lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

A Rocky Rat January 11, 2017

Filed under: Animal Antics — meganorussell @ 6:00 pm
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For the past week, I’ve been working out on an island in southwest Florida. It’s gorgeous, it’s amazing, it has a ton of animals. The island is filled with swampy-type critters and sanctuaries for said critters. And we’ve met a few new… friends.

Our lovely director has a kind heart, and when she was coming into the theatre, she found a tiny critter in destress. Naturally, we had to help this rat. Yep: rat. It was a cute rat, mind you. Walking shakily in circles, not really noticing all of us creeping closer to it. The poor little dude was eating a rock. A rat eating a rock. Naturally, we named him Rocky.

Our young, but incredibly apt, Stage Manager called the island’s animal rescue folks, and they said to load poor Rocky into a box and drive him over.

I wish I could say I was one of the ones putting the disoriented rat into the box, but really I just ran and found a box. (more…)

 

The Pregnant Nun January 5, 2017

Filed under: Starting Off Strange — meganorussell @ 3:30 pm
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I’m weird. If you’ve been to this blog before, I’m sure you’ve realized that. But there’s nothing like spending time with family to remind you just how terribly weird you are.

I got to spend Christmas with my mom and sister this year, which is a rare treat for a performer. My husband was there; my sister’s husband and his parents were there. We were all chatting, and at one point my mom said something like, “Well, I knew you were going to be weird when I made the nun your mother.”

Outside of my family, you would think that was the ravings of a mad woman, but no no, it’s true.

I grew up in an inn, and some of the many things that happened between those brown brick walls were murder mysteries. You’d arrange the group, my mother would mail everyone a character, you’d come to the house, and we’d slowly kill you all off. It was usually a good, family-friendly time.

When I was about four (so my sister was around six), a group was coming in, and the woman who should have turned out to be the killer according to my mother’s grand plan for the evening didn’t show. (more…)

 

Christmas in Exeter Street December 28, 2016

Happy very late Christmas! I hope yours was wonderful!

Mine was rather like Christmas in Exeter Street. If you’ve never heard of it, you should read it. The book is about this house where everyone ends up for Christmas. Some by design, some by accident. But Father Christmas brings gifts to them all, and they have a great holiday. There ends up being eighteen children in the house, and poor Father Christmas has to count on his toes to be sure he’s left gifts for them all. The homeless baby is especially hard to find since she’s sleeping in the kitchen sink. No, really, that’s where they put her.

Reading Christmas in Exeter Street was a tradition when I was little. There’s a two page illustration that shows everyone sleeping in the house. There are men on mantle pieces, a pastor and his wife in the tub, it’s great. My sister and I would go through and count all the people to make sure there really were eighteen children for Father Christmas to bring gifts to. We still count to this day, like the picture might somehow change.

Going back to the book as an adult, there are some very strange things child me didn’t notice. (more…)

 

A Problematic Pie December 17, 2016

Sometimes the biggest deal can happen over the smallest thing… like pie.

One of my summers in beautiful Alaska, our food situation got strange. There were issues with different companies, such as who owned what building, but the end of the mess found us all eating family dinner at the theatre every night. It was awesome! The chef for the theatre made us a special meal, and we didn’t even have to go anywhere for it!

A bit into the summer, the chef decided to give us a treat and ordered us some pies. And the pies became a bi-weeklyish tradition. They came in a variety pack. I don’t remember all the kinds, but I know that the one we liked best was the cookies and crème pie. We would save that one for last or use it for someone’s birthday. It was great, a super awesome treat we all looked forward to. Until the sad day the cookies and crème pie was missing. (more…)

 

A Burning Legend December 14, 2016

You know those family legends that get passed down, and you know the core of them, but the details get fuzzy? Well this is one of those.

My great-uncle or Dad’s second cousin or something like that, liked to blow fire. It was a party trick that he liked to show off, and I guess he was pretty decent at it. Well, he worked in garage and one day decided to show off for his buddies and blow fire in the garage. He didn’t have booze, so he decided to use gasoline…

Well, gasoline burns much faster than drinking alcohol. So, the fire raced down his throat and burned the inside of his stomach!

All pretty tragic, but he actually survived and ended up in the hospital. When he was finally allowed to go home, they gave him strict orders not to eat any solid food. (more…)

 

Missing the World December 9, 2016

If you had to leave the world, what would you miss the most? Not your friends and family (they can come with you); you have to leave the world itself. Fields and streams, mountains and oceans, even blizzards and thunderstorms must be left behind.

Would you miss the scent of salt coming off the ocean? Maybe the victorious feeling of summiting a mountain? Maybe it’s busy streets and rock concerts that you would pine for.

Nola Kent grew up without any of those things. Kept safe from the dangers of a failing world behind glass walls. (more…)

 

The Privilege of Compassion December 6, 2016

My new YA mid-apocalyptic sci-fi Girl of Glass is now available in eBook and paperback!

If you’re a person who reads, you’ve probably read a dystopian novel. From Hunger Games to Divergent, Lord of the Flies to Maze Runner we’ve seen plagues, corrupt governments, and all sorts of suffering as the world crumbles. But we always seem to look up from the bottom.

The stories of the end of our world are told from the point of view of the bottom. Those who suffer, starve, and bleed. Who fight for every scrap of food and wonder each night if they’ll live to see morning. The ones who the tumbling governments have chosen to abuse or experiment on.

But what would the end of order look like from the top? If you were one of the chosen one percent who were meant to survive, how would you view the decaying world?

Would you be like the rich in the Capital of Panem, seeing the poor as little more than animals that can be killed for entertainment? Would you be a doctor and create a terrible maze to study the ill?

Magnolia Kent can’t stand to see either of those terrible things happen.

girl-of-glass-coverTwo worlds…one glass wall…no turning back.

The human race has been divided. The chosen few live in the safety of the domes, watching through their glass walls as those left on the outside suffer and die. But desperation has brought invention, and new drugs have given the outsiders the strength to roam the poisoned night unafraid – but it comes at a price.

Seventeen-year-old Nola Kent has spent her life in the domes, being trained to protect her little piece of the world that has been chosen to survive. The mission of the domes is to preserve the human race, not to help the sick and starving. But when outsider Kieran Wynne begs for Nola’s help in saving an innocent life, she is drawn into a world of darkness and danger. The suffering on the other side of the glass is beyond anything Nola had imagined, and turning her back on the outside world to return to the safety of the domes may be more than she can stand. Even when her home is threatened by the very people Nola wants to help.

Now Available:         Amazon         Barnes & Noble         iBooks         Kobo

 

Looking at a dystopian world from the point of view of privileged compassion is what began the story of Girl of Glass. What are the moral implications of the survivors? How much pain can you ignore and still call yourself human? But compassion is costly, and when the world is being driven into darkness, touching the shadows comes at a terrible price. Those are the choices Nola Kent has to make.

What would you choose? How much suffering would you be able to watch if you knew you could stay safely away from it? Could you lose the compassion that defines us as humans in order to preserve the human race?

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Girl of Glass by Megan O'Russell

Girl of Glass

by Megan O’Russell

Giveaway ends December 16, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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