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167672_2735329581548_496512_nIt’s always awesome to have authors do a Rock ‘n’ Roll High School post on release day, but this one is doubly perfect since my guest is Lori Majewski and her book, Mad World, which was co-authored by Jonathan Bernstein, is a veritable smorgasbord of 80s music yumminess. Featuring a foreword penned by Nick Rhodes and an afterword by Moby, Mad World is an oral history that celebrates new wave through all-new interviews with 35 of the most notable artists of the period, alongside a parade of vintage photographs. Mixtape suggestions and fashion sidebars help fill out the fun. Participants include: Duran Duran, New Order, Tears for Fears, Adam and the Ants, Depeche Mode, INXS, Simple Minds, Soft Cell, Yaz, A-ha, Berlin, Psychedelic Furs, Joy Division, ABC, Echo and the Bunnymen, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, The Waitresses, and more!

Plus, in Mad World, you’ll learn about the near-death experience that inspired Gary Numan’s “Cars”, the classic novel and pop-star crush behind Spandau Ballet’s “True”, Morrissey’s belief that the other Smiths were embarrassed by his lyrics for “How Soon is Now?”…and much more! I can’t wait to read it!

Lori Majewski, co-author of Mad World: An Oral History of the New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980s 

Weehawken High School, Weehawken, NJ, Class of ’89, Currently: Author/Journalist/Media Consultant

Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds. It’s partly because of The Breakfast Club, obviously, but it’s also because the words are so melancholy.”Will you recognize me? Call my name or walk on by?” You spend four years in tight quarters with the same people and then you all head off in different directions. Graduation was difficult for me — I’d gone to school with many of the same kids since Kindergarten. But there were a few I’d certainly outgrown as well. Oh, teenage angst!

Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: A piece of Simon Le Bon’s t-shirt. At the end of one of Duran Duran’s Madison Square Garden concerts — June 23, 1987! — he tossed it into the crowd and a pack of wolves — I mean, a bunch of us teenagers — ripped it to shreds so we could each take home a momento. I kept it in a plastic baggie to preserve his sweat.

Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: Bon Jovi. It was New Jersey, and they were MEGA. I knew a few Duranies who were suddenly all about Bon Jovi, and I was like, “Gross!” And if you look at their mid-80s photos now, they WERE gross. Whereas, you look at the Durans’ 80s photos now and they were BEAUTIFUL. But if we’re talking about music, Bon Jovi were okay. I just would never have admitted it back then.

Teenage Lori and Nick Rhodes!

Best show or concert you saw in high school: Duran Duran at the Beacon Theater, NYC, on Aug. 31, 1987, and Depeche Mode at the Meadowlands, then called the Brendan Byrne Arena, June 1, 1988. At Duran, I was fifth row, JT’s side; Lou Reed and Nile Rodgers joined them onstage for the encore; and, earlier in the day, I talked to Nick Rhodes and Simon LeBon for the first time. At Depeche, I had front row, it was Alan Wilder’s birthday, and it was close to a religious experience.

Best high school make-out song: “If You Leave” by OMD. I’d like to say that I’d made out to it, like Andie and Blaine did, but I can’t say for sure!

A veteran magazine editor and writer, Lori Majewski was a cofounder and editor in chief of Teen People, and an executive editor of Entertainment Weekly and Us Weekly. She is co-author of Mad World: An Oral History of the New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980s. It’s out TODAY! Buy it now!


The First Kiss and the Second Take

by Karen Booth

You’re cute and everything, but I need my space.

Heather stared at the two-week-old atrocity on her phone. She should’ve deleted it, definitely should’ve stopped compulsively looking at it every day, but she was trying to comfort herself with the knowledge that she’d dodged a bullet. No decent guy breaks up with a girl with a text. And what in the hell did cute have to do with anything? That part really grated on her nerves, even more than the chicken-shit mode of delivery.

The woman who’d checked her in for the video shoot gathered a stack of index cards from her desk. “I’ll bring everyone a number in a few moments and then we’ll call you in.”

Heather stuffed her phone into her purse and collected herself. When she’d skeptically answered the ad, it seemed odd that someone would pay her money to kiss a stranger in front of a camera. She wouldn’t have looked into it at all if she didn’t need the fifty bucks to help pay for books this semester. Nursing school was way more expensive than she’d bargained on.

