Monday, October 31, 2011

The Scariest Scene from The Wizard of Oz

Yikes, this thing still gives me chills when I watch it. *hiding and running away*

Some Pure Halloween Crack

Lots of fun stuff going on today. It is Halloween, after all. Zombie costumes, vampire teeth, hounds of hell wandering the streets. So, in honor of this way-fun holiday, I've been hanging out online. Check it out...

Check out my guest post over at fellow Harper author, Helen Lowe's, blog. I'm chatting about 10 movies to get you in the mood for Halloween.

Here's a taste of my list...

8. THE HAUNTING (1963): Be afraid. Be very afraid. This is one of the creepiest movies I’ve ever seen. A group of people do a paranormal investigation on Hill House, spending the night. Be prepared for a rush of pure adrenaline, for this is a tale of psychological horror that builds and builds until even you want out of Hill House.

9. THE OTHERS: Another psychological horror, this movie was inspired by the novella, The Turn of the Screw. Nicole Kidman plays a mother, trying to protect her two children from a houseful of ghosts, or is she? The plot twists and turns as you learn more about this family and the ghosts who live in the house.

Check out my interview and the book giveaway over at Paper Cuts Review. This is part of blog owner, Stephanie's, FEAST OF SCREAMS event (Yikes, does that sound creepy and fun!).

Here's a taste of the interview:

Q: What has your journey been like to become published? What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

A: It took me a long time to get my first book, Afterlife, published. Mainly because I had to write about 4-5 other books first. The whole process took about ten or eleven years, during which time I became an editor at a book publishing company (The Word For Today), and later a magazine editor at Victorian Homes magazine. So, obviously, even though my books weren’t selling, my writing and editing skills were improving. I would advise any aspiring writer to join a good supportive writer’s group, to attend local writer’s conferences, to read books on writing, and to read really well-written books. And every time you get a rejection, get back up, dust yourself off, and start writing again. Your writing will get stronger and your next book will be even better.

AND I haven't forgotten that I promised to post my Top Ten Books for Halloween. So here goes:


1. iDrakula by Bekka Black

2. Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge

3. Brains: A Zombie Memoir by Robin Becker

4. Pay Me in Flesh by K. Bennett

5. Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon

6. Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

7. Interview With A Vampire by Anne Rice

8. The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro

9. Darkness Inside by Jeyn Roberts

10. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

And, just for fun, I’m going to add three additional books (one of which is mine, sorry for the pimpage):

11. Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee

12. Winterland: A Novella by Mike Duran

13. Feast: Harvest of Dreams by Merrie Destefano

So, go out there and enjoy this night of pure candy-crack fun!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ten Days of Halloween: Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge

Every once in awhile, I stumble across a book that leaves me breathless. I'm propelled forward. Compelled to read. Like a lemming, I plunge over the cliff, discover the land beneath my feet is gone. I've scampered through the forest of words too quickly, come face-to-face with the most horrid of all reading calamities...

The book is over. I'm done reading. I'm sailing over the edge of the cliff.

I don’t find a book that pushes me over the edge very often. So when I do, I realize instantly that I’ve just found my New Favorite Author.

Allow me to introduce you to Norman Partridge, my NFA. The book that had me flying through the air—the dark dangerous night air—is Dark Harvest, published by Tor.

You must read it. Really. You just have to.

Besides the stunning prose, the nostalgic setting and the perfect monster, one element captivated my writer's heart. The POV. I’ve never read anything like it. Smooth and flawless, it sailed from one person to the next with nary a skip or a bump. I was never confused (terrified, yes) and I was never irritated. I gladly soared along like the chill autumn wind, danced through swirling leaves as the writer had me chasing one character after another, all within the same scene.

If you're a writer and you struggle with POV, if you want to see something new and daring and creative, if you just plain want a good book that won’t let you rest until you are completely and thoroughly done, this book is a must-read. But I have to warn you. Dark Harvest won’t leave you alone, even after you finish it. Sorry. This one’s going to cling to the walls of your memory. Maybe forever.

So, come with me to the scary lemming edge, to the cliff you can’t resist.

Come. Read the first chapter.

Put on your lemming skin and read.

I dare you.

P.S. Stay tuned for more Halloween book recommendations in the next two days, plus an update on what's new and exciting in YA!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On the road to fantasyland (which is a little bit like Disneyland, but not really.)

I'm getting ready to head down to World Fantasy Con for a few days. (Very excited!) I'll be on a panel Friday morning. Info is below.

FRIDAY: 10:00 AM

Pacific 1: But Can You Bring Him Home To Mother?

