Monday, October 23, 2006

Sneak Peek at a Stressed Damsel

I guess it's my turn to play hostess, and it's a good thing this is a virtual party instead of a real-world one, or I wouldn't be able to let guests in the front door, and my party food might consist of Goldfish crackers and a few cans of Diet Dr Pepper. I just turned in a book, then immediately got copy edits on another book, and I'm leaving for New York in the morning.

It seems like the title of my next book, Damsel Under Stress is more and more applicable to my life! No, it's not autobiographical. It's the next book in my fantasy/chick lit series about Katie Chandler, an ordinary (in fact, extraordinarily ordinary) girl who finds herself working at a magical company, which ends up complicating her life in a variety of ways. This book continues the story begun in Enchanted, Inc. and Once Upon Stilettos.

So, since I'm leaving my party guests standing on the front porch, nibbling on crackers, I feel like I should provide some entertainment instead. In an Out of the Blogosphere exclusive, here's the world premiere of the opening of Damsel Under Stress, which will be on sale May 1:

The last thing I expected to see when I stepped through the door of the coffee shop was a fairy godmother. Not that fairy godmothers are normally high on the list of things I expect to see, even as weird as my life is. I work for a magical company, so running into fairies, gnomes, elves, wizards, and talking gargoyles is something that happens every day. But I’d never yet seen an honest-to-goodness fairy godmother, and I really wasn’t expecting to see one that morning because, for the first time in my life, I really didn’t need one.

As of the night before, I had my Prince Charming. At the company Christmas party, Owen Palmer, the wonderfully handsome, brilliant, powerful wizard who also happened to be an incredibly nice guy, had kissed me like he meant it and told me he’d always had an interest in me. Yeah, the guy who was the magical world’s answer to a movie star liked plain old non-magical Katie Chandler, the ordinary small-town girl from Texas. That Saturday morning was our first official date as two people who’d admitted that we had feelings for each other. We were meeting for brunch at a snug little coffee shop on Irving Place, possibly the most romantic New York setting I could imagine for a casual first date.

Which meant, of course, that the fairy godmother had to be waiting for someone else. At least, I assumed she was a fairy godmother. I know making assumptions can be dangerous, but I was pretty good about seeing the truth, and she looked like Central Casting’s idea of a fairy godmother. She looked older than the eternally youthful fairies I knew, and her wings were a fairly good sign that she wasn’t just another eccentric New Yorker. A star-topped wand lying on the table in front of her was yet another clue. None of the other magical folk I knew used wands. Anyone else would surely have made the same assumption, if they saw what I saw.

I almost felt sorry for whomever her Cinderella was because she didn’t exactly look like the top-of-the-line fairy godmother. Unlike most of the fairies I knew, she was squat and round, but I couldn’t tell if that was flesh or if it was her clothes. She looked like instead of taking off the previous day’s clothes and putting on something new each morning, she just put on a new outfit on top of the old one – and she’d been doing that for centuries. In all the layers of clothing I caught glimpses of calico, tulle, patchwork, satin, and velvet. The top layer was old, dusty rose velvet, worn threadbare in places. A rusty tiara missing a few stones sat haphazardly on top of her gray sausage curls, and one of her fairy wings was bent.

“Yoo hoo! Katie!” I turned when I heard my name and saw the fairy godmother waving at me. I waved back halfheartedly, and she pointed her wand at the empty seat across from her. With a shrug, I went over and took the seat. “Oh good, you’re right on time,” she said as I sat down.

“On time for what?” I asked.

“Our meeting, of course.” She gave a tinkling little laugh. “But silly me, I haven’t introduced myself. I’m Ethelinda, your fairy godmother. I’ll be managing your case, helping you find true love.”


I know May 1 is a long way away, so if you want to be sure to get a reminder closer to publication, you can sign up for my mailing list. I only use it to send out reminders about new books and things like booksignings, so I won't clutter your in-box. And if I ever get my act together, I may have a few parties of my own, with giveaways to list members.


Jennifer Y. said...

Sounds good!!

Meljprincess said...

Hi Shanna,
Think you could pop up to RI and see me when you go to NY?
"Damsel Under Stress" sounds great. Very clever title. I loved "Enchanted, Inc" but have not yet had the pleasure of reading "Once Upon Stilettos".

These crackers are good but if you'll excuse me I'm off to get a root beer. BBL.

Dannyfiredragon said...

Hi Shanna,

just added your books to my tbb list and joined your mailing list

Shanna Swendson said...

I do have root beer, too, so I'm not a hopeless hostess (though Martha Stewart's head is probably spinning around while steam shoots out of her ears at the thought of my hostessing ability).

RI might be a wee bit out of my way. I'm already wishing I had a clone or a teleporter so I could do even more stuff that I want to do in New York.

And now I have to go run around packing and doing errands so I can leave town.

Sagittarius Uisce Beatha said...

I'm all for the diet Dr. Pepper. I too just joined your mailing list, so I can be reminded of the release of Damsel Under Stress (like I'd forget). May seems so far away, the excerpt has made me want more. Thanks for sharing it with us :-)

Kelly said...

Hi Shanna...I was lucky enough to get "Once Upon Stilettos" at RT in Daytona (loved meeting you then as well).

"Damsel Under Stress" looks like it's going to be loads of fun too. I can't wait for it's release...I'm already a member of your newsletter and looking forward to hearing more about what you have coming up in the future.

angela said...

It does look great.. and I signed up for your mailing list.

Pamk said...

sounds good. Ducking head I've never read any of your books but am added the first one of this series to my list.

Colleen Gleason said...

Ooh, that sounds really fun!

LadyVampire2u said...

Loved the excerpt. This is definitely one book I need to get ahold of. Have fun on your trip!

Estella said...

Just joined your mailing list.

Carol said...

I also signed up for your mailing list! Your books look good!

Shannon McKelden said...

The new books sounds fun, Shanna!


Tam said...

The books are added to my tbb list & I am joining you list.

CrystalG said...

Sounds really good. :)

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