Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Christmas Eve
Sunny and cold

For the curious, yes, I can celebrate both the Solstice and Christmas if I want, and it doesn’t mean I’m being hypocritical to either. The former is my chosen path in my adult life. The latter is a nod towards happy family traditions and memories, since I am one of those freakish individuals who experienced a decent amount of happiness while growing up. And I will celebrate as many traditions as I wish! So there! 😉

There’s a giftie waiting for you under the virtual tree, but you’ll have to wait until the end of the post to retrieve it.

Wow! Natalie Bahm gave me a Kreativ Blogger Award. I am so honored! Thank you so much! Part of this honor is to thank her, and I do.

Part of this honor is to pay it forward to 7 other bloggers and to write post 7 things others might not know about me.

Okay, choosing only 7 is hard, I read more than that on any given day, but here’s an attempt:

Lori Widmer — Words on the Page — she’s an amazing writer and human being, a dear friend, and one of the most spiritually aware and emotionally grounded people I know. She gives back constantly.

Diane Parkin — another amazing writer and good friend. She gets more done in an hour than I can get done in a week.

Michelle MilesYe Olde Inkwell — terrific balance of blogging between writing and life.

Lara Stauffer Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom. A daily must-read from a good friend whose life is very different from my own!

Colin GalbraithFreedom From the Mundane — another good friend and fellow writer, whose blog is a daily must-read.

Brandy Book Mom — because she loves books and cats.

Margaret FinneganFinnegan Begin Again. I just found this blog the other day, and it is amazing.

Okay, now for 7 things:

1. I developed a deadly allergy to shrimp. I used to love shrimp and now I’m horribly, horribly allergic. As in vomiting-for-18-hours-straight-and-going-to-the-hospital allergic.

2. I don’t trust people who don’t like animals, and I trust them even less if the animals don’t like them back. In my experience, the animals are usually right! 😉

3. Three things on my Must-Learn Someday List are: Learning to play the piano; taking a pottery class; learning to paint.

4. Even though I spent over 20 years in theatre, the period where I wanted to be an actor was very short-lived. I don’t like that much attention focused on me. Although many actors look at playing characters as getting to be someone totally different, for me it was always about bringing forward different aspects of my personality, and I like to choose for whom I do that.

5. I loathe tabloids and gossip magazines. Having worked with lots of actors over the years and feeling protective of the ones I like and admire, I am enraged to see such lies printed — and 90% of what goes in those rag sheets are lies. They are lies that hurt people, and for the general public to think it’s “fun” to feed into those lies by purchasing the magazines, reading, and even believing the crap makes me sick. Not only that, they are poorly written. If house guests leave one of the mags behind, I literally remove it from the premises with tongs and scrub the place down.

6. I get twitchy if I walk into someone’s house and there aren’t any books around. I try to get out of there as quickly as possible.

7. I am better at crochet than I am at knitting. I’d love to be a better knitter, but I’m awkward and clumsy at it. For some reason, I find crochet easier and more logical.

On to other things. I realized that I don’t have enough dishes for left overs (I’m taking left overs with me to the site), so I have to dash out today and get some more.

Yesterday was fine. I wrote. All day. Over 6K. Until nearly midnight. Edited, polished, et al, this morning.

So, here’s your giftie:

JUST JUMP IN AND FLY: a holiday tale by Ava Dunne.

When two men have an accident with eight no-so-tiny reindeer on her front lawn, Susanna Wright has to balance thinking they’re delusional with keeping in the spirit of the night and getting them back on the road.

The story pulls from a mix of myths and traditions, sprinkled with a few of my own “what ifs”. Although it’s just over 10K, it’s a fast read, and, I hope, a funny one.

To read an excerpt, visit the Ava Dunne page. The download link is also on the site. It downloads as a PDF.

Enjoy!

Devon

Monday, September 21, 2009: Guest blogger: Lara Stauffer

As I’m winging my way back to the US today, my dear friend and wonderful writer Lara shares some thoughts about the need for upbeat YA fiction.

Some people think it should ONLY be, well, bland. Some people think it should ONLY reflect angst.

I think it’s really important for YA fiction to cover the wide spectrum, because teenage emotions cover it. There’s a need to deal with real issues, even the tough ones, that teens face.

There’s also a need for escapism and joy and outcomes where Good wins.

And Lara articulates it better than I ever could:

A Little Levity, Please…
by Lara Stauffer

You remember being a teenager, don’t you? I know, it’s “been a while.” It’s been a while for me, too. But I remember being bogged down with schoolwork, experiencing “friend drama” (as most teens do) participating in extracurricular activities, etc. etc. etc.

And what was my escape from the craziness of my angst-filled teen years?

A good read. I loved getting lost in a good book. The Sweet Valley High series was a favorite. Or the whimsical “Secret Garden.” And who can forget the “Choose Your Own Adventure” Series? Or Trixie Belden? Little House on the Prairie Books, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory—the list goes on. All whimsical, light, magical, romantic. All good escape reading.

Cut to today, and what are teens calling those books?

Corny.

And what is the average teen reading for escape value?

Books about vampires. Books about abused teens finding other abused teens to commiserate with. Books about suicide and death, and teen pregnancy. Books that are dark, gritty, and “edgy.”

This is escape reading? Just scanning the synopses of the books in the YA section of any bookstore gives me chills. For example, why would someone consider the gritty tale of a homeless kid, fending for themselves on the streets and abusing drugs an escape read?

Call me old fashioned, but I think today’s YA books are too dark, too violent, too gory, too sexy. Kids are forced to grow up quickly enough as it is. Their lives are chaotic, fast-moving and pressure-laden. The teenage years are depressing enough, we don’t need depressing books on top of everything else.

I am left wondering: when did “happy books” become gauche? The books that made you smile, or laugh, or sigh in contentment? Case in point, I had a friend critique a query of mine, where I gave a teaser on my fairy story. Her critique was that my query made the story sound too “light” and I needed to add in the fact that the Fairies drank blood, so it would seem “darker and edgier” for potential agents. Because “darker and edgier” is in right now. I was surprised, but she was right.

This too, shall pass. I have faith. One day, the “Brady Bunch” endings won’t be scoffed at. Mirth and Light will be back. Teens will return to escape reading that truly gives one an “escape” from the doldrums of Life.

But I’m not holding my breath.

Lara Stauffer is a stay-home mom of four, who writes happy YA and Middle Grade Fiction. You can read Lara’s daily ramblings on her blogs, “Ramblings Of A Suburban Soccer Mom” and “The Potted Pen.”

Published in: on September 21, 2009 at 1:27 am  Comments (7)  
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