You think your last boyfriend was a monster? Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies - is there anything beyond the pale in paranormal romance? A look at relationships with individuals who aren’t quite human. How did we come to regard what used to be considered ravening monsters as prospects? Is the dating pool that desperate?

Panel Members, including me:
Merrie Destefano, Carolyn Grayson, Frances Gross, Linda Thomas-Sundstrom (M), Sandra Wickham

ALSO, I wanted to let you know that I'll have a interview on Paper Cut Reviews on the 29th. (What day is that? Hmmm. Trick question.)

And since I'm going to be gone for a few days, here's something fun to watch:

P.S. I will continue my countdown of Ten Books to Read for Halloween when I get back...

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Ten Days of Halloween: Day One: iDrakula

Halloween is coming. Soon leaves will be blowing across your yard, pumpkins will glow on your porch and troops of ghouls will come knocking on your door, demanding treats. The days are getting shorter and darkness rules the land. We mortals try to stave off the long, lonely night by lighting fires, baking cookies, and curling up in a comfortable chair with a great book.

This is the season for great books. Great spooky books that make the chill in the air a bit more sharp.

Over the next ten days, I’m going to be recommending ten fabulously creepy books, each of them perfect for a long, autumn evening, when the wolves are howling and your cup of tea is steaming.

My first recommendation:
iDrakula by Bekka Black

This digital book is beyond incredible. A reimagining of Dracula, this version brings a familiar tale to life in a new, fresh way. The story is told through a series of e-mails, text messages, Internet searches and voice mails, with the occasional picture attachment thrown in. Designed to be read one day at a time—a technique that heightens the tension and makes you even more invested in the story—Bekka Black’s creation is flawless. I couldn’t put it down. Seriously. The characters feel incredibly real and the story puts a modern spin on the original vampire story, making it not only more contemporary and more scary, but also more believable.

I give this digital book 5 stars and I highly recommend it for a spooky, Halloween read.

My only question is: Can we expect more of these from Black? I hope so. Because I want more. I’m already imagining iFrankenstein or iMummy or iWerewolf.

The author of iDrakula, Bekka Black, just told me that iFrankenstein is up next (woo hoo!!) and will hopefully be out by Halloween, next year.

Monday, October 17, 2011

If the blogging shoe fits...

Hey, you know how I don't blog very often? (One of my writing pals just called me a blog sloth on Facebook. Ahem. Okay, so that shoe fits.)

Well, is it okay if I blog to tell you about some free stuff?

Free stuff. Yeah. That's what I'm talking about.

Here goes:

I'm giving away a $25 Amazon gift card, plus a copy of FEAST over on the Supernatural Underground. Contest ends on October 20. (Hurry!)

Books N Kisses is giving away some cool stuff for Halloween (go over and check out all the loot). In the mix, are a signed copy of Afterlife and a signed copy of Feast, given away by Yours Truly.

Plus, this isn't free, but it is cool. I just re-designed my website and it should be up and running and all sparkly in about 2 days. (I'm very excited about that.)

And, by the way, my motto is: If the shoe fits, then it's time to go shopping for a new handbag.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Great Beginnings

What catches your attention when you're browsing through the local bookstore? A trendy cover? A kiosk display? I confess, I'm a sucker for both of those. But for me, the bottom line is always the book itself. Story concept and execution are what get me to buy books.

So, I thought I'd just share some first passages from books that I loved.

From The Black Echo by Michael Connelly:

"The boy couldn't see in the dark, but he didn't need to. Experience and long practice told him it was good. Nice and even. Smooth strokes, moving his whole arm while gently rolling his wrist. Keep the marble moving. No runs. Beautiful."

From The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins:

"When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim's warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping."

From This Glittering World by T. Greenwood:

"Winter came early to Flagstaff that year. Ben hadn't split the firewood that lay in a cluttered heap in the driveway. He hadn't cleaned out the chimney or brought salt to melt the snow from the sidewalk in front of the house. Sara hadn't gotten the winter coats out of storage, hadn't taken down the artificial spiderwebs and plastic decals she'd hung in the windows for Halloween. the harvest dummy sat ill-prepared and coatless on the porch. The jack-o-lanterns hadn't even started to bruise and rot when the first storm brought twelve inches of snow. They weren't prepared."

From Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell:

"Red Dolly stood at break of day on her cold front steps and smelled coming flurries and saw meat. Meat hung from trees across the creek. The carcasses hung pale of flesh with a fatty gleam from low limbs of saplings in the side yards. Three halt haggard houses formed a kneeling rank on the far creekside and each had two or more skinned torsos dangling by rope from sagged limbs, venison left to the weather for two nights and three days so the early blossoming of decay might round the flavor."

What about you? What gets you to pick and read/buy a book?