Wednesday, 28 January 2015

What's Up Wednesday

It's time for What's Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow. Here's what I've been up to this past week!

What I'm reading

I reread The Bone Season to refresh my memory before I read the sequel. The worldbuilding in this series is intricate and unique, and the action scenes were fantastic.

What I'm writing

I finished the first draft of Alliance 5! The end is most definitely nigh! I'd already started this draft back in November, but I've beaten my previous record by writing a draft in 22 days. On the other hand, the editing will probably take a year. I've already decided about 1/3 of it will need to be rewritten... o.O

My writing goal this week: Write... the final Alliance book. The feels, guys. Ahhh...

What works for me

Plotsing and letting the magic happen. :) As you might have guessed from my posts about my crazy-organisational approach to writing, I tend to like having a list or formula to follow for everything, including writing. I always have an outline. But sometimes, I have to divert off-track, or just let things come together naturally. One of my favourite foreshadowing techniques is to have an image or idea repeated throughout the book or series, and a lot of the time, this isn't actually deliberate in the first draft. I'll use a certain image earlier on, and find it kind of reappears throughout the book without conscious effort. So, thanks, brain. :P

Unfortunately, I can't say what they are in this series, because... spoilers. ;)

What else is new

Formatting is evil. >_< It took far too many attempts to get the ebook file of Adamant converted (though I am technologically incompetent). So, that was fun. But I do have a shiny serviceable ebook file now.

Two days till the cover reveal! I can't wait for you guys to see the awesomeness! ^_^

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Cover Reveal: A Curse of Ash and Iron by Christine Norris

Benjamin Grimm knows the theater is much like real life. In 1876 Philadelphia, people play their parts, hiding behind the illusion of their lives, and never revealing their secrets.

When he reunites with his childhood friend Eleanor Banneker, he is delighted. His delight turns to dismay when he discovers she has been under a spell for the past 7 years, being forced to live as a servant in her own home, and he realizes how sinister some secrets can be. She asks for his help, and he can’t refuse. Even if he doesn't believe in ‘real’ magic, he can’t abandon her.

Ellie has spent the long years since her mother’s death under the watchful eye and unforgiving eye of her stepmother. Bewitched and hidden in plain sight, it seems no one can help Ellie escape. Not even her own father, who is under a spell of his own. When she sees Ben one evening, it seems he is immune to the magic that binds her, and her hope is rekindled along with her friendship.

But time is running short. If they do not find a way to break the spell beforetNew Year’s Eve, then both Ellie and her father will be bound forever.

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press ( )

Author website:
Author Twitter: @cnorrisauthor
Book Trailer link:

Monday, 26 January 2015

Book Blitz: False Finder by Mia Hoddell

False Finder
Release Date: 01/13/15
Limitless Publishing
400 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
Cora has been able to detect lies since she was born, she’s…a False Finder.

However when blackmail, betrayal, and lying are all the population has to protect themselves, it makes her dangerous. It also makes her a target.

Because of Cora’s ability, Rogan Carvelli—London’s biggest criminal leader—has been trying to acquire her for years.

Cora has learned to survive and remain undetected—at least until one careless mistake causes her friends to betray her.

Sold to Carvelli, Cora is only left with the help of a secret organisation to escape. She knows nothing about them, but they have saved her too many times to ignore.

However, the closer she gets, the clearer it becomes…
Their motives are far from innocent.


