Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Currently...

It's time for another fortnightly "Currently..." update about what I'm doing right now! :)

Loving

Finally experiencing the awesomeness that is Mad Max: Fury Road. Reading all the fabulous entries to the Pitch to Publication contest in my inbox this week. And of course, words and books and shiny new ideas. :D

Reading

Recently, I've read:

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - so good!
Fairest by Marissa Meyer - finally! I was waiting for the Kindle version to become available on Amazon UK.
I'm still rereading my favourite fantasy books - this time, it was Graceling, The Emperor's Blades and The Way of Kings.

Watching

I watched Jurassic World, which was a lot of fun. I was considerably less freaked out than when I first saw the original films (the T-Rex rampaging around the streets left quite an impression on nine-year-old Emma. :P). And I finally saw Mad Max: Fury Road, which was every bit the epic experience I was promised (I've been watching everyone rave about it for weeks!).

I'm also watching Avatar: The Legend of Korra, and really enjoying it.

Listening to

Still listening to epic music - Two Steps From Hell, Audiomachine, Future World Music, Assassin's Creed soundtracks...

Thinking about

My WIP! I'm having a lot of fun with these characters.

I also started making notes for another epic fantasy series, because I had a random inspiration blitz the other day and couldn't resist. I was in the mood to plan something epic and world-spanning like the Alliance series...

...until yesterday, when I had to switch my focus to the Pitch to Publication contest. Now I'm thinking about how difficult it is to pick one entry. So much talent in my inbox! :)

Anticipating

I'm judging the Pitch to Publication contest this week and there are some great entries, so I'm excited to work with a fabulous author! I'm also looking forward to meeting up with writer friends in London this weekend. :)

Wishing

I could decide which entry to pick in the contest. :P I also wish I had a clone, because clashing time zones mean I'm having difficulty switching off.

Making me happy

Shiny new fun ideas! :D Maybe I'm a workaholic, but the fun early stages of potential projects really don't feel like work. They're the adult (well, sort of :P) writerly equivalent of scribbling all over a page with crayons. If I'm not crazy-excited about an idea, then I can't even start writing it (I actually realised the other day that I'm writing my 22nd novel, and I've never actually lost interest in an idea once I started writing the book!). So I'm spending my limited free time exploring possible worlds, and loving it! ^_^

Friday, 26 June 2015

June Reading Round-Up

Hidden Huntress (The Malediction Trilogy, #2)

Stolen Songbird was one of my top YA fantasy reads last year, and I was really excited to read the sequel. In Hidden Huntress, Cecile has returned from Trollus with the goal of tracking and killing the witch who cursed the trolls to spend eternity trapped inside the mountain, while also pursuing her singing career under the watchful eye of her estranged mother. She and Tristan are separated, but we also get Tristan's viewpoint as he is held captive by his own father and tries to fix the injustices towards half-bloods in Trollus. The tension is high throughout and there are plenty of twists, though I did guess the identity of the villain. I really like the magic system in this series, as well as the reimagining of trolls and legends. I liked the plot of Stolen Songbird more, but the world inside and outside Trollus is as complex and compelling as ever.



The Stars Never Rise (Untitled Series, #1)


Wow, this was different! Finally, a YA paranormal that lives up to its awesome premise. THE STARS NEVER RISE is set in an alternative world where soul-eating demons have reduced humanity to hiding in walled towns, obeying the commands of the Church, whose exorcists won the war against the demons. Nina finds herself in a predicament when her sister reveals a shocking secret, and ends up on the run from both the Church and the zombie-like demons, joining up with a group of rogue exorcists to save her sister. 

The worldbuilding is clever and chilling, and the plot is action-packed. I was riveted from the first page to the last and there was a refreshing lack of cliches in the setting, plot, and demon mythology. The characters are three-dimensional and there are some fantastic twists I admit I didn't see coming. This is an absolute must-read for anyone looking for a YA paranormal or dystopia that stands out from the crowd!



