Friday, October 9, 2015

Cover Reveal- Halloween Night: Trick or Treat

Hey! I'm super excited to be helping out with the cover reveal of Halloween Night: Trick or Treat. This horror anthology is the perfect October read!
Book Name: Halloween Night: Trick or Treat
Book Genre:  MG/YA horror anthology
Book release date: 10/27/15 from Hocus Pocus & Co.
Graveyards, spirits, witchcraft, black cats, candy, and haunted houses.
Strange things happen on Halloween. All Hallows Eve is the single night where the veil between the living and the dead is opened. And now spirits, monsters, and candy will collide!
Seventeen authors and illustrators set out on a horrific journey to set the record straight. What really happens on Halloween night? Trick or Treating is not all fun and games. There are more tricks than treats scattered through these pages. Sure, All Hallows eve can be a scream. But sometimes, it’s straight-up murder.
Halloween Night: Trick-or-Treat is a middle grade and young adult horror anthology that falls on Halloween night.
Read if you dare! You're in for a scare!
Halloween Night: Trick or Treat on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25673465-halloween-night
Stories & Illustrations Include:
Big Brother Zombie by Evan Purcell
Give Us Something Good to Eat by Rie Sheridan Rose
Halloween Ritual by Amy Giuffrida
Haunter by Ryan Bartlett
Hello Annie by Tiffany Morris
It’s All a Bunch of Hocus Pocus by Violette Ulalume
Knock, Knock by Jennifer Moore
Ms. Holstein’s Special Halloween Treat by Chad P. Brown
Night of Monsters by Matthew Wilson
Something Good to Eat by Patrick Hueller
The House of Sam Hain by Betty Rocksteady
Sweet Nothing by Julie Hutchings
The Ghost by David N. Smith and Violet Addison
The Peeping Trick-or-Treaters by Kevin Lewis
Tricks and Treats, and Chicken Feet by Shawn Anderson
What Lurks in the Darkness by Kathleen Palm
More from the Publisher
Hocus Pocus & Co. believes in in all things scary. We are a small publishing house that wishes Halloween was all year long and loves what goes bump in the night.
Hocus Pocus & Co. is headed by Jolene Haley, who noticed that horror was an unrepresented category in MG, YA, and NA and is working hard to change that!
Hocus Pocus & Co. on the web: http://hocuspocusco.com/
Hocus Pocus & Co. on Twitter: https://twitter.com/hocuspocusco
Cover Design by Cara Vescio
Join the book buzz using hashtag  #HocusPocusReads

Isn't it awesome!?!? 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Birthdays and Big News

I wrote several posts about turning 25 last October and what a big deal that was for me (here, here, and here). I will be honest and say that it has not been the year I expected and hoped for. However, it has been AWESOME in its own unique way. I didn't reach all of my goals for my 25th year but I also accomplished some things I would never have imagined.  It has had some very low spots but, from where I am standing, I cannot view it as anything but a resounding success.

I don't want to spend this post enumerating my past year (scroll through my blog and you'll get the gist) because, just as I was last fall, I'm looking forward. 26 is going to be different than I originally planned and I've known that for a while. However, already the inevitable surprises are taking shape and so are the new and even better plans.

Which brings me to my Big News!

I'm super excited to announce that GOODBYE, GOOD-GOODY GIRL will release March 2016 from Bookish Group Press. The decision to self-publish was an intense one but I am so so happy and excited to be working with the ladies at BGP to make my story the best book it can be. It contains a huge piece of me and I cannot wait to share it.




Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Book Review: THE BLEEDING HEART by Amy Giuffrida

Amy, the lovely and giving human that she is, offered all the members of Bookish Group Press a copy of her book, THE BLEEDING HEART. I devoured it in one sitting. 


It's the story of Brooklyn, a girl with a dark history and a pretty dark way of dealing with it. When meeting a new guy and inflicting pain in her uncle's tattoo shop get mixed up with the all too present remains of her past, she struggles to keep her carefully crafted balance.

I really enjoyed the flawed character of Brooklyn, particularly her self-awareness with how wrong her coping mechanism is. She is fascinated by blood and pain and she knows it. She knows it's not normal, she knows it's bordering on a dangerous obsession but she keeps doing it anyway. Seeing her interactions with the rest of the characters was really interesting and intriguing. It also served to humanize her rather twisted fascination and practice and I loved the potential in her character arc for both positive and negative change.

