Forever Princess Sneak Peek

December 25th, 2008

Holiday greetings, merrymakers! I’ve just gotten back from my traditional Christmas Day bike ride along the beach, trying to work off some of that peppermint bark (now I can eat more of it!) before I veg out in front of Scrooged, and as promised, I’m going to gift you all with the sneak peek of Forever Princess!

Click here, scroll down, and enjoy! The first 80 pages, just for you.

What happens in the 322 pages after that? Well, you’ll have to wait until January 6 to find out (if you live in the US and Canada, that is. People who’ve already read it…Shhh! Don’t tell! Keep the people in the US and Canada in suspense)!

And for those of you who’ve read it already, here are a few thoughts from some of the Princess Diaries characters on Hanukkah/Christmas, straight from the pages of Holiday Princess, a guide to celebrating the holidays (specifically, the winter ones) in royal style.

Holiday Party Looks: If We Took a Holiday/Took Some Time to Celebrate
By Paolo
Royal Hair Stylist and Cosmetician

I am Paolo, beauty advisor to the Princess Amelia. Many will say the holiday season is, for women, a time to break out the green velvet dress with the red satin sash, and those shiny patent leather Mary Janes….

Well, not I! I spit on green velvet! I say the holiday season is a time to break free and take a risk! Wear black instead of red to the company Christmas party. Trade in that light-up Santa pin for a studded leather bracelet. Get rid of reindeer sweater. Listen to Paolo: NO MORE REINDEER SWEATER!

Holiday time is the time to try new things. Put on those false sparkle eyelashes you’ve been wanting to try. Yes! Wear them to school! Who cares what the people say? The people know nothing! You want to wear the plaid pants? Wear them! Never will you have a better chance to take the fashion risk than during the holiday season, when you can blame a fashion faux pas on the Christmas spirit!

The Christmas Star: White Dwarf or Jupiter in Retrograde?
By Kenny Showalter,
Conspiracy Theorist and Biology Lab Partner of Princess Mia Thermopolis

While many assume the Star of Bethlehem was only a myth, some of us disagree. Some of us, in fact, have spent many, many hours analyzing data from the numerous astronomical events around the time of Jesus’ birth that could have provided the star the three wise men (aka “Magi” or astrologers, as some New Testament translations explicitly call them—later translations bumped them up to “king” status) followed to Bethlehem.

Our research has led to some startling theories that could, should they become more widely known, shake the foundations of Santaland as we know it:

CONJUNCTION: There were three extremely rare conjunctions (a conjunction is when two or more objects appear very close together in the sky) of planets around the time of Jesus’ birth—one in May, when the wise men would have started out on their journey, the second in late September, when they were visiting King Herod, and the third in early December, over Bethlehem, when they would have been leaving Herod’s palace. Though Jupiter and Saturn never got close enough together to be confused as a single object, the word for star may have had a different definition than it does today. WAS IT A CONJUNCTION THE WISE MEN SAW????

NOVA: While the exact time of Jesus’ birth is not known, Chinese astronomers recorded a new star (nova) in the constellation Capricorn around the time He was thought to have been born. This star was said to have been visible for over two months. Novas are caused by dying stars (so the term ‘new star’ is erroneous, as they are actually very old stars) which sometimes become white dwarves, due to thermonuclear reactions on the surface as the stars die, which flare very bright, then fade from view in a few months. Possibly, it was a nova the wise men were following.

METEOR, SHOOTING STAR, COMET: A meteor lasts only a few seconds or minutes at best. The wise men followed the star for weeks looking for Jesus, so it couldn’t have been a shooting star. We can rule out comets for the same reason. They are not stationary long enough for the wise men to have followed it for as long as they did, therefore ruling out this theory (HA! I told you shooting star theorists your idea was lame!).

JUPITER IN RETROGRADE: Many astronomers feel the star was simply Jupiter undergoing retrograde motion (going backwards: stars do this sometimes, the same way I sometimes put my shirts on backwards and don’t realize it until I get to school). While in retrograde, the planet appears to be stationary for about a week. Jupiter in retrograde, while ALSO in a conjunction with other planets (see first theory), would have been the brightest point in the sky, besides the moon, at that time, and COULD be the star the wise men were following.

