Friday, April 26, 2013

Fairy Godmothers, Inc. flash fiction: Snookums

By Jenniffer Wardell

Once the dress was finished, Minerva lifted her skirt and twirled. “See?” she announced, stopping just long enough to strike a pose. “Gorgeous.” Knowing their cue, a nearby servant stopped weeding the flower bed and applauded appropriately.

Finally giving up, Kate gave her client the same smile she always used on Bubbles. The girl had insisted on enough ruffles to make her look like an enormous, particularly fattening cake. She’d also insisted it be lemon yellow, which was turning her skin tone into a very similar color. “It’s great.”

“Of course it is.” Minerva posed again, a haughty expression on her face. “And now I insist you do one for my Snookums.”

The sudden announcement threw Kate, though she was careful not to let it show on her face. “Snookums?” she asked carefully, once again cursing whoever had put the assignment file together. There’d been no mention of anyone that could reasonably be referred to as ‘Snookums,’ and if the client was hallucinating this could be as bad as that assignment with that Thumbelina girl. It was extremely hard to reason with someone who insisted they were only six inches tall. “I’m sorry, but the contract your grandfather purchased only covers one transformation.”

“Oh, nonsense. Grampy knows I don’t go anywhere without my Snookums.” She whistled shrilly. “Come out here!”

At the sudden whooshing noise above her head, Kate immediately ducked. She looked up just in time to see the elephant swoop down and land in a nearby tree, nearly bending it in half under its weight. It was wearing an enormous pink silk jacket, with a matching bow just behind its ears.

Kate stared in horror. “I take it that’s Snookums.”

“Of course. I’ll start a new fashion trend.” Minerva gestured to the servant to throw the elephant a treat. “Make her a dress just like mine. Then we’ll go into the ball together.”

Now that was an image designed to give a person nightmares. “I’ve been to the castle. Snookums won’t fit through the door.”

Minerva pouted, then brightened. “She can wait for me outside. Big romantic moments are always supposed to happen outside, anyway.”

Kate sighed. Clearly, she was going to have to figure out how to hide a flying elephant. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Deseret News: 'Fairy Godmothers, Inc.' shows Cinderella from the viewpoint of a quirky fairy godmother

"FAIRY GODMOTHERS, INC." by Jenniffer Wardell, Jolly Fish Press, $27.99, 350 pages (f)

In her debut novel, "Fairy Godmothers, Inc.," Jenniffer Wardell introduces us to an endearing fairy godmother.

Kate is a young, charming and marches to the beat of her own drum and is employed by Fairy Godmothers, Inc., which trains fairy godmothers to help princesses find a prince and their own happily-ever-after through a variety of levels of wish fulfillment packages that generally include a dress, ball, a prince and that ofttimes pesky missing slipper.

Kate likes to do things her own way, despite a harsh and demanding supervisor. The results are both funny and sweet.

Kate's latest assignment is to help a young lady named Cinderella, but goes by Rellie, get her happily-ever-after with the crown prince of Somewhere, Rupert Devlin Golden Montclaire Charming. But Rupert, who has been a rake of sorts, has decided to rethink and redefine his life, which makes things tricky for Kate.

Early on, things get interesting when Kate literally runs into Rupert's younger and a more responsible brother Jon and they make an instant connection. It’s easy for Jon to see she is a fairy godmother because of her wings, but Kate is unaware that Jon is a prince. Besides, she’s in the business of creating happily-ever-afters for others, not herself.

And Jon's involvement generally does help, but things get all twisted around when Rellie has ideas of her own about love and the crown prince decides to follow his heart, too.

"Fairy Godmothers, Inc." is a fast-paced and witty retelling of the age-old story of Cinderella, but there never has been a retelling such as this.

Witty dialogue and unexpected twists and turns make this an enjoyable and engaging read. At times, the humor and tone of the book are a bit snarky and mature, weaving a tale that would be enjoyed by adult and young adult readers. There isn't any offensive language, any violence is usually during an accidental magical explosion and the characters don't go beyond kissing.

Wardell has created a fantasy world filled with magic spells, potions, princes and princesses, creatures, glass slippers, intriguing family dynamics, arbitrary rules and regulations, pomp and circumstances and more. Her smart and easy-flowing dialogue does it in such a way that draws the reader in.

