March 15, 2014

Josh Martin

Nancy here with a shout out to the YA hero-girls! Occasionally I come across an orange-head hero of the YA variety and I get so very excited when I do. Not because my inner cougar is roaring (okay that too) but because I strive for variety here at FHF as long as one thing remains constant - orange-head worthiness. Josh Martin has it, and I can't wait to explore him with you.

About Worth the Wait (released February 2014):

Ellie Lansing has a picture-perfect life with a close-knit family and the perfect boyfriend. But her world is suddenly knocked off center when her drool-worthy boyfriend cheats, and her always-has-it-together mother is diagnosed with cancer. Ellie doesn't get it. She always does the right thing - doesn't God owe her a happy life? Through her heartache, Ellie learns that sometimes what seems like the end is really just the beginning and that what God has for us is always worth the wait.


Excerpt from Worth the Wait:

          For an hour, Ellie an her friends laughed and ate more pizza than a girl should consume the night before trying to fit into a costume for homecoming. When the group started dancing, seeing who could be the silliest, Ellie bowed out. She let herself out the back door to sit near the pool. The late September night was still warm, so Ellie let her feet dangle in the water. The cool water reminded her of the barefoot walks she had taken on the beaches of Nantucket. She lay back on the concrete. If only she could see the stars.
          "The sky reminds you just how big God is, doesn't it?" Josh was standing nearby but the shadows hid his expression. "I don't want to interrupt your thoughts, Lansing. Can I join you?" He started rolling up his pant legs.
          "Well, I guess you already are." She gave a thin smile.
          Josh took off his polo shirt. His gray undershirt stretched across his muscles much more than the last time he had been shirtless near her. Her cheeks burned and she averted her eyes.
          He folded up his shirt and threw it beside her head. "Put that under your head. The ground's hard."
          "I didn't know you cared." As she brought the shirt under her head, his cologne wafted on the breeze. Josh dropped his feet into the water and lay back next to her--close enough to touch.
          "You'd be surprised how much I do, Lansing." His voice was quiet. Had she heard him right?
          Ellie frowned. "Why do you call me Lansing? I don't know if I've ever asked you that." It would be better to stick to safe topics.
          "10th grade. I heard you complaining to Cara that the Spanish teacher made us sit in alphabetical order, so you had Garrett Jacobs in front of you and me behind you. We didn't give you much peace."
          "I remember. Y'all made up Spanish words, telling me that was the answer. Then when I would say what you told me, the teacher would think I was trying to be disrespectful." Ellie rolled on her side and pointed her finger at him. "That's the only time I've ever had a teacher call home on me. EVER."
          "Be a rebel, Lansing. Every once in a while, it's fun." Josh swatted her hand away. "Anyways, you said you wished your last name wasn't Lansing, so I decided I would remind you every time I talked to you. I'm surprised it took you this long to figure it out. I thought you were labeled gifted."
          "If you're going to invade my peaceful moment out here, at least shut up and let me enjoy it." Ellie flopped back and kicked her feet in the water, creating ripples that were a bit like the ocean waves that rushed in and out with the tide.
          The lights of downtown Houston colored the sky. They lay in silence until Ellie blurted, "About what you said tonight..."

Excerpt used with permission. All rights reserved.

Gallant Score

Joshua Cole Martin is one of those young men that always does the right thing. In the excerpt when he takes his shirt off so Ellie can cradle her head with it is just one tiny example of Josh's gallantry. There are just SO many more, but this is a book I have to be uber-careful about dropping too big a spoiler. So I'll just say for those who already know Josh and this book, one of my favorite moments where Josh's gallantry shined was the "let me have it" in the car when he gets Ellie to just scream and then scream some more. And of course the "save" he makes the night Ellie uncharacteristically makes one bad decision after another. I think that was the moment I fell in love with him and knew I had to have him for FHF. The only reason he's missing an orange head is because he hasn't lived long enough to collect a complete set but I have no doubt he will and hope I get to read about it!

Wounded Score

It's tough to be in love with someone who is completely clueless. There were so many times I just wanted to shake Ellie until her teeth rattled and be like "Open your eyes, girl!" So Josh clearly coped with this better than I did. But it wasn't without cost to him, which the reader could see even if Ellie refused to.

Softie Score

So Josh is a big softie. There are moments when I could enjoy him just being a "kid" and then on the flip side be astounded at his depth of character and maturity in that seventeen year old body. The little things, like the note cards in Ellie's locker (TOTAL SWOON) and while that was probably a spoiler if you couldn't figure out after the first one showed up that Josh was writing them, you need to go back to reading picture books, LOL. His tenderness with Ellie in her times of emotional need, and when he was painting with the children? Yep. Total softie (that can no doubt pack a punch when necessary.)

