Sunday, 29 November 2009

KITTY RAISES HELL


Kitty and Ben thought they were done with Las Vegas, but it's beginning to looks like Vegas isn't done with them. A sadistic cult of lycanthropes and their vampire priestess have laid a curse on Kitty, revenge for her disrupting their rituals and now an invisible evil that smells like brimstone and plays with fire has followed them home.

The next full moon triggers danger and destruction in the form of fire and it's not just targeting Kitty, but the pack of werewolves she's sworn to protect. Kitty needs help if she's going to be able to extinguish the terror that's threatening to torch them all!

As I've mentioned before, I absolutely love this series, so it was awesome to read the latest Kitty book. It's always like catching up with old friends, very cool.

Kitty and Ben might be back in Denver, but what happened to them in Vegas has followed them home. Just when everything's going great with her life -- the pack, her radio show, the restaurant, and her marriage -- something strange and very evil is after Kitty. And if it can't get to her, then it's willing to burn the entire city in the process.

It looks like the Band of Tiamat haven't given up and are willing to go as far as to summon an elemental to get to Kitty. But in this book she not only has the help and support of her husband and fellow wolf, Ben, but she's still in contact with magician Odysseus Grant, as well as the Denver master vampire, Rick, and even picks up some new contacts in the form of the Paradox PI crew, which happens to be a TV show that investigates the paranormal.

I thought this book was fantastic. It seems like this series just gets better and better. The amount of growth in Kitty is always amazing. She's changed so much from the first book and continues to evolve into a very strong Alpha wolf that takes her responsibility seriously. If only new dangers didn't continue to pop up. In this book it's in the form of a vampire called Roman.

Kitty Raises Hell is another great addition to this wonderful and exciting series. Every time I finish the latest book, I can't wait to get my hands on the next one. It also reminds me why I love the urban fantasy genre so much.

Oh, and I particularly liked the subplot involving the appearance of T.J.'s brother. If you remember, T.J. was her best friend. A fellow wolf who helped Kitty at the beginning of the series at the expense of his own life.

Anyway, do yourself a favour and check out this series. You won't regret it!

Kitty Raises Hell, December 2009, ISBN 0575090065, Gollancz Paperback

Friday, 27 November 2009

My 4th NaNoWriMo goal has been met!

<--- Check it out. That's right. Last night, seconds before hubby got home, I passed the 50k mark. I was so in the groove last night, I could've written until I got to the end of the novel. But I didn't, I stopped. I was so happy to have completed another NaNoWriMo that I didn't mind. :)

I've already popped into the NaNo website and scrambled my novel so that it could count my words. That's how I got the lovely icon to the left. Yay.

But today, I actually spent most of the day getting other writing related stuff done while my daughter was at school. I managed to proofread, format and even email in one interview and two blog posts. I'm so excited. I've been meaning to get them done all week, just had so much other stuff to do that I only managed bits & pieces of each. But today was the day. They're all done.

When I got home from picking my daughter up from school, instead of reading for a bit like I usually do, I went into the room, picked up lappy and got writing. The word count's gone up to 52,286 but it's still not done. I've got another chapter and the epilogue left. Not long to the end now. Will I make it tonight? In thirty minutes, my daughter will be tucked in for the night, so I'm hoping to get the chance then. Still, I can't wait for hubby to get home so we can start the weekend. And technically, there's still one more writing day left of November, so even if I have to finish this story on Monday, that's cool.

Well, my daughter's tucked in for the night and hubby's still at work, so I'm going to open up my Word doc and get writing...

Have a great weekend!


***Just wanted to remind you that FAITHLESS is still available from Damnation Books for under $1. But that'll change next week. On December 1st, it'll go up to $4.50.***

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Garbage & other stuff

Do you ever wake up feeling more tired than when you went to sleep? Well, that's exactly how I felt this morning. Actually, I've felt like that every morning this week. Lol. I've just been packing in so much into every day -- physically and mentally. I find that I'm mentally exhaused at the end of the night when I'm working on a first draft.

