Monday, October 31, 2011

Posie & Mosey Monday and Contest Winners

On Mondays, I like to share word posies with my readers. Comments are usually disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's. BUT, today is different because I have some WINNERS to announce.

Thank you everyone who played my Friday Fright-Fest Contest last week.

With the help of Mr., here are our five winners and the books randomly chosen for them:

  1. Bethany Crandell--Bad Girls Don't Die
  2. Sarah Pearson--Incantation
  3. Bess Van--The Trembling Hills
  4. Keriann Martin--Killing Britney
  5. Cherie--Fade
Lucky ladies, if you will please email me your addresses, I will send the books your way. Those of you who didn't win this time, I promise to have another contest soon.
Have a happy and safe Halloween, everyone, and enjoy the following creepy poem. Hope to see you on Thursday for another book trailer that has caught my eye.
Fragment Of A Ghost Story
  ~Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
A shovel of his ashes took
From the hearth's obscurest nook,
Muttering mysteries as she went.
Helen and Henry knew that Granny
Was as much afraid of Ghosts as any,
And so they followed hard-
But Helen clung to her brother's arm,
And her own spasm made her shake.

Friday, October 28, 2011


As promised, today is the  Friday Fright-Fest Contest

If you tuned in for my last two Trailer Thursdays, I highlighted two of the books I'm giving away:

And here are the final three, for a grand total of FIVE FRIGHTFUL books up for grabs:

Before I tell you how to win, I have to thank some lovely ladies for giving me awards over the past several weeks:

Lady Gwen, Laura B, and Tina Moss gave me awards I've already received (located at the bottom of my blog) so I'm going to forgo the recipient protocol, but I did want to acknowledge their generosity. If you haven't visited their blogs, please hop over and get to know them. They're all upcoming and talented writers, each with her own unique voice.

Sparkly Miss Cherie gave me the "I ❤ Blogging" and because she knows I'm insanely busy, she charitably pardoned me from the step of passing it off to others. She just wanted to share it with me, so THANK YOU, lovely. ♥˘˘♥  

And lastly, Caitlin Vincent and A.M.Supinger  handed over this little treasure:

Which I'm using as part of my contest today. Thank you my pretties!

Okay, the rules for the award state I'm supposed to match/link my own posts with the seven descriptive words given, and then pass it on to seven others.

The free books are going to substitue for the "passing on" portion. (I know, technically I should give away seven books ... I work in words, not numbers! Hee)

And as for the seven links, I'm going to highlight one word in each post I link you to. You won't have to read the whole post to find it, but you WILL have to click over to find it. Think of it as a literary egg hunt.

Once you find the seven highlighted words, you'll need to arrange them into a quote from a famous horror movie and email me your answer (anita(at)aghoward(dot)com). **PLEASE don't leave your answer in the comments because I'll have to delete it.**

Here are three hints to help you figure out the movie and quote:

  1. This quote is perfect for my blog, or so says the Mad Hatter.
  2. A boy's best friend is his mother ... just ask the skeleton in the rocker.
  3. Running a motel can be bloody business.

And here are the seven descriptions and links to match:

Most Beautiful: Angels Among Us, because it's about my daughter who's the most beautiful person in my world. (Okay, my son's beautiful, too, but he'd totally freak if he heard me say that...heh)

Most Helpful: Fishing for readers with a three pronged hook... By putting a twist on the writer's rule of three, I suggested applying it to the first three lines in our novels to lure the reader in, and cited examples from published and non-published works. I also invited my readers to give it a shot with their first three sentences in the comments.

Most Popular: Book Deal! Overwhelmed, Ever-grateful, Blessed, and... Humbled. You guys are the BEST. I ended up getting 90 comments on that post, all because everyone was so genuinely happy for me. I'd also call this one most touching, because I was so moved by the camaraderie.

Most Controversial: Haha. Without question, the notoriously evil panty meme: Personally, I like panties. Still blushing over that one. Heaven help me if my parents ever stop by and read it. Eeps!

Most Surprisingly Successful: Finding my Zen. Another example of how wonderfully supportive my writer pals are. I never expected to have that many responses of people feeling the same way.

Most Underrated: Attack of the Bloodsucking Pygmy Goats...  Not underrated so much for me, but for poor Clive. I told him that silent film would make him a star. We can still make it happen ... let's get that video to go viral, yo! (◕‿-)

Most Prideworthy: Playing With Windows Movie Maker... I had so much fun making my first book video ever, and was so pleased with how it turned out. And it was fun sharing my enthusiasm with you.

