Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Books Galore!

Next week I'm off on my hols to the Caribbean and I'm stocking up my kindle with books by all my fav authors. I plan on spending those ten days sitting by a pool or on the beach catching up on all the reading I've missed out on this year. Before I show you what I've got in my book pile this week, I just want to thank everyone who downloaded 'Borrowed Ember (Fire Spirits #3) and launched it into the amazon bestseller lists. The comments and reviews so far have been so amazing and I'm really pleased Fire Spirits fans are enjoying the third installment. It's a huge relief, because to be honest, it was the most complicated book I've ever written, and trying to write a complicated book without making it sound complicated is a lot more complicated than you'd think.


So I'm glad it's all worked out. I have the outlines all ready to go for Darkness, Kindled (Fire Spirits #4), and when I get home from my holiday I will be hard at work on that (when I'm not working on my secret project - say what?! Yes, secret project :-p) for its release in the Fall. I already have the cover for Darkness, Kindled and am organizing a cover reveal for when I get back too. Yay!!!

Anyhoo, here's what I got in the post these last few weeks...

Borrowed Ember Swag! There's pens, posters, keyrings, the paperback, bookmarks and magnets. Remember to enter the first swag giveaway by clicking on the Once Upon a Twilight button at the top of my sidebar.

Paperback -

Chasing Magic (Downside Ghosts #5) by Stacia Kane

Squealed like a child when I opened this parcel this morning. It's not out yet in the UK, bought it from the US. I'm trying to keep it for my plane ride next week (hate flying!) but it's a bit like having Chris Hemsworth living in your house and being told you're not allowed to touch him :-(

Hardbacks -

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Bought this out of cover love and title love, only to discover it sounds like a great read as well!

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Sounds like a great summer read!

Kindle Books -

Some newbies to me - Shadow's Edge by J.T. Geissinger, The One by Heather Self, and Along Came a Demon by Linda Welch

And stocking up on my favs for my holiday...

Blood Rites (The Grey Wolves #2), Just One Drop (GW #3), and Out of the Dark (GW #4) by Quinn Loftis

Intuition (Premonition #2), Indebted (Premonition #3) by Amy Bartol, Blood of Anteros (book one) and Blood Jewel (Book Two) by Georgia Cates, Madly and the Jackal (Madly #3) and The Reckoning (Fahllen #2)

Defiance (Significance #3), Uprising (Collide #2) and Catalyst (Collide #3) by Shelly Crane.

Hopeless Magic (Star-crossed #2), Fearless Magic (Star-crossed #3) and Endless Magic (Star-Crossed #4) by Rachel Higginson

YAY! Lots of awesome books to devour!

Sam x

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Last Chance! 99 cent ebooks :-)

Hey guys,

Today's the last chance to grab all my books at 99 cents (with the exception of Borrowed Ember and WOA Omnibus)!

Sam x

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Second Chance: .99 cent price drop on all my books!

After the .99 cent price drop on all my books finished, I got quite a few emails and comments from other readers telling me they saw my posts about it AFTER the event and missed out :-(
Well, I don't want anyone to miss out and probably should have ran the promotion for a little longer than I did. So... I'm running it again! All my books are .99 cents each on amazon, with the exception of my new release, Borrowed Ember, and the WOA omnibus edition. This is a second chance on a limited time offer only, and I'd so appreciate you guys tweeting or FBing about it so that folks who missed out last time can download my books at the promotional price. :-) Luv ya's.

Sam x

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Borrowed Ember (Fire Spirits #3) OUT NOW!

I did mention I would try and release it early! And I have. Yay! You can download your copy now from amazon. The paperback should be available in a few days. Here are the links:

I'll let you guys know as soon as it's available in paperback! I hope you guys enjoy the third installment :-)

Sam x

Midsummer Dream Fair: Day 20 - The Jinn Game

It's Day 20 in J.L. Bryan's Midsummer Dream Fair event... which means it's Jinn Day! Head on over for a fun interview with me about the Fire Spirits series and also enter a giveaway for a chance to win a paperback copy of Smokeless Fire (US only). 

Click on the pic below!

Sam x

Monday, June 18, 2012

Borrowed Ember (Fire Spirits #3) Teaser #7


As though her eyes were suckers, Ari’s zoomed through the crowds of students and cars to find the Jinn. And he wasn’t alone. One by one Ari found them, male and female Jinn standing in the crowds staring at her. There were at least fifteen of them, their expressions dark with intent.
“We’re surrounded,” Jai muttered having spotted them too in the half-circle they made around the three of them.
“Jai…?” Ari asked shakily, wondering how they hell they were going to get out of this without her activating the Seal. The last thing she should do was tap into that thing. It was too dangerous. Nothing... nothing was worth that risk.
Jai stepped back, his hand grabbing a hold of hers tightly. “They’ve found you. They know what you are.”

