Random Acts of Publicity Week - Softly Say Goodbye
Today begins Random Acts of Publicity week. We're supposed to promote the work of other authors, but I thought I'd start the week by sharing the story behind Softly Say Goodbye. This novel will release sometime late this month, and I'm sure people are wondering just what it's all about.
First of all, Softly Say Goodbye is a love story, but it's also about teen drinking – or rather about one teenage girl's battle to stop teen drinking in her high school. Oh, you say, another book about teen drinking. Well, I say, give this one a chance. See, it's not about a teen drinking and then seeing the light, so to speak. Erin doesn't drink. She hates people who get drunk, especially other teens. Why?
I don't go into her reasons for hating drinking much in the book, but it all has to do with her guy, Bill, and his dad. Bill is totally cool, but he comes from the wrong side of town, and much of this has to do with his dad, Mark. Mark believes the world is his to do with as he pleases. He drinks. He rips off people of things they've worked hard to earn. And he beats up on his wife and verbally abuses his three kids. Real winner, Mark is. But he's supposed to be in prison with life without parole for things that happened when Bill and Erin were in seventh grade. And they believe this … until Mark shows up on parole. No one understands why, but they have to deal with him. And dealing with Mark turns into teen drinking in their high school escalating.
Two good friends, Jake and Shari, join Bill and Erin in their determination to stop drinking at Landry High School. Two other friends, Tuck and Tiana, in addition to one of Bill's sisters, Sandy, go over to the dark side, as Jake puts it. Now, Erin and her group are faced with having to bring these friends back. The how of this finally dawns on her, and she creates a special Twitter account, for nothing but reporting teen drunks at school. Bill, Jake, and Shari create accounts with Twitter names close to hers. Thankfully, their school has a Twitter account for notifications about sports and special announcements. Erin believes they're making a small difference when one of her reports brings about a surprise inspection of the school-approved water bottles one day. Those who had alcohol in the bottles get a suspension, but the lesson is far from learned. At the end of the week, at the Valentine's Day Dance, the kewl krew is at it again, with most of them stumbling drunk. Afterward, as everyone is going home, Erin and her crew discover Tuck has had a wreck. Later it comes out he was drunk. Tuck dies of his injuries, emotionally destroying Erin, Bill, Shari, and Jake, but not stopping their quest to stop the drunks.
The story becomes tense at this point, with veiled threats from the kewl krew, and projects to finish as the end of the school year approaches. Erin is a bundle of nerves with everything she has to accomplish before graduation, and the worst of what she faces starts after spring break. What makes the vacation harder is having Bill and Jake gone on a promised workout session with one of the coaches before both young men go into the Marines in late June. Erin is worried, but she doesn't make Bill too crazy before he leaves. He'll be back … only he never arrives home – two more victims of teen drunks. Bill and Jake are dead, leaving Shari and Erin grieving and ready to quit.
Only they don't quit. They also welcome Tiana back into their group, and the three teenage girls ignite a firestorm in their school as they fight every second of every day to stop teen drinking at Landry High. They don't have complete victory, and in the end, Erin has one last thing to accomplish before she goes to college – saying goodbye to Bill.
As mentioned before, there are a lot of books about teen drinking available. Not many, in fact, only one I could find, show the main character not drinking but still taking a stand against it. This book: The Accident by Todd Strasser definitely has my interest and is on my wish list to pick up. He, like me, shows the easy availability of alcohol for teens. No longer do teens have to bribe someone entering the local liquor store to pick them up some beers, or the booze of their choice. It's far too easy for those teens to raid their parents' stash, or to get a good fake ID and buy it themselves.
Unlike Strasser, my story is told in first person, present tense. The reader feels as if they are Erin, and they're the ones making the hard decisions.
Now, here's the last bit of information about Softly Say Goodbye. I've been telling all of you it's coming soon. And soon has arrived, or rather will arrive. According to my editor at Solstice Publishing, soon will probably be the end of this month. Keep an eye on this blog or my website, www.kcsprayberry.com, for the announcement.
Tomorrow, I'll be doing the random act of publicity for a good friend and beta reader, Donna Alice Patton. Without her, Softly Say Goodbye would probably still be in its infancy. Wednesday, I'll have a blog about my current work in progress, and links to five other blogs, as it's Blog Tag Party that day. Thanks for stopping by.