Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Giveaway - Trust Me! It's HUGE

Here in AUS we don't celebrate Thanksgiving, but I couldn't miss the opportunity to be part of a massive, awesome Black Friday giveaway with a huge cast of Indie authors. We've all banded together to bring you...

We've all put in so you can have the chance to win one of five $50 Amazon vouchers. You'd be crazy not to enter!

You can also check out the event page on Facebook for some fun, and the chance to win some of our books.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

K x

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sun, Sand, Surf, and Dingoes

I've been back from my holiday for over three weeks now, and it feels like I never went away. But, I had an awesome time with my family. I did absolutely no work and spent the entire time relaxing on the beach, swimming, and having fun with my kids.

The last three weeks has flown by. I've been wrapped up in Immagica edits, work, uni, and other blogging stuff. Now I finally have the time to sit and look through the photos we took while we were away. If you want to know more about Fraser Island see this post.

Here's a taste of what we got to see.

Aussies, if you've never been to Fraser Island, go!

For my OS peeps, if you ever come down under, go to Fraser Island!

It's magic.

K x

Friday, November 22, 2013

COVER REVEAL - Forget Me Not by Stacey Nash

Today I have a very special cover reveal for you. Stacey is an AO&R girl and a fantastic friend. Her debut novel, Forget Me Not, is due for release in February 2014. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this one!

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 jewelrythey'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 deviceand 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.

“Nash brings a secret world to life with these amazing characters.”

“I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys action, intrigue and romance.”

“It's an incredible story with great action, a swoon worthy romance, and twists you won't see coming!”

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Guest Post - Kate Belle - Look who’s talking: authorial point of view

Today I'd like to welcome the lovely Kate Belle to the blog...

Thanks K. A. for hosting me today and a big hello to your regular readers.

If there’s one thing I’m passionate about in literature it’s quality writing. By this I mean writing that sings, that moves, that creates a vivid picture in a readers mind, writing that transports us into the story world. Writing styles shift with genre and purpose but one thing is consistently true of all good quality writing – it holds the story so that the reader doesn’t notice they are being told a story.

‘The first draft of anything is shit.’ – Ernest Hemingway.

He’s right. Want to know why?

Because in the first draft authors tell themselves the story. We become familiar with events, characters, settings. First drafts often contain glittering inspired prose, captivating scenes and beautiful descriptions. It’s tempting to hold onto them in the subsequent drafts because the words sound wonderful, astonishing, amazing together. But...

... more often than not, this glorious writing must be sacrificed via deletion or rewriting because it’s all from the author’s point of view. The first draft is the author’s story, not yet fit for the reader’s eyes. The purpose of rewriting is to transition the narrative from the author’s story to the reader’s story. Let me show you an example. The following paragraph is from the first draft of my current work in progress (WIP). Pay attention to the sound of the voice as you read.

“Lissy took to playing outside to avoid being around her sister. She rode her bike up and down the gravel driveway listening to the crunch and hiss of her front tyre as she weaved back and forth. When she was little she remembered Cassy trying to take care of her and their Dad, but as they both got older Cassandra withdrew. Lissy learned it was pointless talking to her. Her sister was like their Mum, feisty and self contained, a force unto herself, and a lot less forgiving.”

Ostensibly, this is supposed to be from Lissy’s point of view, but it you listen to it you can hear me, the author, telling you, the reader, the story through Lissy’s eyes. What the paragraph lacks is Lissy’s authentic voice, her experience in her words. If Lissy was telling her story she wouldn’t say ‘Lissy took to’ or ‘when she was little she remembered’ or ‘Lissy learned it was pointless’. These phrases push the narrative away from the character toward the author as narrator. More simply, the paragraph is tainted by the author’s point of view. So how do you identify authorial point of view?

It’s easy for authorial point of view to sneak in, even after several redrafts. It can happen if the writer has difficulty relating to the character or isn’t certain about the purpose of a scene or if the author is still discovering parts of the story. Writers must read their work with sharp hawk eyes to ferret it out from the prose surrounding it. The moment you feel distant from the character, or become aware you are reading a story rather than being carried along by the character’s experience, it may be because it’s using authorial point of view. So once you’ve found it, what do you do?

Be ruthless! Only a handful of words from the above paragraph survived my redrafting process. Instead of telling the reader what Lissy remembered, I created a flashback scene of Lissy’s memories of her sister’s behaviour. I laced it with her feelings and brought the point of view close into Lissy’s head. I sat right behind her eyes and wrote as if I were her, replacing my words with hers.

The end result is a more intimate experience of the character’s world for the reader, which is what quality writing is all about. It’s not just about lining up the pretty ducks and getting the grammar right, although that’s important too. It’s about making another world, another human being so real in the readers mind their emotions and interest are hooked and they feel compelled to follow the character’s journey to the very end of the book. My aim as a writer is for a reader to become aware they’ve been reading a story only as they close the back cover of my book.

