Top 10 Movies Countdown Blogfest


TOPTENMOVIE

Today’s the day for Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Top 10 Movies Countdown Blogfest! Click the image above for a list of other participants.

I love watching movies. I even have special snacks I like to eat depending on the movie. Hot Tamales/Jelly Beans for scary shows, Peanut Butter M&Ms for romantic comedies, Twizzlers for sci-fi, and popcorn for anything else. Now, without further ado…

Here’s my Top 10 Movie Countdown

10. Death To Smoochie – Lookie!, Lookie! Lookie! Here comes a cookie! I’m an Edward Norton fan and I thought he was especially fun in this movie. Robin Williams brought his own flavor of humor, as well. Safari!!

9. The Fifth Element – I’m a fan of Bruce Willis movies and Milla Jovovich movies (especially Resident Evil), too. So this one easily makes my list.

8. Men In Black II – I could watch that movie, as well as MIB, anytime.

7. Shaun of the Dead – Humor + romance + zombie apocalypse = all kinds of fun. I’m fan of the original show Dawn of the Dead, too.

6. The Book of Eli – LOVED the twist at the end.

5. Blade – Hot. Vampire. And yes, I know he’s half-vampire, half-mortal, but that sort of messed up the symmetry.

4. The Green Mile Stephen King is a brilliant man. He knows how to craft well-rounded, flawed, yet motivated characters.

3. A Christmas Story – For one reason or another, I think about this movie almost every day. I’m drawn to how relatable and real these characters are. There’s a certain brilliance in the simpleness of this movie. The book was great, too.

2. AVP: Alien vs Predator –  I’m very impressed with the way the creatures from the two films were brought together. I felt they were true to the nature of the creatures.

1. Alien Quadrilogy (Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection). I sat staring at the box set for 15 minutes debating with myself (sad, I know) which movie was best. They all have different aspects that I love. Strange as it sounds, I like to wrap Christmas presents while watching these movies. Plus, whenever my older brother visits, we have an Alien movie marathon, which makes these films all the more special.

It was so hard to pick just 10, so I stuck with movies I’ve watched repeatedly over the years. That said, here are some honorable mentions: LOTR, Matrix, Payback, Die Hard, Fight Club, Date Night, Resident Evil, Day Watch, Constantine, The Cuckoo, Pursuit of Happiness, Little Miss Sunshine, Everything’s Illuminated, Sixth Sense, Secret Life of Bees, What Dreams May Come, Patch Adams, Stranger Than Fiction, most movies based on Stephen King books (especially The Shinning) and so so many more.

If you participated in this blogfest, please let me know in the comments below so I can be sure to stop by your blog.

How about you? What are your favorite movies? Do you have a special snack you like to enjoy when you’re watching?

p.s. Be sure to stop by on Thursday. I’ll be hosting Carrie Butler!

Happy Holidays & U Got the Look Meme


Neve_em_folhas_de_Chamaecyparis_pisifera_01Winter break is here just in time for the first snow! My kids woke up bright and early, and were out sledding at 7 a.m. The wind made it colder, so we didn’t stay out long, but we had a blast.

I’m taking a break from social media and will return with a regular post on January 10, 2013.

For today, I’m participating in Elise Fallson’s “U Got The Look” meme in which Melissa Maygrove inadvertently tagged me.

The rules are simple: Track down the word “look” in your current Work-In-Progress (WIP) and post the surrounding paragraphs, and then tag 5 other people with the meme.

WIP titleBlink
Genre: Paranormal
Category: Young Adult
Orientation:  This is the point where Lexi’s world begins to spin out of control. One minute, she’s at a client’s house preparing to walk their dogs; the next, she wakes up in the hospital and something’s different.
###

“I’ve been here for two days?” There went Lexi’s perfect attendance record. Worse, two days were plenty of time for rumors to ruin what little social status she had. “How did I end up here?”

Mom tightened her hold on Lexi’s hand. “Mrs. Anderson said soon after she answered the door you blanched. Before she had a chance to offer you a seat, you passed out. Peanut cushioned your fall.”

“She okay?” If Lexi had hurt the Great Dane, she’d never forgive herself.

“She’s fine, it’s you we’re concerned about.” When Dad gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze, his fingertips curled around to her back.

