Monday 30 July 2012

Long time no blog...

And there are plenty of reasons why. Yikes!
So much has been going on around here lately. There have been many changes in the Sfetsos household, and it was hard to find any extra time to add a post.

Last week, I had an impossible deadline to complete within 48 hours. I got it done, but not without many hours in front of the computer and blurry, sore eyes. I was exhausted by the end of it.

The important thing is that I got it done and SPLIT AT THE SEAMS will be available on August 21. Yay. Very exciting.

Then, after reading this very important blog post I decided it was time for me to go through all of my blog entries and start deleting pics. That's right, I went through my massive archive and deleted any/every pic that wasn't something I took or my daughter made for me. It took several days to go through everything and then double check that every picture was completely gone, but I feel a LOT better now.

We all love to make our blog posts look pretty with corresponding pics, but it's not worth accidentally stealing someone else's picture. I mean, I was mostly posting pics from Glitter Graphics, which clearly states you can use their pics on your blog, websites, etc... but what if someone used someone else's picture to create their own? It's just too risky. So I decided that deleting everything was the best option.

From now on, I'll only be posting pics that I've taken. I'll also post cute pics that my daughter makes on her iPad, and character dolls. And book covers, plus movie posters. But that's about it. This means that a lot of my past posts will now be picture-less, but that's okay. I'm not going to go back and fill them in. That would take up way too much time.

So much going on.

As you can see from today's picture. We went to watch THE DARK KNIGHT RISES at IMAX yesterday. And OMG, it was fantastic! I absolutely loved it. What a dark and gritty story. I also loved how it wrapped up the trilogy. I'm sad to see the trilogy end, but am very excited about how it ended. :D

Well. I guess that's it for today. Hubby started a new job today. Daughter's at school. And I've got a to-do list to take care of. And plenty of thinking to do...

See ya later!

Saturday 28 July 2012

THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J. Maas

Meet Celaena Sardothien.Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament - fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin's heart be melted?

I was really looking forward to getting stuck into this book, and although real life got in the way more than I wanted it to while reading it, I still managed to enjoy it very much. Oh, and it didn't disappoint!

Celaena Sardothien is an assassin. Actually, she's the best and most feared assassin. But after she was betrayed and caught, she ended up serving time in the hellish salt mines of Endovier. For a whole year she's been slaving away, malnourished and beaten in a place where the prisoners are pretty much forgotten and left to die.

So when the Captain of the Royal Guard--Chaol Westfall--and the Crown Prince of Adarlan--Dorian Havilliard--offer her a deal, she accepts the opportunity to become the King's Champion under an alias. Even if she despises the awful and cruel King of Adarlan. Still, competing in this tournament offers her a chance to temporary live outside of prison, as well as the offer of real freedom after she serves her time with the ruthless king.

However, what she didn't expect was to discover some buried, ancient secrets beneath the castle. Or to make such good friends, and even lose her heart. Celaena is forced to accept a lot of new things. She has to learn to trust other people again, after being let down by everyone. And although she's not afraid to get her hands dirty and is strong enough to defeat the other competitors, there's plenty of scheming going on behind the scenes. Her journey is an amazing one!

And proves that even the toughest of people have vulnerabilities. It's what makes us human.

Throne of Glass was an outstanding, well written book! I loved how it was primarily told from Celaena's POV, but we also got glimpses of what other characters were doing. This intriguing book hooks you in from the very beginning... Awesome!

This is what the front and back covers look like together:

Beautiful, aren't they?

Throne of Glass, August 2012, ISBN 9781408832332, Bloomsbury

Thursday 19 July 2012


This week started out with my daughter still at home, and a little last-minute tweaking on the edit I completed last week.

But when Tuesday came around, it was time for my daughter to go back to school. I spent most of that day sitting on the couch reading. It was nice, though a little intense because I was reading the conclusion of a zombie book. Love 'em! ;)

Yesterday was a little different.

I started out with the intention of spending most of the day reading this book, but ended up listening to some Linkin Park (the new album) while adding bits & pieces into my Sierra Fox Series Bible. I even opened up the first draft doc and created a second draft doc so I could make a few (slight) changes. And tidied up the series files. Nothing huge, but essential. The little things need to be kept up to date.

