Tuesday, June 13, 2017

My Guiltiest Pleasure by Margo Catts, Author of Among the Lesser Gods + Giveaway (US/Can)

Among the Lesser Gods
Margo Catts
from Arcade Publishing (Skyhorse)

“Tragedy and blessing. Leave them alone long enough, and it gets real hard to tell them apart.”

Elena Alvarez is living a cursed life. From the deadly fire she accidentally set as a child, to her mother’s abandonment, and now to an unwanted pregnancy, she knows better than most that small actions can have terrible consequences. Driven to the high mountains surrounding Leadville, Colorado by her latest bad decision, she’s intent on putting off the future. Perhaps there she can just hide in her grandmother’s isolated cabin and wait for something—anything—to make her next choice for her.

Instead, she is confronted by reflections of her own troubles wherever she turns—the recent widower and his two children adrift in a changed world, Elena’s own mysterious family history, and the interwoven lives within the town itself. Bit by bit, Elena begins to question her understanding of cause and effect, reexamining the tragedies she’s held on to and the wounds she’s refused to let heal.

But when the children go missing, Elena’s fragile new peace is shattered. It’s only at the prospect of fresh loss and blame that she will discover the truth of the terrible burdens we take upon ourselves, the way tragedy and redemption are inevitably intertwined—and how curses can sometimes lead to blessings, however disguised.

On My Guiltiest Pleasure

I like a lot of things we all know we shouldn’t. Pie, including stealing crust from other people’s plates. Hot-water-hogging long showers. Aimless noodling on Pinterest. Then there are the things we understand we should feel guilty about, even though we don’t. Being rude to old folks. (For the hundredth time, Granny. Boundaries.) Naps. (Hey—just one part of healthy Mediterranean living.) I think these things are called “guilty pleasures” because somebody else is telling us to feel guilty about something we actually enjoy. Mine? Reality TV.

It ain’t classy, I know. I come from a family that watches a lot of documentaries and reads history and long-form journalism, people who teach Shakespeare and get graduate degrees. Watch CSPAN, for heaven’s sake. In fact, I could bet money right now that you can’t stump my mother on identifying the party and level of heinousness of any current member of Congress.

But me? I love The Bachelorette. (And The Bachelor. And the thoroughly trashy Bachelor in Paradise.) I host watch parties. I’m in fantasy leagues. I blog. I’m also faithful and true to the original social-experiment reality show, Survivor. And mind-blowing creative competition shows, Project Runway, Top Chef, The Great British Baking Show, So You Think You Can Dance. Sure, I can hold up my end of a news-based conversation, but when it comes to what I really want to watch... well, let’s just say I wake up extra happy on Monday mornings during Bachelorette season.

I think the people who look down on reality TV just don’t get what’s really going on. As a writer, I’m fascinated by people—the choices they make, the unintended ways they reveal themselves, their quirks and wrestles and flaws and hopes and heroism. And the classy people who raised me made it clear that staring and talking about people is not cool. But then reality TV came along and I found a loophole: people who put themselves on television have just invited me to stare at them and talk about them. They signed agreements. They have voluntarily brought their variable levels of maturity and judgment to an elaborate artificial-world social experiment, performed in front of a flickering two-way mirror.

Am I going to look? Hell yes. Every. Single. Minute. And I don’t feel even slightly guilty about it.

About the Author

Margo Catts grew up in Los Angeles and has since lived in Utah, Indiana, and Colorado. After raising three children in the U.S., she and her husband moved to Saudi Arabia, where her Foreign Girl blog was well known in the expat community.

Originally a freelance editor for textbooks and magazines, she has also done freelance writing for business, technical, and advertising clients, all the while working on her fiction. She is a contributing author to Once Upon an Expat.

Among the Lesser Gods is her first novel. She now lives in Denver, Colorado.


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of Among the Lesser Gods—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is answer Margo's question in the comments below:
Among the Lesser Gods is about a young woman trying to figure out whether or how to embrace an ordinary, messy life after the trauma that followed a childhood misdeed. What event, accident, look, or behavior from your own childhood would YOU least want to show up on reality TV?

Mine: I sucked my thumb waaaay past the expiration date. Like, through grade school. Though... hmmm... those yarn-tied over-the-ear ponytails were pretty bad, too.

What about you?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Margo and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at TLC Book Tours and Arcade Publishing!
Giveaway ends June 27th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!