Monday, 30 March 2009

Hey, new Monday!

Well, I'm happy to say that I finished off Friday afternoon by getting the first draft of the (dreaded) synopsis I was putting off done. Yay. Okay. Maybe it ended up being a little too long - seven single-spaced pages - but at least I can go back and cut/edit. :)

A rough synopsis is better than no synopsis at all. Lol.

And I've got two more to write.

At least these ones don't need to be super detailed, but I want them to capture the essence of the story and characters. That's why I'm giving myself a few weeks to get them done. So I can take my time and not put any pressure on myself. Besides, during that time I'd also like to get one of my world bibles started. Do you keep one of those? I've got bits and pieces for all of my different worlds - print-outs, pdfs, articles, inspirational pics, display folders filled with research, notes and more notes. But I want to start one up for Trina's world because it just keeps expanding, and new narrators keep demading to have their story told.

I think it will be cool. And fun to put together.

Well, this morning, I went on a virtual tour of two small towns in Europe. One in Spain and one in Italy. It's amazing how much information you can find over the Internet. Of course, nothing will ever replace you actually walking down the streets and experiencing everything yourself, but reading enough personal accounts will give you a sense of the place. And that's all I need, really.

Oh, and how was your weekend? Mine was filled with stuff. So much stuff that we didn't get a chance to catch up with our weekly shows - Supernatural, Life On Mars (US), and Castle. :/ Now that I get up so early during the weekdays, I find that I can't sleep in on the weekend. So, that then means I get tired earlier and can't stay up for long. It's a cycle, but I prefer getting an early start on the day, anyway.

I hope your week is a great one!

Sunday, 29 March 2009

CITY OF BONES


Their hidden world is about to be revealed....

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Clary knows she should call the police, but it's hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.

Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. Within twenty-four hours, Clary's mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....

Wow, I was blown away by this book. This is the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy.

I've been interested in checking this out since I saw the cover for the second one, but no matter where I looked, couldn't find it. So, when I saw it at the library, I just had to borrow it. And boy, am I glad I did! It was terrific.

The story sucked me in right away. Actually, I got carried into Clary's emotional turmoil very early on, so as the story progressed, I found myself getting deeper and deeper into the thick of things. I was consumed with finding out how things were going to shape up because there was so much going on. But in a great way. Not once did I feel bombarded or lost in the weave of the main plot and subplot, I enjoyed every second of it.

It's a very clever and involved story, with many layers and memorable characters who get thrown into the very dangerous Shadow world around them. The growth of Clary - who starts out as a normal kid but matures in so many ways - was great. I look forward to finding out what else her quest will entail. There's also a heartbreaking twist towards the end that made me uncomfortable for a few seconds. But in hindsight, it all made perfect sense. :)

This is a novel that touched on a lot of the paranormal/supernatural stuff that I base my own stories on, so I wasn't surprised to see a few familiar terms in there. ;) Still, it was a fantastic ride that I really want to get back on soon. You should check it out!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

THE FOREST OF HANDS & TEETH


In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?


Carrie Ryan's post-apocalyptic debut novel is brilliant - from the story, to the characters, the bleak world it illustrates, as well as the wonderful way it was written.

Mary lives in a village surrounded by fences. Behind these fences lurks the Forest of Hands and Teeth. This is where the Unconsecrated exist. A horde of undead who surround the village. It seems a macabre way of surviving, but since the Return swept through the planet, the survivors had no choice but to close themselves off like this. So, they continue to live, survive and breed, living under the rules that the Sisterhood have established. But they have their own dark secrets to help keep order within the village.

Death faces the villagers at every turn, the moans of the Unconsecrated the soundtrack of their survival and always reminding them of their mortality.

Mary's mother told her stories of how the world used to be, and she cherishes them. Especially the story of the ocean, something that consumes her very existence. In spite of her love towards a boy called Travis, she still wishes to know what's out there and refuses to believe that the village is all there is left.

The day the fences are breached, Mary and a handful of others are forced to leave the village. And so begins her physical and inner journey of getting the one thing she most desires - no matter what the cost.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a coming of age story. A story of survival in a dead world. A heartbreaking tale of love, of following your heart no matter what the obstacles are. And the obstacles Mary faces along the way are not only dangerous, but scary and unavoidable. With death all around her, she still manages to find the strength from within to keep going.

I found this book intriguing and all-consuming. Mary's narration was intoxicating and brutally honest. I hated to put it down for too long, and ended up reading it within 24 hours. If I didn't have other responsibilities as well as the need to eat and sleep, I'm sure I could have read it in one sitting. The tension grabbed me so tight that I was pulled into the story, every heart-stopping moment made me feel the events and had me on the edge of my seat.

When you pick up this beautiful book - and I think every reader owes it to themselves to experience this fantastic tale - be prepared to be captivated until the very last word. And even then, you'll wish there was more. I know I did.