What books or writers have transported you to a character’s world?

The Yearning
It’s 1978 in a country town and a dreamy fifteen year old girl’s world is turned upside down by the arrival of the substitute English teacher. Solomon Andrews is beautiful, inspiring and she wants him like nothing else she’s wanted in her short life.

Charismatic and unconventional, Solomon easily wins the hearts and minds of his third form English class. He notices the attention of one girl, his new neighbour, who has taken to watching him from her upstairs window. He assumes it a harmless teenage crush, until the erotic love notes begin to arrive.

Solomon knows he must resist, but her sensual words stir him. He has longings of his own, although they have nothing to do with love, or so he believes. One afternoon, as he stands reading her latest offering in his driveway, she turns up unannounced. And what happens next will torment them forever – in ways neither can imagine.

Read an extract HERE

Buy The Yearning:
Ebook: Amazon | iTunes | Kobo
Print book: Target, Kmart, Myer, Collins, Dymocks, Big W, Eltham Bookshop and other independent bookshops and major airports. If not in stock just ask.

Reading group questions HERE

Author Bio:
Kate is a multi-published author who writes dark, sensual contemporary women’s fiction. She lives, writes and loves in Melbourne, juggling her strange, secret affairs with her male characters with her much loved partner and daughter and a menagerie of neurotic pets.

Kate holds a tertiary qualification in chemistry, half a diploma in naturopathy and a diploma in psychological astrology. Kate believes in living a passionate life and has ridden a camel through the Australian desert, fraternised with hippies in Nimbin, had a near birth experience and lived on nothing but porridge and a carrot for 3 days.

Blog/website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | The Reading Room

K x

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Indie Life: Indie Authors Down Under

Welcome to my Indie Life post for November. This is a monthly feature posted on the second Wednesday of the month and hosted by the Indelibles. The aim is to promote, encourage, and support indie authors.

There has been a lot going on this month, but today I wanted to focus on an event that is happening next year. It's one that I'm really excited about.

I'm part of the awesome line-up of authors attending Indie Authors Down Under on March 22nd 2014.

For more information about the event, and to see who will be there signing their books alongside me, check out the website.

This event is a great example of how wonderful the Indie author community really is. So many people have banded together to make this possible, and I can't wait to meet all the authors.

Have you attended a book signing as an author or a fan? I'd love to hear about your experience.

Have a great month.

K x

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Announcement - Publication of Immagica

I've been trying to think of a way to write this post without it upsetting me too much, and I guess I just have to dive in and say what needs to be said.

I was hoping to have Immagica published by the end of November. When I set that goal I thought it was quite realistic. I had a few months up my sleeve and things were going well. Then life happened and it hasn't quite turned out that way.

I love this book.

The original draft was completed in September 2011, so the story has been with me for a while. It's a little different now than it was back then, and I've put hours and hours of work (and a few tears) into it. I have a beautiful cover and some other really exciting things in the works. But I don't feel comfortable rushing the final stages to release within my original time target.

Therefore, I have decided to delay the release of Immagica until 2014.

I want to give you the best book I possibly can, and if I have to take some more time to do it then I won't regret this decision one bit.

My readers are awesome, and I hope you understand that I think this is the right decision for me and Immagica.

K x

Friday, November 08, 2013

COVER REVEAL - Branded by Katie Hamstead

Today I'm excited to show you the cover for Katie Hamstead's next book Branded. I love Katie and her writing, and being a fellow Aussie I can't wait to get my hands on this one! Check out the awesomeness and add it to your TBR on Goodreads.

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.

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

K x

Monday, November 04, 2013

Review or not to review: the decision is yours

Most of you know I contribute to an Aussie blog called Aussie Owned and Read. I love the AOAR girls, and since we began back in January of this year they have become my closest writing family. If you don't follow us, head over and check out what we have to say. There's lots going on with advice, author interviews, book reviews and heaps more. We focus on anything to do with YA and NA writing and publishing.

Below is a post I wrote for AOAR in July about writing reviews. You can view the original post HERE.

There was a time when book reviews were only seen in reputable newspapers and magazines, and they were written by professional review writers. The internet has changed that in an enormous way, and now, anyone can voice their opinion about pretty much anything.

Writing a review is a very personal thing, and the outcome of the review is just that—one person’s opinion. There is no right or wrong way to write a review, but I’d like to give both authors and readers some tips that may help.

