Friday, February 21, 2014

Book Blitz - Forget Me Not by Stacey Nash + Giveaway

So many exciting things have been happening for my Aussie Owned and Read girls, and this is one of them! My good friend, Stacey Nash, released her debut novel this week, Forget Me Not. Check out the awesomeness and enter the giveaway.

Title: Forget Me Not (Book I in the Collective series)
Author: Stacey Nash
Release Date: February 17, 2014
Publisher: Entranced Publishing, Rush
Genre: YA speculative fiction

Book blurb:
Since her mother vanished nine years ago, Anamae and her father have shared a quiet life. But when Anamae discovers a brooch identical to her mother's favorite pendant, she unknowingly invites a slew of trouble into their world. When the brooch and the pendant are worn together they're no longer pretty pieces of jewelry -- they're part of a highly developed technology capable of cloaking the human form. Triggering the jewelry's power attracts the attention of a secret society determined to confiscate the device -- and silence everyone who is aware of its existence. Anamae knows too much, and now she's Enemy Number One.

She's forced to leave her father behind when she's taken in by a group determined to keep her safe. Here Anamae searches for answers about this hidden world. With her father kidnapped and her own life on the line, Anamae must decide if saving her dad is worth risking her new friends’ lives. No matter what she does, somebody is going to get hurt.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18130928-forget-me-not?from_search=true

http://www.amazon.com/Forget-Me-Not-Stacy-Nashq-ebook/dp/B00IK07FOQ/ref=sr_1_5?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1392942833&sr=1-5&keywords=forget+me+not

Excerpt:
Easing the door closed, I climb out of the attic and head to the bathroom to clean my dust-covered hands. Water rushes from the spout and splashes against the sides as the basin fills. A reflection of me stares back from the mirror, my dirty hand clutching my aching chest. Today everything feels so raw, open, and fresh, like it only just happened. Why isn’t she still here?

Rubbing my hands clean, I delve into my pocket for the jewelry. Bringing it to my collar, I pin it into my blouse and the hard edges of the brooch prick my skin. My thumb brushes over the smooth, round sides of the pendant and when I pull it over my head, the chain catches on my hair. After I twist it through the tangle so it finally falls cool against my skin, it nestles in the hollow of my throat. I pick it up between my fingers and with reverent slow strokes, rub my thumb over the shiny yellow center—the pendant Mom never took off.

A shiver shoots up my spine and out through my limbs like an electric current, zapping every cell, every fiber, every part of my being. Walking on graves, that’s what Mom would have said. Maybe it’s an omen about her.

I plant my palms on either side of the full basin and peer into the still water taking a moment to collect my thoughts. The water reflects only the cream ceiling. That can't be right. I do a double take and look again.

My chest tightens. I hold my hand up, but I can’t see it—not my arm, not my chewed fingernails, not my leather watch on my wrist. Where am I? Mouth gaping, I look into the mirror again, but I see nothing.

Not even my face.

I dip my finger into the warm, reflection-free water. Circles ripple in ever growing rings, but there’s no image. My gaze flits to the mirror, but I see only the open door. I have no reflection.

About the Author:
Stacey grew up in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales. It is an area nestled between mountains and vineyards. Full of history and culture, it provides wonderful writing inspiration. After dabbling with poetry during her teen years, Stacey stopped writing until after university when she was married with young children. Now she loves nothing more than spending her days with her children and writing when inspiration strikes.

You can stalk Stacey at the following links
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

K x

Thursday, February 20, 2014

COVER REVEAL Kiya: Rise of a New Dynasty by Katie Hamstead

 The final instalment in the KIYA trilogy.

Title: Kiya: Rise of a New Dynasty (Kiya Trilogy Book #3)
Author: Katie Hamstead
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Genre: New Adult Historical Romance
Release Date: February 25th 2014

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20498841-kiya

Book Blurb:
Tut has grown into his position as Pharaoh, but he is a wild young man. Naomi fears for him, not only because of his recklessness, but because he has put his trust in Ay–the man determined to destroy Naomi—despite her and Horemheb advising against it.

Meanwhile, death and slavery hang over Naomi and her family. With fear of the booming Hebrew numbers causing talk of enslaving them, conscription is reinstated and Naomi fears for the lives of her other children. Especially since Ay's children are now adults, and just as dangerous as their father. They threaten to take Itani, conspire against Tut, and pushing for power.

But Tut is in trouble. While Ay's daughter draws Horemheb's attention, and Naomi deals with the struggles of her family, everyone's distraction could spell death for the young Pharaoh.

Check out the first two books:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16163811-kiya?bf=2000&from_search=true  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18661359-kiya?bf=2000&from_search=true

About the Author: 
Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.

