There’s more to being a vampire than a change of diet. Thirteen-year-old, half-breed Tommy loves his dad’s Italian cooking. It’s too bad his vampire half is allergic to it. One too many rounds of garlic zits and his batty mother packs him off to vampire boarding school; where he’s stuck in remedial transformation and bloodsucking classes with kids half his age, his assigned mentor is the school bully, and there’s a gang hungry for a taste of the forbidden – human blood.
Once at school, he gets saddled with the name Garlic – a derogatory vampire term for a half-breed. In the blood feast room, Tommy has to transform to bat form in front of all the staring boy bats clinging to the ripped red velvet wallpaper in order to suck down his bloody meal. Or worse – join the girls in their pristine cream and gold dining room where they sit as humans at tables with tablecloths and drink glasses of Bloody Maria – animal blood with Italian seasonings (sans garlic). Then the new blood drink in the girl’s dining room is named after Emeline, Tommy's secret human crush. Is it really Emeline’s blood? Will Tommy use that blood to stave off the human hunter gang and keep his own blood to himself? And, more importantly, is Emeline still alive?
Sarah's done a little bit of everything – from working a register to tramping around a campus to being a desk jockey. Her first degree was in Law Enforcement. She went through the Police Academy (Honor Graduate), then served eight years as a University Cop. Another degree, this time in Physics, led to her time as a Software Engineer. She's jokingly referred to as a rocket scientist by her writing friends, though it’s not far from the truth.
Her alter ego writes and volunteers. She's currently serving on the Board for the Los Angeles region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators where she is the webmistress (http://www.scbwisocal.org/) and the gate keeper of the listserv. Mostly, she writes Middle Grade and Young Adult Fantasy.
Sarah is a more recent member of the Book Roast team, though she has been a valued supporter from day 1. She brought her terrific blend of creativity and organization to the Book Roast, and we appreciate all of her hard work and enthusiasm!! It is my pleasure to roast her manuscript "Garlic." Let's give Sarah a hardy welcome!!
Excerpt from GARLIC:
Tommy winced at the mirror. Everything above his shirt collar was pocked with ugly red zits with yellowish-white centers. He touched the one on the tip of his nose and flinched. That hurt! Placing a finger on each side of it, he steeled himself and squished. His eyes squeezed shut, forcing out a few tears. Chunky white liquid splashed against the mirror. Tommy sighed with the release of the pressure. The aroma of garlic tickled his nose. He took a huge sniff.
Tommy jumped. His hands dropped to his side. “Coming, Mother,” he shouted through the door.
He quickly grabbed a wad of toilet paper and dabbed at his tears. Using the same wad, he wiped the mirror, leaving behind white streaks. He almost didn’t see the chunks of white on the sink. After mopping up those, too, he threw the soggy paper in the toilet.
“Tommy! I’m waiting!”
Tommy gulped and put a hand on the door knob. His gaze glossed over the toilet handle and jerked back. He flushed the toilet, hoping his mother would hear and think he had a good reason to keep her waiting. Fingers tapping on the sink, he turned on the cold water and slowly counted to ten – long enough for him to have washed his hands. Taking a steadying breath, he left the safety of the bathroom. She was going to kill him. And there was nothing he could do about it.
He opened her bedroom door a minuscule crack. “Yes, Mother?”
Stark white mosquito netting billowed from the bed’s canopy bar and framed her small, oval face. Her long black hair streamed down to the white tile floor like some static electricity machine was under her head. He glanced at his watch. It was early for her to be hanging upside down.
“About time.” She reached out to beckon him in, but her cape slid down and covered her arm. “Oh blast!” She shoved the cape back up and held it close to her side. The movement started her body swaying. “Come in here, my boy.”
He backed into the room, shutting the door with great care. Being at the end of his delaying tactics, he slowly turned to face her.
“Oh my!” Her hands flew to her mouth. Her cape slid down again and covered her head. She flailed her arms and whipped it off, almost swinging off the canopy bar in the process. She reached up, gripped the bar and swung to the ground. “You’ve been eating your father’s cooking!”
Tommy nodded. There was no use denying it.
She threw her arms into the air. “How many times do we have to go through this?”
“I like Dad’s cooking.”
“You can’t like it, Tommy, you’re allergic to it.”
That made no sense. “Dad’s a good cook.”
“He’s Italian. That means garlic, son, tons of it.”
Tommy smiled, then wiped the smile from his face. He loved garlic, but it didn’t love him. One of his hands crept up towards his face and the chunks of garlic embedded in his zits.
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Do you have a favorite garlic-laden recipe? Major bonus points if it's vegan/vegetarian.