Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bella Cinderella by Summer Day cover preview

When teenager Julissa (Jewel) Bella goes to stay with her wicked, vampirical step family she meets an Italian aristocrat named Marco and a shy guy named Riff, but which one is the Prince? In this non-traditional fairy tale novella (inspired by - you guessed it - Cinderella) Jewel gets to prepare for the birthday ball where not everything goes according to plan... 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


The nicest girl in school
     Julissa Bella, or Jewel for short, was one of the most beautiful girls in Venice Beach, Los Angeles; she just didn’t know it. Her days were spent being bossed around by her wicked new stepmother, Miranda Minchin. Miranda had pale skin and long black hair and teeth that were fluorescent from spending too long with her dentist. Jewel’s stepmother also spent hours at the most expensive stylist in town to make sure her glossy locks were just right. The truth was, Miranda was a vampire. In a moment of madness, Jewel’s father had married her. So far, Jewel and her dad had remained human. They were O generic and Miranda and her girls only drank the rarest blood types.
    When Jewel arrived to stay, Miranda was busy organising a sweet sixteenth for her vampire triplets: Vanity, Charity and Patience. They were closer to two hundred years old but had been turned at sixteen, so they never aged.
    Jewel’s stepsisters were the worst ‘teenage girls’ imaginable and constantly taunted Jewel often trying to scratch and ‘pretend bite’ her, just to scare her a little bit more. Because of this, Jewel had tried to contact her mom who had originally agreed to let her stay with the Minchin sisters (before Jewel knew the truth). Jewel’s mom was on a study trip off shore (she was a marine biologist) so Jewel just had to wait it out. Of course, her dad had also left to ‘go to a conference’ in New York a few days ago, which is why Jewel was stuck with her wicked step-family, alone, for the weekend.
     “Guess what little sister?” Charity said when Jewel arrived. “Your blood is so deeply unappealing we’ve decided not to make you one of us.”
    “Why aren’t you smiling? We’ve decided not to bite,” Patience said, “even though I’d like nothing more than to rip out your wrist vein right now, your dad pays the bills and he might not like it.”
    “Yes,” Vanity said as she checked her red gloss in the mirror, “mommy has asked us to show some restraint.”
     Jewel’s eyes widened as they grabbed her suitcase and threw it into the spare room at the top of the stairs.
    “Now, get in there and when we decide you’ve learnt how to behave, we might let you out.”
     That was when Miranda returned from her stylist. She opened the door to Jewel’s room (it wasn’t so bad – there was an ensuite and a flat screen), and pretended to be all politeness. Miranda had other ideas besides locking Jewel up. She was throwing yet another sweet sixteenth for her girls and wanted to turn Jewel into the maid, since the previous one quit after Max bit her. Max was Miranda’s chubby toddler son. He liked to sleep a lot and run amok when he woke.
     With Jewel’s unofficial help, Miranda intended to throw the party to end all parties on Saturday night. That only gave them the week to prepare. Builders had arrived and made the necessary renovations to the patio. They were also extending the ball room out to the pool area.
    Miranda had warned her girls before the carpenters arrived, “not one of them is to disappear. You know how the neighbors talk.” The last time Miranda had required renovations (back in 1969 when she was married to her sixth ‘husbee’ - that was Miranda’s word for all her husbands) the girls had drained a plasterer. It took Miranda six hours to clean up the mess! Miranda liked to keep up appearances at any cost.
    Jewel was terrified of her new stepfamily and sat on her bed, unable to decide what to do next. She had no friends in the neighborhood and she couldn’t drive, yet. She was stuck here until her mom returned from her working vacation.
    The only thing she was allowed to do was go to school and babysit her little half-brother, Max. Max was a toddler, but Jewel, who was almost sixteen, loved to take care of him even though he was extremely naughty.
    Max was half vamp, half bro and still had his ‘puppy fat’ as Miranda called it. He had blonde sticky up hair and often threw tantrums in the middle of shopping malls. He sucked on a bottle of plasma and threw shoes out of car windows. If strangers got too close, he tried to bite them.
    In the mornings, before daycare, he threw tantrums. He hid toys in his pockets to throw at unsuspecting people, leaving Jewel red with embarrassment.
    Jewel’s stepsisters attended a select local school that had recently become like a freak show since vamps took over. Venice Beach Hall was practically off the map and the outside of the building didn’t look sunny or welcoming. It looked grey and creepy, more like a reform school or a haunted house. Jewel only had to endure it for eight weeks and it had to be better than home. At Miranda’s place, Jewel washed the dishes just like her stepmother asked her to and dried them as well. If she was reading, Miranda literally placed a duster in her hand while her stepsisters sat on the table, floor and window sill barking instructions. Jewel wanted to run away but there was nowhere to go and she had no money until her dad returned. Besides, school started tomorrow.
     That night, as Jewel cried herself to sleep, the housekeeper Jacinta, brought her in milk and cookies.
     “Don’t worry dear,” she said. “I’m like a fairy godmother and your life is about to change for the better, forever.” When she woke up, Jewel wondered if it had all been a dream.
      She dragged on some vintage jeans and a red sweater only to be confronted by her stepsisters slurping blood smoothies.
     “Want one?” Charity asked.
     Jewel was silent.
     “Never mind,” Patience replied, “we have to motor.”
      Vanity checked her gloss in her gold and diamante compact. Their little brother Max slurped on a bottle full of thick, red, liquid.
     “He’s not?”
     “Oh, not exactly.” Patience said, (she could be quite nice when she wanted to be). “He’s just a half – so he eats real food as well.”
    “He loves sweets,” Patience added. The sisters walked in front of Jewel.
    “You have to walk behind us,” Vanity informed Jewel, “because we are more important and prettier.”
   It wasn’t true. Jewel was a very pretty girl, like I said; she just didn’t know it yet...

