Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Contest and How I Got Here
Although they often feel like independent entities (I certainly can't make them do what I want), the existence of my characters is tied pretty damned closely to mine; and my existence is tied pretty damned closely to a fairly bizarre holiday appellation. Yes, from Ryan and Jeff to Nicky and Ian, we owe it all to rain.
Regionally, people have different names for the same things. If you want a carbonated beverage made from brown syrup, you have to ask for pop west of me, coke south of me, and right here we just call it soda. Similarly, in the household where I grew up, the breaded mush you put in a turkey is called filling, not stuffing, or even dressing. My parents come from the same hometown Chasing Smoke's Daniel Gardner and Trey Eriksson's hometown) of Easton, PA though they attended different high schools. When my dad was at college, he was helping another man hang the long thin tinsel that most people call icicles on the Christmas tree. On the ladder, my dad called down to the other man, "Hand me up another box of that rain." The other man held up the box of tinsel. "This? Funny. My girlfriend calls this rain, too." My dad said, "I'll have to meet her." The result is my genetic history. Oh that magical power of words.
The fact that the Christmas trees in my family sporting tinsel will have rain and not icicles on them and that our plates will get a spoonful of filling and not stuffing are not our only quirks. We also will not be eating the point off our slices of pie first as that brings bad luck. And it wasn't until my age hit double digits that I realized other people decorated their Christmas trees in more than a single color. (I was the only kid in elementary school art class who didn't fight over the red and green markers at Christmas. If the object wasn't blue, it didn't go on Mom's tree.)
When I wrote An Improper Holiday, I had fun looking up historical Christmas celebrations. The game of Snapdragon, which seems like an invitation for self-immolation to a klutz like me, was particularly interesting. When I read about it, I knew it had to go in the book. I'm all for Twelfth Night celebrations. Anything that makes the holiday season longer before we go back to enduring a Northeast winter is fine with me.
That brings me to my part of the holiday contest. I will draw a winner from anyone who leaves a comment here and tells me about a holiday tradition. (Any holiday—hey, we're weird on the fourth of July, too!) That commenter will win a free copy of his or her choice of any of my ereleases (including An Improper Holiday). That part of the contest will be open until midnight EST on December 11.
The first commenter who correctly guesses the color of decorations on my own mono-chromatic Christmas tree will win a ten dollar gift certificate to Amazon, sent via email. (No, Mom—and other family members, you can't play.) This part of the contest closes when I get the first right answer or on December 14 at midnight EST.
And hey, doesn't that stuff look more like rain than icicles anyway?