Tuesday, 30 November 2010

MANAGING DEATH by Trent Jamieson


Steven has a new job Australia's Regional Death. On a good day he thinks it has a ring to it, but on a bad day (most of them) it's more of a toll.

He s recently averted a Regional Apocalypse, but that s only the beginning. With barely a month to go until the world s thirteen Deaths get together to talk, erm, death, a crisis is imminent Stirrer attacks are on the rise as their dark god draws near; someone is trying to kill him; he s developed a drinking problem. And he has a conference to organise. Steven must start managing Death before it starts managing him, or this time the Apocalypse will be more than regional.

I was really looking forward to reading the second book of the Death Works series. So as soon as I received it, I got stuck into it. And let me start by saying that it didn't disappoint. :) 

Steven de Selby used to be a Pomp. Well, he can still pomp the dead, but now he's a whole lot more... and he's not adapting well.

A few months have passed since the events of Death Most Definite. He might have helped stop a Regional Apocalypse, but things are still not going well in Brisbane. It's December, and now that Steven is in charge, he has a whole lot of responsibility. He has to recruit new Pomps, rebuild the Australian division of Mortmax Industries, and learn how to use/adapt to his new power/s. All of this while trying to come to terms with what he's become, learn the ropes, and work at his new relationship with Lissa.

Of course, that would be easier if people weren't always trying to kill him...

Now all of his Pomps are being overworked, and he's having trouble sleeping. Well, he does manage to spend a little time lost in nightmares filled with imagery of death, a scythe, and the excitement that comes with it.

Then, there's the Death Moot to organise, because the world's Death (thirteen RMs called the Orcus) are meeting in Brisbane and it's no easy task dealing with the Caterers.

His drinking doesn't help. Steven's life is slowly slipping away from him but with the appearance of an old Mortmax foe and the Stirrer god slowly rising, he's forced to take the role of leadership seriously, which includes accepting an alliance with an unlikely source. One that's guaranteed to drive a deeper wedge in his relationship. 

With so much going on, I couldn't help but feel sorry for Steven. It was also great to see Lissa, Tim, Wal, and Alex again. Oh, and I really enjoyed reading about the gradual deteoration of his relationship with Lissa. While she's been worked to the bone and he's adapting, they struggle to keep things together. That their relationship began under such bizarre and fast circumstances, only makes the reality of it all so much easier to come between them.

Managing Death is an amazingly awesome read. It's fast-paced, filled with secrets, double crossing, and a world of Death that keeps expanding. The truths of what the Regional Managers really are/do is gradually revealed, and boy was it awesome. It's unique, very well explained, and leads to an unbelievable (and fantastic) conclusion. I certainly did not see that coming. I love the worldbuilding in this series!  

Things might not end on a bright note, but Steven's life (or is that death) will never be the same. Bring on the next book...

Managing Death: Death Works #2, December 2010, ISBN 9780733624841, Orbit Paperback

Monday, 29 November 2010

New cover alert! ;)

And here it is:

Isn't it nice? It was made by Dara England, and I think she did an awesome job at capturing Noel and Natala latest adventure. Obviously, this one's not set in Australia. Well, mostly not. :)

What do you think? I love it!

DEMON OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT will be available early next month, just in time to get into the Christmas spirit.

Oh, and here's what they look like together:


Lovely. yay!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Noel & Natala Excerpt

Christmas depressed the hell out of Noel Harris. Well, if he was truthful, every day was hard to take without Nancy. But the Christmas season in particular added salt to his very slow-healing wound. It didn’t last one day, like her birthday or their wedding anniversary. It lasted a whole damn month.

He sighed and released a heavy breath, causing his chest to tighten with the pain of losing what they’d had. He wished he could release the strain associated with the holiday as easily as releasing a breath. But he’d been through enough in his life to know better than that.

The Christmas carols in the background didn’t help. After so many years of avoiding the Yuletide holiday, he should’ve known the music would be everywhere—in the overcrowded shopping centers, on TV and even on the radio playing in the kitchen.

This Christmas marked the fifth year that Nancy had been absent from his life, and he was determined to at least try to push past the heartbreak.

It’s time to move on.

Noel moved forward and poured himself a shot of eggnog. As the creamy liquid sloshed into the glass, he couldn’t help but think that life had cursed this season for him from the beginning. The first Christmas Noel could remember had been when he was five, which happened to be the year his father walked out on the family. When he was ten, his mother died shortly after the same holiday, and then there was Nancy...

He could count off every event inside his head, and it amounted to the same thing: Bad luck liked to haunt him during the Christmas season.

“Not this year,” he whispered to himself. This year was going to be the first time he broke the curse. He took a sip of the eggnog and followed it with a bite of fruit cake. He swallowed the lump, chasing it down with more liquid. A bitter taste lingered inside his mouth. Somehow, eggnog never tasted sweet to him.

He hunched down and opened the end of the tattered box of lights on the floor below the tree. He’d purchased a big tree, but instead of decorating it with tinsel, he’d purchased a long string of lights the store owner told him “would last for the rest of his life”. The box was a little worse for wear but the man behind the counter claimed it had been in storage for years, and was the only set of its kind. “A true original”, he’d said with a smile.

Noel had shrugged and bought it at a bargain price.

Now, as he started to pull the green tangled cord out of the box, he noticed it did look as good as new. Actually there was a shiny quality to it that made him feel—for the first time in a long while—some real Christmas cheer.

