Thursday, 29 December 2011

How To Deal With Rejection

photo credit

It was exactly two years ago, the week between Christmas and New Years, when I received my first request. At that time, I had sent out around twenty queries for my YA paranormal mystery. I remember doing a little dance and then agonising in front of the computer trying to figure out how to e-mail the first three chapters NOT as an attachment—I was completely clueless about the whole process.

I checked my e-mail obsessively until four weeks later I received a form rejection. "Unfortunately the project is not the right fit for me, but this is a subjective business and I'm sure another agent will feel differently."

I was devastated.

I would read that phrase, and others gently rejecting my story, many, many more times. Each stung a little, but as Rod Stewart says, "the first cut is the deepest."

I kept writing and finally landed not one but two agents! If you want the low down on that wacky tale, click here.

After two years, I've become an expert on handling rejection. Here are some of my tips if you need a little boost to your writing ego.

1. DON'T take it personally. Truly, when they write 'it's not a good fit for me', it's because they didn't connect with the story. It doesn't mean you can't write. And why would you want someone working on your novel who doesn't totally love it?

2.  Be grateful to get a response at all. Seriously, I don't know how agents manage to even read queries let alone send a reply. Take a deep breath, file that rejection away, and send out a few more queries.

3. DON'T Google how many rejections Stephanie Meyer or JK Rowling received. It's ridiculously low. I think Twilight got eight in total. Eight! I got eight rejections in one day! It's great when success happens so quickly for some authors. Take comfort that the pressure is off you, and that you're meant to find your agent through a little more time and effort.

4. Check out websites for aspiring writers. My favorite haunt is Query Tracker. Also, you may want to join a local writing group. Sharing rejection stories with other writers is good therapy, and you might get a few beta readers.

5.  Lastly, you are your characters best advocate. If you quit, then who will tell their story? And remember, getting an agent isn't the only way to get published. There are loads of great self-published paperbacks and e-books. Start researching local/small publishing companies that take queries directly from authors.

Now stop reading this and go write something.


Monday, 26 December 2011

What You Should Know Before Visiting Storybrooke

I'm confident that whatever happens in the next episode, the unicorn will save the day.

You may be interested to learn that the town Storybrooke, actually exists. Tourism naturally has increased significantly since Once Upon A Time aired. With that in mind, I've created a traveller's advisory brochure.

Top Ten Things You Should Know Before Visiting Storybrooke
  1. Don't upset the Mayor, especially if you know she has your heart in a vault under her father's empty casket.

  1. Don't trust dwarfs. So far we've seen Grumpy in jail and Sleepy nod off during his night shift duties at the hospital.

  1. School really isn't that important. Mary Margaret's class is always making bird houses or having two week recesses. Henry only attends if it's important to the script.

  1. If a pawn shop has two creepy looking dolls in peasant garb, don't tell the owner your name, just run out of there speedy quick.

  1. Storybrooke makes a poor Honeymoon destination. Apparently the Mayor and the Sheriff are the only ones allowed to get past third base.

  1. No harm will come from trusting the animals. Dog, wolf, unicorn, cricket, song birds...seriously, you can't go wrong. If there is ever any doubt, always follow the woodland creature.

  1. 'Sheriff' is spelled with one 'r' and two 'f''s, not the other way around. This isn't a warning, only something I've learned from watching the show. Who said TV can't learn you to right?

  1. If you wear skinny jeans you'll get free hot chocolate at the diner/pub/laundromat on Main Street.

  1. Leave the town if you need medical attention, the hospital only has one Doctor.

  1. Don't eat the apples.

Any other tips for travelling to Storybrooke?

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Trailer Trash

A book trailer can be a great way to promote your upcoming novel in a flashy, mini preview. Think of it as a query letter with pictures and music. And like a good query letter, your book trailer should answer the three C's; character, conflict, and crisis. However, I've noticed a lot of trailers are full of gorgeous imagery and music, but leave me scratching my head as to what the story is about.

If you're thinking about making a book trailer, consider the following advice.

1. Whatever makes your story/character unique should be showcased. Avoid ambiguous statements like, "a true love so strong she'd die for him." This tells me nothing. It should be SPECIFIC. You need to make your book stand out from the other, "a-true-love-so-strong-she'd-die-for-him" stories. 

2. Make sure the music compliments the storyline. If you wrote a contemporary, coming of age novel, the theme from Halloween probably isn't the best match.

3. SPELL CHECK. I'm not kidding. And the only reason this is here is because someone didn't SPELL CHECK before they posted their trailer.

4. Keep it simple and concise. The most enjoyable trailers are less than two minutes.

5. End with the title in bold so it's the last thing the viewer sees, and remembers.

Check out the the two trailers below. They were so AWESOME, I bought the books the next day.

What are some of your favorite trailers?


Sunday, 18 December 2011

Top Five Christmas Reads

Never mind rum and eggnog, thick hot gravy or the smell of a fresh fir tree. Okay, those are staples at my place every season, but what I cherish the most are my holiday books, fanned out on the coffee table.

And it doesn't matter if I down the whole story in one go or flip to a certain scene, a good Christmas read is as traditional as my awesome gravy (white wine is the secret). Here are my top five favorites. Drum roll...
  1. How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss.

A verse that begs to be read out loud! My Boris Karloff impression wins each year, hands down.

  1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
There are so many versions, but one of my favorites is an abridged version by Stephen Krensky. He entwines a subtle creepiness with the vulnerable side of humanity, making the characters flawed but likable. Dean Morrissey's wonderful illustrations give the book a Norman Rockwell aura as well.

  1. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.

         Just for the record, the bell still rings for me.

  1. The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde.

After the giant builds a high stone wall to keep the village children out of his flower garden, he faces the consequences of a continuous winter. Until one day, a small boy manages to push through a small hole.