The touch stung, like a fresh sunburn. She shifted away and the heat subsided. As Dad studied her, his lips twitched to the side the way they did whenever something bothered him, and he was strategizing the best way to broach the topic.

Oh, no. What if she was sick? “Is it skin cancer? A tumor?”

“Carolyn, will you get Lexi a cup of ice?” he asked Mom.

Must be something terminal. Her eyes blurred again.

“Sure. I’ll find the doctor, too.” Mom squeezed her hand before she left.

“What do you remember?” Dad whispered in an urgent tone.

“Peanut and Blue meeting me at the front door.” She balanced the lavender towel on the bedrail.

“What else?” The bed dipped where he sat.

“Why are you whispering?”

“Just answer the question.”

“I had this stabbing pain in my temples.” She touched the left one. “Made me nauseous and dizzy. After a blinding white light, everything turned cold. Freezing cold. Then, I woke up here.” Struggling to recall more brought a rush of pressure to her eyes and made them feel like they were about to pop out of her head. Her heart monitor beeped a fast pace, until Dad clicked mute again. “Am I sick?”

He shook his head. “This can’t be right.”

“What’s going on?”

“I hope I’m wrong. For your sake.”

“You’re freaking me out!”

He glanced at the open door where footsteps clacked up and down the hall. “Let me see your right shoulder.”

The IV catheter pulled when she reached out. She winced and tugged the gown to the side. Dad leaned forward. She knew the exact moment he spotted what he was looking for. His eyes bulged and his face paled.

“What is it?” She angled her head, struggling to see. Her fingertips probed at her shoulder. She jerked her hand back when she brushed an area where it felt like someone had snuffed a cigarette. “What the hell?”

“Oh God, Lexi. This isn’t supposed to happen to you.”

“What’s not supposed to happen to me?”

Footsteps in the hall grew closer.

“Don’t let Mom see.” He straightened the material and stood before he whispered, “I’ll explain everything later.”

“Why can’t you just explain now?”

###

As for the tagging of five people, I’m feeling generous. If you took the time to stop by my blog and want to participate in this meme, please considered yourself tagged!

Are you planning to join the party? Please let me know in the comments below so I can stop by and read a sample of your WiP.

Thanks, once again, for visiting. I wish you all happy holidays!

Oh, How I Miss You Blogfest


This week, I’m participating in the I Miss You Blogfest hosted by  Andrew Leon, Matthew MacNish, and Alex J. Cavanaugh.

It’s time to tell which blogger buddies we really miss because they aren’t posting as often, or at all. It’s also time to show appreciation for the bloggers we would really miss!

The rules: List one to three bloggers you really miss and one to three bloggers you would miss if they stopped blogging. Then go leave a comment on those blogs. 

Before I start naming names, I encourage you to hop on over to Alex J. Cavanaugh’s blog and sign up to join the fun. He also has a list of other participants.

Now, for the bloggers I miss:

My Writing Blog. Nicole McLaughlin falls into the ‘not posting as often’ category for me and even though I know why, I still miss reading her updates. She always has something interesting and fun to read. I’ve discovered a number of new books thanks to her.

Simplicity In Volumes. I met Patricia A. Timms through a blogfest about a year ago. I enjoyed reading about her many adventures. I’m not sure why she stopped posting.

Bloggers I would miss:

There are so many people to add to this list and even though the rules say one to three, I’m gonna bend them. Some of my favorite bloggers who I would miss terrible should they leave the blogosphere include: Write On, Info Dump a la El, Author Laura Diamond-Lucid Dreamer, Melissa Maygrove, So You’re A Writer, Susan Kaye Quinn, and Susanna Leonard Hill.

These bloggers possess a wealth of knowledge and they share their thoughts/advice on the craft of writing, the business of writing, as well as other topics. Thank you all (and those unnamed) for being so awesome! I know keeping up with blog post isn’t always easy.

Looks like I have a lot of blogs to visit and comment on today. Better get started.

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Also, it’s not to late to sign up to join the EDGE OF TRUTH Cover Reveal Team on November 23. Thanks to those of you who have already signed up. I so appreciate your support! If you’re interested, please fill out this form and I’ll contact you with the information you’ll need. You can also leave a comment below, tweet me, or Facebook me. Thanks!

