Friday, December 19, 2014

My Latest Love - Wander Over Yonder

Life has been chaotically busy at work. The last couple of months have been a blur! Luckily, I saw my reminder fast enough this time so I didn't miss my posting spot. Phew!

Anyway, I'm normally behind the times, so you may already know all about these guys, but I'm gonna share them with you anyway. :)

I'd seen them around but never actually watched the show. I knew the song though. That thing is catchier than heck! (If you've not heard it before - click the video! I dare you! Heh heh)



But one fateful night, too tired after coming home from work to get up when it was time to move elsewhere, I saw the second half of an episode. The Gift 2: The Giftening - and I was HOOKED!

Here's a taste of that most awesome episode...


I was rolling on the floor. The brilliance of it! Terrorize the bad guys by making them happy! The horror! And the final gift at the end of the episode - priceless! (You won't see it in the taster - heh heh)

I'm not a laugh-out-loud person. It's super rare for me. But not when watching this show. It cracks me up! Been going to sleep with the theme bopping around too. lol.

The show is the creation of Craig McCracken. He's been in the field for a long time now and then he came up with this piece of awesomeness in 2013.

Let me introduce you to these lovely people....

Wander
He loves to travel, meet people, see new things, make friends, help anyone and everyone. He plays a mean banjo, too! No idea what race he is. But he is definitely super spunky!



Sylvia
Wander's best friend and fellow traveler. She's tough, smart, athletic. And Wander is her best friend, too.
She has no acting skills, which seems to give no one a hint as she delivers her lines with no emotion and even sarcasm.


Sylvia has as a rapier wit and is stubborn as can be when it comes to Wander. But when he looks at her like this....



She can't say no and goes along with his crazy schemes. Normally to her aching regret. But they still a lot of fun regardless.

The two of them travel from planet to planet in blow bubbles. And they aren't the only ones. Seems to be the preferred method for wanderers/tourists.



They're very handy!


Lord Hater
He is the baddest of the bad and he will prove it by taking over the universe! If he feels like it. He loves being bad. Loves rock music and air guitar and doing evil deeds. Hates Wander with a passion because he tends to spoil his plans. Wander, however, thinks they're best buddies! Oh my!


Peepers
Lord Hater's right hand man. Down to earth, smart, and wants nothing more than to help Lord Hater achieve his aims. The two of them go way, way back.



And this is Lord Hater's ship - I love this thing!!!!


See the tongue? It's the way off the ship. Lol.


She really is a beauty. 

What cracks me up most about the show is the weirdness and the fact it looks stupid, but it's quite profound and smart. It also has a ton of in-jokes from the 70's on up. Too fun! (They even steal the Star Wars poster pose and do it with a Banjo - so cool!)

Wander Over Yonder can be seen on the Disney Channel - so if you get a chance, check it out. Too much fun!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Writing Against Borders

A guest post by my friend Trisha J. Wooldridge on the release of her new middle grade fantasy The Earl's Childe.

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My books in The MacArthur Family Chronicles, the second, The Earl's Childe, having just came out this Tuesday, takes place in the Borders region of Scotland — right where England and Scotland meet. It's a location of cultural difference and blending, and the two countries have had a bloody and rough history. Beneath the ground, there is geological evidence of Scotland slamming into the UK; the land area of Scotland isn't naturally part of what we know of the British Isles.

Borders are an important theme of this series, too.

The main character, Heather MacArthur, is eleven years old. Right on the border of being a child and being a teen. When she wants to have some alone-time with her mother to discuss a terrible, fairly grown-up situation with her best friend and his family, it ends up being a trip to buy new clothes and — of all horrors — bras because Heather hasn't any clothes that properly fit anymore thanks to a recent growth spurt. In one of her less-than-mature moments, Heather pitches a fit. The moment between her mother and her, however, addresses both the child-self Heather still wants to cling to and the adult-becoming Heather who has to think about real world consequences that decisions that have no clear right answer: If you have only one magickal creature at your disposal, do you send him away to rescue a friend or keep him around to protect the people near you? And what if his safety and will in regard to the situation?

While Heather declares she is too young to even want to like-like someone (upon finding out an older boy might kind of like her), she finds herself stuck worried about her parents' marriage and the stress she's brought to it in her position as faery liaison. And watching your older sister get the boys who like her to do things is both awe-inspiring and freaking annoying.

Being liaison between Faerie and her family's land in the human realm also puts her on a physical border — a hotly disputed one as yet another daoine síth lord tries to wrest the land from both Heather’s family and the existing fey. It's been a battle for a few hundred years, in fact!

One of the best things about writing for young audiences is working in that mysterious grey space of transition. It's never a clean thing to change from one thing to another, to find the lines between two sides or two realms of existence. It's not for adults; but if you're in the middle of a change yourself, you have an even deeper perspective of how many shades of grey there are.

As a writer, also, I'm writing in the borders. The MacArthur series falls right on the border of middle grade and YA with Heather's age and the complexity of issues in her family alone — not even including dealing with the supernatural! Her father, Michael, has bipolar disorder, and with that comes some problematic decisions from him when his medicine fails, which affects Heather and her relationship with him. What do you do when you still need your parents, but you know you can't entirely trust the judgment of at least one of them? As an adult, Michael can make some pretty serious mistakes that Heather sees. And while I, the author, think it's important for readers to share some of these experiences with Heather — children do go through these things, and seeing heroes like themselves in books help — not all the teachers, parents, and librarians who might read this book agree.

