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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

☀ Dream Junkies - Anne-Marie Yerks

Thank you for joining us on the Virtual Book Tour for Dream Junkies, a Contemporary Novel by (, New Rivers Press, 220 pages).

PREVIEW: Check out the book's synopsis and excerpt below. Read the first three chapters with Amazon Look Inside.

Dream Junkies
is FREE on Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owner's Lending Library.

Author Anne-Marie Yerks will be awarding a $50 Sephora gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.


Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway

Synopsis

Actresses in a Chicago comedy troupe, Daphne Corbett and Kristin Brewer share a stage as Jean and Jeanette, a pair of dim-witted legal secretaries upstaging the show’s headliners. When their performance attracts an ambitious entertainment agent from Manhattan, the girls move to New York with hopes of stardom and success. But the search for apartments and showbiz jobs takes them in different directions.

The shared journey leads them to understand that dreams are worth only as much as the struggle to achieve them and that the hardest part to play is yourself.

Teaser: Excerpt

Daphne


      The Saturday before she left for New York, Daphne Corbett wrote her ex-boyfriend’s address on a Post-it note and boarded Chicago’s Pink Line train to West Pilsen. From the CTA station, she walked down 18th Street to find the house where Alec lived with his new band, Saturn Box.
      It was a sunny morning in late July and most of the shops hadn’t yet opened. At a corner liquor store, a group of men and a big dog gathered around a cement stoop. A taxicab pulled up and the driver tried to wave her over, but she shook her head and kept on going.
      “Hey Miss,” one of the men called, blowing smoke from the side of his mouth, “can I ask you a question?”
      Daphne ignored him and held her purse a little closer. This was the kind of neighborhood Alec liked because the big houses could be rented for cheap. Everyone could have a bedroom with plenty of the house left over for practice space and a common living area. Alec wasn’t one to mind the shabby people on the streets or the long trek downtown. He’d told her that he wasn’t home much anyway because his band was taking off.
      She referred to the Post-it to locate the side street and turned. The house was halfway down the block, easy to find because of the spray-painted Saturn symbol on the side. Alec’s green Volvo station wagon was parked at the curb, loaded up with speakers and amps. Daphne remembered all the work they’d gone through finding the equipment at consignment shops and thrift stores. They’d had fun doing that.
      A girl answered the door, a very thin girl with dishwater blonde hair and pierced eyebrows, wearing a greyish t-shirt. It had to be Lorene, the back-up singer. Alec had mentioned something about her the last time they’d talked.
      “Is Alec here?”
      The girl assessed Daphne’s flowered skirt and white sandals with watery blue eyes.
      “I think so.” Lorene stood aside and motioned toward the staircase.
      In one of the upstairs rooms, Daphne found Alec with his guitar, stretched out on a ratty orange couch, writing in the composition book spread in his lap. He’d used the same composition book for song lyrics ever since she’d met him. His handwriting was so small it would take him a month to fill a page, so small that he probably could use that one notebook the rest of his life. Alec’s soul was in that book, she knew. It was in there even more than in his music.
      “What brings you out here?” He sat up to make space on the couch, and she sat down. The curtains hanging in the window behind them were a pair that Daphne had brought when they used to live together in Wicker Park. In those days, they had struggled to survive on their tiny paychecks and a good yard sale find was gold.
      She took a breath. “I’m moving to New York. On Monday.”
      Alec lit a cigarette and took a drag, eyes focused across the room at some equipment arranged in a semi-circle: a sheet music stand, a sax, and a keyboard.
      He smoothed his bangs. “What for?”
      Daphne told him about the agent who’d come to the comedy club and the audition for the sitcom. She gave all the details, the things that had happened over the past six months, more than what was necessary because she knew he would listen, that he still cared in a way that other people didn’t.
      “So, you think this agent is for real?”
      This was what everyone wanted to know. Her mother had asked the same question. Are you sure this is the real thing, Daphne? I mean, it’s a big deal to pack up your whole life and move away . . .
      “Pavia is definitely for real.”
      “Did you sign a contract?”
      “Sort of,” she told him. “Just for representation. Kristin has a role on the show, but I don’t. Not yet. I’m going to do some modeling until they call me in.” “What’s this sitcom called?” Alec took another puff and then crushed the cigarette into the ashtray.
      “Streethearts. It’s about Chicago even though it’s filmed in New York. The idea is that the people who work in the little shops on the street get to know each other and fall in love and have affairs and misunderstandings. Typical kind of thing.” She didn’t tell him how much she had wanted to be on the show and how disappointed she was with the second-string position. But he probably knew.
      “What about your sculpture? I thought you were going to set up a workshop someday.”
      When she first began college, she had pictured herself alone in an art studio, digging her hands in the clay and wood-firing her work in an open field. But even after five years of classes and a senior show, she’d yet to sell a single piece. The fact there were galleries everywhere— even little ones that would take a chance on someone new— was another reason she was going to New York. She couldn’t take all the sculptures with her— there wasn’t enough space— but she had a nice set of slides that her new step-father and her mother had financed as a graduation gift.
      “I’m not giving up on the idea, but I don’t know where it can go. The art world is so artificial. The money goes to the wrong place.” She was fighting the trend, the urban refuge type thing done a million times over that everyone couldn’t seem to get enough of: Virgin Mary statuettes glued onto banged up car doors, iron fencing worked into sex positions, bottles filled with plastic fruit floating in tea.
      “You think acting isn’t artificial?” he asked. “Just take a look at the posters downtown, Daph. It’s the most artificial world there is. It will suck everything pure out of you and spit it back out in plastic.”
      “Rock and roll is artificial, too,” she pointed out. “Those guitars you smash onstage are from the Salvation Army.”
      “Come on, get real. You don’t even have a job in New York. Sorry to tell you this, but dreams aren’t edible. And they don’t pay bills. At least you have a job here, something a lot of people would like to do. And it makes people laugh. Why give it up for nothing?”
      She didn’t tell that she had already given it up. She and Kristin had quit Side Stitches the week before. Downstairs, a dog began to bark. Then another dog. Then another.
      “Lorene has three mutts,” Alec said. He stood up and tucked the cigarette pack into the pocket of his flannel shirt. “She feeds them on the top of the kitchen table. Supposedly it’s demoralizing for them to eat from bowls on the floor. If I don’t get down there, she’ll give them my leftover meatloaf.”
      They walked downstairs and stopped at the doorway. The sun was dancing over the tops of the cars in the streets. The flowers in the beds were pale and tired, burning into August.
      “Send me a postcard,” postcard,” he said.
      “From Manhattan?” she asked.
      “I don’t know. From anywhere. Surprise me. I’ll send you one too.”
      When they said goodbye at the front door, she caught a look in his eye, one that had never been directed at her before. Envy.
      But that was normal, she thought, walking north to the bus stop. Most people would be a little envious of someone whose career is about to take off. She tossed the Post-it note into the trash at the Metra stop. As the train pulled away, she could somehow still see the note through the grate— a bright little square of neon orange that seemed to be saying Stop.

Dream Junkies
Available NOW!

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About the Author

Anne-Marie Yerks is a fiction writer, essayist and journalist from the Metropolitan Detroit area.

Her essays have appeared in the online editions of "Good Housekeeping," "marie claire," "Country Living" and "Redbook." She has work forthcoming in "Modern Memoir" (Fiction Attic Press) and in "Recipes With A Story" (Blue Lobster Books).

Her novel, Dream Junkies, was published in 2016 by New Rivers Press.

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Giveaway

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