Pagan Malcolm: Guest Post

The Inspiration Behind Stuck On Vacation With Ryan Rupert

Written by Pagan Malcolm

Pagan is the author of Stuck on Vacation With Ryan Rupert (Ryan Rupert Series) and Lanterns in the Sky (Starlight Chronicles Series).

I was inspired to write Stuck On Vacation With Ryan Rupert—a YA contemporary suspense novel—while on vacation with my friend back in Grade 9 (so I was roughly 14 at the time).

Like many young teenagers exploring the new, exciting world of being a teenager, having relationships, and growing into maturity, I was really wrapped up in the concept of romance and getting my first boyfriend. It just so happened that at the time I really liked this one guy (I thought he was cute, and that was the basis of my crush), but nothing ever happened between us. We had separate classes, there was no force pushing us together at all. So I never acted on it, or really attempted to get to know him. I thought he was way out of my league and he would never date someone like me anyway. But the fantasy was still nice, and as a creative, fantasies are something I always hold onto.

So as I mentioned above, at the end of Grade 9, I was invited by my best friend (at the time) to join her family on their vacation to Daydream Island. I’d been there before, it was very nice there, but I’d never stayed for a week, and even to this day I really value my privacy when it comes to sharing rooms. If at all possible, I like to stay with close friends or just by myself, so it was already uncomfortable to me that I had to share the room with my friend, her dad, and his girlfriend.

But my mum had raised me to be grateful and the trip had been paid for me, so of course, I didn’t turn it down or complain.

Another fun fact about me is that I really dislike the ocean and swimming in general—I was never a strong swimmer growing up and I hate being cold, so the appeal of going for a dip in the sea wears off pretty quickly once my legs get tired and I start shivering. And while on this island, I found that there weren’t many activities to be doing that didn’t require going into water, so I was quite bored sitting around at the pools and such. It wasn’t exactly hellish or a nightmare, but it was far from ‘fun’, to my personal standards anyway.

While sitting there, daydreaming, I came up with this idea. Just a thought—a funny thought at the time, as I imagined how weird and amusing it would be if I ran into my crush while stuck on this island. In my teenage fantasy, it would give us an opportunity to get to know each other better (with the ideal outcome being a sometime romance).

Of course, that was never going to happen, but slowly, I started to piece this story idea together about a girl with a mortal enemy (based on my crush) who is forced to come to this island paradise. I gave her an exaggerated fear of the sea, which helped create the same kind of conflicts I’d been facing. The concept was perfect!

Two people who hate each other stuck in an island paradise with no choice but to get along (as they were forced to share a room), or tear each other apart.

Not to mention that one is a coward when it comes to the ocean, and the other is adventurous, egotistical prankster who torments the main character at every opportunity he has.

By the end of the trip, I was itching to get the story down on paper, and I spent an entire week straight just binge writing the book. I rocked up to school on Monday to start the new term and dumped a manuscript at my friend’s table.

While the inspiration is a little weird, looking back, I don’t regret it. Maybe one day that guy will find out Ryan Rupert is based off of him (or at least, how I’d imagined him to be), but to be honest, I think I prefer my fantasy as just a fantasy. I get to have a lot more fun with it that way—like adding random psychopaths with a mysterious past to the mix, and creating a completely unique and adorable couple who always seem to captivate my readers.

My fantasy was just a fantasy, but my story is for everyone to read and enjoy.


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Stuck on Vacation with Ryan Rupert: There’s Trouble in Paradise by P S Malcolm

Aubany Winters’ life soon becomes a nightmare when her mum gets cancer and has to leave for California with her dad. Left with her neighbours, the Ruperts, and to her displeasure, their son Ryan, she finds herself forced to tag along on their family vacation to Nula Island. There’s just a few problems, like her fear of the ocean, her and Ryan’s mutual hatred for each other, and the psycho girl who is trying to kill them. Will Aubany overcome her fears? Will she and Ryan ever stop hating each other? Or will their flaws and disagreements lead them right into the enemy’s hands?


P.S.Malcolm (Pagan) grew up in Proserpine, Queensland— a small, Australian country town on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. She was a storyteller from a young age and spent years perfecting her craft.

For two years, she juggled waitressing in tourist filled coffee shops while undertaking two degrees in Creative Writing online— one specializing in children’s fiction and publishing. She has always had an interest in writing, but never saw herself working in the industry until she made the choice to self-publish her debut novel, STUCK ON VACATION WITH RYAN RUPERT. Realizing that she loved the process of publishing her book, she pursued an internship at a publishing house and snagged a spot as Pen Name Publishing’s Marketing Assistant.

In between interning and writing, Pagan opened her first business working as a freelance Marketing Strategist for Paperback Kingdom— which helps indie authors with all aspects of their author careers.

Pagan is a cat enthusiast, tea lover, and floral fanatic. She keeps a well-stocked tea collection, and one of her favourite past times is rocking up to a cozy teashop in a worn pair of jeans and writing a few pages of prose. If the ‘florals’ weren’t a dead giveaway, she’s a proud Hufflepuff and is crazy about the colour yellow.

Pagan also enjoys reading— particularly fantasy and paranormal— and is a passionate blogger. She reviews books that she has read on her personal website, and indie books on her business blog. Some of her favourite and most influential authors include Amanda Gernentz Hanson, A.G. Howard, Marissa Meyer and Michele Jaffe.

Her newest book, LANTERNS IN THE SKY, is set to be released by The Parliament House Publishing in Spring 2019.

Pagan’s Links: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website & Blog | Goodreads

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

Gabrielle Reid: Guest Post

Gabrielle Reid is an Australian author based near Newcastle, NSW. She has previously worked as a high school English teacher and still does creative writing workshops in schools from time to time. Gabrielle has published short stories in a variety of literary journals and regularly posts on her website and blog at http://www.justkeepreiding.com. The Things We Can’t Undo is her debut novel, published by Ford Street. It is available from May 1st in Australian bookstores (links at the end).

Time to hand it over to Gabrielle.

If you ask me what the key themes are in my novel, The Things We Can’t Undo, top of that list has to be consent. It’s about other things of course – friendships, reputations, social media, secrets – but the primary issue from the very first chapter is: did Dylan (my main character) rape his girlfriend Samantha? And is it possible for justice?

“ – that no means no, drunk means no, off your face means no, and I don’t know/I’m not sure means no…
… And never forget, kids – sex is a joyful, integral expression of being human. It’s fun!”
– Fiona Wood, Wildlife, chapter 61

In the past five years or so, the conversation about sex and consent has shifted, as victims of assault and abuse are given more space to tell their stories and feminists work harder to repeat the message: this was not your fault. Thanks to this openness and the recent #metoo movement, it’s getting harder and harder for people to pretend that sexual harassment and assault is a rarity committed by strangers in dark alleys just waiting to prey on girls walking alone.

I think, however, the message is doing a better job of reaching women than it is reaching men. There’s a tendency for men to get defensive – either crying #notallmen or throwing up their hands and declaring it’s too hard to know where the line between flirting and harassment is anymore. And in a way, this is understandable. I’m not a man, but I am white, and if there’s one thing white Australians are good at, it’s declaring we’re not racist while simultaneously enjoying the privilege that racism gives us. It comes down to intention. We think that because we don’t mean to be racist, then we’re not. And I wonder, is it the same for men committing assault?

Ask a roomful of young men if they would ever rape someone. I doubt any are going to say yes. I doubt any are even going to think “yes, if I had the opportunity and knew I could get away with it”. But the statistics are frightening, and there’s no way all of these assaults are being committed by sociopaths who go out of their way to hurt people.

So I began to wonder, what would it be like to be a teenage boy who believes he is a “nice guy”, who is seen by others as a good person, who says and thinks he would never rape somebody, and yet, who does?

Enter Dylan West.

Whatever else I might have done to be a bad boyfriend or to somehow hurt her, I know I’m not a rapist. You don’t accidentally rape someone.”
– Gabrielle Reid, The Things We Can’t Undo, chapter 7

In my book, Dylan and Samantha have a prior relationship. I needed him to genuinely care about her, so the accusation would be even more baffling to him and to those who knew him. If he was too evil, too irredeemable, then no one would relate to him. I also needed him to have redemptive qualities for my own sense of security in the world – I have to believe that it’s possible, with education and empathy, to prevent people from becoming perpetrators.

