Sunday, August 26, 2012

BLOG TOUR: Excerpt & Giveaway - Spider Brains by Susan Wingate

If one were to bake the story SPIDER BRAINS into a cake, they should sprinkle in Charlotte’s Web, toss in one Jellicle Cat, then stir in a little Spiderman—but as a girl and not in that goofy latex outfit! A tale of hope, transformation, transition and inspiration.

After her father’s death last year and, now, in the throes of a gnarly teacher’s whim as she thinks ahead to college (or really just dreams of getting into college), a small black arachnid bites fifteen-year-old Susie Speider on the finger. The bite sends her nights into fantastical dreams about taking revenge on a teacher who, ultimately, holds her college aspirations in the palm of her cold calloused hand. But, after Susie figures out the dreams are real, she ups the ante by visiting the teacher regularly… as the spider! And, oh, by the way! Who is that boy spider munching on flies, hiding over there in the corner? A story of loss and forgiveness, tolerance and kindness, Susie Speider deals with the death of her father while Matt Ryder–the new neighbor boy–has just lost his mother. Ultimately, SPIDER BRAINS poses some important questions about how to treat Attention-Deficit-Disorder.

About the author: 

Most recently, Susan Wingate’s novels, SPIDER BRAINS and DROWNING each reached Amazon Bestseller status in 2012. DROWNING won the 2011 Forward National Literature Award for Drama. She would love for you to read her books. You can find them all under the tab on this site labeled “Books”. SUSAN has written eleven novels, two short story collections, a few plays, one screenplay and tons of poems. Her latest 2011 novel DROWNING  (contemporary women’s fiction), won 1st place in the 2011 Forward National Literature Award and also won a finalist award for the category of Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit in the 2011 International Book Awards. A vibrant public speaker, Susan offers inspiring, motivational talks about the craft of writing, publishing and marketing, and how to survive this extremely volatile (e-)Publishing industry. She presents these lectures for private groups and at writing conferences, libraries and bookstores around the country.


