Thursday, April 28, 2011

PROM What's the Deal?

PROM What does it mean to you?

Well it's prom time. My son is a Junior in High School and was scrambling around at the last minute to find a date, a tux, a limo, and an after party.

I have to admit, as a girl, I loved, loved, loved proms. But I only ever went to one - my senior prom. I skipped out on my Junior prom because I didn't have a boyfriend at the time, or the money to spend on a dress and all that went with the big event. Truthfully, I was rather humbug about it.


Now, looking back, I'm glad I went, got the picture, and been there done that. It was the one day - save my wedding day that I had an excuse to look the part of the Princess. I didn't have money for a limo, but my cousin drove a rental car my mom got for me and my date. He was our personal chauffeur who took us to an expensive diner (okay - not that expensive) and then to prom. However, just like Cinderella I wasn't able to do the after ball activities - my mother distinctively reminded me that no decent girl should be out until dawn, doing who knows what, and coming home a baby momma (trust me, I rolled my eyes at that warning.)

Am I glad I went - sure am. Even though my then boyfriend decided at that time to reveal that he was only 14yrs old to my 16yrs old - I ABOUT DIED! That's something he shared at our cozy, adult dinner. I swore him into secrecy for the prom and not only that - the guy was flirting with other girls. So, what did I do - well, flirt with other boys too! The night ended with my cousins dropping us off after prom, and his dad picking him up. Yes, he was too cute, and I was too dressed up to deny him a kiss goodnight. Needless to say, the relationship ended shortly after prom, we remained friends.


I would have so went. Maybe with a different guy - one that could drive, lol! I would have ditched out of prom early - let's admit it, the actual prom was pretty boring, and went to the after-party at my friend's house (everyone was raving about it the next week in school).


Now that it's time for my kids to have a prom, I'm sooo excited for them. I love picking out the tux, the dresses, the limo and joining in their excitement all over again.


HERE's some great PROM READS:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Well today I'm giving the book review for an Upper YA Book by DIA REEVES.

Amazon Blurb:

Kit and Fancy Cordelle, the only children of the terrifying Bonesaw Killer of Portero, know that it's only a matter of time before they follow in his footsteps. Their dad was caught and imprisoned due to forensic evidence, but his teenage daughters are determined not to fall into the same trap. With careful planning and control, Fancy knows that she can make sure nothing ties them to the crimes, as long as her impulsive sister avoids a public killing spree. Scouting out the perfect location, she retrieves the missing crank to the old kinetoscope that lived in her father's killing cellar. The old motion-picture device transports Fancy to a brightly colored world where she and her sister can kill those who deserve it and keep the bodies away from the police. However, even as the sisters embark on their murderous spree, forces are tearing them apart. Kit has become obsessed with Gabriel, the youngest son of the last man their father killed, while Fancy has attracted the attention of Gabriel's brother, Ilan.

MY 2 Cents:

I'm reviewing a gruesomely haunting tale for the upper YA reader that likes murder, mayhem and shows like Dextor. I was that person in high school. I loved horror, true horror, real life stories about serial killers, how their minds ticked and how they got away with murder.

Well, Dia Reeves, brings us a YA version of such wicked dimensions. Kit and Fancy are twins. The kind of characters that you can't help but like - at first, until you figure out that they aren't really a victim of their circumstances but more like they thrive on flipping the script, and killing their attackers. But truth is, they only kill their attackers because in their own twisted, demented ways - they think they are doing the world good. As well as they give justification to their very dark desires.

This is not a book for a younger YA. I'd say anyone under 16yrs old without a love of horror probably wouldn't enjoy this book. But if you love horror, want to peek into the mind of madness, and don't mind graphic killing or death scenes (like most kids like hatchet movies such as SAW and FRIDAY 13th) played out by seemingly sweet twin girls - then pick this up. With all that considered I give this a 4 out of 5 slices, only because even for me, the killing was a bit much, but the characters kept me picking this one up. Something about them made me have hope that they would turn around, and isn't that what most families and friends of true life serial killers believe?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Oh, by the way I will be hosting YALITCHAT twitter chat this Wed @ 9pm on twitter. Just follow the hashtags #yalitchat. We'll be sharing pitches.

If you want to move that novel you've written, got beta read, then edited to the point of perfection ------ YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO SELL IT!