Without spoiling anything, I will admit that I was frustrated by the ending. I wanted it to end differently for so many reasons. The biggest reason for me is because I felt like there was more potential character growth that was cut short. Even if there had never been a sequel, I wanted the potential set up and the promise of a continuing arc of emotional evolution. The ending didn't allow me that.

Does this book sound like it's a good fit for you? Check out these writing and bookish chances to win a copy! 

Right now, The Midnight Society is running a flash fiction contest and THE BLEEDING HEART is one the prizes! Find out more about it here: http://midnightsocietytales.com/2015/09/29/writing-bloody-flash-fiction-contest/

And book bloggers, don't forget to sign up for the Bookish Group Thankful Tour for a chance to win copies of all of the BGP books! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1g26oXDNbwpganbhLkgAPIeoyPQYU2Nk0092WUoXhVtw/viewform

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The definition of busy.

So I have officially transitioned into my fall schedule and it is exhausting. 



I thought my summer schedule was hard with my internship (which finished up fantastically btw but that is for another post) and nearly full time job. I was wrong. 

A friend of mine described my current situation like this: You have your hands in a lot of pots and they are all full of wasps. 

That is exactly what it feels like. 

I'm doing another internship two days a week in addition to taking an evening grad class; I'm tutoring one evening and Saturday mornings at an local university; I'm substitute teaching in two districts; and I'm taking ballet class four nights a week, plus Saturday afternoon rehearsal because I'm performing in Nutcracker. 

Somewhere in there I am trying to keep my lawn tended, myself and my cats fed, and talk to my friends. 

Oh, and maybe write. 

It goes without saying that I am exhausted. HOWEVER, I'm also happy. Yep, your read that right. I am happy. I feel empowered and smart and social and just GOOD. I still have bad days, but I am feeling really positive. And it is such a welcome change. 

Busy as I am, I still managed to have a writing lunch yesterday with a local friend bursting with an idea. It was great, we talked about plotting vs pantsing and outlining options. I talked about the idea I'm working on that I shouldn't be working on because I have two other already-started ideas. We had a really great time and even though it was only a few hours out of a busy day, It was awesome. 

I haven't found time to write more than this blog post just yet, but I'm working on it. I've got a three hour window in my Friday schedule that is looking pretty good right now. 

How is fall shaping up for all of you?

xoxox
L.S. Mooney

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Book Review: PUSHING SEND


I received a copy of PUSHING SEND by Jacqueline Ross and Ally Derby from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

This book was not what I expected from the description and cover. That being said, it was a gritty story with solid character arcs and unexpected twists. However, the pacing to me felt slightly off. Perhaps it is the teacher in me but I felt like if I had charted it out like we used to do in middle school, the curve between inciting incident, climax, and denouement would have been a little wonky. I also felt like the voice was a little telling at times, instead of showing. There were points at which I wanted to know what a character's facial expression or their beat movements were.

That being said, I cried over this book and its characters. At some points it is so visceral and painful that it becomes difficult to read. This book isn't perfect but it is different and intriguing. It is borderline contemporary dystopian. By that I mean that everything that could go wrong, does go wrong, the characters are put through the wringer, and then beaten to a pulp afterwards. It struck me as very gritty and harsh for a contemporary.  It is not a happy book. But it might be a good one.  

Sunday, August 23, 2015

I always found that part completely unnecessary...

"I want you to promise me that despite the disparity between childhood and adulthood, you are going to make time for at least one memorable adventure in the coming months! You need it to shake off that miserable feeling of struggle and survival that has haunted you all winter. You must cross your heart and hope to die that you will, but you don't have to stick a needle in your eye. I always found that part totally unnecessary."

That's from a letter from one of my oldest friends sent me in May. I'd just reluctantly taken my summer job, was on the midst of a shitstorm of musical and school district drama, and desperately needed to feel like I wasn't getting old without ever having been young. My friend's words were just what I needed to hear then, although I'd forgotten them until I reread her letter today.

My immediate reaction to rereading them was that I'd failed to live up to that promise. However, upon further reflection, I did okay this summer. Not necessarily the adventures I originally hoped for but adventures nonetheless.

I took my family to NYC in June to see my favorite ballerina retire. We stayed up all night in the city, saw the sunrise on the Brooklyn Bridge, and I met a tumblr friend in real life. If that isn't adventure I don't know what is.