  1. The Shepherd by Frederick Forsyth.

A World War II pilot gets lost in the fog on Christmas eve. The audio version by Alan Maitland is the best way to enjoy this holiday ghost story.

What are your favorite reads at Christmas?

Feeling The Joy

Feeling The Joy December 15, 2011


This time of year my wallet is full of lists, those crumpled up, half crossed off reminders that I still have things to do.

The best thing about lists, is drawing a line through the last item. I feel entitled to celebrate by hanging out at the book store with a gingerbread latte, making fun of the titles by adding “in bed with no clothes on.” Try it, it's funny. The Clockwork Prince In Bed With No Clothes On. See?

Lately though, when I peek into the vortex of disorganization that is my purse, I continually find unfinished lists, and that means no gingerbread latte for me. I begin to resent all the errands, which I now call 'things that get in the way of stuff I really want to do'.

I love the holidays...really I do, but sometimes the work involved in putting the Merry in Christmas leaves me exhausted and more bitter than Scrooge.

With baking, mailing packages, and making sure everyone knows their line (yes singular) for the Christmas play, I roam the Shopping Malls—otherwise known as the black hole of commercialism—and my holiday mojo gets sucked away. I drag my parcels through the parking lot, getting my coat dirty from brushing up against the salt encrusted cars. Bah humbug is right, life would be so much more enjoyable without all the fuss.

Then, on Sunday, I listened while someone talked about feeling the joy.
Feeling the joy?

How can I feel the joy when I have all of these things to do? If I don't wrap the presents and make the cookies, who will? Like most profound moments of epiphany, their answer was simple—you feel the joy in everything you do.

One of the coolest chicks out there, Gwen Stefani, said it best, “What You Waiting For?

And truly, why delay the happiness? I realized I have a choice. Instead of begrudging the baking and shopping, I can be thankful that I'm able to buy my groceries instead of having to depend on the food bank to feed my family. And that baking with my kids is a chance to make a memory, not another chore to be completed.

There is a tangible sense of freedom when you exercise the choice to be happy.

I'm putting off dusting/vacuuming to read Christmas books with my kids. Instead of madly decorating to make everything perfect for a family party, I'm laying out all my ornaments for my beautiful nieces to have a go at the tree.

Today, I suggest you make the choice and feel the joy. Don't wait until everything is crossed off, because guess what—there's always something you forgot. So sit back, get a gingerbread latte, and read How the Grinch Stole Christmas In Bed With No Clothes On.

Cheers! *holding up latte*

Once Upon A Time, Episode 7, The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter

December 12, 2011

The Heart Is A Lonely HunterOnce Upon A Time, Episode #7

Oh, the humanity!
photo credit,
I have been patiently waiting for this episode staring my TV crush, the Shmexy Sheriff. Yes, I know his name is Graham, but like all my TV crushes, I refer to him by his nickname. I would like to take this time to let Pretty Boy Damon know he's now my second favorite, but still ahead of the guy in the Gillette commercial.

Ruby, the only waitress in Storybrooke, offers the Shmexy Sheriff a shot. He slugs it back without hesitating, then throws his dart right into the bulls eye of the dart board. Wow! The guy with the Irish accent likes to drink, and is good at darts—shocking character profile. I'm a bit confused by the setting though. The diner is a bar/pub? And in the Cinderella episode wasn't there a laundromat out back?

Emma, who I guess needed to eat/drink or do laundry, bumps into Shmexy Sheriff. Must have been awkward to see the guy she secretly has a crush on, drunk and embarrassed that she caught him jumping out of the woman's house who is her sworn enemy. Awkward, just like that last sentence.

He's upset by her aloofness and throws a dart narrowly missing her flaxen waves. I've always wanted to write flaxen waves. She's miffed, and like every chick who wants her secret crush to follow her, she marches out to the street, not looking back.

He catches up and talks about how he doesn't feel anything...even when he's with the Mayor. Whoa, Shmexy, way too much information. I'm not a die hard romantic, but I'm pretty sure talking about the unsatisfying sex life with the Mayor is not the right thing to say.

When Emma challenges why he feels the need to dish all the ugly out for her, he only stares into the distance. the dark shadows...a wolf.

ABC has been reading my blog!?

Again, he tells her he needs to feel something, and he leans closer. Dude, that line might have worked when you played 'spin the bottle' in grade eight, but Emma's been around, you know. Before I can say Judy Blume books rock, he kisses her. Hooray! And the peasants rejoice. Suddenly, Shmexy sees disturbing images of a wolf in the forest and me typing this blog in my housecoat.

Terrified, he runs to the Mayor's house. She's confused to find him disheveled and wild eyed on her front porch. He kisses her like like some kind of animal, and a wolf bays in the distance. Actually, I made the wolf part up.

We fly through the air to the Queen's castle that looks like it was designed by Edward Scissorhands. There is a white coffin covered in red rose petals. The Queen approaches the black clad figure sobbing over the coffin of the King. It is Snow White. The Queen says a bunch of lies about love and loss which Snow White seems to find comforting.

Back in her steel chamber of grey, this was before her black and white period apparently, we see her talking to her mirror. The plan is to kill Snow White as well, and then the kingdom will be hers.

But this is more about revenge than prime real estate. The writers...sorry, the Queen drops a few hints about how she can never forgive Snow White for what she did. Is this still about being 'the fairest of them all'? I'm guessing there's more, but before I can spin my own theory, Shmexy Sheriff is running through the woods.

Except this time he's the Shmexy Huntsman. He's strong, he's fearless, he's wild. He...he cries when he kills the deer? He thanks the deer for it's life and something about nature and the circle of life. I'm having an Avatar flashback. There is a growl from the bushes and the wolf appears. *wink wink ABC*.

