Saturday, December 31, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Happy New Year to the best readers on the planet! Thank you all so much for reading 'Pride & Princesses'. You make the world even more amazing and here's to a wonderful 2012!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Favourite Reads of 2011

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas & Holiday... My reads of 2011 (in no particular order) are...

(YA)
MATCHED by Ally Condie
THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins
EVERMORE by Alyson Noel
FALLEN by Lauren Kate
(GROWN UP)
WATER FOR ELEPHANTS
THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern (I've read the beginning...finish during January...so far, so extra amazingly good.)

I haven't read as much as I like to, 'cos I am writing...If you would like to add your fave reads, please do!

I am having a lovely holiday in the sun...I hope you are all doing something you enjoy, you deserve it! I am also copy-editing another novel I wrote (after PRIDE & PRINCESSES) and took my lap top with me (I know, but words don't wait!) ...My new novel is kinda complex at the moment, but when my readers get to it, it should be just right! I hope you are all having a good 'Boxing Day!' THANK YOU ALL for making November and December so wonderful. I've said it before, I'm saying it again, you are the best readers (and writers) in the world and I am very blessed to have found you.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Thank you all so much for reading Pride & Princesses. You are the best and most wonderful readers any writer could wish for. Have an amazing and prosperous New Year!

Friday, December 2, 2011

PRIDE AND PRINCESSES by Summer Day page 39

Who knew that Trey could supply us with our advice for the month? Even Mouche was impressed.
    Trey left the room but not without flicking the light switch on and off three times just to annoy us. He’s very sweet sometimes, but I’d never tell Mouche that I’m crushing on her older brother. I happen to know she worships him but I think she’d find that information slightly disconcerting. 
     We looked back at our highlighted notes, our rules and ideas about dating, our slim experiences and profiles of the boys of Sunrise thus far.        
Mouche glanced at me sceptically then looked at our prospective boyzamples and said,            ‘Yes, no, yes, no, no way, yes...’
    ‘But this should be a realistic guide to dating at Sunrise High and an expose of just how few guys are the total package.’
     ‘Package meaning?’
     ‘Intelligence, kindness of heart, personality...’
     ‘How about tall, dark and handsome like Mark Knightly,’ I ventured. ‘Although, when he came into class he seemed very arrogant and rude,’ I qualified my reckless remark, but Mouche was too quick.
     ‘Oh my goodness!’
     ‘What?’
     ‘You like him. I can tell. I mean you more than like him!’
      It was hard to lie to Mouche.
     ‘You’re practically in love with him...ew...you wanna have his babies!’
     ‘Oh please, that is completely over the top. I have barely spoken to him! I so do not love him. Besides, he’s totally an older man. Isn’t he just repeating junior year for kicks? I mean, who has the time and money to be in Europe for a whole year. He seems like a total weirdo.’
    ‘It’s true. You love him.’
     I relented, ‘me and everyone else at Sunrise.’
    ‘Not me. He seems really haughty.’
    ‘Perhaps it’s just his manly exterior,’ I joked.

Pride and Princesses by Summer Day Page 38

Wednesday smiled, she seemed to love being with her big brother, even though after her sleep we intended to play dress-ups with her as well. She clapped her hands as Mrs Mouche kissed her. Mouche’s little sister loved it when Mouche and I and my mom (Trish) and Trey looked after her.
      After Mrs Mouche left, we were examining the ideas in our pink diary for our new blog entry and Trey was checking out our laptop over Mouche’s shoulder, having seated Wednesday in her high chair.
    ‘Enough already’, Mouche said. ‘You so can’t see this, Trey. It’s for our eyes only.’
    ‘Oh, please,’ Trey said laughing, eating a mouthful of cereal over his physics text, ‘like I care what two little girls think about the world...don’t stay up too late,’ he said as he ran up the stairs.
    ‘Why? Is your girlfriend coming over?’ Mouche giggled.
    ‘No.’
    ‘Why not?’
   ‘I think asking her over at ten pm might be a little obvious.’
    Trey was a classy guy for an older man (eighteen).
   ‘So what do you think about who should pay on dates, Trey? Do you think girls should pay?’ I asked quizzically.
   ‘Phoebe, if a guy likes you, he’s going to try to impress you at least on the first date. Take my advice, let him offer, and if he doesn’t, pay, but don’t date him again.’
   