But last night the hubby and I had to drag a whole bunch of crap out of the garage and place it outside on the street for the council to pick up. It's an easy process: call the local council, arrange for a day to have them pick up your crap, take it outside the night before, and they'll gladly remove your unwanted furniture, bikes, etc. But for some reason, people never bother. All the stuff we took out there belonged to other people. Have no idea who, but former tenants, or people who just move in and feel that it's their right to dump crap in the common garage below the apartment block. I've got news for them -- it's not. They should take care of it themselves. Grrr.

But anyway. We busted our chops getting it all out there, and most of the stuff was totally gross. But it's done, it's gone. We took charge and now the fire hazard and potential rat/bug home has been destroyed. It feels good to clear out the garbage.

Anyway.

In other news, I've just finished today's writing session and have hit 48,149 words. Yikes! I'm so darn close. I think I've got one more chapter and an epilogue left to write, so it looks like I might go over the 50k mark, but not by much. I think.

Well, see ya!

***Just wanted to remind you that FAITHLESS is still available from Damnation Books for under $1. But that'll change next week. On December 1st, it'll go up to $4.50.***

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Well, I'm back... even though I didn't go anywhere

Yikes! The last four days have been filled with stuff, and fun. Been doing a lot of writing things too, like adding words to my NaNoWriMo novel, completing several rounds of edits, and proofreading a few things before they're finalised.

Phew. Busy, busy. But it's been great. I absolutely love the editing process. The way it challenges me to strengthen everything. The way I can bounce things off my editor and vice versa. It's very cool stuff.

Hubby also helped me put a different colour in my hair. I was getting really tired of looking at my supposed-to-be-red-but-turned-into-copper streaks. They just didn't look nice. So, I darkened my hair again. Yay. It's now a lovely shade called red mahogany. Love it!

So, my NaNo word count is now sitting @41,534. And that's before I sit down and do today's writing session. I'm pretty happy with the progress, and even happier with the way the story's going. There are a few extra things happening that I didn't expect, as well as some things slotting into place much better than I imagined they would.

My goal for today is to reach 43,200 words, but I reckon that if I buckle down I can reach 45k. That would be so much better. I'd really like to reach the 50k NaNoWriMo target by Friday. Though I'm not sure if that'll get me to the end of the story. Maybe it will. Maybe it'll go longer, but as long as I reach the goal for November, it's fine. I can just continue with the story until I finish it, even if it carries me into next month.

Well, I better get to it. Got lots of words to add, and a bunch of other things to do as well. Have a good one!

***Just wanted to remind you that FAITHLESS is still available from Damnation Books for under $1. But that'll change next week. On December 1st, it'll go up to $4.50.***

Friday, 20 November 2009

Hot-hot-hot

Yes, we've had some scorching hot days this week and today's another hot one. Seriously. Still, I'm not going to complain. Love summer. Looks like the sky's clouding over though. Might be getting another thunderstorm this evening. I just hope it holds out until I get my daughter home from school.

Remember how I mentioned yesterday that I'd love to secretly reach 40k by the end of this week? Well, it's not gonna happen. But I did get to 36,053 words, and that means that as of last night, I reached this week's goal. That means that I've got about 14k left until I meet my NaNo goal. Not bad when I wasn't sure if I was going to get anywhere near it. Yay. Of course, I don't want to celebrate prematurely.

Although, last night while hubby and I did our weights workout, I pulled out a notebook and started jotting down a list of things that need to happen in the novel to wrap it up. By the time the workout was done, I had four pages worth of notes with enough points to take me to the end of the story. So, I pretty much know what's going to happen from here onwards, just need to fill in the finer details. That's great news.

