Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Channeler's Choice Blog Tour:
Interview with Aiden

Don't worry the Twitter-Sized Pitch Contest is still on going! You have until this Friday at 4pm EST to get those pitches in, so don't wait. Go here. All done? Great! Now, you can read this fun post...

Today in honor of the Channeler's Choice Blog Tour, I have the pleasure of introducing to you Aiden! The dreamy hero from YA author, Heather McCorkle's THE SECRET OF SPRUCE KNOLL and CHANNELER'S CHOICE. Squee!
Hi Aiden. *blushes* Thanks for agreeing to this interview. It's great to have you on the blog today. Based on some fan feedback, we've got a few burning questions for you.

1) Let's start off with an easy one...What do you like to do for fun? What are your hobbies? Make cute girls blush. Just kidding, well sort of. I enjoy running, drawing, and hanging out with Fane.

2) What is it like being a channeler? And for the new readers, what the heck is a channeler? It's amazing, like having super powers and still being human. Channelers can channel energy and use it like a physical thing, to either fight with or heal. Which depends on the channeler.

3) As your biological family is originally from Ireland, we've learned that channelers are called druids there. Are there any differences between the Irish druid and the American channeler? Actually, no. They are pretty much the same thing. History has called us a lot of different things over the years, that's one of the nicer names.

4) MINOR SPOILER: Why do you think the different groups in Spruce Knoll are so divided? They're afraid of losing their culture if they mix too much. Personally, I think creating new cultures by mixing is exactly what we need to do. I mean look at humanity's past, we could use a bit of evolving.

5) And now for the mushy stuff...What went through your mind the first time you saw Eren? Aside from the fact that I was crushing her because my clumsy butt had fallen on her? LOL! Wow, just wow. That was all I could think. She had the most amazing energy and it sucked me into a place I didn't ever want to leave.

6) What is in store for you and Eren in the future? A white picket fence and kids, I hope. Realistically though, I'm worried. They say the war to end all wars is coming and that the two of us will be its greatest warriors. Either way, as long as I'm by her side, I'm good.

Bonus question: What's something that know one knows about you? Tell us a secret. :) I'm scared to death of my own anger and I work hard on controlling it every day. I will be a better man than the one who raised me.

Okay, really, how cute is he? I anticipate hordes of screaming fangirls - myself included - gushing over him. How about you? To find out more about Aiden and the YA urban fantasy series from Heather McCorkle, check out book two, CHANNELER'S CHOICE.
Here's a snippet to entice you...

With her parents’ murderer’s dead, Eren can finally concentrate on fitting in at Spruce Knoll High, not to mention figuring out what it means to be a channeler. If only it were that easy. It turns out she isn’t normal even among channelers - she may be a legendary warrior meant to protect the earth in a last great battle.

But Mayan prophecies are the least of her worries as she involuntarily starts to gather her own Society, another girl moves in on Aiden, her powers rage out of control, and worst of all, someone is stalking her. To top it all off, Eren discovers she doesn’t have to be a channeler after all - she has a choice.

As an old threat closes in and she risks ending up like her parents, she is forced to decide. Be a normal teenager and leave the legendary warrior stuff to someone else, or embrace a dark destiny?

CHANNELER'S CHOICE can be found in hardback and eBook formats at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository, and all major retailers.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Twitter-Sized Pitch Contest:
Win a Critique from my Super Agents!

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog to offer a mega CONTEST! Gina Lamm, my agent mate at Literary Counsel, is running a competition entitled "Show me your Passion and I'll give you a Crit". All you have to do is comment about why YOU want to be a writer by Saturday, February 25th, at 9pm EDT. She'll pick a winner and two runners-up for a query critique and/or five page manuscript critique.
Our Super Agents, Frances Black and Jennifer Mishler, have jumped on the bandwagon and will offer their opinions too! Since I can't let them have all the fun, I thought I'd hop on board. To give you even more chances to win, I'd like to run a PITCH CONTEST
  1. Post your twitter sized pitch (140 characters) in the comments section below. 
  3. Manuscripts MUST be complete.
I'll choose three winners to receive a query critique and first five pages of the manuscript from me. Super Agents will weigh in with their feedback as well and possibly even request more pages!

