‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2016 with Kathleen Glasgow

‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays is a special seasonal feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which some of my favourite authors help me to celebrate the spirit of the season and spread a little holiday cheer. So, pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle in by the fireside as they answer the question: “What does the holiday season mean to you?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!


About Kathleen Glasgow

Kathleen Glasgow is the author of the New York Times bestseller Girl In Pieces (Delacorte, 2016). She lives in Tucson, Arizona and is a researcher for The Writer’s Almanac radio show. Her next novel for young adults will be published in Fall 2017.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads




What if…

This is a photograph of me, my sister, and my brother. My sister is in the middle. I think we were in Washington, D.C. I think we were at the apartment of one of my father’s friends. The friend was an amateur magician; we were having fun. The magician wore big glasses and made balloon animals. The adults wore turtlenecks and sipped wine and smoked cigarettes.

My sister committed suicide five days after my first child was born. I’m now older than she was when she died. Siblings can drift apart as they get older, for a variety of reasons. There are always reasons. Sometimes they can drift back. Sometimes, you can reach out and catch them, and they don’t wiggle away. My sister, though, dropped off the map for a long time and when we found her, we could not catch hold of her.

I miss her all the time, not just during holidays. She’s a hole inside me that can’t ever be filled. A series of what ifs and if onlys and why didn’t I’s.

I have a job for you. It’s not hard. This holiday season, and the next, and the next, or really, anytime at all, why don’t you reach out and try to grab hold of those who are slipping away? Why don’t you reach out to those who have fallen, and help them to stand? While you’re busy buying new clothes and toys, why not bag up the old ones and take them to a shelter, where clothes and toys and books and boots are always needed?

The next time you head to the store for chocolate and wine and maybe some tiny, sweet fairy lights to string on your mantle, why not add some boxes of tampons and pads, packages of new underwear in a few different sizes, new socks, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and take them to a shelter or teen outreach center? Outreach workers hand out health and hygiene supplies on the streets for the homeless.

I’ll bet you have some nice clothes you no longer wear that might be perfect for women or men who are interviewing for jobs and don’t have much money for interview clothes. There are lots of places that need clothes like that. Maybe you could even volunteer somewhere: serve food, stock shelves, sew holes in gloves, change beds, talk to those who haven’t been talked to nicely in days, weeks, years.

Maybe you could reach out to a person in your family who’s slipped away. The one everyone murmurs about over warm dinners and cups of coffee. The longer we let people go, the farther away they get.

You can catch hold of people with just the tiniest gesture. You can bring them back to you. You could bring them back to someone else, someone you don’t even know. You just never know what one small act of kindness can do.

You never know.

Resources

Homeless Shelter DirectorySuicide Prevention LifelineThe National Coalition For The HomelessThe National Domestic Violence HotlineRape, Abuse & Incest National Network

Title Girl In Pieces
Author Kathleen Glasgow
Pages 416 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Published August 30th, 2016 by Delacorte Press
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

The Writing’s On The Wall: Merry and Bright

The Writing’s On The Wall is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I create desktop wallpapers inspired by some of my favourite novels, authors, and literary quotes.

1280×800 » 1440×900 » 1680×1050 » 1920×1200 » 2560×1400 » iPhone 5 » iPhone 6 » iPad

I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Inkant Studio whose clipart and/or fonts I purchased, edited and used in the creation of this wallpaper!

Now it’s your turn! What would you like to see made into a desktop wallpaper next? Let me know in the comments – I would love to hear from you!

‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2016 with Sarah Nicole Lemon

‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays is a special seasonal feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which some of my favourite authors help me to celebrate the spirit of the season and spread a little holiday cheer. So, pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle in by the fireside as they answer the question: “What does the holiday season mean to you?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!


About Sarah Nicole Lemon

It was touch and go for a while, but Sarah Nicole Lemon finally grew into her woods witch vibe and now spends her days merrily setting young girls to impossible tasks with dire threats if they fail. Born and raised in the Appalachians, she spent the first fifteen years of her life doing nothing but reading and playing outside and has yet to outgrow either. Writing allows her to do both on a professional level. When not writing, you can find her drinking iced coffee in a half-submerged lawn chair near her home in southern Maryland.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramTumblrGoodreads

Old Magic & Armed Robbery

My childhood holidays were filled with old magic. Thin, cold air. Heavy trudging through waist deep snow to do my chores. Food that came from my gnarled roots, threaded deep through Alsace-Lorraine, eastern Europe, and Ireland. There was always a grey sky that promised of snow or chains on the tires to navigate the spines of the Appalachians in Pennsylvania to visit my grandparents in Pittsburgh. I loved the old magic, but what I looked forward to most was the armed robbery.

Let’s start at the beginning. With the food.