The Sheriff wakes up in the Mayor's bed and begins talking about the wolf with one red eye and one black eye. I'm guessing Google got thousands of hits for this description. The Mayor says he must still drunk. He reaches for his jeans, telling her it feels too a memory.

My mouth drops open. He's wearing boxers? Funny, I pictured him as a boxer-brief kind of guy. He goes to his police car and WHAMO! the freaky eyed wolf is there. can he be the Big Bad Wolf, if the wolf is there too...? Note to self, you are not smarter than the team of writers on ABC.

At Mary Margaret's apartment, Emma mistakenly tossing a bouquet of flowers into the garbage thinking they're from Shmexy, but Mary Margaret tells her they're from the sleazy Doctor she's dating in hopes of getting David off her mind.

Oh yeah, I completely forgot about him. Maybe she should try and date the Sheriff instead, cause I'm pretty sure no one was wondering about David this episode.

The girls (secretly mother and daughter) have a heart felt talk about boys. Mary Margaret counsels Emma, saying her fear of commitment has caused her to put up an emotional wall. The wall will keep out pain, but it will also keep out love. And if built high enough, it will also keep the neighbors from spying.

While Emma thinks about her walls, Shmexy is chasing the wolf of his dreams through the forest. Here is another awkward man-chasing-beast moment. Remember Prince Charming as the Shepherd? Sorry, I digress.

When you're running through the lush forest, what are you are most likely to bump into? A squirrel? No. A rabbit? No. A woodpecker? No. A sparkling Edward Cullen draining a deer? No. You bump into Mr. Gold.

He's in a suit and tie, wobbling with his cane over moss covered logs, wearing a green apron, and carrying a shovel. The Sheriff, a keen observer, like all law officers, ignores Mr. Gold's rather ridiculous line about gardening, and tells him he's chasing a wolf with different colored eyes from a dream. Mr. Gold gives him that crooked smile and tells him that dreams are actually memories of another life. Then he wobbles away.

Me? I'd like to know what he was really doing with the shovel. *cough* Shallow grave *cough*

Wearing his fur cape, Shmexy Huntsman enters the local pub with his wolf pet. Oooh, it's his pet. Cool, did not see that coming. A few of the grungy customers begin to make fun of the wolf. But Shmexy fiercely defends the animal saying it's pure of heart and better than any human he's ever met.

They tease him for being abandoned by his parents and raised by wolves. Hold on! He's not the Huntsman, he's Mowgli, from the Jungle Book. However, instead of stating a chorus of “I Want To Walk Like You,” Shmexy starts a huge brawl. The Queen sees this in her mirror and asks her guards to bring him to her.

Meanwhile, Shmexy Sheriff is still running. He finds the wolf with the red eye, and they have a staring contest. He's blasted with images of being in the forest with Snow White. He then races to the elementary school and walks in on Mary Margaret's classroom as her student's are leaving. Good thing all the revelations happen during recess. He confesses his thoughts about believing they've met in another life.

The Evil Queen, looking very Kardashian, meets with Shmexy Huntsman. She talks about his lack of compassion and orders him to carve out Snow White's heart for her collection. She has a collection of hearts? Eww, messy. When he pauses, she offers him anything in return. He wants to outlaw the hunting of wolves.

During the longest recess in history, Mary Margaret and Shmexy Sheriff talk about Henry and his book of answers—except the ending. Emma burned the last few pages so the Queen wouldn't know what happened...remember?

We see Snow White and Shmexy walking in the forest. Except this time he's disguised as one of the Royal Knights, complete with big silly feathered hat and Batman's six pack body armor. Snow White talks about birds and nature and offers him an apple. Geez, more apples! But she realizes he's an imposter and wallops him with a stick, leaving him scrambling in his heavy chain mail.

Shmexy visits Henry and asks about the book. Funny, now that he's sober he sounds less Irish. I'm sure that's coincidence and no fault of the actor, or all.

When Shmexy Huntsman catches up to her, Snow White gives him a letter to deliver to Queen. She knows she can never outrun him, and has decided to face death bravely. He takes the letter, and even though there isn't a dead deer in sight, he begins to cry.

And that unfeeling boy who was raised by wolves and hated people, do you know what happened to his heart when he read Snow White's letter? Well in Whoville they say, that his small heart grew three sizes that day.

Before he let's her go, he makes a quick whistle out of a stick and tells her run far away. I'm guessing the whistle can only be heard by tiny men who work in a diamond mine.

Using the fairytale book as proof, Henry tells Shmexy Sheriff the truth. He confesses he remembered the wolf when he kissed Emma. Henry reasons the wolf is his guide, and that Emma owes Shmexy her life because he saved her mother. Should make for interesting conversation at the annual family BBQ. And the real reason he doesn't feel anything is because the Queen stole his heart.

The Queen keeps his heart in a volt. Brilliant! I love being wrong.

Emma shows up wearing the red jacket—now things are getting serious. Shmexy gives her a quick recap saying he's going to follow the wolf from his dreams to the Emerald City because he needs to find his heart. Emma, who has taken all of this freaky shit so well each episode, puts her hand on his chest and feels it beating. See? You're real, she tells him...crazy, but real. Then her face falls. Shmexy turns and sees Jacob Black in his cutoffs. Hey, I had to mention him too, not just the vampire.

Together, they follow the wolf to the cemetery. It's always the dogs that show them the way. No! The dalmatian was right. Go to the mine with the long shaft and the broken glass...and flowers and stuff.

They make it to a crypt and notice a strange symbol. Emma breaks open the door. I'm thinking if this is the place the Queen stores her collection of hearts, a swarm of flies should engulf her flaxen waves. I'm also thinking that with the town's only two law enforcers preoccupied, this is a good time to rob the bank in Storybrooke.