After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dog.

She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing. She is currently at school studying English and Creative Writing.

Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She now works as a Clerk with a lien company in Arizona to help support her family and her schooling. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.

Stalking Links:
Website | twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon

K x

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Blog Tour: Branded by Katie Hamstead - Branded in the Blue Mountains + Giveaway

Today I have a wonderful author on my blog, Katie Hamstead. Katie is one of my OS writer friends, and we blog together at Aussie Owned and Read. I'm excited because today Katie is telling us about her new release, Branded. It's set in the Blue Mountains on the outskirts of Sydney, Australia, which makes me even more excited. I love books set in and around where I live.

Check out the details for the book, then read what Katie has to say about the setting for Branded.


Title: Branded
Author: Katie Hamstead
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: New Adult Romantic Suspense

http://www.amazon.com/Branded-Katie-Hamstead-ebook/dp/B00I901VTW/ref=la_B008T8M8PA_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392503774&sr=1-4

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17973222-branded


Book Blurb:
Terrorists have invaded Sydney, and Allison King barely escapes her brother’s wedding reception alive. She and her siblings flee, but their parents are killed by firing squad.

Now Ali’s on the run and terrified. While searching for other survivors, she is captured by the General who leads the invasion. He’s smitten by Ali, and when she refuses to submit to his whims, he brands her for death. In a wild act of defiance, she snatches the branding rod and sears the mark onto his face. Marking not only him but also sealing her fate. Ali manages to escape and flees into the bush once more where she finds a group in hiding. Even with the scars left by the General, Ali learns to love and falls in love with the young man who found her—Damien Rogers.

But the General is hunting her. When he discovers their location, and finds her with another man—Damien—his wrath is kindled and his obsession is inflamed. Ali must put herself on the line or the General could kill her family, those who help her, and most significantly, the man she loves.

Branded in the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains; Located west of the Sydney metropolitan area, New South Wales, Australia. The Blue Mountains are beautiful, ancient, dangerous and enchanting. They provided the perfect backdrop for Branded because a person can easily get lost in those hills, in the dense bushland. It’s also where I grew up.

I have a weakness for the area. Not only is Branded set there, but my other soon to be released Cadence Anderson Series is set around there too. But where Cadence grew up around Emu Plains, Ali grew up in my hometown, Blaxland.

Branded incorporates things a person would expect to find around the area, and explores the passing of time according to the weather patterns. We see the arrival of February by the summer storms. At the end of the book, the early summer seasons are shown by igniting the bushland that had overgrown from the rainy previous summer, the eucalyptus oils providing the perfect fuel source. Winter can get bitterly cold, even if most parts don’t get snow, but Ali does mention wanting to move beyond areas like Katoomba and Lithgow before she runs the risk of encountering snow.

Ali’s ability to hide so easily comes from the density of the bush combined with the unpredictable terrain the Blue Mountains provide. In the early settler days of Australia, the explorers struggled to cross the mountains for a long time. Ali uses this to her advantage, by following the ridges and hiding in the gullies.

About the Author:
Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing. After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dog.
She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing. She is currently at school studying English and Creative Writing. Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She now works as a Clerk with a lien company in Arizona to help support her family and her schooling. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

I love the Blue Mountains, and would often go there as a kid with my family. I have many great memories of this beautiful and magical place. Below is a photo of one of the most famous rock formations in the Blue Mountains - the Three Sisters. Go HERE for more information about the Blue Mountains. 
Photo: JJ Harrison


a Rafflecopter giveaway

K x

Monday, February 17, 2014

Book Blitz - True Fate by Shayna Varadeaux + Giveaway


Title: True Fate
Author: Shayna Varadeaux
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Published: January 2014
Cover Design: KILA Designs


Book Blurb:
Strange things have always happened to Nia, and until now she’s written them off as flukes. At nineteen she has seen her fair share of odd occurrences and just feels lucky.

When Nia unknowingly spoke a prophecy on her eighteenth birthday she freaked out her best friend, Rhea. Nia realizes she needs to find some answers. Rhea makes her promise to go and see her Great Aunt Amarie, but she isn’t sure if her crazy aunt could really help.

Nia finds herself unexpectedly drawn to a stranger and begins dreaming of people who seem to know everything about her.

They offer little in the way of information as to how and why. It all feels too real but Nia is unsure, at least until she wakes up with a trinket from the encounter.

When dreams and reality collide Nia will have to face dangers she never knew existed. Ready or not she will have to discover her True Fate.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19498351-true-fate

Like the True Fate Playlist

Purchase Links:
Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Sony Reader Store | iBooks | Smashwords

About The Author:
Shayna is a happily married mom of three teenagers and a native Texan. She is a highly addicted reader and an avid reviewer with a love for generating buzz for other authors. She writes Young Adult books and is currently working on the True Fate series as well as an untitled Contemporary YA book.

