Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Writers on Wednesday: Cameron White

Welcome to Writers on Wednesday. This week I am chatting with Melbourne based children's author, Cameron White ...



Tell me a bit about yourself

Im a Jack of all trades whos taken a bit of a roundabout path to writing. I wrote at school, but chickened out of interviewing for RMITs Professional Writing and Editing, which I wanted to do. I studied design and architecture, but graduated at a time when a large percentage of Melbourne architects were being laid off. I took the plunge and studied Professional Writing and Editing, ostensibly to become an architecture writer, but that hasnt quite happened. I did discover the crafts of fiction writing and editing, which hasnt helped me figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

Tell us about your most recently published book?

Winters Book is a childrens picture book about a girl whose father goes away to write a book about animals in Japan, leaving her alone with her imagination. And a pet (Guinea Pig?) named Hamlet.
The book has been produced with the support of City of Melbourne Arts funding, and was exhibited in progressin the City Library Gallery, along with some zines we made in workshops with kids. It was fun to show a book before its finished and the whole process has been an interesting way to make a book some of it has been back to front, as the grant application had the title, theme and vague imagery of the book, but no text completed. The City of Melbourne staff have been great; they let me do my thing, displaying huge trust that it would happen and be good and only helping when I asked for it.

Tell us about the first time you were published?

I went into the office of Catalyst, the RMIT student newspaper, with a piece about weirdnesses in the English language, and asked if they would like to publish it. They said they would, but also asked if I wanted to lay it out. I did, even though it took me all night. I could now do the same task in 5 minutes, but that moment probably set me down the path Ive found myself on, and definitely sparked an interest in typography.

As writer, what has been your proudest achievement so far?

Because I havent actually launched Winters Book at the time of writing, Im going to say that when I wrote pieces (possibly a how to play guitarseries, or ranty, mildly amusing editorials) for Catalyst and was introduced to someone who replied youre the Cameron White?. Until that point, I hadnt really considered anyone was reading what Id been writing. To be Small-corner-of-RMIT-famouswas a revelation.

What books or writing projects are you currently working on, if anything?

Ive got a childrens book called Fairies Suck! (a book about fairies with a boy protagonist) that Ive been working on, and a Young Adult novel that I should really go back toThanks for reminding me.

Which do you prefer? eBooks or Paper Books? Why?

My mother was a librarian and Ive worked in printing, so paper books are sacred objects to me. I worked for someone who tore covers off book blocks for a display, and I nearly wept, though the books werent anything special. I have a Nook, but dont read enough on it. I listen to audio books when I walk my dog though.

Indie Publishing, or Traditional Publishing?

Well, Winters Book is definitely not Traditional publishing. Its an exciting time for indie publishing. The role of gatekeepers is drastically changing and anyone can publish, but do the companies whove ended up with clout care as much about books as they should? Who ensures quality?
Aside from your own books, of course, what is one book that you feel everybody should read?
For writers, Id say Stephen Kings On Writing. Continuing from the last question, writers wanting to self-publish should read Self-printed. The Elements of Style is a classic all writers should read, and if I change to my typography nerd hat, The Elements of Typographic Style is a good companion. For the broader population, Stop Stealing Sheep and Find Out How Type Works is a less nerdy, in-depth look at typography and how it affects our communication. You said one book, though, right?

Finally is there anything you would like to say to your readers in Adelaide, Australia?

Thanks for having me! Despite not having visited either, I regard Adelaide as a thinking mans Perth, but mostly to annoy Perthites. Ill visit one of these days.

Links


Saturday, 27 December 2014

Review: TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY by Jay Asher

With a successful youth suicide the central theme of the novel, readers are left in no doubt that Jay Asher's bestselling novel Thirteen Reasons Why (stylised as TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY,) is going to be uncomfortable and possible provocative reading. Clay Jenson, a mild mannered, high achieving high school student has just arrived home and found a package waiting for him that contains eight cassettes. On the tapes are thirteen stories, recorded by Hannah Baker, one of Clay's classmates who committed suicide a few weeks previously. The thirteen stories explain why she has chosen to take her own life. The novel follows a duel narrative--Hannah tells her story and we also read Clay's reaction to each of the tapes. (Note: the novel was originally published in 2007 when cassettes, though old technology, were still possible to access.) 

