Monday, October 05, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 3 - Saundra Mitchell

New Blogtoberguests scheduled! Lauren Baratz-Logsted (October 10) and Maggie Stiefvater (date to be determined) will be joining us this month, giving away Crazy Beautiful and Ballad, respectively.

Today's guest, Saundra Mitchell, is not only a novelist but also a successful screenwriter. She is the head writer and executive producer (i.e., Big Cheese) for Fresh Films, a program for teens with an interest in filmmaking. Participants make their own films, many of which have gone on to compete in national and international film festivals. And...Saundra just announced on her site that Fresh Films will be coming to television!

Saundra's debut YA paranormal novel, Shadowed Summer, was a Junior Library Guild selection and an ALAN pick (the Assembly for Literature for Adolescents--no, I'm not sure where the N comes from either).

Saundra and I have (at least) two things in common: we both write about ghosts, and we share a cover artist--Chad Michael Ward of Digital Apocalypse Studios, who also did the cover for my Aspect of Crow trilogy.

For her Blogtoberguest blog, Saundra wrote an awesome little extra from the world of Shadowed Summer, called...

There wasn't much that happened in Ondine, unless you count what I did this summer, but at least we had Homecoming. Not in my whole life have I ever walked out in a sweater and tasted that crisp air that's supposed to go with October. Autumn in Ascension Parish is when the humidity goes away, traded out for rain.

But me, I know it's fall when Daddy gets wound up about high school football. Once upon a time, he played fullback for the team. He didn't go to State, and he didn't get a scholarship, but we're still Gators, by God. The St. Amant Gators, that is. Daddy says the University of Florida can go... well, I won't repeat, but you get the idea.

Uncle Lee and Uncle Carl came first, carrying the beer cooler between them. Our house sweated with the spice of Daddy's gumbo, and I hit the door hard when I heard Collette on the walk. Her mama made caramel corn for the game. It was sticky and tasted like sulphured hell, and it was my favorite part of Homecoming.

Photos (C) Gaylon Keeling ( and used with permission.But before I got to Mrs. Lanoux, Collette grabbed me by my elbow and wheeled me around. Now, it was half-raining, but all of a sudden, we were walking down the street bare-footed. Away from my house, away from the gumbo, and the caramel corn I'd been craving all day.


Collette dipped her head close to mine. "Lord, Iris, there's a vampire moving in Old Mrs. Landry's house."

"Well, all right, then."

I woulda followed her all the way to the trailer park after that. It was a two-headed oddity, like joined-up twins in a jar at the fair. One, that a vampire was moving in. But two, that ANYBODY was moving in. Our town was made for leaving. It was supposed to be the kind you talked about, like, way back then I grew up in Ondine, Louisiana, we didn't have but one store, now pass me some caviar and cigars, darlin'.

Nobody moved here. Ever.

So of course, we had to go look. And of course, we had to stop at Ben's house. That was my fault, I guess, because I turned that way, but Collette didn't stop me, and anyway, it was kinda funny seeing him squint at us through the screen. His house was lit up for Homecoming, too. The radio blared, and I heard his brother Shea cussing somebody fierce for a fumble.

"Game's on," Ben said.

And since it was Collette's news, I shut up and looked at her until she announced, "There's a vampire moving into Old Mrs. Landry's house, and we're going to look."

"You're invited," I added.

Ben pushed the door open a little more, clutching the frame. He looked pained, then lowered his voice. "But the game's on."

I rolled my eyes first, Collette second, and we turned away at the same time. If Ben didn't have the sense to abandon a football game he couldn't even see on TV, to come look at the restless undead, there was help he needed that we couldn't provide.

"We gotta quit doing this, running around like idiots after monsters," Collette said, hooking her elbow in mine. Our hips rocked, and we bounced off each other as we hurried "There's a dance, and I want to go to it. And not with you, no offense."

I cut her a look. "You'd be lucky to have me."

"You'd be lucky to have me, more."

"Nah," I said, letting go of her arm to take a long run toward the corner. "It's a better world if we spread our evil out."

She laughed behind me, and I whooped when the skies opened in earnest. Pulling my t-shirt off my skin, I turned to soak up rain that didn't bring more heat with it. That was summer, and summer was buried. I shivered, and let my teeth chatter, and acted a fool because there wasn't anybody there to see me do it but Collette.

