To celebrate the upcoming release of the last book in my Sierra Fox series, you can grab a FREE copy of the first book in the series from all major retailers during the month of October.
So check it out. :)
All it takes is one weak seam for everything to fall apart.
Sierra Fox, Book 1
In a perfect world, Sierra Fox would have stayed away from the Council she left years ago. But in this world—where spirits have the right to walk among the living—it's her job to round up troublesome spooks and bring them before that very same Council.
Though her desk is piled high with open cases, she can't resist an anonymous summons to a mysterious late-night meeting with a bunch of other hunters, each of whom seems to have a unique specialty. The news is dire: something is tearing at the fabric of the universe. If the hunters can't find who or why in time, something's going to give in a very messy way.
As current cases, family secrets, new clues and her tangled love life slowly wind themselves into an impossible knot, Sierra finds herself the target of a power-sucking duo intent on stealing her mojo. And realizing she holds the key to the last hope of sealing the widening rift.
Warning: Spook catching: may contain traces of ectoplasm and otherworldly nasties. Not recommended for those with allergies to ghosts, demons, and with boyfriends who think your power is theirs. While reading, avoid dark patches and stay to the light.
See this little guy on the left? He's my writing buddy and last week decided to hang out behind my laptop while I was working away. LOL.
Loki is so cute. Though he's a bit confused this week because my daughter has a 2-week break from school. He's always iffy the first week and then gets upset when she eventually goes back.
I've been busy working on the first draft of Lavie's story. As you already know it's a spin-off from Sierra's series. I had a great time writing it, but my estimation of how many words the first draft would be was way off. I was thinking 80k, but it turned out to be: 66,631.
Strange that a story leaning heavily on demonology should happen to include 666 in the total word count. :P
The first draft might be done but the research and the list of things that I want to add/clarify during the second draft continues. But that's not something I'm going to tackle right now. I want to put the story away for a while, let it sit so I can get some distance. Of course that doesn't mean I won't continue to take notes, because I will. And I'll need to update the Series Bible.
What I enjoyed the most about writing this story--asides from the interaction between Lavie & Saul--was how the world kinda took a left turn. Spooks were no longer the main focus and I expanded into the demon side of things. I also read The Goetia to help expand my knowledge of the demonic, which I found very helpful. Especially since I'm already using one of the demons mentioned in there.
It always feels good to write another story, and I really enjoyed this one. I'm actually looking forward to going back to layer and enhance a lot of what I wrote. That's the thing about first drafts, they rush out of me so fast that I pretty much forget the nitty-gritty of what I wrote afterwards. That's actually a pretty good thing, because when I go back to it I have no problem cutting what needs to go. As well as adding what was missing.
Okay. That's enough writing talk for now. I'm just excited about getting the draft finished. Yay.
Today happens to be our 15th Wedding Anniversary. Woohoo!
Hubby went to work and I spent the morning writing blog posts for the upcoming release of A STITCH ON TIME. I'm just glad I decided on the topics the other day, otherwise I might have gotten stumped. ;)
Well, that's it for now. Just thought I'd drop in and post an update.
I just finished writing the first draft of a novel that leans heavily on demonology, so reading this book has been very helpful.
The descriptions and seals contain enough detail. The invocation instructions are handy. It's all very interesting. And the individual descriptions of the 72 spirits of the Goetia is great.
I find this book fascinating, and the way it fuels my creativity is fantastic. It's amazing how many things mentioned in this book happen to fit perfectly with what I've already written. This is a great base for me to spring from.
I also found it very easy to read.
Yep. I really liked it. This is a great reference book! And I know it's one I'll keep returning to.
An irresistibly brilliant graphic novel adaptation of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, adapted by award-winning illustrator P. Craig Russell. This is the second of two volumes.
Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard. But it's in the land of the living that the real danger lurks, for it is there that the man Jack lives, and he has already killed Bod's family.
I once again flicked through the lovely artwork before settling down to read it because it's such a nice book. :) This volume starts at chapter six and takes us to The End.