The food began with a thick slice of homemade toast with pools of butter and cinnamon sugar in a kitchen that already simmered with the smell of sage and rosemary turkey roasting in the oven, ham in a roasting pan on the porch, or corned beef, Italian sausage, and-slash-or kielbasa. The meat changed throughout the season. Moving from light and delicate to heavy and salted. In the poorest of years, we ate only the hindquarters of a deer, braised in apple cider vinegar and water. Potatoes and cabbage alongside. In the richest, we ate lamb off the bone and long stretches of beef were cut down at the table while I rested on my elbows, watching. Still with potatoes and cabbage.

Potatoes and cabbage are old magic.

While waiting for the dinner meal, I’d savor the special piece of fruit from my stocking — usually an orange or grapefruit. One year I got a pomegranate and painstakingly sucked on the seeds while my mother’s old mixer hummed in the background. I would eye the olives, pickled beets and eggs, mustard and homemade horseradish, smoked summer sausage, salami, pimento cheese and boxes of crackers — special treats I waited all year for.

At some point we’d get kicked out of the house, sent into the cold to flounder in the snow…or if there was no snow, ride our dirt-bikes for as long as we could bear it. The dogs barked at our tires. They lunged at flying snow. They bit our gloves and coats, and we wrestled in the snow until our fingers were red and our snot frozen and we were allowed inside.

Family was there, or we arrived, and the little pot with the boiled necks, liver, and gizzards were turned into gravy. The potatoes I’d had to scrub the day before transformed into steaming, thick clouds. The meat rested in its juice under tin-foil. As the oldest, I got the special privilege of cutting the strawberry pretzel salad and putting it on little plates for everyone to eat first. Strawberry pretzel salad is weird Dutchie magic. It’s a layer of crushed pretzels and butter baked into a hard crust, smeared with a mix of cream cheese and cool whip, topped with a layer of frozen strawberries and crushed pineapple suspended in strawberry jello. So good no one wanted to wait for dessert.

After the bones were picked through, the three kinds of potatoes and cabbage were hollowed out of their bowls and pans, and the glass of frothy root or birch beer I received at the meal was drained.

It was finally time.

My dad, who spent most of the holidays as a shadow of Krampus, would ask for apple pie with slices of cheddar cheese melted on top. His shoulders would relax. Krampus disappeared — the shadow shrinking down the wall until my dad was just my dad again. Pie, from scratch, was served. Coffee was poured. Luxurious cream, mixed in with clinking spoons.

I waited quietly in my seat on a long, hard bench. The rest of my siblings or cousins had eaten their pie and ran off to play. But I knew better. My belly was full and I was waiting for the stories. Like magic, they came on their own time and despite my attempts, alone or with friends, I could never replicate it quite right.

It would start with my cousin. Some little present day story or joke. Something that reminded them of That Time.

My dad would laugh.

And suddenly the air would catch fire.

I’m not an oral storyteller and no matter how many times I’ve tried to turn their felony stupid stories into the finely spun threads of magic that kept me sitting on that bench for hours, I have never been able to replicate them. Everything sounds tragic and sad when I repeat them. I don’t have the gift. But for today, for you, I’ll try.

That Time We Got Stuck in The Snow While Robbing a Bakery

The bakery was closed. They stole the safe. Just the whole thing, right out the door. Slipping and sliding in the snow to load it onto the back of the truck. It took so long to load that by the time they finish they can’t get the truck out of the snow that had accumulated. Everyone blames everyone else.

Whose fucking idea was this anyway?

Sirens sound.

Fuck.

They blink at the safe — stoic and dusted with snow.

(Here is where I’d make it tragic by implying a metaphor, so instead imagine someone like Jesse Andrews or Pittsburgh Dad telling this story and right now you’re about to pee yourself)

I got this, my dad says. Turning, he runs to the convenience store in the same strip and asks the clerk for their shovel. The clerk hands it over.

Maybe he asked nicely.

Maybe he asked with a gun.

You never know in these stories. The point is, he got the shovel.

My dad runs back to the truck. The sirens shrill louder. Seriously, whose idea was this? They shovel out the tires, jump in the truck, and…

Wait, my dad says.

– Dramatic pause –

He runs back to the return the shovel.

Everyone clutches their stomachs and laughs. How did you get the safe open? I ask once the laughter dies down.

We blew it up in a field, he says to me while my mom disappears into the kitchen for cookies.

Was there money in it? I ask.

My dad looks to my cousin.

My cousin looks at my dad.

