Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Catching Up

Well, it's been a little while since I posted. Life gets in the way a lot these days. However, I have been able to get some work done!

The first three books of the Hell House series are back up at Amazon - YAY! The whole entering the self-publishing world has been nerve-wracking and exhilarating at the same time. But I wanted my books back out there so that readers could continue to enjoy them. Now I need to get hard at work on the next one! (tentatively titled A Little Bit Zombie, BTW)

I've also been busy with my adult writing, getting a contract for a release this summer. Edits have me pretty wrapped up, along with the day job. Never enough hours in the day!

Managing to squeeze some reading time in there as well. I've read the first two books of Amanda Hocking's Trylle series, and just finished The Hunger Games. Probably will plan a blog about those guys in the near future.

So, what has everyone else been up to?

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Hunger Games - Movie or Books?

Lots of hype going on this past weekend over the release of The Hunger Games movie. My brother and sister-in-law went, and then she went back later that night with her fourteen year old daughter to see it again. My brother didn't read the book, but he enjoyed the movie. Several of my friends went as well. Some read the book and others didn't.

I didn't read the series yet. It's been on my "to do" list for a few months, but I haven't gotten around to it. I know... I know... you're probably asking if there is something wrong with me? Yes, I've been under a rock. The writing rock, that is, and it has left little time for me to read for pleasures these days, but I swear to fix that this summer when my life slows down. My Kindle is full of amazing reads.

 I'm one of those people who almost always enjoys the book ten times better than the movie. So, I'm thinking I have to sit this one out and save my forty bucks (if I take my husband with me) or else my reading experience could be ruined. I'd probably get more out of the movie if I read the book first anyway.

What are your thoughts? Did you read the book? See the movie? Both? Do you have any words of wisdom for me?


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Can You Feel the Music?

When I first started writing toward publication, I couldn't comprehend the idea of writing to music. I thought it would be distracting and I'd end up typing song lyrics instead of the words that were meant for my manuscript.

Then... the manuscript stalled for me. A friend suggested writing to music. I cringed. And then I agreed to try it--if she could recommend some non-classical instrumental-only stuff. So began my love affair with Apocalyptica, but also... I finished the manuscript and developed an addiction to writing to music.

I moved on from instrumental-only and created playlists for every manuscript. When I first began doing it, I tried to make each playlist completely unique, but I found that didn't work for me. Too different meant that it was a distraction, just as I'd always feared. Then, rather than trying to make everything different, I just picked songs that spoke to me AND to the story. In the end, that means a lot of my playlists feature the same artists, and often the same songs, over and over.

Now, that seems logical enough, but the funny part is that I can tell them apart. If I have on the wrong playlist (even if 50% of the artists/songs are the same) it distracts me and I can't sink into the music to write what I'm working on. For me, the playlist itself--the very order and slight variety of songs--speaks to the story. It's my entry point to the world, and without it the writing is harder.

The playlist for Pretty Souls was one of the first I created. For fun, I want to play a little game. Some of you have read Pretty Souls, but for those who haven't, here's the blurb:

My life followed a simple pattern. 
Run to keep my inner wolf asleep. 
Make sure my blood-sucking foster sister, Cass, feeds. 
Hunt for supernatural trouble when we should be sleeping. 
Keep my grades up and my head down. 
It was mostly a game. 
Until people started wandering around like living zombies. 
Until people I care about started getting hurt. 
Until the menace came knocking on my front door. 
Game’s over. 
Time for the soul-stealer to realize just because he’s hunting something doesn’t make it prey. 
Cass and I bite back. 
~The Paranormal Response Team~ 
Saving the World Before Breakfast

There is also an excerpt here.

With what you know of the story, what song (or songs) would you have put on the playlist? 

(At the end of the week, I'll post the actual playlist I made when I wrote the book. And if anyone nails one of the songs, I'll draw one of the "right" answers randomly and give away some sort of prize--to be discussed with the winner. As a hint, there are no Apocalyptica songs on the soundtrack, but there's one below just because I love them.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

When Posting, How Polite is Too Polite?

I was entering a few book giveaways on the other day (yes, I’m officially hooked on that “giveaway crack”) and whenever I came across a compelling new (to me) YA book, I would click on the author’s website or blog to check it out.