The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

Witch Hunter was entertaining, but I didn't connect with it the way I'd wanted to - maybe because I've read too much YA in the same genre and it didn't have enough unique elements to make it stand out for me. The book had a few too many YA cliches and the characters were a little flat.


Nobody's Goddess (The Never Veil #1)



Nobody's Goddess is set in a village in which all the men wear masks, and each serves only one woman, his goddess. If she returns his love, he can remove the mask. I really liked the way the author dealt with all the possible implications of the curse (men can only love one woman, while if the woman rejects him, she faces a lifetime alone). This is an imaginative and complex page-turner with ever-building mystery, and I couldn't wait to see how it all worked out. A must-read for anyone looking for a unique YA fantasy!


Never Fade (The Darkest Minds, #2)

As I'd already read (and loved) The Darkest Minds, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequels. Heartbreaking and gripping, they held me captivated from beginning to end and left me with a hell of a book hangover. I can't even write a coherent review, but this has to be one of the best YA dystopian/paranormal series I've read.



The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)


I've seen mixed reviews of this, so I decided to give it a go. It was difficult to get into the story because the writing style is a bit overly wordy and goes down unnecessary tangents. I also felt the worldbuilding wasn't well thought-out in places and some elements bordered on preachy. The story moves slowly and the heroine is a little too naive and trusting. It's a shame, because there's nothing wrong with the concept, but I just couldn't connect to the story like I hoped to.


Two Serpents Rise (Craft Sequence #2)

I read the first in Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence last year, Three Parts Dead, and loved it. Two Serpents Rise takes place in the same world but with different characters, allowing the author to explore the different areas of the truly unique world of the series. It's like a fantasy/steampunk/sci-fi mashup, more modern than medieval. As with the first book, the plot is engaging and the characters are three-dimensional and likeable. Highly recommended for fantasy readers who love clever worldbuilding and creative magic systems.




Time Salvager

Time travel stories can be tricky, but Time Salvager is an accessible, character-driven thriller. In Earth's distant future, James works as a chronman, a time-traveller who jumps into Earth's past to recover resources and treasure. But when he breaks a fundamental time-travelling rule and saves a woman's life, he finds himself on the run. The worldbuilding is great, with just enough detail to immerse the reader in the story without confusing with the time-travelling aspects. James is more of an antihero than a hero, but he still becomes a sympathetic character. The settings are well-drawn, especially the grim and haunting future most of the book takes place in. This is a fast-paced thriller with a time-travel twist which explores some fascinating issues. A must-read for sci-fi fans.


A Magic Dark and Bright (The Asylum Saga, #1)

A Magic Dark and Bright drew me in from the first page. I love a good creepy ghost story, and the small town setting is wonderfully atmospheric and packed with history and secrets. The characters are really well-drawn, too. Everyone has motives and complexities, even the side characters, and the main characters are flawed yet likeable. The romance is sweet and the author perfectly captures adolescent awkwardness and first love. This is a page-turning mystery with some nail-biting moments and plenty of suspense.


The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)

So I've managed to get sucked into another series where I'll probably have to wait years for the next book (just as I was getting over GoT...). It's the kind of book where you walk around doing everything one-handed because you can't stop reading it. If you love fantasy of any kind, I'd highly recommend The Name of the Wind.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Cover Reveal - Link by Summer Wier



For seventeen-year-old Kira, there’s no better way to celebrate a birthday than being surrounded by friends and huddled beside a campfire deep in the woods. And with a birthday in the peak of summer, that includes late night swims under the stars.

Or at least, it used to.

Kira’s relaxing contemplation of the universe is interrupted when a piece of it falls, colliding with her and starting a chain of events that could unexpectedly lead to the one thing in her life that's missing—her father.

Tossed into a pieced-together world of carnivals and gypsies, an old-fashioned farmhouse, and the alluring presence of a boy from another planet, Kira discovers she’s been transported to the center of a black hole, and there’s more to the story than science can explain. She’s now linked by starlight to the world inside the darkness. And her star is dying.

