About Me

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Hi, I'm Jamie. I'm a writer, reader, and huge TV junkie. I just might post about all three here on this blog. Have a look around. And if you want, drop me an email and tell me what you think. Thanks for visiting!

Friday, October 29, 2010

spooky swap swag!

So a couple weeks ago I signed up for the Spooky Swap over at Inked Books and I'm glad I did. Because today when I got home I found a sweet little package waiting for me! And inside? Lots o' stuff!

There was of course a book: Witch's Business by Diana Wynne Jones that sounds really cool.
Some great pencils and erasers: a necessity for someone who loves writing longhand!
A really cool orange skeleton cup that I plan to use all day on Halloween.
A pair of purple socks, a cute necklace, and what looks to be a hand-knitted scarf: Hey, even though I'm a guy (prob my fault for not specifying) it's totally cool - My baby sister (well, she's 30 but still the baby) has already snagged it all!
And some candy: My absolute favorite - Snickers! (they're not in the pic cause they didn't make it to the table!)

So a super-huge thanks to Jessica T. YOU ROCK!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

awesome giveaway, gang!

Hey guys, this contest ends Saturday night, but I think it's a great one. Head on over to Tell Great Stories and enter. Just don't be upset when I win!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm a finalist! Now go forth and vote.

So this morning was a nice surprise for me...I became a finalist in Brenda Drake's Cliffhanger Blogfest (see my previous post)! There were ten finalists chosen and I'm one of 'em. Isn't that great? Well, I guess you all are excited on the inside, right? That's cool.

But now I need you guys to head on over here and vote for me (or someone else if you like theirs better...I won't be mad, promise). Voting only lasts 24 hours, so head on over and cast your vote! And thanks for all the comments on my excerpt...you guys rock!

Monday, October 25, 2010

the never-ending scene blogfest!

When I came across this blogfest (I know, another one...I'm an animal!) I knew I just had to enter it. It sounds like it's gonna be really fun! I can't wait to read all the entries (and vote for my faves!). So here's my entry into Brenda Drake's awesome Never-ending Scene Blogfest...I hope you all enjoy!

“It’s big.” Sophie’s words mirror my thoughts. The Facility looks like a five-star hotel instead of a medical clinic. A glass castle…with armed guards.

“Don’t let it intimidate you.” I grab her hand and pull her with me. The two of us bring up the rear of the group. You can feel the tension in the air. No one wants to step through the security checkpoint; there’s no turning back after that. Not that we have a choice. It’s like the old military draft, when boys went to war against their will, barely trained and ready to kill. Except this isn’t war. This is survival.

I’m behind Sophie as we reach the burly-looking guards and their machine guns. They don’t look at us as we file through the large, grey chamber. Two more soldiers stand to the right of the chamber, staring intently at a small screen. It’s a body scanner. They’re making sure we aren’t concealing weapons. But why? Why would we bring weapons to a place like this? Has that happened before? And why the guns? Are we in danger? My mind swirls the questions together with fear and paranoia about what the innards of The Facility will bring as I wait impatiently for Sophie to be scanned. Once it’s my turn, I cautiously step onto the chamber platform. I barely get three feet inside when an ear-piercing siren sounds and both ends of the chamber seal shut.

My mind clouds with panic. I frantically rush the entrance of the chamber. I pound on the cold surface and scream for someone to help but I know I’m wasting my time. Why are they doing this to me? What did I do wrong? I don’t have a gun hidden anywhere, no other weapons. I didn’t even pack a fingernail file. I’m no threat here. Especially here. The Facility is supposed to be a place of hope. Why do they think I would destroy that?

I give up screaming and scan the chamber. My lungs tighten in my chest as the realization of my enclosed quarters sets in. The walls feel alive, moving, closing in on me. Don’t panic, Hannah. Don’t panic.

I fall against the door. My legs crumple beneath me. I’m defeated. They’ve won. I’ll do whatever they want if someone will just let me out of here. My mind can’t handle the claustrophobia. Reality warps. Shadows gripping the upper corners of the chamber begin to move. Long, black arms reach down, making contact with the cold floor. Lithe bodies peel from the walls. Two of them, equal in size and terror, move toward me. I don’t panic, don’t even acknowledge them. I can’t. I’m frozen with fear. Part of my brain knows this isn’t real; the rest is scared to death. I don’t want to die. I don’t want the shadow monsters to take me and torture me and kill me. As their gangly fingers make contact with my skin, my eyes close and everything goes black.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

cast your villian!

