Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 10 - Shana Norris

The winner of a signed copy of Saundra Mitchell's SHADOWED SUMMER is Book-Adorer! Just send your name and mailing address within the next week to jeri AT jerismithready DOT com.

Today's Blogtoberguest is Shana Norris, who is giving away a signed copy of her latest release, Troy High.

I can't wait to read this, because it's a modern retelling of the Trojan War, from the point of view of Cassie (i.e., the seer Cassandra, who was my favorite person from Greek mythology--I always thought she deserved way more lines).

For more about Troy High, including its backstory and playlist, visit its page on Shana's website, and check out this book trailer:

* * * *

Before I started high school, I had all these fantasies of going to homecoming in this beautiful princess gown that would make everyone stop and stare at me—like that scene in NEVER BEEN KISSED when Drew Barrymore arrives at the school dance and all eyes are on her. (Or even like the very similar scene in EVER AFTER. Drew really knows how to make an entrance, doesn't she?) I was BEYOND excited about my very first homecoming dance when I began ninth grade. What would I wear? Who would I go with? Could the stars align just right so that, miracles of all miracles, I would be named ninth grade homecoming princess??

Things seemed to get off to a good start when a guy that I'd been friends with for a long time asked me to go to the dance with him. I had a date? I had a date! This had to be a good sign. Homecoming would be my night to shine.

Sadly, my big homecoming fantasy never became a reality. I soon learned that the homecoming dance at my school was never the Really Big Thing that it is in my book TROY HIGH. Yeah, the homecoming game was kind of a big deal and we had a homecoming queen and court, but the dance was just another school dance. Then two days before homecoming, I suddenly realized that I didn't like my guy friend the same way he liked me. I should have figured it out a week earlier when I started taking different routes between classes and hiding in the library during lunch so that I could avoid seeing him. I had to give him the “I just like you as a friend” speech with “but we can still go to homecoming—as friends” added on. He agreed to go as friends, but he didn't exactly seem thrilled about it. I don't think it was just my imagination that he seemed to spend the next two days avoiding me.

Yet I still had hope. Maybe I could salvage my homecoming fantasies and make homecoming a great night.

Or maybe my homecoming was just doomed from the beginning. Because I played the flute in my school band, I got to go to homecoming wearing the dorkiest blue cowboy hat with ratty white feathers that has ever existed. To this day, I still don't know what the connection between cowboy hats and Blue Devils—my school's mascot—is, but that was the headgear they forced us band students to wear, along with uniforms that, judging from the bell bottom pants, were remnants from the hippie days. I was able to change after the game, but it turned out that no one wore beautiful dresses and suits to homecoming unless they wanted to be made fun of all night long. So I wore jeans and a T-shirt, like everyone else. When I walked into the gym for the dance with my sulking date that was just a friend, the music didn't stop. No one turned to look at me. Granted, I was pretty short so I was easy to overlook, but I was certain that even a height disadvantage wouldn't have caused people to ignore me if I'd been wearing the princess gown of my dreams and my school had invested in a spotlight. But in reality, my big Drew Barrymore moment fizzled and died. I spent homecoming leaning against the wall, watching other people dance, and feeling incredibly guilty while I tried to talk about stupid things that would make my date forget I had just dumped him two days before. And making homecoming court? The stars apparently weren't on my side that night or the next three homecoming nights the following years.

But the thing about being a writer is that you can change things. You can have the big, fancy homecoming of your dreams if you want in your books. So in TROY HIGH, I gave my characters the homecoming my school didn't have—which turns out to be a night that my characters will NEVER forget, even without the Drew Barrymore moment.

* * * *

To enter to win Troy High, leave a comment below. For complete rules, read the introductory post.

Deadline for entry: Tuesday, October 20, 11:59pm Eastern. NOTE: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. The winner is...cait045! Congrats!

Other open Blogtoberfest giveaways:
Sarah Beth Durst and Ice
Megan Crewe and Give Up the Ghost
Nancy Holder and her 5-pack of novels
Kelly Parra and Invisible Touch
Lauren Baratz-Logsted and Crazy Beautiful
Amanda Ashby and Zombie Queen of Newbury High

Thanks again to Shana for sharing her Homecoming memories!

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Jeri -- I think you'll love Troy High. I just have that suspicion.

Shana -- how sad about the jeans and t-shirt combo! I was a band kid, also (my freshman year we had bright orange wool jackets, probably from the early seventies, that after they were forcibly retired, ended up being used in a "Star Trek" sketch on a school follies). But at least I got to wear fun, retro dresses and hang out with the girls. :)

Posted by: Blogger alanajoli at 10/13/2009 9:28 AM

wow, book sounds good! Please enter me for a chance to win it!

A Blog with Bite!

Posted by: Blogger Froggy at 10/13/2009 10:43 AM

The book sounds great.... and I went to Trinity High School and of course they are the Trinity Trojans....hahaha GO Trojans

Posted by: Anonymous Brittany Littlepage at 10/13/2009 11:05 AM

I went to two of my Homecomings while in High School, and they were never that amazing either.

But I love Shana's attitude on writing. I'm a wannabe author, but that's exactly how I feel with my characters/story.

But enter me, please! This book sounds fantastic! :)

Posted by: Blogger Katie at 10/13/2009 11:16 AM

Sounds like a great read!! :-)

Posted by: Blogger Sara C at 10/13/2009 11:24 AM

Thank you Shana Norris for sharing such a great post here today.
I think your highschool history gave you a wealth of material for writing.
Thanks again,
PS - Shana Norris is on Twitter: @shananorris

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 10/13/2009 12:27 PM

I didn't know that was what Troy High was about, sounds very interesting!

