Our Host steps out onto the stage and accepts the mic from Milly (or was it Stacie?) with a grateful nod. If he smells a little like vodka, well Milly (or Stacie) can’t really say anything about it. She also has to fight the urge to shield her eyes from the glare from his overly-whitened teeth.
Music cue. Generic pageant swooping fanfare. Spotlight on Our Host, who is smiling beatifically at the audience and swaying ever so slightly on his feet.
“Welcome to the Miss ChickLit Pageant 2015! Wait, isn’t that a gum? Do they even make Chicklets any more? Hey, look at all those people in the wings! How ya’ doin’ tonight?”
A harried production assistant skitters out onto the stage and turns Our Host back to facing front while whispering intently in his ear.
“Oh, what? It’s a book thing? Why would they name books after chewing gum?”
“Well, okay, if you say so. I still think there’s something to my chewing gum theory.”
A few additional whispers and an urgent gesture.
“Okay, well then. Let’s meet our contestant over here. Come on out Miss…Stephanie Starr!”
Our Host hums “Starry Starry Night” to himself as he wobbles gently in place. A young woman in a long-sleeve t-shirt, skinny jeans, and chucks comes out on stage. She steps up to the mic and clears her throat nervously.
“Uh, hi. I’m Stephanie Starr. I think I’m in the wrong place – I am probably supposed to be over in Ballroom B for the Miss YA Paranormal Romance Heroine Pageant, but my manager, Cait Reynolds – yeah, that’s her over there. Hi Cait! – said this would be good experience for me. So, um. Here I am.”
Stephanie glances over at Our Host and looks confused. Our Host has just gotten to the good part of “Starry Starry Night” and is putting his heart and soul into his humming.
She leans forward and whispers into the mic.
“Is he okay? Oh, I should just keep going? Okay. Right. So, I’m Stephanie Starr. I like flowers, Hot Pockets, and the god of the dead.”
Stephanie looks to Our Host to be prompted for the interview question. However, he has now moved onto humming “Time to Say Goodbye.” The production assistant rushes out on stage and gives Our Host a little shake. He thrusts a piece of paper in front of Our Host’s nose and flees back to the wings. Somewhere, the god of production assistants sheds a tear.
Our Host squints at the paper.
“Wait, what’s this? Huh? Why am I asking chewing gum about obstacles?”
“Uh, sir? I think you’re supposed to ask me about obstacles?”
“Who are you? You don’t look like a Chicklet.”
“Well, I’m supposed to be over in Ballroom B for Miss YA Paranormal Romance.”
“I’ve never heard of that brand of gum before.”
“Why don’t you ask me what’s written on the paper? Maybe we can figure out together if it has something to do with chewing gum.”
“Brilliant! Ten million points to Miss Chicklet!”
“Miss Chicklet Starr!”
Our Host holds the paper at arm’s length and reads the question into the mic.
“What is the greatest obstacle you’ve faced in life and how did you deal with it?”
“Well, I would like to think that my greatest obstacle in life was Jordan Laughlin. But, then my mom kind of slipped a cog when I started dating Haley Smith, the god of the dead, and so my greatest obstacle turned out to be trying to save my town from being destroyed while convincing Mom it was okay for me to go out with a boy.
You know, it would be really easy for me to say that I dealt with everything by looking inside and finding my inner strength of character and all that stuff, and yeah, I did do all that. But, to be completely honest, I couldn’t have done it without my friends: super science girl Helen Jenkins and weather geek extraordinaire Morris Chow. Oh, and the stand-in quarterback Zack Smith, and the new assistant librarian Katie Jones.”
Three faint yips are heard from backstage.
“And yes, Cerberus, too.”
Our Host fills the time between Stephanie’s answer and her changing into the swimsuit by doing his signature trick with three balls and a monkey. This does not go over as well as he had hoped, mostly because it’s not the kind of trick you do on national television. (No monkeys were violated in the performance of this trick. We regretfully cannot say the same of Our Host.)
Stephanie comes out and spins around, showing off her swimsuit. She steps up to the mic and grins.
“Well, since my boyfriend is the god of the dead…wow, it’s cold out here. I’ll be right back. I’m going to put on some sweats.”
The production assistant has procured a stool for Our Host to sit down on. The problem is now that Our Host is trying to get the audience to sing along with him to “Copa Cabana” and is having some success. There is no reason for him to sit down now.
Stephanie comes out on stage carrying an armful of flowers. She stops and stares at Our Host then shares a look with the production assistant. Our Host begins to shimmy. She sighs.
“Well, I was going to do flower arranging, as I work after school in the floral department of Whole Foods, but I think he needs these more than I do.”
She deftly arranges a few lilies and ferns into a magnificent headdress and plops it on Our Host’s head. Stephanie drops a curtsey, grins, and scampers off to text Cait that she is heading over to Ballroom B.
Want to be a Beauty Queen, too?
The production assistant takes the mic from Our Host and shuffles a bunch of papers on his clipboard until he finds the one he wants. He clears his throat and begins to speak.
“In celebration of ChickLitMay, we are giving away a beauty gift card! Depending on where you live, you might win:
US/Canada winner – $100 gift card to Sephora
UK winner – £65 gift card to Lush Cosmetics
Australia winner – $125AUD to Mecca
In order to win, you must leave a comment on this post answering the same question as Stephanie did (“What is the greatest obstacle you’ve faced in life and how did you deal with it?”) and providing your email address.
You must provide an email address so we know how to contact you if you win. (Don’t worry, I won’t be adding you to any automatic mailing lists or anything like that. This is a no-strings giveaway!)
Now, for the beautiful part: You can enter to win on every blog you visit for the Miss ChickLit 2015 Pageant – that’s 18 chances to win!
A winner will be chosen via Random.org on Monday, May 18th.”
The production assistant sighs, rolls his eyes, and leaves Our Host – who is now signing “I Made it Through the Rain” – onstage to enjoy himself. The lights go down, and everyone vaguely wonders what just happened and if they can sneak into Ballroom C where the Miss Alien Sexpot Princess Pageant is going on.
Want to learn more about Stephanie Starr? Pick up Downcast on May 28!
Visit all the contestants for Miss ChickLit 2015!
Laura Kenyon – http://wp.me/p28QA1-1JP
Amy Gettinger – http://wp.me/p4080t-25
Glynis Astie – http://blog.glynisastie.com/
Tracy Krimmer – http://www.tracykrimmer.com/
Franky Brown – http://frankybrown.com/?p=383
Monique McDonell –
Whitney Dineen – http://whitneydineen.com/2015/
Maggie Le Page – http://hellopreciousbliss.com/
Kathryn Biel – http://kathrynbiel.blogspot.
Rachel L. Hamm – http://rlhammauthor.com/2015/