A Nano Sample of NaNo

My most excellent good friends! How dost thou?

Today I figured I’d foist an excerpt of my NaNo project, ‘Shaedai’ on your undeserving eyes, that way I don’t have to think of anything new to write. For those of you who are interested, my current wordcount is 16676, so I’m ahead of the game so far.

This is the prologue for ‘Shaedai’, or a first draft anyway; I know there’s a lot of character’s names in this, but it would be clear from the back-of-book blurb that these characters, the Heads of House, are not going to be main characters in the story, and thus their names aren’t really important right now.

Well, with those excuses out of the way, I present to you the magnificent prelude of… stuff.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Prelude

The Rings were spinning again.

Each brass coil spun in a different direction, floating in the air; all seven adorned with seven of the crests of the Custodians and spinning on more than one axis, with a speed that challenged the Custodian Heads to follow with their eyes.

Tension was thick within the room, rivals gave one another sidelong glares and allies worried glances when they lost track of their crest in the golden blur the rings had become. Only two of them had lived long enough to have seen the DUELS before, and neither had been Head at the time; this once-in-a-lifetime experience put the usually confident group on edge.

The lights grew brighter every moment, shivering against the high stone walls. Some rings scraped against each other and made sparks, while the sound of spinning became ever more high-pitched as the moments passed. Not even the most stalwart Head could stand to look as the spinning reached its crescendo.

It was as if there was a flash of lightning, the brightness and the sound of it was so similar, some Heads even flinched back as the point of choosing was reached, and then the Rings slowed down, and one by one they hung horizontally in the air.

Those who recognised their crests in the hanging rings made a variety of reactions, many of them displeased to say the least, some unconcerned—they’d known no family members were eligible this time, perhaps—but some were even relieved not to have the responsibility.

One Ring still spun upright, like a wheel of fate; but in time it too slowed to a stop.

The de Alvear crest glowed green at the top of the Ring.

“Isabella,” whispered the wind.

Each Head turned to Elena de Alvear, even those who tried not to look, as if the others would decide they were too confident to care. Elena’s hands were clasped in front of her chest, her eyes wide, her lips just stretching into a wide grin etched with giddiness. Fernando Páez hissed a ‘T’ noise in disgust, but Elena hardly noticed.

“Well, congratulations,” said Ray Bartlett, breaking the ice so to speak. He was obviously not happy, and they all knew his great-niece Amanda had been a favourite to be chosen as the Princess, but no one was really surprised that it was Isabella.

Still, it was more than disappointment that was bothering Ray. Not being chosen for the Princess was unfortunate, but there was still a yet more pressing concern. There were no boys of age to be Suitors in the Bartlett family, and that meant Amanda could still be chosen as the Challenger.

Elena said nothing for the moment, but Shu Fan Lang snapped “Hush!’, in his soft, hoarse voice. The Rings were spinning again, much sooner than the gathered Heads had expected.

And they made the selections of the Suitors much faster, spending less than a minute on each.

The Roesdahl-Kessle crest was first, accompanied with a whisper of “Arne,” and Sven Roesdahl-Kessle let out a bark of laughter in response.

Some of the Heads had pen and paper at hand to record the contestants; or tablets if they used that sort of thing—Custodians tended to be old-fashioned, and Elena was one of the few that had one to hand. Giles Rhys-Revailler Constanton was another, which was a surprise as he’d be ninety-seven years old in a matter of weeks.

“Look at what my granddaughter gave me, Noni,” he said to Noni Okino, solemnly. “It’s called an ‘i-pad’, and you touch the keys here just on the screen, and look! The words are right there. Genius, isn’t it?”

Noni was trying not to laugh.

Lang was the second Suitor chosen, but it was the crest of the old former Sioux line rather than the main branch that shone; the Ameri-Langs as they were often known.

“Xiang Fei.”

Jiao Qi Lang nodded to himself grimly. Shu looked annoyed that one of the Ameri-Langs had been picked, but that selection had also caused a more general murmur throughout the room; Xiang was heir to his House, after all.

The Mwangi crest came next, and Njau Mwangi was chosen to compete in DUELS, to the great pleasure of his father’s cousin; while when the Páez crest glowed on the turn after that, Fernando seemed still too bitter about his hated rival’s daughter becoming Princess to be pleased his nephew Lorenzo now had a chance to become Prince.