Pride & Princesses by Summer Day page 37

   None of the males at our school behaved the way males in great romantic literature and films behaved (like Heathcliffe in that modern version of Wuthering Heights or Noah in The Notebook, for example). And maybe that was a good thing. But in some ways, the fact that chivalry is dead, is bad. I mean, I can open my own door but when I have a heavy bag and props, couldn’t the man of my dreams open it for me? And shouldn’t he want to? Of course, I can buy my own movie ticket but wouldn’t it be nice if my perfect man wanted to buy it for me? Just to prove his devotion? I could return the favour, of course.
     Mrs Mouche says to hit them in the hip pocket because money matters more to men than to women. I’m not sure if that is true at our age but it might be the case when you’re older. Mrs Mouche has definitely instilled a good value system in her children. Even though Wednesday (Mouche’s baby sister) can barely talk, she is very good at sharing, and Mouche actually has a social conscience. For example, there was a documentary about world famine on television as we were preparing some dinner.
    ‘Why are most of the world’s poverty stricken women and children?’ Mouche asked.
    ‘Because the men at the top are greedy and take everything,’ Mrs Mouche replied as she left the house with her carry-on trolly bag, giving Wednesday and Mouche a kiss and making us promise to go to Trish’s ‘unless Trey is here.’ 
    ‘See you later girls,’ she said with a twinkle in her eye. 
    ‘Love you Trey,’ Mrs Mouche yelled. She was all dressed up in a fancy suit and looked very glamorous. Trey came to the top of the stairs as Mrs Mouche deposited Wednesday in his arms. Mrs Mouche is a flight attendant, if you hadn’t already guessed.
   
   ‘Now be good for Trey,’ Mrs Mooche said. Mrs Mouche was flying all the way to New York and back. It would be the longest time she had ever spent away. Normally she just flew to the next state.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

WEDNESDAY'S GOLDFISH

NEW YA BLOG

There is a lovely new teen blog being started by @atypeofteen (Twitter). Here is the link, you should check it out for news and interviews relating to YA novels and writers: http://atypeofteen.wordpress.com/

PRIDE & PRINCESSES page 36

    ‘Our Game will make junior year the most memorable yet,’ Mouche declared over ice-cream, after we’d cleared away our playing cards, runes, tea leaves and crystals.
     Mouche dragged me back into the pool. We lounged under the night lights on Wednesday’s huge, plastic, floating goldfish. Mouche dragged me around with her until we were playing whirlpool and before we knew it, we were having a water fight about whose ideas ruled.
     Have you ever been swimming at night in the heat? It’s amazing, even though Mouche’s older brother, Trey (the grouch), kept yelling at us from the study window to turn it down when we started playing Muse.
    Trey was studying pre-med and was a total brainiac with no time for the absurdities of two teenage girls, even if one of them was his sister; especially if one of them was his sister. 
   ‘Hey, quiet!’ he shouted. ‘I’m trying to study and Wednesday’s supposed to be asleep.’
    Admittedly, we’d slipped one of Mrs Mouche’s cocktail mixers into our Cokes and were feeling extremely giddy; however, we realize teen drinking is not okay and so wrong (especially when near water or highways) and would never recommend it to our readers.
    We had serious hangovers the next morning. Mrs Mouche locked up the liquor cabinet when she found out and Trey promised never to leave us entirely to our own devices again.
    After dancing to retro music dressed in the 1920’s outfits we’d worn in last year’s version of Guys and Dolls, we collapsed in a corner, embraced sobriety and resumed our discussion about the perfect junior year.
    Our ideas were all pretty...ordinary: film club, blog page additions, debate club, a musical, an entire month devoted to writing up the play rehearsals, a fashion show, a themed prom (that would be left to the Princesses in the end) until Mouche and I started talking about how the mainstream boys at our school were very romantically de-motivated, and most of the artistic majors were obviously more than a little gay.