“Life is chaos and reading is my relaxation. Writing comes second only to my family and my music. I love playing the bass and singing backup vocals for my husband. A tattoo artist turned author, following my dream and loving it!"

"I am currently writing True Chaos, book 2 in the True Fate series! It is a hectic process being a writer, editor, formatter, blogger and self-promoter. Luckily I have my best friend who is also my supportive husband to cheer me on. While I enjoy the painful journey of becoming a self-published author! Happy reading!” - S.V.

Author Links:
Goodreads | Blogger | Wordpress | Amazon Author Page | Facebook | True Fate Facebook | Pinterest

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This swag pack is part of the awesome giveaway!


K x

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

From Australia With Love: Featuring Laura Catherine

As part of the From Australia With Love Blog Hop, Aussie YA author, Laura Catherine, talks about her paranormal romance novel, Djinn.


10 Random Facts about Djinn
  • The first draft of Djinn was originally written in one month at 50,000 words as part of Camp NaNoWriMo June 2012. The first draft of book two: Blooders, was then written in the August 2012 Camp NaNoWriMo.
  • Kyra’s father Malcolm was originally called William, and Will was originally called Jace, but I liked Will so much better for my main man so I changed it.
  • Isabelle’s birthday is my Mum’s birthday, October 2nd.
  • Siberian Husky is mine and Kyra’s favourite breed of dog.
  • The idea for Djinn came to me while I was working at Bakers Delight. I was washing wires in the back thinking about how I wanted to write an original Paranormal Romance and then BAM the idea hit me. It flowed so easily and I had to run and get a paper bag to write on so I wouldn’t forget my ideas.
  • The way Kyra and Malcolm work together in the kitchen, like a well-oiled machine, is the opposite of how my partner and I are in the kitchen, haha.
  • Kyra’s middle name is Eliza.
  • Will’s middle name is Henry after his father.
  • The Djinn compound is based off a real suburb I drove through once where all the houses were exactly the same. I still have no idea where I was at the time, but the images of that place still remain.
  • Pyke wasn’t originally a main character, but the more I wrote about him the more I realised what a complex person he was. Pyke had secrets and feelings I could never have imagined and he is by far my favourite character in Djinn.

About the book:
She's been on the run for as long as she can remember and her father is the only stable thing in her life, but everything changes when the people pursuing them finally catch up.

Kyra is abducted by the handsome and mysterious, Will. He takes her to a secret compound where she is told the truth: She's a Djinn, a genie-like creature with super powers and a love of dogs.

Kyra has to adjust to the Djinn and their rules, but her new life is far from perfect. Everyone is hiding something and the one person Kyra cares about most is forbidden to her.

There are secrets around every corner and more dangers than Kyra could ever imagine as she struggles to find herself and be with the one she loves.

Buy the eBook
Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

Buy the paperback
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

About Laura: 
Laura Catherine was born in Melbourne, Australia and spent most of her childhood creating fantasy worlds and talking to her invisible pet cheetah who ran along powerlines.

Her imagination has carried her through childhood where her mother read stories about fantasy worlds at bedtime. Never one to face reality, Laura spent a lot of time turning boxes into ships and castles.

In her High School years, Laura started to really consider writing as a career. All those notebooks full of story ideas finally had a purpose and in 2006 she started the first novel she would go on to finish 5 years later. The thrill of complete a novel from start to finish only inspired Laura more, soon she became a writing machine working on many novels and honing her craft by completing a Professional Writing and Editing Diploma in 2010.

2011 saw Laura get serious about becoming an author. She started her blog, Quill Wielder, and prepared her novels to be sent off to publishers.

Still writing whenever she has spare time; Laura also participates in NaNoWriMo religiously to get her writing on.

Laura has self-published her first novel, Djinn, a Paranormal Romance, and is working on the second in the trilogy, Blooders.

Author Links:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

K x

Monday, February 10, 2014

From Australia With Love: Featuring Cassandra Page

Today I welcome Aussie author, Cassandra Page, to the blog as part of the From Australia With Love blog hop.


Grounding the reader in speculative fiction
I’m not aware of a single speculative fiction novel that doesn’t draw on the real world or its myths in some way. Such a book would be pretty much incomprehensible to the reader, giving them no familiar point from which to start their exploration of the more fantastical elements.

There are three ways writers deal with this requirement for a foundation, whether consciously or subconsciously: the everyman, the familiar culture, and the familiar myth.

