Tuesday, June 8, 2010

sex as a life force

congrats to melissa (@booksthings)
who won a signed copy of Silver Phoenix
and two brush art cards of her choice.
thanks everyone!!

hello everyone! cindy pon here! =)
i'm just going to jump right in

and leave introductions for later. it's such a
thrill to be part of this wonderful group of authors!

i wanted to piggyback on melissa's fantasic post
about sex in young adult books. i'll be attending my
very first local RWA panel, and it's about young adult
literature and how it differs from adult novels. i think
out of all the genres, young adult is evolving the most.
the lines are blurring (especially, i find, in fantasy) and
it's pushing all sorts of boundaries and taking risks.
i had originally written Silver Phoenix as an adult fantasy,
but it sold as young adult.

there are violent aspects (demons, corpse
monsters, shapeshifters, oh my!) in my novel
as well as sexual elements that are pretty
fundamental to the theme of the story. but it seemed
it was always the sex parts that got mentioned
in industry reviews.

this past weekend, a fellow writer who had just
read my debut interviewed me on her blog. she asked
a very interesting question about my use of sex in the
novel as a life force, a source of power. i was taken
aback, as i had never thought of it that way.

in contemporary young adult books, there is
discussion about teen sex and consequences,
or the lack thereof. in Silver Phoenix (which is
inspired by the myth, folkore and culture of ancient china),
i tried to stay true to the thinking of the time.
a girl's place in society is to stay within the
inner quarters of her home and, if she is
a good daughter and wife, to make babies.
preferably sons. this is the "young adult" life
at the time. teen sex isn't about decisions, labels,
finding yourself or consequences. much less
about love and pleasure.

it's about duty, filial piety, and obligation.

it's something that my heroine, ai ling, has
to come to terms with. and ultimately uses
to her advantage to defeat her enemy.

although sex is often addressed in less explicit
terms in young adult novels, i don't feel the
scope of it is any less wide-ranging than in their
adult counterparts. i actually think that it's in
those crucial teen years, when feelings
of sex, desire and longing may resonate the
most--a time for firsts. and is there anything
more powerful or unforgettable?


i'm an author and artist who stays at home
with my two bubs, munchkin (5) and sweet pea (6).
i write, daydream, surf and procrastinate when they
are in school. i have slept with the sheets pulled up
to my neck for probably 25 years now (since age 12)
to avoid vampire bites. tho i know it'd be a futile
deterrent, it still makes me feel better.
Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom
of Xia was the first novel i wrote, after a more than
decade long hiatus from creative writing. (i'd like to
say that my children drove me to write. =)

although it may read like a historical fantasy,
there is no lack of the supernatural or the
paranormal! my sequel, Fury
of the Phoenix will be released in april 2011.

i've also been a student of chinese brush painting
for almost a decade (not long compared to my
classmates!) and am working with my editor on a
children's picture book featuring my brush art.

today, i'm happy to give away :

1. a signed copy of Silver Phoenix.

2. two greeting cards featuring my original
brush paintings. these were chosen because they
are being shown at the county fair art exhibit this
summer. or the winner can go to my etsy site and
choose her/his own two favorites!

*Blobby Cat!

*Lily Nestled in Rock.

this contest is open INTERNATIONALLY.
to enter (up to +4 entries!) :

+1 if you tweet, facebook status or

blog about this contest and link directly to this

+1 by following supernatural underground
on twitter

+1 by following this blog.

+1 by "liking" our facebook page.

be sure to tally your
entries in the comment section here!
i will choose a winner randomly some time next
tuesday, june 15, and announce on the top of this
blog post. =D

thank you and good luck!!

@cindypon on twitter


Tracey O'Hara said...

Great post Cindy - I didn't leave a comment of Melissa's post because I need time to think about the theme of sex in YA.

I am very much an adult writer - infact my books are maked as 18+ which suits me because I would not want my young neice reading my book just yet.

You are right. Teenagers are thinking about sex - they are built that way. Thier bodies are serging with hormones designed to drive them to it. But if they there is proper education about sex and especially the consequenses of it, hopefully teenagers will think about it, maybe even fantasize about it but leave the actial act to later in life. I really don't think reading it in about it in a book is going to change that when it is portrayed so mucn more on TV and movies. And especially when you say that it is a part of the times you are writing about.

BTW you book sounds awesome. I've had to add so many great book to my reading list since joining this blog.

cindy said...

aren't you on the east coast, tracey? i was reading jean auel at age 14 and was totally a late bloomer. with an overactive imagination. =) i think there is a place to talk about consequences regarding sex in both adult/YA fiction, and also not. you know? god forbid every book that had sex in it was a Public Service Announcement.

but that's just my humble opinion. =)

Tracey O'Hara said...