It took him longer than he’d expected to wrap the lights around the wide tree. By the end of it he’d worked up a sweat. Luckily, the air conditioning flowed inside the house, cooling the sweat beads as they dripped down the sides of his hairline.

He took another sip of the eggnog. It didn’t satisfy his thirst, but right now he didn’t care. Noel was jumping over a huge hurdle in his life and was determined to see it through to the end.

“Here we go. It’s show time.” He couldn’t help but chuckle at his own lame joke. At times like these, he wished he had someone to share his life with again. He instantly wiped the thought out from his mind. No, being with someone meant he would eventually forget Nancy. Even if putting up a Christmas tree was no fun without someone to share it with, Noel had to keep her memory alive. And that means being alone.

Although, sometimes he did wish they’d had enough time to have children before cancer gripped its claws around Nancy. At least then, a small part of her would have survived.

When he thought of all the chemotherapy and alternate treatments they’d tried, a sharp pain stabbed at his heart. He would’ve gladly given his own life to save hers. Nancy had been a ray of sunshine in his otherwise bleak existence. The day she died, the light of his life had shut off forever.

He sighed.

It took him a while to hunch over and plug the lights in but when he finally managed it, the lightshow didn’t disappoint. A symphony of red, green, gold and white lights sparkled in front of him—each alternating with the corresponding colors so that the pattern was always different.

Noel stared in awe as the lights captivated his eyes. He took several steps back and lowered himself onto the armchair. “Jingle Bells” suddenly seemed like the perfect background music, much better than all those depressing hard rock songs he always chose as the soundtrack of his life.

The first step on the road to recovery. He smiled, satisfied, and began to refill his glass.

Pop! Without warning the first light zapped off and a line of black smoke rose up toward the ceiling. Noel swore, eggnog forgotten, and jumped out of the armchair. He had to check the wall plug before the whole thing caught on fire.

One by one, each of the lights zapped off with the same popping noise. Noel swore again.

He quickly leaned over, switched off the power on the wall, and then pulled the plug out. This house was the only thing he had left that could bring any—no matter how small—joy into his life. Life insurance protection had paid off the balance, and allowed him to live a more comfortable life than his hardware store clerk position ever could on its own.

Nancy had been the career woman. All he’d ever wanted was a job to pay the bills.

He made his way around to the front of the tree, to make sure nothing had caught fire. The stench of burnt plastic made him cough. Still, there were no flames and the smoke he had spotted when the first light blew had dissipated.

What Noel did notice made his heart speed up. There was a single light still blinking. A gold one situated at the very center of the tree.

He double checked the plug. It was still lying on the floor, away from the socket, exactly where he’d left it.

It didn’t make any sense.

Was the bitterness clouding his life making him delusional as well? It was possible, he supposed. There was only so much a person could take before their mind decided to shut down and offer another perspective. No matter how unrealistic.

A warm ambience radiated off the single blinking light. It made him feel oddly calm. Before Noel realized what he was doing, his right hand captured the small globe in his palm.

A small sigh echoed around him. He kept his hand around the small light as he checked over his shoulder. There was no one there. He was still alone. When he turned his attention back to the small globe, it blinked faster.

What I wouldn’t give for some company right now, he thought to himself. Someone to see the bizarre thing he held in his hand, so they could confirm his sanity.

The light’s flickering slowed. He leaned closer and noticed a small face inside it.

“What the hell?” Noel dropped the bulb and lurched backwards. The lights, the loneliness and endless thoughts were playing tricks with his eyes.

Instinct made him duck just in time. The small light exploded into a thousand tiny pieces that fell around him, but each gold particle disappeared before it reached the floor.

He fought hard to control the nervous tension flooding his body. The sense of a presence hovered around him. When he lifted his face, he spotted a pair of small, bare feet on the floor only a few steps in front of him. Slowly, he followed the feet up towards the small ankles and up the slim short legs that became equally slim thighs.

“Where am I?” a bewildered female voice asked.

Demon of Christmas Past is now available in eBook and Kindle.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Just a few things...

<---Check it out! I validated my NaNoWriMo novel today! Yay.

Awesome.

This is my fifth successful year (in a row) of completing NaNoWriMo, and as you can probably tell... I'm excited!

I'm also guest blogging--and chatting a little more about NaNo--over at Beyond Romance. If you get a spare couple of minutes, check it out. :) Thanks to Lisabet for having me over.

Well, it's Friday once again. And I have to say that Friday usually puts me in a good mood, and this one's no different. Of course, today, it's also making me feel a little lethargic... because the weather's so beautiful outside. This week's been great weather-wise, and I hope it continues for a bit. I love me a blue sky and the sun. ;)

I've got the first round of edits for NUMB6R OF TH6 B6AST to do. This is a novella that Eternal Press will release in February. So it's cool to get a start on it. This novella's in first person and although it deals with some dark subject matter (the Antichrist), it is a little on the lightside of things. It was a lot of fun to write, so I'm looking forward to the edits too. Might start them this afternoon, if not tomorrow.

I need to stay on top of these edits because I'm expecting several others from different publishers, which means they could all come at the same time. Yikes.

Well, have a great weekend!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

The first Christmas Demon novella is now available!

This is Noel & Natala's first novella.

It takes place during a hot Aussie summer. It's also when they meet, and have to face a pretty dangerous situation involving a demon from Natala's past...

Darkness is cheap, and demons like it…

Noel doesn't like Christmas. The festive season always seems to be riddled with bad luck, but this year he’s determined to change his attitude. After decorating his tree with a string of lights, something happens and one of them explodes causing a woman to magically appear inside his living room.

