Cardinal Sky Draft Complete

It took a little while… and if you’ve been following me on Wattpad since I first published the first chapter of Cardinal Sky, then you know ‘a little’ is a slight *wink* understatement. But the first book’s done, and going through one last proof before heading off to the editor!

I’ve also just paid the deposit to have a professional cover artist redo Cardinal Sky. Exciting! It’s a very well-known company, and actually, I found out today they’re in Kiwi land (New Zealand). Anyway, I’m hoping they can produce something eye-catching. If you are a fan of my cover mock-ups, unfortunately, I don’t have the rights for most of the images and fonts that I used… So, it’s better to get a professional involved. Even though we all say don’t judge a book by its cover, everyone does! ūüėČ

I’ll update more as things progress.

Ciao for now.

The first line.

I remember reading a book by Scarlett Archer, 1001 First liners, where she said “A good first line cracks like a bull whip.” And I couldn’t agree more. Many writing how to books stress the importance of the first line not only for the beginning of your novel but some go as far as recommending captivating first lines for each chapter.

Here are a few examples of first lines that dazzled me:

“The last person who called me by my true name was my mother, with her dying breath.” ~ Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

“Ten years ago, on my sixth birthday, my father disappeared.” ~ The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

“She smelled like mothballs and death.” ~ Half-Blood: The First Covenant Novel by Jennifer L. Armentrout

“I offered my hand to the fire.” ~ Frostblood by Elly Blake

“I hate having to dress like a man.” ~ Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

“They called the world beyond the walls of the Pod “The Death Shop”” ~ Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

“My mother thinks I’m dead.” ~ Legend (A Legend Novel, Book 1) by Marie Lu

“They’re coming.” ~ Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

“An ax swings for my head.” ~ Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

“I’m going to die tomorrow morning.” ~ The Young Elites by Marie Lu

“You should never get used to the smell of rotting corpses.” ~ Part-Time Monster Hunter (Kat Drummond Book 1) by Nicholas Woode-Smith

Of course having a fantastic first line doesn’t guarantee that the story will blow your mind away, nor does not having one mean the story is not worth your time. A prime example of mediocre first lines is Pawn and Knight by Karen Lynch. I adore these books but it did take a few pages of the first book Pawn to draw me in.

Great first lines aren’t the be all end all, but they certainly do a lot at gaining your readers attention.

Have you come across any that have grabbed your attention?

Dos and Don’ts on Writing a Book Blurb

Awesome post!

Nicholas C. Rossis

The inspiration for this post came from a little gem I found on the Passive Guy’s Newsletter (if you aren’t already a subscriber, what are you waiting for? It’s free!). After some heavy editing, it ended up as this post.

The original post came from the Self Publishing Review, if you wish to see it in its entirety.

Writing a Book Blurb

By far, the weakest part of many self-published books is the synopsis*. Writing a decent blurb is an art form totally separate from writing a book.

Authors, myself included, often feel¬†this is their least favorite part of the process. It can make you feel icky writing superlatives about your own book. At the same time, too many superlatives can literally be icky (‚ÄúA work of genius‚ÄĚ comes to mind). A good blurb needs to strike a balance between being informative, but not too informative, salesy, but not too salesy‚Ķ

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4 Things Publishers and Agents Want in a Writer

Great little article!

Veronica Bale

Portrait of successful young business woman shaking hands with a female colleague

If you‚Äôre a new author, finding a publisher or literary agent¬†to represent your¬†writing¬†is a frustrating, thankless, and even heartbreaking exercise. I know, I‚Äôve been through it. ¬†The dreaded ‚ÄúThanks, but no thanks,‚ÄĚ ‚Ķ I‚Äôm not sure if its better or worse than the classic no-response.

There is a ton of advice out there on how we, as writers, can entice that coveted representation. In case you haven’t exhausted all of your e-resources, here is a short collection of my less-obvious favourites, in no particular order

1. Be professional 100% of the time

That means emails, phone calls, and on-line interactions. For me, that last forum is particularly important, with all the talk about BBA (badly behaving authors). Too often we’ve seen authors (especially, it pains me to admit, self-published authors), who take offense at a negative review or comment, and lash out on-line. This is the biggest no-no you could…

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Review: Cracked

How do I start this review off so that I can do justice to this book? Whoops, too late.

This book ROCKED! I devoured it in less than one night. I couldn’t put it down! I was hooked from the fourth paragraph: “I eat souls.”

I love Crewe’s writing style, it’s well paced, and damn entertaining. The story is written in first person, by a charming, somewhat psychopathic (and I mean that in the nicest possible way) teenage girl called Meda. ¬†There are a few turns and twirls in the plot and the main character doesn’t always end up with the guy, which is great to see! It’s slightly darker than most YA Urban Fantasies on the market and I love, love, love that it doesn’t have any whiney vampires. (Sorry not a fan of Twilight – did I just loose a few followers?)

