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Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Four!

So sorry I haven't been around much lately. Here is a little of what I've been up to:

1. Reading. Much of what I've been reading lately has been critiquing manuscripts for writing friends, so not exactly much I can tell you about there, but last week I did add another book to my list of 12 awesome books read this year in the sidebar. It's THE INTERESTINGS by Meg Wolitzer, and amazingly, it's an adult book. I almost never read those. To be honest, it's not a knock-your-socks-off type of book, but rather a very deeply discovered group of characters who I really enjoyed reading about. It was a long book, and since it was checked out from the library, I was rushing trying to finish it even on my way to the library to drop it off.

2. Cooking. I've taken some cooking videos out from the library on seasonal Italian cuisine. I've really been enjoying trying new things in the kitchen. I think my favorite so far was a flourless chocolate cake.

3. Learning Spanish. My brother introduced me to the Duolingo app a couple of months ago, and I love it. My son and I have been trying to learn Spanish for a year or so, but not getting very far. Duolingo is a little advanced for him (though now that I'm catching on, I'm sure I could help him) but it's a lot of fun for me and I feel like I'm learning a ton about the language.

4. The last thing I've been working on is a secret project that I've been totally swept up in lately. I don't like to be a tease, and so this is the main reason I haven't been blogging lately. I want to talk about it...but I can't. Not quite yet. But soon, I promise. It's something that will hopefully be of interest to other authors, especially newly published authors. But that's all I can say for now.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Girlfriends Cyber Circuit Presents DEMONOSITY by Amanda Ashby

I'm excited to welcome another GCC author today, Amanda Ashby, with her latest release:

The Black Rose–a powerful ancient force–has been let loose and has taken up residence in Celeste Gibson, popular girl at Cassidy Carter-Lewis’ high school. Thomas Delacroix is the spirit of a fourteenth-century knight who is devoted to protecting the Black Rose, but he needs a contemporary living being to take on the challenge. That’s where Cassidy comes in.

She’s a quirky high school junior who just wants to dress in her vintage clothes, hang out with her best friend, and take care of her father, who is recovering from surgery. She’s the last person who would ever volunteer for such a task, but no one actually asked her.  Now, like it or not, she finds herself training before dawn and battling demons at parties, the mall, and even at school. But hey, no one ever said high school was going to be easy.


“With interesting characters and a fresh plot, this absorbing read addresses everything from peer pressure to intelligent guy pals to self-reliance, with just enough paranormal activity to maintain an edge. The message never overwhelms the fun in this frothy paranormal romp.” Kirkus Reviews

“Ashby’s frothy romp percolates with lighthearted humor and droll dialogue, while an involving plot and themes exploring friendship and self-reliance add satisfying substance.” School Library Journal

Amanda stopped by for a short interview to talk about her new book:

Welcome, Amanda! Can you tell me about your book in seven words or less.
Fun bundle of action, romance and adventure.

Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your novel and why? 
I love Nash. He’s my heroine’s best friend and not only is he an asexual genius with striking good looks (that are of course wasted on anyone else) but he also walks around in big highwaymen coats and an attitude. I also might have listened to a lot of Adam Ant while I was writing him!

What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors?
Do as I say not as I do – hahahaha! Actually, I’m not even joking because I’m a terrible writer. I lack discipline and I break the rules all the time (usually without even knowing they were a rule in the first place!) But in all seriousness, despite my flaws I was always determined to get published, so I guess my only advice is that if this is what you want then you have to find a way to fight for it.

What did you write when you were a teen? Did you journal? Write poetry? Write overly literary or emotional stories? Or avoid writing altogether?
I avoided writing altogether. I was always really good at English and read anything I could get my hands on but it never occurred to me to write in my spare time. I was probably too busy planning my wedding to Shaun Cassidy!

What's the last book you read that you really loved?
I’ve just finished The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling and I really adored it. I also really loved The Casual Vacancy as well, which was dark, depressing and kind of fantastic! The thing that’s always appealed to me about her writing is that she reminds me of all the English authors that my dad used to read like Jerome K Jerome and PG Wodehouse so it’s a cozy, comforting reminder of my childhood all at the same time!

Amanda Ashby was born in Australia and after spending the last sixteen years dividing her time between England and New Zealand, she’s finally returned home for some sunshine. When she’s not moving country, she likes to write books (okay, she also likes to eat chocolate, watch television and sit around doing not much, but let’s just keep that amongst ourselves, shall we?)

She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book, You Had Me at Halo was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award. Zombie Queen of Newbury High was listed by the New York Public Library’s Stuff for the Teen Age 2010. Fairy Bad Day was selected by Voya as one of their Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers 2012 and was a SCBWI Crystal Kite Award finalist for the Australia/NZ region.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Four!

1. I was doddling around the web this week when I came across my new cover for FAST FICTION!

I wasn't too shocked, since I had seen a few mock-ups for the cover before. New World Library had asked for my opinion on them (which, believe me, does not always happen) when they were in the designing stages, and so I'm thrilled with the final product. Here's what it looks like:

2. I've seen it up on Amazon and GoodReads with this summary, which I also think sounds pretty great:

Whether readers have a great idea for a novel, but can't get started, or have been working on one for five years, one tactic that helps thousands of would-be novelists move past procrastination to a finished draft is a deadline. In this case, a very short one: 30 days. Fast Fiction is inspired and informed by the author's yearly participation in NaNoWriMo, a web-based 30-day writing challenge each November with over 256,000 participants in 2011, over 35,000 of whom completed the program's stated goal of a 50,000-word novel. Fast Fiction is a quick, inspirational, step-by-step and day-by-day guide to writing a structurally sound and engaging first draft in the shortest amount of time possible. It provides a great starting point for writers as they ditch time-wasters, detour frustration, and overcome self-doubt, and it helps them decide where to go with their story and how to get there quickly, with results. Told in the empathetic and accessible voice of an author who can provide an insider’s look at her own craft and publishing experiences, Fast Fiction provides readers with their own writing coach as they embark on a quick, fun, and challenging 30 days to a first draft.

3. The NEVER ENOUGH audiobook is well underway. The narrator, Bryarly Bishop, is doing a fabulous job of bringing Loann to life, and I should be able to share a clip of it with you soon. (Does anyone else think it's strange that my narrator for LOSING FAITH was named Becca Battoe, and this narrator is Bryarly Bishop? All these B's!!)

4. I've added another book to my 12 Awesome Books I've Read This Year in the right sidebar. A SECOND book by Rainbow Rowell, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Unfortunately this one is not out yet, and mine is a borrowed copy (thanks, Shana!) so I can't pass it along to any of you, but definitely add FANGIRL to your TBR list!

Other than that, I've just been doing summer stuff. Last weekend I was talking about writing at a music festival here in B.C. This weekend I'll be helping with a Polynesian show at a local campground. Nothing but variety in my life!

Hope you're all doing well and enjoying the summer!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Great Speed-Writing Resource!

Ah, it's summer. That's my only excuse for why I haven't been blogging. But I found this resource, and it's free today, so I really wanted to jump on here and share it.

Many of you know I'm a homeschooling Mom, and this is officially a homeschooling resource, but it gives some great advice for anyone who wants to write creatively faster. My forthcoming book, FAST FICTION (coming in February) will of course delve into this subject as well, but I thought the authors of this book had some great and simple and quick-to-implement advice. It's free today, so drop by here and download the pdf ebook. Come back and let me know what you think!