Archives for September 2015

Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop

StuckinaGoodBook

I’m excited to participate in this giveaway hop. I have read so many good books this year that I had a hard time choosing. So, I decided to giveaway two books! One is an e-book copy of First & Goal by Laura Chapman; the other is a copy of The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman. I loved both of these books.

First & Goal CoverFirst & Goal (Queen of the League #1)
written by Laura Chapman
published by Marching Ink, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: When Harper Duquaine’s no-nonsense approach to work unintentionally ruffles the wrong feathers at her new job, she joins her co-workers’ fantasy football league to prove she can hang with the guys. Only problem: she doesn’t know a sleeper from a keeper (or any of the other lingo thrown her way).

Embroiled in a world of lineups, stats, and trades, Harper’s quest to make nice topples when her competitive streak emerges. And her promise to herself that she’ll be a strong, independent woman and leave the drama and heartache behind is seriously tested when she catches the attention of her two biggest competitors: J.J., a local celebrity determined to win a fantasy championship, and Brook, the mild-mannered coach who seems too good to be true. Both threaten her resolve to remain single… and, more importantly, her chances at winning the prize pool.

With a slew of conflicting advice in her real and fantasy worlds, Harper must figure out how to play the game and come out a winner.
The Life ListThe Life List
written by Lori Nelson Spielman
published by Bantam, 2013

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: 
In this utterly charming debut — one woman sets out to complete her old list of childhood goals, and finds that her lifelong dreams lead her down a path she never expects.

1. Go to Paris
2. Perform live, on a super big stage
3. Have a baby, maybe two
4. Fall in love

Brett Bohlinger has forgotten all about the list of life goals she’d written as a naïve teenager. In fact, at thirty-four, Brett seems to have it all—a plum job at her family’s multimillion-dollar company and a spacious loft with her irresistibly handsome boyfriend. But when her beloved mother, Elizabeth, dies, Brett’s world is turned upside down. Rather than simply naming her daughter the new CEO of Bohlinger Cosmetics, Elizabeth’s will comes with one big stipulation: Brett must fulfill the list of childhood dreams she made so long ago.

Grief-stricken, Brett can barely make sense of her mother’s decision. Some of her old hopes seem impossible. How can she possibly have a relationship with a father who died seven years ago? Other dreams (Be an awesome teacher!) would require her to reinvent her entire future. For each goal attempted, her mother has left behind a bittersweet letter, offering words of wisdom, warmth, and—just when Brett needs it—tough love.

As Brett struggles to complete her abandoned life list, one thing becomes clear: Sometimes life’s sweetest gifts can be found in the most unexpected places.

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Chrissy’s Review: The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman

The Life ListThe Life List
written by Lori Nelson Spielman
published by Bantam, 2013

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook) (print), Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
I loved it. It was sad, happy, emotional. I experienced many emotions while reading this book.

The Life List was a story I needed. It was uplifting, sweet, romantic, happy. Brett was a character I was able to get behind from the very beginning. I loved watching Brett rediscover herself and “find” herself. Her mother was one smart lady. I couldn’t believe what she did, but it worked for Brett. It was just what Brett needed. I guess you could say that mom always knows best. I didn’t like her brother, Joad, at all. I wish I knew more about him and whether or not Brett gave it to him.

There were a few holes that I wish were filled. But those holes didn’t matter to the story as a whole. And I really wish I knew what happened between the end and the epilogue. (I’m sure that’s a feeling many of us have felt about many books.) And there were a few rather predictable parts for me. But I loved the story as a whole.

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Would I recommend it: Yes, it was a great read.

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
In this utterly charming debut — one woman sets out to complete her old list of childhood goals, and finds that her lifelong dreams lead her down a path she never expects.

