Thursday, June 30, 2011

June Giveaway Winner - The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Wow, I loved all the entries! Thank you so much to everyone who entered.

After much deliberation...

Best parental angst
Sasha Barin @ 6:47 pm

Most nightmare-inspiring
abrielle1 @ 11:46 pm

Best epic journey
DavidSimon4449 @2:16 pm

Best rhymes
Sheila JG @ 4:58 pm

Most heart-wrenching
K @10:08 pm

Best reason to listen to your mother
Stephanie Garber @ 10:43 am


And the winner is, for her chilling tale...

christwriter @ 11:19 am

Jo ran through the snow.

We never had roses in December.

“Come on!” My sister held the key up. “It’s this way, Barry!”

But it was just an old garden door; the key wouldn’t fit. Besides, we were moving and the new house had no garden. Joanna said she’d seen a fairy cat in a top hat slinking through the roses. He told her to bring me along.

“Kids! We’re leaving!” Our mother.

“It works!” Jo said. Then, delighted and happy, “Ooh!”

I found the door locked. A thousand blood red petals on the ground.

Jo had gone away.


Congratulations to everyone! @christwriter, if you send me an email with your address, I'll send your copy of the book.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

First Page Shooter #7

Word Count: 80,000 Words

Original Text

Death allowed himself a small, satisfied smile as he swooped gracefully towards the small girl bleeding on the floor. A moan crawled from her lips, barely audible against the clamour of the outer parking lot. Already purpling nicely, a substantial bruise coloured the edges of her right eye, framing the split on her brow that still trickled a small amount of blood.

Parking Lot. Public toilets. Earl Street. 2.15 pm. Just a few minutes early, as usual. Funny, he thought, they don’t always say who it is when you’re on a job. Just a time and a place. Show up, you’re guaranteed a dead body.

But there she was, just the same. His favourite little escape artist, a slippery eel of a girl. His own personal Houdini of Death. A million close shaves, but never a result. Not a close shave this time, though. The blood loss was undeniable. Leaching out onto the wet surface it formed a halo of watery crimson radiating from her waist.

Running a curious finger around the ragged edges of the rips crisscrossing her stomach, he asked the most inappropriate question he could think of.

“Hey, Frankie. Have you got a light?”

"Left coat pocket," She rasped, the breaths coming hard and sharp.

"You shoulda stopped smoking years ago, you know, it'll kill ya."

He sniggered and lit a crisp Cuban.

She tried to raise her hand to flip him off, but it flopped into a pool of watery urine, over flown from the toilets.

With Suzie's Notes

Death allowed himself a small, satisfied smile as he swooped gracefully towards the small girl bleeding on the floor. A moan crawled from her lips, barely audible against the clamour of the outer parking lot. Already purpling nicely, a substantial bruise coloured the edges of her right eye, framing the split on her brow that still trickled a small amount of blood.

Interesting that we're in Death's perspective--and he enjoys his job! There are a few too many descriptors in the above paragraph though. Don't let those weigh you down. And the last clause "framing the split..." feels a little awkward and confusing. Also I'm not sure "girl" is the right word. The first time I read that I pictured a five year old. By the end I was thinking late teens or twenties. 

Parking Lot. Public toilets. Earl Street. 2.15 pm. Just a few minutes early, as usual. Funny, he thought, they don’t always say who it is when you’re on a job. Just a time and a place. Show up, you’re guaranteed a dead body.

I like this bit of worldbuilding and characterization for Death. It's concise but it also tells us a lot.

But there she was, just the same. His favourite little escape artist, a slippery eel of a girl. His own personal Houdini of Death. A million close shaves, but never a result. Not a close shave this time, though. The blood loss was undeniable. Leaching out onto the wet surface it formed a halo of watery crimson radiating from her waist.

I like these details, but...If Dead just gets a time and a place and shows up for a guaranteed dead body, how does he know this girl and how has she escaped him? It's a minor thing, but it suggests an inconsistency or a whole in the worldbuilding right at the beginning.

Running a curious finger around the ragged edges of the rips crisscrossing her stomach, he asked the most inappropriate question he could think of.

Now, an important question. Is Death the protagonist of this story or no? (Obviously were this a query, I'd probably know). I'm a little creeped out about him running a finger around the rips of her stomach, and I don't want my protagonist to creep me out like that. But if I'm supposed to be creeped out, good job! I do like that he asks an inappropriate question, and I love that she answers anyway.


And again, I crossed out some extra words. This is me being very nitpicky, and it doesn't matter too much, but you don't want to say something in ten words when you can say it just as well in five.

