Monday, 3 August 2015

Pitch Wars 2015 Mentor Bio!!

Hey Team!!

My name is Jenna and I'm a mentor for Brenda Drake's #PitchWars contest this year!

Let's jump right into the goods now, shall we?

About Me:
I'm a mom/wife/reader/writer from Calgary, Alberta...(Canada). I'm represented by the amazing Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. I write both YA and MG. I tend to stick to horror but have been known to dabble in thrillers / dark contemporaries if the mood strikes.

I love ALL things horror: books, movies, TV shows, forums, art, whatever gives you the chills, I want it. I also love tea, carbs, attempting to cook, dogs Matt, and tiny humans named Jasper.  

And you know what else I like? Your manuscript.

Why me?

Because I'm awesome!

Oh, you need more than that? Well. I found my agent with my third book, so I know all about the dark, stanky trenches. I've made some bad career choices, which has taught me a lot about what NOT to do. Learn from me, grasshopper.

I'm super accessible, so if you have a question or something you want to brainstorm about, I'm here for you!

Pick me because I will be 100% dedicated to making your MS sparkle like a freaking diamond. I want you to get an agent. I want you to get that drool-worthy announcement in Publisher's Marketplace. I want you to get a sick movie deal and cast me with Robert Pattinson (my Twilight love will NEVER die).

What I'm looking for (MG ONLY):

1. I'm going to get into some genres I'm interested in, but it really comes down to VOICE. Introduce me to a character I want to adventure with and I'm yours.

2. Like I said above, I LOVE horror. And not just horror. Give me your thrillers, your mysteries, your dark, intense contemporaries (but send your lovely, happy ones somewhere else <3). If someone has shuddered while reading your MS, send me your application. If you have to research with the lights on, I want your words. Nay....I need them.

3. I love stories that - regardless of the subject manner - have some heart. I love love love stories that mix real life issues with the horror/thrillers etc. I want your haunted-hospital-exploring-MC to be searching for a cure for her grandmother while she's fending off ghosts.  (YEAR OF SHADOWS is one of my favourite MGs of all time. So if that's a comp title for you, please pick me :)  )

4. I love a good twist. Especially if there are a few red herrings to throw me off along the way.

5. I miiiiight be interested in urban fantasies, but they have to be super original and the writing needs to be on point. 

I'm not the mentor you're looking for if you write:

Fluffy contemporary
High/epic fantasy
Science Fiction
Westerns (unless it has any of the characters from Tombstone. Then I might be down)


I can forgive a not-so-hot query if the pages are fantastic, but it doesn't work the other way around.

I'm a good person to work with if:

You prefer a 3-5 page edit letter (maybe longer - I tend to ramble). I'll go through your MS and leave in-line notes, but I'm most likely to address issues in the letter.

*If I notice one big thing off the bat i.e.: WAY too many dialogue tags, I'll probably mention that as something to get started on while I finish reading*

If our schedules are meshing well, I'm totally open to do as many rounds as we can fit in before the agent round. I know that life happens, and revising more than once probably won't happen, but I'm open to it.

Books I love:

This is just a mixed category list of some books I've loved: WHEN YOU REACH ME, THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST, YEAR OF SHADOWS, SHARP OBJECTS, THE WINNER'S CURSE, AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, THE GIRL FROM THE WELL, and I'm currently reading THE NIGHT GARDENER and loving it so far. 

Remember to double-check your query for spelling mistakes and HAVE FUN!!

If I don't tickle your fancy, someone below surely will!

Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Auto-Linky widget will appear right here!This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.If this widget does not appear, click here to display it.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Charlie, Charlie, are you here?

Hello Kittens!

As most of you know, I'm a giant horror fan. If you don't know that, I really need to work on this whole brand thing. Anyway, another thing I love is advanced movie screenings. When you mix the two together, you have one happy Jenna.

Last night, the two came together fantastically and I went and saw the advanced screening of THE GALLOWS. This name sound familiar from the "Charlie, Charlie, are you here?" viral video that went around a month or so ago. If you STILL don't know what I'm talking about, here is the trailer!

The evening started off with a little giveaway. Pro Tip: Always know a few little bits of trivia about the movie you're going to see. Most of the answers are in the trailer :) I won myself this sweet swag pack!

I LOVE the t-shirt!

Now, let us get to the goods. 

20 years after a tragic accident, a high school drama class is about to present the play that started it all...THE GALLOWS. 

Only they don't get to the play part. The night before the play is set to open, the star (Reese), his jock best buddy (Ryan) and his cheerleader girlfriend (Kassidy), break into the theater to destroy the set. Though this may seem like a dick move (and it kind of is) they have honorable intentions at heart. Reese is a miserable actor but unfortunately he's starring aside his crush, Pfeifer, the girl who brought the show back to life in the first place. Rather than bomb on opening night, Reese and his friends think Pfeifer will handle a broken set better than a bad show.

A few broken trees and a partially deconstructed hangman set (the Gallows, I guess) later, they hear a loud bang. Pfeifer shows up and is super upset that Reese would even consider damaging the set. While Reese chases after his sobbing lady love, Kassidy and Ryan soon discover they're locked in the school...and they're not alone.

Dun Dunn Dunnnnnn.

The rest of the movie is spent following the teens around as they taunt, and then flee, Charlie, our noose-wielding ghost.

While THE GALLOWS (TG) does nothing too original to earn it's shrieks, it earns them none the less. Whenever that white noise kicks in (ie: PARANORMAL ACTIVITY), you just know something scary is about to happen. A fair number of scenes had the camera staring into the dark, where sometimes a hangman's mask-wearing ghost lurked with his constantly-creaking noose. 

There's a tricky little twist at the end that I didn't see coming until it was thrown right in my face...and I'm usually pretty good at twists.

You will like (perhaps love) this flick if you: Are a horror buff in general, were even remotely involved with theater in high school,  or are afraid of hanging / the dark / heights. 

You won't like it if you: Are sick of found footage movies or get nauseous easily. 

Since I don't have a legit rating system, I"ll give this one a very solid 3.5/ 5.

Will you check out THE GALLOWS this weekend??


Tuesday, 2 June 2015

It's Movie Time with Jenna!

Ello lovelies!

So life has been crazy. If you follow me on twitter (and if you don't, you should. I'm funny. Sometimes), you know that I recently had a baby! I'm going to do a big old post about my wonderful little peanut, Jasper, but here is a little snapshot.

I know all parents think their kid is the freaking cutest, but come on. Look at that little man. Ugh. Brb. I need to go kiss his tiny face.

*Smooch break*

Okay, I'm back. So even though I've been crazy busy, I've managed to fit in a few writing days. I'm working on a YA horror my agent and I brainstormed up one afternoon before the wee one made his appearance. Part of my drafting process is immersing myself in the genre - books, music, movies, etc. Needless to say, my 3 am feedings have gotten pretty freaky.

I thought it be fun to share some of the sweet movies I've seen...just in case you're a fellow horror buff :)

The first is IT FOLLOWS. Gah, this one was incredible. It is this muted, chill movie  some parts are so intense it's hard to watch without constantly looking over your shoulder. I love how it had no specific time era - it was a mash of the 70s to present day. Also, I really like the clam shell e-reader...if anyone is in the mood to invent something.

If you like horror comedies, then TUSK is for you. This one takes place in the motherland (Canada, obvs) and stars one of my faves, Justin Long. Haley Joel Osment is also in it. When I saw THE SIXTH SENSE for the first time, I stayed up reading my children's bible until 6 am.

TUSK is about a fella who does a podcast focusing on viral videos, weird stories, etc. When a lead falls through, he spends the night with a gentleman who tells him an interesting tale about a walrus. The rest is...well...I'll let you see for yourself.

Finally, we have WILLOW CREEK. If you grew up anywhere even remotely woodsy, you've probably heard of the Sasquatch (Bigfoot for all you city folk ;)  The story of the possibly carnivorous biped was my go-to campfire story. I scared a lot of kids, even when I was one myself. 