When the Himori crest lit up cherry-blossom pink on the next turn, Juichiro Himori looked happy at first. Then the gathering heard the whispered name of “Yuusuke,” and his face fell.

“Yuusuke?” murmured Vladimir Milescu. “Isn’t it Takanata they thought might be picked?”

“They’re both his great-nephews,” said Marie Ahanda. “Only one’s considered a bit more… princely.”

“Ah.”

If Juichiro had heard that he made no mention of it, and had his features schooled back to serenity by the time the Henderson-Sembene crest was glowing in the chosen position, and James Henderson-Sembene was selected, much to his father Clarence’s delight. Clarence looked particularly to Noni for her reaction, but was disappointed to find she didn’t seem all that bothered.

The next colour that bathed the room was a dark blue; ultramarine, the family called it, and that family was Rhys-Revailler Constanton.

“What?” said Phyllis McKinley. “You don’t have—”

“Tarquin,” said the wind.

“Tarquin?” Phyllis repeated, confused. Quite a few of the others looked the same, including Giles himself.

Is there someone in my family called Tarquin?” he asked, looking around the room.

“Your cousin’s great-grandson,” Ravi Khamavant supplied, and rather than looking annoyed with Giles inability to remember his own family members, he looked pleased. “The younger of my sister’s son’s boys.”

Phyllis rolled her eyes. Obviously Ravi was pleased someone of his blood had been chosen for DUELS, even if they weren’t of his House. Odds were against any House being selected after all, there were forty-nine Houses and only eleven places in DUELS; and one of those places was the one no one wanted to be chosen for.

“He has McKinley blood too,” Ravi told her.

“Not from the Irish side, I bet,” Phyllis replied, and Ravi left it there so it was probably true. A lot of Custodian family members who strayed away from the main line mixed with other Houses to try to keep the connection to the Shaedai strong.

Delmonte was the eighth House to have a suitor chosen, Juan Delmonte the Suitor in question. His grandfather’s expression didn’t change at all at news of the selection, and a few of the Heads weren’t entirely sure the man hadn’t fallen asleep. He had been known to do so at Court in the past.

The final House to be given the opportunity to put forward a contestant in DUELS was Nkosi-Elzevir, and seeing his family’s crest light up at the top of its Ring made Jeremiah Nkosi-Elzevir jump up and down like an unruly teenager. Jeremiah’s young cousin Matthew was chosen for DUELS, the ninth for this round, and a collective breath was exhaled in defeat from most of the remaining Heads.

But the spinning was not over. A scant few moments passed before the Rings spun again, and this time much slower than before, as if the Shaedai enjoyed drawing out their Custodians’ agony. The thirty-nine Houses that had not been chosen were mostly disappointed, but when those Rings moved they all remembered there was a worse fate than not being chosen to participate in DUELS.

A much worse fate.

Spinning as slowly as they had when first the gathering had arrived, the Rings soon accelerated again, while the Heads watched in various stages of anxiety. Even those who had no daughters eligible looked nervous, even those who had already been chosen and were therefore safe, all except Elena de Alvear, whose joy could apparently be dampened for nothing.

At one point Pablo de la Vega, whose daughter’s fate was one of those on the line, dropped the notebook he was holding and startled Ray Bartlett, who looked about ready to slap him in turn but was much too distracted by the spinning.

Round and round and round the brass Rings went. Brighter they glowed, until a second flash of lightning like the crash of cymbals filled the room and made the Heads’ eyes close again. The Rings fell into position one by one, the wheel of fate made its choice and the last crest of this generations’ DUELS fell into place with a click.

Okino.

“Elodie” said the wind.

As they had when Isabella had been chosen, each Head turned to look at Noni Okino in a ripple of neck-swivelling. Even Elena de Alvear spared her a glance, though her glance was wary. But for the others, jealousy was replaced with sympathy—even from disagreeable sorts like Fernando and Shu, even from Clarence Henderson-Sembene, whose family hated the Okinos.

Noni ignored all this and kept her eyes fixed on her family’s crest, spreading shadows over the room like the black that was the family colour; right up until she threw her cane on the ground and folded her arms with clenched fists.

“Well, damn it!” she said.