I also have been tiny everyday adventures, like working on an internship that means seeing my ex everyday, driving across three states to do hipster outdoor yoga with my best friend, taking a two year old to a park in a strapless dress, reading everything I can get my hands on,  making freelance plans, doing cartwheels in the road in the rain, and meeting my amazing CP Alex.

Maybe those don't sound like adventures to you, but they're what sustained me this summer. These things are what kept me sane, kept me pushing forward instead of looking back (most of the time).

What have been your adventures (big or small) this summer?

xoxox
L.S. Mooney

Thursday, August 20, 2015

FINDING CENTER Blog Tour Stop


Finding Center by Katherine Locke
New Adult, Contemporary Romance
District Ballet Company #2
Expected Publication: August 17th, 2015



Zed and ballet are my two greatest loves.

But a tragic accident ripped them from Aly's life six years ago and it took all her strength to get them back. She’s had a long road to recovery and has returned, dancing full-time for The District Ballet Company and carrying Zed’s child. But Aly is slipping. Each day becomes a fight to keep her career from crumbling under the weight of younger talent, the scrutiny of the public eye, and the limitations of her ever-changing body. A fight she fears she’s losing.

I’m scared Aly is broken to her core.

Zed recognizes signs, but he doesn’t know how to fix her. The accident left him with his own demons, and while he wants nothing more than to take care of Aly, it’s getting harder the further she spirals. When Aly’s life is threatened and Zed’s injuries prevent him from saving her, he’s never felt so useless, so afraid he is no longer capable of being the man Aly and their child needs.

With new life comes new hope. And with their fractured lives already hanging by a thread, Aly and Zed must discover if they have what it takes—both together and apart—to rebuild and carry on.


Purchase:

______________________________________________________

Review

This book brings together too of my favorite things, ballet and love. I thoroughly enjoyed SECOND POSITION and was super excited to get more ballet and Aly and Zed. I love getting to see them already/still together and working on things. They aren't automatically happily ever after because they're both flawed, real people. The "after the fairytale" side of this book was a huge plus for me. Locke manages to give us excitement, emotional conflict, and a love story after the courting and initial falling in love we saw in SECOND POSITION. 
Aside from Aly and Zed's personal relationship, we saw a lot more ballet world drama in this book and I LOVED IT. As a dancer, choreographer, and teacher myself, I so deeply admire the research Locke has done to get ballet right, which she for the overwhelming most part does. I found myself nitpicking a few tiny details based on MY personal experiences with ballet, pointe shoes, and pregnant ballerinas but in that way we do anything that is so close to ourselves that it's hard to remember that it isn't actually ours. I don't say that as a criticism to Locke but as praise. Her depiction of ballet is incredibly accurate. Whether I use antibiotic cream on my blisters or prefer to drain and dry them is a personal preference that I argue over with my dance friends and I wanted to argue about it with Aly.  Also, Madison is PERFECT. I've known dancers like that, I've know theatre professionals like that. I've shared roles with people like that. The Madisons of the world are a strikingly accurate stock character.
I loved the story here and I really loved the storybook element SPOILERS

keep reading

that has very Center Stage-esque characteristics for me. By that I mean that the ending of Center Stage is fabulous and amazing and more than a little unrealistic. Performing in a Rubies at 17 weeks is hard for me to accept, objectively. As is Zed's return to dance with her on little more than a whim. And Jonathan being like the chillest human being, let alone director, on the planet. I know both are possible and both work in the context of the story but I think of my director and the pregnant ballerinas I've known and just how much they were showing at 17 weeks and how unlikely that would ever be. The pregnant ballerinas I know played parts like Bathilde in Giselle and Siegfried's mother in Swan Lake. They weren't dancing high caliber roles in the skimpy Rubies costume. My director was understanding but would never have let them put on a tutu in a lead role in that condition. Again, my experiences but also what I've observed since I started following professional dancers 15 years ago.  It's not impossible - they are plenty of class pictures of pregnant ballerinas readily available on the internet - and honestly it did not ruin the story for me AT ALL.;It was perfect within the context of the story just as Cooper's motorcycle and Jodi sticking to Jonathan and Juliette before telling Cooper he's sucky boyfriend material but still getting to be his principal is exactly the ending you need to that movie.  I also really loved Aly's last conversation with Madison. What happens to Madison on stage is super common for a young starlet and I loved Aly's reaction. I've been on both sides of that conversation and Locke got it soooo right. But willing suspension of disbelief and all that, Rubies and Aly's triumphant return to ballet - totally believable by the way -are exactly how this book should end and I'm excited to recommend it to all of you.