The recently departed boyfriend had even given his stamp of approval for the on-camera stranger-kiss. Now she had to wonder if he’d been planning to dump her all along. Regardless, she’d been single for two weeks and her body was ready to let loose on one of these guys like she’d just spent the summer at a camp for wayward girls. Hopefully her brain would let her do it.

She scanned the room. The offerings were surprisingly easy on the eye, not a bad one among the dozen or so who were there. Pretty boy with long lashes and pouty lips. Nice. Geeky dude with thick hair and chocolatey brown eyes. Beyond nice. Boy-next-door with the jeans that were apparently constructed around his perfect ass. I’d kiss him, too.

And then there was Rock guy. He was tall and lanky, definitely her preferred body type, but he was leaning against the wall and stand-offish as if he didn’t want to be there. She knew guys like him. They never liked her. Ever. Especially not when she liked them.

She had a weakness for long hair, but Rock guy’s was ridiculously long and pulled back in a messy bun. Not the most manly hairstyle. The black t-shirt and beat-up jean jacket he wore were passable. So were the black Chucks. She reminded herself that this wasn’t Whole Foods for Single Guys. She didn’t get to squeeze the tomatoes to find the ripest one. She would get what she got and there was nothing to do about that.

Index card woman doled out numbers. Heather was given “3”. A din of mumbling rose as everyone milled about to find their match. She hadn’t scoped out the girls, but now she found herself knee-deep in the bloodsport of worrying how she measured up. Was there even one guy here who hoped he’d get her? Her stomach wobbled at the thought.

She caught sight of Pretty boy’s card, a “2”. Oh well. Boy-next-door was already chatting up his stunning, giggly match. Damn. Geeky guy had a “7”. Figures. Her heart hammered the way it had when teams were picked in PE class. Stop it. Her match was here somewhere, she just had to find him.

She turned and nearly planted her nose in the center of Rock guy’s chest.

He flapped his “3” at her. “Hiya.”

“Oh. Hi.” Holy shit. His voice. Deep. Dark. Irish?

“We need everyone in the studio now, please,” Index card woman announced.

Heather was still staring up at male number “3”, struggling for a good reason to close her gaping mouth. He sported several days of scraggly dark-brown facial hair, a stark contrast to his impeccable pink lips. His eyebrows were thick and a little crazy, his hazel eyes deep and almost sad, cheekbones high and flushed. She’d always been a good girl and made do with safe guys. Gazing into his eyes, the words “that was really fucking stupid of me” sprang to mind.

Heather and her guy were pulled into the mass of strangers filing through the studio doors. She was keenly aware of him behind her, so close that she wondered if that was his heartbeat thundering in her chest.

A woman with dark-framed glasses scrutinized them all as they entered the room, squeezing her lower lip and seeming deep in thought. “You.” She pointed at Heather’s guy. “We’ll start with you.” Heather had assumed they’d go in numerical order, but apparently that wasn’t the case.

Her guy leaned down, his mouth hovering above Heather’s ear. “That’s us, darling.” Again, that voice—thick and sultry and making her want to climb inside his jean jacket. Naked. He took her hand as if he was claiming his birthright. Possessive men perturbed her more independent sensibilities, but her body couldn’t stem the white-hot rush of electricity his fingers produced when he clamped them around hers.

Heather followed him to their marks in front of the camera. They were immediately separated by a bossy man with a clipboard. Dutifully distanced by a scant twelve inches, the futility was laughable. Clipboard man had pulled apart a magnet and a steel plate. No way she and her guy weren’t erasing all space between them as soon as they had their chance.

Her guy spoke to her without a word. At least it felt that way, his penetrating gaze asking questions, leaving her exposed. It was surprisingly freeing, not scary.

The woman with the glasses gave instructions, something about being natural and listening for a beep that would warn them  when time was up. It was mostly a lot of noise. Heather couldn’t have cared less, but she definitely took notice when the woman uttered the word she’d been longing to hear.


They drifted into each other, stopping toe-to-toe. He cracked the faintest smile, but immediately corrected himself and refocused his intensity on her. He was serious. In charge. He reached back and pulled the tie from his hair, never breaking eye contact. Thick waves of chestnut brown hair collapsed onto his shoulders. If she’d been able to speak, she would’ve said, “Fuck, yes.”

The room went impossibly still. Breathing seemed disruptive, so she held her breath, feeding off the raw energy that radiated from him. Everything in his eyes said one thing: “You. Are. Mine.”