1. Go to Paris
2. Perform live, on a super big stage
3. Have a baby, maybe two
4. Fall in love

Brett Bohlinger has forgotten all about the list of life goals she’d written as a naïve teenager. In fact, at thirty-four, Brett seems to have it all—a plum job at her family’s multimillion-dollar company and a spacious loft with her irresistibly handsome boyfriend. But when her beloved mother, Elizabeth, dies, Brett’s world is turned upside down. Rather than simply naming her daughter the new CEO of Bohlinger Cosmetics, Elizabeth’s will comes with one big stipulation: Brett must fulfill the list of childhood dreams she made so long ago.

Grief-stricken, Brett can barely make sense of her mother’s decision. Some of her old hopes seem impossible. How can she possibly have a relationship with a father who died seven years ago? Other dreams (Be an awesome teacher!) would require her to reinvent her entire future. For each goal attempted, her mother has left behind a bittersweet letter, offering words of wisdom, warmth, and—just when Brett needs it—tough love.

As Brett struggles to complete her abandoned life list, one thing becomes clear: Sometimes life’s sweetest gifts can be found in the most unexpected places.

 

 

efchappy

Gina’s Review: The Maze Runner (movie review)

 

The Maze Runner MovieThe Maze Runner
directed by Wes Ball
premiered September 2014

find the movie here: (affiliate links) IMDBBarnes & Noble, Barnes & Noble (Blu-Ray/DVD link), Amazon (prime movie link), Amazon (Blu-Ray/DVD link)

Did I enjoy this movie adaption: I wasn’t a huge fan of The Maze Runner by James Dashner. The second novel in the trilogy, The Scorch Trials, is a stronger story, and I have yet to read the third book. The fact is I really wanted the characters in the book to come alive in the film. Wes Ball is the director of The Maze Runner film, and although I am not familiar with him, I think he did a good job. The movie is entertaining but definitely not perfect.

The film rushes the story line, which in some ways is good but in other ways not so much. I wish they would have taken time to explain the situation a bit better and allow for some more character development. Thomas didn’t have enough time to show us why he is one of the main characters, and we definitely didn’t see enough of Teresa to even care that she was there. In the books, she and Thomas are special and stand out; while in the film, they are awkward and don’t have much of a connection at all.

I also didn’t like the way Ball changed some of the personalities of the characters. The book portrays Alby as a guy who is hard to get to know; he’s cautious and untrusting at first, but he’s the opposite in the film, which was just simply okay. On the flip side, I’m just glad Ball didn’t change Gally’s personality. Will Poulter’s performance stands out in the film. He plays Gally well,  and I actually wanted to punch him in the face a few times (which I think is the perfect compliment for someone playing an unlikeable character).

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The movie gets three out of five stars, and I am sorry to say that the book wins out.

Would I recommend it: The film wasn’t an overall failure for me. I had friends that were disappointed and hated the film. I think if you read the book first you have to keep an open mind. I definitely think I would recommend this movie to people who liked The Hunger Games and Divergent.

 

ginasig

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)

 The Maze Runner
written by James Dashner
published by Delacorte Press, 2009

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

See Gina’s 3.5-star review here

About the book – from Goodreads: 

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

 

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Chrissy’s Review: The Aubrey Rules by Aven Ellis

The Aubrey RulesThe Aubrey Rules (Chicago On Ice #1)
written by Aven Ellis
published by Soulmate Publishing, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Amazon, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
YES!!! I LOVED IT!!!! I could end the review right here, but I won’t. I will warn you: this is a gushing review. It was that good.

Seriously, I love this book. I was supposed to read another book for a tour before I read this one, but I really needed an Aven Ellis fix. And, boy, did I get my fix! I may have read this while eating meals. I may have read this while walking from the parking lot to parent orientation at my kids’ school. I may have read it while waiting in line for something at said orientation. I may have read it while walking back to my car. And while I may have been doing this reading, I was smiling, giggling, and stifling a few SQUEEEEEs. I’m sure I received a few “looks,” but I was too busy reading to notice. 😉 I love Ms. Ellis’s books. Love them.

