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Monday, December 19, 2011

Stuff Your Stocking Blogfest: Resa Nelson

My New Approach to the Holidays by Resa Nelson
I usually slog through the holidays, feeling as if I’m dragging myself through a swamp from Thanksgiving until the end of the year. There are a lot of reasons I feel this way. The commercialization of the season makes my spirits sink. (To anyone who can ignore this or who embraces it as part of our culture, I salute you. I don’t have that ability.) And I’ve always suspected I have some form of SAD (seasonal affective disorder), except I call it MAD. I’m mad my beloved summer weather is gone. I’m mad the sun sets by 4:00 pm instead of blissfully lingering until 8:30 or so. I’m mad when it snows so much that the sidewalks where I do my daily walks don’t get cleared, which means I might not see them again until April.

But this year I’ve discovered a new secret weapon for getting through this challenging time of year. It helps to have a full spectrum light in my living room. And as long as the sidewalks are clear, I walk 2 miles a day, which also helps. (And in all honesty, it REALLY helps to have a new novel coming out during the holidays, which is happening to me for the first time – it’s so wonderfully distracting! And the weather this year has been gloriously mild!) But here’s my new coping technique: I’m watching movies that I loved in my childhood, especially ones that influenced me.

I’ve been a movie fanatic all of my life. When I was a little girl, going to the movies ranged from being a fun thing to do on a Saturday afternoon to a major treat. I grew up during the days of grand musicals like The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, and West Side Story.

This was back when palace-like theaters contained one enormous screen and balconies. Musicals had intermissions so you could stretch your legs and go buy more popcorn. Theater lobbies would get dressed up so it felt more like going to a stage play than a movie. It was heavenly. So this holiday season I’m reliving those days by stacking up DVDs of favorite movies from my childhood and watching them when I feel the need. Some are dated and politically incorrect by today’s standards, but the lessons I learned from them still feel fresh.

When I first saw Sweet Charity as a little girl, I learned that if you can’t find a husband, it’s still possible to love and be loved – you just love the people in your life and let them love you back.

Cat Ballou taught me to laugh, even in the worst of situations, and to be brave and resourceful and to never give up, even when things look bleak.

What’s Up, Doc? showed me it’s OK to not be serious all the time – it’s OK to be silly and outrageous and ridiculous.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang reminded me to think beyond the reality I live in and embrace fantasy worlds. (Although I do hope to live long enough to own a flying car!)

Thoroughly Modern Millie gave me a great role model: an independent 1920s girl, who goes to the city, raises her skirts, bobs her hair, gets a job, and has amazing adventures.

But Natalie Wood in The Great Race gave me the best role model of all: an outspoken woman in the era of suffragettes who does whatever is necessary to live the life she wants to live. When men participate in a fabulous road race around the globe, she’s determined to join the race as a journalist and succeeds, despite a slew of obstacles. Calm and determined, she keeps saying, “I’ll find a way.” This has been my lifelong mantra. Imagine my surprise when I realized I’d absorbed it from this movie.

So when I feel overwhelmed by the craziness or pressure or stress of the season, I gather my lifelong movie friends around me and watch one or more to remind myself of who I really am and how these movies helped me get here. That’s my idea of holiday cheer!

Resa Nelson is the author of the Dragonslayer series. Book 1 (The Dragonslayer’s Sword) was nominated for the Nebula Award and was also a finalist for the EPPIE Award. Book 2 (The Iron Maiden) was published earlier this month. Book 3 will be published in 2012, and she is currently writing Book 4, the last book in the series.

Nelson’s standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is a fantasy/mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave it a 5-star review, describing it as “a riveting fantasy, very highly recommended.” Ebooks and paperbacks are available from, and paperbacks are also available on Amazon and

Visit her website at

Resa is offering two giveaways!

1. Free “mini” ebook for everyone! Resa’s Dragonslayer series was inspired by her two Dragonslayer short stories that were published in Science Fiction Age magazine. (Each story was nominated for the Nebula Award.) You can download a free “mini” ebook (PDF file) that contains these two stories – there is no cost or obligation to you, and no information about you will be collected. Resa simply wants to give you a way to sample her work so you can decide if you like it or not. To download this free ebook, go to and click on Dragonslayer Stories. Like her novels, this ebook is intended for adults but is appropriate for ages 14 and up.

. One person (United States resident only) will win a signed paperback of Book 1 (The Dragonslayer’s Sword) in the Dragonslayer series.


Jean P said...

Reading your post about all the old movies, haven't watched some of those in years. Always was a fan of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Thanks for bringing those up, hope to see some of them again.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Debby said...

I remember those movies. Ahh what memories. debby236 at gmail dot com

shadow_kohler said...

Some interesting movies. I havent seen any of them excerpt for The Sound of Music. My siser used to watch this movie every day when she was little. She loves this movie! lol Happy holidays! Thanks!

wanda f said...

I love old movies .Icant count the times Ive watched Cat Ballou I loved it the first time I saw it as a teen I knew every line .Two other favorites of mine are North To Alaska and Arscenic and Old Lace.I can sit and watch them over and over
Merry Christmas

Unknown said...

Hey Risa hope you have a good year.

(from a fellow townie!)

Frank said...

Very fun, Risa! Not much of a movie watcher myself--I prefer the experience of immersing myself in a book, but it's so true that a movie can truly take you away and put you in a different world! Wishing you a blessed new year!

--flchen1, using DH's account
f dot chen at comcast dot net

VampedChik said...

I love like all of those movies! I still curl up with my mom (im 23) and watch the sound of music. That and Mary Poppins are 2 of our favs to watch together. Thanks for the free read!

Kathryn Merkel said...

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang & The Great Race are movies I can watch over & over again. They just don't make them like that anymore.

drainbamaged.gyzmo at

Resa Nelson said...

Congratulations to Amber (VampedChik)! You’ve won a paperback copy of my novel, The Dragonslayer’s Sword.

Happy New Year to everyone! I really enjoyed reading your comments.