______________________________________________________
About the Author


Katherine Locke lives and writes in a very small town outside of Philadelphia, where she’s ruled by her feline overlords and her addiction to chai lattes. She writes about that which she cannot do: ballet, time travel, and magic. When she’s not writing, she’s probably tweeting. She not-so-secretly believes most stories are fairy tales in disguise. She can be found online at katherinelockebooks.com and on Twitter: @bibliogato.

______________________________________________________

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
______________________________________________________




Friday, August 14, 2015

Magical Realism & Adult vs YA

I am a sucker for magical realism. I love the idea that there is a little magic all around us. That sometimes you can't explain everything and instead of being a bad thing, it just be the best thing ever. Knowing that, it is probably not surprising that I have read two great examples of magical realism in the last week: Sarah Addison Allen's FIRST FROST and Leslye Walton's THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER. Both lovely, lyrical, and lasting stories, one is YA while the other is adult by category.



*Disclaimer: I'm going to try to keep this about magical realism and not about my issues with the way we categorize books by age/audience/arbitrary silliness. Don't hate me if I can't.

Sarah Addison Allen, I should note, is probably my favorite author after J.K. Rowling.  Her stories are brimming with real, flawed, and resilient characters that weave their way into your heart and don't want to move. Ever. FIRST FROST, her latest novel and a sequel to her first GARDEN SPELLS, this autumn story left me emotionally raw and craving October like a drug. Shelved with the adult books at my library, this book does have several key adult characters but one of the main characters - arguably the one with the pivotal central role - is a 15 year old named Bay who knows where everything belongs, including her heart. Her story arc left my chest aching and my face smiling. It was a fabulous story that told on its own would have easily been show cased on a YA shelf. However, because Bay's story is told within the larger one of a strange October in a stranger town with the strangest family, it's an adult book. This particularly bums me out because I think Bay's story is one a lot of teenagers could stand to read.

Okay, I'm tangenting about my category issue.

Back to my other example, Leslye Walton's THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER. This book made me think of THE HOUSE OF IMPOSSIBLE LOVES by Cristina Lopez Barrio with its whimsical house setting and the unhappy, unusual women in the family. This book, like Allen's FIRST FROST told not just the story of Ava Lavender herself but of her whole family, both past and present, that was struggling with their otherness, their broken hearts, and their difficulty in communicating with each other and with those around them. This book was as much about Ava's family as it was about her. Ava's arc, though darker than Bay's was equally lasting. I'm still still mulling over both of them.

Okay, I give up. Writing this only highlights how similar these books are and they're literal shelves apart. The main distinction is that AVA is written in a well-informed first person while FIRST FROST is a mostly omniscient third person. Besides that, I cannot draw hard lines between the YA and Adult categories (not that narration is a line either but it is a difference at least). They both mention/depict sex - more graphically so in AVA surprisingly enough. They both talk about family and friendship and growing up even after you're out of your teens. All solid story elements. Especially in light of the recent discussions of whether YA is for or about teenagers, I wonder how our system of categories is harming our community of readers.   I'm not really sure what I'm trying to say. Maybe that I'm confused. That I know adults who don't read YA (*rolls eyes*) but love Sarah Addison Allen and I think they're hypocrites? Maybe. That I wonder how many teenagers would really benefit from reading about Bay but won't venture out of the YA room? Maybe. That I don't know how what the answer is and it makes me frustrated? Absolutely.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Critique partners and donuts

Three summers ago (what?!) I reached out to Alex Yuschik after a guest post on The Great Noveling Adventure and we swapped some chapters and the rest, as they say, is history.
Her book is fabulous and I've loved watching it grow and change. And she is equally fabulous herself. She's supportive and honest and quirky and gives comments that make me laugh and think about how to make my work better at the same time.
This past weekend, we were in the same city. Also in this city is a fabulous donut shop. A meet up simply had to happen.
And it was amazing. We ate donuts, we talked about books. We talked about life. We talked about our anthropomorphized cars. We even wrote a tiny bit. All was awesome.
Meeting Alex in the flesh was fantastic and I hope we manage to meet up again soon. Until then, pictures or it didn't happen, right?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Four Fabulous Recent Reads

In my nomadic travels, I am currently in Ohio and my Ohio library has one of the best YA sections I've seen. It was by this train of luck that I picked up three stellar new releases that all lived up to their reputations.

