Wednesday, July 31, 2013

WICKEDLY THEY COME by Cathrina Constantine: Tantalizing Teaser

The perfect package of paranormal and thrills, this Writer Wednesday we've got a tantalizing teaser from WICKEDLY THEY COME by YA author, Cathrina Constantine. First, she's here to say hello and tell us about her book.
"Hello! from Cathrina Constantine. I’m thrilled to be Tina’s guest. My debut novel, Wickedly They Come will be published by Black Opal Books on August 24.

Wickedly They Come is a YA-Paranormal Thriller. A gripping, dark fantasy where the battle between heaven and hell is escalating, and earth is their battleground.

I’d like to thank Tina for featuring me on her blog today!"

About Wickedly They Come
HAUNTING VISIONS, UNUSUAL STRENGTH, AND SPECIAL PARANORMAL TALENTS ARE THE NORM FOR SEELEY AND HER SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER, JORDAN. THEIR LIVES BECOME PERILOUS WHEN THE LEADER OF THE BLACK ORDER STALKS THEM, TRYING TO FULFILL A PROPHECY TO CONSECRATE JORDAN TO HIS LORD—LUCIFER.

PREVIOUSLY HOMESCHOOLED AND NAIVE, JORDAN IS INDUCTED INTO THE SOCIAL CULTURE OF TEENDOM AT ELMA HIGH, WHERE SHE ENCOUNTERS MARK, A MYSTERIOUS NEW CLASSMATE, WHO IS HELL BENT ON KEEPING HER UNSCATHED FROM THE FORCES OF EVIL.

Tantalizing Teaser

Evidently, Asa had finally decided the time had come to make their lives a living hell.

“Watch out!” Jordan cried.
The two goons knocked Seeley to the mat. They tied her wrists then hefted her to her feet, facing Jordan. The man with the bloody nose mopped his face and then, without warning, hit Seeley in the chin. Her head snapped back as Jordan screamed. Seeley held onto consciousness, though her head swirled and her throbbing chin began to swell.
“You bitch—” the man shrieked, glaring at Seeley. “I think you broke my nose.”He then walked over to Jordan, grasped her chin with bloody fingers, and drooled. “Young—tender—meat—”
The demon restraining Seeley sounded anxious. “Hank, we’re not allowed to kill her.”
Hank gestured to Seeley. “This lady’s fair game, there’s a high price on her head. We’ll be greatly rewarded.”
The other demons nodded with crooked smirks. “We’re allowed to stay and play as long as we bag souls for his gain. The more souls, the longer we get to stay.”
“Why? Don’t you like your fiery perdition?” Seeley said dryly.
Her remark infuriated them, returning Hank to gloat in front of Seeley. Using the distraction, Jordan subtly tried to weasel her way out of the chokehold.
With his left hand, Hank grabbed Seeley’s ponytail, tugging her face close to his red eyes. They looked like hot coals as he sneered. “We’re not ready to leave, not with all this fun we’re having. Souls are jamming the highway to hell—we just nudge them in the right direction.” A gawky sound rattled in his throat, forcing Seeley to breathe in his foul breath. “Your kind of souls are a pain in the ass.”
Hank dug a switchblade out of his pocket. With a decisive snap, he held the silver blade to Seeley’s throat.
 
About the Author
Cathrina resides in Upstate New York with her husband, five children, two Labrador Retrievers and two cats. After a long hiatus while raising her family, Constantine finally picked up pen and paper and began to hone her craft of writing, then eventually confiscated her son’s computer.
Her second novel, TALLAS will also be released by Black Opal Books. Cathrina signed with The Belcastro Literary Agency, and is extremely happy to be working with Sharon Belcastro and Ella Marie Shupe on her manuscript, Incense & Peppermints. When not with her family, baking, crafting, reading, or stationed at the computer writing, you will find her walking in the backwoods with her dogs, conjuring up a new tale.

Find her here:


Thank you to Cathrina for coming on the blog today! Don't forget to pick up her book this August 24th! What are some of your YA favorites?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Freaky Friday: The Conjuring

Our Fearless Blogger is back again with a stellar review on the newest horror flick in theaters now...The Conjuring!
"With as cynical as I’ve gotten about horror movies as of late, it was a pleasant surprise to be faced with a good one for a change. In this case, I’m talking about The Conjuring (2013). I was skeptical going in because most possession and exorcism movies lately have had things that didn’t make sense or were just plain stupid—think the Darth Maul demon or the gas mask wearing medium in Insidious (2010).
The Story: The Perron family moves into a new house, but the house is haunted by several spirits. After getting the crap scared out of them, the family contacts Ed and Lorraine Warren (demonologists and paranormal investigators) to help them solve the problem, but things aren’t that easy. But then, they never are.

