Red Dirt Rocker

Red Dirt Rocker
Y/A novel by Jody French--Inspired by the adventures of musician- Forrest French

Monday, April 30, 2012

Barn Wedding~~

Got up yesterday, headed to Sunday School---then off to my sister Faith's ranch to help with the spring cleaning to get things ready for Skylar's vintage, shabby-chic barn wedding on May 19th.  Also getting everything together for Forrest to graduate on the 14th (I've written approx. 175 address in the past couple of days)---my book comes out tomorrow, I'm helping plan my 30th year class reunion, and getting ready to book at least 50 children in swim lessons in the next two weeks.  What a fun whirl wind I'm in!

I'm sore from the manual labor yesterday.  I used to be such a tough farm girl---I need to get out from behind this lap and go work on a farm more often.  I love to garden, but it was "super garden" day yesterday at Faith's place.  The wedding is going to be warm and wonderful. We're even going to build some "hay bale furniture."  I can't wait.

We also had Sklar's birthday dinner celebration in Tulsa last night---you know it's a fun day when you end up changing clothes 4 times (I put my yoga pants on 30 minutes before I went to bed, so I'm counting that as a change too.)

Trying to decide on a dress for the wedding. Girlie stuff is hard work.  Guys don't know how lucky they have it.  I'm going to get out from behind my computer and do a little more work at Faiths.  I'm gonna stretch first.

Have a great day all!!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Final Excerpt From Red Dirt Rocker!

Red Dirt Rocker--
Excerpt Chapter 19

Good Sunday morning everyone!  This is my last excerpt from my book, Red Dirt Rocker.  Once again, I can't tell you what an honor it is for you all to read the story that was inspired by my son, Forrest and my entire family.  I've been more than busy lately, trying to plan my beautiful daughter, Skylar's, wedding and getting Forrest all ready to graduate from high school (both events are in the second week of May).  I am anxious and looking forward to my books release on Tuesday.  I have much to be thankful for!  Blessings to all---Jody

    The scene form "The Wizard Of Oz," where Toto pulls back the long veiled curtain revealing the Great and Might Oz, pops into my head.  Dude...I'm definitely not in Kansas---or Oklahoma for that matter---anymore!
     My feet are cemented to the floor as I gawk at the thousands of fans in the arena.  In the midst of feeling like a fool, and wondering what my escape plan is going to be, I hear one lone voice with a foreign accent yell,
     "Hey---it is Forrrrrest!!"
     I instinctively wave as I scramble to get back behind the amps.  I frantically muddle through the curtain fabric eventually finding the escape hatch.  As I jump up, the crowd goes nuts.  I can't believe my ears.  They're actually cheering!
     "Are you OK?"  Dad yells over the crowd noise.  He grabs my arm and helps me back behind the stage.
     "I almost peed my pants!!"  I wail, my voice shaking.
     "You're gonna be just fine.  Sounds like they already know who you are!"  Dad says, chuckling.  His expression turns serious and honest.  "Son, I'm so proud of you.  This is far more exciting than any football game I've ever been to."  He continues in a tone that's meant to keep me calm.  "Forrest, you boys are gonna knock em' dead.  Deep breaths son!"  My father's warm smile and confident words give me much needed comfort.  I suddenly feel confident and the feeling that I swallowed a brick begins to dissolve away.
     Dad clasps my shaking hands in his large steady ones, closes his eyes and says a prayer for a great show.  For the first time, I notice large calluses on my dad's hands from years of handling boxes for U.P.S. and working at my Grandpa's farm.  His calluses are just like the ones on Coach Bryan's hands.  I respect my dad more than I can say.  "Do good!"  he says.  Dad gives me one last embrace and then walks me toward the stage ramp.
     I can feel my heartbeat begin to re-adjust to a normal rhythm.  I'm thankful for my strong father and his faith in me.  I repeat my favorite Bible verse in my head:  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I can do this!"
     I grab my trust Gibson Girl Betty---I'm now ready to step, not  fall, back onto the stage.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Red Dirt Rocker --Excerpt From Chapter 15

Well, just one week from today and my book will be ready to go out into this big wide world.  If you have pre-ordered your copy, thank you for your support.  You can still pre-order Red Dirt Rocker at or  Please enjoy another excerpt from chapter 15!

