Spotlight + Guest Post: Mr. Right and Other Mongrels by Monique McDonell

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mr Right and Other Mongrels
Mr. Right and Other Mongrels by Monique McDonell
Published by Redfish Publishing
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance (Clean, Comedy)

Blissfully happy in her own universe Allegra (Ally) Johnson is the sweet best friend everyone wants to have. Quietly and independently wealthy she runs a charming second-hand bookshop in beachside Manly. Heck, sometimes she even goes downstairs from her flat to run the shop in her Chinese silk pyjamas. It sounds like bliss. But is it enough?

When dog-phobic Allegra is rescued from an exuberant canine by the chivalrous Teddy Green, Australia’s hottest TV celebrity and garden make-over guru, her life begins to change. Dramatically!

Unaware of Teddy’s fame Allegra finds herself falling for him, despite her best attempts to resist his charm. Supported by her eccentric family and her fabulous gay friend Justin, Allegra embarks on an on-again off-again romance with Teddy, complicated by his jealous ex-girlfriend, fashionista Louisa and her own narcissistic hippy mother Moonbeam.

Will Ally be able to overcome her insecurities and find happiness with this possible Mr Right or will Teddy’s celebrity lifestyle prove to be too much? Mr Right and Other Mongrels is a light-hearted story about how one chance encounter can change your life.

Purchase from Amazon

Guest Post

Mr Right and Other Mongrels has a variety of key characters that I love the main ones being Allegra Johnson, who runs a second-hand bookshop near Manly Beach and her potential love interest Teddy Green, Australia’s favourite garden make-guru. They are brought together by a mischievous Old English sheepdog called Muffin who appears quite prominently on the book’s cover.


When I was writing this book I knew straight away that Allegra would be scared of dogs or more precisely have a full-blown dog-phobia.

I myself suffer from this affliction and it a rather hard one to deal with in social situations. I wanted to use the characters, and a very likeable dog, to show how difficult this can be for someone who deals with this in day to day life.

Lots of people suffer from phobias. It’s pretty common. If you say you are scared of spiders or snakes or heights or even birds and people are pretty accepting of that. Usually they offer support and sympathy “Oh yes I don’t like spiders either!”

That’s not the case with dogs. People often take your dog phobia quite personally because they love their dog very much and honestly can't understand why you don’t as well. Of course it’s not personal at all, it’s a phobia and you can’t help it, in fact you’d really rather not be scared of their dog at all but that’s a message that’s hard to get through.

So I wanted the dog in Mr Right and Other Mongrels to be a breed that people universally like, don’t find scary and respond to with a big “awww” when they see them.

Old English sheepdogs are beautiful and furry and they do have sweet faces but they are also big and can knock you down and for someone with a phobia the mere idea of that is enough to cause panic. However you don’t gain much sympathy from passers-by who see these dogs and loveable cuddly soft toys and that I guess is the point. (Having been chased home from the station after school many times by both an Old English sheepdog and a scary German shepherd respectively I can assure you the breed of dog does affect people’s reactions when you plead for assistance.)

Muffin is a lovely dog and maybe he can help Allegra deal with her dog phobia if given time, or maybe not. How Teddy deals with Allegra and her dog-issues is a big part of how their relationship develops.

(Despite my phobia my own daughter is absolutely dog crazy and I now live in a house with a dog called Skip. I still can’t walk Skip or be near other unleashed dogs but owning a dog at all - I consider that big progress!)

Thank you so much, Monique! I love your guest post! So go check out her novels and support her! Here's her links so go follow!



About Monique McDonell

I am an Australian author who writes contemporary women's fiction including chick lit and romance. I live on Sydney's Northern Beaches with my husband and daughter, and despite my dog phobia, with a dog called Skip.

I have written all my life especially as a child when I loved to write short stories and poetry. At University I studied Creative Writing as part of my Communication degree. Afterwards I was busy working in public relations. I didn't write for pleasure for quite a few years although I wrote many media releases, brochures and newsletters. (And I still do in my day-job!)

When I began to write again I noticed a trend - writing dark unhappy stories made me unhappy. So I made a decision to write a novel with a happy ending and I have been writing happy stories ever since. I began a year-long writing course at the NSW Writers Centre and (thank goodness) its members morphed into a writing group known as The Writer's Dozen. We published a highly successful anthology, Better than Chocolate, in 2008.

In 2008 I was also selected for the QWC/Hachette Livre Manuscript Development Course for my novel Mr Right and Other Mongrels. In 2009 I received a Highly Commended in the Romance Writers of Australia's Valerie Parv Awards for my novel Hearts Afire.

