Saturday, February 25, 2012

Confessions of A Hunger Games Avoider

It all started with Sam. He read the Hunger Games and called me right away. "You've got to read this book," he said. "You're going to love it."

But when he told me what it was about I recoiled. Seriously? No way was I reading a book about a reality TV show where teens fight to the death. I like romance. I like cosmic battles. Give me a little bit of magic. 

I've never gotten the whole dystopian thing. The world's in ashes and the last few survivors are in hell. It's just not uplifting enough for me. 

Or so I thought. 

Pretty soon you couldn't throw a tweet without running into a Hunger Games fan. People at work were raving about the books. Every teen in my life was either reading the books, talking about reading the books or waiting for the movie. 

Then last week I saw the movie trailer. I realized I couldn't wait any longer. I downloaded the whole darn trilogy on my Kindle and took it along on an airplane trip from Ohio to Palm Springs.

That's when the obsession began. (SPOILER ALERT) This was so not a series about a reality TV show. This was a series about survival, humanity, growing up, love, family and maybe above all else the corrupting power of government. 

Katniss is motivated by love for her sister, confused by love for two very different men and powerless to stop herself from being used as a game piece by both sides of a revolution. She is in every sense a rebel. She wants to bring the Capital down. But Katniss is first and foremost a survivor. What she wants most is her family's survival. She's caught between a Capital that will stop at nothing to destroy her and a rebel force that would sacrifice anything, family included, to bring the Capital down.

This story simmers with a quiet truth. Power corrupts. The end won't always justify the means. Yet sometimes the struggle is worth it. Katniss in her meadow at the end isn't the same person she was at the beginning, she isn't fully whole, maybe never was. But she's in the meadow and she's not alone. 

Maybe that's the most any of us can hope for in the struggle to find what's right. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Enter the Ignite the Flame Contest this Year!

Last year I entered the YA category of Ignite the Flame and won first place. I'd recently spiced up the sexual tension in my first meeting based on feedback from an agent. The Ignite the Flame win was a great confidence boost that I'd gotten it right. I got a partial request from my contest judge and some invaluable feedback to make the book even better.

Take a look at the details below...

***Permission to forward granted, encouraged and appreciated***

Central Ohio Fiction Writers' Annual Ignite the Flame Contest is accepting entries SOON!

Opens March 5, 2012
Deadline May 20, 2012.

Authors get your pens out and enter the Central Ohio Fiction Writers' Ignite the Flame Contest today. This is a perfect way to get your writing seen by some truly wonderful agents and editors!

The Ignite the Flame Contest is designed to help you polish that critical first meet scene so that it crackles with romantic energy! (A reunion scene is also acceptable.)

Entries should be 15 pages MAX, with an optional one-page, un-judged, set-up (no synopsis).

The top 3 manuscripts in each category that score 80 or above go to one of the final judges listed below:

•Laura Bradford: Romantic Suspense (Agent at Bradford Literary Agency)
•Deb Werksman: Historical Romance (Editor at Sourcebooks)
•Rhonda Penders: Category-Length Contemporary (Editor at Wild Rose Press)
•Andrea Somberg: Young Adult (Agent at Harvey Klinger, Inc.)
•Katherine Pelz: Single Title (Editor at Berkley Publishing Group)
•Alicia Rasley: Erotic Romance (Editor at Red Sage)
•Lindsey Faber: Paranormal Romance (Editor at Samhain Publishing)

Here's what 2011 contestants say about the COFW Ignite the Flame Contest:

"It was quite valuable information and I'm anxious to incorporate it into my writing. I was so nervous to have another person read what I have written – no one ever has before. Thank you so much for the opportunity!" - Melissa Paull

"I appreciate the feedback you gave me and even now I am busy revising my manuscript. I have two requests for the full manuscript, so I want to get it perfect! Thank you so much." – Lexi Post

"I was very impressed with the professional (and supportive) manner in which you ran the show. I will definitely be recommending Ignite the Flame to other Aussies who are contemplating sending off to RWA competitions." – Lynn Ward

Visit COFW for more details.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Inside a Video Shoot...

I've always wanted to be a star.

I've been a part of many, many video shoots before. Normally, I'm on the producing side of the equation. I know how to ask the right questions to help folks relax and give us the best possible sound bites. I also understand all the myriad of ways to coach someone to sound more natural, even if there is a teleprompter smack-dab in front of them. I can notice that little popping noise, the eyes wondering to the left that make someone look an itty bit insane and the quivering dry voice of a person who has been talking wayyyy too long. 

All that hot confidence disappears on the other side of the camera, though. All eyes are on you. And, they should be because a very talented woman just spent a long time applying a truck full of make-up to your face and turning your hair into 1980's Charlie's Angels hair. Incidentially, she will call this "sex kitten" hair, despite the fact that you are going for highly sophisticated credible woman hair. 

While the camera guy tried to deal with the glare from your glasses, You will explain that taking them off is so not an option. You need to read the teleprompter and your blind without them. The producer said reassuring things, while the make-up lady clips your pants at the back to make them look tighter. You will never know for sure if that means your legs are too skinny or your pants too baggy. 

Once you are rolling it will get a little easier, but you will have to say each line three times so they can get three different camera angles. Unless you mess up, of course. Then you have to say it more times than that. 

Eventually you will be done. Your voice will be hoarse, your eyes will water and your skin will itch. But the 80's hair will stay rocking the entire day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Deadline for Central Ohio Teens to Get Published is April 2!

Calling all teens in Central Ohio! Thurber House is launching a new teen literary journal that is looking for your work. 

According to an e-mail from Thurber House:
"Flip the Page is a literary magazine written and staffed by Central Ohio teens. Our mission is to showcase the great work of young local writers. We are asking 13- to 19-year-old writers to submit a poem, story, personal essay, play, comics, song lyrics, or cartoons for publication. If their work is accepted, they will be published, receive a complimentary copy of the magazine, AND have the opportunity to read from their work at the Columbus Arts Festival in June 2012. Submission deadline is April 2, 2012."

Don't miss the chance to get your work out there. You never know until you try.

Visit the link at this site to learn more.