Saturday, October 22, 2011

Spooky Stories

In keeping with the scary theme this month, I wanted to let everyone know I'm in another short story anthology called Spirited that has 13 haunted tales of ghosts and other scariness (mine is called NEW GIRL and isn't very scary I must say - it's more funny - and I picked the title BEFORE that TV show came out ;).  The e-book is OUT NOW (, and the print book is coming out in March 2012.

The best part of this project - ALL PROCEEDS from the anthology (both print and e-book) will be donated to National 826, a literacy-based charity!  Yep - all the money is going to support literacy.  YAY!  I'm really glad I'm involvled in this and I also had the benefit of working with a friend of mine - the editor Kat O'Shea was editing me when we both were aspiring writers/editors - we were in a critque group together.  Funny how things come full circle!

Leap books is doing a contest and giving away 13 copies of the book.  Every Sunday, they post a blog at and inviting readers to "guess" the authors in the Spirited anthology.

Spirited also has a trailer. Here's the link to watch it:

And here's more info/press release type stuff with quotes from the editor and authors :)

More than a dozen young adult paranormal fiction authors are contributing to Spirited, a collection of steampunk, cyberpunk and downright spooky stories guaranteed to get your heart racing. Proceeds from the anthology will be donated to National 826, a literacy-based charity.

“Leap Books tends to lean towards the eccentric and snarky, so when we found an organization that’s a little off-the-wall and dovetails with our goals – reading and writing – we couldn’t resist,” says Spirited editor, Kat O’Shea. “One of our goals is to get teens excited about books. What better way to do that than to offer stories by some of their favorite authors?”

The anthology features supernatural tales by bestselling writers such as Maria V. Snyder, Candace Havens, Shannon Delany, Linda Joy Singleton, Heather Kenealy and more.

“I was amazed at how many well-known authors were willing to carve time out of their hectic schedules to benefit charity,” says O’Shea.

For bestselling author and leading entertainment journalist Candace Havens, Charmed & Dangerous (Berkley), the chance to be a part of Spirited was a no-brainer. Trying her hand at a ghost story was something she’s wanted to do for a long time, and as the emcee for several literacy charity events, she hears amazing stories of literacy inspiration all the time.

“When my first novel came out, one of the nurses at my doctor’s office bought my book for her daughter,” she says. “The daughter was in her 20s and had never read a book all the way through. She read mine and told her mom she wanted more. She didn’t know books could be so fun. A story like that will get you through those tough writing times.”
As a school library technician, Judith Graves, Under My Skin (Leap Books), has seen the power of literacy awareness, promotion and support at work, and believes any organization that offers this is worthy of heralding.

“When I heard that the Spirited anthology had a paranormal theme and that proceeds would go to a literacy-based charity, I was ready to claw my way onto the roster,” she says. “Luckily, my story made the cut and no editors were harmed in the making of this anthology.”

That’s not to say there aren’t a few deaths involved. Albeit fictional. With the e-book launch slated for October 31, 2011, Spirited is the perfect read for young thrill-seekers. While many of the featured authors will be hauntingly familiar to fans of the paranormal, readers will be invited to discover new authors venturing into the genre.

New York Times Bestselling author Maria V. Snyder, Poison Study (Mira), says the opportunity to write for Spirited offered a creative challenge. “The subject or theme of an anthology is usually not within my comfort zone of fantasy and science fiction, and I always have fun playing in someone else’s sandbox.”

Leap Books is also thinking outside of the coffin with this release. In addition to a macabre and eclectic collection of stories, Spirited will feature some unique graphics, including AR (augmented reality) in a cyberpunk/dystopian story by award-winning author Shannon Delaney, 13 to Life (St. Martin’s Griffin).

“Readers will be able to hold the story icons under a webcam to see some cool 3-D effects,” says O’Shea.

Spirited manifests October 31, 2011, in e-book format, followed by a print edition of the anthology unleashed in March 2012. Copies can be summoned by pre-order via the Leap Books website at

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Month of Scariness

I don't know what has gotten into me lately.  Perhaps it's a mid-life crisis or just the desire to do something...scary.  I'm not sure of the reason, but the results have been quite...revealing.

I've been wanting to get back into riding motorcycles.  I use to ride a 3 wheeled ATV (a trike) in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey with a bunch of dirt biker friends, but I was in my late teens, early 20s.  Recently my friend Kathy suggested we take the Motorcycle Safety Course together.  They provide the bikes, helmets and instruction over a long weekend.  So I took my learner's permit exam the same day my son took his driver's permit test (no - he didn't think it was cool - lots of eye rolling that day). We both passed :)

Over the long Columbus Day weekend, I sat in a classroom for 5 hours of instruction on motorcycle safety. The instructor Harry was quite the character - he'd threaten to throw things at us if we didn't listen to him when we were out on the range and he liked to say, "However comma" when making a point.  I earned a 100 % on the written test :)  So far, so good.

The next day as I'm straddling a red Suzuki 250 cc bike along with Kathy and six others, I'm having major second thoughts.  The bike is huge and heavy and there are lots and lots of things to do with both my hands and feet and I'm supposed to balance and steer while doing all this shifting, breaking, clutching, throttling.  I was terrified - this was nothing like my little automatic transmission 3 wheeler.  But I stayed and listened to Harry and he walked us through everything in baby steps.  By the end of the day I was having so much fun turning and weaving through cones.  And was very glad I hadn't chickened out :)

So feeling rather confident (cocky perhaps?) I arrived for day two to learn that our first exercise is doing figure 8s on the bike.  Really? Gulp!  No warm ups - or a few loops around the track? Nope - right to the hardest exercise of both days.  Confidence gone, I was back to being a giant chicken, ready to bail out.  But I stuck with it and learned a lot - like I turn better going left than right especially with those tight U-turns/figure 8s. 

At the end of day two, we took our skills test to earn a motorcycle license.  We needed to demonstrate certain life skills, like swerving, stopping quickly and going through turns. I'm doing good all day, but as soon as Harry gets his clipboard out, I'm stalling the bike, wobbling on the turns, making a really warped figure 8 all with my heart in my throat.  After everyone is through the test, he made us wait 20 mins to hear the results!

We all....passed!  Yay!  I now know how to ride in a big parking lot around a bunch of cones.  I'd like to buy a small bike - around 250 cc engine - no scooters.  My family isn't so sure, so we'll see. 

No, my kids still don't think I'm cool - my daughter insists I'm still a soccer mom.  Good to know I have them all fooled ;>

And I've learned when I'm the most scared, I have the most fun (I'll be writing about my haunted house adventures next).

How about you?  Any stories of conquering your fears and having a blast?