Tuesday, May 27, 2014

And this is what I'm up to...

Hey everyone!!

Okay - so this is what I'm up to. This is my something new. I really hope you can join this journey with me. I'm both nervous and excited about this new venture.


YOU CAN SUBSCRIBE TO MY YouTube CHANNEL HERE:
Starting June 2nd, I'll be posting weekly episodes of "Laugh, Cry, Swoon - An Author's Journey."

AND...
YOU CAN KEEP UP WITH MY BOOK UPDATES ON MY WEBSITE:



Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It's Time for Something New

I have been blogging for a few years now. It's been a fun experience that I've really enjoyed, but just lately, it's started to become a drag. Not because I don't want to keep sharing my journey. I love writing up my posts...I just think it's time for me to shake things up a little...try something new.

I have something that I'm working on and YES, I'm going to keep it a surprise and make you wait, but it's going to be a little time consuming setting it all up. So for now, I'm going to stop blogging until my big announcement.

I hope to be back to here in a few weeks to let you know what I'm up to. In the meantime, if you'd like to keep up with new book releases, cover reveals, book discussions, etc. you can check out my YALICIOUS BLOG as that will continue to run for now.

WATCH THIS SPACE...I WILL RETURN WITH SOMETHING NEW VERY SOON :D


Monday, May 5, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

Thank you so much, Fiona Pearse for approaching me about doing this blog tour. I'm very excited to be a part of it.

If you'd like to read Fiona's post about her writing process, you can check that out HERE.

What am I working on?


I have two projects on the go at the moment. The first is Fever, my first New Adult Contemporary Romance. This is in the final editing stages and will be published on June 15th. I'm really excited to release it. It's been cool to write in a completely different genre and so much fun.

My other project is Two-Faced (The Masks Series, #2). All my planning is complete and I'm hoping to start the 1st draft today. This story is going to stretch me, I think. It's quite complex with a few story threads that I'm going to have to keep up with. Hopefully I'll pull it off :) It's going to be cool working with Caitlyn and Eric again. I really loved them together in the first book. It's also fun to write the next stage of a couple's relationship. They got together in the first book and now I can have a play with their relationship six months down the track.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?


I don't like to get tied down to one genre. I like so many different ones that the only genre I can really guarantee my readers is romance. My books have to have a love story running through them. I asked my Street Team a few months ago which authors they would compare me to. None of them could think of anyone. They all said my stories and writing style were unique. Whether they were just being nice, I'm not sure. LOL. I'm not sure how or why my stories are different, but it is nice to be unique :)

Why do I write what I do?


I'm all about relationships and love. I really enjoy exploring humans and the way they tick and why they behave the way they do. So I like writing stories that explore human nature. I also love stories that are full of tension and excitement, which is why most of my stories will involve some type of mystery or suspense. I love the combination of romance and action.

How does my writing process work?


Because I have limited time due to parenting commitments, I'm very regimented with my time. I get up early to clear my emails, Facebook and Twitter. I try to make sure that all marketing and admin jobs are complete by the time I have to get my kids ready for school. After I've dropped them at the bus, I'm back home and straight into a 3-hour stretch of writing before I have to collect my youngest from morning pre-school.

Depending on where I'm up to in a writing project, those 3 hours are used planning, researching, writing, editing or formatting. I enjoy every aspect of a book's journey. I usually find I'm ready to move on to the next phase by the time it comes around. I also try and co-ordinate it so that while one book is with my critters I'm working on final edits for the previous book and then when the next book goes off to my copy editor, I'm working on planning for the next book on my list. It sounds like a scheduling nightmare, but it's surprising how smoothly everything ticks over :)

And now it's time for me to pass the baton on to two new authors so we can keep this tour going...

First up is Ella James...


Ella James is a Colorado author who writes teen and adult romance. She is happily married to a man who knows how to wield a red pen, and together they are raising two children who will probably grow up believing everyone's parents go to war over the placement of a comma.

Ella's books have been listed on numerous Amazon bestseller lists, including the Movers & Shakers list and the Amazon Top 100; two were listed among Amazon's Top 100 Young Adult Ebooks of 2012.

To find out more about Ella's projects and get dates on upcoming releases, find her on Facebook at facebook.com/ellajamesauthorpage and follow her blog, www.ellajamesbooks.com. Questions or comments? Tweet her at author_ellaj or e-mail her at ella_f_james@ymail.com.

Ella is represented by Rebecca Friedman of the Rebecca Friedman Literary Agency.

Next up is T. G. Ayer...



I have been a writer from the time I was old enough to recognise that reading was a doorway into my imagination. Poetry was my first foray into the art of the written word. Books were my best friends, my escape, my haven. I am essentially a recluse but this part of my personality is impossible to practise given I have two teenage daughters, who are actually my friends, my tea-makers, my confidantes... I am blessed with a husband who has left me for golf. It's a fair trade as I have left him for writing. We are both passionate supporters of each others loves - it works wonderfully...

My heart is currently broken in two. One half resides in South Africa where my old roots still remain, and my heart still longs for the endless beaches and the smell of moist soil after a summer downpour. My love for Ma Afrika will never fade. The other half of me has been transplanted to the Land of the Long White Cloud. The land of the Taniwha, beautiful Maraes, and volcanoes. The land of green, pure beauty that truly inspires. And because I am so torn between these two lands - I shall forever remain cross-eyed.