Shmexy Huntsman is looking very nice in tight black leather. I swear he and the Queen get all their outfits at the Halloween Store. She asks if Snow White is dead, and he hands her his bulging man purse as proof. *giggles* He also holds out the letter, but the Queen is so preoccupied with getting her hands on his bulging man purse, she tells him to read it out loud.

The next two things are very disappointing.
  1. The heart looks like a rock painted with pink chalk.
  2. How can he read? He was raised by wolves?

We accept it though because we like him too much to question a plot that doesn't make sense. Snow White knew of the Queen's plan all along, but was willing to die to bring peace to the kingdom...or something really close to that. The Queen only laughs and watches greedily as she puts the pink rock made by Mary Margaret's elementary class into a mini coffin. She holds it in front of a wall of safety deposit boxers, but nothing happens.

Furious, she throws it down and demands what he killed instead. What did he kill? His wolf? Oh, the humanity.

Back at the crypt all Emma and Shmexy find is the name MILLS and one coffin. Open it! Open it! The Mayor shows up with flowers for her father's grave—you know the one whose heart she carved out.

Thinking the grave of his lover's father is a good place to break up, Shmexy tells the Mayor their late night trysts are over, and that things have to change (and not just his accent, either). He tells her, “It's not me, it's you.” Holy crap! High five! Then he says that having nothing is better than having less.

Huh? Pass the Tylenol.

At this point I'm expecting Mr. Gold to show up with his shovel, but Emma gets all up in the Mayor's face and decks her. All over the country bored husbands bolt upright out of their Lazyboys and scream, “CAT FIGHT!”

Emma and Shmexy go back to the police station for some first aid. It only makes sense that she takes off her top so he can press an icepack to her forehead.

Not ready to give up, the Mayor enters her father's crypt and pushes open the lid, and we see stairs disappearing into a dark and bottomless pit. Excellent.

The Queen rips out Shmexy's heart. Obviously, ABC couldn't hire a surgeon for their panel of experts. The heart is a big glowing ruby. Now, he is her pet, and will do whatever she commands. If he disobeys, she can squeeze his heart and kill him.

Dabbing a cotton ball to Emma's eyebrow has made them realize they should stop running all over Storybrooke and just make out. When Shmexy kisses Emma again he remembers everything...again, like that first time, but everything that we know now yeah.

If he suddenly remembers everything, shouldn't he get the back to the volt and save his heart? Oops, never mind, the Mayor crushes the ruby into a fine black powder.

Argh! How can we stop her? Where is Mr. Gold and his shovel when you need him?

But it's okay. I know we saw Shmexy collapse to the floor. And I know we saw Emma pound on his chest like she was giving him CPR. And I know my theory about the Big Bad Wolf was wrong.

However, if you read the episode guide, like I did...twice, it says. Someone in Storybrooke remembers while another person dies. See? He can't be the one who remembers and be the one who dies. I know who died—the person Mr. Gold buried in the forest.

Shmexy is still alive. I believe that his wolf buddy now carries his soul, and that means I could still be right about him and Little Red Riding Hood.

And better yet, did you see in the promo for the next episode? What is that running through the blue forest....a UNICORN! When they bring out the unicorns, look out man, things are about to get wacko.

My prediction for the next episode: Emma and the Mayor arrive at Dr. Hopper's for anger management only to end up breaking his umbrella. Shmexy Sheriff is now unconscious in the hospital, on a respirator while miraculously, his stubble remains unchanged. ABC politely asks me to stop coming up with predictions causing them to re-write the script.

What is your theory on the Sheriff?


Queasy From Queries?

December 8, 2011
I feel your pain.
photo credit,

Ah, the query. Your five second, foot stuck in the door, give it all you got, audition. Writers have lost sleep and hair follicles trying to get it right. Since subjectivity plays a huge role, each agent will be intrigued or discouraged by certain elements. However, there are definitely things you need to AVOID in your query letter.

1. Never write 'dear agent', or worse, another agent's name. And please, check the spelling.

2. Never mention how many rejections you've already received. Why would you do this? It's like asking someone to the prom by saying they were the only one left who hasn't said no.

3. Never say your book will be the next...Harry Potter or Twilight. That's why kids don't sing Celine Dion or Barbara Streisand songs on American Idol. Your book may be a huge world wide best seller, but that's putting a lot of pressure on the rest of your query. If those next sentences don't blow away the planet, then you're looking at a rejection.

4. Avoid rhetorical questions and cliches. It distracting, and the agent is going to assume your manuscript is the same. Also, it takes up precious word count. Just tell what the story is about.

5. Only add credentials that are pertinent to the story. It's great that your Aunt Mary loved the book, but unless your Aunt Mary is senior editor at a publishing house, leave it out.

A good query should have three things.

CHARACTER—your MC's age, name, and a sense of what they're like. Are they popular? Bossy? Superstitious? A total EMO but secretly crushing on the high school football star?

CONFLICT—what your character wants but can't have.

CRISIS—what will happen if your character does/doesn't go for what they want.

The first sentence should be the hook. Think of a tag line from a movie that's similar to your book. Then follow with the 3 C's and end with the cliffhanger. But the number one rule is BE SPECIFIC. After reading your query I should be able to answer the 3 C's.

Let's use
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as an example.

Magic can change everything. Living with his spiteful Aunt and Uncle since his parents were killed in a car accident, eleven-year-old Harry Potter doesn't think being bullied by his cousin is inescapable, until he receives an invitation to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

He leaves his neglected home life for a castle full of of moving staircases and secret passageways. Clueless about magic wands and spells, Harry desperately tries to fit in, and is shocked to find the other students already know his name. He learns his parents died protecting him from the most evil wizard in the world, The Dark Lord. Since that night, The Dark Lord had been rumoured to have died, unable to defeat baby Harry.

