Thursday, March 31, 2011

Magic Thursday - The Long & The Short of It with Eleni Konstantine



I started off on this rocky road to publication writing short stories. At the time I was at university (I had written a few earlier in my life but it was in uni, I decided I wanted to write and be published!), so I was used to the word count of a short story.

What is the short story word length?

Flash = < 1000 words
Short Story = 1000 to 7,500 words
Novelette = 7,500 to -15,000 words
Novella =15,000 to 40,000 words
Novel = > 40,000 words

from: Duotrope - database of markets




After uni, I started to do a comprehensive writing course via correspondence. It took me four long years while working full time. During this, I had to send in twenty submissions as well as complete twenty assignments.  Since I was interested in fiction, all the submissions (bar one) were short stories. I didn’t do too badly- out of the nineteen short stories, five were published and one came second in a short story competition. Don’t forget this is when I was raw to writing and submitting, so it wasn't a too bad result. Most of the stories (ie assignments) were written for specific topics – characterisation, dialogue, themes – so it wasn’t freestyle, where I could write any old story the way I wanted to. 

After my course, I shelved writing short fiction while I concentrated on a novel but a couple of years ago, I decided to try my hand at flash fiction for a particular market. The task: 500 words. The outcome:  rejection. But two of the stories have since been accepted by Antipodean SFThe Bucket (November 2010) and Dragon Quest (to be published in June 2011 issue). So it has been worth it. And a great feeling to have my work ‘out there!’.

I loved returning to the short form. Yes, they are quicker to write but not a walk in the park. Every single word has to be succinct. Every word has to move the story along, keeping the pace going. You don’t have time to describe in detail, or have characters talk for pages on end about their situation, like I have in my novel.

No, it’s get in, get out! Like a crack SWAT team.

There is also the scope to experiment with short stories, seeing if you like writing in a particular genre or style. That is handy when you are not sure what direction you want to go in. It also has the benefit of a quicker turn around time to novel writing.

So now I have the bug again for writing short fiction, and of course I have pulled out some of those old short stories. Three have been reworked and submitted, while others may become longer pieces. I have yet to decide J. And while the competition is fierce, I am enjoying writing/rewriting, submitting and having my work out there while I work on my longer pieces.

I see it as win-win.

Markets
As well as Dutrope (as mentioned above), for speculative fiction markets there is Ralan's listings


Giveaway 
So to celebrate the short story form, I have two anthologies to give away.
~ Apartia II ~ published by the Association of Greek-Australian Writers and Artists Australia. It’s 2/3 in Greek and a 1/3 in English (where my stories Detour! and  Never Too Late are located).
~ Little Gems 2010: Topaz Short Story Anthology ~published by the Romance Writers of Australia. Includes the cover designed by moi, and short stories by our members Fiona Gregory, Shona Husk and Maggie Mundy.  

Just comment below for your chance to win either of the two (open internationally). Winners will be announced on Wednesday 6th April.



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Magic Thursday Giveaway winner - Jess Anastasi

The winner for a copy of Jess's Severance is:


DA Kenter

Congratulations DA. 


Please contact Jess at jess @jessanastasi. com (no spaces) with your details. 

Thanks to everyone for joining in.



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Good News Day!


Welcome to this week's Good News!


Releases


Maree Anderson
Scent of A Man is available on Kindle!



Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine Issue 50

Why have I got this as a seperate title? Well not one, not two, but three of our members are featured this month.

Nicole R Murphy - short story and interview

Shona Husk - short story

Rowena Cory Daniells - interview






Reviews


Maree Anderson
From the Ashes reviewed a 4-star review from RhiReading. She summed it up as "Surprisingly Sweet, Satisfyingly Smutty." 






Sales


Shona Husk
Shona has sold her untitled fantasy with romantic elements to Carina Press! It is due for release in the Fall of 2011, or for us DownUnder, that's spring.



Covers

Jenny Schwartz
Jenny's Three Wishes gets a lovely cover. It is due for release in May by Carina Press.





Romance Writers of Australia - 5DI program

Bec Skrabl
Bec was accepted into the 5DI mentoring program into the Historical/Mainstream Pod. Five days of intensive writing and workshopping coming her way!



