Friday Funny with Some Hocus Pocus, Frozen, and Writing

…And now you’re mine.

Whahahaha

Okay, okay, not really. I only hope I can keep you entranced past this sentence 😉  I’ll start off this Friday by saying happy Halloween! I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for this holiday. I know a lot of people aren’t, and many of you out there feel like this:

But I feel like this:

Halloween is one of the only reasons I embrace the autumn and cooler weather here in Colorado. I just love everything about it: Scary movies. Candy. Spooky decorations. Candy. Silly costumes. Candy. Apple cider. Candy… 😉

I don’t have any special plans tonight except to watch some scary movies and eat–er, I mean, hand out candy to the neighbors. I did most of my official celebrating last weekend at my family’s Disney themed Halloween party. Despite its modern twist, my Frozen costume worked well enough that most of the kids kept calling me “Elsa”.

10711080_10101848208068203_3581436476091146286_nYes, those are official Frozen pants. If you look at my knee, you’ll see Elsa performing her icy magic.

10686824_10101848207364613_8328769457753683577_nMe with Olaf (aka, my nephew). He wouldn’t let me out of his sight all evening. “Elsa, where are you going?”… “Elsa, take a picture!”… “Elsa! Elsa! Elsa!” It was adorable and funny.

As for writing this week, I’ve continued to chug along with my manuscript. I’m just a few chapters away from finishing my second draft, and if I maintain my focus, I should have it done by early next week *fingers crossed*

I’m actually proud of myself this week. I sucked it up and said “no” to anyone who asked me to do stuff. “Jenna, do you want to come over for dinner?” No! “Hey, can babysit?” No! “Do you have time to–?” No, no, no! I didn’t even take the time to clean my house or buy groceries. I woke up this morning and realized I was out of food and my house was…Well…

Oh well. Tis the life of a writer, right? It’s not always orderly, pretty, or necessarily comfortable.

Are you tired of the Hocus Pocus gifs yet?

Well, fine. Be that way. I’ll end things here. I should anyway. My manuscript is starting to yell at me to get to work on it.

Okay, okay. That was the last one. Promise!

In honor of Halloween, as well as my enjoyable, but slightly uncomfortable journey with my manuscript this week, here are today’s Friday Funnies. Enjoy!

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25cc46c9773464db4d516275cdacd2ceHow was your week? Anyone have any fun plans for Halloween? What/who are you dressing up as?

P.S. Good luck to all who are starting NaNoWriMo this weekend! I know you’ll rock it.

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

Music Monday – Tomorrow Belongs To Me – Cabaret

Jen’s Top 10 NaNoWriMo Tips

The Last, Definitive Word On Word Count

Photo credits:

http://www.comments20.com/category/occasional-graphics/halloween-graphics/page/4/

http://www.buzzfeed.com/lorynbrantz/18-insanely-clever-pop-culture-stencils

http://www.buzzfeed.com/samimain/witches-be-crazy

https://www.tumblr.com/search/movie+flyer

http://mashable.com/2014/10/22/hocus-pocus-cult-classic/

http://www.bookaddictsguide.com/2014/10/20/fortnight-fright-2014-hocus-pocus-morgan-words/

https://www.facebook.com/Writers.Write.Company/photos/a.821983757828947.1073741831.175634409130555/920050231355632/?type=1&theater

https://www.facebook.com/A.WritersStudio/photos/a.583569911653638.1073741826.583384065005556/881224548554838/?type=1&theater

http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/gallery/#/i/321896/

Friday Funny with Writing and a Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah

It’s Fridayyyyyyyy!

So, is it just me, or did every day this week feel like Friday? Seriously, each morning my alarm clock went off, I thought, “Yippee! It’s Friday–No, wait. It’s not. Not even close. Beepity-beep!”

I was very happy when I woke up this morning and realized it was Friday–for real. Woo-hoo!

Anyway, it was a busy week for me, but a productive one. I’m proud of myself for not getting too caught up in the mad dash of life and focusing hard on my manuscript. Since last weekend, I’ve knocked out four new chapters, each one approved by my beta reader.

If I keep up this pace, I might finish my second draft by November 1st. Which means I’ll have two months to edit a third draft. Which means I just might have a presentable draft done by my deadline of January 1st.

