Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Book Trail


Welcome to my stop on the Halloween Book Trail. I'm Suzanne Lazear and I write steampuk faeries in the Aether Chronicles Series.


You're on the Looking Glass Trail.



If you're stuck or have no idea what you've stumbled upon you can go to the book trail site here.





Noli Braddock is one of the main characters in my Aether Chronicles books. Each year, for her birthday (which is October 25th), I write a short story for everyone. In honor of the Halloween Book Trail, this year's story is Halloween-themed. Enjoy!

An All Hallows Wager
An Aether Chronicles Story
© Suzanne Lazear 2014

Noli pulled her cape a little closer to her against the cold Los Angeles night as she and V walked down the street. Many houses were decorated with lanterns carved from gourds and pumpkins, walkways lined with candles, and other such things as costumes adults and children went to and fro attending parties and gatherings. Often more than one.

“Why do we have to do this?” Noli whined, waving around the paper list in her hand. She hated society parties. At least this one had games.

A flying car, a dragon model by the wings, swooped past. Noli waved out of habit. They honked in reply. 

“I thought you wanted to play the game? At least we were paired up.” Steven Darrow, or V, as she called him, looked dashing as usual. He was dressed as a prince, complete with a sword. The green and brown velvet, heavy with gold embroidery brought out his green eyes. A thin, golden circlet rested on his messy, golden hair.

The funny thing was that V was actually a prince. Well, an exiled prince. An exiled prince of the earth court from the realm of faerie, or the Otherworld, as they called it.

“True.” There were worse things than being alone with V in the dark on a scavenger hunt. “Still, it’s cold. And I’m hungry.” In the light of the gas streetlamps she peered at the ten items on the list.

“We have five already,” a voice sneered. “How many do you have?”

Noli sighed and looked over at the taunting form approaching them. Missy Sassafras’ costume was blinding, covered in spangles and sparkles. She practically leaked feathers and beads. What was she supposed to be? Certainly, it wasn’t flattering. Missy was mousy and a bit round. Also, that shade of orange suited very few completions. Hers wasn’t one of them.

“Five? Good for you, Missy.” Noli pasted a fake smile on her face. She didn’t like Missy much. Certainly she wasn’t going to admit that they had none. First team to return won. What, she wasn’t sure.

How had Missy gotten so many so quickly? The game just started.

A spindly form skulked behind. One in a Gladiator costume, carrying a small sack. Will was Missy’s partner for the game.

“V,” he nodded, ignoring Noli.

“Will,” V nodded back. Ever the gentleman, V gave Missy a little bow. “Miss Sassafras.”

Missy gave a little giggle that sounded a bit like a pig being tortured. She waved her fan in front of her face.

 “Mr. Darrow, your costume is exquisite.” She moved a little as if trying to show off her own costume, probably hoping for V to compliment her in turn. “But Noli I really have no idea what you’re supposed to be.” Her thin lips curved into a sneer.

“A princess, right?” Will said softly. “He’s the prince and you’re the princess. Clever.”

“You’re right, Will.” Noli smoothed the fabric. It was an Otherworld dress of dark green velvet, heavy with gold embroidery, smooth and flowing without the bustles and crinolines so popular in Los Angeles. Her crown was made of roses from her garden and green and gold ribbons. V’s little sister Elise had helped her with it.    

“A princess?” Missy laughed so hard she held her sides. “Noli a princess, sure. The dress isn’t even fluffy. I’m not even sure why she gets invited to parties. It’s like inviting the help.”

Noli bit her tongue to keep herself from saying what she really thought. Missy was naught but a social climbing dollymop. However, new money or not, Missy, and her parents, weren’t people to aggravate, especially when Noli’s own social position was so precarious.

Still, ire rose within her and her hands fisted, the list crumpling.

V frowned. “Miss Sassafras, that doesn’t seem like a very nice thing to say.”

It wasn't a very nice thing to say, but Missy didn’t have very nice manners.

“It’s true.” Missy waved it off with her hand, then sniffed. “I don’t know why you even bother associating with her.”

 She said what?

