Ageism in Fantasy

So, I read many, many books in the fantasy genre. I don’t read very much in the children’s or YA section, even the fantasy novels.

That may be about to change.

I just started reading the Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas (It’s super cheap on B&N for Nook right now). Cover looks like a children’s book. I got the “Free Sample” to see if it would be good to read with my son and ended up buying it for me to read. It’s a pretty good read. Good enough, in fact, that I bought the second book.

It doesn’t have the depth and reach that an epic fantasy has. It is… well… As Harlequin monthlys are to Eloisa James and Julia Quin, so these are to the normal fantasy books that I read. It has me wondering: If they took the cover and format, made it more adult, would it sell?

There’s actually precedent for this. The newest incarnation of the Herald series by Mercedes Lackey starts out with a young protagonist. It also has a different depth than the earlier books. Although they’re “lighter” than say, Vanyel’s story, still I go back and buy the new books about Mags, Bear and Lena every single time.

So is it the age of the protagonist, or the “lightness” of the story that propels these books into the children’s stacks? I’ve read some YA fantasy series that blew me away. I feel strongly that they should have been listed just as Fantasy, not YA books. Because a lot of readers, myself included, pre-judge a book based on where it’s filed. Is it fair? Nope. But it’s there.

I wonder though…. Why has no one come out with the Harlequin monthly books for Fantasy and Science Fiction? The work is there— just look at how many people are going indie with 50,000 words. Look to YA and children’s books that have a strong crossover audience in the adult section.

I think in looking for books to get my son interested in reading… I’ve opened up a whole new section of authors for myself. We shall see.

10 Books that changed me / made me/ got me through it

So there’s a meme going round on Facebook, where you give people some variation on the subject of the 10 books that stayed with you/ made you a better writer/ made you into a reader/ that you re-read…..

And my first thought after being tagged not once but twice was…. Only ten???

Hehehehehehehehe

Some of these are more author than books.

1. The Secret Garden & The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnette. These two books captivated me and made me into the reader that I am today. I fell into those worlds on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, I have continuously owned these books since third grade. My last reread was a couple of years ago, when I had an idea of doing a homage to them. Might need to reread and then start writing that.

2. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. This book made me fall in love with Science. I wanted to go to MIT, I wanted to fly to the stars… What I didn’t realize is that this was my introduction to Sci Fi. I’d later devour titles such as Have Space Suit, Will Travel… but this one stays with me.

3. Xanth Series by Piers Anthony. OMG. If Madeleine L’Engle got me to appreciate Science Fiction, Piers Anthony gave me fantasy worlds that played, had characters that you liked and were dealing with sometimes funny things, sometimes big things. But always, always with a dose of humor. I owe him a huge debt.

4. Lynn Flewelling, Tamir books. These books were rich and complex and gorgeous. And even though they are a prequel to the Night Runner novels, they showed me that writers can write wildly different types of books, even within the same genre and world. I loved Seregil and Alec, but The Bone Doll’s Twin– that book took my breath away.

5. The Black Jewels series by Anne Bishop got me through one of the roughest times of my life. Thank you, Anne.

6. Cathy Lamb, specifically If you Could See What I See, well, that helped to put me back together after those tough times.

7. Henry V by Shakespeare. I love this play, it’s always been my favorite. The St Crispin’s speech floors me every. single. time.

8. The Queens Pleasure, by Brandy Purdy. Her use of language is so beautiful I actually marked up my book, highlighting the good bits. I haven’t done that since college, but wow. Amazing.

9. Eloisa James & Julia Quinn… for always giving me a good read, one that makes me feel better no matter what.

10. Charlie and the Chocolate Factoryby Roald Dahl. My flash fiction piece I just submitted is a homage to this. I love it. That candy garden captured me as a child and has not left me… I’ve even infected my child with my love for it.

So there you have it. These have all influenced me in ways that reverberating throughout my life and my writing. And my writing life. Hehehehe. What books / authors would you add to the mix?

Love, Grief and Mashed Taters

When I awoke on Saturday morning, it was to the news that Shirley, my sister in law, had suffered a stoke. She’d been airlifted to Sacramento. I went to be with the family, to offer support as I could, and to love and pray with them.

The situation was dire.

