t know how.

Monday, April 2, 2012

AKA Literary's Christian Piatt's 'PregMANcy' trailer

This is a funny trailer my AKA Literary teammate, Christian Piatt and his son, Mattias, made for his new memoir on fatherhood, family and faith called "PregMANcy: A Dad, A Little Dude and a Due Date." Read the profile of Christian and visit his website or his publisher's website.





Read profiles of other AKA authors.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Yearbook: Lynn

The year was 1982. We danced to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album and watched “E.T.” on the silver screen. John Belushi died and Prince William was born. We exercised  to Jane Fonda video tapes and never missed watching “Dynasty” on TV. Gas cost 91 cents a gallon and a stamp two dimes. We were spooked by the Tylenol scare and held our breath as the recession began.
It was a year of promise and pain, of sweetness and sorrow.

But it was OUR year. 

We were the Class of 1982, and we were ready to take on the world.    


Lynn (Yearbook post/1982)

Gina,
To a really terrific girl that I have known practically all of my life. Remember all the fun in student council and all of Mr. Flannigan’s  “speeches.”  Of course, don’t forget all the work we put into making the prom a hit. I’m glad we have stayed friends all of these years, and I hope that we will always be friends.
Love, Lynn
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4/1/12

Lynn was always a great planner. Very organized and detail oriented.  It didn’t surprise me that she became an events planner for a swanky country club in Massachusetts. I always thought that if I needed a wedding planner, I’d want Lynn.