Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Chance To Make a Difference~and Jennifer Barnes

Well, I hope you will excuse my absence once again! I've been so wrapped up in this new puppy, Shana. (See below.) It's not exactly like having a new baby, but it's close.

Before I get started with the events of the day, let me tell you about my friend EJ Knapp.

EJ is a writer (his best known book is THE GREAT GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE TRIVIA BOOK, published by Chronicle Books) who has been through the wringer in life. One year ago, after 25 years of addiction, EJ hit a wall and lost everything. From EJ's blog:
When it all hit the wall a year ago, when the drinking and the stress and the hatred of life I’d accumulated all came together in a cataclysmic explosion, when I spent that month in rehab, when I lost my job, I came out of it all with such hope. Can you believe that? Hope. What a fool I was. And, fool that I am, dreamer, I pursued that hope. I was sober after what, 25 years? I had hope. A new life. I would pursue my dreams. I would write. I had my pension money. I had the house. I had a good car. And I was sober. Really sober. For the first time in years. And I wanted to be sober. It felt good. To see the birds fly. To see life without the amber haze.
Those of us who have battled addictions, myself included, know EJ's feelings precisely.

Now EJ's pension money is gone and for the lack of $2600, he may lose his car. This may not seem like much to those of us who take our wheels for granted. However, EJ has hit another wall, this one of desperation:
A .38 comes to mind but I sold my guns long ago. So I guess I’ll just have to get past this and carry on. Not sure where that’s going to take me, hence this letter.

All my life I’ve run way, leaving nothing behind, no forwarding address, no explanation, just a mystery for others to ponder, if they even took the time to bother. I don’t want to do that this time. (emphasis mine)
Instead of drinking, EJ has decided to do something positive. I'm so pleased because everyone who has dealt with addiction knows how easy it is to just turn to the drug of choice again.

Instead of drinking, EJ reached out for a helping hand. And many many hands have reached back in return. EJ's friends in recovery and friends in the writing world have banded together to rally around our friend for the first ever (that I know of) writing fundraiser. It was EJ's brainchild. We can't take any of the credit except for rounding up donations!

Donations of what, you may ask? OF WORDS. Yes, EJ's friends have donated their hitherto unseen work. At the rate of $2.00 per story or group of poems, you may download some of the following works, from published and unpublished authors. If the blogosphere helps to spread the word, perhaps enough money will be raised to pay off the car. Authors include:

Jon Clinch, author of FINN (forthcoming, Random House, lead title Spring 07)
Jackie Kessler, author of HELL'S BELLES (forthcoming, Kensington)
Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of VERTIGO (Bantam) and others
Karen Dionne, proprietor of literary site Backspace and science thriller author
Heather Brewer, author of EIGHTH GRADE SUCKS (Dutton/Penguin)
Lori Weinrott, co-author of THE ULTIMATE BAR/BAT MITZVAH BOOK (Random House)

This authors join many other agented and SOON TO BE PUBLISHED authors in helping out a friend in need. I've donated five poems, which should be at EJ's donations site shortly if they aren't already there.

Please go check EJ's 1500 Story Sales in 20 days website in order to learn more, to purchase a story or two, and to help a fellow who is reaching out for help instead of acquiescing. Go, EJ!

Now, onto the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit and my guest, Jennifer Barnes!

Jennifer is busy on booktour and wasn't yet available for interview, so keep an eye out for one in the next little while. However, I didn't want to waste any time in telling you all about her new YA book, GOLDEN.


At Emory High, there are two kinds of people: those who matter, and those who don’t.

When Lissy James moves from California to Oklahoma, she finds herself in the middle of a teenage nightmare: a social scene to rival a Hollywood movie. And if understanding the hierarchy of the Goldens vs. the Nons isn’t hard enough, Lissy’s ever growing Aura Vision is getting harder and harder to hide, and if she’s not careful, she’s going to become a Non faster than you can say “freak.”

But it’s becoming clear that Emory High has a few secrets of its own. Around the halls, the term “special powers” goes way beyond one’s ability to attract the opposite sex, and there may be something more evil than the A-crowd lurking in the classrooms. Lissy can see a lot more than the average girl, but she’s about to learn the hard way that things aren’t always as they appear and you can’t always judge a girl by her lip gloss.


“…A well-balanced blend of fast-moving fantasy and light, playful chick lit.”

–Kirkus Reviews

“Golden glows with the spot-on 
insights and pitch-perfect prose of someone whose knowledge of adolescence is absolutely fresh… Golden is a captivating mix of everyday teen terrors and supernatural suspense."

-Borders Online, July Newsletter


A Native Oklahoman, Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a recent graduate of Yale University, where she studied cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought). Her research on animal and child cognition has been featured on ABC’s World News Tonight, Animal Planet, and The New York Times, and Jennifer will be spending the 2006/2007 school year abroad, doing autism research at the University of Cambridge.

Jennifer wrote Golden at the age of nineteen, and her second book, Tattoo, will be available in January of 2007.

Check out Jennifer's website for more, and buy her book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or the best choice, your local indy bookseller.