It was a really nice way to get to know more about some fellow YA authors and I ran across one in particular who was a grade-A, hmmm, how should I put this? A grade-A… personality. And I mean that in the epically most awesome way ever.

Seriously; she had attitude to spare and it was such a… revelation. I think she was ranting about some bad review or another and just really going to town; about readers, writers, publishers, the whole ball of wax. It was great to read because I was like, “Wow, she said what she really wanted in a really honest and unvarnished way… and no one’s running her out of town with pitchforks and torches!”

Personally, I try to come off as very polite, non-feather-ruffling and generally a helpful, nurturing kind of guy. Part of that is the teacher in me; I was trained to be politically correct, helpful, nurturing and generally stay in control of my emotions in front of a class full of kids.

 Part of that is just me; if you meet me I pretty much am polite, helpful, calm, even-keeled, etc. But it’s not ALL of me. Drive with me for five minutes and you’ll hear enough cussing to get an NC-17 rating. Stick around while I read a bad review and you’ll hear a whole lot more! And I certainly have VERY strong feelings about writing, reading, reviews, bad reviews, publishing, agents, eBooks, print books and more.

 I just always figured I should avoid sharing that hardcore, personal or angry or venting or rant-y stuff with my young, impressionable readers. Then I remembered, most YAs don’t exactly flock to my blog! (Come to think of it, most adults don’t either!) And even if they did, wouldn’t they prefer getting the “real” me versus the watered down version?

 It’s not that I’m some big, fat phony when I post. I’m always honest, but I’m generally… polite. I don’t swear or foam at the mouth or rant and rave and, well, would it be so terribly bad if I did once in awhile?

 So, I dunno, reading that YA author’s blog the other day was a real revelation. It kind of made it “okay” to be me, or at least a little bit more like the real me.

 I don’t think I’ll be swearing and ranting and raving like this one author, but she’s far from alone. I know of several YA author blogs where writers, readers, even reviewers are quite frank, fun, wise, sarcastic, sassy and with plenty of… personality.

 So what do you think? How polite is too polite? Or should bloggers abide by a certain “code” and keep themselves to themselves? Comment boxes are open; fire away!

 Yours in YA,


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Where's that Opener?

Across the Universe begins with a chilling opener of a girl watching her parents go through an excruciatingly painful and horrifying cryogenic procedure. What makes this scene even more compelling is her dad entrusting her with the decision of whether she will become a popsicle next, or opt-out.

Immediately, I was hooked and so were all of Beth Revis’ loyal FB followers, whom she takes the time to individually thank after the credits roll at story’s end.

So, how important are opening scenes to the success of a novel?

In my opinion, they’re everything! Not only for the reader, but also for the agent and editor, who need to fall on your hook hard and fast. They simply have too many other manuscripts on deck to bother with a slow boil story.

In my novel, Time Warped, I begin with Lanie Landry’s overwhelming compulsion to pull the fire alarm at her high school.

“The lure of the box had been strong for months. Almost an obsession, really. What would it feel like to release the siren? To hear the mad shrieks of chaos, the smattering of running feet in all directions, the pounding of my heart bursting through my chest?”

Once Lanie pulls the alarm, there’s no turning back for her character. The fire alarm becomes the catalyst for shocking change, of Twilight Zone proportions, in which she’ll meet a midget, an albino, a red-headed cheerleader and the love of her life—all in an insane asylum!

In closing, I’d love to know have you found your opener?



Tracey L Pacelli
Award Winning Author
Time Warped

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Where do you come up with this crap?

***To learn why this pictureof Queen Victoria is here, please scroll to the bottom for a History Lesson.***
Writers get this all the time. People ask where we get inspiration. It really depends on mood and how much chocolate is on hand as to how we answer. Here's my answer and only because I just bought some truffles.

The answer is


Okay, that's way too general. I’ll try again.

I was born with insatiable curiosity. And I grew up being told to shut-up all the time. This meant that I spent almost all my time inside my own head.

Point of fact –

A silent person is not stupid, deaf, or blind.    

I have many interests and I always go to the books when I want to know more. 

All those ideas need to be pondered and explored.  Since no one was interested in discussing, say the genealogy of the British Royal Family in regards to hemophilia, when I was a kid growing up, I had to sort all those ideas out myself.  That morphed into writing stories.

And so I began writing my own books.

