Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ten Kickbutt Heroines Come Together in GIRLS ON FIRE!

Hey, fabulous readers!
So you know I'm part of a really cool group called the Dauntless Authors, right? Well, ten of us have chosen our most awesome, kickbutt young heroines and put them together into a boxed set titled GIRLS ON FIRE! We'll be revealing the cover on June 9th and releasing the bundle on June 16thYou can find out all about the cover reveal and giveaway (as well as sign up to participate) using the form below.
(If you can't see the form, click here.)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Cherie Reich's REBORN: Are You Ready To Challenge Fate?

Are you ready to challenge fate?

To save a kingdom, a prophetess must challenge Fate.

On the day of Yssa’s death and rebirth, the god Apenth chose her as the Phoenix Prophetess.

Sea serpents and gods endanger the young prophetess’s journey and sour the omens. Yssa is cursed instead of blessed, and her duties at the Temple of Apenth prove it. She spends her days reading dusty scrolls, which does nothing to help her forget Tym, the boy back home. But the annoying yet gorgeous ferryman’s son Liam proves to be a distraction she can’t predict, even though he rarely leaves her alone for two sand grains.

Her boring temple life screeches to a halt when visions of her parents’ murders consume her. Yssa races across an ocean to stop the future. If she can’t change Fate, she’ll refuse to be the Phoenix Prophetess any longer. Fate, however, has other plans for her and the kingdom.

Yssa must either accept her destiny or fight to change Fate.

My Review

Cherie Reich's debut novel is wonderfully creative and beautifully written.

REBORN introduces us to Yssa, a seventeen-year-old girl about to take up her duties as the Phoenix Prophetess. We accompany her as she journeys from her ordinary island life across a dangerous sea towards the future she's always known she'll have to face. But surviving a sea serpent attack is only the beginning. Secret plots and terrifying visions await Yssa when she arrives in Amora, and I couldn't wait to get back to my Kindle each night to see where Yssa's adventure would take her next.

I thoroughly enjoyed losing myself in the fantasy world of REBORN. The descriptive prose and colourful metaphors allowed me to visualise the story as if I were really there, and clever worldbuilding introduced new mythology, customs, creatures, and slang in a way that was both intriguing and believable.

The ending brought new revelations while tying up some loose ends. Other mysteries are yet to be solved, though, and I'm eager to discover what comes next!

And for those who are romantics at heart (like me), never fear: the growing (somewhat forbidden) relationship between Yssa and a certain ferryman's son will not leave you disappointed ;-)

Available in Ebook and Print!

To purchase: 

Click here to add on Goodreads.

A self-proclaimed bookworm, Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction writer and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her books include the horror collection Nightmare, a space fantasy novella collection titled Gravity, and the fantasy series The Foxwick Chronicles and The Fate Challenges. Reborn is her debut novel. She is Vice President of Valley Writers and a member of the Virginia Writers Club and Untethered Realms. For more information, please visit her website.

Cherie and the rest of the authors of Untethered Realms are giving away over $50 worth of books to one lucky winner. The giveaway is open internationally.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Franschhoek Literary Festival: Are There Boundaries To Your Imagination?

It's kinda sad that I've been writing (officially) for four and a half years and I've never been to a literary festival. But today I set out to change that! I headed off to Franschhoek, the small but beautiful town about an hour away from Cape Town. A place filled with mainly art and food -- and, this weekend, a ton of literary-minded people.

Earlier in the week, I spoke at two schools as part of the FLF Book Week for Young Readers, but from today through till Sunday, the "proper" part of the festival is running (the part that features loads of panel discussions throughout each day where anyone from the public can come along, buy tickets, and listen (or, like me, take notes and then beg some of the participants to let me take a photo with them!)).

Not having a great deal of time (read: way behind on work!), I got myself a ticket for only one event: Are There Boundaries To Your Imagination, with Savannah and Sarah Lotz (aka Lily Herne), Louis Greenberg, and Charlie Human.

If you're interested in what they chatted about, I've listed the main stuff that stood out for me below. If you're not interested, you can skip to the photos (and drool over the giant chunk of chocolate I got from the Huguenot Fine Chocolates shop!).

Does research help or hinder the imagination?

The comment I could relate to here was that too much research could confine the borders of one's imagination. All those facts your brain becomes full of may end up constricting your imagination and prevent you from coming up with truly original ideas.

I've had people ask me what kind of and how much research I did into fae lore when writing the Creepy Hollow series. The answer is: not a great deal. I wanted my faeries to be different. Modern. Unique. I did some research so that I could use a few traditional elements (the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, for example), but I made up just about everything else.

What taboo topics have you written about?

Paedophilia was mentioned (!), but the answer that resonated with me was that genre fiction itself was almost a taboo thing to write when these authors started out. AND I TOTALLY GET THAT! When I first began writing, I was told by people in the industry that publishing fantasy in this country is really difficult. Look for an overseas publisher, they'd say. Local publishers don't go for that. They go for the literary stuff. Walk into a bookstore and head to the "South African Fiction" shelf, and what do you see? Mainly literary fiction. Which is great if that's what you're into, but what about us spec fic lovers?!

Anyway, since then, some amazing South African urban fantasy works have been published, and I'm SOOO excited for the next generation of writers in this country who hopefully won't ever have to feel that genre fiction isn't "good enough" for us to write.