These are the first two books I will be e-publishing in 2012 along with a third novel, A Fair Exchange. I'm not really like the characters in my books at all although I do share something in common with each of them - Allegra (Mr Right and Other Mongrels) has a dog phobia like me, Cassie (Hearts Afire) falls in love on a tropical island and I met my husband that way and Amelia (A Fair Exchange) was an exchange student who is now all grown up.

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Review: Mr. Right and Other Mongrels by Monique McDonell

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mr Right and Other Mongrels
Mr. Right and Other Mongrels by Monique McDonell
Published by Redfish Publishing
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance (Clean, Comedy)

Blissfully happy in her own universe Allegra (Ally) Johnson is the sweet best friend everyone wants to have. Quietly and independently wealthy she runs a charming second-hand bookshop in beachside Manly. Heck, sometimes she even goes downstairs from her flat to run the shop in her Chinese silk pyjamas. It sounds like bliss. But is it enough?
When dog-phobic Allegra is rescued from an exuberant canine by the chivalrous Teddy Green, Australia’s hottest TV celebrity and garden make-over guru, her life begins to change. Dramatically!
Unaware of Teddy’s fame Allegra finds herself falling for him, despite her best attempts to resist his charm. Supported by her eccentric family and her fabulous gay friend Justin, Allegra embarks on an on-again off-again romance with Teddy, complicated by his jealous ex-girlfriend, fashionista Louisa and her own narcissistic hippy mother Moonbeam.
Will Ally be able to overcome her insecurities and find happiness with this possible Mr Right or will Teddy’s celebrity lifestyle prove to be too much? Mr Right and Other Mongrels is a light-hearted story about how one chance encounter can change your life.
Purchase from Amazon

Excerpt

My mother however was going nowhere. Worse than that she kept leering at Teddy, which simply made me uncomfortable.

I really didn’t know what was going on with Teddy and me but I surely didn’t want anything going on between Teddy and Moonbeam.

“Teddy, do you want to help me get some dinner together?”

“No Allegra, he can stay and keep me company.” She was good.

“How about we both help Ally out.” What a guy.

So we piled into my small kitchen with her standing a bit too close to Teddy for my liking.

“So what are we having?”

“Potato gnocchi with tomato sauce and a salad.”

“Cool, what can I do?’

I had already cooked the potatoes so I put Teddy to work mashing them. And I pulled down a jar of sauce I had made from organic tomatoes earlier in the summer and put it on to simmer.

Teddy looked at me quizzically “You jar your own sauce?”

“Uhmm yes”. I was always kind of embarrassed by my love of cooking. It makes me seem like a possessed potential housewife or something. I mean I know you don’t go to a club and discuss organic cooking; it doesn’t get the men flocking. Ultimately though I just like to cook and eat well.

“Well, Allegra, that being the case I may have to marry you.” He winked just so I’d know he wasn’t serious. “I’ll grow the veggies and you can make the sauce.”

I noticed Moonbeams dark eyes got a tad darker and flashed a bit wilder.

“I don’t know that there is room for a veggie patch in my flat or your designer terrace either for that matter,” I laughed.

“Well, we’ll just have to move to the country.”

“Sorry can’t leave the shop.”

“I’m heartbroken,” he feigned distress as he mashed. “I offer to give up my lucrative TV career and to grow veggies and marry you and you won’t leave the bookshop!”

My Review

My Rating: 3/5 stars

This was a cute, fun breezy read. If you need some brainless book to read, do pick this up! Brainless is a compliment here. Don't you have those days where you just want to read something familiar that will end happily? That somehow even your life's in a mess, reading a happily-ever-after will put even just a smile on your lips, making you happy for a while, making you believe that there is hope in the world. That happiness can be found anywhere. When you're feeling down like that, read this book.

Sure, it is chock full of overdone tropes but it is charming and silly and funny. Allegra tells the story in her point of view and she is one funny girl. Teddy Green is your common celebrity character with a bitchy ex-girlfriend in Louisa. Basically, you know what's gonna happen just by reading the blurb. But like I said, this familiarity makes it endearing. It's like your favorite old and tattered shirt you sleep on. No matter how many times you wear it, it still has it charms. To quote Miguel Syjuco's Ilustrado, "Cliches remind and reassure us that we're not alone, that others have trod this ground long ago." That is exactly my point. Why do women love romantic comedy films when they're repetitive? It's because at the end of the film, we know it will make us feel good, believe in love and ignite that hope that there's someone out there for us as hot and handsome as Ashton Kutcher, or in this case, Teddy Green. Haha!

