Saturday, May 28, 2011

Divergent, Graceling & Die for Me

I have three weekend book recommendations this week. I've been reading some awesome books lately so had to slot these three in. My reviews are getting a little shorter I'm afraid because I just can't seem to find the time to write them lately, everything is just a bit hectic at the moment. But these books I definitely recommend you checking out...

Divergent (Divergent #1)
by Veronica Roth

paperback - amazon £5.68

Blurb

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

My Review

**********Phenomenal

Wow. What a novel. Divergent is an exhilirating thrill ride full of tension, action, intelligence, romance, and Dystopian genius. Tris is an amazingly human heroine, flawed and courageous, and an utterling spellbinding narrator. If you love the Hunger Games, you'll love Divergent.

My favourite read of 2011 so far.


Ten Explosive Stars!





Graceling (The Seven Kingdoms Trilogy #1)
by Kristin Cashore

Paperback - amazon £4.07

Blurb

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.


My Review
*****Awesome Read

Graceling, the first book in the Seven Kingdoms Trilogy, is a refined and adventurous read, with an unforgettable heroine.

From the first page, I loved Graceling. I loved the sophisticated prose that somehow managed to be beautifully written but still ‘easy reading’. I loved Katsa, a protagonist with grit and compassion, and I loved the seamlessly written action that urged me to turn page after page.

Five Massive, Massive Stars! 
 
 
 


Die For Me (Revenants #1)
by Amy Plum

paperback - amazon £3.56

Blurb

DIE FOR ME is the first of three books about Kate, a sixteen-year-old American who moves to Paris after the death of her parents. It introduces a new version of the undead with revenants, beings who are fated to sacrifice themselves over and over again to save others’ lives. Kate finds herself falling for Vincent, who she discovers is not the typical French teenager he appears: he is something else entirely.

DIE FOR ME presents a new supernatural mythology presented in a city where dreams are sometimes the same as reality.





My Review
****Great Read

Amy Plum’s Die For Me has one of the most refreshing premise to hit the YA Paranormal genre. I’m not going to explain away the Revenants in my review because the best part of the novel is uncovering what exactly they are and each back story. Plum’s beautiful and vivid descriptions of the city of Paris and its history (particularly Paris and WWII) made this novel as engaging and as cleverly written as it was.
Die For Me is the opener to what I imagine will be a grander more action-packed series. The last few chapters of this novel gave a teaser of that; they were fraught with tension, excitement, action and adventure. It took me a little to get into Die For Me but I’m glad I gave it a chance. Overall an exceptionally enjoyable read and I’m really looking forward to reading more about these wonderfully imaginative beings.

4/5 Huge Stars!





Sam x

Friday, May 27, 2011

Born This Way

I really admire Lady Gaga. She’s wonderfully weird, controversial, successful and inspirational. And she’s only my age!
Admittedly when Gaga first appeared on the scene with Just Dance, I wasn’t convinced. I think it was Bad Romance that turned me around. But I’ve never bought her album before. Then amazon released her new album Born This Way dirt cheap, and having been unable to get the controversial song Judas out of my head for the last few days, I thought I’d download the album. I really recommend it.
I took a walk this morning to brainstorm and plugged Lady Gaga in to help. Her album is really great. It’s fun, it’s completely off the wall (I particularly like her Spanish flamenco-like song Americano – it’s really catchy), and it has a great message.
Be who you want to be no matter what other people say.
Cheesy? Maybe. I don’t think so.
A lot of Gaga’s fans are impressionable teen girls and young woman and I love the message she gives them. When my friends and I were at school we were those kids that wore what we wanted, took some abuse for it, but continued to wear what we wanted and listen to the music we wanted (admittedly I gave into fashion in my late teens when forties and fifties clothes became fashionable, but come on, who didn’t – love those clothes… I miss some of the skirts I had). I even remember turning up to my fourth year (sophomore) Christmas dance dressed like a medieval maiden. No joke. I didn’t care. My brother thought I was crazy :-p
The point I’m trying to make is that Lady Gaga may get some schtick for being ‘out there’ but I think she should be applauded for letting teens know it’s OK not to conform.
I try to write these issues into my novels, because I think it’s really important to impart this when my readership are teens struggling with who they are and who other people want them to be. I think it's important even when writing fantastical and paranormal worlds for people to escape in that you give them something real to identify with. Hopefully my heroines, in particular, give them that.

