You Spin Me is the third book in Karen Grey’s Rom-Com series, Boston Classics and can be read as a standalone!
You Spin Me, will release on April 29th, make sure to pre-order your copy today!
Some scars go further than skin deep…
1988 doesn’t end well for Jessica Abraham. In just one week she turns thirty, loses her day job, and loses the role of Ophelia to a younger actress. Rallying, she goes after a part at a theater outside of the city, but the director’s plan to hide her beauty behind hair, makeup, and wardrobe from Cosmo’s “Don’t” column shakes her confidence to the core.
For the first time in her acting career, she won’t be able to rely on her carefully managed physical charms. Only her craft will count.
On a snowy night early in January 1989, a woman calls into DJ Callihan Alonso’s alt-rock radio show at the end of her commute. He asks her to call back the next night, and the next, just so he’ll know she’s home safe. There’s something about her voice that has him wanting more, but the longer they talk, the closer she gets. Compromising each and every wall he’s built around his heart.
If two lonely people fall in love over late-night phone calls, will meeting face-to-face make them, or break them?
In this heart-rending but happy-ending retro rom-com, it may be the end of a decade, but it’s the beginning of a love story.
At the sound of the roaring tiger, the time will be nine o’clock. ROARRR. YEE-OUCH! Get that thing outta here! Phew, that smarts. Don’t worry, Boston, we won’t let the cat out of the bag. Not as long as you keep listening to Grace Traynor on WBAR, 101.7 FM.
Hoodie in place, head down, stride as even and long as I can make it—despite the nagging stiffness in my left hip—I take my usual route to WBAR’s Boylston Street studios: down a back alley, avoiding human traffic.
Only a few people have a key to the rock station’s back door—the janitor, the general manager, and me. The other DJs enter through the front door, but going in the back way allows me to avoid the station hangers-on that congregate in the lobby.
Once I’m in the music library, I can relax. Not that I take my hoodie off. Instead, I pull the strings tight so it snugs close to my chin. The soft fabric is comforting. You wouldn’t think being reminded of the bandages that covered the left side of my face and neck for so long would be a good thing, but the hood, like the bandages, hides the ugly. People might stare, but they don’t know what I’m hiding. They can only imagine.
And I doubt any of them could invent a mental picture as gnarly as my reality.
Anyway, enough of that.
Time to make the donuts.
After setting the crate on the beat-up table, I unhook Blondie’s leash. A retired police dog, she’s so well-trained that no one minds having her here, even though she’s almost as scary-looking as me.
At the table, I create my set list. My crate holds EPs and singles that the station doesn’t own yet. There’s an upside to spending most of my time alone: It gives me time to write letters. At this point, I have pen pals at stations all over the world. We keep each other informed about local bands that haven’t yet made it big. Since I don’t have an over-the-top on-air personality and nobody wants my face on any posters, breaking unknowns is what keeps my listeners tuning in.
There’s an art to introducing new music. You can’t only play stuff nobody’s ever heard of or just local bands like Human Sexual Response or The Atlantics. Even in my late-night slot, I have to mix in songs people can sing along to. Knowing where and when to slip in a new track—in a way that sets it off without jarring the ears—takes experience. Maybe even talent.
That said, sometimes you want to shake people up. Especially in the transition hours. Ten to eleven when the partiers are hitting their stride. Then again after midnight, when shift workers are commuting.
My job here in the library is to pull all the possibilities for the evening so I’ll have them at my fingertips. Which are intact. It’d be hard to do this job without the use of my digits. Unlike many survivors with facial burns, I didn’t lose an ear, so wearing headphones isn’t a problem.
Things I do my best to be thankful for.
An hour later I’m in my favorite place in the world. The six-to-ten-slot DJ leans away from the mic so I can say the words that signal the beginning of my time on-air. “Say good night, Gracie.”
The statuesque blonde sing-songs “Good night, Gracie” into the mic before letting fly her signature cackle.
We switch places so I can take over and finish the routine. “Boston, give a big nighty-night to your second-favorite alt-rock jock, Grace Traynor.”
As I say the last syllable of her name, I punch the button to play the cart recording of a crowd shouting, “Good night, Gracie.” As the roar echoes in my headphones, my fingertip releases the disc so the turntable can spin my first pick of the night. My patter continues over the opening bars. “Your late-night DJ Callihan here at ten oh two p.m. on WBAR 107.1. I’m not taking prisoners, but I am taking requests. But first, it’s ‘Crash and Burn’ from Boston’s own ’Til Tuesday.”