Stupid Strikes

I really contemplated giving Josh a strike here for the whole debacle with the school play that hangs over his and Ellie's friendship, but I just couldn't do it. When this is finally explained (and because I felt so deeply for him about it) it actually only made me love him more.

Swoon Score

That probably should be a full five and for any hero girl under the age of eighteen I'm pretty sure it will be, hehe. It's not a secret here at FHF that I, Nancy Kimball, absolutely love a wrecked, wounded and ultimately redeemed hero. I have yet to write a manuscript that doesn't have at least one. But I also really like to enjoy the other side of great heroes, like Josh Martin, who just started out doing life right and continue to do so no matter what gets thrown at them. Steadfast. Certain of themselves, their faith in God, and being the kind of person that makes the world, and Waltham Academy, a better place.

Laura Jackson loves books---reading and writing them. A life-long reader, Laura studied English in college and taught 7th grade language arts before earning her Master's degree and becoming a school librarian. Now, she spends her days sharing great books with kids and her evenings writing books about teenage girls discovering God and His plan for their lives.
Visit her at


The FHF Exclusive Directly from the Author

***In the course of our email exchanges, I was able to specifically request this moment in the story from Josh's point of view. Perks of the job!!! And now I get to share it with you, hero-girls. =)

             Josh walked out of the craft store, clutching one of his paintings he had framed for his mom’s Christmas gift. He popped the jeep’s trunk and glanced back at the busy store. Should I get Ellie a frame too?
            He couldn’t wait to see her face when she opened his gift. He’d boxed up all his drawings of her—starting when she was his twin sister’s annoying friend and ending with a picture he’d drawn when he realized how he felt about her.
            Climbing into his jeep, Josh eyed the line at the coffee-shop drive-thru next door. I could grab her a latte and check in, give her the gift early.
            At the next parking lot, he slammed his brakes and threw the jeep in park. Are you kidding me? He took off his sunglasses. Surely he wasn’t seeing this.
            There was Ellie, her blonde hair blowing in the wind, her arms hanging by her side as Dylan leaned in for a kiss.
            Push him away, Lansing. He willed her to resist.
            She rested her hands on Dylan’s chest and met his lips.
            How could she kiss him? How many times was she going to… The car behind him honked.
            Slamming his hand on the steering wheel, he peeled out. His squealing tires did nothing to erase what he saw.

The giveaways

Same drill as always! One copy of Worth the Wait, print or e-book (winner’s choice), goes to a randomly drawn commenter. Make sure you tell us if you want in the book drawing and leave an email address in a spam fighting format like: runaway_Romeo (at) schoolplaygonebad dot com

If you have already enjoyed Worth the Wait, a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card can be yours if you leave the name of a character from the book in your comment. Again, once the character name has been used, you have to find another.

Drawings will be March 31st.

And I really want to explore this among the hero-girls. Were you more likely to follow after the bad boy or the boy next door in your teen years? Did that change as you grew up? I want to know. =)
Let's play!


Dawn Janis said...

I am so thrilled to see Josh on here! Laura texted me the other day and told me. I agree with everything about Josh!

Yes I've read the book. I'd love to be entered for the amazon gift card. dawn(dot)janis(at)gmail(dot)com

To answer your question, I always fell for the good boys. Though a couple of times, my crushes were the bad boy in high school.

Abbi Hart said...

I think I squealed when I saw that Josh was today's FHF! I read Worth the Wait earlier this year and I absolutely loved him! He is simply one of the most amazing YA heroes I've ever read about, in fact after Luca Forelli he's probably my favorite! I wanted to shake Ellie too to get her to come to her senses! She had such an awesome guy just waiting for her through all of the things she did and yet she continued to date a jerk! In short I thought Josh was an amazing hero and totally agree with all you said here!
Random side note-reading your comments about him being younger just made it dawn on me that I'm almost 20 and am now at least two years older than the guys from YA books! Suddenly I'm feeling old!
I'm going to name Cara, Ellie's best friend as my character!

Sally Bradley said...

I'm in for the paperback, Nancy!

I think when you're in high school and college, the bad boy holds appeal because you want to be the one that was worth him changing. But then you get older and realize the good guy who's steady is the real catch.

By the way, who's the publisher?

Melanie Backus said...

I am all in on this book giveaway. Can't wait to find out more about Josh.

mauback55 at gmail dot com

Laura Jackson said...

Bad boys are fun crushes!
Totally different topic--bought a new Astros shirt, so I'm now ready for the season!

