Saturday, August 31, 2013

Happy Release Day, EVER!

The lovely Jessa Russo is re-releasing her book, EVER, and I'm thrilled to be a part of her release day blog tour.  So check out the gorgeous cover and enter the giveaway to win some most excellent swag.  And join me in wishing Jessa a fantastic and successful launch day.

Happy Release Day, EVER!

To celebrate EVER's rebirth, and Jessa Russo’s first step into the indie self-publishing world, she is giving you the first chapter of EVER for FREE! Yup! FREE! You can read along, decide if you want more, then click on one of the buy links below to grab a copy for yourself! *Paperbacks available soon!

Check out the FREE first chapter HERE

We're also having some fun on Twitter (details below), and Jessa has also compiled TWO prize packs of super awesome stuff! There will be one (1) lucky winner in the US, and one (1) lucky winner Internationally! Want to know what we’re giving away? 


The winner(s) will receive the following items:

US ONLY Prize Pack (ONE winner):
Set of 4: custom Frankie4Ever / Toby4Ever Coasters (2 of each) + Signed EVER bookmarks +
Signed paperback copy of EVER by Jessa Russo (YA)
Complete set* of The Darkness Falls Trilogy e-books from Krystal Wade (YA)
Signed paperback copy of EYRE HOUSE by Cait Greer (NA, adult content)
Paperback copy of THE CHARGE by Sharon Bayliss (YA)
Paperback copy of SEALED WITH A CURSE by Cecy Robson (A, mature content)

INTERNATIONAL Prize Pack (ONE winner):
E-book of EVER by Jessa Russo (YA)
Complete set* of The Darkness Falls Trilogy e-books from Krystal Wade (YA)
E-book of THE CHARGE by Sharon Bayliss (YA)
E-book of BROKEN FOREST by Eliza Tilton (YA)
E-book of THE VALENTINE CHALLENGE by Marisa Cleveland (A, mature content)
E-book of THE GATHERING DARKNESS by Lisa Collicutt (YA)
E-book of 1,000 SLEEPLESS NIGHTS by Connie Michael



We're also going to be tweeting a bit today, to celebrate not just EVER's re-release (hashtag: #EVERTrilogy), but also playing up a major theme of the book--Ever's love for her deceased best friend. We'll be tweeting the theme with the hashtag #IfICouldBringBack and then sharing who we would bring back and why, or what we'd do with them, etc.

So, sticking with EVER as my example, the main female character of the series may tweet something like this:

#IfICouldBringBack Frankie, I'd finally tell him the truth. That I've loved him since we were in diapers. #EVERTrilogy 

Who would you want to bring back? An old flame? A relative? Maybe a famous author or dignitary? Think about it and join in the fun on Sunday, 9/1/13! We'll see you on Twitter!


The EVER Trilogy, Book One 
By Jessa Russo
September 1, 2013 

Seventeen-year-old Ever’s love life has been on hold for the past two years. She’s secretly in love with her best friend Frankie, and he’s completely oblivious. Of course, it doesn't help that he’s dead, and waking up to his ghost every day has made moving on nearly impossible. 

Frustrated and desperate for something real, Ever finds herself falling for her hot new neighbor Toby. His relaxed confidence is irresistible, and not just Ever knows it. But falling for Toby comes with a price that throws Ever’s life into a whirlwind of chaos and drama. More than hearts are on the line, and more than Ever will suffer.

Some girls lose their hearts to love. 
Some girls lose their minds.
Ever Van Ruysdael could lose her soul.

Purchase Links:
Jessa Russo's Links:

Stay tuned for the second book in the trilogy, EVADE, set to release on October 1st, 2013! 
You can now add EVADE on Goodreads!

Remember to follow EVER's 9/1/13 re-release day FUN on Twitter with these hashtags: 


Friday, August 30, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things 30/8/13

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

I'm struggling to think of things to celebrate this week.  Nothing's been terrible, but there really hasn't been much that makes me feel good either.  My WIP is like hammering rusty nails into my eyes, and the rejections for STUMPED are piling up.  Not to mention I'm still getting rejections for a book I stopped querying several months ago.  Plus the cinema has been frustratingly quiet which always puts pressure on me.

