Our Gal Cal
A novel that encompasses the various aspects of life--adventure, romance, education, humor, and tragedy.
What happens when Bible Belt meets Hollywood glitter?
Headstrong, fun-loving, 15-year-old Cal (short for “Calamity”) Ames gets a crash course on the subject when a series of events transports her from a cozy life in Dallas to the sound stage of a teen flick in Hollywood. Teaching her all she needs to know about acting—and life—is seasoned character actor Leonard Rhoads, who is wiser, more complex, and more dedicated to his craft than moviegoers would ever know. From Nate Jenkins, teen heartthrob of the screen but obnoxious egotist in real life, Cal learns of the darker side of fame. In this business, talent is often disregarded, hype flourishes, and misbehavior is swept under the rug. How would such an experience change Cal’s young life? Would she hold fast to her principles, or succumb to the ever-present temptations of her new environment?
Originally written as a series of four novels, the “Cal stories” have now been incorporated into one volume. Cal’s adventure begins in 1963. As she grows and blossoms in Part 1, we experience with her the joys and pain of her new life, and we learn with her the intricacies of the profession that Leonard holds dear. In her young-adult years of Part 2, she suffers a devastating loss and a nightmarish relationship turns lethal, but marriage and an expansion of her career to the Broadway stage open new worlds for her. With motherhood in Part 3 come the rockiest years of Cal’s marriage. How odd it is that her best acting is done when her personal life is in shambles! Heart-wrenching loss and happy, new beginnings mark Cal’s middle years in Part 4. It is a time of surprising relationships and the fulfillment of her professional dream--the establishment of her own production company, with financial help from a most unlikely source.
For once, Joe had abandoned his apron and was sitting at a table when he heard the familiar din outside. He looked at his watch to see if the clock on the wall was correct. Yep, it was only 2:48. Cal must have messed with the school clocks again, he thought as he finished his cup of coffee and offered another cupful to the attractively-suited woman across the table from him. She waved it away while expectantly watching the door for the approaching throng of high schoolers.
One after another, the kids made their noisy entrance into the diner that they had affectionately nicknamed "the slop shop.” In the midst of the ruckus was its primary source—a diminutive, bright-eyed, fifteen-year-old girl with a mop of curly dark-brown hair and a seemingly endless supply of teacher jokes. She had been entertaining her cohorts with a spirited impression of their English Literature teacher when she noticed the stranger at the table with Joe. As her friends' guffaws died down and Cal took her usual place in the booth, she flashed a smile at the amused woman.
Hey! Cal thought. A grownup who laughs! That's a first. Joe's usually the only grownup around here and he's a grouch. This time, though, Joe was actually smiling, too. I wonder what he’s up to? she wondered.
The woman looked at the proprietor as she discretely pointed at Cal. "Is that her?"
With a look of triumph, she motioned for the curious girl to join them at their table.