You can find T. G. Ayer on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TGAyerAuthor, and follow her blog: http://tgayer.wordpress.com/

Sunday, April 20, 2014

I KNOW LUCY is LIVE!!!!


In celebration of the release, I'm launching I Know Lucy on Amazon for only 99c. 
This is a limited time offer. 


As a THANK YOU to everyone for supporting my work, I'm running a giveaway with some pretty cool prizes. Entry details are at the bottom of this post.

And as I do with every book release, I'd like to give a very special thank you to all the people who have been instrumental in bringing this book together - my publisher: Evatopia Press, my editor: Margery Walshaw, my cover designer: Kate Strawbridge of Dwell, Design & Press, my critters & support group: Inklings and Indie Inked, my street team, my proof-readers and my very precious family. Thanks to you all. I love and appreciate you all so much. 



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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Strength Behind I Know Lucy

For me one of the strengths of I Know Lucy is the friendships. Zach has a set of amazing friends that I wish I could jump into the book and hang out with. Lucy also meets a few people along the way who she couldn't have survived without.

I loved writing each and every scene in this novel, particularly the group ones with Zach's friends who always make me laugh.

I have been blessed with so many amazing friends in my life and one of them is Lucy. We went to high school together. We didn't really hang out much during the day, but we used to walk home from school together and laugh our asses off. I adore her. She is strong, intelligent, funny, creative and amazing...and that is why I KNOW LUCY is dedicated to her.

Lucy - thank you for enriching my life and being such a great friend. I love you, chick. 
xoxoxoxo

If you'd like to add this book to your Goodreads reading list, here's the link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21467578-i-know-lucy

If you'd like to be a part of the pre-release countdown, you can check out my author page for daily giveaways: https://www.facebook.com/melissapearlauthor

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Why I Can't Live Without Music...

I love to sing.
If I'm not caught up imaging a scene for one of my books, I will have a song running through my mind. My life is never without music. My heart and soul cries for the pleasure of melody, for that brilliant feeling of song rising through my throat and bursting out of my mouth. I love what a beat does to my hips, what beautiful harmonies do to my spirit and the way music makes me feel.

If I am ever sad or annoyed, music will always make me feel better. It can make me dance, cry, laugh and soar. I could not live without music in my life.

One of the hardships of living in China for me is the fact I don't have a piano. I miss it - desperately. I used to spend hours at the keyboard just playing and singing my little heart out. But I have managed to plug the hole with a few things I didn't have in NZ. I now sing in the alto section of the parents' choir at my son's school...and every second Wednesday I go to karaoke with my two singing buddies. Those two things are complete highlights for me. I look forward to them, I love them and always come home on a giddy high. Singing fills my soul.

So, you can imagine my total rapture over starting the Songbird Series. Ten stories filled with music. Every book is going to have a soundtrack and I love that my iTunes has all these different playlists with songs I adore - varying from jazz to rock to musicals to ballads. I get to share it all and cannot wait. If only there were more hours in the day to write, I'd have the whole series out there in a heartbeat!!

I managed to fly through the 1st draft of Fever in 8 days. That's a record for me, considering I only work in the mornings when my youngest son is at pre-school. The story was obviously desperate to get out and I had the best time writing it. I've never just done plain contemporary romance before. All my other books have some sort of paranormal or suspense twist to accompany the romance, but this series is just raw, emotional love stories and I think I'm going to relish writing every book.

The first book, Fever, is due for release June 15th.
If you'd like to be a part of the blog tour, you can sign up for it HERE.

And here's a little taste of what Fever is all about....

Singing in the shower takes on a whole new meaning in Melissa Pearl's first Contemporary Romance. 

Ella Simmons does not want to move across the country. But she is, because her boyfriend has persuaded her to join him at UChicago to finish out her college education. Never able to tell him no, she hops on a plane and makes the trek from LA expecting to adjust to life like she's often forced to, but things are not that simple when she hears a luscious voice singing over her shower wall. His deep, sexy tenor makes her weak in the knees, spreading fire through her limbs and making her question everything about her life and relationship. 

Can one voice really have that much of an impact? 

Cole Reynolds expected to cruise through his final year at UChicago. He can't wait to get out of college and on with his life, but the sweet voice that interrupts his morning shower turns his world upside down. He's compelled to find his shower songbird and begins a search across campus. The only thing to distract him from this goal is his roommate's gorgeous girlfriend who's just arrived from LA - Ella Simmons. 

Relationships are put to the ultimate test as future dreams are questioned and friendships are thrown on the line for love.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

TRUE COLORS Quiz Answers...plus the winner!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered the True Colors Quiz giveaway. Well done to the two people who scored 100%!! You've been put into a draw and I will announce which one of you won at the end of this post.

