Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New before/after: "The Emerald City"

Today's before/after is J.A. Beard's "The Emerald City," an urban fantasy story set in Seattle and loosely based on "The Wizard of Oz."

In this loose re-imagining of the Wizard of Oz, Kansas teen Gail Dorjee has tried to escape from the pain of her parents' death by retreating into a hard shell of anger and sarcasm.

When her aunt and uncle ship her off to an elite Seattle boarding school, Osland Academy, she spends her first day making enemies, including the school's most powerful clique, the Winged, and their leader, the ruthless Diana.

Social war and the school's uptight teachers are only mild annoyances. Mysterious phone outages, bizarre behavioral blocks, and strange incidents suggest Osland is focused on something much more sinister than education.

Now Gail has to survive at Osland with a pretty pathetic assortment of potential allies: her airhead roommate, a cowardly victim of the Winged, and maybe, just maybe, Diana's cold but handsome boyfriend, Nick.

When her parents die, teenager Gail Dorjee retreats into an angry, sarcastic shell. She hopes it will ease her pain, but all it gets her is a one-way trip from Kansas to a Seattle boarding school, the elite Osland Academy.

As soon as she arrives, Gail clashes with Diana, the leader of the school's most powerful clique. The Winged make Gail's life hell until she finds allies: her airhead roommate; a cowardly fellow victim of the Winged; and, bit by bit, Diana's boyfriend--the seemingly heartless Nick.

Gail soon has bigger problems than Diana. One of her teachers hates her. Glasses shatter and fountains erupt around her. She can't swear no matter how hard she tries. An unseen force is keeping her on campus. And worst of all, she uncovers a plot that will give one person a precious gift at the cost of thousands of lives. Now Gail and her friends must stop the plot--not just to save lives, but to win a brain, the nerve, a heart and a home in this modern urban fantasy take on "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz."


  1. To all considering becoming a patient, note that she doesn't just re-write the blurb, she discusses you what she's doing and how the changes strengthen the blurb. So, you're also given the skills to write better blurbs in the future.

    Think about that. If you went to your mechanic, he wouldn't spend the time to carefully discuss how to fix your transmission yourself.

  2. Thanks, J.A.! That is actually my aim. I try to teach as well as rewrite.