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Shortcomings
By Ginger Simpson

Book Blurb:
Our shortcomings don't define who we are, unless we let them. Cindy Johnson needs to learn that. Born with one leg shorter than the other, she has no self-esteem because of the cruel comments and cold stares she receives from her classmates. When Cory Neil, the football quarterback asks her to Homecoming, she's quite sure he's asked her on a dare and refuses. It takes more than just her mother's assurances that Cindy's beautiful before she realizes she may have made a mistake in turning him down. 

My Review:
The first sentence of Ms. Simpson's blurb for Shortcomings says it all…Our shortcomings don’t define us… But it’s the last part of her first sentence that should scream out at each and every one of us…UNLESS WE LET THEM.

Ms. Simpson’s book, Shortcomings, is a story of personal growth and building our own strengths as Cindy accepts and loves the person she is. We all have our own shortcomings; something we don’t like about ourselves, whether it is weight, hair, looks, or like Cindy, one leg shorter than the other. But it is how we accept ourselves that defines our lives. Cindy struggled with it—immensely. Ms. Simpson does a great job allowing the reader to see the depth of Cindy’s struggles. We can empathize and understand. Most of us have been there at one point or another.

Cindy, 17 and a senior in high school, has recently moved to a new town. Not only does she have to deal with being the new kid in school, but she must endure the stares, whispers and taunts of her ‘limp’ that make her self-conscious and embarrassed. When the star quarterback (her secret crush) asks her for help with his math, she ignores her desires thinking he only wants help because he needs to pass the class to remain on the team. When he asks her to a dance, she believes she is the butt of a cruel joke. Why would he ask her to a dance when she obviously can’t ‘dance!’

To ease her loneliness, Cindy applies for a job at a local salon and becomes the new go-for for the quirky, but confident, owner.  Finally, Cindy makes a friend at school, only to witness her friend humiliated by the same antagonist that taunts her. Cindy jumps at the chance to help her friend grow, not even realizing her friend is helping her grow as well. Strength can be found in even the smallest of motives.  

In this light romantic and compelling story Cindy triumphs over her shortcomings to become a positive role model for teens and adults alike; to express what it took for this one girl to overcome her own limitations and find happiness and acceptance. Ms. Simpson weaves a great story. It’s not an easy fix for Cindy. She doesn’t always make the right choices. And sometimes she is her own worst enemy. It’s a very true-to-life story which I found almost too coincidental with how I feel about my own self at times. But it’s a story I can use as a tool to manage my own self-esteem and grow in loving myself.

I enjoyed Shortcomings and give it five stars and hope all teens and pre-teens will read it and apply it to their own lives. For those that see their own shortcomings in themselves, I hope they will find the courage and strength to love themselves and not let those that would persecute them take their self-esteem away. And for those that are on the bullying side, may the see just what those cruel words and jokes do to the image of another.

Thanks for stopping by.
C.K. Volnek

 
 
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Greetings,

Today I would like to welcome Ginger Simpson to my blog. She is an accomplished author and her current YA Novel, Shortcomings, will be released in March 2011 by MuseItUp Publishing. She says in her bio...

 “I truly recognized a dream with the publication of my first book, but my real hope is to see my work more readily available to the general public. With the sudden growth of e books, I feel encouraged.. Approaching true senior citizen status, I remind myself that a person is never too old to achieve their goals.  Grandma Moses is my heroine.”

Welcome Ginger.

Greetings Ginger. Tell your readers something interesting about yourself AND/OR your favorite character.

I’ve been published for over ten years now, and I decided to try my hand at writing YA.  I was surprised at how much I enjoyed looking at the work through my heroine’s POV in Shortcomings.

What was your favorite book as a teen? Tell us about it and how it affected you as a person.

Anything written by Laura Ingalls Wilder was a favorite.  If we could access the library check-out cards today, I’d bet my name would be on each book at least three times.

Tell us about the genre you have chosen to write for. Why do write specifically for them?

Although experts say you should stick to one genre and make it your brand, I’ve stretched the boundaries.  I consider myself mainly an historical writer, but  I can’t deny writing whatever story my characters have to tell, so I listen and type like the wind.  All my stories, except for one, have been character driven.  I tried writing totally on my own, and it was the toughest book I’ve written yet.  I like listening to the voices in my head.

Tell us about your new book. How did it come about and share your favorite excerpt/scene.

Shortcomings, which is scheduled for release in March from Muse It Up Publishing is my first attempt at YA.  I believe there is a little of each author in the work they offer up, and after the fact, I realized that drew on some of my own teenage experiences to pump up the emotion.  In my story, heroine, Cindy Johnson faces life with a defect that defines who she is and what she can accomplish.  Dealing with the harsh comments and stares from strangers drivers her further into seclusion, until she dares venture out, make a friend and learn that she’s so much more than just a person with a short limb.

