Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!


I'd like to wish all my wonderful readers a Happy New Year - may 2011 be the year in which all your dreams come true!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Musings From The Slush Pile Interview - Me!

Read the perennially positive Julie Anne Lindsey interview me on Musings From The Slush Pile, Julie's awesome blog!


http://blog.juliealindsey.com/


Thanks Julie - you rock!



Julie Anne Lindsey

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Are You "A Scarlett" or "A Melanie?"

I'm re-reading one of my all-time favorite books, Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Ms. Mitchell's writing is so enchanting, and the historical details of plantation life, and the Civil War are rich and fascinating. But, what always amazes me is the life-long dynamics between Katie Scarlett O'Hara Hamilton Kennedy Butler and Melanie Hamilton Wilkes. These two Southern belles are polar opposites, yet in spite of these differences, or maybe because of them, eventually they become more than sisters-in-law; they become best friends (even if Scarlett doesn't realize it until it's too late!).

Miss Scarlett is spoiled, scheming, unabashedly self-centered, willful, vain, and obstinate. However, she's also vivacious, intelligent, shrewd, strong-willed, brave, and most importantly, a survivor; the original "Steel Magnolia."

Melanie is the antithesis of Scarlett in many ways - she's quiet, shy, sweet, modest, patient, unassuming, thoughtful, well-read, beyond kind, and forgiving.

When I was younger, I was definately more of "A Scarlett;" determined to get my own way at any cost, and God help anyone who got in my way (hey, I'm a redhead!). Now, as I'm getting older, I'm becoming more of a "Melanie"; a little kinder, and gentler (I think they call it "mellowing").

So, all these thoughts have inspired me to beg the question:

Are you "A Scarlett," or "A Melanie?"

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What's Your Writing Background Noise?

I was just surfing through the TV channels, and had to laugh; I saw "The Cottage Channel". You see, I wrote my novel, WIND, with this program quietly splashing in the background.

The Cottage Channel is the cousin of other weird programs like, "The Fireplace Channel," "The Aquarium Channel," and "The Sunset Channel." These simulations are, without question, bizzare, but somehow comforting when you can't get near the real thing. I love water, and grew up with a cottage on a lake, and found the sound of water lapping, and the haunting calls of loons conducive to long stretches of creative writing. The funny part is that every so often, one of my kids would stroll into the room and ask, "Do I hear loons? What are you watching, Mom?"

I'm "channeling" my fake cottage again, while writing my second book, SAND (which does take place at a cottage!).

Have you seen these simulation channels?
What's your writing background noise?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy Chanukah!

Chanukah, or The Festival of Lights, is about to begin tomorrow night. The eight day holiday commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after it was destroyed by the Maccabean revolt in the 2nd century. Chanukah is observed by lighting the candles on a Menorah - one candle each day, over an eight day period (the smallest candle is used to light the other eight).
Happy Chanukah!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Be My Baby by Ronnie Spector with Vince Waldron

Last night I finished "Be My Baby: How I survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness, or My Life as a Fabulous Ronette" by Ronnie Spector, with Vince Waldron. I spotted it at a small bookstore last week, and being a huge fan of the Ronettes, I grabbed it immediately. I have always loved Ronnie's one-of-a-kind voice, and was curious about her life, and, I have to admit, Phil Spector's, too.

Veronica (Ronnie) Bennett was born in Spanish Harlem on August 10, 1943. Ronnie loved singing as a child, and soon formed an all-girl group, The Ronettes, with her sister, Estelle, and cousin, Nedra Talley. The Ronettes were quickly scooped up by legendary music producer, Phil Spector, who was famous for creating the distinctive, "Wall of Sound," a layering technique, producing a rich and complex sound. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

The gorgeous Ronnie and boy genius, Phil, fell madly in love, and eventually married. The couple moved into a California mansion and adopted two young boys. Unfortunately, the fairy tale had a twisted ending (as so many fairytales do!), with Ronnie fleeing the confines of their mansion in her bare feet, with no money or possessions, never to return.

However, being the survivor that she is, Ronnie ultimately triumphed over many of the familiar hazards of a rock and roll life. She got by with a little help from her friends, including John Lennon, George Harrison, Cher, Billy Joel, Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Money, and Joey Ramone, but to name a few. (Cher wrote the book's forward, and the introduction is written by Bill Joel.)

Ms. Spector calls herself, "Rock and Roll's Bad Girl," but she's actually a "good girl"; a loving wife and mother, devoted daughter, and supportive sister. She's loyal to a fault, innocently sweet, and refreshingly candid about her missteps, many of them life-altering. (The updated edition includes new material, revealing Ronnie's take on Phil Spector's bizzare arrest and ultimate conviction of second degree murder.)
I loved this intimate rock and roll memoir. "Be My Baby" is as tempestuous as the sixties themselves. Follow Ronnie on her blog or website, or Twitter.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sun, I Bid You Adieu!

As we set our clocks back to Standard Time this weekend, I can't help but wonder if it's a good thing.

Yes, we get to finally reclaim that extra hour of blessed sleep of which we were robbed in the spring, but to "Fall Back" also signifies that the dark days of winter are peeking around the corner. I don't know about you, but I think there's something almost eerie about driving to work in a jet black sky, and then driving home in the inky night. I can go a whole day without even seeing the sun - very surreal.
On the other hand, an extra hour in the day is a gift; the gift of more time to sleep; the gift of more time to read; the gift of more time to spend with my beloved Cocker Spaniel, Symon, and, of course, the gift of more time to write.

And so, for better or worse, until the second Sunday in March, 2011, when Daylight Savings returns; sun, I bid you adieu!

What will you do with an extra hour in the day?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween

Well, the hype is well underway - it's Halloween again!

I drove by a popular costume store and the parking lot was jammed. I hate to say it, but I'm a little relieved that I don't have to go through that anymore. My kids are 17 & 21; well past the trick or treating age.

Having said that, I'll still give out treats at the door. I love seeing the little angels, ghosts, witches, and Harry Potters. I don't even mind the older ones; you know, the teenagers who should have given it up years ago, but just want the free candy bars.

Do you have kids who will be trick or treating?

Will you give out treats at the door?

What will you being doing on Halloween?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Snow!

I can't believe it! I woke up this morning, looked out the window, and saw the trees, roads, sidewalks, and cars covered with a thick coating of snow!

And, it's not even Halloween!

Then, after much inner denial, I resigned myself to the fact that winter is actually coming (ug). And then, something weird happened - slowly, I began to realize that it's actually pretty; almost beautiful.

It's something I struggle with every fall. I know winter is coming, and I try to embrace it, in all it's shining, white glory (I live in ski country, just north of Toronto), but I can't help it, I love the fall & spring; summer & winter, not so much. Summer is just too hot & humid here, and winter, well, it's just too cold. My favorite season is fall - with its colorful, falling leaves, crisp mornings, and sunny, warm afternoons - it's just right (I know, sounds like Goldilocks, right?).

So, I start getting ready for work, I begin to resign myself - I can't actually do anything about it, short of getting a green card, and moving to Florida (I wish!), so I'll try to embrace it . . . let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
Did it snow last night where you live?

What are your thoughts on snow - love it, or hate it?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ontario Public Library Week


Ontario Library Week 2010 is October 17th - 23th.

An annual fall event, Ontario Public Library Week was first announced by the province in 1985, and has since become the focus for promoting public library services in Ontario, Canada.

A strong library system is the cornerstone of a strong community. Ontario Public Library Week recognizes the important contribution Ontario's public libraries make to education, literacy and life-long learning in Ontario communities.

With more than 1,100 service points throughout Ontario, public libraries’ patrons make over 66 million visits to local libraries across Ontario annually. And now, virtually every library branch in the province also provides access to electronic information through the Internet.

Public libraries, dedicated librarians, and devoted volunteers across the province are planning special activities to mark Ontario Public Library Week, and many public libraries are also celebrating Canadian Library Month.

So, check-out your local library, and read!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving. I've often wondered why Canadian and American Thanksgivings are at different times.

Thanksgiving in Canada did not have a fixed date until the late 19th Century, when it was typically held on November 6th. After the end of World War I, Thanksgiving Day and Remembrance Day ceremonies were usually held during the same week. To avoid the two holidays from clashing with one another, in 1957, Canadian Parliament proclaimed Thanksgiving to be observed on its present date.

Thanksgiving in the United States had typically been observed on different dates throughout history; by the beginning of the 20th Century, the final Thursday in November had become the standard day of Thanksgiving in most U.S. States. It would not be until December 26th, 1941, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt, after pushing to move the date earlier to give the county an economic boost, signed a bill into law making Thanksgiving a national holiday fixed to its current date.

Today, Thanksgiving is held on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States of America, and the second Monday of October in Canada.

Every year, around the dining room table, as my family proceeds to eat a bountiful feast (usually turkey with stuffing and gravy; fresh, regional vegetables; and a decadent dessert!) Everyone recounts what they're thankful for. What will I say this year? What am I thankful for? Well, of course, I'm thankful that I'm still here; alive and well, surrounded by my loved ones - my children, my pets. I'm also thankful for being independent; for being able afford all that wonderful food (so many people can't). But, I'm thankful for the gift of writing - I love it so much, and have made many new friends through sharing this gift.
So, tell me, whether you're Canadian and celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, or whether you're American, and celebrating in November, what are you thankful for?

Friday, October 1, 2010

QueryTracker.net Publishing Pulse

Read the new QueryTracker.net Publishing Pulse for some of the most dynamic links around the writing blogosphere:

http://www.querytracker.blogspot.com/

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Author Karen Duvall Interview!


Read my interview with Karen Duvall, in which she talks about her recently sold Adult Urban Fantasy novel, KNIGHT’S CURSE, at the Query.Tracker.net blog

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Creating Your Main Character

Check out my new post on QueryTracker.net, entitled, "Creating Your Main Character".

http://www.querytracker.blogspot.com/

Tell me what you think!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Autumn Arrives

As the last long weekened of the summer commences, I hate to admit, I'm thrilled Fall is here.  The summer of 2010 was just too hot for me.

I love the crisp, cool days of Autumn.  I love the stunning colours, the smokey smell of burning leaves, the feeling of cool rain.  I love the food; stews, soups, chili!  I also love the clothes of Fall:  jeans, leather boots, bulky sweaters.

What do you like (or love) about Autumn?

Have a great long weekend!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Shy Man Cometh - My Encounter with Joey Ramone

When I was seventeen, I had an encounter I would recall with fondness many years later. It was the night I met Joey Ramone. Actually, it wasn’t just Joey; Dee Dee, Johnny and Tommy were there too, but it’s Joey I remember.

It was 1977 - Jimmy Carter was President; serial killer, “Son of Sam”, was terrorizing New York, and Elvis Presley would die that August. But for me, it was a summer of a music, cool clothes and fun.  Disco reigned supreme, but suddenly, out of the excess of thumping, and reverberated vocals, came a new music—Punk Rock.