Hey Cindy - I'm in Australia :). And I agree with being to preachy in books that spoil the story - but I believe education should be outside - i.e. sexual education from sources other than books, like school and in the home.

Anonymous said...

That's exactly how I think it should be - if sex is a part of the story that you're telling, then you should never feel obliged to exclude it from the book because young people may read your book.

I've never heard of Silver Phoenix before, but it sounds quite intriguing :) ... and, your brush paintings are lovely!

I'm following on Twitter (@izibellz), I like Supernatural Underground on Facebook (Izabela Colf), and I'm a follower of this blog. Tweet Tweet: http://twitter.com/izibellz/status/15696280925

(5 entries)

Snazel said...

INTERESTING! I'd read several historical fictions with arranged marriages, but I'd never had it (baby-making) spelled out in such a way. Hmmm. Now I must think on this.

I'm a follower and a facebook liker, so that makes three entries, I think!

Sharon S. said...

Nice to finally meet you Cindy! I have visited your website and love your art! I have always been a fan of brush art. It is so calming and your colors make me smile. But, back to books . I think your book is a wonderful way to introduce YA to what life was (and still is in some parts of the world) like for girls. It's not all Ipods and dating. I'm not much of a adult historical fiction fan cause they tend to get bogged down in so much setting detail. But I do love to read about cultural lore and customs in my fiction. Your book sounds like a great choice for me and my 14 daughter. Can't wait to read it and I will be visiting your etsy page!

I get +4!

Miriel said...

After having attended a sci-fi convention in my home town where the subject of writing for a young adult or teen audience was a feature for the weekend, I have to say this post is timely. As an aspiring writer, this is a necessary topic to think about, the inclusion of sex (and it's consequences, or lack of) and how it drives the storyline.

I "Liked" this post on the Facebook page. And even if I don't win, I'm off to find this book and others at my library or bookstore!

Support your local libraries!

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

Hi Cindy, this is such a great and interesting post and I totally agree with you--its about how it fits into the story! Silver Phoenix sounds soooo cool and your art is beautiful! I'd love to win! Looking forward to reading your book:-)

Katie said...

Interesting insight into sex and YA. Thanks for sharing it!

I love the painting on the cards! They are soooo wonderful!

+2 twitter (thebigferret) and follower here (bigferret)

Thanks again!

Unknown said...

Sex is such a significant part of life that it is hard to believe that it does not exist (at least in some form), even in a fictitious world. It's always such a controversial topic, yet it is the one thing that undoubtedly connects all humans. I believe reviewers focus on the sexual encounters that occur in novels because that is its credibility; sex exists in this world therefore, you can imagine this world's possible existence. Sex is a major life-force in real life, so reasonably it would serve as such in a life-like fantasy world.

I follow this blog and like the facebook page.

cindy said...

tracey, i knew that! congrats again to you too! =D

thanks bella! Silver Phoenix is a little different than what's out there but if you read it, i hope you enjoy it! =)

sharon, give it a try if your daughter likes it. =D since it's YA, the pacing is *fast*.

thanks miriel!

frankie, make sure you TALLY ENTRIES FOR ME HERE! =)

katie, i enjoy chinese brush painting so much. it's very serene. thank you!!

CaitieScott said...

Your book sounds amazing. This blog has really helps open my eyes to new authors.
- I did a Facebook status about this contest
- i follow supernatural underground on twitter
-i follow this blog passionately
- i like the facebook page

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I don't think that sex in YA should be a public service announcement (how boring is that? lol) but I do believe that consequences should be shown appropriate to the story. All choices and actions have consequences. Sometimes it might even be good. Not all are bad. I do love the way you put it culturally, however. All views should be explored. Not in one book (talk about exhausting to read).

Btw, I have tried Chinese brush painting. I can tell everyone that it is hard. These are beautiful!

I will tweet when twitter is not showing a fail whale. :P
I follow this blog on twitter (@BooksThings)
I "like" the FB page.
I follow the blog.
4 entries total. :)

cindy said...

melissa, i totally agree. my sequel, Fury of the Phoenix is ALL about consequences. you don't make choices and do Major Things in life without repercussions. and thank you! chinese brush art is so deceptively simple looking sometimes. like just a bamboo leaf, or a rock. i could spend years studying to try and perfect.

rice paper is very unforgiving.

caitie, thank you!

YA Book Queen said...

Very intriguing post...I agree that it's definitely obvious that in a lot of YA books there's a lack of discussion about sex & consequences (although there is some, thankfully). It's nice to see that now more authors are stepping up to the challenge of addressing it instead of shying away from such a controversial topic. :)

And I have to say, you are a wonderful artist! I've seen your work before when browsing online, and it's gorgeous!

