Friday, 30 November 2012

Review - Blood Shadows by Lindsay J Pryor

I'm really thrilled to be doing this review for my friend and new and exciting author, Lindsay J Pryor. After nearly twenty-two years patiently waiting to get published, Lindsay's paranormal romance, 'Blood Shadows', has been picked up by UK publisher, Bookouture.
Two years in a row she's come runner-up in Harlequin's, New Voices competition, so it's about time someone noticed there's a brilliant new writer on the block.

For those of us out there who love our heroes fanged, immortal and irresistible, than Blood Shadows, will not disappointment. And there's nothing sparkly about her mad, bad and dangerous-to-know boy, Kane Malloy. He'll keep the reader guessing as to his intentions till the very end - as he does so successfully to her feisty heroine, Caitlin Parish.

Anyone who hasn't read my review on Amazon, here it is:

Brilliant! is the best way to describe Lindsay J Pryor's introduction to the literary world - and the world of vampires, dark secrets, forbidden love and betrayal.
Her book, Blood Shadows, will keep you enthralled until you've turned the very last page to find out how it ends between the two main characters - Caitlin Parish and Kane Malloy.
Both are after the same thing - vengeance. Caitlin seeks to find and destroy the unknown creature which killed her parents, while Kane is out to bring to justice those responsible for the horrific murder of his sister. And, both are willing to use each other in order to achieve their ends. Although enemies, their instant and deep attraction to each other will jeopardise, not only their desire for revenge, but their very lives.
Lindsay has created a spell binding story, one which will keep any reader up till the small hours of the night and begging for more!

Well done, Linds.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Publisher's Request

This is a quick and short update of recent events since attending GenreCon.

Three publishers now have my manuscript. The nice thing is, they were requests; I didn't need to send them off "willy nilly" as they say. But, it means I have to wait eight to twelve weeks for their response, and patience has never been one of my better qualities!

This coming Friday, though, Choclit is releasing the names of the finalists in their, "Search for an Aussie Star," competition and I'll know then whether mine's among them. But, the other fantastic news is, I've had a request for a full submission from another publisher. And unlike many others who can sometimes take up to three months to send their reply - if they ever do - this publisher promises to respond within three to four weeks, or even earlier.
I've seen the way they treat their authors and ever there was a publisher to whom I'd trust my "precious," it's them.

Am I excited? Understatement! Although, I'm doing my best to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground. I know there's a chance it might all come to nothing. So, I'm keeping, fingers, toes, eyes... everything crossed and sending up my prayers for at least ONE of those to come through. Wouldn't that make the best Christmas present a budding, enthusiastic (I'm trying not to say, desperate!) writer could get?

As a result, I've decided to hold back on self-pubbing through CS for the moment and wait those four weeks. And even if nothing comes of it, I still have the option to proceed through CS just before Christmas.

So, there's the latest.

Am I making the right decision to delay? I certainly hope so.

Monday, 19 November 2012

The Next Big Thing

Welcome to my post of, The Next Big Thing, blog tour. I've never done one of these before, so big thanks to my fellow-paranormal-writer friend and blog-buddy, Lindsay J Pryor, for asking me to join. I've tagged three more writers at the bottom of this post.
The idea is I answer the same ten questions as Lindsay, but based on my book, Bloodgifted - which will be released this Christmas.

So, let's begin!

What is the title of your latest book?

It's called Bloodgifted, and it's the first in a series entitled, The Dantonville Legacy.

Where did the idea come for this latest book?

 Okay, this one's a bit embarrassing, as it began with someone asking me why I didn't look my age. After giving them a big kiss on the cheek, I laughingly said it was vampire genes! Thankfully they didn't take it seriously. But, it started me thinking, what if... just what if a woman actually stopped ageing in her mid twenties because she carried a vampire gene, but she had no idea that's what it was? The idea developed from there.

What genre does your book fall under?

It can be classified as paranormal romance, although it also comes under contemporary urban fantasy, thriller, even historical (but I'll discuss that later).

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Ooh, now we're truly entering into the realm of fantasy! I try not to allow myself to dream this way for fear of it never happening. But, that doesn't mean I haven't been looking, and because my characters are Australian I'd honestly prefer Aussie actors. As yet, I haven't seen anyone who would fit the role - Alec and Laura are hard parts to fill - although Chris Hemsworth would be perfect as Laura's ageless-vampire-father, Luc, and Belinda Gibney, as her mother, Judy. 
I absolutely love the model on the cover of my book. She almost perfectly fits my vision of Laura. Now if she were an actor... otherwise, I guess I'll have to run a talent search? Any offers??

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Primary-school teacher, Laura Dantonville carries a rare genetic anomaly which holds the key to ending a centuries old curse that turned her Roman soldier ancestor into a vampire.

Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?

Bloodgifted is being self-published. I decided to go the indie route after nearly a year researching the pros and cons of traditional pubbing vs indie. Those who regularly follow my blog, would know the soul-searching I've gone through. Over the last two years, though, I have entered several competitions. In 2010 I was shortlisted for the Atlas Award, run by a boutique publisher in Brisbane, and came runner-up. This year, I've again been shortlisted for the Choclit, Search for an Aussie Star, competition.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Approximately ten months. I actually submitted the first draft to the Atlas Award and was thrilled when it was shortlisted! But, since they only published the winner, I used the opportunity to edit and thoroughly polish my manuscript. That took me thirteen months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

 Anyone who loves reading Maggie Shayne's, Twilight Series (not to be confused with the sparkly variety), Mary Janice Davidson, Tara Moss and Gena Showalter, would enjoy Bloodgifted.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Almost all my favourite vampire stories were set anywhere else but in Australia. Most were in the USA, the UK or Europe. I wanted to create a uniquely Aussie story, set in Sydney and in locations familiar to anyone who lives in our beautiful harbour city.  But, because I'm an ancient historian and archaeologist, I also wanted to fuse my love of history with a paranormal theme. Hence, the setting of Bloodgifted, begins in fourth century Roman Britain with the cursing of a Roman soldier, and his men, by a Pictish witch.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

Well, apart from it being set in one of the most beautiful cities in the world (yes, I know I'm biased!) I think it's best to include here comments sent to me by reviewers from the recent competitions I entered.

-  "An interesting mix of genres and a pleasure to read."
-  "One of the best books I have ever read!"

And here's my favourite, from fellow writer, Lindsay J Pryor, who's book, Blood Shadows, comes out at the end of this month. Thanks, Linds!
- "Bloodgifted is an intriguing blend of history and contemporary paranormal romance... I couldn’t stop turning the pages... With beautiful descriptions and solid, visual action scenes her strength, let alone her historical knowledge, I have no doubt this talented indie-author will grow from strength to strength as the series progresses." 

All done, so now I'm going to tag Dionne Lister, Clarissa Cartharn and CV Madison with the same ten questions. 

If anyone has any other questions about Bloodgifted, please feel free to ask.

This was fun!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Aussie Vampire Book Trailer

Well, here it is, the trailer to my up-coming book, 'Bloodgifted.' It's an Aussie vampire story, set in one of the most beautiful harbour cities in the world - Sydney.
It's now on Youtube, with the revised release date.
Since I did the trailer myself, I'd really appreciate some feedback. Does it work? Or, should I try another approach?

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Perfecting Your Pitch

Last weekend, I was persuaded by my critique partners and twitter friends to attend the GenreCon - sponsored by the RWA - at Parramatta in Sydney. I'd been 'umming' and 'aahhhing' for a couple of weeks, trying to decide whether to attend or not. It was quite expensive for it included not only the convention costs but accommodation at the hotel where it was being held. And the longer I delayed, the chances of my obtaining an early-bird ticket was looking slimmer as well.
But, in the end I caved.
What the heck, I thought, I'll shove it on the visa card and not think about it till the statement arrives next month!

I went online, purchased the ticket and printed off both receipt and program. I noticed there were pitching sessions. The last time I did one of those - with an audience, before a panel of four publishers - I was asked for my submission, but nothing came of it. Since then, I was determined never to allow myself to go through such a humiliating procedure again.

Famous last words, as they say! I blame it on the electric atmosphere generated by my fellow writers in their enthusiasm to pitch their manuscripts to the many publishers who were present. So, having nothing to lose, I signed on as well. I then checked out my pitch to make sure it contained all the elements necessary to convince a publisher or agent to take me on.

1.   It has to be no more than five minutes long. That's all the time we were given. It's roughly a little over a page.
2.   The opening statement MUST be a one sentence outline of the story, followed by a brief synopsis.
3.   Include a comparison to other books in the same genre. Where on a store bookshelf would my book fit? Next to which other famous authors?
4.   How is my book different from others in my genre? What makes it stand out?
5.   Know my audience. Who is my target age-group and why?
6.   Sum it all up with a convincing argument, but NEVER, EVER say it'll be a best seller! Be humble.

I had two pitches and only one chance with each of them. And the result? Both asked for the complete manuscript! One publisher was from Harlequin and the other from Penguin - Destiny Romance.
Needless to say, I left the room floating on a cloud.
Now, the only question I have to ask myself is, do I continue on my route to indie publishing, or go traditional if I'm offered a contract?
I'll just have to wait and see!

If anyone has any view on this, I'd dearly love to hear it. Please, leave a comment. I love reading and responding to them.