Thirteen Reasons Why was not easy reading and I think that the book is all the better for that. It is difficult not to feel for Hannah as she tells her story of being an outcast at her school, of being bullied and humiliated and of one heartbreaking incident leading in to a worse one at every turn. Through Clay, we also get to read about the anguish, and humiliation, felt by her peers for doing nothing or not understanding enough to address the situation. Through Clay, we also get to challenge Hannah's beliefs about herself and others, and whether or not there really was another way out. We also see the potential harm that she has done, by sending out the tapes. Ultimately, it examines the reasons why people may sometimes do stupid things and how the choices they make can impact on others, and through minor character Skye, we learn the importance of reaching out to other people.

Highly recommended


Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas 2014



I would like to to wish all of you
peace, joy and
a very Merry Christmas.

Thank you for following,
I'll be back with more great posts
tomorrow

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Writers on Wednesday: Rebecca Burns

Welcome back to Writers on Wednesday. This week, I am chatting with a fabulous author of short stories, Rebecca Burns ...



Tell us a bit about yourself … 


I am a married mum from the UK, with a young family, and write every minute I have spare! I write short stories – I love the technicality of short pieces of prose; the way that readers are dropped into a moment in a character’s life, the way a wider world beyond the text is glimpsed but not fully realised. The best short stories I have read have left me with a longing to know more about a character and I hope to achieve this in my own writing.

Tell us about your most recently published book? 


The Settling Earth is my second collection of short stories, published by Odyssey Books. I’m really excited about this collection – I find the subject matter fascinating. It centres on the experience of British settlers in New Zealand, trying to forge a new life for themselves at the end of the nineteenth century. These brave men and women gave up their lives in Britain and ventured into the unknown; they endured isolation, privation, and had to rethink what they understood as “home”. Houses were built with bare hands, relationships were reassessed, and some experienced freedom like never before while others carried the baggage of social constraint with them. What a life they must have experienced! The Settling Earth is a series of interlinked stories, focusing on the experiences of a variety of settlers and the challenges they faced.

Tell us about the first time you were published? 


In actual fact, the first story in The Settling Earth was my first publication – “A Pickled Egg” was published in 2008 by The London Magazine, which is an historic and renowned British journal. It has published many famous and influential writers and poets, and I was really chuffed to be included in this prestigious title.

As writer, what has been your proudest achievement so far?


I was delighted when my debut collection of stories, Catching the Barramundi (also published by Odyssey) was longlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Award in 2013, which is the UK’s only prize for short story collections. I’ve also been lucky enough to win or be placed in some writing competitions – I won the Fowey Festival of Words and Music competition in 2013 and came runner up in 2014. I’m very proud of these achievements.

What books or writing projects are you currently working on, if anything?


I’m enjoying the buzz surrounding the publication of The Settling Earth and, aside from that, am editing my first novel, which is a history/detective story.

Finally … is there anything you would like to say to your readers in Adelaide, Australia?


If you haven’t given short stories a try, please feel free to download or pick up a copy of The Settling Earth – I hope you like it and I’d love to know what you think!

