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Okay, now that I’ve gotten the baseball out of my system–temporarily!–I’m going to move on to a couple of other things going on in my life right now.

First, my ongoing crusade against the Cassie Edwards thing.  I’m happy to say I went back to the grocery store this weekend where I hid all of her books and they’re still…hidden!  Yippee!  Didn’t make it back to the bookstore, but I did go by a local department store and found a few copies of her books.  While my husband looked on in disbelief, amusement, and dare I say, just a tad bit of approval–he’s a baby boomer too–I hid them each behind other books.  And I sincerely hope they stay hidden.

When I finished, my husband asked me what I hoped to gain by doing that.  My reply, “Absolutely nothing, but it offends me that her books are still on the shelf, so I’m doing my part to clean up my little corner of North Carolina.”  He laughed and assured me he’d spot the bail money if I ever got caught and ended up in jail for illegally re-arranging a store’s display or something.

He’s so sweet.

To Cassie Edwards and her publishers–won’t you please do the right thing and pull those books off the shelves?  I’m not asking for all of them to come down, just the ones where you  “borrowed” the words of other authors.  Okay, that’s a lie.  I want all of them down, but if I have to settle for just those with the words that are so obviously not yours, well, I guess I will.  If you’re not sure which ones they are, here’s an URL to help you out:

And don’t be put off by the fact that these are the women who first um…”outed” you, so to speak, because, really, you could learn a lot from their site.  I know I have. 

Second, it was announced the other day that Brad Renfro died of an accidental overdose of heroin.  Not really surprised by this–I think everybody who knew him more or less expected that, but all the same, it’s very sad and a huge loss, in my opinion.

I keep seeing him standing there in the hallway of Lincoln Park wearing that silly “Will work for Valentines” sign around his neck, drilling me on my knowledge of Led Zeppelin–a subject he was much more schooled in than I could ever hope to be.  And so, Stairway to Heaven has been running through my head.  I hope Brad’s personal stairway was easily navigated and brought him to a place where his brightness and creativity will be nurtured.

God bless you, Brad.  I didn’t know you well, but I knew you well enough to say, you will be missed.    

Amid all the uproar about Cassie Edwards and plagiarism, the edits on my next book, and waiting to hear about the one I just submitted, comes the sad, although not completely unexpected, news of Brad Renfro’s death.

Brad was a student at Lincoln Park School in Knoxville when I first started teaching there.  He was never in my class, but Lincoln Park was a small inner city school and all the teachers knew all the students.  And well, Brad was one of those who would’ve stood out even in a school of a thousand or more students.  You couldn’t miss him.

In fifth grade, his teacher was a good friend of mine, Laura Lawson, and hearing of his death brings her to mind too.  Laura, who turned her classroom into a castle one year, who could handle even the worst behaved student, who died at an early age of breast cancer.

But before she left us, she changed our lives immeasurably, probably Brad’s more than anyone else’s.  You see, Laura was the one who told the D.A.R.E. officer about Brad.  So while the officer, Dennis Bowman, saw the casting call for the character of Mark Sway in the movie based on John Grisham’s The Client, and sent Brad’s name in, it was Laura who first saw the possibilities in her young student.  Brad fit that role to a T.  And he got it.

Then, when the time came to film the movie, it was Laura they called when they started having trouble keeping Brad in line.  She was with him during the second audition and she took time off from teaching to be with him during the filming.  Brad could be, like all young boys, a nightmare, but one you couldn’t help but enjoy.  Or maybe that’s due to the fact that he was a smart-ass, and of all the kids i ever met, I have a special fondness for the smart-asses.  Brad was also street smart, quick-witted, and attractive, with charm oozing from every pore of his body.  The things I remember most about him; he wore a long trench coat to school almost every day, he loved Led Zeppelin, and on Valentine’s Day, he wore a cardboard sign around his neck:  Will Work for Valentines.  

After his debut in The Client, he went on to other roles in other movies, but his best in my opinion was young Michael Sullivan in Sleepers.  Brad Pitt played the grown-up Michael, and like the character of Mark Sway, they couldn’t have chosen a better actor for that role. 

He was only twenty-five when he passed away at his home in California yesterday.  He’d had trouble in the past with drug and alcohol addiction, so I’m not sure what they’ll find when they do the autopsy, and to be honest, I don’t really care.  I’m just sorry he’s gone.

God be with you, Brad.  I’m sure Laura’s waiting at the gates of heaven to greet you.

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams