Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Historical Wednesday: The Korean Edition

You know what Romance, Chick Lit and New Adult authors like to talk about? Anything you can think of.

Fellow romance author Victoria Barbour features me on her blog today, giving my two cents (or 1000 words) about Korean history. As you know, this is a subject that's near and dear to my heart. Please check it out.

I mean, you can just guess what's going to happen by looking at this map...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

In the Shadows of the Onion Domes, Collected Short Stories by Mary Pat Hyland (guest post, giveaway)


NEW RELEASE: In the Shadows of the Onion Domes, Collected Short Stories by Mary Pat Hyland

PRICE: $2.99 / £1.92 / EUR 2,68

GENRE: Short Stories, Humor, Literary

SYNOPSIS:

By the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chenango rivers in New York’s Southern Tier lies a verdant valley called the Triple Cities.

The shoe factories that originally drew thousands of immigrants from across Europe have long moved on.

What remains are the distinct ethnic flavors of a gritty community determined to overcome economic woes, adapt to the rapid changes in society and find true meaning in life.

Consider these eighteen stories as pages ripped from a sketchbook. Some are quick studies; others are more detailed portraits inspired by observed characters, whispered gossip, overheard conversations and the local lore of the residents whose neighborhoods are framed by the gilded Orthodox Church domes that span this valley.

You’ll find that each tale has its own tone: some are humorous or poignant, others are surprising and haunting.

AUTHOR BIO

Mary Pat Hyland is an Amazon Top 100 bestselling author and has published six novels and a collection of short stories. Her stories have appeared in the anthologies Seasons Readings and Lost Love Letters: An Indie Chicks Anthology. In 2013 the Arts Council of Yates County selected her as an Artist in Residence. She is a graduate of Syracuse University and has worked in the commercial/fine art, journalism, education and culinary fields. Mary Pat resides in upstate New York, the setting for her novels, and enjoys organic gardening, gourmet cooking, visiting the Finger Lakes
and teaching the Irish language.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads

PURCHASE LINKS

U.S. | Canada | UK | France | Germany | Spain | Australia | Italy | India | Japan | Brazil | Mexico | Barnes & Noble | The Author’s eStore

Why my new book would appeal to people who don't normally read my genres

By Mary Pat Hyland

My latest novel, The House With the Wraparound Porch, was five hundred pages long and nearly took the starch out of me, as my grandfather used to say. Writing and editing the book took two full years and the subject matter was so close to me that it drained me emotionally as well.
I had the idea for a new novel in the wings, but decided I needed a change of pace. Over the thirty years I’ve been writing, when ideas came to me, quite often I would write them out as a short story first. At least two of those “grew up” to be novels when I revisited them for editing. There are others lying around that were magazine story contest entries. A pile of these has been collecting in a file on my hard drive. It was time to compile them into a single work, and that’s how In the Shadows of the Onion Domes was born.
Although a reader may prefer to spend the time it takes to meet all of the characters in a big novel and see where the plot will take them, sometimes life is too busy and you put off starting that book until the perfect moment arrives. In the meantime, allow me to open my “box” of a Whitman’s Sampler-style collection of stories. Some you’ll find nutty and funny. Others will give you something to chew on.
This collection of eighteen stories represents various genres of writing that interest me: family saga, chick lit, suspense and humor. They vary in length and style. Two are sudden fiction, less than 500 words each. Consider these as sketches of a single scene. One story, “The Reluctant Magnolia,” is a novella, and it’s guaranteed to tug on your heartstrings.
A connecting thread winds through all these stories and that is the location. Each is set in a differing neighborhood of Greater Binghamton in the Southern Tier of Upstate New York. This area has a strong mixed-ethnic flavor with residents who have a gritty determination despite the many economic downturns the community has suffered. I know the area well because it is where I grew up and currently reside. One of our most famous residents was Rod Serling who was also inspired by these neighborhoods to write and direct The Twilight Zone for TV and later film. And yes, some of my stories do have that Twilight Zone-y vibe.
As in my six novels, you will find memorable characters and fun, snappy dialogue. Some tales will also transport you immediately with their detailed descriptions of the scene and setting. The big difference between this book and my novels: you can read several stories in one sitting. Or if you have discipline, savor one a day.
Why not break out of your book comfort zone and give these stories a read? Like a box of chocolates, the unexpected flavors may delight you.

GIVEAWAY

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway contest to win an autographed copy of In the Shadows of the Onion Domes, copies of her ebooks or a piece of original art created by the author.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

The Stupid Movie Blog Tour: The Man Who Knew Too Little

Here we are: this movie is the reason I wanted to do this tour.


Unlike a lot of other stupid movies, no matter how good, the writing here wastes nothing. On top of that, every actor is hilarious, whether it's slapstick humor, straight guy/gal or confused bystander.

The plot is ridiculous. Wally (Bill Murray) is a wannabe actor who works in a video rental store in the States and decides to visit his brother James (Peter Gallagher) and his posh wife Barbara (Anna Chancellor) in London- unannounced. Great- except that the couple is having a very important dinner meeting with potential investors and James knows it's only a matter of time before Wally says something embarrassing. Solution: get him a ticket to participate in the Theatre of Life, a fictional adventure complete with guns and dangerous criminals, so he can act out his fantasies of being an actor AND be out of the house. It wouldn't be a Stupid Movie if an international conspiracy didn't cross its (phone) wires with the acting troupe; when Wally answers a phone call intended for a hit man and thinks it's part of the act, the fun begins!

Wally never once is clued into the fact that this is real, not when he encounters a gun-wielding mistress named Lori (Joanne Whalley), a real dead body (whom he thinks is another actor really committed to his role), a corrupt politician or an expert in torture. (The fact that he goes searching for the infamous Ludmilla Kropotkin and finds an elderly couple enjoying a little BDSM only enhances the absurdity of the set up- but it's hilarious). Even after James is tortured while trying to rescue his brother, Wally still believes that the whole thing is a very long act. He's not convinced otherwise when Boris (Alfred Molina), the assassin who has been stalking him all night, happily concedes his inferiority to him nor when he and Lori are approached the next day by an elite American espionage group to become an assassin for them. As far as he can tell, he's being invited to join an acting troupe! So they all live happily ever after...although you do wonder what's going to happen when he has to pull his first real "job".

As with all dramatic productions (well, you know), this wouldn't work nearly as well without really good actors.

This isn't too much of a stretch for Murray; if you've seen What About Bob?, you'll probably agree that this is an extension of that character. But nobody does I'm So Uncool I Don't Realize It And That Makes Me Cool like him.
Gallagher, whom I knew best before this as the studio executive out for blood in The Player, cracks me up as he tries to keep his cool while the ridiculous disaster unfolds around him.
Molina, who's done his fair share of psychopaths, deserves his laughs as he plays a reluctant assassin brought back into the fold ("There's always clean up!").
And while Whalley has done her share of femme fatales, here she's using her sexiness for laughs (and she's laughing too).
Every scene in this movie is funny, although a different kind of funny: some of it is physical, some of it is mistaken identity, some of it is iconoclastic, and some of it is absurd. If you haven't already seen it, you need to go do that right now. Here's just a sampling of why:

"You gotta check and see just how dead they are."



"How he mocks us!"



"And I want to do kids and old people...."



In short, possibly the perfect Stupid Movie. (Why are you still reading this and not watching this right now?)

Thanks to everyone who's followed the Stupid Movie Adventure thus far. Be sure to see what else Caroline Fardig has up her sleeve on the 25th!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tips on Managing A Series

I am on my good friend Lisette Brodey's Writer's Chateau this week, sharing my thoughts on what you need to keep in mind when you're managing a series. Please take a look.

How do we make all of these books part of the same story?

If you're a reader, what's your favorite series? If you're a writer, what are your tips?

Monday, November 10, 2014

The #StupidMovieTour celebrates...Malibu's Most Wanted

As soon as I saw a commercial for Malibu’s Most Wanted, I knew I needed to see it. I wanted to see this so badly I used my wifely wiles to convince my husband to take me to this on our tenth wedding anniversary. (He didn’t think so highly of it, and I had to spend our eleventh anniversary watching Hellboy. Even given that, it was worth it.)


I understand why some might find this offensive: this movie is funny because it's riffing on offensive stereotypes. In this case, that young urban African Americans are all dangerous gangsters (or, excuse me, gangstaz) who refuse to speak proper English. If you’re going to play with stereotypes for comedy, you’ve got to go all the way to show how ridiculous they are—and Jamie Kennedy goes all the way.

Kennedy is Brad aka B-Rad Gluckman, a wealthy, completely deluded young man whose father is running for political office. (And to make this movie extra ridiculous, his Jewish parents are played by Ryan O’Neal and Bo Derek.) He and his friends are self-styled gangsters (gangstaz—whatever) in their extremely privileged Malibu 'hood. Therapy has been unsuccessful (but does yield a diagnosis of Gangstaphrienia), and his father is desperate to prevent B-rad from embarrassing him on the campaign trail. His ambitious campaign manager (Blair Underwood) hits upon the idea of scaring B-rad straight by getting him involved with some real inner city gangsters. Just one problem: he doesn’t know any. He hits on the ingenious solution of hiring aspiring actors Taye Diggs and Anthony Anderson to play the parts. They in turn recruit Anderson’s cousin Regina Hall to help sell the act further in her neighborhood. It’s all one big con that spirals out of control—think tanks and military grade artillery in Compton—and in the end Blair Underwood is fired, Ryan O'Neal wins the election, Jamie Kennedy gets the girl and everyone accepts him for what he is: a wannabe rapper in a privileged white man’s body.  The End.
Malibu's Most Wanted
The scene is set...
The brilliance of this movie doesn’t really take off until Kennedy is thrown in with Diggs and Anderson—and then it’s gold. Some of my favorite scenes:

+The attempted robbery at the liquor store. As Anderson and Diggs bicker about who’s going to go in with Kennedy to make sure he knocks it off, Diggs pleads with Anderson: “Will you please do this for me? You know I’m afraid of Koreans!”
Hopefully that's how you'd look if you were sent in to rob a liquor store
+When Anderson and Diggs finally get Kennedy to break. “Gentleman, I am really sorry if I offended you.” Anderson and Diggs are almost convinced, but there’s only one way to find out. Which leads to...the scary movie. Suffice to say, it leads back to Square One.
+Taye Diggs offering an explanation of what happened that only a philosophy professor could untangle.
+And any time Kennedy utters my favorite line
And what do we learn at the end of this movie? Absolutely nothing: truly the hallmark of a well-done Stupid Movie.

Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to visit Caroline for her pick on the 12th

Thursday, November 6, 2014

'Twas the Night by Robin Reed (Giveaway)




As if the Holiday season wasn't scary enough!

Title: ‘Twas the Night

Author: Robin Reed

Published: November 8th, 2012

Word Count: 35,000

Genre: Horror Comedy

Content Warning: Comedy Horror Violence

Age Recommendation: 13+

Synopsis:
Rollo is the overworked, stressed-out Head Elf at the North Pole. As he prepares for Christmas Eve, he has to deal with toys that look like they’re having sex, terrorist reindeer, and worst of all, the sudden death of Santa Claus. Rollo has to save Christmas after he finds out that Santa is not just dead — he is undead.

‘Twas the Night is a novella of approximately 35,000 words. It is a satire and contains adult language and themes.





About the Author



Robin Reed is the author of a strange collection of books. She writes science fiction, horror, humor, and humorous science fiction and horror. She was born in Chicago but found her way to Los Angeles, swearing to never again experience a midwestern winter.



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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

White Chalk by Pavarti K Tyler (Giveaway)

White Chalk Blast Banner

White ChalkTitleWhite Chalk
Author: Pavarti K Tyler
Published: July 2013
Word Count: 65,000
Genre: Literary Fiction, Coming of Age
Content Warning: Adult themes and sexual content
Age Recommendation: 15+


Synopsis:
Chelle isn’t a typical 13-year-old girl—she doesn’t laugh with friends, play sports, or hang out at the mall after school. Instead, she navigates a world well beyond her years.
Life in Dawson, ND spins on as she grasps at people, pleading for someone to save her—to return her to the simple childhood of unicorns on her bedroom wall and stories on her father’s knee.
When Troy Christiansen walks into her life, Chelle is desperate to believe his arrival will be her salvation. So much so, she forgets to save herself. After experiencing a tragedy at school, her world begins to crack, causing a deeper scar in her already fragile psyche.
Follow Chelle’s twisted tale of modern adolescence, as she travels down the rabbit hole into a reality none of us wants to admit actually exists.


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About the Author

Pavarti K Tyler
Award-winning author of multi-cultural and transgressive literature, Pavarti K. Tyler is an artist, wife, mother and number cruncher. She graduated Smith College in 1999 with a degree in Theatre. After graduation, she moved to New York, where she worked as a Dramaturge, Assistant Director and Production Manager on productions both on and off Broadway. Later, Pavarti went to work in the finance industry for several international law firms.
She now lives with her husband, two daughters, and two terrible dogs. She keeps busy working with fabulous authors as the Director of Marketing at Novel Publicity, and by penning her next novel.

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Giveaway


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