Okay, there you have it. Have fun finding those seven words and the quote, everyone! I'll close the contest Sunday night at midnight central, just at the stroke of Halloween. Mr. will draw five names from the entries and I'll announce the winners on Halloween Day.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a SPOOKTACULAR (and safe) weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

One day away from free Halloween reads...

Last week I explained the Fright Fest announcement on my calendar over to the right. I've reserved this Friday, October 28th, for a Creeptacular contest.

Last week's book trailer and today's, as well, are highlighting some of the books up for grabs. Tomorrow, I'll reveal all five books, and how you can win one.

Until then, here's a look at Fade, book 2 in the Wake Series by Lisa Mcmann.

The editorial review on Amazon has this to say: (Readers) who like the supernatural-tinged drama of shows like Ghost Whisperer and Medium may be tempted by this series.—Christi Esterle, Parker Library, CO

Here's a trailer to further tempt you...


Thanks for stopping by, and tune in tomorrow for your chance to win one of five creeptastic books! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Shadow Waxing

What is Shadow Waxing, you ask? It's the title of a strange and creepy short story I wrote some five years ago (one of the first things I ever had published in a now defunct e-zine). If you'd like to read it, hop over to TeenShiver today.

And don't forget to drop by here Thursday for a glimpse at a haunting book trailer, then again on Friday for a chance to win that very book along with some other Halloween-worthy reads in my:

Friday Fright-Fest Contest!

Have a great week till then!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Posie & Mosey Monday

On Mondays, I like to share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any or all of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar, or hop over to TeenShiver and see what's new with the Texas gals. ;)

Ghosts of a Lunatic Asylum 
~Stephen Vincent Benet (1898 - 1943)
Here, where men's eyes were empty and as bright
As the blank windows set in glaring brick,
When the wind strengthens from the sea -- and night
Drops like a fog and makes the breath come thick;

By the deserted paths, the vacant halls,
One may see figures, twisted shades and lean,
Like the mad shapes that crawl an Indian screen,
Or paunchy smears you find on prison walls.

Turn the knob gently! There's the Thumbless Man,
Still weaving glass and silk into a dream,
Although the wall shows through him -- and the Khan
Journeys Cathay beside a paper stream.

A Rabbit Woman chitters by the door --
-- Chilly the grave-smell comes from the turned sod --
Come -- lift the curtain -- and be cold before
The silence of the eight men who were God!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Introduction to the *Friday Fright-Fest Contest*

If you'll have a look, something has changed on my calendar over to the right. I've reserved October 28th for some Creeptacular fun. Since this is the month of all things terror, I decided to give away some frighteningly delicious reads.

Both this week and next week's book trailers will highlight one of the five books that are up for grabs. Then on the 28th, I'll reveal all five books, and how you can win one. So stay tuned!

First up is Bad Girls Don't Die. Now, if this morbidly lovely book cover isn't enough to make you want to read it ...

Have a look at the video, done in true horror movie style.

If you're chomping at the bit to get your peepers on these pages, tune in Friday the 28th for my Fright-Fest Contest.

Until then, happy weekend!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Posie & Mosey Monday

On Mondays, I like to share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any or all of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar, or hop over to TeenShiver and see what's new with the Texas gals. ;)

Killing the Trust
~ Tina Gray

I will laugh with your ghosts-
these sheeted reminders of your wicked past;
I will take their coats and hats as any good hostess,
and rub their bald heads in tandem recklessness-
flirting with the host in a feverish glee.

I will set a table for afternoon tea
and invite your wraiths of sordid history.
We'll have crumpets and scones and bilberry pies,
watercress wedges and finger delights.
I will don my best apron of matronly prim,
and entertain late into evening’s dim light.

I will pepper each spook with kindness and praise
and thank them for an evening of pleasurable grace.
Then I'll send them away with refined blasé…
and you’ll cringe at the sight, in unspeakable fright-
as I befriend your haunted past.

I will dance with these bones that reside in your room,
that sneak to your closets and bang heavy doors…
I will capture the hands of this calcified goon
and we’ll waltz upon professing floors.
We will swoon with the grace of rattling bones
and jiggle the locks to your unopened drawers,
while his fingers make play as skeleton keys-
exposing forgotten troves…

Then I'll bathe in the rush of this mellowed perfume
that flows as sweet syrup from old letters exhumed…
I will bask in the dewiness of True Jasmine’s breath,
lathering with the musk of a Sunflower’s Crest
and rinse with a shower of Rose Petal Mist-
until I reek of the soup of mingling fumes.

