AND…the winners are…::drum roll::
WOOOO! Check your email. If you don’t see an email in your inbox from me, check your spam filter. Thanks, everyone, for playing!
Well, here we are, on Friday the 13th (ERMAHGERD) and Andi has another novel out. BECAUSE SHE IS CLEARLY INSANE ON SOME LEVELS. Hopefully in a good way.
The Bureau of Holiday Affairs is currently available EXCLUSIVELY at Ylva Publishing. More venues to come, but for now, that’s where you can go to get you some.
And to celebrate all this crazy, I’m giving away FIVE EBOOK COPIES of The Bureau of Holiday Affairs! How do I get in on this fab-ness, you now ask. EASY. Leave a comment below to get entered in the drawing. Make sure you include your email address in the comment fill-out form, but don’t put it in the comment body. The merry elves have been hard at work cleaning things back there and monitoring the anti-holiday spambots, and they want to make sure your email address is safe. Anyway, leave a comment and we’ll do the drawing MONDAY NOVEMBER 16 AT 9 PM EST US and hook you right up.
What’s it about, you may ask? Well! Look!
Executive Robin Preston has dedicated her life to climbing the corporate ladder, using whatever means necessary. In the shark-infested culture at Frost Enterprises, anything goes, and Robin is a master at the game.
On the verge of a major promotion, Robin receives a strange visit from Agent Elizabeth Tolson of the Bureau of Holiday Affairs, who informs Robin that, though Robin may be a lost cause, the Bureau has scheduled her for intervention. Robin will receive three visitors in the two weeks before Christmas, who will escort her on visits to her past, present, and future.
Robin will be forced to face not only who she’s become, but the parts of herself she left behind, when she was an art major in college and in love with fellow art student Jill Chen, in whom Robin found a kindred spirit—until Jill broke if off with her. In order for Robin to change her ways, she’ll need to reclaim who she was and open her heart again, to a past she thought she left behind.
The Bureau clearly has its work cut out for it, but Agent Tolson relishes a challenge, and she’s put together just the team for Robin’s case. They may have to cut a few corners and go outside a few lines, but Agent Tolson has a perfect salvage record and she’s not about to let that change. The question is, will Robin?
I was also thinking that I haven’t given you a “behind the scenes” look at the making of some of my work, so I figured maybe I’d give you one here. Read on, oh noble Women and Wordsters…
So The Bureau of Holiday Affairs started back in March. I was mulling different ideas for a Christmas/holiday story for the Ylva Publishing holiday anthology and I posted a Facebook status update in which I asked people what kinds of stories they’d like to read with that theme. Several people posted ideas, but one in particular stuck with me. The irony here is that the idea has absolutely nothing to do with the story I eventually wrote, but I managed to put it in there anyway. That person, incidentally, will be receiving a copy of this book because I said that if I used anybody’s idea, they’d get a copy of the then-anthology with my story in it.
So I started writing. And it became clear that it was probably not a short story after all, but rather a novella. About a month later, well, the tale was well on its way to novel-length. So I went with it. I didn’t get a story into the holiday anthology, but that’s okay.
And as you’ve no doubt guessed by now, The Bureau of Holiday Affairs is a reboot of Charles Dickens’ classic novella A Christmas Carol, first published in December, 1843. (In fact, the Bureau is part of Ylva’s Twice Told Tales series.)
You know that story, right? Ebenezer Scrooge is a stingy, cranky, mean-spirited businessman in nineteenth-century England. On Christmas Eve, the ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley, visits him and tells him he’d better change his ways or he’ll end up like Marley, dragging chains around of his own making for eternity. So, Marley says, Scrooge will receive three visitors to help him with that decision: The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Christmas Yet to Come (Future).
As I’ve said elsewhere, I love this story, because it points a finger at human foibles, and demands that we do some self-analysis and ask hard questions of ourselves. I also have a particular fondness for this story because it’s been a part of my life since I was very young. My mom was an English teacher back in the day, and she loved her some literature. She is also a huge movie buff, so on Christmas Eve when I was a kid, she would hang a white sheet on the living room wall in the farmhouse I grew up in and a big group of us would watch the 1938 movie version of A Christmas Carol.
My mom would show it on a reel-to-reel projector (in case you’re wondering, HERE) that she’d borrow from work and she’d get out the reels of the movie, thread ’em onto the machine, and run it. We’d have popcorn and hot chocolate and watch the movie as it flickered across the sheet, wood popping and crackling in our stove in the corner of the room.
Good times, good memories.
The story got Dickens a boatload of public acclaim, and since its publication, there have been numerous adaptations, including film (since the first third of the 20th century), opera, ballet, and a Broadway musical.
So I’m joining the ranks of people who have adapted it to something else, though another irony is that I actually don’t “do” Christmas or the holidays in the traditional sense. I like gatherings with friends and family this time of year, and I like having fun, but I also focus on helping others get through the season because it can be a tough time for some, for whatever reasons. I try to look beyond the trappings of the season and make new connections as well as reconnect, and think about what I can do to help build community and share the luv.
For those reasons, I think Dickens’s original story is much bigger than the holidays. It’s set at Christmas, yes, but it certainly has resonance beyond that, and it can be adapted to any situation or circumstance, though it finds its most common expression with a holiday (Christmas, specifically) setting. That’s a great vehicle for it, I think, and that’s why I stayed with that tradition, though my version will take the characters through the new year, too.
So there you go. The story behind the story (-ies). I know it’s a bit early in the season, yet, but you can always win a copy and leave it on your ereader until it’s closer to the end of the year so you can feel all festive n’ stuff. Whatever floats your boat! You can also catch Dickens’s original version at Project Gutenberg. Spoiler: there’re no lesbians in that version. 🙂
Thanks for hanging out with me today and don’t forget — if you’re interested in entering the drawing to win an ebook copy, leave a comment.