New Release New Release New Release

16 Mar

Congratulations to Kathleen S. Allen on her new release

 

How to be Almost Famous in Ten Days.

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Seventeen-year-old Cassie Cee feels invisible because she’s a double-digit size. She finds a book in a secondhand bookstore that she hopes will change her life. Her best friend’s brother wants to make vlogs about how she is following the ten rules she found in the book, why she is doing it, and how she feels about being invisible for his school project. She agrees, but only if he promises no one but his college advisor will see the vlogs. He promises, but a friend of his posts them online and they go viral. When one of the “famous rules” puts her best friend, Rachel in a dangerous situation, Cassie makes one last vlog and Chuck posts it online. But emails begin arriving from other girls who have felt invisible, and she realizes she has to own up to being “the real Cassie Cee.”

Excerpt:

 

       Chapter 1
                                                           The Games Begin

My fingertips drifted across the dusty books stacked haphazardly on the shelf. I wasn’t looking for any particular book title—just wasting time while Rachel searched for a book in the romance section. I walked around the secondhand books piled in haphazard stacks on the faded brown carpet in search of a science fiction. Closing my eyes as my fingers flitted over the books, I played a game I used to play when I was younger. If some book wanted me to read it, I’d know by the feeling the book gave me. Forgetting about the piles everywhere I ran into one—or two, I’m not sure—I opened my eyes just as I fell, sending the piles sprawling across the floor. Which, by the way, smelled and looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in centuries.

Rachel called out, “You okay, Cassie?”

“Yes,” I mumbled, sitting up.

No clerk came to my rescue, so I began to restack the books. My elbow was a bit scraped, but otherwise no damage. Sighing, I continued piling up the books until a small yellow book caught my eye.

“How to Be Famous in Ten Days,” I read aloud.

“What?” Rachel asked from the other side of the aisle.

“I found a book,” I yelled back.

I flipped through the pages. It appeared to be a fairly recent publication, despite the faded cover. Each
chapter heading had a rule. I flipped to the introduction. The first line read: Find your passion and follow it.

That’s my problem. I have no passion. None. I’ve tried to think of what I want to do when I get done with high school, but so far I’ve come up with zilch. You know those stupid career interest tests they make you take your freshman year? Yeah. My ideal job was either truck driver, because I like to work alone, or zookeeper—I like animals, but not that much. Rachel, my best friend since kindergarten, came out with doctor or scientist, both of which she wants to be. With her grades, I’m sure any medical school would love to have her. My grades are always on the borderline between complete failure and not living up to my full potential. I read until Rachel’s pink and blue tennies came close to my knee.

“Are you ready to go yet? I found tons of books I want to read over the summer.”

She had her arms full.

I read one of the titles out loud, “In the Arms of Love.”

Yeah, they were all like that. Rachel dreams of the day she’ll meet her soulmate; she ignored most of the boys in our school. They were too immature for Rachel; she was waiting for the college boys. I got up. My knee hurt, along with my ankle and my scraped elbow. I looked at Rachel with what I call my puppy dog face.

She shook her head and rolled her eyes at me. “Let me guess, you want to borrow some money?”

“I spent my allowance and I haven’t been able to find a summer job yet. Please?”

She sighed, then held out her hand. “Give it here; I’ll put it on my card. You owe me a Starbucks.”

“Thanks, Rach.”I stood in line with her, scrolling through my iPhone. I wanted to find what year that book had been written, but I couldn’t find it at all. Guess it’s out of print. Rachel put her stack of books on the counter. The clerk rang them up.

“That’ll be twenty dollars and seven cents. Want a bag?” he asked.

“Sure, thanks.” Rachel handed him her credit card. He swiped and handed back her card, she signed the slip.

He handed her the bag. “Uh, could you put your phone number on the slip?” He smiled at her. He was cute in a nerdy sort of way.

“Why?” Rachel asked. “Is there something wrong with my card?”

“No, I thought I might give you a call sometime.” Oh. I should’ve known. Rachel gets asked out by guys on a regular basis. It doesn’t affect her in the least. I’d be thrilled if some guy asked me out, even if he was creepy.

“Are you in college?” Rachel asked.

He shook his head. “No, I’m a senior in high school, why?”

“Sorry, I only go out with college guys,” she said, tossing her shiny blue-black down-to-the-waist hair behind her. She grabbed the bag. “Let’s go, Cass.” I hunched down, trying not to make eye contact with the clerk as we left the store.