*fingers crossed*

Besides writing my booty off this week, I had some fun too. I celebrated my dad and sister’s birthdays (back-to-back days), and then put together my costume for my family’s Disney-themed Halloween party this weekend. I had wanted to go as Ursula from The Little Mermaid (you know, do my hair all crazy like octopus tentacles), but my nephews demanded I go as Elsa from Frozen.

Okay, my costume won’t be nearly as glamorous as Elsa’s, but people will get the general gist–er, hopefully.

I also spent some time this week shooting photos and video clips for my friend’s latest film for the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge. These films are silly, but I love contributing to them. They’re a great way to bring the NYC Midnight writing community together, build friendships, and have fun. Oh, and laugh at myself.

A lot.

JennaDisney1Like the last round, I needed to use the story I wrote for round 2 as my inspiration. Since Operation Disney revolved around the recent debacles of the Secret Service Agency and Julia Pierson’s absurd Disney quote (“We need to be more like Disney World. We need to be more friendly, inviting…”), I decided to dress up like Mickie Mouse and wave around a toy gun while singing/dancing to “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”.

Here are just a couple of the clips I took:

(And, yes, feel free to laugh/shake your head/mock me. I don’t care–ha!)

I know I look ridiculous, but I actually had a blast while filming. Sometimes it’s therapeutic to let go, act like an idiot, and laugh at yourself, you know? And I laughed at myself a lot. There were many blooper moments, one of which included me accidentally hitting the trigger on the toy gun and dropping it in surprise when it made that motor-like sound. I wasn’t ready for it!

Anyway, here is today’s Friday Funny. I thought it was fitting after taking those pictures and video clips for my political satire piece. The day I wrote Operation Disney, I did quite a bit of research and Googled a variety of things, including Secret Service Agency, Air Force One, Obama, attack, guns, Russia…By the end of the day, I said, “Well, that probably put me on the NSA’s watch list.” 😉

Enjoy!

10671284_10152514271928432_1697126134585438931_nHow was your week? Busy? Calm? Do anything goofy and silly? I know many of you are preparing for NaNoWriMo. How’s it going? Are you ready for it?

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

Music Monday – Explosions – Ellie Goulding

You Know You’re a Writer When…Awkward Introductions

Yes, Agents Google Writers

Photo credits: 

http://giphy.com/gifs/DImeco37S0Fl6

http://ynaija.com/teen/these-are-the-problems-of-todays-social-media-girl-her-facial-expressions-are-just-too-funny-look/

https://www.tumblr.com/search/self+five

http://tatara94.deviantart.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ericjodomfb/photos/pb.195590938431.-2207520000.1414167501./10152514271928432/?type=3&theater

Friday Funny with Goals, NaNoEdMo, and Spiders

When I got out of bed this morning, I felt like doing this:

Yay for Friday! I say we all take a moment to celebrate and dance it up…Come on, dance! Shake that booty, wriggle those hips, and stomp those feet!

…Are you doing it?

Are you?

Well, hopefully you’re at least tapping your feet or bobbing your head.

Okay, okay. Enough dancing…for now. 😉

Overall, my week was calm and productive. On Monday, I received an email that lit a fire under my dragging feet and prompted me to promise someone I’d have a final draft of my manuscript done by January 1st.

Yeah, trying not to panic too much.

It’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of focus, and A LOT of hermit days to meet my self-imposed deadline for a final draft by January 1st. I’ve already started telling people in my life, “I’m sorry, but I need to be selfish the next couple of months to finish my book, so if you don’t hear from me or I have to bail on you, that’s why. Again, sorry.”

I feel horrible, but chopping out all distractions is going to be a necessity if I’m going to do this.

Hey, a writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do, right?

Strangely, right after I made the decision to finish my manuscript by January 1st, one of my best friends text me and said she wants to do NaNoEdMo in November to edit the story she wrote during Camp NaNoWriMo in July. After I finished chuckling, I told her I’d join her. I’m still chewing over what my exact goal for the month will be. I can’t really base edits off a word count, so I’m thinking a certain number of chapters.

Whatever I decide, I need to buckle down and get to work!

I did take a break last night to decorate my house for Halloween–finally. I’ve been putting it off because 1) I’ve been so busy, and 2) I really, really, really did not want to go into my crawl space to get my bins of decorations. You guys, it’s ca-reepy down there! Dark, dirty, spidery.

