Last Friday, I posted the first of ongoing excerpts that will be released in the weeks preceding HDU's release. Below is a little about the book as well as the first few pages of HDU. Stay tuned for another post with excerpt 2!
~Amanda Nathan just lost everything – her first real boyfriend to her lifelong best friend, her half of their shared apartment in St. Louis and her first post-grad job as a receptionist. Forced back under her parents’ roof in Merit, Missouri, the gossipy town she’d spent her life trying to escape, Amanda has but one saving grace – being an anonymous moderator on HDU, the Internet’s largest celebrity gossip community. Unemployed and alone, Amanda relishes in the one thing she has control over – Hollywood gossip. Now, her idea of fun is getting lost in the glamorous lives of others and posting nasty rumors about her former bestie’s favorite actor, Liam Brody, a playboy notorious for dumping his model girlfriends on a monthly basis.
So who would’ve thought that Liam Brody would be Amanda’s answer to escaping Merit? When the controversial womanizer needs an image boost to land a new role, he turns to none other than HDU for some good press. As it turns out, Liam is as eager to shed his playboy image as Amanda is desperate to move out of Merit. The solution to both problems? Fake a romance in which Hollywood’s biggest playboy falls for an unknown, sweet and shockingly plain Jane.
With the help of Ian, a fellow HDU moderator and self-developed expert on stardom, Amanda packs her bags for her new life in New York, where the overnight fame and glamour of being a celebrity girlfriend awaits. But Amanda soon discovers that their little ploy is a lot more emotionally complicated than she imagined. And while she finds that life works a thousand times better in her Hollywood circle, so does manipulation
1. This is a celebrity news site. All comments must be about celebrities, unless your life is inexplicably interesting. So basically, keep it celeb-related.
2. Commenting “First!” will get you banned. Consider it a favor from us, for you’ve embarrassed yourself.
3. Trolling is for try-hards, so don’t do it. On that note, don’t spam irrelevant images either (unless they’re nudes of Dylan Hardy – those are always welcome, if/when they happen)
4. Don’t fight each other. It entertains the shit out of us, but we figure this should be a rule so we look like responsible authority figures.
5. Refrain from bitching at moderators about the content of the posts we approve. We can’t help that your faves are tanking at the box office – it’s not slander, it’s the news.
6. Lastly, have fun and don’t take shit too seriously!
- PK & FF
SURPRISE! LIAM BRODY BEING A DOUCHE (AGAIN)
December 31 11:01PM
Posted by FilmFreak
HDU via Celeb-o-Matic
It looks like Liam Brody is welcoming the New Year by moving on from yet another relationship – and once again, in cold-blooded style! Brody has given the boot to Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Alana Mara for yet another scantily clad stunner – her younger sister, April. Ouch!
Brody, 25, was spotted stepping out with the 23-year-old Victoria’s Secret model in SoHo yesterday. Said an onlooker, “The PDA was pretty shameless, and April looked really happy.”
Hopefully she holds on tight to that feeling! Perhaps the young beauty is somehow unaware of her new beau’s womanizing history. Since cheating on actress fiancé Angelica Moss nearly three years ago, Brody has been known to ruthlessly date and dump starlets for younger, newer models (literal models at that).
As expected, Brody has not commented on his jump from Alana to April. All we can hope is that the hunky actor discovers his morals and holds onto this flavor for more than a week. If not, we can only chalk it up to the usual – just Liam being Liam!
(This post is dedicated to my co-moderator, PrettyKitty29, who introduced us all to the misogynistic evil that is Liam Brody. This douchelord makes hating easy! And borderline fun. Okay, just plain fun. – FF)
if there was medication to help me find him NOT hot i’d pay up the ass for it. he needs to DIAF already!!!!
How does this guy still get so much love?! Meanwhile, I’m counting down alone with Svedka and Princess while making love to a bag of Cheetos. Happy New Year’s Eve, HDUers!
Ringing in the New Year with over three hundred angry comments about a vile celebrity breakup had to be some sort of bad karma. But that was just the nature of HDU. News was fast, harsh, unpredictable and commenters were allowed – practically encouraged – to wish that Liam Brody “die in a fire already.” It was the Internet after all. You could say anything.
Times like these were when HDU served as Amanda’s saving grace rather than an occasionally stressful, mostly payless job. As tiresome as it was to moderate the site’s posts and comments, it was the one place where she could anonymously admit to staying home on holidays that called for excessive drinking and socializing. Or rather, drinking while socializing. She was drinking after all, just alone. It was a better option than joining her parents in the living room – aside from the reminder that she was living back home again, their Minute Maid and seltzer “mimosas” were beyond depressing.
