Monday, April 30, 2012

So Many Things To Tell You!!

Well - it's May 1st here in Kiwi Land, so it's time for my monthly progress report. Yet again I have had a bunch of stuff on.

April whizzed by in a heart beat.

Writing wise I have finally managed to really get stuck into the research and planning stage of Betwixt. SO excited. It's really great to get into writing again after so many months of editing and then marketing. It's super fun to be working on a new project from scratch.

Marketing wise I have been involved with the Easter Book Bunny Hop, which was so fantastic. I will be announcing the winners tomorrow. Eeeppp :)

The Goodreads Black Blood Giveaway also came to a close last night and I want to congratulate...
Neville Krishnawamy from India and Lana Van Beelen from Canada. I will be posting off those books to you today.

Good reviews for the trilogy continue to come in. I'm so glad people are enjoying the books. I want to thank everyone for taking the time to leave reviews and help promote my work. I wouldn't be anywhere without your support, so give yourselves a hug from me.

One special highlight from the month was having coffee with a fan. My author friend, T. G. Ayer, set it up for me and we went together to meet Book Chatter Cath. It was SUCH a treat and so cool to talk about my work with someone who had read and enjoyed it.

The last super fun thing I'll mention for the month of April was the release of the FREE Sampler - A Taste Test, which is packed full of excerpts from 2012 YA Paranormal and Contemporary Romance works. It is definitely worth checking out. There are some great authors and books to be discovered.

So - what does May hold?
Well - a bunch of stuff!!

Today I am going into St Kentigerns College to speak to a bunch of English classes about writing. On Thursday I am visiting Pakuranga College to meet with their book club and in a couple of weeks I'll be dropping by Macleans College to talk to their writer's club. I'm really nervous about ALL these engagements, but super excited to meet the students and chat about writing. Hopefully the words will flow easily - if anything they may have a hard time shutting me up :)

Another exciting thing from today is that Pure Blood is now available in paperback. Yes!! The Trilogy is finally complete in both digital and paperback form. SOOOOO exciting!! The book can be picked up through Amazon.

In a few weeks time, I will be participating in the "A Taste Test" Blog Tour where eight of the authors from the Sampler will be featured over eight days. There are going to a bunch of fun posts so you can get to know the authors better, plus a huge giveaway with a ton of prizes to win. I'll keep you posted, but mark your diaries - it starts on May 21st.

As well as that blog tour, I am also looking for people to participate in the Forbidden Territory blog tour, which is at the beginning of July. If this is something you'd be interested in or you would like to review the book in July, then please let me know. Here is the link for the blog tour invite, which has all the details in it: Forbidden Territory Blog Tour.

And the last thing I'll mention for today - otherwise this post is just going to be ridiculous, is that I have been invited to join the staff of Indies Unlimited. Super excited. This is an awesome bunch of people who are real advocates of indie writing. I will be contributing one post a month. I feel very honoured to be asked :)

SO - what does May hold for you?

Friday, April 27, 2012

YA Indie Carnival - Sequels

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.

The word sequel used to scare me silly. There are so many pitfalls involved with writing a follow up novel - consistency, the danger of over explaining things, trying to link things together... but you know what, once you get started, it's really not that bad.

I wanted to try writing a trilogy that was very interconnected, the kind where you really had to read all three books in order to get a full picture. They are my favourite to read, so I thought I'd give it a go... and so the Time Spirit Trilogy was born.

The way I went about it was by designing one big story arc that spanned all three books then within that writing three smaller story arcs, one for each book. When I look back now, I don't actually know how I came up with it all and pieced it all together. I guess miracles can happen :)

The next sequel I will be writing is the second book in the Mica and Lexy Series. Book One - Forbidden Territory - is due out in July. This will be quite different though. Brenda (co-author) and I want to make these the kinds of books that can be read out of order. They will involve all the same characters, but each book will stand on its own. I'm sure that will be a very different writing experience from the Time Spirit Trilogy and I'm looking forward to what I can learn.