Blogfest – The Nature of Magic


The Nature of Magic Blogfest starts today! I’m so excited to participate in this blogfest hosted by Laura B Diamond and Tessa Conte. The basic premise is to write or share something you’ve already written that, to you, shows the nature of magic. I’m using another excerpt from my adult paranormal romance “Bloodlines” in which my MC uses homeopathy + magic to seek a cure for a pandemic. As a participant you can also use something you’ve written for this blogfest, poetry, or whatever strikes your fancy. It just needs to show the nature of magic as it exists for you or for those you write about. To sign up, read the rules and learn about rewards, click here.

Here’s my entry:

The amethyst necklace served as my anima gemstone – the one that proved the most powerful boost to my ability. It was a stone for healing, had a calming effect, and was good for meditation because it enhanced intuition and gave clarity and insight. Exactly what I needed to untangle my latest vision. Holding it soothed me.

I selected four additional gemstones, then went to my meditation corner in the front room. An oversized pillow on the floor cushioned my crossed ankles. The back of my hands rested on my knees. One slow, deep breath in. One long breath out. Muscles relaxed, heart rate steady and mind opened, I closed my eyes.

The vision waited like a predator in the shadow.

The abyss surrounded me, drowned me. I struggled to keep my eyes closed, to hold the vision, but lost the battle. My visions were usually so vivid, not void of light. I could do this. I drew another deep breath, and let the blackness swallow me this time. The loss of light terrified me. I wanted to run. I had to stay. It couldn’t hurt me. I was safe. The words became my mantra.

My fingertips glided over the smooth surface of the iridescent obsidian. I concentrated on that sensation to help ground me as I summoned the stone’s white magic for protection. Despite my best efforts, my heart raced and my breathing sped up.

The pitch black seeped into my skin, pulling me further down. I was in control. I was safe. An awful screech shattered the silence. Goosebumps raced across my flesh. I struggled not to plug my ears and to focus on the clue instead. It sounded like the scrape of a shovel against rocks. I’d encountered that cringe-causing clatter many times in my garden. Yet, this noise sounded more intense, like dozens of shovels dragging across boulders and sent shivers down my spine. It grew louder. The sound pummeled my ears. I refused to give up and squeezed the garnet to help increase my psychic sensitivity.

Where was this place?

A flash of light revealed a slanted rock surface. Too rough and large to be man made. A mountain, maybe? Not one I recognized.

What else was near?

Three strobe light flashes revealed a gnarled tree, a moss covered boulder, and a dark tunnel. A cave. Claustrophobia kicked in. I trembled, but I held on. I ran my thumb over the iolite gemstone to help me stay focused.

What did I need for the cure?

The darkness grew thicker. My nose crinkled at the scent of death. It was the same strange odor from the first vision. I’ve smelled my share of death – rodents, livestock, people. The unnatural smell of the not-quite-dead slicked my palms with sweat.

Evil resided here.

I squeezed the emerald, calling on its protection from demonic possession. A longer flash revealed cave walls with horizontal grooves carved into them. Then, blackness slammed down shutting me out. The suddenness disoriented me. The gemstones grew hot against my palms, almost burning me. I’d never experienced anything like it and doubled my grip, determined to hold on to my only line of defense. A low, deep rumble echoed off the walls.

Was it inside that cave, the thing I needed?

The growl intensified. Multiplied. I wished I had more emeralds to protect me from whatever lingered in the darkness. Too late now.

Why couldn’t I see it?

The snarls became louder. Closer. I cringed. My ears ached. I didn’t want to have to summon this vision again. Determination coursed through me.

Show me. Now!

Silence. Suffocating stillness.

I gulped for air. My whole body vibrated with fear as I staved off hyperventilation. They were tiny at first – the glowing red eyes – but grew larger as they flew toward me.

Hovering, the eyes stopped three yards away. I panted and struggled to maintain control.

Something wanted me gone, but I refused to leave without an answer.

Reveal!

By force of will, I summoned light, but wasn’t strong enough to hold it for more than three seconds at a time. The eerie strobe effect disoriented me, but I’d take whatever light I could get. Or so I thought until I saw him. Less than two feet away. Haunting eyes peered directly at me. Seeing me.

Impossible.

Visions didn’t work that way. Terror ripped through me. He grinned, wickedly. But there was something wrong with him. Something not quite… human.