When you write about a topic like this, there’s constant questioning that goes through your head. Would people misread it as blaming Samantha for not being more confident? Was I silencing her voice by not giving her a first-person narration? Does Tayla, Samantha’s outspoken best friend, give feminism a bad name, or are her good intentions clear? Do boys like Dylan actually exist, or was I being naive to write about them?

The story was in my head for years before I put pen to paper. I had the opening scene and the ending so clear before I knew what was going to happen in the middle. In the end, I couldn’t not write this book. And I decided that if putting it out in the world meant some people would hate it or be angry with me, that was a risk worth taking to start conversations.

Because when it comes to consent, the conversation needs to be had – time and time again.

38402124The Things We Can’t Undo by Gabrielle Reid

There’s no backspace key for life’s decisions.

Samantha and Dylan are in love – everyone knows it. So it’s no big deal when they leave a party for some time out together. But when malicious rumours surface about that night, each feels betrayed by the other.

Will Sam make a decision she can’t take back?

Published: May 1st 2018 by Ford Street Publishing

BLOG TOUR:

Bookish Kirra 24th April (Review)
Better Words Podcast 25th April (Podcast)
The Literary Casanova 28th April (Review)
Genie in a Book 30th April (Interview)
#LoveOzYa 1 May – RELEASE DAY! (Summary and Q&A)
The Adventures of Sacakat 3rd May (Guest post) * You are here 😛 *
Of Wonderland 6th May (Review)
Infinity Reads 7th May (Interview)
Musings & Wanderings 9th May (Guest post)
Written Word Worlds 10th May (Review & interview)
One Bookish Girl 12th May (Interview)

GABRIELLE’S LINKS:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

The Things You Can’t Undo on Goodreads | Ford Street| Amazon AU

I will be reading and reviewing The Things We Can’t Undo a little bit later on, so check back in if you are interested in my thoughts 🙂
As always, thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat
and Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

Secret Keeper: Book Trailer

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and author Jane Avey Harris has vowed to  donate all her online royalties to RAINN this month to support #SAAM. So there was no way I could say no when Film-14 reached out to see if i’d be willing to share the trailer they had just produced for Jane’s latested book.

The My Myth Trilogy is about a 17 year-old girl who uses fantasy to process her childhood abuse.


38090340Secret Keeper
(My Myth Trilogy #2)

by Jane Alvey Harris

What if the worst thing isn’t that they don’t believe you?

What if the worst thing is that they just don’t care?

Seventeen year-old Emily has accepted the truth of her past trauma and made peace with her battered egos. She’s won the first battle…barely…but the war in her psyche still rages. The same day Mom is released from rehab and Emily finishes detox, Dad announces he’s ready to be a family again, throwing Emily into panic. Determined to protect her younger brothers and sister from Dad, she gathers the strength to do the hardest thing she’s ever done: speak her Secret.

But it isn’t enough. Nobody will intervene. Emily is more alone and helpless than ever. Her therapist suggests that the key to resolving her crises lies within the mysterious First Realm, where Emily has access to her Fae abilities and where she can find her Champion…the one person with enough power to end the destructive cycle of abuse and help Emily transform from victim to survivor.

Desperate for guidance, Emily returns to the First Realm only to discover the Seven Kingdoms in total chaos. She has just a few days to find her Champion before Dad comes for her. Can she complete her task and return to the Second Realm in time to save her family, or will her dreaded premonition turn out to be true: that she is her own worst enemy?


“Jane Alvey Harris has such a fresh, youthful voice and writes with modern flair. Secret Keeper is a five-star story all YAs should read…” – Reader Views

“Harris once more brings to bear a formidable imagination as her heroine seeks healing. While there are elves, goblins, and giant spiders, this isn’t a traditional quest narrative. Concepts such as sexual consent and self-forgiveness dominate the foreground.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Secret Keeper is as gorgeously written as Emily’s process to healing is rendered. This is a standout novel that will leave audiences eagerly reaching for the next installment.” – Foreword Reviews

“Secret Keeper is inspired and imaginative. Harris is an alchemist, blending fantasy, tragedy, and a determined hero fueled by magic and hope. Like Riven, this sequel crackles with mind-bending electrical charge.” – Michael Buckley, Author of The Undertow Trilogy

Jane’s links: Amazon US | Amazon AUTwitter Website | Goodreads

Links for help and support: RAINN USAAct for Kids AU | Australian Childhood Foundation | Lifeline AU | Beyond Blue AU

The Mage Heir: Release Blitz

 * * * About the Book * * *

Traitor: that’s what Tatsu is now. On the run from both Runon and Chayd, Tatsu and Yudai’s only hope for survival is to disappear into the wilds. However, when the siphon’s deadly curse returns, they have no choice but to travel into the desert kingdom of Joesar in search of a cure.

