Sunday, December 9, 2012

T minus one week!

Eeeek! In just one week I will be married! So I'm officially checking out of the blogosphere until January (though I've been pretty much absent for the past several weeks, what with finishing up school and all our DIY wedding decor...).

If you've left a comment on my blog in the past few weeks and I haven't responded or visited your blog in return, I am really sorry, and I'd like to say


to all of you for your support of my writing/publishing journey this year. It has been incredibly exciting to take my first steps in the publishing world, and it would not have been nearly as fantastic without you.


And if you're still around on December 15th, I'd love it if you could check out the sixth day of the Twelve Books for Christmas on No Thoughts 2 Small, where my book will be featured and you could WIN a copy!

xx Hugs and wedding cupcakes for you all :-)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Happy Book Birthday to MAKE BELIEVE!

Today we get to welcome Make Believe into the world of published books! It's an anthology of paranormal romance and fantasy stories inspired by the beautiful image on the cover. One of my favourite stories inside is Birthright, written by one of my blogging buddies, Lynda R. Young. Yay! Exciting! This book will make great holiday reading (my review is here) so be sure to pop it into someone's virtual Christmas stocking ;-)

Birthright by Lynda R. Young  
Christa can mask the pain and hide the scars, but running from a birthright is impossible. She’s tried to escape her grief by fleeing to a small town in Florida. Much to her frustration, the locals think they recognize her even though she's never been there before. To make things worse, a man named Jack spouts outrageous theories about her. Both spur Christa to bolt, to start fresh yet again, but there’s something about Jack that intrigues her enough to stay. The only problem? Someone else wants her to leave, and they won’t stop until she’s dead. 

Blurbs from all the stories included in Make Believe can be found on the J. Taylor Publishing website HERE. 

Buy the book: 
Amazon | BooksOnBoard

About Lynda R. Young: Lynda R. Young lives in Sydney, Australia, with her sweetheart of a husband who is her rock, and a cat who believes world domination starts in the home. She writes speculative short stories and is currently writing novels for young adults. In her spare time she also dabbles in photography and all things creative. You can find her here: Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cover Reveal for RINGS OF TRUST, plus Other Awesome Stuff

Kittie Howard will soon be releasing her second novella, Rings of Trust. Here is the cover!

And some other awesome stuff happened today ...

My amazing school-family threw me a pantry party! So I got stacks of awesome foodie things plus some fantastic gifts for our future kitchen. I feel so blessed and am honestly overwhelmed at the generosity of all the people I work with :-)

And ... husband-to-be-in-16-days handed in his PhD thesis today! Weeheeee! I'm gonna be married to a doctor ;-)

PS - I'm REALLY sorry for not getting back to so many commenters recently. There have just been a lot of things going on ... Come January 2013, I will be a dedicated blogger once again!

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Spelling Tongue Twister of Sorts

While packing up my stuff to move it to our-next-year-house (ohmygosh, wedding is less than three weeks away now!), I came across a newspaper clipping my grandfather gave me. It says "author unknown", but it's possible one could find the author by Googling (or at least follow a trail of references...). There are plenty of similar poems out there. I think they're all quite clever :-)

~  ~  ~

Ah, the perils of the English language! Reader Eric Hodgson sends in this piece titled "Spelling Traps" (author unknown). Speaking English is as complicated and hazardous as negotiating Durban traffic.

I take it you already know of tough and bough and cough and dough.
Others may stumble, but not you,
on hiccough, thorough, slough and through.
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps, to learn of less familiar traps?
Beware of heard, a dreadful word that looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead - it's said like bed, not bead; for goodness sake don't call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat. (They rhyme with suite and straight and debt.)
A moth is not a moth in mother; nor both in bother, nor broth in brother.
And here is not a match for there, nor dear and fear for bear and pear.
And then there's dose and rose and lose -
just look them up - and goose and choose.
And cork and work and card and ward,
and font and front and word and sword.
And do and go, then thwart and cart.
Come, come, I've hardly made a start.
A dreadful language? Why man alive,
I learned to talk it when I was five.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Promoting Writers and Bloggers: Cally Jackson, Gwen Gardner, Worlds Away Book Blog

Good morning, bloggers :-)
I'm surfacing from exam-marking mode to share some stuff.

Cally Jackson has just wrapped up a super cool blog tour for her debut novel, The Big Smoke. I've read this novel and really enjoyed it. It's of the New Adult variety. A Christmas prezzie idea for someone you know, maybe? ;-)

Gwen Gardner has also recently finished a blog tour for her debut novel, Givin' Up The Ghost. Gwen has always been very supportive of my own writing, so I'm really looking forward to reading her book once the craziness of end-of-year school stuff and wedding stuff is all wrapped up. It sounds like such a fun read!

The Worlds Away Book Blog is run by author Carlyle Labuschagne. She highlights new authors, new book covers, blog tours, ebook freebies, and is generally just a really sweet and awesome person :-)

Last week was a good week :-) 
I ...