For now...here are the answers to the quiz questions:

1. What school does Caitlyn go to?
           PALI HIGH or PALISADES CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL

2. Why does Caitlyn not like taking a handbag with her when she goes out?
           IT'S JUST ONE MORE THING TO LOSE AND SHE HATES THE WAY THEY FALL OF HER SHOULDER

3. What song did Caitlyn's best friend, Stella, program as Caitlyn's ringtone on her phone?
           KISS YOU BY ONE DIRECTION

4. What did Eric do for a year after graduating high school?
           SPENT SOME TIME WITH HIS GRANDFATHER THEN TRAVELLED AROUND THE WEST COAST

5. How many siblings does Caitlyn have? (For an extra point - can you name them?)
            FOUR - SETH, LAYLA, HOLLY & TOBY

6. Which college does Libby want to attend after she's graduated?
            PRINCETON

7. What does Indie's father do for a living?
            HE'S A MOVIE PRODUCER

8. What is Caitlyn's nickname for Eric?
             HERCULES

9. What kind of car does Caitlyn drive?
             1999 MINI COOPER

10. Who is Eric's roommate at UCLA?
             DALE FINNIGAN

And congratulations to the winner - Jordan White!! 


Thank you so much to everyone who has read True Colors and an extra big thank you to all the people who have reviewed it for me too. I so appreciate your support.

If you'd like to check out True Colors, you can pick up a copy on AMAZON and all other major distributors.

And I'd just like to end this post with my big SQUEE moment. I Know Lucy comes out THIS MONTH!! Keep an eye out for pre-release giveaways and games leading up to the release of my first Romantic Suspense novel. I'll be posting these on my Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/melissapearlauthor

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

True Colors Quiz - Prizes to be won!!

Since I'm starting my planning for the second book in the Masks Series today, I thought it'd be fun to run a little quiz for those of you have already read True Colors...and if you haven't read it yet, the quiz is open for a week, so there's still time if you'd like to play.

So here are ten quick questions for you to have a little fun with.
If you'd like the chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card + a 3 e-book pack of Melissa Pearl novels, just send your answers to hello@melissapearlauthor.com by MARCH 31st, plus comment on THIS BLOG POST to let me know you've sent them. The answers will be revealed and the winner announced on April 1st.

TRUE COLORS QUIZ
1. What school does Caitlyn go to?
2. Why does Caitlyn not like taking a handbag with her when she goes out?
3. What song did Caitlyn's best friend, Stella, program as Caitlyn's ringtone on her phone?
4. What did Eric do for a year after graduating high school?
5. How many siblings does Caitlyn have? (For an extra point - can you name them?)
6. Which college does Libby want to attend after she's graduated?
7. What does Indie's father do for a living?
8. What is Caitlyn's nickname for Eric?
9. What kind of car does Caitlyn drive?
10. Who is Eric's roommate at UCLA?

Good luck answering the questions!! I know some of them are tricky, but I didn't want to make it too easy on you. Can't wait to see your answers coming into my inbox!!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

I Know Lucy Cover Reveal

There's always a certain sense of excitement and nervousness when revealing a cover. I feel like a cover takes the book from this thing in the imaginary and gives it life...makes it more real somehow.

The cover for I Know Lucy is really different to all my other covers. At first we were heading down one track, but then my publisher gave us another idea and so we veered left and came up with something totally different. At first I was nervous that people wouldn't like it, but the more I've looked at it and watched the cover develop, the more perfect it seems for this story. It has a sharp edge to it that captures the suspense in this YA Romance. There is an essence of flight that encapsulates Lucy & Zach's story.

Once again, Kate from Dwell Design and Press has outdone herself and gifted me something precious. I have fallen in love with this cover and can't wait for you guys to get the whole package on April 20th.


I KNOW LUCY
YA Romantic Suspense
Release Date: April 20th

Lucy Tate is on the run. After witnessing the brutal murder of her parents, she's spent five years in hiding -- taking on different personas and faking her way through life. The authorities can't be trusted, so she remains in the shadows, always one beat ahead of the man who is forever hunting her. That is, until she meets Zach Schultz, a senior at Monte Vista High and the one guy she can’t bear to leave. Suddenly her natural instincts to lie, steal, and run are overshadowed by something else...the desire to stay. It’s her one shot at a normal life.

Curious by nature, Zach is immediately drawn to the new girl at school. How can a person look both confident and vulnerable all in the same moment? Determined to learn more about her, he tries to get close, but is thrown into a world of lies and confusion. The only thing that becomes apparent is that discovering the truth may get him killed.


If you'd like to enter the Cover Reveal Giveaway - check out details on my YAlicious Blog.

If you are a blogger and would like to sign up to review the book on your blog in late April, then please sign up for the I Know Lucy Blog Tour.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Character Interview with Caitlyn and Eric from True Colors

The True Colors Blog Tour is running this week with Enticing Journeys Book Promotions and to celebrate how excited I am, I thought it'd be cool to do an interview with Caitlyn and Eric.

******

Thanks for joining us today Caitlyn and Eric, why don't you start by telling us a little about yourselves.
Caitlyn: Well, I'm a senior at Palisades Charter High School.
Eric: I'm a freshman at UCLA. I like to surf, hike, rock climb. Give me anything that involves outdoor sport and I'm pretty happy.

How about you Caitlyn? What do you like doing?
Caitlyn: I'm pretty boring actually. I'm one of those people that's happy to go with the flow, so whatever my friends are doing, I'm cool with it. I do enjoy surfing, but I'm not as confident in the water as my brothers and I doubt I'd be able to keep up with Eric.

So, how long have you guys been dating?
Eric: (gives a coy smile) It's still pretty new.

Tell us the story. How'd you get together?
Caitlyn: Well, we're next door neighbors and Eric kinda helped me out when I, um, got into some trouble and things just went from there. Although (she blushes), I had a mammoth crush on him since the first time I saw him, but he wouldn't talk to me.
Eric: (chuckling) Yeah, she kind of grew on me slowly, but once I caught a glimpse of that sweet soul of hers, I couldn't look away. She's caught me now.