Natala’s been trapped inside a string of Christmas lights for a long time. Grateful to meet a kind stranger willing to offer her hospitality, she hardly has enough time to enjoy her newfound freedom. Now that she’s free, so is the demon responsible for her imprisonment.

To defeat the dark threat, Noel and Natala are thrust into a whirlwind adventure where trusting each other leads to a lot more than either expected.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Aftermath Is Secondary

Hey! How's everyone's week going? Mine's cool so far.
It's really starting to feel like summer here in Sydney and I'm loving every minute of it.

I hope it sticks around for a while, because I'm totally over the dreary rain. The sunny days are lovely this time o' year. ;)

Well, it's midweek and for the first time all month, I'm taking it a little slow today. Yep. After doing so many rounds of edits, starting and finishing my NaNoWriMo novel, reading, and just keeping busy... today's the day to slow it down a little. Just a bit.

So I'm just catching up on a few bits and pieces that are either due soon, or I just want to sort out before I get hit with another round of edits. That's as much as I want to achieve today. Oh, and there's that MCR interview that I want to watch... for inspiration, of course. ;)

I also wanted to mention that DEMON OF CHRISTMAS PAST will be available tomorrow. Actually, it's already available for pre-order. And you can read an excerpt here.

Have a nice day!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Look Alive, Sunshine

Today is the release date! The Killjoys are out in the wild.

That's right, DANGER DAYS is now available. I'm so excited! And I absolutely LOVE this album. It's fantastic, awesome, and very inspiring.

Actually, it's already inspired a totally crazy idea that I intend to take notes for very soon.

I'm really not surprised, though. I love every single one of MCR's previous albums, and this one's just as awesome. I've been acting like a giddy girl since I saw the teaser for Na Na Na. I love that every song is super cool... plus I'm totally digging the story that connects them all together. So very awesome! :)

So, what else have I been doing? Asides from watching MCR film clips and live clips for inspiration, of course. ;)

Well, I just finished the first round of edits for my second (upcoming) Christmas novella from Evernight Publishing, DEMON OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT. Yep. It took me a few days to get done, but that's mostly because I was adding/making so many changes that the page count kept going up every time I sat down to work on it. Seriously. But I'm very happy with how it's turned out.

Well, not much more to say for today.

Oh... except that I forgot to post the SING clip the other day:

Monday, 22 November 2010

Na Na Na...

Well, hello there new week! How are you? I personally wasn't quite ready to say goodbye to Sunday just yet, but what can I do? It's not like I can stop time or anything. ;)

We enjoyed another chillaxing Sunday: caught up on a bunch of shows and even managed to squeeze in a movie. Yay. It was very cool. And the weather was so summerlike. Which I'm absolutely lovin', because I'm totally over the rainy crap weather we've been having lately. :(

Bring on the sunshine, I say! (Just looked out the window... looks like we're heading into overcast territory. Boo!)

Anyway, I've got some edits to tackle today (and maybe tomorrow). At the moment I'm sitting on pg24/85, which is a pretty cool headstart. I'm going to spend the rest of the day on this first round of edits, so I'm going to push as far as I can. Of course, I'm secretly hoping to get it outta the way by this arvo, when I head out to pick my daughter up from school. We'll see.

Hope you all have a great week! :)

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Killjoys, make some noise!



The Killjoys rock! ;)

Saturday, 20 November 2010

NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro

In one of the most acclaimed and strange novels of recent years, Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewered version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now 31, Never Let Me Go hauntingly dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School, and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of life.

I've heard some really good things about this book, so when I found it at the library I borrowed it. And I'm really glad that I did. This was one of those books that seems so simple and straightforward when you first read the blurb and get started. Almost as if the narrator's voice gets so into your head that everything instantly clicks together.

Well, almost everything.

See, it starts out with a woman called Kathy H. She's a carer, and is 31 years old. She throws you into the middle of her seemingly normal world by mentioning things like 'carer', 'donors', and 'donations'. Then she starts talking about Hailsham (where she went to school) and before too long throws you back into her childhood, teens, and later life. She recounts all the special and meaningful times in her life--most of which include her close friends Ruth and Tommy. These three had very complicated friendships that twisted them together.

I know it sounds like the memoir of a woman who's getting ready to end her career, but it's much more than that. The flashbacks are her way of making the reader understand not only how strange and hard her life was growing up, filled with mystery and assumptions, but also to make us see that there's something much deeper going on. Something no one expects.

I don't want to ruin the surprise, because really, it's quite shocking. Not so much what the kids from Hailsham were because I kinda figured that out along the way, there were certainly enough clues peppered into the story... but because it's just so darn sad.

This is a heartbreaking tale of strong friendship, love, betrayals, growing up in an uncertain world of speculation, and finally realising that there's only one function in this world for Hailsham students. :(

I really enjoyed this story. I think it's one that'll keep coming back into my head, and will make me realise another piece of the puzzle long after reading it. This is certainly a story that'll make you think.

Here's the movie trailer, btw. Though, you might not want to watch it if you intend to read the book first:

Hi, on a Saturday!

Well, I've been up since about 4AM this morning, so I might be a little loopy right now. lol.

Plus, I've been listening to MCR all morning. Well, okay, that's not all I've been doing. I got started on my latest lot of edits: the first round of DEMON OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT--which is the sequel to DEMON OF CHRISTMAS PAST--featuring Noel & Natala. I managed to get 14/83pgs done. That's not bad for a start. I had to stop when my daughter woke up, so I squeezed in a little yoga, too. :)

Anyway. That's it for now.


