Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas, Blog-O-Thon of Doom and My Book Cover

Is that not the most eclectic title ever? 

First, if you are curious as to what exactly a Blog-O-Thon of Doom is, read this post for a definition. 

As part of the Blog-O-Thon, I must write a short post with a Christmas theme. Last time I recounted some of my favorite holiday memories. This time I'm going to share with you some thoughts I have about giving at Christmastime.

I used to, misguidedly, feel superior over people who pay special attention to giving at Christmas. Who were these selfish people who only think of others one time of the year. How much better the world would be if everyone would share the wealth year-round. Yep, I was pretty judgmental. It's a character trait I try to beat into submission every day.

Now, my perceptions have changed. I still think the world would be amazing if everyone would be as thoughtful year round, but I also have come to appreciate the kindness the holiday season brings out in people.

You see, November and December are two of the more emotionally trying months at my job as a school social worker. Bad things happen to families, caused sometimes (often?) by their own bad choices, and the children are left to suffer through the aftermath of Dad ending up in jail, increased domestic violence because of the stress of the season, Mom gone to rehab, and kids not getting presents because they just don't have the money.

There is nothing in the world sadder than a sad, hurting child.

That's why I've come to really appreciate the giving of the season. People's hearts open and so do their pocketbooks. I am able to help make children's lives a little happier, and ease the worry of the parents who couldn't "do Christmas." I can give new coats to children and watch their faces light up with joy that such a beautiful, seventeen dollar coat is theirs, and it even has a matching hat and gloves.

My faith in humanity, which takes a beating the other ten months of the year, is renewed. I believe again that people do care about more than the bottom line and that there's hope for all of us. So thanks to all of you who give and care, whether it be just at Christmas or year round. Either way, your kindness is a little ray of hope in a sometimes struggling, dark world.

Now - lets stop being all depressed. 

Briane Pagel kindly allowed me to give away his book, Up So Down, to a random commenter, so I could participate in the Blog-O-Thon. 

Last month Kimberely Gabriel won a copy, and now you can be the next lucky winner! Just leave a comment to enter and I will announce the winner on Friday.


I don't have my own book to give away yet (which is why Briane let me give away one of his) but I do have my book cover now! Here it is!


Now I just need to get the inside finished and I'm ready to roll! I'm in the middle of final edits (a huge thank you to my feedback friends) and am still aiming for a release in February. Stay tuned for further information!

How are your writing projects going?
Are you ready for Christmas?

26 comments:

  1. I think your job would be so tough. I've been at home with my kids mostly since they were born, but before that when I worked full time, it was in engineering. There isn't much emotion heartache in that job. At least not at my level.

    Again. Love the cover. And now I know how the cat fits in. Well kinda. But that makes it perfect too.

    Got a few more things to do this week. We're celebrating Christmas early with my family. On the weekend. So I gotta be ready by Friday. *gasp* :)

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    1. You can do it! I thought I'd have the weekend, but I think it got filled up last night. At least there is Christmas Eve.

      Have a fun Friday celebration!

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  2. That's a cool cover. It's good that you're able to make some kids happy this season.

    BTW, I already have Briane's book.

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    1. I'm lucky that I get to be the one to deliver the joy. It's not really me that's making the cheer, I think of myself more as the conduit. :) And I'm glad you like the cover!

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  3. I got a lump in my throat when I read about the coats. I don't envy you your job.

    Every year, we pick a gift off the "giving tree" for people who can't afford their own gifts, and buy one. I read through them all and I'm amazed how many kids put down a winter coat, or hat, or gloves. I always took for granted that I would have a warm coat and gloves and a hat, and so every year for Christmas I asked for (and got) stuff like "The Millennium Falcon with real hideaway compartment."

    I had no idea how lucky I was then, but I do now, and that's why I try to give back. You're a good person, Lara.

    *sniffles*

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    1. I get a lump in my throat sometimes when I hand out the "stuff." As I mentioned to P.T., I do feel lucky to get to see the joy. There wouldn't be as much to do without other people's kindness. Like yours! Those trees are so important. I think the whole world changes when we realize just how well off we really are. :)

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  4. Yeah, it's surprising what a big deal a coat is, and I can't get my daughter to even wear hers! She's on this thing, right now, about how she's never cold, even while she's sitting and shivering, she'll be all, "no, I'm not cold." But, at least, that's the choice she's making. Some kids don't have that as a choice.

    I have Briane's book, too.

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    1. There's a man in town who collects coats, got a dry-cleaners to clean them all for free, and then has a big community coat give away. He's a wonderful man. He also plays Santa and really looks the part. Maybe he really is!

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  5. I love your book cover. It's beautiful. I already have Briane's book so count me out of the giveaway.

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  6. LOVE this cover. Just wow :) It's up and ready to go on Thursday :)

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    1. Thanks, Kelley! I'm looking forward to Thursday. :)

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  7. Impressive cover, indeed.

    I'm beginning to wonder what Christmas means to most people. I know that Black Friday and all its awesome deals are probably more about people getting what they want for themselves rather than the awesome deals for potential gifts. Maybe I've just been away from people celebrating Christmas for too long, worked too long in retail (worked too many years at a movie theater?), become too cynical. I wish people behaved kindly to each other, whether on Christmas or throughout the year, that it wasn't all just a mad scramble to get what's coming to you. It's an impulse everyone needs to fight, that mad scramble. Being nice should be something everyone's able to do. Increasingly, even with all this social media floating around, we don't really think about other people anymore. Is this a bad time to admit I hate charities? Because it's not a charity to give someone something they need. It's called basic human dignity. There are too many people in the world for any of us to forget that we have the ability now to provide that without having to do you're doing someone a favor. You're doing YOURSELF a favor.

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    1. I actually had that same thought about Black Friday this year. Plus, it used to be Friday, and know Black Friday spans a whole week! And many of the sales seem to be big ticket electronic stuff that, quite frankly, adults want.

      It's all right with me if you don't like charities. :) Charity/giving/donations/etc... all do benefit the giver. Sometimes it's just the warm fuzzy of knowing you've done something good (even if no one else knows about it) and it can go all the way to ego-stroking if you're the type of person who lets everyone know when you've done something nice to get social pluses. I've just gotten to the point where I figure it's none of my business for the why of the giving, I'm just glad that the money is there.

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    2. And thanks for following! I just saw you up there! Welcome! (okay, enough exclamation points, right?)

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  8. OH WOW! Lara, that cover is absolutely AMAZING! I love it! Like - WOW!
    ANd that's awesome of Briane to let you give away one of his books! Very cool!

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    1. Briane is the epitome of cool! I'm so glad he invited me to be a part of his Blog-O-Thon! I wish I'd have been able to participate better, is all. I'm excited you like the cover. I'm pretty happy with it. :D

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  10. I LOVE your book cover! I'm not doing any blog-a-thon, but I'm doing a few Christmas/Holiday posts pre-Christmas. I AM ready for the holidays and look forward to spending time with family. Writing projects are very slow - I am still trying to adjust to working full-time.

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    1. Working really does take a bite out of writing, for sure. I've been having trouble getting blog visiting in. I try, but often it comes down to write or visit. I try to get to my favorites at least once a week, but depending on what the boys are doing, even that can be tough. :P

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  11. I love your beautiful cover. The mysterious and magic element beckons the reader to open and enter. So happy the little firecat was included, too-- and I really like being able to imagine Hazel's face for myself. Great job!!

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  12. I love your cover! I think this was a great choice.

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