+1 follow s.u. on twitter (@YABookQueen)
+1 Follow blog
+1 liking FB page (Lea-YA Book Queen)

lavendersbluegreen said...

Hmmmmm... point made.
Thanks for the introduction Cindy! I added you to my book spreadsheet and will be on the lookout for Silver Phoenix!
Lovely painting.
+1 bc I follow supernatural underground on twitter.
+1 bc I "like" supernatural underground on facebook
+ 1 bc I follow blog

Merrie Destefano said...

Your book sounds SO awesome. I love the fact that it's filled with myth and folklore of ancient China. When I read I love to go places I've never been--whether it's another country, another time or another world.

I'm putting Silver Phoenix on my Next-To-Purchase list. Can't wait to read it!

[By the way, don't count me in the tally.]

And congrats on the awesome news about Silver Phoenix being one of VOYA's best fantasy, sci-fi, and horror novels in 2009!

cindy said...

thanks so much merrie! i look forward to hearing about all of the SU books. it's so true, keep adding great reads to my pile!!

cindy said...

lea, great to see you here! =D

LBG, i hope you enjoy it if you do read it!

LuvCherie said...

It always annoys me when ignorant people get all up in arms about historically accurate situations because it doesn't meet their modern morality/PC standards. Like banning period appropriate classic books because of the N word. Just talk to kids about the differences between that time period and ours. See it as an opportunity to teach them about history.

+4 facebook status, twitter follow, blog follow, facebook page like :)

Jackie Uhrmacher said...

Great post! I've noticed YA novels getting closer and closer to that sexual border, and I think it's fabulous. I don't want full-on hard-core lovin', but discussing the topic to a certain extent is beneficial, I think.

+1 for tweeting

+1 by following supernatural underground on twitter.

+1 by "liking" our facebook page.

Total= 3 points

Jessica @ a GREAT read said...

Much like I said in Melissa's post regarding sex in books, I walk the middle line. In YA books, I don't mind if it's done tastefully because I cringe thinking of teenagers having sex so much like in the adult books I read. I know it happens, I don't deny it, I never did things like that in high school. I'm a little too old school for my age!

Anyway, I like how a quite a few YA books today deal with sex, some build up to it and then the characters back down or are interrupted and others go through with it, but that's all we see for awhile. The teens aren't jumping in the sack right away again next book, at least not in any of the series I've read.

So I acknowledge that it happens with teens and therefore is okay to have in the YA books, again, as long as it is done tastefully. Nothing too hardcore for the YA readers I hope. Some adult stuff that I read or stuff from other adult books that has been read to me by friends, is way too hardcore for YA.

With adult books it's almost like whatever. Casual or random sex happens more with adult books so seeing it randomly every book or every few chapters is normal and the characters are adults and can make their own decisions and live with them. That doesn't bother me really.

I don't know if that makes my a hypocrite though. I don't want to sound like that. Again, I could go on forever about this topic and still just come up with the same answers. I walk the middle line, while I don't like thinking of teenagers having sex, I know it happens and I still enjoy the YA book when I read it. Especially if the sex is done tastefully, I find myself feeling for the characters even though they are younger than I am!

+1 I follow this blog

Ann Herrick said...

Cindy, I slept with the sheet up to my neck for YEARS after watching a TV program when I was a kid where people were murdered by having their necks raked over with a 3-pronged gardening tool!

Patricia Lynne said...

Beautiful paintings!
I've never thought of sex as life force.
I can think of a few things as unforgettable when i was a teen: Embarrassment.
that's a strong force teens deal with too. it's gotta be on par with sex. we all remember our first love, we all remember our first kiss and we all remember how we made huge idiots of ourselves over something trivial. (kinda makes me glad those years are far behind!)
I follow the blog, facebook and twitter +3

cindy said...

jackie, i think dialogue is key!

jessica, i think most author write what they believe is true to their stories and characters, and some WILL create dialogue and address consequences and others not. that's interesting that adult books can be more anything goes. maybe because we figure adult readers have it "figured out" by then. but do we all really? ha!

ann, YIKES! i wish i knew the reason behind my strange habit. i'm pretty sure i didn't read dracula until later...

patricia, everything *mattered* in those years. i remember, yes. and embarrassment, yes. also tied in so well with feelings of love and desire and sex.

Brenda Hyde said...

I've been thinking about this topic for awhile now. First, I'm a mom to three kids- 17, 16 and 10. I also love reading YA myself. I think sex is fine IF it's a realistic portrayal of teen sex. It's NOT the same as it is between two mature adults who trust each other. I guess I'm saying I do want the consequences worked into the plot if sex is involved, not as a lecture but not a fairytale version either. Hey, I'm almost 50 and I remember those feelings of that first relationship pretty clearly--more clearly than the boy himself. LOL If I ever include sex in a YA book or story I would work those feelings into it, though I know it's different for everyone. I hope that makes sense.