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The Selection Commentary: Schlockholm Syndrome (Part II)

PART TWO

Interlude? But we’re only 45% through! You just didn’t want me to write ‘erection’!

Anyway, all the other girls whimper and cry, but not Mer, because she’s the best! All she cares about is the safety of her maids! Anyway, Mer takes the opportunity to tell Maxon she only assaulted him because one of the show’s producers told her she had to put out for him no matter what, and she had thought he was going to ask her to do just that.

He tells her he wouldn’t and to make sure all the other girls know it too, and then tells her something about who might be attacking and it could be one of two groups of rebels, the Northerners or the Southerners. (imaginative!)

The Northerners attack more often, but the Southerners are more dangerous. Also, Maxon has a theory that the Northerners are looking for something, but no one listens to his theory and they assume that both sets of rebels just kind of don’t like them for no reason—always the case with La Resistance. That or they’re obsessed with Romeo and Juliet.

And then the attack is over and it’s back to gossiping. Oh, ‘The Selection’—never change!

Also we get the wangsty backstory of Lucy the maid, something I know I was missing from my life.

Chapter Fourteen

Mer amuses herself with servants gossip until Maxon drops by to suggest they try alternative methods of communication. He wants to develop sign language so Mer can tell him who the best picks are, and they agree on ear tugging as a sign to meet. I’m sure this is all integral to the plot.

Then they go on the Strictly show and have a good old fashioned boring interview.

Chapter Fifteen

Today Mer has remembered that Aspen guy, and wonders what he’s doing, which is more than the reader is. Maxon pops round for their chat, and wangsts about how hard it is to be a prince. Hmm, maybe he and Mer are perfect for each other. In return, she bores him with stories of Aspen and his dickishness and how her older brother’s a douche too, who doesn’t send the family any of his money.

So, is Mer ever going to get around to sussing out who should be Maxon’s queen?

Chapter Sixteen

Mer and Marlee talk about Marlee’s adorkable date with Maxon… lot of M’s in this book… and how they saw a movie and he burned the popcorn like a spaz. Mer now distrusts Maxon for not telling her all about his other dates, even though she wangsts so much during their conversations it’s a miracle Maxon got that one ‘it’s tough to be a prince’ line in the last chapter.

Then suddenly one of the other girls slaps the Dawn character in the face and gets sent home, so we’re down to 26.

Chapter Seventeen

Apparently the girls have to have history lessons while on Strictly, so we can exposit about the history that lead to the dictatorship of Strictly-land. It seems China was a loan shark that invaded America and took it over when they didn’t pay their debt, causing several European nations not only to align themselves with one another, but also to make alliances!

And there I was under the impression that those two kind of meant the same thing. Unless they mean the countries physically shifted locations so they’d be more parallel. I guess they envied America’s straight-line borders.

No one as much so, it seems, as Russia, who decided that this would be a good time to—you guessed it—take over the world! (Of course!) But the North American continent banded together under the leadership of Gregory Strictly, and fought them off.

(Okay, his name’s Illea, and the country’s called Illea too).

I’m sure knowing all that is going to be important somehow, but now it’s time for a photo shoot! Yay! Also some rebels attacked and some people died. Yay!

Then another girl is sacrificed to a plot hole, one moment she’s talking to Maxon, the next, without any kind of transition, the others are talking about how she was sent home. Celeste makes sure to be extra bitchy in her honour.

And finally Mer lectures Maxon on poverty and stuff and he practically bursts into tears upon learning that… poor people exist! It’s truly thrilling.

Chapter Eighteen

King Top Gear announces that due to spending cuts the girls won’t be getting paid for their time on Strictly anymore, and we learn that that last girl was pushed into the plot hole for saying mean things about Mer. Now the other girls are starting to copy Mer, which might be the start of some of that intrigue we were promised.

Mer gets a super-special-awesome dress and her ugly step-sister—I mean, Celeste, rips it up. This should get her sent home, but Celeste has Cheerleader Immunity so nothing happens for now. Then Maxon announces he’s using the girls’ money to feed the poor. What a guy!

Then it’s time for interviews, so Mer can obsess over Celeste’s boobs some more, and then go on and on about how wonderful Maxon is, stopping just before nominating him for sainthood. Afterwards we get the ‘one can never help being born into perfection’ line, though it’s said ironically so I give it my approval, which I know it’s been waiting desperately for.