  • launched a book
  • had another successful blog tour (thank you, bloggers!)
  • ran my first Goodreads Giveaway, which 1200 people entered in just one week (WOW, that seems like a lot me!)
  • won a $20 Amazon voucher in a really cool blogfest (thanks, Cally!)
  • won an ebook of The Mistaken by Nancy S. Thompson (thanks, Nancy!)

So ... back to marking those mathematics exams now ...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Spotlight on Ryn and Tora #CreepyHollow

Two spotlights today! You can find out more about Oryn at Worlds Away Book Blog, and Tora at Better Read than Dead.

I found stock images that I thought perfectly suited Violet, Nate and Ryn, but I eventually picked an actress for Tora - Abbie Cornish. She's meant to have green highlights in her blonde hair. Yip, green.

And that brings this short little blog tour to an end :-)

A big THANK YOU to everyone who hosted, everyone who visited and commented, and all the people who have never stopped being a great support on this exciting writing journey :-) I'm grateful to every one of you.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Three in a Row, and a FR33BIE for Creepy Hollow Fans!

Three book reviews in a row, today! We've got Cherie Reads , Read Review Smile (including an interview and another giveaway - whoopie!) and Camille Picott. Thank you, lovely ladies!


I know that a lot of you readers have already bought the four ebooks that make up the content of The Faerie Guardian. So if those of you who have (honour system now ;-) ) would like a copy of The Faerie Guardian so you can read the little extra bit at the end (or just because it looks good in your collection ;-) ), just leave your email address in the comments and I'll get back to you.

Happy Thursday :-)

*expires 12 Nov

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Spotlight on Nate #CreepyHollow (And Wedding Stress!)

Thank you, thank you, yesterday's hosts :-)

And woohoo, today we have another character spotlight! This time it's Nate who's on the spot, over at **Qwerty**.
And if you'd like to "meet" me and see where I spend my days writing and teaching, you can visit erica and christy (who came out of blog hiatus especially to host me! What an honour!) to check out the video fun :-)

 ~  ~  ~

In other news ... I had my first wedding-stress dream! Aaaah! I think I've been pretty chilled so far with wedding stuff, but ever since I woke up from that stressful nonsense dream, I've had this anxiety inside me! Ridiculous, since there are the same amount of wedding things left to do today as there were yesterday. But this happens to everyone, right? You get all stressed out and then it's an awesome day? *sigh* I know it will be. Just gotta get there :-)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Spotlight on Vi #CreepyHollow

Thank you to yesterday's hosts!

Today you can find out more about Violet over at The Book Hookup.
And Sandra of the Simply Sensational Book Fanatics (who is a South African blogger like me - yay!) is posting a review. Awesomesauce! [Edit: seems I'm not the only one using that word today ;-) Hehe! ]

And in case you haven't entered (because it hadn't yet been approved yesterday), here is the Goodreads giveaway :-)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Faerie Guardian by Rachel  Morgan

The Faerie Guardian

by Rachel Morgan

Giveaway ends November 12, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Official Launch of THE FAERIE GUARDIAN!

Yaaaay! Launch day!

I know the content of this book has already been published in separate parts, but it's still exciting to have it all together in a novel. And in a print edition! And thank you to anyone who's already purchased a copy -- and those who've sent me messages to tell me they've enjoyed it :-) I won't get tired of hearing that :-)


So there's a little blog tour happening this week. Today you can visit:

Here's the Rafflecopter giveaway taking place on Loves 2 Read:

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Aaaaand here's a Goodreads giveaway for a paperback of The Faerie Guardian!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Faerie Guardian by Rachel  Morgan

The Faerie Guardian

by Rachel Morgan

Giveaway ends November 12, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

PS - If you haven't read the latest news, check out yesterday's post about a Creepy Hollow decision.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Creepy Hollow Decision

Remember when I asked people to vote on the future of the Creepy Hollow series? And half of the voters wanted me to continue producing the series in little bits every two months or so (that would be about ten installments), and the other half said they prefer to read novels and they don't mind waiting longer for a novel-length book (there would be three of those)?

So ... I've thought about it and decided ... I'm only going to publish the series in novel-length format from now on. The first novel (which is a compilation of the first four short installments) has its official launch tomorrow, the second novel will be published in the first half of 2013, and the third novel in the second half of 2013.

Now, the fact that novel #1 is also available in four short parts (namely Guardian, Labyrinth, Traitor and Masquerade) is going to be--and has already been--confusing to some people. To those who haven't been following my publishing journey, it may look like those are prequel/companion novelettes. So ... I've decided to remove these short ebooks from online retailers. Since Guardian is currently free on Smashwords and Amazon (the US Store, anyway), I will leave it available as The Faerie Guardian, Part I. It's cool to have a freebie out there :-) But I'll be removing the other three installments.