And all I could think of were her mashed potatoes. Shirley married my oldest brother, Richard. Her sons bracket me in age— I was the midlife crisis baby. I was little, maybe 5 or 6, and Charlie (my brother closest in age to me) and I were at their house for dinner. I was told that I had to finish everything on my plate before I could have something to drink.

It included a big heaping dollop of mashed potatoes.

I loathe mashed taters, always have, always will.

In a flash of sibling solidarity, as soon as she left the room, Charlie scraped all of my potatoes onto his own plate and I finally got something to drink.

And this past weekend, somehow, I ended up peeling a bag of potatoes for a church potluck.

Monday at 1:39pm, Shirley went home.

Losing your mother at any age is devastating. If I could spare them the pain, I would. I hope they know they are in my prayers every night, and that I love them fiercely. I was 24 when my mother died, she was 65? I understand how grief can come at you and rip you apart. And amid this grief, this wreckage left of their lives….

They have to somehow pay for a funeral.

Kimmy said it best:

“Walked put of the hospital today.. I was the last one to leave the room.. Carrying moms clothes.. Feeling so numb.. Not wanting to leave my mother.. Please help me get mom transported home..go to Linda Shelton go fund me account so we can bring mom home…”

Ricky posted:

I just changed my Facebook status to public because my mom just passed and my sister Kim took on the responsibilities of power of attorney. We have no ability to pay for the funeral cost. I am reaching out to the public in hopes that I can help my sister the strongest women in the world be able to lay our mothers body to rest. We are sorry to request assistance from others but are lost and stuck with no other options. We are good people and our mother was our best friend in this world if you can help please do. We are in such great need.
God Bless you all. Rik
.

 

David & Stephanie have been quiet— or I haven’t seen it because I decided to hide from Facebook.

Here’s the thing. I’ve never asked for any money on this site. I’ve stopped following people who because just one long harrange for money. But this is my family. And when your whole world has been knocked out of orbit with no warning… the expenses pile up ruthlessly. All four of the kids have jobs, they have families that they are supporting with little or no extra. Kim used her car payment for transportation.

If you can help them, the site is here

And if you can’t help with money, please pray for them, keep them in your thoughts. It’s a hard road to tread, and they were thrown onto it with no preparation, no map….

 

 

Dark and Twisty meets Light & Fluffy

So. I’ve always thought that what I wrote was a little… fluffy. Mostly the bright side of the fiction barrel. Anything dark and twisty in my writing must be an abberation, or at the very least the result of something in my life. Right? Right!

Wrong!

I am basically a “Look on the bright side” kind of person. I’ve been called Pollyanna while at work. But as I’ve told my boss, just because I’m cheerful or putting a positive spin on something does not mean that I’m living in lala land. Oh no.

nononononono

I don’t like to share dark and twisty Wyn so much. When I do, it is perversely more personal than any bright and happy story I could ever share. Dark and twisty is where the artist in me has created her lair… She hides in there sometimes, waiting, watching. Others, she comes roaring out spinning webs of darkness and beauty wherever she might go.

Because that’s what I really like. I don’t like horror. Not anymore. Grew out of most of it rather quickly. But if you can spin me a web of darkness and beauty, oh.

Oh.

I write the two different types of stories differently, too. Happy, funny stories I write in discovery mode– finding out what’s gonna happen next. It’s great, it’s fun for me as a writer. The other comes out of my brain fully crystalized and it’s a marathon to get it out. And get it out correctly.

So.. I guess what I’m saying is this:

I might have a split personality.

But that’s ok. We’re all doing just fine in here :)

 

 

Do you have any story abberations? Or stick to one style/type?

My Little Obsession

photo

If you know me at all, you’ve probably seen me with one of these close by. They are small notebooks, 8.35 in x 6.5 in. They’re made by Studio C and are called Ideal Books. I love these.

I have about 9 of them now. Maybe more.

Within those pages are magic— the magic of my stories. I now prefer writing in these, at least to get me going. And if I’m stuck, it’s within those pages where the muse kicks back into gear. Sometimes they contain a letter to a friend. Notes on the webinars I’ve been taking lately. A to do list like above. And once in a while, as I’m scribbling away, I come across pure gold. Because there are pages scattered throughout where the princeling has drawn pictures in Mommy’s notebook. Some were drawn while we were in the car are he was bored. I’d pass back the book (pen handily clipped to the front) and let him go for it. It makes for a lot of really nice surprises while writing.