Then it’s time for twu wuv’s first kiss, and Maxon’s first overall! Aww…

Chapter Nineteen

Conflict! Another girl announces that Maxon kissed her too! Oh my god! Oh my god! Is it tru?! Can it beeeeee?! Kriss and Tuesday have a serious discussion about whether or not this is true—who are Kriss and Tuesday? They’re characters in the book, that’s who.

Then Elise gets a comb as a gift from Maxon! Who’s Elise? Another character in the book.

But there’s more excitement as the king and queen of Swendway (Pfffft!) are coming for a royal visit. Mer meets the queen’s sister who’s a real character!… in this book. No, wait, she’s just drunk. Mer acts passive-aggressively towards Maxon and then forces him off onto Celeste’s boobs.

Chapter Twenty

Marlee (one of the only other girls I actually remember), wangsts to Mer about how she doesn’t think there’s really a connection between her and Maxon, but she can’t go home because of… reasons. Three more girls are casually revealed to have been thrown into the Strictly Come Plot Hole off-page, leaving us with twenty-two.

Then Aspen randomly shows up to remind the audience that he exists. Gasp! The Plot thinnens!

Being too dumb to realise that Aspen is obviously the ex-boyfriend Mer was constantly wangsting about, Maxon assigns him to guard her room at night, poor dumb Maxon. Well, poor Mer as well, I guess.

Chapter Twenty-One

It’s Kriss’ birthday! You know the one—she was vaguely mention a few chapters ago? No? Well, it’s her birthday anyway and that means a party! Celeste takes the opportunity to be hilariously snobby, and after Mer gives a stirring violin performance (lyk, teh  best evah!) Celeste pours her drink on Kriss’ dress, making her run out of the room crying. What a wimp.

This is the last straw for Mer, and she plots to get Celeste voted off the island!

Chapter Twenty-Two

Being embroiled in politics his entire life, Maxon has apparently never heard of guile, and thus can’t believe that the drink-spilling wasn’t an accident! And even though Mer is supposed to be his inside man, he suddenly doesn’t believe a word she says and stalks off in a huff. Ah, forced conflict—I eat it up.

Mer immediately concludes that Maxon just wants Celeste’s boobs, and so turns her attention back to Aspen, who creeps into her room at night like a paranormal creature. They do some kissing and he tells her all about the steroids the army has put him on. Good Times.

Chapter Twenty-Three

Aspen reveals he didn’t really have any new hos, the spaz just tripped and fell into his arms during the goodbye party. Yeah, that’s what all the politicians say!

Then La Resistance attacks again, and Mer worries over whether it’s the Starks or the Lannisters. She insists that her maids come with her again, because she’s the good protagonist. It turns out it’s the Lannisters who are attacking—oh noes—because the palace security is just that shit.

But they’re fought off, and Mer returns to her room to find that La Resistance… really messed her room up. Yeah, they’re really scary. Next time they might spray some graffiti!

But more girls are leaving and Mer gets to call home so her family can assume that the only reason she’s staying is because she’s in love with Maxon.

Chapter Twenty-Four

The next morning, at breakfast, Maxon decides that keeping his harem under constant threat of attack isn’t a very nice thing to do considering he’ll be sending most of them home anyway. Therefore, he’s going to send all but six of them home today! DUN DUN DUN!

Only Marlee, Kriss, Natalie, Celeste, Elise and Mer are staying, everyone else gets together for the wangst storm of the century since I’m not sure Natalie or Elise have ever been mentioned before.

Maxon drops by Mer’s room later to tell her that if it was a simple matter, he would already have picked her by now, but he’s being pressured by the courtiers to consider the others. Mer feels guilty for smooching with Aspen. Love is growing between them. DRAMA!

Chapter Twenty-Five

Aspen creeps into Mer’s room again that night, and gets angry that she’s reluctant to date him again given the whole pain of death rule and him being a gigantic tool…

My god. I’m actually invested in this. I’m on Team Maxon.

WHAT HAVE I BECOME! TELL ME, ‘The Selection’, WHAT HAVE YOU TURNED ME INTO!?!?!?!?!?!?

The Selection: End of Book One.

What?

WHAT!?

