No, no – seriously. I mean, my current M-F job (plus some weekends, when my mouth turns mutinous and blurts out, “Yeah – I’ll drive the team!”) is as a school bus driver. No, not the small suckers that had the butt bitten off by the T-Rex from Jurassic Park, or the 15 passenger vans with the cute little lights on top that look like ET landed.
We are talking SCHOOL BUS. Big sucker, filled with screaming, occasionally cursing, kids.
The yellow banana of the road that every driver on the planet will try to get past because, obviously, the bus is a ticking time bomb.
Tick . . . tick . . . STOP SIGN! Wait . . . wait . . .wait some more.
It moves until . . . STOP SIGN! Wait . . . Wait . . .
Come on!! You know the sight of one makes your eye twitch. Makes my eye twitch too! Which begs the bigger question: WHY THE HELL DRIVE ONE? Well . . . for the same reason above. I am stupid.
Driving is a fun fest (*snort*) especially when someone in a Pinto cuts me off. Then I just want to crush their little fastback into the guardrail and turn them into a clown car. Don’t cut off bus drivers. We are MANIACS.
Oh yes – and the words, “I think I am gonna throw up,” literally send chills down our bright yellow vested-backs. Frigid cold mornings, when we are forbidden to idle, also rank high on the Suck-O-Meter, as do enraged parents, sneaky kids, and the most dreaded TRAFFIC. A couple of our drivers even managed to add “Oh s**t, the engine is on fire!” to the dreaded list.
But for sheer torture, and ranking NUMBER 1 on the most dreaded aspects of bus driving, is without fail THE CHILD CHECKMATE SYSTEM. Also known as the Psycho Female Voice that demands I run to the back of the bus 64 times a day. She is also known to be an unpredictable witch and hurl random demands at the most inopportune times, such as telling a driver to walk to the back of the bus and check for sleeping kids WHILE THE BUS IS BEING DRIVEN. HELLO???? THE FREAKIN’ KIDS ARE ON THE BUS! Here – let me just send my SHADOW to the back while I navigate the HIGHWAY at 50!
We are given a hefty 30 seconds to run to the back of the bus (dodging legs, instruments, and backpacks stuffed so huge that they’ve GOT to contain a family of elves) and press a button AND lift a handle. If you don’t make the finish line in 30 seconds? HORNS! LIGHTS! KIDS GET EJECTED THROUGH THE ROOF HATCH! Well . . . okay, the last one is more of a wish.
So yeah – the job can truly suck, but hey – it’s a paycheck and lets me write about dark, killer teens between my runs. Can’t imagine where I get the character ideas from . . .
Oh and FYI – We are ALWAYS looking for more DRIVERS. Care to be stupid? ;)
SIEGE picks up with Mal and Alina on the run from the Darkling after a throw down / massacre in a dark swath of land known as The Fold (see review of first book HERE). Bardugo displays the duo’s evolving affection for one another in the early pages of the book, especially Mal’s protectiveness over Alina – the one and only Sun Summoner who the Darkling is desperate to control and enslave.
They hide out in whaling ships and blend in with the working ports of Russian-like cities. I love how Bardugo builds this landscape in the reader’s eye. I can feel the dirt and grime, the rough clothing and the filthy living quarters. It’s this ability – this world building – that makes Bardugo so brilliant.
Of course, Mal and Alina’s luck runs out and the Darkling catches up with them, flinging them onto a hired pirate’s ship. The Darkling is determined to locate a mythic beast in the frigid waters of the northern sea, in an area known as The Bone Road. The pirate, known as Sturmhond, is young and charming, but commands the absolute respect of his crew, which includes some wayward Grisha – a shocking surprise for Alina and Mal who have always known the Grisha to follow their master, the Darkling.
Sturmhond, however, is not who he seems and may prove himself a valuable asset to Alina . . . and an irritating troublemaker for the Darkling. His obsession with Alina worries Mal as well, but not for fear that Strumhond would hurt her. No – Mal fears the rogue pirate may steal her heart. Twists ensue, alliances are formed, friendships are tested and an enraged Darkling brings forth a darkness the likes of which no one has ever seen before.
There is much more to this fabulous story. But like Shadow and Bone, the novel has so much going on (in a GREAT way) that it is impossible to reveal it all. I’d blow the whole story if I did. For me though, Siege and Storm surpasses Shadow and Bone, but both books are worth your time. You won’t be disappointed!
Here’s to hoping the third book will be out soon. Write faster, Ms. Bardugo!
So, I am thrilled to announce that my crazy, slightly irrational bloggy, was nominated for a Liebster Award by fellow crazy – Danielle of Ever On Word.
Gotta love her blog and the fact that she is nuts enough to be a writer, like moi. I bet there is a genetic disorder linked to our common story-telling obsession!
