Thursday, September 29, 2011

Secret Revealed...I HAVE AN AGENT!!!

Wow, it feels amazing to reveal this little HUGE secret! I've been bursting like an overfilled balloon - all stuffed with helium that makes my voice sound high and squeaky - to tell you the news and to use this picture...


My writing partner, Yelena Casale, and I accepted representation from literary agents, Frances Black and Jennifer Mishler, at Literary Counsel this week. We couldn't reveal the news until we had spoken with the other agents reading our novel, Blood Bond, and agonizing over the possibilities. But, in the end, we knew we couldn't sign with anyone else. The passion and enthusiasm these two SUPER agents have shown since the very first query letter has surpassed all of our expectations. We're thrilled to be a part of the Literary Counsel team.


Although we are reveling in this achievement, we are looking to the next steps in the long road to publication - including writing more books together - with gusto. So, what’s next? How about...


I hope you'll join the party and help us celebrate!  In honor of this achievement, I'm giving away a $10 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble, winner's choice. All you have to do is comment on this post, and if you want some extra points, follow the rules below. Yelena is giving away a gift card too! So you have double the chance to win. Check out her contest HERE.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Teaser News and Blog Awards

I'm so close, so very close to sharing the big news with you. I'm sure you're sick of me saying that by now. But, really I am! Once the details are worked out, I'll be shouting the news across the blogosphere. So, for now, I give you this teaser...It has something to do with my co-authored book (with the fabulous Yelena Casale), Blood Bond. Eeep! Shh...not too loud.
Enough testing your patience. Onward to blog awards! A BIG thank you to Coleen Patrick for giving me the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award! I am feeling the love this month with blog awards and I appreciate the blogging community so much. One more THANK YOU! Now, it's time to pass on the award. I'm trying to spread the love around, so I'm choosing new bloggers that haven't received an award from me. Blogs that I find especially sweet are...
  1. Roni Loren at Fiction Groupie
  2. Natalie Whipple at Between Fact & Fiction
  3. Linda Gray, Heather McCorkle & Karlene Petitt at Critique Sisters Corner
  4. Tawna Fenske at Don't pet me, I'm writing
  5. Inspired Kathy at I'm A Reader, Not A Writer
Congratulations to all of you! And thanks for being so sweet!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Banned Books Week: Sept. 24 - Oct. 1

Banned Books Week is a celebration of our right to choose, our right to decide, our right to read. Each year at the end of September reading communities around the country in bookstores, libraries, professional organizations and universities draw attention to the problem of censorship.


This year my friend, Heather McCorkle, had her book banned from her local bookstore because of what was dubbed as an "intense scene". I am proud to have read her book and can happily recommend it to others. She deserves to have her book, The Secret of Spruce Knoll, displayed. It is every author's dream to see their book in print and on the shelves of their hometown bookstore. In support of Banned Books Week, she's joined the Banned Book Week Blog Hop hosted by I Read Banned Books & I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and is giving away a book on her blog. Please hop over and support her.


You can also participate in the Virtual Read-Out which features readers posting videos of themselves on YouTube reading excerpts of their favorite banned books. So, check the list of frequently banned books, and see if your favorite is posted. Then, grab your webcam or phone, click record, and get reading!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Freak Friday: Halloween Costumes!

Halloween is my number one, absolute favorite holiday. Every year, I spend months figuring out the perfect costume and often spend my time making the costume. But, over the past three years, it seems I've hit the wall. I've let the costumes slide and become more and more a dime store dozen. And worse, this year, I can't even decide on a costume. It's the end of September!!! This is way late. With time ticking away, I NEED to figure out a costume!
My last - and arguably most - brilliant costume was done a few years ago with my husband. We were the original Batman and Robin. I was Batman (or Batwoman as it were).
Last year, I let my pup, Chuck the corgi, play the part of Bat Dog. But, I think we are all batted out.
So with little time and even fewer ideas...What the heck am I going to wear for Halloween? I was thinking a pixie, since corgis are known as the Pixie's Steed. I could put a saddle on Chuck, though I'm sure he wouldn't appreciate my need for authenticity. But, every costume looks like a Playboy bunny should be wearing it, and the end of October in NYC is COLD! *sigh*

(For pics of fairy costumes, google it and you'll see what I mean!)