Excerpt 1

“Not my fight? How did you come to that conclusion? You made it my fight when you sold me, Cora. This is your fault not mine, and you only have yourself to blame!” Nick roared, his grip tightening to a new painful intensity.
“I did not sell you. I cut a deal with Rogan and you were collateral damage. I couldn’t help it.”
Even Cora flinched at her words. What she had done to Nick was awful, but it was a necessity if she was going to survive.
“You signed my life away. You ruined my life by forcing me into a god-damned contract that has no loop holes. Not only that, but then you had the audacity to attack me when you escaped Rogan’s mansion last time. That is not collateral damage!”
He didn’t realise he was shaking her fragile body until she let out another low groan.
“You weren’t meant to be a part of the deal. I couldn’t help it. I tried to get you out of it, but there was no way. It was me or you.”
“Don’t bullshit me. You know there was a way out. I did nothing to you but be there and you sold me out, just like your friends have done to you.” His words cut Cora like a knife, slitting her deep.
“You knew too much…you knew my secret…you weren’t meant to survive.” Cora muttered the last line, her jaw tight with anger as she finally admitted the truth she had kept bottled up. He wasn’t meant to hear it, but he did.
“What did you just say?” He was shaking her once more, anger flowing out of him as he was finally enlightened as to why Cora had betrayed him.
“You weren’t meant to survive. You shouldn’t have passed the first test Rogan puts his men through. You weren’t meant to come back. I was meant to be safe.”
“Well unluckily for you I manned up. Not only did I pass every test Rogan threw at me but I worked my way up. I’m now his second in command. How’s that for irony?”
“Screw you,” Cora spat, tired of the conversation.
“You wish. For now though, I think I’ll return the favour you so kindly granted me all those years ago.”
“Let me go, Nick, for old time’s sake. I thought we were friends?” It was a lousy defence and Cora knew it, but it was all she had left.

“We stopped being friends years ago when you shafted me, Cora. I couldn’t care less what happens to you anymore. Now shut up and move.”

About the Author
Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading, loves anything paranormal or romantic, and has an overactive imagination that keeps her up until the early hours of the morning. 

By the age of nineteen, Mia had published nine books, including the Elemental Killers series and the Seasons of Change series. Since then, her books have charted on numerous Amazon Bestseller Lists, and she has also had poems published in a many anthologies. With an ever growing list of ideas, Mia continues to create fictional worlds through her writing, and is trying to keep up with the speed at which her imagination generates them.

She also designs book covers and banners on her website M Designs 

Author Links:
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Friday, 23 January 2015

Cover Reveal: Nobody's Goddess by Amy McNulty

Cover Reveal: Nobody’s Goddess by Amy McNulty #M9BFridayReveals
Welcome to the Cover Reveal for
Nobody's Goddess (The Never Veil #1)
by Amy McNulty
presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
Nobody's Goddess
In a village of masked men, each loves only one woman and must follow the commands of his “goddess” without question. A woman may reject the only man who will love her if she pleases, but she will be alone forever. And a man must stay masked until his goddess returns his love—and if she can’t or won’t, he remains masked forever.
Where the rest of her village celebrates this mystery that binds men and women together, seventeen year old Noll is just done with it. She’s lost all her childhood friends as they’ve paired off, but the worst blow was when her closest companion, Jurij, finds his goddess in Noll’s own sister. Desperate to find a way to break this ancient spell, Noll instead discovers why no man has ever loved her: she is in fact the goddess of the mysterious lord of the village, a Byronic man who refuses to let Noll have her right as a woman to spurn him and who has the power to fight the curse. Thus begins a dangerous game between the two: the choice of woman versus the magic of man. And the stakes are no less than freedom and happiness, life and death—and neither Noll nor the veiled man is willing to lose.
add to goodreads
Title: Nobody's Goddess (The Never Veil #1)
Publication date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Amy McNulty
Amy McNulty
Amy McNulty is a freelance writer and editor from Wisconsin with an honors degree in English. She was first published in a national scholarly journal (The Concord Review) while in high school and currently spends her days alternatively writing on business and marketing topics and primarily crafting stories with dastardly villains and antiheroes set in fantastical medieval settings.
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
(Winners will receive their book on release day)

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

What's Up Wednesday

It's time for What's Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow. Here's what I've been up to this past week!

What I'm reading

I read Ready Player One, which I really enjoyed. Then I read Firefight, the sequel to Steelheart, another fast-paced and action-packed read with some great twists. Then I read Ensnared, the third fantastical and awesome instalment in the Splintered trilogy.