ARRA (Australian Romance Readers Association) Awards

Paula Roe
The Billionaire Baby Bombshell won the Favourite Short Category Romance in the ARRA Awards on the weekend.

~~~~

Congratulations everyone!! Can't wait to see what the next week brings.





Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekly Overview

Coming up this week...


Tues 29th Mar  – Good News Day


Wed 30th - Winner announced for Jess Anastasi's Severance. 


Thur 31st – Magic Thursday (with giveaway) – Eleni Konstantine with a copy of anthologies Apartia II and Little Gems 2010 - Topaz

Sat 2nd Apr – Darklight On…Nicole R. Murphy





What's Up....


  • Don't forget there is a Goodreads group (The Dark Side of the Moon) who are using our DarkSiders as a reading challenge for the next two months. How cool is that!  Check it out here.

  • Welcome to the DarkSider fold, Jo-Anne Ginn!


    • Check out the slideshow with our covers on the sidebar.

    • Tracey O'Hara was on the Voyager blog talking about why she loves urban fantasy.

    • Denise Rossetti had a conference spotlight on the RWAus blog





    Thanks for coming along to the Dark Side!!

    Saturday, March 26, 2011

    Darklight on...Maree Anderson Q&A



    Today's Darklight On... is with Maree Anderson. Welcome Maree!


    How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre?

    Um... my warped imagination needed a socially acceptable outlet?

    Seriously, I can’t seem to write anything “normal” -- even my attempt at a contemporary romantic comedy ended up having a paranormal element! I guess I’m just wired that way. I suspect it comes from getting hooked on fantasy and SciFi (à la Stephen Donaldson, David Eddings, Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey) in my late teens. People say, “Write what you know.” And that’s pretty much what I did when I started out.



    Please tell us a little about your road to publication.

    I started writing in 2003. Joined RWNZ (Romance Writers of New Zealand) so I could enter the 2004 Clendon Award and finalled with that first manuscript. Won the Clendon in 2006. Kept finalling and placing in various contests with one manuscript or another, but just couldn’t seem to catch a break with the editors and agents I was querying. I had a strong voice but no one “loved it enough” to take me on. By that time I’d written one trilogy, a 3-book series, and 3 standalone novels, and I figured I needed a break from writing novels -- no point flogging a dead horse, right?

    Then fellow RWNZ member, the fabulously talented Nalini Singh, posted details about the Red Sage Alpha Male Novella Contest to the RWNZ loop. So I did some research on Red Sage and found out they were an erotic romance publisher.

    Oooh er. Erotic romance? And a novella? It was the first time I’d written something with a market specifically in mind, so I was thrilled to bits and beyond when I got the email that Even Demons Get The Blues was a finalist. And even more delighted when, even though I didn’t win the contest, I was still offered a contract. I’m told the editor who judged my story, Robin Lawson, was really excited when she read my entry. I can’t tell you how amazing it was to know that an industry professional loved my writing enough to want to work with me.


    Your recent release is Scent of a Man (which we featured in a Magic Thursday giveaway on 3rd March). Can you describe it for us? Is this a one off book is it part of a series? Love the cover artwork by the way.

    Thank you, Eleni! I love the cover, too. I think it’s very romantic.

    Scent Of A Man is my twisted take on a historical fantasy. In the fanatically religious island state of Anglia, male nobility dress like Regency dandies, but their women are forced to wear drab, dowdy clothes and would be punished for wearing “fripperies” such as cosmetics or perfume. Chastity is prized and rigidly enforced by the Council and clerics. Hence my hero, Joseph, is the entitled, inexperienced virgin of the story. And when he suddenly begins to exude pheromones which make him irresistible to women, he’s demonized and hunted. Poor Joseph. I really do put him through hell before he finds his Happy Ever After with Liliana.

    As I always do, I’ve left it open for a sequel. But right now, I have no plans to write it—too many other stories waiting to be written, I’m afraid.


    Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between?

    I used to believe I was incapable of plotting. It was like having my teeth pulled. Without an anaesthetic. By a bad-tempered, sleep-deprived dentist with a huge grudge. But then I figured it was time to suck it up and learn. And I’m glad I did, because when I was 5,000 words in on a fully plotted novel, I was asked if I had a novella that might be suitable for a Secrets anthology... like, now. So my editor and I decided I should scale the intended novel back to novella-length and go for it. I wrote like a demon and that story, Kat On A Hot Tin Roof, ended up being contracted for a Red Sage Secrets anthology.