By the way…

I was Born This Way


Yup that's me. That stubborness has never gone away. Thankfully the teething has :-p




Sam x

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Presents and Self-indulgence

Hey folks,

I thought I'd try doing a couple of vlogs every now and then, and this week seemed like the perfect time to start since a few folks indulged me in my book addiction by buying me books from my wishlist and I got a few bargains for myself. Also tune in for some info on the paperback books of my novels that are available now.








Thanks to my present givers (you know who you are!), I appreciate you enabling my addiction :-p


Sam x
















Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Indie Universe

I’ve had an amazing month of May in sales and because of that I wanted to talk about indie books in general and the process.

So OK, there is a lot of speculation around indie books and the future of book publishing with regards to ebooks. As an indie author who relies on ebooks to reach my readers I’m asked in interviews whether or not I believe ebooks are the future of publishing, and will they take over from print publishing?
My answer: yes and no.
I think ebooks are here to stay and for that I am eternally thankful because as an indie author it’s incredibly difficult to distribute paperbacks without putting in more money than you’re getting out. Of course I’d love distribution on my paperbacks to be wider, and the most important element of this process is getting my books out there and having people enjoy my storytelling. But I also really want to make this my career. So I have to think of it as a business as well and make the right decisions financially. Unfortunately, this means at the moment my paperbacks are only available through amazon.com.
So ebooks. I’m big on them. :-p
However, as someone with a rapidly growing collection of beautiful paperbacks and hardbacks, I in no way think ebook publishing will take over from print publishing. The percentage may narrow a little, but I will be surprised if it ever truly becomes an equal partner in publishing.
So that’s that question answered.
I’m also asked how I feel about self-publishing in general. I know there are some sceptics out there, who worry about paying out money for a badly-written, poorly edited piece of c**p, and so they turn their noses up at indie authors. If a traditional publisher didn’t want them then they must not be good enough, right? Eh… wrong!
You only have to look at Amanda Hocking. Great storyteller, inspirational success.
Traditional publishers receive thousands and thousands of manuscripts. Thousands! There is no possible way that all these amazing stories are seen by the right person who gets it, and knows that other people will get it. That’s why platforms like Kindle Digital Publishing and CreateSpace are awesome avenues for authors who keep slipping through the cracks. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read my fair share of… well… rubbish… from indie authors and I always groan inwardly because it’s not helping to cast a great light on the indie universe. Some people may even think my books are rubbish. I really hope not. I work hard on those bad boys.
I’m pretty laid back when it comes to reviewing. As an author I know how much work goes into the novel, into the plot, the world you’re creating, and most importantly the character development. So, I never give a negative review. You can hate me for it. But it’s true. OK, I gave one once and I’m not going to mention what it was but it was an indie book. And I only gave it a semi-bad review because the novel was so lazily written that I was a bit insulted. Even if I don’t like a book, I find some merit in it because I know how much time must have gone into it. This particular book was cleverly wrapped up nonsense by a poor writer trying to cash in. BUT there are awesome indie books out there. Hocking’s as I’ve mentioned, Susan Bischoff, J.L. Bryan, Imogen Rose to name but a few. These are great tales for great prices. What’s not to love about indie?