Planting her foot on my backside, she shoved me off the corner and as we turned under gold-grey gum trees, we both stopped. The tiger lilies that used to guard Old Mrs. Landry's house were gone. Not dead for the season- they were gone. Mowed down, and a bunch of landscaping rocks in their place. Somebody went and painted the house. It was strange and fresh in a coat of yellow, and there was a light on upstairs.

Photos (C) Gaylon Keeling ( and used with permission.Up in Elijah's room, that hadn't been his room for twenty-something years.

Collette's eyes darted from the moving van out front, to the window, and I followed her gaze. Human-looking people stood on the porch. A tall, umber man peeked up at the sky, then laughed to someone in the shadows when he came back still wet. His head was smooth; I wondered what it was like to feel rain on a bare scalp.

"Go on," Collette said.

"What do you want me to do?" I whispered low. "Go up there and ask them to show me the vampire?"

We both jumped when a voice spoke behind us. "Y'all look like drowned rats."

"Bite me, Ben," Collette snapped. She shoved him for startling her, and I crossed my arms tight over my chest. I was wet, my shirt was thin, and all of a sudden, I wondered why I'd skipped caramel corn for this.

My face hot, I told Ben, "Go on home. You're missing the game for nothing."

"I don't know about that," he said. His laid his palm between my shoulder blades, and nodded toward the house. Collette resisted looking right away; she liked to have the satisfaction of doing things because she wanted to, not because somebody told her to. Still, we all ended up staring at the white boy in the window.

And I do mean white, not peach or beige or any other pale color skin comes in. He was blue-white like powder, his skin and his hair both. A new kind of cold come over me, because he wasn't just looking out. He was looking at us.

Leaning close to the glass, he exhaled on it. Then, in the fog he wrote, YES.

"Yes what?" I wondered.

And as if he could hear me, he flattened a sheet of paper against the glass. I inched forward in the rain, still clinging to myself. I had to walk half into the street, and pull everybody's attention from the porch just to read it. My cheeks felt slapped when I finally made out the words, but I kinda had to smile too. I waved, and he waved, the light suddenly extinguished behind him.

Ducking away, I looped my arms with Ben and Collette's, and dragged them back toward Homecoming. They didn't even have to ask; they knew I'd tell 'em and as soon as we got around the corner, I did.

"Bite yes," I told them, trying not to crane back for another intriguing look. "Sparkle no."

And that's how Simon Drinkwater came home to Ondine.

Photos Copyright Gaylon Keeling and used with permission.

* * * *

After that, how can you not want to read more?

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

Deadline for entry: Monday, October 12, 11:59pm Eastern.

Other open Blog-toberfest giveaways:
Rosemary Clement-Moore and The Splendor Falls
Shannon Reinbold-Gee and 13 to Life

Thanks again to Saundra for giving us an extra special look into her world!

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Ooh, I definitely want more. That was fun :D

Posted by: Blogger Brooke Reviews at 10/05/2009 8:34 AM

Hee! Anytime I see Florida Gator bashing in print is a good time, not gonna lie.

What I loved about this story is that it shows a little bit of how life went on after the end of Shadowed Summer. And it's still just as real and vivid as if they were friends of mine, from my own youth.

Ben pushed the door open a little more, clutching the frame. He looked pained, then lowered his voice. "But the game's on."

That's the absolute agony of a young man's decision. Go hang out with girls you're interested in or watch the game. Loved that slice of life!

Posted by: Anonymous TheMildManneredSecretary at 10/05/2009 9:00 AM

LOL...Bite yes...Sparkle line ever!!!
I love me some Ondine!

Posted by: Blogger Sarah MacLean at 10/05/2009 9:46 AM

That was really fun and I'm now eager to read the book!

Posted by: Blogger Carla Lee at 10/05/2009 10:24 AM

Ooh, that does sound good!

Posted by: Blogger melissa @ 1lbr at 10/05/2009 10:52 AM

That sounds great. I do want to read more!!

Posted by: Blogger Jamie at 10/05/2009 11:25 AM

I've never heard of this until now, but that was awesome, I can't wait to read the rest! :)

Posted by: Blogger Katie at 10/05/2009 11:34 AM

Oh, that sounds tempting. I want to read more!

Posted by: Anonymous BekahBoo at 10/05/2009 11:44 AM

Oh, I want to read more for sure! :)

Posted by: Blogger Poppy at 10/05/2009 11:55 AM

I'm always looking for new authors to read, sounds good!

Posted by: Blogger tetewa at 10/05/2009 11:57 AM

That was a very tantalizing excerpt---plus I love the last line! Sounds like a great book!