Battling the unforgiving elements of the sands, Tatsu starts to realize that the path towards destroying the siphon may claim Yudai’s life. Time is running out as Nota’s fury—and the siphon’s hunger—begin to spiral wildly beyond their control.

As their options slowly fall away, the only thing Tatsu and Yudai can count on is each other.

The Mage Heir, second in an LGBT FANTASY duology by Kathryn Sommerlot.

 * * * Author Bio * * *

Kathryn didn’t major in creative writing, but never stopped believing. She survives on books, strong coffee, craft beer, puppies, and the Oxford comma. She currently lives in Japan with her husband and teaches high school English to shape the next generation of young minds. She also comma splices like it’s going out of style.

* * * Book Excerpt * * *

Tatsu didn’t mind sleeping under the leaves, but Yudai’s agitation seemed to grow as the sky darkened. He paced back and forth between two ancient tree trunks with his hands clasped behind his back, over and over, until the stars came out.

“You’re going to have to sleep eventually,” Tatsu pointed out, voice mild, once the moon was high overhead. It earned him a growl in reply. “Please just sit down.”

“This clearing will be dead by morning,” Yudai snapped. When he turned to retrace his steps again, Tatsu could see the twist of his fingers clenched together in tight fists.

“You can’t do anything about it, so there’s no point in blaming yourself. It’s probably just making the whole thing worse.”

The look Yudai threw him was dubious at best, but evidently, the possibility was difficult to ignore. Yudai eventually settled himself down between two patches of yellow-green weeds, and he ran his finger over his lip a few times before his eyes flickered up towards Tatsu. “Distract me.”

“You could ask nicely,” Tatsu said.

One corner of Yudai’s mouth quirked upward. “I could,” he agreed, and said nothing more.

“Did you know that my mother had other children?”

Yudai blinked and sat back, face slackening. “Good distraction.”


* * * Giveaway * * * 

Giveaway for 5 eBook copies of “The Mage Heir” to celebrate the release day.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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32704637The Life Siphon (The Life Siphon #1) by Kathryn Sommerlot

The kingdom of Runon has created the impossible: a magical energy source that siphons life from the nearby lands and feeds it back into Runon itself. On the edge of the forest lives a quiet ranger named Tatsu who is watching the drain grow closer to his home country of Chayd.

Arrested for crimes against the crown, Tatsu is taken to the capital’s prison, where the queen offers him a deal. If he sneaks into Runon and steals the magical source that powers the drain, she will return his freedom. Caught in the unimaginable aftermath, Tatsu knows that the only hope is to stop the siphon before it swallows the world.

More and more he finds himself at the mercy of the destruction the siphon leaves behind – and everything he has ever known will fall apart in the revelation of its horrifying truth.

* * * Links * * *
View on Amazon: Book One | Book Two

Song of Smoke and Fire: Sale Blitz

Title: Song of Smoke & Fire
Author: Megan Linski
Genre: YA Fantasy, Reverse Harem
Cover Designer: Catnip Designs
Publisher: Gryfyn Publishing

“I am in love. I am in love with smoke. With fire. With thunder.”
Fliss is a slave, and bound to fulfill the king’s every whim. When a local dragon demands payment, Fliss is offered by the king as a sacrifice. She has no choice in the matter.
Yet what the dragon wants is more than Fliss expects. A curse has been cast upon him by a beautiful enchantress, and only one pure of soul can end it. If Fliss breaks the curse upon him, he will grant her freedom.
But there’s a man behind the monster, and as Fliss unveils the mystery that surrounds the dragon’s hidden past, she finds herself falling in love— despite it being forbidden.
Can Fliss tame the tortured beast? Or will her life be consumed by smoke and flame?
Megan Linski is the owner of Gryfyn Publishing. She is best known for her popular series The Shifter Prophecy, The Kingdom Saga, and The Rhodi Saga, as well as recognized for her work on the Creatures of the Lands series. In 2014, Linski published the Creatures of the Lands series in Lison’s honor.
Linski is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and is an active fighter against common variable immune deficiency disorder.
Author Links: Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter |
 Buy Link: Song of Smoke & Fire
Sale starts 11th March EST

