Friday, 30 May 2014

Interview with James Wymore, author of Salvation

It's time for my first featured author interview here on the Writer's Nest. Today I'm interviewing fellow CQ writer James Wymore, author of Salvation!
Tell me three interesting facts about yourself!
1- I dreamed my own death, but managed somehow to stay alive.
2- I’ve played with a rock band in front of thousands of screaming people.
3- I can’t do accents unless I’m very tired.
Summarize your book in one line.
 If the town can’t prepare well enough, the monsters will destroy them all.
Tell me something cool/crazy/quirky about the book – it can be anything!
The main character is named after one of the Blues Brothers. 
Why did you decide to write this particular book?
I had an epiphany while watching television one day and wanted to write something allegorical. 
Best part of the writing process?
When a reader tells me they really loved my book. 
Share one thing you learned writing this book.
 It’s easier to just concentrate on one thing and work to the end.  By focusing and writing through the whole manuscript, it really was a much smoother piece.
Tell me about one strange experience you’ve had. Again, it can be anything!
I dissected a human being.
Name one fictional place you’d love to visit.
The grid, from the Tron movies.  That would be a blast! 
Name one real place you’d love to visit.
Iceland.  Active volcanoes AND aurora borealis in one place! 
Share one sentence/mini-excerpt from the book!
Jewel said, “If these are our last days, they are precious.”

Thanks, James! (It may make you a little jealous to know that I'm going to Iceland later this year!) 

And here's some more information about James's latest book, Salvation,  which is published by Curiosity Quills!

Elwood has no memory of who he is or where he came from. All he knows is that he was a soldier wounded while fighting against the monstrous Hyzoi; a race of armored mermen with razor sharp teeth and claws. Nursed back to health and taken in by Macey and Bowen—the kindly older couple who find him nearly dead on the banks of a frozen river—Elwood quickly becomes part of their family. Macey even lines Elwood up with her younger sister, and the prospect of a peaceful agrarian life helps him to begin to move on.

But all that changes when Elwood spots a horde of Hyzoi advancing on his new home. Now he is forced to use his military training and intrinsic leadership skills to prepare the people of Winigh to desperately defend against an innumerable foe.

Now available at Amazon!

Book Blast - The Other Me by Suzanne van Rooyen

Title: The Other Me
Author: Suzanne van Rooyen
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Release Date: 19 Dec, 2013
Length: 216 pages
Genre: YA, LGBT, contemporary

Fifteen-year-old Treasa Prescott thinks she's an alien. She doesn't fit in with the preppy South African private school crowd and feels claustrophobic in her own skin. Treasa is worried she might spend life as a social pariah when she meets Gabriel du Preez. Gabriel plays the piano better than Beethoven, has a black belt in karate, and would look good wearing a garbage bag. Treasa thinks he's perfect. It might even be love, as long as Gabriel doesn't find out she's a freak.

As Treasa spends time with Gabriel, she realizes she might not love him as much as she wants to be him, and that the reason she feels uncomfortable in her skin might have less to do with extra-terrestrial origins and more to do with being born in the wrong body.

But Gabriel is not the perfect boy Treasa imagines. He harbors dark secrets and self-destructive tendencies. Still, Treasa might be able to accept Gabriel's baggage if he can accept who she longs to be.


"The Other Me is a story that will stay with me for a long time. This is what YA should be and Van Rooyen has that uncanny ability to wedge you inside the heads of her characters where you will feel all their pain, love, joy and sorrow. I cannot recommend this book enough if you’re looking for a story that will challenge your preconceptions.” – Nerine, You Gotta Read Reviews

"This book is a great new contemporary read, so different from everything else that's out there, and it is brilliant! Suzanne van Rooyen does a brilliant job of crafting a story that is not only entertaining and engaging, but interesting and unique too.”– Myra, Pieces of Whimsy

"I loved Suzanne Van Rooyen's writing style. It made reading her words so easy. Her characters came across as incredibly real. Add all of that into the uniqueness of the stories subject and The Other Me turned out to be a book that I absolutely loved. So much in fact that I would love to read more of these characters.” – Tracey, YA Book Addict"

Suzanne is a tattooed story-teller and peanut-butter addict from South Africa. She currently lives in Finland and finds the cold, dark forests nothing if not inspiring. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When not writing you can find her teaching dance and music to middle-schoolers or playing in the snow with her shiba inu. She is rep'd by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.