Posted by: Blogger Brooke Reviews at 10/13/2009 12:38 PM

ahhh Homecoming. I do so want to forget my first Homecoming with the passion of a thousand suns.


Posted by: Blogger Lexie at 10/13/2009 12:44 PM

Sounds like another good one! tWarner419@aol.com

Posted by: Blogger tetewa at 10/13/2009 1:06 PM

Okay, so that's so sad about your homecoming! I've never been, but I have been in that awkward situation where you're stuck somewhere with a nice guy that likes you in a "different" way than you like him. The book sounds quite interesting, enter me in!

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 10/13/2009 3:22 PM

I love the book trailer, Shana!

And what an interesting idea for a novel. I'll definitely have to check it out... (And I suspect it's one my dh will also want to read...well, we can fight over who gets to read it first!)


Posted by: Blogger Cara King at 10/13/2009 5:26 PM

For some reason, I was completely oblivious to my high school's homecoming dance! But your story reminds me of prom. I had all sorts of pictures in my mind of how it would play out. But first I got in trouble because my cummerbund didn't match my date's dress (I had NO idea it was supposed to!). Then after the prom she asked me to drive her to the place where, she told me, she used to make out with her ex-boyfriend -- and when we got there, she gave me the "just friends" speech! Aaah, memories! :)

Posted by: Anonymous Ken at 10/13/2009 7:29 PM

Great posting! And as a big Greek mythology buff, I can't wait to read Troy High. Cassandra is one of my favorites, too!
Like you, I was a band kid, but a clarinetist, not a flautist. Our uniforms were fortunately just the boring old marching band uniforms, with the plastic hats with plumes, not the big q-tip thingies. Mine didn't want to stay on, though, not with all my hair shoved up inside it. I even lost it on the football field once!

Posted by: Blogger Kimberly B. at 10/13/2009 8:53 PM

This book sounds great! Count me in please
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Posted by: Blogger throuthehaze at 10/13/2009 10:51 PM

Shana- I absolutely love that scene in Ever After when she shows up in that gown and is all sparkly.

But the book sounds good and I'm always up for a retelling.

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 10/13/2009 11:02 PM

Hi Shana~

Troy High sounds really good and I am looking forward to reading it.

I went to a couple of my Homecoming dances and I did not find those magical Drew Barrymore (and yes, she definitely can make an enterance) moments. I pretty much remember just wearing jeans and nothing too exciting.

Posted by: Blogger Lori T at 10/14/2009 1:03 AM

Shana -- I too love the book trailer. I think those are such an interesting way to peak someones curiousity about a book...

While I sadly never really paid much attention to homecoming and football games and the like, your book does sound interesting! Thanks so much for sharing!

Debbie In NY

Posted by: Blogger WriterWannaB_NY at 10/14/2009 1:16 AM

I love the trailer! I know what you feel about homecoming fantasies - homecoming's never my day. My freshman year I got busted for being "innapropriately dressed" in a strapless dress that came past my knees and was straight across on top lol. Every year so far something has happened.

Posted by: Blogger Erica at 10/14/2009 8:57 PM

This book is on my WL! please enter me!


Posted by: Blogger Andrea at 10/14/2009 9:06 PM

Oooh, this is one of the books on my birthday wishlist! And I love the big Homecomign dance-my shool just had dances (I swear, I don't think it had a King and Queen of anything)... Love the idea behind the book, too-and that there're cheerleaders--for some reason I want to read a book with cheerleaders (we didn't have those either--for a huge, popular school we failed!).


Posted by: Blogger Book Sp(l)ot at 10/15/2009 3:13 PM

Is it weird that the cover of this reminds me of the movie Bring It On? So all I think about when I see this book is a mix between that movie and the movie Troy? Even though neither really fit it that well?

Homecoming and those types of dances rarely live up to one's expectations. :(

Posted by: Blogger Sara at 10/15/2009 3:28 PM

Never did homecoming - too shy :-)

Book sounds good.

Posted by: Blogger Karen at 10/16/2009 2:16 PM

Please count me in. Great Post!

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

Posted by: Blogger I ♥ Book Gossip at 10/16/2009 9:58 PM

I always enjoy modern retellings of classic myths or legends.


Posted by: Blogger Asylumgirl at 10/17/2009 1:29 AM

would love to win :)

Posted by: Blogger Amy at 10/17/2009 3:42 PM

*ahem* This is a must add to my wishlist. How can I not read a modern re-telling of the AWESOME CHICK I was named after? Cassandra rocks! *pauses* that sounds like I am talking about myself and being conceited, lol

Anyways, homecoming was always a pain to me. I was the anti-school spirit girl who sat in the back bleachers snarking everything and everybody. I was so angsty. lol Can't wait to read this book.

Posted by: Blogger Casse AKA Catholic Kittie at 10/19/2009 5:36 AM

That is a great cover and sounds like a great book.


Posted by: Blogger cait045 at 10/19/2009 12:13 PM

The winner of Shana Norris's Troy High is...cait045! Congrats!

Thanks to everyone for all your enthusiastic comments, and don't forget to come back every day for more chances to win great books!

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 10/21/2009 12:18 AM


This Side of Salvation

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Jeri Smith-Ready is a Maryland author of books for teens and adults.

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