Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Welcome Sydney Avey with a Guest Post: California Culture, a Look Back

 Welcome Sydney Avey, author of the intriguing novel The Lyre and the Lambs.

California Culture: A Look Back
By Sydney Avey
I am a proud native Californian, a rare status in the Golden State, so why not mine that experience? There is so much to treasure in the California culture that I fully expect my home state will provide the settings for many novels to come.
As a child, I played in the orchards of the Valley of the Heart’s Delight. I came of age in the 60s. I watched the seeds of innovation and discontent germinate and give rise to Silicon Valley, a land of opportunity, a hub of economic and technological growth. On the cusp of the baby boom, I bore witness to a dramatic period of time characterized by optimism and a faith in the future that eventually fueled the work hard, play hard ethic of the dot-com era.

I think my characters express it best.

California is big and bold, and its enterprising spirit is in my blood. Palo Alto and the sleepy towns around it percolate with new ideas that promise to cut new paths in every field. It will start at Stanford and Berkeley.
I don’t know what is coming, but the energy is palpable. Back home, when I walk through the neighborhoods and smell the sweet aroma of apricots and Italian plums mixed with the sharp smell of freshly planed wood stacked at the new home sites, I see the Valley of the Heart’s Delight making room for all comers.
Valerie in the early 50s, The Sheep Walker’s Daughter
That sense of peace and prosperity didn’t last long.
“…this generation? The Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination, all that stuff has shaken [the young people]. They don’t feel safe anymore.”
“It’s like…” Laura holds up her hands in parentheses, nothing is certain anymore.”
“Mike nods. “So they are attracted by new ideas, new ways to express themselves.
“There’s a reason this new group, the Beatles, are so popular. They have a joyful sound and a message that clicks with the impulses our kids have to break away from their parent’s expectations.”
Early 60s, The Lyre and the Lambs
The respite from WWII, that period of time when the government gave hope and a future in the form of education, houses and jobs to returning war veterans, was short. The new world order put in place by two World Wars began to encroach in ways we are still grappling to understand.
The California culture rides out change with the aplomb of a population who understands that diversity comes in waves, like mighty Pacific Ocean that defines our coast. Our ability to regain our balance and move with the times isn’t surprising. We are a people who have always felt the earth move under our feet. We accept changing terrain. The fires that torch our forests break our hearts but never our resolve to rebuild, and do it better.
Our motto expresses the beauty of our state. That beauty lies in our own breathless “Eureka” moments (meaning, “I have found it.”). Whatever you value, it is here, waiting to be discovered.    

About The Lyre and the Lambs:

A feast of family can be a plate-load of problems!

It’s the Sixties. Modernity and tradition clash as two newlywed couples set up house together. Dee and her daughter Valerie move with their husbands into a modern glass house Valerie built in a proudly rural Los Altos, California neighborhood. When their young relatives start showing up and moving in, the neighbors get suspicious. Then a body is found in the backyard and the life they are trying to build comes undone.
Father Mike is back to guide Dee through a difficult time with humor and grace, even as his own life is unraveling. Now he’s going to have to take some of his own advice about love.      
The Lyre and the Lambs explores the passions that draw people together and the faith it takes to overcome trauma.

*Note: The Lyre and the Lambs is the sequel to The Sheep Walker's Daughter, but it also works as a standalone book. 

About Sydney Avey:

Sydney Avey is an author of historical and women's fiction set in California. The Lyre and the Lambs is the sequel to her first novel, The Sheep Walker's Daughter, which won an honorable mention from the Center for Basque Studies (University of Nevada, Reno) in their Basque Literary Contest. Both novels were published by HopeSprings Books, a small publishing house that promotes realist Christian fiction.

Sydney has a lifetime of experience writing news for non-profits and corporations. Her work has appeared in Epiphany, Foliate Oak, Forge, American Athenaeum, and Unstrung (published by Blue Guitar Magazine). She has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley and has studied writing at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. She lives with her husband Joel in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Yosemite, California, and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.

Visit Sydney at and sign up to receive her monthly News for Readers and Writers.

Thank you to WOW! Women on Writing for providing this stop on Sydney Avey's blog tour. For a list of more stops, check out:


Blog host, Audry Fryer, is the author of women's fiction novels:

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