Author Links:
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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Welcome to What's Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow. Here's what I've been up to this past week!

What I'm reading

I've been reading lots of children's/MG books this week, to get in the right mindset for revising my MG steampunk fantasy (as up until now I've been working on my dark, angsty post-apocalyptic sequel and needed to read something more light and upbeat!).

I read Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve, which for some reason, I haven't read before. I have no idea why! It's about a world where bigger towns eat smaller ones. Yep. It's wonderfully creative and original! I bought the whole series and read them in three days!

I also read The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand, which is fabulously sinister and creepy! It's like Roald Dahl crossed with Tim Burton. Awesomeness.

What I'm writing

I finished my draft!!!!! In an insane day-long writing session in which I wrote over 6000 words, beating my lifetime record! I've mentioned before that I'm a slow writer most of the time, so I'm still convinced an alien took over my brain for the day. Or possibly a demon. 

I'm also working on my YA contemporary fantasy draft. But my main focus is now on...

...revising my MG steampunk fantasy! :) This went better than I expected, considering what a mess I thought the draft was in when I finished it in December. Looking at it with fresh eyes got me excited about it again! It's now ready to send to CP's/beta readers. Yay! :D I'm actually *gasp* tentatively hopeful about this one. If anyone's interested in beta-ing for me (it's a fairly short book, seeing as it's middle-grade), then I'd really appreciate the help - and I'd be happy to return the favour! :)

What else I've been up to 

Other than work and catching up with reviews...not much! Now the lovely weather's departed, I'm back into hermit mode.

 What inspires me

Progress! :D That insane adrenaline rush when the end is in sight and you just want to keep typing and typing!

And rediscovering the love for an old story! I love this odd tale of alternative universes and dragons and clockwork monsters. I love the eccentric characters. It's a very "me" kind of book, which naturally means it's totally bizarre. :D

Friday, 23 May 2014

Review - World After by Susan Ee

World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

World After is the sequel to the fantastic Angelfall, and my hopes were high. The first in this explosive post-angel-apocalypse saga totally blew my mind, and I’m happy to say that the sequel holds the same high standard! This is an adrenaline-filled, tense, DARK thrill-ride.

Penryn might have reunited with her family, but things will never be the same. Her younger sister, Paige, has been brutally altered by the angels’ doctors, and is outcast as a monster. Penryn herself is distrusted because of her seemingly-miraculous recovery from being stung by one of the angels’ scorpion-monsters. Her mother’s paranoia makes their whole family a target of the human survivors as well as the angels. And Raffe, the enemy angel she allied with, has gone, determined to get his wings back, and thinking she’s dead.

A good word to describe these books is haunting. And also disturbing. Not just because it’s such a scary, gripping portrayal of the end of the world, but because of the grey moral perspective. There are no real heroes or “good people”. The humans can be as despicable as the monsters. Penryn is a great lead character because she’s a survivor above all, and incredibly strong and determined.

The plot is great – not a single scene is wasted, and I was riveted throughout. Packed with suspense, danger and horror, this is a worthy sequel to Angelfall. Anyone looking for a kickass survival story with a great heroine, horrific monsters, and a dash of humour (Penryn’s nickname for the angel sword: HA!) will find something to enjoy here. Hands-down the best angel series (and the best post-apocalyptic novel) I’ve read!

Rating: *****

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Welcome to What's Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow. Here's what I've been up to this past week!

What I'm reading

I read Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood, which is a really good YA historical fantasy about witches. Then I read Half Bad by Sally Green, also about witches - but it couldn't be more different! It's easy to see how this book's drawn so much attention. It's gritty and intense with a fresh, contemporary voice!

My copy of The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa arrived, and I eagerly dove into the finale to the Blood of Eden trilogy, knowing many tears would be shed! And I certainly wasn't disappointed.

Now I'm reading The Lovely and the Lost by Page Morgan. Gargoyles, demons and gothic romance in 1890's Paris - I love this series!

What I'm writing

I'm slowly inching towards the end of my draft...

