Since I’ve been rather a Gloomy Gus lately, it’s time for a giveaway. Who knows? It might become an annual event. (Yes, I realize the irony of using a smiling sun with a “gloomy” giveaway. Irony is what I live for.)
What is a Gloomy Gus? “A person who is habitually gloomy” according to Merriam-Webster.com. Out of curiosity, I searched for the origin of the term Gloomy Gus and found this:
From a comic-strip character created by Frederick Burr Opper 1937 American cartoonist
First Known Use: 1904
Thank you again, Merriam-Webster! Go here to find out more about Gloomy Gus and his brother, Happy Hooligan. This Gloomy Gus is not to be confused with Gloomy Gus the Homeless Ghost, developed by Herbert W. “Red” Holmdale. You can read about that here. There also was a football coach nicknamed Gloomy Gus. The list goes on.
Here’s an idea for a Halloween costume: Gloomy Gus. Imagine trying to explain your costume to someone without a long discussion of existentialism.
Okay, let’s get to the meat and potatoes, shall we? By that I mean the giveaway, though I hope to have meat and potatoes at some point today. One of you will receive a copy of Rogue while another of you will receive an author-signed copy of Gringolandia. These young adult novels were written by the wonderful Lyn Miller-Lachmann, a good friend and supporter of writers whose enthusiasm is always contagious. Here’s the synopsis of Rogue, which was published by Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin:
Kiara has Asperger’s syndrome, and it’s hard for her to make friends. So whenever her world doesn’t make sense—which is often—she relies on Mr. Internet for answers. But there are some questions he can’t answer, like why she always gets into trouble, and how do kids with Asperger’s syndrome make friends? Kiara has a difficult time with other kids. They taunt her and she fights back. Now she’s been kicked out of school. She wishes she could be like her hero Rogue—a misunderstood X-Men mutant who used to hurt anyone she touched until she learned how to control her special power.
When Chad moves in across the street, Kiara hopes that, for once, she’ll be able to make friendship stick. When she learns his secret, she’s so determined to keep Chad as a friend that she agrees not to tell. But being a true friend is more complicated than Mr. Internet could ever explain, and it might be just the thing that leads Kiara to find her own special power.
In Rogue, author Lyn Miller-Lachmann celebrates everyone’s ability to discover and use whatever it is that makes them different.
Here’s the synopsis of Gringolandia (Curbstone/Northwestern University Press):
Daniel’s papá, Marcelo, used to play soccer, dance the cueca, and drive his kids to school in a beat-up green taxi—all while publishing an underground newspaper that exposed Chile’s military regime.
After papá’s arrest in 1980, Daniel’s family fled to the United States. Now Daniel has a new life, playing guitar in a rock band and dating Courtney, a minister’s daughter. He hopes to become a U.S. citizen as soon as he turns eighteen.
When Daniel’s father is released and rejoins his family, they see what five years of prison and torture have done to him. Marcelo is partially paralyzed, haunted by nightmares, and bitter about being exiled to “Gringolandia.” Daniel worries that Courtney’s scheme to start a bilingual human rights newspaper will rake up papá’s past and drive him further into alcohol abuse and self-destruction. Daniel dreams of a real father-son relationship, but he may have to give up everything simply to save his papá’s life.
This powerful coming-of-age story portrays an immigrant teen’s struggle to reach his tortured father and find his place in the world.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that Lyn was interviewed last year when Rogue debuted. Since Gloomy Gus is a cartoon character, it’s only fitting that I give away a book about a character obsessed with a comic book character. Also, the cover reveal for Surviving Santiago, a companion book to Gringolandia, took place here recently, so one very fortunate winner will be all caught up before Surviving Santiago debuts.
For an extra bit of cheer, winners also will receive some crocheted flowers like these (but not these—they’re already spoken for).
Flowers are usually cheerful. Even the rare corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum) has a jaunty air. (And no, I will not comment on why this flower is so named. Google will help you there.)
Comment below to be entered in the drawing. If you feel like it, tell me about a time when someone cheered you up or you caused someone to stop being a Gloomy Gus. Winners will be announced November 5. Looking for Lyn? Look no farther than her website.
Happy Hooligan and Gloomy Gus from comicvine.com. Gloomy Gus from robot6.comicbookresources.com. Sun from clker.com. Corpse flower from hometown-pasadena.com.