So what do I have to celebrate?

A friend who moved to Tasmania a year ago was in town on Monday and we went and ate pizza at our favorite pizza place.  It was amazing to see her and that she seems so happy and settled in her new life.

I booked the new Jim Jarmusch film as our Christmas release and it looks like we'll have it exclusively in town.  It's an amazingly cool vampire flick called Only Lovers Left Alive. If you get a chance to see it, please do.  Even if you don't like vampire movies.  It's such a smart, funny and oh, so very cool film.  I love Jim Jarmusch....

I also booked the last ever big screen showing of Saturday Night Fever.  The rights expire at midnight on Friday September 13th, so I'm going to run a show that finishes right before midnight.

And, tragic as it may seem, I really think that's about it.  It's a pretty unusual week where all I have to celebrate are small business successes.

Monday, August 26, 2013

People watching

I was meeting a friend for dinner earlier, and, as usual for me, got there early.  Which gave me a chance to indulge in one of my favorite pass times - people watching.

I love sitting somewhere and just watching people move around, going about their business, completely unaware they're being watched.  The expressions on their faces and the way they move tell me so much.

I can tell that woman with the creased brow who's walking way too fast on shoes that have to be hurting her feet is running late.  But what for?  She's in a suit, like she's just left work, but the shoes are a little too high and bold for an office job.  Hot date?  Or is she on her way home, rushing to get there ahead of her husband/boyfriend so she can take off those shoes that she wore because she was meeting someone else, someone special for lunch?

And the guy with the huge bunch of roses.  Apology for the stupid fight he had with his partner over breakfast?  Or maybe he's going on a date with a woman he met through an online dating site and he wants to really impress her, to live up to the character he created online.

The homeless dude sitting in the doorway of the building with the earthquake danger sticker displayed prominently?  Is he so intoxicated he can't read the sign?  Or does he not care?  Has life on the street worn him down so much, he's willing to just lie there and let the building crumble over him if it so desires?

Unfortunately my friend showed up way too quickly and I didn't have time to develop any more stories about the people I was.  But they're always there.

Do you like people watching?  What kind of stories do you invent?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up! 
So, what am I celebrating this week?

I'm celebrating no more earthquakes!  While we had a few good sized after-shocks last weekend, this week has been fairly stable and people are beginning to come back into town to see films again.

The blocked drain at my house has been repaired and the bill was much smaller than I expected (thank goodness...  I've been lying awake nights worrying about it and not calling the repairman because I was too scared to).

I'm at 37K on my WIP, but have no idea where to go from here to reach my next plot point, so I've been writing up ideas for my next two books, numbers 11 and 12.

I've been sending out queries for STUMPED, and so far none of the rejections have made me cry....  But give it time.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

From the query trenches

This week I've started querying STUMPED in earnest.  And the rejections are trickling in.  By this stage, I'm used to it.  It's the 5th book I've queried.

My first, Assignment 9, I think of now as my training book.  It's the one I revised and revised and rewrote and changed obsessively.  The one I wrote horrible queries for because I wasn't 100% sure what a query even was.  I'm glad I went through the process, but I'm also glad that book never got picked up because it's actually pretty crap. It also got me primed for rejection because my abysmal query attempts got me a total of zero requests.

Then there was Chasing the Taillights which I still believe is one of my best books.  I queried it and entered contests and got requests alongside the rejections.  I got excited, thinking this was it, I'd get the agent of my dreams and become a best seller.  Then reality kicked in and the agents who requested the book wrote back to say that while they loved my writing, and thought the book packed an emotional punch, the story wasn't big enough to stand out in the current YA market.  All of them, variations on that same theme.