The everyman
One of the reasons the normal character discovering they are something more has become a trope in speculative fiction is actually founded in a sound storytelling principle: when you’re introducing your reader to a new world, it’s easiest done through the eyes of someone who isn’t part of that world.

A great example of the everyman in high fantasy is Frodo and the other hobbits in Lord of the Rings. Hobbits may not be human, but they are culturally isolated from the rest of Middle Earth, which lends their lack of understanding credence. And their interests are things most readers can relate to—eating, lazing around and gardening. Not everyone may have a green thumb, but everyone can understand the idea of gardening.

Lord of the Rings told from the perspective of an elf would have been a very different story. The elf would have had very different cultural filters and, given its probable age, way of viewing the short-lived creatures around it.

Lessa in Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern is part of the same broad culture as everyone else, but as a non-dragonrider she can see that part of her world with new eyes. Garion from David Eddings’s The Belgariad is a regular farmboy until he gets whisked away on an adventure by his aunt and grandfather. Harry Potter lives under the stairs in a regular (although abusive) English household.

Of course, each of these characters has something about them that makes them special, letting them deal with the various events or problems the author throws at them. Frodo is resilient to the Ring’s evil; Lessa can communicate with dragons; Garion is the chosen one; Harry Potter is the Boy Who Lived.

The familiar culture
Many fantasy novels are set in worlds that resemble medieval England. Others choose different points in history, but still use the basic English setting—and the foreign cultures they meet are remarkably like various Asian or Scandinavian countries. Going back to The Belgariad as an example, you can see all sorts of cultures: Vikings, American Indians, Russians, Brits, Celts, French, Romans, Ancient Egyptians, biblical Israelites, Africans, Mongolians, Chinese, Attila’s Huns…

Rarer are the English language novels set in a non-English-equivalent world, although it can be done successfully. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff is a good example; it is set in something rather like feudal Japan, but with steampunk technology and magical beasties.

The important thing is that the reader needs to have enough of an understanding of the chosen culture—whatever it is—that the author can use that as the foundation on which to build the rest of the story. I write and primarily read urban fantasy, and one of the things I love about it is that our world is represented somewhat faithfully (at least more than it would be by a Mars-like world pockmarked with biodomes!) and then made more wonderful.

The familiar myth
Vampires, werewolves, wizards, elves, dwarves, zombies—you name it and it’s been turned into a critter in a speculative fiction novel by now. The biggest difficulty for a writer is avoiding representing their supernatural beastie of choice in a way that is unique and interesting rather than derivative. Whatever you may think of Stephanie Meyer’s decision to turn vampires from creatures of the night into mirror balls at a disco, there’s no denying she took a new angle on the vampire myth!

Sometimes that unique angle can come from putting familiar creatures into a different setting than the traditional one. In my novel Isla’s Inheritance (which comes out later this year with Turquoise Morning Press), I use various European faerie races as the basis for the fantasy in my urban environment. But the book is set in Australia. Why are European faeries in Australia? A lot of the story arises as a consequence of the answer to that question.

Other times, writers use less common creatures. For example, the dementors in Harry Potter resemble the Celtic myth of the sluagh—flying, evil creatures that travel in flocks and steal your soul away with your dying breath. Rowling’s house elf is clearly based on the English myth of the hob, a small elf that does household chores and can be driven away by being presented a set of new clothing.

I could rant on for ages more about my favourite interpretations of the real world or its myths (I haven’t even mention Jacqueline Carey’s books!), or about my favourite everyman character. What’s yours?


Author Bio:
Cassandra Page is a mother, author, editor and geek. She lives in Canberra, Australia’s bush capital, with her son and two Cairn Terriers. She has a serious coffee addiction and a tattoo of a cat—which is ironic, as she’s allergic to cats. When she’s not reading or writing, she engages in geekery, from Doctor Who to AD&D. Because who said you need to grow up?

Cassandra’s debut novel, Isla’s Inheritance, comes out with Turquoise Morning Press in the (Australian) spring of 2014. If you want to hear more about it, you can cyberstalk her via the following links:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Pinterest

K x

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Immgaica Book Blitz + Giveaway - Character Interview with Lex



Even though we don’t get to meet Lex until about half way into Immagica, he is quite a complex character. Let’s ask him some questions and see if we can get to know him a little better.



KA: Hi, Lex. Thanks for allowing me to come to Immagica to talk to you.

Lex: No problem. *adjusts glasses*

KA: Let’s start with something easy. Can you describe yourself in three words?

Lex: Um … Quirky? *scratches head* Jittery, and um … loveable?

KA: Loveable? I’ll bet there’s a certain girl who would agree with that.

Lex: *blushes*

KA: From what I’ve seen, Immagica isn’t exactly the sort of place you’d find a McDonald’s drive thru, or your favourite restaurant just around the corner. What do you eat?