Today will probably be more of the same. I've got a few things to research, some notes to take, a timeline to set, and some reading to do. I wish I could just sit on the couch and do nothing but read because I'm enjoying this book, but Sierra's world just keeps spinning around inside my head. And when that happens, it's best to just get everything down on paper before my brain explodes. LOL.

Well, that's what I've been up to lately. It's nice to get a breather, though. No deadlines for this week means I can relax a little, which feels good after some intense work. :)

See ya!

Tuesday 17 July 2012

SIEGE by Rhiannon Frater

Siege is the conclusion to Rhiannon Frater’s As the World Dies trilogy...

The zombie illness has shattered civilization. The survivors who have found tenuous safety in Texas defend their fort against the walking dead and living bandits.

Katie has made peace with the death of her wife and is pregnant and married to Travis, who has been elected Mayor. Jenni, her stepson, Jason; and Juan—Travis’s righthand man—are a happy family, though Jenni suffers from PTSD. Both women are deadly zombie killers.

In Siege, the people of Ashley Oaks are stunned to discover that the vice president of the United States is alive and commanding the remnants of the US military. What’s left of the US government has plans for this group of determined survivors.


This is the final book in the As The World Dies Trilogy and I've been looking forward to reading it. Though I have to admit that I put it off for as long as I could because I knew that once I read this, Katie and Jenni's stories were done. :(

The Ashley Oaks fort has finally become a safe place to live. There's a real sense of community, people are living their lives, new people are constantly being rescued and welcomed into the fold. Jenni is happy with the love of her life, Juan. Katie and Travis are happily married and expecting their first child.

However, the world outside is still infested with zombies, as well as a very human threat who wants to take control of the fort and push her own ideas of what the new world order should be.

Not to mention that when the zombie threat once again becomes a very serious issue, people can do some really strange things. All of a sudden, there's fighting, chaos, kidnappings, and a whole bunch of surprises I didn't expect.

The story is once again told in the POV of several survivors, each one adding a little more to the story as it moves along to a devastating climax.

I absolutely LOVED this book! It's got some pretty intense, action-packed scenes, as well as heartbreaking ones. There were several times when I was holding my breath and my heart was pounding so hard, I just couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next. I also got tears in my eyes several times, because some very sad things happen...

This is definitely one of the best trilogies I've ever read. Loved it.

Saturday 14 July 2012

Is it the weekend already?

I have to slot things into my day to make sure I maximise my time. And that's exactly what I've been doing this week, which is even harder when your child is on school holidays.

Still, she's eleven (turning twelve later this year) and very understanding, even supportive. So it's actually been a nice few weeks with her.

The good news is that the edit is now done! I just finished it up this morning and even emailed it back to my editor. *collapse*

Seriously, it was a lot of fun to edit Sierra's second book... but there was a lot more work involved in the second half of the book than in the first. So even though I breezed through the first 162 pages, it took longer to get through the remaining 112. I'm very happy with how it turned out. It's very exciting, and just makes me want to dive right into the revision for Book #3. But I can't. I should leave a few more weeks before returning to it.

I'm going to reward myself by spending the rest of the weekend hanging out with hubby and daughter. I'll also sneak in some reading. I started this excellent zombie book at the beginning of the week, but haven't gotten very far because the edits were pretty much consuming every spare moment of this week. ;)

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday 10 July 2012

It's edit time!

Yep. It is. And that means I'm spending just about every moment I have during the day on this novel edit. It's not as easy as it sounds because I've still got my daughter at home with me--on school holidays--so I still have to find some sort of balance.

I got stuck into it yesterday and found that the beginning of the novel was pretty straightforward. Nothing too big to tackle, so I got a lot done. Today's session, however, involved a lot more work. Phew.

Still, I knew before I started that there would be two/three chapters that might require complete reconstruction/s. I spent most of the weekend thinking about how I was going to tackle it, and so far it's going according to plan. Fingers crossed that it stays that way.