Laura Jackson said...

Don't feel old! I'm 33 and love a good YA hero! :)
I love your excitement, and I, so thankful for it!
P.S. Ellie driove me crazy at times too! Poor girl--was so glad when she learned some independence.

Laura Jackson said...

Sorry for the typo--I'm so thankful, not I, so.... :)

Laura Jackson said...

Hi, Sally, Worth the Wait is published by HopeSprings Books.

Thanks for entering! I've liked my share of bad boys, but I'm holding out hope for a good one!

Laura Jackson said...

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you like Josh when you meet him! :)

Carol Moncado said...

Argh! Where'd my comment go?!

I could have sworn I had this one but apparently not :(. Was it free recently? Is that why I remember it so vividly?

I prefer good guy I think. When I think of bad boys, I think of Julie Lessman. She writes lots of bad boys ;). I think I've written one or two that were somewhere in the middle but skewing good guy. I have a YA I'd love to write revolving around the daughter of the hero we discussed the other night, Nancy - the I-hope-he's-orange-head-worthy one. His daughter has a not-a-boyfriend-because-she's-not-16-yet and I'd love to do a ya-turns-na-turns-cr/wf type thing. He may go through a bay boy phase eventually though :/.

i would love to be in this drawing :).

Cyndi said...

Definitely interested in the paperback! As my church's librarian, I'm always on the lookout for good books to share... especially in this age range since mine are now grown and gone. I'll have to check this one out!!


Angi said...

Josh sounds like a pretty cool guy. This world definitely needs more guys like him. :) Worth the Wait sounds like a great story. Would love to read it! Please put me in the drawing for a print copy. Thanks!

Laura Jackson said...

Thanks for commenting, Carol!
I'm drawing a blank on CR and WF? I get the YA turns NA....

I keep hearing how great Julie Lessman is. I really need to get one of her books. Heading over to Amazon now I guess.

Laura Jackson said...

I had a long response typed. Then I had to "log" into Google and it vanished. :(

Short story: Yes, we need more guys like Josh, and I'm confident they're out there.

Thanks for commenting!

Laura Jackson said...

Isn't it fun being a librarian? I work at a public school as the librarian, and it's never boring.

Thanks for commenting!

Melanie Backus said...

Oh yes, there is something about those bad boys!!!!!

Nancy Kimball said...

Dawn, Laura brought you out of lurking, girl. We'd missed you around here. =) I crushed on the bad boys but wanted to marry the good boys. Then in college I dated two bad boys back to back. CURED. ME. FOREVER.

Nancy Kimball said...

Abbi, as well read as you are I am DELIGHTED I could make you squeal, hehe. And Laura, I'm 33 and love a good hero period, YA or otherwise.
20 is not old. Neither is 33. I'm 33 too Laura. =)

Nancy Kimball said...

Sally! Great to see you stop in to comment. And I so agree with you. Our speaker at the January writer's group talked about that very thing in her presentation. About the "female savior" and why she feels personally this negatively impacts women through fiction. The "If I could just be enough to get him to change" complex. Laura was there. I bet she remembers. =) And let me add this about Hope Springs. For a small press, they produce a great e-book. Zero formatting errors or funkiness and I was really, really please with everything about Worth the Wait. I don't read much YA because typically a prefer a meaty-er read, but I liked this book and LOVED Josh Martin.

Nancy Kimball said...

LOL. Melanie. Read the feature babe, Josh is the good guy. ;-) But there's a bad boy in there too so either way, a character (and a story) you would enjoy. =)

Nancy Kimball said...

Carol! Great to see you on the blog. Yes, I'm looking forward to getting eyes on the hero when the time comes.

Laura - CR (Contemporary Romance) and WF (Women's Fiction) and GREAT to see you today.

Nancy Kimball said...

Cyndi - This is a great one for youth. It is very much CBA but still brought a depth of realness to the challenges facing a strong commitment to abstinence (and illustrating the hazards and rewards) without overpowering the storytelling to become all message and no story. Laura Jackson will be a YA author to watch going forward for sure.

Nancy Kimball said...

Josh rocks my socks. Always great to see you Angi. =)

Anonymous said...

Put me in for the paperback please!! Since I am still a teen girl, this is really close. :) I tend to go for the boy next door because my daddy is law enforcement.

Krcowgirl at Yahoo dot com

Carol Moncado said...

Yep! That's it. YA-turns-NA-turns-Contemp.Romance-turns-Women'sFiction for a book or so before it's all said and done.

I'm SCARED for you to see him Nancy!!! :D I could handle him not being OrangeHeadHero material, but what if you don't like him at all?!?!?!

