Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 43

15 Minute Tweet TalesI hope everyone had an easy time voting today. I kept seeing on facebook and twitter about people waiting for hours, so I bundled up in my jacket and brought a book fully prepared to wait it out. Turns out I picked a great time to go because I walked right up, signed in, and was directed straight to a voting machine. No muss, no fuss. The volunteers who run my precinct always do a great job, and I thank them for their hard work.

Now on to the 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the past week:
10/31 – The chiropteran spots his prey & swoops to the ground, but before he can transform to his handsome form, she swats him with her purse.
11/1 - He remained a mugwump as the 2 girls argued w/ pride over who had the sluttier costume - he planned to bang them both before midnight.
11/2 - Her dilatory flirting with the guard was supposed to give her sister time to steal the painting. They didn't anticipate he'd be gay.
11/3 - The mean girls will torment him anyway, so he decides to earn their ire with panache - he dumps a bucket of roaches on them at lunch.
11/4 - When I found the adorable dog shivering in the rain, I named him Puddles. Turns out it was a prophetic appellation - my rugs are ruined.
11/5 - As my brother snivels to Mom about the toy I broke, I replace it with a replica. If she believes he always lies, I'll rule the house.
11/6 - Vera, Olga, Dani, Kate, Abby: VODKA was his mnemonic to keep track of his girlfriends, but things fell apart after he discovered Brandy.
Was your voting experience an exercise in patience or was it easy-peasy? Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales?

Happy Zombie Halloween!

My aunt throws an awesome Halloween party every year, and this year the Rish clan decided to coordinate our costumes. My mom found the t-shirts, and my brother got one of those makeup kits that creates rotting skin and oozing wounds. We all met up at my sister’s house and had a blast zombie-fying ourselves.  

May I present . . . the Reanimated Rishes!
Reanimated Rishes
At first, my dog Freya was so disturbed by what she saw she didn’t even want to look at me.
Scared Freya
But then she decided that even if I became an undead, brain-gobbling creature, she would remain my loyal companion.
Loyal Freya
While I’m on the subject of zombies, today is the book birthday for my friend Leah Rhyne’s novel Undead America: Zombie Days, Campfire Nights. Leah and I used to work together testing software at Blackbaud, and it’s funny because I didn’t even find out she was a fellow writer until after I quit to write full time.  
Here’s the description of her book:
Undead AmericaMillions died when the zombie plague swept the country. For the survivors, the journey has just begun.
Jenna, Sam, and Lola are still alive. Jenna avoids human contact, traveling East Coast backroads with her boyfriend, a dog named Chicken, and a Louisville Slugger. Sam escapes to the mountains, where he’s conscripted into a zombie-slaying militia sent on nightly raids to kill the undead…and innocent civilians. Lola’s imprisoned in the “safety” of a zombie-free New Orleans hotel, but life grows more dangerous when her brother gets bitten by a zombie.
Jenna arrives in the French Quarter, lured by the false promises of New Orleans’ drunken leader. There, she’s ripped away from her boyfriend, drugged, and dumped in a death camp after refusing Franklin’s sexual advances. Jenna and Lola’s lives collide there, where the dead live and the dying are victims of gruesome medical experiments. 
Escape isn’t easy: release the genetically-enhanced zombies from the lab to create a diversion, slip away, and don’t get eaten. When Sam arrives, will he join the right side of the battle? 
Whew, sounds intense! You can watch the trailer here and order your copy here. Leah is also having a giveaway on her blog, so check it out.
Congratulations, Leah, I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to read it!
I hope everyone has a very Happy Halloween!!
What did you dress up as for Halloween this year? Are you a fan of zombies? Do you have a plan in place for when the zombie apocalypse arrives?

Engaging Events

Normally I’m pretty much the homebody type, but during the month of November, the Charleston area is hoppin’ with happenings that are forcing me to break my hermit-like habits. Since these events might be of interest to fellow local storytellers (both writers and filmmakers), I wanted to share them here.