The Killjoys rock! ;)

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Whoa, is it Thursday already?

Seriously. It's almost the end of another week and I've fallen behind on my blogging over here. I'd been so good most of the month, too.

Anyway. There's a good reason for that. I've been busy writing up a storm. Or at least, that's what I was doing yesterday and this morning.

I give you my progress:

•NaNo word count: 53,915.

As you can see, I've met the NaNoWriMo goal already. I actually passed the 50k-mark yesterday afternoon, but hadn't finished the story. I did that this morning, after adding another 3k+ before my daughter had even woken up. Heck, she's still sleeping. But hubby started work super early, and although I felt like shite this morning, I wanted to get stuck into the writing first thing. It always sets me on a nice and very productive path for the rest of the day. :)

So, the first draft of Sunny & Silver's short novel is now done. Except, I'd like to open up the Word doc either later on, or maybe tomorrow, so I can read the last three or four chapters again. Whenever I get to the end of the story, it always ends up being a mad dash to get all the thoughts, scenes, and dialogue outta my head. And sometimes that means I leave something out and just need to give it one final read through before putting it aside for next year. I won't be revising it until 2011.

Phew. My fingers, wrists, arms, and shoulders are aching now. I need a break!

Have a great day.

PS. I got a really great review for THE SOUL DEALER: Redemption from the BookWenches. You can read it here. Yay! Thanks Teagan. :) 

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

STOLEN by Lucy Christopher

Gemma, 16, is on layover at Bangkok Airport, en route with her parents to a vacation in Vietnam. She steps away for just a second, to get a cup of coffee. Ty--rugged, tan, too old, oddly familiar--pays for Gemma's drink. And drugs it. They talk. Their hands touch. And before Gemma knows what's happening, Ty takes her. Steals her away. The unknowing object of a long obsession, Gemma has been kidnapped by her stalker and brought to the desolate Australian Outback.

STOLEN is her gripping story of survival, of how she has to come to terms with her living nightmare--or die trying to fight it.

I found this book at the library and borrowed it right away. It's one of those books that I've noticed online several times and had my eye on it, but for some reason never got around to actually buying it. It's just one of those things, and I've got many other books on the same list. I really should write them down, instead of trying to keep them inside my head...

Anyway. It took me a few days to read it because I was so wrapped up in my own writing, but when I got to the last 100pgs, I just read it in one sitting. This is quite an intense book, and it deals with a horrible subject because the main character--Gemma--gets kidnapped by a man at Bangkok Airport. He takes her to Australia, to the middle of nowhere and she hates every minute of it.

The strange thing about the captor, Ty, is that as delusional, strange, and even crazy as he is, he really loves Gemma. So much that he's convinced that by taking her away from her parents, friends, and London, he's actually doing her a favour. He's also positive that the longer she stays with him, the sooner she'll fall for him too. It's quite bizarre, but even stranger is the problematic relationship between them. He might want her, but he never actually physically hurt her.

Well, except for 'stealing' her from her life.

In the end, the experience really screws her around and she winds up both hating and loving him (in some really screwed up Stockholm syndrome way). I also didn't see the end coming, and was really glad to see that it surprised me. There was nothing predictable about this story.

It was scary, haunting, and really sad... but I'm sure glad that I finally read it. :)

Monday, 15 November 2010

Monday again

After such a lovely summer weekend, who's ready for Monday? Not me, that's for sure.

I pretty much took yesterday off from everything but hanging out with hubby, daughter, and kitty... I think I needed that time to recharge.

We also went to a bookstore that was interested in the 20+ books I no longer wanted on my bookshelf. So cool, my bookshelf feels lighter, a little easier to deal with now. And then we went for a lovely, long walk before heading home. It turned out to be a very nice Sunday. We got an early start, so we had the rest of the arvo to just chill.

Speaking of early starts, here are the stats for NaNo-slash-editing:

•NaNo word count: 37,487
•Final round edits: done & emailed on Saturday

That's another lot of editing that's completely done. Yay!

Today, I added another 2k to my NaNo story, and am hoping to pass the 40k mark. I think that taking yesterday off from writing has helped my mind get in the right space, and I pretty much know where I need to go now. So, hopefully, I'll be able to get this story completely outta my head by the end of the week. :)

Oh, and I noticed that two more of the Static Movement anthologies I've got stories in are now available! CHRISTMAS FEAR has my story, Santa Rising in it. And FAERIES actually has my Breena Trilogy, which consists of longer short stories. :) Very exciting stuff!

That's it for now. I've got to get my daughter ready for school. See ya later!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

SUPERNATURAL: Rising Son by Peter Johnston, Rebecca Dessertine, Diego Olmos

Dean and Sam Winchester were raised as Hunters by their widowed father, seeking vengeance on the supernatural elements that took their mother from them. But the road to vengeance is a dark one, and is it a place where children can have any semblance of a life?

Picking up several years after Supernatural: Origins, the boys are now old enough to join John on his cross-country "hunting trips." Amid the carnage and violence, John's seeking something specific: any information on why his wife was murdered. But is he prepared for the answers that he'll find? And is he willing to sacrifice his 11-year-old son Dean to this hard, lonely life by giving him his first "hunt"?
When hubby pointed out this comic book at the local library, I knew I had to borrow it... and I'm glad I did. :)

I picked it up last night and read it in one sitting. It's a really interesting story that takes places when John Winchester is trying to figure out why Mary's relatives seem to be going missing. Dean and Sam are kids, but this is also when John's life takes a turn that makes him realise that no matter how hard he's trying to protect and keep the boys out of this harsh life he's leading, they're very much a part of it.