Nobody Owens is a normal boy, but there's nothing normal about his life. After his family was killed when he was a baby, he ended up in the graveyard. Taken in, raised and educated by the ghosts living there, he's enjoyed many adventures. But he's all grown up now, and his curiosity about the world beyond the gates could tempt the past to catch up with him.
The graveyard has kept him safe, and the guardian hidden from the danger lurking outside, but it's only a matter of time before Jack returns to finish what he started years ago...
This book--like the one before it--captures the original story very well. Showcasing Bod's tale through a visual medium that definitely works. Each chapter was illustrated by a different artist, and each gives their own spin on the story while still staying faithful to the original book.
The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Volume 2 is a lovely, visual representation of Neil Gaiman's book and just like the first one, it enhances the original story.
I highly recommend it for anyone who loved the story and wants to revisit this captivating tale.
The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Volume 2, October 2014, ISBN 9781408859001, Bloomsbury Childrens
Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned I was brainstorming two Sierra Fox spin-off stories? Well, that's what I've been doing since the beginning of this month.
September is the month I complete another first draft! *fingers crossed*
Every minute I have during the day, Monday-Friday, is spent on my laptop adding new words. So far I've been going for two weeks and the word count is 41,323. That means I'm halfway there. It's always hard to predict because the first draft can come in just below or just above, but I'm aiming for 80k.
That means adding about 4k, 5 days a week. It's almost like doing my own personal NaNoWriMo a few months before the rest of the world. :P
Okay, so what story am I working on? This was the description I posted a few weeks ago...
Lavie's book is going to be a road trip story: kick-ass demon hunter with a bunch of issues, hunky demon with mischief on his mind, a gorgeous red and black VW Kombi, and a whole LOT of demonic trouble.
Yep. I'm writing Lavie's book. This will end up being a stand-alone book. It's a story that's been bubbling up inside my head for a long time. I knew it was going to be written back when I was halfway through writing Sierra's series. LOL. Sometimes characters are like that. If they scream loud enough, you just gotta write their story.
So far, so good. It's turning out to be a blast. Being on the road with Lavie and Saul is revealing a lot of things I wasn't expecting. It's also a lot of fun to write a book from the 1st-person POV of someone who isn't Sierra. I've spent a lot of time in her head. She has made an appearance a few times, so it's interesting to see Sierra through someone else's eyes.
Oh, and as it turns out... Sierra's family wasn't the only one keeping secrets. ;)
Asides from writing the first draft, I've been squeezing in some reading on the side. Of course, writing is the priority, so the reading might drop off for a few weeks. But that's okay.
Last week was a little wonky and I have to admit that I had a hard time meeting my daily writing goal, but I pushed through. I just wasn't feeling well for a few days. Nothing a nap, slowing down, and spending time with Loki couldn't fix.
Well, that's it for now. I'm taking the weekend off from adding new words, but I've always got the story ticking over in the back of my mind.
My husband read this trilogy years ago and kept saying: "You have to read it, you're going to love it". So, when he challenged me to read The Thrawn Trilogy sometime during this year, I accepted.
As soon as I picked it up, I was intrigued. Not only did it feel exactly the same as the original Star Wars movies, but it also blended new characters, planets, and situations seamlessly. I was totally hooked! It was like catching up with old friends. ;)
Five years after the Rebels defeated the Empire, Han Solo and Leia Organa Solo are married and expecting twins. Luke Skywalker is a Jedi, and trying to teach his sister the way of the Force. But he's plagued with doubts and goes looking for answers in Dagobah, where he finds more than he expected. The New Republic is a little shaky, and tensions are running high as they try to expand to other places. And in the shadows of all this, a new Admiral is rebuilding the Empire.
General Admiral Thrawn is nothing like the Emperor, and his ambitions won't push him to make any rushed or rash decisions. He's tactical and has a plan. One that involves finding a Dark Jedi no one seems to know about.
Now, Luke and Leia are being hunted and while trying to outrun the aliens trying to capture them fall into other traps.