What I'm writing

Oh, Alliance Book 5... I'm probably going to go into withdrawals when I finish this series. :P

My writing goal this week: More words on Alliance 5!

What works for me

Limiting how much time I spend on the Internet when I'm drafting. I'm at the stage with this series where I'm juggling so many elements that between this and freelance work, my brain is completely occupied (also, I'm not sure if it's just me, but I'm finding social media incredibly draining lately). So if I've been quiet on the interwebs, this is why! The difficulty is when you're solely responsible for promoting your upcoming book as well as working on a draft...

What else is new

Only I could catch two colds at once. Immune system, I am not amused. I have deadlines. *cries*

I'm preparing to put Adamant up for pre-order next week! It's set for the 30th but it might go up a couple of days early on some retailers (I'd rather be too early than too late, though!). That is, if Smashwords approves my file and the Internet stops crashing. (The Cursed Book strikes again. I've had so many near-disasters with this book that at this point, it wouldn't surprise me if the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse show up on my doorstep to stop me hitting the publish button. :P)

I'm also organising a release day promotion for the 11th March - sign-ups are open here. It's so close! o.O 
I'm alternating between flailing madly and hyperventilating. EEK! :D

Monday, 19 January 2015

Some tips for planning a series!

When planning my latest series, I noticed that there were very few blog posts on the subject, so after several people asked me to write one, I thought it couldn’t hurt to write about my process.

When I get an idea for a new book, I like to decide fairly early on whether it’ll be a series or a standalone. I’ve only ever written one standalone (a YA fantasy) - I’m naturally drawn to big, world-spanning ideas which would take several books to do justice to. But sometimes when reading a series, I get the sense that it’s being dragged out too much, and that fewer books would mean a tighter, better story. People talk about “middle book syndrome” (usually when discussing trilogies) and I think that can happen when an author tries to stretch a story too far, resulting in filler and a slow pace. To avoid this, I try to plan in advance.

Firstly, there are two types of series. One is effectively one long story broken into smaller sections which are, usually, complete stories in themselves (the Harry Potter series comes to mind) and are intended to be read in one order. And the other is a series of interconnected self-contained stories set in the same world (a famous example is the Sherlock Holmes series) which can be read in any order. I write the first kind of series, where each book builds on the last, until it comes to a natural end-point. Some writers expand their books into longer series when fans demand it, others write the first book and figure the rest out later. But as an outliner, I always want to figure out as early as possible how long a series will take to complete. It depends on the following:

1. Overarching idea. If it’s a big, world-spanning idea, I need to figure out how many books it will naturally take to resolve the overall plot. From the beginning, I knew the Alliance series would be at least five or six books because of the nature of the plot: it’s big. There are several entire worlds involved, and various conspiracies, conflicts and earth-shattering - possibly literally ;) - secrets.

2. Characters. The central characters need to be strong enough to carry the series over the course of more than one story and to undergo believable development.

3. Genre, to some extent. Certain genres, especially sci-fi and fantasy, are more likely to be part of a series because they are often - but not always - based on big ideas. If you’ve created an expansive world packed with exciting conflict, wrapping it up in one book can be a challenge. On the other hand, romance novels are more likely to be standalones. The danger of dragging out a romance in a series is that obstacles can start to feel contrived. (On the other hand, I’ve noticed quite a few romance authors having success with the second type of series, where each book is focused on a different couple but set in the same “story world” as the others.)

So, here are some of my tips for planning and writing a series.

1. Give each book its own storyline. Many readers hate cliffhangers, especially if they picked up the book without realising it was part of a series. It’s fine not to resolve everything in the first book, but I try to create one major problem to solve per book, and then have some other, bigger conflicts to leave hanging in the background until it’s their time to come forward. A lot of authors use this method - again, the Harry Potter series is a great example. In the first book, the conflict revolves around the Philosopher’s Stone and is solved by the end. But the ultimate series goal - defeating Voldemort - doesn’t fully come into play until later in the series. As each book is a complete, satisfying story, readers don’t feel cheated or impatient. This is a great lesson to learn.