The one I’m most excited about is the second annual YALLFest. Last year was a fantastic event, so I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us this year. It will be Saturday, November 10th from 10am to 6pm in venues around King Street, and the lineup of YA authors is enough to make my head explode with excitement. I can’t believe I’ll be able to see writers like Kathy Reichs, Holly Black, Carrie Ryan, and so many others with just a short thirty-minute trip to downtown Charleston.  
But the absolutely coolest thing about the event is that Kami Kinard will be one of the presenting authors. I met Kami at a conference a few years ago, and we've stayed friends. We actually sat together at YALLFest last year, and now this year she will be on stage with all the other YA authors!! She’s such an inspiration, and I’m so thrilled for her! 
If you like writing and/or reading YA novels, make sure to come out and see some of your favorite authors in action. Most of the events are FREE and you can find the schedule here.
Charleston Jewish Book Fest
Charleston Jewish Book FestThroughout the month of November, the Charleston Jewish Community Center is hosting a number of authors, and you can find the schedule and ticket information here. I was especially looking forward to Delia Ephron (who worked with her sister Nora to create charming romantic comedies like You’ve Got Mail) and Stephen Tobolowsky. Although Stephen is also a writer, he’s probably best known for playing a number of memorable characters, including Sandy Ryerson on Glee. I also had the chance to see a hilarious short film he was in called Say It Ain’t Solo when I was at the DC Shorts Film Fest last month. Unfortunately, with so many exciting things happening in November, some of them were bound to overlap, and I won’t be able to see either Delia or Stephen. But hopefully you’ll be able to make it to one of the many events.
Literary Dogs
Hub City Press is a non-profit independent press in Spartanburg, SC, and they are publishing a book called Literary Dogs & Their South Carolina Writers (edited by John Lane and Betsy Wakefield Teter) in which 25 Palmetto State writers talk about their dogs. As someone who is absolutely ga-ga about her canine cuties, this sounds fan-freakin’-tastic to me. There are events happening all over SC to promote the book, but the one I’ll definitely be at is on Tuesday, November 27th from 5pm to 7pm at the Charleston Library Society (164 King Street).
Literary Dogs


Lowcountry authors like Mary Alice Monroe, Josephine Humphreys, Dorothea Benton Frank, Marjory Wentworth, Nicole Seitz, and Beth Webb Hart will be there with their dogs. I can only imagine how chaotic that is likely to be, but so much fun at the same time. Ticket information can be found here.
Carolina Film Alliance
Charleston Film AllianceThe Carolina Film Alliance (CFA) is an advocacy voice for film and television in SC, which has worked toward job creation for state residents and economic development though SC film rebates. If you are involved with filmmaking in SC or have a business that would benefit from potential revenue brought to our state via filmmaking, then you should attend the statewide rally on Sunday, November 4th from 3pm to 5:30pm at Pure Theatre (477 King Street).
Richard Futch is the CFA President, and he was also the amazing casting director for both of my films, so I’ve seen firsthand the passion he has for filmmaking. This will be a great chance to hear more about how we can help lure Hollywood dollars to SC to bolster our economy.
As you can see, the month of November has a lot of exciting things happening around the Lowcountry – I hope to see you at some of the events!
Are you planning to attend any of these?  Do you know of any other storytelling-related happenings in November that I missed?   

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 42

15 Minute Tweet TalesJust a quick post of this week’s 15 Minute Tweet Tales, since I’m working on another post I’m also adding today. I know, two posts in one day?!? I think I just saw a pig soar past my window and heard the devil complaining about the chill in the air. Here they are:

10/24 - Her protean disguises made her a superb spy. Only her lover knew her true face. His gambling debt grew. She ended up paying the price.
10/25 - "Pretty in Pink" is her favorite movie, so she shuns the dernier cri to make her own prom dress. She struts in, but no one even notices.
10/26 - It breaks her heart to abdicate her role as mother, but her boss is desperate for a child & has the means to make her son's life easy.
10/27 - He gets a Rottweiler to show he's badass. Turns out the effete dog is scared of everything - a true reflection of his owner's soul.
10/28 - The spell said to add 3 drops of her blood to the wine every hour for a nychthemeron. Sadly, hemophiliacs shouldn't make love potions.
10/29 - The flames just lick the stairs, but he makes the untenable decision to run. His baby's wails haunt him 'til the day he eats a bullet.
10/30 - Laughing, my new neighbor said he was a snowbird, but his twitchy eyes indicated he was fleeing something more chilling than winter.
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 41

15 Minute Tweet TalesI seem to be in a doggie state of mind lately. Last week I wrote a tweet tale starring a dog, and this week two of the tales featured canine companions. I’m such a sucker for those four-legged cuties. And now for the 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the week: 

10/17 - He suffers the side effects of steroids not to win medals, but for the Antaean boost needed to protect his family from local thugs.
10/18 - Too scared to stop what's happening to the helpless drunk girl, the pledge edges out the door to dissociate himself from his brothers.
10/19 - She can't believe the fire-sale price on the antique ring. She understands when she gets home & it starts whispering to her. Too late. 
10/20 - The judge was a scrupulous advocate for the law, but when the law led to injustice, she haunted dark streets with her favorite gun.
10/21 - Parents forgot to leave pizza $. Babysitter panics. Then sorts through leftovers & creates a culinary bricolage. Kids feed it to dog.
10/22 - As u chasten the dog for chewing your shoes, she gives pitiful "I'm sorry" eyes (while plotting to revenge poop in the replacements).
10/23 - Though built of pillows, in our memories the fort was impregnable since it shielded us as Mom did what was necessary to pay the bills.
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales?