Punk was fast, hard-edged, stripped-down, with an anti-establishment message; a welcome diversion for bored teenagers—bored with the current mind-numbing sound of The Bee Gees, et al.  And then there was the clothes.  We wore tight, straight-legged jeans (when everyone was still wearing bell-bottoms), ripped T-shirts, stiletto heels, black eyeshadow, red lipstick, and, of course, the garment de rigueur; a black leather jacket.

The only Punk club in Toronto was the “Crash ‘n’ Burn”, buried in the bottom of a downtown warehouse.  It was frequented by kids dying to hear the new sound from local bands like Teenage Head, The Diodes, The Viletones.  But bands playing larger venues would stop in after their gigs; bands usually from the Mecca of North American Punk—New York City.  I recall meeting Deborah Harry from Blondie, a heavily pregnant Tina Weymouth from Talking Heads, and others.  But the night I remember with the most clarity is when The Ramones stopped in for a drink.

Joey wasn’t hard to spot. He towered over everyone like a gentle giant (he was 6’ 8”).  He was dressed in the official Ramones “uniform”: straight-legged blue jeans, T-shirt, white Converse sneakers, black leather jacket.  He looked lost in the throng, like a child who suddenly finds himself separated from his mother in a crowd.  I approached him.  He was sweet, polite, and shy to the extreme.  Wearing his trademark rose-colored shades, he said he was enjoying Toronto, and was amazed at its cleanliness, especially in comparison to the Bowery, the Manhattan neighborhood in which he lived. Joey revealed his favorite band was a group I hadn’t heard of—The Cramps.

We talked until one of my friends whispered in my ear, “You don’t have to stand with him all night!”  I  reluctantly said goodbye.  He leaned down from his rarefied atmosphere, virtually bent over double, hugged me, and said goodbye.  I made my way to an ice-filled bathtub, my hand going numb as I fished around for a beer.  Glancing back, I saw that he was still alone, watching the mayhem surrounding him, like an alien from another planet, sent to observe our way of life.

I was truly saddened when I heard about Joey’s death in 2001.  Thirty years later (it just can’t be that long!), I was surprised to hear my sixteen-year-old daughter listening to The Ramones.  I told her about my teenage encounter with Joey.  She was amazed, delighted. It was the first time I recounted it to anyone.  This is the second.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Contest at "A Blissful Life . . "

There is a new contest over at "A Blissful Life . . ." - fellow Canadian, Tracy Loewer's blog.

Tracy is celebrating her first 100 followers, and is giving away The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins!

Thanks Tracy!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mockingjay Contest on "Note to Shelf"!

S.K. Walker (aka Samantha Walker) is hosting a contest in celebration of the upcoming Mockingjay release on her blog, "Notes to Shelf". . .

To one lucky participant, Samantha be giving away THE ENTIRE HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY! (Hunger Games, Cathcing Fire, and Mockingjay), in hardcover, and and to two other people, Samantha will be giving each a copy of Mockingjay.  In the event that the winner of the set already owns them, they may choose three alternate books, the same applies for the winners of Mockingjay (these books must still be in print).

Here's how it works:

-Contest is open from now until 9:30 a.m. August 24th. Prizes will be shipped later that day.
-Contest is only open to the U.S., sorry.
-The winners will be chosen via random.org.
-You must leave a comment telling Samantha what your favorite book is.  If you can't choose, feel free to list several.
-For extra entries:
+3 for blogging about this contest
+2 for a link in your blog's sidebar
+2 for following Samantha on Twitter
+1 for tweeting about this contest, be sure to include @SammiKWalker in the tweet so Samantha can keep track of them (can be tweeted more than once, for a total of up to +3 extra entries)

Please tally your extra points in your comment, and be sure to leave links to your blog/Twitter.

Winners will be announced on August 24th!
Best of luck to all!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Contest at Medeia Sharif's Blog

Medeia Sharif is a stunning, exotic-looking (she has the best hair ever!) Kurdish American writer.  Born in New York City, but currently residing in Miami Beach, Florida, Medeia is a school teacher/writer.  Medeia's debut YA novel, BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER., will be published by Flux in the summer of 2011.  Interestingly, Medeia is a member of Mensa (the high-IQ society).

August 18, 2009 is the anniversary for Medeia's dynamic blog, and she's celebrating her first blogoversary by hosting a contest.  One lucky person will receive The Big Box of Paranormal:  Thomas E. Sniegoski's THE FALLEN 1, Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie's WICKED, L.J. Smith's DARK VISIONS, and L.J. Smith's NIGHT WORLD.

The contest ends Friday, August 27th at 11:59 p.m. EST.  It's open to blog followers in the U.S. and Canada.  You can fill out the contest form at Medeia's blog.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Second Book

As I 'm deep into the second book in my YA Paranormal Romance Saga, SAND, I can’t help but ponder the advantages and disadvantages of writing “the second book”.

There is a certain straightforwardness to continuing the saga:  For one thing, main characters are established; their physical descriptions, personalities, quirks, speech patterns, humour, values, relationships.  Hopefully, readers will already care enough about your main characters to be excited to see them resurrected, so to speak, to stick with them through the long haul.

Then there’s the settings; initial settings have been established and described in the first book, but this will likely expand, and transform. New sights, sounds and smells will have to be imagined and described.

Theme is usually carried on – theme is soul; it permeates the entire saga; it’s your very reason for writing (at the risk of sounding dramatic!).

The challenges arise when faced with “topping” the first story.

New and improved plot, characters’ newborn hopes and dreams, imaginative rising action and climax. Just like real life, things never stay the same.
The real challenge is the conflict.  Conflict will have to be original, and exciting enough to make a continuing story worth reading, of course.  Without fresh conflict, there is no fresh story; without fresh story, there is no second book.