I absolutely LOVED this book. It was fantastic! Like the movies, there are separate adventures going on at the same time. Sometimes they meet up, sometimes they don't, but everything is leading towards something REALLY BIG. Like I mentioned above, I think that Timothy Zahn does a great job at capturing the general Star Wars tone and totally nails the characterisation. Everyone sounds, feels and acts as they should. While the new characters--Thrawn, Mara, Karrde--all add a new angle to this well-known, and much-loved universe.
I also got a kick out of reading some of the most-quoted lines taken straight from the movies.
There were a lot of exotic locations, but my favourite was Kashyyyk. I loved the lush descriptions of where the Wookiees live. Sounds dangerous, but also beautiful.
When betrayal, revenge, secrets and lust collide, there can only be chaos.
WITHER Recast, Book 1
Wrangling is in Colt’s blood, but the woman he loved wasn’t easily tied down. Now a mysterious client has him wrangling someone who may not be human. Colt doesn’t care as long as he gets paid.
Colt could solve or multiply Brynn’s problems. She doesn’t expect him to understand why she left, but she needs his help. Colt looks as good as she remembers, and even after years, their mutual lust is alive.
Desire strips away secrets. A secret that could be their death sentence…
Recast, Book 2
Half-Recast Ace Abu is determined to get to Fray and destroy the Clash Arena.
When he finds a barstool in Grit, he’s ready for a few beers, but the sexy singer on stage only makes him burn hotter.
Ely’Shea longs for freedom. When the boss is away she indulges her passions. That night she catches a glimpse of an alluring cowboy.
Unable to resist temptation, they’re consumed by passion…but once the fuses are set, their deepest secrets could blow any chance of forever to hell.
Warning: Contains shapeshifters, space cowboys, female sheriffs, singers, double lives, and so many secrets it can only end in total madness.
Last year, I took part in featuring an exclusive short story to celebrate the release of Crown of Midnight. I posted Part 7, but didn't actually read the story until today. And while I was at it, I squeezed in another story too.
THE ASSASSIN AND THE PRINCESS
I really enjoyed this short story about Celaena and Nehemia going out for the day and pretending that they're just two girls spending a day in the city. But a visit to one of Celaena's favourite stores, in search of dresses and accessories, quickly reminds them that they can never leave behind who they are.
It was nice to see Celaena being in a comfortable friendship with a girl, and it be truly mutual. No secrets, lies, or planned betrayals to get in the way.
THE ASSASSIN AND THE CAPTAIN
This was a really short story, felt more like a deleted scene really. But I still enjoyed the interaction between Celaena and Chaol. They make a great couple, and since this takes place before everything crumbles around them, it was a nice change of pace.
Both of these were fun, easy reads. Especially since I've been catching up on all The Throne of Glass stories. As of now, I'm up to date. :)
Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassins' Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam.
In these action-packed prequel novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery . . .
Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine and find out how the legend begins in the five page-turning prequel novellas to the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series.
After absolutely loving Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire, I was finally ready to embark on the adventure of reading The Throne of Glass prequel novellas. But firstly, I need to mention how much I love the cover for this anthology. It's gorgeous!
THE ASSASSIN AND THE PIRATE LORD
This takes us back to a time when Celaena Sardothien worked for Arobynn Hamel, King of the Assassins. It's also a time when Sam Cortland was still alive, so I was looking forward to meeting him. I was surprised to find out that at first they can barely stand each other because they're always competing.
After a fellow assassin is captured and another is killed, Celaena and Sam are sent to meet with a Pirate Lord at Skull's Bay. She spends most of her time hiding behind a mask and arguing with Sam. Until they find out their boss is going into the slave trading business. That's when Celaena and Sam use their smarts and extensive training to risk their lives and save innocent slaves...
This was an awesome origin story. It's filled with action, witty dialogue, insane plans, horrible pirates, a remote island, and adventure. It was great to see Celaena as a spoiled, arrogant teen before the devastation that awaits her.
This act of disobedience also happens to be when everything changes and sets her on the path to Endovier.
THE ASSASSIN AND THE HEALER
After Celaena and Sam ruined Arobynn Hamel's slave trading plans, the ruthless King of the Assassins punishes her by beating her and then sending the young assassin on a mission to the Deserted Land. On her way, she stops in a small and filthy port town called Innish. While she waits for her ship to come in, she spends most of her days in a local inn drinking. She also looks for trouble, but mostly makes her presence known by hiding her bruised face under a cowl and drinking the day away.