Let me set the scene for you.  Cindy has agreed to help tutor the star quarterback of her high school’s football team so he doesn’t lose his position over bad grades.  Hanging out with the most handsome boy in school is definitely a perk, but a little voice in her head tells her that he could never be interested in her for anything more.

EXCERPT:

Cindy gently closed the front door, but the squeaking hinges announced her arrival. Her mother appeared from the kitchen, wiping her hands on her apron. “There you are. I was beginning to worry about you.”

Cindy shed her backpack and stashed it at the end of the couch. “Sorry. I should have let you know I’d be later than usual. I did a little tutoring in the library.” 

Her mother’s brow rose in a suspicious arc. “Does this have anything to do with the phone call you got the other night?” 

“Actually, it does. Cory Neil needed help with his math and asked me to meet him after school. I’m going to tutor him on the nights he doesn't have football practice. Is that all right?”

“Cory Neil, huh?” A teasing gleam sparkled in her eye. “I hear tell he’s the football team’s handsome quarterback.”

“Yes, Mother, it’s true, but don’t make anything out of this. He needs help with his math, and that’s all.”  How could Momma assume Cory would be interested in a cripple?

“Well, he called you didn’t he?  Besides, I heard while at the grocery story there’s a big dance coming up soon. You never know—”

“Stop it, Momma!  Cory can have his pick of any girl at school. Why in the world would he want to be seen with me?  For heaven sakes," her voice trembled. "I don’t even know how to dance. His interest in me is purely educational.”   Tears of frustration filled Cindy’s eyes. She limped off to her bedroom and slammed the door behind her.

Within a few seconds, there was a light knock. “Cindy, may I come in. I didn’t mean to upset you. I’m sorry.”

Cindy lay across the bed on her stomach. She swiped the moisture from her cheeks, sat, and pulled her feet up under her. “Come in.”

“I’m so sorry, sweetheart. I just—”

“I know. I’m okay. Honest.” Cindy blinked back tears. “I grow so tired of being odd man out all the time. I know it isn't your fault, but why couldn't I have been born with both legs the same length, like everyone else?”

Her mother perched on the edge of the bed and put her arm around Cindy. “You’re so beautiful. Don’t you know that?  Just look at yourself.”  Reaching across to the dresser, her mom snatched the hand mirror and held it up to Cindy’s face. “Look at those beautiful blue eyes… and that long blonde hair. You don’t even have to worry about curling it. Your skin is flawless… and my goodness, you have the most beautiful teeth in the family—so straight and white. Why can’t you see what I see?  Your defect doesn’t define who you are. We all have our shortcomings.”

Cindy peered at the mirror. Shortcomings?  What an appropriate word. Tears peppered her cheeks. She plucked a tissue from the box on her nightstand, dried her eyes and tried to focus on the things her mother described. The deformity blurred her image. It didn’t matter what the glass reflected, it didn’t tell the whole story.

How has writing affected your life? And what’s your favorite part of being a writer?

Being retired is not all it’s cracked up to be.  I miss interacting with friends, students, and associates, and writing has given me a platform for making new friends and colleagues.  Writing is also an outlet.  When my day doesn’t turn out right, I can let my heroine scream, stamp her feet, even kill someone, and it’s all legal and I don’t suffer the consequences.  *lol*

What advice can you give regarding the writing process?

The rules are ever-changing.  Join a good critique group and polish your story as best you can.  Once you submit to a publisher and get a contract, you’ll be assigned an editor who will undoubtedly contradict everything you thought you knew.  *lol*  The learning never stops.

Regarding publication and marketing, what advice can you offer aspiring writers?

I gave a workshop at the Muse On-Line Conference about the pitfalls of publishing.  I can’t stress enough the importance of researching any publisher you consider.  There are resources on the web for finding out dirty little secrets and avoiding entering into a union that makes getting a divorce look like a cakewalk.  Your best bet is asking authors already contracted there.  If they aren’t happy, they’ll let you know.

How can your fans find, follow or friend you?

I’ve been doing this for a number of years, so if a person new to writing Googled my name, I’m sure they might be a tad impressed with how many places I’m found.  Here are just a few links:

http://www.gingersimpson.com

http://mizging.blogspot.com

http://www.facebook.com/mizging

http://www.twitter.com/mizging

and of course, my Amazon Page:  http://tinyurl.com/29mobur 

I’d like to thank my hostess for allowing me time and space on her blog.  This is what teamwork is all about.