The above are just SOME of the many, many theories out there that could explain the Star of Bethlehem. Could there be other, as yet unexplored, explanations? Oh, yes, my friend. And while some people suggest it’s better not to examine the science behind historical miracles, as the findings can be disappointing, I, however, disagree, at least so far as the Christmas star is concerned. To me, as to the ancients who recorded its viewing, the star symbolizes hope—and isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

Go Team Maccabee
By Michael Moscovitz

Contrary to popular opinion, Hanukkah isn’t about getting eight presents on eight consecutive nights. Well, I mean, that happens. But that’s not what it’s about.

Hanukkah is actually a celebration dating back to two thousand years ago, in Palestine, when Antiochus the Syrian, a guy who hated everybody and vowed to destroy all faiths but his own, was killed by the Macabees, led by Judas (no, not the same one from the Mel Gibson movie).

Everyone was psyched Antiochus was finally dead, and ready to get back to their normal routine. But when Judas went to light the eternal flame in the Temple lamp, there was only a small container of sacred oil left—just about enough for a single night, which was a huge deal, because in order to reconsecrate the Temple, which Antiochus had basically trashed, they had to have the eternal flame going…and it was going to take eight days to make new oil.

Which meant, basically, that Judas was screwed.

So you can imagine his surprise—not to mention everyone else’s–when that one little container of oil miraculously lasted throughout the eight days it took to get the new oil. It’s this miracle that Jews celebrate during the eight nights of Hanukkah, when we gather in our homes to light the eight candles in the Hanukkah lamp.

Note from Mia: Don’t forget the presents!

Traditionally, on the eight nights of Hanukkah, children are given gifts.

Note from Mia: Eight gifts. One for every night. Which is way more than I ever get at Christmas.

Not that it’s about the gifts, of course.

Another one of the best known symbols of Hanukkah is the Dreidel. Although the dreidel (the origins of which go back to a game called “totum” or “teetotum” which was played in England and Ireland in the 16th century) has long been associated with Hanukkah and children, the story behind the dreidel is actually super serious: In times when Jews were forbidden to meet and practice their religious beliefs, men would keep a dreidel and gelt (money) handy while gathering to study the Torah (the Hebrew bible). When soldiers would approach, the men would pull out the dreidel and pretend to be playing a game. So basically, the dreidel saved their lives.

Note from Mia: And this is where we get the famous Dreidel song:

Dreidel dreidel dreidel
I made it out of clay
And when it’s dry and ready
Then dreidel I will play

Not to be confused with the other famous Hanukkah song by Adam Sandler.

Christmas in Hollywood: Lilly and Mia’s Guide to the Top Ten Holiday Movies
By Lilly Moscovitz and Mia Thermopolis

Okay, okay, so the holidays are SUPPOSED to be about spending time with family, and not about watching movies.

Well, we discovered a long time ago that a great way to spend time with your family is to spend it WATCHING MOVIES. Yes! That way, there is no fighting—except maybe over which movie to watch.

That’s why we’ve composed this helpful list, so in the future, you won’t have to fight—you can just pull out the list, and use it to persuade others of the superiority of your film choice over theirs.

Here goes:

10. Groundhog Day

Although technically this a movie that takes place on February 2, or Groundhog Day, it still has a very holidayish feel to it, since it’s very funny and uplifting, and is all about living life it to its fullest, and helping others, which is really what the holidays are all about. Plus, Bill Murray is just hilarious.

9. The Ref

Denis Leary plays a thief who gets trapped in a house on Christmas Eve with what is perhaps the most dysfunctional family ever documented on film. As you might expect, this chain-smoking, foul-mouthed criminal knows more about the Christmas spirit than the horrible, supposedly loving family he is trapped with, and ends up teaching them a thing or two about love and family loyalty. Plus, it contains the immortal quote: “Kid. Gag your grandma.”

