Word Play is now available for the Nook!

book cover

What do two elderly continental-breakfast thieves, a fire-bug artist, two underplayed video game characters, an over-worked fairy god-mother, and a couple on the verge of breaking up have in common? Their tales all come to life, in the new work by Rachael Stanford, Word Play, intertwining questions of humanity and reality with a touch of whimsy and tragedy which is guaranteed to entrance the reader.

I’m pleased to announce that my book, Word Play, is now available on Nook Price for the great, low price of 2.99…(a version for the Kindle will be available shortly).

For the price of a cup of coffee, you can enjoy a collection of award winning plays and monologues while supporting an avid indie artist and blogger!

This has been a labor of love for me. I’m pleased to finally take my work out of the theatre and into the homes of people all around the world!

Hoop on over to the NookPress or use this link.

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Pemberley High Part 2 (Pride and Prejudice re imagined )

Ok guys, I’m a couple days late (oops) but here is part two of my for fun writing project. If you haven’t read part 1, read it here.

PART II

Pemberley High was built, if Lizzi were to venture a guess, during the early 1900’s. The town like to claim it was much newer, circa 1970 but its dilapidated, crumbling gothic architecture made her rather suspicious. During her sophomore year, she had launched an investigation into the history, but the Principal quickly shut it down.

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The school was small, almost dying.  For years, the town council had argued that it should be shut down, and the kids shuttled off to other towns to attend schools. But, with most of the parents being rather wealthy (Lizzi’s parents were the notable exception), they were able to pull the political strings to keep the school open. As a consequence, Lizzi knew every one of her classmates and had been in the same class with all of them since Kindergarten.

Lizzi and Jane arrive at school on their matching blue bikes.

“Jane!” a gaggle of girls rang out.

As Jane smiled and greeted them, Lizzi slinked towards the door.

“Lizzi,” Charlotte, a slightly round mousy girl engulfed Lizzi. “ugh I missed you. I almost went insane at my Aunts. No TV. No WIFI. No internet….I was so bored, I learned to knit.”

“That sounds wonderful!” Lizzi said. “My mom had me in modeling sessions all summer.”

Lizzi contorted her face.

“I learned that ugly is beautiful,” Lizzi continued, “and unlike my nearly perfect sister, Jane, who as our coach said, was almost too beautiful to model, I had the perfect amount of flaws.”

Charlotte gasped. Lizzi couldn’t tell if it was shock or if she was a bit envious.

Charlotte and Lizzi had been friends for as long as Lizzi could remember. Their mothers, both stay at home mothers, who worried much too much about their daughters, had quickly bonded over the twos mutual social awkwardness during the great kindergarten Valentine’s day buddies debacle. Lizzi, who had decided by then that Valentine’s day was an over commercialized- consumer driven holiday had refused to participate and instead brought a homemade heart shaped protest sign which read “Love doesn’t come from a store,” to school while Charlotte, who because of a nasty paste-eating habit and cootie scare, had been labeled as “the weird kid,” sat crying over the lack of valentine’s in her un-decorated shoe box.  What started out as a play date to socialize the girls and a chance for the mothers to drink some wine and lament, quickly turned into bff bracelets and secret handshakes.

Though recently, Lizzi worried they might be drifting apart. She had engrossed herself in every art and political outlet she could think of which seemed to bore Charlotte. While Charlotte had joined the school’s flag guard and was reveling in what little social status that seemed to bring her.  

“I even had a few job offers.” Lizzi said, “Of course I immediately turned them down and told my mother that my coach said I was a hopeless case.”

“Lizzi, you’re awful.”

“ What mom doesn’t know won’t hurt her.” Lizzi said with a smile.

“Oh hey,” Charlotte said, she arched her body around Lizzi, “ I’ve got to go say hi to the other guard girls before class. You have first period Chemistry right?”

“Yeah.”

“Awesome.” Charlotte said bouncing away. “See you then.”

——–

Drunk on children’s lit

Children’s and YA books are just plain strange. I was reminded of that this week, when I saw that Johnny Depp will be starring in a sequel to Alice in Wonderland, a movie I will not be seeing. Don’t get me wrong, I love Johnny Depp. He is a beautiful and talented piece of “man-candy,” and I even devoted most of my highschool free time (cuz my friends and I were the cool kids…) to watching every movie Johnny Depp ever starred in. FIY: He’s been in a lot of movies, and half of them are god-awful. Image

However, as I said, I won’t be seeing this movie. Not because my love of Johnny has waned or that I think the movie will be awful, but rather, because Alice in Wonderland scares the living daylights out of me. Or rather should I say scares the living-nights of out me.

This trippy, old foray into children’s literature, has since age 9, given me the same horrifyingly odd recurring nightmare (Involving Santa getting kidnapped, an evil replacement and bombs at my grade school, amongst other things.) Reading the book. Seeing a movie version. Doesn’t matter. Any in-depth mention of the story, triggers this nightmare.