UNDER A PAINTED SKY by Stacey Lee was a historical fiction I could fall in love with. And I did! It's diverse and messy and full of heart.

SAINT ANYTHING by Sarah Dessen. Let me just say, there is a reason we call Sarah Dessen the Queen of YA. I learn something new about myself with every book of hers that I read. She isn't afraid to tackle big issues and deep relationships and it makes her books the kind that burrow into your soul.

THE CEMETERY BOYS by Heather Brewer. This book was creepy and fun and sad and insightful. It wasn't quite what I expected but it was still a great read.

I also recently read SECOND POSITION by Katherine Locke which, although not from my local library, was a fantastic read. It will break your heart and sew it back together. And it will give you such an insight into dancers. Although not a dancer herself, Locke gets it right from the physical to the emotional and everything in between.

Each of these books undoubtedly deserved a fuller review of its own but with my 50 work week this is all I have time for. What are you guys reading this summer?

xoxox
L.S. Mooney

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Misty Copeland: dancer, author, trailblazer... basically everything

About two days before Misty Copeland made history as the first black woman to hold the position of Principal with American Ballet Theatre, I finished her book, LIFE IN MOTION: An Unlikely Ballerina.


The book was a very interesting read. I remember seeing Misty on the cover of Pointe in a yellow leotard about a decade ago when she was still fresh blood in the ballet world. Her book expands the snippets from that long ago article, her transient childhood, her very late start to ballet, her struggle to find her place as a black ballerina in a world obsessed with milk white swans. However, her book is filled with hope and reflection, not bitterness or righteous anger. It was a thoughtful read. I was occasionally confused with the way she chronologically jumped around but her story is inevitably intriguing.

I have an admittedly odd perception of ballet because I grew up as one of the only white girls in an inner city ballet company filled with black, Hispanic, and occasionally Korean dancers. It never occurred to me that a swan shouldn't be black or that you can't have big boobs and still rock a lead role. The first time I saw The Nutcracker (which was with this company), Clara, the Snow Queen. Sugar Plum Fairy, and her cavalier were all black as well as most of the party girls, snow flakes, and many other corps and soloist roles. But it wasn't The Chocolate Nutcracker that Misty writes about in her book, this was the classic story, the classical choreography and costumes but it was filled with racial diversity. For ten years that was all I knew. That was my ballet world.

In my teens, I started to follow professional companies and dancers but true to my white privilege I didn't notice the contrasting lack of diversity. Then Aesha Ash left NYCB because she couldn't make it out of the corps and I finally started to take notice. I love Misty's story, I love that she is breaking the preconceptions of what ballet is and who it is for. But I admit, I still struggle to understand why she has to break them. Why, in 2015, is this still a thing? She's a phenomenal dancer, a striking stage presence - of course she should be promoted to principal along with Stella Abrera who has also long toiled in hope of reaching the top. I really cannot fathom that it was ever a question that she shouldn't play Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, she is perfect for it.

Her book really got me thinking and despite its generally positive outlook, I found myself frustrated by her experiences of discrimination or just lack of understanding by her peers and fellow professionals. I love ballet and its traditions and its idiosyncrasies but I want the larger ballet world to like my microcosm. I want colorful ballet and I don't want it to be news. I want it to be normal.

Until then, CONGRATULATIONS MISTY!  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Two Cool New Little Things

Two really cool things have happened in the last week or so and I'm super excited to share them with you here.

The first is that I joined The Bookish Group indie publishing collective as the Social Media Manager. I'm mad excited to be helping out these wonderful ladies and contributing to the collective in whatever way I can.


Second is The Great Noveling Adventure anthology SUMMER NIGHTS which went live on 6/21. My story Under the Summer Stars is included and I'm super proud of it.
I was on the editorial board as well and I love each and every one of these stories. They're fabulous and represent TGNA very well. The anthology is FREE so you should absolutely check in out. There is no risk!

What exciting things are you getting up to this summer?!

xoxox
L.S. Mooney


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Scream and Shout for THE GEEK GIRL'S GUIDE TO CHEERLEADING!