Anywho, to accept my fab-o award, I must complete the following rules (and, heck knows I suck at rules, but here goes!):
* Answer the 11 questions provided – DONE
* Create 11 questions for the next nominees to answer – DONE
* Link back to the one who nominated you – DONE
* Choose 11 people and link them in your post – DONE
* Go to their page and tell them – DONE
* No tag backs! – Eh?
Okay – so these are the questions that were provided to me with my answers:
1. If you were cursed to take on an animal form every night, which do you think the spell-caster would choose for you, and why? A bat, so I could fly and scare the tar out of people – both of which I would enjoy doing immensely and therefore feed the needs of my “id”.
3. Name the fairytale nearest to the story of your life. JAWS. No seriously – for Cape Codders a shark that snacks on tourists IS a fairytale.
4. You feel sick. ): Would you rather see a doctor about it, or tough it out alone? Drag my wheezy butt out the door only to be told to take it easy and eat canned soup?? Yeah . . . PASS. I’ll tough it out.
5. Who is your favorite “Swan(n)” – Emma Swan (“Once Upon a Time”), Bella Swan (“Twilight”), Elizabeth Swann (“Pirates of the Caribbean”), or [other]? ELIZABETH!!!
6. Who is your favorite prince? (Real, fictional, the “Purple Rain” artist who partied like it was 1999… whatever.) Oh man . . . I’m not really the “prince” type, therefore I am going to say Prince Eric in THE LITTLE MERMAID. Dude was the only one that didn’t act like a wimp.
7. Who is your favorite “the”? Just kidding. X) If you had to go on a two-week walking trip with someone – any someone – who would you want it to be, and why? My BFF Laura, because combined we get into more mischief than Chevy Chase in a National Lampoon movie.
8. Are you the cool, rational type, or emotional and instinctual? Cool like a cuke, baby! OMG a SPIDER!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH
9. How far would you go to make a person fall in love with you? I never chase. Ever. I wouldn’t want to try and lure someone into loving me. Love me with all my faults or move on. I ain’t perfect.
10. Describe your early childhood home. HAHA . . . the wrong side of the tracks in a beautiful, seaside land.
11. What does “happily ever after” mean to you? That we live for the moment, never ceasing to be amazed by life.
Okay – so now I have 11 nominees I wish to bless with a Liebster award IF they too follow the rules (stated above). Here are my nominees followed by their questions:
1. Beach, pool, or no way you get near water?
2. We have a jumping bridge and the water is roughly a bone-chilling 60-degrees. Do you brave the water and jump with the teens or do you justify a reason for staying dry?
3. Best thing you read recently:
4. Character you wanted to see run over by a bus:
5. Speaking of buses, did you ride one as a kid or bum a ride off of someone, parents included:
6. First vehicle and why:
7. A TV show that your tried out and were shocked to ADORE:
8. Do you Rock n Roll when you write?
9. What made you start a blog?
10. One place that you would drop everything to visit if the trip was 100% paid for:
11. What you were doing one hour ago (this is a PG-13 blog! *cough cough*):
CONGRATS ONE AND ALL!
I’m just gonna say it: I DO judge a book by it’s cover. Well, okay – at FIRST. Then you have the book blurb to continue to lure me in. After that, I give you just the sample pages. Wait – I’ve wandered off topic for a second. Back to covers!
So . . . if so many people are like me and are drawn to the sparkly stuff (and therefore fancy covers), why, WHY, do self-pubbing authors go the cheap route with such a critical selling point? PEOPLE! If your going to go it alone, for goodness sake spend the dough and pay for a top notch cover.
For me, having a high-end cover for UNDERTOW is a must, but I (being a control freak just a tad) wanted more than just a great cover with stock-models from some royalty-free website. I wanted REAL people – teenagers – from the school that is featured in UNDERTOW: Barnstable High School.
“Have you lost your marbles?!” you scream. Possibly BUT there’s a method to my madness and here’s why:
1. It’s a series: UNDERTOW is book 1 in a 4 book span. I NEED the main characters to be represented by the same faces through the whole series. Thus: real models, carefully selected to mirror the characters. I COULD cop-out and have, oh perhaps . . . two hands HOLDING AN APPLE on book 1, but that just ain’t me.
2. Marketing: I want my graphic designer to make more than one cover PER BOOK. Yeah – that’s right. The hardcover will be different than the soft than the ebook. PLUS . . . I want posters, banners, candids for my blog, etc.
3. The cast becomes REAL: I would love to bring these fabulous teens with me for a book signing, maybe a meet-and-greet with fans and their own interviews about the journey as the faces of these characters. Who does that? EVER? Rather than have a 1-dimensional hero or heroine that resides solely on the page, you now have a walking, breathing REAL person. You have more than a face: you have a living star.
I will post the “cast” of UNDERTOW when it is completed – just wait until you see! I am thrilled with who we have so far!
Oh yeah . . . and those beautiful eyes belong to my daughter :)