I will paint with the palette of lips left behind-
these that sealed tender notes with a hollowed out kiss;
my artwork will burst with red rums and plums…
coffee spiced sands and pink bubblegums…
it will resonate with apricots and raspberry wines,
(and I’ll trump my own shade, if I so incline)…

Adrift on the sea of intimate words,
I'll float with ease upon contented waves
until the writings bore holes in my vessel’s kind face-
clipped by the berg of your icy charades
and I’ll sink, just as your promises to heartsick girls.

On my knees I will dredge the depths of façade
and surface on the banks of a fallen saint.
I’ll be castaway here on this shore, in disgust…
drying fresh tears by a blazing bonfire
that brims with the ash of your past artifacts.

And the flares will reflect in my now-opened eyes
as unquenchable flames of awakened mistrust.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Children of a Peculiar Nature...

Today I'm highlighting the trailer for the book I'm reading: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I'm a sucker for dark fairy tales, and with the music in the background and the "story telling" approach to the narrative, all it took was one viewing of this video, and this book moved to the top of my to read list. Goes to show what a good trailer can do. :)

If you know of a trailer that's dark, melancholy, creepy, or atmospheric, or if you have one you would like me to consider posting sometime, please leave a link in the comment section.  (I prefer videos that don't exceed 3 minutes.)

Thanks for dropping by and happy weekend!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Posie & Mosey Monday

On Mondays, I like to share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any or all of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar, or hop over to TeenShiver and see what's new with the Texas gals. ;)

 ~Lewis Carroll 1832-1898

When midnight mists are creeping,
And all the land is sleeping,
Around me tread the mighty dead,
And slowly pass away.
Lo, warriors, saints, and sages,
From out the vanished ages,
With solemn pace and reverend face
Appear and pass away.
The blaze of noonday splendour,
The twilight soft and tender,
May charm the eye: yet they shall die,
Shall die and pass away.
But here, in Dreamland's centre,
No spoiler's hand may enter,
These visions fair, this radiance rare,
Shall never pass away.
I see the shadows falling,
The forms of old recalling;
Around me tread the mighty dead,
And slowly pass away.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Query Trackers Making Tracks, #13

Today is an abundance of interviews day. I'm hanging with the savvy Melodie Wright over at Forever Rewrighting where she asked some of the hardest most insightful questions I've ever had the pleasure of answering. Heh. In all seriousness, this girl is one of the best interviewers I've had the pleasure of working with.

And of course, here in the land of madness it's installment number thirteen of my "first Friday of the month" series on successful authors from QueryTracker. Some of my guests have agents, others have found success in less conventional ways. But one thing they all have in common is the utilization of the QueryTracker website to help make their tracks in the publishing world.

I just realized how appropriate it is to have the 13th QT interview in October. But there's nothing scary or unlucky about today’s guest, Gennifer Albin. Her success story is one that would give anyone inspiration (not to mention cause much drooling in awe and wonder). 
Genn had a whirlwind submission after she signed with agent Mollie Glick of Foundry Literary + Media. Within a matter of weeks there was an auction for her book which ended in a major deal. Her story on QT, here, was enough to leave me breathless just living vicariously.

By the end of today's interview, no doubt we'll all need inhalers. (◕‿-)

And onward we go...

AGH: Welcome, Genn. Could you give us a quick summary of the book which snagged your agent?

GENN: Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

AGH: Before you signed with your agent, how many books had you tried to query?

GENN: This was the first book I ever queried.  I'd come to close querying a book I never finished back in my naive days. I'm so glad I didn't.

AGH: What were the responses to those queries (stat-wise: fulls, partials, etc.)?

GENN: I had about a 70% request rate, about 40% of those were requests for partials and the rest were requests for the full.

AGH: How long did it take to find a publisher after you signed with your agent ?

GENN: We had out first preempt offer in a little over a week and then we went to auction about 3 weeks after I signed with my agent.  It was unusually fast.
AGH: What inspired your very first book idea?

GENN: I've been obsessed with a painting by Remedios Varo that shows women embroidering the world since I first saw it in college.  One day I wrote a one page prologue that came to me out of nowhere.  It was the story of a girl in the painting, and I went from there.

Embroidering Life's Mantle

AGH: How do you come up with titles?

GENN: I have to have a title before a book will really flow for me, so I obsessed over this.  Originally I thought Tangled would be great, but when I googled it up came a new Disney movie!  I was so disappointed, although I actually loved the movie.  From there I pulled ou the thesaurus and started looking up weaving and sewing terms.  When I saw CREWEL, I knew it was perfect 

AGH: What books / authors have most influenced your own style and concepts?