Links

Twitter @Bekki66

Writer’s website: www.rebecca-burns.co.uk

Settling Earth on Amazon:

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green

Penned and published well before that other tear jerking novel that shot John Green to international fame, Looking For Alaska is a well written tale about life and loss. Miles Halter has always been a bit of a loner, but that changes when he starts his junior year at a boarding school in Alabama. There, he meets and makes friends with an eccentric group of kids that includes the charismatic, boundary pushing Alaska Young. When Alaska passes away very suddenly, Miles and the others struggle to make sense of her death and eventually find closure. And that is really it. But the magic of this novel is in the author's depiction of teenage life--insecurities, teenage pranks, first loves and the false believe that others may hold the answers to life's biggest questions.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I find myself crying in some places and laughing away at others (the male stripper prank is a real highlight.) The pacing and structure is a bit different from other books in the YA genre, (the first half of the book leads up to the big event and the second half depicts the days that follow,) but the structure also makes perfect sense within the context of the novel. There are also a lot of quirks--Miles is fascinated by the last words of famous people, his roommate knows the capital city of every nation in the world. And there is a bit of lost love, I think Miles never really knows or understands what he has with Lara. 

Looking For Alaska is an enjoyable and highly recommended YA read that stayed in my mind well after I put the book down. 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Around Adelaide (Street Art)


It is Christmas time once again. While Rundle Mall may have copped a lot of flack for not having enough pretty decorations, the central part of the Adelaide CBD has been given a Christmas make over. A number of trees have been decorated with ribbons (like the one above,) as have a number of bicycle racks. Outside the markets are some cute little Christmas trees, while a large Christmas tree sits at the northern end of Victoria Square. 









Sunday, 21 December 2014

Off Topic: Nativity Plays, or the Trials and Tribulations of my Four Year Old Self

In the neighbourhood where I grew up, there is a small church that is connected with a kindergarten and a child care centre and a few other community based programmes. Every year at Christmas time, they put on a concert for the families of the children who use their services and the whole thing is kind of a big deal. One of the highlights of the concert is the nativity play, which is acted out entirely by four year olds. Or, to be more realistic about it, the play is the highlight of the show if you happen to be one of the lucky kids who was chosen for a part, or if you're the parent or grandparent of one of those kids. When my oldest brother, Ben, was four he was chosen to play the part of a tree (don't ask). My next brother (and the middle kid of the family,) Damien, got to play a donkey. So, given family tradition, coupled with the fact that I was probably the shyest four year old that you would ever meet (or not, if I could hide behind mum's/dad's/grandma's legs fast enough,) I doubt that my parents had terribly high expectations of me being cast in the play at all. 

So, naturally, I got a speaking role. 

And I didn't just get any speaking role. I got to be the inn-keeper. Basically, I was the arsehole who told a heavily pregnant women to piss off because the hotel didn't have a room for her. And not only was that woman pregnant, but her child was the son of God. At the time, probably wouldn't have put it quite like that, but I knew the reality that the inn-keeper was the closest thing that the story had to a villain and that no one in their right mind would want to be one. Anyway, I don't really remember all that much about rehearsals, but I do remember on the evening just before the play, walking inside the kindergarten with my mum, and freaking out. I remember thinking that my own costume (in reality, one of dad's old shirts,) was pretty cool. Some of the other kids had massively elaborate costumes that their parents had probably spent days working on, to the point where I barely recognised the kid behind the costume. And, inside the kindergarten was another scary thing ...

There were mothers hanging around. Everywhere.

The whole place was a hive of activity and mothers, as the parents  and teachers prepared for the kids to make their debut at the Sydney Opera House (in reality a small Lutheran church,) and I started to get scared. There was so much noise. My friends were dressed differently and acting differently to what they usually did. (I, meanwhile, was just me in one of dad's old shirts.) People were whispering, giggling, parents were pointing and taking photographs. Lots of lots of things were happening. The play got underway. It was my turn to walk to the stage. And then ...

And despite what my parents will probably tell you, what the kindergarten teachers would have told you and what every other parent in the church was probably thinking, I stand up there on the stage, silent, because I forgot my lines. I didn't go silent because I was shy. The truth is this.

I just didn't want to say them.

I mean, who wants to be the biggest arsehole in the whole Christmas play, in front of everyone? 

