Friday, January 27, 2012

Freaky Friday: The Woman in Black (trailer)

When I visited England last August, I was fortunate to see the play The Woman in Black, and rave about it on the blog HERE. The play has been running in London for the past twenty years, and finally comes to the big screen next week. Daniel Radcliffe sheds his Harry Potter role for this  film adaptation. It hits theaters on February 3rd. I can't wait to see if the film can live up to the play, and how Radcliffe will fare.

I look forward to bringing you a review. But until then, check out the spooky trailer...



What do you think of Radcliffe breaking from his Harry Potter role? Will you go see the movie?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Publishing Tips from Twitter Folks (#PubTip)

Last month, I brought you the first collection of publishing tips through the Twitter hashtag . Using this conversation stream agents, editors and writers (and yes, sometimes random people so not all of it is golden) give their opinions on the publishing universe. I'd like to continue last month's tradition and capture some of the gems for you here.
I do want to know about your writing experience & relevant background info. I don't need to know about your kids, your cats, or your childhood (Jan 25)

Throwing darts at a publisher list hoping one hits is a bad way to select a publisher. Researching publishers is key. (Jan 24)

How to Make a Publisher Think You're Nuts: 1. Write in all caps. 2. Use your query letter to bemoan the moral state of America. (Jan 23)

Always include the word count of the project in your query.
(Jan 19)

Can't speak for all editors, but if I'm interested in acquiring your manuscript, I do check out your website/blog. (Jan 18)

Was just sent a headshot from an actor looking for representation. Um, dude, we're not those kinds of agents. Do your research. (Jan 18)

There are right ways and wrong ways to pitch an editor. Twitter DMs fall into the latter category. (Jan 18)
What do you think about these Pub Tips? Agree or disagree? What would you add to the list? 

Friday, January 20, 2012

One Year Blogging Anniversary

I've been home sick the past few days and I almost missed it... Tomorrow is my one year blogging anniversary! I can't believe a whole year has gone by so fast. So many wonderful things have happened. I've met some amazing people and had the opportunity to become a part of an incredible community.
I'd like to say THANK YOU to all of you. Without you - the reader - this blog would be another empty space floating in the middle of the internet void. But, through blogging, I've been able to connect with you. I am so glad to have met you, communicated with you on your blogs, and read your comments. You've made me proud to be a writer. So...
Here's to another great year!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ninja Novel Conference (NiNoCon)

From the Writer's Dojo comes Ninja Novel Conference (NiNoCon)

the dojo

It is the brainchild of the Ninja Pirate, Angela Kulig.

Saturday, February 4th, 2012, will be the first NiNoCon.

NiNoCon focuses on publishing by non-traditional means. Talking about doing what hasn't been done before, stretching your imagination to extend beyond your stories and into a world of your making.

Top-notch presenters are invited to share how they thought "outside the box". Come learn what they have to say and discover how you can make your own magic happen.

Find out more at www.ninjaswrite.com

Friday, January 13, 2012

Freaky Friday: Walking Dead

My friends harped on me for awhile to watch the new AMC series, Walking Dead. I didn't resist on purpose, but zombies have never really held my interest. So, I wasn't in a rush to see it. When AMC played the New Years marathon, I recorded all of the current episodes and started watching out of sheer curiosity at the hype.
The hubby and I sat down to a lovely post-New Year's Day with chocolate truffles in hand and a full DVR of zombies - even thought technically in the series, they're called walkers, but bleh on semantics. I watched the first four episodes without enthusiasm. Each episode ends on a cliffhanger and forces you to watch the next. And if you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know of my sucker syndrome for sequels. I have to keep going even if I don't like the original.
Thanks for playing
Without giving away too many spoilers, my biggest pet peeve was the introduction of a father and son to the show in the first two episodes. By episode three, they're gone - not dead, but split from the pack - and we're left with the sheriff. The sheriff, who is the "hero" of the show, rides into town on a horse. *Sigh* Can you say cliche? I swear by episode four, I was just about done. The annoying white supremacist hillbilly, who is supposed to be the character you love to hate, didn't garner enough of my concern to even muster an emotional response. But then, something wonderful happens...
"And shepherds we shall be..."
Bring on episode five and...Norman Reedus! Is that really my main man from Boondock Saints? Why yes, it is, sans the Irish accent. Praises to the casting director, the show has been saved! Okay, so technically, he's been in the first four episodes, but in episode five, his character Daryl starts to shine.
If the Zombie Apocalypse hits tomorrow, I'm sticking with this guy. Daryl is a boy from the sticks loaded with crossbow and superior hunting skills. I'll take him over the highbrow, overly moral sheriff Rick, and his shady partner, Shane, any day of the week. Throw in the old man, Dale - who is apparently the only one to see things how they REALLY are - and the geeky kid, Glenn, and I'm pretty certain the four of us would survive no problem.

