Saturday, July 28, 2012

Friday Favourites - Best Friends

So this is a very sad week for me. My best friend is moving approx 10,000 kilometres away and we're not sure when we'll be in email contact... which if you knew us, is catastrophic... We email at least four times a day, but more likely ten times. That's what BFFs do when they live an hours drive away. So the fact she'll be in China and I'll be in New Zealand on a day to day basis won't be much different as we'll hopefully still email often (once it's all set up and working). BUT I am going to miss her face and miss giving her a hug. Because we'll be in different time zones that will also effect our contact. Hopefully the Chinese internet structure lets us video skype occasionally.

Apart from the distance, I know that being apart won't effect Melissa and my friendship in a bad way. We are true friends in every sense of the word. We really are sisters with different mothers.

I hope every girl has a best friend like I do. Like it takes a while to find the perfect guy... I had a few false starts with girls I thought were BFF material but they didn't work out, until I found Melissa. She is the real thing and she's all mine ;-)

So when we decided to write Forbidden Territory, Mica and Lexy's friendship was easy. We just mirrored it on our own. Even if those two girls find different guys or move to different ends of the earth, their friendship will endure, like mine and Melissa's.

Tell me about your best friend and what makes her special!!

And if you haven't bought it already, don't forget to pick up your ecopy of Forbidden Territory on Smashwords in the July special sale!!  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Paranormal vs normal

Paranormal books seem to be a lasting trend in Young Adult fiction right now. I've lost count of how many vampire, zombie, angel type books are out there. It's all I can see on the shelves at the book stores. I do wonder how long this train will keep running and what is coming next. 

While I'm the first to admit I loved the Twilight books, that was probably the first paranormal books I'd enjoyed. But that was because they were heavily romantic. 

I do miss 'normal' books. You know; guy meets girl, they fall in love, have some adventures and everything ends happily. 

As a reader, I'm tired of paranormal and as a writer I don't think I have the skills to write paranormal, so what does that mean for me? I guess I keep writing and hope I hit the right trend one day. And keep reading to find normal books amongst the sci-fi. 

What do you prefer to read? 
And just for fun, what is the next trend going to be? Predictions anyone??? 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Go on! Tell them!

I had a real "feel good" moment yesterday when I bumped into a work colleague who had purchased Golden Blood for her daughter. She took the time to tell me that her daughter, who is a prolific reader (especially in YA), loved my book so much. She was raving about it and couldn't wait to tell all her friends.

As you can imagine, it TOTALLY made my day. I flew home and told my husband, I posted it on Facebook, I was elated. It got me thinking about how much time I've spent stressing about sales and marketing over the last month. With my own life being ridiculously busy, I just haven't had the time to spend on it. But you know, when you hear that one person loves your book so much, you can step back and say, "This is what it's all about." It's not a numbers game. That's not why I published my work. I published it because I wanted to give readers some really fun time out. I wanted them to enjoy my books.

So - whether I sell one more book or five million. I am still a success, because there are people out there who have really, really enjoyed my stuff.

This brings me to my main point... if you're a reader and you've read a great book that you loved. I want to encourage you to take the time to contact the author and let them know.

I have done this on several occasions and have had some fantastic responses. It's only taken ten minutes of my time and more often than not, the authors reply. It's a win-win situation.

Have you ever contacted an author personally?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Friday Favourites ~ Habits/mannerisms

What do you do when you get nervous or anxious? Scratch your nose, bite your nails, jiggle your leg or fidget?

What does your brother or best friend do? I'm a bit people watcher and love to see how people work and move. Even when I'm watching reality tv, I've seen a lot of excessive blinking, knuckle cracking, eye rolling, drumming fingers, hair flicking etc...

When I create a character I love to come up with quirky habits or mannerisms that sets that character apart from others or from the norm. Half the world bites their nails so that turns into a bit of a cliche if you only use that one. But how about some of these: humming without being aware of it, eating the entire way around your sandwich first, tapping teeth with a finger nail, gesturing wildly with hands while talking, not standing on pavement cracks... I'm interested in hearing your ideas too!

Actually I also get really annoyed by a few habits too eg: chewing gum with mouth open (yuck).

As for me when I answer the phone I use a different voice, I glance at my watch ALL THE TIME and I sniff (I HATE this particular one but it's really hard to get rid of) ;-)

What are your habits/mannerisms?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Music: A distraction? Or Does It Add To The Experience?

I love music. I play the piano, I sing, I even compose when I'm really in the zone.

Music is such a huge part of my life and I always have it playing in the house, which is why I find it so bizarre that when it comes to writing I NEED silence. I can't write with music on - whether it's instrumental or singers, I just find it way too distracting. The same goes with reading. I can't focus on a book when there is music on in the background.