PRIDE & PRINCESSES page 35

If the cards were dealt until the end and either me or Mouche or both of us ended up with a red card, we would meet ‘the one’.
     ‘Of course, a real teen psychic wouldn’t need cards but sometimes our intuition about ourselves requires a little push along. Besides, I’d never claim to be totally psychic, just kind of telepathic. I can feel when the  Princesses are using their negative energy against us,’ Mouche said, spraying essential oils to deflect bad energy.
      ‘Oh, me too. I’m not actually psychic, but I totally read people. I sense it when they like me or when they give me their nasty, jealous vibes...’ I added.
      We’d both been victims of the jealous vibe at HSYL. In any case, our card games were just for fun. We had a rule – never to ask a bad question that we didn’t want to know the answer to and never to dwell on anything negative or mean.
     Mouche was still dealing; she had nine cards left...
    ‘Red, red, black, red, black...and here are the answers for two Princesses: Teegan (black), Tory (black), and Phoebe...’
    ‘Don’t turn it!’ I suddenly screamed.
    ‘It’s just a game Pheebs, besides, you can never be sure of the vibes for yourself...and only God knows the future...’
     ‘Oh..okay,’ I was ready to look with one hand covering my right eye ‘...red.’
     Phoebe smiled.
     ‘Now it’s my turn... you know what? I’m not going to look!’
     ‘You promised!’ I yelled.
     ‘The future is what you make it; it can change every second...I’m going for a swim.’
     Just as Mouche stuck her card in the middle of the pack, a corner hung out. When she turned her back to dive into the water, I sneaked a peak.
     The card was red. It was the Ace of Hearts. True love.       

PRIDE & PRINCESSES (page 34)

    Antique memories made us sentimental.
    By third grade, we used to drop off notes before school for the other to read when they got home and thus began our pink leather bound, feather-writing hobby; a rehearsal for the Boy-Rating Diary we would one day co-author.
     We had a secret hole in the brick wall between our fences where we kept my grandmother’s cake tin lined in plastic to protect the letters from the rain. And every afternoon I would sit on my grandmother’s porch (she only lived one street away) and read or write to Mouche – depending on whose turn it was to do either.
    We shared a lot of secrets over those years, stuff that doesn’t seem important now but really seemed to matter when we were eight, and ten and twelve.
    It was our discussion on the third night of junior year that led to the drafting of The Boy Rating Rules - that and our supernatural instincts.
    Sometimes Mouche and I don’t even have to talk to know what the other is thinking and  Mouche can occasionally predict events that haven’t yet happened,  but never for herself, only for others and only if they are good. 
    That night, Mouche had her Tiffany playing cards spread before her. She had made up a different meaning for each card and had amusing ways of applying different people to each of the playing cards which ‘inspired’ her vibes about the future.  For example, the Queen of Hearts was red (light in colour) and represented her and her desire to fall in love. I was the Queen of clubs (dark hair, pale skin) Teegan (Diamonds, light hair (red) but ‘money-orientated’ and Freya the Queen of Spades (a dark haired untrustworthy female - at least, that was the meaning for the cards tonight). Then Phoebe would put all the face cards representing the girls she knew and cut cards (red meaning ‘yes’ and black meaning ‘no’) until she had dealt the final card to answer her question.
     Tonight’s question was, ‘will Mouche meet the love of her life this year?’

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Page 33 (next chapter) PRIDE & PRINCESSES by Summer Day

Chapter 4
     Gossip and Rules
     That evening, I was finishing my homework in my room when Mouche came over to invite me for a swim. After school I just liked to relax and hang out with Mouche and her baby sister, Wednesday, but I usually had to finish my homework first. Since my mom was at work, I grabbed my suit.
     ‘Don’t bother with the towel,’ Mouche said, and off we went to climb the fence between our houses, like we’d done for the past decade.
      As we lay on our lounges, we considered the merits of our Sunrise News Blog – something we’d been updating for the past year - the live feed anti-bitch version of www.princessesbf.com. You could visit the Sunrise News Blog anytime of the day to hear about the daily life of Sunrise High in cyberspace. Princessesbf.com was bitchier and more exclusive; fashion tips for the desperate and dateless, unfortunate Sunrise High teachers, that sort of thing. The Princesses always wanted to control the legitimate ‘school blog’, Sunrise News, but Mouche and I (token editors), had other ideas.
    ‘Always have the end in sight at the beginning,’ Mouche began. ‘Planning is the basis of every successful enterprise...’ You could just tell Mouche is going to be a sensational lawyer someday, though I’m not entirely sure what she has in mind.
    We’d been planning for a while.
    The last weekend of vacation was spent watching hundreds of old high school and romantic movies for ideas; starting with Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club and Some Kind of Wonderful – then ending up with Buffy and The Notebook, Clueless and Veronica Mars. It had been a truly amazing summer holiday filled with evenings of swimming, feasting, DVD watching and looking over all our old photographs and letters to each other, written in baby-handwriting in those early years before we gained access to texting and the web.