Here's what I'm giving the characters for their odds of survival:

FAMILY DYNAMICS
Rick: 2-1
The hero rarely dies
Shane 100-1
Evil begets evil
Lori 50-1
Happy ending -
mom lives, if not...
Carl 20-1
Kids are the
wild card

THE OUTCASTS
Andrea: 12-1
Pretty blondes are
good for ratings
T-Dog: 30-1
If horror movie
lore prevails...
Carol: 70-1
Needs a white
knight to survive.
Sophia: 70-1
Unstable family,
odds are against.

THE A TEAM
Dale: 8-1
Wily old men
live forever.
Glenn: 5-1
The brains of this
eclectic bunch.
Daryl: 2-1
Who needs a
hero? Gimme him.
Me: 1-1
I'm from Brooklyn.
Zombies? HA!

Rating: A++++

Even races horses have slow starts. I'm forgiving Walking Dead it's lazy beginning, because it knows how to close with a bang!

Disclaimer: All character depictions are screenshots of a copyrighted television program or station ID. As such, the copyright for it is most likely owned by the company or corporation that produced, AMC Network Entertainment LL. It is believed that the use of a limited number of web-resolution screenshots for identification and critical commentary on the station ID or program and its contents qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Putting the "We" in the
Irresistibly Sweet Award!

Paranormal Freebies, a site where "paranormal readers and authors converge," has awarded me the Irresistibly Sweet Award! First and foremost, a big THANK YOU to Jessica Aspen for giving me this award.
Now, onward to the rules:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
2. Share 7 random facts about yourself.
3. Pass the Award on to 10 deserving blog buddies.
4. Contact those buddies and let them know.

Seven Random Facts

Well, since I've already given you some random facts about me in a previous post, I'd like to tell you a few fun details about the main characters of my book, CODE BLACK, Sera and Talon. They're a fun pair who have some interesting quirks that pop up in the book and a few tidbits that are only available here.

Ladies first, Sera:

1. Her favorite junk food on the planet is twinkies! Personally, I think they're tasteless, fluffy air, but this girl loves 'em.
2. She has a secret that she's been hiding for eight years. If it comes out, her life may be in danger.
3. Her full first name is Serafina, but she hates being called by it.
4. Her Jeep 4X4 is her pride and joy!

Onto the hottie, I mean, gentleman, Talon:

5. He loves anything with an engine - bikes, trucks, cars, you name it. Partial to his Kawasaki.
6. He's a burger and fries type of guy. Red meat is essential for shifters.
7. Describes himself as a lone wolf, but secretly he wants to find... Ouch! The jerk pinched me. Well, I guess you'll have to read the book for that one. ;)

And now to pass on the award! YAY!
  1. Heather McCorkle
  2. Krissi Dallas
  3. Yelena Casale
  4. Isis Rushdan
  5. LM Preston
  6. Kristie Cook
  7. Christine Fonseca
  8. Bonnie Louwerens
  9. TS Tate
  10. And you! 
Yeah, I'm bending the rules a bit. But, I figure, why not? That last spot is for you. I'm passing on this award to the reader, because I think you all deserve it. So, grab the button and feel free to post it on your blog!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Want to Win an iPad 2 or
Amazon Kindle Fire?

Rafflecopter has gone public! To celebrate they're holding a contest where you can win an Apple iPad 2 or an Amazon Kindle Fire. You can enter below. Good luck!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Coney Island's Fading Freak Culture