So I wrote The Boyfriend Plague and made sure I had a bigger story.  Friendships ending.  First love.  Coming out.  Euthanasia.  It was all in there.  I sent out my first handful of queries and got a lot of requests.  Again, excitement.  I was going to make it this time!  But no...  The requests ultimately became rejections.  The story was too heavy.  There was too much going on.  There wasn't enough happening. The pacing wasn't tight enough.  The main character wasn't engaging.  The main character was engaging, but the supporting characters didn't have enough to do.  The reasons for the rejections were amazingly broad.  And I had no idea what to do with these comments because they were all so incredibly different to each other.  I trunked the book.

I wrote The Sidewalk's Regrets which is probably the most personal book I've ever written.  I queried it widely, certain this one would be the one. It's a far simpler story than Boyfriend, but deals with some heavy themes.  It had to be the perfect balance between Taillights and Boyfriend.  But again, I got a lot of requests, but the rejections piled up.  A romance where the obstacle is heroin addiction is, apparently, not something people want to see....

There was also an historical romance I queried briefly, but at this stage, the less said about that one the better.  It's sitting there, rewritten as an NA, but needs so much work I haven't the energy to even look at it right now.

And now STUMPED.  I knew as soon as I'd written the first chapter it was going to be a tough one.  Frank and honest treatment of sex in YA is always going to be delicate.  When you add disability, it becomes even more tricky.  So I know I need a brave agent to take this one on.  I'm being incredibly selective in who I query because of this.  I believe in this book so much.  I love Ozzy and I want to share his journey with others.  I want this one to be the one.  I feel like all the books I've written before have been leading to me writing this one.  It's high concept.  It's funny.  It's heartbreaking.  It's unique.  It's gritty and edgy and dark.  So I'm holding onto hope, even if each query I send out feels like it takes a little piece of my heart with it.

What have your query experiences been like?  What have you learned from them?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

Once again I'm celebrating surviving an earthquake.  This afternoon we had a biggie that they initially said was 6.9, but have now changed to 6.2.  I was at work, and we had absolutely no damage.  But I somehow doubt we'll be having a busy weekend at the cinema.

The Film Festival finished and I managed to make it through.  I got sick part way, but that's always the case.  I don't think I've ever made it through without catching something.

I did WriteOnCon this week, and while I didn't get any requests from Ninja Agents, I got some awesome feedback on my query and I think it's now ready to send out.  So daring agents who are looking for edgy contemp YA fiction, watch out!

I'm at 32K on my new book and it's beginning to feel like it might come together the way I want it to.  Aiming for a September 15th finish date on the draft and it's looking like it might actually happen.

What are you celebrating this week?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Breathing again....

The film festival has finished after 17 days. As usual, I'm a mixture of relieved and sad.  It's always an intense period because not only does the cinema see more customers per day than we usually do (by hundreds), as a reviewer and the cinema's programmer, I need to see as many films as I possibly can too.

I certainly didn't see as much this year as I usually do, and the things I did see, for the most part, didn't blow my mind.  There were certainly good films, but nothing that stood out to me as being great.  Maybe I didn't make it to the great ones.  Or maybe after over 20 years in the business, I'm much harder to please.

There were films I enjoyed while I watched them (The Bling Ring for example), but gave me so little to think about afterward, that they were ultimately forgettable.  Then there were films that I hated while I was watching (Maniac), but certainly left an impression on me.  I came out of that one and wrote an article about lazy horror tropes (don't get me started...)

My favorites were The Past, a gorgeous, heartbreakingly real film from Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, Jim Jarmusch's uber-cool vampire flick, Only Lovers Left Alive, and a little Mexican gem called La Jaula de Oro, about a group of Guatemalan kids trying to cross the border into the US.

I usually see a lot of docos, but this year timing and availability meant I didn't see any.  Which is disappointing, because docos really are my favorites.  But that's life sometimes.

And now the festival is over, I can get back to work on my new WIP.  And maybe query STUMPED a little.  I have a feeling it may take me a few days to get back into my routine, but I'm determined to do it.  I'm giving myself a 4 week deadline to finish the draft.  September 15th is my son's birthday, and I want to be done by then.  So I'm counting on you, my lovely blog readers, to keep me accountable and on track.  At this moment, I'm sitting on a word count of just under 30K, which should be close to the halfway mark.

Can you help me reach the end by September 15th?