Tuesday, December 8, 2015

In Memory of John Lennon

Thirty-five years ago tonight, the world lost an incredible talent, and I lost my idol before I was even born into this life to realize it. John Lennon was my hero and inspiration when I was growing up; perhaps I wouldn't have pursued a writing career if his ghost hadn't influenced me. In honor of his memory, and the memory of how much he once meant to me, I would like to share this poem that I wrote for him when I was 16. (This poem was published in The International Who's Who in Poetry anthology circa 2005, and has been republished in my book Fragments of the Moon.)

For John

I lost my love -- one night in December
Cold hateful night -- my heart remembers
But I cannot cry for what's been lost in lifetimes before.
Cannot cry -- let sorrow madden
Cannot weep -- for I never had him
What was lost -- died -- before I was born.
And I wonder -- with his body broken
What was said -- with words unspoken
What was cried and buried with his blood spilled on the floor
What was buried -- when they burned him
What was lost -- so history turned him
Into the kind of hero -- that he never was before.
And I imagine -- as time slowly passes
Cracked and shattered -- like his glasses
What might have been had the stars in his sky -- not been bitter and sore
Would I lie here -- forever dreaming
Always dying -- eternally bleeding
For the love I lost in a life -- that never existed before
Would I cry -- and long to hold him
Before the bullets -- neatly stole him
Would I lose -- and love this angel
Forever -- or nevermore?

© 2000 Stacy Baggett

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Today is my favorite day out of the year -- All Hallow's Eve. Halloween has been my favorite holiday since I was a little girl -- in fact, the very first book I ever wrote (in the third grade) was a Halloween story. There is something about this holiday that has always inspired me. Maybe it's the magical feeling in the air, the excitement that you can only get when you're a kid eagerly anticipating dressing up in costume and setting out door-to-door for tricks or treats. Maybe it was simply the novelty of getting to wander the neighborhood at night. Whatever it is, I've never quite lost that excitement -- that spark of magic -- that always came in the autumn. Which is why I like to write (and illustrate) books about Halloween, I suppose.

In fact, I recently finished the manuscript to another children's story about the holiday -- now to do the illustrations. Hopefully I will have it finished by next fall. I think this is the best one yet, if I do say so myself! I can't wait to share it with all of you.

For now, here's wishing you a happy and safe Halloween. Don't eat too much candy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"Fairy Christmas" is Now Available

 Fairy Christmas

I'm happy to announce the release of my fourth children's book, Fairy Christmas, which is now available for download on Kindle. You can also get a print copy, if your little one prefers to hold a physical copy while reading!

Meet Fairy Christmas -- Santa Claus's magical helper who visits all the children of the world to discover their Christmas wishes. On Christmas Eve night, Fairy Christmas travels the world to find homes for forgotten toys, while her band of winter fairies guide Santa on his trip around the globe.

Be sure to order your copy soon so you'll have it on hand during the holiday season! As always, reviews are welcome!

Happy reading!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Get Your Free Copy of "Ordinary World," Today Only

For today only, my novel Ordinary World is free on Kindle. If you haven't already, head over and get your copy. (If you don't have a Kindle, the app can be downloaded for free on Amazon.) 

If you read the book, please consider leaving a review. Reviews help books sell copies, and every review is greatly appreciated! 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

New Release: Fairy Christmas

Fairy Christmas

I'm happy to announce the release of my fourth children's book, Fairy Christmas, which will be available on Kindle and in print on October 6, 2015. The ebook is available for pre-order now on Kindle. 

Fairy Christmas has been in the works for over two years, and I am happy to be able to finally make it available for readers. Head over to Amazon to secure your copy-- reviews are welcome, as always!

Meet Fairy Christmas -- Santa Claus's magical helper who visits all the children of the world to discover their Christmas wishes. On Christmas Eve night, Fairy Christmas travels the world to find homes for forgotten toys, while her band of winter fairies guide Santa on his trip around the globe.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Why Do Books Need Dedications?