And Caitlyn, what kind of trouble were you referring to?
Caitlyn: I have a specific gift that helps me see things that other people don't. Sometimes I see things I can't ignore and I'm compelled to do something about it. Funnily enough, this can get me into hot water sometimes.

Sounds dangerous, is this a regular occurrence for you?
Caitlyn: I try not to make it one, but dangerous things can often be hiding behind a veil and it's not until you peel that layer back that you start to see just how deep something goes.

You're being very cryptic. Care to elaborate more?
Caitlyn: You know how your parents always told you to be careful of strangers and that sometimes the people who look nice and innocent can actually be the evil ones? Yeah, well, they were telling you the truth. A friendly smile can hide a thousand secrets.

But you can see those secrets?
Eric: No-one can hide from Caity. She sees the real deal every time.

I guess people need to watch their step around you then?
Caitlyn (laughing): That's why I don't tell people. I'd have no friends at all if they knew what I could see. There's safety in secrets, but you can't lie to me. I'll know.

That's a pretty powerful gift to have, how do you feel about it?
Caitlyn: It's tough. I don't necessarily want to see all the things I see, but on the flip side, I guess it gives me a chance to really help people and that feels good too.

Do you wish you had a different power?
Caitlyn: (laughing) I guess if I absolutely had to have a power, this one isn't too bad. In all honesty, I'd rather have nothing. Life would be much easier that way, but I have to accept this gift. Fighting it only leads to frustration. (She gives Eric a knowing look.)

Do you find it difficult being in a relationship like this, Eric?
Eric: No. I have nothing to hide from Caity. (He looks at her and winks) Although she knows how to scare the crap out of me...especially when she runs off to fix something without telling me. 
Caitlyn: (blushing) It's a bad habit I'm trying to rectify.

Well, I guess if we want to unravel some more, we need to check out your story...True Colors.

Caitlyn: That's the one.
Eric: There's a blog tour running at the moment too. You should check it out to enter the giveaway and see what other readers thought about our story.

******

Couldn't help that little promo at the end ;o)
So there's a little more from Cailtyn and Eric. I really hope you enjoy the blog tour. Next week I'll be running a True Colors quiz and giveaway, if you're up for a little fun :D

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

St Patty's Day Giveaway!



Join your favorite YA and NA authors as we celebrate being Irish for a day and play on Pinterest. There will be over 45 e-book giveaways! 

You can join the Facebook party HERE!

You won't want to miss it!

Participating Authors:


Lila Felix   A. W. Exley  Melissa Pearl   
Jessica Gibson  Cindy M. Hogan  Sarah Ashley Jones  
Marie Landry  Rachel Morgan  Jennifer Snyder 
Stacey Marie Brown  Jessica Therrien  D.L. Raver 
Stacey Wallace Benefiel  Marilyn Almodóvar  Angee Taylor 
A.O. Peart  Devyn Dawson  Rick Chiantaretto 
Raine Thomas  L.P. Dover  Tamara Hart Heiner  
Leigh T Moore  Meradeth Houston  Amber Argyle 
Tawdra Kandle  Carlyle Labuschagne  Lisa Collicutt
Christy Dorrity  Stephanie Fowers  Kristina Renee
Faith McKay  Charlotte Abel  Jamie Ayres
A.M. Hargrove  Charli Webb  Amy Harmon  
Alyssa Rose Ivy  Kristie Cook  Lani Woodland
T.M. Franklin  Laura Howard  Sharron Riddle
Eliza Tilton  S. M. Boyce  Bethany Lopez 
Dawn Leigh  L.A. Casey  Emma Adams  
Amber Garr  Liz Long





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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Character Growth - What Don Jon Can Teach Us

I watched a movie called Don Jon the other night. It stars Joseph Gordan-Levitt, who I really like as an actor. I think he's really talented and I like the roles he chooses to play.

I'd never seen him do anything like Don Jon before. Believe me, it's not usually my type of movie. It was an R16 and I soon found out why. Throughout the first half hour or so, I kept thinking, "Do I really want to be watching this?" I wasn't offended or anything, but I had to question if watching a movie about a guy addicted to porn was a good use of my time.

But I couldn't stop watching...and here's why...

CHARACTER GROWTH.

I wanted to see it. I wanted to see this messed up guy figure it out and get to a point in his life where he didn't need porn to feel satisfied.

I'm not going to give away the ending and spoil it for you, but I can say that Don Jon is an excellent example of character development throughout a story. It's an interesting commentary on human behavior and although there is a ton of swearing and a few scene that would make me die if my parents walked into the room, I am really glad I watched it.

As a writer, I always try to ensure that my characters grow in one way or another. I want readers to close my books feeling satisfied, knowing that at least one of my characters has reached a higher level in their life...a new plain of understanding. They've waded through all the crap I've made them endure and come out as better people. To me, that's a satisfying story - no matter what genre you're reading or watching, if characters are changing for the better by the end, you know you've just witnessed something cool. That's how I feel anyway.

How about you?
Have you seen or read any really good stories lately that have depicted remarkable character growth?