8. Home for the Holidays

Jody Foster directed this hilarious and touching movie about a down-and-out single mom (Holly Hunter) who goes home to visit her parents for Thanksgiving, and ends up alienating her sister, while bonding closer with her gay brother, fabulously played by Robert Downey, Jr., (who seems to ad-lib most, if not all, of his lines). Even better? A pre-The Practice Dylan McDermot plays Holly Hunter’s love interest.

7. Scrooged

Another Bill Murray movie, only this one really DOES take place over Christmas. A modern re-telling of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, in this version, Scrooge is a TV executive who sold his soul (practically) to be rich and famous. Debra Winger stars as the perky social worker he left behind. Carol Kane is hilarious as an abusive Ghost of Christmas Present.

6. Scrooge (the musical)

This ANCIENT film starring Albert Finney features many songs that you will recognize, such as “Thank You Very Much” and “I Like Life.” Well, okay, maybe you won’t recognize them, but by the end you’ll be humming them. This is by far the best version of the A Christmas Carol that we know of, plus one of the few with DANCING in it, so that it makes it far superior to its non-dancing cousins. Plus it has the best line of any Christmas movie ever: “I want the dolly in the corner!” Say it a few times with an English accent. Go ahead. We DARE you.

5. It’s a Wonderful Life

This is a fabulous movie about a man who wishes he had never existed and gets his wish (don’t worry, it has a happy ending). It’s a movie that begs many questions, such as, Is it possible to watch this movie without crying at the end? And How does one spell ZuZu? And Why can’t Donna Reed be MY mother? The part when Jimmy Stewart grabs her and says he doesn’t want plastics is actually way hot, for an old black and white Christmas movie.

4. The Santa Clause

We hate to admit it, but this movie is a bit of a guilty pleasure, enjoyable even if you AREN’T seven years old. Tim Allen plays a man who inherits the role of Santa—the REAL Santa—and is none too pleased about porking out and having to move to the North Pole…though his son couldn’t be more delighted. This movie answers a lot of those questions that have bothered us, such as, How does Santa get to every house in one night? And Does he really eat all those cookies? Satisfying as Oreos and a glass of milk.

3. Die Hard

A lot of people forget this is a Christmas movie, but that’s the whole reason Bruce Willis is visiting his wife in the first place. See, she moved to LA for a fancy new job, while her husband stayed in New York to be a cop. So he’s coming home for the holidays to patch things up, and—as usually happens—Eurotrash terrorists choose Christmas Eve to take everyone in his wife’s office hostage. Bruce has to save the day…and not to give anything away, but he survives to make Die Hard 2.

2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

This movie is the silly antidote to all the sappy Suzanne Somers made-for-TV holiday movies you’ve been watching (don’t even try to deny it). Chevy Chase doesn’t get the Christmas bonus he’d counted on receiving in order to build his family a pool, and he goes a little insane. But you can understand why after you meet his in-laws. Not to mention the squirrel in the Christmas tree.

And the number one Christmas movie of all time….

1. A Christmas Story

This movie is written by a guy from Indiana, and also set there, but the story of his main character Ralphie’s obsession with owning a Daisy air rifle is familiar to us all, Hoosier or not (only for Mia it was Prom Dress Barbie. For Lilly, an electromagnetic microscope). Ralphie’s endeavors to be good so he can earn his rifle—his fantasies about what he’ll do when he gets his rifle—his painful trip to see Santa to ask for the rifle—and his adventures along the way—all speak to the heart of what Christmas is all about in the eyes of a child. Speaking of eyes, the best line in the whole movie? “Yellow eyes! He had yellow eyes!” Hasn’t every kid in the world been menaced by a yellow-eyed bully? What’s UP with that???

Okay, that’s it! Hope you’re having fun and staying warm! Don’t forget the Forever Princess Book Trailer contest!

And take a look at the Tiara Auction! The tiaras are on full display NOW! Be sure to refer your friends! It’s for an excellent cause…teens and libraries!

More later.

Much love,

Meg