Anyway, one of the teachers pushed the line out of me. The girl beside me offered Mary and Joseph some lodgings inside a stable and the play, and life, went on. 

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Review: Franny by J.D. Salinger

Franny is J.D. Salinger's short story about a young woman seeking spiritual enlightenment that is usually published alongside Salinger's novella Zooey in a single volume titled Franny and Zooey. I decided to re-read Franny recently (not a huge task, as the story is approximately twenty-eight pages long,) after discovering that originally, it was published as a short story, a whole two years before Salinger published Zooey. I wanted to get a real sense of this one without it being eclipsed by the longer (and arguably more interesting,) Zooey.

Franny feels both very old and dated, yet oddly relevant to the modern world. Franny is suffering from a crisis of self. Although coming from a relatively privileged background, she is seeking deeper truths. Or, it is entirely possible, she is simply having a mental breakdown. In any case, she is questioning everything about her existence and the world around her, she is feeling ill and the whole experience is more or less ruining the lunch that she is meant to be enjoying with her equally privileged boyfriend. 

Similar to Catcher in the Rye, in one sense, Franny is a book about first world problems and the desire to find enlightenment. I won't pretend that I loved this one, because, in all honesty, I didn't. It's an interesting, and realistic, enough account of someone who is going through a crisis of self--Franny holds the world around her in contempt and seems to be using religion and enlightenment as a crutch--but I found that I that I had no strong feelings about the character or her situation. She came across to me as yet another self-centred young adult who thinks that they, and they alone, are the first to question the world around them. However, I feel that what really bothered me was that there is nothing, or no one, that really counters the character and her experiences. On the other hand, this weakness does make it the perfect lead in to Zooey, which continues the story of Franny's breakdown through the eyes of her brother. 


Friday, 19 December 2014

Friday Funnies: Christmas Gifts, Jon Q Arbuckle Style

Comic Source: garfield.com

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Review: Cityglitter by Carla Caruso

Cityglitter is a bit of fun, lighthearted reading with likeable characters and an amusing set-up. Twenty-something Christelle is living the good life in Sydney, she has a good job and invitations to a number of A-list events. And then her annoying little sister Trixie turns up uninvited and threatens to spill Christelle's secret--that she and Trixie are half-human and half-fairy. Can Christelle keep her identity a secret? Can she stop the naughty Trixie from meddling with her life? And what will happen if Christelle's boss, the very sexy Jasper, do if he finds out the truth about Christelle?

As I said, this one is a bit of fun, lighthearted reading. I read the bulk of this on in one sitting and found myself quite amused by some of Trixie's antics, particularly what she did with the nasty Lillian and the New York snow globe. There were a couple of unexpected plot twists in there, in particular the true identity of one character. But this really is not a book that warrants a great deal of analysis, it's one to be read purely for fun. 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Review: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Ugly Love, the eighth novel from bestselling New Adult author Colleen Hoover, is a tale about the ugly side of sexual desire, juxtaposed against the healing and redemptive nature of romantic love. Tate Collins is a nursing student, new to San Francisco and too busy for a relationship. Miles Archer is a pilot with few friends and a tormented past that no one is allowed to ask about. Initially the pair cannot stand one another, but the sexual tension between them is obvious. The pair soon strike up a friends with benefits arrangement, but when emotions get in the way, things soon become ugly ...

I think by now, most readers know what to expect from a Colleen Hoover novel--tainted pasts, sexual tension and a dash of good, old fashioned melodrama. Ugly Love has all of this in abundance, though the nice girl heroine, Tate Collins, seemed to me to fall a little flat. Miles' backstory, told in short, poetic chapters, tugs at the heartstrings--it is a story of a forbidden teenage relationship that comes to an abrupt, heartbreaking end. (And not in the way I was expecting.) Most of the present day relationship is told through the eyes of Tate, an otherwise intelligent and capable young woman, whose affair with Miles goes against her better judgement. I think the story could have been improved had the author gone into a bit more detail about Tate's background and if she had properly addressed why Tate was so willing to enter in to her arrangement with Miles, when it was clear that what she truly desired was a relationship. What part of her knew for certain that he was worth it? Then again, sometimes the magic in these books is not to answer the why, but the way the author tells a story of that one-in-a-million romance that worked out despite a number of obstacles.