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

The WoodsThe sweet and talented Adriana Ryan tagged me in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, which is a fun way for writers to wax poetic about our books without seeming completely narcissistic. I’m not being a crowing parent, you see, I have to talk about my baby because I was tagged. So brace yourself as I get my brag on.

What is the working title of your book?

Ha, starting with an unexpectedly tough one. For the longest time, the title has been The Hunt because it works on many different levels, but I got feedback that it was too generic. So I’ve been floating The Drama Queen Who Cried Wolf for about a year with mixed results – some people love it, others say it has to go. Since most of the docs still have The Hunt, I guess I’m sticking with that until something brilliant hits me in the shower.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Three of my high school friends were also ‘Christmas babies’ like me, so for our 18th birthdays, we had a joint video scavenger hunt party where all of our friends divided into teams and filmed ourselves completing silly tasks my dad had concocted from his warped mind.  It was a blast and one of my most vivid high school memories, so I thought it would make a fun story – but with murder and mayhem thrown in to spice things up, of course.

What genre does your book fall under?

YA Thriller/Mystery

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

The actors I originally pictured as my characters have aged out in the time I’ve been dawdling with the rewrite, so I hit up IMDB to see if I could find some new candidates.

Brea (the protagonist) would be played by Allie Grant (Lisa on Suburgatory).

Tegan (Brea’s nemesis) would be played by Kat Graham (Bonnie on The Vampire Diaries).

Kylie (Brea’s best friend) would be played by Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss from The Hunger Games).

Caleb (Brea's crush) would be played by Jeremy Sumpter (J.D. from Friday Night Lights).

Ryker (Brea's main suspect) would be played by Steven R. McQueen (Jeremy form The Vampire Diaries).

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

After the body she discovers in the woods disappears, sixteen-year-old Breanna must prove it was not the product of her overactive imagination, but rather the handiwork of a killer who plans to silence her.

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

I hope to be represented by an agency, but I'll self-publish if that doesn't work out.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It was my 2007 NaNoWriMo novel, so it took me a month.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I have to admit I've been slack for a while about reading in my genre, so I don't really have any current titles for comparison. But the dark twists and turns are influenced by all the Christopher Pike novels I read growing up.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

This was my second NaNoWriMo, and I found it much tougher the second time, so my local NaNo group kept me going when I really wanted to quit.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Even though searching for a killer is a dark subject, I approach it with a light tone and lots of humor. Plus, there's romance. There's always gotta be romance. :-)

Thank you for making it this far in reading about my WIP. Now I need to go get crackin' on finishing the rewrite so there is an actual book for people to read!

And I never tag other people in these things, so if you haven't had a chance to brag about your baby yet and want to, then consider yourself tagged!

ETA: By special request I'm tagging Yve at Lazidaisical - I can't wait to find out what she's working on!

Did you (or are you going to) participate in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop? If so, leave me the link to the post so I can find out more about your book.

Dark Forest photo credit to topfer.

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 40

15 Minute Tweet TalesWow, another week has zipped by at a super zippy speed, and I seem to be falling back into my bad habit of only posting once a week.  Hopefully, I’ll break the cycle this week.  In the meantime, here are the 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the week:

10/10 – She used to be a quixotic girl who’d chain herself to a tree; now her soul cries as she convinces the judge to arrest the protestors.
10/11 – Suzy only wanted to see if the pretty green anti-freeze was miscible with Daddy’s drink, but she’s glad she can stop locking her door.
10/12 - "Do I look fat in this dress?" He eyes her slender frame with an eager grin, "Yes!" Fights always commove them to great make-up sex.
10/13 – Voters were intrigued by the ad for an app that would monitor candidates 24/7, but randy politicians turned that project to vaporware.
10/14 – The rain sweeps diluvial detritus into the slums, but Mya unearths treasure & her face shines like the sun through the parting clouds.
10/15 - The scientists locked inside the CDC despair as the zombie virus proves refractory. They throw open the doors and accept their fate.
10/16 - Dog's propinquity to overturned trashcan suggests guilt. His brown eyes claim innocence. Burger wrapper stuck to paw speaks truth.
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 39

15 Minute Tweet TalesI’ve been having technical difficulties with the admin side of my website, so I’m late posting and will keep this one short and sweet.  Here are the 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the past week:

10/3 - Her sedulous research paid off: when she "ran into" the director at the bar, she'd become his ideal woman. A starring role at last!
10/4 - Plaintiff sued fast-food joint for making him fat. Judge rewarded him with death penalty for stupidity. Judge's alarm buzzed. Snooze.
10/5 - As the women struts by, he appreciates her embonpoint. She hears him hum "Baby Got Back," turns to see his lusty grin, & smiles back.
10/6 - As I hachure my map for the tourists who'd asked for directions, they sigh & leave. Their loss - hope they don't trip on that pothole.
10/7 - He always thought she had sexy thighs, so after she tried to leave him, he froze her crural meat as a treat for when he felt lonely.
10/8 - Ashamed of what she's seen, eyes wide, she faces the welkin, certain God will save her sight from the sun if he forgives her spying.
10/9 - At the prime fishing spot, the palaver turned to frustrating girlfriends. The gardener & CEO never realized they were sharing a woman.
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales?