This novel is pure fluff so don't expect depth and brooding and philosophical questions. It's uncomplicated and it might not be for everyone since it tends to overexaggerate and it might annoy you at times because of that. But if you're looking for just that book you'd curl up to after watching all those rom-coms, this is it.

About Monique McDonell


I am an Australian author who writes contemporary women's fiction including chick lit and romance. I live on Sydney's Northern Beaches with my husband and daughter, and despite my dog phobia, with a dog called Skip.

I have written all my life especially as a child when I loved to write short stories and poetry. At University I studied Creative Writing as part of my Communication degree. Afterwards I was busy working in public relations. I didn't write for pleasure for quite a few years although I wrote many media releases, brochures and newsletters. (And I still do in my day-job!)

When I began to write again I noticed a trend - writing dark unhappy stories made me unhappy. So I made a decision to write a novel with a happy ending and I have been writing happy stories ever since. I began a year-long writing course at the NSW Writers Centre and (thank goodness) its members morphed into a writing group known as The Writer's Dozen. We published a highly successful anthology, Better than Chocolate, in 2008.

In 2008 I was also selected for the QWC/Hachette Livre Manuscript Development Course for my novel Mr Right and Other Mongrels. In 2009 I received a Highly Commended in the Romance Writers of Australia's Valerie Parv Awards for my novel Hearts Afire.

These are the first two books I will be e-publishing in 2012 along with a third novel, A Fair Exchange. I'm not really like the characters in my books at all although I do share something in common with each of them - Allegra (Mr Right and Other Mongrels) has a dog phobia like me, Cassie (Hearts Afire) falls in love on a tropical island and I met my husband that way and Amelia (A Fair Exchange) was an exchange student who is now all grown up.

Excerpt + Playlist: The Blood Moon Chronicles by June Spears

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Title: The Blood Moon Chronicles
Author: June Spears
Genre: fantasy, paranormal romance
Number of pages: 127

Three young warriors, one of them with royal blood, will be born into the human race as natural enemies. They must overcome their differences to unite and bring light back into darkness. For there is no light without darkness, and there is no darkness without light.

However, victory does not come without a price.

Purchase from Amazon

Excerpt

A raven-haired teenager sat there, carefree , on the warm damp sand.  She stared off across the water, her back to the forest. To the casual observer, she’d seem like a normal teenage girl.
To Everit, however, she was a rare diamond waiting to be polished.

The wind caressed her skin sending her hair blowing with its breeze, the scent of roses engulfed the forest. Everit closed his eyes and let the scent of her take him to a faraway place.  He imagined her in a magical field, and the only thing that covered her were the black and red rose petals that fell all around her beautiful body.  Her simple beauty was unlike anything he had seen in all his years.

Her body tensed, about to turn, so he dashed into the woods.  He could not show himself to her.  Not now.  Not like this.

He was sent here to plant his seed, to fulfill the prophecy of the Dark Islands.  He had not planned on falling in love, but the connection he felt was too strong to ignore.  The imprint she left on his heart was stronger than his desire to remain indifferent could sustain.

Everit had watched her for weeks now.  He knew his feelings for her complicated things, but he knew what he was sent here for.  He could not fail his people.  Loving her made leaving her behind that much harder.

He made an oath to himself to find a way to protect her at a distance, even if it meant his own death.

Playlist/Soundtrack

June Spears has been very nice to provide the links to Youtube as well! She also prepared a soundtrack, not a playlist. Meaning, if the book were a movie, this is the song that should be playing at this scene. I love her so much!
  1. Intro Xandria - Vampire
  2. Preface - How Everit Really feels about leaving Sophie Behind - Theory of a Deadman - Wait for me
  3. Everit Makes Love to Sophie - Elliot Yamin – Can’t Keep Loving You (From a Distance)
  4. Zelenia Bites Zeeb (tasting blood for the first time) Bittersweet by fantasia
  5. Zelenia and Zeeb give in to each others love –Kelly Clarkson – Dark side (perfect song)
  6. Left without goodbye (Zeeb disappears without goodbye) Kelly Clarkson (Stronger)What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
  7. Saying goodbye to Sophie - Gothic piano and Violin – Vadim Kiselev
  8. Zelenia sees Zeeb for the first time after change – Beautiful Disaster – Kelly Clarkson (perfect song for this part)
  9. Zeeb feeds from Zelenia to complete his change – Pop Evil – Monster you Made Me (perfect song for this part)
  10. Battle - Breaking Benjamin - I Will Not Bow (perfect song for this part)
  11. Zelenia’s life hangs on by a thin shred of life as she lay almost in darkness.- Nickelback - Lullaby
  12. Zelenia’s feelings towards her loved one’s as they heal her with their blood sacrifice. Creed My sacrifice
About June Spears


Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, June E Spears had spent her early years writing mostly poems and school songs. However, she could not escape the allure of storytelling and quickly began studying to become a novelist. She began by reading every chance she had. Mostly Fantasy and Romance novels, June's love of writing was uncontrollable. Once she began typing, she never stopped.