2. Raise the stakes with each book. One danger is repetitiveness, so to avoid this, I try to plan so that each story’s conflict builds on the previous ones. This is really tricky, I admit. But think of the series as one big story, with its own three acts, and plan accordingly. The first act is setup. The second builds the conflict, and the third is the climax. The first book in a series has its own major conflict which is resolved by the end, but it's also an introduction to the series as a whole. The second ups the stakes, introduces more of the world, sometimes new characters and settings. And in a trilogy, the third is where the climax begins and the stakes are sky-high. Managing the timing over a longer series can be a challenge, but you can still use the three-act structure as a guide.  This blog post is a great help. I also used this post on planning character arcs across a series. And to write a synopsis, this post is a lifesaver!

For the actual planning, a lot depends on your own writing method. Even if you're a panster, I definitely recommend writing down certain things like character appearances and the "rules" of your story's world (if you're writing fantasy) - trust me, you'll need them later on. Personally, I'd recommend a series notebook, or a document in Scrivener, which I use to plan all my books now. I create separate folders for each book, and others for characters, settings, and a "series bible" with the rules on magic and the various worldbuilding areas.

I outline based on the snowflake method, where I'll start with a one-sentence summary for each book, centred on the main conflict. Like I said, I want the stakes to get higher with each volume, so by figuring out what the conflict actually is, before anything else, I can hopefully avoid issues later down the line. There'll always be one huge conflict happening either in the background or even in plain sight, which will take the whole series to resolve. Each book then needs a smaller dilemma. With the Alliance series, Adamant starts with a murder (which then escalates into something bigger). The second book involves a more high-profile killing (which again escalates), and the third involves the fate of an entire world. And so on. 

I then write a paragraph-long summary for each book. For each main character, I also write down their goal, motivation and conflict, in each book, and then a one-paragraph summary. Then a synopsis for each book, which I expand into an outline. I don't plot every single detail, and I like to leave space in case the characters take the story in directions I didn't expect. Sometimes things just naturally come together as I'm writing, so I make a note of them in the Scrivener file and carry on. Obviously, this is only one way of doing things. I sometimes just write short synopses for sequels before drafting the first book, and expand them into outlines later. With the Alliance series, I've been revisiting my outlines after I complete each book and adapting them to fit with any changes I've made. I always do this while drafting, which is why I consider myself a "plotser" - I know the main pieces of the plot and the key background information, but not every single scene, and sometimes my characters surprise me.

I also like to draft series books back-to-back if I can (as I'm doing with my Alliance series) in order to minimise inconsistencies and make sure the foreshadowing works. But this is because I'm self-publishing. If I was querying the first book, I'd then move on to a new project, because the first book might not sell (I've made this mistake before, spending a year drafting the sequel to the first book I queried, before I realised the whole series was deeply flawed). On the other hand, it can be an advantage to have synopses for the other books in the series ready if your agent or publisher asks for them. And, of course, it can be hard to leave your characters behind once you've finished the first book. Ultimately, it's up to you as the writer.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Adamant Teasers!

Guys, it's less than two months until Adamant releases! I can now confirm that Adamant will be published on the 11th March 2015, and will be available on Amazon (Kindle and paperback), Smashwords, Kobo, and (eventually), Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and more. And it'll be available for pre-order from the 30th January!

So, I need your help! I'm having a cover reveal and pre-order promotion on the 30th, and I need as many bloggers as possible to sign up and help me spread the word! This might just be my favourite cover design yet! You can sign up for the cover reveal here.

I'm also organising a promotion for Adamant when it releases on the 11th March and offering the chance to sign up for an advance review copy! If Adamant sounds like something you'll enjoy reading, you can sign up here.

And here are some teasers. :)

I can't wait to share this series!