Utah resident Wardell has been writing for years. She is currently the arts, entertainment and lifestyle reporter for the Davis Clipper, a newspaper that serves Davis County. Wardell has received awards from the Utah Press Association and the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

If you go ...
What: "Fairy Godmother's Inc." book launch
When: Saturday, April 27, 1-4 p.m.; reading and Q&A at 2 p.m.
Where: Layton Barnes & Noble, 1780 Woodland Park Drive, Layton

Also ...
What: Jenniffer Wardell book signing
When: Saturday, May 4, 1-4 p.m.
Where: Sugarhouse Barnes & Noble, McIntyre Center, 1104 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City

Stephanie Abney, eternal optimist, retired schoolteacher and freelance writer, lives in Mesa, Ariz., with her husband, Jim. They have five children and 18 grandchildren. Email is and she blogs at

To prove I'm not just making it all up:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Liebster Award: More about me (and the next nominees)

First, thanks to for tagging me in the great online game called the Liebster Award (apparently, it’s sort of like a chain letter for bloggers, except there’s no implied dire consequences). If I’ve tagged you and you don’t want to play, feel free to pretend none of this ever happened.

11 Facts About Me
1. “Return of the King” is the only book I’ve read in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. I read it all at once the evening after I first got back from seeing the movie version of “The Two Towers,” because my mother refused to tell me if anyone I cared about died in the third book.
2. Joss Whedon is a genius, but if I ever met him in person I’d probably punch him in the face. He’s hurt too many characters I love.
3.  I like the Monkees better than the Beatles. Yes, I know how desperately uncultured that makes me.
4. When I’m tired or in a hurry, I have a tendency to call people of both genders “dude.”
5. I didn’t have a car all through college. The skills I learned then in navigating public transportation have helped me out on every vacation I’ve ever taken since.
6. I have a long-term crush on Kiefer Sutherland. If I ever met him in person, I would probably do something to destroy what little dignity I possess.
7. Given the opportunity, I will usually sit on the floor rather than a chair. This is true even in my own living room, which means that my armchair ends up doubling as an extra table.
8. The most famous person I’ve ever interviewed (for my day job as an entertainment journalist) is Rita Moreno. She proved out to be charming, interesting, and the source of some fantastic quotes.  
9. I’m addicted to Chapstick. I must have a tube within arm’s reach at all times.
10. My head is large enough that I have a miserable time finding hats that fit.
11. I love buying coats and jackets, but I’m so warm all the time that I rarely ever wear them.

Answers to 11 Questions
1. What fictional world would you be most willing to live in?
I know this is cheating, but I’d have to pick the world in my novel “Fairy Godmothers, Inc.” I know all the rules, and my writer’s status would probably give me magic powers.
2. What verbal tic annoys you most?
I have so many verbal tics of my own that it would be incredibly hypocritical of me to take umbrage at anyone else’s.
3. If you could have one cancelled TV show resurrected, which would it be?
This is a tough one, because I have a terrible habit of falling in love with shows that are too quirky to live. A really good one would be “Life,” Damian Lewis’s series that ended in 2009, if only because the season/series finale is one of the most awesome hours of television I’ve ever experienced. I would love to have seen the aftermath of it.
4. If you could have one currently running TV show cancelled, which one would it be?
“Supernatural” on CW. I love the show and absolutely hate it at the same time, and the only way I will ever be completely free of the thing is if it goes off the air.
5. What’s the most surreal thing you’ve ever witnessed experienced?
With my book coming out, one of my co-workers at the newspaper wrote a story about my book that ended up going on my arts page. It was too long for the space, however, so I ended up making significant cuts on a story about me, written by someone else. For a journalist, that’s about one of the strangest experiences you can ever have.
6. What book do you think most urgently needs to be made into a movie that hasn’t been yet?
There should always be more Discworld movies in the world. I would love to see Sam Vimes in the flesh. 
7. What’s the first book that really scared you?
I wasn’t exactly scared, but certain parts of Mary Higgins Clark’s “Loves Music, Loves to Dance” did give me queasy feelings when I was a teenager.
8. What’s the first movie that really scared you?
"Carnosaur." It was the first movie I saw where the good guys lost in the last few minutes (quite horrifically, too). It traumatized me for years. 
9. What do you do to cheer yourself up when you really need it?
Read. Terry Pratchett is particularly good for those moments when I want to completely block out the world. 
10. What’s the strangest question that anyone (other than me) has asked you about your work?
If my book was a meal, what would it be?
11. What’s the answer to it?
I can’t tell you that, or the blogger who asked it will be annoyed that I spoilered her post.

