Sunday, 23 December 2012

Operation Awesome New Year's Revision Conference

I've been away for a while due to unforeseen circumstances, but the New Year will bring a fresh blog start for me. And, to help end 2012 on a high note, I wanted to start by spreading some fabulous 2013 news of an event happening over on Operation Awesome. It's time to spread the word about the Operation Awesome online writers conference, and what better way than with a giveaway!
Enter using the rafflecopter form below.

New Year's Revisions Conference 2013

January 4, 5, and 6 

This conference is totally free, totally online. 

You may have written your book as part of NaNoWriMo in November. You could have been working on yours longer. Or maybe you've got a book baby sat in a drawer that you think may just need a little more TLC. And what comes along with that? Revisions. But you don't need to go it alone. Operation Awesome have gathered a group of book lovers: the ones who write the books, the ones who represent the authors, and the ones who edit the books. They all want you to succeed in making your book as shiny as it can possibly be before you query/publish.

That's the focus of NYRC 2013.

This is the place to be if you love books, write books, want to write, or just want to hang out and read awesome tips and advice to keep in your writing tip vault. Operation Awesome. There'll also be a critique partner matching service for those looking for a second pair of eyes.

We'll be live-tweeting the events @OpAwesome6 and using the #NYRC hash tag. Hope you'll join us!

A quick recap. The NYRC will have: 

  • Professional publishing advice from our panel of experts
  • Guest posts by literary agents, editors, and published authors - all with an eye toward helping you through the revision process
  • Book giveaways.
  • Critique partner matching service (January 3, the day before the conference officially begins)

Giving away today via rafflecopter (giveaway runs from Dec. 21-24):

SHADOWS OF THE HIDDEN by Anne Riley (e-copy)
DEADWOOD by Kell Andrews (signed ARC)
AMAROK by Angela Townsend (e-copy)
A LITTLE BIT WICKED by Robyn DeHart  (e-copy)
SHIMMER OF ANGELS by Lisa Basso (e-copy)

$10 gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The Kindness Project: Words Create Emotion

Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good. But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren't feeling entirely whole. It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, starting with a series of inspirational posts.

I wasn't sure what to write this month. Then I found this poem: 


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

― Naomi Shihab NyeWords Under the Words: Selected Poems

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Kindness Project

I'm excited to have been asked to join The Kindness Project! Yay!  What is The Kindness Project? Read on...

Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good. But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren't feeling entirely whole. It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, starting with a series of inspirational posts. We post the second Wednesday of every month. Want to join us? Grab our button and spread a little kindness.  

When the awesome Lola Sharp asked me to join The Kindness Project, naturally I said yes. Then I started to panic. Why? Because I don't even feel qualified to talk about being kind. Or to spread any sort of inspirational message about being kind. So I spent a while thinking about what to write. Then I procrastinated by Googling random stuff. 

And I found this quote: 

Image via Google 

It got me thinking that an act of kindness, however large or small, should be offered without expecting repayment. We do something nice because we want to do it. 

It doesn't even have to be a huge gesture. A smile. Holding open a door. And how often does a nice comment on a bad day make all the difference? Kindness is like a hug you can't feel. The gesture may not change lives, but the fact that you took the time makes all the difference. 

It may even inspire someone to pay it forward. 

Want more? Check out the July posts for The Kindness Project: 

Alina Klein                             Katharine Owens 
Andrea Hannah                      Len Lambert
Barbara Watson                     Liza Kane
Carolina Valdez Miller            Lola Sharp
Christa Desir                          Lindsay Scott
Claire Hennessy                     Matthew MacNish 
Elana Johnson                        Michele Shaw
Elizabeth Davis                      Sarah Fine
Elizabeth Poole                      Sara Larson 
Erica Chapman                      Sara McClung
Jessica Corra                         Sophia Chang
Leigh Moore                          Tracey Neithercott

Monday, 14 May 2012

Cleaning House

funny pictures of cats with captions

Since my little old blog has, sadly, been gathering a bit of dust recently, I've decided that it's time for a bit of a clean up (and a sparkly new design). I've lots of archived posts over in the sidebar if you'd like to stay a while. So, while I'm brushing off the cookie crumbs, feel free to pull up a comfy cushion, pour some coffee and help yourself to a cookie. 

I'll be back.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Updated Covers for Possession & Surrender

When the fabulous Elana Johnson announced via Twitter that she had a secret to reveal, I dropped my cookies and jumped at the chance to help her reveal it.

You remember these covers, right?:
PossessionSurrender (Possession, #2)

Gorgeous, right? Well here's what landed in my inbox from Elana...

First, I present the newly-designed cover for the POSSESSION paperback:

I love (and own) the original cover in hardback, but I think the graduated background colour really compliments the the butterfly in the ice. And did you notice the new tagline?

And here is the hardback cover for SURRENDER:

Again, I think the colour of the background makes the bird in the jar pop.

I'm normally a bit on the fence about cover redesigns. I like my books (especially the ones in a series) to compliment each other when they live on my bookshelves (I know, I'm weird *grins*). But I do love these new covers. Plus the cover backgrounds just happen to be two of my favourite covers. :)

What about you? What do you think about the POSSESSION and SURRENDER covers?

Monday, 16 January 2012

The Joy of Books

This has been doing the blogosphere rounds over the last week, but I wanted to share it with you all.

I wonder if my books do this when I'm asleep? Hmmm. :)

Monday, 9 January 2012

The Big Bang Theory Query

January is a time where lots of people make a resolution to query that novel. Want to know the emotions that go along with it? The Big Bang Theory can help...