“Hey, Frankie. Have you got a light?”

"Left coat pocket," She rasped, the breaths coming hard and sharp.

"You shoulda stopped smoking years ago, you know, it'll kill ya."

He sniggered and lit a crisp Cuban.

She tried to raise her hand to flip him off, but it flopped into a pool of watery urine, over flown from the toilets.

Awful image (but good) to close this section. What a way to leave me hanging! Based on this, I'm intrigued and would keep reading to see where this goes.  I am wondering if she's inside or outside. The stress on the parking lot earlier had made me think outside. If she's inside, maybe just say Public toilets. Earl Street. Also, you use "watery" twice in this section, and one of them should go.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I'm back!

I spent two weeks in the Wilds of New Zealand.


I even petted cheetahs.



I also traipsed through Middle Earth.



And spent some time under the party tree at Hobbiton.

[pictures to that are securely tucked under lock and key though so you'll just have to miss out on that]

But of course now it's back to work. Enter the giveaway below and keep your eyes pealed for some new First Page Shooter posts going up later this week.

June GIVEAWAY

Have you heard about The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making?

Um, you need to.

Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn't . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.


With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.

I've been hearing A-MAZ-ING things about this one.

And check out Catherynne Valente's website and blog!

So. Now the important part. What do you have to do to win?

check out the trailer: (this is one of my favorite trailers ever!)


Then write a Short Story--100 words--inspired by the trailer

Enter by midnight Friday 6/24. Winner will be posted by 7/1. This contest is open to US and Canadian residents only. But enter as many times as you like.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Review of BEAUTY QUEENS by Libba Bray

Today I'm thrilled to welcome the fabulous Jessica Tudor to the blog to co-post this review with me...

Jessica Tudor lives outside Philadelphia with her mad scientist husband and two mud turtles named Bogey and Bacall, where she writes young adult/fantasy books. Her work is represented by Super Agent Suzie Townsend of Fine Print Lit. She is Christian, vegan, and nominally crazy. You can find her on Twitter and at her website.

MISS TEEN DREAM FUN FACTS PAGE!

Please fill in the following information and return to Jessie Jane, Miss Teen Dream Pageant administrative assistant, before Monday. Remember, this is a chance for the judges and the audience to get to know YOU. So make it interesting and fun, but please be appropriate. And don’t forget to mention something you love about our sponsor, The Corporation!

Name: BEAUTY QUEENS
State: Libba Bray’s crazy mind
Age: Released May 24 (a youthful three weeks old)
Height: 400 pages
Weight: 1.2 lbs according to Amazon
Hair: Books don’t have hair, but if I did it would be Pantene lustrous
Eyes: Ditto on the eyes, but you can imagine a Caribbean turquoise
Best Feature: Hello, have you seen my cover?

Check out my awesome lipstick bandolier.

Fun Facts About Me:

  • I have the most whack-tacular plot[*], yet it all fits together, much like Cate Blanchett on the red carpet.
  • Though sometimes the satire makes it hard to connect to my characters, I am unputdownable.[**] My characters are well-developed and despite the large cast, easily differentiated. Miss Mississippi (Tiara) is a surprise favorite.
  • I bring the swoon. Though I don't have much space to dedicate to the couples, all the relationships are believably handled. Also, I support the right of all couples, hetero- or queer, to be swoon-worthy. A shout-out to all my LGBTQ friends in the audience![***]
  • I’m smart and thought-provoking, but so much fun you can’t hold it against me. In fact, I make smart the new pretty. When I'm grown up, I hope to open a Smart School where I teach critical thinking and wilderness survival skills for teenagers of all nationalities, religions, and cultures.[****]
  • My extracurriculars include advertisement scripts, fact sheets, footnotes, song lyrics, and classified reports.
  • I am practically perfect in all of my masterfully written, satiric, feminist kick-assery.[*****] My biggest flaw is that there's only one of me. However, I love The Corporation Bookstore, where you can also purchase books like The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart and The Unidentified by Rae Mariz for more thought provocation.

[*]A plane full of beauty queens crashes on a deserted island. "Welcome to the heart of un-exfoliated darkness."
[**]The Corporation suggests that Sarah and Jess note that the only reason it took them two sittings to read me is because they paused partway through to gush on Twitter.
[***]Pageant official started to say something but was too upset.
[****]The Corporation suggests replacing the critical thinking portion with something less threatening like hygiene.
[*****]Pageant official says I should not use the words "feminist" or "kick-assery," as they think these words sound like we're radical, and want to know if I can change it to "feminine" and "empowerment."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sarah attempts a confession

Hello there!