And there you have it :-)

If you look on my sidebar you'll see I'm having a mini blog tour this week--mini as I'm still organizing a number of wedding things at the moment! I've also started moving my stuff to our-next-year-house (it's an hour away from where I currently live). SO. MUCH. FUN setting up home! Who would have thought buying a bed and linen and blinds could be so exciting?! Hehe, if you've been there I'm sure you know what I'm talking about ;-)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Year I Turned 18...

Life was full of 'firsts' in the year I turned 18:

  • I moved away from home for the first time.
  • I got my first real boyfriend (the guy I dated for 5 weeks when I was 15/16 doesn't count).
  • I had my first kiss (see the point above. How did I manage to date someone for 5 weeks and avoid kissing him? That should have been a sign, right? Rachel, you don't even want to kiss this guy, why are you with him?!)
  • I went on a taxi for the first time. (And I'm talking South African taxi here! See the picture below.)
  • I went on a train for the first time (in South Africa).
  • I applied for a job for the first time.
  • I fought with my best friend for the first time.
  • I drove a car for the first time.
  • I realised for the first time that doing badly in a test or exam wasn't that big a deal. Life did not end! (Who knew?!)

Usually more packed than this!

Oh my hat, this was almost 9 years ago. I feel old!!

The quad of Fuller Hall, the res I lived in.

The view from Fuller Hall over the city of Cape Town.

Can you spot me? No? Okay, scroll down ...

My best friend and me. The one I fought with. We're still best friends. And she's a bridesmaid for my wedding :-)

The Year I Turned 18 Blog Fest is in honour of the release of Cally Jackson's The Big Smoke, a new adult novel in which both main characters turn 18 and head off to university where they face new challenges and try to figure out who they are.

Ceara’s desperate for love; Seb’s desperate to get laid. Ceara adores reading novels; Seb hasn’t finished a book in years. Two strangers, both moving from small country towns to Brisbane – the big smoke. As they prepare to attend the same university, their paths seem set to collide, but they keep missing each other. Maybe fate is keeping them apart, or maybe it’s just chance.

When the semester starts, things get complicated. Ceara’s best friend withdraws from her, Seb’s closest mate turns into a sleazebag, and the relentless demands of university make their stress levels soar. Before their first semester is over, both Seb and Ceara will be forced to question who they are and what they want from their lives. Will they have the courage to find the answers, or will they crumble under the pressure? And when they finally meet, will it be love at first sight or a collision of headstrong personalities?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Character Interview with Seb from THE BIG SMOKE

Guess who's joining us today?! Seb from THE BIG SMOKE! This is a New Adult novel by Cally Jackson that follows the lives of Seb and Ceara as they navigate their first year of university in a big, new city. It's great. You should read it!
(My review is here)

~  ~  ~

Welcome Seb. Thanks for joining us today :-)

Thanks for inviting me. This is the first time I’ve actually been invited to be on a blog. Cally usually just quotes me without checking if I mind.

First things first: How would you describe yourself? 

Um, I’d try not to. But if I had to, I guess I’d say that I’m a country guy who’s attempting to get used to living in the city and going to uni. And not doing a very good job at it!

What do you think of the portrait of you on THE BIG SMOKE’s cover (lying there looking all laid back and sexy and stuff ;-) )? 

*looks at floor for a long period of time* Wow, okay. That’s embarrassing. You know how photos in magazines are always photo-shopped? Well, so is that one on the cover. I’m not nearly that ‘sexy’ in real life. I mean, it’s definitely me, but it’s the best version of me, not the way I look every moment of the day. Does that make sense?

I hear you haven’t read a book in years (*gasp* The horror!). If you were tied down and forced to read something, what book would you choose and why?

Probably The Big Smoke, so I’d know for sure all the humiliating things Cally has told everyone about me. Then again, I’d probably prefer not to know. 

Actually, there’s this book that Cally always says was one of her ‘inspirations’ for when she was writing the chapters from my perspective. It’s got some weird title. Catcher something. Maybe if I read that, I’d understand why Cally thought she could share so many of my private thoughts with everyone. Catcher in the Dry, that’s it… I think.

Do you have an embarrassing childhood memory you’ve never shared with anyone else (and now feel the sudden urge to share with ALL the readers of this blog?!)? 

Cally’s shared a fair few of them already so I guess I may as well add another to the list.
One time when I was about nine, my mate Brad convinced me that someone had been murdered in his house before they bought it. And, of course, the murder had happened in the room that I slept in. It got to about ten that night and I couldn’t hack it anymore. I was too scared, so Dad had to come pick me up and take me home. Soft, I know. Yet another thing that Brad will never let me live down.

When you moved to “the Big Smoke” you got a house mate. What was it like having to share your space with someone? 

Sharing a unit with Luke is… interesting. To be honest, we want to kill each other a lot of the time, cos he’s so friggen anal about the house being spotless all the time and I’m not the tidiest guy around. We’ve definitely had some big arguments over the past few months, and sometimes they’ve been over much more important stuff than me not wiping the gravy spots off the kettle. But underneath it all, Luke’s a pretty good guy. He just needs to take a chill pill every now and then.

