Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday's Special Is...The Debs!

The Debs by Susan McBride

Click here to order from Amazon.

Susan's Website. (Even if you don't enter the contest, please stop by and say hi.)

Get a peek at Susan's cool book trailers HERE.

Roast Master Jason here, and I'm all a-flutter.

You see, Susan McBride said I should explore my inner debutante, and I never had a coming out party.

I'm here! I have my tiara! And I'm ready to par-tay!

*Looking around at the quizzical faces*

Oh, who am I kidding? No one's going to give me a coming out party. *sniff* I'm not debutante material.

But Susan's characters don't give up so easily. Not by a long shot.

In The Debs, the heat is on down South! (Erm, down South. You know. The direction.) The paths of four very different girls are about to collide in a four debutante pile-up. Let's meet Laura Delacroix Bell, our first contender:

As for her father . . . well, Laura didn’t see him much as it was. He ran his plumbing parts business with a tight fist on the reins and was forever jetting somewhere on business. When he wasn’t, he spent long hours at his downtown office, often not getting home until Laura was fast asleep. But Tincy Bell was another story entirely. She was the classic Helicopter Mother, hovering about and keeping tabs on everything from Laura’s friends to her GPA to her weight. And lately, Laura’s weight had been the touchiest subject of all.

What would Ma Bell do when she realized Laura hadn’t lost a single pound in two months? Would she cut off Laura’s platinum AmEx? Deny her their traditional everyother-Sunday post-brunch mother-daughter mani-pedis at Sensia, with its cool seagrass floors and shoji screens? Get rid of all the Pillsbury Slice ’n Bake cookie dough in the fridge, to which Laura had been addicted to since childhood?

Like the immortal Scarlett O’Hara, Laura figured she’d worry about that tomorrow. Instead, she shrugged off her apprehension, silently repeating her personal mantra, which Mac had claimed she’d partially stolen from the old Popeye cartoons: I am who I am.

Someday, she decided, after she died, she was coming back as a lizard, the kind that lived in Mexico and spent all day lying on rocks in the sun.

I like Laura's style. She knows who's boss. The other Debs better watch out.

I'm turning up the grill to holy smokin' today in honor of Susan's release of The Debs this past Tuesday!! Congrats, Susan! Fresh and hot off the presses.

Oh, and by the way, be sure to ask Susan how she met her husband. (Newlyweds!) Cool story. I want to know the winning bid.


Questions for the contest:

1. If you were a lizard, would you be open to wearing alligator-skin shoes? Why or why not?

2. One piece of cake is left on the table. Your piece. Great Aunt Mildred and her untreated eczema are heading this way. Strategy?

3. Does that purse go with this?


Anonymous said...

Debutantes and greasy Texas-style ribs. What more could you friggin' want?! Seriously!

Welcome Susan, and welcome our most honored guests, contestants, and second cousins thrice removed!

We are open for business! Happy Thursday!

Susan McBride said...

Um, er, thanks, Jason. I'm so glad to be here (and a little afraid). You do look good in that tiara though. Sure you've never been in a pageant before? Just wanted to drop by before turning off the Dell and heading to bed. But I'll be up bright and early to entertain your comments, inquiries about all things Texas and/or debutante, and answers to Jason's very unusual contest questions.


P.S. I feel left out 'cuz Jason didn't mention my YouTube trailers. You can check them out at

Anonymous said...

Interesting questions are the name of the game.

I've added a link to your book trailers in the post. We Roast Masters are on top of things. :)

Shona Snowden said...

You'll never make a deb, Jason. It's not because of the greasy ribs, the lack of coming-out party or the language (such words for a lady!). It's because your feet just won't fit into those gorgeous shoes.

Only one purse? You're kidding.

laughingwolf said...

welcome, susan :)

1. sure, i'm big on cannibalism, too

2. give it to millie, she hates you anyway

3. of courth it doth :O lol

Anonymous said...

Kick a dude when he's down, Shona. When he's down....


ChrisEldin said...

Congratulations with the release of your book!!!!

Sounds like a fun read!!

Susan McBride said...

Shona is so right about the purse thing, Jason. Must have a vast array of purses to go with all those shoes. I think we're going to have to send you to Debutante Training School.

LaughingWolf, how did you know about me and Aunt Millie? She did always hate me. Although every time she came at me with those ginormous white gloved hands, ready to pinch my cheeks, I did let out a hellacious scream. Think she's holding a grudge, maybe?

Thanks, Chris! It is a fun read. Nothing like four debutantes brawling for good old-fashioned entertainment.