GENN: That's hard to say.  I have considerable time put in towards PhD in literature, so I think I'm heavily influenced by a lot of the themes from the early novels of the 18th century.  My next book is much more academically influenced.  But then I think I've learned a lot from rereading my favorite books and really studying the voice and style of people like Rowling and Collins, but then I think conceptually I was influenced by people like Margaret Atwood and Orson Scott Card.  I certainly have a mixed education in literature.

AGH: How did you find QueryTracker, and how did it help you in your effort to get inside the publishing doors?

GENN: The lovely Scott Tracey posted about QT and since I was so impressed by his success, I ran over and joined.  First of all, everyone should get the premium membership because it allows you to see all these special charts and reports, which is awesome when you want to obsess during the querying process.  I loved that people posted stats in the comments, and I still try to stop by and offer support when I can.  I also used the QT boards to vet my queries before I sent them out. Overall, it's such a supportive, welcoming community that I feel comfortable there.  Not too big, but constantly moving - QT was a perfect fit for me.

AGH: Have you recently learned anything about the business side of publishing that you can share with up and coming writers?

GENN: No one else's success will look like yours!  I think we all look to stories for insight into what to expect.  Like so-and-so was asked to share her favorite covers with her designer, or such-and-such got a huge ARC campaign - it doesn't mean anything in regard to what you will get!  Trust me.  It's a bad and good thing.  Share in others stories to support them, but keep your eyes on your own paper.  Focus on your book and your campaign and don't get stuck in comparison hell.

AGH: Do you have any current news to announce?

GENN: CREWEL is coming out October 16, 2012!

**Five for fun**

1)      In your opinion, what was the best thing before sliced bread?

GENN: Stew.  Everyone knows it was around the day man crawled from the primordial ooze.

2)      Which would you rather do: carry an umbrella or sing in the rain?

GENN: Why can't you do both?  I loved to splash in the rain, but I use an umbrella since I wear glasses.  I also have my cake and eat it too.

3)      Are you Team Dog or Team Cat?

GENN: Cat.  I guess I appreciate having to work for my cat's love.  The Tuesday cat runs the house.

4)      If I were at your house right now, what would I find in your refrigerator?

GENN: Cheese.  So much cheese.  Dubliner.  Wisconsin cheddar.  Goat cheese.  Feta.  Pepper-encrusted pecorino.  And  Gouda.  Always gouda.

5)   Drinking tea … pinky up, or heavy on the Long Island?

GENN: I have to say I have a weakness for Long Island iced tea, but I also love Earl Gray.  But if I had to choose, heavy on the Long Island.

Thank you for sharing your amazing experience, Genn! CREWEL sounds incredible, and I love how you thought of the story and title. I'm so excited that you have a pub date now, and wish you every success! Although it's obvious you're already there. (◕‿◕)

Don’t forget to visit Genn’s blog and follow her on twitter to stay abreast of news and announcements. Also, please leave her any questions, comments, or kudos below. I know she'll be thrilled to see them.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, and I'll see you next week. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Trailer Thursday

First, an announcement: I heard from my editor at Amulet yesterday, and Splintered's release date has been moved up by six months. YAY! This means, instead of coming out in Spring 2013, it will be published Fall of 2012. Which also means I'm about to receive my edits and will be VERY busy VERY soon.

Busy = good. Hee.

Okay, for my first official post for the blog hop, I'd like to share my newest book trailer. The Architect of Song (a gothic/literary romance set in Victorian England with a unique love triangle—sort of “Jane Eyre” meets “A Certain Slant of Light”, but with a deaf heroine).

This is the MS about to go out on sub under the masterful guidance of my agent. (Just for the record, I'm every bit as nervous as I was when Splintered made the rounds. Maybe even more, because this is the book of my heart. Eeps.)

If you know of a trailer that's dark, melancholy, creepy, or atmospheric, or if you have one you would like me to consider posting, please leave a link in the comment section.  (I prefer videos that don't exceed 3 minutes.)

Thanks for visiting today, and don't forget: I have a special QT guest for tomorrow's interview. She's a bit of a legend, having gone from the slush piles to a major deal in a matter of weeks. So be sure and stop by to hear her amazing story!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Times are a changin'...

First, I want to apologize to everyone for my absence on your blogs last week. Blogger kept erasing my comments the instant I pressed 'comment.'  If anyone else is having this problem, try what worked for me: clear both your COOKIES and CACHE, then shut down the browser before going to . Don't login, press CTRL-F5 and then try logging in. Since I've done this, it's fixed the problem on all but a few blogs. So those of you I still haven't visited, I'm trying to get there. Darned if I'm going to let some minor programming glitch keep me from hanging w/my blog pals. Gar.