“What do you know, Missy Sassafras?” Noli retorted, cheeks blazing as she took a step forward. “I’ll let you know that we’re going to win that scavenger hunt.”

“Care to wager?” Missy sneered.

“Sure,” Noli replied, even though she had no money to wager.

“Fine. If I win the game, Mr. Darrow escorts me to the next ball.” Missy shot her a triumphant look.

“Fine, and if you lose then you give me ten dollars,” Noli retorted. It was the first thing that popped into her head. There was quite a bit she could buy with that sort of money.

“Deal.” Missy held out her hand.

“Deal.” Noli shook it.

“Wait a moment.” V tried to separate them with his body. “Don’t I have a say in this?”

“No.” Missy shook her head. “See you soon. By the way, Mr. Darrow, I like posies.” She waggled her fingers and flounced off, leaving a trail of spangles.

“Girls are barking mad, I tell you.” Will sighed and gave V a sympathetic look, then trotted off.

“Noli, what did you do?” V’s green eyes went wide. “I don’t want to go any ball, let alone one with her.

“I know. Me and my big mouth.” Noli sighed. “What did I just do? But ten dollars! And she just makes me so mad.

“I know.” V looked at the list. “I have some of these, and so do you, but the problem is time, especially if they actually have five.”

“I don’t think they do.” Noli started to walk toward V’s house.

“We can’t risk that.” A resigned look crossed his face. “Come, now, we haven’t much time.” V’s arm linked hers and they ran down the street. They passed more people playing other games or simply out enjoying the evening. They waved as another neighbor drove passed in their steam-powered auto.

They stopped in front of an old oak tree in a nearby park. A ring of mushrooms encircled it and flowers grew around it. The twisted trunk thrummed with energy and magic.

But it was. Not only was this a “fairy tree”, but little wood faeries actually occupied it. As if summoned, tiny balls of light appeared. A yellow one landed on Noli’s shoulder. The light was actually a glowing tiny person with yellow wings.

“Hi there,” Noli greeted. She couldn’t understand them, but they could understand her.

“We need your help,” V told them. “We need all these things and we only have a few moments.”

Noli watched as V made assignments. He could talk to them just fine.

V grabbed her hand. “They’re meeting us at my house, let’s go.”

“We’re asking the faeries for help, isn’t that cheating?” Noli laughed as they ran. She didn’t care about cheating, as long as Missy didn’t win. However, V was usually a fussy old bodger about things like this.

He grimaced. “It is, and I don’t like it. But I’m not about to be her escort. Only you, Noli.”

Those three words held so many meanings, but he was right.

At least he wasn’t angry. She’d be angry if she’d been in his shoes. “I’m sorry, V. I shouldn’t have done that. Missy brings out the worst in me.”

He squeezed her hand. “It’s all right. I forgive you. She is a bit…much.”

They ran up the steps to his house, which was always so neat and orderly, even though there was no mother. Compared to her own house, which no matter how much work she and V did always looked worn and ramshackle compared to the others on their block. 

“You get the items from the kitchen, I’ll get the book and what’s upstairs,” V told her as they went inside.

The house was empty, since his little sister Elise was at a children’s party. Noli wasn’t sure where James was. However, he liked parties even less than Noli. Also, Mr. Darrow didn’t approve of them courting. After all, one day V would take back his family’s court and restore his family’s good name.

No matter what, Noli was just the girl next door.

They gathered the items and ran out to the backyard. The fairies there, items in tow.

Noli put them in the sack as V checked everything off the list. A biscuit. A novel by dickens. A handbill for a moving picture. A clockwork bird. A stocking. She laughed as she put the very fancy stocking in the bag.

“Do I even want to know where you got this?” she teased the faeries.

A blue fairy said something to V and his cheeks pinked. “No, you don’t,” he replied, eyes on the floor.

She could imagine quite well. The rest of the items went into the bag. “All set.”

V gave the faeries a little bow. “I appreciate your help. I’ll leave your reward by the tree.”

Noli watched as they flew off. “What did we promise them?”

“Treats.”

