Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Time

Being summer in New Zealand, it is time for my family to go away for a little sun, sand and surf at the beach. The boogie boards are loaded, a ridiculous amount of baby gear is jammed into the car and first thing tomorrow morning we are off to spend Christmas with my family then head to the gorgeous Pauanui Beach.

Ahhhh - vacation. It's good for the soul.

I will only have intermitted internet access while I'm away. I intend to keep promoting, and participating, in the Debutante Ball Tour, but other than that I will not be blogging again until January 2nd when I announce the winners.

I hope everyone has a very blessed and happy Christmas.
I'll see you in 2012!!

YA Indie Carnival - Secret Santa Winners Revealed!!

YA writers and bloggers unite each week to share their thoughts, hopes and dreams about what it's like going indie in today's publishing world.


Yay - I love being able to give stuff away at Christmas. It's the coolest feeling ever.

It is with great pleasure that I announce the following winners...

J. C. Martin won an ecopy of Screwing Up Time by C. M. Keller

Jessica T won an ecopy of Forbidden by Megan Curd

Bearrocks101 won an ecopy of Darkspell by Elizabeth Mueller


I will be in touch shortly and send the ebooks your way.

To find out who won the GRAND PRIZE go to:

... and to check out more winners, visit the other YA Indie Carnival sites...

I hope everyone has a really happy and blessed Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Another Chance To Win

I had the privilege of having Golden Blood reviewed on The Book Labyrinth... and today my interview is up with a chance for people to win a free copy of Golden Blood.

It's definitely worth stopping by. People are leaving comments on where they'd travel too if they had the ability to flit back in time. Very cool.

Hope you can make it for a visit!

Monday, December 19, 2011

What To Say?

I always have a ton of things I want to blog about. I have a list on my desktop, which grows continually, but when I look at it this morning, I'm just not sure which topic to choose.

SO - since I am involved in a couple of cool giveaways, I thought I'd take the chance to do a little more promo before they both finish up.

The Debutante Ball, A Feast of Debut Authors is a fantastic blog tour introducing you to a whole heap of debut authors and their fantastic books. Check out my side bar for details. It is definitely worth following along. Everyone has really cool stuff to giveaway and all you have to do is leave a comment! I'm having so much fun reading everyone's posts and finding out which actors each author would pick to play their MC. Super fun.

You can either follow along on this blog or you are most welcome to join us on Facebook as well.

The tour runs until December 31st. 

The other cool event that I'm having so much fun with is the YA Indie Carnival Secret Santa Giveaway. A whole bunch of carni's are giving away ebooks on their sites, PLUS there is a grand prize with a TON of ebooks to win. Again - all you have to do to enter is leave a comment telling us why you've been naughty or nice this year.

This event ends on December 23rd.

There is a world of new authors and books to discover constantly, but it's great when you get some guidance from cool events like these. I hope you have fun checking them out. It's a really fun way to get into the Christmas spirit.

Friday, December 16, 2011

YA Indie Canival - Secret Santa

YA writers and bloggers unite each week to share their thoughts, hopes and dreams about what it's like going indie in today's publishing world.

Remember when you were in school and someone decorated your locker with wrapping paper and candy canes and big red bows? Today there’s a note taped to the outside of your locker. 

It reads:

Enter the Secret Santa Giveaway from Dec. 16 to Dec. 22, 3PM Pacific and on Friday, Dec. 23, Noon Pacific you could find TONS of books inside! 

GRAND PRIZE: A Kindle or Nook copy of the books featured on the Grand Prize List!

To enter the Secret Santa GRAND PRIZE Giveaway just FOLLOW & comment on a carni’s site telling us why you’ve been naughty or nice this year. Each carni will have individual giveaways too, so be sure to visit all the carnis to win as many books as possible!

ALL WINNERS ANNOUNCED 12/23/2011, Noon Pacific.

And in this blog's Santa Sack are three amazing books by three amazing authors...

