Friday, December 23, 2011

12 Days of Christmas With Jonathan Gould


12 Days of Christmas Extravaganza is being brought to you by Peggy at Pawing Through Books, Jennifer at Books and Barks, and myself. 

Each day for the next 12 days each of our blogs will feature a different author. There will be guest posts, interviews and giveaways! So be sure to stop at each blog to join in the fun!


A special thank you to all the authors who are participating and those who have donated prizes!

MerrChristmas!

Today's guest is:
Jonathan Gould



A Very Neville Christmas


I can’t believe it.

Is it that time already? Is the year almost done? Can it possibly be Christmas coming around again?

At this moment, I’m feeling an awful lot like my good friend, Neville Lansdowne.

You probably don’t know who Neville is so I better explain. Neville was finding that the world was moving fast. Really fast. In fact, so fast that he was finding it impossible to keep up with things. And you know what happened to him? He fell off the world completely.

There he was, left on his own in the middle of outer space, watching as the world spun away into the inky blackness.

Ok, you may have already realised that this Neville character is actually nothing more than that – a character. He’s the hero in my novella, Doodling, which is all about what happens to him after he falls off the world.

But that’s enough of a plug, at least for now. Seeing Christmas rolling up again makes me feel a lot like Neville. How did this happen so fast? Where did all the time go? It seemed like only yesterday when a new year was just beginning, with so much excitement and promise. How could it possibly be coming to a close already?

It’s funny, thinking about Christmas from Neville’s point of view, because in the story, he travels to a strange asteroid where he meets a couple who can never stop celebrating. One moment it’s Christmas, the next it’s New Years, then Easter and then Christmas again (with a couple of birthdays to throw in for good order), all in a matter of minutes.

That feels exactly like my year. Where did it go? I had so many plans for the year. I was going to publish a book. Oh yeah, I did that. Then I was going to go out on social networks to see if I could get people to buy it, even though I’d never been near Twitter or Facebook and was terrified at the prospect. Hang on, I did that too. Even had a couple of people buy it. And I also planned to release another book. Wait a second, I think I did that too.

It’s kind of incredible when you think about it. Even though the year has raced by, I’ve still managed to achieve an awful lot.  At least I think I have.

So given that, what better way to end the year than with a massive celebration. So whether you’re a Christmas person or a Hanukah person, (or a Chrismukah person), or a Chinese New Year person or a Festivus person, or even a Venezuelan Alpaca Milking Festival person (don’t ask), make sure to get together with the people you care the most about and have one big, rip-roaring party.

All the best to you all, from me and Neville.


About Jonathan Gould
Jonathan Gould is a Melbourne-based writer and doodler.
He calls his stories "dag-lit" because they're the sort of stories that don't easily fit into the standard genres. Some might think of them as comic fantasies, or modern fairytales for the young and the young-at-heart.
Over the years, his writing has been compared to Douglas Adams, Monty Python, A.A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, the Goons, Dr Seuss and even Enid Blyton (in a good way).

You can find him, still a little bit nervous but no longer shaking in fear, at:
-          His blog: http://daglit.blogspot.com
-          Twitter: @jonno_go
-          Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jonathangouldwriter

Flidderbugs available from:


GIVEAWAY
To be entered for a chance to win a ECopy version of Doodling or Flidderbugs please leave a comment with your favorite holiday celebration. Please be sure to include your email so I can contact you if you win!





When you finished here please stop by and see Jenn at http://www.booksandbarks.com/and Peggy at http://www.pawingthroughbooks.com


And be sure to enter the Rafflecopter Form to be in the big Giveaway!  ENTER HERE

Comments Always Welcome!

12 Days of Christmas with Terrence Scott


12 Days of Christmas Extravaganza is being brought to you by Peggy at Pawing Through Books, Jennifer at Books and Barks, and myself. 
Each day for the next 12 days each of our blogs will feature a different author. There will be guest posts, interviews and giveaways! So be sure to stop at each blog to join in the fun!

A special thank you to all the authors who are participating and those who have donated prizes!