As writers, I think we need to keep this in the forefront of our minds. I know I'm probably stating the obvious when I say this, but our characters must grow. By how much is up to you, but you want your readers to like your main character even more by the end of your book. One really awesome book I read that helped me understand character growth was Story by Robert McKee. That has some excellent chapters on how to create flawed characters that you can take somewhere.

Writers, have you read any great books on character development lately?

I just want to end by saying this...I think the reason we all like to see characters grow is because it gives us hope in humanity. If people can overcome what they're facing, then we can to. We can learn so much from watching flawed people learn from their mistakes, because ultimately, everyone on this planet is flawed in one way or another...and we all have room to grow.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Blog Update and I Know Lucy Teaser....

Due to some unforeseen circumstances, my life is about to get even more hectic for the next few months. I have three book releases planned - April, May and June. It is going to be FULL ON!!!
Because of this, I'm going to cut back on my blogging. I'll still keep my YAlicious blog going, because I just love being able to highlight other authors and run weekly giveaways, but for this blog, I'm going to cut it back to once a week. So from now until the end of summer, I'll only be blogging on a Tuesday (except for the special occasions like cover reveals and release days of course :D)

A couple of days ago, I posted on Facebook to ask people what types of things they liked to read on author's blogs. I got a bunch of ideas and I'm going to try and cover the topics you guys suggested. Thanks for helping me out. I'm super excited about some upcoming posts!

For today, I wanted to highlight my next release - I Know Lucy.

Lucy Tate is on the run. After witnessing the brutal murder of her parents, she's spent five years in hiding -- taking on different personas and faking her way through life. The authorities can't be trusted, so she remains in the shadows, always one beat ahead of the man who is forever hunting her. That is, until she meets Zach Schultz, a senior at Monte Vista High and the one guy she can’t bear to leave. Suddenly her natural instincts to lie, steal, and run are overshadowed by something else...the desire to stay. It’s her one shot at a normal life.

Curious by nature, Zach is immediately drawn to the new girl at school. How can a person look both confident and vulnerable all in the same moment? Determined to learn more about her, he tries to get close, but is thrown into a world of lies and confusion. The only thing that becomes apparent is that discovering the truth may get him killed.


The cover reveal is March 20th. 
If you'd like to help me flash the cover around on the day, please sign up at this link: IKL COVER REVEAL.

The release day is April 20th and the second book, Set Me Free will be out just one month later on May 18th. These two books are closely tied together and I didn't want to leave readers waiting to find out what will happen.

There are going to be some pretty fun things happening in the lead-up to the IKL Release, but for now, here's a little excerpt from Zach - my gorgeous MC.

I'm not usually a sap, I swear. My friends give me grief that I'm always attracted to girls with big issues. Like somehow I can solve all their problems or something. I don't think that's it. I think sometimes you just see a girl and something about her captures you.
She was walking towards me. Mr. Simmons, Dean of Students, was talking her ear off as they headed down the corridor. He was no doubt rabbiting on about all the school could offer and how she would enjoy the rest of her year here at Monte Vista High. She was nodding, feigning interest. I could tell.
Her blue eyes were perfect, not too big and round, just gorgeous ovals that gazed up at Mr. Simmons with slight tension. Who wasn't tense on their first day of school? But there was a quiet confidence in the way she held herself. Her shoulders were back, her pointed chin up. She nodded and looked the dean straight in the eye when she did it.
She wasn't afraid to be here. She looked determined and focussed.
That was appealing in itself, but there was something else about her too. A mystery.
I could taste it.
She glanced at me as she walked past, her eyes touching mine. I grinned and her lips twitched. Not a smile, but her gaze warmed for a second as she hustled past.
I turned to watch her go, I couldn't help it.
Her paradox enticed me.
She was like an ethereal waif, if there can be such a thing. Strength and fragility all blended into one. An intense need to figure the girl out embedded itself in my chest.
Rubbing my forehead with a slight frown, I turned towards homeroom.
When it came to girls I was a fool. I wouldn't deny it. My track record sucked, but maybe this time it would be different. I wouldn't label it love at first sight or anything, but intrigue. Yeah that's it - intrigue at first sight. That girl, whoever she was, had captured me...and it had only taken a glimpse.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Release Your Characters by Alastair Rosie

Every now and then, it's nice to have another author visit your site and entertain readers with an interesting guest post. I haven't had one in a really long time (as I have so many guests on YAlicious). This post, however, is for us writers and I thought it'd be more appropriate to share it on this blog. So, it's my pleasure to have Fantasy writer, Alastair Rosie, with us today.

Welcome, Alastair!!

RELEASE YOUR CHARACTERS!
Being locked in a cell was a disconcerting experience for me. It was a mere twenty-four hour stretch in a police cell in suburban Mooroolbark, Melbourne for failing to pay a parking fine. Not exactly the crime of the century, I know. My cell was ten by fifteen with a stainless steel toilet, vinyl-covered mattress with no sheet and the light stayed on all night. By day I was allowed out into the covered yard, which was some thirty feet long by about ten feet wide, the only natural light came from a clear perspex hatch in the yard. Whilst I was secure in the knowledge that I’d be out by midday the next day, I felt claustrophobic. A week later I was sitting in the penthouse apartment of a friend of a friend in South Yarra looking out over the lights. The man pacing the floor looking miserably out over the city was also trapped inside a prison of his own making and I found myself reflecting on the grand irony of it all.