It’s a huge commitment, a second book, but it’s an exciting challenge, and a chance to bring your beloved characters back to life!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Guest Post on QueryTracker Blog!

I'm thrilled to be featured on the latest installment of the QueryTracker Blog.

It's just a short musing about querying too early, which, I admit, I did last Fall.  I started my MS, Wind, in April, 2009.  I typed the words, "The End", in August, and was so elated that I proceeded to query several choice agents (at least I did some homework-they were interested in seeing work in the YA Paranormal Romance genre).  My big mistake was that my MS wasn't polished.  It needed more work-a fair amount of work-I'm embarrassed to say.

Naturally, I experienced some rejection (I was asked for partials, which was encouraging, but not one full).  And so, it was back to the drawing board and, truth be told, I'm so glad.  My MS is now strong, well-written, and much more polished.  The only downside is that I can't go back and query those initial agents, but, that's okay; there are other fabulous agents out there, and they can be found all in one place-QueryTracker.

A big thank you to Mary Lindsay (SHATTERED SOULS (Philomel/Penguin) Fall 2011), who chose my work for the QueryTracker Blog.

Let me know what you think of my post!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Going to My Sister's Cottage Again!

I've been invited to my sister's cottage again!  Symon (my adorable Cocker Spaniel) and I are leaving today and returning Sunday.  I so love it up there - the lake (Georgian Bay); the food (my sister, Marianne, is a gourmet cook, and always serves some wonderful new dish that usually involves asparagus or watermelon, or goat's cheese); the cottage itself (I'm usually assigned to the awesome guest cabin with heated floors!); and of course, the wonderful company.

What are you doing this weekend?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Southern Gothic - Always A "Hot" Genre

All this hot weather makes my mind meander to books set in the South with extreme heat, long cool drinks, men in white suits wiping their brows with large linen handkerchiefs, delicate southern laidies swooning.  I’m not talking Gone With The Wind; I was thinking more along the lines of Tennessee Williams – Southern Gothic.

Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams in 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi. He immortalized The South in such works as The Glass Menagerie, A Street Car Named Desire, and my personal favourites, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and, Suddenly Last Summer.

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is set on a large cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta in the summer – and it’s hot. The patriarch and tycoon, Big Daddy, so brilliantly portrayed by the late Burl Ives in the 1955 Broadway production, as well as the 1958 big-screen version, is huffing and puffing in the heat and at one point, Maggie, played by the great Elizabeth Taylor, holds her glass up to her brow to cool down. Ceiling fans slowly twirl over white wicker furniture, and shuttered windows are flung wide open, in anticipation of catching the smallest breeze. During the climax, the heavens open and torrential rains descend upon the plantation.

In Suddenly Last Summer, Catherine (again played by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1959 film version) has a breakdown after witnessing her cousin’s death in Spain. We see Sebastian in an immaculate white suit and Panama hat, running from the pack of boys who will soon devour him (quite literally), Catherine with a deep brown tan, in a swim suit under the white hot skies and bleached white sand.

The Southern Gothic genre often uses weather to guide the plot. Other Southern Gothic writers I admire are: Truman Capote, Harper Lee, Carson McCullers, and, of course, William Faulkner.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

To My American Friends:

Have a fun & safe holiday!  I'm so proud to be your neighbor!

Tell me what you're doing for fun this holiday weekend!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Canada Day!

July 1st is Canada Day and it's a stat holiday. I'll be at home, in all likelyhood, cooking, eating, reading, writing and watching movies.

Unfortunately, Canada Day is a day that my cocker spaniel, Symon, always suffers a mini-breakdown - he's terrified of the fireworks that usually start at dusk - the city puts on a beautiful fireworks display on the water, but my townhouse backs onto a park, so the occasional pop of cherry bombs can be can be heard sporadically until the wee hours, sending poor Syms into a tizzy.

Much like the 4th of July for Americans, July 1st is a day of smells & sounds: BBQ smoke curling through the neighborhood with the promise of burgers, steaks or hotdogs; lawnmowers humming, teenagers laughing, tots squealing, the splashing of pool water, and the low hum of suped-up cars cruising down the street.

Of course, Symon is oblivious to all these goings on, except for one - the pop, pop, pop of firecrackers.

Thank God it's just one day every summer (until Labour Day!).

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bear Sighting!

I'm serious - a bear was spotted on our property at work yesterday!

What a weird week!

Tornado!

There was a tornado in Midland, ON. (about 1/2 hour north of Barrie) yesterday.

Geeze - what next?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

We All Had A Great Time!

What a great time we all had on my "Sister's Weekend". Fantastic food, beautiful weather and the best company!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gone Fishn'

Today is the first day of my annual "Sister's Weekend".

I was up at the crack of dawn, packing my bag (and my dog, Symon's), getting ready to head 45 minutes north to join my sisters, Marianne and Claudia, for a relaxing weekend. We'll be eating, sleeping, swimming, sunning, video watching (I'm bringing Sex and The City, and Avatar), magazine reading (I've got Vanity Fair and Writer's Digest). I can't wait to leave the city behind!

P.S. - There's no real fishing involved!

Let me know what you have planned for the weekend.

Whatever you're up to, have a great weekend!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Paranormal Summer Fest 2010!

All Things Urban Fantasy: Paranormal Summer Fest: Look Who’s Coming!

Every single day during the month of June, All Things Urban Fantasy & Tynga’s Reviews will be hosting different authors, titles and giveaways during the 1st ever Paranormal Summer Fest!