First Draft Phoebe

    This was in the first chapter of the original draft of Pride & Princesses...
      
    "Unfortunately, this is not a supernatural story, and I doubt it’s a love story but I hope it ends up being supernaturally interesting – at least to you, my fly on the wall, my reader, my friend; Mouche. Ha, gotcha. You thought it was you, didn’t you? Well unless something very strange happens, Mouche and I are the only ones who ever get to read this which makes me a little bit, shall we say, free with the prose. I might even include some truly heinous teenage boy love poetry..."

Summer Day: First chapter of Pride & Princesses by Summer Day

Summer Day: First chapter of Pride & Princesses by Summer Day

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

First chapter of Pride & Princesses by Summer Day

If this is hard to find, I'm making it easier...

Chapter 1
Arrivals
    The first time I saw Mark Knightly, my world changed forever.
    That morning began almost like any other. Eyes closed, under a cloud of dark hair, I tried to avoid waking up. I had trained myself to sleep through almost any noise, including the sound of the builders constructing a new house, across the road from my own.  But when the jackhammer rang out for the third time, my best friend, Mouche (pronounced Moosh), screamed. She was curled up in a cashmere blanket on the faux chaise lounge in the corner of my bedroom catching up on her beauty sleep.
     ‘Enough already...’ she said theatrically, throwing her pillow at me as a sliver of light streamed through the open curtains. ‘Another bright and shiny Los Angeles day,’ Mouche added as she flipped off the couch and flicked her blonde highlights off her face. Mouche rubbed her eyes and glanced at the framed photograph of the Statue of Liberty. She gave it to me for luck, for my birthday and because Mouche and I have wanted to live in New York City for as long as I could remember.
      ‘Never give up on the dream, Phoebe,’ Mouche said when she presented the picture to me, ‘New York is a great place to be a triple threat whereas Los Angeles is all about the movies, darling.’
      I glanced at the shifting sky and wondered how Mouche managed to look like a movie star at 8am. I threw the pillow right back at her.
    ‘You have glitter face, Mouche.’ I said as I stretched my legs, ‘and I’m running late. My mom’s plane arrives at the airport in...exactly eight minutes...I promised we’d pick her up. C’mon, we’ve got to be ready...you need to get dressed.’
    ‘Touché,’ Mouche said (she’d been listening to French phrases on her iPOD all summer). ‘By the way, you have mascara under your eyes, Phoebe. Better wipe it off before we leave.’
    ‘Okay, but I don’t have time to put on make-up...’
    ‘That could be a mistake.’
     I looked at her incredulously.
     ‘You never know how many casting agents could be at LAX,’ Mouche added as she dragged a brush through her tangles.
      Because we both trained as ballet dancers, we were familiar with the art of stage make-up but I only liked to wear it on special occasions. I grabbed some gloss from the top drawer. I read in a helpful guide to dating called Mrs Robinson’s Advice, that, ‘a girl who can’t be bothered with lipstick can’t be bothered with life,’ and I’d never want to be accused of that.
    Mouche has always been good with make-up tips. You could see the results of our make-up experiments in every far flung corner of my bedroom. The place looked like a local beauty salon. It was obvious my bedroom hadn’t been tidied the whole time my mother was away in London. Oh, that’s something else you should know about me. I was born in England and sometimes I use British-isms like ‘tidy’ and ‘lolly’ and ‘shop’ instead of store.
    ‘We’re practically adults,’ Mouche said, ‘your mom’s going to expect better housekeeping skills...’
    ‘It’s true, this place is a mess, but at least I remembered to stack the cupboards with fresh food from the market,’ I said, as Mouche and I grabbed our sweaters and pulled on our Uggs  in differing shades of caramel and pink.
    ‘Unusual combination - boots and pyjama pants,’ Mouche noted, assessing her feet in the mirror. The only part of the glass not covered in used dancing shoes and feather boas from all the school plays we’d performed in, was the bottom right hand corner. Mouche flexed her ankles in the light.
     ‘We should go. Better to be unfashionable than late,’ I said using words destined to return to haunt me.
     ‘Uh huh, I’m not so sure,’ Mouche said.
     I gathered my car keys and locked the front door. Mouche gave the builders across the road a V for Victory sign as we drove out of our little gated community. Sunrise is a tiny suburb, not far from Bel Air, but not nearly as posh. Mouche turned the volume of my car stereo up high. Music blared out of the windows as we drove past urban scenery. Suddenly we felt like we were in one of those classic road films (like Thelma and Louise) as Mouche and I sang along with the words.
     We were driving along the Los Angeles freeway for the first time, feeling very grown up, and this was a cause to celebrate.  The fact that we were running extremely late by the time we arrived at LAX, ensured that I was in the right spot at the right time to view the arrival of ‘the hot ones.’
     It’s just a pity that I wasn’t looking my best when I saw Mark Knightly. I was looking, as Mouche said, ‘like a ‘slept-in’ blanket’. But as Teegan, one of the bitchiest Princesses in school, duly noted later, ‘he never would have noticed you anyway...’