Click read more to find the Linky list of other The Nature of Magic participants.

Blogfest Today: Catch Me If You Can


Kristina Fugate is hosting the Catch Me If You Can blogfest today! The idea behind this blogfest is to answer the question, “Does my WIP catch people’s attention right away?” Participants post up to 550 words from the beginning of their WIP, and then visit other participants’ blogs as well. Click the button above for to sign up and find out about the prize.

I hope you enjoy the opening to my YA paranormal BLINK. I am way open to feedback. So, whether you like it or not, please leave a comment. Thanks!

***********Based on feedback, I will change the opening paragraph.**********
Suggestions welcomed.

April 22, 2009
Wednesday

Lexi Ripley listened to 80’s music when she killed. She wasn’t always a killer or a fan of 80’s music, but when her Uncle Lucas disappeared, everything changed. Especially her. After endless hours with the Golden Peak Search Team, Lexi needed a return to normal or in her case, time with her favorite dog-walking clients. Peanut, the Anderson’s great dane, greeted her at the door. Blue licked her ankles until she scooped up the chihuahua. Dizziness made her sway when she straightened. Peanut edged closer, both dogs whined.

“Oh, you guys. I’ve only been gone three days.”

“Lexi? That you?” Mrs. Anderson asked.

“Yeah.” The dizziness grew heavy, promising another headache. They’d been happening a lot lately.

Mrs. Anderson peeked from the kitchen. “Didn’t expect you ‘til Monday.”

“I need a break from my time off. Mind if I walk the ddd—” Pain trapped her in a white abyss of agony, yanked her right out of reality into a dream world. Mrs. Anderson’s muffled voice hovered near, but the soft whisper of wind pushed it away. Lexi stood on mountain land. Where am I? How’d I get here? Paw prints four times bigger than Peanut’s pockmarked the blanket of snow. A bear? No, something bigger. More menacing.

“Lexi, can you hear me?” Her dad’s voice floated next to her.

Blush-tinted mounds surrounded her on all sides. The possibility of what lie under those human-shaped piles and what stained the snow beneath in fading shades of red made her queasy. She focused on the crisp air and its chilling caress, instead. Were people supposed to get goose bumps in dreams?

“Lexi, open your eyes, Honey.”

She wanted to answer him, but curiosity anchored her on the mountain. She sensed the area, the tracks, and the heaps of snow were more than hallucinations, but that didn’t make sense. Normal people don’t have visions. Behind her, the sun sank below the horizon. She rubbed her hands together to warm her numb fingertips.

“Alexandra?” Her dad sounded scared now.

Big snowflakes swirled on the icy breath of wind. It burned her cheeks and stung her eyes, making her squint. Snow crunched under her feet and lightened the mounds to a pale pink. The tracks darted from one snowy mound to the next. When the distance between the piles grew, so did the paw prints, as if the creature started running. Lexi jogged between trees whose branches drooped under the weight of snow.

Twilight sank into a bluish nighttime glow. The full moon lit her path until she reached a massive pine tree, which towered over her. She knew it’d be in there, the creature she tracked. The creature with feet four times bigger than Peanut’s. A dangerous thing. Her skin prickled. She should go, follow the sound of her dad’s voice to safety.

A frigid wind swooped down, stole her breath. She fought not to lick her chapped lips as she shoved her hair out of her face. The tracks doubled over each other like the creature had paced there. Lexi rounded the pine, searching for a spot big enough to squeeze under the branches, but stopped at a huge patch of ground edged with splotches of red. Blood. Lexi covered her gasp. Did she seriously want to follow a bleeding animal under a tree? She took a step back, yet still studied the paw prints. Something didn’t look right. Human footprints, not animal, led from the patch to the tree.

Thanks for reading! If you have a lengthy critique please email it to me at: writesbymoonlight at gmail dot com

 

That’s YAmore Blogfest Entry


I’m so excited to participate in the first annual “That’s YAmore Blogfest” hosted by Oasis for YA. The blogfest runs from today, February, 11 through February 14. Blogfest participants post “250 romantic, swoon-worthy words from your YA WIP” in honor of the most romantic day of the year. It’s not too late to sign up.

This is one of my favorite scenes from my YA paranormal, Edge of Truth, besides Rena and Nevan’s first kiss which takes up way more than the word count for this blogfest. Hope you enjoy!