Lesson Learned: Beware of creepy music boxes and dolls.

Semi-Spoiler: I was seriously impressed by the use of the real Latin Roman Ritual of Exorcism- which was appropriate for the time period of the movie. A lot of exorcists still swear by it and do not use the new version. They claim the new version doesn’t work. *cue creepy music*

Also, because this movie focuses on the Warrens- who were real life demonologists and paranormal experts, instead of the family, the movie feels more real. This was reinforced by the Warrens being skeptical of the haunting and going about the investigation of several hauntings portrayed in the movie prior to helping the Perron family.
Doll used in film. Click on link below for real doll.
It is interesting to note that the doll in the movie, Annabelle, is a real doll. The one in the movie is not the real one. The real one is kept in a box in the Warren’s paranormal museum. Ed Warren died in 2006, but Lorraine is still living and still keeps all the artifacts from all their cases.

I don’t want to give too much away, but this is the first horror film in recent years that has me excited.

Rating: A"

Awesome review! Films take on a whole new layer of meaning when they're based on true events, turning up the creep factor. Have you seen The Conjuring? What do you all think of the movie? 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How I Got My Agent!
Guest Post By Brenda Corey Dunne

It is my pleasure to introduce my friend and agent-mate, Brenda Corey Dunne. Today, she is sharing with us her agent story as well as her wonderful indie title, TREASURE IN THE FLAME.

How I Got My Agent!
by Brenda Corey Dunne

In 2008, I finished my first manuscript ever, and being the impatient, know-it-all person that I am, I submitted it immediately to three publishers and three or four agents. It was a middle grade manuscript, and it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. I made every mistake in the book. It hadn’t been professionally edited, hadn’t been work-shopped and needed a LOT of work.

You guessed it, I got form rejections from most of my submissions, and the rest were the "if you don’t hear from us in six months…you won’t" type of rejections. Guess what? I didn’t hear from them.

I attended WriteOnCon, got some advice, got no requests.

I kept writing.

In 2011, I finished my second full length manuscript entitled TREASURE IN THE FLAME during NaNoWriMo. I had it professionally edited. I joined an online critique group with some fabulous writers I met via a twitter chat (including the fabulous Tina Moss…). They helped me fix a few things, and gave me huge amounts of encouragement. I submitted to five (yes, just five) agents and one publisher. I got REALLY nice rejections. I attended WriteOnCon again, and got more requests for fulls. I got more rejections, with encouragement to submit my next works to agents.

I kept writing.

In 2012, I finished my third full length manuscript, entitled SKIN. I had it professionally edited.

After three finished full-length manuscripts, I decided I was going to take this writing thing seriously, had TREASURE edited again and began to look into self-publishing. I worked with a professional cover artist and a copy editor. I had it formatted, uploaded, did a launch, signings across eastern Canada, sold a few books, started my new blog (brendacoreydunne.blogspot.ca), beefed up my social media presence and…

I kept writing.

By fall of 2012 I had submitted SKIN to twenty-one agents in batches of three or four at a time and I’ll admit, I was starting to give up hope. Rejection after rejection is hard to take. I’d work-shopped my query at WriteOnCon, I’d submitted to twitter query contests, I even paid extra money for a one-on-one conference session with a real, live agent who I’m pretty sure didn’t even read my submission. I researched and rewrote and banged my head against my computer screen but nothing worked. I got polite rejections, often with encouragement to resubmit, but nothing solid.

I kept writing.

In November 2012 I finished my fourth full length manuscript. Also in November of 2012 I was chatting at the same time with a certain literary friend (ah-hem…), I took one last chance and submitted my work-shopped-to-death SKIN query to Jennifer Mishler at Literary Counsel. I wasn’t very hopeful, but this friend was adamant that I try. I submitted…and moved on to other things.

But then…shocker of all shockers, that nasty email bing came, and it wasn’t a rejection! It was an “I’d like to talk” email. A wonderful, amazing, what’s your phone-number email. And then a this is our contract, please sign here email!

It took almost five years and many manuscripts, workshops, conferences, edits and hair-pulling rejections, but I found my dream agents! Jenn and Fran at Literary Counsel are awesome, and in 2014 my first traditionally published manuscript, DEPENDENT, will be published by Jolly Fish Press.

If you’re still in the nasty world of querying, my advice is DON’T GIVE UP. Stay in touch with others on Twitter and Facebook and go to conferences if you can. This business is a roller coaster ride, but so worth it. Keep working, keep trying, keep editing and researching and most of all…

KEEP WRITING!