“Why do guys ask you out all the time?” As if I had to ask. She was model-gorgeous, she was short like Asian girls tend to be, had a tiny waist, and that hair. Her dark brown eyes were the color of milk chocolate; unless she was pissed. Then they looked more like dark chocolate.

“How do I know why guys ask me out? Guys are guys. No one can figure them out.” She shrugged.

“Why are you my friend?” I asked, slipping down into my usual funk.

“What do you mean?” She put on designer shades that made her look mysterious and cool. The peach-colored spaghetti strapped sundress with a coral hem contrasted against her skin and floated around her knees. Matching peach flip-flops held a silk flower with peach-colored petals and a bright yellow strap between the toes. Her toenails were painted pale peach, matching her lipstick.

“You know what I mean. Look at you; you are one of the most, if not the most, beautiful girls at Longfellow High.”

“So?” She continued to stride down the sidewalk with me trying to keep up with her.

“Look at me, no . . . really look at me.”

She stopped. She gazed at me. “I’m looking, Cass. Now what?”

“You don’t see it, do you?”

“See what?”

“That I am a mess! Next to you I look like—what’s the name of that guy that follows Dracula around? The one that eats bugs?”

“Igor,” she said. We were at an intersection. She began to cross as soon as the light changed.

“Right, Igor. I’m him. I’m Igor.”

“Let’s go in here,” she said pointing to a storefront. No. Absolutely not. No way. It was one of those stores that catered to teeny, tiny girls. Like Rachel. Not like lumbering oxen like me. Every time she dragged me into one of those stores I got frosty looks from the clerks as if they were saying, “Who let you in?” I shook my head. She ignored me, like she usually did, and pushed open the door. Sighing, I followed her. She handed me the bag of books to hold before heading over to a rack of tank tops. I stood near the entrance, in case I wanted to make a quick getaway.

Rachel beckoned me over with a crooked finger. “Look at this. How do you think it’d look on me?” she asked, holding up a sparkly blue tank top. Gorgeous. Everything looked gorgeous on her. A paper bag would look gorgeous on her.

“It would look great,” I remarked.

“Help you?” It was one of those frosty clerks. She wrinkled her nose as if she smelled something rotten. Maybe she did. I sniffed my underarm. Nope, deodorant is working.
She looked me up and down. “I’m not sure we carry your size,” she said. I pointed to Rachel, who was oohing and ahhing over something she had found. The salesclerk brightened. Turning on her heel she marched over to Rachel with a huge smile on her face. “May I help you find something in your size? Let me guess.” She looked Rachel up and down. “A size 4?”

“Nope, size 2.”

The salesclerk giggled. “Of course.” She began riffling through the tops gathering size 2 tanks for Rachel.

“Got anything for my friend by the door?” Rachel asked. I wished she wouldn’t go there. The salesclerk glanced my way for a moment. Her nose wrinkling again.

“We don’t carry double digits here,” she said with a dismissive tone.

Before Rachel could protest, I said, “Look Rachel, meet me at the Starbucks around the corner. Take your time.” I left, lugging the bag of books with me. My insides churned. Either the clerks stared at me as if they couldn’t believe someone like me would dare walk in their store or they ignored me entirely. Like the rest of the world. “I’m a person,” I yelled as I crossed the street. A homeless guy pushing a cart full of junk gave me a scared look. Great. Now I’m scaring the homeless. Nice job, Cassie. At least he noticed me.

At Starbucks, I ordered a Caramel Macchiato with extra caramel for myself and a non-fat latte for Rachel. I stood waiting for the order. The guy at the counter was a lean, romantic poet, curly-haired—oh my Gawd—his green eyes hidden behind tortoiseshell glasses that kept slipping down his nose—way cute. I chewed on my lower lip. Should I ask him out? I took a deep breath.

“Hi, I’m Cassie,” I said. “What’s your major?” Great opening line, Cass. Original. I felt my cheeks get hot as he handed me both drinks.

“English. I’m a poet.” I knew it! “I’m Blake. What about you?”

“Creative writing, fiction,” I lied.

“Cool.” Now’s my chance. Go for it.