Also, thank you everyone who participated in my Happy Holiday Contest. I'm so sorry some of you had to email me your questions due to this blogger weirdness. BUT, I did have several entries who provided some great questions for my interview with Patrick. In the interest of complete fairness, I assigned each name a number in the order of their entries, and let Mister decide the winner of the Premium QT Membership. He chose:

Ms. Jenny Phresh

Yay! It couldn't have happened to a nicer pony. :)

On a final note, I have an announcement.

Things have taken a big turn for me. In the words of one of my dearest friends (Bethany, aka shakira goat--hee) my life is different than it was six months ago. Blogging, interviews, edits, book videos, twitter, web designing, and working with a young adult who has Asperger ... the list goes on and on.

My writing is suffering.

Now that I’m getting paid to do this, I can’t mess around. I used to be able to whip out a book in six months and lately I’m lucky to get in a couple of thousand words in a week. Back then I only blogged once a month or so. That tells me that the blogging has to give.

I want to keep this blog alive. I love my followers, and I love interacting with everyone. But the creative side of my mind, the one that writes posts, needs to be concentrating on the WIP. I'm under contract to write a second book, after all.

So here's my plan.

I'll keep up with the poetry posts on Mondays and the first Friday QT interviews. I'm giving up my Wednesday posts. Instead, on Thursdays, I'll post book trailers (because that requires very little thinking/preparation on my part) and leave comments open so we can discuss them. Thank you, Sarah over at Sarah's Books & Life, for hosting the Trailer Thursday blog hop. Since I'm such a visual person, this will be a fun way to keep my blog interactive and alive while I'm working on my writing.

If you'd like to join the hop, click on the button below to see Sarah's blog linky where you can sign up to take part. Or just hop over to see if any of your friends have joined in.

In keeping w/my blog's motif, I'll mainly post book trailers that strike me as dark, melancholy, creepy, or atmospheric. That is, unless I happen to have a pal w/a book coming out that needs some prop love. ♥˘˘♥

And yes! That's an open invitation. If any of you have a trailer you would like me to consider posting, leave a link in the comment section. (I prefer videos that don't exceed 3 minutes.)

Please drop by tomorrow for my first official Trailer Thursday. I'm going to be posting my newest Windows Live Movie Maker creation (a book trailer for the adult lit romance that Agent Goddess is about to send out).

I will still write new posts once or twice a month, divided between here and the TeenShiver blog. Over on my sidebar, I have a calendar set up that will lay out my blog schedule for each month so you'll know where to find me.

As you can see, this Friday is a Query Trackers interview, so remember to drop by and see who the guest is.

Things are changing in the land of madness ... and I hope you'll all be willing to roll with the punches with me. I never want to lost sight of my friends and fellow writers. You are my backbone.

I'll see you all in the blogasphere, from time to time. ;)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Posie & Mosey Monday

On Mondays, I like to share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

Please drop back by on Wednesday, my interactive blogging day of the week. Until then, have a lovely and productive Monday and Tuesday.

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any or all of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar, or hop over to TeenShiver and see what's new with the Texas gals. ;)
The Shape of Death
~May Swenson (1919 - 1989)

What does love look like? We know
the shape of death. Death is a cloud
immense and awesome. At first a lid
is lifted from the eye of light:
there is a clap of sound, a white blossom

belches from the jaw of fright,
a pillared cloud churns from white to gray
like a monstrous brain that bursts and burns,
then turns sickly black, spilling away,
filling the whole sky with ashes of dread;

thickly it wraps, between the clean sea
and the moon, the earth's green head.
Trapped in its cocoon, its choking breath
we know the shape of death:
Death is a cloud.

What does love look like?
Is it a particle, a star -
invisible entirely, beyond the microscope and Palomar?
A dimension unimagined, past the length of hope?
Is it a climate far and fair that we shall never dare

discover? What is its color, and its alchemy?
Is it a jewel in the earth-can it be dug?
Or dredged from the sea? Can it be bought?
Can it be sown and harvested?
Is it a shy beast to be caught?

Death is a cloud,
immense, a clap of sound.
Love is little and not loud.
It nests within each cell, and it
cannot be split.

It is a ray, a seed, a note, a word,
a secret motion of our air and blood.
It is not alien, it is near-
our very skin-
a sheath to keep us pure of fear.