Yeah, yeah, it’s weird that I like to play songs that mention fire. What can I say? I have a sick sense of humor. As I’m lining up my picks for the next hour, evening producer Talia Cruz sneaks in with the commercial notebook. “You got three spots to read this hour, doll.”
“Got it. Jimmy feeling better?”
I pull promo and ad carts from the carousel, checking them off in the log as I listen to Talia’s expletive-filled report on her teenage son, who broke his arm skiing over Thanksgiving. Until she stops her own monologue mid-rant. “Shit. I forgot to pick up the weather.” Turning to exit the booth, she points at the phone next to me. “You got a call light lit up.”
When I pick up the receiver, a listener line volunteer lets me know there’s a caller named Jane with a request. As I fade the music, I punch the telephone button. “This is Cal at WBAR FM. You’re on the air, Jane. What’s your request?”
A breathy giggle precedes her voice. “Man, thanks for taking my call, Cal. You’re so chill.”
“Thanks for listening, Jane.”
“So, um, can you play ‘Night on the Town’ by the Del Fuegos for my friend Brenda? It’s her twenty-first birthday tonight.”
“Will do. Is there a certain time you were hoping for?”
“I’m picking her up in like an hour so if you could play it at eleven fifteen, that would be killer.”
“No problem. Hey, you want to do a favor for me, Jane?”
“Sure.” Her giggle is adorable.
“I’m about to play ‘Answering Machine’ by the Replacements. You want to do the intro for it?” She’s got a fun voice, so I also ask if I can record her doing it. Sometimes the station cuts stuff like that into promos.
“Fer sure!” More breathy giggles.
“Oh yeah, I’m totally amped.”
After I start the intro of the song, I push record and cue her. “Take it away, Jane.”
“Next up it’s the Replacements with ‘Answering Machine’ on WBAR Boston 107.1 FM!”
I punch out my mic as well as the phone’s as I slide the volume up on the song.
“Great job, Jane. Happy birthday to Brenda.”
“Thanks so much, Cal! I love you!”
“Have a great night, Jane.”
I wonder if Jane’d be so happy to talk to me if I ran into her on the street. I can just see it. Sweet, innocent girl screams in horror.
I take the phrase “a face for radio” to a whole new level. That’s why I’m here. I get to make people happy without having to witness their revulsion—or worse, pity—when they see my messed-up mug.
COPYRIGHT 2021, Karen Grey. All rights reserved.
As you wait to dive into the story on April 29th,
check out Karen’s Spotify You Spin Me playlist
Make sure to enter Karen’s giveaway for 1 of 10 signed paperback copies of You Spin Me.
And don’t forget to meet the other couples of Boston Classics:
Book 1.5: Signed, Sealed, & Delivered
Book 2.5: Like It’s 1999
Meet Karen Grey:
KAREN GREY is the pen name for award-winning narrator Karen White. A stage, screen and radio drama actor in Boston, New York and Los Angeles in the late 20th century, she started recording books in 1999. Now back in her home state of North Carolina, she shares a home with her family and (probably) too many pets, where she continues to narrate audiobooks as well as make up stories.
The first three books in her Boston Classics series of retro romcoms released in 2020, with more to come in 2021. What I’m Looking For, #1 in the series is the winner of AudioFile Magazine’s Earphones Award, the NJ Romance Writers’ Put Your Heart in a Book contest and Hearts Through History’s Romance Through the Ages contest in the Modern History category.
Connect with the Author:
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*** ARC KINDLY PROVIDED IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. ***
,Let’s back to the eighties! You Spin Me really made my head spin. A nostalgic romantic comedy from another time with a strong hint of angst and emotional times that totally melt my heart.
I was ready for Cal and Jess whirlwind romance, two souls with scars, one visible and the other not. One trying to shine, the other not, rather staying in the shadows. However these two happened, collided beautifully.
I adored how the author brought the main characters together. I wasn’t expecting something so introspective and dealing with some tough issues that totally contrasted with the funky cover and all the joyful vibe I was getting by just looking at it. I loved the complexity and in-depth, making you rooting for these two so hard.
My heart just cracked a little with Cal, a little afterwards for Jess. There was something in the air, maybe that feeling of two people falling for the other not in a conventional way, in a time when cell phones weren’t a normalcy and when you wanted to reach someone is to call at his home or a calling card. There was something so romantic about how two strangers got to meet, sharing their fears and the heavy things even really meeting first.
Don’t get one wrong this book was tons of sweet and swoony moments, moments you needed to balance certain parts of heaviness. A story like a kaleidoscope of fireworks accompanied by a background of music, reflecting the characters’ feelings throughout their journey.
This was my first book from Karen Grey and it won’t be my last for sure!