    Mouche had dropped me off at the international lounge at LAX and was looking for a car space. I was searching the arrivals board when people started to walk from the customs area to greet whoever waited for them.
    I saw Mark Knightly first, but he was too busy to see me.
    Teegan, who ran with a clique of besties known as ‘The Princesses,’ was also at the airport that day with her family. She noted the arrival of the hot ones (as Mark and Jet became known) in her childish but addictive blog.  Fresh off the boat and new in town,’ she wrote. Then she proceeded to dissect every item of clothing both the boys and the girl who travelled with them wore. 
    ‘Even the sister could be a mini model if she just wore some make-up,’ Teegan sniped in her blog, ‘but the boys...’
     They lit up the scenery as they spoke and I should know. After they entered the public arrivals area, they stood slightly in front of me. The boys paused and looked around them, speaking as they waited for the girl who trailed slightly behind. I was waiting for my mother, trying to hide my out of date boots and messy hair, behind a pole. So, although we never spoke, I think fate played a part when I saw Mark and overheard him talking first...  
    ‘Seems like the locals are pretty tame after the recklessness of Ibiza,’ Mark said languidly.
    ‘I can’t believe your uncle is such a tightwad he made us fly commercial.’ Jet replied.
    ‘He’s trying to teach us how to rough it,’ Mark mused sarcastically, using an expression he’d picked up on his travels.
    ‘Never mind, the food was great and the flight attendants were hot...’ Jet said, focusing on the upside of any given situation.
     As the boys walked through the arrivals lounge, Mark Knightly looked at his surroundings with disdain. The thought of what he imagined his new home to be, an expanse of satellite suburbs beyond the hustle and smog of Los Angeles, seemed to fill him with distaste.
    Suddenly Mouche appeared alongside me, breathless from the carpark.
   ‘Hey Phoebe, I managed to find a parking space...whoa...who are they?’ Mouche whispered.
   ‘The new boys in town...I guess,’ I replied.
    Mouche acted swiftly. She whipped out her cell and took a few photographs of the hot ones.
   ‘Quick, you take some from another angle,’ she added. ‘Why can’t guys that hot ever go to our school?’
    The new arrivals were dressed like stylish English hippies in dark sunglasses as they met with the girl, collected her luggage and strode towards a fancy car.
    ‘Nobody even came to greet us,’ we heard the girl say sweetly.
    ‘She sounds a bit...’
    ‘Lost?’ I added.
    ‘I was going to say, vacant,’ Mouche whispered.
     The dark haired, slightly taller boy took her arm in a brotherly gesture of solidarity and gave the younger girl a ‘make the best of it,’ smile.
      Yes, they were soon to be Sunrise High’s newest and most talked about ‘poor little rich kids.’
    ‘But so fashionable,’ Teegan remarked in her blog.
     It’s true that Mark and Jet wore cool, faux leather jackets (‘friends of the wildlife,’ Teegan told Tory who told Freya who told Brooke who told Mouche, who told me).
    That was all I saw that day because my mom arrived about three seconds later and scooped me up in a mom hug.
    ‘Hey girls, I hope you were good while I was in Europe!’
    ‘Of course, Trish,’ Mouche replied like the worldly-wise best friend she was. Mrs Mouche sells houses for a living and for exceeding their half-yearly targets, her entire sales team had been gifted a whirlwind summer vacation culminating in Florence, Italy.
    ‘How exotic,’ Mouche had remarked when we both received photos the previous week, via email, of Mrs Mouche standing outside the Uffizi Gallery. ‘I love exotic places,’ Mouche remarked. 
     Later that day Mouche and I were lounging in Mouche’s pool before classes started on Monday. We flicked through the cell phone images of the boys’ arrival at LAX, deleting all but the best ones.
     ‘It’s ridiculous to be fans of guys we didn’t know,’ I said.
     ‘...who aren’t even famous.’ Mouche agreed, but she couldn’t resist the standard comment, ‘mmm...yummy...’ and I totally agreed.
     ‘His friend’s hot too. Sometimes blondes have to stick together,’ Mouche replied.
     Mouche and I had always been in competition. We had opposing hair colour. As you may have gathered, mine’s dark, Mouche’s is light, but our major contrasts were not just cosmetic. We had different but complimentary personalities.
     ‘Phoebe?’
     ‘Mmm...I said as I applied Spf30...’
      ‘We’ve been friends since we were six and I want you to know there is something truly comforting about this.’
      ‘Uh huh,’ I said. ‘What’s with the deep and meaningful conversation?’
      ‘Well, you know the sweater I borrowed and haven’t returned yet?’
      ‘My Hong Kong Burberry?’ I asked.
      ‘...yeah. It got caught in the dryer and...shrank.’
       I scowled. 
       ‘How could you? It was never supposed to go in the dryer in the first place!’  
       Mouche looked mortified.
       ‘I know. I’m so sorry. I’ve been trying to think of a way to tell you.’
       ‘I wanted to wear it tomorrow...’
       ‘I know...’
        After a few seconds, I smiled.
       ‘I suppose I could wear something else...’
       ‘I promise I’ll get you another one when I can afford it.’
       ‘That’s okay...’
        Money had been tight since our fathers absconded.