That's where great tools like your Query Letter, Book Proposal, Synopsis and PITCH come in.

BUT let's think Bigger than just creating your 2 sentence pitch.

Here's some iconic Pitches used:


When Robert Kincaid drives through the heat and dust of an Iowa summer and turns into Francesca Johnson’s farm lane looking for directions, the world-class photographer and the Iowa farm wife are joined in an experience that will haunt them forever.

Writer: Robert James Waller is a New York Times bestselling author. His books, 1992′s The Bridges of Madison County and his 1995 novel, Puerto Vallarta Squeeze, have both been made into motion pictures. Waller currently resides in Texas.




Take an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers” – the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. What makes high-achievers different? What is their culture, their family and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing? Learn the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

Writer: Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker staff writer since 1996, won a National Magazine Award for his 1999 profile of Ron Popeil. In 2005 he was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. He is the author of three books, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference (2000) , Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), and Outliers: The Story of Success (2008) all of which were No. 1 New York Times bestsellers.



Logline: British comedy about a young London publisher who can’t repay his loan shark debt so he escapes to a magical village of eccentrics where he meets an unlikely guru and falls for the junkyard mistress. When his wealthy mother and her chosen future daughter-in-law track him down, he must decide his future. It’s a story about the importance of love, not possessions.

Writer: Sharon Y. Cobb is writer/director of the comedy web shows “Thurapy” and “Mayor of Panther County” which have attracted an international fan base. She is creator of the comedy video website, a member of Writers Guild of America and has sold a dozen projects to Hollywood. Her film, Lighthouse Hill, was released on DVD in the U.S. March 2009 after premiering at film festivals and being broadcast by SkyTV worldwide. She won Best Screenplay in Jacksonville, Florida’s 2007 48 Hour Film Project.


- Use your pitch when friends ask you what you are writing.
- Use your pitch when you go to a writer's conference.
- Use your pitch when you create your book trailer.
- Use your pitch on your book promotional materials.
- Put your pitch on your writer's blog or website.
- Tease your pitch on twitter and facebook.
- Practice your pitch whenever and wherever you can.

Even though we writers don't like to admit it....when we decide to get published, we have to learn how to sell our work - and the RIGHT PITCH will help us do it. Not only that but we can use it in every aspect of selling that book.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I did a recent middle school visit at a school and found that a child committed suicide in the school. Sadness. My heart broke for the school and the child. During my visit on the STOP THE VIOLENCE panel the kids asked all kinds of questions, but most of them focused around bullying.

This one question stuck firmly in my mind and made me remember something my grandmother used to tell me.


I used to hate when she reminded me of that considering I was a snarky teen who thought she knew it all. I had an opinion on everything and didn’t have a problem telling it the way I saw it – especially because people didn’t have a problem reminding me that I was “short”, a “four eyes”, a “square”, a “bastard”, had a uni-brow and much more.


Although it may seem innocent, teasing can stir the beginnings of bullying. I’ll take my own childhood example.

I was constantly teased for having a uni-brow and being fat. I mean, I was teased about this by my family, by friends, by teachers, heck even people I didn’t know.

My response usually was to just laugh it off. So those perpetrators thought that their teasing didn’t mean anything to me and that I Was In On Their Joke….but deep down inside, with all those people saying the same thing over and over to me – well, I started to think that what they said was true.


So, since so many people were ‘teasing’ me about my uni-brow and my weight, I started to hate those things about myself, because…THEY DIDN’T CHOSE TO SAY SOMETHING NICE – WHAT THEY SAID WAS MEAN, and even now as a writer – I have to fight the negativity and let only the positivity in. But at that time, I was a kid, and all any kid wants to do is – be accepted.

I figured I could change those things about myself, and the first thing I did was shave my eyebrows. Let me tell you – that didn’t go over too well. Everyone noticed and I got teased worst for it. I let them grow back.

My weight, well, I wasn’t fat, but I was chuncky and at 14yrs old when I wanted a boyfriend like my friends had, I thought I could set off to drop some weight. Then the ‘teasing’ changed and people started giving me compliments, only thing was, I was losing weight to the point of near starvation, fainting, and anorexia. Thankfully I had a very aware grandmother, who stepped in, talked to me, explained to me how beautiful I was inside, that I had to eat and she made sure I did. She told me NO ONE WILL LOVE YOU IF YOU DON’T LOVE YOURSELF FIRST.