Nicole at WORD for Teens is having a really cool poll and giveaway. She's asking readers to cast their favorite villain. Simply pick a villain in any book and an actor you think should play them in a movie. Easy, right? So run on over and enter...and you could win a copy of The Body Finder and an ARC of Desires of the Dead. How cool is that?

So here's my uber-short job as a Casting Director. I'm choosing High Priestess Neferet from the House of Night series by PC & Kristin Cast. She's super-evil and devilishly wicked. And I think it'll take a tough actress to portray such a devious, menacing character.

If they make a movie (which rumors are they will) I would love to see Neferet played by Darryl Hannah.

I know what you're probably thinking. How could the mermaid from Splash be mean? I have 3 words for you:

Watch Kill Bill

trailers as queries? sounds good to me!

Trailers. You see them everywhere. Books, movies, even some commercials are built like a teaser trailer, designed to get you hooked on something and go out and buy or watch it. Movie studios hire people to do nothing but create trailers for their movies. Those people get paid to pull the best pieces out of movies and put them all together with cool graphics and dramatic voice overs to entice the public to run out and buy a ticket.

Authors have jumped on that bandwagon over the last few years, realizing that creating a trailer for their book would appeal to those who don't really read (yeah, there are non-readers out there). By pulling the best parts of their book and mushing them all together with cool graphics and dramatic voice overs, they've done something really cool: they've turned their query into a movie.

Think about current movie trailers you see on TV. They take tiny snippets from the movie - whether it be a sound clip or a spooky face or whatever - that they know will have viewers saying "hmmm, that sounds interesting" or "I wonder what this is all about", while simultaneously introducing us to the main characters and the basic problem he or she faces. Isn't that what a query is supposed to do? Introduce the main character(s), show what major problem he/she faces, and hook an agent? Sounds like the same premise to me.

So my question is, what about us writing "hopefuls" taking our queries and turning them into book/movie trailers? Maybe agents could make the shift to watching queries instead of reading them...I'm sure they'd be much more interesting! What do you guys think?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

my 2nd award!

So the lovely (as I've said before) Erica & Christy are not only running the Half-marathon of Words competition (you really should join, seriously), but they have also given me my Second Blog Award!!!

Yay! It's so exciting! And how cool is it that not only is it an award, but it's the "You're So Cool You're Getting Cupcakes!" Award!

Oh wait, that's not it. That's what I wish I could win.

No, the awesome award the lovelies bestowed upon me is the "Sweet Friend" Award! (at least, I hope that's the name) How cool is that!

So, a HUGE thank you to Erica & Christy for thinking of me...you guys rock!

And in the spirit of giving, I'm passing this along to a few of my blogging "friends"...enjoy!

1. Pam Harris

2. Jen Daiker

3. Bekah

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

half-marathon of words!

I just realized that I haven't even told you guys about this *hangs head in shame* Sorry to the lovely Erica & Christy for not spreading the word about their really cool writing challenge. It's super simple, and I don't know the exact rules/guidelines, but if you guys wanna sign up, I'm sure they wouldn't mind (but it is a competition, so if you're gonna join, you better hurry!).

So I've decided to work on my newly-begun WIP, a YA Dystopian. I've never done dystopian before, but the idea of altering the norm is really fascinating to me, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I began the half-marathon with 4,400 words and I'm only now up to 9,200, but I'm loving it! The story is unfolding nicely and I can see the big picture, which is much better than I can say for my latest completed MS that, frankly, stinks! I'm actually gonna re-write it (as mentioned in my NaNo post just below this one), so maybe I can fix it...we'll see!

But anyway, for those of you wanting to get focused on writing and give yourself a challenge, go sign up on their blog...and join in the controlled chaos!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I'm nano-ing...are you?

So I'm sure if you're a writer in any form (published, non-published, part-timer, full-timer, whatever) you know exactly what
NaNoWriMo is, right? Yep, it's that time of year again! Time for all of us to slink into our caves and do nothing but put words to paper (or screen) for an entire month.

I've attempted NaNo before, and failed miserably. November is a busy time for me at my day job, so I wasn't able to focus the way I needed to to get things done. But this year, I think I've got a good shot at finishing. Because I'm not exactly starting from scratch, like the rules suggest.