THE GEEK GIRL'S GUIDE TO CHEERLEADING  by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance follows Bethany and her best friend Moni as they try out for Varsity Cheerleading, unexpectedly make the squad, and deal with the consequences. Is a geek with pom-poms still a geek?

I really enjoyed this book partially because I was the artsy girl who went out for football cheerleading as a senior and partially because I had the biggest crush on the team captain and partially because I fought with my friends over it and partially because it is just so well written.

But that run-on sentence aside, Tahmaseb and Vance understand high school girls, the social hierarchy, and geek friendship. They understand crushes and first loves and heartbreak and family. Also, how uncomfortably short cheer uniforms are. And how sweet freshmen boys can be. And ugh. This book, ok?

I don't want to give anything away but if you love geeks, sports, and romance this book is for you.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Summer of Self


I had BIG plans for this summer. A road trip, visiting old friends, romance. But reality is a nasty thing and adulting is pure evil. As such I had to take a serious full time day job and squeeze in my internship on the side which means no road trip, no visiting friends, and ...well there was no romance anyway.

I've been pretty bitch-tastic about the situation for the last few weeks. Yes, I am a privileged brat who needs to get over herself, I know. And that really hit home recently, especially as I started work today. So I have to work this summer LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. Get over yourself, Lavender!

Instead of moping and whining, I've decided to still make this summer about me and self improvement and my own version of adventure. I don't have to be impersonating Jack Kerouac to be having a great summer.

Firstly, I'm getting back to ballet class. Although dance has still been a huge part of my last year with choreographing musicals, etc. I have not been working on my own technique for a while. That is changing now. I went to three consecutive days of ballet class followed a relaxing day of yoga. I am sore but feeling amazing.

I'm also revamping my eating habits. Stress had me eating Doritos and drinking Cherry 7Up for the last six months but sanity returning has let me see the error of my ways. I'm cutting out soda and quenching my carbonation thirst with seltzer water. I'm replacing Doritos with hummus and pita chips. A week in, I already feel better.

Secondly, I'm focusing on seeing local friends and staying in touch with far away ones. Just because I can't go jetting off to Minnesota doesn't mean I can't send a text message or an email or - heaven forbid - make phone call. I've already gotten ice cream with a local friend and gchatted with a far away one. Also, snail mail.

Thirdly, I'm putting me first. I'm working on me FOR ME. I am taking stock of my life in a lot of different ways. I'm setting goals, making plan, and all around having deep thoughts. I am also looking for little adventures near home. Hitting up the Habor for the free concert series or checking out the various town festivals in the area. Hopefully I will do these things with friends but I'll go alone if I have to.

Lastly, I'm reading a ton for pleasure and writing for the same purpose. I don't care if it's good or publishable or if anyone likes it. I started writing because I love it and that's why I going to keep doing it!


What are you summer plans?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

GIRLS DON'T FLY nested in my heart



GIRLS DON'T FLY by Kristen Chandler is the story of Myra, a teenager with a lot of responsibilities. She already struggled to balance her family obligations with school and her boyfriend but when he dumps her and her pregnant older sister adds even more to her proverbial plate, something has to give. In a situation that could be crushing, Myra finds her wings, pushing herself to go head to head with her ex in an academic competition, find a new job, demand her own space, and just maybe fall in love along the way.

This book wrecked me because it hit so close to home in so many ways. It NAILS the complicated family scenario. The frustration, the insanity, the animosity, the mostly unconditional love. It's all there. Getting it right again, Chandler shows the challenge of letting others into your life when your family is something they will never understand. I've been there and it sucks and this book showed it. But this book, for me, was about hope. About finding your chance and going for it. About achieving balance most of the time but letting yourself screw up too.

I LOVED this book and cannot recommend it enough. Especially if you have an overbearing family with high expectations. Especially if you know how hard it is to find your niche. Just go read it!


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dark days, dark books

Have you ever thought about what the titles you pick up are trying to tell you about your subconscious? I never really did until a friend of mine pointed out that I had recently read five books about teen suicide/tragic death and was holding IF I STAY by Gayle Forman as I tried to deny the trend. 

Taking stock of my reading habits this winter, when I was in a rough emotional state myself, was eye opening. I mean, I knew dropping off the face of the planet and not speaking to my best friend for six months were bad signs, as was giving myself a stress ulcer and spending 18 hours a day in my old high school. But in reading, I was gravitating toward really dark books when I'm generally a happy go lucky, give me the fluffy lovely stuff, kind of reader. It was illuminating to see my interests so starkly changed based on my mood. 

