Guys! I'm so excited because my BOOK TRAILER for Wake the Hollow is done! Talented animator Curtis Sponsler created it by putting together a stylistic vision of equal amounts creepiness and badassery! Check it out, and please SHARE!
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Hello, my darlings! Today is the first day of my blog tour for WAKE THE HOLLOW! (*insert wild applause*) Just in time for FALL (it's Fall in my head; don't spoil it)!
Below is the schedule for every stop I'll be making between August 29th - September 11th. Some blogs will post reviews, some will feature a guest post from me on any number of topics, and some will feature author interviews (and sometimes my characters!). Hope you'll share and stop by!
When it comes to
movies, I’ll be the first to tell you I’m not a fan of remakes. If a film became a blockbuster hit back in the day, won
awards and much critical acclaim, then to me, there’s no reason to remake it.
Why should I watch the exact same story retold the exact same way? Because
special effects are better now, you say. So? Because there’s more budget for
better costumes now. So? To me, those things aren’t what made the story great
to begin with, and as anyone who enjoys reading, watching movies or TV
knows—STORY IS KING.
However…what if we
changed the story a bit (or a lot, depending on how you like your retellings)?
Ahh…now you have me interested. Now I won’t know exactly how a story will
unravel, because I’ve never seen this version before. Even Walt Disney loved
retellings, which explains why his happy-ending versions of fairy tales are so
different from their grim originators.
So, here’s a list of
4 reasons to love a good retelling, one that doesn’t simply regurgitate the
original but presents something creative echoing of the classic but
highlighting new, engaging plots:
4. FUN WAY TO INTRODUCE A CLASSIC
(if you’re not familiar): Let’s be honest, not everyone has read The Count of Montecristo. Or Huckleberry Finn. Or Jane Austen. I know, stop gasping before
you choke. But it’s true. As a mom, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve
found myself telling my kids, “Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s not
good!” What is this allergy to classic music and books? I guess it’s a teen
thing. But no worries, because this is where a good retelling can CHANGE YOUR
LIFE. I can’t tell you the number of reviews I’ve read of my newest, WAKE THE
HOLLOW, where the reviewer has said, “I never read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
before, but now, I’m so going to!” A good retelling can spark interest in the
original tale. When you present the characters and plot in a modern or creative
setting, readers who otherwise would never have read the classic tales will now
suddenly be dying to read it. Suggestive sorcery from this former teacher?
3. FUN TO SEE OLD TALE IN A NEW LIGHT (if
you are familiar): If you’ve read the original tale, then it’s highly
entertaining to see how things can change in a retelling. Maybe the villain
becomes the hero, and the hero becomes the villain. Maybe the story is now set
in modern times or even the future. Maybe it’s not a romantic comedy anymore
but a horror novel. The possibilities are endless! It’s like taking your
beautiful mother and sitting her down in a chair, changing her hair and makeup,
then dressing her up in fun cosplay threads, revamping her into a new beauty.
She’s still your mom, still familiar to you, only now…she looks so freaking
2. COMFORT OF THE FAMILIAR: I don’t
know about you, but I’m a sucker for nostalgia. Every fall, I transform my home
décor into my “Fall Palace” and make caramel popcorn. During Christmastime,
I’ll pretend like it’s cold outside and bake cookies, filling my house with
sweet smells that remind me of childhood, even though where I live it’s 100
degrees outside. One Halloween tradition is to sit and watch “The Adventures of
Ichabod Crane” (Disney version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow). I also love
watching Young Frankenstein and
carving pumpkins, same way I have all my life. My book, Summer of Yesterday, was essentially a love letter to my childhood
vacation place, Fort Wilderness in Disney World. There’s something comforting
about reliving the things you love, but if you add something new into the mix,
you’ll get a whole new experience. Such is what happens with a good
retelling—it’s enjoying your favorite book all over again, only you get a new
story along with it.
