The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy

I’ve been blog touring recently. People are reading my blog posts about the Tales from Earth’s End Saga. One reader said, “Oh, boy. I’m so excited about finding new YA reading.” The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy’s hero is a sixteen-year-old boy; thinking the series is for young adults is logical.

Hold on just a big minute! I would NOT recommend the Tales from Earth’s End Saga for YA.

Some people would. It’s a matter of how you view the world. I had one writer and blogger of YA read The Angel a while back.  She LOVED it, put me up as her Writer of the Month, and gave the book a 5 star review. She’s still a fan. Another YA reader/reviewer read The Angel, give it 4 stars, said it was a great book and ABSOLUTELY NOT FOR YA.

I agree with her. I wouldn’t let kids read it. (And I wouldn’t let them read or see The Hunger Games, either.) As I’m writing this, I’m thinking , Sandy, are you nuts? Don’t you know how violent and suggestive kids’ video games are? How about the content and emotional tone their comic books and graphic novels? Kids are inundated with violence, sex, strong language and all that from the culture at large, and from the entertainment industry––much of it targeting the YA age group. Why should   The Angel  or any of the Tales bother anyone? Compared with the rest of our culture, Tales from Earth’s End is mild.

I’m writing about this blog post because I don’t want readers to expect one thing and get something else. The Tales are luminous. Characters like the angel Eliana, who came to earth to save her planet, are breathtaking. But the world the angel finds is rough. What happens is rough. I don’t think it’s for youngsters.

The Angel takes place right before the planet is destroyed in a nuclear holocaust. The ensemble of people in the story––our heroes––know that the world is ending, but most of the population doesn’t. It’s a very dark reality; it IS the worst case scenario. The story takes place in a police state; there’s violence and some pretty heavy duty things going down. (When I write a bad guy, he or she is BAD.) The heroes are running for their lives.

How would you feel under those circumstances? I’d be freaked out. Panicked. I might let a bad word slip, or take a swing at someone. I  don’t know what I might do in such a terrifying time. So The Angel contains strong language, but not outside the bounds of what people might say in the circumstances. And the bad guys are in shoot-to-kill mode, do-whatever-you-have-to-get-the-information mode.  And they do.

I don’t think The Angel, or its sequels, are for kids. They ARE for adults.

I want to be very clear about how I define adult reading. I don’t mean smutty. I don’t mean appealing to prurient interests or parts of the human psyche that should have been dumped fifty bazillion years ago, but are still circulating, filling up the Internet and scuzzy bars. I don’t mean anything you’d see on a flashing sign on some storefront with XXX in front of it.

That type of thing is childish, not adult. Regressed, undeveloped, and appropriate for . . . what? Not children. Dopes. The people entranced by such vulgarities are immature in every way, the opposite of adult.

Sam & Emily: A Love Story from the Underground

I  write for people who are truly adult. Psychologists have a few criteria for personal maturity. It means the person  is  1) able to hold long term employment, and 2) able to have and maintain a long term relationship. Those are two criteria of emotional stability.

Not only are true adults mentally stable, they are interested in the larger questions of life. Why am I here? What is life about? Why does evil occur when it’s just as easy to be good? Why don’t we support activities that will change society positively? Why can people get away with really bad crimes? Financial crimes, like the crash in 2008?

Many big questions exist. My readers think about them.

My readers are spiritual, but not necessarily prudish. My readers want a good story that’s thrilling as well as deep. That means my work includes violence, shocking situations, love and sexuality. Things like the world coming to an end, and really bad bad guys. The Tales from Earth End Saga and Bloodsong Series have all of those. They are written for maximum impact. I have some things I want to say and problems I want to address. My fiction expresses my feelings and helps me––and hopefully you––work out those issues.

There’s another thing about writing for adults. The material can include sex. Do you know the type of writing I consider the least sexy? What’s produced by the romance industry. When I was getting Sam & Emily: A Love Story from the Underground ready for publication, I was thinking of it as a romance. I signed up for a bunch of the romance pages on Facebook and set about getting acquainted. One extremely well known romance writer said, “Oh, read the first chapter of my new romance!” She gave a link.

I followed it and read. Gasped. Read a bit more. What I was reading was perversion, not romance. Nothing romantic about it. It was disgusting and poorly written.

I changed Sam & Emily’s genre from romance immediately. It’s a love story. Is there sex in it? Yes, but it doesn’t step over a line. One of the guys who worked on the book prepublication said, “You don’t go on for pages and pages about what they do. It’s in good taste. You don’t go over a line.”

My mother’s famous advice, “You have to have sex in it, Sandy. No one will buy it otherwise.” Isn’t she cute with her little poodle?

My ultimate arbiter for what’s OK and what’s not is my mom. If you have permission from your mom, you can do anything. Here’s a link to an article about some writing advice my mom gave me once. The whole article is great, but here’s the bottom line:

“Why, Sandy, you have to have sex in it. No one will buy it otherwise,” mom said.  What else do I need?

The focus of my work is Visionary Fiction, which I define as fiction having a moral core, “Do good, avoid evil,” and a positive thrust. No matter how bad things get, humanity does point toward the good road. It may be just a few humans–as it is in The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy––that do right, but we do. We’re on a road to being all we can be, no matter where that road takes us.

Reading  the three books of Tales from Earth’s End is like embarking on a journey. You shove off the river’s shore, struggle a bit, and then you’re swept away. You enter a new world, a new reality.

I think the books get better as the series progresses. I’m so in love with Sam Baahuhd that it’s not funny. You see him in The Angel, but he dominates the last book, Sam & Emily, which is a love story. The story of Sam and the love of his life.

Here’s a blog post from yesterday (I don’t know how long they’ll leave it up, so I’d read it sooner rather than later), that talks about Tales from Earth’s End and where it came from in greater depth.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Please stop by my blog tour when you have time. It runs through the end of November. We’re got a free Kindle Fire to give to someone, so be sure and scroll way down on my blog tour page and register for it. Sandy’s Blog Tour Web Page.  Cash prizes go to the reader who comments the most on the blog stops and the blog host with the most traffic.

Oh! Here’s something cool: a video about the Tales from Earth’s End. See and feel what the books are like:

Sandy Nathan, Award-winning Author

Sandy Nathan is the winner of twenty-two national awards for her writing. She’s won in categories from memoir, to visionary fiction, to children’s nonfiction. And more.

Sandy’s  books are: (Click link to the left for more information on each book. All links below go to Kindle sale pages.)
Sam & Emily: A Love Story from the Underground (paperback & Kindle available)
Lady Grace: A Thrilling Adventure Wrapped in the Embrace of Epic Love (paperback & Kindle available)
The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy
Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could

Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice

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