Now, if you’re able to see the list I attached above, I have to admit a few things. First of all, the first 3 things had already been accomplished. I believe in making sure that I have some sense of accomplishment LOL. 6-10 all have to do with writing, although 7-9 are the only ones dealing with short stories that I’m actually working on right now. On those, I only worked on Broken, but.. But… I finally finished it. WOOHOO! I finished it! I finished it! AND, um, well, it’s going to have a part 2. But I finished it and sent it off to Beta’s!

So. On my list there were 3 items that I didn’t even touch. I thought a bit about two of them (which does count, but not for this list), but nothing was written down either in my lovely note books or on the computer so I’m not counting that. But, all in all, I’m happy with my little list and with what I accomplished today.

Back to Work

I go back to work on Wednesday and I’m excited about it. I’m excited about other things, as well.Things they are a changing.

There’s the passing on of knowledge, which will happen but needs to be deferred for a small time. I’m excited about it and cant wait to start, but will of course wait patiently.

Something a little weird happened while I’ve been off work recuperating. One is that I realize that I am currently a sprinter when it comes to writing. I would love to write long, involved epic fantasy novels but it’s not going to happen. At least, not right now. Right now, I’m still doing a lot of my writing longhand, in snatches that come in 10-15 minute bursts. If I’m lucky, i have a few hours to devote to the keyboard and will write that way. But if I’m stuck, or just starting a story… Out the notebooks come. I like them. They like me. The length of my stories has less to do with any of that than with the fact that the stories that are popping out of me are shorts. I can live with that. I’ve always been a fairly quick writer– I don’t agonize over that anymore either. Being a real writer only involves actually getting the stories out, right?

But something really interesting keeps popping up on me. Free webinars on copy writing.

Hmmm….

I’ve taken two so far (one last month and one last week), and am about to make another one on Tuesday. So. I’m thinking this is a pretty good thing. Because God keeps dropping  it in my lap I should probably pay attention. Perhaps as something that could at least help with the hospital bills, but hopefully become my full time job. Or main money maker. Who knows? But you know, there’s so much I want to do in life… and none of it has me chained to a computer or phone all day every day. Barring finding a multi-millionare to marry on the quick, this might be the way to go.

If something lands in your lap that many times, you kind of have to take that leap of faith, don’t you? It would be different if I didn’t have experience writing copy for businesses, but I’ve done that at my current job. I’ve been published in trade magazines both under my own name, and with no by-line just to try and drive business. If all I had ever attempted to do was fiction, I’d be very leery of this. Timid, even. But I’ve done this work for years.

And apparently have been valuing that talent too lightly.

Do any of you do this for a living? How did you start? Do you enjoy it?

Seeds of Change

If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the analogy of the seed: that it has to allow itself to be completely undone in order to change into something else.

I’m debating this one, hotly, right now.

And yes, I am talking to myself again. Loudly.

I had major surgery back at the end of June. One week from today, I’ll go back to the day job. But I’ve had a lot of time to think, think, think… Especially when I was waking up all the time for pain managment (making sure I got the ibuprofins at the right time) and hot flashes (back chohate really works!). I thought of what would make me feel good about my writing, what would make me feel like things were worth it.

Let’s face it, right now I’m a sprinter. I can do the short story, and I enjoy writing them. Even when I was writing novels, however, I never saw myself as sitting at a conference selling books and signing autographs. Would I like to be on the best seller list?  Of course.

But it was never my main dream.

Every time I let myself drift and dream, I find myself imagining not scores of readers… but talking to potential writers. Poety. Journaling. Story telling. All of it. I want to share my passion for words and how they have helped me every step of the way.

My seed hasn’t come completely undone. Perhaps it already had done that a long time ago. Instead, my branches are reaching for a different part of the sky. Maybe not the part you’re reaching for, maybe not the part others like… but the little slice that is mine.

Now… how to go about doing this? I have some preliminary plans in place… we shall see if they go anywhere. But I’ll never know until I start.

(The hilarious part is I’ve always shied away from teaching because of the public speeking part of it. Wheeee!)