Brenda

About Treasure in the Flame

Aminda Ingerham’s father will not wake up. The blacksmith’s lecherous son will not leave her alone. The sawmill workers will not accept her in her father’s place. And the Pastor’s spittle-flecked, fire-and-brimstone sermons are only making matters worse.

To save her father’s mill—and his life—fifteen-year-old Aminda must put her trust in a mysterious old tinker, a handsome village outcast and a troublesome treasure map, each leading her to strange and dangerous places she’d never imagined she’d go.

Only then can Aminda find the Treasure in the Flame.

Get your copy here

Find Brenda:
 

Thank you so much to Brenda for coming on the blog today and sharing her agent story! Be sure to pick up TREASURE IN THE FLAME and check out her newest work from Jolly Fish Press, DEPENDENT, this spring!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Freaky Friday: Jennifer's Body

Last week, we touched on the TOP 3 TO AVOID AT ALL COSTS horror list. JENNIFER'S BODY landed at the number two spot. Today, our Fearless Blogger is back to give us the full run down on why to avoid, avoid, avoid Jennifer's Body.
"Sometimes the trailer of a movie leads us to believe a film is something it's not. In this case, the trailer featured a dark haired girl, who at one point when she raised her head, had a mouth full of fangs. Always on the look for vampy goodness, I set out to watch Jennifer's Body (2009).
Needless to say, I did not get my vampire movie. Instead, I got a vapid quasi-demon movie. [Spoiler Alert: Highlight with mouse to see] I was seriously offended for my pagan friends when a book simply titled, "Witchcraft", is used to help turn "Jennifer" into a demon.

The only reason I didn't leave at this point was that I knew Kyle Gallner was in it, and I happen to like his deep-set dark eyes.

Even Kyle's eyes couldn't save this rag.
Weird Fact: Megan Fox’s thumbs were CGI’d in the movie. The movie makers did not like the look of her stubby thumbs.

The only redeeming quality of this movie is the very end. [Spoiler Alert: Highlight with mouse to see] Needy, the main character who fights Jennifer, kills the rock band that started it all. I was happy to see their decapitation by the end of it.

Rating: F-"

Sadly, having scene this flick, I've got to agree with our Fearless Blogger. What do you think? Do you give Jennifer's Body a thumbs up or thumbs down?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

STUBBORN by Jeanne Arnold: A Little Stubborn Can Go A Long Way

Our guest today, the wonderful MG and YA author, Jeanne Arnold is sharing with us why a little stubborn can go a long way. Check out her amazing writing journey and be sure to pick up her YA debut, STUBBORN, this January!

A Little Stubborn Can Go A Long Way
by Jeanne Arnold

Call me crazy, but I loved everything about high school and being a teenager. I hung out with a great group of friends so I have lots of stories to inspire my writing. I married my high school sweetheart and when I sat down to record our story a few winters ago; the factual account of how we met morphed into a full length paranormal novel about a mystical underground world. I was bitten by a writing bug and penned a sequel. And since that day, I haven’t stopped writing.

In the beginning, publishing seemed complicated and confusing. I found out that I couldn’t submit manuscripts to all publishers on my own. Many editors won’t read unsolicited submissions from writers and only read subs from reputable literary agents. I didn’t want to handle contract negotiations if I did receive an offer. And I didn’t want to deal with multiple rejections from editors.

After I completed my first novel, I set out to find a literary agent to represent my work to the book gods. I became proficient at writing the query letter and sent out samples and pitches to agents. During my first year writing I completed one middle grade novel, four young adult novels, and accepted an offer for literary representation from Sharon Belcastro and Ella Marie Shupe at Belcastro Agency. My debut young adult novel STUBBORN will be released in January 2014. It feels like a lifetime away. But in the publishing world it’s about as long as a coffee break.

For me, there are two sides to writing. There is the actual writing process…and there is everything else. Everything else consists of research, agent searches, query writing, waiting, correspondence, submissions, waiting, rejections, waiting, offers, revisions, editing, waiting, and decisions. Did I mention waiting? Publishing requires a fine balance between persistence and patience.

Navigating the publication process is like living in publishing purgatory. The publishing contract is signed, but the book isn’t released. In the meantime, the cast of characters in my life has grown from family and friends to agents, publishers, editors, mentors, fellow authors, new and experienced, published and unpublished. And let’s not forget my fictional characters. Sometimes they get rowdy in my head and fight for my attention.