If she doesn’t return home before the star’s light disappears and her link breaks, she’ll be trapped forever. But she’s not the only one ensnared, and with time running out, she’ll have to find a way to save a part of her past and a part of her future, or risk losing everything she loves.

Dreamy, fluid, and beautiful, LINK pairs the mystery of science fiction with the minor-key melody of a dark fantasy, creating a tale that is as human as it is out of this world.


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About The Author:
Summer Wier grew up spending Saturdays with a maxed out library card and her nose in a book. But as much as she loved reading, and even writing, both took the back seat when it came to career choices. With her sights set on law school, corporate greatness, and even a hankering to become the first female president, she set off to conquer the world. As life would have it, though, she didn’t attend law school, nor did she become president (although, one day, your vote may be appreciated), finding her strengths, instead, in accounting and business management. After finishing her MBA, she revived her love for reading and began writing with dreams of finishing a book of her own. When Summer isn’t working, reading, or writing, she’s trying to keep up with two energetic girls and her husband, and dreaming of the mountains of Montana.
LINK is her debut young adult sci-fi novel, the first in THE SHADOW OF LIGHT trilogy.


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Currently...

It's time for another fortnightly "Currently..." update about what I'm doing right now! :)

Loving

The sunny weather (at least until it started raining again...). The #amwritingchallenge on Instagram. Finishing my draft and having time to play with fun new ideas. Brandon Sanderson's Write About Dragons lectures, which are super-helpful.

Reading

Recently, I've read:

Hidden Huntress, the sequel to Stolen Songbird - loved it!
The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent - a YA paranormal with a genuinely original concept and a great plot!
The last two books in Alexandra Bracken's Darkest Minds trilogy, Never Fade and In the Afterlight - sooo good. And heartbreaking. Book hangover alert!
Time Salvager by Wesley Chu - a fantastic character-driven sci-fi time travel thriller.
Nobody's Goddess by Amy McNulty - a great YA fantasy with some awesome worldbuilding.
A Magic Dark and Bright by Jenny Adams Perinovic - a wonderfully spooky YA ghost story.

Watching

Still re-watching Orphan Black. I also finally saw Avengers: Age of Ultron, which was entertaining but not as good as the first one (the internet had already forewarned me!).

I finished Avatar: the Last Airbender (thanks, Netflix!) and I absolutely loved it! Next I'm moving onto the spinoff, The Legend of Korra, which has been recommended to me many, many times!

Listening to

Epic soundtracks, because I'm in high fantasy mode!

Thinking about

My fantasy series! I'm also playing around with other concepts and ideas, including a space opera/urban fantasy idea I really like. I'm not the kind of writer who gets ambushed by a major plotbunny and starts writing immediately. I only get a handful of good ideas a year, if I'm lucky, and all my books come from extensive brainstorming, usually over months or years. So I'm not sure if anything will come of this, but it's fun anyway!

Anticipating

YALC. Only a month to go! :D

Wishing

This draft goes smoothly! I'm transitioning from first person present tense YA post-apocalyptic to third-person multi-POV past tense high fantasy, which is a pretty big jump in style. Also, this is my 22nd novel (!!!), but it's still a first draft and therefore comes with the usual writerly angst and fears.

Making me happy

Writing. Reading great books. (Mostly) nice weather. Finishing a series I started drafting in 2013. :)

Friday, 12 June 2015

Cover Reveal: Chameleon by K. T. Hanna

Chameleon (The Domino Project #1) is a YA futuristic science fiction story. It's set in the wasteland of earth after a meteor shower devastates landmasses, makes seas rise, introduces the psionic gene into the human race, damages the atmosphere, and gives the gift of an alien parasite to the world.

The goodreads blurb is as follows:

After Sai's newly awoken psionic power accidentally destroys her apartment complex, she’s thrown into an intensive training program. The only grades are pass or die.