Today, I made a start on the second round of edits for Wither. I've done the first 16 pages and had to stop because my lappy ran out of juice. I might have to leave it plugged into the wall when I go back to them later. I need as much of the available battery life as I can get. I'd really (really) love to get halfway through by the end of today. That'll make it easier for me to tackle the rest over the weekend. I don't work as fast when hubby and daughter are home because I love to hang out with them, but I've been doing plenty of edits the last month and know that it still works out fine. :)

That's it for me today. We've got a few things planned for the weekend, so I'm looking forward to it. Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

HATER


Society is rocked by a sudden increase in the number of violent assaults on individuals. Christened 'Haters' by the media, the attackers strike without warning. The assaults are brutal, remorseless and extreme: within seconds, normally rational, self-controlled people are becoming maddened, vicious killers.

There are no apparent links as a hundred random attacks become a thousand and then thousands, right across the country. Everyone, irrespective of gender, age, race, sexuality or any other difference, has the potential to become a victim - or a Hater. People are afraid to go to work, afraid to leave their homes and, increasingly, afraid that at any moment their friends, even their closest family, could turn on them with murderous intent.

By the end of today you could be dead. By the end of today you could be a killer. Attack first, ask questions later...but the answer might not be what you expect...

With cover quotes from Guillermo del Toro and JA Bayona, I was instantly interested in this book. Apparently, I found out about it a little later than most, and it looks like it's going to be made into a movie soon. But late or not, I'm really glad that I read HATER before watching it.

The story opens with a violent scene involving an umbrella. This sets the mood for the remainder of the book, before we meet the very average, Danny McCoyne. Danny is an everyday type of bloke who works for the council. At the moment he works in the Parking Fine Processing office and puts up with a horrible supervisor who doesn't like him. The monotonous job he performs isn't something he really enjoys, but it's his Monday-to-Friday grind. With a partner and three kids, he's got no choice but to keep working this deadend job and continue on with his boring life.

Then strange things keep happening around him. It's almost as if the world's going mad. As if people all over the place are turning on others and killing them with their bare hands. Danny and his family get caught up in the middle of it all, unable to escape the visual horrors, they try to get on with life while listening to the reports on the news that don't seem to offer any answers about what's going on. But when schools are closed and less people are turning up at work, they find themselves stuck inside their flat.

Trouble finally comes to Danny's house, and he has no choice but to face the awful truth and deal with things the only way he now knows how to. The world is a different place and will never be the same again.

Hater is an intoxicating book that grabbed a hold of me from the first page and didn't let me go until I got to the end. The confusing, violent events gradually build up to a crescendo that echoes in Danny's life. The second half of the book constantly had me wondering where it was going. I really enjoyed the unpredictability of this story and honestly didn't know how it could possibly end.

By the time you do get to the end you'll be left with more questions, but satisfied by how Danny leaves things. And you'll certainly be left wondering who the Haters really are. Lucky for us, there's going to be another installment released next year.

Hater, April 2009, ISBN 0575084677, Gollancz Paperback

Monday, 16 November 2009

Hello New Week! I'm kinda ready for ya...

Before I get started today, I just wanted to mention that I'll be over at The Pen and Muse this week. Denisse was lovely enough to interview me and will be posting it shortly. :)

Well, how was your weekend? Mine was great, but tiring. We continued our spring cleaning kick. Got rid of a lot of dust -- I don't think they were dust bunnies anymore, more like dust kitties -- and some garbage, as well as a lot of recycling. I always feel so much better about getting rid of stuff that'll be recycled into something else. I'm trying to think as green as I can. Too bad other people in our apartment block don't seem to care.

Today, I've had a shitty day in regards to the people around us. We live in an apartment block and a lot of the people who live here don't give a crap about keeping the place clean and tidy. Or even safe. This morning, when we got home from dropping my daughter off at school, we couldn't get the key into the lock downstairs because someone had stuck something into it. It's not the first time it's happened, and the locksmith pulled out bits of sticks that had been shoved into the barrel. Seriously, who would do that? And other people have been dumping their carpets and furniture into the garage area. Once again, WTF? Makes me so angry!

Anyway. I got back into my NaNoWriMo novel today. Yay! I've reached 25,025 words. So, I'm halfway now. Haven't gotten back on track with my own personal goal, but I'm getting there. Slowly, slowly.