*shudder*

I despise spiders. Give me snakes or mice any day of the week. Just not spiders. Anything but those vindictive eight-legged monsters!

But, alas, I had to face my fears. So last night I put on my big girl pants, sucked it up, and journeyed into the dreaded crawl space. I saw one spider dangling from a web, but it was dead, so I didn’t panic too much. But then I backed up and got jabbed in the butt by my Christmas tree and freaked out, lol. I swore Shelob had crawled out of the darkness to gobble me up. I know, I know. I’m ridiculous. No need to tell me. I’m fully aware of it, haha.

Anyway, in honor of my focused week and my goal of finishing my manuscript by January 1st, here is today’s Friday funny. Enjoy!

1798100_875822442428382_3463484613586654032_nHow was your week? Have you set any goals for your own work? How many of you are participating in NaNoWriMo?

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

Music Monday – Mornay’s Dream – Braveheart

You Know You’re A Writer When…Favorite Mug

How to Write a Novel Synopsis: 5 Tips

Photo credits: 

http://www.nolanfans.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=17&p=547915

http://getoffmyinternets.net/thats-quirky-is-a-steaming-pile-of-no/comment-page-3/

http://orbitags.com/the-53-thoughts-every-college-grad-has-immediately-after-moving-home/

http://forums.superherohype.com/showthread.php?t=481237

http://www.tumblr.com/search/disney%20grumpy

http://www.nolanfans.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=17&p=547915

Writing, Writing, Writing – Flash Fiction Challenge Round 2 and NaNo

Whew! I survived the weekend. Guess what I did? I wrote. A LOT!

First off was Round 2 of the Flash Fiction Challenge 2013. Now, things got off to a bit of a rocky start Friday afternoon when I received my results from Round 1. (Yeah, not happy about that. It gave me no time to absorb the results, and worse, no explanation as to why I received those results.) Only the top 15 stories in each group got points. If you didn’t score high enough, you received zero. I received zero. Why? I don’t know! Haha! Over 400 people read Muck and Mire,  and I’d say 95% of those people loved it. A few even told me it was their favorite…I’m guessing my risky format got me disqualified. Or the person who judged it happened to be in that 5% who didn’t care for it. *Shrug*. I’ll find out later this week the exact reasons for my low score and get back to you.

I’m not going to lie, I was upset for about an hour after I saw my zero point scoring. Then I laughed. Because, come on, what else can you do? Rejection hurts, and unfortunately, we writers work in the Industry of Rejection. It happens and it happens often (well, for most of us). The only way to survive is to laugh, brush off the sting, and move on. Which I did. I woke up on Saturday with a positive outlook for Round 2. I eagerly opened the email with my next assignment:

Picture 1

First thought? Phew! After being assigned romantic comedy for Round 1, I figured I’d be assigned something darker and more serious for Round 2 (mystery, horror, drama, ghost story). Of all those, I’d been hoping for horror. I’ve never written a full one and wanted to try. Plus, with Halloween just behind us, I was still in a horror-mindset. So, I was very happy to see that as my genre. The only thing that threw me off was the crowded beach location. I had some cool ideas for horror, but none of them worked with a CROWDED beach. So that was going to be the true challenge in this round.

I ended up taking a much different approach for Round 2 than Round 1. In Round 1, I was stressed and crazy and frantic. This time, I decided to kick back, relax and just have fun with it. So, instead of plopping myself down in front of my computer first thing Saturday morning, I went to the gym. While I worked out, I brainstormed concepts for my story. Then on my way home I called my favorite critic, my mom, to bounce ideas off of her (I wasn‘t going to repeat my time wasting mistake from Round 1 and work all day on a story that was “blah”). With my mom’s valuable input, I was able to nail down my concept by the time I got home from the gym.

But did I head straight for my computer to start writing? Nope. I decided to shower and eat a nice breakfast instead. Relax, relax, relax. That was my motto.

meditation1Finally, after a second cup of coffee, I sat down and began writing my horror story. Within two hours, I had a solid rough draft. I sent it to my mom to read and approve. She loved it (phew!). So, I took another two hours to embellish and edit it. Thankfully, I only had to worry about chopping 50 words to make the 1,000 word count limit (not 500 words like I had to cut from Muck and Mire). I wisely stuck to a much more traditional format this time, just in case that was why I bombed Round 1. And I stayed away from anything funny (since comedy was part of the last round), hence I didn’t go with my zombie seals idea ;-).