June is best known for her Fantasy Novelette Series "The Blood Moon Chronicles". She is a single mother to her only daughter Isabella Rose.

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Spotlight + Guest Post: God Loves You. - Chester Blue by Suzanne Anderson

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

God Loves You. -Chester Blue
Title: God Loves You. - Chester Blue
Author: Suzanne Anderson
Genre: Religious/Historical Fiction

What if when you most needed help, a blue bear appeared with a note from God?One night, Miss Millie of Blossom, Ohio turns her face to the stars and asks God for help. The next day, a package arrives on her doorstep containing a blue teddy bear and a very special note.

Over the course of a year, this remarkable blue bear travels across the country, showing up just when he’s needed most.

During his journey, Chester Blue helps a young girl trying to impress her big sisters; saves a sailor caught in a terrible storm; reunites two constantly fighting brothers; helps a cowboy become a rodeo clown; and aids a father and daughter in bonding after divorce.

If you ever needed a message from God, it's here...

Purchase from Amazon

Guest Post

Writing Children’s Books for the First Time

When I decided to write God Loves You. – Chester Blue, it wasn’t because I had a burning desire to write a children’s book. It was because Chester Blue, the blue teddy bear, modeled after the first teddy bear I sewed myself, needed a story to be written about him. Second, at the time, I was fascinated by stories about inanimate characters that ‘just appeared’ bearing mysterious messages. In the case of this story, crafting the message was easy: I wanted something inspirational. If this was to be a message that appeared out of the blue, than why not make it an encouraging message from God?

So, I had the character, I had the premise (what if you received a message from God, just when you needed it most?) the question was, who was my audience?

It seemed obvious that Chester Blue would appeal most to children. After all, who would better relate, than a child, to a blue teddy bear magically appearing carrying a message from God?

How would writing a book for children differ from writing for adults? Would I have to change my writing style? Were there specific dos and don’ts that I needed to adhere to?

The first answer is that I only asked these questions after I’d written the first draft of my book. And I think that’s very important. I believe that it is so easy to get caught up in the mechanics, the ‘how to’, of creating the story that you research the thing to death and never get around to writing or worse, completing, your book!

Once I’d written my story, these questions sent me off to one of my favorite hometown haunts, our public library. There I spoke with one of our incredibly knowledgeable librarians from the children’s section. She walked me through the rows of books and piled my arms with children’s books that would become my teachers.

The two books that had the greatest impact on me were The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo, and  The Heavenly Villageby Cynthia Rylant.

What I learned from Kate DiCamillo was that you don’t have to write ‘down’ to children. Yes, the concepts and perhaps even the plot lines will be simpler, but the language can be as rich and textured as any novel for grownups. This is absolutely the case in Edward Tulane, which is so beautifully written that it can be enjoyed equally by children and adults.

Cynthia Rylant’s Heavenly Village taught me that children’s books can deal with difficult topics, such as death and the afterlife, if treated with gentleness and respect. Cynthia Rylant is a master of both in her beautifully written book that treats a scary topic with love and even the occasional laugh.

The lesson learned, which I believe would apply to writing for the first time in any genre is this: write your story. Then take the time to read from the masters of your genre to see how expected touchstones are handled with skill and experience. The combination of both will lead to a satisfying story for your readers.  I hope I’ve accomplished that in God Loves You. – Chester Blue.

About Suzanne Anderson


I was born in Fort Lauderdale, attended the University of Michigan on an athletic scholarship for swimming and then worked on Wall Street. I left the bright lights of the big city fifteen years ago and traveled the world. I now live in the mountains of Colorado, where I pursue my dream of writing novels.

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Spotlight: The Harvesting (The Harvesting #1) by Melanie Karsak

Monday, November 26, 2012


Today, I joined Bookish Brunette's Blitz Tour of The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak. Enjoy!

The Harvesting (Volume 1)
Title: The Harvesting
Author: Melanie Karsak
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Date of Publication: September 18, 2012

"To label this a zombie book would be a false pretense . . . this is so much more than that. What you start out with and what you end up with are very different, and those twists and turns in the middle will make your heart beat faster over and over again."-- Colossal Pop

It's all fun and games until someone ends up undead.

