Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Book Spotlight: The Next Great Rock Star! by Ann Herrick, an Excerpt, and a Giveaway!

The Next Great Rock Star!

The Next Great Rock Star! by Ann Herrick
Genre: Young Adult/Teen
ebook, 100 pages
Published October 16th 2015 by Books We Love Ltd.

Is Jason ready to ditch his best friends in his quest for fame and fortune?

When Jason and his friends form a garage band, they call it "No Frills" because they want to keep it real--even when they enter a band contest and pressures to alter their image mount. Then one day, due to a close encounter with lightning, Jason's life changes in a big way--but is he magically cooler or is it just his perception?

As he goes from blah to cool, his head swells as he takes his fifteen minutes of fame too seriously. His too-busy mother and fortune-telling grandmother don't get through to him. Even maybe-more-than-a-friend Layla is ready to give up on Jason, especially when he starts flirting with much-older Mindy. Only a rescued kitten keeps him even remotely grounded. It isn't until he loses the friendships with the band mates he once counted on that he realizes he has a major problem, and he worries it might be too late to fix it.

Purchase The Next Great Rock Star!


When I opened my eyes, I heard soft music. A bright shaft of light shined on my face.

Was I on my way to heaven?

"Hey! Hey, everyone! His eyes are open!"

I blinked and focused. The bright light came from a fixture in the ceiling. I glanced toward the voice. It was Kyle. I looked around. Layla, Mac, Mom, and Gramma, were all staring at me.

I was in a room. A hospital room. Well, a clinic, really. I recognized it from the time I broke my big toe playing basketball.

The music, I finally realized, came from a TV. If I knew that, I must be alive. "What—what happened?"

"It was the storm," Kyle said.

"I found you," said Mac.

That wasn't helping.

"I was doing a reading for Mrs. Kowsoncowski," Gramma said. "The lights went dim, and then I felt a power." Her voice quivered. "I knew. Harm had come to my Jason!"

I glanced at Mom, who I just noticed was squeezing my hand. She opened her mouth, but nothing came out.

Layla edged her way to the front of the pack. "Your grandmother had a premonition something was wrong, and called Mac's mother. She told Mac. He looked for you, and found you in a heap next to a patch of scorched grass."

It was coming back to me. "Lightning?"

Layla nodded. "Apparently, it struck right in front of you. Sent you flying off your bike. Don't worry. Your bike's okay. So is your guitar."

"And me?"

Layla shrugged. "The doctor said you should be fine." She leaned in close and examined my face. Her face had never been quite so close to mine before. I noticed for the first time that her green eyes had little flecks of gold in them. "In fact, I don't know what it is, but you look pretty good. Better than usual."

"Oh. Gee. Thanks." I managed to force a small laugh.

"Your voice is deeper, though," said Layla. "Is it sore?"

I hummed. "Nope. Feels fine."

"Well, thank goodness," Mom said. She'd obviously regained her voice.

"How long was I out?"

"About a half-hour," Mom said.

A nurse bulldozed her way into the room. "There are too many visitors in here! Two's the limit. Anyone who's not a blood relative, go back to the waiting area."

Layla, Mac and Kyle filed out.

"How's Jason?" my mother asked. "When can he come home?"

The nurse checked my chart. "In about an hour Dr. Taylor's going to look at him one more time. If all's well—and I think it will be—he can be checked out of here by four-thirty."

"That's great," Mom said. She checked the time. "Oh, dear. It's almost three. I couldn't get ahold of Mrs. Pennypacker to cancel her lesson, she didn't respond to my text, and I didn't think to leave a note on the door." She sighed. "I'll try calling her again. Maybe she hasn't left yet."

I gulped. I didn't want her to go, but I knew money was too tight for her to be canceling lessons.

"I can stay with Jason," said Gramma. "Mr. Eisensmith is always late for his session. Let him wait on me for a change."

"I'll be all right, Mom. Gramma and the guys will keep me company until you can pick me up."

"If you're sure …."

"I'm sure."

"Well, then …." Mom leaned over and gave me a kiss.

Mom and the nurse left. I asked Gramma to see if she could get me a pack of gum. I wanted a minute to sneak a peek at myself in the bathroom mirror, so I could see what Layla meant by me looking "better than usual." I didn't get past throwing off the covers, however, before Gramma returned. A couple minutes later, Mac and Kyle showed up, followed shortly by Layla, who kept an eye out for visitor-counting nurses.