Surviving means proving her continued existence isn't a mistake--a task her new mentor, Bastian, takes personally. Her abilities place her in the GNW Enforcer division, which partners her with Domino 12, who is eerily human for an alien-parasite and psionic hybrid. When her assassination duties are revealed, Sai understands the real reason for her training.

  On a mission to dispatch a dangerous Exiled scientist, she uncovers truths she never thought possible. Sai is unsure who to trust as her next mission might be her last, and a double agent seems to be manipulating both sides.


Without further ado - here is the cover, by the amazingly talented S.P. McConnell.

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It's finally here

CHAMELEON Domino Project Front with Text 2

Isn't it GORGEOUS!?!?!

Sit back and bask in this for a moment.

It's available for preorder for a special price of $2.99
Amazon Link

About the Author

Me

KT Hanna has a love for words so extreme, a single word can spark entire worlds.

Born in Australia, she met her husband in a computer game, moved to the U.S.A. and went into culture shock. Bonus? Not as many creatures specifically out to kill you.

When she's not writing, she freelance edits for Chimera Editing, interns for a NYC Agency, and chases her daughter, husband, corgi, and cat. No, she doesn't sleep. She is entirely powered by the number 2, caffeine, and beef jerky.

Note: Still searching for her Tardis

Celebration!

To celebrate, we're giving away 2 x $10 Amazon e-gift cards (open to anyone who can receive and use an Amazon e-card) Just click on as many options as you like and enter!

Monday, 8 June 2015

Release Day: Nemesis (Alliance, #2) by Emma L. Adams

Nemesis is live! *throws confetti*


doctor who animated GIF

Nemesis is the second book in the Alliance series, with the usual magic, monsters, multiverse-hopping and stubborn characters. It was more tricky to write than Adamant and I knew I was taking a major risk in the story direction, because the characters are dealing with the aftermath of the end of the first book, and it's... dark. No fluffy kittens or sunshine and rainbows here. ;) But Nemesis does contain invisible goblins, hover bikes, and a lot of angry centaurs.




Joining the Alliance might be the key to seeing the worlds she's always dreamed of, but Ada's new job causes a rift to form between her and her guardian, Nell. As she struggles to come to terms with the events of the previous month, Ada is reluctant to use magic again after the damage it caused.


Kay, meanwhile, faces his first challenge as one of the Alliance’s offworld Ambassadors - helping his colleague, Markos, investigate the mysterious death of the centaurs’ king back on his homeworld of Aglaia. When they realise magic is involved, Ada is pulled into the investigation. But tensions between humans and centaurs run high, and avoiding a bloodbath will be more difficult than any of them expect. Especially when Kay discovers something about his own magic that could affect the future of the Alliance.


Against an enemy they quite literally can’t see, Ada and Kay must face up to the power that almost destroyed their lives…


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And here's a teaser from Chapter One:

My communicator buzzed in my hand, and I flicked the touch screen to unlock it and accepted the call from my boss. Ms Weston never seemed to leave Central, especially in the last few weeks. There was always some crisis or other.

“We need you to go offworld, tomorrow,” she said, without preamble.

“Whereabouts?” I asked. Damn. I’d been intending to talk to Ada, because she didn’t have the code for this new communicator.

“Aglaia. You should speak to Markos. Aglaia’s in the middle of a crisis, and we urgently need an Ambassador to be there.”

“Isn’t Markos enough?”

“A non-Aglaian Ambassador. More than one. It seems the centaur king’s been assassinated.”

And there I was, thinking I’d be able to get through one day without someone mentioning murder.

“Damn,” I said, moving away from the guards so they wouldn’t overhear. “There’s no way they’ll let outsiders in.”

“It’s part of Alliance custom to oversee the change of leadership, as we’re a neutral force. I’m sure you already know Aglaia’s history with the Alliance.”