Now, will the judges like the story I came up with? Who knows. I hope so, but after Round 1, I can’t expect them to. It’s sooo subjective. I do know that I had a lot of fun writing the story (titled, Why?) and I really like how it turned out. Horror is such a chillingly wonderful genre to dive into. I can’t wait to post it for you guys in a few days. Stay tuned!

Now, all of that happened on Saturday. I still had to work on Fallers for NaNoWriMo. And because of the flash fiction contest, I was behind by almost 4,000 words. Great start, right? Haha, ugh…So, I buckled down and wrote all day Sunday until I reached my quota and then some.

My current NaNo word count is 5,600 words.

So, I survived my crazy writing weekend. And as exhausted as I am, I feel great. I’m excited about my horror story for Round 2 of NYC’s Flash Fiction Contest 2013, and I like the new direction I’ve taken Fallers during NaNo. Hopefully the good times keep rolling! I just need to stay relaxed and have fun with my writing. I think that’s key.

How about you? Feeling good about your writing? How’s NaNo for those participating?

Happy Book Anniversary: Progeny by Patrick C. Greene

One year ago, Patrick C. Greene released Progeny, a shivery, nail biting tale that keeps readers on the edge of their seats with their doors locked and their blinds shut.

-12As many of you know I live in Colorado. Which means I’ve heard plenty of tales about Bigfoot. Or Sasquatch, or Harry, or whatever you’d like to call the towering half-man, half ape creature. Yet, before reading Progeny, I was never truly scared of the mythical being.
Now, I am.

Another wild scream assailed them, urging them on even faster till muscles and lungs burned, fueled only by terror.”

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Synopsis

“Owen Sterling is a reclusive author living in a secluded house deep in the woods. When he welcomes his son Chuck for a summer visit, the eleven-year-old suspects something is not right at his father’s home. His worries mount when he witnesses a confrontation between his father and some local hunters. Zane Carver is the local gun-shop owner who confronts the author over Owen’s refusal to let anyone on his land for hunting or camping. He defies the recluse, taking a hunting party onto Owen’s property. Soon, Zane and his buddies discover the writer’s secret . . . a deadly secret; a creature whose infinite rage they have unwittingly ignited . . . that is now hunting them.”

Jen’s Review

Progeny is a rip-roaring quick read that’s told so vividly, you’ll feel like you’re watching a movie. It’s one of those stories that builds its premise slowly but surely, enticing the reader to turn the pages faster and faster as the terror heats up. In fact, I’d say for the last third of the book, I was curled in a fetal position, afraid to even look out my own window lest I see a giant monster staring in at me.

Deanna reflexively turned toward Chuck–but her eyes were drawn to the window of the door behind him. A massive dark form was there, filling the window frame, peering in at them with huge eyes that eerily reflected the firelight.

For me, Progeny was all the scarier because of my fear of the woods (don’t you dare laugh!). I don’t know how many times I’ve walked through the forest and heard a twig snap or seen a footprint that was way too large to be a deer or rabbit. Furthermore, I don’t know how many stories I’ve heard from friends who’ve come upon a mountain lion or bear while hiking. The woods are teeming with life, and in Progeny, they’re teeming with a life that’s far more alarming than any mountain lion or bear.

Lightening flashed in an extended strobing burst, silencing Zane–and giving all of them a brief glimpse of the massive hairy beast standing less than ten yards behind them…Then it was dark again.”

Yet, despite its many terrifying moments, Progeny had its touching moments, too. Bigger than the battle between man and Bigfoot is the battle between man and son. The word “progeny” means offspring, descendent, or son. In this book there are three distinctive father/son relationships, and each one has their own complexities and dramas and heartaches. Yet, although these three father/son pairings are different from each other, they also share a painful similarity: loss. Loss of respect. Loss of innocence. Loss of control. Loss of love. Loss of life! Patrick C. Greene does a terrific job of telling a horror story that goes beyond monsters lurking in a forest. He tells a story of monsters lurking within living beings. Of anger and sorrow and regret. Of broken relationships and misunderstandings that wreak more havoc than Bigfoot himself.

If you’re looking for a heartfelt yet suspenseful read, this is it! And what better time to read such a scary story than right now, on the eve of Halloween?

Jen’s Rating:

4 Star

Read more about Progeny here!