At the moment, I've reached page 162/273. I'm pretty happy with that progress, and would love to have this done and emailed back to my editor by the end of this week. The book's release is getting closer and closer, so the sooner I get it done the better it is for everyone. :)

Oh, right now my daughter is reading the only YA book I've written. It's a futuristic with some fantasy elements, and so far she's really enjoying it. This makes me very happy on both a writer and mother level. Can't wait to see what she thinks once she's finished.

Looks like my reading will take a backseat again this week, but I'm fine with it. I'm actually having a great time editing the second Sierra book. I love spending time in her world.

That's it for today's update. Hope you have a great day!

Sunday 8 July 2012

RECKONING by Jeaniene Frost

In New Orleans, a pair of undead serial killers is about to turn Mardi Gras into a horror show - unless the immortal hitman Bones can hunt them down first. From Jeaniene Frost comes a thrilling novella featuring characters from her New York Times bestselling Night Huntress series.

Originally appeared in the anthology Unbound.

This is a prequel novella for the Night Huntress series, and features Bones. It takes place in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. It's also set before Bones meets Cat.

Innocent people are dying and Bones has been hired to find the monsters responsible. While he's trying to figure it all out, he also finds himself trying to fight several attempts on his life, and realises the person who hired him isn't exactly telling the truth. But when the monsters set their sights on someone close to Bones, it becomes a violent race against the clock.

I really enjoyed this novella, and liked reading a story from the POV of the very mysterious Bones. At its core, it's a great urban fantasy story with a dark and sad ending.

Saturday 7 July 2012


He lives to kill monsters. He keeps his city safe. And his silver hollow-points and back-from-the-dead abilities take out any kind of unnatural threat. But between this bad-ass bounty hunter and rescuing the most helpless of victims stands the one evil he can't defeat...

For Deacon Chalk, loyalty is worth dying for. And now that something has taken were-spider Charlotte's un-hatched children and one of his closest friends, he'll tear up the human and supernatural underworlds to find them. But with his allies stripped away by an invincible Yakuza hit man and time running out, Deacon must face down the most ancient of demonic entities. And his last hope means surrendering to the inner darkness waiting hungrily to consume him...

I really enjoyed the prequel novella and first book in this series, so I was excited about reading this one too.

Deacon Chalk kills monsters. He's been doing it for a while. So when a night out with two of his friends turns into a search and rescue, he'll do anything he has to in order to find out who took Charlotte's unhatched baby spiders. And it becomes a race against the clock, which takes them through the underworld of assassins and leads to a very dangerous demon.

This was another great addition to this series, with an ending that I didn't expect. I also can't wait to read the next book in this series. :)

Friday 6 July 2012

Wow, it's SO early

So, why am I blogging this early? Hubby went into work super early this morning, so I've been up for almost two hours already. And I thought I'd squeeze in a blog entry now, before the day really starts and I lose track of time.

I seem to be doing that a lot lately.

The end of my daughter's first week of school holidays is here. It's been nice. We've been going for daily walks--except yesterday, because it was raining pretty hard when we were about to head out. She's also been working on some homework her teacher set for her, and we've both been reading on the couch together.

As you can see below, I've read three books this week. Which means I've cleared my review pile, yay! My daughter's reading her second book for the week. She's currently reading THE DEAD-TOSSED WAVES, so I better get the final book in the trilogy read real soon. I want to read it first, to make sure it's still okay for her to read. You know how it is.

I'm really excited about her being such an eager reader. Being a huge reader and a writer, picking up books is something I encouraged from a very young age. So it's awesome to see that she doesn't need to be pushed anymore, but actually enjoys it herself. She's also been taking part in the NSW Premier's Reading Challenge since she was in Kindy, and recently finished this year's challenge. I hope the interest she has in books continues into her teens. 

And speaking about my daughter... Remember how I mentioned we were going to be making an alternate cover? Well, here it is:

What do you think? We had a great time putting it together. I was mostly maneuvering my way around Photoshop, though she did help me figure out a few sticky points. But she pretty much picked the pics she wanted to use, designed where everything was going to go, picked the fonts and colours. It was great fun to put together, and she really likes it. I love the way it turned out, but loved the fact we did it together even more. :)

Well, this week has been great. I've gotten a chance to take a breather after all the work that I put in last month, and caught up on some smaller things that needed doing. Today, I'd like to grab my calendar and schedule when I'd like to work on the second and third drafts of Sierra Fox #3, plus scribble down a few notes about the series, and even think about what book I'd like to write during NaNoWriMo. I missed out last year because I had too much going on in the way of edits, but this year I'm determined to take part.