The journey from freedom to a police cell actually took a good twelve to eighteen months to happen and at any time I could have avoided a night in the cells by paying the fine. The man in the penthouse probably took a lot longer to get to the stage where he felt like jumping and I confess I never saw nor heard of him again to this day, but he too could have taken an alternative path. Neither of us were bound to our fate.

As writers we often doom our characters to a particular fate because as their creators we feel we know better than them. It’s a common scenario, we’ve all been there. I’ve got my game plan, a plot, characters, conflict and resolution and now I have to arrange my characters on the page to get them from the call to adventure through to denouement. Along the way some will be wounded, some will die, love matches will take place and other lovers will part and hopefully we readers will fall in love with your characters.

But what if one of your characters, let’s say the heroine, had decided that the main man, your alpha male wasn’t such a good catch after all? What if she took a step back and refused his advances. Would your novel founder? You’ve set it all up, arranged the characters and scenes and like actors, they’ll play their parts because you’re the director and there is something to be said for discipline and keeping a firm hand to the tiller, but what happens if you let go of the tiller?

My novel, The Deepening Dark, actually started out as The Calling, the protagonist was Murron but after a hundred thousand words I was shipwrecked and so I took a break from the book and emigrated to Scotland. A few years later I went back to The Calling and at chapter three I rediscovered a minor character, Rhianna, leading a revolt against an imperialist occupying army, the Bulkarans. She was fighting lizard men and had to be rescued by Murron’s father. I kept going back to that chapter and more out of curiosity began a new story with Rhianna as the main character. Along the way I kept Murron for a later book and lost the lizard men, they really were silly creatures.

When I got to chapter four I did the unthinkable. Rhianna had a son, Emdahl, a delightful little boy with blond hair and blue eyes, but in chapter four I had my Bulkarans kill him in front of Rhianna. I didn’t mean to kill him, I just wanted to see what she’d do and I discovered what happens when you just let go of your characters. I subjected that poor woman to the mockery of a false trial, fifty of her villagers were hanged in front her, they killed and butchered her horse, she was pack raped, beaten and taken out to the forest where she was to be torn to pieces by the general’s dogs at dusk. She’s rescued by elves and taken deep into the forest where for all intents and purposes she may as well be dead, her mind is stretched to breaking point while all about the Bulkarans and their goblin shock troops are ravaging the land. Now Rhianna had a reason to raise an army against the Bulkarans if she could recover in time and you’ll have to read the book if you want to know more.

This then is the challenge. I’ve read dozens of books over the last few years where I get to the end and wish the writer had’ve just let go of their characters, opened the cell door and allowed them a little freedom to make their own destiny. One of the more famous cinematic examples is Cal in Titanic. What if he hadn’t been such a nasty piece of work and actually loved Rose? She would have faced a moral dilemma and Jack would’ve been forced to work that much harder to turn her head.

Like real people going their merry way along predictable paths, your characters are also real, in your head at least. Certainly they’re based on real people and if you want to lift your novel above the thousands of others out there you might have to open the cell door and let them step outside for a bit. Where will they lead you? Letting go of your characters is risky, with some I’ve had to rein them in because like jealous actors they stole the limelight from my main character. In an early draft of a WIP, The Vessel, I let Harriet sleep with Elizabeth and while I discovered that Elizabeth might sleep with a woman, she wasn’t gay and definitely wouldn’t tie the knot with Harriet. I was left with a steamy love scene that was eventually taken out of the book because there was no point to it. Elizabeth actually became a much stronger character in the end. The point being that while the love scene might have gotten the blood racing, it ended up emasculating Elizabeth and steering the novel to a place none of my characters wanted to be.

It may be an experimental draft, a what if scenario, but if you feel your novel is floundering it may be just the thing you need to do. Throw your characters a lifeline and let them make other decisions. It has the effect of freeing your mind to consider other possibilities and while some might become dead ends, others might lead to a fresh new look on your WIP. You might find yourself sitting back with amazement. Did I just write that? What will she do now?


*****

THE DEEPENING DARK
An exiled queen, a band of elves and the warrior cult known as the she bears are all that stands between General Bolksta and his conquest of Haydutia. Rhianna will need the luck of the gods if she is to hold back the tide of evil as an imperial army invades her country intent on turning Haydutia into just another province.

Smashwords / Amazon

*****

You can find Alastair on his GOODREADS BLOG or TWITTER.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Time For Reflection

After every big event, I always think it's good to take a moment to reflect on your hard work.

The True Colors Masquerade Ball was a huge success thanks to the amazing authors who participated and the enthusiastic fans who just made it so much fun. I came away exhausted and elated all at the same time. It was a very creative and epic way to launch a book into the world.

I'm so glad I took the time to get super organized before it started. The event ran like clockwork and although it was pretty full on, I was never stressed out. Involving other authors was a great way to cross promote and I highly recommend supporting each other in a release endeavor. It felt so good being able to shine the light on other people's work, while highlighting my own at the same time.

Would I do it again?

Yeah - I probably would, but not in a hurry. It was really time consuming and took a lot out of me. Expenses for giveaways, etc. add up too.

Don't get me wrong, I'm so, so happy True Colors got this kind of introduction! One day I'll do something big like this again and I'll enjoy it just as much, but for my next book, I'm thinking of doing something just a touch quieter :D

Have you ever been involved in a big online event before?
What do you like about them?
How effective do you think they are?