While hanging out in purgatory awaiting my first round edits for STUBBORN, I have joined SCBWI and continue to write, edit and polish manuscripts. I’m currently penning my sequel to STUBBORN. The characters are fresh in my mind and their stories haven’t ended. If my fourteen year old self read STUBBORN, she’d want to know what happened after The End. I’m channeling my inner-teen and giving her a follow-up novel she’ll love. I have two new paranormal YA titles that I aspire to sell before anything else, and I’m brewing a contemporary YA that I’ll start later this summer. My plate is so full it might crack, but I love it this way.

ABOUT STUBBORN
Seventeen year old Avery Ross is unwittingly tossed out of the frying pan and into the fire when she’s sent from New York to the vast nowhere land of western North Dakota, with a train ticket, a bad attitude, and an unfortunate scribbling of obscenities across her forehead. When a green-eyed boy with a sultry Texan accent comes to her defense against a train passenger, she has no clue that their chance encounter will lead her into a stormy summer, full of temptation and loss where she ends up imparting sweet revenge on her parents and winning the boy of her dreams.
While under the impression she’s being sentenced to punishment working at her aunt’s boardinghouse outside of Williston, Avery recognizes a connection between her aunt and the striking boy’s family. He and his nearly identical brothers are seeking revenge for the wrongful death of their oldest sibling and Avery becomes entangled in their vengeful battle over oil rights, loyalty and love. She falls for the brooding Gabriel Halden, the youngest of the brothers, against her aunt's forewarnings, and unfolds more tribulation than any of them can anticipate.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
Jeanne Arnold grew up in small town Central New York, swimming in the Finger Lakes, scavenging the hills for arrowheads and cheering on the Orangemen. She found her creative outlet in art and declared to everyone that she was going to be a children’s book illustrator in the first grade. By junior high, she was painting and drawing everything and anything. She illustrated through college and earned an art studio degree with a focus in education, but never became a teacher. And it never occurred to her to write a book until much later in my life.

Jeanne writes predominantly middle grade and young adult fiction. Her debut young adult novel STUBBORN will be released by Champagne Books in January 2014. You can learn more at jeannearnoldbooks.com.
 
 
Thank you to Jeanne for stopping by the blog today! Readers, has a stubborn streak ever rewarded you? Tell us!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Freaky Friday: Top 3 To Avoid at All Costs

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know I have a secret obsession. If you're a newbie, I have a confession... I'm a sucker for sequels. It doesn't matter whether or not I liked the first movie--although, it helps. If a sequel comes out and I've watched the first film, I MUST see the sequel. It's horrible.
And unfortunately, I saw Hostel. Now, I actually thought the first film was decent, the second was so-so, but number three! Oh heaven, number three. It might be the third in the series, but Hostel 3 is NUMBER 1 on the TOP 3 TO AVOID AT ALL COSTS horror movie list.
It's graphic, which is fine; I've seen the Saw series. I can handle gore. But, the story? It's so ridiculous, it defies all logic. Bachelor party gone wrong with a non-twist twist ending. Moral of the story, don't go off the strip into a warehouse in the middle of no where with strippers/escorts. Everyone got that? Great. Moving on...

NUMBER 2 on the list is the horrific--and not in a good way--horror flick that tried to capture the popularity of Megan Fox after the Transformer films. And that one is Jennifer's Body. Every teen boys dream, undoubtedly they tried to capture the male audience with the title. Alas for those hoping to see a bit of skin, I am sorry to disappoint, but you never see the body of Jennifer's Body. Instead, your treated to over 100 minutes of pure torture--not the Hostel kind.
Tune in next week for our Fearless Blogger's full run down of why to avoid Jennifer's Body. And finally, on to our final selection...

Last, but in no way least, NUMBER 3 on our list is The Innkeepers. Seriously, I know I've ranted about this one before, but it deserves to be on this list. It's so insanely boring, not at all scary, and completely illogical on every level, I need to inform as many people as possible to stay far far away.
To check out the complete scoop on The Innkeepers, you can find my rant review here.

To recap and to be CERTAIN you don't miss the list. Here's the TOP 3 TO AVOID AT ALL COSTS...
  1. Hostel III
  2. Jennifer's Body
  3. The Innkeepers
What's on your To Avoid At All Costs list? What horror movies have you running?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A to Z Poetry by Fida Islaih

Fida Islaih is on the blog today to discuss her new campaign to publish a 100-poem collection. This wonderful poet needs your help to make this dream a reality. Here she is to tell us about it in her own words.
"Poetry is a passion of mine. Readers get to see who I am through my work. Free verse is mostly what I write and that's what you will be seeing. There will be about 100 poems and ordered alphabetically, A to Z.

