Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Favourite - Blogs to follow

Betwixt is preparing for a blog tour. A Tale of Many Reviews is hosting it for me and so far we've had quite a few sign ups. Squee!!

So anyway - as I'm getting all excited about this upcoming tour, I started to think about some of my favourite blogs to follow and what attracts me to them.

The first one that jumps to mind is Refracted Light Reviews. Dani started the blog and then brought two more reviewers on with her - Heather and Aly. It is such a gorgeous blog. I love the design, the posts always look gorgeous and the reviews are always thorough and well thought out. I subscribe to receive updates by e-mail and I always love flicking through the latest posts.

Another blog I look at daily is Indies Unlimited. I love the variety of their posts. Each day there are five posts put up and there is always something interesting to read or learn. I love that there are so many contributing authors. There is a wealth of knowledge to be shared and support to be given, and I think IU does a fantastic job of this.

There are screeds of other blogs I follow, but those two were the first that jumped to mind. I guess it tells me that I like blogs to be visually appealing, have well thought out posts that contain information that will teach me something or lead me to an excellent read.

What do you look for in a blog?
Do you have a favourite blog that you love to check in on frequently?


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Book Review - Watched by Cindy M. Hogan

It takes more than a school trip to Washington, D.C. to change fifteen-year-old Christy's life. It takes murder.
A witness to the brutal slaying of a Senator's aide, Christy finds herself watched not only by the killers and the FBI, but also by two hot boys.
She discovers that if she can't help the FBI, who want to protect her, it will cost her and her new friends their lives.

(Sorry for the lack of cover image. Blogger will just not load photos for me at the moment!)

I actually hadn't read the blurb for this book before I started reading it. I won it in a competition and loaded it onto my kindle without a second thought. It's actually taken months to get to the book, but I'm really glad I got there. This was a great read and because I hadn't read the blurb, the first few pages were filled with unexpected surprises. It took me a while to believe what I was reading!

I ended up liking Christy a lot by the end of the novel. She is very genuine and I totally related to some of her awkward emotions. 

There is a love triangle going on in this book. Usually I immediately lean towards one love interest, but I found myself wavering between the two guys throughout the entire book. I didn't know who I wanted her to end up with. I think Hogan did a fantastic job of capturing the emotions of a teen who really likes both parties equally. 

The suspense in the book is well done and kept me turning pages. As soon as I finished, I immediately went online and downloaded the next book - Protected. I'm really looking forward to finding out what happens.

If you enjoy books with great characters and good suspense then add Watched to your reading list.

4.5 stars from me.


Watched can be purchased both digitally and in paperback through Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Favourites - Price of an E-book

Last week I had a short discussion with someone about pricing. She was a little put out by the fact authors, or publishers, list the first book in a series really cheaply then tack on a few extra dollars for the subsequent books.

I have done this with my Time Spirit Trilogy. From a marketing stand point, it's a clever move. Get people hooked then earn a little more. 

It's got me thinking though, what do you think is a fair price for a digital book?

I am quite cheap, so I tend to not hesitate about spending anything less that $5 on an author I trust. I'll only risk $1-$2 on an author I've never heard of and I get really annoyed about having to spend $10 - $20 on a traditionally published e-book.

Am I in the wrong though?
I used to spend $20 - $30 (NZD) on paperback books, so why do I want e-books to be so cheap?

As an author, I work my butt off to produce work that is good quality. I want to guarantee my readers a good experience so I spend my own funds on having my books edited. I also have to put a little money into marketing, so from my viewpoint, charging $3.99 for a book seems fair. 
Let's not mention an hourly wage, because it would be very low. Writing is a privilege for me, so if I can make enough money from one book to write and publish my next book, I'm a happy girl.
Don't get me wrong, my ultimate goal is to be able to write full time and support myself, but only time and hard work will bring that about :)

What's your favourite price?
If you could pick the price for an e-book, what would choose?

Monday, August 20, 2012


We're taking a leap off writing and reading today to talk about geo-caching. The most fun sport in the world, especially for those of us who aren't exactly Olympic medal performers :-)

My husband introduced me to geo-caching after stumbling across the geo-cache website seven years ago. All we needed was a GPS and a sense of adventure. Check. Check. So off we went. We keyed the coordinates for our very first cache into our GPS and followed the little pointed arrow. At first we wandered along the path, then suddenly we were in the wild bush on the edge of a cliff... okay so we didn't sign up for abseiling or rock climbing... where had we gone wrong?

Tip # 1 - When geo caching. Double check you've entered the coordinates correctly ;-)

So now the coordinates were entered correctly we retraced our steps until we found the correct cache location.
I guess at this point I should explain a bit about what geo-caching is. It's pretty much treasure hunting for adults. Instead of a map, you use a GPS with number coordinates which direct you to a bush or rock or tree where the treasure is hidden.
So the GPS gets to within about a metre of the hidden cache, that's when you have to start searching. It took us a wee while (being our first and all) until we found it hidden by a fence post. It was a small plastic container filled with a notebook for recording your find and little treasures you can swap out with a treasure you bring along. FUN FUN FUN.

So after doing a few of these treasure hunts with our best friends, we decided it would make an awesome book. Teenagers geo-caching but running into some trouble in the book; with romance of course. Can't have a book without some romance. That's how 'Forbidden Territory' was born.

If you haven't tried out geo-caching yet, check out this website for more info: and let us know how you get on. Of course you can also check out our book to find out about Mica and Lexy and how their first geo-caching hunt went!

