I know; you were expecting a Regency, or any book which takes place before 1900, right? Well, you're just going to have to flash back to the 1980s with me:) Don't worry; even though my latest book takes place from 1988-1990, I've got a treat for you.
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Let's flash back to 1982, when Izod shirts, Calvin Klein jeans, Nike tennis shoes, and other designer labels were IN. Woe betide the person who shopped at Good Will or wore hand-me-downs. If you wanted to fit in, you wore Chic jeans, monogrammed sweaters, and had either a fox (JC Penney), Izod the alligator (LS Ayres-now Macy's), or a dragon (Sears, but only the really desperate ones wore this) on your polo shirt. Nikes were $50/pair, and thankfully, they lasted an entire year if you bought the leather ones and took care of them. Oxford shirts with the 'fruit loop' on the back, between the shoulder blades, were also acceptable 'preppy' wear. If you dressed like Madonna in Lucky Star, then you were labelled a 'hood'.
I had to remove all my brand names from this excerpt for the book, but I hope the tone is still conveyed.
What happens when your roommates are pencil-slim without trying, and you gain a dress size by looking at chocolate? Susan Best struggles with her self-esteem after a bad break up. She diets in the wrong manner, and soon it's almost out of control. When love sneaks up on her, can she accept the truth her man loves her, not the number on her clothes?
Travis Freeman was instrumental in jump-starting Susan’s singing career. But he didn’t count on the dark side of being in the spotlight, and stands by helpless as the woman he loves spirals out of control. But after alerting her friends to the problem, he risks losing her altogether.
Jamie watched his identical twin brother Rob break Susan’s heart. Thrilled by the fact their friendship is rekindled, he appoints himself her personal body guard during their summer job. But when he kisses her, is she picturing his brother?
Set Up: Susan and a boy in Health Class become rivals for grades. When Su acquires the outfit of a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader and wears it for Halloween despite her parents' objections, she enjoys her Halloween evening, until she thinks she hears a familiar voice. Uneasy, she returns home and crawls in bed, hoping she's wrong. But disaster hits the next day at school....
She discovered her red-haired rival had shown up in her neighborhood and had ogled her scanty outfit. He stopped by her locker before the first bell.
“Whoo, baby! What sexy legs you have.” He winked and went on, leaving her shocked and dismayed. By the time health class arrived, various male classmates had approached her with other comments.
“Heard you showed some skin last night.”
“You gonna pose for Playboy?”
“Did you stuff your bra?”
“Why don’t you wear that outfit to the game Friday night?”
Whistles and catcalls followed her from class to class, and trembling, she slid into her seat. The girls flocked around her, asking quiet questions of their own, but by then she felt so ashamed and humiliated, she just wanted to be left alone. She made it through the rest of the day by holding her head high and pretending not to notice anything. By the time she got home, she was shaking.
How could this have happened? She was a good Christian girl, the type who never got into trouble. She already knew of the danger of peer pressure that awaited her. She’d already resolved to never give into any pressures of smoking, drugs, alcohol, or even sex, and there it was, the taunting of an unknown sexuality.
She didn’t know what to do. If she went to her parents, would they blame her? Yes, they had tried to talk her out of wearing the costume. Was it her fault? Would they say, “I told you so”? She didn’t think she could handle a parental lecture and decided to say nothing to her parents. Her older sister? No, what if she said the same thing? Her younger brother might make things worse by trying to defend her and get thrown out of school, or worse yet, start teasing her himself! No, she couldn’t go to her family. Her friends? What more was there to say? She decided to tough it out, and maybe the boys would forget about it in a few days.
Instead of blowing over, the teasing continued. Designer jeans were the rage, and having the right label meant everything to an eighth grader. Suddenly, her body was the enemy. Designer labels on the back pocket of her jeans called attention to her curvy bottom. The alligator, a fox, or a dragon called attention to her blossoming bosom. Her feet, her treacherous feet, instead of looking dainty in plain white canvas sneakers, looked enormous in white leather ones with a red swish.
She tried not to call attention to herself. When shopping for clothes, she chose loose-fitting jeans and oversize sweaters. She went to the beauty parlor and cut her glorious hair short. Christmas brought her makeup kits and fashionable, clingy clothes.
In desperation, she discovered a tendency to put on weight at certain times of the month. After getting her period the day following her fourteenth birthday, she also discovered her bloated body, full of water retention, could not fit into the designer clothes. Gradually, she began to put on enough weight so her shape would demand the inconspicuous labels.
She became an invisible person, the type that glides through high school, never calling attention to herself, yet getting high enough grades to continue on to college. Gone was the desire to stand out, to be someone. She never wanted the taunting of her classmates again.
Question: What was your favorite Halloween costume for trick-or-treating? Or do you even remember what it was like to be 13 or 14? I'll draw a random comment for a free download of my back list, since this book arrives next month. Happy Hopping!