Though Layla reluctantly returns home to rural Hamletville after a desperate call from her psychic grandmother, she could never have anticipated the horror of what Grandma Petrovich has foreseen. The residents of Hamletville will need Layla's help if they are to survive the zombie apocalypse that's upon them. But that is not the only problem. With mankind silenced, it soon becomes apparent that we were never alone. As the beings living on the fringe seek to reclaim power, Layla must find a way to protect the ones she loves or all humanity may be lost.

Purchase from Amazon

About Melanie Karsak

Melanie Karsak, steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and caffeine junkie, resides in Florida with her husband and two children. Visit the author at her blog to learn more about upcoming projects, book signings, and other neato things. A Walking Dead fan, check out her blog for recaps!

Review: On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

On the Island
When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day.
T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends.
Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.
Purchase from Amazon | B&N

My Review

My Rating: 4/5 stars


I stayed up until six in the morning just to finish this book. SIX IN THE MORNING! Never mind I had to wake up two hours later for mass, I just had this need to finish this book right there and then and I knew that I'd be disappointed in myself if I wasn't able to do it. And I knew I wouldn't be able to focus during mass because I'd think about Anna and TJ and I would want the mass to end as soon as possible so I can read it. That's how addicting this book is. No wonder it's now a bestseller.

It's not without flaws, I can pretty much enumerate its flaws. You have to completely have faith in the book with whatever plot and conflict it will bring your way. You need to suspend disbelief to completely enjoy this book. The situations seems far-fetched but I don't know, maybe the plot has some basis and grounds. (spoiler) How convenient of their luggage to wash ashore, for dolphins to save TJ and all that stuff. Still, even with all that, you still get along for the ride because even if how rocky the road may be, you're in the right company and it's an awesome trip you're having.

I love both characters, Anna and TJ. They are so endearing and you can't help but root for them. I was iffy on the age gap because heck, that's thirteen years! In the end, they convinced me that age is just a number for the couple in love but the society gives it meaning. Society imposes its norm, that this is wrong, when there is absolutely nothing wrong. Maybe I am not really into older girl-younger boy romances because I have a younger brother and I see younger guys as younger brothers at this moment. Maybe that will change but I don't know. Still, they made me ship them, but with cringing still since TJ's still a boy in my eyes. But I am wrong, he's young but he's not a boy.

The ending was a neatly tied bow with sprinkles on top. Seriously, this is the thing you should read when you're down in the gutter and need some cheering up. You definitely have it better than two people stranded in an island, living there for years. Whatever problem you have, that's surmountable! If they can survive in the island, so can you survive this life. That life has its crests and troughs like waves and you're just on a rough trough right now. And you get to read a romance so good. Win-win!

So go now and read this book and believe that you can find love even in the most hopeless places. :)

About Tracey Garvis-Graves

Tracey Garvis Graves lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, two children, and hyper dog Chloe. This is her first novel. She loves hearing from her fans, and can be found at on Twitter @tgarvisgraves and at facebook.com/tgarvisgraves.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Spotlight + Guest Post: Boy Who Dreams by Mike Cesar

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Boy Who Dreams (Destiny Awoken, #1)
Title: Boy Who Dreams
Author: Mike Cesar
Genre: YA Paranormal
Released: July 13, 2012

Jordan a sixteen year old boy begins to be haunted by several dreams as he returns to school after his holidays.

Events come quick and fast as a death forces Jordan to realise that something weird is happening. With help from those around him he starts to understand that his dreams are showing him the future. Then things start to spiral out of control as an unknown enemy haunts him in his dreams and in his real life.

As his friends start to mysteriously vanish without any explanation, he has to overcome his fears of the unknown, and face a reality that he is not just a normal boy, but someone that is walking a destiny foretold thousands of years ago.

Guest Post

Hardest thing about character development

For me, I found the hardest thing was transferring how I see the characters in my head onto paper. What makes it worse is that in your head when you hear the characters speak, they all have my voice!! I guess this is why I spent a huge amount of time editing this book, I spent hours after hours sifting through the dialogue of the characters so that they each had their own unique expressions when the spoke. Apart from the obvious reasons for this, it means that a reader can get used to how the character speaks, and would even be able to tell who the person is by their tone and/or language without me saying who it was that spoke. Yet in reality, in real life, if we spend a lot of time with another person and like them, then quite often we can start to adapt to little quirks in how they speak. So perhaps when it comes to working on the dialogue in the next book in the series, the characters may reach a point where they start to mirror expressions. I want it to be as real as possible to life, but would characters mirroring expressions just make it all very complex for the reader? I haven’t decided about that yet!!

Also in this book I chose various ways in which a character can express themselves listed below:

-I used Italics for when a character is speaking to themselves with their thoughts to give the reader a glimpse into the character’s mind. I knew there was something weird about him.