Harry's new found stardom, and natural skill with a flying broomstick, make him an instant hero at school. But fame comes with a price as Harry uncovers one of the professors is working to bring to Dark Lord back to power, and to finish what he started eleven years ago by finally killing Harry.

There are so many ways to write a great query for this story, this was just my take. Try it yourself.

One of the best things you can do for your query is give it to someone who knows nothing about your book. 
Querytracker is an excellent site...and it's free. Also, if anyone is so inclined, I'd be happy to do a critique for you. Just e-mail me at I'll do my best, and if you like, I'll post my favorite entry on my Thursday blog next week.

 Next Monday I'll be blogging the latest episode of Once Upon A Time.


Once Upon A Time, Episode 6, The Shepherd and The Evil Windmill

The hair, oh dear.
photo credit,
December 5, 2011

Prince Charming (David) joins his fake wife, Catherine, in the front yard of their house. He doesn't recognize it, and she tells him they used to have an ornamental windmill that he hated...Hmm.

Inside, various town people are there to help jog his memory, or at least make it do a few push-ups. Emma and Henry are there as well because it's their job to give us a quick recap from the previous episode.

Henry insists David will remember if Emma gets Snow White (Mary Margaret) to wear her red leather jacket, or something like that. Speaking of...Emma seems to be adding to her array of skinny jeans and tight shirts. She must get all her fashion advice from the female detectives of CSI.

The Evil Mayor meets with Catherine in the kitchen. She urges her to fight for her man, mentioning that she lost a loved one once. Lost a loved one? That's a funny way to explain cutting out her father's heart.

David leaves the party and finds Mary Margaret hanging a birdhouse in her yard. What else do you do at night in Storybrook? He confesses that he has feelings for her.

We cut to a battle scene with an armour clad Prince Charming. He stabs the hulking gladiator and wins the match. Two kings step into the arena and are impressed. Prince Charming has proven he's worthy to slay a dragon that has reeked havoc with King Midas' kingdom.

The Kings squabble about payment, right in front of the dead guy lying at their feet. Feelings anyone? Apparently, Prince Charming's dad is having money troubles.

They all agree but don't shake because, duh, it's Midas. But before you can say, “Where is the shmexy Sheriff?” The Gladiator pulls a "Michael from Halloween" and makes the Prince into a shish kabob. (Had to look up spelling for shish kabob).

The King is devastated. The son he was going to send to face a dragon so he could pay off his gambling debts, got killed. Midas won't honour his deal, the peasants will revolt, and the dragon will continue to leave steaming heaps of dragon crap over the county side. What can a desperate man do? If only there was someone who could help.

Enter Rumpelstiltskin. Doing his best Jack Sparrow impersonation, Rumpelstiltskin makes a deal with the King for the whereabouts of a certain fairy godmother (file that under Cinderella's episode). The King agrees, expecting his son to be risen from the dead. But Rumpelstiltskin tells him there is another son...a twin. Isn't that convenient.
*rolls eyes*

Trying to convince her not to be a home wrecker, Emma pours Mary Margaret a drink and goes all Dr. Phil on her, telling her it's not cool to date the newly-woken-from-a-coma, married guy.

We find ourselves back in fairy tale land watching Prince Charming dressed as a Sheperd chasing a goat. I don't have to tell you how awkward that scene felt. His mother arrives, and they discuss his prospects for a wife. The farm is on hard times, and she needs to play match maker. I'm wondering if any of the parents in fairy tale land work, or do they just barter off their kids?

He gives her a speech about marrying for love, and refuses to take a wife for monetary reasons. Before I can think of another goat joke, Rumpelstiltskin shows up, and Prince Charming learns he had a twin. The bad news is that it was his mother who traded him for the farm, and now his long lost twin is dead.

A baby for a goat herd? These parents are harsh.

Rumpelstiltskin tells him he can save his farm and the kingdom by taking his twin's place. He decides to do it, since his Mom is probably going to sell him anyway.
Prince Charming travels to the dragons' layer. Scorched shields and bones litter the ground outside the cave. Then the paper bag princess shows up and tells him how she defeated a dragon just two forests over.

While the other knights get BBQ'd, Prince Charming runs around, without safety glasses, borrows a sword, and wedges himself between some rocks. What is he going to do? And where is the shmexy Sheriff?Accio firebolt! Sorry, wrong dragon fight.

Prince Charming proves Shepherds are naturally good dragon killers, and cuts off the beasts head. Sweet!

David arrives at Mary Margaret's classroom. He tries to woo her with his two day stubble growth, and plaid shirt. Again, he tells her he loves her, and asks her to meet him at the troll—sorry—toll bridge that night at eight o'clock (isn't it always midnight?). He tells her if she doesn't show up, he'll never bother her again.

Gee, I sure hope something bad doesn't happen that prevents her from getting to the bridge on time, and then he wrongly assumes she doesn't really love him. *rolls eyes*

At the police station, the Sheriff—“Hi, Sheriff! I can speak Gaelic.” *waves at TV*—convinces Deputy Emma to work the night shift while he volunteers at the animal shelter. Hello! My Big Bad Wolf theory is looking stronger every episode. Don't believe me? Click here.

Mary Margaret arrives breathless, to tell Emma that David has actually left his wife. Instead of going for a coffee to talk about their future, he wants to meet her at the place he almost died. Emma encourages her to meet him on the bridge that night.

Midas is happy with his big golden dragon head, and proposes their kingdoms will be stronger with a more official bond. Enter Catherine, the snotty daughter of King Midas. Prince Charming is told that if he doesn't agree to this marriage, his mother and the goats will be killed. I'm guessing Father's Day isn't a big celebration in fairy tale land.

As David gets lost trying to find the bridge, he runs into the Evil Mayor. She gives him directions that lead him to Mr. Golds' shop. This should go well.

