And My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You [NOOK Book]

Overview

Smashing...the characters are unforgettable raves Amy Tan; "funny, authentic, and moving" says Dave Barry; "the female Kinky Friedman has arrived" lauds Olivia Goldsmith. This hilarious, fast-paced novel about musicians, love, and family is the literary debut of Kathi Kamen Goldmark, founder of the Rock Bottom Remainders, the publishing industrys hottest band. The tale follows sexy Sarah Jean Pixlie as she catapults from struggling back-up singer to blazing star on the country music scene. Along the way, she ...
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And My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You

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Overview

Smashing...the characters are unforgettable raves Amy Tan; "funny, authentic, and moving" says Dave Barry; "the female Kinky Friedman has arrived" lauds Olivia Goldsmith. This hilarious, fast-paced novel about musicians, love, and family is the literary debut of Kathi Kamen Goldmark, founder of the Rock Bottom Remainders, the publishing industrys hottest band. The tale follows sexy Sarah Jean Pixlie as she catapults from struggling back-up singer to blazing star on the country music scene. Along the way, she pours out her irreverent, savvy soul in the delicious, humorous lyrics to more than a dozen original songs, including "Put Me on the Guest List (To Your Heart)," "Hell on Heels," and "My Baby Used to Hold Me (Now He's Putting Me on Hold)." Witty and fresh, this romp is a great performance on stage and on the page.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811870641
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 4/29/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 56,215
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Kathi Kamen Goldmark is a founding member of the Rock Bottom Remainders, the publishing industry's hottest band. She lives in San Francisco.
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Read an Excerpt

And My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You


By Kathi Kamen Goldmark

Chronicle Books

Copyright © 2004 Kathi Kamen Goldmark
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0811843157


Chapter One

The last time I stood on hot asphalt and breathed diesel fumes and french fry grease, I was wearing torn cutoffs and an extra-large George Thorogood and the Destroyers T-shirt. And even though I knew better, I was flirting with the rhythm guitar player over the rim of a Styrofoam cup, on our last pit stop just before rolling into Nashville.

I was one of three backup singers on Cindi-Lu Bender's Magnolia Heart tour, living the lyrics to all my favorite road songs. Each night, I got dressed up, stood onstage, and sang gentle oohs and aahs behind America's biggest country music star, backed by a kick-ass band and the world's best road crew.

It was part of the show to have a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead on background vocals. Kathleen was the tall, cool blonde; Amy the petite, dark-eyed brunette; and me, Sarah Jean, all curves and curls, flaming red, with a little help from Clairol's Auburn Rain mixed with henna. In the teasing way of bandmates, the guys often told us that combined, the three of us boasted the physical attributes of a "perfect ten"-Kathleen's long beautiful legs, Amy's cute little butt, and my impressive cleavage, all terrifically showcased in our one-size-too-small stage costumes.

Our band bus was a deluxe Silver Eagle with cigarette burns in the Naugahyde upholstery and Magnolia Heart painted on the outside in huge purple letters next to Cindi-Lu's dimpled bouffant smile. (She wasn't smiling when she discovered that the bus and the album and the tour were supposed to be called "Magnolia Hart," the title of the original song by Nashville hitmeister K. N. Right. But it was cheaper to leave the misspelling, and after a while her fans just thought Cindi-Lu was being clever and subtle.) We stopped often enough that the dysfunctional toilet didn't really bother anyone. The broken radio was a nuisance since it would have been fun to hear ourselves promoted on local radio stations, but we had a boom box and great tapes, mostly vintage country and soul. We also had air-conditioning, a TV, bunk beds, a microwave, and a VCR, so we weren't exactly roughing it. That last day, I'd been on tour for almost a year, a proud and seasoned road warrior. And I was smart enough to know there was absolutely nothing wrong with my life.

I even liked Cindi-Lu, the two times I met her. That might sound strange since I was in her band, but she didn't travel with the rest of us and never used the shared dressing rooms or backstage hospitality areas. I don't know what it's like in other country superstars' road bands, but in ours there wasn't much fraternizing with the help. Unless we were actually onstage together, she kept to herself.