As for reading sequels, I really love it because I feel like I know the characters a little already. It's like catching up with old friends as you delve into the pages. The major downer for me is if I've had to wait months before getting my hands on a sequel. You end up forgetting a lot and you almost have to read the first book again to figure out where you are. I'm a big fan of producing interconnected sequels in quick succession.

How do you find writing or reading sequels?

Find out what the other carnis think by clicking the links below.

And don't forget to check out the latest news on the YA Indie Carnival site.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lucky Seven

Today I was tagged in a Lucky Seven post by author, Connie Keller. This is a very cool meme where you must post an excerpt from one of your books and this excerpt has to be seven sentences, lines or paragraphs from page 77, seven lines down.

I love doing stuff like this. It's SO much fun!

Okay - so here are seven sentences from Forbidden Territory, due out July 1st. (These ones are written by my beautiful co-author, Brenda Howson.)

    Hemi. The boss was called Hemi. I grinned at my excellent detective skills, but my pride was short lived as another crash sounded, followed by the dull thud of knuckles on flesh. I winced at Munter's feeble groan.
    “You can sleep with the kids tonight. Make sure they don’t get up to any monkey business.”
    A door slammed shut. 

The second part of this meme is to tag seven more authors who can play the game. So here are the seven I've chosen...

1. T. G. Ayer
2. Kim Koning
3. Leigh K. Hunt
4. Sarah Billington
5. C. J. Duggan
6. Nolia McCarty
7. Leigh Covington

I'm super excited about reading everyone's excerpts. Have fun putting the post together :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Is Research Really Necessary?

I still haven't started writing my first draft of Betwixt yet. Yes, feel free to roll your eyes. I've been talking about starting it for weeks. But the truth is, I HAVE been working on this project. I've just decided to spend some major time researching first.

You see, usually I launch into a project with gusto and kind of figure things out as I go along. But this time around, I have decided to try things a little differently. I guess you could call it a test run.

Because we writers create our own worlds, I never thought too much research was necessary, but now I'm wondering if I was wrong.

The book, STORY, that I talk about all the time, is a big advocate of research and planning. Having read through my notes, yet again, I started getting really excited about the idea of thorough research and planning before getting started. I mean, I've always been a planner, but I would often start with a skeleton, then start writing and pack in things along the way. THIS time around, I'm really trying to lay some solid foundations before writing the first chapter.

So - what kind of research am I doing?

Well - I'm researching my main characters really thoroughly. I am creating back stories for them, learning about their habits, understanding the way they think and move and what drives them at the core... you know, the subconscious stuff that even they aren't aware of.

It's amazing. I am learning so much about these people and as I do it, more ideas keep popping into my head. My story line is getting shaped before even starting. As I discover things about these characters, I am coming up with new material. It's so cool!

I still need to research my location and figure out the culture of my setting. This is where I'm a little unsure how deep to go. I mean, I want to understand my world really thoroughly, but I'm setting this story in a real town... one I don't know that well. I sort of want to create my own culture for them, yet still do the place justice. If I over research, I worry I might feel obliged to change my world too much. In saying that, there is that beautiful little thing called poetic license... maybe I should get to know the town then just change the bits I want to :) I'll let you know how I get on.

What are your thoughts on pre-writing research?
Do you think it's necessary?

Friday, April 20, 2012

YA Indie Carnival - 4/20!

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.

Before I get started today, I'd just like to welcome the two new carni members - Liz Long and Ella James. It's so awesome to have you guys onboard with us.
Make sure you check out their blogs before you leave :)

Okay - 4/20. So, can I just share that I had NO idea what that meant and my husband had to Google it for me to make sure he was telling me the right thing. I had never heard the expression before! But now I know and if you can believe it, I have just been editing a scene where some background characters were indulging in a little weed. So I'm going to share part of it. Now - these are background people, my MC's never do drugs, but it doesn't stop them from attending parties where that special smell is wafting through the air...