Well. I'm all outta words for the night. See ya!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

WITH RED HANDS


She can connect the living with the dead. She can help bring justice to the murdered. But now a killer is out to stop her...with his own red hands.

Natalie Lindstrom was once part of an elite group of investigators with the power to interview the dead victims of violent crime. But now Nathalie's had enough of the violence. Yet, as she tries to build a new life and protect her five-year-old daughter, Natalie still recognises injustice when she sees it. And she knows that in a high-profile California trial, a young man is getting away with murder.

The case against Prescott Hyland Jr is airtight - until a corrupt Violet delivers devastating testimony against another man. Now Natalie is being drawn back into her former career and a danger far worse than she can imagine. Because, in the world of the Violets, sometimes your past can literally come back to haunt you.


This is the second book in Stephen Woodworth's Violet series. In the first book, Through Violet Eyes, we met Natalie Lindstrom. Natalie is a Violet, born with violet eyes she's able to channel dead people and used to work for the NAACC's Crime Division. But she left several years ago to take care of her daughter. Callie is now five years old, and as much as she's tried to shield her from both the Corp's influence and what she is, everything catches up with Natalie in this installment.

After deciding to help her friend and deputy DA, Inez Mendoza, Natalie finds herself thrown back into the life she's tried so hard to escape. The trial of a young man charged with his parents' murder hooks her back into the dark and dangerous world of the Violets and into the path of a dangerous spirit. While also forcing her to face a few personal issues from the past. Things that shaped the way she is now.

Her father's reappearance in her life and all the resentment she felt towards him for dumping her in the Corps school, at the same time that she's dragged back into the life of her mentally ill mother, only add to the trouble brewing in her life.

With Red Hands was another intriguing and very interesting book that enhances this alternate world of the Violets, while also opening up Natalie a lot more than she was in the first book. With her daughter to care for, everything becomes riskier and harder to deal with. Yet, at the same time, Callie seems to become her connection to others, especially family. A connection that she needs in order to stay strong and capable.

Once again, this was a seriously great book that only hooked me further into the series.

With Red Hands, November 2009, ISBN 0749941324, Piatkus Fiction Paperback (A)

Sunday, 8 November 2009

THE DROWNING CITY


The Drowning City: home to exiles and expatriates, pirates and smugglers. And violent revolutionaries who will stop at nothing to overthrow the corrupt Imperial government.

For Isyllt Iskaldur, necromancer and spy, the brewing revolution is a chance to prove herself to her crown. All she has to do is find and finance the revolutionaries, and help topple the palaces of Symir. But she is torn between her new friends and her duties, and the longer she stays in this monsoon-drenched city, the more intrigue she uncovers - even the dead are plotting.

As the waters rise and the dams crack, Isyllt must choose between her mission and the city she came to save.

This is the first book of The Necromancer Chronicles. When this cover first caught my eye, I decided to read a little more about the story. And once I found out the main character was a necromancer, I just had to read it.

The story is set in the city of Symir and features Isyllt Iskaldur, a necromancer and spy sent on a secret mission to find and finance the revolutionaries. But as soon as she gets to Symir things start to happen. Bad things. So much that the book is told in three different points of view -- Isyllt, Zhirin and Xinai -- to get the full scope of what's going on. Zhirin is a young apprentice caught up in the revolution. Xinai is a mercenary sent to help Isyllt, but she gets caught up on the wrong side because she's a native.

I really enjoyed the exotic and often dark locale and could literally see, taste, and feel every detail because of Amanda Downum's wonderful narrative. Her voice is crisp, different for each of the women, and so vivid that I felt like I was temporarily transported to this beautiful, yet dangerous and unstable location. It sounded so lovely, yet volatile, with a live river, angry but contained volcano, and sticky jungle. The attention to detail was amazing, and the separate stories weaved in and around each other so well that when I got to the end, everything fit in and was tied together perfectly.