Red Dirt Rocker---
Jody French
Excerpt---Chapter 15

     The following day, I still participate in football practice.  As the final whistle blows, I jog off the field and head for the showers.  I pause at the sight of the sun setting over the west bleachers.  The sunset is blazing orange and purple.  The oak trees in the distance look like they're sketched in jet black ink across the canvas of the evening sky.  I love sunrises and sunsets; they always inspire me.  I decide that my next song will have a sunset in it as I stand gazing up at the fiery globe that appears to be igniting the metallic bleachers.  My band and I will be leaving for Sweden tomorrow. It suddenly hits me that this might be the last sunset I'll see from the fifty-yard line.  I feel lonely and sad.
     Inside the locker room, Coach's favorite Toby Keith song, "Made In America" is blaring on a dusty, circa 1990's boom box.  The twangy, boot-scootin' tune elevates my mood.  I hear Coach Bryan yell my name over the music.
     "Hey, Forrest...ya ever think a cuttin' a country album?"  Coach Bryan asks.  His hick accent lays thick as biscuit gravy on his words.  He spits a black, liquid stream of chewing tobacco juice into an empty Gatorade bottle.
     "If I do, Coach, you will DEFINITELY be my inspiration."  I holler back, and shake my head.
     "Ahhh, son, ya know, country music's where it's at,"  Coach says with absolute conviction.  Coach crosses the room and places his well worn, black felt cowboy hat on my head.  He pats me firmly on the back with his huge, callused hands.  Coach is like a bear that doesn't know its own strength.  I squint my eyes shut and jolt forward a step, which prompts me to begin riding a fake bucking horse all the way to my locker.  I swing an imaginary rope over my head, grab my Joe's Tire Shop ball cap and throw Coach back his cowboy hat like a Frisbee.
     "It fits me pretty good, Coach, but I'd better let you keep it.  You'll need it after the big game Friday.  I'm not sure if the Swedes are ready for a cowboy from Coweta just yet!"  I laugh.
     "Hey, Forrest.  Ya know we're all really proud a ya, bud.  Knock em' dead son!  We're gonna miss ya on the field, but we're glad yer followin' yer dreams, " Coach Bryan says, with genuine sincerity.
     Thanks Coach, I can't tell you how much I appreciate all you've done for me.  "I feel my heart grow heavy.
     "I know yer gonna see a lot more of this big ole' world, Forrest."  Coach returns.  His smile widens in approval revealing bits of brown tobacco in his teeth.  "I just wished you would've learnt to play country music."  He teases, as he slaps me on the back again.  This time I brace myself and stand firm.  I extend my hand and Coach shakes it firmly.  The calluses on my hands from playing guitar are small compared to the calluses on Coach Bryan's hands, which developed from years of daily farm labor.  I respect Coach more than I can say.
     "KISS huh?"  Well they ain't no Toby Keith, but I guess they'll do, son!
      On my way out of the locker room, I can hear the shrill sound of hair clippers buzzing.  The trainer wielding shears turns to me as he shaves a no-neck lineman's hair down to a faint shadow of stubble.
     "Hey, Forrest, come have a seat.  I'll give ya a buzz cut!" he says, patting the back of the rusty metal folding chair.
     "Oh, no thanks dude.  I'm good.  Maybe I'll catch ya when I get back."  I kindly decline.  I shake my long, shaggy hair and replace my ball cap.
      As I leave the locker room, I raise my hands over my head and jump up to smack the "Tiger Pride" sign that hangs above the heavy metal door.  The sharp, cold, evening air hits me square in the face.  I inhale deeply.  I turn back towards the dark, abandoned football field and yell at the top of my lungs, "GO TIGERS!!!" My voice echoes back in agreement twice, and then dies in the lonely, black shadows.