As for the process itself? I’m enjoying it immensely. I love being a part of every aspect of producing my novel. Sketching it out, summarising, writing it, editing it (I get by with a little help from my friends – aw who misses The Wonder Years?), formatting it (OK, that part can be extremely frustrating, but the end result makes it worth it), looking for cover ideas, formatting covers (again frustration level HIGH), putting it out there, getting bloggers interested, and starting it all over again with a new story while still keeping the previous novel alive and well out there in the publishing verse. Sound like a lot of work? It is. Other indie authors have said it themselves: if you want this to be a career then you have to give absolutely everything to it. And I do. I’m a workaholic. Ask my friends and family. Actually, I’ll just take this moment to apologise for a) my absence b) my daydreaming when present c) my inability to think about anything else unless shaken out of my stupor. Sorry! I’m working on it.
But yeah, I pretty much eat sleep and live this stuff.
I think it’s worth it. There is nothing more amazing than someone telling you they love your book and that it took them away somewhere else for a while. That’s the whole point right? And I’m also fairly good at taking criticism. Don’t get me wrong that stuff hurt at first and it would really mess up my day, but now I take it on the chin. Not everyone can like your work. Fortunately the vast majority of my reviews for The Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy have been really positive, and I just want to thank everyone – especially my friends and family and you amazing book bloggers – for being so supportive.

On a final note, after rambling excessively (sorry), people talk about cover art and if it’s important.
My answer?
Hell yeah!
This process is still a massive learning curve; I’m learning all the time, and you never know if any of my opinions stated above may change because of some knowledge I’ve gained over the months. Part of that process was my fear of the copyright devil. Cover art is expensive, and yes I used a cover artist for Slumber, but that’s only because the novel is so special to me and when I saw Claudia McKinney’s art piece I knew I had to have it for Slumber. But for me at the moment it just doesn’t make sense to output so much money on cover art. So, having no clue about what was out there on the internet, I decided to play it safe on the copyright angle by using photography of my beautiful friend and manipulating the shot on Photoshop for the trilogy covers.
But I soon became aware of something.
I was getting great reviews for the novels but sometimes the reviewer or even just blog followers were commenting on how unassuming the cover art was and how it wouldn’t have drawn their eye. So I… OK, not going to lie, I panicked a little at first. And then I began hunting the internet for images that had no copyright, and lo and behold I discovered sites that other indie authors already knew about. Duh me! So I tracked down three images that had a kind of Grecian goddess theme running through them (if you haven’t read The Tale of Lunarmorte that makes sense, I promise – it’s got Greek mythology in it) and played around on Photoshop and voila!
Did it work, you ask?
Um… yeah *huge grin*
I was never really sure whether to talk about sales on my blog but I guess people want to know, and I’m really excited, and I think this proves that cover art does have an influence. This month, since I changed the covers, my sales have more than tripled for The Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. I’ve had over a 1000 sales so far for the Lunarmorte trilogy, alone, this month, which maybe isn’t a lot to some folks, but that’s a lot to me, and I really, really appreciate the support from all the people who have bought the novels – whether you enjoyed them or not.
I spent more time on The Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy than on any other novels. It took a lot of time and research and patience with character development (which if anyone reads this blog, knows is extremely important to me) and just a whole lot of work and love put into them. I didn’t know what to expect when I self-published them, maybe a few sales here and there, the brilliant feeling when someone read them and liked them, and the bubbly floating dream of someday making this my career. I don’t know if that will ever happen. But I never imagined having such awesome sales in less than month and I have them. So thanks folks.

You Are Awesome.





Sam x

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fairy Tales

Dunrobin Castle of the Duke of Sutherland, Golspie, Scotland
My favourite place in Scotland


I love a good fairy tale, as evident by my release of Slumber the first novel in the Chronicles of the Fade trilogy. It got me thinking about modern re-tellings and modern novels that are written in the style of a fairy tale or a fable. Here are the few I could think of and are worth a read...

Slumber (Chronicles of the Fade #1) by Samantha Young - haha... of course I'm going to mention my own first :-p

The Modern Faerie Tales by Holly Black

Burning Your Boats by Angela Carter

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

Enchantment by Orson Scott Card

Entwined by Heather Dixon

The Book of Lost Things by John Connelly

Ember by Bettie Sharpe

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce


I feel like I'm forgetting an obvious one (or two, or three...). These are some good ones to check out though if you're in the mood for a fairy tale, and if you think of any more feel free to post about them in the comments box.

I'm heading back into the world of the Warriors of Ankh for now. And no... it be no fairy tale (I said that in a pirates voice. I don't know why.)