About Patrick C. Greene

-11

Some dark serendipity plopped a young Patrick Greene in front of a series of ever stranger films-and experiences-in his formative years, leading to a unique viewpoint. His odd interests have led to pursuits in film acting, paranormal investigation, martial arts, quantum physics, bizarre folklore and eastern philosophy. These elements flavor his screenplays and fiction works, often leading to strange and unexpected detours designed to keep viewers and readers on their toes.

Literary influences range from Poe to Clive Barker to John Keel to a certain best selling Bangorian. Suspense, irony, and outrageously surreal circumstances test the characters who populate his work, taking them and the reader on a grandly bizarre journey into the furthest realms of darkness. The uneasy notion that reality itself is not only relative but indeed elastic- is the hallmark of Greene’s writing.

Living in the rural periphery of Asheville North Carolina with his wife, youngest son and an ever-growing army of cats, Greene still trains in martial arts when he’s not giving birth to demons via his pen and keyboard. Visit the website : www.PatrickCGreene.com

In addition to his novel Progeny, and the short story collection Dark DestiniesGreene has several film projects in the works, and just finished writing his second novel, The Crimson Calling-the first in the action-adventure vampire trilogy, The Sanguinarian Council.

Let’s all congratulate Patrick C. Greene on this one year anniversary of Progeny. And let’s all thank him for writing such a gripping story and sharing it with us!

A toast to October, a month of thrills and chills

In my opinion, October is the best month of the year! It’s the month of red and purple and golden leaves; horror books and candy and pumpkins; spiced candles and costumes and caramel apples; scary movies and candy corn and…Okay, okay, I’ll stop. But, you get the picture, right? October rocks!  Orange sunrises and all! 

IMG_9292As you read on Monday, I had a fantastic writing weekend. I hardly took a break from my manuscript, producing over 10,000 words. However, not even my hyped up motivation or super-energized taping fingers could put a kibosh on my plans to decorate my house for Halloween. 

On Saturday morning, I climbed down into my crawl space to pull out the bins full of witches and cobwebs and BEWARE! signs. After rescuing these bins from Hell’s lair–I swear there’s a fanged beast down there, lurking in the shadows, watching and waiting to STRIKE!…Or, worse, a big fat spider dangling over my head or racing over to crawl down my shirt–shudder–I threw in a horror movie, lit my apple spiced candle and started draping my home in gloom and doom.

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IMG_9297Okay, my decor isn’t that gloomy or doomy. But, come on, I live alone and going to bed in a haunted mansion seems rather foolhardy. The last thing I need is to scare myself to death by walking into a hanging zombie or a leering ghoul in the middle of the night. 

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I raise my glass to you, October! Here’s to another golden month of thrills and chills…and, inevitably, lots and lots of chocolate 😉 (clink, clink). 

Book of the Month – October

Seeing as it’s October and Halloween is just around the corner, I thought I’d pick a book this month that’s on the “scarier” side. But fear not all you anti-horror readers! This is a tale that’s just as funny as it is suspenseful and creepy.

9802372The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Synopsis

“The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.
Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.”

Jen’s Review

This is a thriller that will have you both scared and laughing throughout it. I thoroughly enjoyed the premise, the witty and, at times, absurd dialogue, and Maureen Johnson’s writing style. But, more than anything, I enjoyed the protagonist. Simply put, Rory Deveaux was one of the most amusing characters I’ve ever read. The things she’d say…I’d literally burst out laughing (and I’m not a “burst out laughing” type of reader). Sure, I’ll smile or chuckle softly, but I don’t LAUGH.

And if we get caught, I will claim I made you go. At gunpoint. I am American. People will assume I’m armed.”

I also love how Rory uses over-the-top tales from her southern hometown to defend herself–whether that’s defending herself while flirting with a cute boy or battling a wicked ghost.

The Name of the Star‘s LOL humor was skillfully and pleasantly balanced with a creepy ghost story about Jack the Ripper that keeps you biting your nails and holding your breath the entire time. And there’s just enough romance in the story to give your heart a nice little flutter every now and then.

Jen’s Rating
4 Star

Read more about The Name of the Star on Goodreads!

Some other fun Halloween appropriate titles you might like to check out include:

The Monstrumologist by Ricky Yancey

The Strain by Guillermo del Toro

World War Z by Max Brooks

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova