Author: Kc Sprayberry
About the Book:
Erin Sellers, an eighteen-year-old high school senior, hates teen drinking. She and her three friends – Bill, her guy, Shari and Jake - decide to use Twitter to stop a group, the Kewl Krew, from using their high school as the local bar. But the members of this group are just as determined to stop anyone from messing up their fun. Despite veiled threats to her safety, Erin continues her crusade. To make matters worse for her, the stress of school and extra curricular work mounts and suddenly, shockingly, booze-fuelled tragedy strikes. Erin is now under greater pressure as she spends all hours to produce a mural and other work to commemorate the death of a teen friend. Bill, Jake and Shari support her in all this... But more tragedy lurks nearby… until it’s time to softly say goodbye.
The Author Info: I am happily married to a man I met while in the Air Force. We recently celebrated our 18 years of marriage. Our teen, the youngest of 8, keeps us on our toes with his band activities. Writing is something I've done since I was very young. At first, it was in a diary and then I poured all my energies into English compositions, earning praise from my Advanced Composition teacher in high school for an extremely visual project. While in the Air Force, I placed second in the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge's annual contest and from then on, was hooked. However, the reality of a military career and raising children forced me to put off attempting publication until my husband and I moved to Georgia. It was after the birth of our now teen that I began taking courses through The Institute of Children's Literature, Long Ridge Writer's Group, and Writers Digest in an effort to make my life's dream come true. We live in Northwest Georgia, in a small town, where I write Romance, Westerns, Young Adult, and Middle Grade stories, both short and book length. More than a dozen of my short stories have appeared in magazines such as Listen Magazine, Brio, and The Pink Chameleon website. I also have short stories in anthologies, Passionate Hearts Anthology, Mystery Times Ten, The Best of Frontier Tales, Vol. I, and Mystery Times Nine. My western stories have garnered interest by avid readers and appear on The Western Online and Frontier Tales. My work appears under the pen names of KC Sprayberry and Kathi Sprayberry. Softly Say Goodbye, a young adult novel, was my NaNoWriMo winning project for 2010. This story was inspired by a quote from a song and hearing of an auto wreck involving teens and drinking.
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The sound of liquid gurgling and a thunk distracts me as my art teacher, Mr. Janks, says he has a major announcement. An overwhelming urge prods me to confront the offender, but she'll deny my accusation, even though everyone in the vicinity knows she just chugged some vodka. Do it! My hands clench into fists. Tell Laura to quit! High school drunks totally piss me off. The urge to deal with the offender overcomes common sense. I start to turn around to give her a piece of my mind but stare in shock at my teacher instead. A week before Valentine's Day, the most romantic day of the year, I want to throw my books into the nearest trashcan and run until my legs give out. Here I am, sitting in my art class, and Mr. Janks announces we have to do a term project but not just any term project. Oh no! We have to develop a major project like cleaning up the Rec Center's playground and painting a mural on the huge cylinders kids climb all over. Worse, I swear I heard something about a video. Who has time to do all that and a video? “Tell me Mr. J didn't say that,” I cry. The now protesting students echo my feelings. The new issue drives all other thoughts out of my head. Oh yeah, I heard right, and the timing is rotten. Tuck Amstead rolls his eyes and glances at me. “Total pits, Erin.” “Maybe we heard wrong?” I offer. “Mr. Janks, we can't possibly do this,” Tiana Bolton protests. “It'll…it'll… You're asking us to give up all of our free time and ignore studying for our EOCs. And you want us to show you what we did on the same day we take the EOCs!” Boy, does she have that right. EOCs, end of course exams, make up a significant portion of our final grade. To top it off, we also have to take the state's graduation test — a mind-numbing horror challenging us to remember every single thing we have ever learned since our very first day at Landry High School. The idea of planning and executing a major art project due at the same as those dreaded tests gives me the worst scary feeling of my life. “Why can't you do like everyone else?” I ask. “This is worse than impossible.” “This is my EOC, Erin.” Mr. Janks shakes his head. “You saw the syllabus when you started the class last fall.” He stares at each student, all twenty of us, for a heartbeat. “All of you signed the syllabus, and so did your parents. No excuses. Now—” “But we have to do all our other studying,” Tiana cries, interrupting him. “When will we have time for your project?” Slender, sweet, and conflicted, Tiana's cap of brandy brown hair frames her porcelain complexion. Oh, so jealous here. She never has to worry about her hair bushing up on a humid day or the sun giving her freckles like I do with my shoulder-length red hair and uber-pale complexion. Even her eyes drive me nuts. Instead of green like mine, which everyone says look like the local pond's algae, Tiana's are gray. She has more than high school to worry about. Her mom won a court decision only a week ago, forcing Tiana to visit her in prison. The timing can't be worse. The first visit is the same day as the Valentine's Day Dance. Poor Tiana not only has to miss the most romantic dance of the year, she has to listen to her mom grouch about how a judge forced her into a plea deal that keeps her in prison for ten years. The dummy never should have driven when she was drunk. The family she hit is still recovering from their injuries. “You also have a long term art project,” Mr. Janks says with what sounds like very little patience for our issues. “Now, I have a few things to say about the project since it sounds like most of you can't remember what you signed last August. It will be a major part of your final grade. Just like all your other EOCs.” Shocked beyond belief, I scribble what he says in a desperate effort to make sure I pass this very important, blown off exam. Who ever thought I, Erin Sellers, would panic at the thought of an art project? I churn out assignments in this class without a second thought. Art is my passion, the one thing I live for, the way I relax.