Anyhoo, the story of WC is told using found footage*. It follows a Bigfoot enthusiast who is determined to check out a famous Bigfoot sighting location. With his lovely girlfriend in tow, they take off into the woods to hopefully catch a glimpse themselves. 

While the majority of WC isn't scary, the last twenty minutes  is so suspenseful my jaw ached from clenching it. If you watch it, make sure you have a pillow (or baby) to hug when they get into the tent for the night. You'll know it when it happens.

Since WC is woefully gif-less, here's the trailer. I have no idea if the trailer will actually play or not.

Well, that's a wrap on my recommendations for the day. Hopefully you'll like those flicks as much as I did.


** UNFRIENDED was another awesome found footage-style movie. Though it wasn't super scary, the style was refreshing.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Good Morning, Kittens!!

As you can tell, I'm completely dreadful at keeping my blog updated. I'll do better.  Anyhow, I'm blogging today for a very awesome, super fun reason!

This lovely lady is Marci Lyn Curtis, my agency sista-from-anotha-mista. You can learn all about her just below!


Marci Curtis grew up in Northern California, where she went to college and met an amazing guy in a military uniform. Two college-aged kids and one dachshund later, she lives in Maryland, where she laughs too loudly and eats peanut butter off spoons. Her YA contemporary debut, The One Thing, comes out September 8th, 2015 via Disney-Hyperion. Learn more about her at

Along with her bio, I sent Marci a couple interview questions to pick from, and here are the ones she chose.

Did you ever feel like giving up? 
I know this sounds strange, but no. The story had been picking at my brain for a year-plus before I started writing it. All I wanted was to get it down on paper and out of my head. Don’t get me wrong—I had a lot of doubts about what I’d actually do with it once it was finished. But when it came right down to it, I was a closet-writer and had nothing to lose, so I just went for it. 
Even when I started subbing it out to agents, I was like, Well, what’s the worst they can do? Reject it? I was lucky enough to nab Kathleen Rushall—the most enthusiastic and dedicated agent on the planet—lucky to land with the insanely brilliant Laura Schreiber at Disney-Hyperion. 

So I guess there’s a benefit to tripping and falling into the publishing world. I didn’t know enough about how things worked to even consider giving up. And luckily, I’m still pretty clueless. ;)
What is your favorite line/bit of dialogue?
There are a few lines toward the end of the story that I believe in strongly. They’re about the messy growth that occurs after tragedy strikes, about what happens to us when we weather through heartbreak and disaster: 
What was different about me wasn’t me: it was what I noticed. What I paid attention to. After all, circumstances don’t change us. They reveal us.

Awesome answers - and I totally echo that Kathleen is the greatest agent on the planet :D

Now, without further ado, here's the blurb for THE ONE THING. (I bet you thought it was going to be the cover....Patience, grasshopper)


A soaring tale of life and love, of sacrifice and renewal, and learning to see people as they really are.

Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won't invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie's rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.

Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn't interested in rehabilitation, not when she's still mourning the loss of her professional soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.

When Maggie first meets Ben, she thinks she can add crazy to her list of problems. But the precocious ten-year-old isn't a hallucination. Maggie can actually see him. She immediately befriends the kid, desperate for any chance to see again.

It turns out Ben's older brother is Mason Milton, the ridiculously hot lead singer of Maggie's new favorite band. Music is the first thing that has made Maggie feel alive since losing her sight. But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future...before she loses everything she has grown to love.


Now, I'm lucky enough to have already started reading this, but once I saw the cover, I had overwhelming feelings of:

Okay, for reals now, here is the cover for Marci Lyn Curtis' YA contemporary, THE ONE THING.

ISN'T THAT BEAUTIFUL?!  I love the color scheme and font. The pink just jumps out at you and Marci's name looks was born to be on covers :)

Now I'm sure you're wondering how you can add this beauty to your TBR lists and follow Marci, so here you go.

If you're interested in a giveaway (and who isn't?), you can head here and enter!

Happy Cover Reveal, Marci!!