ONE – SPEIDER: The E is Silent
Super human kid by night, regular high school teenager by day. I’m a junior. Well, next year.
My name is Susie Speider. The E is silent. My name is NOT pronounced speeder. For crying out loud. We are not a family of racers. Sheesh.
My problem? There are two major-stager problems in my life. My meds, for starters. They say I’m ADD. Yeah. Like, so, I concentrate on the moment du jour. What’s wrong with that?
Then, there’s the issue with my grades. They suck. And, my teacher, Ms. Morlson. She hates my guts! She holds my going or not going to the U in the palm of her cold calloused clammy hands.
(This  is a pic of me. The QUEEN of dorks). But, with the new glasses my mom got me and my new meds, maybe I can improve over the next two years enough to bring my grades up to pass with something decent.
The problem? With these new glasses now I look like a short amorphous geeky version of the svelte coolamundo Morticia from the Addam’s Family but not in a good way and certainly not with her way cool clingy clothes. Plus, with my braces, Lord, I look like the empress of geeks on planet Nerd-O-1.
As mom says my glasses might allow me grades, “good enough to get you into at least one of the state’s colleges.” She said colleges but I knew she meant universities.
Mom didn’t go to college so she thinks any grade higher than high school senior is college. I suppose she’s right to some extent but there are those, you know, who might argue.
I’m trying out new words right now, new catch-phrases, like “fierce” and “sick,” and like “rad.” Rad is just a shortened word for radical. I’m thinking of shortening the word amazing to “am” or “azin’” but worry that people might mistake me for a Cockney gal talking about small wrinkly fruit. That would be lame.
See, though, and this is pretty astonishing, the editor of the school newspaper, she’s a senior, her name is Tanya (not pronounced Tŏnya but Tănya), well, I sort of think she understands me. I think. I mean, ’cause, whenever I see her, I give her an installment of a very unique and unusual, weird word. I find them on this way cool website called, BrownieLocks. Anywho. She treats me okay. She takes my words, anyway, and sometimes they show up in the paper.
Of course, no one will want to use any of the words I make up.
I’m not cool. Only cool kids make up catch-phrases like sick.
I’m a nerd and not even the good kind. My grades suck. So, I guess, that makes me more of a dork.
I have a pussy, a pussy-cat. And, yes, I say pussy so Get Over It!
Most of my girlfriends have pussies, well, two of them. Anyway, the only two girlfriends I have in the whole entire world who go Ronkonkoma High, Ricki and Jamie. The only bad thing about Ronkonkoma High School, well other than the mascot (the Roc), the pep clubbers ( the Roc-kers), all the popular kids, the loadies, the boys who somehow believe they magically lived in Tombstone during their gestation period and came out looking like cowboys, the principle, and Ms. Morlson–yuk. Well, the only bad thing other than those bad things is that Ronkonkoma High sits only a block or so past the cemetery and the cemetery sits a block or so past my house.
I hate the cemetery. I used to walk by it. No prob.
Anymore? Not so much. Now, I go the long way.
Mine is named Delilah. My pussy cat!? ‘Member? Please track.
Ricki’s is Joe.
Dweeb. Plus, Joe is a girl. Dweeb squared.
Jamie’s is Sasha. A more pussy-like name. If. Ever.
Ricki’s name is really Ricki but Jamie’s is not. Jamie’s real name is Jane because of some freakish love affair Jane’s mother and father have for Tarzan. They have every kind of Tarzan story, poster, old movie playbill, Tarzan dolls (still in their packaging for better return on their dollars! OMG), and Tarzan sidekicks too, like Boy and Cheetah. It’s totally dorky. Although, I must admit, Cheetah is pretty cool.
So, Jane, who I’ve known since Ronkonkoma Elementary and then Ronkonkoma Middle School and now Ronkonkoma High, changed her name to Jamie when she entered high school as a freshman. People still call her Jane, though, and make monkey noises at her. Not nice. People bite sometimes. But, Jane just ignores them like, “Huh? What did you just say? I can’t HEAR YOU!” And, tugs a long strand of her pink streaky hair out from behind her ear and lets it hang into her face. She’s all about Goth. I thought she’d get over it in the fifth grade but it stuck.
Still, she’s my friend, probably my BFF, kind of more than Ricki ‘cause Ricki is super smart and prettier than me and Jane/Jamie by like eons away. But, Ricki doesn’t think about boys too much, just Billy, so she doesn’t wear make-up and she loves science and she spends all of her time with her father who is kind of nerdy because he is an actuary so he’s always counting on something. If you know what I’m saying.
He will, just, all of the sudden burst into Ricki’s bedroom when we’re all studying at her house and say “Did you know the average age of people who die from, blah, blah, blah…” and then my eyes glaze over like an old dog’s and I fall back onto her bed and start twirling my pencil like it’s a baton and I zone myself into marching bands and football games and before you know it, he leaves. Good Gandalf, he’s weird. Plus, he’s so ugly it explains why Ricki’s mother left him and that’s where Ricki gets her ‘pretty’ gene from. You know.
My name? Just plain old Susie. Though, I thought about dropping the E from each of my names,
Susie Speider = Susi Spidr
but it looked too graphic novel, so I just keep my stupid name the way it has been since I was just a sperm cell swimming up inside mom’s hoo.
And, don’t act like my mom never had sex. It seems kind of gross but everybody should do it at least once in their life.
Get over it.
Maybe even I will someday but not with the way these new stupid glasses make me look.
I’m trying to talk mom into getting me contacts.
“We’ll see.”
Sooo. What else…
Oh. Mother hated my grades and my “inability to focus” as she put it and got me into psych ther and got me these specs and onto meds and now my dyslexia isn’t so dyslexic, my ADD isn’t so disordered and my grades this semester actually have improved. Drastically, really. Like, they totally went 4.0 across the board. ‘Azin!
Mom’s happy and that’s good ‘cause mom’s a good old gal. And, I hate it when I make mom cry. She cries enough without my antics.
Mom graduated in 1990 from Ronkonkoma High.
Don’t say it. Don’t even think it. I know how gross it is to graduate from the same high school as your own mom.
After she graduated mom went to work for Costco as a boxer. Not the kind with gloves, the kind with cardboard boxes. Doi.
She performed so well there that they promoted her to cashier and when she excelled as a cashier, they suggested she enter the management program which she did and now she’s a regional manager covering Ronkonkoma, NY, Sanguay, NY and Poughkeepsie, NY. That’s pretty cool, I think. ‘Cause even though mom’s totally out of touch with what’s cool today, she’s still pretty cool. Plus, she works at the Nesconset store which is only an easy breezy four miles or so from our house–a one, no. 9 Sloan Drive, Ronkonkoma, New York 11779, (631) 222-7454.
So, like, we get everything, from toilet paper to dried mushrooms in bulk quantities! Mom likes working there and she likes that she can come home for lunch if she wants.
One thing about Ronkonkoma is that everything is real close by–the high school, the Costco, the cemetery. Bleh.
My mom (btw, her name is Willa Speider and used to be Camden before she married dad), can even read financial statements and all that business rigmarole, as she puts it.
Mom likes to use big words like rigmarole because she thinks the more syllables a word contains the more important you sound, like, supercallafrajalisticexpialladoscious. But, seriously, rigmarole doesn’t even come close to supercallafrajalisticexpialladoscious in syllable count. What it does come close to is ridiculous count.
Face it fool! Rigmarole ain’t antidisestablishmentarianism, now, is it?
THAT’s a big word, one with loads of meaning too. But, I prefer big words with few syllables, like, fractal. Now, that’s a huge word… in terms of meaning, no? My take on words, like this for instance, is another reason why Tanya likes me. :D
Any who.
I’m trying on new abridged words. I’m hoping “am” gets picked up on soon.
I told you that I’m super human, right?

To learn more about Susan, go to her website:
Visit Susan Wingate on Twitter:!/susanwingate
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  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment. :)

  2. My son has ADHD so this should be a good read =) x

    1. Hello Khal,
      I have ADD too and so this story felt very real to write. I hope your son enjoys the story. :)

    2. My daughter has ADD as well. I'm really looking forward to reading this!!

  3. I really think Susie and I are going to be friends. Loved the excerpt. Thank you for taking the time and effort to share with us today and for this awesome opportunity to win a copy of what looks like a really good read :)

    1. Thank you Denise. I hope you all win copies! LOL. I hope you enjoy the story as well.
      Bests, Susan.

    2. Good luck in the giveaway Denise!!

  4. This book sounds really interesting! Thanks for the giveaway!!

  5. Sounds like it'd be a very interesting read! Thanks for the giveaway :)

  6. I really want to read this and then give it to my nephew. When he was in the 4th grade his teacher started bullying him when she found out he was Asian and not Hispanic like she had thought. She figured like all small minded people that he should be more advanced. The students in her class seeing her bully my nephew started doing it too. My sister had to pull him out of school and I started homeschooling him. He is now 15 and thankfully well adjusted despite being home schooled. One thing though he is deathly afraid of spiders (lol) so this might be torture for him to read :) Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. Sounds like a good read. Thanks for the giveaway:)

  8. Thanks so much for the giveaway! It sounds like an interesting book!


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