Darth Vader: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Final Thoughts

Well, since this is the book that broke me down and turned me into one of the love triangle-zombie horde, I feel it’s only fair I turn to my panel of judges to tell you, the viewer at home, what ‘The Selection’ should mean to you. Take it away, Dawn!

Dawn: 10 out of 10, for Celeste’s huge knockers!

Patch: Aspen’s dickishness gets a seven from me!

The Holy Periodic Table: Wacky premise  and terrible world-building is a 10 out of 10!

Russell: Eight for the love triangle and the main character’s constant moralising, y’all!

Miles: And another 10 for the ridiculously underdeveloped other characters!

And finally, from Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way…

Enoby: Zero. Coz itz not goffick.

I’ll just calculate that on my trusty firewall, and the final score is… 100%!

YAY!!!

Wait, that doesn’t make any sense!

Patch: Yeah, like this book. Hahahahahaha!

The Selection Commentary: Schlockholm Syndrome (Part I)

THE SELECTION

(PART ONE)

This book is hands down my favourite bad YA romance. Ever. Here’s the condensed Goodreads review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/550080477

We’re back to dystopia now, an entry that two reviewers I enjoy gave a one star and a ‘what the hell was that!’ so naturally, I had to give it a try. (That, and the term ‘Selection’ has a certain gravitas in my own novel). This is some kind of weird Hunger Games rip-off except instead of 24 people battling to the death, it’s 35 girls battling over a man—and you know what that means!

Mud wrestling! Woo!

(No, not really.)

Our cover features a girl wearing a wedding cake dress and sniffing her underarm. This is going to be good.

Chapter One

“One can never help being born into perfection,” I whispered.

First line. FIRST LINE. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Oh wait, that was a prelude or something. Ahem.

Chapter One

So our main character, America, (seriously), isn’t pleased that she’s been sent an application for Strictly Come Hunger Games, and doesn’t want to be royalty because of all those rebels that keep attacking. But her mom says it’s a good idea because of all the money she’ll get, and if I remember anything from Hush, Hush, it’s how important money is.

America exposits this, and her backstory of being of the lower caste of artists (I sense some ‘persecuted artist’ subtext!) ‘three steps up from dirt’. It seems that every caste has a number, because this dictatorship wasn’t imaginative enough to have the colour-caste system of ‘The Wind Singer’. The artists are ‘fives’.

Anyway, more exposition tells us how, in this Brave New World… the public holidays are different! Dun dun dun! Christmas is still the same though, because you can’t change the birth date of a deity, even though Jesus almost certainly wasn’t born on December 25th.

Mom reads out the invitation to apply to Strictly at the dinner table, and America’s thirteen year old sister is written like a six-year-old. America doesn’t want to marry a stupid prince though, and doesn’t think she’s pretty (why is this coming up? Oh yeah, so her family can go on about how amazingly beautiful she is actually and how they have to beat the boys off with a stick when she’s not looking).

Then America does some schizo complaining about how it sucks to be poor and how she wishes her mother would stop complaining that they’re so poor!

Chapter Two

That night America’s friend Aspen pops over to their tree house for secret smoochings, and so America can go on about how much she wuvs him and it hurts to be apart from him. Uh, you might want to get that checked, my dear. But Aspen’s a Six, of the servant class, which means theirs is a forbidden love.

They give some helpful exposition on the whole Selection process and how poor Aspen is. He’s so poor he’s even poorer than America! And he gives all his food to his siblings, so… well, he should have died of starvation by now, I guess, but I suppose he’s too sexy to die, and then the audience is brought face to face with the height of poverty—having to give up extra-curricular activities to work! The horror!

Aspen wonders if America, nicknamed ‘Mer’ would really be okay with being as poor as him. She says it would be fine if they made sure not to have too many children, but apparently birth control is only given to class four or above (whut?) so that means they can’t control how many children they have. (whut?)

But, he still thinks she should enter the competition, and her protests seem a little dumb since it’s made clear that all the contestants get monetary compensation, regardless of whether or not they win. Still twu wuv seems to be Mer’s only concern.

There’s some more exposition about how Aspen’s younger brother Jemmy was once publically whipped for stealing (why was that story there?) and then they go on about how much they love each other again.

