‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2016 With Kelsey Macke

‘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 Kelsey Macke

Kelsey Macke has been creative for as long as she can remember. Her formative years were a swirl of bad poetry, journals full of songs, and absolutely TONS of jazz hands. Her debut YA novel, Damsel Distressed (October 2014 – Spencer Hill Contemporary) was paired with its own soundtrack, Imogen Unlocked, a full album of original songs inspired by the book and performed by the author and her husband, Daron, as their band Wedding Day Rain. In addition to writing and music, Kelsey is the founder of the lifestyle brand, Semi-Precious, a passionate YouTuber, expert Instagrammer, and is among the first 1% of all twitter users (@KelsNotChels). She also loves cheese. All kinds. Her work is represented by Jessica Sinsheimer of the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterTumblrYouTubeGoodreads

It’s difficult to articulate why I’m so crazy about the holiday season. I mean, sure, there are a lot of obvious reasons that this time of year should be on a list of fave things for a lot of people. Tons of great food, seeing people you (intermittently) love spending time with, glitter and lights – These are all good things. But when I really, really try to pin down why this time of year is my favorite, I know it’s not really because I look cute in a Santa hat. I don’t actually believe that the reason I put up my Christmas tree on November 1st is just because I like yams, know what I mean?

At first, I thought it was about the rituals. There’s something comforting to me about speaking certain words at certain times and placing prized ornaments on the same spot on the tree. But it’s more specific than that. I came to realize it isn’t about my family traditions, or even cultural ones. It’s about catering to my own private routines. Little things that I would do each holiday even if I existed in a vacuum. They are selfish. They are only for me, and nobody else. They’re not for display or approval, they’re not for my community or Instagram. They are mine.

At a time of year when everyone is thinking about others, and giving of their time and attention and gifts, I secretly serve myself. That’s hard for me. I’m not good at doing what I want for myself, or prioritizing my needs at the expense of making myself available for the people in my life. I’m constantly thinking about what others will think of me or what they expect from me, and sometimes that can absolutely motivate me and bring out my best. But other times, it’s not honest. Sometimes caring about what other people want for me means never putting my own heart first.

So many people I know deal with this urge – to make everyone around them happy. (For me, the feeling can be distilled even further into a desire for others to like me.) It doesn’t sound like a bad thing, and I suppose, sometimes it’s not. But there’s got to be space in your life for Sunday night bubble baths, and mac and cheese for dinner, just because you want to.

For me, the two months from November first, until New Year’s day are this self-serve zone. I want to watch fifteen Christmas movies, and I do. I want to listen exclusively to 8,204 versions of O Holy Night, and I do. I want to make a fire (even though it’s 61 degrees in Texas) and bask in my tree’s pink glow, drinking spiked egg nog, and wearing a set of v festive owl pajamas, and I do. Doing what I want, and caring for myself unabashedly means that most of the time, my biggest mental health reset comes at this time of year. It’s when I feel free to take inventory of all the baggage I’ve dragged around behind me for the past trip around the sun. My selfish rituals here give me the space to live more selflessly through the year. It’s like putting on my own oxygen mask before helping others, or something like that.

So I guess, little children, I’m suggesting you ask Santa for a big box of egocentrism this year. Not because I disagree that it’s the time of year for generosity, compassion, and service. But because the world outside your skin isn’t the only one that needs your joy.

Title Damsel Distressed
Author Kelsey Macke
Pages 321 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Retelling, Romance
Published October 14th, 2014 by Spencer Hill Contemporary
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Hot girls get the fairy tales. No one cares about the stepsisters’ story. Those girls don’t get a sweet little ending; they get a lifetime of longing.

Imogen Keegen has never had a happily ever after–in fact, she doesn’t think they are possible. Ever since her mother’s death seven years ago, Imogen has pulled herself in and out of therapy, struggled with an “emotionally disturbed” special ed. label, and loathed her perma-plus-sized status.

When Imogen’s new stepsister, the evil and gorgeous Ella Cinder, moves in down the hall, Imogen begins losing grip on the pieces she’s been trying to hold together. The only things that gave her solace–the theatre, cheese fries, and her best friend, Grant–aren’t enough to save her from her pain this time.

While Imogen is enjoying her moment in the spotlight after the high school musical, the journal pages containing her darkest thoughts get put on display. Now, Imogen must resign herself to be crushed under the ever-increasing weight of her pain, or finally accept the starring role in her own life story.

And maybe even find herself a happily ever after.

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