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Holiday Rehearsal... and My Book Pile


Kindle Books

Veiled Eyes by C.L. Bevill
The Devil Inside by Jenna Black
Smolder by Penelope Fletcher
Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan
Tab Bennett and the Inbetween by Jes Young
Easy by Tammara Webber
Crow's Row by Julie Hockley
Queen of Swords by Katee Robert
 Madison's Life Lessons by Gracen Miller
Pulled by A.L. Jackson
The Fake Boyfriend Experiment by Stephanie Rowe

Sam x

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

All of my books are 99cents!

In celebration of my good mood (Borrowed Ember is releasing soon!!! Yay!) I've lowered all my prices! You can buy all of my books (except the WOA omnibus) for 99cents! That's right. Every, frickin' one is now only 99cents for a limited time only. So grab your copies now!

0,89 EUROS across amazon Europe.

Fire Spirits: The Updated Fantasy Cast List

Trey from the Fire Spirits series is one of those characters who crept up on me. I never expected to love this character as much as I do, but every time I write him into a scene I have a big grin on me face. I just love him. He's such a fun personality to write. And to my great delight, quite a few readers have contacted me to tell me how much they love Trey too. I've also had some suggestions for the fantasy cast list for him. It's always fun to see how other people imagine a character to look etc. When I have a character in mind, he/she are usually completely manifested from my imagination and then I just seek out actors who I think look a little like how I imagined. But if I'm being really honest I'd have to admit that when I was writing Trey I actually had an actor in mind as put him on the page.
A younger, blonde, Ian Somerhalder.
Yup. He was just there in my head for some reason and his swagger bled into Trey until he had a similar swagger too :-p

I've also added my fantasy cast pick for Fallon Roe. Emily Browning is just how I imagined Fallon. Cute, quirky and with a lot attitude. So, here's the updated fantasy cast list for Fire Spirits...

Naomi Scott as Ari Johnson
Abdel Rahman El Balaa as Jai Bitar
Alex Pettyfer as Charlie Creagh
(A younger) Ian Somerhalder as Trey Harman
Emily Browning as Fallon Roe

Sam x 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Teaser: Borrowed Ember, Chapter Titles

A reader asked me to put together an index of terms for the Fire Spirits series, so I'm working on that just now and I'll be putting that into Borrowed Ember (#3) and I'll post it on the Fire Spirits blog as well. 

But that's not what this post is about. We're getting closer to the Borrowed Ember release date and today I thought I'd do a different kind of teaser. Feedback I receive from readers about the Fire Spirits is always awesome, but in particular I love the positive feedback about my chapter titles. I love writing quirky chapter titles and a lot of my readers seem to love them which is awesome! So, I thought I'd tease you today with a few Borrowed Ember chapter titles :-p

Teaser Chapter Titles

It's an Old Kind of Magic in Kisses and Starbursts

I Will Use Your Love as a Mold to Make a Dagger

This Sky is Not Theirs to Reach... It is Yours to Place Your Stars Upon   

One Red Riding Hood and Too Many Wolves

You Crept into My Attic and Stole My Favorite Thing

Oooh I wonder what they're all about ;-)
Sam x

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Borrowed Ember (Fire Spirits #3) Release Date!

I want to thank you guys for being patient with me and my new policy of not issuing definitive release dates. I know it's a pain in the ass. If I felt comfortable offering up release dates months in advance you know I totally would! Anyhoo, now that I have a better idea of where we are with regards to Borrowed Ember, I feel happy issuing a release date for you :-)

Borrowed Ember is set for release Friday June 29th. Now we're still in editing stages at the moment - it's with my awesome editor as we speak - but the book will be ready for release by the end of June. Fingers crossed, if all goes smoothly, it might even be a few days earlier than this... However, I can't guarantee anything. Of course... if I do end up releasing early I will plaster the news all over my social sites so you guys know! :-p