Wow – and she told me to LOOK IN THE MIRROR to REMIND MYSELF I AM LOVED. You know what, she did it with me that first day, and even more so after that, until one day – I started to do it for myself.

SO SHARE WITH ME HOW YOU HAVE OVERCOME BULLYING. How you don’t let negativity from nasty words affect you.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Demon Girl by Penelope Fletcher - Book Review

NYIA teen book reviewer is in the houseeeeee! Please give a warm welcome to our book reviewer that can't wait to share this thrifty find with you.

DEMON GIRL by Penelope Fletcher is only $0.99 on Kindle and Nook! and Smashwords!

Amazon Blurb:

Rae Wilder has problems.... Supernatural creatures swarm the earth, and humanity is on the brink of extinction. Stalked by a handsome fairy who claims she is like him, demonkind, Rae thinks maybe it was a mistake breaking the rules by going over the Wall into demon territory. Plunged into a world of dark magics, fierce creatures, and ritual sacrifice, she is charged with a guarding a magical amulet. The changes to her mind and body are startling, but rather than accept her purpose she struggles against who she is destined to be. Throw in a big lust for a vampire who can't keep his hands off her, and life starts to get complicated. Rae is forced to make the ultimate choice: to live and die human, or embrace her birth-right and wield magics that could turn her into something wicked, a force of nature nothing can control. Young Adult: British English (BrE)

NYIA Teen Book Reviewer:

This book starts off with a bang. I mean it's a mixed bag of creatures and people with all types of powerful backgrounds. I love the main character even though I wanted to shake her sometimes. This was different than any other paranormal type book that I've read. Rae, the main character sees a crime being committed and once that happens everything goes wrong. Oh, yeah, there is a love triangle, but it's done differently than other books I've read. Rae is also a strong girl, not a cry baby who doesn't have an opinion. I read this while I was getting my hair done. I give this 4 flutters out of 5. I only took off for places where Rae made me angry.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Yep, you heard authors lament about never wanting to sell their books out of the back of their cars - uh, huh. That those poor Indie authors have to push books in this demeaning way, and hand-selling books is just too darned hard.

Well, not true, all authors should learn the art of hand-selling their books.


The art of suggesting books to people using displays, newsletters, postcards, reading groups, and casual discussions or even…in inventive ways. It is with independent titles that flourish through word of mouth. It can get your book into bookstores. It can get your book into libraries. It can get your book just about … anywhere. As well as incite others to hand-sell for you :-D

So, remember that PITCH, that HOOK, that LOG LINE you used to sell your book to LIT AGENTS...PUBLISHERS...well, put it to good use! Use it to sell to your readers too!


Believe it or not, bookstores do it. The sales people sometimes hand sell books of authors they’ve enjoyed. Readers do it, buy talking up a book they loved. Librarians do it. Vendors do it. Kids do it… heck everyone has hand sold something in their lives. And, authors do it – on the internet when they strike up a conversation about their book.


Well when I started really heavy in this book business. I wanted to try it all and see what worked and didn’t work for myself. One of the things I personally was nervous about was the in-person hand-selling. So my husband – long standing sales person – taught me the skill. I have to admit, he takes hand-selling, street selling, just plain sales to a whole new level.

The experiment was on my first book signing, he would sit at my table for the first hour. His goal – sell all of my books. You know what, he did. He sold 12 books in an hour. We had to go out to the car and get more for the store.

How’d he do it? Eye contact, a smile, a joke, bribery and a huge ‘thank you’ for support. You see our intent was different. Me, I wanted them to just see the cover and want the book. But he – he wanted to SELL the book. Now, he’d get them over to the table, had them read the first page or read it to them, and … the kids were hooked, the book was bought. (There’s that tip about starting out with a bang that really works!)


Okay, back to some author’s greatest fears – street sales, selling out of your car, etc. Well (*raising hand*) I’ve done it. I always have a small box of books in my car. Another tip from my husband. You know what he was right, because when people would ask me about my book, I wouldn’t have one. Now, I always do. That way when opportunity strikes, we are prepared. You know what, I typically sell out of the box a month. I don’t set out to do it, but for some reason when someone ask me about my writing, I let them see my book that I carry in my purse – then usually they will buy a copy of all 3 of my series!


