Archive | September 2014

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.

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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….