Screwing Up Time by C. M. Keller

Mark Montgomery is a slacker content with his life. He’s a senior at New Haven Prep, has a great friend, and after graduation he’ll get a brand new sports car from his parents, assuming he stays out of trouble. Then, she comes into his life—Miranda with her I-just-escaped-from-a-Renaissance-Fair clothing. Only, she hasn’t. She has come from Bodiam Castle in the Middle Ages and demands a secret ingredient and a book of recipes for traveling through the treacherous colors of time. Although Mark has never even heard of either before, he must find them, or Miranda will die. To save her, Mark must break into a psych hospital to visit his grandfather who once tried to kill him, pass through the colors of time, take on a medieval alchemist, prevent Miranda’s marriage to a two-timing baron, and keep it all hidden from his parents. The sports car is definitely in trouble.

C. M. Keller is an award winning novelist who lives in Tennessee with her husband, four children, and a black Lab named Jezebel. In her spare time, she searches for that elusive unicorn horn, so she can travel through time too. She's working hard on her next YA novel, the second book in Mark and Miranda's store and invites you to visit her blogs: or

Forbidden by Megan Curd

Levi's job is to protect his human until it's their time to go. That's what a Guard does. He's done it for years on end, and he'll spend his eternity doing the same, mundane thing, following the same, mundane rules.

...Watch from afar.
...Never share your name.
...And above all, never touch a human.

What Levi doesn't know is that his newest human to protect, Hannah, just might be the catalyst to tipping the scales between good and evil, and he will be forced to decide which side he belongs to. Which friends will he side with, and who will he ultimately protect: his human, or the delicate balance that hangs on stopping the heartbeat of the person he has sworn to protect?

And, when you're already condemned, what's there to lose by breaking the rules?

Megan Curd is a graduate of Northwestern College with a degree in Intercultural Studies. While she has enjoyed reading her entire life, she began writing during college finals in 2010 at the encouragement of a friend. The result was her first book, BRIDGER, and she's never looked back!

While not writing, Megan enjoys spending time with family and friends, snowboarding, listening to music, and playing xBox with her brother. Her favorite bands are Muse, The Black Keys, Florence + The Machine, and Bon Iver. Megan currently resides in Eau Claire, Wisconsin with her husband, son, and two dogs.

Darkspell by Elizabeth Mueller

Winter Sky believes she is everything ordinary ... until she is kissed by Alex Stormhold.

As seer of Stormhold Coven, Alex is sworn to be Winter's protector against the darkness that hunts her. Violently thrust into a magical realm she always thought impossible, she stumbles upon a disturbing secret of her own.

Will love prove thicker than magic? 

Elizabeth Mueller knew that books couldn’t bite, but even though she never admitted, she was scared of them. What she didn’t know, ironically, was that she was building her way toward a career in books. She started writing poetry when she was 9, and stories when she was 11 that make her laugh now. It wasn’t until her creative writing teacher in 12th grade made her realize there was more to writing than life. That’s when she fell in love with books. She hasn’t stopped since, feverishly working to perfect the craft late into the night. She lives with her husband, four kids, a wolfdog, and two cats. Darkspell is her first novel. You can find her at or

Entry to this contest is super easy!

You can either:

LIKE my author page on Facebook.
Follow me on Twitter.
Join this site.

If you want to do all three, that's fine too :) Just let me know what you've done in the comments section. I'll give you one entry for each thing you do. If you've already done all those things in the past, still let me know, I'll pop you into the competition too. Trust me, you want to win one of these books.

And remember, for entry into the GRAND PRIZE, all you have to do is tell me why you've been naughty or nice this year :)

Have fun hopping around the different carni sites.

This really is the most wonderful time of the year!