Their eyes light. With magic. With all the other stories like this and all the stories they’ve told — about riding dirt bikes down the train tracks, wheelies past the school bus, always managing to just outrun the cops, having engines drop out of clunkers mid-getaway, about wrecking, screaming, being high, shooting each other, breaking bones, hiding, fighting to the “death” on bridges, snakes, snakes, and more stories about snakes. Their eyes light with having lived hard and fast and free and being old men sitting around a table instead of the ones who died and the ones who live in prisons.

Was there? I ask again.

My dad shrugs. He smiles a little. But not at me.

I don’t ask again. But I’m determined to live the same and someday sit around a table and hold the world to my mouth with a story. I didn’t know then it would cost me dearly. That by not marrying within my culture and becoming my mother, it meant I’d be cut off from this magic I held so dear. That it was never meant for me. That I’d spend a whole book writing about that loss.

But I am still a girl — somewhere, forever. My mom puts down the platters of cookies. Trays filled with lady locks I’d spent three days in a boiling kitchen burning my fingers on tin-foil wrapped clothes pins to help make, kolaches with nut filling and apricot filling, Russian tea cookies, nut cups, srdiecka, maslove pecivo, peanut butter blossoms, snickerdoodles, gingerbread, thumbprints and bredele. The air smells like vanilla and ginger, coffee and braised meat.

More coffee?

I always hope they say yes.

Title Done Dirt Cheap
Author Sarah Nicole Lemon
Pages 336 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
To Be Published March 7th, 2017 by Amulet Books
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Tourmaline Harris’s life hit pause at fifteen, when her mom went to prison because of Tourmaline’s unintentionally damning testimony. But at eighteen, her home life is stable, and she has a strong relationship with her father, the president of a local biker club known as the Wardens.

Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of a local lawyer: a man for whom the law is merely a suggestion. When Hazard sets his sights on dismantling the Wardens, he sends in Virginia, who has every intention of selling out the club — and Tourmaline.

But the two girls are stronger than the circumstances that brought them together, and their resilience defines the friendship at the heart of this powerful debut novel.

As an extra, exciting bonus, Sarah has been generous enough to offer one lucky reader the opportunity to win a special holiday prize package that includes all the items featured in the beautiful photo below. This package includes: One ARC of Done Dirt Cheap, one illustrated copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, one pair of socks, one cream knit scarf, two bottles of OPI nail polish, and one tin of C. O. Bigelow Rose Salve. This contest is open to residents of the U.S. only. Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Introducing ‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2016

‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays is a special annual feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which some of my favourite authors help me celebrate the spirit of the season and spread a little holiday cheer. So, pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle in by the fireside as they answer the question: “What does the holiday season mean to you?”

Well, friends, December is almost upon us and longtime readers of Pop! Goes The Reader will know what that means – ‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays is back!

2016 has been a dark and difficult year for many and, in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I initially questioned whether it would be appropriate to host ‘Tis The Season in the wake of all that has happened. It can be especially difficult to seek out, embrace and feel deserving of joy when so much of the world is in turmoil, but I can only hope that this series will offer readers a glimmer, however small, of hope, happiness, light and love in a time when we need it most of all. With thirty-two participants and prospective posts about Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s celebrations, ‘Tis The Season promises to be bigger and better than ever before. I sincerely hope you’ll stop by Pop! Goes The Reader this December as these wonderful authors welcome us into their homes and hearts for a little festive cheer to answer the question “What does the holiday season mean to you?” Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and search the hashtag #TisTheSeason2016 for all the latest updates on the event and to make sure you don’t miss your daily dose of merriment and magic!

Want to see who will be stopping by Pop! Goes The Reader this December? You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates below!

Sarah Nicole LemonKathleen GlasgowLauren KarczCaroline Leech

Hayley ChewinsBrenda RufenerWendy McLeod MacKnightMcKelle George

Ashley Herring BlakeSimon CurtisSiobhan VivianSusan Adrian

Kelsey MackeSusan CrispellLily AndersonHeather Meloche

Rebecca DonnellyKatherine KottarasMonica TeslerKaren McManus

Rebecca BehrensKathryn HolmesMisa SugiuraLindsay Eagar

Christina JuneJay ColesJanet McNallyStacy Mozer

Laura SilvermanKaitlyn Sage PattersonWhitney GardnerHeidi Schulz

The Writing’s On The Wall: Deck The Halls

Cool Yule is a special seasonal event on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I put a fun twist on some of my regular features. Readers can expect a variety of different seasonal and/or holiday-themed posts including wallpapers, playlists, recipes, gift guides, and much, much more!

1280×800 » 1440×900 » 1680×1050 » 1920×1200 » 2560×1400 » iPhone 5 » iPhone 6 » iPad

I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Lyeyee Illustration whose clipart and/or fonts I purchased, edited and used in the creation of this wallpaper!

Now it’s your turn! What would you like to see made into a desktop wallpaper next? Let me know in the comments – I would love to hear from you!