Sam x

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wither

This week for my Sunday Book Recommendation I'm recommending a novel that's not out in the UK just yet. I was very impatient for this book so I actually ordered it from the Book Depository. This was a case of cover love at first sight and then once I read the blurb I was like, yup, gotta have it. It totally lived up to my expectations...

Wither (Chemical Garden #1)
by Lauren DeStefano

Hardback - The Book Depository £9.66

Blurb

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left. (taken from goodreads.com)



My Review
*****Bloody Brilliant!

Set in a distant and austere future, where women die at twenty and men at twenty five, Wither is a surprising and ethereal first part in a promising trilogy.

As a fan of Margaret Atwood it was pretty much a given that I’d love this book. With it's faintly lyrical undertones Wither is comparable to the works of Margaret Atwood and Angela carter - in my opinion Lauren DeStefano is a more accessible Atwood for the young adult audience.

Wither is beautifully written; every sentence carefully crafted, and every chapter compelling and haunting.

Rhine is the heroine of the story. Stolen from the streets of Manhattan and ripped from the security of the home she kept with her twin brother, Rowan, Rhine finds herself caught between the strange life of being a bride and sister wife to her husband Linden’s two other brides, and the need to escape her new home (with its faintly macabre underworld) to be reunited with her brother. What I found wonderful about Rhine’s character was how refreshingly kind she is. Rhine is just plain nice. There’s nothing extraordinary about her except the extraordinary warmth she shows everyone, and the guilt she even feels about betraying her husband, despite the fact she was brought to him against her will.

Most affecting in Wither is Rhine’s relationship with her sister wifes, in particular her relationship with Jenna. The development of their growing friendship is wonderfully written and bittersweet. I loved how DeStefano’s writing reflected the characters, casting light and dark into the prose and tone dependent upon who was present.
All the characters are fantastically drawn and kind of epic in their own right: from naive child bride sister wife,Cecily, to the sinister and terrifying Housemaster Vaughn, and the sweetly clueless, byronic Linden. This is a 'shades of grey' novel when it comes to character development and I loved the realism. There isn't a hint of cliche to Wither; it's so genuine in its own reality, a reality so captivating, I believed completely in DeStefano's vision of the future.

Although the premise is bleak, Wither is not. The first part in the Chemical Garden Trilogy is clever, enthralling, and emotional. I couldn’t put it down. This is a story about relationships from every angle, affected by the characters’ very temporary existence.

As stunning as the cover art (has to be the most beautiful cover art EVER).
I cannot wait to find out how things work out for Rhine.
Five Massive Massive Massive Stars!
Sam x

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Not a complete re-telling...

OK, so I think perhaps there is a wee bit of confusion over Slumber and that's entirely my fault as I use the term 'a sleeping beauty' in my book description. I'm getting the impression people think Slumber is a complete re-telling of Sleeping Beauty the fairytale. It's not. Slumber is a fairytale based around the 'sleeping beauty' concept.

That didn't clear things up at all, did it?

Nope.

OK. Slumber is about a princess who falls ill to a sleeping disease, she's beautiful, and it is a fairytale. That's pretty much as far as it goes. There is no spindle or godmothers or gifts of wit and beauty etc. There is a hot 'white knight' and a magical land full of magical people. But Slumber is a dark fairytale about the world I've created and about the princess' best friend, Rogan. Rogan is the heroine of the story, as she races across the land of Phaedra to save the princess from the disease. There is lots of magic, romance, action and adventure.

I'm sorry for confusing people, but hopefully this has explained it a little better.

Slumber is available to purchase from amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and smashwords. Check out my Buy My Novels page for more info.


Sam x

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Slumber OUT in ebook & KINDLE

Tis' true! Slumber is now available to download in ebook and Kindle edition!





Slumber is available to purchase in Kindle edition from amazon UK £1.41
From amazon US $1.99
From smashwords in multiple ebook formats £1.99
Coming soon to Barnes & Noble (you can purchase for the nook from smashwords)

The paperback edition of Slumber will be out next week sometime. Will keep you posted!