The Coven Princess: Cover Reveal

 Coming March 7th, 2018 from USA Today bestselling author Lily Luchesi and Vamptasy Publishing: THE COVEN PRINCESS.
Your blood does not define you.
Harley Torrance’s parents were killed in a home invasion when she was three. Adopted by a nice couple, Harley begins to develop strange powers. At fourteen she brews a potion so strong it gains the attention of the Coven King, and changes her world forever.
She’s not human, she’s a witch.
Now a part of the magical community, Harley must learn to control her powers lest the Darkness already in her blood overcomes her. Can she dampen her lust for power in order to stop the Dark from taking over the Coven and killing everyone in their way?
 
 
 
 
About the author:
 
Lily Luchesi is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing. She also has short stories included in multiple bestselling anthologies, and a successful dark erotica retelling of Dracula. She is also the editor, curator and contributing author of Vamptasy Publishing’s Damsels of Distress anthology, which celebrates strong female characters in horror and paranormal fiction. 
She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she’s not writing, she’s going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga. And drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Rising Silver Mist: Cover Reveal

Rising Silver Mist (The Lost Clan #3)
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal (Faeries)
Summary:
THERE WERE THREE THINGS I WAS CERTAIN ABOUT.
First, I would never kill another person. But when a family friend murdered my father, I destroyed her with a power I didn’t even know I possessed.
Second, I would never strike another bargain. But faeries could bring the dead back, so when Cruz offered to revive my father, I accepted.
Third, I would never marry an enemy, but every bargain comes at a price. The price of mine: I had to marry Cruz and move to the faerie isle.
For the first time in my life, I wondered if death wouldn’t be a kinder end.
Fans of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES will adore Wildenstein’s LOST CLAN series.
  
 

PREORDER LINK –> https://www.books2read.com/u/ml5kq7

Previous books in the series (click on image for Goodreads link):
 
About the Author
Olivia Wildenstein grew up in New York City, the daughter of a French father with a great sense of humor, and a Swedish mother whom she speaks to at least three times a day. She chose Brown University to complete her undergraduate studies and earned a bachelor’s in comparative literature. After designing jewelry for a few years, Wildenstein traded in her tools for a laptop computer and a very comfortable chair. This line of work made more sense, considering her college degree.
When she’s not writing, she’s psychoanalyzing everyone she meets (Yes. Everyone), eavesdropping on conversations to gather material for her next book, baking up a storm (that she actually eats), going to the gym (because she eats), and attempting not to be late at her children’s school (like she is 4 out of 5 mornings, on good weeks).
Wildenstein lives with her husband and three children in Geneva, Switzerland, where she’s an active member of the writing community.
 
Author Links:
   
Cover Reveal Organized by:

Cover Reveal: Never Again

Never Again
(A Paranormal Detectives Novel)
Coming December 5th, 2017
Cover design by Rue Volley using stock art from Bigstock
In World War Two, not all monsters were human.
Male siren Sean Wireman was ostracized from his small village in Israel in the sixteenth century, forced to wander the world until he settled in America in the 1920’s. Since he doesn’t age like a normal person, he was fit to fight in World War Two, to defend the heritage he spent his whole life running from.
Seventy years later, after he has lived a whole other life since Hitler was defeated, from attending law school to becoming a bona fide rock star. In 2017, the monsters the Nazis released upon the Jews in concentration camps have returned, and he is the only one who can destroy them.
But can he save his people once again, or will this fight take a deadly toll?
* * * * * * *
EXCERPT:
I have no idea how long I stood there after I screamed, but I imagine it wasn’t long before I could hear voices coming closer and closer to where I knelt by the corpse. Panic began to set in then. It was one thing to have sex out of wedlock. It was safe to assume that it was an entirely different kettle of fish to have murdered your partner whilst you were having premarital sex! Sure, I hadn’t meant to do it, but who the Hell would have believed me? I wouldn’t have, had I been asked to believe something so outlandish.
What was I to do? Where was I to go? We were surrounded by barren land beyond our farm. If I were to run, I would be overtaken immediately. And running would make me look guilty. Even guiltier than sitting here beside a fresh cadaver. Of course, if I dressed, perhaps they’d think it was someone else and I had simply found her body here. It was worth a shot, and teenage me didn’t think that someone had seen me leave the house after her.
Teenage me was an idiot and could go fuck himself, if you ask my opinion.
I dressed, clothes were simpler then and I had no need of zippers and complex belts and shoes. We hadn’t progressed from sandals at that point. Despite my quick thinking, I was still distraught, and as soon as I heard the voices even closer I let out the anguished cry that had been sitting, painfully, in my breast. It was followed by a plea for help.
Now that I think about it, maybe I am evil. To have such deep artifice at such a young age and during such a traumatic moment, maybe Angelica should have killed me when she had the chance.
Anyway…
The doors to the barn were wrenched open and I could see everyone entering, silhouetted by their torches. My dad and her dad were leading them all. No women were present. Which was good, because if things went south, I wouldn’t have wanted my mother to see me like that.
“Dad! Dad, help!” I called. “It’s Gail, something happened…” My panic and confusion didn’t need to be faked: I had no idea what had happened. And I was terrified.
They came closer, and the din was suddenly silenced as they took one look at Gail, laying there with blood and little else on her body. I wished I had covered her: it was shameful to let her body be seen this way, but if I had they would have known right away that I was the culprit. Artifice was not a strong point for anyone back in those days, but I seemed to have a knack for it anyway.
The pure silence lasted for only a moment before there was a tortured scream. It came from David, Gail’s father. Thankfully not dropping his torch, he lunged forward only to be held back by my father.
“Sean, what happened?” my father asked me.
“I don’t know. I—I saw her leave earlier and when I went outside to get a drink I saw she wasn’t around but our barn doors were open so I went to close them and I found her…” I swallowed a large gulp of air, having been talking too fast to breathe while still crying.
“Liar!” David cried. “It was you! It had to be you! Everyone else was inside!”
“No matter who it was…what happened to her?” my father asked, looking at her emaciated corpse. “That’s not normal.”
No, it’s not, I thought, panicking. It wasn’t normal, so what the good fuck was I?
“Monster!” David hissed. “What did you do to my daughter?”
I couldn’t answer even if I did want to, because I knew as little as he did. I was sick inside, and frightened of myself. I wondered if I should go to a rabbi myself, get diagnosed. Was it a demon? Did I need to be purged? Or was I just…a monster?
Trailer:

Lily Luchesi is the award-winning author of the bestselling Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing. She also has short stories included in multiple bestselling anthologies, and a successful dark erotica retelling of Dracula. She also edited and curated the bestselling horror anthology Damsels of Distress, which focused on strong female characters within the genre.
She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she’s not writing, she’s going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga. And drinking copious amounts of coffee.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * * *

Esme’s Wish: Guest Post by Elizabeth Foster

33634667Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication: October 30th 2017
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Paperback: 252 pages


This was her last chance.

Her hand twisted high in the air.

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother – so why can’t she?

But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.

After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.

Esme’s Wish is the first book in the Esme series.


Thank you for inviting me to write a few words about the inspiration behind Esme’s Wish!

The idea first popped into my head many years ago, after I finished reading the final book of the Harry Potter series. There was something about HP that reminded me of books I’d read as a child, stories which made me feel like I was sitting by a fireplace sipping hot chocolate. I never wanted that feeling to end and was at a loss! Not knowing the extent of the task I was about to set myself, I decided to try and write a book of my own. My book, of course, is nothing like Harry Potter, apart from the fact that it explores magic and is set in a world not too dissimilar from our own.