* 46 authors confirmed so far for Paranormal Summer Fest. Plus several more who they're still wooing.
* There will be giveaways for almost every book listed below (they are still working on getting a few titles, hopefully we’ll have giveaways for every title).
* They have received an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from most publisher contacts (one even asked the dangerous question “how many copies do you want of each title?”)
* Keep an eye out for a few deluxe giveaways for entire series!

Look Who's Coming:

R.J. Anderson (Wayfarer)
Ilona Andrews (Magic Bleeds)
Sharon Ashwood (Unchained)
Cyn Balog (Sleepless)
Dakota Banks (Sacrifice)
Sarah Rees Brennan (The Demon's Covenant)
Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments & The Infernal Devices)
Marcia Colette (Stripped)
Tera Lynn Childs (Please Forgive My Fins)
Andrea Cremer (Nightshade)
MaryJanice Davidson (Undead and Unfinished)
Melisse De La Cruz (Key to the Repository)
Shannon Delany (13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale)
Jocelynn Drake (Pray for Dawn & Wait for Dusk)
Abra Ebner (The Knight Angels)
P.N Elrod (Dark and Stormy Knights anthology)
Jennifer Estep (Web of Lies)
Becca Fitzpatrick (Crescendo)
Jeaniene Frost (Eternal Kiss of Darkness)
Yasmine Galenorn (Night Myst)
Seressia Glass (Shadow Chase)
Judith Graves (Under My Skin)
Jess Haines (Hunted By The Others)
Tate Hallaway (Almost to Die For)
Alyxandra Harvey (Blood Feud)
Allyson James (Stormwalker)
Christine Johnson (Claire de Lune)
Stacey Kade (The Ghost and the Goth)
Stacia Kane (Unholy Ghosts & Unholy Magic & City of Ghosts)
Karen Kincy (Other)
Kelly Meding (As Lie the Dead)
Chloe Neill (Twice Bitten)
Lee Nichols (Deception)
Alyson Noel (Dark Flame)
Robin D. Owens (Heart Series)
Nicole Peeler (Tracking the Tempest)
Adrian Phoenix (Black Dust Mambo)
Aprilynne Pike (Spells)
Linda Robertson (Fatal Circle)
Michelle Rowen (Demon Princess: Reign Check & Demon In Me)
Jeri Smith-Ready (Shade & Bring On the Night)
Lili St-Crow (Jealousy)
Maggie Stiefvater (Linger)
Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Goes to War)
Rachel Vincent (My Soul to Keep)
Alayna Williams (Dark Oracle)

All the giveaways for the event will end on July 4th and the winners will be announced on July 6th. Make sure you visit All Things Urban Fantasy & Tynga’s Reviews every day in June to find out more about these great titles and authors, and to enter the daily giveaways!

Happy Memorial Day!

I'd like to wish all my American friends a safe & fun Memorial Day! I'm so proud to be your neighbor!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

First Five Pages of WIND on Glass Cases!

I'm thrilled and honored to have the first five pages of my YA Paranormal Romance novel, WIND, published on GLASS CASES, Sarah LaPolla's dynamic blog!

Please take a look and tell me what you think!

Glass Cases

Thank you so much Sarah!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

''Dear Lucky Agent'' Contest: Fantasy and Sci-Fi Hosted by Guide to Literary Agents

''Dear Lucky Agent'' Contest: Fantasy and Sci-Fi

Guide to Literary Agents is hosting the fifth "Dear Lucky Agent" Contest on the GLA blog. This is a recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. Here's the deal: With every contest, the details are essentially the same, but the niche itself changes—meaning each contest is focused around a specific category or two. So if you're writing a book-length novel that's fantasy or sci-fi, this fifth contest is for you!

HOW TO SUBMIT
E-mail entries to fifthagentcontest@gmail.com. Please paste everything. No attachments.

WHAT TO SUBMIT
The first 150-200 words of your unpublished, book-length work of fantasy or science fiction (adult fiction and/or YA fiction; no MG please). You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also, submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with your entry.

Please note: To be eligible to submit, you have to do one of two things: 1) Mention and link to this contest twice through your social media—blogs, Twitter, Facebook; or 2) just mention this contest once and also add Guide to Literary Agents Blog (www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog) to your blogroll. Please provide link(s) so the judges can verify eligibility!

CONTEST DETAILS
1. This contest will be live for approximately fourteen days—from May 12 through the end of Wednesday, May 26, EST. Winners notified by e-mail within 7 days of end of contest. Winners announced on the blog thereafter.
2. To enter, submit the first 150-200 words of your book. Shorter or longer entries will not be considered. Keep it within word count range please.
3. This contest is solely for completed book-length works of fantasy and science fiction (both YA and adult novels are accepted; no MG).
4. You can submit as many times as you wish. You can submit even if you submitted to other contests in the past, but please note that past winners cannot win again.
5. The contest is open to everyone of all ages, save those employees, officers and directors of GLA's publisher, F+W Media.
6. By e-mailing your entry, you are submitting an entry for consideration in this contest and thereby agreeing to the terms written here as well as any terms possibly added by Chuck in the "Comments" section of the GLA blog post. (If you have questions or concerns, write me to Chuck at literaryagent@fwmedia.com.

PRIZES!!!
Top 3 winners all get: 1) A critique of the first 10 pages of your work, by your agent judge. 2) A free one-year subscription to WritersMarket.com.

THE (AWESOME) JUDGE!
Roseanne Wells is a literary agent at the Marianne Strong Literary Agency.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rachele Alpine of Frecklehead Hosts a Cool Contest



YA Author, Rachele Alpine, is hosting a cool contest over at her blog, Freckle Head.