So, please readers, help me! Inspire me! What are you all going to be for Halloween?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Writer Wednesday: The Versatile Blogger

I've said it before and I'll say it again, you all are amazing! I'm privileged and honored to be a part of the amazing community of writers and readers. I am having a wonderful time getting to know my fellow writers in the Write Campaign this month. In that spirit of "getting to know you" Jennifer Groepl recently gave me a Versatile Blogger award. A big THANK YOU to her for it and once again paying it forward, I'm happy to pass this on to fifteen bloggers!


Award Rules:
  1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (in no particular order…)
  4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about the award.

 7 Secrets About Me:
  1. I'm a native New Yorker, but I've never visited the Statue of Liberty. *hangs head in shame*
  2. I may have seen the Lord of the Rings movies in theaters a total of fifteen times. (Fantasy nerd alert!)
  3. My nicknames are plentiful and odd: Tee, Beanie, Neenee, Snappy. 
  4. I started writing children's pictures books and switched to adult fiction when the books were deemed too scary. (Still love the SCBWI community!)
  5. I can recite the alphabet backwards.
  6. I have a weird phobia of staring into mirrors without the lights on. *See my Freaky Friday post about it here*
  7. My co-author Yelena Casale and I received some BIG NEWS about our book that we are dying to share with you, but can't...yet. STAY TUNED!

 And the Versatile Blogger Award Goes to...
  1. J.A. Souders
  2. Heather McCorkle
  3. Carolina Valdez Miller
  4. Isis Rushdan
  5. Maria Zannini
  6.  
  7. Teri Anne Stanley 
  8. C.J. Redwine
  9.  
  10.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Award Speech in Under 600 Words!

We here by interrupt our regular scheduled programming to bring you blog awards!

Kate Coursey, who might be the sweetest person I've ever not met - technically, we've only met online - gave me a Liebster Blog Award. The award has been passed all over the internet and there are different rules depending on which blogs you visit. But, the origins of the award are German and in translation "liebster" means "dear", "beloved", or "favorite". I'm honored to receive this award and want to give a big THANK YOU to Kate for it. In the spirit of paying it forward, here are my picks for the Liebster Award for blogs with under 100 followers.

  1. Melinda S. Collins at Muse, Rant, Rave.
  2. Angelica R. Jackson at Angelic Muse.
  3. Yelena Casale at her blog.
  4. Krissi Dallas at Krissi's Confessions.
  5. TS Tate at her blog.
You all are amazing bloggers and writers! I'm grateful to share the blogosphere with you!

In Paranormal Point of View, Lisa Gail Green, gave a blog award to all her readers. The 7X7 Link Award allows bloggers to write about their posts in a fun and fresh new way. I appreciate the value of all blog awards, but this one stood out. I can't resist becoming a link in the chain. If you want to be a link to, please feel free to post this on your blog. Following in Lisa's steps, I'm giving this to all readers!


Rules of the award are to highlight older posts in the following categories:

  • Most Beautiful
  • Most Helpful
  • Most Popular
  • Most Controversial
  • Most Surprisingly Successful
  • Most Underrated
  • Most Prideworthy

Most Beautiful
    That's a tough one, but I'd have to choose Celebrating Women which highlighted the wonderful women in my life in honor of Women's History Month.

Most Helpful
    The comments don't show it, but the page views do. I love posting articles for writers and the most helpful is probably The Elusive Query Letter.

Most Popular
    As always, the writing community never fails to amaze me with its generosity. My most popular most is actually one in which I asked for help from readers, BlogFest Contest: My Twitter-Sized Pitch.

Most Controversial
    I've been lucky to keep controversy and drama off the blog, so the most controversial is nothing more harmless than a post about schedule changes, Ch..Ch...Changes! Switching it Up!

Most Surprisingly Successful
    The biggest shocker for me is how popular the Freaky Friday features have become. I always felt a bit strange being such a horror movie buff, but I've been happy to see that readers and writers love the genre as well. The shocker was Freak Friday: Splice.

Most Underrated
    You never can tell what readers are going to like. I enjoyed writing Breaking Down Writing - The How and Why? Yet, it isn't as popular as some of the other writing related posts.  

Most Prideworthy
    The hardest post was a recent one Ten Years and One Day: My Story of September 11, 2001. It was difficult to share that story, but doing so allowed me to unburden some of the harsh memories. It is without a doubt my proudest post.