I'm nearly done putting together my next children's book, Fairy Christmas. The only thing holding me up at the moment is the dedication. I can't think of anyone to dedicate it to who will appreciate it! So far all of my books have been dedicated to various family members and relatives, with the exception of Fragments of the Moon, which I dedicated to myself (the reason being that I refuse to dedicate my poetry to anyone I know! Besides, it's kind of amusing -- at least to me, anyway -- to dedicate one's book to one's self.) But darn if I'm not stumped on who to dedicate this latest book to.

I don't know very many children in day-to-day life these days, and the ones I do know probably won't ever read my story, (do they even know I'm an author?) so a dedication to one of them would likely go unnoticed. I could dedicate the story to my youngest brother, but he's not exactly a kid anymore and probably wouldn't appreciate it, so I'll save a dedication for him for something he may actually read. The same goes for my step-daughter -- she's a teenager and likely wouldn't appreciate a dedication in a children's story, so I'll eventually dedicate something to her more along the lines of her reading level. But that leaves me with the dilemma of not having anyone to dedicate my book to! What to do, what to do?

Why do we need to dedicate our work to anyone, anyway? It's not like we're trying to procure patronage from sponsors like they did in the olden days. We aren't going to receive gifts or funding from the person we dedicate our book to, which was the original purpose of book dedications. And yet it's expected of authors, even if you have no one in particular to dedicate the darn thing to. And don't even get me started on acknowledgements! (Those are fine and all when warranted, but not every book needs them.)

Usually I don't mind dedicating my stories to a loved one -- in fact, I do so because I want to -- but for some reason this particular book is proving to be difficult. Maybe I'll just dedicate it to my cat! He won't appreciate it, but at least the problem will be solved. Although he may try to eat it (or at least tear it up with his teeth) if I give him a copy.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Getting to Know You -- Interview With the Author