The Forest of Hands & Teeth, April 2009, ISBN 0575090855, Gollancz Paperback

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Books = smile!

So. I had the chance to sleep in today but for some reason couldn't. It looks like my body clock has gotten used to the 4am wake-up and doesn't want to change it. Lol.

Not to mention that the cat didn't want me to stay in bed either. :/

So, here I am, typing away a post at 6:30am. That's not too bad, I suppose. But because daylight savings hasn't changed yet, it's still dark outside.

Anyway, yesterday I finished the second draft/rewrite of my (latest) urban fantasy novel. Yay! It's just over 83k. I made minor changes to the story, but a lot as far as the actual writing style. Simply because the way I write keeps evolving. I'm really happy with how it went, and considering that this is the start of a trilogy, I'm also quite excited about the follow-ups. The next one is already written in first draft form, and the one after that is at the 'plotting' stages. It's exciting.

I'm going to put it aside for a few weeks. Well, after I add an epilogue. :/ I just decided that it needed one yesterday, and wrote a little of it in a notebook this morning because I started writing it in my head when I was supposed to be (still) sleeping. Lol. These things happen.

Yesterday, I got THIS BOOK! I read the first five chapters before going to bed. OMG! I love it so far. I've been wanting to read this book since I first heard about it. Oh, and I picked up this book from the library. I've been trying to find it at the shops but only ever found the second one. So, at least now I get to read it. Yay! And this one arrived too! Gee, I love books. ;)

Okay. I think it's time I stopped raving on and hope you all have a lovely Wednesday!

Monday, 23 March 2009

Supernatural, baby!

OMG! We watched the latest SUPERNATURAL episode the other night. Was it brilliant, or what? My gosh, I LOVE this show! I love how the battlefield's shaping up too. The revelation about Dean was awesome. Who would've thought, huh? And the angels? Those mean angels. It was great to see Castiel in action, though I think he needs to toughen up a little more. ;)

Still, love the whole angel/demon mythos and every time a new ep comes up, I get scared about seeing any similarities between the trilogy I'm currently working on and this awesome show. So far, the only similarities are general angel info. Phew! That's good.

Anyway. The weekend was great fun. Oh, and we discovered a great new show. Anyone watch CASTLE? Nathan Fillion plays a mystery writer called, Richard Castle. It's a really cool show, and he's so darn funny in it. I love watching him, he's a blast and certainly makes an impression. We'll definitely keep watching this one.

Well, another week is upon us. I intend to get the second draft finished sometime this week. As of this morning - because I sat down and got to work right away - I'm sitting on page 318/405. I'm aiming for 350-ish by the end of my writing session today. :) Should be okay to get there.

I'm a little tired today. But I've got some great news! On Friday I signed a new contract. It's for a little odd and quirky short story, and it'll be part of the Weirdly: A Collection of Strange Tales, vol. 3 anthology. How cool is that? If you're not familiar with it, you can check out Volume 1 and Volume 2. I'm very excited about this latest contract and can't wait to share more info about it. Yay!

Well, better get back to it...

Sunday, 22 March 2009

UNDONE: Outcast Season Book 1


Once she was Cassiel, a Djinn of limitless power. Now, she has been reshaped in human flesh as punishment for defying her master—and living among the Weather Wardens, whose power she must tap into regularly or she will die. And as she copes with the emotions and frailties of her human condition, a malevolent entity threatens her new existence...

It's no secret that I love Rachel Caine's writing. IMO, she's one of the best authors around nowadays, and reading this book only confirmed it. It's a spin-off from her Weather Warden series, so I got a real kick out of seeing Joanne, David and Lewis from someone else's POV.

Cassiel, considering what she used to be, should be an unsympathetic and cold character that the reader should feel a certain distance from... but she isn't. The fact that she was such a great djinn and is then forced into an average simple human body as punishment forces her to connect to a humanity she never thought she could understand or care about. And her friendship with Manny and his family is heartwarming.

There are a LOT of factors that make this story fantastic! It kept me glued to every page so much that I pretty much finished it in one day. I just had to know what was going to happen next, and I felt a lot of sadness about a certain event that happens. The vulnerability of the human body always strikes a cord with me.

Anyway, if you like a fast, action-packed, deep and involved story with twists, turns, and a hell of a lot of danger, then you'll love this one. I know I did!

Monday, 16 March 2009

Rambling, mostly

So, how was everyone's weekend? Mine was great. Did you all catch the latest episode of SUPERNATURAL? Man, it was great to catch up with the Winchester boys. Miss them if they're gone too long. Lol.

I loved the episode! Those mean angels... I suppose no one said angels were innocent.

Actually, from my understanding, they're warriors. Which is in the context that I use them in my angels and demons story.