Can you tell us exactly what you thought of Ceara during the very first conversation you had with her? 

It’s a bit hard to remember exactly what I thought of Ceara the first time I met her, cos my head was spinning like crazy. I pretty much saved her life. She was walking along the street reading a book and almost got herself run over, but I pulled her off the road just in time.
Okay, I guess I do remember a little bit of what I thought. Again, this is kind of embarassing to talk about, but what the hell - I thought she was intense but beautiful. I really wanted to spend some time with her and get to know her, but then my mate Heath came along and ruined the moment. If she had’ve asked me to skip my lecture and stay with her, I would have for sure. But she didn’t, so we went our separate ways.

Now here’s a deep one: What do you think about the concept of destiny?

Deep is one word for it. I’d probably choose ‘corny’, but anyway….
If you had’ve asked me that question a year ago, I would have laughed at you (still did, a little bit). But considering some of the crazy shit that’s happened since I moved to Brisbane, maybe there is such a thing as destiny, after all. Ugh, I can’t believe I just said that. Seriously, can you delete that last part? Please?

And lastly ... just between you and me (and everyone else reading this) ... are you sick of Cally yet? I mean, you’ve been stuck inside her head for a preeeeeeetty long time, right?! Must be good to finally get out!

Geez, you have no idea. That girl needs to get some professional help. I mean, she’d done a decent-enough job of telling my and Ceara’s stories five years ago, but then one critiquer told her that she hadn’t let the reader get to know the characters well enough, so she decided to re-write the whole bloody book.
I think she and Ceara have more in common than Cally will admit – they’re both total perfectionists. And book worms. And both a bit messed up in the head. Cally might deny it, but I’ve lived in her brain for 12 years now, so I reckon I’m in a good position to judge it. And just between you and me (and everyone else reading this), there’s definitely a loose screw up there somewhere. I’m just glad I’m escaping before the screw falls out completely. I feel sorry for her next bunch of characters…

~  ~  ~

HAHAHA! Now that was fun, right?! ;-)

If you'd like to hear more from Seb, you can purchase a copy of The Big Smoke:
  • in paperback format from Cally's buy page (Australia and New Zealand) or Amazon (rest of the world)
  • in e-book format from Smashwords(preferred digital supplier), Amazon, iBooks,KoboDiesel and other e-stores.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Creepy Hollow Companion Ebook!

Remember that little blogging challenge that happens in April? The one that stresses us out for a full 26 blog posts? (Well, those of us who don't get prepared in time, anyway!) Well, since I went to the effort of writing 26 short pieces of fiction based on the Creepy Hollow world, I figured I may as well use them :-)

So. I present to you ... An A to Z of Creepy Hollow Fae!

Barnes & Noble

Before Violet met Nate, the human boy who followed her into the fae realm and turned her life upside down, she was the perfect guardian trainee. She followed all the rules and did her best to protect her human assignments. Goblins, ogres, trolls—Vi learned how to handle them all. 

In An A to Z of Creepy Hollow Fae, catch a glimpse of some of Vi’s past assignments, and experience the life of a faerie training to be a guardian. 

~  ~  ~


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Crazy Author Dance (In Honor of the Print Proof of THE FAERIE GUARDIAN)

Guess what, guess what?! The proof copy of THE FAERIE GUARDIAN finally arrived! Sooooooo exciting to hold my actual very own real life book in my hands! I think you can only really understand the insanity feeling once it's happened to you. It's like I'm looking at a book for the first time! There are actual pages with real words printed on them and the pages turn and my name is there and it's ALL SO AWESOME! See what I said about insanity? On top of which I felt the need to video this experience so that you can all see me dancing around like a complete fruitloop.

Feel free to laugh. I am here to entertain!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Book Review: The Big Smoke, by Cally Jackson

Ceara’s desperate for love; Seb’s desperate to get laid. Ceara adores reading novels; Seb hasn’t finished a book in years. Two strangers, both moving from small country towns to Brisbane – the big smoke. As they prepare to attend the same university, their paths seem set to collide, but they keep missing each other. Maybe fate is keeping them apart, or maybe it’s just chance.

When the semester starts, things get complicated. Ceara’s best friend withdraws from her, Seb’s closest mate turns into a sleazebag, and the relentless demands of university make their stress levels soar. Before their first semester is over, both Seb and Ceara will be forced to question who they are and what they want from their lives. Will they have the courage to find the answers, or will they crumble under the pressure? And when they finally meet, will it be love at first sight or a collision of headstrong personalities?

(Summary from Goodreads)

THE GOOD: Relationships, romance, drama, humour, heartbreak, coming of age--this book has a lot packed into it! It's a long book. Not long in a this-story-is-dragging-on-forever-I-wish-it-would-end kinda way. No, no, no. Long in a I-scored-two-awesome-books-in-one kinda way!! The chapters alternate between Seb and Ceara, two very different characters with distinctive voices. They're heading off to university with all their hopes, dreams, fears and expectations--which is already a lot to deal with before you add in the ordeals life is about to throw at them: eating disorders, horrible house mates, broken friendships, and more.

