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Philadelphia, Pickles, Peru? #FourthWallFriday with @ERCorrigan #AtoZChallenge

RaisingChaos-#FourthWallFriday

PHave you been following the Rising Chaos tour? Holy cow! When Red Adept Publishing tours a new book they go all out! Being that I have had Erica Lucke Dean on my blog for a few #FourthWallFriday specials, including two of her Red Adept Publishing tours, she told Elizabeth about it and here we are? I let her know it was #AtoZChallenge month and said, how about P? And so… in a diner somewhere in rainy Philadelphia they are serving more than pie… is this self-insertion fan-fiction? To meta for you huh Elizabeth? I say you nailed it! Thanks.. everyone else? Be prepared to be blown away! Oh and HATS OFF for the use of the terms hairy-eyeball and fuckwittage.. SMH WTG!

meanwhile-in-philly

A bell chimed above my head as I pushed open the door and stepped into the diner. I shook myself, trying to get some of the rain off, but I knew if I looked as much like a drowned rat as I felt, the situation was hopeless.

            Why do I leave my umbrella at the office instead of in the car? I thought as I trudged toward the diner’s counter.

            I had arrived in Philadelphia to spend the weekend with my sister right when I planned and had even managed to find a corner parking spot in the torrid downpour. Unfortunately, she had called me when I was halfway up to tell me her cat had fallen down the stairs and needed an emergency trip to the vet. Since her place was locked, I had no choice but to find the closest sit-down place I could find, even if it was what looked like the crappiest diner in Philadelphia.

            I wouldn’t ever have entered this eatery if I weren’t desperate, and even now I was considering braving the rain again rather than stay. A thin coat of grime covered the windows, and yellow foam bulged like fungus out of the cracks in the teal vinyl on the booth seats. The juke box in the corner played the Bee Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive” in full vinyl quality. I couldn’t quite tell, because I could feel my feet squelching inside my sopping shoes, but I suspected drier soles would have been sticking to the brown linoleum. I sank down into one of the stools at the silver counter, trying not to wonder who had thought brown, silver, and teal made for a good color scheme. Only after I had settled on my perch did I start to pay any attention the other two figures in the diner.

            “Panama, Philippines, Paraguay, Papua New Guinea, Peru,” the guy on the stool next to me was saying. “Hey, Khet! That’s three in Latin America. Think that was intentional?”

            Did he just call her Khet? I froze and turned my head to look at him, then nearly fell off my stool. That thin, animated figure. That black hair. That copper skin. I had a hard time picturing his features in my head, but when I saw him in front of me, he was unmistakable.

            Bedlam.

            I swiveled my head back a notch to see the person he was talking to, and I knew before she entered my frame of vision what she would look like, too. Slightly shorter than average stature, curly black hair, dusky skin. Carrie. Or Khet. Bedlam calls her Khet.

            Unlike Bedlam, she was looking at me, her big, brown eyes full of sympathy. “Hello, Elizabeth.”

            Bedlam, who during my shock of recognition had continued rambling about whether he should count Palau and Puerto Rico as countries, stopped and shifted on his stool. He was probably frowning, but I didn’t take my gaze off Carrie’s to check. “Do we know an Elizabeth? Or are you doing your mind reading thing again. Or…” He trailed off, and his hand darted out to grasp my arm. “Are you that Elizabeth? Do I have a bone to pick with you!”

He pulled his hand back and frowned at the water droplets on it. He snapped his fingers, and in an instant, I was bone dry.

I took a deep breath and instantly regretted it. Even at this late hour, the air smelled like stale coffee and burnt toast. I should be panicking right now, I thought. My fictional characters, the ones I created, are here. Talking to me. Using their magical powers on me. But somehow I couldn’t muster more than a brief “Huh.”

Carrie pulled out a glass and filled it with Diet Coke from the fountain. Advantage to omniscient servers: You didn’t even have to order. “Be nice, Bedlam. She didn’t know we were real.”

I glanced at Bedlam, but not at his food, because I knew better than to look at whatever noxious concoction he had forced Carrie’s sub-par cook-of-the-month to prepare for him.

“I’m still not sure you’re real,” I told them. “My working theory is that I was in a horrible accident on my way to Philly and am being carted to an emergency room as we speak. I knew I found that parking spot too easily.”

“If that makes you feel better.” Carrie slid the soda over to me.

“Awesome.” I took a sip of the soda. Unsurprisingly, the fountain was set up to skimp on syrup. “Because the only other alternative is that I’m writing some kind of self-insertion fan fic where I meet my own characters, and that would be way too meta for me.”