-I used Italic & bold combined for when a character is talking but accentuates a word for example “I know exactly what he meant”

I know these methods are often used by other authors, but when working on dialogue and inner-mind dialogue, you need ways in which characters can express themselves so that the reader understand exactly what you meant. Or else the whole meaning of the situation could be lost in the failings of the text.

About Mike Cesar


Cesar has a very experienced background in the spiritual world. He was brought up in a Christian family, but branched out from that base as he got older, seeking answers about the world around him, and the spiritual world around him. In his mid-twenties dramatic events occurred in his life which challenged his very existence, but he learned from these experienced and most of learned that how that life is not just in our own hands. Now Cesar is a firm believer that everyone has their own path to walk in life, and part of that walk is all about the choices that you make. Some people choose a good life and some a wicked life, but most of us live the life in the middle, influenced by the world around us and our own upbringing, Cesar understands that life is simply not black and white.

Stacking the Shelves (2)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Last October 31, I purchased a book online for the very first time. I ordered 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad from The Book Depository. I've been eyeing this book for months! Sadly, only the hardback version is available here in the Philippines and it's too expensive for my student allowance. It's been on sale for the longest time and I've wanted to buy it so I asked my mother for permission if I can purchase it for my birthday (given that I'll be using my credit card). She agreed so I ordered immediately! It was shipped by November 1 (Book Depo is so fast!) and according to the website, it would take 7 to 10 days to reach me. But knowing Philippines, I didn't expect that much. Still, I kept bugging Kai over at Twitter over how long should it arrive because I am panicking that it won't get here! Btw, this is only worth $4.76 (WHAT A DEAL!) so it wouldn't be that heavy to the pockets if ever it got lost or something. And I got it this November 22! OH MY! My landlord gave it to me and I literally jumped for joy. Heehee. I saw a stamp on my package dated November 20 so I guess it got to the Philippines by then. Anyway, without further ado, here's a picture!




Isn't it pretty? Plus, there's a free bookmark and the wrapping has bubble wrap in it! Heehee. I love it! Sadly, I was super busy so I haven't started reading the book but I'm doing that right after I publish this post! :D

So I do recommend The Book Depository because it ships free and the package arrives right at your doorstep. Go purchase! :)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews!

Excerpt + Playlist: C I N by Christina Leigh Pritchard

C I N
Title: C I N
Author: Christina Leigh Pritchard
Genre: YA

Seventeen year old Lisa Brown’s life is falling apart. First, her mother and father divorce, then their house forecloses and now, her mother has decided to commit herself to a psychiatric hospital.

If that weren’t enough, she must leave sunny south Florida to attend a boarding school full of geniuses in cold, Lynn, Massachusetts. The city where the locals chant “Lynn, Lynn, city of sin; you never come out the way you went in.”

And, they aren’t kidding. Lisa must live in a tiny shack with two strange teenagers, a dog named Pig who growls when you look at him and a cat named Rat. “Mind the cat,” everyone says. What the heck is wrong with this place?

Lisa thinks she’s landed in her own house of horrors with the anti-social Alex and his facetious sister Ally. But, the real drama begins the day she is struck by lightning…

Book Trailer

Excerpt

The Doctor said I should be dead.

My heart beat furiously. I looked up at the flashes of lightning in the sky. Yes, I should be dead.
Why wasn’t I?

One
Amber Checks In

“Lisa, if you don’t finish packing your things, I swear you’ll go with nothing.” My mother, Amber, threatened. She wrapped duct tape around a medium sized box and carried it out to the car.

Our home foreclosed and it was eviction day. My mother couldn’t keep a job; no matter how simple or easy it was. She was beautiful with long blond hair and bright green eyes that sparkled when she spoke. She landed every job she applied for but several weeks later and her new employer realized all Amber really was; was a pretty face.

Spotlight + Guest Post: Sundered by Shannon Maye

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sundered (Nevermore Trilogy, #1)
Title: Sundered (Nevermore Trilogy #1)
Author: Shannon Mayer
Genre: fantasy/horror


A miracle drug, Nevermore, spreads like wildfire throughout the world allowing people to eat what they want, no matter how unhealthy it is and yet still lose weight. It is everything the human population has ever dreamed of and Mara is no different. Only a simple twist of fate stops her from taking the drug.

As the weeks roll by, it becomes apparent that Nevermore is not the miracle it claimed. A true to life nightmare, the drug steals the very essence that makes up humanity and unleashes a new and deadly species on the world, a species bent on filling its belly. Locked down within their small farm home, Mara and her husband Sebastian struggle against increasingly bad odds, fighting off marauders and monsters alike.