Please note, winning the Pitch Contest and requests for pages do not equal an offer of representation from Literary Counsel.

I'll take all pitches until next Friday, March 2nd at 4pm EST. So, that's one full week to enter.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Battle of Wits Has Begun: First Write Campaign Challenge

Your mission, write campaigners, if you choose to accept it is from our fearless leader, Rachael Harrie. The rules are...

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:

  • end the story with the words: "everything faded." (also included in the word count)
  • include the word "orange" in the story 
  • write in the same genre you normally write 
  • make your story 200 words exactly!

Mission accepted! Here's my flash fiction piece that I'm calling, Shadow Haunts. It is exactly 200 words, in the style of urban fantasy, and it includes orange and everything faded. Hope you enjoy!

Shadow Haunts
By: Tina Moss

Shadows crept along the wall, silent as dark sentinels. I gripped the banister until the blood drained from my hand. Two steps. I’d be on their level soon. My rubber boots squeaked on the slick wooden stairs. A clock chimed in the corner signaling the late hour. All of the other guests, in this quaint little Bed and Breakfast, rested comfortably in their beds. Only I stood between them and the soul-sucking creatures.

Done with hiding, with running, I gripped the flashlight in my hand. The filaments ticked to life and a ray of white danced across the hall. No more cowering like frightened prey. I’d become the hunter now. I rounded the corner. A shadow streaked behind me. I turned to catch the monster’s trail. It flew under a door and into the communal kitchen. I dashed after it, my footsteps echoing in the still night. When I reached the entryway, I flicked the light switch. Nothing.

The shadows ignited as moonlight flowed through a stained glass window. The soulless beasts bathed in blue, orange and red, stalked toward me. I ran my flashlight up their hollow forms. The bulb shattered, casting the room in darkness, then everything faded.

If you'd like to vote for me, I'm number 50 on the list! But, check out all the great flash fiction pieces too!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Relay For Life: Fighting Back Against Cancer

I thought for a long while how to start this post, and nothing seems quite adequate. First, let me apologize for interrupting the usual Freaky Friday fun. Second,  please understand that in no way do I want to "guilt" you into action or make you feel bad. This is simply an issue near and dear to my heart, and I wanted to share it with you. I've learned so much about each of you from your blogs. Today, I hope you'll be willing to learn a little more about me.
My mother holding baby me
Twelve years ago my mother died of stage four ovarian cancer. She battled the disease for eighteen months before it claimed her life. She was 41 years old. Upon her death, she left behind a six year old son, a fifteen year old daughter, family and many friends. She was well loved by those that knew her.
Since then, my aunt - who you'll recognize from the family stories as Auntie N - has worked tirelessly to raise money for cancer research and awareness. She's held a walk in my mother's memory several times. This year, she's created Team Frogs (my mother loved these slimy little creatures) and joined with Relay for Life.
In the words of the American Cancer Society, "Relay For Life is a life-changing event that helps communities across the globe celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease." Different relays take place all across the country. They even have a special event for dogs called Bark for Life. You can find an event in your area here.
Team Frogs will be walking in the relay on Saturday, June 2nd starting at 1pm. If you're in the New York City area, we hope you'll join us. For more information about the event, go here. And if you'd like to join our team or donate to the cause, check out the Team Frogs page. My personal page for the event is also here. I know that the difficult economy has caused strains on families all around the country, and finding that extra money is difficult. Please do not feel obligated, but if you can spare even a dollar, know that it is greatly appreciated.
It is my greatest wish that we see a cure for this disease within our lifetimes, and that cancer becomes a word associated with the history books. Thank you all for reading and spending a piece of your time getting to know my story.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Twice Tagged Tuesday

A fun little game is making its way around the blogosphere. Two of my fellow Write Campaigners, Rachel Morgan and Yelena Casale, have tagged me. The rules in short: answer 11 questions about yourself given to you by the tagger, then tag 11 more people with questions of your own choosing.