Sam x

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Nightshade

Hey folks,

It's my weekly book recommendation time. This week I actually did get around to reading some great books and this week I'm recommending YA paranormal romance, Nightshade by Andrea Cremer...



Nightshade (Nightshade #1)
by Andrea Cremer

amazon - paperback £6.60

Blurb

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?(taken from Goodreads).




My Review
*****Awesome Read

Calla is a Guardian, a werewolf, and protector of the Keepers, powerful witches and warlocks. All Calla has ever known is life in a pack, with a witch as her pack’s mistress. As an Alpha female, Calla is to be mated to Renier, the young Alpha male of their neighbouring rival pack to form a third pack to protect the mysterious Haldis Cavern in their territory. Having pretty much accepted her lot in life, Calla is thrown into utter turmoil at the arrival of Shay, a human boy whose life she saves. Suddenly Shay has Calla questioning her entire existence and the often harsh, sometimes sadistic rule of the Keepers.

Oh wow, where to start? I’m completely in love with this book and cannot believe it sat on my bookshelf unread for so long. I was drawn to Nightshade because of the beautiful cover, title and great reviews. It did not disappoint. Calla is a fantastic heroine, her voice is so real and true and so wonderfully animalistic. The dynamic between the pack kids is brilliantly written. There is a particular scene in the beginning of the book that sums up the amazing imagery Cremer somehow managed to maintain throughout the entire novel. Calla is standing at her locker when Ren appears in the school corridor, his pack striding at his back. As he nears Calla, her own pack appear out of nowhere to guard her back. It was awesome and territorial and fraught with challenge. Just a brilliant example of Cremer’s depiction of the Alphas and their packs.
Plot-wise. Wow. I felt like I had dived into a universe where Underworld meets The Vampire Diaries. This is a pretty big book, but Andrea Cremer’s modern prose is so addictive and the plot so action-packed, intricate and intelligent that I got through it fairly quickly. The supernatural elements were surprisingly refreshing; the succubi, incubi and wraiths (not to mention a terrifying arachnid) were drawn in a way I’ve never come across before, and one of the final action sequences in the novel is so imaginative, I could see it really translating to the screen well – utterly cool.
The characters of Nightshade are vivid, three dimensional, the pack are truly like wolves – Cremer never once forgets to remind the reader of that fact, having them react to certain situations with their wolfy side dominant. Most importantly, I didn’t find the love triangle tedious, which is an extremely difficult feat. In fact I quite enjoyed the triangle, feeling myself pulled between Ren and Shay as much as Calla – I am a sucker for the big bad wolfe though, think I’m leaning more towards Ren.

Nightshade doesn’t shy away from darker more adult subject matter, so I’d say this is definitely for older teens (although there isn’t any graphic language). It made me laugh, gasp, hold my breath and just revel in its brilliance. When it ended I literally cried out in horror. I need the next novel, Wolfsbane, now!! Hurry up!

In my top five YA Paranormal.

Five Humungous stars!




Sam x

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Slumber Teaser 4

Slumber (Chronicles of the Fade #1)

"By nightfall, I was covered in sweat and mud and forest. But with no coat and a ripped shirt, I was thankful for the heat of the exertion. The shack felt long gone now, but still I remained terrified. I had no idea how far I’d come.
Night had fallen a few hours past when I heard a loud snap of a tree branch. I stilled, my heart fluttering like a snared animal. I glanced around sharply, trying to see movement in the dark. A large plant rustled and I whirled around. I could feel eyes on me. Boring into me. Trapping me."












Sam x

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thursday Madness

OK, lots and lots to do, quite busy indeed. Just a quick apology for the absence of the Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy in paperback edition. I want to make sure the formatting is perfect on it so it could be a week or so before the books are back on amazon but I will try to be as quick as possible!

Also, Drip Drop Teardrop a Novella is being uploaded by amazon in paperback edition so it should be available May 16th! It's priced at $5.99.

After lots of back and forth, back and forth, Blood Will Tell (Warriors of Ankh #1) is back in business and on the way, so it will be next for publication after Slumber. I'm thinking August for release. I even have the cover...