I'm a follower on twitter, facebook and google friends:)

Book Chatter Cath said...


+1 for following this blog
+1 for following on twitter
+1 for liking on facebook

I have read paranormal novels for years and have just started reading the YA paranormal stuff and I LOVE it!!
And I'm not afraid to let my 12 year old read it as alot of the 'sexual' stuff is alot more emotional rather than just plain sex unlike the stuff she can freely get access to on TV, online, YouTube etc. Its much easier to monitor a book than all the visual entertainment out there.
Thanks to all the fantastic writers out there:)


cindy said...

moon, totally get that. we all have our preferences. those feelings in the teen years are *intense*.

cath, thank you! and i would personally let my daughter read Silver Phoenix at age 12, i think! tho i do think maturity of reading levels vary in all kids.

nymfaux said...

--thought I just posted, but I can't find it, so sorry if I'm reposting--

Hi Cindy!
I'm half-way through Silver Phoenix as we speak/type! I started reading an excerpt and couldn't wait for the rest--I had to download it right away! (although I still wouldn't turn down a hard copy:)

I think you made a great point when you said you started writing Silver Phoenix as an adult book--Because the author is the only one who can tell us where the characters are going and where the story needs to go...And whether sex is a part of the story or not, is really the same as every other part of the story--does it work, or doesn't it?

Marketing can always decide where a book should go on the shelves.

--Also, your brush strokes are amazing!!!

+1 tweeted (moviebunny)/posted a link on facebook
+1 follow SU on twitter
+1 follow this blog
+1 "Like" SU on facebook
=4 points= :)

Kimberly B. said...

Great post! I've heard great things about Silver Phoenix and can't wait to read it.
+1 I liked the Supernatural Underground page on facebook (as Kimberly Bea).
+1 I'm a follower of this blog (as sneakybea).
+1 I follow on twitter (@KimBea)
So that's 3 points! Thanks for the great giveaway!

ashley87 said...

I followed you on twitter and sent out a tweet, followed you on facebook and sent a status i made an account here and followed you and i liked your facebook page. :) I'm going to conitnue to tweet this blog for you! thankyou soo much for the chance to win! P.s. love the site!!!

Book Lover said...

+1 Tweeted http://twitter.com/Time4mommy/status/15742702723
+1 Follow this blog
+1 follow on twitter @time4mommy
+1 'like" you on FB

Your paintings are beautiful. I look forward to reading this book.

cindy said...

nym, how funny. so happy you are enjoying my debut. thank you!! and your points are so true.

thanks kimberly, ashley and mommy! =)

Other Lisa said...

I got nuthin...but I love Blobby Cat!

Nicole said...

Hey Cindy, that sounds great, I can't wait to get my hands on it.
+1 follow on twitter (@MinnChica)
+1 Follow the blog
+2 additional entries

Sarah said...

I love the sound of Silver Phoenix - it's definitely been added to my to read list but I'd love to win a signed copy :o) I love your brush paintings too - I love blobby cat but your panda & the joyful birds on your etsy page are beautiful too!

+1 if you tweet (http://twitter.com/sarahsreviews/status/15799029836)
+1 by following supernatural underground on twitter. (@sarahsreviews)
+1 by following this blog.
Total = 3 entries

Thanks for the great giveaway :o)

cindy said...

hi lisa! =D see you in a few days!!!

thanks nicole!

sarah, panda and joyful birds are two of my most popular cards! thank you!!

Cassay said...

Love your pictures!

+4 points for me

Cassie c

Adelina said...

Hi Cindy! Silver Phoenix is on my wish list. A signed copy would be so awesome *fingers crossed* and love the paintings.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Leanne K said...

+1 Tweeted Author @cindypon is giving away some goodies at the Supernatural Underground blog: http://bit.ly/a8HyOz #giveaway
+1 follow on twitter @time4mommy
+1 'like" you on FB

For a total of 3 entries :)

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a great book, I will have to order it. I really don't understand trying to shelter teens from sex. They are going to think about it, they are going to talk about it, so why shouldn't they read about it, as long as it is done age-appropriately and realistically (they should know it doesn't always happen the way it does in movies.) I don't think we need teen fetish books, but what's wrong with a book that starts an honest conversation?

+1 for being a follower
+1 for following on twitter (as @asraisdream)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for running the contest!

+1-follow you on twitter (@ferretvamp14)
+1-like you on facebook
+1-follow your blog

Jacqueline C. said...

Thanks for the great contest!

+1 follow supernatural underground on twitter

+1 follow the blog

+1 like the facebook page

total = 3 entries

nymfaux said...

congrats to the winner!!!