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Win a copy of CAPTIVE

To celebrate Captive's upcoming release, I am giving away two free ebook copies! For your chance to win, just sign up to my newsletter here!

The two winners will be drawn on 16 February 2016!

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Holiday pics...

For those of you keen to see some photos from my recent holday, you can check out my Instagram account. There's a number of photos there, highlighting features from Peru and the Galapagos!

This is probably one of my favourites!

Male marine iguana from the Galápagos #marineiguana #galapagosislands #travelling

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Awards time...

Well folks, it's that time of year again in Australian spec fic, where the Ditmar nominations are happening! I have three works eligible this year, if you are interested in nominating me (but nominate whoever you like obviously :) ).

  • Graced, novel

  • 'Neter Nefer', short story from the Cranky Ladies of History Anthology

  • Bloodlines, collection (featuring a host of wonderful talent, and a lot of amazing Aussies!)

You can nominate here.

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The wonderful Nicole Murphy has kindly offered to do a guest post on 'The beauty of details AKA writing what you know'. Please welcome her to the blog!

When people get told ‘you should write what you know’, I think that traps them into thinking they can only write about their life eg if they’re a teacher, they should write about teachers. I don’t think that’s the case at all. For starters, you can teach yourself to know other things eg what it would be like to be sleep deprived, or how to blow glass, or how a certain career works.
But there’s another element of this that doesn’t entail learning anything new at all. It’s about taking the details of your life, the things you know, and using them to make stories come to life.

Details are all important to story. It's details that make a story seem real. Saying the hero got into his car doesn’t mean anything. Saying he got into his Maserati, or his beaten-up ute, or his dusty Jeep, and suddenly you’ve got pictures popping in your mind, telling you something about this character. If a character gets into a cab, and the author describes the smells in that cab – that’s something that resonates, because we’ve all noticed the various smells that come with various cabs. Whether it’s the super clean smell of a cab on its first run of the day, or the horror of the stinky driver on a hot summer’s day. The moment an author makes a point of using a detail like this, it makes everything seem more real to the reader.

Sometimes, the details might be something that most readers won’t notice. For example, the opening scene of my novel ‘Much Ado About Love’ shows the heroine speaking at a council meeting, putting forward her case for why the re-zoning of her property shouldn’t go ahead. I know what that looks like – in my past life as a journalist, I covered the local council meetings. So I was able to write knowledgeably about what it would look like, how the councillors would react, what would happen. Most readers won’t know it’s accurate, but it will read as real to them because of those details.

The setting of the story will also be real to them because it’s based on a real place. There’s a small functions centre outside of Nowra that was the basis for Messina, the function centre in my book. The road that Ben jogs along by the river, with the mist, is a road along the Shoalhaven River near Nowra. The farmland and golf course -  yep, that’s near Nowra too. The bakery is based on the bakery at Sussex Inlet. So there were small details I could put in there that will make those places seem real to the reader because I’d been there myself.

How Trix and Ro run the functions centre – well, my day job is in event organising, so I was able to base little actions and details on real things I’ve seen and done. Even though I’ve never actually run a functions centre.

See, you don’t have to done exactly what you are writing about in the book. But if you’ve experienced something similar that allows you to pepper it with some pertinent details – that’s all you need to make it feel alive.

So note things. When you’re out for dinner – note how the wait staff go about their job. When you’re at a conference – note how the rooms get refreshed (or not). When you’re in a new environment, note how it comes together, how it smells, a detail about it. Carry a detail away from every new experience you have and soon you’ll have a plethora of things you know that you can write about.

And don’t underestimate how something you might think is mundane (eg the set up of the office you drag yourself to every day) can become a small detail in a scene that takes it from uncertain to feeling completely real.

You know a lot more, can write a lot more, than you may give yourself credit for.

About Much Ado About Love

Opposites attract—but that doesn’t mean the road to happy-ever-after runs smooth…

Trix Leon and Ben Anthony have two things in common—they don’t believe in love and, together, they set the sheets on fire. Their relationship is safe, uncomplicated, and just what they both need—until John Aragorn shows up and gives them a third thing in common: an enemy.

When their friends decide it’s time for Trix and Ben to admit to themselves—and each other—how they really feel, Trix and Ben are caught in a whirlwind of emotion, a promise of something more. But Aragorn is determined to destroy everything: Trix’s hard work, her future, and her chance at something more with Ben.