Lex: Well, actually, I have my own food generator. So I can eat pretty much anything I want.

KA: Food generator? Like an automatic vending machine that makes whatever you ask for? That’s like something from a science fiction movie.

Lex: Um … *laughs* this is Immagica we’re talking about. Anything is possible.

KA: Yes, I guess it is. Do you have a favourite meal?

Lex: I don’t usually get the time to think about food, things have been so crazy around here lately. Fruit, I like fruit.

KA: Of all the things you could ask for, you choose fruit?

Lex: *laughs* Like I said, I’m busy. Apples are easy to eat on the go.

KA: At the moment you can’t leave Immagica, but if you could, where in the world would you want to go?

Lex: Oh wow, *rubs face* that’s a hard question. It’s been so long I don’t know where I’d want to go. I’ll bet things in the real world have changed a lot since I’ve been gone. Now that Rosaline has helped us, I think I’m pretty happy staying in Immagica. Things have been great since the dragon’s been gone.

KA: You don’t want to go and see Rosaline? *raises eyebrows*

Lex: Um … yes *blushes* that would be nice, someday. Rosaline changed my life. I guess it would be cool to see where she’s from.

KA: Do I detect some romantic feelings in the air?

Lex: *pushes glasses up nose* Rosaline is pretty awesome, but I don’t know. *shrugs* We’re from completely different worlds. It’s like a long distance relationship on steroids. I hope one day she comes back. Then maybe we’ll see. *smiles*

KA: Is there a book you’ve read that’s influenced your life?

Lex: *laughs* I’m surrounded by books all day, every day. I think I can safely say that every individual book within the Eye has influenced my life in some way. After all, they’re what I’m here in Immagica to protect. Each story is unique, and has something different to offer in its own special way.

KA: You’ve read all these books? *looks around at bookshelves*

Lex: Of course. It’s my job to know everything that’s happened since Immagica was created.

KA: Isn’t all that reading time consuming?

Lex: On a normal day, there’s not much else to do. *laughs* But I have help. Everything is connected, so a lot of it I just know. There’s a full catalogue in here. *taps temple*

KA: Then you could say you read using magic? *smiles*

Lex: Something like that, yes.

KA: Is there someone from your past you’d like to apologise to for something?

Lex: I try not to think too much about the past. What’s done is done, and you can’t change it.

KA: You make it sound like something happened that you’d rather forget.

Lex: Possibly. I like moving forward. Looking back only causes pain.

KA: What if you had a time machine? Would you go back and change anything?

Lex: *purses lips* No, I don’t think I would. Everything happens for a reason, no matter how much it may hurt us.

KA: What has been the scariest moment of your life so far?

Lex: You mean apart from watching my world crumble around me? *scratches head* It would have to be the moment Rosaline went limp in my arms, right after she defeated the dragon. She didn’t wake up for a while, and she was pretty beaten up, so that added to the scare factor. I don’t know what I would have done if she’d died. *looks at hands*

KA: Do you think you’ll venture out of the Eye more now the dragon is gone?

Lex: That would definitely be a yes. When the dragon first waged his war on Immagica, I shut myself in so I could protect everything. I’d forgotten what it was like to be outside.

KA: Well, thanks to Rosaline, now you know.

Lex: Yes. *nods*

KA: What’s the first thing you want to do when you go outside today?

Lex: The first thing I need to do is some maintenance. One of the clockwork birds went down somewhere near Shadow Crater in The Barren Lands, and has to be recovered. Then I think I might find Ira and Brynn, and see if they want to go for a fly.

KA: You’re not afraid of flying then?

Lex: *laughs* No. That would be Rosaline.

KA: You miss her, don’t you?

Lex: *shrugs*

KA: Okay, now for the fast five. No thinking about these. Favourite colour?

Lex: Red.

KA: Book or movie?

Lex: *snorts* Book, of course.

KA: Best qualities a person can have?

Lex: Honesty and loyalty.

KA: Cats or dogs?

Lex: Horses.

KA: *laughs* City or countryside?

Lex: Have you seen my backyard? I’m not even going to answer that.

KA: Well, Lex. Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today.

Lex: It was fun, thanks.

KA: I’ll let you get back to your books. *smiles*

Lex: Say hi to Rosaline for me.

KA: Is there a message you’d like me to pass on to her?

Lex: *rubs chin* Just tell her, anything is possible. *grins*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

K x

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Immagica Blitz + Giveaway - Meet Lex


Today I'd like to introduce you to another of the characters in Immagica. Lex is the protector and keeper of the Eye. We don't get to meet him until about half way through the story, but he manages to steal some of the lime light, and Rosaline's heart.