The fire took up one side of the cave, leaving them with limited space to stretch out to sleep. Blaze ended up by the fire, Nevan near the wall and Rena in the middle. She and Blaze shared the rucksack, while Nevan rolled up the rope for a makeshift pillow.

Blaze fell asleep fast. Rena, on the other hand, couldn’t decide which way to face. She settled flat on her back and stared at the flickering light.

“Can’t sleep?” Nevan whispered.

“No.”

“You’re divided.”

“What?”

“Your face.” He lightly touched her hairline and traced a path over her forehead, between her eyebrows, across the bridge of her nose, paused slightly at her lips then continued to the tip of her chin. “Divided between shadow and light.”

“Oh.” Sweet Mother…. What was she supposed to say to that? What could she say? Especially with the line down the middle of her face tingling.

“Rena?”

“Yeah.” The firelight danced across his face. His two colored eyes drank it in.

“Remember the other day, back at that club in the Underground?”

The kiss. “How could I forget?” Shadows hid her blush.

“There’s something I need to tell you?” He sounded too serious.

A cold wave rolled over her. “Uh-huh?”

“I don’t know where to start?” He glanced at Blaze who snored softly. “This might not be the best time or place, but I really need to get this out.”

“What’s it about?”

“Us.” His voice almost below a whisper. He was quiet for a moment. A long, impossible moment.

Don’t forget to check out other swoon-worthy entries in the That’s YAmore Blogfest.

“You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby” Blogfest


 

The Writer’s Hole, “You’ve come a long way, Baby” Blogfest is today. Click over and help Christine celebrate by showing everyone how much you’ve progressed as a writer. Sounds easy, right? I’m proud of how far I’ve come, but can’t believe I’m about to post this for the world to see. AH!

Deep breath. Deep breath. Here I go. This is an excerpt from my adult paranormal “Bloodlines” I started more than five years ago:

Spring brought with it the vitality of new life. The trees grew lush with green leaves. Exotic flowers released their fragrance on the gentle breeze. Beauty flourished every where except in the heart of Tasaria Blest who trekked the mountain side.

By moon and lantern light, she climbed over rocks and boulders as she made her way around the mountain in search of an entrance. The thought of what she was about to do set her nerves on end. She felt safe in the moonlight, but once she entered the mountain, the darkness would swallow her.

She tried to remember what it was like before she was afraid of the dark. A time when she welcomed the night and all of its shadows. When she enjoyed skinny dipping in the river basked in moonlight. And it work for a few minutes, but then she saw his face.

Just then, she tripped over a stick and fell forward. She caught her balance before she hit the ground and broke the lantern. She held the lantern up high and glanced around. Up ahead in the distance, she spotted the red scarf she’d tied to a tree days ago. She tried not to let herself feel discouraged as she sat on a boulder to rest.

Okay, not as bad as I thought. The revision….

The stench of death clung to the air. Old death, but not decay. Absolute darkness made it impossible to see anything. The sound of something sharp and hard scraped against stone. Where am I? A cave? A mausoleum? Not knowing made the blackness suffocating. I wasn’t alone. Something lurked nearby. Something that I couldn’t see, yet it set off every internal alarm.

I needed to get out of there. A pair of red eyes flared a few yards away. I stumbled back and landed hard against a jagged surface that cut into my elbow. I winced, but managed to stay quiet. It didn’t matter. The red glow crept closer.

I jolted to back to reality, drenched in sweat. Part of me wanted to summon the trance again to interpret the meaning of the vision. The other part needed sunshine to wash away the lingering sensations. The latter won.

Just as the sun broke the horizon, I rushed to my place of solace, my garden and studied the bright colored flowers and vegetables. Long, deep breaths brought with them the sweet aroma of roses. The soft babble of Moose River filled my mind as I knelt to dig my bare hands into the soil. This is real – the cool dirt, the tiny pieces of gravel, the worms.

Obviously, I switched from third to first person. It felt right for this piece. I learned about using other senses (sense of smell, sound, touch) to bring a story to life. There’s more showing, less telling.

Okay, your turn. How much/how have you improved your writing over the years? If you decide to participate this Blogfest, please leave something in the comments below so I can click over to your blog.