SNOW BRIGHT by Summer Day

SNOW BRIGHT by Summer Day

The queen bee
Once upon a school, Sloane Select High, a sophomore named Lavinia Price wielded her considerable power. Sloane High was so ritzy there was a large crystal chandelier hanging in the entrance hallway. During the holiday season a grand piano played carols all by itself and a huge Christmas tree decorated in magical lights generated real snow. The brilliantly colored lights rearranged themselves without need of human touch.  
    This didn’t impress Lavinia Price who was the richest, most fashionable cheerleader in school.
    The basketball team, The Sloan Shifters, were the best in the district and the school plays Sloan High put on always had a large audience. As you may have gathered, Sloan Select was very special. So special, in fact, students had to be gifted in an unusual way to gain entry. There were rumors some of them were actually characters from fairy tales, they just didn’t know it yet.
    Some were gliders (they could move back or forward in time). Others could play piano or sing like a dream. Some were shifters (they could change their form) and some were weather changers (they could manipulate the weather). Object movers (they could move objects with their minds) were very sought after. Sara Bright was a combination of all of the above – the most powerful.  
     Lavinia Price, newly recruited cheerleader, weather changer and object mover, could answer just about any question – with the help of her cell phone. She wasn’t impressed by the other students or the entrance hall at Sloane. Her own home was far more glamorous. Rightly or wrongly, she thought study was boring, socializing was everything and her mad skills (more on those later) reigned supreme. She had her eye on Jack Hunter, though. He’d been newly recruited to the school basketball team from some forgettable corner of LA and Lavinia had liked him since she first clapped eyes on him. Jack was tall with blonde hair and a cute smile.
     Every morning, Lavinia would text her smart phone the same question (it had voice recognition amongst other things and Lavinia could see her face on the screen), “mirror mirror on my phone who is the hottest girl at Sloane?” Every afternoon her cell texted the same response: You are Lavinia.
     That was until Sara Bright arrived.
     Sara was the smartest girl who had ever attended Sloane Select; and the most gifted. She was already taking senior Chemistry and there was talk she could mix potions, any kind of potion, especially love potions.
     Sara was also destined to become quite popular. She was talented, genuinely nice – and pretty, with her dark curls and naturally red lipped smile. Sara kept her distance from Lavinia Price though; it was as if she knew that Lavinia was jealous of her.
     Perhaps that was one of Sara’s gifts, Lavinia thought, the gift of second sight. Sara could answer every question in Math and was particularly good at Physics and chemical equation class. The sophomores nicknamed chemical equation class, chemical romance, because some peeps were working on love potions. Lavinia realised Sara wouldn’t be the first girl at Sloane who came prepared with visions of the future and love potions but it didn’t seem fair that she also had Jack Hunter’s undivided attention.
     Lavinia decided to do some research. She headed to the girl’s locker room immediately and attempted to rifle through Sara’s open locker. Her street clothes were dark and shabby – apart from that, nothing. Still, Lavinia sensed her power was being usurped and texted:
Ring ring on my phone, who is the prettiest girl at Sloane?
Why, the new girl, Sara Bright is.
    There was only one word for Lavinia’s feelings: outrage. She’d already done at least six mean things to various girls who thought they were prettier or more popular than her. Lavinia couldn’t believe they hadn’t worked it out yet. She only knew how to rule with fear. It was just who she was.