During the show, Cindi-Lu treated us like girlfriends, as though we'd known one another since grade-school jump-rope games, and it just happened to be her turn that night to be lead singer. The way she teased and played with us, you really would think we were the best of friends. In fact, much was made in the press of our onstage chemistry, an ironic testament to the acting abilities of our star. She was a dynamic performer, adored by her fans. Her set was tightly arranged and rehearsed, down to the apparently spontaneous moment when she tried to play Buddy's pedal steel guitar and broke a fingernail. For me, a bar band veteran coming off years of gigs during which literally anything could happen, including a '67 Chevrolet driving clear through the wall of a nightclub, this took a little getting used to. But our sound guys made sure we got plenty of vocal mix in the monitors, and the parts were simple, so it was easy to relax and sound fine.

We lived for that hour every night when we entered "the zone"-a kind of magical altered state we'd slip into when our performance was on, where we felt totally connected to one another and to the audience, not to mention deep mysteries of the universe. I can't describe it very well, except to say there was no question about whether we were in or out of the zone, and the three of us seemed to hit it together. When we were there, our ears were wide open and our harmonies and movements shimmered. It was as close as we ever got to church.

To be part of an act that thousands of people yelled and stomped and wept for every night, even as a backup singer, was an unbelievable experience. We'd stand in the wings sweaty and grinning before the encore, hearing the hungry sounds of a crowd that couldn't get enough of her-of us-and wait a dramatic moment before running back out onstage. The shouts would turn into one huge rafter-shattering scream while the achingly lonely acoustic guitar introduction to "Magnolia Heart" began. We'd lock into our gorgeous three-part harmony as Cindi-Lu walked to the edge of the stage, one single "tear" ever so slightly smudging her mascara. She'd bow her head, then look up, bright eyes moist and shining, and sing the shit out of that song. We always finished with something up-tempo, the only variable in the entire set. Then the show would end, she'd disappear with her manager, Cal Hooper, and we wouldn't see her again until the next city.

Cal was his own very special piece of work. A brilliant Nashville barracuda, he wasn't exactly what you'd call good with people. You could tell he had once been quite handsome, and he dressed as though he were still a cute young stud, spangled shirts stretched across sagging belly. Perpetually red-faced, sweaty, and upset about something, he kept a professional distance from the band and concentrated on Cindi-Lu, with one notable exception. Cal had a weakness for peppermint schnapps, and overindulged every month or so, resulting in a peculiar fixation on oral sex. He'd start pounding on all of our doors, usually very late at night, demanding blow jobs. I have to say it wasn't exactly pleasant or flattering to be the chosen target-we all learned to use the double security locks and ignore his drunken, pathetic requests. Luckily, when Cal wasn't drinking schnapps we had very little contact with him. The musical director rehearsed us and the tour manager filled us in on the schedule and other details, and they were great guys.

That last night my heart might have known something was going to happen, but unfortunately my head wasn't clued in. The hotel bar was closed by the time we got back from the show, and everyone ended up in my room, ready for a party.

I'd developed a system, over many months on the road, for making any hotel room feel like home in five minutes. A couple of glittery scarves thrown over the bedside lamps, a little zebra pillow tossed on the synthetic beige quilted spread, my treasured leopard-print bathrobe draped over the back of a vinyl chair, and a scented candle or two helped me feel a little less lonely in the endless parade of interchangeable rooms. Due to a registration desk snafu, I had been accidentally upgraded-this room was larger and sported a view of the park, as opposed to the parking lot. And it had a minibar. Pretty soon there were at least fifteen sweaty band and crew members sprawled on the bed, chairs, and floor, calling room service and fighting over the TV's remote control.

Sacks of fast-food takeout and a couple of bottles appeared. It's the truth that Wild Turkey on ice from the machine down the hall, in a hotel bathroom glass, can make you a very special kind of stupid. Soon we were strumming guitars, improvising dumb song lyrics to go with the late-night TV infomercials for exercise machines and psychic hotlines, and howling at the moon through my fifth-floor window.