The Aubrey Rules was fantastic. I haven’t laughed, squee’d, or been downright giddy over a book as much as I did with this one. It was a fun story. The characters were great. Aubrey made me laugh. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. I loved how she spoke her mind at the end. Beckett was a sweetheart. He was a great leading guy. And I’d call him Captain Smart (or Sexy) Ass as well. These two had phenomenal chemistry. I can’t wait for the next Chicago On Ice book. Hell, I can’t wait for the next Aven Ellis book!!

Would I recommend it: Read it. Now. Go.

chrissysig

About the book – from Goodreads: 
Some of the Aubrey Rules to Live By:

*If I’m going to indulge in French fries, I must add extra time to the treadmill the next day.
*Always keep your work and private life separate.
*Being open to new experiences will never involve eating kale.
*Never, ever date a professional athlete.

For Chicago social media professional Aubrey Paige, the rules are everything. So much so that Aubrey has painstakingly written her rules for living into a polka-dot Kate Spade notebook that she carries with her at all times. It’s her personal guidebook to living her life. These rules are the Holy Grail—ones never to be broken. They guide her actions for everything, from dealing with workplace drama to finding a great guy to date. After all, these are her own rules, built from her life experiences and observations. So they have to be perfect, right?

Or are they?

Because when Aubrey meets a cute Canadian, she suddenly finds her rules being tested and challenged in ways she never dreamed possible. Beckett Riley is the shy, quiet, determined captain of the Chicago Buffaloes, a hockey team on the verge of turning the corner to becoming a winning organization. He’s Aubrey’s opposite, with so many qualities that Aubrey had listed as ones she’d never want in a man.

Yet Aubrey finds herself drawn to Beckett in ways she’s never known. And when she unexpectedly finds herself working with Beckett, she wonders if rules are meant to be broken after all . . .

 

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Boost It Tuesday! – September 15, 2015

boost-it-TuesdayEFC

Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free ChanceCandace’s Book Blog, & If These Books Could Talk for  Boost It Tuesday!

 

What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.

 

Here are some tips for Boosting. A big thanks to Kate at If These Books Could Talk for the image!

Boost It Poster

 

As an added bonus, Candace, Kate, and I will be hosting a giveaway each week just to say thanks for the boost!

 

For this week’s giveaway, head over to the Every Free Chance Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!

 

Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!

 


 

 if these books could talk
 

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Gina’s Book Club Recap: The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

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The meeting was held at my home this month. I was very excited. My sister-in-law helped me host since her house is not in our neighborhood, and the woman knows how to host. She’s way better at it than I am. We went to Trader Joe’s and purchased every tasty morsel you could think of to nibble. My husband selected some wine and we were in business.

The Light Between Oceans made us all want to cling to our children a little harder. We tried to imagine what it would be like to have our child taken from us and raised by another. It’s a heartbreaking thought—a thought that haunts you throughout this novel.

Most of us agreed that it was Isabel that we felt badly for and tried to understand. I think any woman could respond to a fellow woman struggling to become a mother. And I know there are a few of us in the club that had our battles with conceiving.

This book left us feeling emotional, but we were all glad we read it.

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The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans 
written by M. L. Stedman
published by Scribner, 2012

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook) (print), Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Read Gina’s 5-star review here.

About the book – from Goodreads: After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.

The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel.

If you belong to a book group, please tell us about what you’re reading in the comments.

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Melissa’s Review: The Empyrean Key by J.L. Tomlinson

The Empyrean Key (Ardentia, #1)

The Empyrean Key
written by J. L. Tomlinson
published by Side Eye Publishing, 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Smashwords, Book Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: If it weren’t for the plethora of grammatical errors, I’d give this book five stars.

The story is AWESOME, and I’m excited to read the next installment. The characters are well developed and memorable, and though I wish Tomlinson had split the two storylines a little more evenly, her world building is spot-on. We’ve all read this plot before, but it’s a good one. I’m especially pleased with Jahna’s side kicks . . . I need a friend like Lilac! I’m tempted to compare The Empyrean Key to the Mistborn  series, but again, without proper revision it just falls short.

