Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Wow! Just finished Shelli Johannes' Untraceable and had to write this post. Right now.

It's that good. As good as the cover - which I love! :)

Grace is a fabulous character. She's tough. She's smart. And she'll break your heart. She doesn't sit back and let life happen. She grabs it by the ears and tries to shake it into making sense.

All of the characters in the book are so real - even the secondary characters are flesh and blood. Shelli makes them really come to life.

Grace lives in the Smoky Mountains and she loves them. She and her dad spent many happy hours in them, but now he's gone missing and after several months, most people believe that he's gone. Grace wants to prove them wrong.

Grace is so real - touched by grief, pain, hope, love, loss, lust and terror. You'll love the rollercoaster ride of emotions she takes you on.

The action is awesome. At about the 70% mark, the world stopped mattering so much to me. Supper? Fend for yourselves. NaNo? Not tonight. Sleep? I don't think so!

So, do yourself a favour, go grab yourself a copy. And clear out a little time. You won't want to be disturbed!

Shelli will be back here in a couple of weeks for an interview - can't wait to learn more about her!

Here's where you can find the book...
Barnes & Noble

In the story, Grace has to survive in the bush and hide from ... well, you'll have to read the book it to find out. :) How would you do on your own in the bush?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Querying that NaNo

I'm over at From the Write Angle today talking about querying that NaNo novel. I hope you'll pop on over and join the discussion.

I finished up the 50k on Saturday - but I'm nowhere near the end of the story. I do believe some major editing will be happening in the new year! :)

(I turned off comments here hoping you'll pop on over to say hi at FTWA!)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Voice Choice

Do we have a choice with our voice? Not the one we speak with, but the one we write with. Are our voices an integral part of us - like our vocal voice?

My main characters vary depending on my story and the age level I'm aiming at. A 10 year girl testing out a new planet for the first time has a very different voice from a 30 year old man working on a cattle ranch. If not, I'm doing something wrong! :)

But my voice stays kind of the same throughout. I use the same mix of long and short sentences. I adore sentence fragments and they show up everywhere. I have a lot of short paragraphs - often one liners - no matter what genre I'm writing. None of my paragraphs go on for very long.

My sense of humour stays the same and probably shows up in the same way. I'm not a huge fan of reading or writing description, so that's going to be consistent as well.

There are changes with each story of course, because the main characters have a lot to say in the story, but I think my voice remains more or less the same.

And I'm okay with that. Will I ever get to this point?

Probably not, but I'd like to!

What about you, does your voice change with your stories, or does it remain the same no matter what you're writing?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Devil on a Sparrow's Wing

Good news!!! Calista Taylor's 2nd book is out and about!

Devil on a Sparrow's Wing (book 2 in her Virdis series) follows more of Phoebe's adventures in Steampunk London. Independent, passionate Phoebe and brilliant tinkerer Seth are trying to help the poor of England, and rebellion is approaching. Gavin, Seth's Scottish pal, has a large part in this new book - he's a fabulous character. And that accent? You're going to love it!

Phoebe has developed another herbal - Sanctis - which enhances the senses in a way that will give the rebels a distinct advantage. I don't want to reveal any spoilers, but the story takes some twists that you will NOT see coming. You know you're in for adventure when, within the first few pages, Seth gives Phoebe a leather corset he's designed to withstand attacks by fuse guns, pistols and knives!

Calista isn't afraid to let the characters take the lead. You'll be cheering for Phoebe, Seth and Gavin and your heart will be pulled right into their story. It's an incredible tale!

Devil on a Sparrow's Wing is available on Amazon and Smashwords. It'll be up on B&N soon. Only $2.99!

The new book stands on its own, but if you want the full experience & you haven't picked up Virdis yet, it's still free at Amazon, Smashwords & Barnes & Noble.

Visit Calista at her blog: A Steampunk Reverie. Check out the first chapter there to get a glimpse into the book.

Calista also has a steampunk craft book coming out through Fox Chapel Publishing - the tentative date is May 2012. Not only did she design and create everything in the book, she took all the photographs and, of course, wrote up the instructions. She is one talented lady! She also created the gorgeous covers for both of her novels. She's got some tips over at From the Write Angle if you'd like to try it yourself.

So, if you're interested in a steamy, intriguing romance that's packed with adventure, check out the links. You won't regret it!

Have you tried designing your own cover - even just for fun?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chart Rush!

Today is THE day to help Jessica Bell's debut, STRING BRIDGE, hit the bestseller list on Amazon, and receive the all-original soundtrackMelody Hill: On the Other Sidewritten and performed by the author herself, for free!

All you have to do is purchase the book today (paperback, or eBook), November 11th, and then email the receipt to:


She will then email you a link to download the album at no extra cost! (Trust me, you're going to love the musics - check out my thoughts on yesterday's post - Jemi)

To purchase the paperback:

To purchase the eBook:

To listen to samples of the soundtrack, visit iTunes.