11 New Nominees

 Kimba the Caffinated Book Reviewer

Rebecca Enzor

Sonia G. Medeiros

Dan Levinson

Lehua Parker

A Diary of a Book Addict

Kindred Dreamheart

Janet Jensen

Read, Rinse, Repeat

Kerry-Ann McDade

Cabin Goddess

11 New Questions

1. If you could be any kind of animal, what would it be?
2. Why would you want to be that animal?
3. Do you have any superstitions (that you’d be willing to share with your blog readers)?
4. What’s your favorite joke?
5. What’s your favorite dessert?
6.  Where’s your dream vacation destination?
7. What would your supervillain name be?
8. What would your supervillain power be?
9. If you had a time machine that would only work for one trip into the past (with a safe return as well), when would you go?
10. What’s your least favorite movie?
11. What movie do you feel is underappreciated?

The Liebster Rules:

1. The Liebster Award is given to bloggers by bloggers.
2. Each blogger should post 11 facts about himself / herself.
3. Each blogger should answer the 11 questions that are asked by the nominating blogger.
4. Choose 11 new bloggers to nominate for the Award and link to them in the post.
5. Create 11 new questions for your nominees.
6. Go back to their pages and tell them they’ve been nominated.
7. No tag backs.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Losing my spot by the wall

I’m terrible at social media. Mostly, I think, because it has the word “social” in it.

I’ve been an outcast long enough that certain survival instincts are almost hard-wired into my DNA. Whenever I’m surrounded by a large group of people all chatting together, my nerve endings scream at me to put my back against the nearest wall, close my mouth, and watch the crowd.
I learned years ago that I am a profoundly weird person, and if allowed to talk without careful pre-planning I’ll come up with something that will inevitably make the majority of society stare at me in shock and/or confusion. The only safe place was the spot by the wall, where there was less chance that someone would hunt me down and force me to accidentally say something that would make all the normal people stare at me. Later, I learned to study the people around me, figure out what they wanted me to say, and plan a few safe lines in advance.

In time, I learned to love my spot by the wall. People were so fascinating, sending out signals with their faces and bodies that often had nothing to do with the words they were saying. I watched people interacting with each other, listening to tiny slices of life that suggested long, wonderful stories I spun out in my mind. When I was allowed to be invisible, the world opened up to me. It’s that perspective that fuels my vision as a writer, and I wouldn’t be parted from it for all the jewels in the world.

I would love social media if I never had to participate in it. Twitter is sprinkled with the most wonderful insights and witty one-liners, and I’ve read blog posts that made me laugh and broke my heart. Yes, there are the occasional posts about what people had for dinner, but life needs to have its boring bits. They make the hilarity and heartbreak that much sweeter.

But the fact that I have to talk as well makes me feel like a terrified teenager again. I have to watch every word I say, making sure it’s just quirky enough to not be lost in the shuffle but not so quirky that everyone thinks I’m too odd for them to like. Every time I’m confronted by Facebook’s cheerful “What’s on your mind, Jenniffer?” panic claws at me for just a moment.

I know there are wonderful people out there. I’ve met some of you, and I’ve delighted in the conversations we’ve had. But you’re lost in the crowd somewhere, undoubtedly talking to people who deserve much more of your time than I do, and I can’t very well wave you over every time a random thought crosses my mind. Besides, I’ve always enjoyed listening far more than I have talking, and would much rather go over and read your Tweets or blog posts instead of offering up my own.

I know that there are plenty of other social outcasts who have used the Internet to blossom, transforming into the wonderfully outgoing soul they were always meant to be. But I gave my blossom over to my books, and they’ve bloomed around me in an explosion of magic, love and laughter that makes me happy every time I visit it. There’s a bit of me in every word I write, but I like the fact that most people will never be able to see it.

But when I’m on Facebook, or Twitter, there’s no one else for people to see. And I don’t think that will ever stop terrifying me.

Monday, April 8, 2013

"Fairy Godmothers, Inc." pre-order links!

I always count down the days until my favorite books come out, and I pre-order every chance I get. Yes, I still have to wait for the book to come out - though I'm convinced that pre-ordering helps the turnaround time - but it makes me feel like I've taken at least one tiny step forward.

For those of you who haven't heard via Facebook or Twitter, below are the links for anyone who wants to pre-order "Fairy Godmothers, Inc." There are no links for e-books yet - I'll post them as soon as I get them.