The edits I've been expecting haven't hit my Inbox this week, but I imagine they will next week. Well, I hope they do. LOL.

Okay, that's it for today. My daughter and I are going to watch TREASURE PLANET this afternoon. She watched this movie when she was really little and doesn't remember it, but I loved it and am looking forward to watching it again.

After tomorrow, I'll be a year older. :/

Have a great weekend!

Thursday 5 July 2012


A thrilling new novel based on Universal's big spring release Snow White and the Huntsman

A breathtaking new vision of a legendary tale. Snow White is the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen who is out to destroy her. But in a twist to the fairytale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed becomes her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.

Snow White has always been one of my favourite fairy tales, in its many incarnations. So I was really looking forward to reading the latest retelling.

Snow White was only a child when the beautiful and very alluring Ravenna entered her life. It didn't take long for her father, King Magnus, to fall in love with Ravenna and marry her. But on their wedding night Ravenna kills him, everyone else inside the castle, imprisons Snow White, and takes over the kingdom.

Ten years later, the world is a dark and horrible place. Tainted by Queen Ravenna's rule her magic is killing the landscape and leaching happiness from everyone.

Snow White is still imprisoned inside the tower dungeon, while Ravenna's brother helps her capture young girls so she can steal the essence from their youthful bodies. It's how she stays beautiful and youthful. The Queen rules with an iron fist, and when her beloved mirror tells her that she can seal her youth and immortality by taking Snow White's heart, she sends her brother to take care of it. But neither of them counted on Snow White's determination, need for freedom and will to live, so she escapes.

Knowing she can only seal her fate by getting Snow White back, the Queen forces the Huntsman to go and search for her. She offers him the one thing he wants the most--his dead wife returned. So he heads out to the Dark Forest, determined to bring the girl back, but instead finds himself in a surprising adventure that will affect everyone...

The story is told in multiple points of view, so the characterization in this book is wonderful. Snow White might be young and has been beaten down by the evil queen, but she's still strong, selfless and kind. She's determined to first escape the castle and later defeat the evil. I loved that she's a warrior, too. And Eric. Yeah, he was awesome! Such a tortured soul who'd closed off his heart and soul to the world after the death of his wife so much all he cares about is drinking. The interaction between them was excellent, and their growth is amazing.

I also have to admit that I liked Ravenna having a much darker, twisted backstory to explain why she's so horrible, magical, and only focused on one thing.

Snow White and the Huntsman is a magical, amazing, and beautiful retelling of a timeless tale. It hooked me in from the very beginning because not only is the story addictive, but it's very well written and the world described so vividly it comes alive with every word.

I absolutely loved it, and can't wait to see the movie! :)

Snow White and the Huntsman, July 2012, ISBN 9781907411700, Atom

Wednesday 4 July 2012

DEAD TIME by Anne Cassidy

Rose and Joshua first met when Joshua and his dad came to live with Rose and her mum. Then their world turns upside down when their mother and father go out for dinner one evening and never return. With police inquiries going nowhere, Rose is dispatched to live with her chilly, unfriendly grandmother and Joshua is sent to live with his uncle. Then Joshua comes to London to study and Rose is witness to not one, but two murders. Why is this happening to Rose? Can it be anything to do with the investigations Joshua has been doing into the disappearance of their parents?
A taut and pacy thriller that is the start of a stylish new series from an acclaimed writer for teens.

As soon as I received a copy of this book for review, I was intrigued by the concept.

Rose Smith was twelve, and Joshua Johnson was fourteen, the night their parents--Rose's mother and Joshua's father--went out to dinner and never came home. Rose was sent to her estranged grandmother in London and Joshua to his uncle in Newcastle. They haven't seen each other for five years, but for the last six months have been exchanging emails and she can't wait to see him. She still remembers the happy times they spent together when they all lived as a family for three years.