And in case I don't tell you often enough, THANK YOU for reading and commenting. Without readers, I'd be writing into the virtual wind. I'm so thankful that you take time out of your day to come share my little corner of cyberspace. So, thank you readers! You all rock!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Writer Wednesday:
Featuring Heather McCorkle

I'm jumping out of my seat! The day is finally here! I've been waiting to introduce you to this phenomenal YA author, Heather McCorkle, for awhile now, and I'm so excited that today is the day. Heather's debut novel THE SECRET OF SPRUCE KNOLL released a few short weeks ago, and if you don't run out to grab your copy, you may miss it. But wait, read her story, find out why she's so amazing and then run - don't walk - to buy her book. Trust me, it's so worth it. Without further adieu, I give you an interview with Heather...
1) Tell us about your debut book, The Secret of Spruce Knoll.

"Following the tragic death of her parents, Eren Donovan moves to Spruce Knoll to live with her aunt. Little does Eren know the entire town of Spruce Knoll is filled with “channelers”—a magical group of people who immigrated to the small Colorado town when they were driven out of their own lands.
Channelers are tied to the fate of the world. As the world slowly dies, so do they—and they alone have the power to stop the destruction of Earth. Now, Eren learns she not only lives among them, but she is one. When she meets local boy Aiden, his charm convinces her that being a channeler may not be all bad."

2) On your blog, you have the “Friday Creature Feature” in which you highlight different mythical beings. It’s clear you have a great love of mythology and fantasy. So, what inspired you to focus on “channelers” for this book and what exactly is a “channeler”?

"I do love mythology, so true! A channeler is part myth, part creation on my part. They are people who have the ability to channel their own energy, and in some cases, the energy of other living things, and use it as a physical force to either fight or heal, depending on what type of channeler they are. The idea of channeling energy has always fascinated me so I knew I had to write this book."

3) Can you tell us a bit about your heroine in The Secret of Spruce Knoll, Eren Donovan? What is her background? Why will readers identify with her?

"Sure! Eren is half-Mayan and half-Irish and was raised in L.A. with her parents, far away from any of her other family or her kind. I believe readers will identify with Eren because she is very down to earth, likes to help others, but is struggling with her own identity and adjusting to a new life after being torn from one that she thought was perfect. Her idea of the perfect life, and of who she should be, is something she'll be forced to reassess."

4) YA Urban Fantasy is one of the hottest genres on the market today. What made you want to write in this area?

"I don't think it was so much a conscious decision to write that genre so much as I was just struck with this outstanding character and story idea that I was compelled to write. But then, I've always loved fantasy of any kind and it makes sense that I was drawn to it."

5) The journey of your road to publication is an inspiration for others. Who, along the way, have been your inspirations? Which authors do you admire most?

"It's a tough road to travel, that's for sure. I was first inspired by Aprilynne Pike and Sarah Rees Brennan, whom I met and befriended at a writer's retreat. Once I delved into the YA realm I met so many more who have been huge inspirations to me, Saundra Mitchell, Kitty Keswick, Judith Graves, Leah Cypess, Kristie Cook, Krissi Dallas, Ebony McKenna, Denise Grover Swank, Eisley Jacobs, Jessica Subject, yourself, honestly the list goes on and on. You wonderful people are my inspiration every day. :)"

6) You are an absolute champion for writers. You’ve helped so many along the way, including me. You co-founded #WritersRoad chat on Twitter, Mondays at 6pm PT, is among the top chats for writers. If you could give only one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
"That's so sweet, thank you so much. Only one piece, oh that's hard! It would have to be, understand that you have options, never give up, never stop improving, and reach out to others~but always offer more than you ask for. Yeah, I know, that was far from one piece. ;)"

Thank you so much to Heather for giving this interview! For more about Heather including where to buy her debut novel check out Heather's Odyssey at...

http://heathermccorkle.blogspot.com/ 

To find her on Twitter click the bird below...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ten Years and One Day:
My Story of September 11, 2001

September 12, 2011 - ten years and one day after the terrorist attacks on America. I rose for work this morning after a long weekend of avoiding the bombardment of TV tributes and memorials to the tenth anniversary of the attacks. A part of me doesn't want to remember. I don't want to be reminded of the atrocities of that day. I don't want to acknowledge the fear that sits in the back of my mind as I take the train to work, cross over the Manhattan Bridge, and walk past the Empire State Building. I don't want to think that history can repeat itself. Yet to forget is to remain in ignorance and cast aside the memories of the men and women who died that horrible day. I don't want to remember, but I can't forget.