A barmaid watches the visitor, and as she wonders about the mysterious woman who sits at the back and throws coins around, she ponders her own worthless existence. Yrene Towers comes from a long line of healers and intended to attend the Torre Cesme academy to further her training, but after running out of money she ended up here. No matter how hard she works, she can't seem to save enough money to leave this horrid place. Crossing paths with the mysterious visitor might just change her life...
I loved this story. It was short, but full of heart and action. Celaena's an ominous presence, but her power is felt deeply. Yrene was also a very interesting character, so I liked reading her POV. I also enjoyed seeing Celaena's harsh exterior crack enough to teach a young girl in desperate need of a helping hand how to protect herself, and not give up on her dreams.
THE ASSASSIN AND THE DESERT
It's taken Celaena weeks of being guided over the harsh and unforgiving conditions of the Red Desert to reach the Silent Assassin's fortress. Not to mention she spent a horrid birthday without much celebration, enduring endless heat and sand. She's been sent by Arobynn as punishment for ruining his slave trading plans by releasing them instead. She has to spend one full month training with the Mute Master and then get a letter of approval at the completion.
While she's there, she finds a league of assassins that live in silent harmony, and don't have to put up with a cruel master. She even meets and befriends a female assassin. Ansel is smart, tough, and Celaena enjoys spending time with her. But everything isn't as it seems because there's danger lurking from the nearby town of Xandria, or maybe it's from the inside of the fortress....
OMG. This was another amazing story! I enjoyed spending time with the Silent Assassins, while watching as Celaena realises that her master isn't the norm. Even assassins deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Seeing her forge a new friendship while learning about the Flatlands and the Witch Kingdom was also interesting.
Oh, and it was also sweet how she kept thinking about Sam. :)
THE ASSASSIN AND THEUNDERWORLD
After months of being away, Celaena has returned home to the Assassins' Keep. As soon as she arrives, she goes straight to Arobynn Hamel's study with the intention of letting him know she's going to buy her own freedom and intends to move out. But she's surprised to find him apologetic about his actions. He seems to be sorry about sending her away and begins to shower her with gifts. He's even got a new assignment for her. Something that'll make her a lot of money, as well as aid her plight to free slaves.
So she decides to put off her intentions for a while, but refuses to forget what Arobynn did to her.
Celaena finds herself eager to see Sam again, to see what happened to him after she left but when she finds him with a girl she despises, all of her eagerness fades. Still, she accepts his help in her assignment and as much as she wants it to feel like old times, when they got on each other's nerves and were one step away from killing each other... her feelings towards Sam are shifting. But it's easier to concentrate on her job. Except, things aren't as they seem and what Celaena's doing might have the reverse effect.
These novellas just keep getting better and better. It was good to see Celaena back in Rifthold, and read about how she interacts with Arobynn and Sam. There were some very tender moments in this instalment, a lot of kick-butt action, and even a good--or is that bad?--dose of betrayal. I really, really dislike the so-called 'King of the Assassins'. Since I know how it all turned out between them, I can already sense the vengeance he's plotting against her.
I'm loving this book. And I only have one more story to go. :(
THE ASSASSIN AND THE EMPIRE
Well, I just finished reading the last prequel novella. :( Although I already knew where Celaena's story would end up, the events leading to how she got there still twisted my stomach into knots and broke my heart.
Now that their debts to Arobynn Hamel have been paid in full, Celaena and Sam are living away from the Assassins' Keep. They're enjoying each other, and like the fact they're away from Arobynn even more. But money is running out, and they can't seem to score any jobs. So, even though she hates it, Sam has been fighting in the Vaults.
When they decide to sever complete ties with the King of the Assassins by paying their way out of the Assassins' Guild, Sam finds them one last job so they can get their payment and leave this city. But their last mission in Rifthold seems like an almost impossible assignment that wreaks of betrayal and shatters their lives forever.