Ceara is the reserved, bookish type, so I identified pretty well with her ;-) And Seb ... well, he's a guy! I've obviously never been inside the head of a boy (duh!), but it seemed like the author did a great job of getting inside Seb's head. I LOVE reading a story from two points of view, and it was fascinating to see all the threads of these two separate lives interweaving, criss-crossing, just missing, and then finally coming together (how and when? I'm not going to tell you that. You have to read it for yourself!).

THE BAD: There really isn't anything to say here. I read an early ARC, so I can't comment on the absence or presence of typos or grammatical errors in the final version. (But I can tell you that the author is something of a perfectionist!)

THE PRETTY: I just love this cover. It's different from a lot of other covers out there. It's more arty, which is cool. And I LOVE the lights and the hazy reflection in the water!

So, if you're a fan of contemporary upper YA or NA, you should definitely check this one out when it's released later this month :-)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Promoting Writers & Bloggers: Kimberly Kinrade, Jolene Perry, Refracted Light

I came across this Pimp Your Favorite Writers/Bloggers post on Bethany Lopez's blog. Bethany said ...

"I got the idea for this post from my friend, Tameri Etherton. She hosts a Pimp and Promote post on her blog, and I thought it would be fun to do one here. The idea is to Pimp your favorite writers and/or bloggers, or promote something new that you have coming out.

So here are the favourites I'm promoting today ...

Kimberly Kinrade

I scored a free download of Forbidden Mind last week and LOVED it! I'm really keen to continue reading the series.
Jolene Perry

I'm currently reading and really enjoying Night Sky. Wish it hadn't taken me so long to get to it on my Kindle!

Refracted Light Reviews

This is a GORGEOUS book review blog that you just have to check out if you haven't already. Reviews, interviews, giveaways, blog tours, cover reveals and loads of other awesome stuff

Is there anyone you'd like to promote?

PS - Two months from today!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wedding DIY: Table Decor

Along with the help of a fabulously creative family friend/designer person, we're doing our own table decor for the wedding. Every table will be slightly different and we're going with kind of a vintage theme using silver and glass and flowers and ivy.

So I've been rummaging through my mom and grandmother's kitchens and doing stocktake of their stuff! It's been fun! Here are just some of the things I found... (And anything with a tag on is from my mom's recent wedding decor shopping spree!)

Yes, our fabulous family friend can even make spoons look like decor items! (Who would have thought...)

And, uh, we'll obviously remove the biscuits from the cookie jar and figure out something marvellously creative to do with it. (And those flowers were from our we've-been-dating-for-FIVE-years anniversary last week! Soon we'll have to start counting from zero again ;-) )

Monday, October 8, 2012

Whose POV are the extra Creepy Hollow scenes written from?

Okay, so the reason there are two prizes for the cover reveal giveaway I posted on Thursday is because there are two answers! Hehehe! So that means you actually had a slightly higher chance of guessing the correct answer :-) The two characters are ....




Nate and Ryn!

Which most of you guessed, so WELL DONE to you! There are 5 pages from Nate's POV, and about 9 pages from Ryn's.

And the 2 winners are ...

J. Haile
K. Fotinos-Hoyer

Congrats on your correct guesses! 
Gift cards have already been emailed to you :-)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Launching the Cover for THE FAERIE GUARDIAN!

Yippee, yippee, yay :-)

Protecting humans from dangerous magical creatures is all in a day’s work for a faerie training to be a guardian. Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale knows this better than anyone—she’s about to become the best guardian the Guild has seen in years. That is, until a cute human boy who can somehow see through her faerie glamour follows her into the fae realm. Now she’s broken Guild Law, a crime that could lead to her expulsion. 

The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the boy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget everything he’s discovered of the fae realm. Easy, right? Not when you factor in evil faeries, long-lost family members, and inconvenient feelings of the romantic kind. Vi is about to find herself tangled up in a dangerous plot—and it’ll take all her training to get out of it alive. 

[This novel is a compilation of Guardian, Labyrinth, Traitor and Masquerade, and includes bonus scenes at the end.]

