Tuesday, December 24, 2013

8 Favorite Christmas Movies

Here's a list of some of my favorite Christmas movies. Most are well known, but a few are kinda obscure.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Who doesn't love hearing the tale of the little Whos of Whoville and how their loving nature made the grumpy Grinch's heart grow!


I don't care what anyone says, Gremlins is a Christmas movie. Gizmo is a present, there's snow and decorations, and the hero's girlfriend shares one of the worst holiday horror stories ever. There's even a tip of the hat to Charles Dickens in the Scrooge-esqe bank owner's character.

Nightmare Before Christmas

Also one of my favorite Halloween movies, this film manages to pull double duty. I love Zero's role as Rudolph when pulling Jack's sleigh.

Home Alone

A kid is accidentally left at home when his family takes a vacation to Paris. He has to fend off burglars and handle his fear of a creepy old dude in the neighborhood.

I think I love this movie so much because it came out when I was a kid and LOVED being home alone. I also enjoyed all of the booby traps and tricks he doled out to the bumbling burglars.

Santa Claus is Coming To Town

I think this film appeals the most to my inner writer. We get Santa Claus's back story. Where he came from, how he grew up, how he met Mrs. Claus, and how he became the jolly patron of presents. And the villain's name is "Burgermeister Meisterburger!!"

Frosty's Winter Wonderland

And if the previously mention film appealed to my inner writer, this one appeals to my inner romance writer. Like the Bride of Frankenstein, the children build a girlfriend for Frosty. ::sigh:: Unfortunately the parson refuses to marry them because he can only marry humans. Sounds familiar, huh?

The Christmas Tree

This made for TV low budget cartoon movie is freakin' weird, but oddly touching. A young woman gets a job as a housekeeper in an orphanage with a corrupt, evil manager. The children are so lonely they worship the tree in their yard. Eventually the kind housekeeper saves the day... and Christmas.

The whole film is on youtube.


A Christmas Story

I know, no big surprise. Who doesn't love this movie? The 50's nostalgia, the leg lamp, the marauding neighbor dogs, and the eternally infamous line, "You'll shoot your eye out!"

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Value of Editing, Revising, and Not Giving Up

I use Grammarly's free grammar checker because it's a nerdastically fabulous source to ensure that you don''t sound like a twelve year old with a MySpace account. 

My first novel took about 4 years. The 1st draft was giant binder full of handwritten pages. Then I was finally able to get a computer, but no internet and type it up. With dreams of book deals dancing in my head, I checked out the latest copy of Writer's Market and mailed out a slew of query letters.

Naturally, that didn't turn out so well. After a few months of dejection, I got an idea for another book.
I hand wrote the pages at work and was encouraged when a coworker snatched them from my hands and demanded to know what happened next. 

I finished it shortly before I was able to get the internet. I immediately googled agents and sent a flurry of email queries. I got a few requests, but mostly rejections.

I tweaked the manuscript and researched the industry and eventually made friends with other authors. Finally I found what I was supposed to have done in the first place: have other people critique it first. Many other writers graciously volunteered. 

Alas, none of them ever sent me feedback, except for one, who critiqued the first couple chapters and flat out said, "I stopped reading here. I'm sorry." 

Thankfully, one saint of a reader made her way through the whole thing and pointed me in the write direction on fixing it.

I rewrote it and found more beta readers.This time, all made it through and provided excellent feedback. None seemed to adore it, however. I rewrote it again before sending out more queries and getting MORE rejections. 

"My book SUCKS!" I wailed, and tossed it in the proverbial trunk and began a new book ...in a completely different subgenre. My 3rd novel, BITE ME, YOUR GRACE ultimately landed me my fist book deal. And that one also endured at least 6 revisions.

However, my previous book, WRENCHING FATE lingered in my mind. Using all I learned from my 3rd book, I completely overhauled and rewrote the 2nd one. It was practically my 4th novel.
I found more critique buddies and guess what: they LIKED it! Alas, with the publication of BITE ME, YOUR GRACE and working on the other books in that series, as well as working on other shiny new ideas, I had little time to work on WRENCHING FATE.

But that story never left my mind.

Whenever I had a spare moment, I utilized the feedback I received from my beta readers and critique partners and revised it again.

And again.

Now it's in the hands of the final batch of beta readers.

And guess what?

They're already messaging me to tell me they LOVE it!! 

The moral of this story is that if you know deep in your heart that you have a good story, it is indeed possible to make it a great, well written story. 

It just takes a TON of hard work, determination, lots of learning, and countless revisions. Utilizing sources like Grammarly, which I mentioned above, as well as reader feedback and learning from your own mistakes can aid you in your journey to success.  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Big Announcement!!

First, I have some sad news. Due to marketing decisions and other factors, the release date of ONE BITE PER NIGHT is being delayed until late summer.

However, I have some good news and a big announcement that many of my readers will hopefully be delighted to hear.

I've decided to release, WRENCHING FATE, the first novel in my urban fantasy romance series in early Spring!!!

Here's the blurb:

Silas McNaught, Lord Vampire of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is elated when he finds Akasha Hope, the woman of his psychic visions. He is granted permission to Mark her as his own under one condition: he must guard her friends, one of which is the daughter of the creator of vampires. Silas agrees, thinking Akasha will be happy to see the home he built for her.

To his surprise, Akasha is infuriated when Silas interferes with her life. Furthermore, she is nothing like the sweet woman of his visions. Not only is she a foul mouthed mechanic, she is also the accidental result of a military experiment with the strength of ten men….and government agents are looking for her.

When Silas Marks Akasha’s friends, his vindictive ex lover spurs the Elders to investigate Silas in an attempt to destroy Akasha and gain control of Silas’s charges, which are the key to an otherworldly prophecy. As government conspiracies and vampire politics collide, Silas teaches Akasha the meaning of trust…and love.

And here's the glorious title my cover artist, the fabulous artist and author Danae Ayusso made for me!!

I am so excited I'm squealing like a little girl.

I'll be sharing the official release date and cover soon!!!