“Or we’re real.” Bedlam stuck out his lower lip. The look did a lot to convince me that Michelle had a point when she insisted on calling him a man-child. “We could be real.”

“I haven’t completely ruled that out.” I pushed off the counter and sat up straighter in my chair. “I’m pretty sure having you name all the countries that begin with ‘P’ wasn’t my idea.”

“Apparently ‘P’ is the letter of the day.” Carrie’s tone held a touch of sarcasm, but she gave her best friend an affectionate look. “I’ve already heard lists of first names, movies, and songs that begin with ‘P.’”

“Yet we’re listening to disco beginning with ‘S.’” As I spoke, the juke box fell silent for a moment, then picked back up again with Van McCoy’s “The Hustle.” “And apparently ‘T’ or ‘H,’ depending how you alphabetize.” I thought for a second. “I’m old school. I’m calling it ‘H.’”

Bedlam spun around on his stool, and I grabbed him before he could get up. “You’re not dancing.”

He scrunched up his face. “Why not?”

“Because I only remember the first half of ‘The Hustle,’ and if you remember the whole thing, it will mean you can’t possibly be from inside my head. Then I will have a total nervous breakdown right here in the diner. And since you know you won’t actually help, Carrie will be left to deal with a quivering mess of data analyst-slash-author, and you don’t want to do that to her.”

Bedlam didn’t look convinced, but he turned back around and folded his arms on the counter. “Fine. I’ll just play it again later.”

“Further evidence you are real? Of all the songs in the universe to listen to, you pick disco.” I shudder.

Carrie shrugged, as if to say, “He picks the music,” and Bedlam laughed. “What should I be listening to instead?”

“Just about anything would be better.” I caught the glint in his eye and held up a finger. “Do not take that as a challenge. I can actually think of many things that would be way worse. So no Hawaiian or Bartok just to prove your point.” I took a long drink of my Diet Coke. “You have a theme song, you know.”

Bedlam perked up. “I do? Ooh, did you write it for me?”

I shook my head. “I only write songs for Siren.”

Bedlam scrunched up his nose. “Is that an indication that Siren is going to be showing up in my life and not just existing as a side character whom I sometimes make jokes about?”

Carrie reached over to refill Bedlam’s coffee cup. “Siren’s not so bad.”

“Yes, she is.” Bedlam reached past me to drag the sugar caddy toward him. “But that’s beside the point. I want to know what my theme song is.”

“’Flagpole Sitta’ by Harvey Danger.”

Bedlam paused with his sugar packets halfway to upside down over his coffee cup, resulting in a pile of sugar forming next to his mug. “Hm. I guess I can see that. Does Khet have a theme song?”

The woman in question reached forward with a rag and wiped the sugar crystals into her hand. “I don’t think we need to ask that.” Her face had flushed, as if she knew what I was going to say. Because she did.

“It used to be ‘Hero’ by Chad Kroeger, because she keeps going on about how she’s not a hero but then does these ridiculously brave things because she knows the bigwigs are never going to step in.”

Carrie’s face got redder as she pulled a handful of sugar packets out from under the counter and set them in front of Bedlam.

The demon nodded. “I can see that, but…”

I gave an exaggerated sigh. “But Nickelback. And then I heard ‘Human’ by Christina Perri and realized there was no better song for a human girl who managed to keep up with angels.”

Bedlam picked up a single sugar packet and shook it with more vigor than should have been necessary to make sure all the crystals went to the bottom. “Does everyone have theme songs?”

I counted off on my fingers. “Siren’s is ‘Dream On’ by Aerosmith, when it’s not ‘Honesty’ by Billy Joel. Michael’s is ‘Stars’ from Les Miz.”

Carrie smirked. “Does he realize Javert is the bad guy?”

“’Halo’ by Beyonce for Gabriel…”

The room temperature seemed to drop by about ten degrees.

Bedlam splayed out his hands, flinging the sugar packet he was holding across the room. “Please tell me you did not just say the ‘G’ word. You know how she feels after what happened. You’re the one who did it to her!”

He was right. I shouldn’t have said anything. I just wanted so badly to show off that I had given them all songs that I hadn’t taken her feelings into account.

Carrie, for her part, looked to be handling it all right. She wasn’t smirking anymore, and her mouth had a decidedly downward turn, but she didn’t seem to be crying or anything. Of course, she was Carrie. She would continue to handle anything life threw at her. Until she couldn’t anymore. And then… Well, I didn’t want to be the cause of that “And then.”