Blood Will Tell (Warriors of Ankh #1)
Coming August 2011

Blurb

Eden is a Soul Eater. While that hasn’t meant much to her in the past, she’s pretty sure any minute now she’s going to go all "Carrie" on her eleventh grade class.

Noah is an Ankh. As an immortal Warrior, his purpose in life is to hunt down and kill Soul Eaters.

Eden is Noah’s next assignment. Problem is… this is an assignment with a difference. Eden’s not your average, run of the mill, Soul Eater. Noah’s job? To test Eden for possible redemption.

It’s a risky business.

Especially if Noah awakens Eden’s inner monster.

It would be kind of hard for Eden to listen to the angel on her shoulder when the devil on the other is telling her, her new best friend is a lying, scheming, immortal enemy...

....betrayal is such a bitch.

So is Eden when you get on her bad side.






And because I'm in the middle of preparing Slumber for release as we speak I've found another teaser I thought I'd share. Probably a little overexcited...

Slumber (Chronicles of the Fade #1)
Coming May 20th in ebook edition
Coming June 2011 in paperback edition

"What would Stovia do to Valena’s family? Would he murder them in cold blood if they refused to hand her over? I knew, even without my help, that he would find Valena. He was a powerful Glava. Could sense magic. But that didn’t mean I had to aid in the destruction of another family.
“No,” I whispered.
“What?” Syracen growled.
I spun around, defiant; hatred blazing out of my eyes. I wished I was Glava with the ability to summon the elements. I’d set him on fire and watch him burn for what he had done to me. To Kir. For what he would do to Valena.
“I said… no.”
His hand cracked against my face with such force I was sent flying to the ground."





Sam x

Slumber Teaser 2

Hey guys,

I promised another Slumber teaser before it's release on ebook at the end of next week...

Slumber (Chronicles of the Fade #1)

"Chaeron was as shocked as I at the explosion, and the rebel rousing yells of agreement. What on Phaedra was going on here? What this man said, it couldn’t be true? But as I looked around at the desperate faces, I found the truth in their eyes.
  Impulsively, I strode forward past Chaeron, who tried to reach for me and missed. “There must be some mistake,” I implored to the man. “We didn’t know.”
  He looked at me with such revulsion I flinched. And then he made a groggy noise in the back of his throat and spat in my face. Chaeron’s blade was against his neck before I could even comprehend what had happened. Humiliated and ashamed, I wiped at the phlegm dripping down my cheek and glowered at the man who now stood stiff against Chaeron’s sword."







Slumber is set in an imaginary world called Phaedra. Here's the map that will accompany the story...


Sam x

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Makeover

You may or may not have noticed that the covers for The Tale of Lunarmorte have changed (*cough* again *cough*). The ones up on amazon aren't the final product, I'm just waiting on the polished editions loading on to the amazon sites.

I really listen to my readers because... well... they're really important to me, and if I'm hearing the same thing over and over again then I'm going to take note and see what I can do about it. The nicest backhanded compliment I've ever received has been from reviewers, and in personal messages, telling me the covers I had, with my beautiful friend on them, were too ambiguous for the books and not great enough for them. In a way that's a lovely thing to say. So... I've changed the covers, with the kind of Grecian goddess theme running through them. They're more vibrant, soft... and young adult. So I did take note people, thanks for all the advice :-)
And it seems to have worked because all the novels ended up in the paranormal bestsellers list on amazon UK after I changed them. Yay!

This one is my favourite!


You can check out the other two new covers on the Tale of Lunarmorte page. This also means, however, that the paperbacks are unavailable at present while the new covers are formatted to them. I'll try to be as quick as possible with the process.

Check back in later this week for a teaser for my upcoming novel, Slumber.



Sam x

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Change to Slumber Release Dates

The one thing that holds up the release of my books is formatting the paperback edition. Usually the book is sitting pretty, edited, brushed, pampered and polished with glitter on top, ready to be read, but the preparation of the paperback for release holds everything up because I release paperback and ebook at the same time.
Well.
No more.

