Wednesday, February 27, 2013

WriteOnCon's "Perfect Your Pitch" Workshop

WriteOnCon--the Online Children’s Writers Conference created by writers, for writers--is having a "Perfect Your Pitch" Workshop now - March 10. You can sign up on the forums for critiques in both MG and YA, chat in their lounge area, and  get excellent advice from some of publishing’s top professionals here.
Be sure to check out the full details and list of participating agents on their site, and don't forget Pitch-Fest submissions begin on March 10th. So, perfect those pitches!

Will you be participating in WriteOnCon's Pitch-Fest? Leave your pitch in the comments for a free critique!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Freaky Friday: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Freaky Friday is here again. Today, I have a different take on the horror movie review. I decided to give you my notes unedited (well, mostly unedited; fragments and bad spelling aside) that I wrote while watching the film. So, here's my unfiltered insta-reactions of Don't Be Afraid of the Dark.
Opening scenes have the typical french maid and bad scientist circa 1900s or so. Reminds me of old black and white movies. Paging Dr. Frankenstein, anyone? It's a cool start, although cliche, but it quickly morphs into a modern story.
Where is my maid? This lab is a mess!
Plot is a little girl too smart for her age meeting her stepmom, Kim, played by Katie Holmes, for the first time. Yawn. The idea of living in a creepy old house that dad and stepmom are restoring for historical society is slightly more interesting. Then, the girl, Sally, played by Bailee Madison, wanders off on her own, searching the gardens, and discovers a basement window. Gardener/caretaker "saves" her from creepiness and proclaims that "no basement exists". Ah. Weren't we just looking at the basement through the window? The kid's not stupid.
If no one looks through the window, then the basement does not exist. Huh?
The adults and kid discover the hidden and forbidden basement. Dum Dum Dum and DUMB. Cue evil spirits with a smoking problem (sounds like one of them's smoked a few too many packs of Marlboros). They may also be teeth goblins.

Okay, seriously, I was joking about the teeth goblins, but about a third of the way through we get a glimpse of them, and lo and behold...goblins or gremlins. I'm not clear on the difference. But they are nasty little buggers.
It's all gnome to me.
Gardner is attacked. Repeat Gardner is attacked. No one saw that coming, right? And did anyone think to ask the Gardener, what happened to him???? Why are we staying in the house without an explanation? Finally, when we go to the hospital to get an explanation, what does the man say... Check out lot 11-34 in the library! What? Can't you just tell us that gremlins attacked and they're after the kid! WTF!
See! Nice fairy. Nice fairy.
OMG They are really tooth fairies! I have psychic powers, or I watch too many horror movies. BTW, these are some nasty tooth fairies.

Love the kid. She's awesome. Plays it just right. Dad's way too slow to catch on. And at least stepmom seems to get it.  But why would dad be cautious with pissed off evil fairies (I still say they're gremlins) that sliced and diced the gardener? After Sally (the kid) gets attacked for the umpteenth time, they finally go to make a break for it and guess what??? Power's cut. No getting away from the dark now. Only thing that can fight the gremlins/fairies/whatever...you guessed it, light. Oh look light fights darkness. How original.
If only we had more batteries!
Hold the phone! Shut up. That did not just happen?!?! I take it all back. This movie rocks. I can't spoil the ending, but nicely done! Love weird twists.

Rating: B-

Overall: Not the most original storyline, but Bailee Madison as the little girl is fabulous, Katie Holmes as the stepmom surprisingly doesn't make me want to rip my hair out, and the ending, fantastico! A one-time watch when nothing else is on.

Have you seen Don't Be Afraid of the Dark? What do you think about Katie Holmes in the post-Dawson's Creek, post-Tom Cruise era? And what the heck is the difference between gremlins, goblins, and gnomes???

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

FRONT PAGE FATALITY by LynDee Walker: Extended Excerpt and Giveaway

Writer Wednesday is here again, and today, I get to SQUEE about FRONT PAGE FATALITY by LynDee Walker. This book from super talented LynDee, and published by rockin' mystery house, Henery Press, has been burning up the sales charts. How much? Try Top 100 Mystery at Amazon, next to names like Lee Child and James Patterson. Yeah. That hot! LynDee is also super generous, so in addition to the excerpt, read on through to find the giveaway too! Now, without further adieu....

Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke’s days can flip from macabre to comical with a beep of her police scanner. Then an ordinary accident story turns extraordinary when evidence goes missing, a prosecutor vanishes, and a sexy Mafia boss shows up with the headline tip of a lifetime. As Nichelle gets closer to the truth, her story gets more dangerous.Armed with a notebook, a hunch, and her favorite stilettos, Nichelle races to splash these shady dealings across the front page before this deadline becomes her last.