Release Date : 5 Nov 2012

And since this novel will also be published in print form, I get to show you the whole spread :-)

Click to enlarge

Giveaway time! 
Alrighty, so at the end of this book there are some "bonus" scenes that are NOT written from Vi's point of view. If you'd like to win a $10 Amazon gift card, all you have to do is guess whose point of view the scenes are written from! Enter your answer into the Rafflecopter widget below. There will be TWO winners.
The characters you can choose from (in alphabetical order) are:
  • Calla
  • Flint
  • Nate
  • Ryn
  • Scarlett
  • Tora
  • Zell

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you HEAPS to the following people who are helping to reveal this cover today or in the next few days. Virtual cupcakes for you all :-)

Vive le Nerd | Alex J. Cavanaugh | My Inner Fairy | Komal Lewis | Cherie Reich - Author | Ink in the Book | Juliana Haygert | The Peasants Revolt | Geek Banter | Queendsheena | Gwen Gardner, YA Author | So, You're a Writer... | Refracted Light Reviews | Michael Pierce | Jinky is Reading | Anything Imagined | Buried in Books | In Time... | Cally Jackson Writes | Dreaming in Black and White | Tangent Shell | Elise Fallson | Kittie Howard | Author Jacqueline Gardner | Eagle's Aerial Perspective | Worlds Away Book Blog

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Importance of Backstory

A short post to share a small insight...

I read two books recently. In Book 1, I felt connected to the characters. I believed their stories. I believed their relationships. In Book 2, the characters and their relationships felt like cardboard cutouts with no real depth. It was disappointing because this story could have been really great. I wanted it to be really great. In trying to figure out the difference between these two books, I decided it had to do with backstory and, linked to that, the rule that gets pounded into our writerly brains: show, don't tell.

In Book 1 the author shared, in little bits over several chapters, incidents from the two characters' pasts. This helped to SHOW the depth of their relationship, and it was easy to believe that they were best friends. In Book 2 I was told, "They were my best friends," or "I'd developed a crush on him recently," but I wasn't SHOWN anything to back this up. WHY would they be best friends, and WHY would she have a crush on him? I wanted to know a little about their history in order to come to these conclusions myself, instead of just being told.

So. This stuff they tell us to do? Like dropping bits of backstory here and there (not leaving it out, and not burying the reader under one ginormous infodump in chapter 1) and showing, not telling? It makes a difference! And you can very clearly see it when you read a good book and a not-so-good book back-to-back...

~  ~  ~

In other news, Justine Dell is hosting a giveaway on her blog where you can not only win cool stuff, but also aid in the prevention of suicide. You don't have to spend anything. This giveaway is about getting as many entries as possible. For every 250 entries received, $100 will be donated to the cause. So please click here to enter, and don't forget to spread the word!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Do you want to help reveal the cover for THE FAERIE GUARDIAN?

Ok, so last week I asked you all to vote on whether the Creepy Hollow novelettes should continue, or whether I should ONLY publish the remaining installments in novel-lenth compilations. Currently there are 41 votes: 21 novelette + compilation; 20 compilation only. So. That was obviously VERY helpful! (<--- note sarcastic font)

ANYWAY, moving on ... The first four installments (plus some bonus scenes at the end from different characters' POVs) are going to be published together in paperback compilation #1, THE FAERIE GUARDIAN, which, of course, is getting its own cover!

For these paperback covers, I was going to get a professional cover designer to do them, but everything that I thought of to ask a designer to do was something I'd seen on other covers. My ideas were cool, but a little clich├ęd. And on top of that, I was finding it really hard to let go of my control freak tendencies and have someone else do the designing! So I decided I could once again do this myself ... I was searching through stock images for ideas when I suddenly came upon something really simple that caught my attention. Simple, yet magical. I looked through all the images by that particular photographer/designer and found a lot that I liked. I picked three, downloaded the comps, and quickly made three mock-up covers. I lined them up next to each other -- and loved them. I hope you love them too!

I'm going to be revealing the cover for the first compilation, THE FAERIE GUARDIAN, on Thursday 4 October. If you'd like to participate in this cover reveal/launch, please enter your name, email address, blog name and blog address into the form that can be found on this page so I can send you all the info beforehand.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Author Interview with Carlyle Labuschagne

I'm really excited about today's interview, because this author is a fellow South African! Yay! Carlyle Labuschagne recently released her debut novel, THE BROKEN DESTINY. I haven't read it yet, but you can check out the great reviews here on Goodreads. Also, we're doing an interview swap today, so you can find me answering questions over at her blog (please visit me!).

So onto the questions...

1. What is your earliest piece of writing that you still have?
A book full of poems and songs from my teenage years.

2. When did you decide you wanted to be a published author, and how long after that did you get your book deal?
In 2009 I decided the moment I started the first sentence of what is now THE BROKEN DESTINY. After the first draft I realized I had zero knowledge of the craft so I took a year off to finish a diploma in Creative writing. I stared submitting Jan of 2011 and finally landed something that suited my needs three months later.

Rachel: Exciting! It was also 2009 that I realized I wanted to stop just imagining stories and actually write them down and get them published.

3. For you, what is the best thing about being a published author, and what is the worst?
The Best - sharing my story! Being able to fangirl over my characters and book with others. Making new friends all the time. The worst - me being impatient and the editing oh the editing!!! *cries just thinking about it*

4. Do you have any weird little writing rituals? (Like you can only write best when you sit in a certain spot at a certain time of day!)
LOl yes. I can only write in my study. I write best when I have just woken up, and the rest of my neighborhood and family are asleep. So early morning is the best for me. It doesnt always work out that way as I have a day job, so sometimes I have to push myself every opportunity I get.