Two weeks ago, I got hit by another wave of emotional stress but someone once told me that happiness can be a choice so I picked up a happy book instead of a sad one. I've definitely still got some deep thoughts and a big helping of stress but I feel less passive and more aware of myself and my brain.

Sometimes it's important to take stock and make a change. I'm sure I'll be back to read IF I STAY soon but because I'm craving a Gayle Forman story, not because my brain is trying to tell me something. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A MAGIC DARK & BRIGHT: A Stunning Debut

Last Tuesday, April 28th, Jenny Perinovic's self-published debut A MAGIC DARK & BRIGHT went out into the world. As one of Jenny's CPs, this book holds a special place in my heart, in many ways I love it like my own. It is a fabulous story of magic, mystery, and love that has turned into a beautifully put together book.



One More Page bookstore in Falls Church, VA held a lovely launch party for Jenny on Wednesday April 29th and I was lucky enough to be able to go. The event was great. There was wine, snacks, and a cake with the book cover printed on it.  Jenny did a spine-chilling reading and answered all our crazy questions. Oh yeah, and she SOLD OUT OF BOOKS! I am so so excited for and proud of Jenny and her blossoming success.

Believe me when I say you need this book in your life. You will fall in love with the secret-filled town of Asylum, the magic of Charlie Blue, the nuances of a centuries old mystery, and the all around fabulousness of Amelia Dupree.

GO BUY IT!

For Kindle
In Paperback (from Amazon)
For Nook 
In Paperback  (from B& N)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

BROWN GIRL DREAMING is even better than they said



When I picked up Jacqueline Woodson's BROWN GIRL DREAMING at the library I was apprehensive. I don't always love the things that the larger book world loves including many National Book Award winners. I decided to give it a go anyway and I'm so glad I did.


Woodson uses stunning free verse to take us on a journey, to help us bear witness to a life. I don't think of this book as a story in the traditional sense. It is an experience. The milestones, the family, the religion, the race, the time period. All these things so vivid in her poetry that I feel as though I know her neighborhood, her family, her friends. I could feel the heat of south and hear the rush of the NYC.

When I read a book, I generally walk away with a few big ideas or themes. For this book, that idea was identity. What makes us who we are, and how people, ideas, and places shape our development. I finished the book and I felt more attuned to the world around me and to myself.

My only complaint about this book was that I could'e kept reading. I wanted more of the story. I wanted the next chapter of Woodson's life told in aching poetry that awakes my head and heart together.

If you haven't read this book yet, DO IT NOW! Happy Reading!

xoxox
L.S. Mooney


Monday, March 23, 2015

I recently tried to be social. Hint: the patriarchy wins.

It's #aboutthegirls week and that gives me an excellent excuse to share this ranty post with you. Because while we're sharing the trials and horrors of our childhood, we need to remember that it doesn't always get easier when you grow up. This happened to me LAST WEEK.

In an recent attempt to be social, I went to a bar to see a friend's band play. Also in attendance were several people I went to high school with but who I haven't seen or conversed with in several years. Recently I've been struggling with being socially awkward and very self-conscious about making sure my behavior is socially acceptable. (This is actually an issue I've struggled with off and on for quite some time.) So when one of these guys from high school causally asked for my phone number, I felt too awkward to decline his request even though I had no desire to speak with him outside of chance social encounters.

A few days later, this guy texted me. Very casual, very friendly. I didn't want to respond but I felt like I had to or I was being rude, like I didn't have the right to not talk to him.  

He invited me to a social gathering I was already planning to attend with other friends. I noncommittally said I might be there. At the event we chatted briefly, he asked if I was attending again the following week. I said maybe. I managed to be evasive without being rude. I followed established social rules of conversation. I didn't offend anyone.

The next day he texted me randomly to ask if I'd ever played Settlers of Catan then tried to get me to come over to play right then. I was just leaving grad school so I had a reason not to go but I felt like I would have had to lie if I hadn't been. He then pushed on to ask me to go out for drinks on the weekend. I had plans and said I could not come. Circumstances conspired to provide me with viable excuses.

The weekend rolled around and he texted me asking about my show, like he was interested but he quickly shifted to ask me to join him for drinks, even though I'd already declined. I explained I was out with family. He pushed me to come anyway, saying he'd hoped I'd join his group for video games after and be on his team. I told him I was not a team player and he finally stopped texting me.