 

GOLDEN LINES

“I’m invisible and holding hands with a six fingered man. I’m not sure how I feel right now.”

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Would I recommend it: Yes. Do your best to ignore the editing errors—this story is worth it.

UPDATE 8/1/15: The author hired a new editor, re-edited the book, and sent updated copies to all reviewers since I wrote my original review. I don’t have time to re-read the book, but I applaud Tomlinson’s efforts, and I’m going to upgrade my rating to 4 stars. Well done, J. L.  

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melissasig
About the book – from Goodreads: 
The first book in a new epic fantasy series…

Jahna Mornglow is a thief, a liar and an unassuming misfit, a half-breed of the loathed and ostracized Narcean race, born with the abilities of prophecy and telepathy.

The dull monotony of her beachside home is eased by nights in the outer villages, scamming unsuspecting fishermen out of their hard earned coin. It is the most fun and profit Jahna and her friends, a brawling barmaid and a bullied bookworm, can expect from their lower class lives.

The land of Ardentia is vast and magical, carved by the Celestial gods and ruled by their mortal descendants. With a once great king now mysteriously ill, a hundred years war raging in the east and whispers of the return of an ancient evil, Ardentia’s fate balances on the tip of a blade.

The ghosts of Jahna’s past will call upon her, revealing hidden enemies, precious secrets and a fragmented artifact that will breath new life into the myths of old.

Can Jahna keep safe a world that has shunned and discarded her?

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The EFC Writer – Subject Types

 

Welcome to the EFC Writer — a series of quick, easily digestible writing tips based on some stuff EFC Services editor Melissa Ruiz is seriously annoyed you’re still doing (or not doing, as the case may be).  

 

TODAY’S TOPIC: SUBJECT TYPES

Remember last time when I told you there’s more to a subject than just one word sometimes? Well, as promised, here’s a little peek at the different types of subjects.

Just as a refresher, the subject of a sentence is a noun or pronoun (person, place, thing, idea) that a sentence describes. There are three different types of subjects:

SIMPLE SUBJECTS: A noun or pronoun.  Easy!

Examples:

I

Steve

she

Tardis

 

COMPLETE SUBJECTS: This is where some of the extra words fit in . . . a complete subject is a noun or pronoun along with its modifiers.

Examples:

your mom

that guy’s sweet beard

the One Ring

 

COMPOUND SUBJECTS: It’s just what it sounds like—two or more subjects hooked together.

Examples:

Amy and Rory

your mom and that guy on the internet

she and I

 

Not too tough, right? Take a look at your most recent draft and see if you’ve used all three types of subjects. If you haven’t, try editing in a few compound or complete subjects—it’ll give your writing more depth and keep readers interested.

 

FOR GRAMMAR GEEKS:

For the record, the “modifiers” I’m talking about in complete subjects can include articles and adjectives, and compound subjects get joined together with conjunctions: and/or/nor/but/yet/for/so.

MERRIAM-WEBSTER DEFINITION:

Merriam-Webster was decidedly less than helpful with the definitions I needed for this post, so instead I humbly offer this: 

Full Definition of TRAMPOLINE

:  a resilient sheet or web (as of nylon) supported by springs in a metal frame and used as a springboard and landing area in tumbling
tram·po·lin·er \-ˈlē-nər, –ˌlē-\ noun
tram·po·lin·ist \-nist\ noun

 

Further Reading/Sources: Grammar & Style at Your Fingertips by Lara M. Robbins

Have a suggestion or request for an EFC Writer topic? Want to complain about something? Want more info about EFC Services?

E-mail me: everyfreechance@gmail.com with EFC Writer in the subject line.

 

melissasig

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Story Time with Sara: The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein

storytime

The Missing PieceThe Missing Piece
written by Shel Silverstein
published by HarperCollins, 2006 (originally published in 1976)

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
Wow, this was a really good read. I actually think I may have gotten a lot more out of it than my children did. However, they both enjoyed it as well! I am familiar with Silverstein’s books of poetry and I have loved them since I was a child. This is the first story of his that I have read, so I’m not sure I knew what to expect.