This is probably more than you ever wanted to know about me, but it seems like a good icebreaker for the Writer Campaign. So, without further adieu...

Rachel's Questions:

1. Describe yourself in one word: Stubborn. (I'm a Taurus, I can't help it)
2. What was your favourite book as a child? The Lord of the Rings. (Okay, so technically it's a trilogy. Read it when I was nine and it's been my favorite ever since)
3. eBooks or paper books? Both. (Yes, I'm cheating)
4. If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be? Not a thing. I don't believe in living with regrets.
5. What song is currently stuck in your head? I can't remember the name of it, but it goes like this...eww mow mow, papa ew mow mow. :)
6. What fictional character do you most resemble? Cat from Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series. (Well, I do in my dreams anyway)
7. If you could have any super power, what would you choose? Self transporter i.e. I could be in any place at any time with just a thought. (How's that for cool?)
8. What is your favourite quote? "The biggest person is the last one standing." - Me
9. Are you a full-time writer or do you have some other day job? I wish. Nope, full-time administration work, part-time professor, volunteer karate sensei (I help Yelena. She does the tough stuff).
10. Which book would you pick up first: awesome cover or super cool title? Probably the cover.
11. Cream or ice-cream? Is this a trick question? LOL. Both! (Yeah, I cheated again)

Yelena's Questions:

1. If you could only go visit one place in the world, where would you go? Bora Bora. (Went for my honeymoon and it is beyond beautiful)
2. Do you think you're more of an introvert or an extrovert? I'm somewhere on the border line. (Depends on the situation)
3. Do you prefer to be cold or hot (if there's no in between). When I was young, I would have said cold. Not anymore. Would rather the heat.
4. If you have to give a lecture on a topic of your choice, what would it be? Archetypes in children's literature. (Such a fun topic. I'd love to teach a college course on it)
5. Rock climbing or sky diving? Rock climbing. (It's tough, but fun)
6. Would you ever consider writing a memoir? Yes, but would anyone want to read it?
7. If you could go back in time and talk to one person from the past, who would it be? Siddhattha Gotama. (The man behind Buddha)
8. If you could turn into one animal, what animal would it be? A wolf. (No doubt)
9. What is your dream job? Writing full time.
10. What are your two favorite shows on TV right now? Once Upon a Time and Walking Dead. (Closely followed by Vampire Diaries. How's that for an eclectic mix?)
11. What is your favorite mythological creature?  Tough one. Let's go with hobbits. ;)

Now, it's your turn. I'm supposed to tag 11 people, but I think it might be more fun to open it up to all of the Write Campaigners. So, if you're participating in the Write Campaign...
Here are your questions...

1. How would your best friend describe you in three words?
2. Who is your favorite fictional character?
3. If you could only read books in ONE genre for the rest of your life, what would it be?
4. Who is the greatest Captain of all time (sci-fi or seafaring)?
5. If you could be any mythological creature, what would you be?
6. You can take three people with you on the Gilligan style island, who do you take?
7. Are you a pantser or a plotter (writer speak)?
8. What genre do you write?
9. What's the best advice you've ever received?
10. Who are your inspirations (pick top 2)?
11. (Imagine this in the Billy Zane voice from The Wedding Singer) Chicken or fish?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Freaky Friday: The Woman in Black (film)

FINALLY! Last week as my "date night" with the hubster, we went to see The Woman in Black starring Daniel Radcliffe. If you are a new reader to the blog, I draw your attention to this post where I raved about the play - running in London for twenty years and absolutely phenomenal. I also posted the trailer for the film here. So, it was with anxious energy that rivaled the energizer bunny's in which I waited for this film to hit theaters. And...
Let down. Let me say first that Radcliffe is a wonderful actor and clearly breaks from the Harry Potter character, but...he's far too young for the part. His looks, his voice, and even his delivery all lack conviction that the role demands. In the play, the connection between the two men is so important - they're the only ones ever on stage, except for the woman in black - and the film doesn't capture that bond at all.
No chemistry.
My other big gripe is the use of cheap thrills as a scare tactic. A bird screaming, a toy bell ringing, and a shadow in the corner all add up to cheesy old school horror tricks. They're not scary, they're annoying, especially when watching it in a theater with teenage girls yelling EVERY time.
Not a ghost, just a creepy doll. Who would let their kids play with this???
Hubster thought the ending fit with the story, but I have to disagree. It may have worked for the progression of the plot, but it was lackluster and the obvious choice. No surprises. No twists. It ends exactly like you think it is going to end, which in my not so humble opinion has no place in a "horror" movie. Although, this film isn't frightening enough for that particular genre label.
The house is pretty amazing.
Overall, if you've seen the play, forget the film. You'll be disappointed. If you haven't seen the play, save your dollars, visit London and see the play. My one hope is the movie will do well enough that the play goes on a US tour and maybe even lands on Broadway.

