Monday, March 30, 2009
I was lucky to find an amazingly talented teen designer, Madison at M² PRODUCTIONS through my friend, crit partner, blog writing co-hort, and fellow paranormal YA author, Kitty Keswick.
After seeing the brilliant job Madison did for Kitty's FREAKSVILLE trailer, I asked for her contact information and wrangled a spot in her busy trailer-making schedule. Madison is extremely professional for a young entrepreneur, had me send her physical descriptions of my characters, a brief synopsis of the book. I also sent a script, suggested themes to play up on, eg - red and black colours, wolves, etc.
And the result is sooo damn cool. You can view more fantastic trailers at Madison’s YouTube Chanel: http://www.youtube.com/user/signingupagain
Okay - so here it is, hopes ya likes it:
Friday, March 27, 2009
(Photo is of Sunshine)
Wolfy Chicks continues to chat with Nancy Brown of Full Moon Farm a Wolf and Wolfdog Sanctuary in NC. This post is a little long but well worth it, by the end of her tale I was weepy. Okay, so run and grab that box of tissues…
7. What is your most memorable or emotional rescue story? There are so many… The Omaha Rescue in March of 2003… Newspaper Article:
Home Found for eight wolf-dogs.
By Julie Anderson, World-Herald Staff Writer. (Articled quoted. For full article see World-Herald archives.)
Published Friday March 7 , 2003
“A North Carolina woman who runs a wolf-dog rescue and sanctuary will travel to Omaha this weekend to claim eight animals taken from a Council Bluffs man charged with animal cruelty.
If no one had claimed the dogs, now sheltered at the Nebraska Humane Society, they would have to be euthanized, authorities said. Wolf hybrids are not permitted in Omaha or Council Bluffs.”
(Photo is of Me Ji)
Do you believe in Miracles? Full Moon Farm Does!
In a world filled with “coincidences”, from a person who does not believe in them, comes a story of Divine Intervention in the lives of seven Wolf Dogs and a German Shepherd. Pull up a chair…
In early February, Mickaleah, looking for a placement for her “surrendered” wolf dog, Kahn, in Omaha, NE, contacted me via e-mail. I replied that I may be able to help and went to work on getting the facts about the animal and getting approved by the NE Humane Society, based in Omaha, who was housing the animal. I had a possible placement for Kahn, so it all seemed to be Divinely inspired. While I was going through the process of being approved as a Sanctuary, 7 wolf dogs and 9 domestic dogs were seized in a raid, across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The director of NE Humane called and said that the owner of the seized animals failed to appear in court and they were awarded to Council Bluffs, who in turn signed them over to NE Humane as Council Bluffs did not have adequate facilities for such a large number. I was then told that if I would take the wolfdogs, their lives would be saved. If not, they would be euthanized immediately. Without hesitation, I said “yes” and proceeded to figure out how to get 7 sick, abused, emaciated animals from there to here. Humane said they would work toward getting them healthy enough to alter, transport, and give me roughly 2 weeks to make arrangements. They sent pictures of 7 animals that would break your heart.
One of my successful placements was Shiloh, now known as Braveheart. He went to Colorado last summer and Raquel and Dave have been looking for an additional male to complete their family pack. I e-mailed Raquel the information on Kahn. Agreement was reached that Kahn would be the perfect animal and arrangements were made for them to go to Omaha and pick him up. Meanwhile, the seizure in Council Bluffs took place, so I asked Raquel and Dave to complete an evaluation on the additional animals while they were there. The report from them was even worse than the report from the humane society! Additional pictures were taken and the newspaper article about the seizure was released. I posted the article on Wolfdogz, a group list of wolfdog owners, trainers, rescuers, and interested parties. The phone started to ring from folks who knew the animals and from the breeders of some of them. Information was exchanged and the process of “Rescue” was initiated.