Name: Lex.

Career: Keeper and Protector of the Eye.

Biography: Lex’s history is unknown.

Age: He looks around 17.

Height: Six-feet, one-inch.

Body Type: Tall and lanky.

Complexion: Normal, but it’s hard to tell because Lex blushes a lot.

Eyes: Lex’s eyes shift between hazel and green.

Hair: White-blond and messy.

Clothing: Lex wears thick-rimmed glasses, a faded red T-shirt, jeans, and rubber thongs (flip-flops).

Voice/Demeanour: Nervous and jittery. Lex is a bit of a geek, but he is also head-strong when he needs to be. He’s definitely not a push-over.

Prejudices: Since the dragon launched his war on Immagica, Lex has loathed everything about him.

Best Qualities: His kindness.

Weaknesses: Thinking he isn’t able to leave the Eye.

Hobbies: Reading, and cataloguing the books in the Eye, and oiling the cogs in the pupil.

Weapon of choice: His knowledge.

Talents: The ability to retain every piece of information that’s written in every one of the thousands of books inside the Eye.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kx

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Immagica Blitz + Giveaway - Meet Brynn


Brynn is the first person Rosaline meets when she arrives in Immagica. They don't get along very well in the beginning, but by the end of the book they're pretty good friends.


Name: Brynn (pronounced Br-in).

Career: Protector of The Barren Lands, and Rosaline’s guide.

Biography: Brynn’s history is unknown.

Age:
She looks around 16.

Height: Five-feet, six-inches.

Body Type: Slender and athletic.

Complexion: Olive skin, high cheekbones and pouty lips.

Eyes: Pale denim blue.

Hair: Long, straight and black, with silver streaks and several small braids through it.

Clothing: Brynn wears a pair of ripped denim shorts. Her top is cream in colour and looks handmade, with lacing up each side and an uneven neckline. Shin-high chunky hiking boots encase her long legs, and she has a small leather satchel. She also carries a spear.

Voice/Demeanour: Strong and bossy, but kind hearted.

Prejudices: Anyone who hurts her friends.

Best Qualities: Patience when it’s needed, and the ability to guide people in the right direction without them realising.

Weaknesses: Brynn can be summoned at any time, from anywhere in Immagica. This can sometimes be inconvenient.

Hobbies: Cataloguing the many weapons stored in Brynn’s Bunker.

Weapon of choice: Brynn carries a bronze spear. The top of the spear is fancy, like a sceptre, with a decorative head that houses an eye-shaped emerald. At the top is a sharp, silver point.

Talents: Zapping the bad guys (or anyone who annoys her) with her spear.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

K x

Sacrifice is Free! Plus Fall For Me is on Sale

Last month Fall For Me turned one. This event went by without much fuss on my part because I was so immersed in Immagica, and getting it published, I didn't really have the time.

But...

From today until February 19th you can grab Sacrifice from iBooks for FREE. Yay!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/fall-for-me-tate-chronicles/id598815129?mt=11

And, to further celebrate Fall For Me turning one, it's on sale for $1.99. Get your copies from iBooks and Amazon (Amazon available within the next 12 hours).

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/fall-for-me-tate-chronicles/id598815129?mt=11

http://www.amazon.com/Fall-Me-Tate-Chronicles-1-ebook/dp/B00B2GO534/ref=sr_1_5_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1391221708&sr=1-5&keywords=fall+for+me

Don't forget that Bound is also available for free.
Smashwords | iBooks | B&N

K x

Monday, February 03, 2014

Immagica Blitz + Giveaway - The Book Trailer


One thing I love about doing promo for my books is creating a book trailer. The entire process motivates me, and I get excited about my story all over again. Today I'd like to share my thoughts on making book trailers, and what I've found works for me.

The first place I start is with a pen and paper. I visualise what I'd like the trailer to look like, the images I want to use, and I jot down thoughts for the text. It's like writing a mini script that needs to tell the story in a short time frame.

Once I'm pretty happy with my script, I turn to Photoshop and get started on my slides. Remember to only use images you have the right to use, so things you've created yourself, or purchased images are fine. I'm not very good with the whole moving video thing, so I go for still images with transitions and effects, and it works for what I want to achieve. When my slides are ready I import them into Windows Movie Maker. Then I have a play with the length of each slide, the transitions between them, and I overlay the text. This is also where I make more slidesif I think they're neededand adjustments to the script.

Music is a very important part of the video, and it needs to convey the tone of the story, but something to consider when choosing the right music is copyright. You can't just take your favourite song and whack it in a video. It's actually a copyright infringement to do so, and could land you in all sorts of trouble. For the Immagica video I used stock audio from iStock, and I'm completely happy with the results.They have a huge range of tracks for every mood, setting, or vibe, and are quite affordable.

