Monday, August 20, 2012

Contestant 13, Reality TV Show for Authors

She begins each morning by searching the space in front of her with her shaky hands and outstretched frail arms. The time is passed scrupulously plotting various scenarios to make it through one more day and survive the fight for her life. The cold concrete floor jars her awake as she slowly makes her way to the far corner where the uncomfortable metal chair and tiny table await her presence. It takes 6 steps to make it to the desk where she meticulously types for another day, another hour, one more minute of air.  The guard stationed outside the metal door clangs his club against the surface to alert the prisoner another round has begun and she must begin to type or lose her life.  The machinery used to record her script is antiquated and hard to maneuver. The keys are coated with sticky goo to make the writing even more difficult for the contestant when she presses down on the buttons. Faint clicking is heard from outside her cell and she realizes the other prisoners have started to type.  The girl begins to panic and quickly begins to punch in her thoughts on the old typewriter before the electric stick comes out to prod her like once before when she refused to write any further.
“Five minutes people! You have five minutes to continue your session from yesterday and create a suspense scene with a mystery character,” stated the gruff voice over the loud speaker. “Your time starts now!”
She searches her mind for a new idea and calculates how much of the thought to put into her creation. Too much content will threaten her hope for future seats in the contest, not enough content will anger the judges and cause her to be disqualified… immediate death. She decides to write about the new character she dreamt about with the familiar eyes and the rugged physique.  A stranger, a mystery, her life line for today.  A name… what is his name, she thinks to herself. It must be strong, unique, daring enough to mirror her character, but different and surprising for the readers. She must draw the judges in and capture their attention with his stunning looks and extraordinary abilities. The judge’s panel responds well to strength and endurance.
Her fingers are typing madly, pounding the small keys with fervor and zest. The storyline progresses and she has to change the paper quickly. This is a chore she has learned to master in the dark, without the help of overhead light or natural sunlight. All the windows have been blacked out and barred. The lights have been removed and pitch black surrounds her everywhere. During the evening hours, when they give them a 2 hour rest period, she listens for the faint patter of feet scurry across the floor to pick up the crumbs from her small dinner given once a day. The food can hardly be called a meal with one square of bland bread and a cup of water filled with silt. At first, she devoured the food to ease her hunger pangs, but now slowly picks the chunk of hard bread apart and stares into the darkness, daydreaming about her former life.
Before she arrived inside the prison walls, she was a new and upcoming young adult author destined for stardom. Her agent advised her to sign up for a reality TV show casting debut authors for their talent and boasted about a million dollar prize. It didn’t take her long to decide she wanted the opportunity to be showcased against her fellow literary rivals and so she allowed her agent to register her work and waited for the call. Two days later, the casting director invited her to lunch to discuss the details.
“We ask all our contestants to meet at a secret location and wait for our drivers to pick you up individually. We will blindfold you, take you by limo and have you secluded inside your beach side cabanas with access to a laptop and all the food you desire. We will give you a task to complete each day and the winner will move forward for a chance to win 1 million dollars and a lifetime contract with our esteemed publishing company!”
She remembers dreaming about the outcome, winning the million and sitting pretty for the rest of her life. The meeting was a farce, the contest a scam, and the odds of her getting out alive were slim to none.  She was trapped inside the walls of hell, writing for her freedom and hoping for an end to this nightmare she thought was the answers to all her prayers. 
Be careful what you wish for… it might come in the form of a dream come true, but end up swallowing you whole and spitting you out as a shriveled mass.
One authors take on a fictional Reality TV show gone bad…

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Author Bethany Lopez, Ciao Release

Today is a great day for my friend and fellow young adult writer, Bethany Lopez, who has released her third book, Ciao, from her Stories About Melissa series. I am excited to reveal her new book and hope to gather interest for those seeking contemporary young adult novels. I have asked Bethany to include a character interview so our viewers can 'get to know' some of her characters along with an excerpt from her latest book!

