Saturday, January 5, 2013

AUTHOR CHALLENGE 1/2013: “AT DINNER LAST NIGHT”: GUEST POST by Patti Larsen


I wanted to add something a little different to my usual posts on my blog this year, and came up with the idea to approach a few of my and Ellen’s favorite authors and challenge them to write about a topic of my choice. The real challenge? It has to humorous. So my first victim…uhm, I mean, author who jumped at the opportunity to write something brilliant and humorous, was Patti Larsen. She’s the YA author of a gazillion fantastic books, and she mastered the challenge like a pro. Here’s what she wrote, using two awesome characters from her Hayle Coven paranormal series. (You gotta check these books out, they’re amazing! List of books and links at bottom of post.)



AT DINNER LAST NIGHT…by PATTI LARSEN


I groaned and rubbed my eyes as the morning sun sliced through my window. The weight and warmth of a fat cat body stirred when I did, paws padding up my stomach and chest until my silver Persian, Sassafras, perched inches from my nose, amber eyes glowing with demon fire.
“Sydlynn,” he said in the deep and sarcastic tone he favored. “Mind filling me in on what happened last night?” His pink tongue swept out over his nose, irritation crackling over his thick fur in sparks of golden magic.
Couldn’t I just forget about dinner? But no, not with Sass’s claws digging in through the thin sheet while his power wrapped around me and urged me to comply. He always got what he wanted.
Sneak.
“It wasn’t my fault.” I stroked his fur, hoping the natural response of his cat body would work to my advantage. Amber eyes slid half shut, a breath of a purr starting before he snorted and tensed, ears flattening against his skull.
“It’s never your fault, Syd,” he snapped. “Now spill it.”
“Fine.” I toyed with the corner of my sheet, feeling blood rush to my face at the memory. “It started well.”
I felt Sass’s sigh in my own chest. “Just tell me.”
“Mom thought it would be a good idea to invite the coven leaders over for dinner.” I, naturally, thought it was a terrible suggestion, but no one listened to me. “Now that she’s Council Leader, she’s all about this new ‘everyone has to get along’ thing.”
Sassafras nodded, ears flicking forward. “I’ve warned her about her optimism,” he said. “Go on.”
“At least she agreed to host it at Harvard.” No way was I letting the collective of witches into my house. Not with the Wild Hunt buried in my back yard and the center of the Hayle power in my basement. “She made me wear witch clothes, did I tell you that?”
Sass snorted, clearly amused. “Velvet skirt, silk blouse?”
Shudder. “I looked like an idiot.”
“No comment.” He settled further, claws retracting as he shifted his weight to a more comfortable position. The compulsion to launch him across the room was so strong I giggled. “Are you going to tell me or not?”
He took all the fun out of everything. “I did what she wanted.” Funny how I could still retreat to grumpy, sulky teenager even after all this time. A little shake of my attitude and I went on, knowing the glare in Sass’s eyes meant he felt me backsliding too. “Played the good hostess.Even smiled a lot.”A lot. My cheeks still ached. “In fact, you’d be proud of me. I was still smiling when the meltdown happened.”
Sass leaned closer, nose against mine. “Are you going to tell me or am I going to have to claw you?”
I puffed a breath of air in his face, making him retreat, shaking his head, whiskers quivering. “I’m getting to it.” Oh boy. “So everything is going smoothly, even Benita Santos is all simpering fake happy.” The leader of the Santos coven had once been our enemy, tied to the evil Dumonts, determined to bring the Hayle coven down. “Violet Rhodes was helping herself to the sherry.” The adorable little old lady was perpetually tipsy, but at least she liked me. “Irene Bradford couldn’t get enough of the soup.” I could still hear the prim and harsh older woman slurping. Ew. “And Tallah Hensley and I were having a great talk.” Gossiping. I wasn’t ashamed to admit it. She was the only leader close to my age, only twenty-five. Just having her there made the whole mess survivable.
“And?” Sassafras cleaned one paw with three quick licks before refocusing on me. “Then what happened?”
“Mia showed up.” And did she. The young, damaged leader of the Dumont coven crashed our little party, though I assumed Mom invited her. But I was sure Mom wasn’t expecting her to make an appearance. As much as Mia had once been my friend, I didn’t know her anymore. Except for the understanding she was just too weak and broken to lead the most dangerous and evil-ridden coven in our territory.
Sass sighed again, ears drooping. “I see.”
“I told you it wasn’t my fault.” Well. Mostly. “Mom was all queen of gracious like she always is, but Mia wasn’t having any.” My old friend had staggered to my side, her family magic crackling around her as she swept the room with her ice blue eyes. “She started yammering about how she has no support from the Council and how dare they have fun when her life is falling apart.” It was truly awful. My heart clenched at the memory of Mia, her crazy showing.
“What did Miriam do?” Sass tensed even as I met his eyes again. His narrowed.“Syd.”
“Yeah.” I stroked his fur again, this time for the comfort it gave me. “I should have left it to Mom. I know that. But I just couldn’t sit there and watch Mia fall apart in front of them all, you know?” She had been my friend, no matter what she was becoming. I owed it to her. Besides, seeing those older witches stare at her like she was some kind of reject or freak they wished would just go away got my back up.
“Syd,” Sass repeated.
“I reached out to her.”
“With your hand.” He always looked slightly pissed off with his pushed in nose, but the expression was even more pronounced than usual.
“No.” I winced. “With magic.” It was an automatic thing, not something I planned. I just wanted to help.
Sass dropped his chin to his paws. “Oh, Syd,” he said.
Yeah, yeah.Like he had to say it. “She freaked.” My body collapsed completely when I admitted it, going limp. “I guess she thought it was some kind of attack.” Holy. Did she. Like someone poured out a cup of instant tornado. Mia lashed out with her power, shrieking we were all out to get her.
“Was anyone hurt?” Sass’s pupils widened, filling his eyes with black, only a thin rim of amber visible.
“No,” I said. Just embarrassed. Another giggle escaped without my consent though it really wasn’t funny. “Irene looked pretty sweet with a pot of soup on her head.” I had managed to dodge the pie heading for me while Tallah took it in the face. Three bottles of wine dumped into Violet’s lap as Benita found herself drenched in gravy and potatoes. The look on Mom’s face when the sideboard of desserts coated her in sugary goodness was almost too much.
I couldn’t help it. I’d laughed. Out loud. And Mia… calmed down. Grinned at me like it was funny before leaving in a huff while the other leaders stared after her in shock.
“Mom cleaned up the mess,” I said. “But the damage was done.”
Sass swatted my nose, clawless. “You just had to laugh, didn’t you?”
“Hey,” I shot back. “If I hadn’t, maybe Mia wouldn’t have stopped, right?” Done worse things. Things she’d be burned at the stake for.
“And the other covens? Are they demanding retribution?” Sassafras blinked once, slowly.
“No,” I said. “I think they were too embarrassed to admit what happened.” That Mia got the drop on them. And that it would have been freaking funny if it wasn’t so tragic. “Mom convinced them to leave Mia to her.” Didn’t take much convincing. They’d all left in a flurry, though Tallah was big enough to admit it was sort of giggle-worthy.
“And Mia?” Sass slid forward, curling up on my pillow next to me, a low purr starting. A hum of calm and comfort filled me from that purr, his power reaching for me.
“I don’t know.” I turned on my side, scratching his cheek and ear, running my fingers through his thick silver fur. “But I’m even more worried about her now.”
“As am I.” He closed his eyes for a moment before opening them again. “I suppose this means no more dinner parties?”
Worked for me.