I'm that unfamiliar name you see in the top right corner of the page and in the About Us section. *points*

I'll be working as Suzie's assistant this summer, which means that I'll be hanging out on the blog and on Twitter with you lovely people. So I thought I'd introduce myself. After serious consideration, I decided that the best way to do an introduction on a blog called Confessions from Suite 500 would be, well, through a confession.

This turned out to be a somewhat problematic decision, since most of what I know about confessions comes from movies and TV shows, where the character usually rambles an I'm-not-sure-how-this-works-but-oh-wow-I-screwed-up speech... only to find that the priest isn't actually in the confessional. Then there's the seminar I took on sixteenth-century Spain, nicknamed Law & Order: Spain, but all those details about convent scandals and witchcraft trials, being centuries old, are probably out of date and not, you know, relevant.[*]

So I figured that I'd leave all of the canonical meanings of the term aside. Even so, it was kind of difficult to think of a confession that might be

a) publicly relevant, and
b) minimally humiliating.

I could tell you about how I cry every time I see or read the scene where Jo turns down Laurie in Little Women (meets neither a nor b); or that though I've lived in Argentina, Spain, and France, I'd never been to a non-coastal U.S. state until I looked at graduate schools (meets b, but not a); or that I'd never considered working in publishing until one of my classmates, after I'd tortured engaged her in conversation about commercial fiction perhaps one too many times at department functions, suggested I apply for the internship at FinePrint & Nancy Coffey (is this even a confession?).

As it turned out, despite all the talk about how the internet makes us perform some version of our private selves in public, I could not come up with one sharable detail that would actually be of general interest to an intelligent publishing blog-reading public. Or even of generalish interest.

Maybe the publicly relevant confession, I was forced to admit, was an oxymoron. I had to admit failure.

So truly, I am sorry. I don't have a confession for you. All I can offer is this apology-- and the promise that I'll never try to confess anything on this blog ever again.


[*]For the record, I did Google "confession." It turns out that there is an iPhone app that helps you prep for your confession and that if I went to a website with the word "hug" in the title I could anonymously confess to the internet.

After Dark Tour

The After Dark tour kicks off tonight in Westlake, OH. Check out the events schedule in case they're going to be in your city!


AFTER DARK TOUR

Wednesday, June 1, 2011 6:30pm
Leah Clifford, Lisa Desrochers, and Courtney Allison Moulton
198 Crocker Park Blvd
Westlake, OH 44145

Thursday, June 2, 2011 6:00pm
Leah Clifford, Aimee Carter, Lisa Desrochers, and Courtney Allison Moulton
Schuler Books & Music
2820 Towne Center Blvd
Lansing, MI 48912

June 20, 2011 7:00pm

Leah Clifford, Lisa Desrochers, and Courtney Allison Moulton
A Real Bookstore

113 Prairie Road
Fairview, TX

June 21, 2011 5:00pm

Leah Clifford, Lisa Desrochers, Sophie Jordan, and Courtney Allison Moulton
Barnes & Noble

1201 Lake Woodlands Dr
The Woodlands, TX

July 5, 2011
Leah Clifford, Lisa Desrochers, and Courtney Allison Moulton
Books of Wonder
18 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011

July 6, 2011 7:00pm
Leah Clifford, Lisa Desrochers, and Courtney Allison Moulton
Barnes & Noble
98 Middlesex Turnpike
Burlington, MA 01803

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Five Random Things About Suzie

1. I drink so much orange soda, it's probably running through my veins. I've been known to go through a twelve pack of diet sunkist in a day.

2. I'm legitimately nocturnal (or a vampire). I will be so exhausted at two pm that I'm falling asleep standing up - it has happened before, at Six Flags no less - but as soon as the sun goes down I'm wide awake.

3. I have a gorgeous unused $6000 Reem Acra wedding dress hanging in my closet, and it showed up on my doorstep the same day my (now ex) fiance broke up with me. And thank God for that. I wouldn't have wanted to waste that dress on him.

4. Social anxiety plagues me daily. I write a script and practice in front of the mirror when I have to make a phone call, but most people who interact with me have no idea how nervous I am (or perhaps they lie) because I've worked so hard to try to overcome it.

5. I'm actually worried that I will never love my children (when I do have them in the far off future) as much as I love my dogs. I just like animals better than people - they're sweet and innocent and soft and furry - is that so wrong?