Speaking of which, I'm now up to page 134/396 on my revision/re-write. I have to say that the two sessions I spent on it during the weekend -- I know, how strange, me writing on the weekend! *gasp* -- felt more like re-writes. I changed/deleted/added a lot. It's truly amazing how your writing evolves...

I didn't meet my self-imposed 200-pages revised by Friday last week, but that's okay. I'd still like to get the second draft finished by the end of this month. If I do a little at a time, it's totally doable. But with hubby home at the moment, it's just too tempting to just want to spend time together. We've been having some awesome days! Spending time with him is so much fun.

If you'd like to enter a very cool contest that I'm taking part in, you can check it out over HERE.

Oh, and if you enjoy picking up free eBooks, you've gotta go over HERE. I grabbed myself a copy of BLOOD ENGINES by T.A. Pratt. It sounds like a very cool book.

Okay... gotta go and make sure my daughter goes to bed now. Bye!

AT GRAVE'S END


Some things won't stay buried . . . at grave's end

It should be the best time of half-vampire Cat Crawfield's life. With her undead lover Bones at her side, she's successfully protected mortals from the rogue undead. But though Cat's worn disguise after disguise to keep her true identity a secret from the brazen bloodsuckers, her cover's finally been blown, placing her in terrible danger.

As if that wasn't enough, a woman from Bones's past is determined to bury him once and for all. Caught in the crosshairs of a vengeful vamp, yet determined to help Bones stop a lethal magic from being unleashed, Cat's about to learn the true meaning of bad blood. And the tricks she's learned as a special agent won't help her. She will need to fully embrace her vampire instincts in order to save herself—and Bones—from a fate worse than the grave.


Wow! I just finished reading this book this afternoon, and absolutely loved it. No wonder this is one of my favourite series. And man, isn't the cover awesome?

I can't wait to read what happens to Cat and Bones next...

Friday, 13 March 2009

GRACELING


Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight--she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po's friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace--or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.


This is Kristin Cashore's debut novel, and what a book it is! I was intrigued by the concept of not only the Grace but also the seven kingdoms in which this book is set. The scenery was so well described that I imagined every detail vividly, not wanting to put the book down between sittings because I didn't want to leave yet.

This is the story of Katsa. A girl whose combat skills are used by King Randa to do his bidding. With her by his side, everyone knows what will happen to them if they disobey or cheat him out of something. But in the background, she's set up an underground Council with a few trusted friends... and it's during a rescue attempt by the Council that her life starts to change.

Upon meeting Prince Po - the only person ever able to match her fighting skills - her life is thrown into a whirlwind of realisation, emotion, danger and excitement. It's because of him that she finally starts to understand what her Grace really is. There's more to Katsa than killing.

Graceling is the adventure of a girl who assumed her only place in life was to be her uncle's enforcer, when in fact, she's capable of greatness. Her natural Graceling skill, determination, loyalty and love, make her strong enough to complete a task that will change all of the kingdoms. No matter what the personal cost is. It's filled with strong, memorable characters that I would love to catch up with again in the future.

For someone labelled a killer, the amount of compassion and empathy Katsa possesses along the way is astounding. This is a fantastic story starring a strong - both physically and mentally - girl, as she blossoms into a woman without losing her sense of self-worth and strength. At the end of the day, this story kept me engrossed from beginning to end. I highly recommend it!

Graceling, ISBN 0575084626, Gollancz Paperback

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

You know...

Well, it's Wednesday already. Not sure why, but I can't wait for this week to be over. It's a very strange and melancholy one, and the sooner it's gone, the better. I also hope that it takes this horrid weather with it. Though, since we're heading towards winter, I kinda doubt it.

This week I've gotten stuck into a new novel revision - as I mentioned on Monday. At the moment, I'm sitting @ page 85/396. I figured that if I can get about 40 pages revised each day, I should be able to reach page 200 by Friday. And since I'm giving myself two weeks to get through it, that works out pretty well.

The novel I'm working on was written a few years back, and for some reason, I never got around to doing the second and third drafts. Which sucks because I'm really enjoying the story and the characters. But during second drafts, I have a love-hate relationship with the story. I'm not sure why, but it always happens. I get all moody and love the story one minute, only to hate it the next. That all goes away during the third draft, because that's when I re-find my love for writing the tale in the first place.

Strange, moody writer. ;)


Well, it's time to head out. My daughter will get out of school soon. I can't believe that her next lot of school holidays are about a month away.

Bye!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

NIGHT HUNTRESS


The D’Artigo sisters are half-human, half-Fae operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. Delilah, a werecat who’s one of the Autumn Lord’s Death Maidens, has to fight off the demon general who stole the third Spirit Seal and is now out for blood.