The NE Humane Society was working on getting them healthy and altered. I had 10 days to put together the plan. Jerry Mills, Lonewolf Kennels in TX, and Karen Werner of NE, breeders of four of the animals wanted their animals back. Humane would release the animals to Full Moon Farm, not to any one else. I had to go to NE! I called Liv Parsons of the Sanctum, a good friend, experienced wolfer, and great co-pilot and suggested “Road Trip”! She agreed to go. Got on line and on the phone to rent a van large enough for 4 crates as there was an 8th animal deemed a wolfdog. Well, such a vehicle was not to be had without the cost reaching nearly $1,000.00 for excess mileage. In my travels for work, I noticed a nice looking 15 passenger van at a used car dealership in Asheville. Janet Cantwell, the current secretary of Full Moon Farm was picking me up from the auto shop where my truck was being serviced, so we went to check out the van. Took it for a test drive and over to her mechanic for a check over. Went back to the dealer and made a deal. Called my credit union for financing arrangements and told the dealer he had 22 hours to get the vehicle road ready – 4 new tires and misc. maintenance. My thanks here to Family Auto Centers, a division of The Anderson Motor group for their timely assistance. Picked the van up at 1:30, Friday March 6th, had custom lettering put on the doors, went back to the farm to load and we were on the road by 6 p.m.
We reached Omaha a little after 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 8 to meet Jerry, Karen W., Karen and Ivan H. and Mickaleah at a restaurant near the Humane Society. We made our introductions, (having never met) had coffee, and proceeded to Humane. At our arrival, the staff veterinarian was called and paperwork started for the release of eight wolfdogs. Liv had a video camera and several of us had camera’s to record the event. We were taken to a separate building where “dangerous dogs” are held. The “low content” animals were shown to us first. The eighth animal, a black male, was deemed a wolfdog and male aggressive. I am happy to report that he is neither! We tried to explain to the vet that there was no wolf blood in the animal and she replied he would be put to sleep by 3:00 if I did not take him! I made the decision to take him and run him through German Shepherd Rescue after he was healthy. Liv spoke up that she might be interested in him as well. These four were the healthiest of the bunch, being more “dog” than wolf. We then went to see the other four and I cannot describe without crying the condition of these animals. Vehicles were then moved to this building and the loading process started. The temperature was in the 20’s and it was snowing. The four highs were loaded first. Two into Karen and Ivan’s truck. I picked up Angel and crated her without incident. Demon was a bit more resistant, so a plan was formulated and put into action to get him in the crate. It worked. Jerry carried Willow and Dante out, with tears in his eyes. Liv and I got leashes for the other four, and they were so happy to be leaving! All crated without a problem, loaded up, paperwork finished and we were on the road at 3:48 p.m. As we were in the parking lot, saying our goodbyes, the clouds parted and the sun came out to bestow us with all its glory. Thanks were given to Creator.
Liv and I started south and east, Jerry headed south and west, and Karen, Karen, and Ivan headed west. I am saddened to report that Jerry lost Dante the night after he got him home. Willow is still “walking between the worlds” and Angel and Demon are doing well, both in Spirit and in health. My three, Tala, Zodiack and Orion are doing super! The Germans Shepherd, Melichi, is a goober and has been through obedience school. The ex-wife of the perpetrator has been in touch with me and I am learning the histories of the animals. (The spellings above are on their papers!) All are on their way to a complete recovery and receiving the love and care they deserve.
At this time, I want to publicly thank Brian and Stacey, Justin, Josie, Lindsey, Raquel and Dave, the Warren Wilson Volunteers, Jim, Liz (for sharing Liv), Janet, Mickaleah, Jerry, Karen W., Karen and Ivan, the staff at the NE Humane Society, and all the others who helped by building the new enclosure, donating time or money, sending energy, love and prayers. The animals were put first, which is what we do…
Thursday, March 26, 2009
(Photo is of Pandora, I love that name! She's a mid phenotype)
Okay, wolf pack get ready for part two of our chat with Nancy of Full Moon Farm a sanctuary for wolves and wolfdogs.