The event that eventually leads Miles to discover the redemptive and healing powers of love is a surprising one. There was enough material in this book to keep me reading well into the evening. 

A bit of melodrama that tugs at the heart strings, that will no doubt be enjoyed by loyal fans of Hoover's previous novels.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Around Adelaide (Street Art)


This canine shutterbug is getting into the Christmas spirit. The bronze sculpture is one of four "dog paparazzi" to decorate the lower ground floor of Adelaide Central Plaza. I took this (slightly fuzzy) picture back in 2013. I wonder if he has his Christmas hat on again this year?

Friday, 12 December 2014

Friday Funnies: Make a Daft Noise for Christmas, The Goodies




I know that I shared this clip last Christmas, but I just could not resist sharing again this year. Not only is a lot of fun and very retro, but it also makes a subtle but valid point about the over-commercialisation of Christmas. 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

The Changing Nature of Publishing ...

Eleven, almost twelve, years have passed since I first sent a manuscript to a publisher. I was twenty-one years old and about to start my Honours year at university. Lovingly, I printed off the first three chapters of my manuscript, bundled them together and caught a bus to the post office, where I sent my manuscript, along with an envelope and return postage. It was mailed to Penguin Books in Victoria. Eight weeks later, Penguin returned the manuscript to me, along with a rejection slip and a lovely, short note telling me that they hoped that this decision would not deter me from continuing to write, as the editor who saw my work thought that I showed real promise. 

From there, I had three choices. Submit elsewhere, wait until I had written something else and submit that instead, or pay a good couple of thousand dollars to a vanity press.

Publishing, or at least the submission of manuscripts, was always a bit slow with the digital age. It was not until a few years ago that the major Australian publishing houses would accept manuscripts that were submitted online instead of in hard copy. Soon after, Allen & Unwin began the Friday Pitch, an initiative where anyone could submit a manuscript, so long as they did so only on a Friday and followed the submission guidelines. A number of other major publishers followed suit, tailoring the initiative to suit their own business model. (Macmillan for example has Manuscript Monday, while HarperCollins has the Wednesday Post.) And it is a great idea. It is inexpensive and it means that everybody has the opportunity to submit their work to the publisher. It does not, of course, guarantee that everyone (or even anyone) using this submissions process will be published. 

And then authonomy came along. Run by HarperCollins in the UK, authonomy works on the principal that anyone can upload their manuscript to the site. The books that get a certain number of votes within a certain time frame will be read and considered from publication. More recently, in the United States, Macmillan established Swoon Reads, a YA romance imprint. YA romance authors are encouraged to upload their manuscript to the site. The manuscripts with the highest reads and rating will be considered for publication. It is an interesting business model, though ultimately there is always going to be that risk that the best manuscript on the site may not be the one that is the most popular. 

Meanwhile, fan fiction and self published novels are starting to find home with major publishers. I'm sure everybody is already aware that Fifty Shades of Grey started out as a Twilight fan fiction, as did the arguably more intelligent Gabriel's Inferno. And let's not forget After by Anna Todd which started out as an odd One Direction fan fiction published on Wattpad. Meanwhile, authors such as Sylvia Day have gone from being little known self-published authors to having multiple best selling novels. 

Much has changed in a relatively short space of time, thanks mostly to the rise of the internet. This makes me wonder what the publishing industry will look like in eleven years from today. 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Writers On Wednesday: Tracy M Joyce

Time for another brilliant Writers on Wednesday interview. This week, I am chatting with novelist Tracy M. Joyce, author of the wonderful The Chronicles of Altaica series ...