Sam x

Monday, June 04, 2012

A Little Truth in All the Fiction

I was driving down the motorway today feeling a little more relaxed than I’ve felt in a few weeks since I sent Borrowed Ember (Fire Spirits #3) off to the editor on Friday. Don’t get me wrong the work is not over yet, and there is always the anxiety that comes along with releasing a new book. But… it’s nice to have the meat on the bones of the book, even if I’m not quite finished with the dressing.  As my mp3 player shuffled through my tunes, picking out one of my favourite songs of all time, I started thinking about why I write and also ‘how’ I write. The song was ‘All I Ever Wanted’ by The Airborne Toxic Event. The lyrics get to me. They feel real and almost brutal in their honesty, but no less beautiful for it. There are two lines that wow me in particular and I actually used them as my ‘theme quote’ for Blood Past (Warriors of Ankh #2). What do I mean by theme quote? Well, you may or may not have noticed that I pick a quote from something (a lot of the time it’s song lyrics) that I feel sum up what the book is all about and I put this just before the beginning chapters. The two lines from that particular song are:

“All I could think is that it must be a kind of rebellion
To arm your fears like soldiers and slay them.”

They bowl me over. I can’t even articulate why they make me feel so much, but I love the imagery, I love the meaning, and I suppose I believe in them. I believe it’s hard to turn your fears on their heads and fight them. I believe that sometimes every day is a battle against those fears. And mostly I just think this a beautifully poetic way to put something people say every day in such an original way. Isn’t that what writing is about? To say something so ordinary that nearly everyone can relate, but say it in such a way that makes them actually stop and listen… and feel.
Words have always had power over me.
It’s funny because I find it difficult to cut myself open to people. If I was really honest I’d probably say there are less than a handful of people who really, really know me. I don’t like talking about myself and I keep things to myself until breaking point and even then I only ever break down with a person from the aforementioned handful.
Writing feels easier. Since I was kid, I’ve been able to pour all that out onto the page. Even if it was just for me. And to be honest it usually was. Even then, I wanted what I had to say, these ordinary, every-day things that people go through… I wanted to say them beautifully.

Writing a novel is completely different from jotting down pretty little comments. Yeah, of course, I still love my depictions to have a sense of lyricism and poetry, but too much of that in a paranormal or urban fantasy adventure and the reader will fall asleep with artsy fartsy boredom. So ‘how’ do I write? If someone has never read any of my books, what can they expect from me? Well, no matter what I set out to do, perception is everything. We as readers bring our own experience to the page and we take things from a book that the author may never have intended. I’ve certainly read reviews in the past and been surprised by what a reader has taken from a situation. Sometimes that’s enlightening for me. Interesting and exciting even. Sometimes (as a person not a writer) if I’m really honest I have to switch off. There are some people who will never understand that everybody reacts differently to different situations. They can only imagine how they themselves would react (we all know people who are like that), so anything else is wrong. I’ve been criticized for making characters react to a situation in a certain way… and it’s a situation that I myself have been in so I understand the varied things that can run through a person’s mind. I may not have reacted in ‘action’ the way my character has done, but I certainly knew it was possible to be driven to act that way. That emotion, that grief, can make us people we never thought we would be. I suppose, in a sense, that’s my way of letting my readers get to know me a little. Whether you agree with me or not, understand or not, sympathize or not, you got to know me. For a while we were friends. And hopefully we have stayed friends.
If you are wondering what to expect from my writing… expect the truth. It’s true… I love happily ever afters - I’m a bit of a girl that way. But I also understand the impact of reality, of a tragic ending, of a bittersweet ending. That’s powerful. Often more powerful than the HEA. It can stay with you for days. And there’s a reason. It feels real to so many of us because for so many of us that’s, unfortunately, what has been real. So I mix the two. Expect adventure and action and romance. Expect an HEA. But the journey won’t be an easy one because it never is. My heroines, though strong, will fumble. They will make mistakes. They will not be all-knowing. My heroes will fumble. They will make mistakes. They will not be all-knowing. Friendships will be lost, beloved characters will die, and the romance will get pulled under by the larger plot. It will get chewed at and spit on, and my heroine and hero will have to work damn hard to make sure they make it out together in the end. Why? Because writing paranormal and urban fantasy needs to have some base of reality otherwise why would my readers care? They’d have absolutely nothing to relate to. I want the reality there. There’s no story without it. And the truth is… it’s personal. We’re surrounded by a celebrity culture where marriage and relationships are like the latest technology: when something more user-friendly comes along we dump the old and pick up the new. It’s a horrible attitude. It’s so unromantic. And I don’t think of romance in the terms of roses and teddy bears and saying I love you all the damn time. In fact I find it the complete opposite. I hate Valentine’s Day with an utter passion! I think constantly saying I love you devalues the meaning somehow. Roses… okay, roses I do like. But I don’t want to be given them because society told you to. I want to be given them because something inanely stupid happened that day that made you think of me when you just happened to be passing a florist with a half-price sale on. If I’m really honest, I think real romance is about grit and toil and hardwork… All you romantics out there might be gasping in horror at me but… I do. I honestly believe that. Because it means you really bloody love the person if you’re willing to go through all that shit to be with them. It demonstrates strength of character, of loyalty, of honor. These are old-fashioned traits… but man do I ever believe in them. My parents have been married for 32 years and have been given some of the most impossible, heartbreaking things to bear together. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t perfect. But they’re still standing. They’re still best friends.
Now that’s romance. That’s real.
I think that can be said for any relationship and I bring this ideology to the friendships I create in my books as well. All friendships are full of ups and downs (although I’ve been lucky to be blessed with a few very good friends with lots of ups and little downs) and I write that into my books too. If you’re a reader of mine, you may also have noticed many of my friendships consist of quite brutally honest camaraderie. That is personal too. Somehow, almost subconsciously actually, my own friendships have fed into my characters and their friendships. My friendships are close, they’re honest (we have little tolerance for bitchy gossipers), and they’re comfortable enough where teasing (lots of sarcasm… I’m surrounded by people who are world class masters of irony) is dealt out and reciprocated without being taken the wrong way. We are who we are with one another without fearing judgment. That’s a very freeing thing. I believe it’s a precious commodity.
It’s friendship. It’s real.