3. Why wolves/wolf-dogs? In 1994, my (now ex) husband and I lost a Warlock Lines Doberman, a week before his 7th birthday, from cardio myopathy. I bought our first wolfdog as a healthier alternative to an AKC breed, such as another Dobie or a GSD – (German Shepherd Dog). How did you get started rescuing them? I used to breed them – low content, great family animals – and got a call from an ad in the Iwanna. I took in one here, one there, but when I got a computer and on the internet, I learned how many wolfdogs were being killed as there was no place for them to go! I started Full Moon Farm, Inc. as a rescue and sanctuary in 2002.
4. How many different sub-species of wolves are there? Is one more common then another? Sub-species of Canis Lupus – the wolf... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subspecies_of_Canis_lupus Take a look there. There is some discrepancies between biologists. Also, check out www.wolfpark.org
5. Have your wolves developed into a pack? I do not have any pure wolves at this time. Who's the alpha and what makes him stand out? I only have 2 groups of 3, and they both are 2 males and one female. The Alpha male is the one that weighs all options, runs interference between a suspected intruder and his pack, or possibly eats first, or disciplines the others. I prefer to work with pairs – 1 male, 1 female.
6. Just for the Wolfy Chicks, have you noticed any significant behavior changes during full moons? :) Suffice it to say that vocalizations are more frequent during the full moon – and the reason is – the moon is so bright, the animals can SEE the night life moving around. I see more whacked out people from moon phases than the dogs.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
(Nancy and Del)
I had a very unique opportunity to interview Nancy Brown with Full Moon Farm. She runs a sanctuary for wolfdogs and captive breed wolves in North Carolina. Since "wolves" have howled their way into my heart I found this place akin to wonderland. So during this week I will post the interview in segments. I hope you will be as touched as I was.
“Our mission is to provide sanctuary for abused and refused wolfdogs and captive-bred wolves and to provide education about these misunderstood animals”
1. What is a wolf-dog? A wolfdog is a canine with a verifiable pure wolf parent, grandparent, great grandparent, great- great grandparent, or a great-great-great grandparent. Up to 5 generations removed from the wolf – We use Filial Generations, or “F” generations.
2. How are they different from a wolf? Since there is NOT a breed standard, and wolfdogs can vary in “content” – (the amount of wolf genetics that show up physically and behaviorally) – there is not a true answer. A Line bred F1-*98%* aka a high content wolfdog is going to act more like a wolf than an F5-low content wolfdog, which can act just like a husky, malamute, GSD or whatever domestic dog is in the mix. The difference between dogs and wolves is “intensity” – The higher the content, the more intense the animal is. But, please remember a Border Collie, an Australian Cattle Dog, or a variety of “sight hounds” are as intense as most captive bred wolves.
3. Let’s set the record straight, wolves have gotten a bad rep as being overly aggressive, grandmother-eating-house-blowing-down villains. What is their true nature? Let’s draw a line here – Captive Bred Wolves – can be trained, are considered “domestic animals” in some scientific circles, after 3 generations born in captivity. Captive bred wolves are used in wolf dog breeding programs, and we can verify quite a few captive bred lines, some as far back as the 1920’s. There are no reputable breeders, and no back yard breeders that I am aware of that have “wild caught” wolves in a breeding program. There are a lot of LIARS that sell pups that are misrepresented and NOT even close to being what they are “marketed” as. A captive bred wolf, depending on the lines, will be trainable and a companion animal. The owner/handler must be smarter than the wolf, understand body language, pack dynamics, and opportunistic, intense behaviors. Captive bred wolves are usually very motivated by reward based training methods, and will always “weigh” their options before making a move. A dog is bred to “please”, where wolves and high content wolfdogs THINK about “what’s in it for them”!!! Wolves in the wild are going to stay as far away from humans and civilization as possible. Wild wolves are timid and shy be nature, fearful of humans. My captive bred, high content animals evaluate a person as they are walking up to their pen, and can instantly decide they do not like someone – much the same as we humans get the heebie-jeebies from people that we meet. It has been said that there are no documented attacks by HEALTHY wild wolves on a human ever – in North America.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
So we’ve heard of method acting where an actor immerses him/herself in the lifestyle of his/her current role – Marisa Tomei spent time in a strip club preparing for her role in The Wrestler, and Brendan Fraser hung out in Ancient Egypt fighting mummies….naw, okay - I made that one up. Anyway, my point is that these actors look to portray their characters with a believability the viewer can feel in every scene.