    I truly believe I wouldn’t have been able to write so quickly if I hadn't plotted it out first. And I’ve since used plotting techniques to help me in the revision process, too. But that doesn’t mean I’ve embraced the evil ‘P’ word -- it’s just another technique I use when I need to.

    With my current manuscript, I’ve morphed into what my good friend Helene Young terms a “scener” – I imagine a scene, and when it’s fully realized in my mind, I sit down and write it. So pantser, plotter, scener, that’s me. Nothing like being flexible, right?





    Do have a favourite of your characters?

    Asmodeus, the painfully handsome, totally amoral, and incredibly sarcastic Demon King from Even Demons Get The Blues and Let Sleeping Demons Lie. One day, if he’s really nice to me, I’ll get around to writing his story.


    What are you currently working on? 

    Another paranormal YA, because I need a bit of a break from erotic romance. It’s nice to only worry about the mechanics of two characters locking lips for a change, rather than what’s happening with all the other, er, bits and pieces ;-)


    What is your favourite part of the process of writing? 

    Coming up with the shiny new idea that sparks the story.


    What can we expect from Maree Anderson in the future?

    Next up publication-wise is Kat On A Hot Tin Roof in the Red Sage Secrets Volume 30 anthology, which comes out in July. It’ll be published in both eBook and Trade paperback format, so I’m very very excited about that. My first print story -- WOOHOO!

    It’s a very light paranormal -- a bit of a departure from my other erotic romances. My editor, Judith, describes it as, “Howlingly funny, deliciously tender, and super-hot”. Here’s hoping readers love it as much as Judith does!

    And writing-wise, I’ll finish up the aforementioned YA story and jump back on the query bandwagon, while I figure out what to write next.


    Who are your favourite authors?

    Angela Knight, Nalini Singh, Janet Evanovich, Ilona Andrews, Lilith Saintcrow, Rachel Caine, David Eddings, Stephen Donaldson, and a whole heap more I haven’t room to name!


    What are you currently reading?

    By the time this goes live it’ll be something else, because I read a book every couple of days! But as of writing this I’m reading Rebel by Zoe Archer.



    Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or TV series?
    Supernatural -- Sam and Dean!!! 

    Plus Dead Like Me, Firefly, Dark Angel and The Fifth Element -- just to name a few.




    Do you have advice for emerging writers?

    ~Read heaps. And heaps. And then read some more.

    ~Write heaps. And heaps. And then write some more.

    ~When it comes to criticism, take the comments that resonate with you, or give you an “Aha!” moment, to heart. Feel free to ignore the rest.

    ~And speaking of criticism: Don’t be tempted to only take notice of the negative comments from judges, while ignoring the positives! If you insist on “fixing” every single thing that one contest judge or another doesn’t like about your story, in the end you’ll be left with a story you don’t much like....because it won’t be your story any more.

    ~ Never, never, never give up!



    ~~~

    You can buy copies of Maree's releases at Red Sage Publishing
    And look out for the anthology in July featuring Kat On A Hot Tin Roof.

    Thursday, March 24, 2011

    Magic Thursday Giveaway: Jess Anastasi

    I never got novellas. What the heck was the point of them? They seemed too short. I always wanted more. I longed for a big, fat, juicy, full length book where the characters got to explore every nuance of expression and sensation and moment between them.
    I made this decision based on reading only a handful of novellas. Maybe I was reading the wrong ones.
    Once I started writing seriously, I didn't think I'd be able to write a novella. I thought it would be too hard. How to write a satisfactory story in sometimes less than half the length of a novel?
    And then the idea for Sanctuary came along. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Angels and demons flying around in spaceships, at some point in the distant future. Who in their right mind would publish that, let alone even attempt to write it (thank you, thank you, Jill!)? I wanted to write this book, the idea was eating at me. And at the time I came across a publisher asking for angel and demon based stories for an anthology. I didn't know if I wanted to submit the story, because once again the issue of who-in-their-right-mind couldn't be ignored. But I set myself a challenge. I was going to write a novella in time for the publisher's deadline on the anthology.
    Little did I know, a big lesson was about to come my way.
    Because the story couldn't be any longer than 30,000 words, I knew I had to get my characters on the page, lay out their situation and get them on the journey in as few words as possible. I couldn't let any extraneous or irrelevant detail get in the way of that. But on the other hand, I also needed to give the reader enough to become invested and feel satisfied.
    I did get the manuscript written in time, but then left it to take up space on my hard drive for over a year.
