Google+ Reading Teen: Indie Spotlight || JUST A FEW INCHES by Tara St. Pierre || Excerpt and Giveaway

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Indie Spotlight || JUST A FEW INCHES by Tara St. Pierre || Excerpt and Giveaway

Do you want to lose weight fast? Do you want to fit into last summer’s swimsuit again? Do you want to cut your dress size in half in sixty days? Don’t wait any longer! Inches Away Weight Reduction Pills will boost your metabolism and break down fat cells with no significant changes to your diet or exercise regime needed. Try them today, and watch them take off those unwanted inches for you!

Those unwanted inches? That’s what the fast-talking male voiceover said in the television ad, spoken as if all women would want them taken off. In my Journalism and Media Studies class, I had learned and understood the marketing strategies of the pill’s makers before I even bought them. With twenty-twenty hindsight, I’m ashamed to admit that I let the ad prey upon my desperation, and I’m ashamed at how superficial what I was desperate about was.

As I think about those supposed unwanted inches, only just a few of them—if even that many—were unwanted. The others, I wanted to keep. But they were taken off too, from places I never imagined they could be taken off, all because of those stupid…

No, I won’t preface anything I write with a statement of blame like that. It would come across with an extreme bias, and I need to behave more like the journalist I had been studying to become. So I’ll begin with simple, unbiased facts.

I’m a normal eighteen-year-old girl—worried about my senior year of high school, my looks, my clothes, my popularity, my grades, my college applications, my boyfriend, and finding the right dress for the upcoming Valentine’s Sweetheart Dance. As angst-ridden as all these worries could be at times, it was comfortable to know that they were my worries, and that it was absolutely expected for me to have them. It was perfectly normal for me to have them. Back then, my life was about as normal as it could possibly be.

Until I started losing inches.

My name is Carrie Roberts, and this is my story.

All Carrie Roberts wants is to be a little bit smaller.

To fit into the perfect dress for the Valentine’s Day Dance. To look beautiful for her boyfriend, the school’s star basketball player. To keep his jealous ex-girlfriend, a rival cheerleader, away from him. And to be noticed by her classmates.

Exercising and dieting don’t work, but an advertisement for weight loss pills promises a quicker solution to her problem. As time runs out, she takes more than the recommended dose until she’s just a few inches slimmer. Heads turn when she arrives at the dance, and the wonderful night with her boyfriend is beyond what she dreamed it would be.

Days later, Carrie discovers that her body is changing in ways that should be impossible. While her doctor searches for a cure, she desperately turns to her friends and family for support. Everyone is noticing her now whether she likes it or not, and even the media is intrigued by her incredible story. Getting everything she once wanted has created new problems—problems that are growing more terrifying every day.

Because Carrie Roberts is shrinking.
Find Just a Few Inches online at:
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  • US/Canada only
  • 13 years or older
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Excerpt from Just a Few Inches

5’ 2”