No, this year, I'm going to do a re-write! That's right, I'm going to take my already completed MS and completely rewrite it. I've been thinking about this for a few months now and I honestly feel that it needs it. It's good, but not great. So I've been tossing around some ideas to make it better, and what better time to do that than during NaNoWriMo, right? And I'm not going to be taking large chunks of what I've already written and throwing them in with some new stuff, no. I'm going to be literally starting over, using the same characters and plot that my completed MS has. So basically I'm throwing out the old and starting over. Lord, help me!

So wish me luck, oh faithful followers...cause I'm gonna need it! And tell me, are any of you taking the NaNo plunge this year (friend me! jmanni32)? If so, are you gonna work on something totally new? Or are you gonna pull out one of your oldies but semi-goodies like me? Lemme know!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

animal writes blogfest!

So I guess I should just change the name of my blog to "guy who posts nothing but blogfests" huh? I do have other things to say, honestly. But these are so fun! I really had a good time with this one...hope you like! (the limit was 1k words...I'm way under that!)

4 September

Day 85 of my captivity. I’ve all but given up on escaping this dreadful place. My captors have outdone themselves with thwarting my attempts at freedom. All the scare tactics and combat training I have used they have managed to evade, mocking me with their incessant laughter. The larger, much hairier one has even gone so far as to equip my rather expansive cell with a massive see-through wall that I feel is meant to be a form of torture. I am clearly able to view the outside world for which I so desperately yearn, but I cannot access it. I hate him most.

The smaller of my captors is far nicer than her cohort, but is still on my list of enemies. She does feed me daily, however, so I must control my rage against her. She smiles constantly, and I try to return her enthusiasm, hoping to convey a false sense of complacency as my mind spins with escape plans. I don’t know how much longer I can last.

I swore to myself that I would allow this imprisonment to last no longer than two months, and I am now far past that. This revelation is depressing to say the least, but I will not let it interfere with my desire for freedom. That is my only focus. All the touching and pampering and various objects thrown on the floor to distract me will not deter my objective. I will escape.

I will leave this wretched place and never return. I will feel the grass beneath my feet and the warmth of the sun on my skin once again. I will eat with class, instead of from a bowl on the floor like a parasite. I will no longer be forced to endure hours of torture and abuse by being rubbed and manhandled and tossed around the room like a rag doll. I will survive.

And when I do escape, and I am allowed to roam this world freely the way it was intended, I will no longer be forced to answer to the most deplorable name ever created: Mr. Snufflewinks the Amazing Wonder-Cat.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

small packages blogfest!

Boy I'm just eating up the Blogfests, huh? They're so much fun! Seriously folks, if you've never entered one, try it...it's like Text Twist addictive, really!

So anyway, Cerebral Lunchbox is hosting a Small Packages Blogfest, in which you (try to) fondly recall your all-time favorite Halloween episode from a classic TV show. I'm sure those of you old enough can remember that the Halloween episodes of sitcoms were really the highlight episodes of the season. I can remember getting super excited when October rolled around because I knew the shows were gonna go all in to out-do their previous year's episode.

And my all-time favorite of the classic shows was Roseanne. Yes, it was a vulgar, over-the-top, in-your-face show about basically a white-trash (or average, to some) family...which is why it was such a hit! It showcased how "normal" families lived. Don't get me wrong, I loved The Cosby Show and Full House and the like, but Roseanne was more like what you would see in the supermarket or at the beach. So I was instantly hooked. And as far as Halloween episodes go? Yeah, it was the best!

So here's a clip of my very favorite Halloween episode of Roseanne...enjoy!

Monday, October 11, 2010

hook, line & sinker, people!

I’ve joined another blogfest, folks! These are really fun, so head on over to In My Write Mind and join in!

As per the Hook, Line & Sinker Blogfest guidelines, here’s the beginning of a new story I’m working on. Please let me know what you think!

The goal of this blogfest is simple (yeah, right): see if you have established the hook that agents and editors scream about.

So as you’re reading my little excerpt, ask yourself these:

Who is the character I am relating to?
Does he/she have a personality that I crave to read?
Is the world around them set up to compliment the character as they are introduced?
Are there secondary characters to assist the hook along, with conflict or pace?
Lastly: do I love the character? Do I want to read more about him/her?

And P.S....I had to convert to using the Old way of composing in Blogger, so if this post looks/acts funny, my apologies!

So without further ado, here are my first 1k words!