If you are not familiar with String Bridge,  check out the book trailer:

Rave Reviews for String Bridge:

Jessica Bell’s STRING BRIDGE strummed the fret of my veins, thrummed my blood into a mad rush, played me taut until the final page, yet with echoes still reverberating. A rhythmic debut with metrical tones of heavied dark, fleeting prisms of light, and finally, a burst of joy—just as with any good song, my hopeful heartbeat kept tempo with Bell’s narrative.~ Kathryn Magendie, author of Sweetie and Publishing Editor of Rose & Thorn Journal

“Poet and musician Jessica Bell's debut novel String Bridge is a rich exploration of desire, guilt, and the difficult balancing act of the modern woman. The writing is lyrical throughout, seamlessly integrating setting, character and plot in a musical structure that allows the reader to identify with Melody's growing insecurity as her world begins to unravel … String Bridge is a powerful debut from a promising writer, full of music, metaphor, and just a hint of magic.” ~ Magdalena Ball, author of Repulsion Thrust and Sleep Before Evening

Jessica Bell is a brilliant writer of great skill and depth. She doesn't pull back from the difficult scenes, from conflict, pain, intensity. She puts it all out there, no holds
barred, no holding back. She knows how to craft a scene, how to develop character, how to create suspense. This is an absolutely brilliant debut novel. I look forward to reading her next novel, and next and next.” ~ Karen Jones Gowen, author of Farm Girl, Uncut Diamonds and House of Diamonds

Please TWEET and/or FACEBOOK this post using #StringBridge!
So, what are you waiting for? :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Jessica's Melody

My multi-talented bloggy friend Jessica Bell has released her novel String Bridge along with a companion CD Melody Hill - On the Other Side. (I told you she was multi-talented!)

You HAVE to hear her music. It is haunting ... and lovely ... and so very beautiful. Jessica's voice blends with her guitar and the other instruments to create a unique experience you're going to love! The tempos change and build and draw you further and further in. She's going to touch your heart. Don't believe me? Check this out...

Excited yet? You should be! I've played her soundtrack several times while writing and it definitely a mood setter!

Jessica Bell is a literary women's fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter who grew up in Melbourne, Australia, to two gothic rock musicians who had successful independent careers during the '80s and early '90s.

She spent much of her childhood travelling to and from Australia to Europe, experiencing two entirely different worlds, yet feeling equally at home in both environments. She currently lives in Athens, Greece and works as a freelance writer/editor for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide, such as HarperCollins, Pearson Education and Macmillan Education.

In addition to String Bridge, Jessica has published a book of poetry called Twisted Velvet Chains. A full list of poems and short stories published in various anthologies and literary magazines can be found under Published Works & Awards, on her website.

From September 2012 Jessica will be hosting the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca, home of Odysseus.

So, where can you pick up these goodies?

Soundtrack on iTunes
Soundtrack on
Soundtrack on Amazon UK

ebook on
ebook on Amazon UK

paperback on
paperback on Amazon UK
paperback on Barnes & Noble

And where can you find the multi-talented Jessica?
String Bridge Website and merchandise
blog: The Alliterative Allomorph

I'm SO impressed with this soundtrack - it's absolutely gorgeous! And wait until tomorrow - Jessica's got a special surprise for you all. Hint: don't click on those 'buy me' links just yet... :) I'll have the breaking news for you here!

I've occasionally heard a song I thought would match my characters or plot, but to create an entire soundtrack for my story? WAY beyond my skill level! How about you - ever thought of creating music to go with your story?

Monday, November 7, 2011


If you need a laugh, click on the video - it's under a minute. And it's Dory - speaking whale!

I could have posted the 'Just keep swimming' link instead, but this one cracks me up. Anyway, it's NaNo and I haven't been able to visit the bloggy-verse as much as I'd like. It's also been report card season -- which isn't nearly as much fun.

Don't you think the writers for these animated movies are brilliant? I do - the humour is priceless. And then the actors bring it to life. Hopefully our characters do the same for our dialogue.

Anyway, I felt like it was a good time for a smile and Dory/Ellen is always a great choice for that!

Which animated movie/character cracks you up or makes you smile?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Keeping Open Minds

Woot! Today is the day Susan Kaye Quinn releases another book - Open Minds.

Isn't that a great cover?! Here's the blurb from Susan's site:

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can't read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can't be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf's mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she's dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where being forced to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

Unique concept! Love it.

In honour of Susan's release today, I'm talking about #keepingOPENMINDS. As a teacher this is a topic near and dear to my heart. I've taught a lot of kids over the years. None of them fit the same mould. Thankfully.

It's difficult growing up. No one feels like they fit in all the time. We all have moments (sometimes long ones) of insecurity and self-doubt. Some kids grow up tough. Without love. Without security. Without any way to build their own self-esteem.

Then comes school. Where some people are looking for someone lower on the list. Kids who are so broken or hurt inside, they can only feel good by making someone else feel bad.

Teasing. Bugging. Nit-picking. Name calling. Poking. Tripping... You know.

Until one day the Ray of Sunshine walks in. The one who IS secure in his/her own skin. The one who likes people. All people. The one who makes an effort. Reaches out. Cares. The one who lets the bully's words slide off with a smile. Who knows the world is better when we're all unique - when we all have a chance to shine. The one whose mind is always open.

These Sunshines with their open minds do more than reach out. They save. They bring back from the brink. I've seen kids who felt helpless and hopeless, kids who've attempted the unthinkable, kids who had no one who now suddenly have someone in their corner. That sunshine spreads, grows, nurtures. And the kids are no longer helpless, hopeless or alone.

#keepingOPENMINDS is what it's all about. Try it.

So, have you met any of these Sunshines? Any stories to share?

PRIZES! Susan Kaye Quinn is giving away an Open Books/Open Minds t-shirt, mug, and some fun wristbands to celebrate the Virtual Launch Party of Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy)! (Check out the prizes here.) 

Three ways to enter (you can have multiple entries):
1)      Leave a comment here or at the Virtual Launch Party post

2)      Tweet (with tag #keepingOPENMINDS)
3)     Facebook (tag @AuthorSusanKayeQuinn)
  • Example: Celebrate the launch of paranormal/SF novel OPEN MINDS by @AuthorSusanKayeQuinn for a chance to win Open Books/Open Minds prizes!
Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy) by Susan Kaye Quinn is available in e-book (Amazon US (also UK, France and Germany), Barnes & Noble, Smashwords) and print (Amazon, Createspace, also autographed copies available from the author).