“That’s easy enough.” Noli slung the sack over her shoulder. “How are we on time, should we hoverboard back?”

“Do you think we could?” He looked torn. “They never said we couldn’t….”

That was good enough for her. “Let’s go.”

They grabbed his small, brown wooden hoverboard from the back porch. She held on to him tight, as she adjusted her position, trying to account for the weight of the sack. As they rose into the air, her loose hair whipped around her face and she wished she had goggles—and a cap.

They took off down the street and she craned her neck, hoping to spot Missy–and make sure they got there first.

Technically, hoverboards were one person conveyances. Also, the law forbid girls from hoverboarding. Once, Noli wouldn’t let it stop her, but now she was trying to stay on the right side of the law. So, she’d simply practiced until she could figure out how to properly balance so they could both fly on his hoverboard.

They landed in the backyard of the Vincent’s, who were hosting the party. Missy wasn’t in sight—and Hope Vincent, dressed as a Grecian goddess, still waited in the gazebo for the first team to come back.

“I didn’t know you could do that,” someone remarked.

“That’s not fair,” Missy’s voice screeched from across the yard.

Leaving the hoverboard on the grass, V and Noli took off for Hope, bag in hand. Must. Finish. First.

“Winner!”  Hope called just as V and Noli raced up the gazebo stairs.

Winner? Noli’s heart fell to the floor. She never should have opened her mouth. Do not engage. How many times had her mother told her that.

“Noooo.” Missy came up behind them, face flushed and crestfallen.

Wait. If Missy was behind them, who won?

James Darrow stood there triumphantly, in nothing but a bed sheet. He was the younger brother, though not by much, and looked older. A girl named Violet was at his side, dressed like a fairy, complete with fabric and wire wings. Noli used to take dance classes with her. Once. Back when she had the time and money for such things.

“James and Violent are the winners,” Hope declared. “V and Noli are second and Will and Missy are third, pending you all have the correct items.” She held out her hands for everyone’s sacks.

“Where did you come from?” Noli blurted. “I didn’t even know you were coming.”

James grinned, raking a large hand through his dark blonde girls. “I’m full of surprises.”

“Oh my,” Missy hissed. “Mr. Darrow the younger certainly has filled out.” 

Hope looked though each sack. “The winners stand as stated. Here you go.”

She handed out the prizes. A cake shaped like a pumpkin for the winning team and candied apples for everyone else.

“You cheated.” Missy turned to Noli. “I’m not giving you ten dollars.”

“You don’t have to. I didn’t come in first. It was if I won, not if I beat you.” Noli shrugged, though part of her wanted to rub the candy apple in Missy’s hair. How did James win? She could really have used that ten dollars.

“Actually,” Will interjected, “you actually do owe her. The wording was that if you lost then you had to give her ten dollars.”

V nodded. “Actually, Will’s right.”

Missy’s face screwed up as if she’d eaten something bitter. She reached into her d├ęcolletage and pulled out a ten-dollar bill. “Here.”

Noli just stared at it. Ten dollars was a lot of money for someone their age to have on hand. Also, that was an odd place to keep money. Should she even touch it?

James yanked the money out of her hand, as if he didn’t care where it came from, which, he probably didn’t. “That was quite gracious of you. Here you are, Noli.”

Ten dollars. All hers.

She shook her head. “You…you can have it back, Missy.”

An eager look crossed her face.

“Missy, a wager is a wager, you should play fair,” Will scolded.

“Fine. You’re something, Noli Braddock.” Missy turned around in a huff and marched down the stairs of the gazebo.

Will just stood there. He shook his head. “Girls.”

James put a hand on Vs shoulder. “On to the next? I hear that Ginny’s party has a fortune teller.”

“I suppose. Though I need to grab a few sweets,” V told them.

“They can have my apple. I prefer caramel apples to candy,” Noli replied.

V nodded. “Very well then.”

“Here, take this.” James handed her the money.

Not sure what to do with it, she tucked it into her stocking. “That was unexpected.”

“That is what,” James agreed.