1.Laura A. H. Elliott author of Winnemucca & 13 on Halloween, Book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series
2.Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3.Heather Self
4.T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series
5.Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
6.Darby Karchut, author of GRIFFIN RISING
7.Lexus Luke
8.Cheri Schmidt, author of the Fateful Trilogy
9.Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog
10.K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
11.Patti Larsen, The Hunted series and The Hayle Coven series
12.Amy Maurer Jones, Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy
13.Dani Snell's Refracted Light Reviews
14.Fisher Amelie, author of The Understorey
15.M. Leighton, Blood Like Poison Series, Madly, The Reaping
16.Abbi Glines, author of Breathe and The Vincent Boys
17.Kimberly Kinrade, Bits of You & Pieces of Me, Forbidden Mind
18.Madeline Smoot, Missing, Summer Shorts, and The Girls
19.Cidney Swanson, author of Rippler
20.Gwenn Wright, author of Filter
21.TG Ayer
22.Melissa Pearl, author of Golden Blood

Interview with J. C. Hart

For those of you who missed it, I had the awesome opportunity to be interviewed by J. C. Hart. She is a great kiwi writer who does FANTASTIC book reviews as well. She's definitely worth checking out. Her blog is a little beauty and her reviews are trustworthy.

You can find her on Goodreads and here is her website Just Cassie.

She is also part of a group of authors who review books. This is where you'll find my interview.
The questions were fantastic and it was really fun answering them.

Hope you are all having a fantastic week.

Don't forget to keep checking out the Debutante Ball - A Feast of Debut Authors. There are some fantastic authors to check out and great prizes to win. All you have to do is a leave a comment!

And for those of you just LOVE winning things, there is another opportunity this week with the YA Indie Carnival Secret Santa Giveaway. There is an awesome grand prize with a ton of great books plus each Indie Carnival site will have their own giveaways. I will be posting this on line soon, so make sure you come visit and be in with a chance to win.

I look forward to seeing you around.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Debutante Ball, A Feast of Debut Authors

Announcing Golden Blood YA Paranormal by Melissa Pearl

Gemma never meant to fall in love with Harrison, let alone tell him she could travel through time. But it's too late... her secret is out and now she must face the consequences of her decisions.

Unable to resist each other, the two teens ignore all the rules and dive into the unknown. And so begins a battle to save their love and their lives. 

"Ms. Pearl's debut novel is YA and a reading treat. She kept me guessing until the end, setting up conflicts and mysteries that bounced my emotions around. As the MC grows in character, she gets the proverbial rug pulled out from under her. Great storyline."

"I loved this book! Harrison and Gemma were engaging, and the plot pacing was great. The author does a good job of satisfying the reader while making them salivate for the next book."
Author, C. M. Keller -

Pick up your very own copy of Golden Blood, YA Paranormal Romance at Amazon or Smashwords.

Read the first 20% of the book here.

If I was sucked into Golden Blood, I'd be Gemma. She is a girl desperate to follow the rules and win her parents' approval, but keeps missing the mark. It gets worse when she falls in love with Harrison, a boy her parents would never approve of. Although he makes her happier than anyone ever has, she is still plagued with fear that her parents will find out she's been lying to them and take it all away.

If my ultimate dream came true and my book was made into a movie, I'd be the happiest person alive. In my mind, Gemma looks like Megan Fox and Harrison looks like Alex Pettyfer.

Want more of Golden Blood? Of course you do! 
And you want to know the best part? 
Book 2 in the series is due out tomorrow!! 
So I'm throwing in a copy of Black Blood for you to enjoy as well.

1st prize: ecopies of Golden Blood & Black Blood, plus a $15 Amazon gift card
2nd & 3rd prizes: ecopies of Golden Blood & Black Blood

This is what you'll get just by leaving a comment--but wait!
The more shout outs you do on Facebook, Twitter or where you hang, the more chances you get to win! Just let me know what you've done in this post! (one entry per shout out per day--YES, per day!)

Contest ends on December 31st.

All WINNERS will be announced on January 2nd, on respective author blogs. (Unless otherwise noted.)

Want to win some more? Please follow the author names and dates below! Good luck and have FUN!

12 Elizabeth Mueller

13 Regan Guerra

14 Melissa Pearl

15 Claudia Lefeve

17 Pendragon Innmen 

19 Alex J. Cavanaugh

21 Fiauna Lund

22 Anastasia V. Pergakis

23 H. Linn Murphy

27 Patti Larsen

28 Red Tash

29 Annetta Ribken

Sunday, December 11, 2011

You Are Invited To The Best Party Ever...

