Guest post! Liz Botts!

A lot of writers talk about how they always knew that they wanted to write “when they grew up.” When I was little I wanted to be a teacher or something equally as vague to my young mind. I never classified myself as a writer. I was a reader, and sometimes I wrote stories that I wanted to read. In eighth grade I wrote a truly horrendous “musical” about a Barbie game that my friends and I played. (Yes, I played Barbies in eighth grade. Don’t judge.)

In high school my perception of myself as a writer began to change. I still spent hours reading, but I started taking classes like journalism and creative writing. I carried a journal with me all the time, and wrote my every thought down. Maybe if I had spent less time writing and more time listening I would have done better in math and chemistry.

The thought never crossed my mind, though, to really consider myself a writer. In college I studied history, and man could I write a good history paper. The thing about majoring in history was that it combined two things I loved: reading and writing.

After college I worked in various jobs in youth ministry and child care. Writing became an outlet to deal with work stress. Stories became my saving grace. Still I didn’t consider myself a writer, mainly because I never actually finished a manuscript.

All of that changed the first year I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I decided to write the story that was the basis for that horrible musical in eighth grade. And I finally finished it. Then I started to think of myself as a writer, not that I did anything about it.

I participated in NaNoWriMo every year after that. Some years I finished a manuscript, and some I didn’t. But writing became an important part of my life. After my daughter was born, I decided to try to get one of those manuscripts published. It was accepted and I currently have that book plus two novellas out with Astraea Press. Later this year I have two more novels scheduled for release. Now when people ask me what I do, I smile confidently and tell them I’m a writer.

Synopsis of In the Spotlight:

When sixteen year old Hannah Brewster lands the lead in the school musical she hopes it will be the perfect chance to get the attention of her family and her long time crush, Kyle. The only problem is that school super star, Josh Larson, has been cast opposite her, and he seems to like her as more than just a cast mate.

As Hannah and Josh grow closer, things between Hannah and Kyle get complicated. When Hannah realizes that Kyle is not who she thought he was, she also realizes that she just might like Josh as more than just a friend.

Will Hannah and Josh be able to overcome their obstacles and admit their feelings before the musical ends?


“You really want to know?” I replied.

“I do,” Josh said, crossing his arms and leaning back in his chair, that stupid smirk still
on his face.

“I put down all the girls you talk about because all the girls you talk about are…skanks. And I don’t like you. I could never like you because you are a conceited jerk. And you know what else? I thought that was because you were Mr. Big Man on Campus football star legend of the school, but it’s not. That’s just who you are.”

I stood up so fast my chair slammed against the wall. People from several surrounding tables glanced our way, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to get out of the cafeteria as fast as possible. As I fled I was acutely aware of all the eyes following me. Somehow I managed to make it to the choir room before collapsing into a chair.

A horrible realization hit me as buckets of ice cold air from the newly installed air conditioning system dumped on me from the vents in the ceiling. I liked Josh. But that was impossible because I clearly disliked Josh. You can’t have it both ways, I argued with myself. And yet, here I was nursing both the biggest grudge and the biggest crush of all time.

Maybe even bigger than the crush I had on Kyle. And how did that fit into all of this? I still had monster feelings for Kyle. Who wouldn’t? We were getting so much closer now that musical rehearsals had started. I mean, why would he offer me private coaching sessions if he didn’t feel something for me? I had a little suspicion though that Kyle might not be the only one with feelings for me. Why would Josh want me to be jealous of all his skanky little conquests unless he liked me, too? And did I want Josh to like me back? Just because he might possibly, potentially like me back, that didn’t mean that anything was going to happen between us. I mean, I certainly wasn’t going to make the first move, and if that little display back in the lunch room had been Josh’s idea of a first move, the two of us would obviously get nowhere fast.

And did I even want Josh to like me? Hadn’t I spent the past three years trying to get Kyle to fall madly, deeply in love with me? Or at least wishing that he would? How on earth could I focus on accomplishing a goal like that when another boy was taking up my time? Seriously, what was wrong with me? I felt like I was turning into Claudia. And speaking of Claudia, what was going on with her and Kyle anyway? One day they seemed to be in the throes of a heated affair, and the next day they could barely stand the sight of each other.

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