Rachele's YA novel, CANARY, is currently on submission. Her agent is Lina Sion at Global Literary Management.

Rachele is offering to critique 10 queries and draw two winners for a 30 page manuscript critique. Besides being an author, she's a high school English teacher and MFA student so she has lots of lit experience, not to mention, she's living YA everyday!

The Rules:

1) You must be a follower of Freckle Head.

2) If you'd like the chance to have Rachele look at your query letter or manuscript, post your hook in the comment section of her blog by midnight Wednesday (April 21).

3) You can have an extra chance at being drawn each time you tweet, blog or Facebook this contest (just post which you did in the comment section)

Rachele will draw ten winners randomly for query critiques and two winners for the 30 page manuscript critique.

Cool!

Another "must read" is Matthew Rush's dynamic blog, The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment. Today Matthew interviews Rachele and has posted the actual query letter that landed her an agent! Congrats Rachele & thanks Matthew! Matthew always has an interesting blog & he's cute too!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Patience

Waiting - I've never been very good at it. Today I'm waiting to hear about possibly getting a new home and I have to admit, I have a fluttering, nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach.

When I was a kid (about 100 years ago!), I was very impatient. But, as I've become older and more mature (okay, maybe not more mature), I've tried to work on my relationship with patience - tried to communicate with it, understand it, meet it half way, even romance it. I think it's paid off, because we've called a truce, patience and I. We're much better friends than we used to be.

Are you patient? What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The First Novels Club INSIDE OUT Giveaway & Guest Post from YA Author Maria V. Snyder

The First Novels Club is hosting another guest post by Maria V. Snyder, the New York Times Best Selling author. Maria already has two popular fantasy series, The Study Series and The Glass Series. Her latest release is INSIDE OUT. It’s categorized as a Young Adult (YA) dystopian science fiction.

If you’d like to read the first three chapters of INSIDE OUT, or do a personality quiz based on the book, or see a video trailer for the book go to:

http://www.whatsinsideout.com/

To see maps of the world of Inside Out, go to: http://www.mariavsnyder.com/maps.php

To read some of Maria's SF short stories go to: http://www.mariavsnyder.com/shortstories.php

Now onto the contest. The First Novels Club is celebrating the release of Inside Out by giving away one copy that Maria is going to sign and personalize to one lucky winner!

Contest ends April 12th, 2010 at 11:59PM

To enter, check out The First Novels Club blog site at:

http://www.firstnovelsclub.com/

LiLa's Totally Epic 500 Follower Contest

From Lisa and Laura Write:

About a year and a half ago we were celebrating our very first blog follower. We even promised poor Sarah an ARC of THE NORTH SHORE (aka the manuscript that was rejected by almost every breathing agent in the business).

Now that we've hit over 500 followers we figured it was high time to offer our fabulous readers something slightly more exciting than an ARC of a manuscript that will never, ever see the light of day.

CONTEST RULES:

* To enter the contest you must be a follower of our blog (duh) and comment on this post. That earns you one entry.
* You can earn one extra entry by Blogging/Tweeting/Facebooking about the contest.
* Fill out this form (also attached at the end of this post) to place a bet on Lisa or Laura (or both if you want to hedge your bets and you've earned an extra entry).
* We are going to hold a live sister writer arm wrestling competition that we will post next Wednesday April 14th at 8 AM.
* All of the followers who have placed bets on the winning sister (if you bet on Lisa and Laura wins, you are out of luck my friends, so choose your Roecker sister wisely) will be entered into a lottery for these amazing prize packages:

The Reader Package:

* STUPID CUPID (signed copy!! hoorah!) by Rhonda Stapleton
* HOW TO TEACH FILTHY RICH GIRLS by Zoey Dean
* THE HOLLOW by Jessica Verday
* JERK CALIFORNIA by Jonathen Friesen
* UGLIES and PRETTIES by Scott Westerfeld
* Lots and lots of chocolate
* A fabulously warm blanket to curl up in while you're reading and chowing down on delicious chocolate.

The LIAR SOCIETY Package:

* Two Starbucks Gift Cards (So you can buy Kate's favorite drink: a full-fat Frappacino with extra whipped cream.
* A fabulous pearl necklace (Um, just don't ask us if it's real okay? If it makes you feel any better, Kate's pearls are fake too.)
* A DIY Pineapple Pizza Kit (Kate's favorite dinner! All you'll need to do is add cheese. Trust us, it's better this way.)
* A bike bell (Kate's sole methods of transportation are her trusty 10-speed and the school bus.)
* A 10 page critique of your manuscript or WIP.

The Grand Prize Roecker Extravaganza Package:

* Glee Soundtrack Volume 1 and Volume 2
* A variety pack of every Twizzler known to man, aside from the rainbow kind because those don't count.
* A bottle of Prosecco (sparkling juice if you're an underage/on-the-wagon winner).
* A t-shirt that will officially christen you as The Fourth Roecker Sister (or Sibling if one of our three male followers wins).
* Business Cards or Stationary Designed especially for you by the ultra-talented third Roecker sister, Stacey owner of PoochiePrints.

Not bad, right? Well, at least it's better than giving away a copy of a book that will never exist. So, please enter and tell all of your friends. And get really excited for the big vlog/contest winners announcement next Wednesday. We're taking this VERY seriously.

Check out Lisa & Laura's dynamic blog at:

(lisa-laura.blogspot.com)

Friday, April 2, 2010

I'm Not 50 - I'm 49.95, Plus Tax!

