Now & Forever ABCs (Allison)

Allison Zola Paradis

Born 26 November 1995
Zen Buddhist

Allsion is an artist.  It’s all she cares about, it’s all she wants to do.  She has little to no attention span for academia beyond artistic techniques and history.  Actually, Allison tends to have little to no attention span for much of anything except her friend and family, whom she loves deeply, and her adoration of horses and horse riding.  She’s a quirky girl with short chestnut hair and a propensity for dressing in whatever she pulls out of her dresser with barely a regard for how it matches.

Allison has been dating Jacob for awhile and, despite frequent arguments, the two actually get along famously.  She’s Zach’s cousin, the pair’s mothers are sisters, and growing up so close together has led to a deep friendship between them.

While Allison is the first person to explain that she isn’t too bright, it’s not really true.  She can be quite brilliant when she wants to be, but she does march to the beat of her own piccolo — her brain is quite off kilter from the reality those around her perceive.

Her artistic tastes vary widely, but her first great love is painting.  Any medium will do:  watercolours, oil, acrylic, airbrush, etc.  Her greatest loves are oil and watercolour.  Her style leans toward the photorealistic — and she has a profound admiration for many of the renaissance era painters — but she does them in rather fantastic and even surrealist scenarios.  For example, she might paint a pair of women in exquisite detail, even enhancing and refining their actual features, but they’re the centrepiece of a scene of some bizarre landscape out of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  Her works tend to make statements, especially if you take several of them together, but not always — some are merely inspired by some thought and are expressing it, these are often depictions of some aspect of Buddhist philosophy or mythology/legend.

She used to attend the same church as Lauren, and is one of Lauren’s oldest friends, but as the time to begin preparing for Confirmation drew close she began to question her Christian upbringing and faith.  She embarked on a spiritual quest for something that spoke more closely to her view of the world.  She tried Wicca for a few months, but eventually settled on Zen Buddhism where she finally found the spiritual peace she craved.

There is some suspicion among her friends that Allison might be bisexual; something to which she makes little to no effort to deny.  Though if she is, she has never acted upon it having only ever admitted to crushes on boys and having only ever dated boys — though, when in a teasing mood, her friends will often point to Jacob as proof since the boy is very effeminate in appearance and manner.

Announcing: Love or Lust now available!

Love or Lust coverNow available in eBook and Print: Love or Lust the first of four books in the Now & Forever series.

A light-hearted, slice-of-life, romantic-comedy for young adults, Love or Lust introduces you to Lauren Conners, a ballerina, a Good Girl, studious, and sweet, and to Salencia Constellino, an exotic, irreverent cowgirl new to the little Washington town.

When the girls meet it’s love at first sight; sparks fly, angels sing, lightning and fireworks. But they attend the best school in the area, a Catholic secondary school, Immaculate Conception. It’s not just their school that brings trouble for the young couple. The young teens have their own inner turmoils and anxieties — especially Lauren, who always wants to think the best of people, but quickly learns just how petty people can get.

It’s an uplifting story, though, meant to inspire and give hope. The girls have supportive and loving friends and families. And, largely, the obstacles of life and of being teenagers are navigated with quirky senses of humour and strange misunderstandings.

In this book Lauren and Sally are first and foremost, young high school freshmen, fourteen years old and trying to make sense of themselves and the world around them. It is my hope that it might show people that we’re all human beings no matter who it is we choose to love. That homosexual, heterosexual, bixsexual, asexual, trisexual, or what have you, are still people; still feeling beings with hopes and dreams.

Print book us$17.99/£11.50/€13.75
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eBook us$3.99. Available in numerous countries at proportionate price.
Currently in:
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Coming soon to:
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Sometimes it is, because it is.

When writing, sometimes a rose is a rose because it isn’t a geranium.

Recently I reblogged a commentary by Seanan McGuire about sometimes someone’s a character is gay because they’re gay. Honestly it’s true of so much of fiction.

In an edition of Little Women that’s put out by Barnes & Noble there’s a contemplation about the girls‘ generosity and selflessness that doesn’t once contemplate that the girls are … wait for it … simply good people! It even contemplates ‘their masochism‘ in giving up their Christmas breakfast to a starving family! They can afford to have a nicer dinner to make up for skipping breakfast, afford to spare this breakfast to one poorer even that they are and so elect, on Christmas, not to let a poor woman and her children go hungry and this is masochism?!

Besides the criticism I could make of such short sighted analysis, it makes a beautiful point – at times you need look no further than the words in front of your face to find the reasons for it. Call it masochism or call it charity the reason is before you: because that woman and her family was hungry, and the sisters were not – not in that context in any case. Why are they so pious? Is it competition with one another? Emulation of their mother? Well, perhaps somewhat the latter in the sense that she was a good Christian woman and taught the girls to be good Christian women themselves.

It’s behaviour, it’s race, sexuality, height, eye colour, hair colour, tastes in music, all of it comes down to basic characterisation. In Now & Forever, Lauren is a redhead. Simply because she has red hair. Salencia is half Italian because her father is born and bred in Naples. They story is unaffected by it, it just is. Or is there some impact on the story? A subtle one? I think so, actually. You get to know the characters a little. You now know just a bit more about them. This helps one understand them better. Identifying with the character shouldn’t have to mean that she is just like yourself, it should mean that the author has done a fair job of giving you proper insight into the characters’ motivations, thoughts, and feelings.

The biggest question, though, comes back to why? Why should there be some purpose or meaning behind these details? Why should Lauren’s eyes being green-hazel have any significance or symbolism? Why should the fact that one of Sally’s best friends in Colorado is a heavyset girl matter as more than a marker to show that she isn’t skinny? Is there some significance that Sarah is black, or that she’s a cheerleader? No. They are because they are. Lucy isn’t generic Native American to try to include any tribal groups of the United States, she’s Native American and generically so because she’s Lucy. Just as the March girls are pious and generous because they’re part of the March family.

Is there, at times, symbolism and purpose in fiction? Absolutely. Intentional and unintentional. I’m almost guaranteed to commit the latter a thousand times more often than the former, but in Pride and Predjudice you can’t go three words without hitting a deliberate symbol. Sometimes a character is something because they must be; Love or Lust and its sequels can hardly be a girl-meets-girl love story if one or both of them is a firm zero on the Kinsey Scale.

Personally I think one should avoid ‘there’s a reason …’ thinking beyond what simply must be. If you want to write a romance, you need to pick some characters who’re attracted to one another, but beyond that just let them be. If they wind up all Asian, all Agnostic goat herdsmen, or a group of magenta aliens from Ultharen, then so be it. It needn’t mean anything. This goes for readers and writers alike. See the story that’s before you, write the story that’s in your mind. We needn’t always over think the words and the works.

God in Heaven! Progress?!

Well, as can be seen the blog shows signs of being worked on.
I’m, frankly, rather proud of myself. It’s amazing what gets accomplished when we stop sitting around not wanting to do them and praying they’ll just do themselves.

Now & Forever‘s first book, Love or Lust, has been given to my editor. If she can do this one quickly it could be out as early as July, or as late (in theory) as December.