Violet rushed after them. “You’re not staying, James? Don’t you want half the cake?”

“Keep it.” James didn’t even turn around.

The three of them thanked Hope and walked down the street toward the park with the oak tree.

“How did you do it?” Noli asked. “I didn’t even think you came to the party.”

James grinned. “Cheaters never win, though I have to say, I was very tempted to help Missy just to see V take her to a ball.”

V’s face flushed. “You wouldn’t dare!”

“I can’t believe you would cheat. It’s so unlike you. She cheated too, you know. I got bored so I decided to join you and I saw her and Will cheat, then I heard you to, so I grabbed Violet and…” James shrugged. “We won. Clever, Noli, to word it like that so you got the money regardless. Not that I ever meant to begrudge you of that. I know you can use it.”

They entered the park.

“Then why bother then?” Noli frowned. Though the Darrow boys, not being human did have an odd sense of fun. “Also, I never meant to cheat her out of it.”

“I know.”

“I feel bad though. You’re right, cheaters don’t win. Even if they’re cheating a dollymop like Missy. But how did you win? It makes about as much sense as you trying to beat us, even though you gave the cake to Violet and I still won the money.” Noli placed her apple in front of the tree.

V put his down as well. “That’s what I’d like to know.”

James grinned and pulled a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts out of his bed sheet and placed them at the base of the tree. “That’s for me to know and you to find out.”

Noli looked to him and shook her head. She just didn't get it. Boys. "Now, can we please go to a party with food? I’m hungry.”


The End


Now, ready to continue on to Jessica Spotswood's page?

Also, I have a special giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 2, 2014

YA Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to the YA Scavenger Hunt!





You are hunting on the




I'm Suzanne Lazear, I write the Aether Chronicles Series (fairytale steampunk). Welcome, have a cupcake.  You can start the hunt here or you can go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage to find out more or if you're stuck.

Book 1, INNOCENT DARKNESS and Book 2, CHARMED VENGEANCE are out now. Book 3, FRAGILE DESTINY  just released in August. Somewhere in this hunt you'll find a cut scene from FRAGILE DESTINY with Noli and the Dark King. 

Also, at the bottom of this page I have a special giveaway. I'm giving away 7 prizes. Okay, maybe not, but there are prizes.


To enter to win the big prize, collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the orange team, and then add them up. Hint: the secret number is highlighted ORANGE. Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. The hunt ends October 5th.


And now on to the author I'm hosting today: 

Lorie Ann Grover



Lorie Ann Grover is a young adult novelist and board book author. She has received starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist and was a Washington State Book Award Finalist. Her works have been further honored by VOYA, Bank Street College, the New York Public Library, Parents Magazine, and Girls Life magazine.


and her book


HIT


With a full ride scholarship to Mills College next year, Sarah’s future is set until she falls for Mr. Haddings, student teacher from the University of Washington. She’s convinced he’s flirting back but then…he hits her in the crosswalk. 

Bonus Content



For my exclusive content, I thought to share how the manuscript for HIT was originally written. It was a verse novel with six points of view! Below are the first entries. Sarah was named Kelsie, and Cydni was named Serita. Hope it’s fun to see the differences between this and the final version in prose when HIT releases, October 7th!

Morning

Kelsie

Not exactly
plump enough
to be called truly beautiful.
But not skinny, right?

I trace my upper lip
with my index finger,
drag it past my teeth.
Haddings flits into my mind.
And stays.



Haddings

I tilt two sugar packets
into my Americano
and stir the brown warmth.
The Starbucks’ espresso machine
hisses behind me,
and I jump
half expecting the steam
to sear my neck.
A branding of sorts
for being attracted to her.
How? How could I?
She’s a high school student
for crying out loud.
The grad program’s
full of women,
and it’s this girl
who haunts me?

The rain slips on the window.

On my last visit to the school,
two weeks ago,
she came into the classroom
early,

and I didn’t
immediately
stand to leave.

She walked toward me
with forced determination
and vulnerability.
Both as beautiful
as the wide hope of her hazel eyes.