I grew up in Brooklyn, New York. The borough south of Manhattan and the cultural hodgepodge of the big city. On the southernmost shores of this eclectic town is a place called Coney Island. From the first hotel built in the late 1820s right up until World War II, Coney Island beckoned tourists with elegance and grace. A major resort destination and a day getaway for urbanites, it caught the nickname the "playground of the world". By the turn of the century, in the early 1900s, it featured amusement parks, games and the famous Nathan's original hot dog stand.
When the Great Depression struck, Coney Island's fame for elegance and grace amid fun and games took a turn. According to the Parachute Pavilion, "The area became a 'Nickel Empire' of cheap amusements; a nickel paid the fare on the new subway line, and visitors were greeted by the original Nathan’s Famous, home of the five-cent hot dog." Thus, the sideshow came into play, and freak culture rose.
At the turn of the next century, in the early 2000s, plans by development corporations came under fire by the public. Proposed condos would decimate much of the historic area including the amusement park, Astroland, which closed in 2008. In an attempt to salvage the remnants of the once iconic Coney Island, Luna Park (the name of the original amusement park) opened in 2010, courtesy of Italian company, Zamperla (Blick 3). With it, came a brief revitalization of the brilliant lights and sideshows that paid homage to the Coney Island of the past, and kept local business open.
Sadly, such wonders did not last. After the 2010 summer season, "Zamperla decided (or perhaps, revealed) that the old Boardwalk businesses didn’t fit with the new vision for Coney Island. It refused to renew the businesses' leases for the 2011 summer, effectively closing them down" (Blick 3). Eight businesses, known as the Coney Island 8, fought to regain their leases and maintain the old Coney Island culture. The fight did little to save the area.
As Mayor Bloomberg and the city set plans for a new modern Coney Island plan, the freak culture that built this amusement park wonderland slowly fades away. The "new vision" of Coney Island has no place for this mix of fun and games for, according to Bloomberg, it seeks to "modernise and sanitise" (Blick 3). As 2012 descends upon us, it is difficult to say what lay in store for Coney Island. Not everyone is against this "new vision". With the area riddled from high crime and residents below the poverty line, some locals believe change is necessary.
While I agree the burned out buildings, abandoned shops, and high crime rate must be fixed, I fear this "sanitising" will destroy the flavor and freak culture that created this vibrant wonderland. When chain restaurants replace mom and pop shops and Cirque de Soleil overtakes the sideshow attractions, Coney Island may lose its eclectic charm and personality to become just another conglomerate owned tourist attraction.

Citations

"Background." Coney Island History. The Parachute Pavilion, n.d. Web. 6 January 2012.

Blick, James. "The Battle for Coney Island." James Blick. James Blick, n.d. Web. 6 January 2012.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Writer's Shock:
The Long Road to the Blank Page

Daunting. Great word isn’t it? This one little word describes all of the emotions running through me, the chaos, the turbulence, when I’m about to start a new project. Fear grips me by the throat and I struggle to breathe. I open up the blank outline, the blank MS, the blank...everything, and I want to cry. How am I EVER going to surmount this HUGE mountain - especially when it looks like a volcano called Mount Doom?
Too bad I don’t have Sam to carry me. Or an eagle.
Some people call this Writer’s Block. Defined so nicely by Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary as “a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece of writing. But, a block implies that something is in your way. A big heavy object or a brick wall is in front of you and preventing the words from spilling onto the page. Heck, you can’t even get to the page! It’s an interesting idea, but there’s nothing blocking me. 
I prefer to think of it as Writer’s Shock. It’s akin to culture shock - “a state of bewilderment and distress experienced by an individual who is suddenly exposed to a new, strange, or foreign social and cultural environment”. THAT is how I feel when I stare at the blank page - bewilderment and distress at my unfamiliar surroundings. I’ve been waddling around in my work in progress for so long, happily getting words on the page, that jumping into a new project is - you guessed it - daunting!
I know it’s only temporary. With any block or shock it lasts awhile and then goes away. Words start to flow again. The blank page fills up. Mount Doom becomes smaller and smaller until one day you’re standing at the top looking down, ready to move on to the next mountain. Of course, that’s when the whole process starts over again.
Where's that darn eagle when you need one?
What do you think about writer’s block or shock? Do you believe in it? If so, what helps you overcome it? If not, what’s your secret???
Citations:

"writer's block." Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, Inc. 03 Jan. 2012. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/writer's block>.

culture shock. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/culture shock (accessed: January 03, 2012).

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

All the News: 2011 Recap

Here's a look back at the 2011 year in review.

December 2011

How did December get here so fast? The holidays are right around the corner and my shopping is no where near done! Ack. In writing news, I'm finishing up Code Black this week. Then, it's edit time and off to beta readers for the holidays. One beta reader is even taking it to Florida with her. Yelena and I are still working on our sequel, and we'll have that finished by early spring. That's all the news for now, but hopefully, I'll have another update for you soon, but shh...it's a secret.


November 2011

Yelena and I are working on a follow-up to Blood Bond. EEP! What a month! So, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) - the writing event where writers attempt to write 1667 words per day of a new project? Nah! I've got my hands full working on two works in progress this month. A third and I think my brain would runaway.