FRONT PAGE FATALITY
LynDee Walker
Publication Date:  January 29, 2013
Publisher: Henery Press
ISBN: 978-1938383120
Pages: 292 Pages
Genre: Mystery

AVAILABLE NOW
Fountain Bookstore (get a signed copy and support a great indie bookshop!)



Extended Excerpt:

In this scene, Nichelle overslept and has just run into the office to find her newsroom rival already there, kissing up to her editor, who came in on Saturday to make sure the Telegraph came out ahead on a big accident story. Aaron is the public information officer at the police department.

Scooped on a news story by Mr. Baseball? And Shelby Taylor on standby to help me get my story out? Oh, yeah. This was shaping up to be a helluva day.

“Find me something great, Nicey. Anything Charlie hasn’t had,” Bob patted my shoulder as he walked back toward his office. “You outdid yourself all week. But Ken and Barbie have gone out with the recycling.”

“Twenty column inches of greatness, coming up.” I spun on my heel and hurried to my desk, grabbing a pen and the phone before I even sat down.

Aaron’s uncharacteristic grouchiness told me his day wasn’t going any better than mine was.

“I’m tired of talking to reporters about the accident last night,” he said when I asked how he was. “I wish I was out on my boat with a beer and a fishing pole. No offense.”

“None taken. I don’t exactly want to be here, either. Has the daylight given you guys anything new? I saw you told Charlie they sent a unit from Quantico.” My inner Lois Lane did like the sound of that.

“I told Charlie no such thing,” Aaron said. “She saw them in their damned logo-emblazoned hats and windbreakers and probably frigging boxers, out there picking through every black rock lining the shore of the James.”

Damn. She’d been back to the scene. The only thing keeping me from pulling my hair out was the knowledge that FBI agents are about as welcoming of TV cameras as a PETA convention would be of Michael
Vick.

“Why are they here?”

“Something about the police vessel that was involved.” He sounded huffy. “Like they think we did something wrong. Not that they’ve turned up anything. Their official report won’t be ready for weeks, probably, but they’re sticking with the scenario I gave you last night. Man, those guys are a pain in the ass, but don’t you dare quote me on that!”

“I wouldn’t.” I laughed. “But why don’t you tell me how you really feel, detective?”

“You have no idea.”

LynDee Walker

LynDee Walker grew up in the land of stifling heat and amazing food most people call Texas, and wanted to be Lois Lane pretty much from the time she could say the words “press conference.” An award-winning journalist, she traded cops and deadlines for burp cloths and onesies when her oldest child was born. Writing the Headlines in Heels mysteries gives her the best of both worlds. When not writing or reading, LynDee is usually wrangling children, eating barbecue or enchiladas, or trying to walk off said barbecue and enchiladas. She and her family live in Richmond, Virginia. You can visit her online at www.lyndeewalker.com.

Author Links


 GIVEAWAY
 
How do you like the extended excerpt of FRONT PAGE FATALITY? If you pick up just one mystery this year, be sure to grab this book.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Get Your Love Scene On!

Today, I'm participating in the Love Scene Workshop over at Brenda Drake's blog. As part of a Valentine's Day treat, from February 12 - 28, writers and industry professionals are giving their critiques on love scenes. What better way to celebrate the Day of Love, then two weeks full of love scenes from new and emerging writers. Hope you'll join in the fun!
What advice do you have for writers dipping their pens into love scenes? As a reader, what do you like in your love scenes? Closed door? Steamy? Riddled with chemistry? Share your thoughts.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Freaky Friday: Warm Bodies

Double Dose! Please join me in giving a big THANK YOU to our special guest blogger, paranormal author, Danielle DeVor for appearing on the blog two weeks in a row with her killer reviews! This week, she's talking about the new flick out in theaters, Warm Bodies. If you're not familiar with the book or film, check out the trailer...

What's not to love about that sneak peek? Read below for the full scoop from Danielle and what to expect from this campy zombie film...
"Being a horror fanatic, I have my own smattering of favorite zombie movies. At the top of the list is probably Dawn of the Dead (1978). I just love Ken Foree as the anti-hero. That brings me to the newest zombie-anti-hero film to shuffle it's way into theaters. I, of course, am talking about the film adaptation of Isaac Marion's Warm Bodies.
If you are expecting a serious film, you obviously haven't seen the trailers. This is not your usual zombie film: i.e. zombie eat brains, zombie shuffle, girl scream, zombie die with gun shot to the head. Actually, that's not true. This movie has all of those things, plus an unusual way of making necrophilia palatable. Of course it helps that Nicholas Hoult is droolworthy, but droolage doesn't matter much in zombie films.[Spoiler Alert: Highlight with mouse to see] watching ol Nick much on brain colored gelatin with dead black teeth and gums is seriously gnarly.
This movie is cheesy, funny, [Spoiler Alert: Highlight with mouse to see] Bitches, man. Bitches., but it has heart- literally. [Spoiler Alert: Highlight with mouse to see] The fact that zombies can be cured by love makes as much sense as acting like everything's okay and the zombies won't eat you. Check out The Video Dead if you think I'm kidding. I still want to know the story of The Garbage Man, but that's a whole other review.
 