I'd love to hear your thoughts - both readers and writers :)






Friday, February 14, 2014

Fun Friday - Be Mine


Yay! I love FUN FRIDAY. Today all the YA Storytellers are going to share romantic excerpts from our books. The perfect posts for Valentine's Day. Get ready to swoon ;D

True Colors is due coming out THIS SUNDAY! Sweet! So in honor of that, I have chosen an excerpt from my upcoming novel.


   Eric drank me in as he leaned towards me, his lips cresting with a smile.
   I couldn’t believe it. I mean I seriously could not believe it.
   Eric Shore!
   My teeth brushed over my lower lip as I quelled the urge to bust out with nervous giggles. “I never thought a guy like you would be interested in me.” My voice trailed off as his lips hovered before mine.
   “Well, Caity Davis, you thought wrong.”
   His warm, breathy words were followed by two tender lips. They pressed against mine, soft, sweet and magical. There was nothing hungry and demanding about it, just a warm kiss that sent my brain cells spinning to Pluto. Closing my eyes, I melted into the kiss, running my fingers around the nape of his neck and into the back of his hair.
   I couldn’t believe this was actually happening to me. Eric Shore was kissing me. Not my idea. His!
   His tongue skimmed along my bottom lip. It felt natural to respond, to let him in, so I deepened the kiss, the pleasure of his tongue against mine sending shivers down the back of my legs. I wanted to pull him on top of me, to feel his weight pressing me into the beanbag, but I’d never be that bold. Not with him. I didn’t want to come across as some hungry slut. His hands stayed on my face, his thumbs gently running up my jaw before he pulled away and leant his forehead against mine.

   He didn’t say anything, just looked at me with those dancing eyes. I grinned back, that giddy feeling winning the giggle battle. I let out a breathy laugh.

And this is why I love Valentine's Day, because we get to celebrate love. There's nothing like the magic of a couple's first kiss.

Enjoy reading the other Storytellers excerpts. I know I will :D - FUN FRIDAY

Happy Valentine's Day everybody!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Countdown Has Begun!

True Colors comes out THIS SUNDAY! Squee!!!
I'm so super excited to be releasing this book. I've been having so much fun prepping for this big release party. There are going to be a bunch of authors participating, fun games to play and plenty of giveaways. If you haven't joined in yet, please click the link below. We'd love to have you be a part of this celebration! I've already started posting excerpts and tidbits about the book!



The True Colors Pre-Release Blog Tour has begun. If you'd like to check out the schedule to read reviews, interviews, guest posts and enter giveaways, you can click the link below.



I'd like to take a moment to thank Len Phelps who has been helping me out while my PA was away. Len - you are pure gold. Thank you so much for all your hard work. It's meant so much to work with someone so willing and efficient. xxx

Thank you to everyone for your support of my writing. It's great having you along for the ride and I am so looking forward to sharing some more of my work with you on February 16th!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop! ~February 8th to 14th~


Valentine's Day is almost here! I have a special post today for you! I am a part of the Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop!

To win an eBook of your choice (any one of my books, your choice) please enter in the Rafflecopter below! 
Thanks for stopping by!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, February 7, 2014

Good Stuff To Know

I haven't done one of these posts in a really long time and I apologize. Life keeps catching up with me and this is one of the things I had to drop. However, I am hoping to do it a little more this year, because I know how helpful it can be.

So - what have I discovered this year that has been really helpful to me?

First off, I want to highlight Indies Unlimited. There are SO many helpful posts on this site and they are popping up faster than I can keep up with them. It is a great place to check in on a daily or weekly basis depending on how much time you have. You can subscribe to a daily updates email, which I find really helpful.

Are You Targeting The Wrong Readers? by Gary Korisko
Here is a really honest on article on how to hit the right kind of readers for your work. What's the point of writing your masterpiece if the right people can't find it? There are 7 helpful tips at the end too!

Book Marketing Predictions for 2014 by Mike Lowndes
I always love book marketing prediction posts. I read a few in January and I liked this one the best...and also this one by Bob Mayer - Ten Publishing Predictions for 2014.

An Explanation of the Criteria by Awesome Indies
This post was pointed out to me by a writer friend of mine, Leigh K. Hunt. It is a really LONG post, so make sure you have some time up your sleeve, or save it to read later. It is WORTH IT. This post is packed full of awesome tips on writing collected from various experts in the field. There's SO much good stuff on editing, story structure, character development. It's simply brilliant. Thank you Awesome Indies for putting it together. There is a wealth of information here that any author can benefit from.

So that's me for this time around. If you have any other helpful posts you've stumbled across this year, please mention them in the comments below.

Have a great February everyone!!

Friday, January 24, 2014

What do you look for in a conference?

I have been invited to be a panelist at UtopYA Con this year. Eeeppp!!!! I'm so excited! It's going to be such a thrill heading to the States and being able to meet writers I speak to online all the time.

I'm also pretty pumped about being able to talk writing for an entire weekend. There's nothing like associating with passionate writers to really get your fired up and inspired. It's also nice to be able to rabbit on about something you love with people who understand just how awesome it is.

I think that's the most beneficial thing about attending a conference - making those connections.

The very first conference I went to was the NZ Romance Writer's Conference in Auckland. As a newbie writer, I got so much out of it, including meeting a person who has become very dear to me...the lovely T. G. Ayer. She has since introduced me to some kiwi treasures who have become my critique partners and trusted friends.