Tell us a bit about yourself …


I grew up on a farm in Glenburn, a small rural community in Victoria, Australia.  I am the youngest of three children.  Like all farm kids we worked hard, but had the kind of adventures you can only have if you grow up in the country.  I suspect many of them make it into my writing.  We lived in a rambling farmhouse with my grandparents as well as my parents and siblings.  Both my grandparents were avid readers and encouraged this in me.  Story telling seemed to follow naturally. Currently I live in Melbourne, with my husband, two cats and a very lazy greyhound.

Tell us about your most recently published book?


Altaica is epic fantasy, aimed at teens through to adults. I recommend approx. 15 yo and upwards because it does deal with some fairly dark moral issues.  It is classed as a crossover novel – meaning it is not strictly YA or Adult.  Romance does not drive the plot as it does in many YA novels.

Isaura, the main character of Altaica, is an independent young woman, born to refugees within a community that fears her kind, for they are rumoured to be magic users.  Isaura has few friends, but is fiercely loyal to those she does have.  She is often uncertain and has a lot to learn about herself and others.  She has to make some horrendous moral choices, yet she still keeps trying to help her friends.  One of my reviewers pointed out to me that she is a young woman who doesn’t need a man in her life to make her “complete”.  I hadn’t thought about this, but it’s totally accurate.  I like strong female protagonists – there will be no swooning in my books!


It is a rollicking good yarn that works from multiple points of view.  I hope it shows the effects of very serious issues - war, loss, deprivation, racism etc. while still being the kind of story you can get lost in.  

It is not a formulaic fantasy and as such has been attracting a following amongst readers who would not normally read the genre.  Several readers have told me that it is a really good introduction to high fantasy.


Tell us about the first time you were published?


This is the first time I’ve been published.  The e-book came out first and I “rushed” to websites to see it sitting in there for sale.  It was the culmination of so much work and waiting to be published.  It was a wonderful feeling to know it was out there.  However, the real impact came when the paperback landed on my desk a month or so later.  WOW! That was amazing!  To actually have a copy of the “real thing” in my hands - I nearly cried!  It made everything feel real.  I’m so happy about it and grateful that my publisher had faith in me.

As writer, what has been your proudest achievement so far?


When you realise that less than 1% of manuscripts get published, to be published is a huge achievement.  However, I think the thing that makes me proudest is when I hear from fans who have absolutely loved the book.  Their comments and support make everything worthwhile.  I write because I love it, but their responses – their excitement and joy – are the best reward possible and I’m so grateful for their support.

What books or writing projects are you currently working on, if anything?

I’m currently working on Asena Blessed which is the sequel to Altaica.  It picks up immediately from the end of this book and finishes the main part of Isaura’s adventure. 
There are plans for another duology in The Chronicles of Altaica, which takes place approx. 20years after the first one. However, there will be a standalone book in between these two sets which fills in some important details in the land Isaura came from. 


Which do you prefer? eBooks or Paper Books? Why?

I love having paper books, purely for their looks and the sensation of holding them.  However, for fiction I nowalmost always buy e-books. They are far more practical in terms of storage space and that is something I’m short of.  If I see an absolutely beautiful book I will still buy it in paper form – I can’t help myself.

For non-fiction, or even fiction books I use in my English tutoring, I prefer to have a paper copy.  It’s just easier for referencing and standard e-ink displays like I have don’t do justice to illustrations or diagrams.

Indie Publishing, or Traditional Publishing?


I’m going to split this up into self-publishing, small indie presses and traditional publishing, just to be clear.

There is still a stigma attached to self-publishing, although it is lessening, particularly as authors are striving to produce more professional products in terms of cover, content and editing.  I will happily buy self-published books if I think the quality is there.  Distribution channels for these are improving too.  

Given the enormous difficulties in getting published we are seeing more and more self-published books and I support that where they are produced to a high standard.  As the level of professionalism increases with them, then so will the sales, and it will / is becoming more the norm.