    We all know how this story ends, because eventually I came across Noble Romance Publishing and Sanctuary was my first published work.
    I didn't realize it at the time, but after writing that novella, my view of writing undertook a drastic change. I later recognized the importance of not wasting words, no matter what length your manuscript is. After that, when I started a new story, I didn't fluff around, but took my characters and plunged them – and the reader – right into the action. As a result, I'm much happier with what I'm turning out and if the reviews I'm getting are anything to go by, so are my readers.
    Another thing I love about novellas is instant satisfaction and quick turn around for me as a writer.
    I've been working on a full length romantic suspense for a few months now, though it feels like a lot longer! I actually wrote half of it, decided it wasn't working, trashed it and started again. I'm a chronic re-writer (editing, what's that?) but that story is for another blog post. After complaining to my editor (probably for the tenth time) about how much trouble I'm having with it, she suggested I take a break and write a novella.
    Why didn't I think of that?
    I'm now halfway through a sci-fi fantasy type thing. It’s a bit different, something I've always wanted to try. With any luck, my editor will love it and it'll be out in another few months. See? Quick turn around!
    So for all those reasons, and probably some I've forgotten, I definitely have a new appreciation for novellas.



    To win a copy of Severance (which recently got a 5 star review from Long and Short Romance Reviews. Yes, I know, I can't stop going on about it.) tell me if you've ever read a novella and what you love/hate about them.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    Magic Thursday Giveaway winner - Nicola E. Sheridan



    The winner for a copy of Nicola's Magical Gains is:


    Jess Anastasi!

    Congratulations Jess. 


    Please contact Nicola at nicolae.sheridan @ gmail.com (no spaces) with your details. 

    Thanks to everyone for joining in.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    Good News Day!


    Welcome to this week's Good News....


    Reviews

    Shona Husk
    How to Breathe Fire has received a 4 star review from The One Hundred Romances Project.




    Shona also gets a mention in a Publisher's Weekly review for her short story Mutiny on the Scarborough in the anthology Dead Red Heart (which is due out next month).






    Nicole Murphy
    Nicole's short story also gets a mention in Publisher's Weekly for her short story The Protector's Last Mission in the anthology, More Scary Kisses (due out next month).






    Paula Roe
    Romance Reviews Today, have said the following:
    “With sparkling characterization and sizzling romance, PROMOTED TO WIFE? is a seductive and passionate story. Don't miss it!”



    Jess Anastasi
    Severance has gotten a 5-star review from the Long and Short Reviews.





    Contests


    Bec Skrabl
    The Devil of Whitechapel has finaled in the Time-Travel/Historical Paranormal section of the Romance Through The Ages contest.



    Peta Crake
    Peta's entry in Jaime Rush's Kick Butt First Line contest won!!! And it's fantastic!
    "Sometimes when you burn your bridges you are left on the wrong side of the river facing a hoard of angry trolls." – Peta Crake


    Covers & Release Date

    H.C. Brown
    Another installment of the Pride Brothers Series will be released on the 4th April from Noble Romance Publishing, with Hawke's Purr-Fect Mate.








    Way to go ladies!!! Fabulous news!


    Until next week....


    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    Weekly Overview

    Coming up this week...

    Tues 22nd Mar  – Good News Day


    Wed 23rd - Winner announced for Nicola E. Sheridan's Magical Gains


    Thur 24th – Magic Thursday (with giveaway) – Jess Anastasi with an e-copy of Severance

    Sat 26th – Darklight On…Maree Anderson



    What's Up....


    • Exciting news - there is Goodreads group (The Dark Side of the Moon) who are using our DarkSiders as a reading challenge for the next two months. How cool is that!  Check it out here!! 

    • Today marks the end of our BIAM/BIAW. 

    • Welcome to the DarkSider fold, Peta Crake!

      • You can find our regular post headings in the sidebar








      Thanks for coming along to the Dark Side!!


      Saturday, March 19, 2011

      Darklight on...Kitty Bucholtz Q&A


      Today's Darklight On... is with Kitty Bucholtz. Welcome Kitty!



      How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre?

      When I met my husband, he was a skinny college kid who spent his food money on comic books. When we married, he promised me one day those (5000) comics would be worth so much he could sell them and buy a house for us. <grin>  I teased him mercilessly for years until one day I was in a funny mood and thought, what if I had my own superhero? I pitched the idea to my agent and she loved it! I figured I’d finish it and send it off and get back into romance.