Slumber is almost primped but getting the paperback edition sorted is going to take a while (it's a little longer for me because Createspace is in the US and I'm the UK and the back and forth on the mail slows everything down). So... I've decided from now on I'm going to release the ebook edition of my novels before the paperback. :-) I'm quite excited about this because it kind of frees up more of my time to write the next book if I'm not faffing about waiting on release dates etc.

In conclusion... :-p ... the paperback release of Slumber is still June 2011. The ebook and kindle edition of Slumber... I'm now shooting for May 20th!

MAY 20TH!

Eeeh, excited.

I'll be posting teasers later on in the week.















Sam x

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Blue Bloods

It's weekly book recommendation time! This week I didn't get around to reading anything exciting enough to recommend so I'm going to recommend the first book in a series I started a few months ago...


Blue Bloods (Blue Bloods #1)
By Melissa de la Cruz
amazon - paperback £3.47

Blurb

When the Mayflower set sail in 1620, it carried on board the men and women who would shape America: Miles Standish; John Alden; Constance Hopkins. But some among the Pilgrims were not pure of heart; they were not escaping religious persecution. Indeed, they were not even human. They were vampires.The vampires assimilated quickly into the New World. Rising to levels of enormous power, wealth, and influence, they were the celebrated blue bloods of American society.
The Blue Bloods vowed that their immortal status would remain a closely guarded secret. And they kept that secret for centuries. But now, in New York City, the secret is seeping out. Schuyler Van Alen is a sophomore at a prestigious private school. Suddenly, when she turns fifteen, there is a visible mosaic of blue veins on her arm. She starts to crave raw food and she is having flashbacks to ancient times. Then a girl from her school is found dead... drained of all her blood. Schuyler doesn't know what to think. (Taken from Goodreads)


My Review
*****Awesome Read

This book was awesome. Gossip Girl meets Blade. Wow.

Melissa de la Cruz brilliantly and effortlessly interweaves a refreshing and original history of the vampire with true history (from ancient biblical lore to ancient Egypt, Rome and the New World)to create a vampire thriller that has fast become one of my favourites in the young adult genre. I can't believe how many times I've bypassed this novel (I only picked the first four in the series up because they were on sale!), it's so fantastic.

I loved the clever use of American history - from utilising the concept of the blue bloods for her modern, American vampires - to explaining the mysterious disappearance of the colony of Roanoke as part of her wonderful and rich vampire lore.

Speaking of her vampire lore...it is so fresh, it's amazing. I won't explain it away here, because reading about her vampire life cycle is utterly cool.

Melissa's prose is smooth, easy-reading. The plot is fast-paced, tense and imaginative. The characters are great. Young, yet old, a beautiful paradox of naivety and cynicism that comes with her vampire concept. Only Schuyler's voice (and you'll have to read Blue Bloods to understand why) is purely adolescent; confused, vulnerable and somewhat lonely,yet fierce and determined all at the same time. She's a wonderful heroine to a wonderful beginning to what hopefully turns out to be a fantastic series.

Five MASSIVE stars!





Sam x

Friday, May 06, 2011

Slumber Teaser

[Note]I seem to be having some issues with the paperback release for Drip Drop Teardrop, a Novella, so I'm thinking it might be a bit later than May 9th for the paperback. I'll let you know when it's available to purchase. Remember, it is available to download in ebook; just check out Buy My Novels page to find out where.


With the release of Slumber approaching, I thought I'd try and come up with a teaser each week, til' its release, that's not too spoilery...


Slumber (Chronicles of the Fade #1)

Teaser

“So what do we do?” I murmured, wearily wondering when this truce between us was going to end and Wolfe was going to take his vengeance.
“The only thing we can. I heard the other two guards talking about the festivities this evening. Apparently, you and I are attending. When we’re there I’ll create a distraction. You have to keep your wits about you, Lady Rogan. Watch me all the time. When I make my move, you make it with me and we run.”
I blinked owlishly, hoping I’d heard wrong. “That’s your big plan? A distraction?”
He smiled cheekily at me. “Yes. It’s good, right?”
“You’re going to get us killed.”
“Well, since you got us kidnapped in the first place, I think it’s only fair.”