It's when Dean loses his innocence and starts to see people and situations for what they really are. It's also when we realise that something not-quite-right is going on with Sammy--that demons have got their eye on him and aren't willing to let go until they get their grubby hands on him. Oh, and this also marks the first time the boys meet Bobby. Awesome!

I thought it fit perfectly into the Supernatural world, and I always enjoy finding out more about John Winchester. Oh, plus, I was really surprised at the inclusion of Lilith. I didn't expect her to pop up in their lives so early on. Wonder if Sam forgot all about that when he was older, or if someone made them forget along the way? ;)

Either way, this was a really fun and spooky comic that also looks beautiful. I really liked it!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Back to the NaNo-slash-thing...

That's right, I've got the final round of edits for my upcoming Evernight Publishing novella to do. So I got started on it yesterday.

Here are the stats for NaNo-slash-editing:

•NaNo word count: 32,768
•Final round edits page count: 37/87

The NaNo word count includes the 554 words that I added this morning. Yeah, total word count fail, lol. But I did wake up with a very annoying headache, and I'm still feeling super tired. I literally fell into bed last night, I was that tired!

Anyway, no excuses. I really want to get as much as I can done of the edits, because I need to get them done and emailed in by tomorrow morning at the latest. I don't want them to carry into the new week. And I'd really like to hit the NaNoWriMo story hard as of next Monday, because I'm now in the downward spiral and things are going to happen pretty fast from now on. And with just over 17k words left to reach my NaNoWriMo goal, I can't help but wonder if that's going to be enough to finish off the story.

Either way, I'm having a lot of fun with Sunny & Silver, and look forward to getting to the end.

Sunny and Silver have been separated at the moment. Something that I really didn't envision when I first got started on this novel. Of course, I knew they'd get to this 'place', but I thought they'd arrive together. Guess I was wrong, huh?

Looks like I've got a busy day ahead of me, because I might be mainly focusing on the edits, but I still want to write the 1,667 words minimum/day required. And if I can get this edit done today, then I'll be able to add some more wordage tomorrow morning--hubby's working.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

MY SWORDHAND IS SINGING by Marcus Sedgwick

When Tomas and his son, Peter, settle in Chust as woodcutters, Tomas digs a channel of fast-flowing waters around their hut, so they have their own little island kingdom. Peter doesn't understand why his father has done this, nor why his father carries a long, battered box, whose mysterious contents he is forbidden to know.

But Tomas is a man with a past: a past that is tracking him with deadly intent, and when the dead of Chust begin to rise from their graves, both father and son must face a soulless enemy and a terrifying destiny.

Well, this is the third Marcus Sedgwick book I've read, and I have to admit that I'm totally hooked on his stories. Seriously, they're so awesome and totally suck me in!

Peter and his father, Tomas, have spent their lives moving from one place to another but have finally decided to settle down in the very small village of Chust. They might have spent a bit of time there already, but the woodcutter and his son are still considered outsiders. Tomas doesn't help, with his drunken ways, leaving his son to pick up the slack.

Chust is a place with a small population, many customs, superstitions, old stories, and some very dark woods that seem to be very much alive. 

When people start dying and their loved ones claim they visit them at night, most are disregarded. Well, until the girl that Peter likes, Agnes, finds herself in the middle of a morbid ceremony that marries her to a dead man and puts her in an isolated hut in the middle of nowhere. Unable to bear her being alone in there, Peter visits her one night, and that's when they both realise that not only are the dead returning from their graves, but they're taking more people with them, too.

Around this time, a bunch of mysterious gypsies come to town, seemingly to perform and sing for a few coins, but are really there for a much deeper reason. The very alluring Sofia catches Peter's eye and seems to be keen on him too. What he doesn't know is that these gypsies share a very important past with his father--though it does make sense out of why they've spent most of their lives moving.

Tomas's past leads them both to a very frightening conclusion that sets Peter on a new path.

My Swordhand is Singing was awesome! Seriously, it had a spooky air about it. Setting it during the dead of winter in a snow-drenched town with frightening creatures haunting the night, was great and provided plenty of tension. I also enjoyed the very unstable and complicated relationship between a drunken father trying to forget and hide his past, and a hardworking son who is willing to do whatever it takes to keep them together.

I'm a total sucker for vampires, and I loved this version of the myth. Oh, and I thought the creepy Song of the Miorita was a wonderful addition, too.  

This is another winner, and I can't wait to read more of Marcus Sedgwick's novels. :)

My Swordhand is Singing, July 2007, ISBN 9781842555583, Orion Children's Books

So tired!

Yeah, looks like it's going to be another one of those days. *yawn*

We did a weights workout last night and then had to wake up at 4am, so that pretty much explains why everything hurt as soon as I opened my eyes. lol.

Still, the day must go on.

First thing I did was get stuck into my NaNoWriMo story:

•NaNo word count: 32,214.

I managed to add 2,195 words this morning, but that might be all that I add today. Not sure yet. I've got some edits I need to do--final round of DEMON OF CHRISTMAS PAST--and might just hit it for the rest of the day, and see how far I get. Might be a good idea, you know?

Well, looks like I've got another busy day ahead of me. Speak to you tomorrow!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Good morning!