There are lots of video making programs out there, so I guess you just need to find one you can use easily to get the results you're after. I like Movie Maker because it's simple to use, and I taught myself how in a couple of hours.

In terms of duration, I like to keep my book trailers short, because I don't want to lose my viewer's attention. About a minute is a good length of time. I also don't tell the whole story, but try to make it more of an intriguing tease.

Here's what I did for the Immagica video. I wanted to keep it relatively simple, and focus on the text. I hope you enjoy it, and I'd love to know what you think.



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K x

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Immagica Blitz + Giveaway - Meet the MC Rosaline


Rosaline is the main character in Immagica, and the story is told through her eyes. She's a pretty regular teenager, and she dotes on her little brother, Elliot. They're very close, since their parents are less than perfect and have issues of their own. Today I'd love for you to get to know Rosaline a little better.


Name: Rosaline Isobel Clayton.

Career: Next in line to inherit the amulet.

Biography: Rosaline is the daughter of Marcus and Isobel Clayton. She has a younger brother, Elliot, and they have grown up in a wealthy, but less than perfect, family. Rosaline’s mum keeps her at a distance, and her dad is a little deranged.

Age: 15.

Height: Five-feet, four-inches.

Body Type: Petite but strong.

Complexion: Pale skin with a spray of freckles across her nose.

Eyes: Emerald green.

Hair: Dark red with wild curls that fall to below her shoulders.

Clothing: Pale pink T-shirt, faded denim jeans, and Converse sneakers. Rosaline hates anything fancy. She’s a bit of a tomboy.

Voice/Demeanour: Rosaline is always polite when she needs to be, but it depends who she’s talking to. If someone has pissed her off, she doesn’t hold back in letting them know. She is well versed and educated, but she is after all a teenager.

Prejudices: Rosaline doesn’t tolerate pomp and circumstance much, which is difficult since she spends a lot of time at her rich nana’s house. She doesn’t like flashy shows of wealth and prefers things plain and simple.

Best Qualities: Rosaline is compassionate, determined, and has a pure heart.

Weaknesses: Fear of heights and flying, and her soft spot for Elliot.

Hobbies: Reading, daydreaming, exploring, and getting lost in her imagination.

Weapon of choice: Silver daggers with emerald-encrusted handles.

Talents: The ability to use the amulet’s power, especially when she has no idea what she’s doing.

Rosaline quotes:

“Then what’s he coming out of? The closet, prison, the nineteen-eighties?”

“But how do you get any answers if you don’t ask questions?”

“Are you related to my dad? Because he’s all kinds of weird as well.”

“Are you serious? Who starts a story with Once upon a time?

“Seriously, I’m in the most magical place possible, and there’s no crystal ball?”

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 K x

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Immagica Blitz - The Magic of Immagica Explained


The Immagica book blitz is on this week from February 1-7 hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. A great list of blogs have signed up for this event, and if you'd like to check out the list go here. Maybe you'll find another awesome blog you'd like to follow. Plus, each blog is giving away an eBook of Immagica, so make sure you enter for the chance to win.

Throughout the blitz, each day I'll be posting something about Immagica. Today I'd like to share with you a post about how the magic within Immagica works. There are some excerpts at the end for you to read as well.

There's also a blitz wide giveaway running for the duration of the blitz, so don't forget to enter at the end of the post. I'm giving away three signed swag packs that look like this:


Three lucky people will get a signed bookmark, postcard and fridge magnet.

Enjoy!

The Magic of Immagica Explained
When we think about magic, we often visualise witches and wizards with wands, casting spells and striking people down with lightening. But the magic within Immagica is very different, and works in a non-traditional, magical way.

The concept of Immagica is based on the power of imagination. Within our imagination, anything is possible. We can create whatever we want, and see it however we like, all inside our own mind. No wand or spell necessary.

The land of Immagica is very organic. It can be shaped and tailored for whoever is there at any given time. There are, of course, certain things that remain the same, but everything else is open to interpretation, and governed by the imagination of the person experiencing the adventure.

Like anything, there are certain rules, but some rules are made to be bent or broken. The magic of Immagica can be unpredictable, because Immagica itself is alive. It actually has a say in everything that is created, and the events that happen. It’s like having someone looking over your shoulder, nudging you in a certain—but not always right—direction. Imagination plays a major part in shaping Immagica, but the subconscious of the person visiting is also at play.