What challenges have you found in writing characters that are different from yourself?

Louis Greenberg said he's always found it easy to write female characters, and when he's had to write a male character, it's been much harder for him! He he! I'm the opposite, in that I always think to myself, But how could I write from a male perspective? I don't know what they're thinking! What did make sense to me in the discussion, though, was that for most of them, writing from the perspective of a character from a different culture or race is a big challenge. I'm scared of trying that (which probably means I should try it!).

How do you deal with negative reviews?

Louis had an interesting answer based on the fact that when you're publishing the traditional route, so much time passes between finishing a book and when it actually becomes available for the public to read, that he felt he had enough distance from that book for negative reviews not to hurt that much.

Sarah: "I just cry!"

He he! Hopefully that's not entirely true ...

The cool peeps!

And yes! They let me take a picture with them! (Too bad the camera chose THAT moment to be weird! :( )

Porcupine Ridge Wines was having a special: BUY A CASE, GET A CASE. Since that would land me with 24 bottles of wine, I decided to restrain myself. (We live in a tiny cottage, remember? No space for that much wine!)

The obligatory selfie with my awesome friend who could not let me go off to this festival on my own.

I would walk much further than 25m for good chocolate!

Yay! We found it!

Keep drooling ... It's all mine! (There were a lot more ... We ate them all in the car on the way back!)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Franschhoek Literary Festival Book Week for Young Readers 2014

So ... I have a love-hate relationship with public speaking. On the one hand, it kinda terrifies me to stand up in front of people and talk. On the other hand, I love speaking about books and writing and publishing and getting people interested and excited about the whole process. So when someone contacted me about presenting at the Franschhoek Literary Festival's youth program, the Book Week for Young Readers (now in its third year), one half of my brain went, Aaaah! Freak out! Public speaking! And the other half went, That's so cool! I have to do it! How awesome that they even invited me in the first place!

It was a beautiful day to be in Franschhoek, and what a beautiful setting for a school! Bridge House, the school that is serving as the organisational hub for the Book Week for Young Readers this week, has a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains.

The program is very well organised. I was met at Bridge House by the lady who first contacted me, given a goodie bag of awesome stuff (who doesn't love free stuff? Especially when it includes a bottle of wine!), and introduced to my volunteer, a wonderful woman who had, by some odd coincidence, bought The Faerie Guardian last week not having a clue that I was the author she'd be assisting today! She drove me into the town to Franschhoek High for my first talk (where she served as my photographer ;-) ), and then drove me back to Bridge House for my second talk.

Speaking to Grade 10s at Franschhoek High

I had about two hours to hang out at Bridge House before my second talk, so I got the chance to chat to some cool authors, illustrators, and people who work in the publishing industry. I also ended up talking to several authors who were interested to know more about the self-publishing process. (YAY! In a country where self-publishing hasn't yet taken off like it has in the US, it's SO EXCITING to find other authors (who've been traditionally published) who want to know more about self-publishing.) Then it was on to talk #2 ...

Showing off the bestseller status of The Faerie Guardian to Grade 8s at Bridge House ;-)

At the end of talk #2, I was presented with my second bottle of wine (yay! More wine! Note to self: this is what happens when you give talks at schools nestled amongst vineyards ... ;-) )

Cool goodie bag ;-)

More wine!

I'm looking forward to visiting the main part of the festival (which runs from Friday to Sunday) on Friday morning and listening to Savannah Lotz and Sarah Lotz (watch this AWESOME trailer for Deadlands here, and read my review of Deadlands here), Louis Greenberg, and Charlie Human :-)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cover Reveal for The Trouble Series!

I loooooooove my covers for The Trouble Series, and after having them sit on my computer for months, I'm really excited to finally share them with the world!

Four new heroines are about to enter the book world in this romance series full of swoon-worthy guys, comical moments, witty dialogue, and hot kisses…

#1: The Introvert (The Trouble with Flying ~ Jun 2014)
Sarah doesn’t talk to strangers, but the cute guy sitting next to her on the plane might have to be the exception. Hours of random conversation later, Sarah thinks Aiden could be her happily ever after. The trouble is, he’s gone now—and she has no idea how to find him.

#2: The Nerd (The Trouble with Flirting ~ Aug 2014)
Livi sees her first year of university as a chance to redefine herself and finally fit into the popular crowd. But how far will she go before realising that what she really wants has always been right in front of her?

#3: The Fraud (The Trouble with Faking ~ Oct 214)
After a stupid miscommunication, everyone in Andi’s new res thinks she’s secretly dating Damien, boyfriend of resident queen bee Charlotte. Since the rumour’s already out there and refuses to be squashed, Andi and Damian decide to keep up the facade in the hopes of snagging the attention of the people they really want to be with.

#4: The Artist (The Trouble with Falling ~ Dec 2014)
With exam stress, family wedding craziness, and a spiraling relationship with her boyfriend, Sophie finds herself sucked further and further into the darkness of depression. The only thing making her remotely happy these days is her art—and the guy on the other side of the internet who seems to really get her. But is that enough to keep her from falling off the edge entirely?

Scroll down to read a snippet of chapter one from
The Trouble with Flying!

Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for hosting this cover reveal!