Ok enough gushing, time to get down to it.

17345314Cracked (Soul Eater #1) by Eliza Crewe
Book one of three, it seems.
Released: November 5th 2013 (book two is out)
Publisher: Strange Chemistry

Genre: YA, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Overall Score: A whopping 5 out of 5

What is it about?
Meet Meda. She eats people.¬†Well, technically, she eats their soul. But she totally promises to only go for people who deserve it. She‚Äôs special.” (It’s a great jacket blurb.) Meda is an orphan who is trying to keep herself fed without leaving a huge trail of bodies behind her. She doesn’t know what she is, and has never met anyone like her. But you know she will soon. On her latest… hunt, I guess you can call it, things go a little different from plan and she finds out just how¬†unique she really is ūüėČ

What did I like?
Everything! Wow, the story is awesome, so very awesome. There is dark humor, the main character is not a damsel in distress and can potentially kick some serious ass! I absolutely fell in love with Meda and the world that Crewe painted. There was not one character in this story that I found annoying or disliked in anyway (unless you were supposed to).

What didn’t I like?
It ended to goddamn soon!! No no, just kidding. The sign of any great series, it leaves you frothing at the mouth for the next installment.

Will I continue reading the series?
Abso-frakking-lutely! Hands down you bet your furry ass I will.

Final say:
Read it NOW! Or I’ll track you down and #%$&@#$%BEEP!
ūüėÄ sorry was feeling a bit Meda-sque ūüėČ hehe
Seriously though, it’s a great read. Get to it ūüôā

Review: Snow like Ashes

snowlikeashesSnow like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Book One of a Trilogy
Release date: October 14th 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray  (Harper)

Genre: YA, High Fantasy, Alternate Universe
Overall Score: 3 out 5

What’s it About?
Tag line: “A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.
In Short: We follow the perspective of 16 year orphan Meira, a Winterian who has lost her country and is one of eight refugees, which includes the future King, fighting to get their Kingdom back from an evil sorcerer.

Chakram_newWhat did I like?
Well, hello Xena fans! Yes that is a gorgeous Chakram on the front cover and it looks exactly like Xena’s second Chakram. Young Meira’s weapon of choice is… wait for it…. a Chakram! Really what more do you want? Maybe that the Chakram would split in two like Xena’s did but well we can’t have everything. So as a character I quite liked Meira, she was a fairly believable sixteen year old who thinks she knows better and realizes later that maybe she didn’t after all. The book is well written (especially for a debut novel) and the world building is done well, I especially liked the idea of the Seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter) Kingdoms, very Faesque. The book starts off great and pulls you in quickly and I smiled like a lunatic when Prince Theron appeared, unfortunately he doesn’t debut until later in the book. Lastly I was happily surprised that there was a proper resolution, it didn’t have a teeth gnawing cliff hanger like some trilogies have.

What I didn’t like…. **SPOILER ALERT skip this section if you don’t want ’em.
I loved the story until I got to chapter 22. I feel like it climaxed too early. It truly followed a story arch like story arcthe one on the right, but the final climax was anti climatic in my opinion and the three chapters in Meira spends in the work camp could’ve been condensed to one. I almost skipped these chapters all together. I found the last third of the book less entertaining than the first two-thirds. The book is a little choppy at times jumping from dream/ vision scenes to reality and other time it feels like an information dump. The action scenes are not bad just not as fast paced as I like them. The story was predictable, it was supposed to be a big revelation but I’d already guessed it chapters before; Meira was Hannah’s daughter, because why else would she be having the dreams, and why else would we be reading about her if she wasn’t important. I acutally would’ve like it better if she hadn’t turned out to be the next Queen. It would’ve been more interesting if she was some freak of nature ūüėČ but oh well, being Queen is good too, now she is¬†worthy of Theron. Also I didn’t like that out of the major characters only the bad guys died. It was a happy ending where Sir, an ass of a General who should be whipped for treating the future Queen as he did but is the closest thing to a father for Meira, was miraculously healed and didn’t die like she thought he had. His death could’ve brought about so much growth potential for Meira. Those are just my opinions though….

Will I continue reading the series?
Yes, I probably will. Maybe more for the Chakram than anything else, just kidding. It wasn’t a bad read and I am interested to see where the author will take the journey next. Most likely however, I will wait until all the books in the series are released before I hop back in bed with Meira and hopefully Theron.

Final say:
Pick it up and read it! It’s got Chakrams in it!! ūüėÄ
Okay so I’m a Xena fangirl…. Also if you aren’t as nit-picky as me you will probably enjoy it more, it’s got a 4.06 avg rating on goodreads so it’s worth a shot.