Also, I don't write only for children. I write horror for adults under my full name. And while both my husband and I were watching horror at an early age, it's easy to forget that we were not necessarily the norm. Fortunately, I have wonderful editors that kept me within the safer borders of description when some of Heather's adventures get quite dark.

I'm also glad they understand that I also think kids can take some levels of darkness better than adults.

After all, the kids I'm writing this for live on the edge of a lot of borders.

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Like with my first book, The Kelpie, I want to continue supporting the Bay State Equine Rescue through my writing, so a percentage of every sale of The Earl's Childe will be donated to the BSER, a 501(c)3 organization in Massachusetts.

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The Earl's Childe is available through all online and brick & mortar bookstores, big box or your favorite independent store.

About the Book:

Available on Amazon
Available at Barnes & Noble
ISBN: 9781939392435
Price: $9.95
Appropriate for ages 11 and up

Meet the Author:

T.J. Wooldridge is the child-friendly persona of Trisha J. Wooldridge, who reviews dining establishments in Faerie for her local Worcester-area paper (much to all the natives' confusion) and writes grown-up horror short stories that occasionally win awards (EPIC 2008, 2009 for anthologies Bad-A$$ Faeries 2 and Bad-A$$ Faeries 3). Her novels include The Kelpie (December 2013) and The Earl's Childe (2015) in the MacArthur Family Chronicles series, and Silent Starsong (July 2014) in the Adventures of Kyra Starbard series. Find out more at www.anovelfriend.com.

Space in the News Again!

Lots of space projects in the news again!

This morning the Orion spacecraft was launched on its test flight after its launch on Thursday was postponed. Tomorrow New Horizons wakes up out of hiberation for its flyby of Pluto and Charon. And recently Wanderers, a short film narrated by Carl Sagan, was released on the internet.

I grew up watching the space program advance. I fully believed as a child, reading science fiction and watching Star Trek when it first aired, that there would be colonies on the moon and at least Mars in my lifetime. Just these three items this week are enough to make me excited about space again. Science fiction has always been about hope, and YA science fiction especially so. My favorite branch of science fiction includes space travel, the hope that we will finally leave this planet and see what's out there.

It's hard to keep that hope alive when watching the space program's budget get cut again and again. But there are always things here and there to keep that interest sparking - The Astronomy Picture of the Day, Philae landing on a comet nucleus, views of auroras as seen from the International Space Station.

Kudos to those who continue to work to keep that hope alive, both in the real world and in fiction.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

TUMBLEWEED CHRISTMAS

Twenty-two days until Christmas.
Are you ready? Have you put up your tree? Hung stockings from the fireplace?
My tree is up, waiting for decorations. The rest I hope to do tonight.
Monday's post by Christine was about books making great gifts. She's right. You can put them in stockings, wrap them with sparkly paper, and even mail them easily.
My Christmas story is TUMBLEWEED CHRISTMAS, a picture book for early readers.
Did you know that Chandler, Arizona actually uses tumbleweeds for their tree in town?
Watch the tree being built. Neat.
 
History of the tree.
 
This unique Chandler tradition began in 1957, when Chandler resident Earl Barnum raised the idea of a tumbleweed tree after he saw a similar one in Indiana built out of cone-shaped chicken wire with pine boughs stuck in the holes. Many members of the community helped create the first tree in Chandler using tumbleweeds that they gathered from around town. Little did these folks know that they were the first to do such a thing and that it would continue as an annual Christmas tradition from then on. In fact, Chandler is the only city in the southwestern United States that has such a tree.
 
 
The cat in the corner isn't interested in the books.
 
So what's on your shopping list?
Here are some of mine for tweens and teens.
Happy shopping. 
 
 




Monday, December 1, 2014

Great gifts for the Holidays!

   


That time of year is upon us once again....the holiday shopping season. I have a list of books that would make that YA reader on your list squee with delight. Of course, my books, and the books of other YA Authors You've Never Heard Of, are ALWAYS good for gifts. I can even autograph mine if you contact me directly, since I have several copies on hand of pretty much everything I've written. I wish I had A CURSE OF ASH AND IRON for you, but it's right now getting it's face done (ie: waiting on cover art). Soon, though, my lovelies, just a few more months...



Meanwhile, some you might consider this year...

Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn: A Steampunk Faerie Tale. This steampunk retelling of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is really fun and a different kind of story. If you have a reader who likes Middle Eastern tales, or Steampunk, or retellings, this has it all.



The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin. If you've a Harry Potter fan who has read all the books, this is another one to try. Very different kind of story than HP, but along the same basic lines. Really fun and fantastically written.





The Raven, The Elf, and Rachel. This is book two in the series, so you can give both this holiday season!





Random. A were-shifter book that is out of this world and unlike any other. What if there were OTHER kinds of were-creatures? Ones that didn't always take the same shape? What happens when you're a Random? 

 I will say I am completely biased about this book. It was the first that I actually acquired for Palomino Press, and it is AWESOME. Terrific voice, fast paced, a story line you won't see coming. I cannot wait for book 2 to come out (and 3, but I haven't read it yet), because she GOT ME with book 2. This is my #1 pick for the holidays.



Hopefully I've made your shopping a little easier. Enjoy!