However, the night she's going to take a train to meet with Joshua, she runs into a troublemaker from school. Ricky Harris likes to bully her and has since she left boarding school and started attending a nearby college. However, while taunting her on the platform he gets a call and takes off. The next thing she knows, she hears him arguing with someone and finds him dead on the walkway.

Now, without intending to she's gotten herself caught up in not one but two investigations. Ricky isn't the only teenager found dead, and Joshua has become obsessed with solving the mystery of what happened to his father and Rose's mother the night they disappeared.

But some secrets are meant to stay hidden for a reason, and the deeper they delve into things, the more complicated everything becomes. Putting Rose right in the middle of danger, and leading them down an unexpected road...

I really enjoyed the depth of this story. Not just the mystery side of things--which was excellent, btw--but also the characters. Both Rose and Joshua are two kids who desperately miss their parents and the life they briefly shared. There's a very strong connection between them, a bond that will no doubt keep them together as the series moves along.

Also, I have to mention that I could totally relate to Rose. While some of the kids refer to her as posh or just hard to get along with, no one truly understands how hard her life is. Not only has she accepted that her mother is dead without having any real evidence, but she's living with a woman who doesn't know how to deal with her. It's no wonder that Rose comes across as standoffish, when she's actually being cautious. After the emotional devastation she's suffered in her young life, it's understandable. She's a wonderful and very complicated character, one I can't wait to find out more about. Especially, what exactly happened with her former best friend while she was in boarding school? Can't wait to find out more about that.

Dead Time is an engrossing book. As soon as I started it, I found it hard to put down. I just had to find out where everything was going to lead. This is one of the best YA crime books I've ever read. It's an edge-of-your-seat thriller, with several mysteries running at the same time, and has several twists and turns. And the main mystery is slowly unravelling.

It's amazing and I loved it! Looking forward to reading the next book!

Dead Time, June 2012, ISBN 9781408815502, Bloomsbury

Tuesday 3 July 2012


<--- This is another picture my daughter made on her iPad. It's another cutie, I reckon. ;)

Well, the first day of the school holidays went well.

We went for a lovely walk by the river in the morning. It was a little cold, but once we got a nice pace going it wasn't too bad. When we got home, I managed to finish the book I was reading before lunch. I even wrote a review for it, which you can find below.

It's so good to get back into reading. I haven't read anything--well, except for my own stories--for almost a month! Which is way too long.

I'm reading DEAD TIME by Anne Cassidy now. I knew nothing about this book, until I received it from Bloomsbury. I've read the first two chapters, and I have to admit that I'm intrigued.

Today, my daughter wants me to help her make an alternate cover for a book she read at school using Adobe Photoshop. It should be fun. We'll see how it turns out. Nice, I hope. I'm no expert on Photoshop, but I can make basic covers and graphics. And it's a lot of fun!

As far as writing goes, I'm enjoying a bit of a break from thinking about stuff. Oh, okay, I'm still totally thinking about Sierra's world because I really can't shake it, but at least it's all simmering in the back of my head. Instead of pounding inside my brain until I get it all out of there. :) I have to admit that I'm looking forward to going back there for two more books...

Did you all watch TRUE BLOOD? I enjoyed the latest ep, even if a lot of the time I'm still feeling a little WTF? about everything that's going on. The story's distanced itself so far from the Sookie Stackhouse books, that I really don't know what to expect. It's also kinda sad that everyone hates Sookie right now. Oh well, Alcide doesn't. ;) I secretly always wanted Sookie and Alcide to get together in the books, so maybe they will here... Who knows where this season is going? But apparently, there's going to be a sixth one!

Hope you have a great day!

Monday 2 July 2012

WICKED BUSINESS by Janet Evanovich

Lizzy Tucker's once normal life as a pastry chef in Salem, Massachusetts, turns upside down as she battles both sinister forces and an inconvenient attraction to her unnaturally talented but off-limits partner, Diesel.