Esme’s Wish is, for the most part, set in the canal city of Esperance, capital of the parallel realm of Aeolia. I set the story in a glittering canal city because I love Venice and the sea. There’s already something magical about winding canals and drifting gondolas, so to infuse such a setting with real magic was something I couldn’t pass up. Aeolia has its own unique mythology, but I was also inspired by Greco-Roman myth, especially one of the oldest stories in the world, Homer’s Odyssey. Keen-eyed readers will spot plenty of references to the Odyssey in Esme’s Wish.

But above all else, my inspiration was the sea. I’ve always lived near water and I suppose, like many Australians who reside along the coast, the sea is in my blood. The sea has been a muse for so many writers over the ages, but it has gotten a bad rap, in my eyes. It’s mostly been grist for stories about grief and tragedy. Yes, the sea is dangerous and mercurial, but it’s also a source of life and beauty. Esme’s Wish draws a little from both perceptions.

So if you like the ocean, magic, sea dragons, and a pinch of mythology sprinkled throughout, you might also enjoy Esme’s Wish.


Find out more about Esme’s Wish and where to buy it at Elizabeth’s website. You can also watch the book trailer on YouTube or read a free preview of the first chapter on Kobo (via the contents page).

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Kobo

The Sydney launch for Esme’s Wish is on November 25 from 3.30 – 5.30pm at North Spoon Café at McMahon’s Point.
The launch will be fully catered with canapes, wine, champagne, real coffee and cake!.

The North Spoon Café is a gorgeous café near the harbour, so it should be something special.

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New Release Q&A with Lauren James

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Publication: TODAY
Publisher: Walker Books
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Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .

Lauren James – Q&A

  1. Where did the inspiration for The Loneliest Girl in the Universe come from?

Funnily enough, it started with a question from some Physics coursework at university! The question was about special relativity, and went something like this:

An astronaut travels in a spaceship to a new planet. After a few years, a newer faster ship is developed and launched, which overtakes the first ship. How old are the two astronauts when they each arrive on the planet?

I started thinking about what it would be like to be that first astronaut, and dedicate years to travelling alone in space, only for your ship to be overtaken by a faster one before you even arrive! What would that feel like? What kind of relationship would you have with the person on the faster ship? From that, the story of Romy Silvers was born.

I’ve always loved stories of isolation – it’s a great way to really get to know a character. I knew that if I was writing a whole book where there was only really one person, I would need to create a character who would keep the reader’s attention and loyalty. It was a big challenge, but I fell totally in love with Romy while I was writing about her, and I hope everyone reading The Loneliest Girl in the Universe does too.

  1. Did you always dream of becoming a writer?

I started writing The Next Together when I was sixteen, and finished the first draft when I was nineteen. I never intended to get the story published – I was writing just for myself, for fun! The first draft was very self-indulgent, and included cameos from some of my professors, and lots of in-jokes. There was no pressure to write something good. I was just writing for myself, telling myself a bedtime story after classes. I never saw it as doing something scary or difficult.

I always loved the idea of being a writer, but I absolutely didn’t think it was possible. I thought people who became authors must have spent their whole life writing, and I was too interested in doing other things for that.

My second novel The Last Beginning, which I wrote after I’d got a book deal, was about twenty times harder because suddenly there was all of this pressure. I had to push past a lot of fear which had never been there before.

Being an author is quite similar to how I imagined it, though – spending a lot of time alone, staying up late at night to write, summoning the devil in exchange for book ideas..….wait, what?

  1. How did you feel when secured your first publishing deal at 21?

It was very exciting and scary, and I still feel very lucky! When The Next Together was finished I left it for a few months, and when I came back to it, I was surprised to find that it wasn’t as terrible as I remembered. It even made me laugh a few times. I decided to send it off to some literary agents, just to see if they could give me some useful feedback.

I had absolutely no idea how the publishing industry worked, and I think I read one How To article on query letters before writing one and blithely sending it off into the aether. I found an A to Z list of agents and started emailing with the Z’s, because I thought they’d have the least submissions. In the end, I found an agent on W, after I’d emailed only six agencies. It was a very naive way to apply, but I got very lucky – my agent is incredible, and last year she was shortlisted for the Bookseller’s Agent of the Year award.

We then submitted to publishers after a whole year of revisions (I was still at university so could only really work on it during the holidays) and within two weeks, two publishers had offered. Saying it now, that seems so easy and fast, but at the time it was the most stressful, delirious fortnight of my life. I’ve been through the submission process several times since then, and it does not get any easier.