Thank you Bethany for taking the time to introduce your character to our audience! I'm sure they will fall in love with her sweet and spunky attitude!

Q:  Where do you dream of traveling to and why?
Well, I've always wanted to get out of Michigan and go anywhere else, but since I've met Giovanni and talked to him about Italy, I would really like to go there someday.

Q: Who is your favorite author?
Sarah Dessen
Q: What do you think makes a good story?
Romance. I like to read about falling in love

Q: Tell us about your family.
OMG... They're crazy! I am the oldest of five kids, so it seems like we always have a million people in the house and I can never get a second to myself. Megan is a spaz, Mikey is pretty cool, Monica is a little diva, and Max is a sweetheart. My parents are pretty cool, too, I guess.

Q: What was the scariest moment of your life?
Um, when my mom went into the hospital to have Max and we didn't know what was going on, and no one would tell us anything. Then when Dad came home crying, I thought something was wrong with my mom.

Q: Are you reading a book right now and if so, what’s the name of it?
What Happened to Goodbye, by Sarah Dessen

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A fashion photographer

Q: What is your favorite meal?
I really like Lettuce Wraps and Yaki Mon Du. My mom and I can make them taste pretty killer.
Q: Do you play any sports?
No. Sports aren't my thing.
Q: Who is your ‘Hollywood’ crush?
Hmmm. I really think Ryan Gosling is HOT!

Q: What are you passionate about these days?
Raising money for the scholarship my friends parents are setting up.
Q: If you could sneak out to toilet paper your “frenemy’s” (friend+enemy) house, who would that person be?

Q: What do you do to unwind and relax?
I have been doing Yoga, and I really like.

Q: If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?
Hmmm, well, someone that I hurt in the past, but is still in my life? My sister, Megan.

Q: Who should play you in a film? 
Haha... Taylor Swift

Q: Morning person or night person? How do you know?
I think I am forced to be a morning person, since I'm not allowed to stay up too late and I have to get up early for school.

Q: Is there a writer you idolize? If so who?
I guess, Sarah Dessen

Q: What would we find under your bed?
Fashion Magazines
Q: What is your favorite song or musical group?
I love Taylor Swift and the guys from The Wanted

Q: What makes you happy?
Hanging out with my friends.