"Drink your [H.sub.2]O, honey, we don't want to wake up all puffy." Kathleen held out a glass of water, our preferred method of hangover prevention.

"Thanks!" I was drunk enough to wonder if I'd sounded sincere.

"Say," she asked slyly, "what do you think about the new rhythm guitar player?"

"Seems like a good picker. Why do you ask?" I wondered what my pal was getting at. It was unusual for her to ask my opinion before expressing her own.

"Well, he sure seems to be pickin' you," she said with an exaggerated wink.

"What are you talking about?"

"Oh, come on!" She nudged my shoulder. "Bobby Lee hasn't taken his eyes off you all night long."

"Kath, I think you're out of your mind."

"Girlfriend, you must be the only one who hasn't noticed. That boy's got a big old crush on you."

I felt my cheeks turning pink. "Don't be ridiculous. Bobby Lee is nice to everyone."

"Look at you, you're blushing. I think maybe you have a teensy little old crush on him, too," she said, then sauntered off with a glass of water for Amy.

It sounds dumb, but that was all I needed to hear. I suddenly couldn't take my eyes off him, Bobby Lee Crenshaw, the new guitar guy. But it also seemed crucial to get to Amy before Kathleen started a rumor that would spread through the band like wildfire. I sprinted across the room, nearly tripping over our bass player, and found Amy pulling things out of a greasy paper bag.

"Eat your vegetables, honey." She offered a fried onion ring, the closest thing to a vegetable that I'd seen in weeks.

"Uh, no thanks."

"Oh, come on, you need your fiber. Hey, Kath says you and the new guitar player are madly in love with each other and too stupid to realize it." Her mischievous smile glistened with smudged lipstick and onion ring grease.

"Well, we're not, at least I'm not," I said. "I mean, he's cute and nice and talented and everything, but even if I were, I wouldn't. You know, because of my rule." I thought that was a good enough explanation for the moment.

You see, I had a rule about not getting involved with members of the band, and, except for a couple of lapses early in my undistinguished musical career, I'd found this easier than you'd think. It probably had something to do with the fact that in a band on the road you've all seen each other look your worst and act your crankiest, so it feels way more like brothers and sisters after a while. It had been a long time since I'd had any kind of a boyfriend, even a stupid one-night stand, and I didn't think about it much. Being on tour was almost enough to keep me completely happy. But every now and then, as I saw the others pick up messages from home or reconnect with old lovers in different cities (or, sometimes, both), I wondered if I was missing out on some sort of wildly adventurous rock-and-roll sex life I was supposed to be having.

The truth was Bobby Lee and I had been flirting all day-all week, really. We'd been making an overly casual point of sitting near each other on the bus, hands touching slightly longer than necessary, and I sometimes caught him looking at me in a goofy way. He was definitely cute, with wavy auburn hair and gray eyes and a wonderful smile. I liked his sense of humor and the fact that he read books instead of always joining the other guys' endless card games and porn marathons. Something was happening between us that seemed crucial to ignore, at least as long as we were both on the Magnolia Heart band bus.

I was determined to stick to my not-getting-involved rule, but sometimes (not that this would be related in any way to the consumption of vats of Wild Turkey or anything) you're not in total control of your own feelings, you know? It can be instantaneous, like Cupid's arrow. That moment you're hit with the awareness of having a crush can be counted on to transform your evening, at the very least. But Cupid as a sweet little cherub is diabolically misleading-I've always pictured him more along the lines of Alfred E. Neuman with a cherry bomb, the Crush Bomb that can detonate at any moment. That was the night the Crush Bomb hit me.