What were you like at school?  I was very quiet, very shy. I had a hard time opening up around other people. I was always the smart kid in class, and I was poor, plus I liked older music, which made me the target of bullies. I was definitely not one of the popular kids. 
Were you good at English? English was always my best subject. 
What are your ambitions for your writing career? To be successful; to tell my stories. 
Which writers inspire you? Christopher Pike, L. Frank Baum, Sylvia Plath, Ann M. Martin, Caroline Haywood
So, what have you written? Ordinary World,  a novel; Happy Halloween: 31 Poems in Celebration of Halloween, The Pumpkin Fair, Happy Thanksgiving: 20 Poems in Celebration of Thanksgiving, which are children's stories; Fragments of the Moon, a collection of poetry, and 13 Frighteningly Fun Halloween Games for Kids: Ideas, tips, and tricks for little ghouls, co-authored with Melissa Spicer. 
Where can we buy or see them? All of my titles are available on Amazon. 
What are you working on at the minute? I'm currently working on two novels, tentatively titled What About the Twinkie? which is a tragicomedy, and The Wasteland, which is an alternate look at the afterlife. I'm also in the process of finishing up illustrations for another children's book, called Fairy Christmas
What genre are your books? Children's/YA
What draws you to this genre? I can clearly remember being a kid, so my characters are usually pretty young. I have a hard time writing about adult characters; adult life is just so boring to me. 
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? I wrote Ordinary World with Ewan McGregor in mind to play Sera. I think an unknown actress would have to play Sherrie. Uncle John was inspired by John Candy, who obviously wouldn't be able to play the role as he's been dead for over 20 years. 
How much research do you do? I try to be very thorough in my research, when research is needed. There's nothing I hate more than reading a novel where the author got their facts wrong.
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers? I worked on a novel for over a decade with my sister, who is also a writer. Unfortunately that book was never completed. We came up with a couple other ideas for stories, too, which I hope to one day write together. I've also worked on a couple projects with my friend (and fellow writer) Melissa Spicer. 
When did you decide to become a writer? I have always written stories and have always been a storyteller, even before I knew how to write. I wrote my first book in third grade, and that same year I won first prize for a class writing competition; I remember my third grade teacher announcing to the class that I was going to be a writer when I grew up. But it wasn't until I was about 11 years old that it occurred to me that maybe I could someday make a living from writing stories. Back then I wanted to be a romance novelist.
Why do you write? I write because I have stories to tell. Also, because my life would be pretty meaningless if I didn't!
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? The story was there. With Ordinary World, the story had been forming for a while, but it wasn't until the character Sera made himself known that I knew it was time to sit down and write it. Basically I decided one day that it was now or never -- if I didn't get it out now, there was a chance the story would never be written, so I sat down and started writing it. 
Do you write full-time or part-time? Writing full time was a lot easier before I had bills to pay! As a teenager and as a college student in my early 20s, I definitely wrote full time. I don't think a day went by that I didn't write something. Nowadays I write when the mood hits me. I also work as a freelance writer and editor, so a lot of my writing these days is non-creative. I write when I have time and when I feel like it.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? My day is structured around doing freelance work. Now and then inspiration hits me and I'll just HAVE to work on one of my stories. Unfortunately I'm not able to dedicate my entire life to creative writing just yet.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? Most of my writing I do longhand -- I'm less likely to edit as I go along that way!
Where do the your ideas come from? Where do any ideas come from? I honestly don't know. I'll be cooking dinner or doing dishes and suddenly a character is there, babbling to me about her crazy life. Sometimes I find inspiration in old movies and TV shows, or a particular actor might inspire a character. 
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? I usually have a general idea of what the story is going to be, but I don't out-and-out outline it. Sometimes a story will take on a life of its own and end up being something completely different than what I originally had planned. 
What is the hardest thing about writing? Actually making myself do it. I know all the big name authors say that you can't wait for inspiration to come; you just have to sit down each day and write. I'm still learning to do that! Motivation is something that I lack. 
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? I originally wrote Ordinary World in 2005 when I was 21 years old. It was published in 2007 and went out of print in 2014. I always knew I wanted to revise it and republish it. Anyway, once the rights were reverted back to me, I went to start on revisions...well, dumbass me, apparently I didn't save a final draft anywhere, or if I did I had lost it. (It's possible I have the final draft saved on a floppy disk, because computers still used those back when I'd originally written it!) I had an earlier draft saved on a flash drive, but that didn't do me much good because it wasn't the final version of the story that had been published. Anyway, I found myself having to retype the manuscript up from scratch, which was a royal pain in the butt. Then I was finally able to make revisions, which wasn't all that difficult...formatting the book for print, however, was another royal pain. So, those were the hardest things about (re)writing Ordinary World.
What is the easiest thing about writing? When a hilarious scene or conversation suddenly pops in my head and I hurry to get it down on paper before I lose it. Writing comes easy then.
How long on average does it take you to write a book? It depends on the book. Ordinary World initially took 2 months to write. I've been working on The Wasteland since 2009, but the story hasn't presented its entire self yet. I worked on a novel with my sister for over a decade (and still haven't finished it.) I've ghostwritten books that only took me a month to write. It really all depends on how much time I have to dedicate to working on the book. 
Do you ever get writer’s Block? Yes. I went about three years without writing in my mid/late 20s. It was horrible. 
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block? Read, watch movies, listen to music or engage in other activities that inspire you. Eventually the words will come again. 
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors. I'm a binge reader. I will go through spurts of reading nonstop, and then I'll go for months on end  where I don't feel like reading anything. My favorite authors are Christopher Pike, L. Frank Baum, Sylvia Plath, Ann M. Martin and Caroline Haywood.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books? Both. Nowadays I tend to buy more ebooks, because I'm running out of space to store traditional paperbacks. 
What book/s are you reading at present? We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you? I proofread and edit for a living, so I do those things myself. 
How do you relax? I watch movies. A lot of movies. 
What is your favourite book and why? Remember Me by Christopher Pike. I spent most of my adolescence trying to write a story like that of my own; Ordinary World might not exist if not for Remember Me. 
What is your favourite quote?"Where there's life, there's hope." -- John Lennon
What is your favorite movie and why? Ghostbusters -- it's been my favorite since I was a kid, and provided hours of escapism. I wouldn't be who I am today without that movie. I watch it more often than is probably healthy.
What advice would you give to your younger self? Don't stop writing, even when life gets you down.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? In the past I would have said John Lennon, hands down, because I idolized him; he was my hero. But nowadays I'm not so sure. I'd kind of like to meet Harpo Marx, because he seemed like a nice guy. Or maybe John Candy or Harold Ramis. Perhaps George Harrison.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flagg, just because I really love that book. It's brilliantly written, has just the right amount of comedy and sadness. That's the kind of story I would love to write.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Write for yourself. Write for fun. Write because you enjoy it. Worry about publishing your work and making a living off of it later. 
How can readers discover more about you and you work? You can follow me on Facebook or visit me on Amazon.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Free eBook!

