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Showing posts from October, 2010

Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween to all you ghouls and goblins! Halloween is a very popular holiday in our house. I must admit that I love it almost as much as my kids do. I still dress up. I went to the local costume shop--Spooky Town--to get our costumes this year. I ended up with a pirate costume and it took me a few tries to find one that covered my butt. Has anyone else noticed the trend in women's costumes? It's a slutty version of everything. Sheesh. At any rate, I ended up with a Pirate Wench...not the slutty wench. In the past, I've made most of the boys' costumes but now that they're older they only want the store bought ones. For the past several years, William has been a Ninja of some kind. (The picture above was last years' Ninja) This year....Ninja again. When I was a kid my Mom made all of our costumes--and they were really good! I always felt bad for the kids in my neighborhood that had the plastic masks. My Mom whipped up everything from Gypsies, to Jeannies
For all that I’m horror-phobic, Halloween is my favorite holiday. This is saying something, because after all, Easter has to do with a lot of chocolate and black jelly beans (both!), Thanksgiving is family and feast extraodinaire, and Christmas… Have you ever gotten your kid a horse for Christmas? It’s one of those perfect moments in parenting that can’t be adequately described. But Halloween had kid-appeal like no other holiday, for all kinds of reasons: 1) It’s one night when it’s safe and even encouraged to run around the neighborhood after dark, ringing doorbells and yelling. 2) You are rewarded for the foregoing behaviors with sugar and lots of it. 3) The longer you stay out running around with your siblings or buds, the greater your reward. 4) There is nothing quite like comparing your loot with everybody else’s afterward, and trading your Snickers for their Milky Way Dark. Win-win economics made easy. 5) This is when dressing up do

Paranormal fright is where you find it

By Mary Margret Daughtridge It's almost Halloween, the time of year when we celebrate the frightful. You know what scares me? Warning signs—the kind you don’t know exactly what to do with. Like Warning: Do Not Remove This Tag Under Penalty Of Law. I’ve been thinking recently about the sort of advice/warning that I never know what I’m supposed to do with. Which makes me feel stupid. And alarmed in a misty, amorphous way. The issue came up this weekend as I traveled to North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Parkway. The leaves are spectacular this year. But I didn’t see all that much of them. I had forgotten that on the Parkway, you’re on a road that’s hugging the nearly vertical side of a mountain. Now see, right there, I’ve got a problem. I spent my formative years on the coastal plain of North Carolina where the land is F.L.A.T-flat, and the only time it’s not, is when it’s lower than flat. In which case it’s filled with water so the visual impression is still flatness. My deepe

Question Day!

By Deb Werksman, Editorial Manager, Sourcebooks Casablanca What do YOU want to know? You can ask me about: *the book marketplace *the publishing or editorial process *your specific project (yes! I'm taking pitches today too!) *anything else you want to know!

Are You Superstitious?

 By Tamara Hogan  Happy Halloween! Do you avoid walking on sidewalk cracks? Walk around ladders rather than under them?  Throw salt over your shoulder when someone sneezes? Think a broken mirror brings seven years of bad luck? Dislike or get nervous around black cats? As you might be able to tell from the picture of my own black cat, Weasel,  I'm not at all superstitious. The one "suspicion-y" behavior I might be able to claim is sports-oriented - and decidedly back in the past. I was a competitive gymnast in high school and college, and I had one pre-competition ritual I had to complete without fail: I had to mentally run at least one clean, no-fall balance beam routine before acknowledging the judge and starting my routine. Is this superstition? Visualization? Whatever you want to call it, I know it worked. ;-) defines "superstition" as follows: su·per·sti·tion  (n.)    1.   a belief or notion, not based on re

Happy HOWL-o-ween!