Amanda found solace in the nearly two-dozen comment replies that echoed her New Year’s Eve plans. It was nice to know that she wasn’t the only person counting down with her laptop and a housecat. Last year, she had promised herself that she wouldn’t have yet another dull and solitary New Year, but here she was again, alone and wearing her pajamas before midnight. It was supposed to be her year too. Between the months of February and October, she had been a new, exciting Amanda. But that had all been quickly erased.
Despite her shame, she maintained that her night was actually an ideal arrangement. Such company put little pressure on having to conjure up a New Year’s resolution or any sort of life-altering game plan. They were silly and pointless, anyway – just romantic ambition fueled by the sense of holiday and celebration. No one ever actually lost weight or picked up a new hobby or changed their lives in any way. At least Amanda didn’t. By now, her standards had lowered significantly. She would be content to merely survive the year after her debacle in St. Louis.
“Mandy! Are you watching?” her mother called excitedly from the living room. “See who’s on the show? It’s the guy!”
Her mother was constantly vague with descriptions, but this time, Amanda knew exactly whom she was talking about without even looking. Her jaw tightened.
“I see him, Mom.”
Counting down on TV with Ryan Seacrest was none other than Liam Brody. Amanda hated Liam Brody. He humiliated women on a monthly basis by dumping them via tabloid. He was immoral, misogynistic and sleazy. He wasn’t even that great of an actor.
Also, Megan loved him.
“You should text Megs and tell her to watch!”
Amanda winced. Only she had been allowed to call Megan that – since elementary school. The nickname once gave her a sense a pride, a confirmation of her role as a cherished best friend. Now it made her sick. “Yeah, no thanks, Mom,” she called down, trying to mask her irritation. She wished that everyone would stop talking to her about Megan, but they didn’t know not to.
It was her own fault for not telling them about what had happened in St. Louis. But they would only side with Megan anyway, because she was adored by the town like a celebrity was. She was beautiful, special – Merit’s hope of producing a Hollywood star. Amanda, on the other hand, was supposed to be ordinary like everyone else. She hadn’t even won any high school superlatives and yet she had the audacity to move out to St. Louis with Megan, as if she too were meant for big things. “But what on earth will you do out there?” her neighbors had asked before she left.
By moving back, she’d already delighted everyone with her failure to survive. She was sure of it. It had been three months since she’d come home and the speculation about her return was still going strong. Had she been fired from her reception job? Had she grown too tired of Megan’s shadow? If the residents of her small town ever discovered the details of why she’d been forced home, they would explode with gossipy relish. For her own sanity, Amanda had to keep the incident under wraps.
It wasn’t as if she wanted to be back in lifeless Merit, Missouri, out of a job and out of a boyfriend. Megan had simply taken everything away from her. She had stolen her life in St. Louis, and annoyingly, lived it better. The only thing Megan had given Amanda was a passionate hatred for the St. Louis Rams. And what felt like the beginnings of a mild depression.
Hooonk! “Happy New Year!”
Her mother, father and Ryan Seacrest shouted the words in her ear. Or at least it felt that way. It was like they were rubbing it in her face. They were lively, passionate and happy. She was bored, single and lonely.
“Same,” Amanda called down halfheartedly, turning back to HDU for comfort. She refreshed her inbox and managed somewhat of a smile to see a message from a friend. A virtual one was better than none at all, right? And since she’d been indulging in reclusiveness since moving home, that kind of friendship was about the easiest one to keep.
Message from FilmFreak (Moderator) to PrettyKitty29 (Moderator):
Happy New year, Pretty! Hope yours is starting out better than mine… started drinking at noon and got kicked out of every bar in the Lower East Side already... that’s probably a record, right?? Now watching my asshole friends trash my apartment. Awesome. Sooo just gonna hang out on HDU for the rest of the night and refresh my inbox for comment replies (holy shit that sounds even sadder when I type it).
Anyway, here’s to the glamorous lives of HDU moderators! Hope this year is easier on us than the last.
Amanda gave a sad laugh as she replied to her friend. It was odd to think that with Megan banished from her life, someone she knew only as FilmFreak was her longest-running friendship at a little over three years. They were the two most veteran moderators on HDU and though they had never met in person, they’d confided in each other throughout the years. He knew all about her debacle in St. Louis and she knew all about the dissatisfaction he had with his post-graduate life. Her reply to him was brief but heartfelt.