October 2011

It's shaping up to be a GREAT month! If you haven't heard the news, I have an agent...err, agents! Frances Black and Jennifer Mishler at Literary Counsel are officially representing both my writing partner, Yelena Casale, and me. Yelena and I are in the process of revising Blood Bond now. We couldn't be more excited and in fact, started the second book. I'm also finishing the first draft of Code Black, and I should meet my deadline of having it ready before winter hits.


September 2011

Autumn is almost here. It is my favorite season and I can't wait to dive into my fall wardrobe (and work). Boots, jackets, jeans and sweaters make up the ideal outfits. With this season, also comes a renewal of energy. Kids go back to school, the summer lull ends, and everyone prepares for winter. I always notice a crisp vibrancy in the air that helps renew my creative stride after the hot summer's humidity and heat. With conferences and contests coming up in the next few months, I'll definitely need that work horse mentality. So, here's to fall!


August 2011

Summer time in the city! Many agents, editors and heck, even writers are on vacation. I was able to travel with my husband and brother to Italy and England this year. We are all big travel buffs and loved the chance of seeing the ancient sites like Pompeii and the wonders of the Vatican Museum. We even got to visit inside the inner circle of Stonehenge. Needless to say, my writing has taken a bit of a back seat in the summer lull. But, the deadline for CODE BLACK is still on and I'm determined to have it finished before winter hits. So, hold me to it, readers. :)


July 2011

*UPDATE: BLOOD BOND HAS PLACED FIRST IN CENTRAL FLORIDA RWA'S TOUCH OF MAGIC CONTEST FOR THE PARANORMAL ROMANCE DIVISION! The final round judge, Meredith Giordan, editor for Berkley, has requested our full manuscript!!! SQUEE! Here is the link to the announcement.

The writing process - or more precisely the querying process - is often a waiting game. This month is no exception. Yelena and I are waiting to hear the final results of the Central Florida RWA's Touch of Magic contest. We know we've made top 3 in our category and that's pretty darn exciting. We're also waiting on a series of partials and fulls for BLOOD BOND that we have out with agents. I'm trying to resist RIS - refreshing inbox syndrome - but I have to admit that I'm not doing a good job of it. However, I'm distracting myself from RIS by...you guessed it, writing. I'm chomping away at CODE BLACK and seriously considering retrieving A PLAY FOR HIS HEART from the trunk. Hmm... looks like it's going to be a busy summer.


June 2011

Maybe I was a little overzealous on the date of my WIP's first draft. CODE BLACK is progressing, but not at the swift pace I maintained for the start of the book. The first seven chapters are complete, but the next two thirds of the book are alluding me. Need to revamp and reboot. New ETA for first draft - this Autumn. ;)


May 2011

*UPDATE: BLOOD BOND HAS MADE THE FINAL ROUND OF CENTRAL FLORIDA RWA'S TOUCH OF MAGIC CONTEST! Yelena and I are very excited. Winners will be notified in July. Please keep your fingers crossed for us! Here is the list of finalists.

More full requests, contest results, and revisions have been in store for BLOOD BOND. Yelena and I are making great progress with it. On my WIP, book one, CODE BLACK is coming along and I believe I'll have the first draft finished in August. Not a bad first quarter for 2011. :)


April 2011

Pitches, contests and queries! Oh my! Worse than lions, tigers and bears combined, but a necessary part of any writer's life - the submission process. This month I've been focusing on getting the word out about our story. From Twitter pitches to RWA chapter contests to blogfests! I've done it all...Now, waiting for the results.


March 2011

The hunt continues. I'll be attending the Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference this Saturday. Looking forward to the panels, workshops, pitch sessions and book signings! For more information check out there website HERE.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Special Monthly Monday
Edition: Goal Setting

A person far smarter than I once said that goals are better than resolutions. And another - mostly likely smarter - person also said that goals have a greater chance of coming to fruition if you write them down. So, in honor of these smart people, here's my Top Three Writing Goals for 2012:
  1. Get feedback from beta readers, then finish edits on CODE BLACK and send to agent by end of January.
  2. Finish WIP - sequel to BLOOD BOND - with Yelena Casale by summer.
  3. Finish two individual WIPs by December. 
I've set firm, doable goals with target deadlines to increase my chances of success. I also have weekly and monthly check-ins that are small goals to try and get to the larger ones. I'm certain to have setbacks, but the more I can stick to hitting my targets, the better off I'll be. How about you?

What are your goals for 2012? Do you have deadlines to complete them? Do you have steps in place to make them realities?