I’d like to welcome guest blogger, Molly Daniels, author of the ARBOR UNIVERSITY series. Molly Daniels resides in the Midwest with her husband, three children, and various household pets. Her fifth-grade teacher showed this avid reader how to write the stories swirling in her head, successfully unleashing her imagination upon the written word.

Kenzie is the ‘wild child’ of author Molly Daniels. They cohabitate nicely inside the brain of a woman in Indiana who’s the mother of three and ‘Aunt Molly’ to the entire neighborhood. A devout chocoholic, her hubby has learned to watch out when the characters in her head take over and not get too upset when the words are flowing and all concept of time is lost. (LOL)

Thanks for having me today, Nina! All this week, I’ve been the featured Author-of-the-Week over at the Secret Cravings blog, and I’ve decided to extend the deadline for you to have a chance to win a free download of their choice of my back list.

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to two special ladies, Caitlyn McCarty and Susan Best. Both are Education Majors at Arbor University, and both have wonderful singing voices-

C: How do you know?

S: Oh please, the entire dorm has heard you singing Penny Lover by Lionel Richie. And when you come over to study, we’ve always had a tape or the radio on.

C: True. When I’m at home, my choir director at church used to have me sing solos during the service. My favorite is Amy Grant’s Arms of Love.

S: Lucky. My choir director told me I have a nice voice, but since I’m not one of his ‘pets’, I’ve never been given the chance for a solo.

C: His loss. You sing like an angel.

S: Thank you!

Caty, would you be willing to let our viewers know a little background on you, Bryan Johnson, and Peter Criswell?

C: Bryan and I began dating right after our sophomore year of high school, and all went well until our junior year of college. We only saw each other on weekends, since we were three hours apart. Bryan had a brush with the law and was falsely accused of vandalism, and after he was cleared, I couldn’t make it up to see him one weekend and a girl accused him of getting her pregnant. I’d met Peter several months before, but after Stephanie crashed her car, we discovered he owned the first car lot we went to. He messed with my head-

S: No, he didn’t. He simply opened your eyes to the fact you have tunnel vision when it comes to Bryan.

C: (bristling) Whose side are you on, anyway? Do you know how scary it is, to believe you have your future mapped out, only to have it ripped away your final year in college?

S: You’re right, I don’t. But I do know how scary it when you think you’ve lost your best friend. Rob and I dated in high school too, but he cheated on me when I wouldn’t sleep with him.

So that’s another thing the two of you have in common.

S: Yes. Rob went to another school, and while we had a wonderful summer together, he broke up with me over Labor Day weekend to be with Michelle. I’d met Travis the weekend before, and since all my friends were paired up, I felt jealous and decided to encourage him. But when I started singing with his friend’s band, I felt pressure to lose a few pounds, so I began a crash diet-

C: Sweetie, that was no diet.

S: All I tried to do was keep the calories low. You know how hard it is when there are three other girls who can eat what they want, when they want, and stay the same size? If I even look at the candy machine my jeans feel too tight.

C: I admit, we didn’t make it easy for you. But all you had to do was talk to us.

S: Let’s not have that argument again, please? I don’t think Molly wants us to fight.

Okay, let me get this straight. Cait has tunnel vision when it comes to Bryan and Susan doesn’t feel anyone understands her issue with food.

S: I think that’s right.

So are you still seeing Travis?

S: No; I felt betrayed by everyone. Over the summer, I reconnected with Rob’s brother Jamie, who helped me see I’d made some wrong assumptions, going clear back to junior high-

C: You know what they say about assuming things….they make an ass out of u and me-

S: I know, I know. You’re one to talk. You did the same thing about Peter.

C: (blushing) Yeah, well, we all make mistakes.

Okay ladies, thank you for being here today!

“Caitlyn, why did you come here?”

“Because, I don’t want to lose our friendship.” Caty sat back down. “I’ve come to value it. I know this sounds selfish, but I enjoy spending time with you, and-”

“Hold it.” Peter held up a hand, shaking his head. “Don’t use me as a substitute, Caitlyn. I’m not the kind of guy who will listen to you gripe and complain about not being able to spend any time with him and who listens to you sing his praises when you do. That won’t work with me.”