“Hey, Khet.” Bedlam’s voice took on a cajoling tone as he leaned closer to her. “Do you think we have a theme song? You and me?”

Carrie raised an eyebrow, some of her disappointment seeming to fade. “Isn’t that usually a couple’s thing?”

“Nu-uh.” Bedlam bounced a bit on his chair. “There are lots of songs about friends and family and stuff. Like ‘We Are Family.’”

“Again with the disco,” I mutter.

“I don’t think that quite fits us.” Carrie cocked her head to the side, considering. “How about ‘Dark Side’?”

Bedlam recoiled from the counter, and I thought he might fall off his stool. “Khet! Kelly Clarkson! Heavens forfend!”

From her impish smile, I could tell she’d goaded him on purpose.

Bedlam gave an evil grin. “’Soul Sister.’”

Carrie narrowed her eyes at him. “Train is outlawed. They released ‘Marry Me’ right after ‘If It’s Love,’ which displays a level of fuckwittage that I cannot describe with mere words.”

Bedlam turned his bright expression on me, and I kind of wished all my friends with crushes on Bedlam could be there to see how attractive he was when he smiled. “What does Elizabeth think?”

I took a glug of my soda. “Cyndi Lauper, ‘Time After Time.’”

Bedlam stuck his tongue out at me. “Way overdone.”

I shrugged. “Too bad. It’s my story. I get to pick the theme songs.”

Bedlam tapped his finger on the counter, and he seemed to be considering something. “Does that mean that we get to pick your theme songs?”

Oh, God. “I don’t think I gave you that much agency.”

“She’s thinking ‘Back 2 Good’ by Matchbox Twenty,” Carrie said.

Bedlam returned to pouring sugar packets, one at a time, into his coffee. “Really?”

I was pretty sure that it was now my face that was turning red. “That was my theme song in high school.”

“That’s a really depressing theme song,” Bedlam said with a cheeriness that belied his words.

“Yes, well, I was really depressed in high school.”

Carrie pursed her lips, reading my mind again. “And… ‘Superball’ by Aimee Mann? Elizabeth, you have got to be one of the least energetic people I know. I have met coma patients with more get-up-and-go.”

“Although we haven’t ruled out her currently being a coma patient,” Bedlam put in.

Carrie’s comment was kind of mean, for her, but she knew I knew it was true and wouldn’t get upset about it.

“’Superball’ is my stuffed tiger’s theme song,” I said.

Bedlam gave me the hairy eyeball. “Do we want to ask why your stuffed tiger has a theme song?”

“Probably not.” I shrugged. “Generally when I’m picking my own theme song, I go with ‘Sugarcoated,’ again by Aimee Mann. I’m a bit more agreeable than I used to be, but self-promotion is still not my strong suit.”

“You gotta work on that.” Bedlam snapped his fingers a few times. “Gotta sell those books, so people will pay you to write more, so I can find out what happens to me.”

“We are clearly between Oracle of Philadelphia and Raising Chaos, which means I’ve written a whole book you haven’t experienced yet!” Way to be defensive, me. “It’s already out! And people love it!”

“Mm-hm.” Only Bedlam could make a tuneless hum sound sarcastic. “And how is book three coming along?”

“Let’s not talk about that,” I said into my drink.

Bedlam scowled. “Elizabeth! I’m going to live forever! I need a future!”

I glanced at Carrie, who didn’t seem any happier about the pace of her story. “I’m going as fast as I can!” When that didn’t seem to mollify them, I added, “I could just tell you what happens.”

Bedlam couldn’t have looked more alarmed if God Himself had appeared and demanded he listen to Kelly Clarkson sing covers of Taylor Swift for all eternity. “No! No spoilers!”

I tapped my fingers on the counter. “How about… song spoilers?”

Carrie arched her eyebrows. “Song spoilers?”

 “Sure. I’ll tell you some of the songs that are going to come up in your lives in the next books. You know, like theme songs, but for scenes instead of people.”

Bedlam stirred his coffee with his finger. “I’m game.”

The corners of Carrie’s lips turned up, and her eyes were sparkling. “Sure. Why not?”

I considered for a moment. “Well, for Bedlam, there’s ‘Brighter Than the Sun,’ ‘Hotel California,’ and ‘Come Sail Away.’”

Bedlam nodded. “All classics.”

Carrie blinked. “Colbie Caillet is a classic?”

Bedlam gave her a “Duh” look.