Inspirational Music

Do you listen to music while you write? IMG_0704
I certainly do. I find the pacing of songs helps set the scene and mood I create in my mind. I have spent hours searching for music that takes me on an inspirational journey. Mostly, I prefer instrumental music as I find lyrics can be distracting while churning out the words that paint pictures.

I wanted to share some of the music I’ve found over the years in case you are looking for¬†some yourself. I have tried to group them as best as possible below, sorry if it’s not perfect.
They are listed by song name, album name, artist.

Fast Pace/ Adventure
Black Sun (feat. Celldweller), Veiled Nation, James Dooley
Echelon, Pillars of Creation, Jack Trammell
Escape Artist,Into the Trees,¬†Zo√ę Keating
Fire Dance, Illumination, Jennifer Thomas
Highland Storm, Blood of the Dragon, Nox Arcana
Knights and Lords, Epica, Audiomachine
The New Earth, Epica, Audiomachine
The Wings of Icarus (feat. James Dooley), Soundtrack for the Voices In My Head, Vol. 02, Celldweller
Untouchable, Rage, Xtortion Audio

Fight Scenes/ Escapes (more sinister)
Critical Mass, Pillars of Creation, Jack Trammell
Durga, Makara, E.S. Posthumus
Kronos, Position Music РOrchestral Series Vol. 04 РAction/Adventure/Fantasy, James Dooley
Scorponok, Transformers: The Score, Steve Jablonsky
Sirens of Hyperion, Trilogy РSingle, Audiomachine
The Guardians, Verge of Total Chaos (Original Soundtrack), Danny Cocke
Trinity, Position Music РOrchestral Series Vol. 2, James Dooley
Unstoppable, Makara, E.S. Posthumus

Slower Pace
Elements, Lindsey Stirling
Follow the Nightingale, THE VOICE, KOKIA
I Still Have a Soul, Epic Action & Adventure Vol. 4 РES011, Epic Score
Optimist,¬†Into the Trees,¬†Zo√ę Keating
Resolve, Resolve РSingle, Nathan Lanier
Sand (feat. Karen Whipple), Sand (feat. Karen Whipple) РSingle, Nathan Lanier
Torn - SingleSomething to Believe In, Epic Action & Adventure, Vol. 12 РES025, Epic Score
Song of the Caged Bird, Lindsey Stirling
Torn, Torn РSingle, Nathan Lanier (one of my all time favourites)

The selection of music¬†above is more¬†attuned to the fantasy genre. Hope you find something you like, this is not an extensive list of the songs I have by any means ūüėČ

Do you have any favourites that you listen to?


Self Publish or Traditional?

For all you budding writers out there who haven’t decided on what to do with your unfinished manuscripts yet, I found a fun little, “‘choose-your-own-adventure’ questionnaire” (below) that will give you some pointers. Also you might want to have a gander at¬†two articles I stumbled across, published earlier this year with some very interesting statistic on who is making money in the publishing world.

After reading these I almost feel like I should’ve written romance… but there is no way I can give up my fantasy addiction. Happy writing!

Self-Publishing or Traditional Publishing: Which Should You Choose?
Courtesy of: The Write Life

What are your thoughts on Negative Reviews?

“If you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all!” ¬†images-2


We all know the quote from little thumper and most of us probably grew up with a parent and or grandparent teaching us something similar and yet this isn’t¬†applied to the internet. Once we get on the net it gets messy, rude and down right appalling. I am not saying that we shouldn’t write negative reviews when we dislike something or when something doesn’t meet the standard we expected it too, however there is such a thing as tact. Tact a four letter word that has been forgotten¬†in the online realm. What spurred me on the little rant? I’ve been scouring goodreads for a new book/ series to delve into and I have been astounded by some people’s reviews to the point of disgust and a couple of them got me worked up enough to pose the question: when is it too much?

A couple of months ago¬†I read a book which was… less than impressive but I didn’t log into my goodreads account and start bad mouthing the author, I clicked on a¬†star and left it at that. Yes it’s true everyone is entitled to their own opinion but let me refer you to that four letter word again… TACT people TACT, if you are going to write¬†feedback/ a review then try to make it constructive criticism or at the very least you can state what you didn’t like without calling the writer¬†names. As an aspiring author myself I realise that there are going to be negative reviews and there is always going to be people who dislike your work, but¬†attacking¬†the author personally using obscenities is not called for, at least in my opinion. ¬†It’s not just reviews and comment on goodreads tact can be applied to, we can apply it net wide. It a shame that this type of behaviour is supported and encouraged on the net nowadays, it is already making its way back into RL, so the question is: when will it be too much?