Authors Note---In loving memory of Coach Ricky Bryan~~

Friday, April 20, 2012

Red Dirt Rocker - Excerpt From Chapter 5~~

Excerpt from my young adult novel, Red Dirt Rocker~

Chapter 5-- pg 41-42

     As I held the door open for her, the hail stopped.  It was as if someone had flipped a switch and blackness came.  It became eerily calm.  I started my descent down the cellar stairs and like a scene from a nightmare, I looked up to see the ominous squall line.  The door fell shut with a sharp crack and we all huddled together in the darkness.  The smell of garden onions and dusty potatoes was thick in the humid air.
     Next came the sound---the forbidding sound that only a tornado makes.  A growling. rumbling, whistling sound as though the ten o'clock Frisco freight train had been diverted directly across the top of the root cellar door and was ready to rail in on top of us.
     We were all paralyzed with fear as the twister roared over like an angry monster.  I've never felt so small. so scared, so close to God.  Aunt Carmen held the boys and me in her motherly arms and prayed out loud to Jesus.  Dirt and wood splinters spun violently over our heads and it sounded like someone cracking open a pop-top can.  The sucking winds ripped the door off the root cellar, but we didn't budge.  It was all over in a matter of, two terrifying minutes.  The untamed twister disappeared back into the dark and thick rolling clouds.
     Jake was the first to go back up.  The boys and I hoisted Mollie up the stairs brigade-style.  We expected to see a war zone as we emerged from our bunker, but to our shock and relief, the tornado hadn't done much damage to the barn or the house.  They were both left virtually unscathed.  The only things the twister took with it was an old rusty plow, two black shutters from the windows, and the creaky, wooden door to the root cellar.
     The boys and I stood in disbelief as we surveyed the property.  All the color had drained from Cody's face. He repeated over and over,  "The cellar door is gone...the cellar door is gone."
     "Cellar door is gone...that's it...that's our band's name,"  I said in no more than a whisper.  The hair on our arms seemed to practically stand up and shout, "Yes!"  The boys heard me loud and clear.
     The sun began to peek back out from behind the smeared grey clouds.  The cold drops of rain dissipated. Wispy chicken feathers, or perhaps bits of the snowy down of the angel wings that protected us that day, swirled around our tennis shoes.  My band brothers and I shook our heads in agreement---Cellar Door Is Gone it was.

*Stay tuned for two more excerpts of Red Dirt Rocker before its official release on May 1st, 2012!!
I am honored that you have chosen to read my words---thank you much!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

All That And A Bag Of Chips!

I sub-ed at the elementary school yesterday (third grade.)  The kids were doing their vocabulary over the book, Charlottes Webb.  The little munchkins kept asking me what the meanings to the words were.  Several young students asked me what the word boast meant.  I let them know it was when someone brags.

The cutest little freckled face girl came up  to have me check her vocabulary paper before she turned it in.  With the most innocent and straight face she handed me her torn out notebook page that had the word "boast" scribbled on it as number 3 on her list.  Here is how she defined the word---

3.  Boast---When someone thinks theyre all that and a bag of chips.

Right on girlfriend!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Red Dirt Rocker Excerpt----

Hey sports fans---or music fans---her is another tid-bit from my book, Red Dirt Rocker.  Enjoy!


     My ears feel  hot, and are doing the proverbial burning from gossip, as I jump back into my truck.  I hand Heather the steaming, frothy drink and re-start the engine.  She's changed the dial to a country station while I was inside.  The radio is playing a song by Miranda Lambert called, "Famous In A Small Town."  It's a clever country tune that tells the story of gossip in a little town and how it can make some of its town folk "famous" in a not-so-good-way.
     I think to myself, as Heather and I drive down the main street of our one-horse town.  Mrs. Ruth Walton and I are definitely  on our way to becoming celebrities this morning.