The lavender scent
bloomed from her hot wrists.
I shifted on the desk
willing my legs to move.
But they didn’t.

Like our thoughts,
her poetry journal sat heavy
between our hands
when she passed it to me.
Kelsie’s cinnamon breath
slipped between the thin space
separating us.

I knew what she wanted,
and I wanted it more.

Leaning forward
I closed the space,

but
jumped up
and away
when Serita
banged open the door.

I snagged on indifference
and sat down quickly behind the desk.
Serita’s glares
barely cooled me off
as Kelsie 
still lingered close.

Earlier, I had been resolved
to read the poem in class
and let Kelsie know
this wouldn’t work.
Forcing myself
to follow through,
I ended up reading it
without a speck of conviction.

Total fail.

Ready to keep hunting? On to Tamara Ireland Stone -- make sure you bring her a cupcake.

Also, don't forget to enter my special giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

FRAGILE DESTINY blog tour stop #9 -- come ask me questions, win stuff

It's stop #9 on the FRAGILE DESTINY blog tour. I'm over at Bitten By Books. There's an interview with Queen Tiana. Also, ALL DAY TODAY I will be answering questions (Tiana may as well). Stop by, chat, ask questions, and enter to win a $25 GC.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Friday, August 8, 2014

DESTINY IS HERE! Fragile Destiny release day + Blog Stop #5

Launch the cupcake cannons! Today FRAGILE DESTINY releases!

I am so excited for you to read this book. There's so much in here that I had been wanting to write for *so long*. All the things start to come together. I really hope you enjoy it!


Part of me is a little sad, though. My dad was a  huge fan of the series. He used to read the love scenes outloud to my mom (I'd leave the room.) He shipped Kevighn and Noli hard. He had thoughts on all kinds of things (like the MoBats, in book 2). I turned in revisions on book 3 right before he died. He'd just gotten an e-reader so I was going to load the arc on it when they came out. Now, he'll never get to read book 3. I'll never get to hear what he thinks of certain scenes.

The book is dedicated to him and my niece Erika. Tomorrow, Erika would have been 24. She, too, was a huge fan. She's help me at my launch parties and was an avid reader. We lost her to Cystic Fibrosis a few months ago.

But I'm still excited to share this latest installment of James, V, Noli, and Kevighn's adventures. It's still ONLY $6 (both hard copy and e-book) on Amazon. $6, that's a coffee and pasty. It's also available at Barnes and Noble and Book Depository. If you want a SIGNED COPY order it from Vroman's and tell them you want me to sign it when I sign there on August 15th.

If' you're in Los Angeles, I'm signing at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena at 7 pm on August 15th. Steampunk costumes & fun hats encouraged. There will be cake!

Also, today I'm over at Bookish Things & More for stop #5 on the FRAGILE DESTINY blog tour!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

It's all about CAKE -- Blog Tour Stop #3

Today I'm over at The Attic Reviews for stop #3 of the FRAGILE DESTINY blog tour.  Today I'm talking about cake, and Noli and the gang. Because they eat a lot of cake. Come tell me what sort of cake you like.

Also, FRAGILE DESTINY is already shipping/downloading from some places. Also, it's still only $6 on Amazon, for both the paper copy or the e-book. GO GET IT! The pre-order giveaway still applies until Friday. Details here.


Don’t forget to check out all the other stops!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fragile Destiny Blog Tour Stop #2

Today I'm at Page Turners talking about the search for Noli's dad -- also there's a little interview with Mrs. Braddock, Noli's mom. Come say hello!

Monday, August 4, 2014

FRAGILE DESTINY Blog Tour, Stop #1

Today is the very first stop of the Fragile Destiny Blog Tour!

I'm visiting What the Cat Read. Come stop by and say hello. I'm talking about POV and a little about the newest addition to the Aether Chronicles, Elise Darrow. 

Other Tour Stops:

Aug 7: Kate Tilton blog
Aug 9: Mundie Moms
Aug 11: Book Raptured 
Aug 12: Bitten By Books
Aug 13: Anonymous Interests  
Aug 15: Tizzy Potts