I thought it was a pretty sweet little story. The whole family enjoyed following the tale of the fun little circle looking for his missing piece. I have to admit I was caught off guard when the story did not end with him finding his piece and living happily ever after; however, upon reflection, it is a much better story this way.

The circle discovers something that even as adults we need to be reminded of. Life is the journey and not the destination. Sometimes our “dreams” aren’t all that we thought they would be and that is okay. These concepts are a bit large for little people to comprehend, but my children had fun talking about how they thought the circle felt when he was looking for his piece and why finding it didn’t make him happy. When I asked my son if there was a time he wanted something very badly only to discover it wasn’t as great after all, he recounted the time he ate too many pieces of pizza and got a tummy ache . . . that’s pretty close . . . I think we can say it  counts as emotional education and call it a successful day! 😉

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Would I recommend it: I really would. This book fell into my life at a time when I really needed to be reminded to enjoy the little things everyday and not focus so much on the future. The Missing Piece was a fun read that I could share with my children while reflecting on how I need to smell more flowers and talk to more worms!

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About the book – from Goodreads: 

It was missing a piece.
And it was not happy.
So it set off in search
of its missing piece.
And as it rolled
it sang this song –
Oh I’m lookin’ for my missin’ piece
I’m lookin’ for my missin’ piece
Hi-dee-ho, here I go,
Lookin’ for my missin’ piece.

What it finds on its search for the missing piece is simply and touchingly told in this fable that gently probes the nature of quest and fulfillment.

 

efchappy

Release Week Blitz: First & Goal by Laura Chapman (spotlight, guest post)

Set your lineups and pull out the old game tape—football is here. This year, you can experience fantasy football vicariously through (or commiserate with) Harper Duquaine in First & Goal by Laura Chapman.

 

What begins as a way to make nice with her new co-workers soon becomes an obsession for Harper as she navigates the ups and downs of managing a fantasy football team. Add in a pair of meddling brothers, a crew of quirky colleagues, and a league-mate who makes her toes curl, and Harper’s football season has plenty to keep her interested.

 

This new romantic comedy is now available from Marching Ink on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. Join in the fun and cheer Harper on as she takes on the old boys club.

 

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Then beat them.

F&G Now Available

First & Goal CoverFirst & Goal (Queen of the League #1)
written by Laura Chapman
published by Marching Ink, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksGoodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: When Harper Duquaine’s no-nonsense approach to work unintentionally ruffles the wrong feathers at her new job, she joins her co-workers’ fantasy football league to prove she can hang with the guys. Only problem: she doesn’t know a sleeper from a keeper (or any of the other lingo thrown her way).

Embroiled in a world of lineups, stats, and trades, Harper’s quest to make nice topples when her competitive streak emerges. And her promise to herself that she’ll be a strong, independent woman and leave the drama and heartache behind is seriously tested when she catches the attention of her two biggest competitors: J.J., a local celebrity determined to win a fantasy championship, and Brook, the mild-mannered coach who seems too good to be true. Both threaten her resolve to remain single… and, more importantly, her chances at winning the prize pool.

With a slew of conflicting advice in her real and fantasy worlds, Harper must figure out how to play the game and come out a winner.

F&G play it safe quote

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The Hail Mary

Though I’d invested weeks—and frankly a year— of plotting and planning, I officially began First & Goal as part of National Novel Writing Month 2013. (It’s worth noting that while I wrote 50,000 words that month, I ended up tabling this project and coming back to it from a new angle in Fall 2014. Still, I needed this first attempt to create the finished product.)

Like the crazy person I am, in addition to starting a new novel, I scheduled moving into a new apartment for the same weekend. I tried to alleviate the stress and all-around ridiculousness of this by taking off a few days from work. The extra time helped, but I was already beyond exhausted by November 2. Despite having an apartment to move and a novel to write, I managed to reserve a few hours of that Saturday for my favorite activity of fall: watching football. This ended up being a good call on my part because it was the inspiration I needed to keep writing.