It's not been the best week for my poor other WIP's. Due to a combination of receiving a critique, reading a ton of writing articles, and generally being in a hyper-critical mood, I took a long, hard look at all of my works-in-progress, and came to a decision. The MG Fantasy draft that's been sitting on my laptop since December needs rewriting from scratch (but on the plus side, I've finished my revision plan!). The other YA draft I finished in April is being indefinitely shelved until I figure out what to do to fix it. And I've rewritten the beginning to my YA post-apocalyptic fantasy...again...

BUT, I'm doing the brave/crazy thing and entering my first contest with this project! Eep. I've been tinkering with it for weeks after getting my last round of feedback, afraid to move on even though I've revised the heck out of it - so I'm pushing forward. I just have to hope that at some point, the stars will align for all of my projects!

Meanwhile, I'm carrying on with my YA contemporary fantasy, and also plotting a new YA high fantasy based on an idea I had a few months ago! I might write this one next. (This is how I avoid insanity when waiting in the query trenches/waiting in general. By constantly thinking about the next project!)

What inspires me

The many, many useful articles on Janice Hardy's blog, and also this series on character arcs. It's been so helpful with outlining/re-outlining!

Also, writing the revision plan for my MG Fantasy book. Even though I have to rewrite it from scratch, I have a better idea of what I'm aiming for this time! :)

What else I've been up to 

Oh, tax forms. *mock cheer* To cut a long and tedious story short, as a UK author with a US publisher, I have 30% of my book royalties withheld unless I go through the torturous process of filling out a bunch of paperwork. Starting with obtaining an ITIN (International Taxpayer Identification Number). So, I am passport-less for a while, and I have to trust that Royal Mail don't lose my official documents. o_O (I'm filing this under "Things No One Tells You About Being An Author". Ah, well!)

Other than work, I've been having fun with creative-type things. ^_^ Since coming back from holiday, I've been trying for more of a balance in my non-writing life, as most of the time, it tends to consist of me spending too much time on the internet. So I'm trying for more non-writing-related hobbies like painting, drawing, card-making, etc. Things I used to do when I was younger, before everything became a competition, and Art GCSE stole my soul...

But, seeing as I have enough stress in my writing life, I'm taking up painting, drawing, and card-making again. I'm a complete amateur, but it's purely for fun, this time! :)

Monday, 19 May 2014

How I found the Write Path

 I'm taking part in this fantastic blogfest put together by the awesome Carrie Butler! Carrie is compiling letters from writers at all stages of their publishing journey, for a free e-book aimed at writers just starting out!

Please write a letter/note to yourself when you first started writing toward publication. The only thing I ask is that you keep it under 800 words, including as many (or as few) of these elements as you like:
   - A lesson you learned the hard way
   - Something you didn’t expect about the industry (positive/negative)
   - A writing-related resource you could never do without now
   - One thing you’d change about your journey
   - One thing you’re glad you did
   - Your number one tip for pursuing publication
   - Anything else you feel is worth passing on
   - The name you wish to be credited as
   - The title (if any) you wish to follow your name, i.e. author of the series
   - One major link where people can find you, i.e. website, blog, Twitter, etc.
   - Whether or not you give me permission to use your entry in the e-book compilation. Don’t feel bad if you don’t want in. We’d still love to read what you have to say!

So: this is my letter to Past Emma, who was just setting out on the bumpy journey of writing for publication...

Dear 2010 Emma,

This isn’t going to be an easy journey. I think you know that already. The world’s already conspiring to stop you starting that novel. Every day that passes makes you grind your teeth with frustration. Time feels like it’s slipping away.

Here’s a secret: there is no time limit. There is no ticking clock. If you don’t get published before you turn 18, you aren’t a failure.

That creative writing course you set your heart on? It isn’t the end of the world if they don’t offer you a place. You don’t need validation in order to write a novel. You don’t need to belong to a prestigious university course to be published. Writing that portfolio for your application feels like it’s sucking out your soul? That’s your first clue. Write what you want, not what you think other people want. If they only want “serious fiction”, it isn’t the right course for you. Your ideas and quirks and odd stories are what make you unique, and stifling them with a literary voice will kill your passion.

You’re more likely to use your skill at analysing Shakespeare in your writing career than the ability to write a decent seven-line poem in one minute under the watchful eye of an interviewer. So don’t worry about that cringe-worthy mess you scribbled down. No one will remember it. Honest.

Emma, for pity’s sake, please, please don’t think it’s a good idea to snail-mail one submission at a time. Those poor trees!