Susan McBride said...

Oh, gosh, I think I've scared everyone away with talk of debs. Maybe I should mention I used to write murder mysteries? So I've killed, like, plenty of people (okay, on paper). That should attract the rough and tumble crowd. (Or not.)

Anonymous said...

What was your favorite murder, Susan?

Susan McBride said...

I think probably killing off a Martha Stewart type character, after I'd watched one too many of Martha's Christmas specials and was feeling woefully inadequate. (That was in THE GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER.) Or maybe it was offing the owner of a restaurant called Jugs (yeah, think Hooters), which I'd wanted to do for awhile because, please, it's NOT the wings. (That was in BLUE BLOOD.) My mystery protag was a debutante dropout from Dallas, and now I'm writing about debs from Houston. I lived in Texas for 20 years, and I knew plenty of debutantes (but wasn't one). I guess that "write what you know" thing works. Thanks for asking, Jason!

Stephen Parrish said...

Hi Susan. National Geographic published a very revealing article on Texas debutante balls and coming-out parties a number of years ago (my old NGs are all packed away; it would take me a week to find the article) and as I recall the author's slant was class and race inequity. You gotta be a certain color, and you gotta have a certain income, or you ain't gonna be invited. What was your observation?

Anonymous said...

How many debutante balls have you been to? Are they fun, or are they kind of awful (for everyone but the debutante).

Charles Gramlich said...

1. If you were a lizard, would you be open to wearing alligator-skin shoes? Why or why not?

Answer: I definitely would. I believe that the only good gator is luggage. That is, if I were a lizard.

2. One piece of cake is left on the table. Your piece. Great Aunt Mildred and her untreated eczema are heading this way. Strategy?

Answer: If I were a lizard I'd use my long tongue to snag the piece ahead of Aunt Mildred, but that was the last question. So, I'd...throw something at Mildred's legs, trying to trip her, then grab the piece and run upstairs.

3. Does that purse go with this?

Answer: I don't believe it does. I just don't seem able to get my 12 guage street sweeper into a handbag.

Susan McBride said...

Stephen, you're pretty much right about the social inquities of deb balls. Although there are lots of non-WASPs who put on balls these days. So long as your daddy has the funds, he can even throw a deb ball just for you! But the deb balls are very bound in tradition, going back generations. I actually have a list of rules for the debs in my book, which they must abide by or risk probation...or termination. I used guidelines from real deb groups as a blueprint. Once after the South Carolina Book Festival, I was stuck in the airport with a woman who was VERY involved with debutantes in her Mississippi town, and she's the one who told me about "debu-tanks" (debs who aren't a size two) and "debu-trash" (well, skanky debs basically). She also told me some of their rules, which she said are harder to get girls to stick to these days, like no visible tattoos, no body piercings beyond one hole in each ear, and no tri-colored hair. Okay, so I stole those and used them outright in THE DEBS. It was very, very fun to write about Ginger, Mac, Laura, and Jo Lynn as I did draw from my years in Texas and what I know of the pageant world and deb balls. Heck, it makes for campy, juicy, wonderful storylines. What writer could resist?

Susan McBride said...

Charles, I'm laughing so hard at your answers, I'm having trouble typing! You rock. ;-)

Susan McBride said...

Jason, I was invited to deb balls and assigned my escort (guess they don't want guests dragging in any riff-raff off the street). But, and I feel stupid confessing this, I declined to attend. I was kind of rebeling against my own WASP-y roots at that point, and I left UT-Austin (where I'd pledged Pi Beta Phi, a sorority chock-ful of Texas debs), was taking a year off school to write a novel, and preparing to transfer colleges (I ended up at the University of Kansas). In a way, maybe that was a good thing, as I get to use my imagination and all that second-hand knowledge from friends, from photos, etc., to make my debs' stories unique to the series. I did live in "The Bubble" in Houston where THE DEBS is set, and we threw lots of formals and attended plenty of formals thrown by girls at other schools. It was like living in a Ralph Lauren ad (now can you see why I rebeled?).

Brian Jay Jones said...

Okay, here goes... *straightens a plastic tiara*

(1) Of course I would. Because it's actually FAUX alligator. Made by children. In sweatshops. Way to be part of the problem, mister!

(2) Poke the entire piece into my mouth, then fake an injury so I could limp out of the room.

(3) I don't know. I'm only hear because I heard the canopener.

Brian Jay Jones said...

(Good lord, an unintentional antonym and enjambment, all in one message...when will google let us EDIT these darn things after the fact?)

Ed said...