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 38 + #writemotivation

#writemotivationThe September #writemotivation goal check month has zipped by faster than I ever imagined.  So how did I do on my goals? Well, it wasn’t a complete disaster this time:  

1. Revise at least three pages a day in my WIP.
OK, so this one was a complete disaster. Another month with no progress on my WIP.  I’d be depressed if it weren’t so funny. I really want to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, but I feel like I shouldn’t unless I finish these revisions, so I’m really going to push myself to finish this month. Yeah, I know I say that every month, but one of these months I have to be right, right? Isn’t that the law of averages or something?
2. Post two blog posts a week.
DONE! I feel really good about this one. I was a total slacker for most of the summer with only posting once a week (my 15 Minute Tweet Tale roundup on Tuesdays), so I’m going to try to keep up with posting twice a week.
3. Spruce up at least one of my short stories and submit it for publication.
DONE! I’m really happy with the changes I made to the story, although I now have to wait six months before I hear back. *bites fingernails to nubs*  But this was a great exercise, and I hope to keep up the momentum by dusting off more of my short stories and getting them into circulation.
4. Finish reviewing critique partner’s novel.
DONE! Novel reviewed and notes organized into coherent feedback and sent off to critique partner.
So even though I didn’t make any progress on the BIGGIE goal, I was more productive than I have been in a while. Plus I accomplished a lot with both of my short films, and I’ve been working on putting together an optimal writing space to hopefully fan the flames of productivity.  I hope all the other #writemotivation folks made solid progress on your goals!
And now here are the 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the past week:
9/26 - "Son, if you show a modicum of courage, the bullies will leave you alone," Tom said mockingly to his dad through his split lip.
9/27 - Her grandson says it's the new fourth estate, so she tries that tweeter thing. The streaming nonsense makes her wish Death would hurry.
9/28 - The king gave a rousing speech, but the salient point was most of them would fall. The pawns refused to take their place on the board.
9/29 - I started to sit. Noticed my brother's espiègle grin. Changed seats. Grandma triggered the whoopee cushion. Mercy! Ambulance required.

15 Minute Tweet Tales

9/30 - Her symptoms ran the gamut from aches to zero energy. She said she was dying. Her doctor said she was a hypochondriac. She was right.
10/1 - She thinks the reticulate pattern in her hose makes a bold fashion statement. Too bold, since her blind date mistakes her for a pro.
10/2 - Sue, the 3x spelling champ, heads to the mic with aplomb. The judge says CHARLATAN. Thinking they uncovered her scheme, she confesses.
How did you do with your #writemotivation goals? Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales?
#writemotivation photo credit to Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 37

15 Minute Tweet TalesI’ve been frustrated by all the nastiness on social media lately because of the upcoming election. Healthy debate is important and makes our country stronger, but what I’ve been seeing is not that. I’m independent, and it’s distressing seeing friends I adore on both sides of the spectrum frothing at the mouth. I’ve even thought about staying away from facebook and twitter until after the election, so that I don’t have to watch people I admire call other people I admire idiots (and much worse) just because they have different beliefs.  

So I cringed on Saturday when the word-a-day calendar offered up a word perfect for stirring up political strife. Luckily, the #15tt crew is awesome, and we’re just here to write fun tweet tales no matter our personal beliefs, so there was nothing to worry about. Then on Sunday I couldn’t believe it when the calendar presented a religious word. Yikes, back-to-back hot button topics! But all went well with that one too. So with those potential landmines avoided, here are my 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the past week: 

9/19 – Wanting to be the REAL Sherlock, Bob honed his observation skills not realizing he also needed to be a polymath to decipher the clues.
9/20 - She watches the clandestine briefcase swap in the carrefour and snickers. Amateur agents make her job easy. Knife drawn, she pounces.
9/21 - I try to smile when my orgulous Dad gives me a "new" coat. He works so hard & must never find out my classmates call me Dumpster Dana.
9/22 - The Dems pulled off the ultimate roorback by stealing one of the spare Mitt-bots from storage & programming it to say terrible things.
9/23 - We'd still be living in prelapsarian splendor if Adam hadn't told Eve her fig leaf made her look fat. Apples are perfect diet food.
9/24 - He ordered Zombie Zine expecting fun fiction, but shockingly found moisturizing & perfume tips to help the undead disguise themselves.
9/25 - Their stepmother abrogated all references to their mom. She wasn't fairytale evil, she just wanted her new family to love her best.
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words. If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them. Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales?