January 31, 2019

'Slasher Movie Girl': The Bloody Plot


Some of you reading this may already know that I spent most of 2018 finishing my teen horror novel, Slasher Movie Girl, a passion project (for lack of a better cliché) more than two years in the making. Tapping into my obsessive knowledge of horror movies, I came up with an idea that was begging to be put to paper. And 80,000 words later, here we are.

The next hurdle was landing an agent, and I was fortunate to find one who believed in my book and appreciated the story I wanted to tell. After signing with a reputable lit agency, I spent the summer working on the unfinished chapters. Once I completed a round of edits, my agent felt the manuscript was ready to be sent out into the publishing world. And this past fall, the literary baby I had birthed was placed in the hands of faceless strangers who would determine its fate.

For the curious, below is the novel's plot summary from the pitch letter that went out to those strangers -- editors at publishing houses across the country:

18 year-old college freshman Heather Farnsworth is supposed to be a "Final Girl"--the last girl killed in a horror film. Except this isn't a horror film, it's real life. Heather, a virgin, is determined to finally get the attention of Adam Kozlowski, a bookish loner with a few secrets of his own.

After a lackluster freshman year, Heather and her friends escape to spend a weekend at a luxury cabin in the woods. The one condition of the trip: everyone must unplug and go completely off-grid, leaving their phones locked in a box in a shed in the woods.

When Heather volunteers to collect logs to start a fire one night, she finds herself on the end of a bloody machete--becoming the first victim of a masked killer who roams the forest. As a self-proclaimed horror movie fangirl with an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre, Heather should have seen this coming. Now reduced to a "human shish-kebab," Heather is beyond frustrated. She'll never know what it's like to kiss Adam or to legally buy a beer. And now she's stuck in some sort of purgatory, filled with regrets about what could have been.

Meanwhile, Matt Feeney, the hipster host of the weekend, entertains a trio of mean girls: Maya Vasquez, a Kardashian wannabe with a heart of gold, Olivia Ringwald, a former cheerleader who is smarter than she appears, and Phoebe Sutton, who worships Olivia. Olivia is also dating Max Reynolds, a meathead with too many shirtless Instagram selfies. And then there's poor Delia Brookhart, Heather's best friend, crushing on Tyler Kento...who happens to be in the closet.
Over the next 48 hours, Heather will reflect on her short, pop-culture-obsessed life while offering biting commentary on the horror movie genre and watching helplessly as her friends fall prey to the mythological masked madman. Even though she's just a ghost, can Heather somehow use her knowledge of scary movies to help her friends survive the weekend?


Slasher Movie Girl takes the bloody body count of Friday the 13th or Scream and reveals what life is like -- from the afterlife (in the vein of The Lovely Bones or If I Stay). The narrative occasionally switches perspective to present the thoughts of Heather's so-called friends. By the end of the story, stereotypes will be shattered and secrets will be revealed in a cabin in the woods that none of these characters will want to revisit.

After reading the pitch letter and proposal, interest was piqued, and a number of editors requested to read the full manuscript.

I now welcome any kind of response at this point, especially since this story has been living inside my head for the past two years, and sharing it with fresh pairs of (professional) eyes may be able to offer some new perspective on what I hope will be an good sell.

I realize this is an ongoing process; a debut author doesn't just hit it big overnight.

Here's to whatever comes next.

@TheFirstEcho

January 21, 2019

Fleur East's New Single is My New "Favourite Thing"


I've been an admirer of Fleur East ever since I fell in love with "Sax," an irresistible, energetic 2016 jam that was The Best Summer Song That Never Was. (But at least it got me a shout-out on Guy Branum's podcast, Pop Rocket, when I offered it for "official summer jam" consideration back then.)

Anyway, the former X-Factor contestant is back with a new single for 2019. It's called "Favourite Thing" (yes, she's British, hence the title's spelling). It includes an infectious fusion of Afrobeats and sensual pop. And the music video visually touches upon the singer's Ghanian roots.

In other words, I frickin' love it. You will too:

@TheFirstEcho

January 10, 2019

ASCEND: The 2019 Winter Playlist


I'm a little late getting this out, and that's because it's been slim pickings out there during these winter doldrums. But I managed to find 30+ tracks to keep you warmed up while you try to hold onto those New Year's resolutions that will mostly likely fall through by MLK weekend. (Or is that just me?)

While Ariana was too late to make it on the previous playlist, Troye Sivan arrives just in time with a new single (and video), and new-to-me artist Roosevelt is wooing me with his neo-disco magic (see track 4). Then there are a few veterans who dominated the charts back in 1999: Backstreet Boys return with a new single, album, and tour while Jennifer Lopez has her Sia-penned anthem, straight from the soundtrack to her latest movie, Second Act. (That Vanessa Hudgens plot twist -- really?)

Anyway...enjoy:

@TheFirstEcho

January 04, 2019

The Backstreet Boys Are Backstreet Daddies in the Music Video for “No Place”


AJ, Howie, Kevin, Brian, and Nick are getting BSB fans ready for the release of their new album, DNA (dropping January 25), with the video premiere of “No Place,” a tender, acoustic ode to their domesticated lives. In other words, it’s a chance for the Boys to proudly show off where they are in their lives, enjoying quality time with their respective fams. The video is an adorable series of vignettes in which each singer interacts with his brood.

By the end of it, you’ll probably ask yourself the question that’s been screaming inside our heads: How the hell is Brian the father of a teenager???

Check it out:

@TheFirstEcho

UNDER THE SUN: The 2019 Summer Playlist

Before everyone goes their separate ways for the long Memorial Day weekend, please direct your attention to the 40+ songs I've gather...