Yesterday, I was watching Colonial House, a living history project on by PBS, and I wondered how they organized their community, particularly the buildings. I drove my husband crazy getting him to fix our Internet connection so I could look it up.  I didn't need to know these things.  I’m not writing a new novel set in Colonial America…yet. But I was still desperate to know. My husband understands this and he also brings chocolate too, which is probably why we’ve made so many babies together.

So the next time you're sitting at Starbucks and you see someone with an iPad and her chin resting on her hand, elbow on the table, while she stares out the window, it's quite possible she is a writer.  And you may very well be witnessing the creation of the next great best-selling novel.

Gosh, I hope it’s me.

If you want to go ask, that's fine. She won't like to be snatched out of her imaginary world though.  Better bring chocolate just to be on the safe side.
History Lesson:   Queen Victoria was an ambitious woman who really liked to have her way with the Prince Consort, which resulted on lots and lots of babies.  When they grew up, she married most of them to foreign rulers.  Before long, she was called 'the Grandmother of Europe.'  One of her granddaughters, Alexandra, married the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II. 
Hemophila is genetic, but females are only carriers.   It's the male offspring that get nailed with it.  Nicholas and Alexandra had four daughters and one son.  Some believe it's the fact that their only male heir had a deadly disease contributed to their downfall.  The Tsarina was terrified for her son, fell under the spell of a madman who claimed he could heal the boy, poor decisions were made, revolutionaries were pissed off, many bad things happened, and the entire family was eventually murdered.  That's it in a nutshell, but you can already see where it provides plenty of inspiration for any fiction-writer dreaming up stories about powerful families and wars and such.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bat-ting a Thousand

I’ve got a recommend for you this week. A short story we recently discussed in my YA book club called Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block, originally published in 1989, but wonderfully relevant today as we hurdle toward the Aquarian Age. It’s a funny little tale about a young woman who takes control, not only of her body, but of her life, and fashions a unique home-life for herself that includes two gays, a filmmaker, and a child fathered by all three!

Weetzie Bat is the type of non-judgmental character who presents an argument for tolerance, accepts people as they are, and does not insist there is only one right way to live your life and be happy.

Not to be all political, but in this day and age where congress is trying to enforce their will on womens' rights, legalize intrusive procedures, and place obstacles in the path to birth control--while men pop their Viagra pills at will--then what we have here, young readers, is a monumental failure to communicate!

Weetzie Bat is the type of non-judgmental character who presents an argument for tolerance, accepts people as they are, and does not insist there is only one right way to live your life and be happy. And this writer accomplishes all of that while telling a highly descriptive and entertaining story with pace in her Wonderland called Los Angeles.

After reading Weetzie Bat, I now look at Duck Hunting in a new way, with my Slinkster Dog at my side!



Tracey L Pacelli
Award Winning Author
Time Warped

Monday, March 5, 2012

Young Adult Books and Political Humor

I saw this video and I knew I just had to share it here. This is meant to be a joke. I'm really not political. I just thought it was amazing how mainstreamed Young Adult Books have become. When I was a kid, they never would have been included in this kind of joke.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Celebrating the Release of Until Darkness Comes

                                                 Available April 1, 2012 from 5 Prince Publishing

A guardian angel… A forbidden love… Eternal consequences… 

    Olivia Norton was born with a gift—a gift heaven has sworn to protect, and hell is bound to destroy. Her perfect world is turned upside-down when two handsome strangers, Max and Liam, step into her life. Olivia soon discovers that her ‘Mr. Perfect’ is actually a perfect nightmare.

    The rules of engagement have changed and Liam, Olivia’s guardian angel, is forced to cross dimensional borders, or risk losing the woman he’s sworn to protect. Suddenly, thrust into a world unlike anything he’s never known, Liam isn’t prepared to come face to face with the young woman whose life he holds in his hands.

    But nothing is as it seems, and secrets abound that will ultimately force him to choose between two impossibilities. Max will stop at nothing to finish what he’s started, and Olivia is soon plunged into a battle between good and evil. Her very life hangs in the balance as two forces fight to win her heart.

I'm pleased to announce the upcoming release of my novel, Until Darkness Comes. This is the first book in my four-part Redemption series, and was written to appeal to readers that enjoy series such as Twilight, Hush, Hush, and Wicked Lovely. An excerpt is available on my website.

Thanks for stopping by :)

Melynda Price