I hope it ends up being a good day, too. ;)

I actually got stuck into writing as soon as hubby walked out the door. I knew I wouldn't get too many words added before my daughter woke up, but some is much better than none.

So, I ended up adding another (just over) 1k. And of course, I added some yesterday too. This is where my word count's sitting right now:

•NaNo word count: 27,452.

Today, I'm hoping to cross the 30k mark, which will make me exactly one week ahead of my daily-word-count goal. Yay. Fingers crossed.

Oh, and I read this article yesterday. How freaky is this, huh? I never would've thought this was possible, lol. Very interesting experiment! But I guess it does go to show that portion control is a good thing. ;)

Have a nice day!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Totally Dizzy

Yeah, not sure what's going on there... but I feel dizzy. I woke up that way, and suspect that it might have something to do with not getting enough sleep. :/

Think I should try to get an early one tonight. Yeah.

Yesterday, I wound up writing up a storm, and by the time I headed out to pick my daughter up from school, I'd managed to add over 7k to my NaNoWriMo story:

•NaNo word count: 23,744.

I was pleasantly shocked. And am very excited about the fact that this current word count has taken me over my Friday word count target. How cool is that? Anything I manage to add from now on is just going to be an added extra, and it'll help get me further ahead. Awesome stuff! ;)

Hubby started at normal time this morning, so instead of getting stuck into the NaNo right away, I actually finished reading this book, and then proofread my review for this one. Yeah, thought I'd squeeze in a few other things since I knew my daughter would get up sooner than later. But as soon as I get back, it's time to hit the word count again.

Well, see ya!

REVOLVER by Marcus Sedgwick


1910. A cabin north of the Arctic Circle. Fifteen-year-old Sig Andersson is alone. Alone, except for the corpse of his father, who died earlier that day after falling through a weak spot on the ice-covered lake. His sister, Anna, and step-mother, Nadya, have gone to the local town for help.

Then comes a knock at the door. It’s a man, the flash of a revolver’s butt at his hip, and a mean glare in his eyes. Sig has never seen him before but Wolff claims to have unfinished business with his father. As Sig gradually learns the awful truth about Wolff’s connection to his father, his thoughts are drawn to a certain box hidden on a shelf in the storeroom, in which lies his father’s prized possession – a revolver. When Anna returns alone, and Wolff begins to close in, Sig’s choice is pulled into sharp focus. Should he use the gun, or not?

After reading and really enjoying WHITE CROW, I was very excited about reading other Marcus Sedgwick books. And thanks to Hachette Children's Books, I now have three on my bookshelf. Yay. :)

I was actually looking at them last night and decided to start reading this one--just to get a taste of it, see what the first chapter was like. Before I realised it, I was about twenty pages away from finishing it. Seriously, it was that good.

The book starts in 1910, and focuses on Sig Andersson. He's a teenage boy who lives near the Artic Circle with his father, step-mother (Nadya), and sister (Anna). They live a simple existence in an isolated cabin, but one day his life is turned upside down when he finds the dead body of his father on the ice. With the help of Nadya and Anna, the three of them get the corpse off the ice and into their cabin.

When the two females go off to get help, Sig sits in the empty cabin by himself. Watching, waiting, and trying to imagine how his father had gotten himself into a situation that killed him. He can't understand why he took the chance, when they all know better. As he thinks the day away, a strange man comes to the door. He's of giant stature, calls himself Wolff, and claims to have some business with Sig's father, Einar. The creepy man refuses to leave, and even pushes himself inside the cabin.

After Wolff tells Sig that Einar stole something from him and now that he's dead Sig must deal with it, a horrifying and tense experience follows. One that will test Sig's memory and make him remember the lessons his father taught him about the Colt that he treasured for years.

We also get a glimpse of the past and see things through Einar's point of view back in 1899. I loved finding out about what happened in the secluded and harsh town of Nome, where everything changed forever after Einar was given the job of Assay Clerk (tests gold).

Revolver was an interesting and fast-paced book that kept me hanging at the edge of my seat. The tension was amazing, and kept mounting and mounting until I just had to know how things were going to end between Sig and Wolff. The ending didn't disappoint, and also revealed a mystery that popped up along the way. This was an amazing thriller. 

This is a book filled with twists, turns, and a past that catches up with a man who's left his son to deal with it. Oh, and the isolation and snow set a wonderfully creepy and atmospheric setting, too. Loved it!

Where's the next Marcus Sedgwick book? That's right, on my bookshelf. ;)

Revolver, July 2010, ISBN 9781444000054, Orion Children's Books

Monday, 8 November 2010

The weekends rock!

Seriously, they do. We had a great time. Especially since hubby didn't work on Saturday. I was really glad because he got to sleep in for two days in a row, which has become quite a luxury. :)

But, I still managed to add a bit to my NaNoWriMo story on Saturday (2,010w), though I didn't add a single word yesterday. lol.

Still, it was cool, because having yesterday off helped me figure out what's going to happen next. I'm about to inject this story with some unexpected badness. Sunny's going to get herself into some trouble, that's for sure.

Anyway, I really wanted to add another 2k before my daughter woke up and instead ended up adding 3,761 words. So surprised, but it's awesome, right? This is where I'm at as of this morning's session:

•NaNo word count: 20,045.

That actually takes me very close to my Thursday target, which is 20,457 words. Yikes! I reckon it's always good to get ahead. Considering that I'm expecting the final round of edits for DEMON OF CHRISTMAS PAST sometime this week, it'll definitely help.