And yes, Laura - Julie rocks! :D

Natalie Monk said...

Hmm. Honestly, in my teens, the bad boy type just didn't interest me. Too risky.

Now, my bad boy crushes are all in books or movies--Han Solo, Tony Stark (& let's hear it for Loki!). Only in fiction. I'm just a little chicken that way, lol. In real life, my tastes run toward the down-home, camo-wearing, country boy type. Or the fashion-savvy church-leader type. That's good too, lol.

Such a great FHF, Nancy! Putting Worth the Wait on my wishlist!

Laura Jackson said...

Thanks for stopping by!
I would bet having a dad in law enforcement would scare off a boy with bad intentions. :)

Laura Jackson said...

Thanks for stopping by, Natalie!
The Houston rodeo is going on right now (three weeks), and there is an overflow of good ol' boys around! :) It's nice.

Natalie Monk said...

Sounds exciting, Laura!

The last rodeo I went to in Texas was the Mesquite rodeo. Always good fun, what with all the team roping, bull riding, barrel racing... And cowboys. ;)

Oh, I found Worth the Wait on the Goodreads list of the most anticipated Christian fiction of 2014 list and gave it a vote.
Looking forward to reading it!

Kristen Mulnix said...

This book sounds interesting- I was always drawn to the nice, somewhat nerdy guys in high school and college... =)

Joy W. Doering said...

We will definitely get you entered for the book drawing. And a dad in law enforcement would change the possible dates list, big time. :) Glad to hear he's watching out for you. As far as I'm concerned, you can't be too careful these days. :)

Joy W. Doering said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joy W. Doering said...

Did someone say Rodeo? I was pretty sure I was going to marry a cowboy when. I grew up. Then I moved to MT, which increased this PA girl's chance of finding a cowboy by a lot. And they know how to rodeo here, let me tell you. Long story short, I did meet & marry my husband here. After he moved over from California. God has a funny sense of humor.
Thanks for the comment, Natalie!

Joy W. Doering said...

Hey Kristen. I was always friends with the nice, nerdy guys- and crushing on "Mr. Popular". Are we considering popular guys the bad boys? I guess, while I enjoyed the "scenery" of the bad boys, I never would have dated one. I always went more for the Captain America type. (No, I don't mean Chris Evans, although you really can't complain there...) I'm talking about his character. :)

Laura Jackson said...

Glad you got your cowboy. :)

Laura Jackson said...

Nerds are cute!

Gretchen E.K. Engel said...

NK. Where's your cougar alert picture? I missed the photo of our feline friend.
I haven't read this, but I am DYING to read it. [had to insert a little teen hyperbole]
Good boys - ALWAYS!!
My high school criteria - He had to be smart and cute. Seriously, my two main high school crushes were also the ones I competed with for the highest score in physics.
My husband met that criteria too. He's super-handsome and had a higher GPA than I did (same university, different engineering major). Is hot nerd a category?

Gretchen E.K. Engel said...

I'm 41, and I love YA heroes even if I'm old enough to be their mom!

Laura Jackson said...

I must see this cougar picture, Nancy!

I think if hot nerd isn't a category, it should be made into one. There, now it is.

Thanks for stopping by, Gretchen!

Nancy Kimball said...

Seriously I tried repeatedly to get it in here and gave up on the third try (for now).
I WILL get him here though... I will.... =)

Lady DragonKeeper said...

This book sounds great --I'm a paperback girl all the way! I'm ashamed to say that as a reader, I often shy away from small or indie publishing ... so thank you for featuring the good ones!
While I don't mind reading about "bad boys," my favorites are the boys next door, and as mentioned above, the "hot nerd" (though I prefer the term "geek"). =P Colin Morgan's Merlin, Barry Allen/Flash, Spencer Reid from "Criminal Minds" ... I could go on and on. LOL, Has anyone seen the full trailer for "How to Train Your Dragon II"? Hiccup ... really grew up. ;-)

Thanks for the chance to win!

Laura Jackson said...

Thanks for stopping by!

Joy W. Doering said...

We have winners!
The winner of the book drawing is Cyndi - cyndilou83(at)gmail dot com
Gift card winner is Dawn - dawn(dot)janis(at)gmail dot com

Congratulations ladies!! Nancy will be in touch.
And thanks, Laura, for writing a great YA hero!

Laura Jackson said...

Thanks for having me!
Congrats Cyndi and Dawn!

Dawn Janis said...

Yay! I love gift cards. I didn't know until Laura texted me.

And Nancy, yes, Laura brought me out of lurking!