ABOUT the AUTHOR

Patti Larsen is an award-winning middle grade and young adult author with a passion for the paranormal. Her YA thriller series, The Hunted, is available now. Book one of that series, RUN, is a recent recipient of the 2012 PEI Book Awards for Fiction.The PEI Book Awards are held every two years and are open to authors, editors and book producers resident in the province. In addition to recognizing the quality of publications, the Awards raise the profile of Island books in order to increase sales. The Prince Edward Island Book Awards were last held May 16, 2012 in Beaconsfield's Carriage House.
Twelve books of her very popular Hayle Coven Novels, beginning with Family Magic, are also out now. Her YA steampunk series, Blood and Gold, can be found on Amazon and all other fine e-retailers, along with her YA paranormal novel, Best Friends Forever, The Diamond City Trilogy and the Clone Chronicles. Her middle grade novel, The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House (Acorn Press), is available now. She is a full time writer and a part time teacher of her Get Your Book Done program. Patti lives on the East Coast of Canada with her very patient husband and four massive cats.


AUTHOR LINKS

Website     *     Facebook     *     Twitter     *     Amazon     *     Goodreads

BOOKS WRITTEN

The Hayle Coven Novels

The Hunted
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Blood and Gold Trilogy
(The Hayle Coven Histories)

The Diamond City Trilogy

The Clone Chronicles

Guardians of the Edge

The Super Series

The Adventures of Susan and Tucker





2 comments:

Patti Larsen said...

This was so much fun, I'm still giggling at the image of Miriam wearing dessert! Thank you for having me on your wonderful blog :)

Denise Z said...

Great fun! Thank you for sharing :)