He dropped his head, resting his forehead against hers, his hair creating a sliver of privacy amidst their public display. Blood rushed to the surface of her skin. Every part of her wanted to be closer to him. The tips of their noses brushed. Her heart galloped. His firm hands cupped her shoulders, trailed up the sides of her neck. His thumbs caressed her cheeks while his fingers stroked the baby-fine hair at her nape. Every atom in her body buzzed and hummed as if a man had never touched her before, never looked at her twice. Her eyelids fluttered, weak under his spell.

“You’re trembling,” he said, with a hint of sweet surprise in his brogue.

“I can’t help it.” His voice made her want to do stupid, reckless things. She arched her back, flattened her stomach against his, wrapped her arms around his waist, tugging him into her. She needed to know as much of his body as possible.

He kissed her temple, her cheek, and then he finally planted the gentlest tease of a kiss. She raised her chin, needing more. His lips were even softer than she’d imagined, skating over hers, but they didn’t have time for hesitancy and toying, however much she loved it. Their moment was now and it was fleeting and if she didn’t squeeze everything from it, it would be gone forever. She had way too many regrets in her life. This would not be one of them.

She threaded her hands under the jean jacket and slipped them beneath his t-shirt, committing his lower back to memory, wishing she could see his bare skin. Their lips smashed together, tongues found each other, winding and tangling. A groan rumbled from the depths of his throat and he dug his hands into her hair, making a splendid mess. Somebody in the room exclaimed, “Yeah.” Heather and her guy laughed, but only for an instant. They were readily seduced back into the natural, extraordinary rhythm of their kiss.

The distant, dreaded beep told them they were to do the unthinkable and stop. Although lips were no longer touching, Heather and her guy leaned into each other, the conversation between their bodies continuing. Chests heaved, breaths came short, eyes slowly opened to greet each other again.

“I need a second take,” he declared, pressing his lips to her forehead.

“Sorry. One try. You two did great. Next,” Clipboard man said.

Heather’s guy shot him a dirty look. “I wasn’t talking to you.”

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out the other #FirstKiss stories from this week! You can find the complete list at Audra North’s website.

25 Romance Authors25 First Kisses(1)

sa1569Today’s RNRHS guest is Jamie White, Author, Blogger, and major connoisseur of music and pop culture, which is part of what made us friends on Twitter.  Jamie has some cool music stuff to talk about, but I was most fascinated by her mention of Kids, Inc.. That’s a first for the blog, and after 74 posts, many of which are 80s-centric, I found it hard to believe this was the first time Kids came up. (For those who don’t know, the world might never have known the talents of Jennifer Love Hewitt and Fergie without it.)  The show started when I was a sophomore in high school, so I’d sadly aged out of the target audience, but I have younger siblings and they LOVED it. I looked up the theme song on You Tube this morning (see below, for your amusement) and I’d forgotten just how much that show was quintessential 80s. Sure, it’s the Hollywood version of the 80s since it’s so contrived, but that’s part of the point I’m about to make. A lot of awesome things from the 80s were manufactured (or seemed that way)–Wham! (the Wake Me Up Before You Go Go video being Exhibit A), jelly shoes, Mork and Mindy, Gremlins. Need I go on? I think the important thing to remember, a point that Rob Sheffield brought up in his memoir Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, is that everything that was good in the 80s…music, fashion, film…was made for kids. That’s what made it such a kick-ass time.

Jamie White

Hollywood Hills High School, Currently: Author, Blogger, Proofreader

Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: The group I associate with most with high school is Ace of Base. They had some fun songs and my friends and I loved them. All I have to do is here “Don’t Turn Around” or “The Sign” and I am transported back to the school courtyard where we all used to hang out and have lunch.

Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: This is going to sound geeky, but I was a huge Kids, Incorporated fan in the 80s, so when Jennifer Love Hewitt made it big with Party of Five and put out an album, I went to see a performance she did at a local mall, where I got the CD autographed.

Kids Incorporated Theme Song: 1984

Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: Nirvana. I still to this day can’t fathom why “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was so popular. ::ducks to avoid flying objects::

Best show or concert you saw in high school: Bon Jovi, without a doubt. I fell in love with the band as a kid in the ‘80s and never grew out of it. I still rock out to “Keep the Faith” and “Crossroads”. :)

Stains_600Jamie White is a multi-published author of Young and New Adult Paranormal Fiction. Her latest release, Stains on the Soul is out now. You can find out more about Jamie at jamielwhite.com.