You may have read many stories over the years about September 11, 2001. Now, I'd like to tell you mine...

I was seventeen years old, a senior in high school. I lived with my aunt, a woman you've read about in this blog and who I call Auntie N. My mother had died less than two years earlier.

The morning was beautiful as I recall. Clear skies and a crisp breeze that promised Autumn was on its way. I sat in class sleepy, struggling to pay attention. I enjoyed school. I was a straight-A student, but mornings were always rough. With my head leaning against my fist, my eyes slanted to the doorway where my best friend, *Lynn, had suddenly burst into the room. She whispered to the teacher and motioned for me to come follow her.

Oh God, I thought. What fresh hell is this. Although, I'm sure my thoughts weren't quite that poetic. After everything I'd been through over the last two years with my mother's death and the nightmare of a family court case, the poetry seemed appropriate.

"Tina," Lynn said as she dragged me into the hall. "Something's happened."

I gathered that from her bursting into the classroom. But, the fact that she called me "Tina" caused a coldness to spread from my stomach through my body. She always called me "Teena Bean" or "Beanie" or "Tee", never my name, never "Tina".

"What's going on?" I half whispered afraid of asking. Whatever she was about to tell me was going to be loud enough.

"My friend has a cell phone that gets news on it." (This would have been especially cool to hear considering cell phones were the newest technology at the time - beepers or pagers still claiming mass market teen appeal - but not today. ) "A plane hit the World Trade Center. Doesn't Auntie N work there?"

"A plane ...Yes, she works there ... Oh my God, my grandma!" I didn't say anything else. The news started to spread through the school. Students and teachers alike were ushering into the hallways in droves. I grabbed Lynn and ran for the exit. "We've got to go. We've got to get to her." Half my heart meant her as in *Auntie N, but my brain knew that the her meant by grandmother.

Lynn followed without question as I knew she would. When she first heard the news, her first thought was of me. That's the type of person she was - and still is - a person who thinks of others first and herself last.

The run from the school to the nearest pay phone felt like an eternity. But, as my lungs nearly burst from the early morning exertion, I scrambled in my pocket for change and dialed my grandmother's number. "Hello, grandma?" I said between gasps.

"Tina? Oh my God. Please, Tina."

My grandmother's frantic sobs had me petrified. I never felt so far away and so helpless, though I didn't let her know it. "Listen to me. Have you heard from her? Have you heard from Auntie N?"

"No. There's nothing. I can't find her. Please. I can't lose her. I can't lose another daughter."

It took another few seconds, precious seconds, for her to calm down enough so I could speak again. "Ok. It's going to be okay. Where's grandpa?"

"He went to get *MJ. Please. I can't."

The strain made her voice high-pitched and frail. My grandmother, my strong capable independent grandmother, sounded weak and I was over an hour away by bus. "I'm coming. I'm coming right now. Just sit down. Leave the phone lines open. I'll be there as fast as I can."

I hung up. Lynn's eyes looked far bluer than normal, fear and determination crystallized them. "We have to get there."

As we raced for the bus stop, angels sent a taxi cab rolling down the street. I hardly believed it. Hell, I didn't even see it until Lynn practically jumped in front of it. The driver's face showed stunned disbelief as he listened to the radio and saw two crazy teenaged girls in front of his cab. Yet, he stopped for us. And without a dime in our pockets to pay him, he took us the thirty minute drive - cutting our time in half - to my grandmother's house. When I tried to tell him to wait so I could go into the house and get some money, he just smiled sadly and said, "It's alright." I would have cried right then, but I didn't have the time. "Thank you," I muttered as my lips trembled. He drove away and we bolted into the house.

My grandfather hadn't returned with *MJ yet, and my grandmother sat stiffly on the kitchen chair staring between the phone and the TV. "Another plane hit," she said. I've heard of people feeling numb. I'd felt numb after my mother died. But, I'd never heard anyone sound numb until then. "They say it's an attack."

"Have you heard from her? Has she called?" I went to my grandmother's side, patting her shoulder awkwardly.

"No. Nothing."