  1. What is your favourite book?

I love Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, Radio Silence by Alice Oseman, Lirael by Garth Nix, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susannah Clarke and Far From You by Tess Sharpe.

  1. What authors have influenced your writing?

Neil Gaiman, Rainbow Rowell, Sarah Waters, P. G. Wodehouse, Audrey Niffeneger.…..I could go on all day, I think! In particular I’m always making notes when I read books by Douglas Adams – he’s the master of humorous sci fi. I’ve adored his work since I was young.

I read a wide range of genres, and because of that I try to make my books a little bit of every genre – The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is a bit fandom, a bit thriller, a bit romance and a bit sci fi.

I think if I didn’t write a variety of different genres, I’d probably get bored. My next books are a mix of different genres again – my latest book, which I’m still writing, is a paranormal supervillain origin story. So something completely different, again!

  1. What book do you wish you had written?

I love The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. She has an incredible way of really making her characters seem like real people, and I learn so much about writing different perspectives from her work. The set up of that series is just absolutely my favourite thing, and I’m forever jealous I didn’t invent the character Gansey.

I also read Laura Ruby’s writing with a huge amount of jealousy. Her latest, YORK, is so so so good.

  1. What issues do you like to explore in your writing?

I always try to include LGBT+ characters in my books. I was so frustrated as a teenager because, as a huge sci fi fan, I could never find diverse characters in the worlds I loved. Recently there’s been some amazing progress in this direction (like The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet) but at the time, it felt a completely barren wasteland. I wanted to write about a character who was gay, but the book wasn’t a coming out story. I wanted them to get to do things, while being gay.

  1. How has your interest in science influenced your writing?

I studied Chemistry and Physics at university, so if I hadn’t become a writer, I would probably be a research scientist focusing on physical chemistry. I would love to go back to science one day – I really miss it!

I always try to make the science in my books as accurate as possible, and I did a lot of research into space travel and the theory of space travel behind NASA’s equipment when writing The Loneliest Girl in the Universe.

The time machine in The Last Beginning is also based on real life research into sub-atomic particles at CERN, like the Large Hadron Collider. Based on the predictions physicists have made about the possibilities of time travel, I thought that was a logical starting point to progress from. I wanted to feel very real and possible – it’s simplified a lot in the book from how these things might actually work, but the grounding of the science is very plausible. I hope! [crosses fingers no physicists immediately call me on my mistakes]

  1. What was it like to see your books translated into another language?

It’s huge. Seeing my words in another language is something I’ve always wanted to have – so it’s incredible that it’s actually happened! I can’t quite believe it still.

I’m especially proud of the Brazilian edition, as I studied in America for a year, and spent most of my time hanging out with Brazilian students who were also studying abroad for a year. So there was a LOT of excitement amongst my friends when the translated edition came out in Brazil. They keep sending me pictures of it, and trying to persuade everyone to buy it!

  1. Would you go into space if you could?

I’m not sure. I think I’m probably not as brave as Romy. I might go after tourism space travel has been running for a few decades and it has been proven its safe, but definitely not yet!

Lauren James was born in 1992, and graduated in 2014 from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics.

She started writing during secondary school English classes, because she couldn’t stop thinking about a couple who kept falling in love throughout history. She sold the rights to the novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university.

The Next Together described by The Bookseller as ‘funny, romantic and compulsively readable’ and Kirkus as ‘An ambitious, promising premise . . . James is one to watch’. It was longlisted for the Branford Boase Award, a prize given to recognise an outstanding novel by a first-time writer.

Her other novels include The Last Beginning, the epic conclusion to The Next Together which was named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for kids and young adults by the Independent. Two short stories set in the world of The Next Together series, Another Together and Another Beginning, are also available.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was inspired by a Physics calculation she was assigned at university. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and all of her books feature scientists in prominent roles.

Lauren is published in the UK by Walker Books, in the US by HarperCollins and in translation in five other countries around the world. She lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. You can find her on Twitter at @Lauren_E_James, Tumblr at @laurenjames or her website http://www.laurenejames.co.uk, where you can subscribe to her newsletter to be kept up to date with her new releases and receive bonus content.