       ‘Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way we could just snap our fingers and get anything we wanted....’
     ‘You mean...conjure up a treasure chest or something? Yeah, that’d be great.’
      Like sisters, Mouche and I have shared the spoils of our wars all through grade school and now high school. It’s bound to happen in our first year of college. We even worked part-time at the local Gap all summer in order to save money for the ultimate dream – New York.  One day, I aim to be a triple threat on Broadway; Mouche wants to be a lawyer. I have no idea why. Mouche loves James Spader in Boston Legal.
     Both of our mothers are bachelorettes and quite young and wild and get along famously since they are the only ‘single’ Moms in our tiny street.  You can see them now, sitting on the porch together ‘catching up’ on life in Sunrise over the past month, looking like they invented that famous phrase ‘mommies who drink.’   
     I jumped out of the pool and grabbed a towel. Mouche dived under the water and emerged with a piece of gold – a ring had been left in the water – with a tiny dolphin on it. It probably belonged to someone at last night’s party – we’d walked over to Mouche’s house (next door to mine) to go for a swim.
     ‘Finders keepers,’ Mouche said with a glimmer in her eye, but I knew she’d hand it in to lost property at school the next day. That’s just the type of person Mouche is – loyal and trustworthy.
     If it weren’t for the amazing competition Mouche and I feel at times, our friendship would be truly perfect.
    I mean, we really are there for each other.
    We both studied fashion and theatre design at the private school we attended in Bel Air until tenth grade (before our deadbeat dads had financial collapses) and we went loco (meaning local – to the performing arts school in Sunrise). Our daddies also turned gay for each other around that time and that’s when our sisterly friendship became - how do they say it in those old English films? Very handy. Yes, that’s right, handy. We might have needed some major therapy when Daddy Mouche and Daddy Phoebe ran off together, if it hadn’t been for the strength of our friendship. We leant on our sisterly bond in our darkest hours and focused on the pastimes we enjoyed, swimming, dancing and talking about boys.
    Fate played a part in our simultaneous transfers to Sunrise High, after our parents split up.   Even at grade school Mouche had saved me from the evil, fashion-challenged bullies who tried to steal my lunch, my purse and our collective sanity. Those nasty girls morphed into a select group known locally as The Princesses and they inhabited Sunrise High, as luck would have it, around the same time as us.   
     But before I tell you more about the people, I should describe the place. 
    Near Los Angeles you can locate the gated community of Bel Air (where Mark Knightly would later reside) and at the foot of the hill, our world – a tiny little satellite suburb known brightly and only as Sunrise, population three thousand and nineteen people, exists.
    Amongst these people there were the usual small town individuals: the local dentists, doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, diner and shop owners, as well as a fair array of eccentric teenage characters, many of whom attended Sunrise High. The school was known for its ‘Centre of Performing Arts Excellence,’ the program in which Mouche and I and twenty-eight other students were enrolled.
    Six of these so-called ‘creatively gifted’ students were boys. I’d kissed all six of them but only because we’d participated in ‘scene studies’ for different plays we’d workshopped in theatre class over the past year.
     ‘We’ve never kissed anyone as hot as Mark and Jet,’ Mouche said, taking another glance at the image of Jet on her cell (she’d sent me the one of Mark). Mouche had at least six photos of the boys from LAX taken from as many different angles.
     ‘That’s bordering on obsessive,’ I joked to Mouche, knowing we’d both faint if anyone found out we’d taken pictures of boys we’d never even met.
    ‘Touché,’ I replied using Mouche’s newly acquired French, ‘I’ve never really kissed anyone I was totally into.’
    ‘It’s all about the kiss,’ Mouche said, ‘the kiss has to live up to your expectations or it’s just never going to happen. I’ve been doing some private research. Some of the boys didn’t want to be used for practice, if you know what I mean. Some were shy, some were confused or just bored or uncertain of the right way to go about it....I’ve been thinking there should be a manual...’
     ‘You mean, like Teegan’s blog?’
     ‘Not really, I mean, Teegan’s blog is just gossip. I think we need more actual research less filler...’
    ‘You mean, like a dating manual for teenage girls?’
    ‘Something like that, but more Sunrise specific...’
     ‘You mean, like a date and rate?’
     ‘Or maybe like a date and run. Remember when your mom went on her first date after the divorce? And the guy was such a sleeze she excused herself to go to the ladies room and crawled out of the bathroom window?’
     ‘How could I forget?’
     ‘Well, since we haven’t had that much dating experience we should be open to research – our own and other people’s...’
    ‘True.’
     That was the first time we discussed the idea of a dating manual for teenage girls. But we never expected, in the course of our ‘research,’ that we’d actually fall in love with Mark Knightly and Jet Campbell...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Where I Write