My children's book, Happy Halloween! 31 Poems in Celebration of Autumn will be free on Monday, September 7th, in honor of Labor Day and in order to kick off the Autumn season. Don't forget to get your copy!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"Ordinary World" -- Chapter One Snippet

Life does not end just because you die.
            This is the first thing Sera taught me when my own life reached its end on that fateful day in the fall of 1993.
            And that we, as human beings, are not as important as we’d like to think in the grand scheme of things.
            The world still turns. The rivers still flow. The sun still shines. The moon continues to orbit the earth. Life goes on. Our hearts have merely stopped beating, that’s all.
            The first thing you should know about me is that I didn’t plan on dying. Mine was an accident, as most deaths usually are.
            I didn’t want to die. I was only fourteen years old. When I grew up, I wanted to be a writer. Now I guess I’ll never know what I might have been.
That part still makes me mad sometimes-- not knowing.
            Sera says it’s only natural, and that in time I’ll outgrow it.
            My name was Sherrie. I say “was” because technically once our lives are over we’re supposed to shed our mortal names. I say “technically” because even though quite some time has passed on Earth, I still can’t get used to it. Sera is always reprimanding me about that. He says I can go by any name I want, and besides, Sherrie is such an ordinary name.
            “Really, Sherrie,” he’s always saying to me, “I don’t know why you insist on clinging to things from that horrid life of yours.” It’s true; my life wasn’t so great. A lot of horrible things happened in the fourteen years I inhabited it.
            But I can’t help it. I have a hard time letting go of things. Which is why Sera gets so frustrated with me sometimes.
            “You’ll never be able to move on as long as you continue to cling to these things.” They’re words I hear Sera repeat, over and over again.
            It’s not entirely my fault I can’t think of another name to go by. I’m used to Sherrie. It’s the name I grew up with.
Of course, I use the term “grew up” rather loosely.
            Another thing Sera constantly nags me about is that I’ve still yet to shed my mortal form.
            “I don’t know what it is you’re afraid of!” he often exclaims, exasperated. “You’ve gone through this at least a hundred times in lifetimes before. You say you regret not getting to live long enough, but yet you refuse to move on so that you may live again. Until you shed all this ‘Sherrie’ nonsense, you’ll never be able to be reborn.”
            “I’m sorry,” I’ll apologize, repeatedly. “I can’t help it. I’m trying.” To which he will sigh and soften his tone.
            “I know you are. But would you please mind hurrying it up a bit? Just because we have all eternity before us doesn’t mean that it should be wasted dawdling about the way you have been. Remember: If you don’t move on,  can’t move on.”
            Sera always seems to have a way of making me feel guilty. But he can’t honestly blame me. After all, I didn’t ask for him to be my Guardian Angel.
            “I was once like you,” he’ll continue. “Unable to move on. Unwilling. Reluctant to let go of the past.”
            “I don’t see you shedding your mortal form,” I’ll point out to him. Which usually earns at least a small chuckle.
            “That’s only because you haven’t obtained that state of existence yet. Until you are able to achieve a level of pure consciousness, I will continue to appear to you as I am. Besides, for the time being, I think that it will be more comfortable for the both of us if we continue to communicate in this way.” He voice suddenly turns very gentle. “Do try to understand, Sherrie. Losing sense of your former self is not the end of the world.”
            I hate it when he puts it that way. Former Self. There’s such permanence to it. As if the person I am--or was--is already gone.
He’s right, of course.
            Perhaps that is why I am so stubborn when it comes to changing things. My life was such a mess that I never truly appreciated what I had when I had it. Now that it’s not mine anymore, I hate the thought of leaving it behind.