Wow. This was such an intense story. No matter what was going on, I was on the edge if my seat. Knowing what happens to Sam, where Celaena ends up, and who betrays her actually made the heartbreak SO much worse.
This is one powerful and moving story that breaks the reader as much as poor Celaena.
The Assassin's Blade is a fantastic addition to the Throne of Glass series. Reading Celaena Sardothien's journey as an obedient assassin who is eventually punished for refusing to be a willing participant in the evil slave trade was quite a heart-wrenching experience. But you know what? I enjoyed every thrilling, breathtaking moment.
I also can't wait until she makes the King of the Assassins and the King of Adarlan pay for not only breaking her, but destroying her life.
Absolutely loved this book!
The Assassin's Blade, March 2014, ISBN 9781408851982, Bloomsbury Childrens
When Apple’s mother returns after eleven years of absence, Apple feels whole again. She will have an answer to her burning question – why did you go? And she will have someone who understands what it means to be a teenager – unlike Nana. But just like the stormy Christmas Eve when she left, her mother’s homecoming is bitter sweet, and Apple wonders who is really looking after whom. It’s only when Apple meets someone more lost than she is, that she begins to see things as they really are.
I grabbed this book with the intention of reading the first chapter to see what it was like, and ended up reading the whole thing in one day. Yep. It totally hooked me as soon as I started.
Apollinia Apostolopoulou, or Apple as everyone calls her, doesn't like Christmas. It always reminds her of the Christmas Eve when her mother left and never came back. Although she hates the season, she foolishly hopes that her mother will one day return during Christmastime. Of course, it never happens so she goes through the motions with her Nana and father every year. Even if she hates her stepmother.
Apple leads a sheltered life. Her grandmother doesn't let her go anywhere on her own, and even picks her up from school even though she's in Year 8. So when her mother actually appears out of nowhere one day, telling Apple that she's come back to England for good, she can't believe it. She wants to spend as much time as she can with Mum, even if Nana is sceptical about her daughter's return.
When things start falling apart--Nana doesn't approve of Mum trying to take Apple away, and her best friend leaves her behind for someone else--Apple decides she wants to live with her Mum.
However, as soon as she moves in she discovers a house almost devoid of furniture and a room with bunk beds. One of those beds happens to be for a 10-year-old girl. Rain is Apple's half-sister and she's a little weird. For starters, she still carries around a doll she's convinced is a real baby. This habit means she gets into fights at school. What's worse is that Mum actually encourages Rain's fiction, hoping the phase will pass by keeping her at home from school.
At first, Apple doesn't mind the imperfect conditions of living with her mother and sister, because all she cares about is her biggest wish coming true. She's always longed to have her mother back and now that she is, nothing is going to spoil her return. Even though Mum keeps having parties, and then starts taking off for auditions and meetings, leaving Apple to look after Rain. But she doesn't mind, and looks after her sister. Even when it means she too starts skipping school.
But when disaster strikes, Apple realises she's just a glorified babysitter/cook/cleaner for a woman who clearly has no real sense of responsibility.
I loved this sad, yet hopeful story about a young girl who is so excited to have her estranged mother back that she's willing to do whatever it takes to keep her happy. Even turning her back on the woman who practically raised her. It's heartbreaking to watch Apple's unconditional love towards the woman who abandoned her, and even now has come back because she has ulterior motives. It's not that her mother is evil, just that her priorities are askew and her whole life driven by her desire to be an actress.
Apple goes from a life of being constantly monitored by her grandmother, to becoming the adult of the house and all the responsibilities that entails. While she loses an important friendship, she gains two much more important ones: Rain and Del. Her younger sister has issues and is in desperate need of proper care and attention, and they soon become close. And the quirky new boy in school turns out to be a lot more than just comic relief.
Apple and Rain is a wonderful, heartbreaking coming-of-age story about unconditional love and the strength of a young girl willing to do whatever it takes to keep her family together. But it's not all sadness and heart-wrenching pain, there are also moments of pure delight and happiness.
I really enjoyed this book!
Apple and Rain, September 2014, ISBN 9781408857717, Bloomsbury Childrens