"I thought about smuggling in your guitar," Layla said, "but I figured I'd never get it past the nurses' station."

Gramma pulled a pack of cards out of her purse, and we played and goofed around until a doctor showed up and shooed everyone out.

"Hi, I'm Dr. Taylor." With his tall, athletic build the doctor looked more like a basketball player than a physician. He checked me over, then said, "You're pretty lucky, young man. Some singed hair, a couple bumps from falling off your bike, but other than that, you're fine. As soon as I fill out a few papers, you can go home."

"Great," I said as the doctor left the room.

I felt fine. In fact, I was really restless, as if I had energy to spare. I hopped out of bed and had almost made it to the bathroom mirror when Mom showed up.

"Hi, Jason. You can get dressed. I just passed the doctor in the hall, and he said that by the time you get your clothes on everything will be set for you to leave." Mom checked the time again.

"Hi, Mom. I feel fine, thanks." My comment went right by her. I knew she was worried about being on time for her students, because they paid the bills, but sometimes I wished she'd worry a little more about me. "I just need to go to the bathroom first."

"Okay. But hurry. I'm between lessons."

I stepped into the bathroom and closed the door before she could change her mind. I peered into the mirror. The first thing I noticed was that the zit on the end of my nose was gone. Vanished. My complexion was smooth. Even the scratch was almost gone. But it was my hair that really caught my attention. It stuck up in front in this really cool way, just how I'd always wanted it to.

To be sure it wasn't a mirage, I closed my eyes and looked again. I had to agree with Layla. I looked better than ever. Darn good, in fact. I checked myself from a couple different angles. Yeah, I was one good-lookin'—

"Jason! Are you almost finished in there?"

"Yes, Mom!" I flushed the toilet, ran some water over my hands and dried them. As I emerged from the bathroom, I stopped and kind of posed for Mom. She hadn't really had time to get a good look at me before. I wanted to see the expression on her face when she noticed.

"Come on, Jason." Mom tapped the floor with her toes. "We have to get going."

"Don't you see anything different?"

Mom looked at me for a second. "Well, your hair is singed a little bit on top. But don't worry, it'll grow back. Now, let's go."

Maybe the change wasn't quite as drastic as I'd thought. Maybe I was just so excited to see my skin all clear and my hair looking good for a change, that I'd imagined that I was better looking than this morning. I put on my pants, ditched the hospital gown, and pulled on my shirt. Yeah, that was it. Almost being struck by lightning must have rattled my brain.

I probably got some medication in the hospital that made my skin clear up. The scratch hadn't been that deep. Tomorrow I'd probably have another big zit on some other part of my face. My hair would flop down on my forehead again, once the medicine or static electricity or whatever wore off.

Yeah, tomorrow I'd be back to plain old Jason Blah.

About the author

Ann Herrick is the author of several books and short stories for kids and teens. Her books have won several awards, such as the ALA Recommended Book for Reluctant Readers award and an IRA/CBC Children’s Choice award. Her stories have appeared in magazines such as 'Teen, Listen, The Single Parent, Children's Digest and The Friends.

Ann Herrick grew up in Connecticut, where she graduated from The Morgan School and Quinnipiac University. She now lives in Oregon with her husband, who was her high-school sweetheart. Their wonderful daughter is grown, married and gainfully employed, and has given Ann her only grand-dog, Puff, a bloodhound-rottweiller-beagle mix. While she misses the East Coast, especially houses built before 1900, she enjoys the green valleys, fresh air and low humidity in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Ann loves cats, walking and working in her back yard. In addition to stories and books for children and young adults, Ann also writes copy for humorous and conventional greeting cards."

The vast majority of Ann's books are HFN (Happily For Now, with the possibility of Happily Ever After. The characters are in their teens, after all, so Ever After would be a *really* long time.) Two books have positive endings, but not the standard HFN or HEA, but with those possibilities if the reader reads very carefully between the lines at the end of the story.

Connect with Ann

Ann has graciously donated a PDF copy of her book,
The Next Great Rock Star!

Thank you, Ann!!

Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post! Ann Herrick has a gift with words!



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