“No buts. I put up with some of your bullshit last fall, but that was because you were confused and not sure what you were going to do. Then you made a decision, but since Mommy and Daddy didn’t like it, didn’t support your decision, you went running back to good ole Bryan, whom everyone approved of, and you stopped rocking the boat. What’s going to happen, Caitlyn, if you butt heads with a coworker, principal, some other administrator, even a parent, who doesn’t like what you are teaching in your classroom? Are you going to stick to your guns, or will you change your lesson plan? Are you going to be the teacher who changes policy because one of your kids has a need that’s not being met, or will you be one of those teachers who hide behind the school’s policy? What do you see yourself doing?” Peter swallowed the rest of his coffee after that speech and got up to pour another cup.

His words hit her hard. “I-I guess I never thought about that. I hope I get a school system that stands behind me in starting up the drug awareness program, but if they don’t, I guess part of me would wait until the next year to try again.”

“What about talking with other people in the community?” He sat down again. “Couldn’t you build support then approach the school board again?”

“I guess so.”

“Come on, Caitlyn. Where’s your fire? Where’s the go get ‘em attitude you had in October?” Peter bit into a slice of bacon. “Or did your parents manage to destroy all your faith in yourself?”

Shaken, Caty stood and collected her coat. “They didn’t destroy anything. I see this was a mistake.”

Peter moved to stand beside her. “You’re doing it again. Nobody’s giving you the answers you want, so you walk away. Look at me.” He cupped her face in his hands. “I see a beautiful, strong, caring young woman who has a problem breaking away from her parents.” He bent down and placed his forehead against hers. “Or maybe the parents aren’t ready to let her go. Anyway, I believe in you, Caitlyn. I believe you have the strength, the power, the will to do whatever you want with your life.”

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“You’re not going to flub up in front of us, are you?” teased a familiar voice. Susan looked up in surprise as Gretchen, Shawn, Amy, Brad, Caitlyn, and Peter approached.

“Hi, guys.” Happy to see them, she stood up and hugged her friends. “No, we’re just talking about making a slight change in the last set.” She introduced the band members.

“We just got here. Let’s go find a table and get a round of drinks. Break a leg, kids.” Gretchen ushered the rest toward the bar.

Susan excused herself to use the rest room and overheard a disturbing conversation between two other girls.

“…can’t believe she’d have the guts. I mean, did you see the size of her thighs? And that shirt. Good lord. You’d think people who pork out like that would have the decency not to tuck their shirts in like that.” A toilet flushed.

“I know, and can you believe her voice? I sing better than that in the shower.” Water running and the hand dryer drowned out the voices.

Are they talking about me? I’m not leaving until I know they’re both gone. She peeked through the crack between the stall door and the wall and saw the two girls touching up their makeup.

“She needs to get with the times. The Madonna look is so three years ago.”

“At least she’s not wearing a miniskirt.” Their voices disappeared as the door slammed closed.

Stunned, Susan left her stall. She looked at her reflection in the wavy mirror and studied herself. They’re right, I am a fat slob. My stomach has this bulge at the zipper, instead of being nice and flat. She stuck out her tongue and washed her hands. And my thighs do look awful in these jeans. Why oh why did I even wear them?

Because you were in a hurry. You were so happy after messing around with Travis, you forgot to be careful with what you wore tonight. Now people are talking about you!

How can I get up on that stage and wow them for another ninety minutes? They don’t want to see me or hear me. I heard that woman! I sing like I’m tone-deaf or something! Susan brushed aside the few tears. I’ve got to get back out there and fake it. Nobody’s forcing me to continue after tonight. I’ll finish this last set, even though my friends are out there, hearing us for the first time.

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Again, thank you sooooo much for having me today Nina! And visitors, don’t forget to leave your contact information in your comment!  I’ll be choosing a winner and announcing it tomorrow.

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