This is an excerpt from my next release due out in July - Forbidden Territory. The best thing about this book? I had the fun of co-writing it with my best friend. Coolest thing ever!!

Mica has just had a run in with her ex and has decided to ditch the party early too annoyed with everything to even stop and tell her best friend, Lexy, she is leaving.

    I wrenched the front door open, deciding to walk home. I knew it would take me for-bloody-ever! Living in the country had some major cons; one being that there was no such thing as just popping around to someone's house. It was always a drive.
    Damn it, Lexy! This wouldn't have happened if you hadn't ditched me.
    "Hey, you need something to help you relax?"
    The voice in my ear was deep and throaty. It could have almost been sensual if I hadn't known its origin. Suzanne's boyfriend moved in front of me, a little self-rolled cigarette perched in his fingers.
    I cleared my throat and took a step back. "No, thanks."
    "You seem pretty upset. A few puffs of this and all your worries will just float away." His fingers jiggled in the air as if he were sprinkling gold dust over me.
    A lick of fear ran up my spine.
    "Come on, sweetie. Come back inside with me." His hand was feather light as it brushed over my skin. My brain began to tick with escape strategies, but I couldn't see many of them working. Who knew what this psycho was capable of? The glazed sheen in his eye was freaking me out.
    He leaned in closer, his lips basically brushing my skin. "I promise, it'll make you feel better."

If you want to check out a little more of this story you can download A Taste Test, which is a free sampler packed full of YA Paranormal and Contemporary Romance excerpts. It also has a short story for you to enjoy :)

Make sure you stop by the other carni's blog and find out what their characters are getting up to.

And don't forget to check out the latest news on the YA Indie Carnival site.

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 Self4.T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series
5.Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga6.Cheri Schmidt, author of the Fateful Trilogy
7.Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog8.K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
9.Patti Larsen, The Hunted series and The Hayle Coven series10.Amy Maurer Jones, Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy
11.Dani Snell's Refracted Light Reviews12.Fisher Amelie, author of The Understorey
13.M. Leighton, Blood Like Poison Series, Madly, The Reaping14.Cidney Swanson, author of Rippler
15.Gwenn Wright, author of Filter16.Melissa Pearl, Author of The Time Spirit Trilogy
17.Heather M. White, author of The Destiny Saga18.Courtney Cole Writes
19.Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.20.Ella James

Sunday, April 15, 2012

It's Time For A Breather

With my gorgeous husband being a school teacher, we have decided to take advantage of the holidays and head to the beach.

So I will be away this week with my bestie and her family. Awesome!! So looking forward to hanging out and having big chats while our kids play together :)

I will be back on Friday for the YA Indie Carnival.

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a splendiferous week!!

This is where I will be... Cooks Beach, this gorgeous little place on the Coromandel coastline and just around the corner is Hot Water Beach where you can basically dig your own spa pool. Super fun :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

YA Indie Carnival - Friday the 13th!!

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.

What does Friday the 13th mean for you?
What images pop into your head when that day comes up on your calendar? 
Are they of a man in a hockey mask? Or ghosts? Or black cats? Or doom?

Or is Friday the 13th just like any other day in the year for you?

I am not a horror person. I don't like reading about it. I don't like watching it. I have tried a couple of times to watch scary movies, but I get such bad nightmares, it's just not worth it.

So - for this Friday the 13th post, I really have nothing scary to share with you. I'm sure the other carni's do, so make sure you check out their posts!

One thing I can share with you today... not really scary, but quite interesting... is that A Taste Test is now available for download on Smashwords. It's totally free and will introduce you to a world of YA Authors. There are seven excerpts and one short story for you to enjoy. I know this is the second time I've blogged about this in one week. I'm seriously not trying to be obsessive, but I think the excerpts in this Sampler are awesome.

I hope you all have a wonderful Friday.

Do you get nightmares from scary movies?
What is your no-go area when it comes to books and movies?

Don't forget to check out the latest news on the YA Indie Carnival site.