Now Ben and Trix are left fighting for the one thing that neither of them knew they wanted: love.

http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/product/9781760370015


Follow Nicole at her website (www.nicolermurphy.com), on Twitter (@nicole_r_murphy) or on Facebook (Nicole Murphy & Elizabeth Dunk – Author).

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Captive cover!

I am excited to share with you the cover of Captive, the Graced prequel. You can check out the cover reveal post from Momentum here!



You can pre-order your copy here or here :)

Still away

So I'm still on holidays! I return back to Aus in a few days, though, and I'm looking forward to catching up with everything back home!!

Just for fun, here's a photo of some giant tortoises from Santa Cruz Island, in the Galápagos!

I think I'll be re-watching David Attenborough's documentary on the islands when I get home!

And Then Anthology interview

While I've been off gallivanting around Peru, the wonderful Angela Slatter has been interviewing the authors of Cal Destine Press' And Then... anthology!

You can check out my interview here!

Peru!

So Tom and I are off to Peru, the Galapagos Islands, and New York, while the kitties are off to their boutique cat resort. We fly out Friday and I can't wait! I'll post pictures and updates as I travel around (pending internet access).

W00t!

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I'd like to welcome Steve P. Vincent to my blog, where he talks about concluding his Jack Emery series.

There is a certain relief that comes with finishing a series, either permanently or for a planned hiatus. It’s a relief, given how much mental energy goes into making sure the whole thing holds together and ends properly. There’s also some anxiety, because after hundreds of thousands of words you don’t want to leave readers with a sour taste once they hit the end.

Don’t believe me? Check out the reaction to the finale of the Dexter TV series, or the Mass Effect video game series. Fans who have invested significant time into a series feel some degree of ownership over it. Though I can kill characters, sow carnage generally do whatever I like, the one thing I always try to do is leave readers gasping and begging for more.

Except, this time, there won’t be more. Not for a while, anyway. I’m taking a break from my Jack Emery series of novels – The Foundation, State of Emergency and Nations Divided (released 10 December) – to focus on some other projects, and also to freshen up. Writing the same set of characters for years on end might work for some authors, but I feel like I need a break.

But with a break comes uncertainty for me. Will I be able to tell stories effectively in another setting? Will my next set of characters be as interesting? Will my readers and fans come along for the ride, or are they tethered to the previous series? Despite three novels and a few more in the pipe, these doubts linger in the back of my head.

But as a reader, and a fan, I’ve had uncertainty myself when my favourite authors do exactly what I’m about to do. Will my favourite characters ever return? Will the author keep putting out stories I enjoy? Will they cross to another genre or sub-genre? Sometimes, I enjoyed the switch. Other times, I gave the new material a try and opted out, ready to return to the series I loved when it was possible.

With all of these question marks, it is tempting to stick with the winner and keep pumping out titles in a series that is growing, that has readers hungry for more and that my publisher supports heavily. But I think doing so would be a mistake, both for myself, my writing craft and for my readers as well. The next project I’m working on has me excited, and my editor, so that should mean a good book.

So I’m going to hope that readers enjoy the new book, knowing it will be the last in the series for a little while. After that, I’ll trust in the work I’m doing on the next one and use the time to refresh, reflect on my main series a little bit and hopefully return in a year or so with a cracking new idea to push out into the world. I feel that not doing so would be a far greater risk.

Steve P. Vincent is the author of the Jack Emery series of political thrillers – The Foundation, State of Emergency and Nations Divided. Connect with him on the web, Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads.

About Steve

Steve P. Vincent lives with his wife in a pokey apartment in Melbourne, Australia, where he’s forced to write on the couch in front of an obnoxiously large television.

When he’s not writing, Steve keeps food and flat whites on the table working for the man. He enjoys beer, whisky, sports and dreaming up ever more elaborate conspiracy theories to write about.

He has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Political Science and History. His honors thesis was on the topic of global terrorism. He has traveled extensively through Europe, the United States and Asia.

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The wonderful Belinda Williams has written this fantastic guest post on Writing characters: the good, the bad and the ugly.

I once heard that characters are made up of 40% the writer, 40% people the writer knows, and 20% imagination.

I actually think this breakdown is pretty close to the mark, which absolutely terrified me when it came to my latest release, Modern Heart, the third book in my contemporary romance City Love series.

Let me explain. Scarlett Wong, the leading lady in Modern Heart, is a self-confessed tough girl. She doesn’t do relationships, she most certainly doesn’t do love, and she never lets people get too close.

A stark contrast to this writer, who has been happily married for fifteen years!

Despite this, I enjoyed the process of writing Scarlett very much and I discovered I had more in common with her than I first thought.