My kids are all teens or in college now, so the days of dressing up the little ones to go trick-or-treating have passed me by. However, I’ve found there’s a wealth of Halloween activities planned in my area for pet owners. HOWL-o-ween festivals abound, with dogs and cats dolled up in the cutest costumes. And of course, we pet lovers get to hang out and party! We also discuss pet safety during the holidays… I would like to take this opportunity to share some of those tips with you: *Keep candy out of reach of your pets. Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, can be toxic. *Foil wrappers, plastic wrappers and lollipop sticks can get lodged in an animal’s digestive tract. *Be careful that pet costumes are comfy and not constricting the neck. Also be careful that they do not cover eyes and ears. Check for small part that can be choking hazards. If your pet seems stressed by the gear, ditch the costume, no matter how cute you might think it is. It’s still hot in Florida this time of y
THE WORLD OF PARANORMAL, FACT OR FICTION, OLD OR NEW? by: Anita Clenney We’ve all heard the saying that truth is stranger than fiction, and if you look at the news you’ll see it can be true. I see things on the news that can’t possibly be real, but Yep…they are. Some of our best material can come from real life. But what about the world of paranormal? The paranormal genre is more popular in fiction now than ever before; vampires, demons, werewolves, shape shifters, and fairies, and of course, the old standby…ghosts. Gotta love a good ghost story. The world of the paranormal has left its mark on every genre, wiggling its way into romance and suspense, cozy mysteries, and YA. But while there may be more paranormal stories than ever before, we have to wonder if it’s really new. If you look back through history, you’ll find myths and legends of otherworldly creatures woven into every culture, passed down from generation to generation. From harmless, whimsical beings that like to play j

Are Regency Romances Paranormal by Definition?

What does paranormal mean as a genre, really? I’ve been thinking about that lately vis-à-vis Regency romances. No, not ones with vampires or werewolves or sea monsters, but how the romances themselves conform to a paranormal paradigm. They’re all basically human stories played out against a background with unspoken rules and tropes. With vampires, the tropes include sucking blood, no reflection in mirrors, and intolerance of daylight; with werewolves, it’s changing form to a wolf, the full moon, and the transformative bite. Regency romances often have nothing at all to do with the reality of the historical Regency period, but they have their tropes as well – the obligatory mention of Almacks, Gunter’s ices, Vauxhall pleasure gardens, the scandalous waltz, the oh-so-tight top coat and the shiny Hessian boots. And, of course, there’s the issue that apparently there must be dozens of handsome, unmarried dukes (all rakes, but underneath completely honorable and noble) standing around

The Definition of Paranormal in the Romance Industry.

I started out writing short stories in the SF/F genre (always with a romantic element) and I soon learned that the correct term for the ‘umbrella’ of the genre is ‘speculative fiction’. This encompasses fantasy (sword & sorcery, mythical & magical creatures, alternate worlds); science fiction, which can be ‘hard’ (as in spaceships, futuristic & advance technology), or ‘soft’ (like space opera); a blend of both (as in my upcoming novel BENEATH THE THIRTEEN MOONS), and finally horror, (which can encompass contemporary suspense or all of the above genres). Paranormal itself essentially wasn’t a genre--it just meant ghosts. I need to add that BENEATH THE THIRTEEN MOONS was my very first manuscript, and was released in hardcover by Thomson-Gale, a small press who sold primarily to libraries. I mention ‘upcoming’ because Sourcebooks is re-releasing it this December in mass market paperback. And because I love, love, love the new cover I’ve included it in my post. Imagine my con

Paranormal, anyone?

By Mary Margret Daughtridge The other day, in reference to a promo blog I had written about SEALed Forever (coming in 2011) I received this from my editor: I changed "her house is haunted" to "a house could be haunted" b/c I don't want your readers to think there's a ghost--you can't go paranormal now. She's absolutely right. I don't write "paranormals," and I wouldn't want to give the impression that I do...but. SEALed Forever has plenty of "things that go bump in the night." It got me thinking, what’s “paranormal” anyway? The word was coined in 1920 as a neutral term intended to separate the legitimate study of psychic phenomena from spiritualism, the supernatural, and superstition. It was meant to give psychic phenomena a platform which made it susceptible to scientific investigation. It didn’t work. Thirty or forty years later, study of psychical occurrences had completely bogged down between extraord

Is anything scarier than a teenager?

Thanks so much for having me today! A quick intro for those who may not know me yet: I worked at Dorchester Publishing editing romances and Westerns for 10 years before having the wonderful opportunity to join Sourcebooks last month. I adore romance and I’m really looking forward to meeting you all and further growing the Casa list. I’ll also be acquiring for our young adult imprint, Sourcebooks Fire. And I’ve been having so much fun taking a whole new look at the genre. Raging hormones, crazy friends, a new driver’s license, college pressure…being a teenager can be a really scary time. And being a parent of a teen—whoa boy! That doesn’t even take into account turning into a werewolf, rescuing your family in a dystopian world, getting pregnant, a wish-granting crystal ball, dealing with death, a demon attack, or any of the number of other things we see in today’s YA market. Deb has drilled in her romance criteria so that I think many regular readers here can

DON'T Haunt Me. Please...