Chapter Three

America’s mother bribes her into entering the Selection, and she babbles about what different kinds of clothes the different castes wear, whining about how the higher castes wear some of the fabrics the lower castes have to, but as a fashion statement! It’s socio-economic appropriation! Waaaah!

But she applies, mostly so it can lead to a trite conversation with her dad about marrying below your station for love. And, you know, the plot of the book. Mer also has a pep talk with her brother, who sucks at everything arty so the future looks kind of bleak for him.

So they go to the sign-up place where apparently the girl’s pictures are going to be taken as a surprise, and Mer makes disparaging comments about those who are both above and below her status. She meets up with Aspen’s sisters for that staple of YA—a boring conversation. They mention that Aspen is putting away money for marriage, and Mer is shocked that the boy with whom she talks about marriage all the time might want to marry her!

Chapter Four

It’s time for the Singer family to watch the royals on TV, and… Oh. My. God. The king is called ‘Clarkson’. Clarkson.

I wonder if his chief enforcer of the peace is The Stig?

Anyway, Mer describes the prince and says she almost pities the girl who’ll end up with him because he looks so boring, based on… her wonderful skills at reading people? Seriously, she pities the girl who’ll become Queen? I mean, I know being a royal is hardly all sunshine and roses, but this girl could be from one of those starving-in-the-street castes! I think she’d prefer the boring King-husband!

And we learn that the Queen was a Four, which means she spent her early days in a shop or on a farm. So this society values agricultural labourers over artists and domestic servants? I’m not seeing a lot of logic in their social order.

Ha ha. I said ‘logic’.

Then the extremely camp Strictly host Gavril is introduced to have a boring interview with Prince Maxon, and later that night Aspen visits for some not-sex, because apparently pre-marital sex is illegal in Strictly-land.

Chapter Five

Aspen and Mer meet up again so he can whine about her giving him leftover food when, as a manly man-thing, he should be providing for her. What a tool.

But he breaks up with her two minutes later because she’s too good for him. I’m glad he’s in the story, he’s clearly integral to the plot.

This causes wangst—or would if it wasn’t entirely skipped over so we can see the results of the selection! I guess the wangsting will have to wait. A bunch of really stupid names are read out, and America’s one of them!

Chapter Six

Lots of barely mentioned people come by for official-type things, including Severus Snape (not really, but the physical description matches) who sends Mer’s little sister out of the room so he can discuss… her health! Exciting!

Oh, and also whether or not she’s still a virgin. He sets out the rules, which are all pretty mundane except the ‘no writing love notes to anyone or you’ll be executed for treason!’ rule. Mer gets promoted to Three (I’ve just realised that whole number thing is also present in my book. Shit, people are going to think I was copying from this piece of s…urely very fine literature).

Also she has to do whatever the prince tells her to or else, then complains about him being above the law. Yeah, no duh, Mer, he’s the flipping prince and you live in a dystopian dictatorship.

Oh, and Aspen drops by, in case we forgot he was in the story.

Chapter Seven

Mer gets a big send off party at which all the rich people are hostile towards her and all the poor people adore her. I’d have thought it would be the other way around, but we can’t miss an opportunity to hate rich people and condescend towards the poor!

Of course the worst part is when Mer sees that Aspen is with some new ho in the crowd!

The mayor of Mer’s province asks if she wants to say anything, but even though she can’t think of anything, he praises her for her intelligence. Mer says cheerio to her dumb family, and worries that the prince doesn’t want a wife—but rather some arm candy, despite going on about how much she hates this guy she’s never met so much I’d have thought she’d be pleased if he didn’t really want to interact with her!

Chapter Eight

After some whining, Mer tries to makes friends with some of the other contestants. Though two of the three she’s travelling with are friendly, the other one’s a typical rich-bitch ho so Mer gets a chance to whine about how horrible it’s going to be existing with these girls.

They get to the palace, greeted by their supporters, who Mer alone stops to greet because she’s speshul.

Chapter Nine

My god, we’re a quarter of the way through already, and I’m having so much fun! Not as much as Mer is though, riding around in the back of a car, observing the adoring crowds. One of the nice girls, Marlee, already has a lot of supporters, making Rich Bitch Celeste unhappy, and immediately accuse her of sleeping her way to the top. I think we’ve found our Dawn!

