Saturday, December 25, 2010

Because What Else Would Lee Majors Be Doing Christmas Eve?

There's a Christmas elf by my keyboard with her Christmas pup and there are trees throughout the house...with the candles burning it smells like winter and mint and chocolate and something sweet but not quite identifiable. I notice it mostly in the morning, when nothing is yet lit; however, the smell lingers from yesterday with all the notes intact save for that of the ash of the wick.

I had been ticking off Christmas chores like mad until yesterday morning, when I happened to turn on the tv to a cartoon channel. It was a little weird to grab a bit of Christmas peace in front of the tv--but there was the madcap race to experience the season and the little cartoon kids always succeeded. Better yet, the cartoons weren't something that I had on my list. They were just fun.

Which brings us to last night and our yearly tussle over opening a gift on Christmas Eve. We opened one gift in my family on Christmas Eve and it was usually because we didn't see both maternal and paternal families on Christmas Day. The Pumpkin King's family opened everything Christmas Eve. Since our kids are the four-footed kind without a jot of overwhelming CHRISTMAS!!! eagerness, we celebrate everything on Christmas Day, together. Except for the Pumpkin King's insistence on getting started early. :)

Needless to say, the merriment of the morning had worn off by the time that he thought about presents. Just before we got started, he decided that we needed hot chocolate and I reached for the remote, wondering what kind of Christmas treats I could find. We watched an old Rankin-Bass Santamation movie and then I found the subject of this post. There was Lee Majors on Christmas Eve rescuing Dolly Parton and a passel of orphans! Scrooged fans know, what else would Lee Majors be doing on Christmas?!

We laughed. And then we watched the movie. Because what else would we be doing on Christmas Eve, save celebrating family in-jokes and traditions while the Christmas decorations flicker and wink?

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Call for YA Novels

I'm building my 2011 reading list and I'd like to add a few titles for my reviews at Supernatural Fairy Tales. Once a month SFT reviews books, usually titles aimed a young adult audience (although not usually children's books), that have some relation either to the supernatural or to fairy tales. This year, we'd like to concentrate on small press or independent works by YA authors.

We're looking for recommendations for authors whom you've enjoyed who may have a work out or coming out in 2011. We welcome suggestions from authors and from readers. In order to schedule review times for the months of February-May, we'll need to receive suggestions fairly quickly. Suggestions can either be listed in the comments to this blog or submitted directly to SFT.

In order to be considered for review, any books suggested will have to be available at some point during 2011 (or very early 2012 for books reviewed later in the year). Books should be available to the general public.

Book reviews will include the opinion of the reviewer, a link to a site where the book may be purchased, and a copy of the cover art (if available). Reviews may be posted to SFT and Goodreads and Amazon (if appropriate).

If you have any questions about book reviews, please feel free to contact me directly or send a question through SFT's review site.

Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tiny Moments

^pause for chocolate^

The mint chocolate candle is more seductive than I antcipated. It has been devastating for the holiday bowl of Kisses in the kitchen and a warm counterweight to the cloudy cold front that is settling overhead. I am tempted to spend the entire afternoon curled on the couch under blankets and dogs and read the three novels that are tagging after me this week.

I could turn on the tree lights and drift into the company of trolls, fairies, and the PIs who keep them on the straight and narrow.

This I will do; first, however, I'd like to share some thoughts on a video that I watched yesterday. I've been following A. Lee Martinez's blog since this year's Apollocon and he recently posted a video introduction to his lastest novel. When I clicked the link, I anticipated a semi-slick book trailer. Instead, he'd uploaded a 9 minute introduction to his work and his book that consisted of his just talking to the mike, against a white wall.

Instead of a cute reminder of a book that I'd enjoyed, there was a video that reminded me that books are just as handmade as anything I'd recently seen at the Renaissance Festival; that they could grow in the same places, the same rooms, as those I remembered from being a kid. It's hard to explain how the two connect--they cross on a bridge that consists of what I remember of being an imaginative child daydreaming in my own white-walled room and what I can see of an author telling the story of telling the story without the kind of ad-type visual shortcuts that I find easy to dismiss.

To have a few minutes to appreciate and think about the craft of writing, when the rules and how-to books are silent, is a welcome break in a season of looking for those tiny moments of awe. And what better way to prolong the moment than by returning to the couch and the stack of novels?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Propagation of Difference

Thanksgiving ambushed me, but I think I'm recovered. Finished the NaNovel and am looking forward to editing it (don't ask me why, I'm just ready to rip the text to pieces). Haven't read much, but the nightstand is moulting novels so I should be catching up on that soon.

Meanwhile...the difference. A few days ago I received an e-mail that, as these things may, struck me as less friendly than it could have been. A few angry hours later and I'd updated some lists that needed updating and found myself once again grieving over the events of the past year and a half. It sucks...but things have changed. I'm not going to find another office job and start attending my old writer's group. Our two oldest dogs aren't going to run around in the backyard and then come in to snooze on the carpet. Things have changed.

Until yesterday it wasn't a profound change, because until yesterday these weren't changes that I allowed to move into the past. I'm still dreaming about my old job. Invariably, I'm trying to get things done knowing that I won't get paid or knowing that I'm skipping out on another job to finish "just one more thing" in the old one. I would dream that I was sneaking into offices that should have been closed just to finish paperwork. My brain wouldn't let it be over and I could feel myself tucking in my head like a turtle as I kept shuffling that damn useless paperwork. Then someone struck a match to my frustration and changes had to be made.

I don't know yet whether this means no more nightmares, but it does mean that I'm now aware that I can't just pick up where I left off. I can be a writer, but I can't hide out in a group of other writers and pretend. I can imagine not being a writer. I can think about working again without carrying around the burden of unfinished business.