I think if you’re going to self-publish, then you absolutely must invest in producing  a high quality product.  If you think spending money on a professional cover designer and editor is something you don’t need, then think again.  If you can’t afford this, then wait until you can because they are the most vital investment you can make in the future of your book.


Traditional publishing.  


When talking to book stores, the first thing they asked me was “Who publishes you?”  Having a traditional publisher, even a small one, still gives your work more credibility, because clearly someone other than yourself has deemed it worthy of investing in.

Big publishers- Authors all aim for the big publishing firms as the pros are obvious – credibility, distribution, marketing.


Small independent publishers – don’t overlook them.  Many small presses “punch well above their weight.”  You still have the advantage of having a publisher’s imprint on your book!  Personally, I think they are more willing to look at new authors.  Talking to authors, I believe that more new authors are considering small independent presses and I think this is great thing, particularly for diversity in our market place.

So after all this which do I favour?  It’s up to you, but whichever road you take you are going to have to be prepared to be hugely proactive in the promotion of your book.

Aside from your own books, of course, what is one book that you feel everybody should read?


Kinglake 350 by Andrew Hyland.  It’s about Black Saturday.  It looks at events that day, the science behind bushfires and deals with the victims stories.  It is really well written.  My parents survived Black Saturday, half our farm got burned, but we were lucky.  I think this book should be on everyone’s reading list. 

Also Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey, because it is one of the best Australian books I have read in a long time. I laughed out loud at times with this book and at others I could have cried – it’s brilliant.

Finally … is there anything you would like to say to your readers in Adelaide, Australia?


Firstly I love hearing from my readers!

Secondly, I’ve got a really simple message for all readers and it’s this: The single biggest thing you can do for authors is to tell other readers about the books you have enjoyed.  Spread the word – tell a friend, give it a star rating on Goodreads, like or share an author’s facebook page –whatever you want - just please pass on what you’ve liked.  It’s a big old world and it’s easy for good books and new authors to get overlooked.


Also, if you see a book you like and it’s in a series, don’t think to yourself, “I’ll buy it when the next one is out.”  If everyone thought like that sales for the first would be down and the publisher, big or small, might not produce the next. 

Support Australian literature – Thanks! 

Links




Twitter  @TracyMJoyce

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Review: Play by Kylie Scott

The second novel in Aussie author Kylie's Scott's Stage Dive series is a sexy, sweet and occasionally hilarious romance about a bad boy rock and roll star and his very unlikely love. Anne Rollins is a nice girl who will sacrifice almost anything for her family and friends, particularly her best friend Skye, who has just bailed and left her in a lot of debt. Mal, drummer for band Stage Dive, is a impulsive and reckless, but he might just have a heart of gold. A chance meeting at a party leads Mal to learning about Anne's debts (caused by a manipulative flatmate who has bailed,) and he offers her some sage advice about standing up for herself. Later, Mal comes up with a surprising proposal for Anne. If she agrees to pretend to be his girlfriend for a month, he'll pay all of her debts ...

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. Obviously, it's a kinky book. And there is some damn fine kink in there. But more surprising is that there is a real layer of depth in there, one that is rarely found in this type of fiction. Mal is quite a well rounded character. He is loveable, over the top and often hilarious as he infiltrates his way into Anne's life. And some of the situations (such as the broken bed,) had me laughing out loud. Very few romances have me laughing along for all the right reasons, so well done to you, Kylie Scott. Mal's reasons for wanting Anne to pose as his girlfriend were quite believable. Anne herself has a number of problems, which are addressed in a believable way. I also love the cover of the Australian edition for this one--sexy and classy at the same time. 