      But last year in one of my master’s degree in creative writing classes, I had to write a fantasy for an assignment. I had no idea what to write! A few hours before class I finally started something – and I loved it! The class loved it! Now I’m re-tooling it to write the complete novel for my final project. It’s turning into a dystopian paranormal and I’m having so much fun! If you’d told me even a year ago I’d be writing something like this I would’ve scoffed.

      So now I’m writing about superheroes and dystopian magic. Anything can happen when you’re a writer!  :)


      Please tell us a little about your road to publication.

      I grew up in the country in Michigan in the U.S., an area where artsy things were done on Saturdays. You weren’t supposed to want to do them for a living. Then I moved away and joined a writer’s group and the first piece I submitted (a devotional piece with kind of a Chicken Soup for the Soul feel) was accepted and published! The second piece I wrote and submitted was also accepted and published. I was hooked. I sold a lot of devotionals, magazine articles, web site and marketing copy, was even hired to write a screenplay. But I really wanted to be a novelist.

      Since I have a business degree, I looked at the writing business and asked myself where there was room for me, writing something I’d enjoy. With romance novels taking up half the paperback market, and since I was still infatuated with my college-sweetheart-turned-husband, I thought it was a no-brainer. But I kept running into trouble trying to make my voice and stories work for publishers. When I turned one into a chick lit, I got my first agent and two publishers said they almost bought it. Since then I’ve tentatively reached out in other directions in case the problem is that I’m in the wrong genre. The way things are going now, it seems I’m finally finding my place.


      Who are your favourite authors?

      I love Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files books! We own all of them! I’m also trying a lot of authors I haven’t read before including JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Charlaine Harris, Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman. I like a lot of the storylines from the urban fantasy that’s out – I’ve read JR Ward, Karen Marie Moning, etc. – but a lot of them have too much sex for me! LOL! My favorite romance books are written by Jennifer Crusie, Julie Garwood, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jude Devereaux.


      What are you currently reading?

      I’m in my last semester of uni, so my reading list is related to school (Joe Cinque’s Consolation by Helen Garner) and research (Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll). For fun, I just finished Soulless by Gail Carriger – sort of a regency romance, steampunk, paranormal.


      Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or tv series?

      I love TV and movies! Used to work in that industry. But faves include Supernatural, the first six seasons of The X-Files, Battlestar Galatica, Fringe, and Chuck – which is sort of cyberpunk, right? LOL! Soooo many favorite movies – Avatar (have to include it since John-my husband-worked on it!), Lord of the Rings trilogy, all the Harry Potter films – stop! I have to walk away from our DVD bookcase now or I’ll start putting movies on when I’m supposed to be doing homework!


      Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between?

      On a scale of 1 to 10 with Pantser at 1 and Plotter at 10, I’m an 8. I tried a book the pantser way once to see if I could be more creative and – I was, but the book was a mess!! Never again! LOL!


      Do have a favourite of your characters?

      Tori Lewis, the young woman who finds out she has super powers. She’s so busy trying to protect everyone she loves that she’s all tangled up, not sure what to do. Once she begins to figure out who she really is, who she was created to be, everything else in her life begins to come together. I admire that because it’s something I still work on in my own life.


      What are you currently working on? 

      I’m trying to finish the superhero book before I go to the RWA(merica) conference in New York in June. But I have to write the dystopian book for class, which is also due in June!


      What is your favourite part of the process of writing?

      I’d have to say my favourite part is the daydreaming and brainstorming and writing down those first few scenes. Everything is so new and exciting and full of limitless possibilities! Then I have to go make some limits. LOL! But it’s also a dangerous time for me. I walk into walls and light posts and trip over dust and end up with bruises everywhere. John is always saying during this period, Dial back into Earth, honey.


      Do you have advice for emerging writers?

      Two of my writer friends and I started a web site called Routines for Writers two years ago. We were trying to figure out routines for ourselves to help us be more productive and we’d been sharing our ideas with other writing friends. We decided we needed a way to share with more people. So my first piece of advice is – find a routine that works for you, no matter if no one else does it like that. Don’t let others tell you what you *should* do – try a few things until you find a routine that gets more writing done than any other.