But Sebastian carries a dark secret, one that more than threatens to tear them apart, it threatens to destroy them both and the love they have for each other.

The secret forces Mara to make the ultimate choice. Will she live for love, or will she live to survive?

Purchase from Amazon

Trailer


Guest Post

Market Your Book

If all you want is for Grandma Mary to read your book, don’t bother continuing with this article.You’ve accomplished your goal and you don’t need me to tell you how to market your book.

But, if you one of the growing number of authors who has realized that the sole person responsible for marketing their book is . . .gulp . . themselves, then perhaps you should read on.
While I’m far from an expert, I can share with you what I’ve learned.

Let’s say you’re lucky enough to snag yourself a contract with a publishing house (and this could be a small publishing house or a large one, it doesn’t seem to matter) they really aren’t interested in doing much marketing for you- the author- anymore.

And if you’re like a growing number of writers and are considering (or already have) self published, then you know that the marketing for every book you write falls squarely on your shoulders.

Depressing, ain’t it?

No, no, no! This is an opportunity for you to get creative, to reach out to your readership and draw them into your world of writing and books.

I’ve broken this down into 7ish steps and added a chart for clarification.

1. Acknowledge what problems you might run in to while promoting. For me they’re always one of two things. Not enough time and not enough money. For you they might be that you’re shy, don’t like to network or think that promotional stuff is silly and a waste of time. Whatever it is, write it down. By identifying the problem, you can find ways to work around it within your promotional efforts.

2. Write down your goals; give yourself something to shoot for. Don’t write things like “Sell as many books as John Locke.” Be kind to yourself; give yourself goals that can be reached within reason. It’s good to have long term, high shooting goals, but if you aim for Locke or Hocking status right out of the gate, you may just derail not only your promotional track, but with your writing track too.

3. Next, fill out a budget. This budget should include how much you are willing to spend a month on your marketing and PR plan. Your budget will dictate to a certain extent what venues you’ll be using to get your book out to the masses. Along with a financial budget, also write up how much TIME you’re willing to spend per day on your marketing. This is very important as it is easy to get caught up in marketing and you may find yourself promoting at all hours of the day and night.

4. Make a list of all the things you could possibly do to promote your book. Brainstorm, look up ideas on the internet, see what other authors are doing, ask your friends, ask your network.  Include anything and everything, don’t censure, you never know what might spark the fire for you. (See the Actions section of my Chart for a few ideas.)

5. Now you want to make a list of all the people you think might be able to help you promote. This can be friends and family, acquaintances, clients, or other writers you have helped out in the past. This is an important step in order to make your marketing move forward. Don’t try to do it all on your own.

Where ever possible, outsource. Your network is a HUGE part of getting the word out to new readers, so take advantage of them, they want to help you!

6. Go through the list of possible Actions; decide what will work for you within your budget and your time frame. Remember that if it’s free, it will likely cost you more time so be ready to put in the hours needed.

7. An important step that I touched on earlier was that you don’t want to sacrifice your writing time for promotional time. Eventually you would end up with nothing to promote. Look at your day, decide when you want to write, when you want to promote and STICK TO IT!

After you fill out your own chart, you’re ready to make a plan for marketing your book. My suggestion would be to have a calendar where you write down your goals. You can check off what you’ve accomplished and can easily see what is next on the list.

As writers our focus should ALWAYS be on writing the next story; improving our craft. But if we want more than Grandma Mary to read our books, we need to take the initiative and start our own marketing plan, even if that means taking a little time away from our writing. In the end, when your books are being read by strangers around the world, you won’t have to promote so much. You can sit back with Grandma Mary and work on your next big novel.

About Shannon Mayer


Reading and writing from a very young age I learned early on that stories built in a fantasy world were where the fun was at. Reading books by Robert Jordan spurred me on and it was the first real epic fantasy that I fell in love with. After that came Piers Anthony, Melanie Rawn and into my older teen years, Anne Rice.

It was in Rice's novels that the idea of urban fantasy really bloomed for me and it was about that time that my grandmother was letting me read her Harlequin Historical novels. (Okay, actually she was slipping them to me when my mother wasn't looking, but let's not get picky.)

The combination of love stories and darker fantasy stuck with me and it's now not only what I gravitate towards to read on my off time (Kelly Armstrong, Laurell K Hamilton, Kim Harrison), but has become the style I love to write in.

Besides writing, I love to spend time with my family and animals, horseback ride, garden and hike with my husband.