I want to brand the cow’s hide so bad it hurts. I want to push the glowing-red “G” into the heifer’s large black-and-white rump and hear it sizzle and watch it smoke and hear the cow yell in protest. I want to see my Dad smile and be proud of me for once. But I can’t. I hold the branding iron like a knife, cocked and ready to stab, but my arm won’t move; something is holding it against my body, hard and tight and paralyzed. It’s fear. Fear that one day this cow might come back to haunt me for what I want-to-but-can’t do. Fear that afterward I won’t feel any better…and the cow won’t feel any worse. I drop the iron, its clang against the concrete floor of the barn loud in my ears. I’m a failure once again; my Dad won’t be surprised.

The nagging presence of tomorrow eats at my brain, constant and throbbing. Sixteen. The Day. My life changes tomorrow, for better or worse I don’t know. As I pet the cow’s hide instead of burning it, I wonder if the cameras will be here when I go. Of course they will be; they always are. I never get a break. The short, fine hairs on the cow’s rump are rough and standing on end beneath my hand. Guess she’s as scared as me. I want to move around and look her in the face and tell her I’m sorry for what I almost did, but I can’t. I stay next to her jutted-out hip bone and stick-like hind legs, petting her. I’m not cut out for farm work.

“Hanna Elaina, get your ass in here!” I hear Dad yelling from the house even with three-hundred plus yards and a thick rain between us. I’m actually glad it’s raining – it keeps people from lurking on my front lawn. I smack the heifer’s hind end one last time, say “I’m sorry about that”, and leave the barn. I don’t care about getting wet from the rain or muddy from the sludge sliding down our sloped yard; I stay dirty most of the time already. Even at fifteen, I like being outside more than anything else. That’s why I like Clay so much. He’s an outsider, too. And that doesn’t just mean out-of-doors. I feel like an outsider everywhere: at home, at school, at church. It doesn’t matter…if people are around, I don’t wanna be.

I slosh through the rain puddles and mud and open the rickety screen door of the back porch that sounds like a dying cat every time it moves. I stand there a minute and let most of the rain water run from my hair and face and into my clothes before going inside. The stagnant heat slaps me in the face.

“Yes daddy?” I can always sound sweet when I need to; people might call me trashy, but they’ll never call me rude. My Aunt Lucy taught me how to be nice. Before she got herself pregnant and died having my bitch of a cousin, Margret. I’ve never liked her, never could understand how something so mean could come from someone as nice as Lucy. But there Margret was, red-haired and white-skinned and evil. Even at only ten years old, Margret knows how to get what she wants – and that’s always pissed me off. Some would say I’m jealous, but I don’t think I am. I don’t like her – I’ll be the first to admit it – but we have that my-mama-died-having-me thing in common, so I tolerate her. But I did learn from her how to bat my eyes and smile and talk nice until whatever I liked at the time was mine: new bike, new shoes, Clay. If I wanted it, I always found a way to get it.

“You mind telling me why you had that boy in my house?” I watch as my dad’s head nearly grazes the low ceiling of our kitchen, his wispy hair rubbing the mildew-stained tiles like a thinning feather.

“He wasn’t here, Daddy. I swear.” I know my dad is all talk; he might not like Clay and me together, but he won’t do anything about it. Since my mom died, he kinda lets me do what I want…especially now that I’ve learned how to get my way.

“Don’t lie to me, girl. I know you had that boy here. You two screwin’ around?”

“God no, Daddy! No way.” I had to bite my bottom lip to keep from smiling. Clay and I have been having sex for almost a full year now and I love knowing that my dad has no idea. It’s my way of getting back at him for being so hateful to me. And we’ve done it all over the house – even in his bed and we didn’t change the sheets after – and we plan to keep on doing it every chance we get.

“I ain’t stupid.” My dad smiles a little and smirks and snatches a beer from the fridge, drinking half of it without stopping. “And don’t use the Lord’s name in vain, young lady.” Another large gulp. I don’t have to stand next to him to smell his alcohol stink. It hangs on him like a flashing neon sign that screams “look at me, I’m a lousy drunk”. I’ve never hated him more, but I’m too scared to tell him that. I’m too scared to do what I want to do: to run away and never come back and forget all about my daddy and my dead mama and the cows that always need milking and brushing and branding.

“I know you two are doing it.” My daddy’s voice again, dirty and gross in my ears like rotten wax. He’s finished off his first beer and already on to his second; I know he’ll be done with a six-pack in less than an hour, just like every other night, and I’ll have to lock myself in my room so he won’t hit me again. I’ve gotten used to it. “You’re a whore just like your mama was.”