Inspiring Horror

Each Halloween I am reminded of how much I miss Vincent Price who passed away several days before Halloween 1993. Growing up in the 80’s, Saturday mornings meant waking up and watching Hilarious House of Frankenstein in which Price performed the intro and various spooky poems and monologues. He was the epitome of everything creepy, both back then as a child and also today.

To this day, the best part of Michael Jackson’s Thriller is Price’s monologue at the end. Click here to listen to the original recording of Vincent Price’s Thriller Rap. Skip ahead to 0:34 to where it begins.

I remember once reading a story about Rod Temperton and how he wrote the words to the thriller rap in the cab on the way to the studio, finishing it just before Vincent Price arrived. As a writer, sometimes those moments when you don’t have time to think about what you’re writing and the adrenaline kicks in produce the best writing. This must have been the case with Temperton because combined with Vincent Price’s creep-tastic performance, it is a Halloween classic.

So every Halloween, I will watch and listen to a bit of Vincent Price and remember how he made every day Halloween for me as a kid and thank him for being an early influence in my love for horror.

Who do you think of when you remember your first fascination/fear of horror?




The Next Big Thing – Blog Tag

I got tagged by Anne Michaud in The Next Big Thing Blog Tag and I’m happy to play along. Please stop by Anne’s blog and read all about her. She has a book release coming up early in the new year and her website is well worth a read.

Without further delay, here is my required Q&A:

What is the working title of your book? The Curse of Sight

Where did the idea come from for the book? I’ve wanted to write a book about a guitarist in a band for a long time now and I can’t write anything without a creepy element so I mixed the two.

What genre does your book fall under? YA Paranormal Thriller

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Easy! Their pictures are in their character profiles. Kaya Scodelario and Chase Crawford (even though I’m usually inspired by characters with black hair, not blonds).

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? The only way Patrick can get the strange visions out of his head is to write them into his lyrics but when the horrors of his songs come true and he becomes the main suspect, Elsa has the answers he needs to understand his abilities and clear him of the crime he’s accused of committing.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Good question!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I just started and I’m on target to finish in January 2013.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? It’s like the Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong in that my character also has a paranormal ability that he doesn’t understand but it’s different because there is a crime solving element.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? Music. I love characters who use art to express their pain and suffering.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? While it’s not central to the plot, the book will carry a strong theme of romantic tension because after all, I am its author and I love that stuff.

In the spirit of this blog tag, it is now my turn to nominate other bloggers. I hope they will answer these questions and share their WIP’s with us:

Natalie Westgate

Dianne Waye

Shayla Smith

Pat Hollett

Tammy Crosby

Please stop by their blogs and learn more about them and their projects.

Demystifying the Query

Recently I took an informative webinar through Writers Digest on how to write effective query letters. Michelle Wolfson from Wolfson Literary Agency had lots of great tips and helpful reminders, but one thing she said particularly stuck with me.

Michelle emphasized that the goal of a query is to get agents to request pages.

Yes, some might say duh! Others might have never thought of it in such simple terms before. Writing query letters is the art of saying just enough about ourselves and our manuscript to tempt the agent for more. Authors may pore over their pitch, squeezing in every plot detail, fearing they might leave out something important. But not all of those details are important as long as the letter piques the agent’s interest.

If you take ten writers, each of their query letters will vary. Some may have a longer pitch, one bio may sound more fabulous than others, some will embody more personality. You would have ten different letters but each one of them can be successful in its own way. All it has to do is draw the agent in, tempt them enough to request more pages.

I come from a background in human resources and used to sift through a “slush pile” of resumes and so I think of it like a resume. On one resume, it’s hard to convey how wonderful you are at your job. But if you can write a resume with just enough hook that a potential employer wants to meet you, the resume has done its job.

Michelle’s tip is a good reminder for me and I hope it helps demystify the process for those of you who are writing your own query letter.

Write Across Ontario

I came across news of this year’s Write Across Ontario and I wish every grade 7 or 8 student in Ontario who has ever dreamed of being a writer can participate.

Igniting the spark for writing at an early age is ideal. When I was in elementary school, I wrote a story for school. And I loved it. It was a story about a pair of ballet shoes that had been discarded as the little girl who owned them grew up. It was melancholy and sentimental (maybe overly so) but I was proud of it. I enjoyed writing it. And I was excited to hand it in.

My teacher wasn’t in love with the story as much as I was and I remember feeling discouraged by her comments. In general, I am not easily offended but I remember feeling the hit, thinking maybe writing wasn’t my thing, that I would find something else I was good at. Even well-meaning teachers don’t realize how harmful their feedback can be for kids, especially in areas of the arts because it is so subjective.

Thankfully my love of writing won out in the end but I wasted precious years to realize this.

When I see contests, like the Write Across Ontario, it excites me. It gives students who love to write a fantastic challenge and an opportunity to submit their work for review. They may allow their friends, family and teachers to read their stories, but sending it to an outside organization for critical review is great way for them to taste the world of publishing. In the end, whether they win or not, it’s up to us to encourage them and make sure they know that as writers, we want others to read our work but their approval isn’t always the end goal.

So if you know a student in Ontario in grades 7 or 8, please pass this along and encourage them to meet their muse. Maybe my muse remembers her original inspiration for the ballet shoes thing. I might have to revisit that.