We changed into our uniforms in the visiting girls’ locker room. When I took off Amy’s skirt and pulled my cheerleading skirt up to my waist, it wouldn’t cling to me at all. As soon as I let go of it, it dropped back to the floor. “Do you think Ms. Martin has any smaller uniforms with her?” I asked.
“It’s an away game, so I doubt it,” answered Lauren, who reappeared from the bathroom stalls dressed in her uniform. She sat on the bench and started tying her sneakers. “And I’m assuming you haven’t told her you might need one.”
Lauren was right—I dreaded speaking to our cheering coach about my condition, though it became more apparent it was a conversation I needed to have—but she didn’t have to be so blunt about it. Standing beside Lauren, I noticed for the first time that she was looking down at me.
“Tucking in your sweater might work,” said Trish. “Ooh! Safety pins!”
They checked their purses, and Lauren found two. Trish’s quick survey of some other girls on the squad produced a few more. Since my shoulders stopped my sweater from falling off, I pinned my skirt to it. It would work for one night.
Because the Tigers had already clinched the top seed in the play-offs, the outcome of the game didn’t matter. Coach McCarthy rested the starting players, and the other team took the lead. Secretly, I was grateful we were losing because it meant our cheering was minimal, and I could stay seated and unnoticed.
However, we did our usual half-time routine. The safety pins held fine, but every time I jumped, my sweater-skirt combination shimmied. At the end, it took more effort to lift Trish into position, and even when I stood on my toes and straightened myself as much as possible, I couldn’t keep her right foothold even with her left.
Maintaining the required cheerleader smile, Janelle chastised me through her clenched teeth. “Higher, Carrie.”
“This is as high as she goes,” one of the other girls whispered so she wouldn’t be heard over the music.
In an unexpected display of professionalism, Janelle bent her knees to even out Trish’s footholds, and then she rolled her eyes at me.
“Did you get shorter?” snapped the girl closest to Janelle while eyeing me up and down. “What’s up with that?”
The moment I dreaded had come. Without my heels, I couldn’t come close to making up my lost six inches, and Janelle and her clique had caught me. My heart sank as my loose sleeves slid down my raised arms.
While waiting for the cue to release Trish, my body quivered from the pain in my overstretched muscles. At the last possible moment, my arms gave way, but Trish jumped and we caught her as if there hadn’t been an issue. I sighed in relief, but my entire body felt deflated.
Once the routine ended, I ran for the locker room. Trish and Lauren followed and found me bawling my eyes out. Sitting on the bench beside me, Trish said, “You know, Carrie, I really respect what you’re doing.”
“You mean almost letting you fall?”
“No. You’re not letting this thing that’s happening to you stop you from doing what you want to. I don’t know if I’d be able to do that.”
Lauren sat on the other side of me and put her arm around me. “Trish, go tell Ms. Martin that Carrie’s—”
“Female problems.” Trish hopped up and skipped away. “Got it.”
“It’s going to be all right, Carrie.” Lauren let me cry into her shoulder. “Just try to keep your mind off it.”
But I couldn’t keep my mind off it. When I went to change, my skirt fell into a puddle around my ankles as soon as I removed the final safety pin. And once back in Amy’s clothes, the sliver of midriff showing that morning had been sealed up. People were shorter in the evening, I tried to rationalize to myself, but I knew that I was continually getting shorter.
And I couldn’t keep other people’s minds off it. On the bus ride home, I overheard some of the other girls on the squad whispering about Trish’s near-accident being caused by my strange new height. Trish helped me tune them out by letting me listen to her earphones, and I slumped in my seat to avoid being seen.
When we got back to Montvale, Todd found me outside the gym. After bending down and kissing me on the forehead, he put his arm around me and asked, “What’s goin’ on? Why are you shorter than you used to be?”
Before I could answer, Janelle strutted by and said, “Hey, Todd. Great playing this season.”
“Thanks, Janelle. Great cheering.”
“That’s sweet of you to say.” She touched his shoulder and then turned to me. “You hear that, Carrie? Great cheering.”
“Yeah,” I said, trying not to look directly at her.
“You shouldn’t slouch like that. It’s bad for your posture, and people with bad posture aren’t attractive.” Janelle kept her back perfectly straight but wiggled her behind as she walked away.
Even back in three-inch heels, I couldn’t hide my smaller height from Janelle since that cat was already out of the bag. In my despair, I convinced myself that since her previous plan to steal Todd away from me at the dance had failed miserably, she would use our difference in height. I looked up at Todd’s chin, which had always fit securely atop my head. It was a special part of our relationship, and that night, I’d have done anything to keep our relationship.
“Why don’t you tell me what’s wrong?”
“Let’s go to your place, like we had planned.”
Before long, we were in his living room eating a pizza we had grabbed on the way there. I wasn’t hungry, and I nibbled on one slice while he wolfed down five. As I sat back and sank into the high sofa, my feet didn’t touch the ground—a sensation I wasn’t accustomed to yet.
When he finished eating, he dimmed the lights. If I had been thinking clearly, I would have realized he was setting a certain mood.
He put his arm around me. “Aren’t you gonna tell me what’s wrong?”
“I’m shrinking.” I leaned against his shoulder. “I’m seeing a specialist tomorrow.”
“Why didn’t you tell me before?”
I knew I had to say something, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to start from the beginning. If I told him I took the pills to fit in a dress because I suspected Janelle was trying to steal him away from me, he’d probably think I was crazy. And then even crazier if he knew I tried to cover it up while hoping it was only a temporary thing. But the reason that spilled out of my mouth was that I was afraid he wouldn’t like me anymore.
“Why wouldn’t I?”
I stood up. “Look at me!”
He squinted. “What?”
“These are my little stepsister’s clothes.”
He stood and looked down at me. “You look great.”
“You’re, like, more than a foot taller than me now. Talk about lopsided.”
He shrugged. “So?”
“But I can’t be your custom-sized chin rest.”
“You think I’d dump you for that?” He reached over to put his arm around me but gently set it atop my head. “Besides, now you can be my custom-sized arm rest, Shorter-Stuff.”
I knew he was only trying to make a joke, but it wasn’t funny. I turned away and folded my arms, but he wrapped his arms around me from behind and held me close to him. “Will this make you feel better?”
When his chin touched down atop my head, I giggled, imagining him hunched over behind me. “A little,” I replied.
“You look kinda cute shorter.” He squeezed me a little tighter. “Like you need someone big and strong like me to protect you.”


Tara St. Pierre has been writing for over two decades, but her muse only sporadically provides inspiration. Her laptop is filled with incomplete manuscripts and other plot outlines, and she feels blessed when one finally pushes its way through to completion--no matter how long it takes!

She enjoys classic science fiction movies and television shows. When driving, she sings along with the radio loudly and off key. She prefers tea over coffee, spring over autumn, vanilla ice cream over chocolate, and caramel over hot fudge. Though she lives by herself, one of her two cats enjoys cuddling with her.

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*This Indie Spotlight is a sponsored post. 

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