Hence the expression - write what you know. Readers are just as savvy as theatre audiences at filtering through our prose to sniff out half-assed world building and sloppy imagery. Therefore if we can’t write what we know, we must at least write what we kinda get, or what we can build rich, brave new worlds on, if you know what I mean.
I’m doing a lot of legwork for one of my current projects, Witch’s Ladder, and I’m loving every minute of my research time. Whenever I’m in the city I explore the many holistic, Wicca and curio shoppes tucked away in artsy parts of town. I've hung out in 18th century graveyards. At night. Why? It’s all for my writing.
In Witch’s Ladder, Bea, my main character, is a teen witch who works part time at her mother’s magic shop, Ever Casting. She sells charms, spells and magic supplies to a clientele of paranorms (those of the supernatural world), as well as clueless norms (average Joe humans).
As I did when I worked in retail, Bea has great difficulty with the concept of the customer being always right. But while I had to hold my tongue to keep my job (my cats had to be fed somehow!), Bea has free rein (her spells are in high demand) and through her I get to have a lot of fun with these tricky situations.
In my book, Ever Casting is a cool, but creepy little shop set in a renovated old church on the wrong side of town. Most of its details are built on elements that I found intriguing about the real stores I visited. Like the brooms proudly displayed on the cherry wood walls, the pet raven, Pilgrim, who gives certain shoppers the evil eye, the shelves of ruby red and emerald green apothecary vials filled with anointing oils – some of these things I actually saw, some I made up. Even Bea’s daily rituals in the shop, how she carefully packages items – wrapping each product separately so the magic doesn’t “bleed” – have come from my observations.
Moral of my rambling? Research your world as much as possible, and not just in print – you’ll be surprised at how the smallest of details can spark a plot twist or unique character trait.
And if a smidge of my research has come home with me? Well, it certainly gives my office lots of atmosphere, as you can see from my photo.
Now, will that be cash, charge, or would you like to pay with your first born?
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Novels Jigsaw Puzzle Gallery - JigZone.com
Monday, March 9, 2009
I have a little furball Jensen, who has stolen my heart. He’s turning seven months and with it comes the task I’ve been dreading…getting him neutered. But it is a necessarily evil and I know it’s more torture for me, than him— or so the vet has told me. ( I hate the thought of causing him pain. Plus I’m not looking forward to him howling all the way there.) On a strange note, neutering can be compared to editing…it’s painful but needs to be done. The animal or the story in this case will be better off…
Okay, no more strange analogies to male cats getting snipped, I promise.
What can I say…I’ve had a very strange couple of weeks, I found out I’m going to the UK!!!
I just received my release date and ISBN for FREAKSVILLE, 9-16-2009.
ISBN 13: 9781601546012, ISBN 1-60154-601-7
( It’s not in any system yet, I already tried Borders, what? I’m a bit excited.)
YIPEEEEE!!! ( If I wasn’t afraid of needles, I get the darn thing inked on the flesh to celebrate…)
FREAKSVILLE was a long time coming and I got to thinking about my team, my Wolf Pack that helped me get it there. A major player, of course, was my editor, Kat O’Shea. She was a huge factor, mainly because, well…she bought my MS…oh and trudged through the darn thing with me making certain it sparkled like diamonds on a Debutants’ finger. Kat, you rock, truly you do. ’Nuff said.
But what about the people that helped you without seeing a cent?
