Happy Monday to you from me here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
If your Mondays are ANYTHING like my Mondays, then you know the crazy pace at which they tend to start a week off...especially when the holidays are here. Seems like the work doubles somehow! Anywho, busy or not I can't leave you without something bookishly fun to devour now can I? ^_^ Speaking of bookishly fun...
Looking to add a new book to the ever-growing wish list? Maybe you're looking for something to read ASAP as you rest up for all the forthcoming holiday festivities? Or maybe you're like me and any reason to check out a new title is a perfectly good reason indeed (^_^). Take your pick, I won't judge... but whichever category you fall into, check out this new December release from Merit Press! It's book one in the Twisted Lit series offering new takes on the classics of old. This round we're looking at "The Tempest" in a new light....
Twisted Lit, Book 1:
Kim Askew and Amy Helmes
After a mistake with big financial consequences topples her throne, former "it girl" Miranda Prospero is bitter: she finds herself stranded in a crazed new world, holding court among geeks and misfits at a mall Hot Dog Kabob stand. Then, she gets her chance for revenge. When the storm of the decade snows in the mall workers and last-minute shopaholics for a long winter's night, Miranda sets out to get back at the catty clique who was behind her exile. But there's a complication. She somehow gets handcuffed to sullen loner Caleb. With him (literally) bound to her side, Miranda learns more in one night about her own heart, and human nature, than she ever did as prep royalty. With this twisted take on Shakespeare's The Tempest, authors Kim Askew and Amy Helmes prove again that, from Juliet's grief to Cordelia's rage, no one knew about teen angst better than the Bard. His wisdom holds up nearly half a millennium later.
Hungry for more?
Wish granted for it is my firm belief that one should never be left starving especially when there is such a wondrous banquet of books waiting to be devoured.
Hence, I bring you a SPECIAL EXCERPT from this curious new read....
-- EXCERPT --
Chapter One: Hang Not on My Garments
By Kim Askew and Amy Helmes,
Authors of the Shakespeare-inspired YA series Twisted Lit, featuring Tempestuous and Expo
sure (Merit Press)
By Kim Askew and Amy Helmes,
Authors of the Shakespeare-inspired YA series Twisted Lit, featuring Tempestuous and Expo
Singing along to the latest overplayed indie rock tune pulsing from the stereo speakers, I pulled my car into a spot at the far end of the parking lot reserved for mall employees and then let it idle, dragging out my last few minutes in the cocooning warmth. The song ended and the deejay's grating baritone voice kicked in:
"That was the latest from a local group, the Drunk Butlers. We're interrupting this music marathon to let you know about a winter storm advisory in effect for tonight, lasting until five A.M. tomorrow morning. Bundle up! It's going to be a B-R-R-R-R-utal one tonight! Grab someone hot to keep you warm, and we'll keep things real with more nonstop hits comin' atcha."
Snowflakes the size of quarters drifted onto my windshield as I contemplated the slushy expanse between my vehicle and the mall's main entrance. I could think of about a million other things I'd rather be doing on a Saturday night than working a five-hour shift serving lukewarm hot dogs to mall rats before driving home in possibly blizzard-like conditions. Unless I literally broke a leg -- I wistfully imagined slipping on the ice and being rescued by a cute EMT -- there was just no getting around it. I reached into the backseat and grabbed the ridiculously tall, absurdly colorful hat I was forced to wear as part of my Hot-Dog Kebob uniform. Sadly, my recent fall from grace and subsequent mandated employment had coincided with a lack of decent part-time jobs. I'd at least hoped to be spritzing perfume from behind a beauty counter at one of the department stores or playing hostess at the "high end" chain restaurant Teasers, on the other end of the mall, but all the less-humiliating positions were already taken -- so I was resigned to looking like an escaped circus lunatic in head-to-toe garish blue-and-yellow stripes. Have I mentioned the worst part? The fake plastic wiener that sits atop the hat, spinning on an axis? It's basically a fashionista's worst nightmare come to life, but try telling that to my dad . . . or the school superintendent who insisted I take a job as part of my "reparations." I sighed deeply, turned off the engine, and wrapped my coat tightly around me.