I grew up with people hand selling books that I couldn’t find in the store. Street vendors in DC or Baltimore sell everything – including books. Also, authors hand-sell their books at colleges and universities, even churches! Think of some of the odd places you’ve bought books? Think of why you bought them.


Hand sell on the internet

Hand sell at book signings

Hand sell at odd places

Hand sell at book festivals

Hand sell at craft shows

Hand sell at events that compliment your book (where you happen to be one of few people selling books)

Hand sell with other products

Hand sell to bookstores

Hand sell to libraries

Hand sell to indies


Saturday, April 9, 2011

HANNA - Movie Review


Raised by her father (Eric Bana), an ex-CIA man, in the wilds of Finland, Hanna’s upbringing and training have been one and the same, all geared to making her the perfect assassin. The turning point in her adolescence is a sharp one; sent into the world by her father on a mission, Hanna journeys stealthily across Europe while eluding agents dispatched after her by a ruthless intelligence operative with secrets of her own (Cate Blanchett). As she nears her ultimate target, Hanna faces startling revelations about her existence and unexpected questions about her humanity.


Okay, I was sucked in when I first saw the movie trailer. Heck, I was like wow, this has a lot of potential. Well, what can I say...the trailer picked out the best part of the movie. Oh, and I giggled at the flaming gay assassin, the woman who was HANNA's nemesis who I never quite figured out why she had to kill the girl. It started with the mystery of what Hanna was, why she had to find this woman, and why they wanted her. Bottom line, the action, violence, fight scenes were plenty, but the story just wasn't feasible or well developed. The actress that played HANNA did a great job, but the rest of the movie just...didn't have enough to carry this for me. I gave it 2 out of 5 punches.


Harry Potter...need I say more?



X-Men: First Class

Stay tuned I'm going to the movie next never know, it might be something REALLY GOOD!


Friday, April 8, 2011


I was on a paranormal kick this week. So I read SUFFER THE CHILDREN by SARA-JAYNE TOWNSEND and DARK GIFTS by WILLOW CROSS

Blurb from Sara's site Jane Townsend's website: BUY HERE: Lyrical Press
Fear has a face…

Orphaned at eighteen, Leanne's life is adrift in a sea of grief and drug use. She washes up on the shore of estranged relatives, the Carver family, struggling with loss of their own. The transition from her South London council estate to her new home in the Surrey middle-class suburbs is difficult for Leanne.

But beneath the respectable veneer of the quiet neighborhood, something terrifying lurks. Displaced and troubled teenagers are disappearing. Leanne recruits her cousin Simon and his girlfriend Carrie to help get to the bottom of the sinister mystery. Can the three of them stop a creature of unimaginable evil before Leanne becomes a target?


This mystery, woven into a story of troubled teens with drug addict parents, a missing sibling, the desire to be loved, and much more kicked off this novel. It starts with Leanne, giving a view of her broken relationship with her drugged up mom, her promiscuous ways and her fear of rejection. Her struggle ends with her mother’s demise, but a new horrible beginning unfolds when she moves into her missing cousin’s room. She and her cousin Simon become intertwined in the investigation of missing kids – ones whose lives closely mimics Leanne’s. The characters are deeply developed before the true mystery starts to develop, but once it does, I just had to read on to find out what happened next. The only thing that had me wanting were the horror based scenes. Oh, and there is quite a bit of sex scenes in the book if that’s something that you want to know. I gave it 4 gravestones only because I wanted more description in the gore parts (there weren’t gore, but was gently done for those people who just want to see the mystery).

Blurb from Smashwords:

Throughout the ages, druids have passed down a prophecy from one generation to the next. A girl, born of a witch clan, will become vampyre and spark a war that will divide the vampire nation. This young woman will either save humanity from vampire reign, or be the end of it. Although she’s never heard the prophecy, and doesn’t believe in witchcraft, Liz Markum is that woman.

Working with her maker, Michael, and the remaining members of the warring Vampire Council, Liz must defeat the darkness inside her, and learn to become more than a killer vampire. She must become a vampire killer.