I wrote most of my first (grown up) novel in Starbucks and the sequel in the library and cafe of my old university. I don't usually write in libraries but that one is special to me! Sometimes I write on my dining room table (it's big and close to the kettle and good for spreading pages out, so at the moment the dining room table is winning!) I remember Starbucks because it had a great place to put my laptop and a great lamp to read by! I was thrilled to have finished the (very rough) first draft of the first novel I was working on but the weight of realisation that I then needed to review, was daunting...I think punctuation is important - but not as important as imagination, inspiration, structure, a good place to write, excellent beverages (!) and getting your words on paper, initially! So don't worry about the punctuation until the end...which is really the beginning. If anyone out there is a writer...where's the best place to write your stuff?

Monday, November 21, 2011

What I learnt about writing from writing Pride & Princesses...

Pride and Princesses was the sixth novel I began and the first novel I wrote for young adults. I learnt that I found it hard to be a good reader whilst I was writing my own stories, and I missed reading other people's published works. Like many writers, I have read since I was small (avidly). I think the first story I remember reading was Charlotte's Web (I loved it) then A Little Princess (also big love). I learnt that it is very difficult to concentrate on writing your own work whilst reading other people's. This could fill a very long post...but I'm gonna keep it short-ish. What I know about writing is that your writing is unique...no one else wrote the exact words in the same order to create the story, so only you could tell the story the way you told it...and there is some real satisfaction in creativity! The process can be so taken over by business and the pressure to find an agent and publisher, but it should never stop you doing what you love...putting words on the page in your unique voice. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pride & Princesses: Ballet Shoes Cover

PRIDE & PRINCESSES is a teen romance set in a Los Angeles High School, a mix of Pride & Prejudice meets Emma.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pride & Princesses (original first page)


There were a few different versions of  'the first page...' This is one of them. Thanks to my twitter readers who have sent me messages. You are all wonderful & ah-mazing! Now, if only I could work out how to add friends to my blog...