Of course, the destiny of Isyllt, Zhirin, and Xinai take them to different and even sad places. The three of them suffer immense heartache, physical pain, and betrayal along the way, and aren't all on the same side either. But each woman's journey was honest, raw and true. I loved this book!

There are so many things that could've gone wrong in this book -- competing narrators, confusing loyalties, intricate politics, huge idea without substance, strange names jarring the story, too much mythology involving ghosts, spirits, and water creatures... but you know what? That didn't happen. Everything made sense. Everything clicked together to form a terrific, complex story that I enjoyed so much I know I'll be thinking about it for weeks to come. It's a fantasy that breaks into a new barrier.

The Drowning City is an amazing, interesting and very well written story that blends a variety of weird and wonderful creatures. It's what a fantasy book should be: riveting, ambitious, and succesful in it's delivery and execution. The main characters are deep, and so is the supporting cast. I can't wait to read the next one.

I've been seduced by this world, and I'm looking forward to visiting again. Only this time, it'll be in a different city.

The Drowning City, September 2009, ISBN 1841498149, Orbit Paperback

Friday, 6 November 2009

It's the end of week 1...

...and this is my word count: 15,720.

I'm very excited about the progress. If you remember the beginning of the week, I wasn't even sure that I was ready to get stuck into NaNoWriMo. Now, not only did I start the novel, but I'm totally hooked. There are so many things going on. If I don't write some of them down, I'm sure they'll slip away. So, that's probably what I'll do during the weekend.

Yep. I'll be taking the weekend off. Even during NaNo, I don't write over the weekend. That's my time with the family -- to catch up with TV shows and/or movies, and squeezing in a little bit of Rock Band, Scene It, or just some reading. :D Cool!

Only prob with all this writing is that I haven't been able to read as much as I would like, and I'm loving this book. It's so darn good.

Well, that's it for today. If you don't get my newsletter and would like to see my new Damnation Books covers, pop in tomorrow and Sunday because I'll be posting them right here.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

I ran out time this arvo...

...it's something that seems to happen a lot! Especially if I'm in the middle of a writing whirlwind. I might have started this novel a little slow, but now that my brain and muse have finally gotten together, they're planning up a storm! Lol.

When I stopped writing this afternoon - before heading out to pick my daughter up from school - I left the word count @ 11,392. My target for today was 9,600 words, which means that I'm only 608 words away from reaching tomorrow's goal. I might get the chance to write a little more tonight. Not sure how I'll go. But I'm very excited about how it's going so far. The direction of the main storyline was there when I thought up the idea, but now several subplots have weaved their way into the story.

I absolutely *love* it when that happens. It looks like I'll have to grab my notebook and take some notes, though. Things are already bubbling, scenes that probably won't happen until a little later in the book. I love getting this excited about a story, it's what makes first drafts so much fun.

Yesterday, I started reading THE DROWNING CITY by Amanda Downum, and it's awesome so far. I had a feeling this book would be super cool, and it totally is. I really like Isyllt. Check out the cover for the second book: THE BONE PALACE. Wow!

I also managed to put my November/December newsletter together and emailed it out. Things are slowly coming off my to-do list. Slowly. :)

Anyway, time to go. I need to read some more of TDC. Bye!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Finding the groove

Wow! I finished reading an awesome book yesterday afternoon. FLASHFORWARD was amazing! You can read my review below. Now, I have no idea what the TV show's like, but this story was so intoxicating that I couldn't get it outta my head. Seriously, it was great!

Well, I might be a tad distracted at the moment by the fact that I've got so much to do every single day, but I've finally found my groove in the NaNoWriMo novel I'm writing.

It's turning out to be a lot of fun. And the more I write, the more strange things pop up. The heroine, who started to develop very slowly - is now revealing her motivations, quirks, and even a huge chunk of her complicated past to me. It's awesome! I knew she was a strange one with a lot of dark problems and responsibilities, but I didn't realise it went this deep. She's actually quite the match for Sebastian. :)

I just finished my first writing session and added another 2k. The word count is now sitting @ 7,252. Yay! That's my target for today, but if I can squeeze in a little more tonight, that would be awesome. Not sure if that'll happen but if it does, yay!