Talk about an awesome read - this is another one! I absolutely loved every minute of this story and totally lost myself in what was going on. Delilah and her sisters are once again thrown into an array of impossible situations trying to ensure that all of their friends stay safe, and the demons don't beat them to the Spirit Seals. Awesome!

Although Delilah goes through a bunch of negative situations, she's at least able to get her heart in order and even gets an answer to one of the questions hounding her.

This is another series you should be reading. :)

MAGIC BURNS


As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels knows how waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta's paramilitary clan of shape shifters, she quickly realizes much more is at stake. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug of war between two gods hoping for rebirth, and if Kate can't stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive.

This is the second book in the Kate Daniels series, and boy, it just keeps getting better and better. The third one's due out at the end of this month, so I'm looking forward to that one too.

I find that Kate's not just interesting, but also very likeable. Her world is original and the characters memorable. The situation in this installment is a rollercoaster ride filled with myth, violence, and some awesome storytelling. I read this book so quickly that once I was done, I missed it. Lol. It's just that darn good!

Man, this series is fantastic! If you're into urban fantasy and you're not reading this series yet, I highly recommend that you do. :)

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Stuff to do, places to go, books to read, movies to watch...

Don't you feel like this sometimes? I do, especially when it's overcast outside and looks like it'll start pouring at any minute. Of course, it'll probably wait until I head out to pick my daughter up from school. The rain likes to do that around here. ;)

The other night, I found a terrific new review. It's actually for my VAMPIRE ORACLE: DEATH novella. Dee from TRS gave it 5 hearts! I'm so excited! I loved (absolutely loved) writing this story, there was something special about it from the first time the idea hit me. Anyway, if you'd like to read the review, you can over here. Thanks Dee!

The last few days have been a little gloomy. For no real reason, just how the mood's struck me. Still, I haven't let that stop my plans for this week. I've been pretty busy - my March/April newsletter has gone out, I've finished the synopsis I was working on, I started reading this awesome book, and I've rearranged my bookshelves. Again. :/

I get the feeling I'll be changing the bookshelves around on a fortnightly basis. I'm just not happy about where everything's sitting at the moment. I've got four bookcases lined up next to each other, and a smaller one on the end. They all have doors, which is awesome to keep the dust away. I love those bookshelves. You know, that reminds me, I really should take a photo and post it here. Yeah, I should do that.

So, what's on for today? I'd like to read a little more of the book, pop into the post office after picking my daughter up from school to pick up a few packages, and I've printed out the notes I've written for the follow up book to PoD. It's untitled at the moment and I'd like to get a tighter sense of everything that's going to happen in this book... because, you know, I think I'll probably be writing it sometime within the next few months. I'm excited about it. :)

Just curious, are you all excited about THIS MOVIE? It looks absolutely fantastic. Hubby and I really, really want to see it this week!

Okay, I better get going then. See ya!

Monday, 2 March 2009

Welcome to March!

Why, oh why, do the weekends have to go so darn quick? :/ I think I ask myself this question every Monday.

When I worked full time, I used to think that was the reason why I didn't like Mondays. I haven't worked a full time job for a (long) while, but I still dislike Mondays. Why is that?

Anyway, I don't know what's wrong with my left leg but it hurts. Well, it's actually the back of my ankle, but I can feel it all the way up to the back of my knee. Not sure what I did there. Is there such a thing as walking too much? I don't think so. Still, it's not going to stop me from walking, I'll just have to go slower. Lol.

Oh, my mobile phone was dying on me last week. Well, the battery was. So, on Saturday we went looking for a new one. Did I mention that a few months ago we got rid of our home phone? Yeah. The landline was getting to be a waste of money and an annoyance. We'd get so many different telemarketers calling that I used to screen almost every call with the answering machine. Well, since we disconnected that, the only calls I get are ones I actually want to answer. On my mobile. Anyway... back to the story. THIS is my new phone! Isn't it pretty? I think it's great. :D

Well, with the start of a new week comes a new to-do list. Which is, um, what I should be taking care of right now. *cough*

Have a good week!

BONE CROSSED


Car mechanic and sometime shapeshifter Mercy Thompson has learned, the hard way, why her race was almost exterminated. When European vampires immigrated to North America, they found Mercy's people had a hidden talent - for vampire slaying. Unfortunately for Mercy, the queen of the local vampire seethe has discovered her true identity. She's also furious when she learns Mercy has crossed her and killed one of her vampires. Mercy may be protected from direct reprisals by the werewolf pack (and her interesting relationship with its Alpha), but that just means Marsilia will come after Mercy some other way. So Mercy had better prepare to watch her back.

I'm not going to chat about this book much, but I will say that I absolutely LOVE this series. Mercy's definitely one of my favourite characters and this book didn't disappoint.

I've got one word for ya: awesome!

Enough said. :)

 
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