Thursday, July 29, 2010

Meet Justin Ventimiglia

Just about everyone who has lived through their teenage years can point to at least one instance in which they made a poor choice in actions. Whether you sneaked out of your bedroom window to meet up with friends when your parents thought you were doing homework or you pulled the fire alarm right before fourth period in order to avoid a big math exam or regularly took the speed limit as a suggestion when flying through the neighborhood in your brand-new car, there is a story somewhere in your past.

For Justin Ventimiglia from my book Finish Line, his bad decision was to join his friend Keith in vandalizing the home of a cranky old man who lived down the street. With bills to pay for the damage to the house, and as a way of keeping the boys out of future trouble, Justin's mom arranged for Justin and Keith to spend the rest of the summer working at Prairie Winds Golf Course. What began as a way of keeping teenage boys busy becomes a life-changing experience when course manager Curt Schroeder offers lessons in positive thinking, a strong work ethic, and determination.

Justin lives with a single mom and struggles with the need for a male authority figure in his life. The opportunity he receives to spend time with Curt and simply observe a role model who can make a positive difference in his life is something that many teenagers in our society need.

Did you have a difficult time as a teenager that was improved by the genuine concern of someone who became your mentor? Do you think we would have a better society if more adults took it upon themselves to work with youth who need more men and women to take interest in their happiness and success?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Meet J. W. (J Dub) Schroeder

Have you ever had to reorient the direction of your life when you realize the dream that had been the focus of all of your efforts will never come true? Maybe you always wanted a large family with the man of your dreams but a tragic car accident takes his life one month after the wedding. You have been going on auditions for seven years and you have come no closer to an Academy Award than a thirty-second spot for deodorant. In my series of novels that take place at Prairie Winds Golf Course, readers will meet a character named J. W. Schroeder who is facing the death of one life goal and striving to become satisfied with another.

J. W., known to most as J Dub, had worked for years towards his dream of being a member of the PGA Tour. When he falls short of the needed score by one poorly executed shot during the opening scenes of Lifetime Loser, J Dub must face his professional future without a golf club in his hand. Lured to Illinois by a businessman with shady intentions, J Dub begins his tenure as manager at the Prairie Winds Golf Course.

Perhaps it is difficult for J Dub to spend every day in an environment that reminds him of his failed efforts to play his beloved sport for a living, especially when he discovers that he is being used for illegal endeavors. But, he teaches all of us that a positive attitude and strong values will go a long way in making the most of any situation.

Can anyone relate with J Dub, as he tries to make the best of a situation that did not match his desires and for which he did not plan? What advice would you offer others who find their life shifted in a new direction that will alter their long-term goals?

You'll have to pick up my latest, Opur's Blade, to see what J Dub does to fulfill a shattered dream.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Single Moms in the Movies

In my upcoming release, Opur's Blade, readers will meet a single mom who is trying to create the best possible life for her son out of very difficult circumstances. She arranges for the boy to begin golf lessons at the Prairie Winds Golf Course and a world of new possibilities opens up for the young prodigy.

Previous posts on this blog have looked at how family is portrayed in various forms of popular media. She can be the saint who sacrificed everything to provide a better life for her children. Sometimes she is seen as a selfish woman who puts her own interests and desires above that of her kids. In the worst cases, we see single moms in books and on the screen who take out their own life's frustrations on their children through various kinds of abuse.

Today, let's focus on some famous single moms in the movies. Here are a few examples:

Erin Brockovich -- Based on a true story, Julia Roberts portrayed an exhausted mom who is desperately trying to make ends meet and who uses her instincts . . . and other assets . . . to bring down a major corporation.

E. T. -- Sure, the alien who loved Reese's Pieces was the main focus of the movie, but did you remember that the dad took off with another woman and there was a single mom raising those adorable kids (including a very young Drew Barrymore)?

Jerry Maguire -- Renee Zellweger's character put everything on the line to follow Jerry and his mission statement, but she got the famous "You complete me" line for her troubles. Who could forget her bespectacled boy shouting out random bits of trivia for Jerry's amusement?

Can you think of others movies that featured a single mom? Do you think the portrayal was accurate and/or fair?