The Debutante Ball of Debut Authors starts tomorrow. There is an awesome line up of authors for you to discover and enjoy, plus a ton of prizes to win. Make sure you don't miss out.

Here is the list of Debutantes. We look forward to seeing you there.

12 Elizabeth Mueller

13 Regan Guerra

14 Melissa Pearl

15 Claudia Lefeve

17 Pendragon Innmen 

19 Alex J. Cavanaugh

21 Fiauna Lund

22 Anastasia V. Pergakis

23 H. Linn Murphy

27 Patti Larsen

28 Red Tash

29 Annetta Ribken

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Let Me Tell You A Story

Yay - my guest post is up on Book Pixie!

She asked me to tell her a story about my writing. It was a very fun post to write and I hope you all enjoy it.

Briana has a fantastic blog that is definitely worth visiting. She runs prizes, reviews a ton of books and really advocates for the authors. She's an awesome person :)

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

YA Indie Carnival - Cover Love

YA writers and bloggers unite each week to share their thoughts, hopes and dreams about what it's like going indie in today's publishing world.

Today is all about cover love. Ahhh - book covers, I really do love them. They are, after all, usually our first impression of a book. Some have been done well, some could be done better. I have had to think carefully about cover art and I'll tell you why....

For those of you who have been asking, the answer is yes... I am going to be bringing the Time Spirit Trilogy out in paperback. Wohoo!! Can you tell I'm excited?

The plan was to originally release Golden Blood in paperback in January. I used Createspace to set everything up. My proof arrived! I held my breath as I excitedly ripped it open... then my shoulders slumped and I frowned.

It was wrong.

It was just all wrong.

For one, I had formatted the book incorrectly and it was more like a pamphlet than a book - easy mistake to fix. The cover looked good, but just not quite right. I LOVED the back cover, but something wasn't working on the front.

I Skyped my friend immediately to lament and she gave me some feedback from her daughter and some of her friends. Basically my cover wasn't cutting it with teens. Now, I love my cover and I have had some great feedback on it. I had a very clear vision in my head and the graphic designer did exactly what I asked them to.

But, you know what? I think I got it wrong.

A fan did a mock up cover for me a couple weeks ago and I shared it on my Facebook page, because I thought it was so stunning. It got a great response... and rightly so. She captured the essence of Gemma and made it sexy and appealing.

I had to sit back and ask myself a few questions... What do I want my cover to say? What emotion do I want to convey? What are teens looking for in covers? Which covers are loved?

So, I checked out the Top 100 covers of 2010 and 2011 on Goodreads... I also hunted down some covers that are due out in 2012. I also spent some time specifically looking for indie covers... the people who don't have a huge publishing company behind them... people like me.

It was interesting to see which covers attracted me. I think everyone has a bit of a preference.

I love faces or close up shots of magical looking objects. Eyes attract me too. I like the title to be twirly & fancy... or at least have twirls and fanciness surrounding the letters. I also love the background to have a little depth... a few things going on.

Here are three indie covers that really jumped out at me...

I have learned so much from my browsing and have come up with some great concepts that I can't wait to make happen. I will continue with my digital series for now, because I want to release the books when I said I would, but come March, The Time Spirit Trilogy will be coming out with spiffy new covers that hopefully hit the mark a little better. 

Have you ever had to design a cover before? What questions need to be asked? Which covers do you love?

Find out what catches the eye of other indie goers here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Do Unto Authors

The writing world is a very cool place to hang out. Everyone is so supportive of each other. Everyone seems to want everyone else to succeed.

I don't know many fields of work that are so pro at promoting each other.

It is very much a give and take world though. If an author, blogger or reader does something nice for me, I want to repay the favour.

There are so many small things we can do to help each other out. Retweeting, sharing the love on your own blog or Facebook page, talking to your friends about a cool writer you've just discovered, following various blogs and twitter folk, working together on blog tours. It's all so easy and does a world of good for building relationships... and your own writing career.

I have met some totally fabulous people on this journey.

I find it really easy to get sucked into that vortex where it becomes all about me. I have limited time, so it's easy to quickly punch out a blog, post it, post a few tweets, maybe something on Facebook and forget to pay attention to anybody else.