Rating: I give this one an A. But then, I love the cheese. And, M is hilarious. Trust me."

For more about Danielle DeVor, including her AWESOME books, be sure to check out her blog at http://danielledevor.wordpress.com/about/

Will you be seeing Warm Bodies this weekend? What do you think about zombie-love?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Secret Project Takes Shape

Whispers have been abound on the blog about Secret Project for awhile now. However, recently, Yelena and I have really been pounding the keys and working it into shape. I can't spill the beans...yet. So, here is a little treat to appease your appetite...

Yes, it is a chupacabra. No, I will not tell you more. Speculate away! Best comment may win a prize. ;)

What is Secret Project? What is the story behind the chupacabra?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Freaky Friday: V/H/S

It's Freaky Friday and our special guest blogger, paranormal author, Danielle DeVor is back! You may remember Danielle from her awesome review of The Possession last September, and if you're a new reader, well, you're in for a treat. She's got a keen eye for the horror genre and today's review is top-notch. So, without further adieu, take it away, Danielle...
Sometimes, strange movies become popular despite the level of violence and gore, and V/H/S is certainly a good example. Shot and visualized in the anthology concept of filmmaking that was particularly popular during the 1970’s with films like Tales that Witness Madness (1973) and Tales from the Crypt (1972), V/H/S is a series of stories within stories all containing some sort of linking device. In this case, the link is the fact that all the stories are shot on old VHS tape and deal with murder, mayhem, and exploitation.
V/H/S Movie Poster

The stories are as follows:

Tape 56: A group of sexual deviants break into a house with the promise that they will reap extensive rewards if they can locate a specific videotape. This story is cut back and forth between the other stories. Not really all that interesting, in my opinion. This section is more about the horrific treatment of women than anything else. [Spoiler Alert: Highlight with mouse to see] I guess fate get’s it’s revenge by having the men eating by a creature and a zombie, but how one member of the group never hears any screams when his friend’s head get’s ripped off just because he watches a video is stupidly non-realistic.
VHS Tape
Sadly, the younger generation will have no clue what this is.

Amateur Night: A group of young men who enjoy creating amateur porn with their hidden web cam pick up a woman at a bar and end up with a big bloody surprise. This is one section of the film that I think saves it. [Spoiler Alert: Highlight with mouse to see] Not many films show vampires with wings, and this one is done a little uniquely by linking vampires with succubi.

Second Honeymoon: A man and his wife take a vacation with death, well sort of. That, and you add a lesbian killer. A hot mess more like. This section just is boring, for the most part. [Spoiler Alert: Highlight with mouse to see] In fact, the best part is when the wife’s lesbian lover kills the husband by stabbing him in the neck. You are happy he’s dead, he’s so annoying.

Tuesday the 17th: A girl and a group of friends go to the woods and meet their end with a killer from another dimension. This section would have worked, I think, if the main girl in this section could act. Her delivery closely resembled an adult from a Peanuts cartoon. No spoilers for this part, only because it just isn’t worth it.
Beware Tuesday the 17th. Wait... Tuesday the 17th???

The Sick Thing that Happened To Emily When She was Younger: This section is a funky little piece with a girl talking to her boyfriend online via webcams. She thinks her apartment is haunted, but things are so much worse. Actually, the worst part is having to watch it. [Spoiler Alert: Highlight with mouse to see] I could do without the stupidity of a girl digging around in her arm with an exacto knife because she feels a bump- come on. Then her boyfriend is actually helping aliens harvest babies inside her and the bump is a tracking device. Puleezze.

10/31/98: A group of friends plan to go to a Halloween party, but they get a different type of party when they arrive at the wrong house. The second section of this thing that I think makes it worth watching. If you could just have a cut of Amateur Night and 10/31/98, then you’d have a decent horror film. This section was decidedly creepy, and actually gave me a bit of a chill. [Spoiler Alert: Highlight with mouse to see] Those who know me know that I have a penchant for exorcism films, books, etc. And, this section dealing with a group of boys who break up an important exorcism makes for squeal happiness for me. The effects are creepy as hell, and it is a shame that this section is as short as it is.
What was that address again? 1 Creepy House Hill Street?
This leads me to a dilemma. While there is a lot of the film not to like, and if I could just focus on the sections I did like, then I’d give this movie a hell of a rating. But, unfortunately, we are saddled with roughly an hour and twenty minutes that can be skipped over. So, I would say watch this film. Fully expect for the great majority of it to suck. But, keep an open mind and look for the gems.

Rating: C

Big THANK YOU to Danielle for that review. Do you think you'll stick out V/H/S for the creepy sections? How do you feel about vignette-style horror flicks?