I talked to a mutual friend about how annoyed I was that he completely disregarded what I was saying when he wanted me to have a different answer. She agreed that he was being overly persistent. I thought he was being disrespectful and selfish.

I saw him again on Sunday at a social event and he walked right up like it was no big deal. I was cordial but cold. He asked if all my musicals were done and if I'd be free more often. I gave a short answer, purposefully not engaging. He walked away rather awkwardly, finally getting the point. The mutual friend said giving him the cold shoulder was harsh because he's harmless and he had been drunk anyway.

I was taken aback. Being polite but not overly friendly with someone I have no interest in being serious friends let alone anything more with is harsh but his persistence and disrespect is fine because he was drunk? The raging, opinionated 16 year-old self was so outraged she was threatening to explode out of me in completely socially unacceptable ways.

I thought back to the entire exchange with this guy and I was disgusted by the amount of times I played nice, I didn't say what I actually wanted to, or adapted my answers so as not to come off like a bitch. Seriously, where is my agency?

Am I supposed to sleep with the guy, too, just because it's "rude" to say no? Just because he's "harmless"?

I got a guy's number at that bar too and when he said he was busy, I left him alone. If I hadn't, I'd have probably been called a stalker or a creep or a clinger. By this guy is "persistent" and they say it like it's a good thing, like I should be glad someone is willing to put up my silly protestations. Why isn't he a creep and a stalker and a clinger? Why is he harmless? Why am I a bitch for not wanting to associate with him?

I'm seething over here. Still. If this what being social will be like in 2015, screw it. I'll just sit over here and write books about girls who can say no, in societies that let them, with friends who back then up. Because this is bullshit.

I SURVIVED MUSICAL SEASON 2015

For the past three weekends, I have had a musical performance for a show I was involved in. I love love love working on elementary and high school musicals but someone please shoot me if I try to do three in as many weeks every again. 

This season has been full of new responsibilities, new teams, new policies, and all kinds of new drama. There were moments when I thought I wouldn't make it through but I did and my students had a great time. Which is what matters in the end. 

Now that the shows are over and the drama is ebbing, I have free time I don't know what to do with. I still have grad school to keep me busy but I also have tried to get in the groove of dance classes and being social. I even wrote a bit last week! You know, having a balanced existence. HAHAH what is that?

Speaking of writing, I am super excited to get to work on a project that has nothing to do with musicals. I'm really into my story idea and I can't wait to dive right in. Hopefully, I can share some of it with you soon! 

In the mean time, I hope you're all enjoying "spring" however it is manifesting in your geographic area (it's 23 degrees here...).

xoxox
L.S. Mooney


Saturday, January 31, 2015

2015

I cannot believe the entire month of January is gone already. There were so many things I wanted to blog about and reflect on and just babble about. Alas, the musical ate my life and I've been busy running rehearsal, building sets, and making period accurate hats for the last month.

Just a few days ago, in a fit of emotion, I felt as though my life had slipped out of my control and that I'm going nowhere, etc. etc. cue nervous breakdown.

However, with a few days distance, I've been reflecting and feeling better about everything. I am moving forward professionally in a grad program that I love- and guest lecturing at my alma mater next month! I have the opportunity to work on two musicals this season with great kids who sometimes feel like my own. I am entering contests and preparing to query my first manuscript.

Basically, I remembered that I'm a badass. #sorrynotsorry

In the spirit of honesty, I also recognized a huge shortcoming. I suck at personal relationships. For those of you who don't know, I broke up with my long term boyfriend this summer (for a lot of reasons) and I'm not really over it. Also- and probably interrelated-  I'm terrible keeping myself open to people when I get busy and stressed. And I'm busy and stressed a good portion of my life. I literally can't remember the last time I saw my best friend.

So, I said being happy in my own way was my biggest resolution for 2015 without really knowing what that would mean. A month into the year, I'm starting to think I might see an unexpected way to make myself a happier person: to share myself with the people I care about. It sounds like a no brainer but it will probably be rocket science to me.

How is 2015 for you so far?

xoxox
L.S. Mooney

Have you seen Magali Frechette's MY SOUL TO GIVE yet?

When Celina Leviet escapes the brutal home invasion that kills her husband, she’s left with a bullet in her gut and vengeance in her...