BTW, if you want to be my NaNo buddy, my username is *Y*. :D

Well, see ya!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

FLASHFORWARD


The Hadron Collider is turned on and everyone in the world goes to sleep for a few moments. In those few moments everyone's consciousness is catapulted forward more than twenty years into the future. When it awakes the world must live with the knowledge of what is to come. Some saw themselves in new relationships, some saw exciting new technologies, some saw the stuff of nightmares. Some, young and old alike, saw nothing at all and must live with the certainty that they have less than 20 years left.

This is another book that has recently been made into a TV show. While the concept sounded intriguing, when I found out it was based on a book, I decided to read the book instead. And wow, I wasn't wrong about the concept. It's amazing.

For two minutes, after the Hadron Collider is turned on during an experiment at CERN, the entire planet blacks out. And during that time, everyone has a vision of the future - 21 years into the future. Many are astounded by what they see in their futures, while some are totally confused because it shows people they don't even know yet. A few others don't see anything at all. But what every single person in the world shares is the devastation that follows.

At first it's on the huge scale of planes falling from the sky, people losing control of their cars, or falling down the stairs, but it ends in simple realisations and arguments about whether the future is set, or can be changed by free will. It's an awesome point to bring up. As well as how seeing a snippet of what's to come in your future can affect the present. How it can change and make you question what's going on in your life right now. How does it change your dreams and aspirations, or even the relationships you cherish, or knowing that you'll be dead? It's a fantastical concept that is explored perfectly in this book.

The story is told in several points of views, with some statistics thrown in. Mostly it's the POV of Lloyd Simcoe and Theo Procopides - the two physicists who got the world into this mess in the first place. Their vision - or lack of one - drives their present in a way that pretty much takes over their lives. Especially for Theo, who happens to find out that not only will he be dead in 21 years, but he'll be murdered. The story of chaos and the loss of so many lives, becomes the tale of one man's determination to prove that the future is already set, and another's to figure out how he can change the path of his life so that he'll be able to stop his own death.

Flashforward is an intoxicating book written in a very casual, yet informative narrative that'll keep you turning the page. The plot was weaved in a way that kept me interested from start to finish, and I wasn't disappointed when I got to the end and found all the separate threads tied together. The last part of the book takes place in 2030 and slowly reveals how everyone's life turned out, leaving the reader with a great sense of closure.

I enjoyed this book a lot, and keep finding myself thinking about it. There might be a lot of technical, scientific things mentioned, but I loved that it didn't take away from the human side of the story. This is a book that I highly recommend.

FlashForward, October 2009, ISBN 978-057-509101-6, Gollancz Paperback

Monday, 2 November 2009

Ready, set... not ready yet!

Well, it's officially that NaNo time of the year. I've signed up for it, but I'm not prepared. I'm going to take part, but it looks like I won't be starting my story until tomorrow.

Let's get stuck into some numbers... I don't write on weekends, so if I skip today, I've got 20 days in which to write 50k. That means 2,500 words starting tomorrow. Y'know, that's definitely doable. And I'm not going to push myself to do 4k days like I usually do. It's just too late in the year, I'm a little distracted and am also expecting several edits to come my way. So, if I can manage to get the 50k done by the end of November, that would be great.

Part of the problem has been what story to work on. I was determined to write the first draft of M-YA#2 but there was another story wanting to be told first. It's a dark, sexy, paranormal, horrorish tale... and to be honest, at the moment, I'm more in the mood to write something of that genre than a futuristic. :)

That's the bottom line. So, this afternoon I'll just make sure that I take the appropriate notes and get into gear. I already have a bunch of scenes ready to be written and know the gist of the story, but I haven't come up with the beginning yet. I want the beginning to be on the scary side.

If I get really caught up in it and figure it out during my walk, I might even be able to get a start on it tonight. We'll see. But for now, I think I'm going to spend the afternoon reading... See ya!

 
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