5. Speaking of ... What is your day job?
I work as a Marketing and PR consultant.

6. You live in South Africa and your publisher is based in Texas. How has it worked only being able to communicate electronically or telephonically?
Its time consuming as the time difference caused a delay. And like I said I hate waiting. But thank goodness for internet and smart phones!

And now for the book ...

7. What do fans seem to love the most about THE BROKEN DESTINY?
They love the Planet I created. The fact that they can relate to the heroine of the story, that she is not perfect and struggles. More so the vast character cast. Mystery and the play on words along with many quotes I incorporate.

8. Are there any songs you’d like to mention that inspired/influenced/are connected in any way to THE BROKEN DESTINY?
Oh wow yes. First the song from Prime Circle - What Ive become. A local super talented band that granted me permission to quote the lyrics in the book. Muse. Metric. Sia. Meese. Civil twilight (more SA greatness). Linkin Park - and dont forget the gorgeous band 30 Seconds to Mars. Ooh I meditated on their music a lot during this book.

Rachel: I can relate to that. I listened to a LOT of 30 Seconds to Mars while writing my first novel!

9. Which of the characters in THE BROKEN DESTINY would you most like to meet in real life?
Oh gosh thats a tricky one. All the good ones!! The villains can stay where they are. I love all my characters and I think the reason I know them so well is because I use people I know to base them on. Not all of them of course.

Thanks, Carlyle! Check out the pretty cover and the blurb for THE BROKEN DESTINY:

Ava's People have been exiled to Planet Poseidon, where through a series of horrific events, Ava discovers that their existence has been fabricated by The Council, And She has a Destiny that could save them. Her Soul is a secret weapon that has been lost to an ancient race. To fulfill her destiny Ava needs to go through a series of "changes" that will reveal her true purpose. Throughout her journey she will become what she hates in order to save the ones she loves. And through it all she will find herself - for that is her Destiny, to rise above the fall. 

All my life, I had searched for something, something I thought I ought to be. I felt like I was living someone else’s life, waiting for the awakening of my own. I felt like an empty shell burning for life. That was, until the day I lay dying in the prince’s chambers. I could no longer feel the pain from the tear in my gut. The only sensation left was a hollowed-out feeling that I had made a huge mistake in assuming that taking my own life, would have stopped the ancestors’ spirit from raging out. I had given up. I didn’t want to see myself killing the ones I loved. I was the Chosen one, but I threw it all away for what I thought would save a life. Could you end a life to save a life? I did, and I have regretted it ever since. I realized then that things like me are not meant to exist. What had been missing my whole life? It was I. To find myself, I had to lose myself in the worst possible way. The consequences of my actions became the legend of The Broken.

About the Author
Carlyle Labuschagne lives in Sunny South Africa, married her high school sweetheart and shares her creativity with her two young boys. Carlyle works as a PR and Marketing Manager by day, and writes by every other moment. She holds a diploma in creative writing through the writing school at Collage SA. Loves to swim, fights for the trees, food lover who is driven by passion for everything fantasy. Carlyle writes for IU e-magazine an inspirational nonprofit magazine that aims at inspiring the world through words. Debut author for 2012 - novel The Broken Destiny . Her ultime dream is to write songs and direct music videos. Her native language is Afrikaans and has just begun her journey into grasping the English language.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Gorgeous Cover for Cally Jackson's THE BIG SMOKE!

Woot! I'm really excited today to help reveal the cover of Cally Jackson's THE BIG SMOKE! I was lucky enough to read an early, early ARC, and I can tell you that I really enjoyed Seb and Ceara's story :-) Go New Adult fiction!!

So anyway, here it is!

Title: The Big Smoke
Author: Cally Jackson
Publication Date: Oct 2012

Ceara’s desperate for love; Seb’s desperate to get laid. Ceara adores reading novels; Seb hasn’t finished a book in years. Two strangers, both moving from small country towns to Brisbane – the big smoke. As they prepare to attend the same university, their paths seem set to collide, but they keep missing each other. Maybe fate is keeping them apart, or maybe it’s just chance.

When the semester starts, things get complicated. Ceara’s best friend withdraws from her, Seb’s closest mate turns into a sleazebag, and the relentless demands of university make their stress levels soar. Before their first semester is over, both Seb and Ceara will be forced to question who they are and what they want from their lives. Will they have the courage to find the answers, or will they crumble under the pressure? And when they finally meet, will it be love at first sight or a collision of headstrong personalities?

Cally hangs out at...

It would be great if you could stop by one of Cally's hang-outs and congratulate her on this beautiful cover. As long as I've "known" her (through blogging - a few years now?), she's been working on this book, so it's super duper exciting that it's all coming together for her now :-)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Cover for Elana Johnson's ABANDON - Pin it & $50 could be yours!

Look at the prettiness gracing my blog today!