To be continued...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Excerpt From Red Dirt Rocker~~by Jody French

Excerpt from, Red Dirt Rocker
by Jody French
Neverland Publishing

Pg. 15

..."Whatever," Heather dismisses.  She grabs me by the arm and cuddles into my sore ribs like a purring kitten. "Can you pleeease turn the music down a little bit?" she asks, rubbing her temples, I believe, in an attempt to fake a headache.
     "That's twice already this morning," I mumble.
     "What babe?"  Heather asks, as she surveys her perfect manicure.  Each fingernail is embossed with a tiny orange and black tiger paw.  I wonder how girls think of these things.
     "Oh nothin'."  "Your hair looks nice," I compliment.
      Heather smiles and kisses me on the cheek.  Her good mood returns with my flattering words.  "You're a living doll Forrest," she beams as she pulls my rearview mirror down to her eye level.  She stokes her perfectly straightened and highlighted hair and reapplies her powder.
     I reach up to wipe her finger smudges off my mirror.  Sometimes I think Heather bases her good days and bad days on how many compliments she gets.  This was compliment number two, if you count the honk she got from the farmer in the one ton truck earlier, and it wasn't even 8:30 a.m. yet---her day is probably shaping up nicely already.
     I make a right onto Broadway.  It's the second day of October and most of the small worn houses that line the street are already decorated in the Halloween spirit.  Hay bales, pumpkins and strung up spider webs make for creepy, quaint curb appeal.
     My brakes squeal slightly as I come to a stop in front of Sticky Buns Donut Shop.  Heather has to have her morning cappuccino.  As I enter the small coffee and sugar scented shop, I hear two elderly women whispering rather loudly.  I wonder why they were bothering to whisper at all, since everyone within a twenty foot radium can hear them---the donut shop is probably only a hundred square feet altogether.
    The two women have strategically positioned themselves at a table directly by the door so that no one can escape their fastidious inspection.  A black velvet painting of a tabby cat with huge green exaggerated eyes hangs above them.
     They continue to cluck away and their conversation unfortunately drifts along with me as I make my way to the orange and gold chipped linoleum counter.
     "Oh Thelma, I knoooow!  Ruth Walton has not been widowed for more than eight months and she is already holding hands with John Franklin in church at Sunday service! one of the ladies clucks.  Her wrinkled, thin lips are pursed together as though she has just sucked on a sour lemon slice
     "It's just scandalous!"  The other blue haired patron of the pastry shop agrees.  She turns up her nose and shakes her head under hair that is piled high in a perfectly pinned, bluish-silver bun.
     Well, I happen to know Ruth Walton, and wish the two women would mind their own business.  Mrs. Walton had lost her husband to long bout with cancer almost a year ago.  She found a companion in John Franklin, who's an elder in my church.  He'd also been widowed years earlier.  They're both very sweet, kind hearted souls who, deserve continued happiness.
     I purchase a sugar-free vanilla cappuccino, two maple bars and try to make a clean getaway from the two gossiping hens.  As I pull on the door to exit the shop the dangling brass cow bell that is wired to the top of the door clanks loudly above me.  It draws attention to my departure and I know instinctively as the two women eye me carefully up and down, that I'll be their next topic of conversation.---

My Baby's Grown Up (tear)~~

Where has the time gone?

Forrest is the baby of the family, my youngest child.  It seems like it was just yesterday that I was working at the First Baptist Pre-school, here in town where Forrest attended, starting at the age of 3.  It seems like it was just yesterday that I was going on field trips with him to the Tulsa Zoo, the Hands On Museum, Blue Bell Ice Cream plant, etc.  It seems like it was just yesterday that I took him to his very first guitar lesson ever at the age of 4 at the Raper Memorial Library building here in Coweta, where he got a memo sent home for his first recital that stated that the children should show respect and, "not wear shoes that squeaked as they walked up to play their peice!"  (I'm serious...that was one of the rules.)  Needless to say we decided to find another guitar teacher, and he started to learn to play rock-n-roll from that day forward!