Cover Reveal: Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells


Title: Emilie and the Hollow World
Author: Martha Wells
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Date of Publication: April 2, 2013

While running away from home for reasons that are eminently defensible, Emilie’s plans to stow away on the steamship Merry Bell and reach her cousin in the big city go awry, landing her on the wrong ship and at the beginning of a fantastic adventure. Taken under the protection of Lady Marlende, Emilie learns that the crew hopes to use the aether currents and an experimental engine, and with the assistance of Lord Engal, journey to the interior of the planet in search of Marlende’s missing father. With the ship damaged on arrival, they attempt to traverse the strange lands on their quest. But when evidence points to sabotage and they encounter the treacherous Lord Ivers, along with the strange race of the sea-lands, Emilie has to make some challenging decisions and take daring action if they are ever to reach the surface world again.

Cover Reveal: The Pirate's Wish (The Assassin's Curse #2) by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Thursday, November 22, 2012



Title: The Pirate's Wish (The Assassin's Curse #2)
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Date of Publication: June 4, 2013


After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach.

Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies — and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.

Review: Mindscreens by Sylvia van Bruggen

MindScreens
Title: Mindscreens
Author: Sylvia van Bruggen
Publisher: Simply Blissful Press
Release: Date April 21, 2012 


Jessamine Harper has it all: University course she loves, job as a Top-level Healer and dream man in the form of desirable Professor Lucas Corwin; but when Corwin breaks down and is taken away by the Mindcops, the world that Jessamine knows begins to unravel.
Does the boy she hates, Ben, hold the key to her past as well as her future?
Can she escape the clutches of the Mindcops herself?
Only time will tell, and does Jess have much of that left?
Purchase from Amazon

Excerpt

"What's the emergency?" An equally snappy voice answered straight away, "Healer Harper, report to Med-Office at the south entrance. Slip and fall, going through scanner now, but judging from the bone sticking out I'd say it's broken." Grade A injury, good thing I hadn't eaten.

"I'm gonna miss class, you have to report me!"

"Not my problem, now scoot along."

I pushed my Jotter into my bag, shouted: "Medical emergency!" and started to run down the hallway. Left, right, down the stairs, swerve around some slobbering kissers, and then down the long corridor to the Med-Office, my voice getting hoarser and hoarser from shouting at people. The curse of being a Grade A Healer, only getting called when there's a big emergency. Better learn how to run fast if you want to save someone's life.

My Review

My Rating: 4/5 stars

I love futuristic worlds, especially if it's a revisionist's view of the world. Sure, I like fantasy and getting engrossed in worlds the author has given to me and I am left to imagine, but I also love reading and imagining the world I live in today to be sort of different. And here is what we get with Mindscreens. At first, I was at a loss since there are terms for their new hi-tech equipment but you can guess everything from context clues. And that is such a feat for me. I was disorientated at first, sure, what are these Mindscreens? These Jotters? But as you read and get smacked down right in the middle of this world, there's no time for thinking. In a flash, you get it.

So what are Mindscreens? In this world, in this London, you can't think privately. Because even if you don't speak, what you think is presented in Mindscreens all around you. If you have progressive and rebellious thoughts, you will be found and you will be punished for it. If you're badmouthing your classmate as you think she's a whore for apparently being the girlfriend of your professor, then she can see it. Sure, an hour or so after recharing your energy using the Meditation Pad (ugh, how I wish we have that in real life!), your emotions can't be read but still, you get the picture. Professors teach by projecting their thoughts on Mindscreens. If that ain't cool and nifty.

So enough with my spazz about this world. Let's get down to business. This was a breezy read, because you just want to know what's gonna happen! So I read it fast and boy was I rewarded! The characters are great, the writing fit for the genre, with no awkward out-of-character moments, overall, this novel is pretty good. My only qualm would be that it's really short and that I wanted more. And maybe a little more meat to the ending. It just happened so fast. Still, a good read! I have yet to join a book blog tour with a meh novel to review and this just intensifies my want to join as many book blog tours in the future.

Anyway, I have an exam later as I am writing this and I haven't even studied for that. Gah, sometimes reading books for leisure kills my grades. Well, all the time. Reading this snatched my time!

So I suggest you go and purchase the book if you haven't! Or join the giveaway so you might win and you can read it!


About Sylvia van Bruggen

Sylvia van Bruggen is a fantasy/science fiction writer, poet, avid blogger and artist. She is the founder of Playful Creative, a website for creatives who want to work through their mental blocks and who want to learn how to play with their writing. She has self-published a novella, two poetry books, and her poems and short stories have been published in various magazines. She currently writes a fantasy novel, and she works on publishing another poetry book. She lives in the Netherlands with her husband, two cats and several novels in various draft stages.

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