I wonder if the big dragon head is in the shop? As Mary Margaret waits at the bridge (nice job with the eye make-up BTW), David goes into Mr. Gold's store. He notices the unicorn mobile that hung over Emma's crib. Will he remember his life with Snow White? Will he remember how he fought the Evil Queen's guards with baby Emma in his arms?

No, he will not. Why? Because of the evil windmill that I mentioned at the beginning.

Prince Charming returns to the goat farm and tells his mother of his forced marriage. She gives him her wedding ring and tells him that true love follows the wearer. It is the same ring that Mary Margaret is wearing while she waits at the bridge. 

Holy crap he made it! David arrives and tells her that he remembers Catherine. He says going back to her, is the right thing to do. And also, the ongoing romantic tension makes for better TV viewing.

During her night shift, Deputy Emma sees a dark figure jump out of the Mayor's window! She chases them down, and it's the Sheriff. —Hi Sheriff!— Emma finds out my TV crush is sleeping with the Mayor. The truth is, I've know this for some time, and I'm okay with it. He's probably the Big Bad Wolf after all, and maybe she gives him some serum to stay human in exchange for...oh who am I kidding, they're getting it on.

To make things worse he says, “I really do volunteer at an animal shelter.” Yeah, 'cause that makes it okay. Even if you are an animal yourself.

David returns home to Catherine, somehow fake memories are in his head. Ouch, I've got a “plot-makes-no-sense” headache. Pass the Tylenol. I should have known better. This show is from the makers of

The episode ends with Mary Margaret crying in the Diner, twirling the true love ring—but to her, of course, it's just a ring. The sleazy Doctor from the hospital, slinks in and offers to buy her a drink. She says she'll take two.

My prediction for the next episode: Prince Charming tries to get in the mood with Catherine by asking her to dress up as Little Bow Peep. Snow White has her class make more birdhouses. And Rumpelstiltskin makes it to the final round on Dancing With The Stars.

What are your theories? Who do you think the Sheriff really is? And where is Goldilocks?

How To Get More Blog Followers

December 01, 2011

Welcome to my blog. Wasn't that easy? Now paste this link to your facebook page, and make it trend on twitter. Great, thanks!

But seriously, here are the top five things you can do TODAY, to increase traffic to your awesome blog/website. After all, who doesn't want to be popular...

1. Give your latest blog entry a catchy title. Something like 'How To Get More Blog Followers'. You can borrow mine, I don't mind.

2. Visit other blogs. Make sure to leave a comment, preferably something complimentary. You can also get involved in a blog hop.

3. Blog regularly. There's something dissatisfying about a site that hasn't had any updates for a few weeks. If you have problems with regularity, just add Bran Buds to your usual cereal, or sprinkle a little on your yogurt.

4. Keep up with trends. If the audience you're trying to attract are Hunger Games fans, then blog about the latest trailer.

5. Make it pretty. People can spend hours on the internet, but will read very little. Make sure to add pictures/videos or hyperlinks. We all love a cover reveal, right? This would be a great place to insert my homemade book trailer, but let's save that for another day.

What works best for your blog? L
eave a comment, and I'll follow you back.

Next Monday I'll be blogging the latest episode of Once Upon A Time.


Once Upon A Time, Episode 5, Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

Jiminy aka Dr. Hopper
photo credit,
November 28, 2010

The latest episode of ABC's fairy tale drama, featured everyone's favorite singing cricket—child psychologist, Dr. Hopper. We learn little Jiminy was his puppet wrangling parent's pickpocket. They toured fairy tale land, swindling everyone. But Jiminy begins to question the ethics of his parents least I think so. He says something about crickets and freedom.

The Sheriff decides to officially deputize Emma—that sounds a bit dirty *giggles*. She refuses to wear the police shirt and tie, which I find odd since she hasn't had much of a wardrobe change. But apparently the Sheriff is cool with that. He's also cool with the skinny jeans and red leather jacket as part of her uniform. He passes her the star badge, and when Emma clips it on her belt, a huge explosion rocks the town. Hmm.

The old mine site has blown open! Hey, maybe that's where the rest of Snow White's dwarfs are—they were diamond miners, remember? Henry is so excited. I love this this kid, he's all about change. He believes anything that deviates from the normal routine is further proof that fairy tale land exists, and that he's not crazy like everyone thinks.

The Evil Mayor finds a piece of glass at the site and quickly pockets it. Unlike Henry, she hates change. Worried she's losing control of the town, she threatens Dr. Hopper with unemployment, homelessness, and *gasp* grabs his umbrella, ordering him to change tactics with Henry's therapy sessions.

Still reeling from her groping his umbrella, Dr. Hopper tells Henry that he's delusional, and it's time to grow up. Unconvinced, Henry sneaks back to the mine with a knapsack full of chocolate bars. Hey, why not? 
Reese's Pieces worked for Elliot in E.T.

At the hospital, Prince Charming and Snow White are playing hangman. There's so much giggling and flirting, it's obvious these two want to play 
Twister instead. But before you can say, "right hand on red", the wife, Catherine, shows up with a photo album. Snow White, aka Mary Margaret...hold on. Catherine and Mary Margaret? The two women after Prince Charming sound like a couple of Nuns. Snow White sheepishly leaves, and drowns her sorrows in cookies and milk.

Deputy Emma storms Dr. Hopper's office knowing what he said to Henry. The Mayor calls from her black and white mansion wondering where Henry is...seriously, this woman only decorates in two colors. Cruella Deville would get lost.

When we see an ethically torn Jiminy again, he's a grown man visiting Rumpelstiltskin, trading in stolen items, but Rumpelstiltskin knows he's looking for something else. He gives him that filthy toothed smile, and hands over a vial of elf tonic that will solve Jiminy's problem with his parents. Anyone else notice how much Rumpelstiltskin is turning into Jack Sparrow?