My grandmother was so small. I never noticed it before. I reached an inch over five feet at around eleven years old and stopped growing. I had a good four inches in height on her for the past six years, but she always seemed bigger to me. At that moment, however, I towered over her and it made me sick.

"It's going to be fine. She's okay. I know it." I didn't know it. I didn't have a clue. Lynn sat in the kitchen quietly observing us, lending comfort and support as she always did. Some time later my grandfather returned with MJ - my then nine year old cousin. MJ was a fun loving and trouble-making kid, but he sat in silence in the living room from the second he stepped through the door. My grandfather took the fourth - and last - chair at the kitchen table.

Hours passed. I couldn't say how long, but eventually the phone rang. We'd been sitting quietly so long, staring at the horrific images on TV that the abrupt ringing startled all of us. My grandmother jumped up first. "Hello?" she said. Then, relief and an "Oh my God" passed her lips. Auntie N was alive.

Talk, chatter, inane babbling took up the remaining hours. The oppressive silence no longer bared down on us.

Auntie N had worked at 7 World Trade, the building across from the Twin Towers. When the first plane hit, she'd raced out of the building with the rest of her colleagues. They walked in a blind daze a block or so, when the second plane hit. She saw it collide with the tower. Panic set in and people began to race away from the buildings. But, no one got very far when the first tower came tumbling down. As the debris raced along the street like a cloud of death, a man pushed her against a wall and covered her. We still don't know the stranger's name, but our family is forever thankful to him.

The next few hours, the city came to a halt. Buses, trains, cars all stood still like motionless sentinels. Auntie N walked toward the Brooklyn Bridge, her high heels gone, clothes and hair covered in soot. When she finally made it into downtown Brooklyn, she caught a ride to the south end toward our family. I went with my uncle - Auntie N's brother - to pick her up.

The sight of her covered in dirt, haggard and beaten down by the trial she'd been through, broke my heart. Yet, the swell of relief that bubbled inside me upon seeing her alive, burst. We didn't hug. We didn't speak. Instead, I tucked her in the back of the car and sat next to her holding her hand.

It would take two years before she'd set foot in Manhattan again, but she lived. When so many others died that day, our family was lucky. I will never forget how many families were not, including a friend of my husband (then boyfriend). His name was Charlie. He worked as a chef at Windows on the World, the beautiful glass restaurant that sat at the top of the North Tower. He went into work early and never came home.

For all the loved ones that never came home, for the families that still grieve, for the heroic men and women who ran toward danger so others could run from it, I promise that I will always, no matter how painful, remember.

*All names have been changed.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Freaky Friday: Found Footage
Changing Horror Films Forever

When The Blair Witch Project first crashed onto the digital highway, the sound could be heard for miles around. It created a viral phenomenon that changed the way people thought about movies. With its pseudo-documentary style and the infamous shaky camera, horror movies became more about capturing "reality" than the typical blood, guts and glory of the slasher flicks of the 70s and 80s.
Love it or hate it Blair Witch boosted a film genre to the forefront - Found Footage. The style arguably began in the decade of the silent films, but the 1980s saw one of the first mainstream found footage horror movies, Cannibal Holocaust. Featuring a cast of American and Italian actors, Cannibal involves a set of filmmakers lost in the Amazon jungle while exploring the culture of the indigenous tribes. Their footage is later "recovered" by a rescue team, but alas, that team must deal with the hostilities of the tribes.
Unfortunately, for the Cannibal Holocaust's producers, the film was banned in several countries due to the extreme level of violence and the killing of seven animals. In fact, when the movie premiered in Italy in January 1981, the director, Ruggero Deodato was arrested for creating a "snuff film". The charges were later dropped when the actors appeared alive and well. Yet, it never lost that rocky start and has since been dubbed by its marketing team, "The Most Controversial Movie Ever Made."
In an age where reality TV rules the screens, 2009 saw the latest shock wave to hit the big screen with Paranormal Activity. Originally shown at a 2007 film festival, it possessed the same qualities that made the Blair Witch a success - "reality" driven cameras, unknown actors, low budget and a tight filming schedule. The second film Paranormal Activity 2, though produced by the original writer and director, Oren Peli, featured the high powered Hollywood studio, Paramount behind it. Although, Hollywood killed Blair Witch 2, Paranormal's sequel fared far better and the third movie, Paranormal Activity 3 - a prequel featuring the "heroines" of the original two movies - has been slated for release this October.
As within any genre, styles and trends come and go. But, as films like Cloverfield, Quarantine, The Last Exorcism, and this summer's most recent addition, Apollo 18, continue to bring in the box office numbers, it seems this fad is here to stay. And personally, I like it.