Hi, Jason. Susan's husband here. And, yes, I did buy her at an auction. That was the best purchase I've ever made.

Susan McBride said...

Brian, I think you and Charles should do a comedy act together! You even cracked up Ed, my computer genius hubby. And he normally only laughs at jokes about Star Trek or Windows/Bill Gates.

cindy said...

1. no way! it'd so clash! =)

2. sneeze into the cake and look apologetic.

3. who needs purses? that's what your hub's pockets are for!

congrats on your novle--what a fun read!

WriterKat said...

Susan, your book looks great. I'm looking forward to checking it out! As for mysteries & debs, that might be a good trail to follow in the future. Blood spattered dresses and broken nails. Hmmm...

1.) No - as a lizard I would respect the rights of the fellow cold-blooded.
2.) I'd do a home-plate slide to get to that cake first.
3.) I'm not a purse girl although I have to advertise that I bought a FREITAG purse (recycled truck tarp purse from Switzerland) that is so cool and matches nothing which is even cooler.

Congratulations & Good luck with the book! :-)

Bernita said...

"Helicopter mother"
~snickers, clutching pearls~
What a description!
Congratulations, Susan.
I have a pair of over the elbow gloves and several fans - would they count?

Whirlochre said...

1. If you were a lizard, would you be open to wearing alligator-skin shoes? Why or why not?

No — I'd fall, unstickyfingered, off the wall.

2. One piece of cake is left on the table. Your piece. Great Aunt Mildred and her untreated eczema are heading this way. Strategy?

Fire bazooka, eat cake, donate to medical research charity with money raided from her — no, purse is the next question...

3. Does that purse go with this?

If he's the right guy, those scarlet lips will reach out regardless.

Mary Cunningham said...

Congrats, Susan. The book sounds great!!

But, so not into alligators shoes! I'd snatch that cake off the table and hide under it from Great Aunt Mildred and her eczema!

Susan McBride said...

Did I say "inquities"--yipes. Meant "inequities." I think that typo will deprive me of country club privileges for a week, or possibly the repossession of my tiara. Sob.

Cindy! I would SO sneeze into the cake and then (oh-so-fakely) apologize to Millie. You must've been a fly on the wall at my last family dinner. :-)

Writerkat, oh, I did kill off a deb in my mystery series. In the fifth book, TOO PRETTY TO DIE. Poor Miranda DuBois. She was a deb, a former beauty queen, and a TV anchorwoman who worked her way quickly up the newsroom ladder on her knees. (Did I say that? Hush my mouth!)

Bernita...pearls, elbow-length gloves, and fans? Can I cast you in my next DEBS book?

Whirlochre! Stop it! I was eating lunch when I read yours. Good thing I've got that linen napkin tucked in my, placed daintily on my lap, I mean.

Mary, thank you! I'm so not into alligator shoes either. I like gators. Don't they eat people who wear alligator shoes and lean too closely into the bayou??? (As they should.)

Robin S. said...

Just popping on to say - congrats, Susan, on the publication of your novel.

I wish you the best of luck!

P.S. Really love the cover - congrats on that as well - that has to feel good, knowing that all of your hard work has a good face to show the world.

Word said...

Hi Susan!

Debs sounds exactly like something my 13 year-old daughter would love to curl up with. Is the content "too" old for her - based on the excerpt it sounds about right.

If you were a lizard, would you be open to wearing alligator-skin shoes? Why or why not?

Depends if the alligator was wearing "crocs" or not. Baaahaaahaaahaa. Man I crock myself up!!

2. One piece of cake is left on the table. Your piece. Great Aunt Mildred and her untreated eczema are heading this way. Strategy?

Strategy? Who needs strategy. Just eat the damn piece of cake.

3. Does that purse go with this?

Oh for the love of gawd. Don't you watch "What Not to Wear"? Purses don't need to match anymore. They just need to add a "pop" of color. Sheez.

peggy said...

Congrats on your book Susan, sure looks fun. I love the questions today :)
1. If you were a lizard, would you be open to wearing alligator-skin shoes? Why or why not?

Sure I'd wear Aligator shoes, Gators eat little bitty lizards like me! less gator to run from .

2. One piece of cake is left on the table. Your piece. Great Aunt Mildred and her untreated eczema are heading this way. Strategy?

I'd turn and point behind her and say something like, "Oh dear look at that!" then grab the cake and split.

3. Does that purse go with this? Purse? Hmm, is it made outa that same garor that eats lizards?
If so, sure they do!
An itty bitty Lizard purse .

peggy said...

ratts, can't edit my post! arghh! oh well, ignore my mispelling..again!