Title: Abandon
Author: Elana Johnson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: June 2013

seduced by power, 
broken by control, 
and consumed by love... 

Vi has made her choice between Jag and Zenn, and the Resistance may have suffered for it. But with the Thinkers as strong as ever, the rebels still have a job to do. Vi knows better than anyone that there's more at stake than a few broken hearts. 

But there is a traitor among them...and the choices he makes could lead to the total destruction of everything Vi has fought for. 

Vi, Jag, and Zenn must set their problems aside for the Resistance to have any hope of ending the Thinkers' reign. Their success means everything...and their failure means death. 

Find ABANDON on Goodreads


Elana is running a Pinterest contest for the cover. She wants to get 500 repins over the next two days. If we can get that many, she'll pick someone who pinned the cover to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

It's so easy to do this. All you have to do is click the Pinterest button below, click re-pin on the image, and select one of your boards to pin the cover to.

Don't have a Pinterest board yet? Put it on your Tumblr page. Your Facebook page. Your twitter stream. Elana will count those too! Just be sure to tag her (@ElanaJ on twitter, Possession by Elana Johnson on Facebook).

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This cover reveal event is hosted by AToMR Tours

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Vote on the Future of the Creepy Hollow Series!

You may or may not know that I've been planning to put the Creepy Hollow installments together in a longer-length book. But I don't want to put them aaaaaall in one book, as that would be a pretty long book, and it also wouldn't be available until I've written the very last installment (and I don't currently know when that will be!). So. My plan is this -- to ultimately produce three novel-length books made up of the individual novelettes. So 3 to 4 per book.

But then ... I started wondering. If I'm going to be producing three novels, is there any point in publishing each future installment separately? Or should readers just wait until they can read them all together in a novel? I've already published the first four parts separately, but that doesn't mean I have to do the same thing for the rest of them. That's the fantabulousness of self-publishing! I can change the journey along the way!

Some pros and cons of continuing with my current publishing model...

Individual novelettes + three compilation novels
  • Pro - it's easier to edit, proofread and format a smaller story
  • Pro - readers get bits of the story sooner
  • Pro - it's easier for book review bloggers to fit a novelette into their reading schedules
  • Pro - it looks like I've published more stuff ;-)
  • Con - more covers = more work
  • Con - more ISBNs
  • Con - can't exactly do a big launch and blog tour for every single novelette!
  • Con - novelettes are a bit too short to print as paperbacks, and paperbacks are COOL and REAL!
  • Con - many people who have read the Creepy Hollow installments have said they wished they were longer. ie. "Give me a whole book please!"

So while I'm still thinking about it all, I thought I'd ask you guys what YOU think :-) Yay, another poll widget thingie! And, um, try and think what you'd want as a READER and not a writer (don't know if that makes a difference to some of you!). There WILL be three novel-length books, so the question here is whether the individual novelettes continue or not.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Selection of Book Cover Artists/Designers

I've been checking out the work of some cover artists and designers lately. Well, more gathering of links and less actual checking out, since I haven't had much time yet to actually go to all these websites! So some of them may not even exist anymore, or the people may not design covers any longer, but I thought it a useful list to share nonetheless. And I'll keep updating it. And if a link I haven't checked leads you off to some place weird that has nothing to do with cover design, please tell me and I'll remove it!

Added by Alex J Cavanaugh

Added by Toby Neal

Added by Gwen Gardner

Added by Libby Heily

Added by Jaycee DeLorenzo

Monday, September 10, 2012

Revealing ... The Cover & Trailer for Carrie Butler's STRENGTH!

Carrie Butler's cover for Strength is steaming up my blog today ;-) Have a look!

Designer: Carrie Butler
Photographer: Yuri Arcurs
Title: Strength
Series: Mark of Nexus – Book 1
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing   
Category: New Adult (NA)
Genre: Paranormal Romance (PNR)
Release Date: March 07, 2013

When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, her rumor-laced notions are shattered. Handsome, considerate, and seemingly sane, Wallace Blake doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, screaming and banging on the walls of his dorm room. Hell, he doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, period.

Too curious for her own good, Rena vows to uncover the truth behind Wallace’s madman reputation—and how two seconds of contact had left her with bruises. Of course, there are a few minor setbacks along the way: guilt, admiration, feelings of the warm and fuzzy variety…

Not to mention the unwanted attention of Wallace's powerful, supernaturally-gifted family.

They’re a bloodline divided by opposing ideals, two soon-to-be warring factions that live in secret among us. When Rena ends up caught in their crossfire, Wallace has no choice but to save her by using his powers. Now they’re really in trouble. With war on the horizon and Rena’s life in the balance, he needs to put some distance between them. But Rena won’t let go. If fighting is what it takes to prove her own strength and keep Wallace in her life, then that’s what she’ll do—even if it means risking a whole lot more than her heart.

Find Carrie online:

Find Strength online:

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In other news, I'm over at The Warrior Muse today talking about why I decided to publish novelettes :-)