            I made an amused noise in my throat. “And, Carrie, you’ve got ‘Stars’—Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, not Javert. And ‘Lucky,’ so more Colbie Caillet, and Jason Mraz. And ‘Bad Moon Rising,’ though you guys share that last one.”

            “So… my love life will be sad, then happy, and then everything will go to Hell. Possibly literally. But Bedlam will be there.” She didn’t seem to be taking this very seriously, but I don’t think she actually believed anyone could see the future. She’d spent 8,000 years convincing others she couldn’t, after all.

            “Something like that. Though they’re not in order.”

My pocket started buzzing and singing about how much it wanted to eat my brains. I pulled out my vibrating iphone and saw my sister’s name on the screen. I ran my finger along the screen to answer. “Hello?”

“I am so sorry that took so long.” Stephanie sounded a bit harried. Not surprising really, since she had likely just carried a cat several blocks in the pouring rain. “The vet wouldn’t stop going on about how well Princess’s diet is going. She’s fine, by the way. Where are you?”

“I’m…” I glanced at Carrie and Bedlam. There was no way to explain this. “I’m on my way to your place. See you in a few?”

“Okay, adios.”

“Byee.”

I turned to my characters. “Looks like I have to go. It’s been… interesting.”

“It was nice to meet you. I now… have a better understanding why you made me the way you did,” Carrie said.

I wondered if that were forgiveness for making her immortal at the expense of ten souls of varying degrees of innocence. In a weird way, I hoped so. She might be better off if she could blame someone else for her problems for once.

“If you are in a coma after a hideous car accident, I hope you recover.” Bedlam popped a bite of whatever he was eating–which I definitely wasn’t looking at—in his mouth. “Ooh, or that you are just disabled enough that you can sue the guy in the other car for millions and never have to work again. Except to write. That you need to keep doing.”

“Um. Thanks.”

I gave an awkward wave and headed out the door, glancing behind me more times than I would have thought possible on the fifteen foot walk to the door.

As I headed out the door, Bedlam spoke again. “Pear, pickle, pineapple, peanut butter…”

I stuck my hands in my pocket and hurried away in the rain.

meet-the-author-city

About Elizabeth Corrigan

Elizabeth Corrigan has degrees in English and psychology and has spent several years working as a data analyst in various branches of the healthcare industry. She lives in Maryland with two cats and a purple Smart Car.

Ms. Corrigan owns over 150 seasons of television on DVD, loves zombie jokes, and her only culinary skill is the ability to make chocolate chip cookies.

Her first novel, Oracle of Philadelphia, was a nominee in Books and Pals 2014 Readers' Choice Awards.

abou-the-book-city

Philadelphia, Pickles, Peru? #FourthWallFriday with @ERCorrigan #AtoZChallengeRaising Chaos
by Elizabeth Corrigan
Pages: 303
Published by Red Adept Publishing
on 2014-02-03
Genres: Fantasy
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • • Goodreads •

When good fails, chaos rises to the challenge. 

The daily life of a chaos demon is delightfully sinful—overindulging in Sri Lankan delicacies, trespassing on private beaches in Hawaii, and getting soused at the best angel bar on the planet. But when Bedlam learns that the archdemon Azrael has escaped from the Abyss in order to wreak vengeance against the person who sent her there—Bedlam’s best friend, Khet—he can’t sit idly by. 

Only one relic possesses the power to kill Khet, who suffers immortality at Lucifer’s request: the mythical Spear of Destiny, which pierced Christ’s side at His crucifixion. Neither angel nor demon has seen the Spear in two thousand years, but Azrael claims to know its location. Bedlam has no choice but to interpret woefully outdated clues and race her to its ancient resting place. 

His quest is made nearly impossible by the interference of a persnickety archivist, Keziel—his angelic ex—and a dedicated cult intent on keeping the Spear out of the wrong hands. But to Bedlam, “wrong” is just an arbitrary word, and there’s no way he’s letting Khet die without a fight. 

The Earthbound Angels Series: 

Book One: Oracle of Philadelphia 
Book Two: Raising Chaos

a Rafflecopter giveaway   BTW Yes I know my blog is wonky at the moment. The update from WordPress is causing my essential plugins throw hissy fits. Because of the Jetpack security leaks WP moved up their update me thinks and it caused problems with many of the plugins and currently my site looks weird, but it still works!

2 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for hosting my tour!

  2. Loved it!
    Next year, I will definitely have guests during the a to z. Such a good way to introduce people and have a blog become a place for parties!
    With great respect!
    A

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