Danette Haworth said...

As a lizard, I've always been secretly jealous of alligators, so you're darn right I'd wear those shoes. I'd even put shoe jewelry on them.

Kick out the cane and grab the cake.

Of course my purse goes with my outfit. It's exactly what the model was wearing in the Target ad.

Susan McBride said...

Peggy, I'll ignore your misspellings, if you'll ignore mine! ;-) I don't know why, but that lizard question has got me to thinking, "If you were a lizard, what kind of lizard would you be?" Oh, wait, is that too Baba Wawa?

Word, THE DEBS is pretty mild compared to most teen series these days. My editor wanted it to be like a Southern "Gossip Girl" with a little edge, but not too much. So it's pretty free of four-letter words (though there are plenty of five-letter words, like Prada, Gucci, Pucci). You could read it first and decide. If she watches any TV at all these days, I can safely say it's likely cleaner than most "family" shows. Oh, and there's a contest in the back of the book sponsored by Random House and Lilly Pulitzer (the high-end resortwear retailer). Four girls (ages 13-18, I believe) will win a trip to NYC and a shopping spree at the Lilly store on Madison Avenue. How cool is that? Check this site for details:

Thanks, Robin! I could use all the luck I can get. It's very scary, moving from adult mysteries (albeit cozy ones) to YA. It's a whole different world, and I'm told it can take awhile for YA readers to discover and latch onto new titles. So I'm madly crossing fingers and trying not to obsess over online numbers (too much)!

Susan McBride said...

Danette, I love your name! If I steal it for a DEBS book, will I have to pay you royalties? Are you from the South or Texas, perhaps?

peggy said...

If I was a Lizard, I'd be an Iguanna, a nice size one, bright and green and slap the crap outta folks with my beautiful long tail, then eat the cake!

Susan McBride said...

Peggy, with that attitude, girl, you'd make a GREAT debutante! ;-)

Sarah Hina said...

Congratulations on the release, Susan!! The book sounds like a lot of fun. :)

1. If you were a lizard, would you be open to wearing alligator-skin shoes? Why or why not?

Absolutely. I am the Lizard King (or, ahem, Queen). And they go with my snakeskin purse.

2. One piece of cake is left on the table. Your piece. Great Aunt Mildred and her untreated eczema are heading this way. Strategy?

Start to scratch. Power of suggestion.

3. Does that purse go with this?

Snakeskin goes with everything. It's those shoes I'm worried about...


You're riding dangerously close to being debu-trash. ;)

Susan McBride said...

Me, debu-trash??? Sarah, you get two deb demerits just for saying that. Oh, hell, you're right. Who'm I trying to kid? Was it the Britney Spears outfit that gave me away? The belly ring, perhaps? The tattoo of Coco Chanel on my left bicep? Sigh.

ChrisEldin said...

OMG! I've never heard of the debu-world---these answers are killing me!!

I wish Travis were here. He's the closest Texas deb I know.

(A big burly guy with a fishing pole)


Sarah Hina said...


It was the hair crimping. ;)

(Btw, I just checked out your website, and you're really quite lovely! Great site, too. :) )

Susan McBride said...

Chris, I've had a few YA reviewers say they'd never heard of deb balls either. I think it's a very Southern (and Texan) thing. Although there is an International Deb Ball in NYC every year, but it's mostly the daughters of celebs or faux international royalty. (I'm kidding, some aren't so faux, they just seem like it.) ;-)

Aw, Sarah, thanks. I strive for loveliness, though many days are bad hair days. If I were a true deb, I'd have a stylist. Then everyday would be a good hair day. Although that wouldn't help when I have fat jeans days. Or I'm-out-of-my-fave-lip-gloss Days. Oy.

laughingwolf said...

susan: precog? :O lol

Susan McBride said...

Okay, I thought I should answer Jason's teaser about how I met Ed. He didn't actually buy me on the first date. That happened later. So I was named a St. Louis Magazine "top single" in 2005, along with one of Ed's co-workers at the time (Jeremy Nolle--he and Ed both prove that computer geeks can be very cute as well as abnormally mathematically inclined). The magazine threw a party at the Contemporary Art Museum on November 3, 2005, and I happened to be talking to Jeremy when Ed showed up. He gave me his card, which I promptly lost (heck, there were 300 people there that night--too much to keep track of!). But he persisted, emailing me through the magazine and asking me to a hockey game that next Thursday night. I'd never been to a Blues game before, so I went and had fun. Ed then showed up at a charity auction the next week (they were auctioning off bachelors and bachelorettes, some from the local media and a few of us "top singles"). He brought a wad of cash to bid on me, and he won. I think the night we went out for that auction date was the night I knew he was something special. We got married this past February, and we plan to live happily ever after. (Here's where y'all say, "Awwwww.")