1. YOU LEARN SOMETHING NEW EACH TIME:
If you watch a movie enough times, you’ll discover little fun tidbits that make
good trivia. With a retelling, you might learn something new about Mr. Darcy,
or Anna Karenina. You might get the whole point of view of the Big Bad Wolf or
Ichabod Crane or Brom Bones. You might learn something about the authors
themselves, as in Wake the Hollow. Maybe this is the teacher in me again, but
my favorite lessons were always those that took boring or difficult topics and
dressed them up in ways that were exciting and entertaining for students,
because one thing I’ve learned about teens, kids, and even adults over the
years, everyone loves to learn, it’s just HOW the material is presented, and a
good retelling won’t just entertain you, it’ll have you dashing for the source
material to learn more.
So, there you go! If
you like retellings and you love YA books, a few good ones out this month are:
Twisted and Olivia Decoded
(Oliver Twist), by Vivi Barnes
the Broken Pieces (Frankenstein),
by Cindi Madsen
Sweet Sorrow (Hamlet and
Romeo & Juliet), by Jenny Trout
Perfect (Pygmalion), by
Kendra C. Highley
-Red (Little Red Riding Hood), by Alyxandra
Willa Got Her Groove Back
(Pride & Prejudice), by Emily McKay
-Nexis (A Sci-Fi Cinderella), by A.L. Davroe
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I've been pregnant for 96 months. Yes, the average gestation period for humans is nine months, but I'm not human, and neither are most authors.
Oh, you thought I was talking about baby-babies?! Ha, ha, no...those are easy. I'm talking about writing a full-length book filled with historical references and getting it to traditional print publication, the longest gestation period ever, all before my life ends, silly goose! And because my latest and 6th YA novel, Wake the Hollow, releases tomorrow and rings in at the longest road to publication ever for me (8 years), longest length ever (304 pages), and longest trail of tears ever (the blood and sweat kind), I am celebrating this puppy tonight because...me da la gana. English translation: I FREAKIN' DESERVE IT.
Because my big release party for Wake the Hollow is next month in Miami, tonight I will be celebrating quietly, but most triumphantly. Here's how:
1. WATCHING THE DISNEY SHORT THAT STARTED IT ALL: In 1949, Walt Disney Productions was winding down from their war effort by creating short films meant to boost patriotic morale, so they weren't releasing full-length features and instead focused on a series of "package films," or short movies instead. The last of these included "Wind in the Willows" and "Ichabod Crane" adapted from Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," and later became known as "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad."
As a kid, I became totally enamored with the Ichabod part of the tale. Here was this poor, lanky schoolmaster who came to town and fell in love with the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel, only to be spirited away by The Headless Horseman, who looked suspiciously like Brom Bones, Katrina's jealous boyfriend, without a head. I always felt sorry for the schoolmaster and thought he was the nicer, more educated gentleman of the two, and have spent the rest of my life showing the film to anyone who'll watch it with me to see if they'll agree. To that end, if you've never seen it, YOU SO HAVE TO! First of all, it's voiced by the enchanting Bing Crosby, so right there--WIN. Secondly, it's funny, because--surprise, surprise--the original Legend of Sleepy Hollow was a romantic comedy, if you can believe it, with a little supernatural spirit thrown in.
Anyway, I've made my students watch it over the years, and now I make my kids watch it, and they totally hate me for it, but I insist. It sets the perfect mood for the fall season, so even though it's only August 1st and I usually don't watch it until September, I'm watching it tonight. Because inspiration deserves its day, and that day is tonight.
2. BUY BATH & BODY STUFF: You might say I have a weakness for Bath & Body products. I don't know what it is...wait, yes, I do. It's those delicious scents of warm vanilla sugar, toasted marshmallow pumpkin, pear and brown sugar goodness that fire my synapses and I just can't resist! Just look at my bathroom shelves, and this doesn't include the ones hidden in all my purses. I try to stay away from this store on the basis of losing all my money whenever I do, but because it's Book Birthday Eve, I splurged! That's right--body products were Buy 3, Get 3 Free, PLUS I had a $10 off coupon over $30, so you can't blame me, right? AmIRite?