    Lavinia’s home life hadn’t been that great, her mom was exactly like an older version of her, but that was no excuse. She knew right from wrong. Being born with (quite) exceptional powers, gave her the ability to gain attention in all the wrong ways. Now, at a school where everyone was exceptional, she’d had to use some old-fashioned nastiness. So far, it was working. Peeps in groups divided in two when they saw her coming.
    Not Jack Hunter and Sara Bright, though. They just stayed talking when they saw her appear, trailed by her mean girl pom poms. She flicked the hem of her cheerleading outfit as she walked by and Jack and Sara laughed. The whole school stopped and stared. Lavinia collected her homework and her lunch from one of the students too afraid to say no to her.
     Once, Lavinia had put a poisonous lizard in someone’s locker. No one knew how she got it, because there was talk that she was neither a glider nor a shifter. Lavinia wasn’t just a weather changer or an object mover. She was the most feared of all… a wicked, little conjurer. Unlike the other students she refused to use her gifts for good. 
     Lavinia could imagine things and make them happen, manifest an object with her mind; it meant her world could appear, like magic, but only briefly. Lavinia’s magic was hollow and brittle, like her personality. People said that’s how the poisonous lizard arrived. Lavinia manifested it, out of thin air. The reptile disappeared as quickly as it appeared so no teacher was the wiser; but everyone was scared of Lavinia.   
    The students were open mouthed when a pathway Lavinia created behind her made a space not just between the gossiping students but merged into a small ocean flowing with waves in the middle of the hallway. The ocean closed up and became a sheet of fire until the smoke alarm sounded and Lavinia shut the whole mirage down. The vice-principal, Mrs Myers, came out screaming but the students just stood open mouthed. They knew it was only Lavinia manifesting visions that weren’t even real.
    Lavinia shook her head. “Why are you all staring at me?” Total Rudeness, Lavinia thought. As she pulled her purse from her locker, she changed the color of her nail polish from pale blue to pink with just the click of her fingers. She was so over people staring at her. They should mind their own business and work on their own dubious talents, Lavinia thought. Sometimes she wondered if her only friend was her smart phone; and the only way she could control that was by turning the annoying thing off, which she did, right away.
    Lavinia had plans and she didn’t need any more lame advice.  
    Besides, in chemical romance class she’d been working on a formula for invisibility that she’d decided to try as soon as possible. Looking at Sara and Jack huddled together made her think trying it sooner rather than later might be the ticket. She guzzled a small amount of fizzy orange liquid from the tiny ceramic vial she kept on a chain around her wrist. In the minutes it took her to walk from class to the bus stop, it hadn’t worked. Lavinia was wondering what to do in the unlikely event she’d developed the potion with a flaw. Distracted, she didn’t realize Sara was looking at her from the back seat of the bus. 
    “What do you want?”  Sara asked as Lavinia conjured her ticket then moved to take a seat.
    Sara turned around and challenged Lavinia. She was the first girl to ever do this.  
    “Mmm… not so friendly outside school hours, are we?” Lavinia said.
    “… and you’re not so friendly in. Why are you on my bus?”
    “It’s a free country. I’m going shopping.”
     “Where? In East L.A.?”
     “Not exactly…”
      Sara ignored Lavinia and started reading on her tablet.
      Lavinia began to feel her skin tighten and hoped the secret formula would work – just not too soon.
      She looked down at her finger and the polish had disappeared. She felt her lips and there was no gloss. Externals were the first to go. Thankfully, the bus screeched to a halt and Sara moved to get off.
      Lavinia moved also, just as her socks disappeared. It was becoming more and more obvious that Sara was walking towards the opposite side of town.
     “What are you doing?”
    “I’m just going in the same direction as you.”
    “I doubt that...”