MerrChristmas!
Today's guest is:
Terrence Scott





What Christmas Means To Me
By Terrence Scott

You know, Scrooge didn’t have it completely wrong. Neither did Cratchit have it completely right. They were just opposite ends of the same spectrum. From the crotchety old miser who avoids emotional entanglements and uncomfortable social gatherings, to the heart-of-gold, see the best-in-all-of-us through rose-colored glasses, uber-happy family man, these extremes have always bothered me. Especially in the sense that the basic premise of the Chuck Dickens’ story (I call him Chuck) was having to choose which you are, or want to be, with most (if not all—including Scrooge himself) choosing jovial, uplifting Team Cratchit as the clear winner. I don’t subscribe to that, of giving me only two options to choose from, neither of which particularly fit a profile I care for. I’m going to invoke my ‘Oppositional Defiance Disorder’ condition right here and take a stand.
This is what makes the Christmas holiday so confusing for me on an emotional level. See, I’m in my apathetic, don’t-really-care-that-much-for-humanity, just-stay-out-of-my-way-and-don’t-drink-the-last-of-my-Diet-Dr.-Pepperlifestyle. It’s comfortable, it’s quiet, and mostly it’s not a club many want to join. And that would be just great—except I have a daughter...a six-year-old daughter. One who is simply enraptured with the entire holiday experience.I’m talking from the wonder of Santa Claus to the magic of The Nutcracker. To baking cookies and breads, to decorating the tree till there’s nary a pine needle still visible. This conflicts greatly with my cynical, sarcastic let’s-make-fun-of-everything-sacred nature. Oh, does it conflict.
Since that is a foreign concept to me, and I am unsure how to deal with the flood of such emotion, this leaves me little choice but attempt to bring her down to my level. However, despite my best attempts to break her spirit, to crush her belief regarding a gravity-defying old fart in a red suit, she remains ever positive and on that constant edge of total euphoric freak-out over the prospect of an endless supply of presents and candy come the day after December 24th.
            Leading up to the fateful day, we engage in the requisite plethora of holiday-themed movie fare. We’ve watched the Rankin-Bass, stop-motion; Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, television specialad nauseam, punctuated by my witty observations about how Santa is just a total butt (he really is, just watch), how all the females in the movie were meant to stay at home (Rudolph’s mother and Clarice), and how Hermey is the only elf that uses styling product in his hair. And aside from my eerily accurate impression of Rudolph, as played by Hannibal Lector, saying, “Well, hello Clarice.”she nevertheless remains undeterred in her goodcheer and enthusiasm for the holiday.
I’m baffled by this. After all my musings and observations on why one should take a shoulder-roll into the holiday season with a grimace, she refuses to agree. She has that 6-year-old vision of the future, that perspective yet to be tainted by reality.
And I’m jealous of that.
Yes, I know, I have a few years on her. A few years of disappointment and understanding of how jarringly harsh the real world can be and how fictional characters, though fun to fantasize about (yes, 1977, Lynda Carter, Wonder Woman, I’m talking about you) are not the basis for how you structure your life. It does not strike her odd in the least that a good portion of her calendar year revolves around some fat-man breaking and entering.
She currently makes the leap from one fictional-based character holiday to the next without hesitation. From the Thanksgiving turkey to Santa and Rudolph, to the Easter Bunny, Leprechauns—pretty much anything she can get her head around and can figure a way to make a craft out of, she will. Her unwavering enthusiasm is impressive, and I’ve come to believe she is adopted as I don’t think I had that as a kid, which means she more than likely doesn’t come from my bloodline.
It’s been so long since I’ve been able to view things through those narrow, though enviable, lenses, that I must admit I’m envious. Long gone is that sense of wonder, of constant excitement, of overwhelming anticipation for a single day of the year. It’s been replaced with stress over required social gatherings, faux declarations of good tidings, and unexpectedly high expenditures in the realm of gift-giving. None of which are hideous endeavors, they’re just simply outside my circle of comfort.
            My daughter has an amazing ability to combine the fantastic with the practical. The idea she can randomly send a letter to Santa, simply by shoving it in an envelope (which she made herself), labeling it “Santa – North Pole”, and having no doubt it will reach him without getting lost (not to mention have him know who it’s from and where that child is located in the world without a return address) is quite phenomenal. That somehow the messages she’s been attempting to contact Santa with via snail mail, texting, smoke signals, and mental telepathy have managed to get through and have been translated into the wondrous bounty found under our treeonChristmas morning. A bounty she’s been dreaming about and drooling over from the 12-months of television commercials and Happy Meals that were beyond her financial reach. And that’s where I think the catch comes in, where my difficulty in whether I’m Team Ebenezer or Team Bob.
I make a decent enough living that if I want to get something during the year, say an XBOX, pornography, or a jumbo size 55-gallon barrel of Absolut Vodka, I can. I’m not hindered by the prospect of waiting for and hoping that on Christmas I get any number of these things. So, that has changed the excitement in opening gifts. I get what I want, when I want. I’m lucky, and not beholden to Christmas or my birthday, and so do not experience the same thrill my children enjoy. But that’s okay—they do. And I get to see it.
While that is an exceptional thing to experience, it nonetheless conflicts with my core being. I’m like Rain Man: I’m not good at processing emotion, no matter if it’s good or bad. So I have to compensate in other ways, by down-playing the more wrenching aspects or pretending outright that they don’t exist. Not all of my techniques are productive.
            My daughter and I have a constant test of wills. One that’s been growing more intense every year, and we’re getting to the point of it being a nuclear holocaustshy of Thunderdome every time we have a conflict, because to say we have differences in opinion is putting it lightly. These ‘differences’ usually lead to heated and monosyllabic ‘debates’ on who is the parent and who is the child. Unsurprisingly, often there is no clear-cut winner in the matter. This also occurs on an almost daily basis, and usually over the most insignificant of events. But come the holiday season, with the lights and music and the food and anticipation, everything gets ramped up, heightened to a Spinal Tap11. Which means she has less tolerance for anything deviating from the norm, less tolerance to humor that may conflict with her prime objective. Making jokes like we’re having reindeer for dinner (hamburgers) or we’re going to wait until the day after Christmas to get the Christmas tree because we’ll get a really good deal, tend to elicit less raucous laughter and more angry facial expressions riddled with the occasional obscene gesture. I’m usually scolded by my wife for such witticisms, which makes it difficult for me because that’s how I keep my emotions under wraps: through inappropriate and ill-timed humor.
And so the conflict, the confusing emotional tug-of-war between the extremes of Scrooge and Cratchit pull at me during the holiday season. I am incapable of displaying the goodwill Bob Cratchit imbues, that my daughter so fully embraces. And yet, cannot completely embrace Scrooge as that approach gets far fewer women into bed (my wife hates this joke.)
I think I probably relate more to Bobby C’s wife, Mrs. Cratchit. Dickens didn’t even give her a first name he thought so little of her more realistic, middle-of-the-road perspective.Subscribing to neither a Scrooge nor a Bob point of view.
I get that. I can identify with that.
Now if I can just get the rest of my family to feel the same, maybe we could contain Christmas and all Christmas related cheer to a single day of the year so I won’t feel so uncomfortable.



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When you finished here please stop by and see Jenn at http://www.booksandbarks.com/and Peggy at http://www.pawingthroughbooks.com


And be sure to enter the Rafflecopter Form to be in the big Giveaway!  ENTER HERE



Comments Always Welcome!