It’s probably a good plan to think of something witty to say when you ask your creative writing tutor for their advice on submitting your novel for publication and they tell you you’re too young to be thinking about that. Without actually asking what you’re writing about.

The internet will be the best thing that ever happened to you. You’ll discover the wonderful online writing community, find critique partners, and learn more from online articles than from three years of university.

I know you love your characters. I know you love that story. But that doesn’t mean you’ll never love another story again. Yes, many tears will be shed. But it’s a writer’s rite of passage. It isn’t the peak of your writing ability. It’s the cue to move on and try something new. Fill that hole in your life with wonderful new worlds and characters.

*whispers* That notebook you lost down the back of the desk might contain some interesting ideas…

Sometimes you’ll wish you could turn back the clock. Don’t. You’ll learn some hard lessons, but you’ll emerge the stronger for it, and every mistake will teach you something new, and bring you closer to that dream.

2014 Emma

Name & Title: Emma L. Adams,  author of the Darkworld series

Carrie, please feel free to use my entry in the ebook, and thank you so much for hosting this opportunity! :)

Friday, 16 May 2014

Review - The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. 

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. 

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...
Wow. What is it about Maggie Stiefvater’s writing that makes it so hard to write a review? The second book in the Raven Cycle is just as indescribably brilliant as the first, picking up where The Raven Boys left off. Blue and the Raven Boys continue their quest to find Glendower – a Welsh king buried beneath their town, who is believed to grant a favour upon awakening. With the ley lines around Henrietta awakened, the different members of the group react in different ways. Ronan becomes the central character, as the story revolves around his ability to pull objects from dreams – an ability inherited from his father, whose murder still haunts him. But other, sinister entities start to follow him out of the dream world, and two antagonists, fellow Aglionby student Kavinsky and the sinisterly ordinary-seeming Gray Man, both want his powers for their own reasons.

The characterisation is superb. All the characters feel like real people, complicated and three-dimensional. Maggie Stiefvater builds layers upon layers, delivering more jaw-dropping twists even than in the previous book. Despite the modern setting, the depth of the story makes the impossible seem real. The writing has both subtle humour and poignancy. This is YA paranormal that manages to be totally unique, and I’ll be first in line for the next book!

Rating: *****

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

What's Up Wednesday

I'm baaaaack! :)

Welcome to What's Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow. Here's what I've been up to this past week!

What I'm reading

I just got back from holiday, and I had lots of time for reading with no internet connection! :) I read the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima (The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne and The Crimson Crown) and I loved it! I'm adding it to my all-time top fantasy series list. Very, very highly recommended. *adds all her other books to TBR list*

I also read more of the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, starting with Magic Bites and Magic Burns. I'm loving this urban fantasy series!

I also really enjoyed The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan, and I'm now reading the Return to Camelot trilogy by Donna Hosie.

What I'm writing

I had the best writing week when I had no internet! 17,000 words in a week, and a ton of brainstorming for a potential new project (a plotbunny found me!). I'm heading for the home stretch in my YA post-apocalyptic sequel, and I'm also a decent way into my next draft, a YA contemporary fantasy. YAY WORDS! :D

What inspires me

Words! Holidays and sun and pretty places. :)

 What else I've been up to

Well, I went away for week with a friend to S'Illot in Majorca/Mallorca, a sunny Spanish island! ^_^ And it was fantastic! As well as spending plenty of time in the sun (and reading a ton of books/writing a ton of words!), I also had adventures! We went on a really great boat trip along the coast, seeing all the pretty beaches and caves. :)


We also went to the safari zoo, where we got to ride around in a train and have close encounters with all the animals! (A baboon rode on the roof at one point!) We also saw baby zebras and were followed by a demon goat in the petting zoo. Eep. But we also saw baby goats, newborn baby piglets, tigers and lions basking in the sun, and a lot more!

And that wasn't the end to our animal encounters! An animal show came to our hotel, so we ended up getting our photos taken with barn owls, parrots (which tried to eat my hair!), and a gigantic two-metre-long python. Hey, I have to do at least one crazy adventurous thing per holiday! :D

On a less pleasant note, I now have flu...again. Less than 24 hours after returning to England. So I'm holed up in the nest again, only two weeks after recovering from the last bout of Plague. A curse on my nonexistent immune system!