I'm not too sure how I feel about turning 50 this weekend. I was never one of those people who had a hard time with 20, 30 or 40 years of age. You know, the kind of person who says, "I was totally depressed when I left my 20's." I never had this problem; I was always very comfortable in my own skin, at all ages. This birthday, however, is different. I wouldn't say I'm depressed; that's not it. It just feels weird - in 20 years I'll be 70 - how weird is that?

One of the great things about where I'm at now is my writing career (such as it is - LOL!). Seriously, I think realizing your own mortality frees you a little; frees you to ensure you do what you love - NOW. In a sense, I've never felt more comfortable in my almost-half-a-century skin.

I'm 50 (almost) and writing YA - sounds strange, but my wonderful son, Matthew, is 20 and his lovely girlfriend, Trisha, is 29, and my brilliant daughter, Anne Marie, is 16, so I'm surrounded by YA, in a sense. I hear what they like and don't like in books, movies, etc. The four of us discuss everything YA ad nauseum (we have dissected The Twilight Saga to death!), so I still feel very young.

One of my favorite authors summed it up beautifully . . .

I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming... suddenly you find - at the age of 50, say - that a whole new life has opened before you. ~ Agatha Christie

Thank you Agatha, I couldn't have said it any better myself! Besides, I'm not turning 50, I'm turning 49.95, plus tax!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Contests - How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways . . .

Today I entered the Query Tracker Agent Judged Contest and I must say, I really had a blast!

The contest opened at 12:00 p.m. and I was ready at my computer, at work (technically, I was on lunch, in case my boss is reading this!), refreshing, refreshing; waiting for the registration form to appear. Like an apparition, it did appear and, with trembling hands, I filled it out and pasted my log line and first paragraph into the form, then I pushed the button and, like a magic, the form disappeared into the IT netherworld.

I must take this opportunity to apologize to one of my co-workers, Jen. At one minute to 12:00, Jen approached my desk and proceeded to ask me for something (I really don't remember what she asked for). I replied, "Jen, could you come back in five minutes, please?" She glanced at my screen, smiled knowingly and said, "Oh, sure, no problem." What a good sport she is!

Anyway, it was fun while it lasted and I am looking forward to doing it again.

Thanks Elana and the Query Tracker team!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Michael Scott - Beloved Irish Writer

With St. Patrick's Day fast approaching, I thought I'd write about wonderful Irish writer, Michael Scott.

Michael Scott has been writing for over 25 years (his first book was published in 1983), and is one of Ireland's most successful and prolific authors, with over 100 titles to his credit, spanning a variety of genres, including Fantasy, Science Fiction, Folklore.

Michael is considered an authority on folklore of Celtic lands. His collections, entitled, Irish Folk & Fairy Tales, Irish Myths & Legends, and Irish Ghosts & Hauntings, are considered the definitive work on the subject. The Irish Times recently proclaimed Michael, "The King of Fantasy in these Isles."

His horror novels, Banshee, Image, Reflection, Imp and Hallows are considered classics of the genre. Michael's fantasy trilogies, Silverhand and Silverlight were published in the U.S. to excellent reviews.

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, is a series of six YA Fantasy novels that chronicle the adventures of 15 year old twins, Sophie and Josh Newman, who stumble into a world of magic that criss-crosses the globe. Many of the characters are from history and mythology, indeed, Nicholas Flamel, a French alchemist, was a real person born in 1313. The film rights to the series have been sold, and the first book, The Alchemist, is in production, set to be released in 2011.

The six books are: The Alchemist, The Magician, The Sorceress, The Necromancer, The Warlock and The Enchantress.

Check out this beloved Irish YA Fantasy series.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Great White North

It’s called the GREAT White North for Many Reasons . . .

Canada has been nicknamed The Great White North for the substantial blanket of snow that covers the ground for half the year, but as an aspiring writer, I see its greatness in the talent of our past and present literary community:

Lucy Maud Montgomery
Born in 1874, Montgomery is best known for a series of novels beginning with Anne of Green Gables, published in 1908. The charming series was an immediate, international success featuring the beloved character, Anne Shirley, who goes to live with an elderly rural couple who are expecting a boy orphan, but are mistakenly sent a girl, yet decided to keep her.

Maza de la Roche
Mazo de la Roche (1879 – 1961) was born in Newmarket, Ontario (very close to where I presently live). Her third novel, Jalna, was submitted to the American magazine Atlantic Monthly in 1927, winning a $10,000 award, a small fortune in the 20’s! Its publication brought de la Roche fame and fortune at the age of 48 (yes, there’s still hope for me at 49!). The series tells the story of one hundred years of the Whiteoak family covering from 1854 to 1954. The novels were not written in sequential order, however, and each can be read as an independent story. The Jalna series has sold more than eleven million copies in 193 English and 92 foreign editions.

Margaret Laurence
Margaret Laurence (1926-1987) is one of Canada’s most loved and respected writers. She is the author of sixteen books, including a travel memoir, five novels and two collections of short stories, a translation of Somali tales and poems, a collection of essays and an important study of Nigerian dramatists. Laurence was born in 1926 and lived in Lakefield, Ontario (the northern town where Prince Andrew went to college). In perhaps her best-know work, The Stone Angel, Laurence tells the story of a 90-year old woman struggling to come to grips with a life of intransigence and loss. "Pride was my wilderness, the demon that led me there was fear." Although Stone Angel has been banned from some schools, it is studied at the grade 12 university level in other schools.