3. BURGER & MILKSHAKE: Another guilty pleasure of mine is this deadly combo right here, and because I've been eating gluten-free and really healthy for five months now, I totally dragged my ass into Red Robin and ordered an ACTUAL blue cheese burger on ACTUAL bread (gluten-free bun) with sweet potato fries AND a salted caramel milkshake. Hell, yeah! Guys, guys, guys...my eyes rolled into the back of my head, and they're still rolled back as I write this. I'm typing with voice-activated dictation or some other techy sounding fake explanation. I'm hoping tomorrow they'll be rolled down again, as I have to get back to work.
4. LISTEN TO EVANESCENCE: In 2003, the band Evanescence released a song called "Bring Me to Life" which was featured on the Daredevil soundtrack. From the moment I started writing Wake the Hollow, I envisioned this song as the soundtrack for Micaela's life. She's so closed up inside, hasn't felt anything real in so long, and from the moment she arrives back in Sleepy Hollow, her empty hollow core awakens long-repressed emotion. Hence the lyrics, Wake me up inside...wake me up inside...save me from the nothing I've become.. I can hear it a thousand times and always imagine Mica walking through the row of maple trees on her way to visit her abandoned childhood home. Gives me goosebumps every time. Evanescence - Bring Me To Life - YouTube
5. THANK MY MAMA: I have many people to thank over the last 15 years of publishing, but tonight I'm calling my mom and letting her know how instrumental she has been throughout my writing career. My mother is a tough nut to please. Imagine Gru's mother, played by Julie Andrews, in the funny film, Despicable Me. "Hey, Mom, do you like this chapter?" "Eh." "What about this story idea? Do you like this one??" "Eh." But when my mother was done reading Wake the Hollow, she put it down and said, "Wow, muy bueno." I almost died. I probably cried. No, I definitely cried. Not that my mom is the last word in YA fiction or anything, but I'd finally written something she truly loved, and because of that, I didn't abandon the manuscript like I almost did. I thought no one would get it, no one would care about this plot or these characters, and I was wrong. Turns out I'd written my first real mystery thriller after years of writing romantic teen comedy. Turns out it wasn't half bad.
So there. That's my To-Do List for tonight. HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO ME! Hope you'll join me online to celebrate tonight, tomorrow, and many more.
Hey guys! This has been a long time coming. I started this book in 2008. 2008!!!!! That's the year I joined Facebook, for crying out loud. The story went through several versions, countless revisions, and has finally pulled itself together, and now I get to share this amazing cover with you. Isn't it insanely gorgeous????!!!
Like most of my covers, I wasn't sure what to think at first. Me being a Halloween Queen, I probably envisioned the headless horseman with a pumpkin or some such, but it only took like 5 seconds for this interpretation to grow on me, and now I love it. It shows my Latina main character (#WeNeedDiverseBooks), it shows the creepy forest in the background, and the title is nice and BAM!
Here's a description of my modern-day Legend of Sleepy Hollow:
Forget the ghosts, Mica. It’s real, live people you should fear.
Tragedy has brought Micaela Burgos back to her hometown of Sleepy Hollow. It’s been six years since she chose to live with her father in Miami instead of her eccentric mother. And now her mother is dead.
This town will suck you in and not let go.
Sleepy Hollow may be famous for its fabled headless horseman, but the town is real. So are its prejudices and hatred, targeting Mica’s family as outsiders. But ghostly voices carry on the wind, whispering that her mother’s death was based on hate…not an accident at all. With the help of two very different guys—who pull at her heart in very different ways—Micaela must awaken the hidden secret of Sleepy Hollow…before she meets her mother’s fate.
Find the answers.
Unless, of course, the answers find you first.
I hope you like it and will share to let others know to look out for it. If you'd like to pre-order, click here!