Whew, I'm partied out! We had one heck of a Book Birthday party! Thanks to everyone for coming. I am so humbled by your kind words and good will.  Please come back on Sunday when I will reveal the winner of my contest…a FREE e-copy of Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island.

But today, our MG/YA Blog Tour continues with my next guest and dear friend, Barbara Ehrentreu.  Barbara’s YA novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, was just released last week and is already claiming five-star reviews. Congratulations Barbara.  Welcome to The Mind’s Eye.

Barbara lives in Stamford, Connecticut, with her husband and two grown daughters, but she spent most of her life in New York State. She is a retired teacher who now tutors children who have learning difficulties. Since she was a little girl, she has loved reading and writing. A few years ago, she received her Masters in Reading and Writing K-12 and became a certified Reading teacher.

Barbara stays very busy and wears lots of hats. She hosts Red River Writers Live Tales from the Pages on Blog Talk Radio every 4th Thursday. In addition, her children’s story, “The Trouble with Follow the Leader” and an adult story, “Out on a Ledge” are published online. She writes book reviews for Authorlink.com. and several of her reviews have been on Acewriters and Celebrity Café. She is also a member of SCBWI.

When she wanted to attend a workshop with Paula Danziger as the leader, she wrote three chapter of a YA story that just popped into her head. When Paula took an interest in working with her story, she was thrilled and decided it had merit. So in the next two years, she worked on finishing it.

The book became If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor and was picked up by MuseItUp Publishing. This is what Barbara says about Muse:

Being a part of MuseItUp Publishing has brought me another online family and I am thrilled to be one of the increasingly large members of this warm and encouraging group.

I’m happy to host Barbara on my blog today. Here is an excerpt from Barbara’s novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, a young adult novel about the trials of being high school students.

 “If you have been checked on your somersault, you can jog around the gym until the bell rings.” Miss Gaylon is going to be nominated most annoying teacher in the whole school soon.

Why do we have to run now? Did I have any energy to do this?

Jennifer and I start to run, but soon she forges ahead of me. Is this a race, I wonder? Or am I so slow, she can pass me anytime she wants to? We’re halfway around the gym when suddenly I see Jennifer starting to slow down. She stops running and starts to walk. She looks almost white, and I wonder if she is really sick.

“Jennifer, are you okay?” I pass her at a slow trot.

“Just tired I guess. All of a sudden I felt a little faint. Don’t laugh. It can happen to anyone.”

“Did you forget to breathe as you ran? That could cause it.”

“Very funny, Carolyn; did I forget to breathe?”

“I thought it was. Do you need to see the nurse?”

“No, I’m fine, but I’d like to sit down.”

“There’s Miss Gaylon. I’m sure if you tell her you don’t feel well, she’ll let you.”

“This is funny. Now it’s me who needs to go to the nurse, but I’ll be okay. Just need to sit down. Once I do, I’ll be all right.”

Jennifer slows down, and soon she’s stopped completely. I look at her, and she looks way too pale. I grab her around the waist and walk her over to the bleachers. Miss Gaylon notices and comes over immediately. Jennifer looks dazed.

“Jennifer Taylor, are you sick? You don’t look good at all.”

“Miss Gaylon, I think she hurt her foot, twisted her ankle, but she’s okay now. I’ll stay here and check on her.”

“Let me see that ankle. Hmm, it doesn’t look swollen. You will be fine in a few minutes. The bell is going to ring soon. You stay there, and in a few minutes go get changed.”

“Thanks, Miss Gaylon. I’m feeling much better now.”

Jennifer looks at me with surprise and happiness.

“You are always amazing me, Carolyn. I guess I should have eaten a little more at lunch. Now I remember. I got sick after breakfast today, too. No wonder I have no energy. Thanks for helping me. I might have fainted if you hadn’t brought me over here.”

Across the gym, Becky and her partner are staring over at Jennifer and me. Becky mouths to me, “What happened?”

I mouth back, “She’s sick and needs to rest.”

“Are your plans off?” Becky keeps miming to me.

“No, she’s feeling much better now, must be her period.” This is the last lie I want to tell

Becky today. All of the lies I have told seem to be lying in a puddle at my feet.

The bell rings for the end of the period, and I race toward my locker. I change in a flash and run down the hallway to my other locker. I grab my books and streak down to the front door.

Meanwhile, I scan the halls for Brad. I don’t want to bump into him again.

I’m in a fog racing toward the front door. Brad comes from the staircase, and we are separated by a hundredth of an inch. This time we meet face to face in the middle of the front hallway. Jennifer walks out of the gym looking a little frazzled. Jennifer Taylor looking frazzled?

The end of the world is coming. Brad sees her and walks straight over like a guided missile. “Jennifer, you look awful. What happened?”

“Brad, I’m so glad to see you. I felt sick in gym, but it’s probably not eating enough for lunch. We had to run, and I couldn’t keep going. Do you know who helped me though? She’s like my savior—Carolyn. She got me over to a seat, and I didn’t even have to go to the nurse. What a girl.” She smiles at me. Even better, Brad smiles at me, too.

“Jennifer, it’s the least I could do for you,” I say. “Now we’re even, right?”

“Yeah, I guess we are. See you outside in a few minutes. You’re ready I hope?”

“Yes, I zoomed over and got my stuff. How about you? Are you feeling okay now? We could postpone this you know.” I keep my fingers crossed.

“No, I’ll be fine. You’re coming over, and we’ll study, okay?”

I look at Jennifer and wonder why she didn’t tell him about the makeover.

“What do you mean you’re studying? I thought we were going to spend tonight together.”

Brad sticks out his bottom lip and pouts.

“Tomorrow night, I’ll go out with you. Remember, my parents only allow me one night a week for dates.”

“Okay, I’ll call you tomorrow and see you tomorrow night.”

“Thank you, Brad. You do understand don’t you?” Jennifer purrs to him, rubbing her hands up and down his arm. Brad puts his arms around her and gives her a big hug. Jennifer gets up on her tiptoes and kisses him on the cheek. I’m way too jealous to continue watching this sappy scene.

I walk outside and try to forget what I just saw. Brad will never like me the way he likes Jennifer. I don’t think she cares about him as much as he likes her, but she can sure twist him around her finger. I want to learn how to do that, too. One minute he’s angry and sullen, the next he’s hugging her. For the fifty thousandth time in my life, I wish I could be like Jennifer Taylor.

Barbara, that was a great sample of your story, leaving  us wondering what is going to happen next. Great job!

Her books are available on the MuseItUp Bookstore and also at Amazon.

You can find Barbara at her blog: Barbara's Meanderings

Thanks Barbara, for joining us today.

C.K. Volnek