I think, sometimes, for as protective as people are of children that certain books have slipped through the cracks to become classics and become a standard for children even if the story is horrifying. I don’t think this is a bad thing, just funny, considering how hard many people have tried to clean-up children’s stories. (Oh Grimm’s and Hans Christian Andersen sadly, most of your stories didn’t make the cut, but, of course, in the end, most of us find out Ariel offs herself and Cinderella’s step sister’s get their eyes pecked out by birds….).

Which is why, this week, on the news of this movie, I found this article from Barnes N Nobles especially amusing, 5 children books that makes me feel that I’m drunk. Alice in Wonderland is my drunk book, an odd, trippy sort of story which upon reflection, almost seems unwarranted for children but has still become a favorite. (My runner up is Cat in the Hat.)

What your favorite trippy children’s story?

Two things to brighten your day

Two things to brighten your day:

1)There is a very awesome web series I have stumbled upon, thanks to Vintage Books and Anchor Books facebook page, “Writers on Writing”. Below is one of my favorite ones. There are 32 in all. (I know I’ve just consumed your day.)

2) The best advice on how to open a new book.

howtoopenabook

Online Publishing, taking the plunge

I’m not sure if all writers/artist have the same editing, focus problem as I have, but I think its time I address it. I write, a lot, all over the place in fact.

I start a story, scrap it, or more often than not finish it, but then get distracted by some new wonderful project that stirs the creative juices, leaving me, with a bounty of finished, but unedited projects. I swear I will come back to them. I promise myself, but I find that over the past eight years, I have finished three novel size pieces, a few novellas and many a play.

And they just sit.

So I’m doing something about it, starting today.

And I know just the project.

Three years ago, when I was just out of grad school, I was contacted by a former flame of mine, and artist, and commissioned to write a story for him to illustrated from a graphic novel. Not my bag at all, but I figured why not branch out.  I spent the bulk of my summer, writing and editing a hundred page story for him to fashion a graphic novel after ( I know also not the traditionally way to do it but its how he wanted to.).

I was excited for him to start work on it, but soon it pandered.  He complained he didn’t have time, though I was able to give up my free time to write it and that I wasn’t dedicated, because I didn’t want to model for the book nor did I have time to be driving the three hours away to do that. (I also offered to help pay for a model but that was  shot down….)

The project died.

After considering the pros and cons of online publishing and a lot of research, I have decided to take the plunge,and am I committing myself to finishing it and having it online by the end of this year. It’s going to be a lot of mundane editing and reworking, but my story is worth it and I am worth it.

It’s time I put my longer works out there and give a chance for my voice to be heard.  Shortly, I’ll be posting little excepts and teases to wet your appetite.

Boxcar children meet Lord of the Flies.

In  what  I hope to be a bi-weekly series,  today, I’m going to talk about the book or series I’m reading and share thoughts on if you too should pick it or skip it.

This week:

Gone (series) by Michael Grant

Verdict:  Pick it.

If you don’t want some of the plot reveal now, just stop reading and go buy the book. You won’t regret it. I swear. 

The Gone series follows a group of  Perdido beach (Cali surfers)  kids who are wasting another day in school when everyone 15 or older disappears. Simultaneously, walls appear, trapping the now adult-less kids in their hometown.

Shenanigans ensure.

Puppy love.

Adventures.

Everyone rising to the occasion and caring for themselves.

Or they might, if this had been handled by another writer.

Left alone, the now “adults” 11-14 year-olds handle the burden about as well as you think children would handle it, piss poorly. Grant apparently feels that unlike many a happy children left of their own adventure story, little children would not be able to keep up with the complex infrastructure they were accustomed to. Most freak out about caring for their younger children. They squabbled. They engorge on candy while a few try to figure out the chaos.

Add in  mutant powers (and the societal unrest it brings to the normal children)  and an evil nuclear space monster (it’s more plausible than you think) and you have the perfect setting for a distopian novel.

The slow descent of many of the character into adult vices, drugs and alcohol abuse, depression, bigotry and even cannibalism is what makes this novel so interesting and yet at times so difficult to read. Take the tale  of Mary, the young woman who ends up caring for the children.  An all around likable character, and beloved by the town, by the third novel she is unrecognizable.  The constant stress of caring for the young  drives her back to former demons (anorexia and bulimia). To cope with her eating disorder, she start popping pills like a pro. This descends her into madness culminating with her plan to save the children, by committing mass suicide. Though the plan is thwarted, Mary takes the leap and disappears.

Extremely disturbing to the reader at times, the complex nature of this, loss of childhood innocence coupled with the rises of the human spirit make this gloom and doom series hard to put down.  In fact, I just ordered the fourth book off of Amazon today.

This book series isn’t for everyone. It isn’t a light and breezy feel-good book. The characters aren’t black and white but rather tragically human, trying just to survive though knowing they probably won’t and often times giving into the weight of that knowledge.

There are a few issues in this book with pacing. Long drawn out passages and frequent perspective switching are at time distracting, though nothing unforgivable.

If you liked Hunger Games or the Divergent series, give this series a try. You won’t be sorry.