In saying that, when it comes to imagining a scene, music is a huge enhancement. It can evoke emotions in me and add real spice and feeling to a scene. I especially love listening to movie soundtrack music when I'm dreaming or just really romantic songs with a ton of emotion in them - Taylor Swift is a favourite :)

So - what do you think?
Does music distract you from reading or writing?
Or does music make the whole reading experience a million times better?
What kind of music stirs emotions in you?


Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Review - 13 on Halloween by Laura Elliot

Twelve-year-old Roxie wants to be like Adrianne, the peacock, who gets everything she wants––a trampoline, a flock to prowl around the mall with, and most especially invitations to parties, despite the fact that Adrianne tarantulas and hamsters and cats and owls her way to get it all. But everything changes when Roxie invites all the peacocks in the eighth grade to her birthday party on Halloween and they all come. And a boy, the boy, actually talks to Roxie. She has the best night of her life until the peacocks decide they want to celebrate her birthday in a way she never expects––in her attic, with a pact to swear to never tell a living soul what happens there. Roxie gets everything she’s always wanted, except her old life back.

First things first, I love the cover. There is something very beautiful about this girl's face and it made me want to read the book as soon as I saw it.

To be honest, I initially struggled to get into this story. The main character thinks of people as different types of animals. I'd never read anything like it, so it took me a while to get into Roxie's head. I soon got used to it and the story slowly took off. I'm really glad I persisted, because I had a lot of fun jumping into Roxie's parallel world. That's when things got really interesting!

There is a really good "lessoned learn" type moral running through the story and in the end, I loved Roxie's voice. Elliot captures the emotions of a 12-year-old girl brilliantly, touching on all those little things that are important to them.

If you're looking for a story that will take you on a whacky ride with a very likeable character, then you should check this book out.

3 stars from me :)


Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Favourites - The Way Characters Talk

I can sometimes fall in love, or out of love, with a character simply by the way they talk. Voice in a story is really important. I like characters that have spunk and sass. A certain amount of sarcastic wit works well for me too. Reading dialogue that makes me smile is always a plus.

My next book, Betwixt, has a character I have grown to love as I wrote her. Nicole Tepper has a sharp tongue and a few quirky phrases that made me like her. There's something about the way she speaks that always makes me smile. Even though she's a bit of a bad girl, I find her endearing because of the way she phrases things.

Here's an example:

"I worry my lip as another misdemeanour rushes through my brain. That time I totally dissed Amber's outfit in front of everyone. I was just trying to get her back for borrowing my bracelet and promptly losing it. She actually looked pretty good, but I, of course, had to point out the fact that those particular pants gave her a tiny muffin. Kill me now. I can't believe I actually said that in front of all our friends. I mean her clothes are often too tight and I'd love to go all make over on her, but she'd be so offended if I ever suggested it. Besides, she got me back the next day by  "accidentally" spilling cranberry juice all over my white shirt. The war could have gone on for months if Penny hadn't stepped in with a truce agreement."

What type of character voice do you enjoy?

Writing characters with interesting speech patterns and phrases can bring a book to life, and like I said before, make you fall in love with, or totally sympathise with, a character.

Can you think of any specific characters that have a great way of talking?


Monday, July 9, 2012

FUSE Teen Reading Competition

The Auckland City Libraries is running a great initiative. The FUSE Teen Competition is a big drive to get teens into the library system. They want to encourage kids to own their own library card and get reading.

How cool is that?!?

I am super excited about this for a few reasons...

1. I used to be a school teacher so seeing kids read is a total buzz for me.
2. Brenda and I have been invited to speak at the Launch Party on July 11th. 
3. Any initiative that encourages teens to read has to rock.
4. I'm so excited about chatting to the kids who attend the launch party and giving away a few books.
5. Encouraging children to read can only be a good thing.

Okay - how many times can I reword this... :)

You get my point.

So if you live in Auckland, and you have teenagers, send them along to the launch party at Pakuranga Library - 4.30pm.

If you are reading this from the other side of the world... do your local libraries run anything like this? If not, it might be a great opportunity for you to rock on up and make a few suggestions. If you're a writer, it could be great exposure for your books. All the librarians I have spoken to have been SO enthusiastic about having authors chat to kids. I encourage you to be brave and put yourself out there. Some risks are definitely worth taking :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

And The Winners Are...

Wohoo!!! The winners for the Forbidden Territory Blog Tour have been picked by

And the winners of the Prize Packs are...

- Artemis
- Rose
- Marla

And the winner of the Grand Prize is...

- Jen Hutchinson

Congratulations winners!! We will be in touch via e-mail within the next 24 hours.

Thank you so much for everyone who checked out this blog tour. We really hope you enjoy the book when you get your hands on it.

Thank you also to all the amazing bloggers who participated in the tour. You are all officially legends!!