I've learned, very quickly, that that gets me nowhere.

Take the time to give a little and you'll be happily surprised with what you get back.

So - the moral of this little post is:

Do unto authors (bloggers, tweeters, etc.), as you would have them do unto you.

What "give and take" things have you experienced in the writing world lately?

PS - don't forget to check out the Black Blood Contest on YAlicious - some cool prizes to be won :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Black Blood Giveaway Contest

Hey everyone :)

Check out details for Black Blood contest on my YAlicious blog... and spread the word.

So excited about the book's release on December 15th.

Hope everyone is having a great day :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's Tour Time

I am about to participate in my first blog tour. EEEPPP!!! Super excited. It's so fun to get together with authors, find out what they're up to and work as one to get our stuff out there.

The tour is called... wait for it....

The Debutante Ball of Debut Authors

That's right - a bunch of us debut authors are putting on our frills and make up, donning our expensive jackets and presenting ourselves to a world full of eager bookworms.

It would be awesome if you could join us on this cool trip. It runs from Dec 12th - 30th. Keep an eye out for the list of names and dates each member will be appearing.

It's totally worth your while to follow along as:
One - you'll be able to add some great new books to your "to-read" list
Two - you'll get to know a few fantastic authors... and...
Three - there are some really cool prizes to be won

Prize winners will be announced on all blogs at the end of the tour.

As you can see - there is uber fun to be had. Don't miss out.
Hope to see you there!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

YA Indie Carnival - Fiction Pie

YA writers and bloggers unite each week to share their thoughts, hopes and dreams about what it's like going indie in today's publishing world.

Today's post is all about how to plot a good story. Every one has a different method or style that suits them best. Here's my recipe.

The broth of my story usually simmers in my head for at least a few weeks, sometimes even a month or two. I find leaving it there to bubble brings out the best flavours. I have a document that I continually open and add scenes to during this time, so when I am ready to sit down and start seriously plotting I have pages of jumbled notes to work with.

I then take this broth and start adding the meat. Where do I want my story to go? What do I really want it to say? How do I want my characters to develop? What types of lessons do I want them to learn? Which POV would give the story the best edge? What type of voice and feel am I going for?

As I analyze my different story arcs, I am able to cross off some of the scenes from my document and add more depth to the scenes that are there. I still have room to move within this plan, but it's a great starting point. This way, I can ensure that the story stays at a good pace, has the right types of climaxes and covers the journey in a way the reader will enjoy.

I then need to think about adding the vegetables - these add colour and vibrance to the dish. This is where character profiling comes in. I know characters grow and develop as the story is written, but I think they need a clear back story. I like to know their personality type, I like to know what events in their past have shaped who they are at the time of the story. I like to know what they look like so I can picture how they move and what little quirks make them unique. I want to know about their family interactions and how this effects the way they treat others. We are all influenced by our upbringing and I really enjoy exploring that aspect of my characters.

So my stew is happily brewing. I'm writing scenes, I'm adding to my character profiles as I go and I'm watching the story become this yummy treat to read.

Then comes the taste test. It's usually not too bad, but there are definitely some herbs and spices that could be added. Have I made the scenes colourful and impacting? Is there any scene that is just not cutting it - do I rework it or lose it? This is where I really see if my plotting is heading in the right direction. I usually taste as I go - rereading and tweaking before moving onto the next part. I write my story sequentially so it's easy to go back and read where I'm up to each time. I feel like it keeps my head in the game.

Once I'm happy with the taste, I can dish it out to others and see what they have to say. That's the hardest part, I guess. Like any good chef, I never want to see a wrinkled nose and scrunched up grimace!

So that's my recipe for constructing a good story.
What's yours?

See how the other YA Indie Carnival goers construct their stories...

Here's what's new at YA Indie Carnival this week.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Giveaway Time!

It's December!! YAY! I love this month. You all know why, don't you?
That's right - Christmas is coming!

I love this time of year. Christmas is the coolest season ever. You get to decorate things, string up fairy lights, catch up with family and friends... and best of all, you get to give presents to each other.