Emma and Dr. Hopper race back to the mine and find one of Henry's chocolate bar wrappers. There is another cave in, leaving Dr. Hopper trapped inside. He explores the passages lined with railway tracks. Holy crap! It's the inside Gringotts. I did not see that coming. He meets up with Henry and they look for a way out.

Jiminy looks miserable as his parents con a nice young couple into buying the fake elf tonic. After they leave the cottage, Jiminy tells them he's had enough, and pulls out another vial, spraying them with the contents. His father laughs, and says he switched the vials. Panicked, Jiminy returns to the cottage and sees the young couple have turned into creepy wooden dolls. A boy arrives, and screams when he sees his parents are now firewood.

Back in the mine, Dr. Hopper finds an elevator. He and Henry crawl inside and begin to ascend. On the surface, Marko (Dr. Hopper's Italian friend who is really Geppetto—smooth foreshadowing *rolls eyes*) arrives and tells them they should blow up the entrance. Really? It's been like five minutes. Anderson Cooper isn't even on the scene, and CNN hasn't even composed a theme yet.

Meanwhile, Snow White and Prince Charming are talking about why he can't even remember his dog named Ajax. Uh-huh. How about a reindeer named Comet? Catherine appears with muffins, and I'm trying to think of fairy tale princess who made muffins—I hate not knowing the answers.

After the failed explosion...I'm shocked, it was such a good idea, Dr. Hopper's dalmatian saves the day. He's all black and white and would fit nicely inside the Mayor's house. Just like Lassie, he uncovers the air shaft for the stupid humans. As they stare down the bottomless pit, I have a
Lost flashback. I pause the show, needing to take some Tylenol. Lost always gave me a headache.

Emma gets geared up in the harness, and is lowered down. Where was this speedy crew when the 
Chilean Miners were stuck? She rescues Henry, but at the last moment the elevator plunges to the bottom. We think Dr. Hopper is a goner, but...ta-da, the umbrella saves the day.

Dr. Hopper has an epiphany and decides to follow his instinct by listening to the voice inside his heart. At this point, my voice is telling me I'm not going to find out anything new about the Sheriff this episode.

Dr. Hopper takes a stand against the Mayor, playing the custody card. Nice one. His good friend, Marko, is there to great him. *FORESHADOW ALERT*.

We see Jiminy again, looking at the stars. He doesn't break out into song like the movie, but the blue fairy arrives to grant his wish. She also gives him a good look down her low cut dress, that's not cleavage that's yardage. He wishes to be free like the crickets and promises to help the little boy whose parents took the elf tonic. The little boy's name is Geppetto, aka Marko, the town explosive expert. Ahhh, Oooo, circle complete.

Now for the quick montage of carrot dangling that happens at the end of every episode. We see Geppetto's wooden parents on a shelf in Mr. Gold's shop. Show White puts in her resignation at the hospital (isn't Prince Charming being discharged in a week anyway?). And finally, the Evil Mayor returns to the mine and throws her piece of suspicious glass down the air shaft. We follow it to the bottom where it lands a the feet of a surprised John Locke. No, it lands with other suspcious looking pieces of glass, amoung green grass and flowers. Hmm.

My Prediction for the next episode:

Seeing Snow White is getting now where with Prince Charming, Emma lends her the skinny jeans and red leather jacket. Shmexy Sheriff will say something in his shmexy Irish, Welsh, Scottish accent that adds nothing to the plot, but sounds great all the same.

Did I miss anything? Who do you think Catherine is?  

Suspension of Disbelief

November 24, 2011

Ah, suspension of disbelief, or as I like to say, 'buying into anything Stephen King writes.' Quite simply, it's believing in a premise which you would never accept in the real world. No kidding. Try explaining the plot of IT to someone you meet at a party.

Me: "Okay, there's this clown-thing that climbs out of the sewer and terrorizes little kids in a small town in Maine."

Other person: "Riiiiight."

Of course, Stephen King does it much better than that, but you know what I mean. And if you were at that party, you'd run over, probably dripping chip dip down your shirt in all the excitement, and say something like, "Holy crap, I love that book. Remember the big spider? And that poor kid with asthma?!"

So, as writers, how can we make our readers believe in something that they know is impossible?

1. Describe the mundane parts of life in your fantasy world.

Across The Universe, by Beth Revis, she concentrates on her protagonist eating bland stew served through a metal portal, jogging in a tunic instead of her sports bra and shorts, and how there isn't a real sun, but only lights high above. It is effective because it grounds the reader in that world by comparing the familiar with the fantasy.

2. Ease your reader into the world.

A good way to do this is by using a transitional scene, or down the rabbit hole, named for the beginning of Alice's adventure. It should involve your protagonist, be grounded in the familiar, and have a logical sequence.

We're all willing to board the Hogwarts Express, but if Harry looked at platform nine and three quarters, and then just waltzed through the brick wall, we'd all cry 'shame'. The charming appeal of that scene is that Harry is abandoned at the station, embarrassed to be pushing an owl around, clueless and pathetic looking. When Mrs. Wesley takes him aside and gently explains how it works, we all breathe a sigh of relief because at that point in the story, we're right beside him, feeling clueless and pathetic as well.

3. Make the rules consistent.

If your teenage superhero can only fly at night, then he can only fly at night—
even if the girl he secretly loves is dangling from a runaway hot air balloon at high noon. Don't change his abilities near the end of the story to make the plot work.

Give suspension of disbelief a try. Let your characters experience something extraordinary, and see what happens.

What's your favorite writing example of suspension of disbelief?

Next Monday I'll be blogging the latest episode of Once Upon A Time.


OUAT Withdrawl

November 21, 2011

They AMA's were entertaining, but I would have preferred watching Once Upon A Time last night. You too? Here are some of my thoughts on the ABC series so far... 