“Unfortunately,” I said, with a glance at the dark shape of Central silhouetted against the perpetually-grey London sky. “Is Markos back on Aglaia, then?”

“He’ll give you the details.” There was a sound of papers being shuffled. “The peace treaty with the humans was due for renewal next week, so the timing makes it all worse. This could be perceived as an attempt to ignite old conflicts. At the very least, it will delay all plans, including consultations with the Alliance.”

“You need someone who speaks Aglaian, right?” I was hardly experienced in this kind of diplomacy. Least of all with a volatile, high-magic world.

“Not just that,” said Ms Weston. “We specifically need a magic-wielder. Just in case.”

What? “Are you sure? I was under the impression centaurs hated magic.” I retreated under the overhang outside the training complex. The last thing I wanted was anyone to hear me talking about magic.

“Yes, they do. But humans on Aglaia are all magic-wielders, and if it turns out one of them did have a hand in the centaur king’s death, then it’s better for us to be prepared. It goes without saying that you won’t be able to reveal you are a magic-wielder in front of the centaur contingent, but considering Earth’s lack of magic, they have no reason to suspect that you are.”

Yeah, that’s reassuring. “If you say so. The humans, though–they’ll be trained magic-wielders. We aren’t.”
No. What I knew of magic, I’d learned on instinct when fighting for my life. And I couldn’t forget that two streets away from here, it had almost caused a wave of destruction across London. Even the guards who’d fought in the Passages that day didn’t know just how close Central had come to being wiped out. For all I knew, they were the ones who’d started the stories. People needed to believe someone had had the situation in hand.

Ms Weston paused before saying, “Actually, magic-wielders on Aglaia are relatively peaceful, at least with each other.”

“It’s the centaurs I’m more concerned about,” I muttered. “Who else is going, aside from Markos?”

“A small team. You’ll meet here tomorrow at seven.”

“Right,” I said, resigned. Aglaia was hardly an opportunity to pass up, but it felt uncomfortably like the conspiracy scenario I’d ended up mired in at the Alliance a few weeks ago. Assassination, magic, and aggravated centaurs? Still, nobody signed up as an Ambassador purely for the Valerian hover bikes.

“Good,” said Ms Weston. “Best of luck. There are two aims. Reinstate a new monarch before certain disparate centaur groups take power, and find out who killed their leader, if possible.”

“I’m pretty sure most of that is up to them, not the Alliance. They don’t like humans meddling in their affairs.”

Ms Weston drew in a breath. “Well, given the circumstances… Markos will tell you. Essentially, you’ll be acting to stop a group of enraged centaurs from declaring war on humans.”

“Great,” I said. “No pressure?”


Start the series with Adamant (Alliance, #1), reduced to 99 cents this week! :)




Magic. Monsters. Murder. Welcome to the Multiverse.

The Inter-World Alliance is the only force standing between Earth and the terrifying monsters of offworld. But one girl is about to shake up the balance...


Ada Fletcher is twenty-one, keeps a collection of knives in her room, and lives under the Alliance's radar, risking her life to help refugees from a devastating magical war on her homeworld hide on the low-magic Earth. But when she's taken into custody by the Alliance, her unusual magic makes her a prime suspect for a supervisor's suspicious death.


Kay Walker, grandson of the Alliance's late founder, expects to spend his first week as an Alliance employee chasing monsters out of the dark Passages between worlds, not solving a murder. But when his supervisor dies in suspicious circumstances, he finds himself in charge of questioning a girl he arrested as a suspect. A girl with secrets that force him to confront his own narrow escape from magic's destruction, and threaten to make both of them into the murderer's next targets.


The last thing Ada wants is to help the infuriating Alliance guard who arrested her, but it soon becomes clear that the Alliance knows too much about Ada's offworld origins. More, in fact, than she knows herself. Now she has to choose between loyalty to her family, and helping the Alliance save the Earth - and the Multiverse - from a deadly enemy.