Q: What is the next big thing?
I don't know, maybe I'll finally find a love like Jess and Giovanni seem to have... *sighs*
Q: In regards to yourself, give us one good attribute and one bad attribute. Be honest, we won’t judge you…
Um, okay... bad - I guess I have a hard time expressing my feelings sometimes. Good - I like to think that I am a loyal friend.
Q: Who did you grow up idolizing and why?
I think Emma Stone is super cool. She always makes the best movies and gets to kiss the hottest guys!
Q: What one word best describes you?
Q: Do your friends think you are an introvert or an extravert? Why?
Probably an extravert, since I always like to do stuff.
Q: Do you have any special routines or rituals?
I get up and do Yoga in the morning, then get ready for school. That's about it!
Please enjoy an excerpt from Bethany Lopez' Ciao novel, released August 15, 2012.
My Fifteenth Birthday:
            Happy Birthday to me…. That’s right I’m now fifteen years old. You may be wondering where I have been all summer, since I haven’t written since the day of the Buddy Walk. Well, that last entry filled up my journal. I can’t believe I filled two journals already. I didn’t realize how much I like to write! I kept meaning to get another one, but I have been so busy that I just never got around to it. I have to say, I have really missed writing things down at night. I was so happy when I opened Megan’s present, and she’d gotten me another journal for my birthday. She said it is going to be a tradition, and she promised not to write in this one!
            I know I have a lot to write about my summer, but I have to tell you about my birthday party first. I had such a great time.
            My actual birthday was yesterday, so I celebrated with the family last night. We all went out to dinner and then they gave me presents when we got home. Mikey gave me some nail polish and Monica drew me a picture of the two of us playing Barbie’s (I think that was a hint!). My parents gave me some gift cards, because I like to pick out my own clothes rather than have them pick them out, and they also gave me a new iPod, which I totally needed. Max smiled at me, so I took that as my gift from him. He is turning into a really cute little guy.
To celebrate with my friends, I wanted to do a BBQ deal at the house and just invite everyone over for a great party. So I contacted my friends and told them to invite their friends, and my dad agreed to man the BBQ and try not to be too intrusive.
I went with pink and white colors, because I just love that combo, and my friend, Cassie, helped me pick out decorations and decide what to wear.
Cassie just moved to Dearborn. She moved in a few doors down from my house at the end of June. Being the outgoing and super friendly person that I am, I went down and introduced myself. Turns out she’s really cool, and we’ve spent a lot of time together this summer. She will be starting DHS as a sophomore with me in a few short days. She already knows Brian and Jimmy, of course, but the BBQ gave her a chance to meet everyone that she will be going to school with this year.
Anyway, it turned into an all-out bash! I was feeling particularly cute (Yoga is making me totally toned!) in my baby doll pink ruffled tank with white shorts and white sandals. I wore my hair in a side braid with pink hoop earrings and this sweet white flower ring that Cassie gave me as a birthday present. Mom kept Monica and Max entertained and Megan wandered outside a couple of times to grab cheese cubes and a hot dog, but was ghost most of the day. Mikey hung out with my friends the most, but it didn’t bother me. He played catch and basketball with some of the guys and stayed out of my hair.
Brian brought Mo along with him, but promised that there wouldn’t be any trouble, and there wasn’t. They’ve had football practice for about a month now to get ready for the season, so they brought some of the guys from the team along with them. Jimmy brought Kasey, Joshua, and Joe, who run track with him, and they brought their girlfriends. I hadn’t talked to any of them very much since my fallout with Layla, but they were all really cool. The others who came must have heard from word of mouth, because I had about fifty people from school at my house. It was awesome!
The biggest surprise came about halfway through my party. I was looking for Jimmy and couldn’t find him anywhere. He’d told me to come find him later, so he could give me my present. Just when I was about to give up, I saw him coming out of my house, and I started towards him. He caught my eye and smiled and then turned to motion to something behind him - and Jess walked out! I let out a “Whoop!” and went running up to hug her. She wasn’t supposed to be home until the day before school, so this was totally unexpected.
“OMG, Jess! What are you doing here?” I squealed, holding her close and not wanting to let her go.
“I wanted to surprise you. Happy Birthday, Mis!”
“You totally did! I’m so happy you’re here!” I said as I led her down the stairs.
“Jimmy, you knew about this didn’t you?” I accused, laughing as I turned towards him.
“Yeah… It was tough not telling you, but I knew it would be a great surprise!” he explained, grabbing Jess for a quick hug and telling her that he missed her too.
She hugged him back and smiled. Then she turned to Cassie, who had come up next to me and said, “You must be Cassie. I’ve heard so much about you. I feel like I know you already! Welcome to Dearborn!”
“Me too! I mean, I feel like I know you too, with as much as Melissa has talked about you. Thanks, and welcome back,” Cassie replied, looking quite stunning. Her hair is a striking red and she has brilliant green eyes. She totally looks like a supermodel and I would hate her if she wasn’t my friend. She would be intimidating if she wasn’t so sweet and friendly.
So, the party was pretty much perfect after that. My mom even gave me a letter from Ben, which she’d saved for me, since he wrote “Happy Birthday” on the front of the envelope. In fact, I have been saving it and didn’t think about it until now, so I’m going to sign off now so that I can go and read it. I’ll write more later to fill in the blanks about my summer vacation!

I'd like to thank Bethany again for her willingness to share her novel Ciao with our Sired Scribbling audience. If you would like to learn more about her young adult series, please visit her webpage at Bethany Lopez
or to purchase a copy of Ciao, click on the link, Amazon or Nook