1. All the guys have that perfect, shmexy two day stubble look happening—with the exception of Mr. Gold and the mean Doctor, who is obviously working for the Evil Queen. Note to self, never trust a cleanly shaven man in Storybrook.

2. The glass unicorn mobile that was above baby Emma's crib in Snow White's castle, also appears in Mr. Gold's shop when Cinderella breaks in. Sorry, but am I the only one who thinks dangling glass above a baby is probably not the best idea?

3. All the ladies, good and the bad, apparently see the same esthetician for eyebrow shaping. Everyone has that pointy arch, making each expression seem slightly sarcastic.

4. The Evil Queen wears and decorates with only white, gray or black. Except for those frickin' apples. Okay, we get it, she likes apples. And BTW, Honey Crisp are red and yellow. It looks like she's harvesting Red Delicious, check out the five point star on the bottoms. Go Google it, I'll wait....See?

5. I'm guessing that Sherrif Graham cracker is either Robin Hood (good but does kinda bad things) or the Big Bad Wolf (has that scruffy but dapper look about him that only a wolf could pull off.) Also friends, let's not forget a wolf was in the middle of the road causing Emma to have an accident. And where did she wake up? Hmm-mm, that's right—the police station.

6. Did you see Grumpy and Sleepy as the night guards in the hospital? I wonder what the others are up to, certainly nothing past five feet (yuk-yuk).

7. Who is in charge of wardrobe? Please get Emma another outfit. I dig the skinny jeans and leather jacket, but honestly, now it's just embarrassing. 

8. I hope they stay with classic Fairy Tales and don't veer into Disney territory. If Buzz and Woody show up, I'll be sooo mad.

9. Seeing Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White makes me love her short hair even more. Pixie style rocks!

10. Has anyone else noticed how much the Evil Queen looks like a...well...okay let's be frank, when she's in Fairy Tale Land she looks like a dominatrix. I'm sure I saw the same costume with the push-up bra and
Star Trek pony-tail hair extension in the Halloween store last month.

Did I miss anything? What do you think is the Sheriff's real identity?
Also, while you wait for the next episode, may I suggest watching Ever After, it's one of my all time favorites.


Are You A Hunger Games Junkie?

November 17, 2011

On March 23, I'll be standing in line with my tub of popcorn (minus the "golden topping", thank you very much) and a package of nibs licorice. Like most fans of the series, I'll be dissecting the trailer by pointing out all the differences between the movie and the novel—Hollywood and books aren't always a good combination. You saw The Cat In The Hat, right? I rest my case.

But there will be some people in line who haven't read the books. Avoid these people. They will ask stupid questions during the movie. "Um, okay. what is the deal with the girl with the bow and arrow? And why is...oh my gawd, that guy is soooo hot."

See? She will ruin the movie for you. I know I'm not the only fan with this legitimate concern. I dare you to take the challenge. You may be a Hunger Games junkie if...

1. The number of times you've watched the trailer is greater than your age.

2. After seeing the actors you switched from Team Peeta to Team Gale.

3. You've given yourself the name, Marigold White-Pine

4. You've taken up archery.

5. Every time to see a Blue Jay you do a salute. Then your friend points out it's not the same type of bird.

You booed the trailer when Katniss and Peeta's costumes were only red and black. NOT black with real flames of fire. *rolls eyes*

7. You bought the t-shirt, gold-colored pin, mug, pen, and hardcover boxed set.

8. You were disappointed in the third book, but you'd NEVER admit that.

9. With all the money Lionsgate spent on special effects, you argue they could have thrown in a pair of brown contacts for Katniss.

10. And finally, you know you're a
Hunger Games junkie when you click on anything about the Hunger Games... including this blog.

Are you a HG junkie? Did you find any other differences in the trailer?

Next Monday, I'll be blogging the latest episode of Once Upon A Time.


Kiss And Tell

Kiss And Tell November 14, 2011
Princess Bride
photo credit

In honor of my first blog, I decided to write about that scene all YA writers and readers look forward to—that moment when the MC and the love interest have their first kiss.

The best written scenes are those when the reader has an emotional connection to the story and wants the kiss to happen just as much as the characters. But it should also be relevant to the plot. 

Does the kiss signal the turning point for the MC like Cassia in Ally Condie's Matched. Or are there consequences from the kiss that drives to story forward. A good example is Bianca laying one on Wesley in The Duff by Kody Keplinger.

Even though both scenes were written completely different, they were both effective and relevant to the story. Sometimes as writers we get caught up in the choreography of the moment; reaching hands, moving lips, probing tongues...hold on who is holding what? Three paragraphs later you realise it's too much.

An excellent example of an effective kissing scene with hardly any description is 
Betsy Wickwire's Dirty Secret by Vicki Grant. She leads us into the moment, slowly creating a tender atmosphere. The dialogue is simple and sweet, but authentic. 

The guy is 6'8 and he sits down on the bench, taking her into his lap. "You'll hurt your neck," he says. She takes off his glasses and he nods to his shirt pocket. Then with a brush of his hand through her hair, he asks, "Ready?"

YES! I certainly was.

Don't get me wrong I like the details as well. 
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins should win an award for 'kiss most felt while reading'. It's frantic, full of description and has HUGE consequences.

So, what can you do as a writer do to improve your kissing scenes? All of the above novels have three things in common.

1. Emotion (What is your MC feeling? What is at stake?)

2. Senses (Touch isn't the only thing being experienced by your characters. Don't forget about noise, smell, and taste.)

3. Set-up (Excellent dialogue leading up to the moment.)

A kissing scene is just that—a scene between your characters. Therefore, follows the rule for every scene ie: it should move the plot FORWARD.

Do you have any favorite kissing scenes? 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...