Posted by: Blogger Kimberly B. at 10/05/2009 1:35 PM

Thank you all so much for your kind words! I'm so glad you're enjoying the story! Good luck on the giveaway! :D

Posted by: Blogger Saundra Mitchell at 10/05/2009 2:36 PM

That was fun. And what a wonderful cover.

Posted by: Blogger Sheila Deeth at 10/05/2009 3:41 PM

Fun! This is why guest blogging is so awesome... a book added to my to-read list, one I may never have discovered otherwise! :-)

Posted by: Blogger Ken at 10/05/2009 4:02 PM

Can't wait to read more.

Posted by: Blogger cait045 at 10/05/2009 4:52 PM

im very interested in ya books alon mykids readin too

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 10/05/2009 6:48 PM

The book sounds great, and I want more too!

Thanks for the contest!

Posted by: Blogger Karen W. at 10/05/2009 9:02 PM

That was great! I can't wait to read more!
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Posted by: Blogger throuthehaze at 10/05/2009 10:18 PM

Awesome snippet! I can't wait to check out the book. Vampires in the South are a favorite sub-genre of mine. And the fact he doesn't sparkle? Bonus!

Posted by: Anonymous Theresa Brundage at 10/05/2009 10:25 PM

I love the covers for her books and yours.
I really love the idea of more ya supernatural coming to tv as my "tween" enjoys ghosts, vampires and the supernatural. So looking forward to that.
The blurb/special story really hooks you and yes makes you want to continue reading. :)
I really enjoy reading books with my daughter and the paranormal aspect is my fave.


Posted by: Blogger Chris J. at 10/05/2009 10:58 PM

I'm laughing so hard right now. Bite yes sparkle no is enough to get you on my auto buy list until forever.

Posted by: Blogger Katherine Hazen at 10/05/2009 11:46 PM

This sounds really great and yes, I definitely want to read more. I would love to be entered.

Posted by: Blogger Lori T at 10/06/2009 1:04 AM

Heh. That was a great snippet. Loved the "Bite yes, Sparkle no" line. I think I'll be looking for this one the next time I go to the book store. In the meantime, I'd love the chance to win a copy. Count me in, please! :0)

librarygrinch at gmail dot com

Posted by: Blogger Dawn M. at 10/06/2009 2:25 AM

I've been wanting this book for like forever. lol
Sign me up!


Posted by: Blogger Asylumgirl at 10/06/2009 6:00 PM

Bite yes, sparkle no! I love it! You've already hooked me in.

Posted by: Blogger Rhia Raye at 10/06/2009 8:27 PM

This book was already on my wishlist but now its going to the top, that quick bit just reeled me in!


Posted by: Blogger Book~Adorer at 10/07/2009 10:44 PM

What a great excerpt. I want more!!

Posted by: Blogger Riva at 10/08/2009 9:53 AM

Oh this book sounds good!!

A Blog with Bite!

Posted by: Blogger Froggy at 10/08/2009 11:58 AM

Oh boy! I certainly want to read more.

Posted by: Blogger Sheila Deeth at 10/08/2009 3:51 PM

Best short-piece ending *ever*! Love vampires who have opinions about Twilight. :)

Posted by: Blogger alanajoli at 10/08/2009 7:02 PM

Book sounds great.

Posted by: Blogger Scott Romanski at 10/08/2009 10:31 PM

I'm definitely hooked and wanna read more! Sound great!

Posted by: Blogger Sara C at 10/09/2009 10:16 AM

Haha that was great!!

Posted by: Blogger Bianca at 10/09/2009 10:54 PM

Thanks for joining us and sharing Saundra. Interesting

best wishes
Debbie G in NY

Posted by: Blogger WriterWannaB_NY at 10/10/2009 1:54 AM

LOL aw he doesn't sparkle? Doesn't he know all good young adult vampires have to sparkle now?

Saundra that was a wonderful treat thank you! It was nice to re-visit with everyone again (and I totally want caramel popcorn now dangit...) and to know they still had some kookie things to do...

course now y'know I want a sequel (again...I had convinced myself not to want one...) or more short stories in the least XD

Posted by: Blogger Lexie at 10/12/2009 3:16 PM

Oh! This makes me want to read so much more from her :D adore the ending, too.

Posted by: Blogger Book Sp(l)ot at 10/12/2009 8:53 PM

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.

Thanks to everyone who commented. We have lots more prizes throughout the month, so stop by again and again!

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 10/13/2009 3:26 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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