The original first page, it changed in subsequent drafts…
Chapter 1
Arrivals
    The day Mark Knightly transferred to Sunrise High from some snooty boarding school in England was the day Mouche and I began the Boy-Rating Diaries. They weren’t written in the traditional manner although they started that way. We wrote our thoughts on pink notepaper and used a feathered pen popular with countless teenage girls from previous generations. Suddenly, the secret diary became a blog that ended up as a how-to-guide to dating within the hallowed halls of our Performing Arts School. We went from social wallflowers to social winners in under a month all because our fantasy men walked the halls one surprising day in September and stopped to ask my best friend Mouche directions to  home room. ‘And not a minute too soon,’ Mouche noted, ‘I was beginning to think high school could only be fun in movies.’
    It was our junior year and from the instant we took Mark’s photo, blogged and tagged him, the meanest girls in school, Teegan, Freya, Brooke and Tory (the Princesses), sat up and started to take notice of all the great advice we shared about boys in our weekly column, The Sunrise High Newsfest. Of course, Mouche (pronounced in the French way – Moosh) never really planned to let love into the picture but that was before Mark Knightly entered our world and we hit on the idea of dating twelve different boys, one for each month.
    Mark was the first month, his friend Jet the next. Thoughts of them filled our every waking moment but that’s not what I’m meant to say and certainly not how it seemed to others at the time. Neither Mouche nor I realized that the start of the new school year would result in us both scribbling ‘I heart Mark’ and ‘I heart Jet’ in the spaces of our play scripts. But I digress.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dressing up

After drying off and embracing sobriety and dressing up in 1920’s outfits we’d worn in last year’s version of Guys and Dolls, we collapsed in a corner after dancing to retro music and resumed our discussion about the perfect junior year.

The Princesses

From Pride & Princesses by Summer Day

As I told you, Mouche and I had lain low as transfer students and couldn’t believe how unlucky we were when Teegan, Freya, Brooke and Tory were expelled soon after we were politely shown the door at the Los Angeles High School for Young Bitches. Oh, did I say bitches? I meant young ladies. The Princesses were fairly considered to be the most evil teenage girls Sunrise had ever produced; two sets of non-identical twins with plans to take over their new school, safe in the belief that since their fathers owned half of Sunrise, the school was theirs for the taking.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Shop or Store

Oh, that’s something else you should know about me. I was born in England and sometimes I use British-isms like ‘tidy’ and ‘lolly’ and ‘shop’ instead of store.

Uggs

    ‘It’s true, this place is a mess, but at least I remembered to stack the cupboards with fresh food from the market,’ I said, as Mouche and I grabbed our sweaters and pulled on our Uggs  in differing shades of caramel and pink...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Summer Day: PRIDE & PRINCESSES Chapter 3 Girl History

Summer Day: PRIDE & PRINCESSES Chapter 3 Girl History

Sunrise High School

Most people spend 96 seconds viewing blogs (apparently), I think that's just long enough to read the name of the fictional Los Angeles school my characters attend...and this.

You Love Him

Unedited Draft (scene between Mouche and Phoebe - this made it into the final draft, albeit in a different part of the chapter...)

Mouche glanced at me sceptically then looked at our prospective boyzamples and said, ‘Yes, no, yes, no, no way, yes...’
    ‘But this should be a realistic guide to dating at Sunrise High and an expose of just how few guys are the total package.’
     ‘Package meaning?’
     ‘Intelligence, kindness of heart, personality...’
     ‘How about tall, dark and handsome like Mark Knightly,’ I ventured. ‘Although, when he came into class he seemed very arrogant and rude,’ I qualified my reckless remark, but Mouche was too quick.
     ‘Oh my goodness!’
     ‘What?’
     ‘You like him. I can tell. I mean you more than like him!’
      It was hard to lie to Mouche.