Rating: D+ (Sorry Harry, Daniel. Still loved you in Equus and of course the Potter series.)

Have you built up a film or book in your head for so long that when you finally get to experience it, you become let down? Do you think a movie version can ever live up to a play or book?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Writers' Platform-Building Campaign

It is that time of year again. Time for the Fourth Writers' Platform-Building Campaign. Brought to us by the wonderful, Rachael Harrie, the campaign brings writers together to compete in challenges, meet, interact, and just have some plain ole' fun! If you'd like to join the party, check out all the details here.
Mark your calendars because the Campaign takes place from Monday,  Feb. 6th to Saturday, Mar. 17th. You can tweet all about it using hashtag #writecampaign. Or check out the list of campaigners at the List. And don't forget the dates for the challenge:
  1. The First Campaigner Challenge will begin on Monday, February 20th and end on Saturday, February 25th.
  2. The Second Campaigner Challenge will begin on Monday, March 5th and end on Saturday, March 10th.
Be sure to sign-up before Wednesday, Feb. 15th or you'll miss out on all the fun. So, are you a campaigner?

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    The Mystery of the Melting Cake

    *Note: All names of human family members and friends may be changed to protect them from horrible embarrassment. Pets ' names remain the same.

    I'd been living with Auntie N for about two years when I decided it was time to move out. At eighteen, I packed up my bags and moved into my own apartment. It was a small one room studio, 15x18 feet, that I shared with my best friend, Lynn. I enjoyed my independence, but somehow always got suckered back to Auntie N's house for crazy misadventures. This particular day was no different, except...
    Auntie N had been dating a man for a few months and his birthday was coming up. She wanted to do something special for him and decided that baking was the ticket. Why she decided this I don't know considering she doesn't like to cook and for all intensive purposes can't cook. (She's gotten better over the years, not so much then). Anyway, she was adamant about making him a cake. So...
    Over I come with a Betty Crocker box in hand ready to make a SIMPLE angel's food or devil's food cake. Unfortunately, Auntie N had other ideas. She was going to make a Blackout cake from scratch and I - of course - was going to help her. Now, why she thought I, of all people, would be able to help her I do not know. It's not only that I don't like to cook, but I am a terrible cook. I am so bad that I've actually burned water. Yes, I've burned water. And no, I don't know how I accomplished that either. Moving on...
    After making a valiant attempt to convince her toward the Betty Crocker box, she isn't moved and decides to proceed with the Blackout cake. We read the directions, follow them to the letter, place the yummy batter into a pan, and stick it in the oven. A short while later, we remove the cake from the oven and BEHOLD! It looks perfect! Auntie N goes excitedly to call said boyfriend to come over for the surprise. As she makes the call, I hold the cake marveling at how amazing it came out, and then...
    I can't breathe. Air is rushing out of my lungs and no matter what I do I can't seem to catch my breath. Don't worry, I'm not having an asthma attack. I'm laughing too hard. Auntie N's back is to me and I'm trying to get her off the phone while balancing the cake in my palms. I place it on the table and tap her on the shoulder. She turns around, annoyed that I've dragged her from the phone call, and says, "WHAT?" I get the words out one at a time between laughs, "Th-The...cake!" "Huh? What?" she replies. I try again. "The cake... the cake... is... melting!" "WHAT!?!?!"

