FFBC: Spelled by Betsy Schow + Giveaway!

by Betsy Schow
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: June 2nd 2015
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Fairy Tale Survival Rule #32: If you find yourself at the mercy of a wicked witch, sing a romantic ballad and wait for your Prince Charming to save the day.

Yeah, no thanks. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the brooding prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Talk about unhappily ever after.

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving the kingdom in chaos and her parents stuck in some place called "Kansas." Now it's up to Dorthea and her pixed off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse...before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.

Most of the crowd had dispersed. The final few stragglers looked at me with the all­too-common look of fear mixed with trepidation. Pix ’em. They were just servants. It wasn’t like their opinion mattered.
Only one remained, watching me with open curiosity. He looked to be in his late teens or was magically enhanced to appear so. He could have been a hundred for all I knew. I’d never seen him before in my life. He was handsome enough, for a commoner, even in his worn leather pants and cracked work boots. A foreigner, his hair was unruly and dark auburn, which complemented his tanned but dirt-smudged complexion, though the tall, dark stranger vibe was ruined by his piercing pale blue eyes.
Well, I’d had enough of being a sideshow for the day. “If you’re the new gardener, the hedges are overgrown and in need of a trim.” I pointed in the direction of my father. “While you’re there, you can help the king with the wisps.”
The young man’s expression clouded over, but he didn’t move.
I stamped my foot and pointed more forcefully. “Off with you. Courtyard’s that way. Be sure to clean those awful boots before coming back in.”
“Someone told me I’d find a princess of great worth here. One with the strength to be the hero this realm needs.” He stared at me with those unsettling blue eyes. They were cold, like ice water—made me shiver from head to toe. Then his gaze seemed to search even deeper. Finally, he looked through me, like I was nothing.
In brisk steps, he strode across the marble to the courtyard. But before crossing the threshold, he turned back to glare at me with his lip curled ever so slightly. “It seems she was mistaken.”
Just like that, I had been sifted, weighed, and found wanting.
I felt my own lip curl in response. How rude! Who the Grimm was this peasant to judge me? I was wearing a Glenda original. Original! Not some fairy-godmother knockoff worn by those servant girls turned royal. I was a crown princess, for the love of fairy, and no one dismissed me.
Before I could put the boy in his place—down in the dirt, where he belonged—a clatter came from behind, making me nearly jump out of my shoes. I checked and was relieved that Sterling had simply dropped his sword. By the time I looked back, the gardener was gone.
After stowing his blade, Sterling held up his shield, not in defense of the entrance but so he could look at his reflection. “Clearly he’s blind and doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
I didn’t ask for Sterling’s opinion, but it made me feel better.
Until he opened his mouth again.
“Worth, pffft. I mean, look around at all the jewels. Your palace has everything you could ever want. Honestly, I don’t know what you’re fussing about. Why would anyone want to leave?”
Because a cage is still a cage, no matter how big or glittering the bars are.

And I would find a way free, no matter the cost.

Oooh, toughie. Right now, “The Tao of Pooh” by Benjamin Hoff

@Midnight because I need a good long laugh at the end of a torturous day of writing whilst beset by two mini monsters (my kids)

“Frozen” I think my children have brainwashed me by forcing me to watch it a bajillion times. But really, I love the poking fun at all the traditional princess stories; “You got engaged to a man YOU JUST MET!”

Currently, it’s “Shatter me” by Lindsey Stirling

Sushi. Not the crap grocery store kind, the rolled-right-in-front-your-nose kind where the fish just came off the boat.

Oz (that’s a duh), Wonderland (because I would love to have my own little Cheshire kitten), and Middle Earth (because who wouldn’t).

It’s cliche, but Mr. Darcy. Actually, really anyone with a British accent.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ― Winston S. Churchill

Dr. Who, Wicked (just saw for the first time in London), and pretty much anytime I get to converse with one of my favorite authors in real life. Pretty sure Aprilynne Pike and Jennifer Nielsen are going to take out restraining orders on me.

Mark Twain aka Samuel Clemens. The man was a quirky freakin’ genius.

I had loads of fun writing this and put my heart and soul into it. So here’s hoping that in some small way, you can share in that feeling while you read.

Hello Betsy! We are super excited to have you in our FFBC tours.

Spelled is an upside down and inside out twist of Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz that takes place in a world where every character from fairy-tales and legends live together and play out their stories as designed by the Storymakers. Our main character, Princess Dorthea of Emerald, is pretty sure that whoever wrote her story got it wrong and she’s tired of being locked up in her castle, waiting for her happy ever after. So she makes a wish upon a star--too bad it’s cursed.

I’ll keep it real, she’s a brat. LOL. At least she starts out that way, which was intentional. I really liked the idea of a deeply flawed princess instead of the typical loves-every-furry-creature princess with a heart of gold that is beloved by all. She’s obliviously entitled with no clue how good she really had it until it’s gone. Her best quality (aside from a killer fashion sense) is her fierce bravery. Unfortunately her worst quality is being unable to take responsibility when her actions have big consequences. 

I came up with the idea by being very annoyed with stories where there is often an underlying message of ugly = bad while beautiful = good. That of course reminded me of the iconic green ugly hag witch. What if she was just cranky, but still a good guy while the beautiful witch was actually a different *itch word. From there using the Wizard of Oz as the base of the fractured fairy-tale seemed like the obvious choice. I loved Frank Baum’s imagination and was really inspired to use his Oz works in fun ways. I’m somewhat ashamed to say that I have never seen the movie Wizard of Oz and only saw the play Wicked last month. I really didn’t want to inadvertently use anything that was still under intellectual copyright. And watching Shrek and Ella Enchanted with my kids gave me the idea to add all the little pop culture nods.

My favorite lines are from when Dorthea starts to feel the weight of what she’s done. It plays really well with the entire theme of the storyline.

“An unwelcome theory started to form in my mind, an explanation for why my story had skewed so far off course.

Maybe I wasn’t the hero. 

Maybe I was the villian.”

Hydra’s spare parts shack and the witch doctor scene.

“Dark Horse” by Katy Perry

Dorthea: Anna Kendrick

Rexi: Jena Malone

Kato: Richard Madden 

Eat Pocky, a great substitute for chocolate wands. I highly recommend listening to girl power music like Katy Perry and Paramour.

After the launch party, a week in my bed with Netflix and no computers! Just kidding. If Spelled does well in stores, then hopefully I’ll be given the opportunity to write the rest of the series so I can tell Rexi’s (the daughter of Robin Hood) story.

Thank you so much for everything, Betsy!

Follow the Spelled by Betsy Schow Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

BETSY SCHOW is the TODAY Show featured author of the non-fiction book, Finished Being Fat; however she’s been mixing up real life and fantasy for as long as she can remember. If someone were to ask about her rundown truck, she’s 100% positive that mechanical gremlins muck up her engine. And the only reason her house is dirty is because the dust bunnies have gone on strike. She lives in Utah with her own knight in geeky armor and their two princesses (that can totally shapeshift into little beasts). When not writing, she acts as the Tournament Director for Odyssey of the Mind and helps teach kids creative thinking (or how to turn their toasters into robots).
Her debut novel, Spelled, comes out June 2015 from Sourcebooks. She is represented by Michelle Witte, Mansion Street Literary Agency.



  1. this book really sounds like one I'd love to read! My kidlet is doing Wizard of Oz next week at school and it's amazing how many Oz references I've had in just a few days!


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