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A Little Help...

From the desk of author Jeanine Renne

When a Fan can be a little hard to follow. This was a deliberate decision on my part. It was hard to follow the story in Real Life, so I hoped to share that whirlwind of confusion with the reader. We weren't sure what to believe as we tried to make real-time sense the events we observed and the lies we were told. And that was exactly how they pulled off the con. By keeping us guessing and uncertain, they were able to stave off the angry questions just long enough to get what they wanted. I hope that you, dear reader, will feel that same befuddled frustration, because if a con artist barges into your life someday, you'll know what it means when this feeling hits you again.

However, I've put together some notes here, to help the reader track events and characters. I hope you'll read the book through first and experience the full range of "What the?!...Sputter...Jaw fallen so far it's tunneling through the Earth's crust." Then come back to these lists to fill in the gaps.

The Time Line

2002
Jan:
Bit of Earth (BoE), a Sam Gamgee fan club, appears on Yahoo.com, founded by popular fanfiction author "Victoria Bitter." Abbey Stone quickly joins, under the name "Orangeblossom Brambleburr."
Feb: Victoria Bitter is "hospitalized" for an eye infection. Her online friends comfort her with a nice gift: Sean Astin's autograph.
April: Victoria meets Lauren at a fanfic convention called Connexions. Dumps Lauren soon afterward and gets serious with Abbey.
May-Aug: The otherworldly spirits of Elves and Hobbits chitchat regularly with Abbey and Victoria, teaching them the Westron language of Gondor.
Sept: Victoria approaches Sean Astin at the White House on 9/11. Astin agrees to participate in Project Elanor.
Oct: Victoria moves from Virginia to Oregon to live with Abbey.
Nov: Victoria Bitter mysteriously disappears from all online clubs and journals.
Dec: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers premiers in theaters. Thousands line up for the films in the parking lot of the Lloyd Center Cinema in Portland, Oregon. Abbey and her new friend "Jordan" conduct games and activities at the line party, enticing many new, local people to join Bit of Earth.

2003
Jan:
BoE announces that Jordan Wood is its new PR person .
Feb: BitofEarth.net is hacked by a "nut" claiming that Jordan Wood is actually Victoria Bitter. This wild story is dismissed by the new members. Abbey quietly divorces her husband, Mike.
April: Project Elanor. Sean Astin helps BoE build a garden and raise $3000 for charity.
July: Hall of Fire Music Festival is held in Portland. Astin delivers Jordan's marriage proposal to Abbey via cellphone, on stage at the Festival.
August: Abbey's home goes into foreclosure "because her ex husband stopped making payments."
Sept: Lost Palantir Film Festival is held at Lloyd Center Cinema. Sue is sent to LA to get video greetings and autographs from Sean Astin, Dom Monaghan, and Viggo Mortensen. "Inexplicably," she is only able to get a tape from Sean, but it is a smash at the film festival.
Oct: BoE moves to LA. Mom and Dad Player receive a suicide letter from their daughter Amy. Det. Myers enters the saga as he hunts for "missing person" Amy Player. Lies whirl as thick as autumn leaves in the wind.
Nov: Preparations for the next Tentmoot Festival are "going smoothly," according to Jordan, with an impressive celebrity guest list and hundreds of advance tickets sold.
Dec: The truth comes out. Celebrity air travel fiasco. Tentmoot collapses. Jordan arrested, but released in time to catch the Lloyd Center line party for The Return of the King.

2004
Jan:
BoE message board blazing with stories of lies, cover-ups, discrediting of "witnesses," etc. Amy Player shows up for her arraignment, discovers to her delight that the District Attorney has set aside the charges against her.
Feb: The Oregon Attorney General investigates BoE. Abbey and Amy send a Cease and Desist letter to yours truly and the entire cast of LOTR, denying any wrongdoing as BoE.
March: Air New Zealand shafts Donna the Travel Agent.
May: Civil judgement against Abbey and Amy is served by the Oregon Dept of Justice. Abbey and Amy opt to pay the fine (late), rather than defend themselves in court.
June: "Jordan Wood" spotted in front of the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. "Jordan" is dressed as Harry Potter, posing with tourists for photos and collecting tips "for charity."

Main Characters and their Aliases

Abigail Stone: Abbey, Orangeblossom Brambleburr, OB. Bad girl #1
Amy Player: Jordan Wood, Victoria Bitter, VB, MrFrodo. Bad guy/girl #2
Cherie Deuvall: Diamond Took, Di, Emily Sharpe, Crystal. Good girl who goes bad
Jeanine Renne: Turimel. Harried mom, LOTR fangirl, and inadvertent Scam Buster
Susan Astle: Shireling Sue. Life for Sue began at 50, as an Assistant Scam Buster
SC Bob: Bit of Earth staff member. Not to be confused with Robert Bob, manager of Lloyd Center Cinema
Zinnia: Lutheran minister who yanked out the keystone that supported the Arch of Lies
Mike Myers: No, not the movie star. Homicide detective who got stuck with a bizarre case
Sean Astin: Yes, the movie star. Bestowed a philanthropic gesture on the wrong fan club
Little Sam: 15-year-old girl deliberately left out of the book, but her name appears occasionally
Helen and Klyta: Real life twin sisters without a mean bone in either body, who befriended Abbey and "Jordan"
John and Talisha: Young couple whose real-life wedding was to be held at Tentmoot; they were forced to wed in the parking lot of the movie theater instead