There are two main sections of Immagica. If you have a look at the map below (click the image to enlarge it) you’ll see there’s the Barren Lands, which encompasses all the not so nice places, and there’s the Go-Between, which is a friendlier place, but not always. In the Barren Lands, the weather changes depending on your mood. Get angry and a thunderstorm can brew in a matter of seconds. In the Go-Between you have more control over things, but your emotions, subconscious and mind are all working either with or against each other.



Although the concept of magic by imagination is a relatively simple one, it can sometimes get confusing in the way it works. This is mainly because nothing is set in stone, and something that happens one way for someone can work in a completely different way for someone else. Read these excerpts where Brynn attempts to explain to Rosaline the way Immagica works, and see if you can make sense of it. I think Rosaline had a hard time grasping the concept.

EXCERPT: From Chapter 4 – The Girl with the Spear
Brynn got up and went to the other side of the room. From the shelf above the weapons she pulled down a piece of old yellowed paper, and a pencil. She sat back at the table and drew an image resembling the shape of the amulet. The eye was in the middle, and thick lines came out to form the compass points around it. She even included the intricate lines that lay between the eye and the edge of the circle. She then drew an uneven area around the completed compass, making it larger around the northern point. Beyond that, Brynn created another space that almost touched the edges of the paper.

“This is Immagica, and we are here,” she said, indicating a spot in the south, farthest away from the compass. “We are in what’s called the Barren Lands. On the outskirts of the Barren Lands lie the Sea of Tears, Dragonblood Swamp, and Desperation Sand Dunes. But you won’t have to go there, it’s in the wrong direction.”

“Good. It doesn’t sound very nice,” I said.

“In the Barren Lands the ground is always bare and rough, but the sky changes depending on your mood. You can be your own undoing out here as the spirit feeds off you. The more desolate you feel, the worse it gets, and the only way to control it is to control your emotions. I’m actually surprised the sky stayed blue so long for you.”

I ignored the snide comment.

“This place here is the Go-between.” Brynn indicated the uneven area outside the compass. “It holds the nicer parts of Immagica: Runetree Woods, Rainbow Drop, Emerald Hills—you get the idea. Things are a little more controllable there. For a start, the weather doesn’t react to your mood, but you still need to be careful. While the Barren Lands feed from your emotions, the Go-between feeds from your mind, and subconscious. In Immagica, all your dreams—and nightmares—can come true.”

What she was telling me did sound pretty interesting, and despite myself, I leant closer to look at the crude map she’d drawn.

“Do you mean if I think of something, it becomes real?”

“That’s exactly what I mean. But it’s not as simple as just thinking something, and it appears. You have to want it, but Immagica also has to want you to want it. Sometimes Immagica will want you to have a different version of what you wanted in the first place.”

“You are not making sense—again,” I said. “Did you just have tea with the Mad Hatter?”

EXCERPT: From Chapter 7 – Emberash Maze
The amulet map told me the maze was triangular—like a pie wedge—inserted between the south and east towers. I studied it closely until I thought I’d found the clear path through. It came out near the bridge just south of the Eye. Ira stopped at the entrance, stamped his hoof and tossed his head. The muscles in his shoulders tightened, and he snorted. I got the feeling he wasn’t too keen on the idea of heading into the maze.

“What’s the matter?” I asked. “Scared?”

Hardly, Rosaline, I can look after myself. You, on the other hand, should be. You don’t know what we might encounter.

“And you do?”

I know what we could find, Ira said, but not what we will find. That is up to you.

“Well, how about we don’t find anything, and we simply walk the path through unscathed.”

Brynn let out a high-pitched laugh in my ear, and I flinched. “Have you not figured out how Immagica works yet?” she said. “Don’t you remember what I told you?”

I twisted around to get a better look at her face. She raised her eyebrows and her pale blue eyes looked worried. “Immagica gives me what I wish for, but I have to be careful,” I said.

“Have you lot not told her anything while she’s been with you? Why is it always up to me?” Brynn sighed. “Okay, Rosaline, listen up. Immagica does give you things you consciously imagine. But it also gives you things beyond your wildest dreams.” I started to interrupt but Brynn shushed me. “Your subconscious plays a part here, too, remember? Immagica can see into your mind and your heart, and sometimes it creates things you never wanted it to. Everything in Immagica—the good, and the bad—exists without imagination. It just takes a hint of desire, and poof, it comes alive. All the things you could possibly imagine and more are right here under your nose. All you have to do is think of them. Rule number one is: there are no rules.”

“We can’t just think happy thoughts?” I asked.

“You can, but it won’t help. It’s your subconscious you need to look out for. Immagica has a way of making you see things you may not want to.” I gave Brynn a worried look. “But I’m sure we’ll be fine,” she said.

“No dreaming up the Minotaur then,” I said.

Brynn took a deep breath. “That does not help.”

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K x