Just yesterday morning I had to drive Forrest to school for his very last field trip for school ever.  His FCCLA group was going to Oklahoma City to spend the night for a convention (and go to the zoo, etc. without me) and he didn't want to leave his pick up truck with his prized possession sound system at the high school overnight.

We stopped at Sticks 66 to get him a pizza pocket and orange juice for breakfast before he got on the bus with his group to leave.  Forrest turned and looked at me with the innocence of a 5 year old and said, "Man mom, this brings back memories---I feel like I'm in grade school again."  Tear...tear and---tear!

Oh my---where has the time gone?

Monday, April 2, 2012

RED DIRT ROCKER---Excerpt From Chapter One--

The following is an excerpt from my young adult novel, Red Dirt Rocker.  I will be posting excerpts a couple of times a week until the books release on May 1, 2012.  If you're from a small town, big city, if you like football, cheerleading, marching band, or music, chances are you might like my book!  Thank you for reading.

~Excerpt from Chapter One--- Red Dirt Rocker~
by Jody French
Neverland Publishing

Page 2

     My morning ritual always begins with a heartfelt greeting to my well-polished guitars hanging on the bedroom wall.  "Hello Ladies," I greet the axes, patting my favorite, a Les Paul beauty I've named Betty.  She's a looker, with a gorgeous maple finish and a shiny black fret board.  Mom and Dad saved up all year and surprised me on my sixth birthday with the Gibson six-string.  I will treasure it forever.  All my nine guitars hold a special place in my heart---a speck of dust can't be found on any of my babies.
     I grab my iPod and plug it into the homing device in the bathroom.  Dave Grohl and The Foo Fighter's growling vocals and driving sound will help motivate me for the busy day ahead.  Surveying my face in the mirror, I can't help but be proud of the slight fuzzy shadow growing on my chin.  My team mates and I have decided to get a jump on no-shave November and stop shaving in October as well.  After two weeks, I've given up on the hope of more substantial facial hair, but I still think I look at least a year older.  Thanks to outdoor football practice, I still have a tan.  Mama says it seem to make my blue eyes glow.  When I was little I thought my eyes actually did get bluer in the summer.  My sister Megan still teases me about that one.
     I scratch my scalp and shake my unruly, blonde, curly hair.  I've been accused of looking like a surfer dude, but I'm no beach bum.
     Stepping back from the mirror, I strike a wide, tough stance with an imaginary guitar in hand and grimace as I play a silent riff to the Foo Fighter's song, "Pretender" that's blaring in the background.  I jump, my heart thumps and my all-in air guitar performance is sadly interrupted by a hard knock on the bathroom door.

Elmo Rocks!

I had a blast yesterday at the BOK Center in Tulsa rocking out with my grand babies at the Sesame Street Live Concert.  It was so cute to watch them dance and clap, especially our little Clara Jane.  She's only nine months old, but she was mesmerized by the characters and music jumped around and even clapped herself a few times! Yep...she's a rocker.  And Elmo is her favorite rock star.

Forrest's count down to graduation from high school continues, and he is going to be participating in Donkey Basketball tonight at a fundraiser for his class of 2012 Project Graduation.  They will be riding, pulling, pushing, coaxing, and dodging little cow-kickin' hoofs as they try to get the ball in the goal.  My nephew Jerrad played Donkey Basketball back in 2000, the year he graduated from Coweta.  He's actually a bonafide cowboy that won a reserve world championship in team penning when he was in high school.  Well...he fell off his donkey and completely dislocated his index finger to where it formed a 90 degree right angle jutting to the side (uggh.)  We called for Ricky Bryan in the stands to see if he could un-jam it (lots of the finger jamming stuff going on in the NFL and all), but he was even afraid to try.  One whirl wind trip to the emergency room and his finger was fortunately popped back into place and a splint was put on it.

Hold on to your little donkeys kids!! And tuck and roll if you get bucked off!