The Diviners, published in 1974 was Laurence’s final novel. Although on the surface, The Diviners depicts very different roles for women than her earlier novels do, there is a recurring theme of the female perspective on contemporary life. Margaret Laurence wrote fifteen books and a memoir that was published posthumously. She as also well-known for her work as a peace activist and as one of the founders of the Writers’ Union of Canada. Her encouragement of fellow writers is legendary.

Mordecai Richler
Mordecai Richler (1931 – 2001) was a Canadian author, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and essayist. He was born in Montreal, Quebec. Richler wrote movingly of his working class neighbourhood and its people, chronicling the hardships and disabilities they faced as a Jewish minority:
“To a middle-class stranger, it is true, one street would have seemed as squalid as the next. On each corner a cigar store, a grocery, and a fruit man. Outside staircases everywhere. Winding ones, wooden ones, rusty and risky ones. Here a prized lot of grass splendidly barbered, there a spitefully weedy patch. An endless repetition of precious peeling balconies and waste lots making the occasional gap here and there.”
His best known works are The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, and the Jacob Two-Two children's stories. A leading critic called him "the great shining star of his Canadian literary generation.”

Margaret Atwood

Ms. Atwood was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in 1939 and began writing at the age of six. She graduated from Harvard’s Radcliffe College in 1962 and went on to write The Edible Woman, The Handmaiden’s Tale, Cat’s Eye, The Robber Bride, Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood. Atwood writes Dystopian Science Fiction, but prefers to label it “Speculative Fiction”, and "Adventure Romance" because it does not deal with “things that have not been invented yet” and goes beyond the realism she associates with the novel form.

Michael Ondaatje
Michael Ondaatje was born 1943 in Colombo, Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) and moved to England with his mother in 1954. After relocating to Canada in 1962, Ondaatje became a Canadian citizen. His style of fiction was introduced in Coming Through Slaughter and mastered in The English Patient. He creates a narrative by exploring many interconnected snapshots in minute detail.

Canada is known for many national treasures—Wayne Gretzky, Christopher Plummer, Ellen Page, Mike Myers, Niagara Falls, The Canadian Rocky Mountains, Hockey, Maple Syrup, Canadian Bacon, French Canadian Pea Soup, Butter Tarts, The Northern Lights, Canada Geese, Tim Horton’s (much-coveted coffee and donuts), Poutine (French Fries drizzled with melted cheese curds and gravy-my kids love it!), The Hudson Bay Company (which once owned 1/11th of the Earth's surface), Molson’s beer, great Health Care and Halloween costumes for kids that fit over snow suits—but, check out these great Canadian writers.

I know they won’t disappoint.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

This Day in Literary History . . .

On January 24, 1862, Edith Wharton was born to an old and wealthy New York family.  She grew up in an opulent world where pre-Civil War society tried to keep the nouveau riche at bay.  Wharton, expected to become a typical wife, mother, and hostess, instead showed intellectual talent and began to write at an early age.  At age 23, she married prominent socialite Edward Wharton, who had neither a profession nor fortune - they divorced in 1913.  Edith returned to writing, often dealing with themes of divorce, unhappy marriages, and free-spirits trapped by societal pressures - in other words, she wrote what she knew.
Wharton's 1905 novel, The House of Mirth, told the story of a New York socialite with a strong sense of individuality who cannot adapt to the roles to which were expected of her. The book became a bestseller.  Her novella, Ethan Frome, detailing a New England farmer trapped by the demands of the women in his life, is one of her best-known works.  Her 1920 novel, Age of Innocence, won the Pulitzer.
Edith remained in France during World War I, assisting refugees, and was made a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor in 1916.
In 1927, she published another bestseller, Twilight Sleep, then her autobiography, A Backward Glance, in 1934.  She died in France in 1937.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Patches - A Sweet Curmudgeon

Patches is the hyper-active feline featured in WIND.  He was given to me by a coworker about five years ago.  I adopted him thinking he would be a good replacement for Samantha, who had just passed away (the cat I inherited from my father).  You see, my son, Matthew, had grown very attached to Samantha, and was heart broken when she died.  As it turned out, Patches took to me in a big way and inched his way into my heart.  (Another cat, Sparkles, became Matthew's good friend).  Patches is a sweet curmudgeon.  He cries on the counter when he's hungry and his cry sounds like a baby bird begging for a worm.  This prompted one young visitor to the house to ask, "Do you have a bird in here somewhere?"  He's extremely bossy and chases the other cats every chance he gets, but like most bullies, he's a coward at heart - he runs for his life and hides in a kitchen cupboard when Lucky, the Dachshund, chases him (Lucky is referenced to in WIND and will make an appearance in SAND.)  Nonetheless, he's a dear and we all love him.

Monday, January 11, 2010

If you have an intuitive or instinctive feeling, follow it, and you will find that the Universe is magnetically moving you to receive what you asked for . . . 

From The Secret by Rhonda Byrne


Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Sun Is Finally Out

Saturday morning, a steaming cup of coffee and the sun is finally out, after a week of snow, snow & more snow.  The teenagers are still sleeping, dreaming of movies, videos and pizza, no doubt!  The two dogs and several cats are sleeping in a generous slice of sun on the floor.  I am taking this gift of a quiet morning to write.  All is right with the world (for the moment!). 

Have a lovely day!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow, Snow & Yes, More Snow!

It's cold - the perfect excuse to stay in and write, or at least try, and drink large quantities of coffee.  The frigid temps are getting everyone down (even in Florida, I heard on CNN!)  I think I'll hibernate until Spring (would that I could!), then creep out of my lair, stretch, and wonder if Tim Horton's (Canadian chain of coffee/donut shops that I can only describe as Nirvana) is still open.  That's what bears do. 

Canadian bears, anyway.