My Review:

This is a truly seductive vampire book with a different spin. Not boring at all, great characters with depth, and what can I say, the beginning rocks and sucks you so deep in that you can't put it down. My teenager and I both read it and this is great read. Liz had a bad day, turned at night, being tried to be killed by day with her maker. A war is on the horizon, and every paranormal being is going to get a piece of it. But while Liz struggles with her love for Michael, her destiny is to help save her new race. But there is a twist, Liz wasn't your typical human, the spies for her side aren't vamps but ghost, and when it begins, there's a whirlwind of fighting until the end. This is a great read and is going for $2.99 on smashwords. I gave it 5 stars - yep, I had my vamp fix and more with this one.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Writer's Conference! Pitches! Winners...OH MY!

Hey friends! Yep, you're my friends :-D I had an awesome - Did I say awesome? Time at the Maryland's Writer's Conference.

I hobnobbed with Best Selling Author LA Banks (who spoke on 'How to make a living as a best selling author', President of the Mid-Atlantic Book Publishers Association and many awesome writers.

I also worked the conference and recruited these awesome publishing professionals to pitch it up with us at the conference.

Lit Agents:

Jason Ashlock
Literary Agent, Movable Type Literary Group

Lauren Hammond
Literary Agent, ADA Management Group

Emmanuelle Morgen
Literary Agent, Judith Ehrlich Lite
rary Management

Jessica Sinsheimer
Associate Agent, Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency


Georgia McBride
Freelance Editor and Manager, YALITCHAT.ORG

Roseanne Wells
Literary Agent, Strong Literary Agency

Harrison Demchick
Editor and Marketing Associate, Bancroft Press

Daniel Ehrenhaft
Editorial Director, Soho Teen at Soho Press

Catherine Hiller
President, Executive Editor

John David Kudrick

Brittney Ross
Editor, Penguin Group

Fun Picture of Georgia McBride, Founder of and Lauren Hammond, Lit Agent

Fun Picture of Georgia McBride, Founder of and Little Ole' me, LM Preston


Picture of the Pitch Sessions: One-on-One

I totally screwed up mine. Yep, you are hearing it from me first. I screwed it up with nervous jitters, but the editors I spoke to were so awesome about it that I didn't feel horrible when I left. I learned a lot and they helped me a lot.

The great thing about Maryland Writer's Conference Pitch sessions is that the Agents and Editors read my Query Letter and First Five pages in advance. When I met with them for my 10 min (for $30) they listened to my pitch then reviewed my query letter and first five pages.


Start with a hook, Practice it first with someone else - even video tape yourself doing it, but have it memorized cold before you go.


It went very well, I shared all my secrets of uber energy for promotion and scared the be-juju out of most of the writers, lol! I didn't mean to, but I was just giving them an idea of what marketing is and shucks, I told them to start at least 8 months before a book comes out. But the information was well received and I also got to sit in on some pretty amazing speakers.


Bandits contest winner is Tracey Goodwin!!!!! Wowsa!!! She's getting books, she's getting books!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

SOURCE CODE - Movie Review

Fandango Blurb:

Jake Gyllenhaal headlines this sci-fi time-travel thriller directed by Moon's Duncan Jones from a script by Ben Ripley and Billy Ray. A bomb explodes on a Chicago train, derailing the locomotive and killing hundreds. In an attempt to identify the bomber and prevent another, larger attack on downtown Chicago, Captain Colter Stevens (Gyllenhaal) agrees to take part in a clandestine government experiment dubbed "Source Code," which allows him to enter the body of a male passenger during the eight minutes before the man is killed. But during his first trip back, Capt. Stevens fails to gather enough clues to prevent the second attack. With time quickly running out, he repeats the mission ad nauseam in a desperate race to head off one of the most deadly terrorist attacks ever to take place on American soil.

My 2cents :-D

I have to tell you, I didn't want to go see this movie. My husband dragged me out on a 'date' night and it was his turn to pick the movie. When it first started I was as disoriented as the character seemed. I didn't know what was going on. But I have to admit, it kept me engaged with the tension and the unfolding of the truths. Now the rewind of the scenes over and over again - I have to admit, annoyed me a bit. However, each time he'd find out something more, or the scene would change in small ways to help you figure out who the bomber was. Now, I did figure out the movie's plot about half-way through (I don't know maybe it's the writer in me) but I liked the way it unfolded and how at the end it was nicely summed up. I give this a 2.5 flashbacks since I enjoyed myself, but I wasn't overly wowed. I didn't fall asleep and stayed engaged and entertained throughout the movie.