Bobby Lee suddenly looked so good to me, he was practically glowing. Some internal adolescent radar-magnet in my brain was conscious of his whereabouts in the room every second. There he was, courteously handing a beer to Buddy's girlfriend, then laughing at one of Lester's stupid jokes. I wasn't paying attention to what Kathleen was saying to me; I was too busy tracking his movements, and when he dashed across the hall to his room to get his guitar, I literally stopped breathing till he came back. Then he casually draped his arm around Linda the wardrobe lady's shoulder, and I quietly decided to have her killed. When someone put one of my prized country compilation tapes on the boom box, he kicked off his shoes and with exaggerated politeness walked over and asked me to dance. It was my favorite country shuffle, "Pick Me Up on Your Way Down," by Ray Price. Musicians are terrible dancers as a rule; they spend too much time on the bandstand and not enough on the dance floor. But he was pretty good at the Texas two-step, and the others, laughing, took his lead and started dancing, too, crowding the tiny bit of available floor space. Even though there was barely room to move, we danced well together, and because there was barely room to move, we danced close. We'd all come directly from the show without a chance to shower, and his clothes and skin had absorbed the backstage smell of old beer, stale sweat, and burnt electrical wiring, an aroma I suddenly found intoxicating. I felt that tingly buzz touching his hand, so far gone I could barely look at him, afraid of giving myself away, and I realized I was going to have to be really careful. Either that or I was in for the adventure of a lifetime. How it played out seemed to be up to me.

The song ended, and Bobby Lee turned off the boom box and picked up his guitar. The room grew quiet as he strummed the changes to the Ernest Tubb classic "Waltz Across Texas" and started to sing, looking right at me. So what if we'd been dancing the two-step? I got the message loud and clear: "I could waltz across Texas with you." I've always been a sucker for corny country waltzes, and it was at that moment that I turned completely to jelly.

It was getting so warm I was melting into the floor, but I had to hide it, which was hard because of the way he was looking at me. I could have responded properly in private, but it's a whole other story in front of the entire band and crew. There was no way I could pretend I didn't know this guy was interested, and there was no way I could let him know I was interested back without inviting an avalanche of good-natured teasing for months to come. Kathleen would say I was blushing, but she has a tendency to exaggerate, and as the only married backup singer, she also has tendencies toward the odd vicarious romantic thrill. Pretending I felt flushed from whiskey and dancing and that was all, I grabbed the guitar right after he was done and answered with a silly, flirty version of "Mind Your Own Business," sending my favorite Hank Williams verse, the one about not fooling around at work, his way.

Continues...

Continues...


Excerpted from And My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You by Kathi Kamen Goldmark Copyright © 2004 by Kathi Kamen Goldmark. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(4)

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(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

    Read Sample

    If you read the sample you can decide pretty quick if this is the type of book for you. Language & context sort of gives you an idea what rest of book will be like.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

    Recommended for Country music fans

    Country music fans and those interested in life on the road with a band should enjoy this story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 22, 2013

    Highly Recommended - you must check it out!!

    Witty writing and clever story line - a great fun read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2013

    To october 25....

    This is not a chat room. Go to facebook for that junk.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2014

    Fun look at country music behind the scenes

    Great summer read I didn't want to put down. Fun characters with an unpredictable story combined with some awesome song lyrics made it a book I recommend.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2014

    Mark

    Hello?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2014

    Bea

    Here

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2014

    Delete

    Not worth keeping

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2014

    To cats who Forcemate

    I need you to forcemate Jaypetal at Lava result one. Make it slow and painfull. If she dosent coporate her kit Frostkit is in next result so if she dosent behave you can say your going yo hurt the kit

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2014

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2014

    A she cat

    Wants to get forcemated so bad. -Grasstail

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2013

    Country with a wink

    If you know who Kathi Kamen Goldmark was, you will pick up this book and then be delighted with the wordplay throughout and almost disguised shout-outs to her Rockbottom Remainder compadres.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2013

    Weak plot

    Not an enjoyable read. Plot was weak and lacked suspense and an overall point. Found myself losing interest very quick. Still dont even see the significance of the title.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2013

    Ok

    If you like light meaningless reads then this is for you. Not funny, not fast paced, not romantic, not sexy. Just some words to fill your time.
    It is set in 1990's, land of VCRs.

    Save your time and money and Just Say No.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2013

    Dumb

    Dumb.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2013

    Lexi

    Wanna chat?

    0 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2013

    Confusion on free friday

    Books and reviews change a free is listed as 1 .98 sun spots?

    0 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews

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