I started to read the Rose series to my daughter this moring. It starts with the book, ROSE. The cover's so cute, and I'm actually also interested in reading about this magical world. Daughter really enjoyed the first chapter this morning. I'll probably try to squeeze in one chapter in the morning before school, and one before bedtime.

Well, that's it for now. I'm hoping to add at least another 2k to my NaNo story during the day. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

NIGHTSHADE by Andrea Cremer

She can control her pack, but not her heart....

While other teenage girls daydream about boys, Calla Tor imagines ripping out her enemies throats. And she wouldn t have it any other way. Calla was born a warrior and on her eighteenth-birthday she ll become the alpha female of the next generation of Guardian wolves.

But Calla s predestined path veers off course the moment she saves the life of a wayward hiker, a boy her own age. This human boy s secret will turn the young pack's world upside down and forever alter the outcome of the centuries-old Witches' War that surrounds them all...

Let me start with: Wow! Just wow. Yes. If I had to sum up this gorgeous book with only one word, that would be it. It's an amazing story that kept me glued to every page.

Calla is a werewolf. Except, in this world werewolves are called Guardians. They are the bodyguards/warriors of the Keepers. The Keepers are witches. But that's not all there is in this fascinating paranormal world. There are also some very scary incubi and succubi, a horrid thing called the Fallen, some other very creepy monsters, and Searchers. Searchers are the enemies of the Keepers, and that makes them the enemy of the Guardians too.

The story starts with Calla. She's the narrator of this book and lets you in so deeply into her very soul that I was captivated by her every word. She started out being just like every other wolf who is expected to walk the line and take orders from their superiors, but eventually becomes a bit of a rebel who starts questioning just about everything she's taught to believe in.

Calla's also an Alpha female, which means that the Keepers have chosen an Alpha male for her. On Samhain, Calla and Ren will take part in the 'union'. They'll become mates and will join their separate packs--Nightshade and Bane--to form one, called Haldis. She might not love Ren, but she finds herself spending more time with him for the sake of the pack. Of course, that's made difficult after she saves a human boy who's about to get attacked by a bear. This boy--Shay--starts going to their school, and keeps approaching her. As much as she wants him to stay away, she's also drawn to Shay. Even if it's easy to get caught up in Ren's seductive web.

Torn between two very different guys, she starts to separate her life into pack and Shay. With her pack, she's helping them form a bond that pleases the Keepers. And with Shay, she starts to discover love and spends countless of hours doing research and finding out that the world she lives in isn't the way she always believed it to be. This leads to uncovering a lot of secrets, and her having to do something forbidden in order to save her own life.

Nightshade is a book that packs a punch! It's a fantastic story with such intricate worldbuilding that as each layer was peeled away, I wanted to know more. No, I needed to know more. This story takes your breath away at times, makes you feel as if you're about to be swallowed by an abyss of heartbreak, before seeing the light again. Only to fall back in. It's like walking a tightrope--exciting, exhilarating, but scary too. I was instantly hooked, and loved every minute of it.

This rich-filled plot, with characters that draw you in so much you just want to know more and more about them the more you read, is unique and wonderful.

This is certainly a series that I can see becoming one of my faves. Have you seen the beautiful cover for the next book, WOLFSBANE? Isn't it gorgeous? Can't wait to read it.

Nightshade: Witches War #1, November 2010, ISBN 9781907410277, Atom Paperback

Saturday, 6 November 2010

The second Soul Dealer novella is here!

This is the companion story to THE SOUL DEALER: Deception.

If you ever wondered what happened to Cain, this is where the answer lies...

When someone is killed too suddenly or tragically, there’s a creature ready to bargain for their soul…

Cain was killed by a sorcerer and dumped inside an empty room. Alone, with only his thoughts to torment him, he begins to regret betraying his best friend. So when a thing calling itself the Soul Dealer offers him a second chance at life, he accepts the challenge.

Sandy spends most of her nights alone. But tonight, in the beach cottage her parents left for her before they died, she plans to end the depression plaguing her every waking moment.

If Cain doesn’t stop Sandy before the end of All Hallows Eve, both of their souls will be lost.

 
 
 
Also, to celebrate the launch of their new website, Evernight Publishing has a contest you can enter!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

MCR are rockin' my world!

Here are the stats for Day 3 of my NaNo-slash-editing:

•NaNo word count: 8,128
•First round edits page count: 62/88

But of course, that's not an accurate-up-to-date account because I spent this morning adding some new words to the story. I managed to add over 2k before my daughter woke up, so the new word count is: 10,358.

Awesome! Very excited to be over my word count goal for today. And because of that, I might just take the rest of the day to finish the novella edit. I have 26pgs left to do, and although I might not be able to get that done before lunchtime today, I might just keep working until I do get it done & email it in. That'll mean that I can spend all tomorrow adding new words to NaNoWriMo.

Man, I had a reward lined up for today, too. As soon as I got my required morning word count and my daughter woke up, I was going to listen to the new MCR single on their website. And man, it's absolutely AWESOME! I am so loving what they've shared with the world so far. I mean, I'm a huge fan anyway, so I've been looking forward to this album, but seeing what's on offer is very exciting. I love the story so far.

Here's a trailer for the upcoming clip:


Awesome, huh? I can't wait to watch the whole thing. I'm really lovin' this futuristic story they're telling with their songs, it's totally awesome. :) Oh, and I'm really looking forward to getting my raygun, lol.