“I . . .” But before I could say more Rachel walked up to me. She gave me one of her brilliant two hundred watt smiles, whipping off her glasses with a fluid motion. “Great, you got me a coffee, thanks.” She smiled again, this time at Blake. He looked stunned. “Hi,” she said, being her usual friendly self.

“Hi,” he said, looking as if he would faint dead on the spot that someone like Rachel would deign to talk to him. She grabbed her coffee and turned around.

“Wait,” he said. I knew what was coming.

“What?” she asked.

“Could I have your number?”

“You in college?” she asked, scrutinizing him. He nodded.

“Great, got your phone? I’ll put it in for you.” She reached out as he handed her his iPhone, and punched in her number and handed it back.

“All set. What’s your name?”

“Blake, Blake Carrlington.”

“Hi, Blake, I’m Rachel Song.” She took my arm, steering me away from the counter to a table. “Wait until you see what I bought, it’ll be perfect for my date with Brad.”

“Blake,” I said with a dejected tone.

“Whatever.” She waved a hand in the air. Blake waved back, thinking she’d waved at him. She turned her chair so she faced the window overlooking the street. “I hope he’s not going to be one of the needy ones.” I glanced back over at him. He was my type, not hers. If I didn’t know her better, I’d think she was doing it on purpose. I sighed loudly.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, brushing her hair behind her right ear. I shook my head, rummaging in the bag for my book. I took it out. Rachel did the same, taking out a romance book with a half-naked man adorning the gaudy red and pink cover. Jeez. We both became engrossed in our books. After a few minutes, I got an epiphany. A big one. I slammed my book down on the table, which would’ve been more impressive had the book not been so thin.

“Shit, you scared me,” Rachel said.

“This is it,” I said. “This is my purpose in life.”

“What is?” Rachel’s eyes went back to her book. She’d heard it all before from me. At various times in my life, I wanted to be a ballerina—too short and I’ve never taken ballet—a pastry chef—can’t cook, an astronomer—failed Calculus—twice, a biologist—can’t see a thing in those microscopes, or any number of other careers I fancied at the time. My new career choice was to be a writer. I’d written poetry and short stories, but never felt confident enough to try and get anything published. Still, it was the one that had stuck the longest so far.

“This is. Rach, pay attention.” I tapped the book to get her interest. Her glance drifted over to me.

She was already lost in whatever romantic world the writer had given her. “I am. What?”

“I am going to do what this book says.”

“What does it say?” She glanced at her book. She wanted to get back to reading it.

“About becoming famous in ten days. I’m starting tomorrow. In less than two weeks, everyone will know my name.”

“Okay,” she said, picking up her book again. She took a sip of her coffee.

I pulled a half torn Post-it pad from my bag. I scribbled notes on it as I opened the book again. I couldn’t wait to get home and set out on my path to becoming famous.

 

About the author:

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leen started writing when she was eight years old and self-published her first book of poems. She has been writing ever since. She has published in various publications including Boston Literary, flashesinthedark.com, the 34th Parallel, The Rose and Thorn eZine, Cardinal Sins, The Offbeat, Ann Arbor Observer, Six Sentences, Tea A Magazine and Calliope. She has a MA in Children’s Literature with an emphasis in creative writing for Young Adults from Eastern Michigan University. Look for her books online and in print.

I am an urban faerie born without wings but I fly on the wings of imagination tethered to this mortal coil. Moonlight sustains me and sunlight devours me. Stars swim in my eyes and my soul bleeds on a daily basis. I am a writer

 

Links:

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/KathleenAllen.html#FamousExc

 

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/How-Almost-Famous-Days-ebook/dp/B00BUX4FEI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363411302&sr=8-1&keywords=How+to+be+Almost+Famous+in+Ten+Days.

 

 

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3 Responses to “New Release New Release New Release”

  1. Dawn Colclasure March 16, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

    Congratulations, Kathleen! Enjoyed reading the excerpt. 🙂

  2. chalaedra March 16, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    Reblogged this on Chalaedra's Weblog and commented:
    Seventeen-year old Cassie feels invisible. She finds a book with ten rules to make her famous and follows them with hilarious and sometimes serious consequences. How to be Almost Famous in Ten Days by Kathleen S. Allen. Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, other fine eBook vendors and Gypsy Shadow Publishing at: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/KathleenAllen.html#Famous

  3. Sheila Deeth March 18, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    Congratulations! Loved the excerpt. Sounds a really intriguing story.

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