Stepping gingerly out of the car, I lowered the towering hat onto my head and, shivering, pinned it into place with bobby pins from my coat pocket. I usually waited until the very last second to don this monstrosity, but frankly (pun intended) it was just too damn cold to go without it. I looked to the right and left, hoping no one was observing me. As I glanced behind me, I was startled to see someone standing behind the car.
A creepy-looking guy in a long black wool overcoat stood about six feet away, staring at me. I self-consciously realized that my hot-dog propeller must have been spinning in the wind, and I flushed, as if I'd just been caught with my pants at half-mast. Damn this hat! But still, it was seriously rude of him to stare. I glanced again, and he was still standing there -- tall and broad-shouldered, with a mass of thick black hair. I couldn't see his eyes, which were shrouded by a furry cap, but he couldn't have been older than twenty. Snowflakes were collecting on his shoulders -- or was that just colossal dandruff? His coat hung open, revealing faded black jeans and bulky black boots. An indistinguishable piece of black fabric hung limply from his fist. As if bored, he slowly turned on his heel and lumbered toward the mall entrance. Whatever, loser!
I clicked my key fob to lock the door and started off across the wintry expanse of the parking lot. The howling wind swirled around me. I shrieked and placed one hand on top of my hat, lest the propeller somehow succeed in lifting me up off the ground. Small eddies of snow spiraled at my feet on the blacktop, but I walked in baby steps, not wanting to fall on a slick patch. The regulation navy blue sneakers I was wearing offered zero traction. Shivering, I wrapped my down parka closer to my torso, but my legs were freezing, clad only in bright red tights under a polyester, royal-blue-and-yellow-striped jumper. The wind stung my face and brought tears to my eyes. At least, I think it was the wind causing me to well up. I thought about this time last month, when I might have come to the mall only to supplement my wardrobe or hang out with my friends, not to shovel greasy food across a counter at people who seriously needed to rethink their carb intake.
Brian Bishop was to blame for all of this. Correction: Brian along with the girls formerly known as my best friends -- Rachel, Britney and Whitney. I scowled thinking about them and tried to avoid stepping in the big piles of grey, wet slush near the curb. My life had metaphorically turned to slush in recent weeks, and I held them personally responsible.
Approaching the entrance, I recognized a faux-deputy uniform on the other side of the glass door. It belonged to Grady Pfeiffer, a member of the mall's Keystone Cop security team. He looked unnerved as he glanced out at the snow, but when he saw me, he threw me a chipper nod and leaned on the door to open it for me.
"Thanks," I said, already exhausted and chilled to the bone.
"Afternoon, Miranda. Cold enough for you, huh?" Stamping my feet to get a bit of feeling back in them, I wasn't in the mood for his congenial chit-chat, but he failed to take notice. "How are things?"
"My life is a complete cataclysm, but thanks for asking," I grumbled as I walked past him and into the mall.
"Well, uh . . . " He was stymied by my dose of attitude, and since I wasn't inclined to elaborate on my troubles I decided to issue a momentary gag order on my grousing. Grady hadn't done anything to deserve it, after all.
"Just kidding. I'm freezing my ass off, but other than that I'm fine. Really."
"Well, that's good," he said, joining me as I trudged on toward my destination. "Not for your, er, ass, I mean, but well . . . uhh . . . you know I'm always here to help . . ."
"Thanks, Grady, I know." I flashed him one of my famous smiles, guaranteed to melt butter. "Oh, actually -- there is one teensy, tiny thing you can do for me . . ." I paused dramatically. I normally tried not to abuse my power on people as defenseless as Grady, but every once in a while I had to flex my muscles.
"Anything! If it's something the law and the sweet Lord above allows, of course." He blushed to the roots of his brown hair, which was close-cropped, military-style.
"My request is innocent enough, I can assure you. It's Ariel's birthday, and I want to surprise her after work with an ice cream cake from Just Desserts. Think you can swing by and pick it up for me on your rounds a few minutes before nine? I can pay you later," I added, feeling up to adjust my idiotic chapeau. The Hot-Dog Kebob refrigerator was crammed full of frozen wieners and some rubbery pasteurized processed cheese -- I didn't want a perfectly good mint-chip cake getting tainted by being stored in the same fetid freezer space.