      I don’t write every day. (I hear gasping in the crowd!) But my process can produce more words at the end of a month than my friend who does write every day. Which leads to a warning – don’t compare yourself to others! Compare yourself to *yourself*. Are you writing more than last week, last month, last year? Not, are you writing more than Susie.

      This month I’m doing a 4-part series on how to do a structural edit on your own book. I learned it in one of my uni classes last year and my teacher, who used to work for HarperCollins, allowed me to write about it this month. Larry Brooks from Storyfix is our guest every Tuesday in March talking about structure, his specialty. I hope you stop by!




      Friday, March 18, 2011

      What We Are Reading



      Today joining us for What We Are Reading is Jess Anastasi (our resident reviewer), Nicky Strickland, Amanda Ashby, Wendy Godding and C.T Green.




      Jess Anastasi

      I've just finished Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh, which was just brilliant. So I went straight out and bought Archangel's Kiss and Archangel's Constort. I'm about half way through Archangel's Kiss and I have to say that while its a good read, it just doesn't have the same spark that Angel's Blood did. The characters, particularly Elena, are just reading a little flat to me. But I have high hopes that it'll pick up again in Archangels Consort, because we all know what a talented writer Nalini is. I'll probably even go and check out some of her psy-changeling series next.




      Nicky Strickland


      I promised myself this year to expand my reading areas. I’ve always been a reading omnivore but lately, I’ve been reading a lot series in the same field leaving less time to expand.

      One of the results of this train of thought was trying out J.D. Robb’s ‘....in Death’ series. I’d tried a Nora Roberts trilogy a year ago and they weren’t really my cup of tea (or coffee). After talking to Eleni I hunted out J.D. Robb. I need to read long-running, established series in order and have made it to the 16th book Portrait in Death in about three months.  Each of the books are centred around Eve Dallas, a damaged homicide cop, and the cases she takes. The supporting cast, including her husband, Roarke keep me entertained as the series develops. You can read them out of order but I like the fact reading in order deepens the ties between the characters. The not-so-distant-future setting is a change to other crime I read set in our current world.

      A series I’ve stayed with has been Simon R. Green’s Nightside. I’ve just finished The Good, The Bad & The Uncanny. It’s one of many UF I’ve followed over the years and the last couple I was starting to have doubts about whether to stick with them (the big climactic event occurred and it’s now in the aftermath of it). Good, Bad & Uncanny wasn’t bad, I think there are a few earlier ones I’d prefer but Green hasn’t put me off picking up the next one (A Hard Day’s Knight) to see if the new storyline emerging is worth following.

      An Aussie author I’ve recently read is Trent Jamieson’s UF Death series (hmm I seem to have a death thing happening this year). Two have been released so far, Death Most Definite and Managing Death. I finished Managing Death a couple of weeks ago and thought the evolution into a series was quite good. It’s always a bonus for me if I can remember a scene or two after I’ve - Steve and his interactions with his throne are an example.

      Doing this post I’ve realised I’ve also finished Carrie Vaughn’s Discord’s Apple. I’ve been reading Vaughn’s Kitty series since 2006 and was curious to see her play in another world. It’s an interesting premise pulling on ancient mythological characters from various parts of the world. I’ll admit it did take me a few chapters to get into it, but once in I was happy to go on the ride and see what was in the box.

      So, one slight expansion of the genres I regularly read, a new author, an ongoing series and an author whose taken on a new world. One of these days I’ll contemplate something that hasn’t got fantastical elements....or not.

      You can see my reads at Goodreads.

        


      Amanda Ashby
      Not only do I write YA books but I also work part time as a teen librarian so it’s probably no surprise that the four most recent books I’ve read have all been YAs!

      Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden. I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages, because it goes out all the time at the library. Anyway, I finally started it on Friday night and finished it the following day. Amazing. It’s about a group of Australian kids who go out camping and when they come back a week later, the country has been invaded. They then need to decide how they are going to survive and what they are going to do to help their friends and family who are all been held captive by the enemy. Now I can’t wait to watch the movie, which recently came out on DVD and also dive into the second book in the series. A big thumbs up from me!