Susan McBride said...

Laughingwolf, me, precog? I wish. Then I'd know how many people will be at my kick-off signing tonight so I could bring the appropriate number of mini-tiaras to give out. Hmmm. Wish y'all could come. I mean, my mom's having two trays of cookies catered (yes, catered), though she's making the punch herself. Is that sweet or what?

Anonymous said...

1. No, I feel that borders on incest somehow.
2. Pick it up and RUN! There's no way that scab-dropping skin shedder is gettin' it.
3. Oh darling, everything goes with "this."

This was fun!

laughingwolf said...

i'm close to the north atlantic up here in nova scotia, susan, so texas would be a dream visit...

perhaps when i sell the unfinished wip for... six figures? :O lol

Shona Snowden said...


Anonymous said...

Ed, I think you're right, my man, I think you're right.

laughingwolf said...

who's 'ed', jason? :P lol

Chumplet said...

1. No self-respecting lizard would wear shoes. Go barefoot with a nice pedicure, featuring an alligator-skin pattern.

2. Create a diversion by screaming, "Look! It's Engelbert Humperdinck!"

3. Absolutely not. I mean, how can you leave the house with that combination? I don't think I'll ever speak to you again. You understand, right?

peggy said...

hahahaha, all the answers are crackin me up, fact beer hurts when its in your nose, quit doing that.. better yet, do not take a slurp before reaading! LOL. very great day, very fun!

I better hush my face :)

Susan McBride said...

Y'all have been busy since I last dropped in! I'm getting ready right now to head out to my kick-off signing at the headquarters of the St. Louis County Library. Wish I could bring you with me! I'll be back after it's over (and after I collapse with relief) so I can tell you how it went...oh, yeah, and pick a winner from today! Wow, that's gonna be hard. Pressure, pressure! Okay, must fly. Wish me luck! (Meaning: pray that more than two people who are not related to me actually show up.)

Anonymous said...

Only 1.5 hours left in the contest! Get those entries in!!

Good luck with the signing, Susan. :)

Dave F. said...

Interesting book. It's on my "stand at attention" list.

1) lizard skin shoes... REminds me of my dreaded old girlfriend with the prune fetish.

2) Just shove if down my throat in one motion. She's an old lady. How much harm can she do?

3) Purse? It's a Man's Traveling Wallet, not a purse, a traveling wallet.

Just saying "hi ya'll."

Anonymous said...

The contest is now closed. Susan will be stopped by a little to pick a winner. I can't wait!!

Susan McBride said...

I'm back from the signing, and it went great! Which is why I'm home so late. I have to pick ONE winner? That doesn't seem right, not when so many peeps had such fun answers. Let me mull it over for a minute, and I'll be back with a decision (tick tock tick tock tick tock).

Susan McBride said...

Okay, okay, this was soooo tough. If I could, I'd send everyone who answered Jason's completely nutball questions a signed book. Sigh. Can I give at least two books away, Jason? Because if I'm allowed to do that, I want to, as I'm ultimately torn between Charles and Word.

Y'all ALL were fabulous today! Thanks so much for dropping by. And, Jason, thanks for hosting me. You did a terrific job, and I had such a blast. Oh, geez, I'd better go before I just keep posting here endlessly.


Anonymous said...

Susan, thanks for being such a wonderful roastee!! You made the day especially fun.

If you'd like to award two books, I say why not! The more the merrier.

Susan McBride said...

Sounds good to me, Jason! I'll leave it to you to figure out the details, and thanks, thanks, thanks!


laughingwolf said...

grats charles and word!

thank you susan, and the rest....

Word said...

Woo Hoo! I can't believe it! Thank you Susan!!!

Susan McBride said...

Thanks, LaughingWolf. Enjoyed meeting you!

You're welcome, Word! Now you can check out the book and gauge whether your daughter can read it, too!

Word said...

Hey Susan!

I can't wait! She's already told me she wants this puppy on her bookshelf.

I'll contact you through your website with my mailing info.

Thanks again - I'm really looking forward to reading this.

Best wishes on continued success!



Susan McBride said...

Word, you can definitely contact me through my web site. Charles, you can do that as well. When y'all get me your mailing info, I'll get signed copies of THE DEBS off to you! I hope your daughter loves it, Word. :-)

sexy said...