Sam x






Tuesday, May 03, 2011

I Broke My Tooth on Writer's Block

I joked on twitter yesterday that I had broken my tooth on writer's block.
I did actually break my tooth. And I did actually have writer's block. But the breaking of the tooth may have had more to do with an over iced cornetto...

Anyhoo, I'm still suffering from writer's block and it's - to put it mildly - pissing me off. Writer's block isn't new to me, or to any writer I'd reckon (if you're a writer and haven't had the block then I envy you, and not gonna lie... kinda hate ya :-p), but this time around it's worse. A couple of weeks ago I decided I didn't like where my first book in the Warriors of Ankh trilogy was going and scrapped what I'd already written (at least a quarter of the novel :-s) to start again. I have the ideas but I'm struggling to sit down and write them all out. I've tried my usual - going for long walks with my mp3 player.... But still... everything seems to be... stuck. Solution?
I need smacked upside the head!
This time tomorrow if there's still nothing pittering out of my pen, I'm going to... to... I can't even think what I'm going to do!





I'm not frustrated. I'm not frustrated at all!!
........................................................
                       ............................................................
                                           ...........................................................
                                                                        ....................................................
                                                                                            ........................................................


Ah.
I feel better for venting.
This blog is somewhat therapeutic.




Sam x

Monday, May 02, 2011

Some stuff to check out

Hey guys,

Drip Drop Teardrop, a Novella is now available to download in multiple ebook formats from smashwords, click HERE to check it out. It's $0.99 from smashwords.

Also head on over to one of my favourite bloggers, Fiktshun, to check out my author interview and to grab a chance at winning signed copies of the entire Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy as well as a signed copy of Drip Drop Teardrop, a Novella.

Be sure to check out Fiktshun, it's a fantastic blog with great reviews and lots of information and cool giveaways; definitely worth following!


Fiktshun.com




Sam x

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Drip Drop Teardrop on Kindle

Hey guys,

Drip Drop Teardrop, a Novella is now available to purchase on amazon in Kindle Edition.


amazon kindle UK - £0.69

amazon kindle US - $0.99

amazon kindle Germany - EUR, 0.99




I'll let you know when the novella is available to download in other ebook formats from smashwords. The paperback edition will be available May 9th 2011.



Sam x


Paranormalcy

Sunday's Book Recommendation time...
This week I finally got around to reading this novel. It's been on my bookshelf for a while, and I was expecting something completely different. I also wasn't expecting to love this book as much as I did. Check it out...

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1)
by Kiersten White

amazon - paperback £4.37


Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.
But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal. (taken from goodreads.)


My Review
***** Fantastic Read

Paranormalcy turned out to be such a great surprise. I don’t know what I was expecting from this novel, but it wasn’t the quick wit, charm and vivid intelligence that it ultimately doled out in heaps.

If I was to give Paranormalcy comparisons it would be tv/movie comparisons – Hellboy and Supernatural kind of thrown together. I have to say it really worked for me; I didn’t want to put this book down.

Evie is such a sharp narrator. Kiersten White has created a truly authentic teen voice in Evie. She’s cute, sassy, and provides humour and levity to balance out the darker elements of the plot. I was definitely pulled in from page one by Evie’s voice – she had me snorting and laughing out loud from the get go. Moreover, her character development is clear and crisp, giving the reader such great insight into her, and in doing so making the reader that much more invested in the character. Evie’s part in the plot is really fresh and unique; the writing in the scenes in the last chapters are so vibrant and well-written I could visualise the action perfectly; there was something ethereal and beautiful about White’s writing in those moments, adding exceptional light and shadow to the modern prose.

Each character in Paranormalcy is painted perfectly, giving them individuality and realism. I particularly enjoyed the development of the friendship between Evie and her romantic interest, Lend. Their scenes together let the reader step out of the paranormal and into moments of teen crush/love that was sweet and fun, and refreshingly lacking in melodrama.

I absolutely loved Paranormalcy, it’s one of the best debuts I’ve read this year. Cannot wait for Supernaturally now!


Five Massive Stars!




Sam x