I also met an agent from the States at that conference. I won a breakfast with her and we chatted about books and publishing, she gave me some fantastic pointers and then offered to look over one of my manuscripts.

It was the start of something really huge for me. I learned SO much from that weekend and it was a pivotal experience that set me on the course I'm currently walking.

So in my opinion conferences are definitely worth attending. I am stupidly excited about June this year!! I don't know what I'll come away with, but I'm confident the experience will spark something within me that will carry me further along this road. Whatever it may be, I'm totally psyched!!

Are you going to any conferences this year?
What do you look for when attending a conference?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Linking Worlds

I have a database of story ideas that I keep adding to each time I'm struck with a new idea. I started it about 12 years ago and it has grown to about 90 story ideas now. I probably won't write all of them, but it is fun to read through it every now and then and remember stories I came up with years ago.

These stories re-enter my mind all the time, they come back into the forefront and dance around for a while, sometimes spawning brand new book ideas. The old ideas gets developed during this process and I add more details to my database. My one sentence premise turns into paragraphs of dialogue or descriptions of a few clear scenes in my mind.

I am so glad I started doing this, because as my writing has evolved I've been able to link my stories. Rather than having a database of 90 separate story ideas I'm beginning to see ties....and I'm loving it. You see, I get a little bored writing the same thing all the time. I like variety, so that's why I have so many stand alone stories floating around in my head, but I've quickly concluded that ties can be made between these books and I think that's pretty cool.

Betwixt was originally a one-off story, but people loved Dale and Nicole so much that I decided to include them in my upcoming series - The Masks Series. I'm so glad I made that choice. I love Dale and Nicole too and it's nice not to have to say goodbye to them yet.

As a reader, I love seeing old favorites pop back into stories. One of my favorite series of all time for that is The Chesapeake Bay Series by Nora Roberts. Four novels each following one of the four main characters, in a sense they can stand alone, but reading them together gives you this amazing world and lets you see the characters you loved from the first book grow and change in the background throughout the rest of the series.

I've really taken this concept on board and through this thinking have decided to develop a series of stand alone novels that will all make sense individually, but will also let you see the characters from previous stories having a background role. I've entitled it the Songbird Series. The first book, Fever (due for release in June 2014), I've had planned for a long time now. Originally I was just going to make it a stand alone novel, but then I went back through my book database and I found 9 other stories that all had a musical thread running through them and it sparked an idea. What if I created a series and linked all these stand alone novels together. I could give each book a soundtrack! I jotted down all the stories I thought would fit and easily found links and connections and so a one book novel has now turned into a 10 book series with the possibility of two novellas to go with it. I am so super pumped about this idea and I can't wait to start putting it together. I plan to release 2-3 Songbird books a year, so this is a really long term project, but it's going to be so fun to work on.

As a reader, do you prefer reading series or stand alone novels?
As a writer, do you think it's better to produce series or stand alone novels?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Fun Friday: Frozen Reads


Yay! It's FUN FRIDAY. Today all us YA Storytellers are going to share some of our favorite winter reads.

I'm in the middle of winter right now and haven't really had the chance to snuggle up with many books yet. However, over Christmas I did manage to sneak in reading Freak of Nature by Julia Crane. That was awesome. I'm not usually into sci-fi, but this book broke the rules for me and I ended up really loving it.


I've also just started reading My Unexpected Forever by Heidi McLaughlin, which I'm really enjoying.


Next up, I'm going to take some time to read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers which is a fantastic book I've read numerous times. I want to do a little refresher before launching into my first big round of edits for I Know Lucy.


Not sure what's up after that. My kindle is stuffed full of goodies, so there is plenty of reading for me to still do.

How about you?
Do you have any favorite winter reads?

To find out what the other YA Storytellers recommend, check out the FUN FRIDAY posts on the YA Storytellers website.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

True Colors Cover Reveal

I know I've posted this on my YAlicious blog already today, but I just have to post it here as well. This cover is too beautiful not to be splashed all over the internet.

I want to thank Kate Strawbridge of Dwell Design and Press for giving this book such a stunning cover. Your hard work and patience did not go unnoticed and I love you for all the energy and enthusiasm you gave to this project. You are a talent, lady.


Blurb:

Caitlyn Davis always cruised through life, not being the type to ruffle feathers or involve herself in high school drama…until a chance encounter with a strange, homeless man changes everything.

Suddenly, Caitlyn has the ability to see behind people’s masks. She discovers that her life isn’t as simple as she imagined and her high school is filled with secrets…some very sinister ones.

Unable to ignore her new gift, Caitlyn embarks on a mission to learn why one of her friends now appears terrified, but masks her fear behind a bright, smiling veneer. Will Caitlyn’s new ability lead her into hot water? Or is her new found vision a blessing that will expose her friends’ true colors?

Her quest will lead Caitlyn to lose friends, stand up for those in need, and even find love.

At Palisades High School every face tells a story…

Book Link:

Goodreads



And don't forget about the True Colors Masquerade Ball.


The True Colors Masquerade Ball is happening on February 16th to celebrate the release of True Colors. All party-goers will be entitled to purchase a copy of True Colors for only 99c. There will also be competitions, giveaways and guest appearances from other authors who will be unveiling their own secrets. So come and join in the fun and help us welcome True Colors into the world with style.