Every writer needs a support group, I’m thankful for My Wolf Pack…
I have my two T’s, Tracy and Tami who both write YA. They understand the genre and my voice. (I AM SO VERY LUCKY TO HAVE THEM. IF I COULD CLONE THEM SO EVERYONE COULD HAVE GREAT CP’S, I WOULD.) They know what works and what doesn’t and both are candid. Which is awesome. I have Jen, who is the best plot hole finder out there.(SHE HAS SAVED ME TOO MANY TIMES TO COUNT.) I have a few others, too, that will read for me in a pinch. (Last minute galley checks, etc.)
Finding a CP that understands your voice and can give constructive and valid criticism is like a rare flower…treasure it.
A good CP will help you strengthen your voice and try not to make it their own. ( Also knowing they won’t leak your draft copy--full of typos--online is a huge plus.) And good CP will list constructive ways to improve the story, tell you when something does work and when something doesn’t. They should want you to succeed and want to help you tweak your MS until it does. Sometimes writing takes more than a once gloss over on a chapter or even a novel, a good CP will gladly go over your Chapter Three, eight times without moaning…okay maybe they might moan a little…It’s a give and take relationship. Sometimes you’re the giver and other times the receiver…
Things I look for when I’m Critiquing someone’s MS or Chapter.
1. Does the scene or sequel make sense?
2. Does the POV character have a goal: is she or he wanting possession, relief, or revenge for something? Is there a purpose for this chapter? If there isn’t cut it.
3. Does it move the story forward? If it doesn’t cut it…
4. Do the descriptions take me there…if not add some until I feel it. Sometimes a simple sentence can say as much or more than an entire paragraph. Less is more is many ways.
5. Is the pacing correct? Is it a Scene (action) or a Sequel (reflection) would vice versa serve the story better. Is the story moving too slow? Then add more scenes? Too fast add more sequels.
6. Are there Goal, Conflict and Disaster if it’s a scene, or Reaction, Dilemma, Decision if it’s a sequel?
7. Is it building to a curtain? (Does it have enough conflict? Without conflict stories are BORING, Yawn. Bore the reader and your story won’t go anywhere no matter how wonderfully it’s written.)
8. Grammar. (Good grammar is a necessary evil, but I think some people polish it down until their voice is lost. It’s a very fine line, my friends. Tread lightly.)
9. Are there plot holes or loose threads that need to be tied up?
10. Is the showing and telling balanced. Yep, people TELL is not a four letter word. You can tell in your writing. In fact, sometimes, it is quicker and more direct to tell in a few places. Your job as the writer is to orient your reader as quick as possible, draw them into the story. Set the goal of the scene or story and ask the story question…this keeps the reader reading until the wee hours of the morning.
Be careful not to tell so much that your story becomes flat and the pace slows to a slow and painful halt. When nothing is shown or experienced by the Hero or Heroine, where nothing is happening on the page in the present stage of the story because you’ve told it all, then you’ve told too.
All the good stuff has happened off the page and is backstory.
Backstory isn’t evil.
Backstory is essential.
It needs to be saved for the sequel part of the writing and sprinkled into the story, like salt, use in sparingly. Backstory gives our characters motivation. Motivation makes our characters tick and causes them to do what they do that makes the story. Without a solid motivation the story isn’t believable. So yeah! For backstory, but a dash here and there.
That’s the gist of what I look for when I’m critiquing a CP’s MS.
Hope my madness has helped. And a big howl out to my Wolf Pack, Girls you rock!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
2. What's your "road to publication" story?
Kind of short in the scheme of things. THE HOLLOW is the first novel I actually sat down to write and finished. (The only other stories I have written are a 3,000 word picture book and 20,000 words of a chick lit novel.) I got the idea for THE HOLLOW in early 2006, went to visit the town of Sleepy Hollow and the cemetery in May of 2006, and then finished the book in mid 2007.
6. Did you write stories as a teen? If yes what has/hasn't changed?
7. Describe your office/workspace/writer's cave.