15 October 2011

So let me start out by saying this: I was not a cool kid. I wasn’t a cool teenager or adult either, but I really feel the height of my not-coolness was reached when I was about eleven or twelve years old. This was when I was both uncool and didn’t recognize that uncool could be awesome, so I was mostly just awkward. I had a bad perm and hated my lips and was always reading.

The perm grew out and I now like my lips, but I still read (and I now recognize that it’s perfectly cool). In fact, I still read largely the same type of books—fantasy YA. When I was an uncool kid, the selection of YA fantasy was a little bit smaller, and one theme prevailed: ordinary or uncool kids, like me, in extraordinary circumstances. Finding out they’re the chosen one. Finding out they’re royalty. Finding out they have magical powers. The fact that normal kids in books turned out to be extraordinary gave me hope that maybe someday I too could be extraordinary.

I waited to find out I was royalty. It didn’t happen. And then no ancient man in robes came to tell me I was the chosen one.  Magical powers—the best “extraordinary” factor of all, if you ask me—were next, and I wasn’t waiting around to discover I didn’t possess them. If fate didn’t give me powers, fine. I’d just have to create them myself.

(I’m not proud of this.)

A friend down the street, Azba, had a cousin coming to town from out of state. I’d never met the cousin before, and I don’t remember her name—let’s call her Sherrie. Sherrie was going to be in town for a few days, and I was inevitably going to meet her.

At the time, I was sort of the ringleader of a motley crew of neighborhood kids, including Azba and another friend, Jennifer. In an effort to create the powers fate had so cruelly denied me, I enlisted Azba and Jennifer to help with a plan, of sorts. A prank. A trick. A scheme, even.

Below, in italics, is what really happened. In regular text is what poor, poor Sherrie thought happened.

(Did I mention I’m not proud of this?)

Azba lead Sherrie to my house and into the basement, where I had a television, some hand me down furniture, and my ferret’s cage set up. I was dancing to tribal drums up on a chair, wearing a long blue cape. Jennifer played aforementioned tribal drums. Azba and Sherrie entered, and sat down at a table. I leapt from the chair as the drums stopped, landing right in front of them and stood up slowly, slowly, so Sherrie could sense my tribal and impressive powers.

The chair was rickety. The cape as an old sheet, but probably looked pretty decent. I’m not sure why I thought tribal drums and dance were a good way to impress upon Sherrie the magic powers I was pretending to have, but…again. I was awkward.

I introduce myself to Sherrie as “Caterina,” a name I thought was absolutely beautiful and appropriately mystical. Sherrie watches, eyes wide, clearly impressed with my mystique. I invite her to sit down at a table in the middle of the room, lighting a few candles as I do.

If my parents had caught me burning candles, I would’ve been grounded forever. And I’m pretty sure Sherrie’s wide eyes were because she suspected I was mentally deranged, not full of old magic.

I explain to Sherrie that I was just about to hold a séance before she arrived, and that she should stay for it. Sherrie seems reluctant, but Azba convinces her to stay. Sherrie sits at the head of the table, closest to the door while Jennifer turns off the lights. There’s only candlelight now, providing the perfect magical, eerie atmosphere. I begin to call out to spirits, asking them to make their presence known. At first nothing, nothing, nothing…
And then, behind me, a cabinet door opens, then slams shut.

That happened because of the transparent fishing wire we’d tied to the cabinet handle ahead of time. I had a practical marionette rigged up under the table. Sherrie looked terrified. I didn’t feel bad—I was extraordinary! Or at least, she thought I was. Kinda. Okay, maybe she just thought I was creepy, until—

Another door slammed. Curtains flapped. Azba started to say she was scared, Jennifer looked around in delight. I continued to call to the spirits—come to me! Make yourself known! Speak to us! Cabinets are slamming left and right, pow, pow, pow, and then the television bursts on, revealing a screen of snowy static. Azba screams. Sherrie screams. I welcome the spirits who so happily bent to my magical wills.

More fishing line. Everywhere, fishing line. Azba’s rehearsed scream sounded a little, well…rehearsed, but Sherrie was so terrified she fell for it. The basement got practically zero light, so with just the candles, you legitimately couldn’t see the fishing line. I looked like I had skills. No, not skills. SKILLZ. Maybe not magical skills, but I was pretty pleased with myself nonetheless.

Azba grabs Sherrie’s hand. The rise and sprint from the basement, through my yard, not stopping until they reach Azba’s house. They’ve just experienced something amazing. Something crazy. Ghosts are real! And I was the one to show them!

With fishing line!

Azba would later report that Sherrie was terrified and impressed by the arrival of spirits to an average house in suburban Atlanta. Before that day, she didn’t believe in ghosts, but now? How could she not?

Maybe Azba told her the truth eventually—or maybe not; I lost track of both Azba and Sherrie years ago. It’s fully possible Sherrie still believes that what happened in my basement was real. I imagine that she occasionally goes out for drinks with some friends after work. They talk, order a few rounds, eat spinach and artichoke dip. The conversation gets random, something about life after death comes up, then angels, then ghosts. Who at the table believes in them? Sherrie raises a hand slightly, and then explains how she once saw definite, undeniable, insane proof that ghosts are real. All due to a normal-looking girl who had magical powers. Who was special. Who was extraordinary.

Despite her bad perm.

Sweetly is currently available from Little, Brown!

Synopsis: SWEETLY is a modernization of Hansel and Gretel and a companion book to SISTERS RED.

Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.

Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.

Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful.

Order online: 

Find Jackson Online:

Enter to win a copy of SWEETLY!

Rules and now to enter:

You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
To enter, please fill out the form provided below.
Giveaway open to US mailing address only.
Giveaway ends: October 29th, 2011

REMINDER: *If you are interested in the COMMENT CONTEST, remember to include your email address with your comment for an extra entry.
Please ready full entry rules >>>HERE<<<

Jackson, thanks so much for dropping in today and sharing this true "scary" story with us! I loved how different it was from anything else we've had for our Halloween event to date. So, Thank You for taking to time to write it for us.

Also, a HUGE thank you goes out to Little, Brown for donation a copy of Sweetly for this giveaway.

*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this page.

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  1. I love all her video blogs! she is a gas. Thanks for the chance at a great giveaway!

  2. I would'nt want to be in Sherrie's shoes that night! That was so creative, using fishing net! Who would've thought of that one :) Anyways, thanks for the giveaway!

    Email: osnapitzAngiex3(AT)aol(DOT)com

  3. Jackson Pearce may not be proud of her actions, but I'm certainly impressed by the amount of preparation that must've taken.

  4. That was a hilarious story! :)

    Wish I could enter the giveaway, but I'm a little North of your designated country. :)

  5. I've been wanting to get this one for months. Thanks!

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  6. I enjoyed reading this post! I am so looking forward to reading Sweetly! You were definitely blessed by the cover Gods :-)


  7. Thanks for the great post! I've heard such wonderful things about this book, hope I get a chance to read it :)


  8. Ooh I've heard good things about this book!


  9. Great story from Jackson. I probably would've been terrified if I'd seen that display too!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. Sounds like something my brother would have done if he had thought of it while he was terrifying my younger sibs and me in the dark, cobwebbed barn. :)


  11. Ah, I remember the bad perm days! When I was 11 I decided I wanted a perm. Big mistake! I looked like a poodle LOL


  12. If I were in that situation, I would've been freaked out, too! I actually never believed in ghosts until my friends in 3rd told me ghost stories and freaked me out!

    jadedlittlegirlx AT gmail DOT com

  13. That was a really great story, nice use of fishing line. Who knew it could be used to scare unsuspecting visitors?


  14. Loved the story! I was an awkward kid myself who liked to read and dreamed of being magical. Never tried to trick anyone with magical powers, but I've done neat effects with fishing line. (I'm a theatre nerd.) =)


  15. Oh my gosh, I want to read this book SO bad!!! Thanks for the awesome giveaway:)
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  16. Didn't see my comment so adding yet another. Thanks for the chance at a great giveaway.....I LOVE her video blogs...she is so much fun!

  17. I have to admit I was not impressed with Sisters Red but I still want to read Sweetly. tlabunski **((gmail))**
    Pabkins @ Mission to Read

  18. That's hilarious! I had a sleepover for my 12th birthday and we lived not too far from a maximum security prison in the middle of nowhere... so my mom and I tricked all of my friends into believing there were escaped prisoners who were horrible killers on the loose and then we enlisted our teenager neighbours to jump on the roof and make a racket. Girls were CRYING REAL TEARS that night. ;) One of the boys accidentally broke one of our windows too. Ahaha! It was awesome!

    bookcrookliza at gmail dot com

    Liza @ Book Crook Liza

  19. What a great story!! I love the idea of a modern teenage spiritualist!!

    AmethystDaydreams at zoho dot com

  20. What a great story! Thanks for the giveaway!


  21. That was extremely creative! When I was around 11 or 12 I kept waiting to turn into something mystical lol I was pretty bummed out when I made it to 18 and nothing ever happened!


  22. LOVE IT! I can totally relate to you; the whole waiting around for the special thing to happen that made me unique. I love how you sought out your uniqueness though. That's awesome.


  23. Mary DeBorde
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail dot com

    That was priceless!!! Oh, the things we do when we're young lol

    My mom used to do the old time spiritualist thing of making the table *rise*, and I swear we NEVER figured out how she did that. Even my dad said she'd been able to really make it rise for as long as he'd known her ... including the table knocking :O

  24. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

    Ashley Suzanne

    Now taking up donations for 21st Birthday Giveaway on November 13th!

    ashleysbookshelf at gmail dot com

  25. I kinda love this story, Jackson. And even though you say you're not proud of what you did, I think you should be. That's a lot of dedication for a 12 year old to pull off, and to pull it off well. Kudos to you for being magical and convincing Sherrie that ghosts are real.


  26. I totally enjoyed this story so much, I don't think I'd want to be in her shoes too much though. Hilarious funny, though. :)

    Thank you, so much for this generous giveaway as I've been wanting to read Sweetly for a while now. I've heard such amazing things about it.

    Suz @ A Soul Unsung

  27. I totally agree with Soulunsung! What is that old saying - walk a mile in my shoes LOL Don't think so dearie :) Thank you for sharing the fun today and for the awesome giveaway opportunity.


  28. I totally wish I had done this to my sibs when I was younger. Thanks for sharing the great experience!

    readingfever {@} gmail dot com

  29. I totally wish I had done this to my sibs when I was younger. Thanks for sharing the great experience!

    readingfever {@} gmail dot com

  30. Fun story. Thanks for sharing. This book sounds great too. I love fairytaleish books:)

    bchild5 at aol dot com


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