Well, see ya later!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Looks like a blue sky today

About time.

Seriously, it's been so dark and dreary lately that I keep forgetting this is supposed to be spring. :/ Bring on the warm, pleasant days and keep the rain away for a little while. I'm getting sick of my raincoat. lol.

Well, the second day of NaNo-slash-editing worked out okay. Here are the stats:

•NaNo word count: 5,605
•First round edits page count: 44/88

I've managed to stay a little ahead of both the NaNoWriMo novel and the edits. Seriously, if I can get just over 20 pages of editing done today, I might just be able to hand in the novella edits tomorrow. That'll be a day early, and would give me the Friday to concetrate solely on my first draft. Fingers crossed.

I'm working on a very unforgiving schedule at the moment. I've got no choice if I want to complete (and win NaNo for a fifth time) these two goals. I've been squeezing in most of the other (domestic-type) stuff I need to do daily in the morning or afternoon. During the day, most of my time is divided into writing and editing. Which really isn't as bad as it sounds, you know? I just gotta stay motivated, that's all.

Oh, and I added some new words this morning. I'm now up to 7,036 words. Very cool! I'm really getting into the swing of this story now. I mean, I've been itching to get started for weeks, but when you start getting everything outta your head and onto screen/paper, you gotta find your groove. I think I'm finding my way there. 

Sunny and Silver might appear to be in paradise at the moment, but it's all about to change... 

After my walk, it's back to the edits. See ya tomorrow!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

THE FLEDGING HANDBOOK by P.C. Cast & Kim Doner

A full colour, behind the scenes look at the bestselling world of the HOUSE OF NIGHT.

Merry meet, fledgling. I trust this guide will serve you well...
Every vampyre fledgling who arrives at the House of Night receives a copy of The Fledgling Handbook 101, and now, fans can have one, too, with this gorgeous must-have edition. Inside you ll find original stories, the complete vampyre history, inside info into rituals, vamp biology, and the Change, and much more.

I might have fallen behind on the actual reading of this wonderful and intriguing series, but it didn't stop me from loving and enjoying this handbook. As I turned the pages of this stunning book, I felt as if I'd just been enrolled into this school and was learning the history and what to expect after the Change.

It's brilliant--packed full of facts, class emblems, rituals, history, mythology, explanations, and there's even blank spaces to fill in your personal Fledging details. ;) And the pictures, my gosh, the art is beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous. This book was certainly put together with great care and thought, it's an outstanding addition to an already successful series and I think everyone who enjoys the series needs to have a copy.

The Fledging Handbook is beautifully made and packed full of vampyre goodness. It's one of those books that you hold and read in awe. It's certainly a winner!

I know I'll be referring to it again, that's for sure. :)

The Fledgling Handbook, November 2010, ISBN 9781907410703, Atom Hardback

Getting into the flow...

Yeah, that's how I'm feeling at the moment. Well, it's either that, or exactly how the monkey on the left feels. lmao.

I have to admit that my first day of NaNo-slash-editing worked out quite well. Here are the stats:
  • NaNo word count: 3,560
  • First round edits page count: 23/87
I managed to go over both of my daily goals for Monday, which is totally awesome. I hope I can keep it up all week.

The best way to (try to) achieve this is by getting stuck into the NaNo writing as soon as hubby leaves for work in the morning (6am), and keep going until my daughter wakes up. Then, it's time to get her ready for school, squeeze in a little blogging, and a few other domestic things, before heading out. I drop her off at school, plug in my MP3 player and listen to some music while I go for my walk around the river. As soon as I get back home, I sit down in front of the computer with a snack and work on edits for a few hours. Lunchtime hits. After lunch, I have a few more hours to add some wordage to the NaNo novel.

Phew. It doesn't leave much spare time, which makes me wonder if I'll squeeze in any reading time at all this month. Although, I did do plenty of reading last night. It's a day-by-day thing, I guess.

Well, speaking of that. I need to go now. Oh, but before I do, as of right now my word count is: 4,214. I had a pretty good run this morning. Awesome!

Monday, 1 November 2010

NaNoWriMo is... on!

And of course... the website's going nuts already. It's a tradition, happens every year. ;)

Anyway. I got started on my story early this morning. I've added the first 1,347 words. Yay. Not a bad start. I wanted to add a short Prologue at the beginning, and that's exactly what I've just done. Cool.

I have to pace myself this week, because not only am I starting NaNo, but I'm also going to do the first round of edits for my first Christmas novella contracted with Evernight Publishing. Yep, that's right. It's going to be a very busy week. But if I stick to my daily goals, I think I can manage it.

Here's my plan:
  • Write 2,273 words every day this week. That'll get me to my weekly goal of 11,365 words by the weekend.
  • Edit 18 pages every day this week. That'll get me to the end of the 87pg novella by the weekend.   
So, there it is. That's how I have to work my week. I was thinking that if I get stuck into my NaNo story first thing in the morning, then when I get back from my walk I can work on the novella edit. Keep working on that until lunchtime, hopefully meet my 18pg/day goal, and then go back to the first draft writing after lunch.

It's going to be a tight squeeze, but I'll test it out today to see how I go. So far, though, I've managed to get over 1,300 words, which means that all I need to meet my goal for today is another 1k. Cool, right? Of course, if I get more edits or something that I hadn't expected pops in unannounced, it'll complicate everything. But there's no point in thinking about that now, right? I'm going to stick to my goals.

Hope you all have a great first week of November!

 
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