Rating: A  (for the Found Footage genre)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

When Rules are Meant to Be Broken:
The List

It's Writer Wednesday and today I'm giving you a little taste of the future. (I bet you didn't know I had that power, but shh, don't spread it around.) Tomorrow, I'm guest blogging over at Yelena Casale's neck of the woods. She's my dear friend and writing partner, and a bit green in the blogging arena, but she's fast getting the hang of it. Please show the love tomorrow by visiting HERE.
In the mean time, let's jump into some Rules Meant to Be Broken:

RULE 1: Pitches should be less than 50 words.
An in person pitch needs to be as many words as it needs to be. I like to keep it at least under two minutes, preferably under one minute and about three to five sentences long. But, that's my opinion. If you need to do something else to get your story across, then do it. Just be sure to leave time for the agent or editor to ask questions, and don't ramble. You can get more advice - not rules - about pitches HERE.

RULE 2: Query letters should be no more than 250 words.
I don't care how many words it is as long as it fits on one page (yes, that's a rule that holds true). Since a query is single spaced, it means you can fit more than 250 words on one page. Again, I believe shorter is better. Get in, hook the reader, and get out. But, the truth is some stories do well with longer letters. Do what works for your story.

RULE 3: Beta readers and critique partners should be published authors.
I heard this one from some poor dolt - who shall remain nameless - that the only way to make the story better was to have published authors look at it. *Sigh* Your readers are not all going to be published authors. Your target audience will more than likely be your average, non-writer. So, should you have experienced writers read your work? Yes. But, do they ALL need to be published authors? No way. My beta readers are unpublished authors, readers in my genre, and a librarian. Experienced READERS as well as top notch writers.

In short, if you're in doubt, do what works for you and your story. Know the rules, but know when to break them.

What do you all think? What are some "writing rules" that you'd like to see broken?

And don't forget to check out more on Thursday at Yelena's blog.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Freak Friday: Splice

Alien movies are not usually my thing, though strictly speaking this isn’t an alien movie. SPLICE involves two scientists Clive Nicoli and Elsa Kast (played by Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley respectively) secretly creating a new species by piecing together animal parts and human DNA. Flipping through the channels on late night TV, I wasn’t intrigued by this premise but my attention held with one simple question. “What the heck is Adrien Brody doing in a banished to the undead hours horror movie?”
Turns out that Splice is far more psychological thriller than classic horror and thus, despite the zombie time slot, doesn’t fall into the usual B, C, and D class repertoire. Hmm...okay. I can dig it. Let’s see what this flick has to offer.
The story starts with the two scientists working for Nucleic Exchange Research and Development. The blatant showing of how the agency’s acronym is N.E.R.D. in the film had me laughing. But, the comedy soon ended as the movie guided its viewer into the scientists’ twisted world of DNA splicing, genetic coding, and overall creepy messing with nature. Want to see just how creepy? Check out their first creations, Ginger and Fred (another fun little word usage)...
After having success with their disgusting but highly helpful creations – Ginger and Fred’s bodies create some type of enzyme to cure diseases in livestock – they decide to apply to the company’s Board of Directors for next level funding. With scientific curiosity and discovery apparently motivating the team, they push for the company’s blessing to proceed with experimentation using human DNA. The board, of course refuses on moral grounds, when truthfully, they want the scientists focused on mass market product of the enzyme.

What are two rejected scientists to do? Use their own DNA and run the experiment anyway naturally. Elsa, the female scientist, is leading the charge, and her boyfriend scientist, Clive is reluctantly following behind. With a few carefully placed montages, Dren a human-animal female hybrid is born.
Without revealing too much of the rest of plot or character development, let me say simply that there’s far more than meets the eyes with ALL of these characters, not just the alien. 
They grow up so fast, don't they?

Rating: B+

PS Turns out it can be called an alien movie. See definition of alien number 3, “a person who has been estranged or excluded.” Yeah, I’d say that fits our gal well.

PSS Apparently there are limited edition Dren plush dolls. No, I don't know where you can find them. Probably eBay.