So to sum up my little ramble… that’s what a reader can expect from me.

A little truth in all the fiction.

Sam x

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

Can it be? Is it true?
Yes. Yes. It is. I found a modern fantasy movie where there are no caricatures… only characters.

In the Black corner: Ravenna played by the beautiful Charlize Theron. Not only is Ravenna brought to life with painstakingly stunning attention to detail from the visual effects team, the writers Evan Daugherty and John Lee Hancock give the Evil Queen a back story that really adds dimension to her character. With a tragic start in life cast in black magic by her mother and ripped from her home by a king to be his wife (and all the abuse implied in that situation), Ravenna is at once vulnerable, cruel and schizophrenic. This is no cackling Disney character. She’s effing insane. And Theron plays her brilliantly.

In the White corner: Snow White played by Kristen Stewart. You either like K-Stew or you don’t. Despite not being a fan of the Twilight movie adaptations, I do like Kristen Stewart as an actress. As Snow White she manages to embody the purity of the character without being insipid. Instead this Snow White has grit, integrity and an abundance of courage. The writers cleverly give Snow White a far bigger destiny than just being the prettiest girl in town, providing plenty of scope for the plot and plenty of thrills and action.

In the Blue corner: The Huntsman played by the swoon-worthy Chris Hemsworth (seriously, could my crush get any bigger????). A bit of a drunk, the Huntsman is living a fairly pathetic life grieving for the wife who disappeared while he was at war.  Known for having returned unscathed from the Dark Forest where Snow White has escaped into, Ravenna summons the Huntsman to bring Snow back to her, promising him she’ll return his wife from the dead. The Huntsman catches on fairly quickly, and given a new purpose in life, valiantly (and with the right amount of blunt humour) escorts Snow White to the army that awaits her. And the Scottish accent he adopts is not the worst I’ve heard! Hemsworth is rugged, appealing and perfectly cast as the warrior - his action scenes being some of the best in the movie.

In the Red corner: The seven dwarves played by an ensemble of great British actors including Ian McShane, Ray Winstone and Bob Hoskins. I don’t know how the visual effects team did it, but it was awesome and all played beautifully. The dwarves are given their own back story too. Once law abiding gold miners, the dwarves have been reduced to abduction and thievery since Ravenna ravaged the land. Snow White’s entrance into their lives renews their sense of purpose and their action scenes add a bit of humour to the thrills.

Overall: It's an action-packed adventure with an abundance of magic and great characterization. The visual effects are absolutely beautiful, the world-building both dark and edgy,enchanting and whimsical, reminding me a little of Lord of the Rings.

If you haven’t guessed, I absolutely LOVED Snow White and the Huntsman. It’s the first fantasy film in a while that I found really engaging and enjoyed the characters enough to be invested.

A must-see for fantasy fans. And a must-see for any ladies who want something to drool over for 2 hours (Hemsworth :-p)

Sam x