"Weeellllll," Grady drew out the word as if it contained five syllables, shifted on his heels, then concluded the performance with a broad wink, "I'm really not supposed to do anything like that while I'm on duty. But for you, I'll make an exception." It wasn't as if I was asking him to steal the cake for god's sake, but Grady was a tad obsessed with "protocol." We were both relatively new employees here, but unlike yours truly, he couldn't take his job more seriously if he were guarding the perimeter at Fort Knox.
I thanked the rent-a-cop and headed past Treasure Hunt Antiques & Collectibles and its display window full of creepy china dolls, rare coins, and mint-condition baseball cards. I poked my head in to look for Mike, the store clerk who usually worked this shift, but he wasn't at his usual spot behind the counter. Next door was Hair Apparent, the mall's only salon with its attached Glamour Puss portrait studio. No matter how many times I passed by, I never failed to snort with derision at the decade-old display photos meant to entice middle-aged moms to doll-up like models for their hubbies. The women were plastered with makeup and wrapped in feather boas like a bad Vegas act, wrinkly cleavage spilling out of low-cut sequined gowns.
"Miranda! Miss Fabulous!" Alfredo burst from Hair Apparent and traipsed toward me for a hug and a swoopy air kiss on the cheek. Dressed to the nines as usual, he sported a purple tie and matching sweater vest. "Check out the cufflinks," he said, holding out his arm for inspection. "They're mermaids." The boy did have exquisite, if colorful, taste.
"Nice," I said admiringly. "Hey, I'm throwing a surprise birthday party for Ariel after we close tonight. Can you come by?"
"I don't know," he said, pushing his long, razored bangs out of his face. "I have a scorchingly hot date tonight."
"Stop by, pleassse, and you can have the challenge of a lifetime -- giving Ariel a makeover," I wheedled.
"Well, you know I can't pass up the chance to turn that duckling into a swan. I'll swing by, but just for a few minutes. How old is the tiny thing, anyway? Twelve?"
I made a face.
"She's turning seventeen and you know it. Oh, by the way, I was going to ask Mike, too, but it looks he's on his break. Can you let him know for me?"
"Sure thing." Alfredo sauntered back inside Hair Apparent and I continued my forced march down the wide hallway. The piped-in easy listening tunes already giving me a killer headache, and I could hear the faint screeching of kids at the Cheeze Monkey pizzeria/arcade on the other side of the mall. Oh well, I thought optimistically, at least I'm not working again until Tuesday night. I mentally added up the amount I'd make tonight. Five hours of work equaled just about forty-two bucks -- it would barely make a dent in what I was expected to pay back in restitution. Back when I'd had an allowance, fifty dollars had been chump change, approximately what I'd spend on a sushi lunch during a shopping spree with my friends. My former friends, that is.
I wondered, a tad wistfully, what Rachel and the "Itneys" were doing today. Probably planning their annual winter ski trip to Aspen or breaking in matching pairs of whatever high-priced boots Vogue deemed "must-have" this season. They didn't have a care in the world that their daddies' AmEx cards couldn't fix. As shallow as it sounded, sometimes I wished I could still say the same.
The above is an excerpt from the book Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
© 2012 Kim Askew and Amy Helmes, authors of Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel
About the authors...
Kim Askew, co-author of Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel, whose work has appeared in Elle and other magazines, is a content manager for the Webby-winning teen site www.FashionClub.com, for which she has covered the Teen Choice and MTV awards. Follow Kim on Twitter @kaskew.
Amy Helmes, co-author of Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel, is co-author of Boys of a Feather: A Field Guide to American Males and is also a weekly contributor to The Rundown, a free daily e-mail service that keeps subscribers informed on what's new and cool in LA. Follow Amy on Twitter @amyhelmes.
Both Kim and Amy think Shakespeare understood the young's true love and pain like no other, from Hamlet's sorry stepdad to Juliet's trauma drama, hence this literate farce, based on "The Tempest."
Special thanks to Leyane at FSB Associates for the chance to bring you this special excerpt. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, those forthcoming from Merit Press, and more from these featured author's be sure to click through the links provided throughout the post. (It's like an expedition but with bookish treasure at the end!)
Until next time...happy reading!