That moment you finally finish your MS:

And you send off the query:


When a new message shows up in your inbox:


Or the post drops through the door:

The face you make when someone asks you "If you've heard anything yet?"


And you have a "I hate waiting" moment:


Then you get a new idea:

And the waiting isn't so bad, right?:

Memorised the emotions? Ready for them? Open that query, proofread and hit send. :)

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Danger: TBR Pile.

The New Year means new books. And there are a lot of excellent new book pretties coming out this year.

Here are just a few that have made their way onto my TBR pile.

The Fault in Our Stars 

Goodreads Blurb: Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. 

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind. 

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)  

Goodreads Blurb: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.


Goodreads BlurbOnce upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances… a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been. 

So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life…and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done. 

It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last….

Those are a few of my picks. What books are you looking forward to reading in 2012? 

P.S. I'm also over on Operation Awesome today if you get chance to head on over. 

Monday, 2 January 2012

No Kiss Blogfest!

Happy 2012. To kick off the year, Frankie Diane Mallis is hosting the 3rd annual No Kiss Blogfest.

What is the No Kiss Blogfest?: This is when you get to write a scene or post one from your favorite books, movies, or tv shows that show the almost kiss-- the rising, crushing, excruciating, longing, tension that comes  when two characters get oh-so-close to kissing that you can just feel it, want it, NEED it....and then...they don't!

I had so much fun taking part last year that I'm doing it again!

*Takes a deep breath* And here is my excerpt:

            "Asher, what are you doing?"

            "It's raining." He leans back, resting his head against the headboard. “I was kind of hoping you’d let me stay. I'm not going out in the rain." 

            The gentle tap of water hits the balcony windows. I didn't even notice it had started. I glance between Asher, the door, and back. "My Guardians, they'll call the patrol… you can't—"

            "Relax, I'll be gone by daybreak," he murmurs. Soft fingers brush my back, sending a tingle along my spine. "Lay down. Get some rest."

            Yeah, like I'll be able to rest with a guy on the bed with me. If Molly or Toby comes in, I'm screwed. Still, my body jerks. It moves back as if each vertebra is lowering itself one by one onto the mattress, my head the last to go. My gaze flicks to the side, but I can't see anything in this light. I turn and look, straight into his open eyes. "I thought you were going to sleep."

            "I am."

            "Then why are you looking at me?" My voice cracks.

            He tilts his head toward me. His full lips part. "Why are you looking at me?" 

            Yeah, answer a question with a question. Perfect answer.

            He flips onto his side, propping his elbow on the pillow. "What are you thinking?"

            "I just... it's nothing." I shake my head.

            "Aura." Two fingers find their way beneath my chin and guide my head back to the figure now leaning above me.

            "I saw a picture in a book in Toby's study once," I say. "He doesn't know I've seen it. It's one of the books he hides in his desk, but I used to sneak down in the middle of the night, pull the book out and stare at it."

            He settles back, and rests his head on his hand. "What was it about?"

            "There's a couple, on a balcony. Well, the girl is. The guy's climbing up. His hand reaching to her." The picture so clear it's almost as though I can see it in front of me. "She's smiling, and they both have this look in their eyes while they lean forward."

            "Romeo and Juliet."

            I blink. "How do you know that?"

            "Cassian," he says. "I told you, he got some books from the old days. He infiltrated the Archives."

            "Oh." The mention of my supposed father creates a strange pang in my stomach. I close my eyes, and hope the darkness will stop the sensation. "I guess so. The nameplate had been blacked out. When I was younger, I used to wonder about love. I know we’re not supposed to think about it," I sigh. "But I'd wonder how it looked, when the world fades away and there's no one but you and this other person. I found that picture and there it was -- love."

            "You know they die in the end, right?"

            My eyes fly open. "What?"

            "Romeo and Juliet," he says. "They're the children from two warring families who fall in love, marry, then die."


            "Because their love's secret. Juliet's parents try to get her to marry some other guy, she refuses and pretends to die," he explains. "Romeo is supposed to come take her away so they can flee the city." He blinks, almost waiting for some response, but I won't rise to his bait. He'd think I’m interested. Which I'm not. Am I? "Romeo is supposed to get a letter telling him the plan, but he misses it. He thinks she's dead and goes to die beside her. Juliet wakes up just as he's drunk some poison. Kisses him, and he dies. Not wanting to live without him, she stabs herself."

            Well, that's depressing.

            "Maybe the Decretum are right," I say. "What's the point in love if all it brings is death?"

            He looks at me as if I’m supposed to know the answer. "Because their deaths end the war between their families, and they're laid to rest together. To love forever. Thus with a kiss, I die."

            Because riddles explain so much to me. "What?"

            "That's what Romeo says before he dies."

            My forehead scrunches together. "I still don't see what all the fuss is about. If love is so wonderful, why—"

            He runs his thumb across my jaw, traces a line along the bone, and cups my cheek in his palm.


            "Shush." He touches my mouth. Electric. His free hand slides to my opposite cheek, bringing my face closer. Warm breath rushes across my face as he leans toward me.

            The thrum in my chest quickens with each centimeter closing the ocean of distance between us. The tip of his nose nuzzles against my own. I can't keep my eyes open. They close like an automatic door while a spark of fire flickers within my nothingness. I can't see, but I know there's no space between us. His firm torso rests near mine, our breaths mingling as he brushes his lips against my own. The faint touch of flesh on flesh.  

            "Aura, are you awake?"

            The door.

            My eyes fly open. "Asher, you've got to go."

And there it is. Apologies for length.

Now I'm off to check out the other awesome entries.