Until next time
Zealous Girl (Photos = me and Melissa geo-caching in Te Anau)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Favourites - Endings

As a writer I find endings really hard to write... that final sentence can be a killer and often the part of the book I rewrite the most. In some ways the ending can make or break a book. If you love a book, but hate the ending, it really taints the whole reading experience. The last part you encounter in the story, is often the part that can linger in your brain.

From a writing viewpoint, writing the ending is a huge responsibility.

The ending as a whole is much easier for my brain to construct. In fact I usually know the ending very early on in the piece and then work backwards. I always like my books to have a very satisfying ending. I want my reader to close their book, or switch of their e-reader, with a nod and a smile. I want them to feel as though they've had a great experience and the characters have ended up in the right place.

So what types of endings are there?

- The happy lovey-dove ending where the right people end up together and a promising future awaits them.

- The sacrificial ending that leaves you in tears, but the character's growth in the story makes it all okay.

- The cliff hanger ending that has your brain exploding with questions and you scrambling to get your hands on the next book.

- The open ending where it's left up to you to decide where the characters will end up.

- The tied in a neat bow ending where everything is as it should be - all conflicts are resolved and there is no question in your mind about what will happen with the characters.

- The epilogue ending, where you're catapulted into the future a few years and you can see how the characters have ended up.

Am I missing any? I'm sure I am :)

I think my favourites would be the happy ending where the couple I want end up together. I don't mind if there are still questions lingering, as long as I know the couple I like are going to make it. Give me a kiss, a loving statement - something that proves they're together.

If I'm reading a trilogy, I love the cliff hanger ending as long as I can get my hands on the other books quickly.

I'm also a little partial to an epilogue ending. I love to know where the reader pictures the characters in the future. It's fun.

How about you?
What endings do you like?
What books have you read recently where the ending has been exactly what you wanted it to be?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Life is too busy when you don't have time to read

I'm trying to remember the last book I read :-(
Actually it was a ARC copy of Melissa's book 'Betwixt' due out in December but apart from that my mind in blank. How sad is that? (by the way, add BETWIXT to your to read lists, it's AWESOME!)

My life is too busy. You'd think as a stay at home mum I'd have lots of time.... NOPE. Even as I write this I'm multi tasking: cooking dinner, playing with my daughter and finishing a graphic design job for a friend.

The problem with not working in a normal job is you get asked to do a lot... Let me count the ways I volunteer: plunket, street community group, church, helping out friends... then are my hobbies: writing, sewing, scrapbooking, crocheting (I could go on and on actually). And not to forget my at home jobs: housework, cooking, washing, kidlets. It's a shame I have to sleep otherwise I could probably just about get everything done.

Oh and I totally forgot blogging. I NEED MORE TIME.

I've started taking a few hours a week to organise my house to try and cut down tidying each week and perhaps gain myself a few more hours. Hopefully that works :-)

What fills your time? How do you find time to read or write?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

eBook or Paperback?

Things are changing fast with books. 20% of books read are ebooks, where as a couple of years ago only 1% were ebooks. That's a HUGE jump.

I read both, but because I don't have an ipad or kindle, I do tend to read paperbacks more often. But I do LOVE how you can read in the dark with an 'E' device! How cool is that? No longer will parents everywhere have to tell kids to turn their lights off and put the book away, because they won't know! Also gone are the days of reading under the covers by flashlight :-)

Pros of ebooks: they are cheap and you can download them in seconds and read them instantly!
Pros of paperbacks: You can see how close you are to the end, they smell good and you get to use your funky bookmarks.

Cons of ebooks: you need some type of device to read them AND a power source
Cons of paperbacks: you have to go to a bookstore or order online and wait before you can read them.

As a teen I could sometimes read three (small) novels a day. I was rather obsessed with those 'sweet dreams' or 'sweet valley high' books. Imagine if I had an ipad back then, I wouldn't have had to wait for them to come into the library or bookstore. Instant books! I would have NEVER got any sleep.

What are the books YOU are obsessed with? And do you prefer ebook or paperback? 

I love hearing from you!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Favourites - Chocolate

What is it about chocolate? Even the word sounds delicious? When my bestie moved to China two days ago it was definitely a chocolate day. Chocolate is my new friend, who keeps me company and warms my tummy ;-)

Do you have a food 'friend' for those sad times or happy times? Something that always makes you feel better, even if you eat the whole KING SIZE bar?

My other absolute favourite is pineapple lumps. Not sure if they are available world wide, but they are soooo good. If there is a packet in my house, it is just not safe. (Pineapple lumps are lollies flavoured like pineapple, covered in chocolate). Mmmmmmmmmmmmm

Have a great weekend, everyone.

PS Word from Melissa: she's arrived safely and busy getting settled and unpacking.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Blog posts for August

Dear readers and friends

Due to Melissa moving to China and being offline for a month we will be dropping down to two posts a week on our blog. Mondays and Fridays (or Tuesdays and Saturdays for my fellow Kiwis).

Melissa flew out yesterday. I went to the airport and there were lots of tears... I'm still feeling a jagged hole in my chest, I miss my friend.

I'm busily trying to fill up my diary so I have less time to miss her. What I really need to do is get stuck into my next book.

I saw a blog post that was challenging everyone to write for 15 mins a day for the month of August. I really want to take that challenge. When I was at work before kids, I would put earbuds in my ears, sit in the corner of the staffroom at lunch and write on my laptop for a full half hour every day. I miss that.
Let me know if you're up for the challenge.

Stay cool til afterschool (who remembers what tv show that is from?)