For example, giving free reign to my grumpiness and sarcasm was a lot of fun.

Interestingly it was Scarlett’s vulnerability that I could relate to as well. I discovered tough girls are just as vulnerable as the rest of us, it’s just that you have to break down their walls first before they can be open to love. They’ve often built these walls to protect themselves so the vulnerability can be harder to reach. But when someone does get past the hard outer shell, it can be very rewarding with a whole new layer to explore.

Oh, and alright, Scarlett’s potty mouth, too. Intelligent girls swear, OK? I’ve had my son pick me up on swearing occasionally, so writing Scarlett let me get that out on paper instead of getting in trouble for being a bad role model!

And perhaps my stubbornness too, if we’re being honest but don’t tell my husband I admitted to that...

The one night stands, occasional nudity, her talent as an artist, and doing things I would never dream of doing—I couldn’t relate to those quite so much. But I do think following the antics of a bold character can be quite a ride.

I hope you’ll join Scarlett on her journey to finding love in my latest release, Modern Heart.

About Modern Heart

LIMITED TIME ONLY: DREAM CAREER! PERFECT MAN! THE CATCH? EMOTIONAL AVAILABILITY.

Scarlett Wong has a reputation for toughness. A talented and often feared Creative Director at an award-winning Sydney advertising agency, she doesn’t do relationships, she doesn’t invite men home, and she never stays the night. The only people who see her softer side are her three closest girlfriends, and they’re finally convinced they’ve found her perfect man: John Hart.
Scarlett’s never been one to back down from a challenge and she’s not going to start now. But when John secures Scarlett an invitation from one of New York’s leading galleries to exhibit her artwork, it means putting herself out there like never be
fore. Scarlett’s perfect man wouldn’t interfere in her life like this – would he?

For a woman who thinks she’s not scared of anything, Scarlett is about to discover she’s not as tough as she thinks. Will she take the chance to turn her secret passion into a career, risk the safety of her advertising career and let John in? Or will old habits die that little bit too hard?
Release date: 26 November, 2015.


Purchase links available here: http://momentumbooks.com.au/books/modern-heart-city-love-3/

Where to find Belinda:
www.belindawilliamsbooks.com 
Twitter: @bwilliamsbooks
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/belindawilliamsbooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6979975.Belinda_Williams

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BOOKS




Vampires, werewolves, and the Graced are at war with their human creators, and humanity is losing. But one girl might hold the key to salvation...

You can get your copy here or here.

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In a world where being different is dangerous, Elle Brown is just trying to keep her kid sister out of trouble. But can she manage to keep herself safe?

Graced is Amanda Pillar's first novel. Out now!

ANTHOLOGIES




Bloodlines will be out in 2015! Edited by Amanda Pillar, this collection features 16 urban fantasy tales by 16 fantastic authors, all featuring blood.

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Bloodstones, edited by Amanda Pillar, features 17 stunning tales of urban fantasy set in the contemporary world. BUY HERE

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Damnation and Dames, edited by Liz Grzyb and Amanda Pillar, features 16 tales of paranormal noir. Put on your coat and step into a world of noir...with bite. BUY HERE

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Ishtar. Powerful, sexy, and very, very deadly. This outstanding novella collection contains gems from Deborah Biancotti, Kaaron Warren and Cat Sparks! Edited by Amanda Pillar and KV Taylor. BUY HERE

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Each story in this collection has been inspired by a track from the album, Scenes from the Second Storey. Quirky, dark, insightful and sometimes downright disturbing, these tales are written by an all-Australian cast and are set to enchant. Edited by Amanda Pillar and Pete Kempshall.
BUY HERE


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Are you looking for a dark chocolate anthology full of tales about the Morrigan goddess? Then go no further than the The Phantom Queen Awakes. Edited by Amanda Pillar and Mark S. Deniz. BUY HERE.

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The award-winning Grants Pass is a post apocalyptic anthology, edited by Amanda Pillar and Jennifer Brozek. BUY HERE.

"Grants Pass is a remarkable, disturbing, and worthwhile read, and one that is likely to stay with the reader for some time to come."

- HorrorScope



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Voices' is set in a hotel of horrors. Have you ever wondered what's happened in your hotel room before you arrived? Edited by Amanda Pillar and Mark S. Deniz. BUY HERE.

"Every story in Voices is of high quality, and the editors should be commended for their high standards. This is one of the best anthologies of dark fiction to have been released recently, and is highly recommended."

- HorrorScope



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