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@MarianAllen Introduces You to Comedy Star Connie Phelan

Marian Allen has been a blog friend for a few years now, and I have to say, other than Alex J Cavanaugh, hers is the kind of scifi I can get into quite easily. Humorous, human, light, everything I crave in a light summer read when I’m also reading a McIwan, a Morrison, and a Mantel ( I know, I’m crazy), and need to stay sane.

today’s Wednesday feature, I bring you her book Sideshow. Marian says she first got the germ of an idea for this one when she saw a photograph of
Salvador Dali’s household. Everybody looked like they were competing to
be the center of attention, everybody looked like unusual was their

So now you know what to expect.

Elevator pitch: Join comedy star Connie Phelan on a
planet where slavery is legal. Connie has suffered an
cosmetic reaction, but she isn’t going to let that keep her from
goals: outgrowing her clown identity, avoiding a love/hate
relationship with her nemesis, and resisting the urge to do a

Teaser Excerpt: I
waited until Lester detached himself from me for a minute,
and I
drifted over to Marissa del Hueso. Something was going to
give, here;
even in Hell Alley, we had enough manners to come say
hello to the
guest of honor, and none of these people had even looked
at me. They
were going to look at me, now.

Face,” I said. “Having a good time?”
she said, her “classically beautiful” face immobile. “I’m
so sorry I can’t stay longer.”
dear little fairy–I’d frightened her away with my rough,
dropped in on your way to somewhere else?”
great, I’m glad you did. This party needs some class. Say,
have a
beer before you go. –Hey, Lester! Let’s have a beer over
here for
The Face!”
turned red, and then … she started to giggle.
surprised me, but I’m not a pro for nothing. “Come on,
I said, “get the lead out!”
brought a splash of beer in a sherry glass, and avoided my
eye as he
handed it over.
took her beer and tossed it off. Everyone applauded. She
loved it.
I found myself invited for a weekend cruise aboard Marcus
yacht. Not invited by Marcus Vadny, worse luck, but by the
group in
was after my Aunt Bootsie died, of course. Aunt Bootsie
would have
said, “Put it in tin, or put it in gold with diamonds on
it–look at it close. If it’s trash, it’s trash.”
Buy it on Amazon. You can read Chapter 1 here. Having read her work before, all I can say is Marian has a distinct tongue-in-cheek humor, and a knack for creating plot twists that take you on a rollicking ride. You’ll be in for a treat this summer on the beach, or deck, or wherever you are with this book.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Damyanti says:

    Gary, I think I speak for all bloggers you've commented on when I say your comments are indeed 'eagerly anticipated, much cherished and highly collectable'. Well, maybe not so much the last bit, but you get my drift 🙂

    I'm so grateful for your shares on FB, Twitter etc're a gem, you are.

    • klahanie says:

      Okay, another one of my highly-acclaimed back-up comments.

      I appreciate that, Damyanti. I do try to be discreetly in the background supporting my friends. Thank you for the email.

      A peaceful, positive weekend to you.

      Gary 🙂

  • klahanie says:

    Greetings Damyanti and Marian,

    I've been told my comments are eagerly anticipated, much cherished and highly collectable. Yes and then I woke up….

    A fascinating blurb, now that I actually know what a "blurb" is. Thought it had something to do with indigestion. Being my usual amazing self, I shall now take the liberty of sharing this, yes, even on that gosh darn fun, 'Farcebook'!

    Damyanti, very good of you to bring this further awareness of Marian. And Marian, much success and fulfilment to you.


  • Marian Allen says:

    Thanks, Dana, Melissa, Sherry, Jo, and mail4rosey. I had fun with the book, letting all my inner snark come out. Connie could — and usually would — say the things I felt like saying to the people who irritated me. Sherry, I'm particularly pleased you like the dialog. Yes, I'm one of those authors who hear characters' voices in our heads. lol

    And here's another tidbit about me: My husband's personal nickname for me is Rosie. 🙂

  • mail4rosey says:

    Nice intro to the story, and I love the aunt's name. Aunt Bootsie just sounds like a good aunt's name. 🙂

  • Jo says:

    Sounds like a fun story.

  • Sherry Ellis says:

    I liked the teaser – some really good dialog there!

  • Melissa says:

    Sounds like a fun, interesting read! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Dana says:

    What a fun excerpt!

  • Marian Allen says:

    Thanks, Maryann. Hope drama camp is going well! Thanks, Bob — it was a fun yarn to write, mostly. I hated my antagonist so much, it was hard to write him.

    Pat, that doesn't rhyme! You owe me a dime!

    Alex, I'm blushing! Look — BLUSHING!

    Morgan and Mark, I hate to point this out, but … Aunt Bootsie does die. She isn't in the book much, although Connie references her throughout the story. Aunt Bootsie was THE single greatest influence on her life.

    Okay, this isn't in the book, but I'll tell you how Aunt Bootsie got her name. Her real name is Julia, but her daddy called her Bitsy Boodle (the name of a horse he bet on once) when she was a baby. When she got old enough to talk, she pronounced it Bootsie and insisted that was her name. And it stuck, as baby names sometimes do.

  • Congratulations to Marian!

    Great post.


  • Yeah, I want to know more about Aunt Bootsie, too, and how did she ever get that name 🙂

    Congrats to Marian 🙂

  • Thanks for the comparison, because Marian is a great writer!

  • Bob Sanchez says:

    Looks like a fun yarn!

  • Aunt Bootsie sounds like a real character!

    Morgan Mandel

  • Pat Hatt says:

    Comparison to Alex, sounds like a good one

  • Love it. Wish I could say more, but the kids are calling me for drama camp.

  • Considering that Alex is one of the few sci-fi writers I've been able to get into in recent years, this tells me a lot about Sideshow. I'm gonna have to look into this. 🙂

    • Marian Allen says:

      I appreciate your being willing to check it out, David. The excerpt I posted on my own blog is probably longer than the sample provided by Amazon.

  • What a strong voice! Great excerpt. No wonder you can get into her stories.

    • Marian Allen says:

      Thank you! SIDESHOW was my desk drawer book for many years: I only worked on it when I felt like Connie in my real life. Once I grew enough as a writer to be able to write characters who felt other ways than I did, I finished the book. 🙂

  • Marian Allen says:

    Thank you so much, Damyanti! Although I'm humbled to be put in the same sentence with the Ninja Master! 😀