The Eclectic Artist Cave Presents, Jeffery H. Baer , author of A Song Apart.
Rising pop singer Shannon Kistler never expected to see college student Kevin Derow on a Manhattan street wearing her concert shirt. But she offers gratitude in her own way, leaving her biggest fan in shock. When the two teenagers meet again six days later, Shannon slips Kevin her phone number, and the unlikely romance begins.
Soon they find they have several things in common: lonely childhoods, a passion for music, and making unpopular choices about their own lives. The public cannot take Shannon seriously as a teenaged recording artist, but she risks her sudden success by making some public mistakes after breaking into a soulless music industry with unusual ease. Meanwhile Kevin loses the respect of family, friends and coworkers over the girl he idolizes-and unwittingly blows the lid off a payola scheme devised by Shannon's record label, threatening her career and possibly his own freedom.
A Song Apart revolves around two young people from distinct backgrounds who choose to follow their hearts rather than their peers and find a greater reward at the end of their paths.
At age 2, back in 1971, I was able to read the Times Square message boards--out loud, that is. I was so fascinated by the stories rolling past that I didn't notice the crowds watching me read. If I had, I would've passed the hat around. But that feat should've been a signal that I was not your average child--even to yours truly.
In kindergarten I drew the attention of a girl named Laurie, who became instantly smitten with me because she was the only other kid in the class who understood me. So we became--don't laugh--boyfriend and girlfriend at age 5. Neither set of parents knew what to call our relationship, so we all had to go with the closest thing. Laurie and I went to the same summer camp--Camp Hillel in the Five Towns of Long Island--and that was the first place I managed to alienate a group of peers. I guess it wasn't bad enough to go off on my own and amuse myself, but when the other boys saw me get excited at seeing Laurie at a stage when girls were supposed to be from outer space...look out. So by the end of summer 1974 my ego was shot to pieces, but I survived two more summers at Camp Hillel. As for Laurie, she and her family moved to Pennsylvania sometime in 1977.
My family and I moved into a new house on Staten Island the day after the blackout in July 1977. But once again I stumbled over myself socially in both the neighborhood and at school. Let's leave it at that.
I won a scholarship to Baruch College to study accounting, but after I while I realized I didn't understand anything about crunching numbers. Since I loved to write, I detoured into journalism, but my imagination was too hyperactive to stick to reporting. Meanwhile, I spent five years working for a trade magazine publisher as their receivables manager and coping with alienation and politics--as well as the worst boss I ever had, a bigger bully than anyone I encountered as child. The experience inspired my novel THE STRICKLAND FILE, which is still being edited as I type. I left that dump in 1995 and went to work for Stevens-Knox & Associates, a list management firm. (Suffice it to say list management is a factor in how we get junk mail.) The job lasted 16 months because our #3 officer slowly grew to hate me for reasons that aren't entirely clear. To make a long story short, she found good reason to have me canned at the start of 1997, but she was too much of a coward to give me the bad news to my face. As a result, I've sought steady work for the last 14 years, disappointing employers on interviews and in the workplace at an alarming rate.
In April 2002 I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism that affects social skills--and suddenly the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. It explained why I had so much trouble socializing as both a child and an adult. There is no cure or treatment for autism, but I discovered certain medication frees up the rigid thinking autistic people often have. The diagnosis only spurs me to follow my heart--not to be arrogant and closed-minded, but because that's all any of us can do.
~~Contributed by Jeffery H. Baer~~
Jeffery lives by two mottos.
"There is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise."--Gore Vidal
"Bring it, Chumpzilla."--Ricky Williams