    And so, the beautiful Blackout cake which originally looked like this...
    Became in the course of mere seconds, this...
     Turns out we used the wrong flour. Who knew there was more than one type of flour? Did I mention that I am NOT a cook?

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Shrunken Heads on Storage Wars

    The latest craze in the TV world is an A&E show called Storage Wars. The "reality" series follows around a group of people - either pawn shop owners, thrift store owners or collectors - to auctions for storage units. They film the winning bidders digging through the storage lockers to uncover all kinds of items. Most of the time these are harmless relics. However...
    On the last episode my favorite persona on the show - Barry - found a special item in his locker. Arguably the most eccentric of the group, this kooky collector brought in psychics to help him determine whether to bid on a locker or not. The psychics warned him that some negative energy surrounded his chosen locker, but he bid - and won - despite the warning.
    They proceeded to help him go through the locker's contents. With household items, pots, pans, papers and magazines littering the locker, it looked like nothing to fear. Until...a dirty, dusty cooler drew the psychics' attention. Using a towel, Barry cautiously dug inside the cooler to find...
    Shrunken heads! Ok, not this guy from Beetlejuice, but close! Barry takes his cooler of heads to a local expert - i.e. college professor - for authentication. Turns out that the heads are replicas much to Barry's relief. Replicas or not these things are freaky. Don't believe me? Check out the definition of a shrunken head from our friends at wikipedia, "a severed and specially prepared human head that is used for trophy, ritual, or trade purposes." If you want to see what a real shrunken head looks like, you'll have to Google, because those pics aren't going on this site. *blah*

    What do you think about shrunken heads? Freaky, yay or nay? How about Storage Wars? Do you watch?

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Writer Wednesday: Featuring R. M. Clark

    I'm jumping out of my seat because I get to introduce to you all my friend and agent mate R. M. Clark. A talented children's author and all around wonderful person, his debut novel Dizzy Miss Lizzie - a middle grade mystery that will keep you turning the page - hit shelves last week. Today, he's sharing the journey of his road to publication.
    by R. M. Clark

    "Dizzy Miss Lizzie, a middle grade mystery and my third novel, has taken an emotional ride on its way to publication. The journey began in the summer of 2009, when I gathered up my beta comments and completed the final draft. I queried for two months and finally got an offer from a highly respected NYC agent. Great news! We were out on submission before Thanksgiving and it was just a matter of time before some editor would love it.

    None did.

    So agent and I regrouped and I made a few changes to the manuscript. More silence.

    I could tell the agent was growing weary of me and Lizzie because my emails were ignored and phone calls not returned. Agent and I split in the summer of 2010 and Lizzie I were back on the streets, so to speak. I had faith in the manuscript, though. It would just be a matter of time before another agent loved Lizzie. Unfortunately, previously-shopped manuscripts are considered damaged goods, so no one would touch it.

    Fortunately, I kept writing through the ordeal and had three new manuscripts to shop around. Surely I could get an agent for one, then get her to fall in love with Lizzie. It was a brilliant plan! Too bad it didn't work.

    I just couldn't give up on Lizzie. No trunk for her! I decided to submit the manuscript myself to big/medium houses that accepted author submissions. Most did not reply and those who did waited up to six months to respond. I tried a few really small presses and finally got an offer. But the contract was terrible and I had to decline. At least I knew it was publishable. In fact, I got three more offers in the next few months. I turned them all down. What was I thinking? Truth is: I just couldn't live with the contracts they offered. Lizzie deserved better.

    Finally, I submitted Lizzie to Marsha Morris at Stanley Publishing. She loved it and offered a contract. Here we go again! Only this time, the contract was author-friendly. Excellent royalty rate. Print runs. Returnable books. Non-POD. E-books. Great cover art. I signed the contract. Lizzie found a home.

    Five months later. Dizzy Miss Lizzie was released. I believed in the manuscript and found a publisher that was the perfect fit. It's not a journey for the faint of heart, but for me, a journey worth taking."

     For more about Dizzy Miss Lizzie and to get your copy, go to Stanley Publishing.

    And a big CONGRATULATIONS to R. M. Clark on his debut!