Being a multicultural Muslim, some poems will be sharing the two cultures I am from and how I love and handle it. My poems will be showcasing the different aspects of being a Muslim. They will mention a lot about having faith in God. I talk about wearing the headscarf, praying and fasting.

Other poems are showing how school was sometimes frustrating. It is about either the workload and or having a disability. In a way my poems may help you improve yourself and your outlook on life.

More of the poems do not fall into those above categories. I share the beauty of nature. Some poems are comparisons between us and nature or a part of nature with another. The rainbow has a feature in the collection where there is a poem for each color. There is a bit of sadness and humor in the collection. Drawing and other sports are featured in a few poems. Even a pen gets a poem. Some poems are just for entertainment.

You can find an excerpt on the website and hopefully support me: poetfida.pubslush.com"

Please help support Fida's dream. What or who is your favorite poem or poet?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

CROWN OF ICE by Vicki L. Weavil: When Inspiration Strikes

Ever wonder how inspiration strikes an author? Today, Vicki L. Weavil is sharing a special behind the scenes look at the creation of her debut YA Fantasy novel, CROWN OF ICE, coming Fall 2014 from Month9Books.

When Inspiration Strikes
by Vicki L. Weavil  

My debut novel, a YA Fantasy, CROWN OF ICE, is a retelling of H.C. Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.” I thought I would share the inspiration behind the story.

I was on Twitter one day last summer when I saw some agents and writers chatting about interesting concepts -- one of which was re-telling fairytales or folktales from the villain's point of view.

Hmmm....  I needed a new story concept, and I wanted to try my hand at writing Young Adult Fantasy.

I began to contemplate the idea, and one of my favorite literary fairytales popped into my head -- Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen".

I read a LOT of myths, legends, folktales, and fairytales when I was young, and this was one that always stuck with me. I didn't actually realize why until I started writing CROWN OF ICE.

You see, when I was a child, I was extremely sensitive. The slightest disapproving look could make me dissolve into tears. One of my doctors told my parents it was as if I'd been born with "no skin." Needless to say, this caused great problems. I was the "cry baby" and the "silly weeper." I was told to stop crying or I'd be "given something to cry about."

So, by the time I was nine, I did stop crying (at least in public). I built a wonderful mental castle and encased myself within its thick stone walls. I taught myself not to let anything touch me, so that nothing could hurt me. I buried my emotions.

Of course, this was not healthy, although as a coping mechanism, it did allow me to survive, and even thrive in certain parts of my life (intellectually, for example). But when I got older, I found that my survival tactics had created serious problems of their own. I then spent a significant amount of time breaking down my castle walls and learning how to really feel again.

So I began to contemplate the idea of a young (teenage) Snow Queen. A girl who had also once been hyper sensitive, but whose life had forced her to "freeze" her heart and emotions in order to survive. What would it take, I thought, for this person to come back to life, to truly feel again? Could she overcome her survival mechanisms and actually learn to care, to love?

The whole idea of freezing, of ice, of survival against the odds, of intellect vs. motions tied-in so beautifully with Andersen's concepts in "The Snow Queen" that I knew I'd found my story.

And that's how CROWN OF ICE came into existence.

For pictures that reflect my inspirations and ideas for CROWN OF ICE, check out my Pinterest board: http://pinterest.com/vickilweavil/

About Crown Of Ice
Seventeen-year-old Thyra Winther's the Snow Queen -- and immortal -- but if she can't reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she's doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.

With time rapidly melting away, Thyra needs all the help she can steal. She kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, wagering that his mathematical skills can speed the reconstruction of the mirror. When Kai’s loyal friend, Gerda, sets out to find him, Thyra’s willing to outwit sorcerers, battle enchanted beasts, and wield any enchantment to thwart Gerda’s search.

But Thyra’s logical equations can't predict the effect of Kai’s presence on her lonely life. Her match in intellect, skill, and determination, Kai casts a uniquely human magic over Thyra.

If her frozen heart thaws, will all of Thyra’s careful calculations fail her?

  
About the Author
Vicki L. Weavil is represented by Jennifer Mishler of The Literary Counsel. Her Young Adult Fantasy, CROWN OF ICE, will be published by Month9Books in Fall 2014. She has also written two adult science fiction novels -- the first two books in "THE OTHERS" trilogy. Her next projects include writing a companion book to CROWN OF ICE and completing the science fiction trilogy.

Find her here:


What is your favorite fairy tale retelling? Don't forget to add CROWN OF ICE to your TBR pile. Big THANK YOU to Vicki for coming on the blog today and sharing a behind the scenes look.