            I was nobody special. I could’ve been any girl you passed by on the street. I was born in a small Northern Californian town called Petty and I lived there until the day I died. I didn’t have very many friends, but the ones I had I wouldn’t have traded for the world.
            First and foremost there was Eddie. I knew Eddie since we started school together. His mom, Polly, was my mom’s cousin. A couple times I went and stayed with them when things got bad at my house. Aunt Polly loathed my mom with a passion, but she was always nice to me. Eddie’s dad left them when he was little and never looked back twice, so he never knew him. That was one of the major things we had in common. I never got to know my real dad, either.
            Eddie was short for his age, about five foot three inches, and he had long, shaggy brown hair, which always fell into his eyes. His mom was always nagging him to get a hair cut. He never listened. And I’m glad, because the hair constantly falling in his face was one of the things which made him Eddie. I used to tease him about it, and he’d get mad sometimes. I liked to say he looked like one of the Ramones. He didn’t even know who the Ramones were. I wouldn’t have, either, except that my Uncle John and I had watched their movie together once when I was little. Eddie wasn’t big on music, or movies, for that matter. Never mind reading. One of the things Eddie always bragged about was that he’d gone fourteen years and had never read an entire book in his life-- that wasn’t a comic book, that is. That’s where we were different. I loved to read and Eddie couldn’t stand it. I wanted to be a writer, and often spent my time dreaming up stories that I hoped to put down on paper one day. Eddie spent all his spare time watching cartoons and playing video games.
            But we got along, Eddie and me. He’d always been there when I needed him. And his mom had often cared for me like she was my own mother, when my mom wouldn’t. I always liked being with their family. Even when Eddie was busy, or even if he wasn’t home, Aunt Polly would always invite me in and hang around until dinner. They didn’t have much, but it was enough. Their house was small white with pink trim, and the paint was pealing off. They rented it from an old man who lived up the street. Most of the time their house was a mess, but I didn’t mind. It gave a “lived-in” feel to it. Anyway, Aunt Polly worked full-time and didn’t have time to clean. She always found time to cook, though, and to garden. Theirs was a big backyard, and Aunt Polly always kept a garden growing in it. Sometimes I’d come over and help her. We’d plant things like tomatoes, squash, and sunflowers. Aunt Polly loved sunflowers.
            I suppose you could say Eddie was my best friend. He took it hard when I died. He was the one who sat with me, after the accident. I didn’t die right away. And I guess, looking back at it now, that I knew I was dying. Eddie was the last person that I ever talked to on Earth. My own mother didn’t even bother to come to the hospital when the police called her. She didn’t plan on me dying, either.

To read more, purchase Ordinary World in print or for Kindle. 

Hello There!

Hi there, and welcome to my official blog. My name is Stacy and I'm the author of Ordinary World, a novel, along with a handful of children's books, which I also illustrated. I am a freelance writer and editor, and have been making up stories ever since I uttered my first words and was allowed to play outside my playpen. Later I stumbled upon crayons and pencils and started writing with those (after I decided they didn't taste very good.)

When I'm not writing (or editing,) I'm probably watching Ghostbusters for the umpteen-hundredth time, or something Halloween-related (even if it's nowhere near Halloween.) Or I might be shopping online for stuffed Raphaels to add to my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle collection, or some Mel Gibson movie that I don't have yet (my latest obsession.) And when I'm not doing these things, or bumbling around my apartment like a fool, then I am serving my feline overlord, Mr. Lister, who tells me we must collaborate on a book soon, because he has grand dreams of being a pawthor, and I am infringing on his right to pursue those dreams by not allowing him to use my laptop.

Speaking of which...here he comes now. Pardon me while I go attend to him.