      Forsaken –The Demon Trappers Book 1 by Jana Oliver. This is the first book in a new YA series. The thing I liked best about it was that it was set in a slightly different future. Not really dystopian or post apocalypse, but just one where everyone is broke and demons are taking over the world. Demon Trappers like Riley and her dad are paid by the Catholic Church to catch them, but then her dad is killed and Riley is forced to fend for herself. My only slight peeve was the number of times one of the MCs said the word ‘ya’. But overall, I really enjoyed it!

      Incarcenon by Catherine Fischer. This book is crazy good! Half of it is set in a futuristic prison and the other half is set in a futuristic world that is all designed to look like a regency style world. However, the two halves come together as Claudia, on the outside, tries to rescue Finn on the inside and by the end it’s hard to decide which prison is worse.

      The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud. I am such a huge fan of Jonathan Stroud, especially his Bartimaeus books, and this is my favorite yet. Bartimaeus is a 5000 year old djinni who thinks very highly of himself and is always getting bound to unappreciative masters who cause him all sorts of headaches. This time he’s back in Jerusalem with King Solomon and his famous ring and the story is the perfect combination of humor, action and cool history (oh, and a lot of completely hilarious footnotes as well).





      Wendy Godding

      I've just finished reading a young adult novel, Unearthly by Cynthia Hand. It stars Clara, a part angel, who uplifts her family to move to Wyoming in order to pursue her 'purpose' as an angel. This purpose just happens to revolve around a cute boy called Christian. This book was a bit slow to get into but by about a third of the way into it I was riveted. Hand has created a love triangle that is compelling, characters who are flawed and endearing at the same time as well as strongly interwoven mystery and supernatural elements. The ending is a little amibiguous so I am looking foward to the sequel.


      Another young adult - yes I love young adult - book I've read recently is Across the Universe by Beth Revis. This book was amazing, with such an intriguing premise. I picked it up in the bookstore and read the first page, as I normally do, to see if it grabbed me. Did it? I read the first chapter standing in the book store. I finished it that night. It was so gripping that I couldn't let it out of my sight. Set in the near future it centres around Amy who joins her parents in being frozen onboard The Godspeed spaceship and sent 300 years into the future. But when Amy is awoken fifty years before she is due to reach their new planet, she finds herself in a world, a society, that is quite unlike anything she has known. This book is part mystery, part romance but utterly enthralling. I believe this is a trilogy so am anxiously awaiting book two.


      C.T Green

      ~ Dreams of a Dark Warrior ~ Kresley Cole

      As a fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood – J.R. Ward, and Immortals After Dark - Kresley Cole, you could say I like the odd paranormal action/romance.

      And after (im)patiently waiting for two months I finally got my sweaty little mitts on Cole’s latest release in the IAD series Dreams of a Dark Warrior.

      It follows Demon from the Dark, which introduced the character of Declan Chase, a human intent on destroying immortals because of his dark and horrible past. We can assume it’s dark and horrible because he’s twitchy, scarred and pale. And, you know, tanned and emotionally stable just does not say Tortured Past.

      When I read Demon from the Dark, I didn’t like the man and was a little dubious about a whole book devoted to someone who seemed intent on punishing my favourite characters! 


      Cole however, manages to pull Declan back from the brink and turn him into a character you can’t help but love. Why? Because he overcomes his past (which does turn out to be rather horrible), saves the girl, defies death (again) and generally turns out to be a nice guy (did I mention the sexy Irish accent?). The action is great, the ahem ‘love scenes’ are scorching enough to roast potatoes with and we get more of Nix, who is quite frankly one of the funniest characters I have ever come across.

      There are some interesting insights into other characters, particularly the Enemy of Old, Lothaire – you have to be paying attention for this one and also know about the Lore and IAD vampire physiology… oops nearly gave it away…

      It was a highly enjoyable book and definitely up to Cole’s usual fantastic standard. Regrettably I got through its 515 pages in a day and it’s looking like the next release in the IAD series may be August 2011 or next year!


      ~~~
      Oh goodness, look at the range of books - great to see some YA titles. Thank you ladies. More for me to add to my TBR pile!