What reviewers are saying

"The world building is magical. Even though we only get a hint of what's out there, I am already in love with this world." - Lola at Lola's Reviews

"...the beginning of a potentially brilliant and addictive series" - Jeanz Book Reviews

"This book is a unique, fun read, and I'd recommend it to everyone who enjoys sci-fi and fantasy." - Amazon reviewer

“Adamant is a fantastic start to a fun, adventurous and super cool series… a world so well written and brought to life you can totally lose yourself in it, and it's utterly fantastic... Can't praise it enough!” - Alisha at Reality's A Bore


Add on Goodreads   
Read the first chapter


To be notified when I have a new release and get access to exclusive giveaways (and a free Alliance short story, Passages): Sign up to my author newsletter!


I haven't yet made an announcement about what's coming next, but I'll be publishing a prequel novella to the Alliance series and Book 3, Collision, later this year (release dates to be announced when I can confirm them!). You can add Delinquent: An Alliance Novella on Goodreads now!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

IWSG

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It's time for IWSG! The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the creation of Ninja Captain Alex, and is a great way for writers to share their worries, support and encouragement.

Well, I have my fifth (!!!) book coming out in five days! *flailpanics* You'd think I'd be used to it by now, but it never gets any less nerve-wracking. And I've been playing this crazy publishing game since 2010 and published since 2013. It always feels weird when people ask my advice, especially about marketing, because really, none of us know what we're doing. :P But I do have a few observations as a publishing veteran:

You will never not be terrified the week before a book comes out.

You will always freak out when someone posts on social media that they're reading your book.

You will always wonder if other writers spend their release day rocking in a corner thinking they're a fraud and should never have published (usually around the time that first inevitable cutting review hits the book's Amazon page the instant it goes live).

You will always get up and write again anyway.

You will never know how to adequately answer the question how are your books selling? at family gatherings...

You will always freak out when you have to update your book page on Goodreads, and do so with one hand over your eyes to avoid looking at the rating. Or maybe that's just me.

It will never not feel awesome when you get an email, tweet or message from someone who enjoyed reading one of your stories.

It will never not feel awesome to see a row of books on your shelf with your name on them. Even if it's in your room and not a bookshop. :P

And no matter what's happening in the mad world of publishing, the writing is always the best part. :)

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Currently...

It's time for another fortnightly "Currently..." update about what I'm doing right now! :)

Loving

Lists. I'm pretty sure I'm addicted to list-making. I have to-do lists, a monthly planner, blogging lists, marketing lists, lists for each project-in-progress and lists for potential future projects. Also, Scrivener, for making it a million times easier to organise my projects!

Reading

I'm on a high fantasy kick, so I've been rereading some of my favourites. Sabriel (Garth Nix), Girl of Fire and Thorns (Rae Carson), Mistborn (Brandon Sanderson), Shadows on the Moon (Zoe Marriott), The Thief (Megan Whalen Turner), Shadow and Bone (Leigh Bardugo)... Now I actually need to tackle my Netgalley list for this month!

Watching

Avatar: The Last Airbender. I'm ashamed to say I hadn't watched this before, and as all three seasons are on Netflix, I figured I don't have an excuse any more!

I've also started watching Orphan Black from the beginning again.

Listening to

Two Steps From Hell, because I'm in high fantasy mode!

Thinking about

Just like last time - my WIP and my next fantasy trilogy! I've been working on the outlines over the past couple of weeks, and also wrote around 7000 words and some snippets. That's usually a sign I really want to work on it!

Anticipating

Nemesis comes out on Monday! *all the flailing* My fifth book, and nope, it never gets any less exciterrifying. ;)

Wishing

For this fantasy series to be as fun to draft as it is to plan! It's my main goal for the summer's Ready. Set. Write! challenge.

Making me happy

I have absolutely no idea how I'll soon have FIVE books on the virtual shelves (counting the DW novella), but somehow this happened! :D :D :D