This one is highly recommended for anyone looking for a sexy romance with an extra layer of depth. 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Launching Everybody Hates Abigail by Kathryn White



Cue excited squeal! I am pleased to announce that my sixth novel, Everybody Hates Abigail, has just been published and is now available for sale. The blurb reads:

Abigail Carter may be daughter of a chart-topping rock star who is taking the world by storm, but that does not mean that her life is interesting in any way, shape or form. Expelled from a prestigious Adelaide boarding school, Abigail is sent to live with her aunt and uncle in Maripaninga Valley, South Australia's most boring small town. There, Abigail spends her days fighting with her classmates and wondering why the star of the local football team wants to date her. When one of her classmates disappears under mysterious circumstances Abigail begins to discover that there may be more to Maripaninga Valley than she realised and that the truth about Rose DuBois' disappearance may be closer than she first thought ...

Everybody Hates Abigail is available in paper and kindle formats from Amazon and as an eBook in a variety of formats from Smashwords with other retailers to follow soon.

PS Don't forget to add Everybody Hates Abigail on goodreads!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Friday Funnies: Garfield Candy Canes

Source: Garfield.com

I just could not resist sharing this delightful Garfield Christmas themed comic. The simple, innocent comedy of this one makes it one of my favourites. 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Guest Post: Juliet M. Sampson Talks About Sunshine and Inspiration

I have to confess, one of my favourite pages on facebook is Sunshine and Inspiration. Today, I am lucky enough to have the creator of the page, author Juliet M. Sampson here to tell us a bit more about the page ...



Spread sunshine and inspiration.’ Juliet M Sampson

Everyone needs inspiration as we all experience the highs and lows that life throws at us. Throughout my childhood I loved reading books that shared inspirational quotes about believing in yourself and having a positive attitude to life. My love of this flowed over into writing my own quotes and poems.

As I grew older I observed and admired others and the ways they lived their lives, following their dreams and reaching their goals.

Being a primary teacher as well as an author, I have learnt about the way young children behave. They have a great zest and love for life and most of them are willing to give anything a go. This attitude to life is inspiring as children exhibit pure joy.  

Inspiration comes from everywhere. I am inspired by nature such as the caterpillar transforming into a butterfly or a seed growing into a beautiful sunflower. Individuals who volunteer to help worthwhile charities such as protecting children from violence, also inspire me. For me, these people are the real role models in today’s society. Sometimes we fail to acknowledge the people around us such as our parents, family and friends. These people are often the ones who support and encourage us to follow our dreams.

I wanted to spread sunshine and inspiration daily so I decided to create a community on facebook where I could offer positive messages to others through words and images. The ‘Sunshine and Inspiration’ page was developed and I wrote a quote to represent what this page aims to achieve for others.

'Fill your life with love, joy, inspiration, dreams, beliefs and motivation. Be true to your inner self. Let your light shine brightly and don't let others darken your flame'. Juliet M Sampson

To my delight, many people have embraced the Sunshine and Inspiration page and at present it has a community of over 1,000. I receive so much positive feedback about the page daily. The world can be a beautiful place if we take a positive attitude. Yes, we all go through dark times but it is how we deal with them that is important. It is sometimes these daily reminders of inspiration that can assist.

I chose my signature line ‘Spread sunshine and inspiration.’ Juliet M Sampson to represent what I stand for and how I wish to live my life. When looking into the meanings of these words, they suggest reaching out and extending to others light, warmth, joy, hope and cheer, encouraging others to have a positive outlook.

I am pleased to see others are using and sharing my quote as it can be applied to life in so many ways. One person has used ‘Spread sunshine and inspiration,’ with photos and memories, another with a dance video and yet another, in memory of someone who obviously spread sunshine and inspiration.

Inspired by the happiness and positivity the Sunshine and Inspiration page has created, I now want to reach more people and continue on these positive messages. The answer is how can I do this? Well I am very busy compiling an inspiration book and hope to have it out in 2015 some time. If I can make a difference in just one person’s life, I know it is worthwhile.

Life is a blessing and being grateful is the key to happiness. Please keep ‘Spreading sunshine and inspiration.’

Please visit to find out more.

Website

Facebook