And now it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for… MAKEOVER TIME! Woo! And just like in America’s Next Top Model, the girls cry and whine over what the designers want, and Mer tells them she doesn’t want any fake stuff because she’s fo’ real, yo. Not like that dumb slut Celeste who puts loads of make up on, what a bitch!

But we now finally know why Mer was sniffing her arm on the cover—that’s what she does when she tells the guy giving her an interview that she smells like a dessert. Billions of characters are introduced, and our heroine goes to watch the first episode of Strictly-land’s Next Top Queen and obsess over how big Celeste’s boobs are.

Chapter Ten

SlNTQ’s first episode made Mer seem popular with the people, so now everyone hates her. This, on top of all the other wangsting issues of Aspen, the barely-mentioned rebels, the finery surrounding her and the stupidity of the Strictly show makes Mer run out of the palace and have a panic attack. And who should come along and help her but…

Granny Goodness! Dun dun dun!

No, it’s Prince Maxon. To show her gratitude for his help, Mer snaps at him for being such an asshole by… uh… existing, I guess. Then she yells at him for being well-spoken and blames him for this apparently traditional method of picking a queen. And he responds by being nothing but polite to her the entire time, the bastard!

Chapter Eleven

The next day much attention is spent on dresses, make up and jewellery (only the simplest for our Mer though—she’s for real, remember) and Maxon arrives for his first official meeting with the girls, while Mer spends her time once again looking at another girl’s chest.

Hmm… I wonder if there’s going to be a twist ending—

Nah.

Maxon meets all the lucky contestants and Mer tells him flat out she’s in love with someone else. Maxon reacts with… politeness. Mer instead convinces him to let her be his spy in the harem and then takes breakfast with the royal family and the other girls.

And then suddenly eight of them are gone. There’s no page break, no ‘later on that day’, no nothing. One minute they’re all eating breakfast, the next Mer is talking about how eight of the girls are gone.

My god! They were sucked into a plot hole!

Chapter Twelve

At breakfast, Maxon randomly interrogates Mer about a strawberry tart she’s eating and asks how much she’d bet that her sister would cry with joy if she ate it.

Huh?

So a stupid bet is made, I wonder what the outcome will be? Well, we’re told almost immediately—Mer loses and as forfeit must go on a walk with Maxon. She bores him with talk about her family and he calls her his closest friend. Of one day? Poor dumb Maxon.

And then she knees him in the thigh for no reason! This is comedy gold!

And he responds by sending her gifts! I think we’ve finally found a YA romance where the girl is the abusive one and the boy is a simpering soulless acolyte!

Chapter Thirteen

Gossip about Mer’s ‘date’ is interrupted by La Resistance attacking, and the girls are herded to safety by a guard called Markson. Hmm, Markson and Clarkson. If I ever get the urge to write a song about this book, and who knows, that day may indeed come… now, what rhymes with ‘selection’? Other than erec—

*INTERLUDE MUSIC*

(Continued in PART TWO)

My Cover-Stories

Well, they’re not really stories so much as ‘I’m so tired i couldn’t think of a better pun’-ies

Yep, I’m a day late due to work and tiredness, so for this weekend only I’ll move picture day to today and review day to tomorrow. Yay.

Current NaNo Wordcount: 5691

So, covers. On Authonomy and now on NaNo you’re given the option of uploading a cover, and particularly on Authonomy it’s a good idea to do so as it attracts readers and makes them more likely to put your book on their shelf.

Well, I couldn’t be bothered with finding out how to deal with what may or may not be a copyrighted image, so I just drew all my covers myself, tweaked them a little in photoshop and posted them. Here they are in order of being drawn:

Dolorelamia Cover copy

The big monster thing is, in fact, Dolorelamia itself, though in the novel it only appears in a painting… sort of. It didn’t go quite as well as I’d hoped, though I like the background.

RotK Final

Here we have some Rooks, flying near an ‘Endless Knot’ which is a medieval symbol of protection and is what the forcefield that covers London is called.

Nano Cover copy

And the symbols you see here are the family crests of four of the Custodian families in Shaedai, the green is de Alvear, the black is Okino, the red is Lang and the blue is Rhys-Revailler Constanton. Names subject to alteration if they turn out to be unsuitable, though I hope not because I like these ones. Also I added my own name, in case I forgot who I was.

And there you have it; one blogger who’s a lot more tired than she should be. Good night!