I love giving gifts to people. It's one of my favourite things to do.

So in celebration of this awesome season AND in the build up to the release of Black Blood (later this month), I am giving away Golden Blood for the next two weeks.

Go to Smashwords and enter this coupon number AP58L to get your free copy.

I hope you manage to nab yourself a copy and I really hope you enjoy it.

Feel free to spread the word as far and wide as you like - Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, - whatever takes your fancy :)

Keep an eye out for my Black Blood promo contest on YAlicious next week.

I hope everyone can get into the Christmas spirit and have an awesome December :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Review

For those of you who haven't seen it yet, I've done a book review for FORBIDDEN by Megan Curd.
Awesome book.

Check it out on my YAlicious blog.

Hope everyone has a great day :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Book Trailers

I LOVE watching previews. I'm actually a little ridiculous about it. Usually, once a week, I'll pop over to Apple Trailers and download anything new and just watch my little heart out.

So - as you can imagine, to me - the idea of BOOK trailers totally rocks!

I decided I wanted to make one for Golden Blood. It had been suggested to me a while ago, but I wasn't sure I could pull it off, so popped it into the 'too hard' box until I was ready.

Well, the other day I sat down and decided to stop being stupid and just make one. I spent a good half hour on youtube looking at a whole bunch of other book trailers and deciding what I liked about each of them. After that, I decided I could pull it off without creating something mega lame :)

First things first, I needed music, clips, photos and some good little lines running throughout it. I wanted to try and do this for free, so all the components needed to be royalty free and still useable legally.

It was much easier than I thought it would be. Google images was a great place to start, plus the following sites... These guys offer a free download trial. I went to town and got a bunch of stuff I could use for future trailers as well. These guys have a bunch of free music that is awesome for backing tracks. I didn't end up using this site, but I saw the link and thought I'd share. Looks quite good.

Once I had all my material tucked away in a folder, it was time to start construction. I'm a mac girl so I opened up imovie and got to work. imovie is a very easy program to use, so in the end putting the clip together did not take long.

Once I had finished it, got my friends to give me a little feedback and tweaked it some more, I uploaded it to youtube then linked it to all the sites I am associated with. It's had some good responses, so that's great.

The best part about this - I had so much fun doing it. I was really happy with the end result too.

You can have a little look see on this blog - up in the left hand corner. I hope you enjoy it :)

Have any of you made book trailers or had them made for you?
What do you look for in a book trailer?
Do they entice you to read a book?
What's the best book trailer you've seen so far?

Friday, November 25, 2011

YA Indie Carnival - Happy Thanksgiving

YA writers and bloggers unite each week to share their thoughts, hopes and dreams about what it's like going indie in today's publishing world.

Thanksgiving. I love it! I think it is SUCH a fantastic time of year and such an awesome tradition. I wish we celebrated it in New Zealand.

Although we don't, I don't see any reason why I can't be thankful. In fact, I find having an attitude of gratitude all year round can actually get you through some pretty tough times.

I just got home from hospital this morning, having spent two nights in there they I did not expect to have. While I was lying in there, my poor husband was contending with a baby and my other son who "had the throws ups." There has been plenty to lament in the last two days... but there has also been plenty to be thankful for.

- My son only had a 12 hour bug so was his bouncy, happy self this morning
- My baby has been an angel, sleeping when he should, eating well and doing everything his Daddy needed him to
- I had a room to myself, so although it was a hospital, and yes I was uncomfortable, I could almost pretend for a moment, like I was in a hotel :)
- I had time to catch up on some reading and got through two and a half books while I was laid up
- I realized just how many people love and care about me as I got numerous texts and phone calls from my family and friends
- I realized just how in love I am with my husband. He is an amazing man and I don't know what I'd do without him

So no matter what day of the week it is. No matter what I am going through, I know I am blessed.

Thanksgiving is a great time to stop and remember that.

So - what do you have to be grateful for?

See what the other YA Indie Carnival goers think about Thanksgiving...

Here's what's new at YA Indie Carnival this week.