My Nebraska Cornhuskers were hosting the Northwestern Wildcats in Lincoln, and it was with a mix of excitement and concern I tuned into the game at a local bar with a friend. The week before, we’d sustained a disappointing loss to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, and I had no idea what to expect from Nebraska. Our starting quarterback was out with turf toe, plus several other key players were out with injuries of their own.

It wasn’t looking good for my ‘skers. Down 21-14 at the half, Nebraska tied the score. And in the last minutes of the game, an interception gave the Wildcats a 24-21 edge over the Huskers. You always have faith in those final moments, even while you prepare yourself for the disappointment of a loss.

Ameer Abdullah—perhaps one of the finest athletes to attend Nebraska—kept our hopes and the play alive a little longer by making a crucial fourth down conversion.

For those of you who follow football, you know those don’t happen as often as we’d like. Still, the clock was running, and there wasn’t time to make much a play.“They can’t even go for a field goal now,” I commented to my friend. “Short of a Hail Mary, this game is over.”

“Yeah, but a girl can always dream,” she replied.

Eyes fixed on the TV, we held our breaths as the ball was snapped. The final seconds ticked away as the backup backup quarterback (also known as our third string) scrambled to find his opening. The clock ran out, and Ron Kellogg III pulled his arm back and launched the ball across the field. We watched in silence as this happened:

 

Oh. My. Effing. G. He did it. He threw a Hail Mary, and it worked. The ball bounced off the hands of a Wildcats defender and was snatched up by Jordan Westerkamp. He tapped down both feet in the end zone before falling to the ground.

In those few minutes after, we became fast friends with the rest of the bar patrons—exchanging high fives, loud cheers, and even a few hugs. We were united as a Husker nation.

I’ll admit I left the bar a little shaky and teary eyed. It was hard to believe what I’d witnessed. But it was a little later, when I was at home prepared to tackle my novel once more, that I truly let me emotions show. It occurred to me just how amazing that play was. After a hard-fought game, the Nebraska and Northwestern players were exhausted. Many of the Huskers probably wanted to give up, but they didn’t. They kept fighting until the end, and it worked for them. And you have to hand it to Northwestern. As disappointing as the loss had to be for them, they kept trying to make plays until the game was over.

This was the attitude I needed to adopt toward my novel writing. Instead of complaining about how I could barely remember what I’d written, which probably meant it sucked, I had to push forward.

I took this play as an omen. I had to keep going and see this story through to the end. Because you never know—as ugly as it started, if I tried hard enough, maybe I could have an impressive finish, too.

Through the rest of November, whenever I was feeling overly stressed, I’d look back at that play. Like many of my fellow Huskers, I made references to it. Like in this text message exchange with my big brother:

Westerkamp

And of course, like a total nerd, I fangirled over Ron Kellogg when I bumped into him a month later at my sister’s graduation a month later.

(Westy also went on to be kind of everything last season, too. Take a look at this totally awesome catch [https://youtu.be/OH59a2srnwk] during the Husker’s season opener against Florida Atlantic. It was even more exciting because my good friend and fellow author/football fan Brea Brown was there to share the moment.)

And whether it was re-watching the play, being silly with my friends or listening to an interview from one of the players, I always felt better after remembering its awesomeness. Even now, almost two years later, rewatching this play keeps me motivated. (Which is good because there’s a sequel to finish.)

 

Headshot1About the author: Laura Chapman is the author of First & Goal, The Marrying Type, and Hard Hats and Doormats. Her work appears in Merry & Bright, A Kind of Mad Courage, and a forthcoming Christmas anthology from Marching Ink. A native Nebraskan, she loves Huskers and Packers football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Laura is currently in pursuit of a fantasy football championship while penning her next novel.

Find Ms. Chapman here: web, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, YouTube, Instagram

 

 

efchappy