When Harvard University English professor and dyed-in-the wool romantic Gilbert Reedy is mysteriously murdered and thrown off his fourth-floor balcony, Lizzy and Diesel take up his twenty-year quest for the Luxuria Stone, an ancient relic believed by some to be infused with the power of lust. Following clues contained in a cryptic nineteenth-century book of sonnets, Lizzy and Diesel tear through Boston catacombs, government buildings, and multimillion-dollar residences. On their way they'll leave behind a trail of robbed graves, public disturbances, and general mayhem.

Diesel's black sheep cousin, Gerwulf Grimoire, also wants the Stone. His motives are far from pure, and what he plans on doing with the treasure, no one knows . . . but Lizzy Tucker fears she's in his crosshairs. Never far and always watching, Grimoire has a growing, vested interest in the cupcake-baker-turned-finder-of-lost-things. As does another dangerous and dark opponent in the hunt--a devotee of lawlessness and chaos, known only as Anarchy.

Treasures will be sought, and the power of lust will be unmistakable as Lizzy and Diesel attempt to stay ahead of Anarchy, Grimoire, and his medieval minion, Hatchet, in this ancient game of twisted riddles and high-stakes hide-and-seek.

After reading the first Lizzy and Diesel book, I was really looking forward to catching up with them again.

Lizzy lives in Marblehead, in an old house she inherited from her great aunt. Life used to be normal, until Diesel and Wulf (his cousin) decided to make an appearance and turned everything upside down. Now, she's got a ninja cat and can find items of power. Not to mention that Diesel keeps popping in and out of her life--with his crude monkey--dragging her from one problem to another in their quest to beat Wulf in finding powerful Stones that relate to the seven deadly sins.

And she has to do all of this while still working a full-time job in a bakery. It's a job she loves, but getting caught in dangerous situations sometimes brings havoc to the store... or Anarchy.

When a Harvard professor is thrown off his balcony and dies, Diesel and Lizzy set off on yet another wild-goose chase, following one bizarre clue after another--and stealing several items along the way--while also racing against the clock because Wulf and his insane minion, Hatchet seem to be one step ahead of them.

Until it looks like both sides might have a bigger enemy, and if they don't stop her she'll destroy everything and everyone in her path...

Wicked Business was another hilarious installment in this fun series. I had a total blast following Lizzy and Diesel from one place to another, while trying to decipher the clues and figure out where everything was going to lead them. It's one hell of a fun ride, and the sexual tension between these two is smoking. Too bad they can't be together. ;)

Loved it! I can't wait to read more of this series. 

Wicked Business, June 2012, ISBN 9780755384938, Headline Fiction

Happy New Month!

This lovely pic was made by my daughter on her iPad. It's supposed to be our kitty. So cute!

Well, it's now the beginning of July--which means my birthday is less than a week away--and winter's in full swing. It's no secret that I don't like this season, but if we have plenty of sunny days it'll be easier to get through it. I'm really looking forward to spring, though.

Anyway. After such a full month of writing and editing, I'm going to take it easy (most of) this week. Okay, so I'll take it easy until the Sierra Fox #2 edits hit my Inbox--they're due any mimute. But I'll deal with that when I have to.

Right now, I'm just going to catch up on some reading and take notes for the next two Sierra books.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that the Sierra Fox Series Page is now live.

My daughter's home for the next two weeks. It's school holidays again. 


As I mentioned last week, hubby had an RDO on Friday so we enjoyed a long weekend together. And it started with us going on a movie date to watch PROMETHEUS. I'd heard a lot of different opinions about this movie, so I wasn't sure what to expect. But I don't pay too much attention to reviews. If I'm interested in watching/reading something, I'll pretty much check it out for myself. And this movie was one of those that I'm so glad we checked out for ourselves.

Both hubby and I seriously loved this movie! The concept of alien interaction in the origins of human life is something that always appealed to me, so this story grabbed me from the beginning. I thought the performances were brilliant, the story intriguing, the world created was dark and violent, the look of the movie was lovely, some cool twists, and I particularly loved how everything fit together. I really do hope they make a sequel. I've gotta know more about the Engineers.

We also booked our Imax tickets for THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. We'll be going to see it at the end of this month. Cool!

Well, I guess that's it for now. Think I'll update a few other things on my website, and I'll hopefully get a chance to blog more often.

See ya!

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