Message from PrettyKitty29 (Moderator) to FilmFreak (Moderator):
Yes, definitely. We both deserve some change in our lives. Tomorrow will bring us a new day and New Year. Let’s hope that somehow, it starts off with a bang.
Despite being so cynical, Amanda had actually ended her night praying for a miracle. Anything would do – perhaps she’d awake with an epiphany, or a business idea, or at the very least a flatter stomach.
Instead, she woke up with just a headache, mostly from drinking three vodka sodas the night before. She had never been a big drinker. She’d only been inspired to booze alone because of her utterly depressing circumstances. Newly single, newly friendless, and forever alone, she thought to herself. She had tried but failed to get out of her small town, and that was that. Hope for change was over.
As had become routine in the past few months back home, Amanda sat up in bed only to reach for her laptop, which she kept on the nightstand. She could spend the next hour in the same spot without moving as she checked her mail, messages and usual websites, including HDU. If there was a particularly good, juicy post, she could delay brushing her teeth for another hour, too engrossed in contributing to and reading the hundreds of comments to move.
“I hope you’re awake in there, Amanda Bree, because it’s past twelve o’clock!”
Her mother’s shouting always came at a quarter to noon, and she always pretended that it was later than it was to shame Amanda for sleeping in.
“Your father’s been at work for five hours already and you’re still sleeping? Good God, time to move out again because sleeping past noon does not happen in this house.”
On this particular morning, there were no new emails or messages. She approved the celebrity diet articles and blind items submitted by the users, but none of them were interesting enough for her to comment on. The gossip world was having a slow morning and thus, so was Amanda. Without Internet activity, she was left without plans. The thought of having to get dressed and actually find something to do around town was tormenting. Neighbors and small talk had become her biggest fears in the past few months. They were desperate to expose her, to confirm that she’d been in over her head.
“Wake up, Amanda, now!”
“One more minute,” Amanda murmured to herself, deciding to check her messages one more time before surrendering to her morning routine.
Yay. She was grateful for the lone email, the one hope she had to stay in her virtual world for a little bit longer.
With more hope than ever, she read it.
Jan. 1 (12:02PM)
Hi, my name is Liam Brody. From the looks of your charming website, you’ve heard of me. Believe it or not, I’ve heard of you too. I was recently tipped off about your little gossip community. I probably shouldn’t call it little. You are one of the busiest gossip communities on the Internet. Congratulations. I’m always impressed with people who manage to stay indoors so much. You must have an extremely sufficient amount of Vitamin D.
I noticed that you seem to have an odd and probably unwarranted agenda against me. Almost every bitter post about me is put up by lovely you. I also noticed that your hatred has spread pretty successfully among your users. Wow. What an influence you have on gossip hungry teens and housewives. Again, congratulations.
I apologize for dating models, PrettyKitty29. It’s just that I think they’re more attractive than other people. Some people steal, some people do drugs, some people sell them. I date models. It could probably be worse. I could be someone who makes bribes.
Speaking of those, I was emailing you to let you know that despite the sarcasm throughout this email, I find your strangely influential website interesting and am willing to make a substantial payment to you in exchange for a few positive articles. I don’t know what a gossip community moderator gets paid, but I’m sure that regardless, you could use a few extra bucks. It would pay for food delivery, movies On Demand, and other indoor pleasures that I’m sure you partake in. Please let me know.
Amanda blinked, completely caught off guard. Wait… what?
She had received prank emails from HDU users before, but this was something else entirely. It got to her. It shamed her for ordering so much Papa John’s and streaming Netflix in her room pretty much twenty-four seven.
Before she knew it, her fingers began typing a response. Most of what she wrote ended up deleted though, because it was entirely too angry and defensive, and the last thing she wanted was to give a troll the satisfaction of her irritation. She settled on the shortest reply possible.
Dear “Liam Brody”,
Hi. How interesting that you would personally email from LiamBrody85@gmail.com rather than have your publicist officially contact me. You’ve truly convinced me that you’re actually Liam Brody with that shady email address. Good work.
I’ll humor you though. I don’t accept bribes from companies or celebrities because if I did, I’d lose my job. Simple enough. Good thing you’re just some Internet creep and not an actual celeb, right? Phew.
P.S. Congrats on mastering the art of condescension. Your time must be well spent.