Call me a wuss if you like, but creepy things creep me out. I have never read a Stephen King novel, though I have seen one movie, Secret Window . Johnny Depp was the obvious draw for that one, otherwise I'd never have watched it. Towards the end when people were being murdered, I kept waiting for the last minute rescue by the police or the Mounties or the National Guard. It never happened. Then I remembered what I was watching. Needless to say, the perpetrator got away with his crime. I don't like that idea, nor do I particularly like crime shows in general. I don't like to be reminded of the horrible things people are capable of doing to one another. You will never catch me watching a slasher movie or any other kind of horror flick. It still amazes me that I actually sat through Alien (on the front row of the theater, no less), though it was, technically, science fiction. I don't like gore, and I don't like evil zombie vampire stuff, either.

An Introduction to the Paranormal

I was always a big reader. I remember stuffing books in my backpack—except I was too cool for a backpack and walked around with books stacked in my arms; why was that cooler?—from elementary school on. In high school, I discovered Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. I enjoyed Interview with the Vampire but when I read The Vampire Lestat , I was hooked. How could I not be? Here’s the opening: I am the vampire Lestat. I’m immortal. More or less. The light of the sun, the sustained heat of an intense fire—these things might destroy me. But then again, they might not. Oh, how delicious! Lestat was delicious. I almost wished I would run into him on some dark night. My friends and I read the book and the others that followed. We wanted to be vampires. We’d go to the mall on Friday night, dressed all in black with red bite marks painted on our necks. We received some strange looks, especially when we told people we were vampires. You see, all of this was way before Twilight or any of the

Haunt Me

I want to be haunted. Nothing too scary. I don't want the walls to bleed or anything; I just want a good story to tell. Maybe a being from another world could send mysterious lights bobbing down the hallway. Or maybe there could be a little fiendish laughter emanating from the attic once in a while. I'd like that. But no. I am apparently the antighost. I've lived in many houses that should be haunted, but the minute I move in, everything gets all normal. Bummer. For instance, my grandparents' farm in Maine was built in the 1800s. The attic was my favorite place to play, because it was full of old stuff and I was sure there had to be a ghost up there. There were framed sepia photographs of people in fancy clothes, and all of them had somber expressions and weird dead eyes. I later learned this was because they had to sit still and stare at the camera for ten minutes to get their pictures taken, but at the time I was convinced that all my ancestors were zombies. The

Come to the light side!

The paranormal genre doesn’t have to be dark. If you think about it, there are many myths that can be utilized to add comic relief or create downright laugh-out-loud humorous reads. My best piece of advice for lightening the mood in a paranormal story? Don’t overlook the obvious! Let’s take a moment to embrace the clichés. Think about Vampires. What does everyone “know” about vampires? A) They have fangs and drink blood, usually by puncturing the victim’s carotid artery. B) They’re nocturnal and sunlight burns them. How about Shapeshifters? A) If they shift while fully dressed, their clothes won’t fit their new shape. B) When they shift back, they’ll be naked. Ghosts are disembodied. They can see the physical world and comment on it like a fly on the wall, but unless they’ve learned telekinesis or some kind of communication with a psychic, clairvoyant or clairaudient, they're invisible. How about witches? A) They cast spells and can manipulate circumstances with magic. B)

The Fruits of His Labor

Some of you know about my online writing group, The Writing Wombats. For those who don't, these are a group of people I connected with during the First Chapters contest. We went through the trenches of that contest and came out on the other end with over 400 comment threads that have been unbroken for over 3 years. Over those years, we've come up with some fun events - a virtual masquerade ball where we all came with Alter Identities, a whodunit, several Dan Brown contests and our sort-of annual Phantasmagoria contest. Here's one of my entries in that contest: The Fruits of His Labor John uncorked the bottle and poured the wine, the merlot glistening like blood in the candlelight. He contemplated the thin neck of the pink wineglass. Pink. Christ. As if he were some fucking fruit. He shook his head, setting the glass back on the pristine tablecloth. The shit he put up with for that woman. He folded the gray cotton napkin. Tonight he’d make