For Readers
  • I have to be in the right frame of mind to read. If I’m tired, or the kids are screaming around me, I’m obviously not going to enjoy reading as much as I should. Having no distractions is good!
  • My bookshelves (and iPad) are full of books that actually interest me. This may seem like a silly thing to say, but I’ve read countless reviews where people have said, “I don’t usually read sci-fi, but I thought I’d read this…” (Sci-fi was just an example.) Most of these go on to be bad reviews because the reader isn’t really interested in the subject matter. I’m not saying don’t try something new, but if you’re not into sci-fi, then that type of book may not be the best read for you.
  • I keep a notepad and pen next to me so I can jot down quotes, thoughts, and page references. One minute we may be happy, but the next we want to kick the MC for being so stupid, or something to that effect. This is where writing down a few words about a particular scene or chapter can be a big help when it comes to writing the review.
  • I always try to start and finish with something positive, even if I didn’t like the book. This can sometimes be hard, and if it’s not possible, I aim to be respectful with my word choices. Or, I simply don’t write a review. Personally, I find profanity very off putting, and it makes me disregard a review almost immediately.
  • Say why you liked or didn’t like the book, don’t just give a summary of the story. Potential readers want to know if the book will interest them, and your reasons for liking or disliking it will persuade them. Saying “I didn’t like it” doesn’t really help anyone. Neither does “I loved it”. Tell us why. Keep in mind; if you dislike a book, chances are you can still say something nice about it :-)
  • Be prepared for backlash. Let’s face it, not everyone is going to agree with your opinion, and we don’t love every book we read, but take it in your stride. We all need to learn to play nice.

For Authors

Reviews of your work
  • Read them, don’t read them, it’s up to you, but like I said before, a review is one person’s opinion. If it’s positive, dance around like a crazy person. If it’s negative, try not to take it personally. I know—it’s hard.
  • Don’t respond to negative reviews. In private: cry, scream, rant, rave, throw a pillow at your cat, but don’t engage the reviewer. If you do, you are likely to start an argument and make yourself look bad. Make sure your cat is okay, and then move on.
  • By all means interact with your fans, but someone once gave me a very good piece of advice. If you can’t, or wouldn’t, say something to someone’s face, don’t say it on-line.

Reviewing Other People’s Work
  • I’ve seen quite a few people say that authors shouldn’t review other author’s work. I don’t entirely agree with this. I’m an author, and if I love someone’s book, I want to shout it to everyone. The same is equally so if I’ve been strongly affected in any other way. Although I do tend to mainly write reviews for the books I’ve really liked.
  • As an Indie author, reviews are very important to me, and I figure if I want people to review my books, I should pay it back in kind.
  • If you are an author, and you do decide to review, be careful what you say. I’ve learnt this the hard way. I strive to be honest, and polite, but sometimes people can take negative feedback quite badly. It’s sometimes hard to decipher someone’s intended tone when it’s a bunch of words on a screen. If in doubt—don’t. But… you are entitled to your opinion just like any other reader.

Review or not to review: the decision is yours.

Obviously, this article is my personal opinion on the subject of book reviews. The tips I’ve explained and the points I’ve made are solely my own. If you agree, that’s great. If you disagree, even better! I’d love to hear your thoughts about reviews. Do you read them? Do you write them? Do they affect your reading decisions? Leave a comment below.

K x

Friday, November 01, 2013

What’s in a name? Naming your book and characters is like naming your child (PART 2)

Last Monday I talked about character names and some things to look out for when choosing a name for the new person in your life.

Today I want to talk about naming your book.

PART 2: Book Titles

The title of a book needs to encompass the essence of a story in just a few words, sometimes even one word. This is a really hard thing to do. Writing a synopsis is hard enough, so how do you sum up an entire story with one or two words? I don’t have an easy answer, but I have some ideas that might help.

Ask yourself what the underlying theme of your story is. Is there a moral to the story? Is there something the character does, or a huge event within the story, that would work as a title? What about the character’s name? Some really great books are named after their character(s). Carrie by Stephen King and Eragon by Christopher Paolini spring to mind. Oh! And how could I forget Percy Jackson and Harry Potter.

Sometimes a story will be drafted and still not have a title by the end, and sometimes the title will be the first thing that comes to you. In the case of Fall For Me it went through a few different titles before I made a final decision. Subsequently, the sequel will be called Fight For Me even though I haven’t finished writing it yet. And Immagica was always going to be Immagica, because I knew I wanted to write a story that combined imagination and magic.

Here are some more things to consider when choosing a title for your book:
  • If you think you have a title that will work for you, search for it and see how many other books have gotten there first. This doesn’t mean you can’t use it, but it’s a good idea to be aware of it.
  • Avoid really long words, and really long titles. Short words work best.
  • Make it memorable and interesting. You don’t want people forgetting the title of your book two seconds after you told them. One great example of this (which breaks my short title rule) is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Who could forget that!
  • Don’t make any words in your title hard to pronounce. I’m not sure about other people, but if I can’t say the title, I’m not going to want to read the book. And chances are if I can’t say it, I might also miss its meaning.
  • If you’re writing a series, think ahead. Do the titles work together, or complement each other?
  • Think about how the letters of the word(s) will look. Your designer will thank you for it. Lots of ascenders and descenders (the bits that go above and below the word’s base line) will make the title look messy.
Personally, I love naming my characters and my books. I have a folder full of ideas that have started from a name or a title. Now, I just need to find the time to write them all!

K x