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.

Guest Post: Top 7 Fangirl Moments in Fantasy by Helen Scheuerer

Title: Heart of Mist (The Oremere Chronicles #1)
Author: Helen Scheuerer

Published: NEW RELEASE
Publisher: Talem Press

In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.

Still grieving the death of her guardian and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the Commander of the King’s Army, and summoned to the capital.

But the king isn’t the only one interested in Bleak’s powers.

The leader of an infamous society of warriors, the Valia Kindred, lays claim to her as well, and Bleak finds herself in the middle of a much bigger battle than she anticipated.

Heart of Mist is the gripping first book in The Oremere Chronicles, a fantasy series of epic proportions.

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Top 7 Fangirl Moments in Fantasy

When I was a teen, I was a massive fangirl. From life-sized posters of Aragorn (that I may or may not still have) to arguing with my bestie over which of us would marry Harry Potter… However, somewhere along the way, I forgot how much fun it was to ship a certain couple or gush with my friends about the latest development in our favourite TV show… Thankfully, in recent years I’ve definitely rediscovered my inner fangirl.

And so to celebrate this glorious occurrence, I wanted to share my top 7 Fangirl Moments in Fantasy with The Adventures of Sacakat!

Here goes nothing…

7. If you want him, come and claim him.

Arwen defending Frodo against the Servants of Sauron is a pretty epic moment in The Fellowship of the Ring. It’s how we’re introduced to Arwen and we realise that beautiful, feminine women elves can be just as badass as any warrior.

6. Kestrel’s cunning.

I’m of course talking about Kestrel from The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski. All too often we see protagonists who are epic warriors from the start, with these larger than life reputations… Kestrel breaks that mold. She’s completely and utterly cunning and clever, she knows where her strengths lie, and how best to use them to her advantage. There are so many fist-pumping moments in this series where Kestrel outsmarts and outmaneuvers those who oppose her.

5. I am Celaena Sardothien and I am not afraid.

Speaking of larger than life reputations… No matter how arrogant she is, I’ll always have a soft spot for Celaena from Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series. While it’s certainly not perfect, this series helped get me out of a serious reading slump – there’s so much girl power, sass and action that it’s utterly addictive.

My favourite moment? When Celaena/Aelin rescues Aedion from the king in a whirl of dancers and exploding roses.

4. “Fear can be good, Laia. It can keep you alive.”

Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes starts off with Laia making a choice she regrets. To me, her choice reflects one that the majority of us would make were we in her shoes. We’re not presented with the story of an immediate hero, but one of a young girl who seeks to right her wrong. Laia’s character development is one of my favourite moments in recent fantasy – we get to see her grow into herself, make mistakes, and live with the consequences…

“Fear can be good, Laia. It can keep you alive. But don’t let it control you. Don’t let it sew doubts within you. When the fear takes over, use the only thing more powerful, more indestructible to fight it: your spirit. Your heart.”

3. “I’ll thank ye to take your hands off my wife.”

While I don’t usually buy into the whole man-saves-woman nonsense, there’s nothing quite like Jamie Fraser rescuing his One-True-Love Claire from Black Jack Randall in Outlander. I mean, how can you not fangirl over a gorgeous, loyal Scottish warrior bursting in at the right moment?

In fact, I’ve only read the first four Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon, but I can safely say that pretty much anything involving Jamie and Claire is a top fangirl moment…

2. Not my daughter, you bitch

Ummm… Is there anything more badass than when Molly Weasley takes on Bellatrix Lestrange??? Both in the Harry Potter book and film, this scene always has a double effect on me: tears and goosebumps.

I love that J.K. Rowling gave us this fantastic scene where we’re shown just how absolutely fierce Molly is.

1. “I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

An adventure is certainly how I’d describe V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy. Arguably my favourite series in the last few years, there are wayyyyy too many fangirl moments to pick just one… But here are two of my favourite scenes…

“You look more ready to storm a city than seduce a man…” – sounds like an awesome dress-code to me!

“Aren’t you afraid of dying?” he asked Lila now.
She looked at him as if it were a strange question. And then she shook her head. “Death comes for everyone,” she said simply. “I’m not afraid of dying. But I am afraid of dying here.” She swept her hand over the room, the tavern, the city. “I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.” – Delilah Bard is basically a walking fangirl moment, in my humble opinion.

***
I’m curious, what are YOUR top fangirl moments in fantasy fiction? Why not share them in the comments below!


Helen Scheuerer is a YA fantasy author from Sydney, Australia. Heart of Mist is the first book in her high fantasy trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles. It explores themes of identity, belonging, loyalty, addiction, loss, and responsibility.

After writing literary fiction for a number of years, novels like Throne of Glass, Elantris, The Queen’s Poisoner and The Queen of the Tearling inspired Helen to return to her childhood love of fantasy.

Helen is also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit (www.writersedit.com), an online literary magazine and learning platform for emerging writers. It’s now one of the largest writers’ platforms in the world.

Helen’s love of writing and books led her to pursue a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in Creative Writing at the University of Wollongong and a Masters of Publishing at the University of Sydney.

Helen now works as a freelance writer and editor, while she works on the second book in The Oremere Chronicles.

Purchase Links:
Amazon AU | Amazon US 

Author Links:
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Helen will be featured in the Australian YA Bloggers September author spotlight, so keep your eyes open for that.

Review: To Betray My King by Kayla Lavan

34109142To Betray My King by Kayla Lavan

Genre: YA Romance/Fantasy

Release Date: May 1st 2017

Summary:

Would you choose to save your kingdom or follow your heart?

Brave and kindhearted, Arianna is a princess of a kingdom that nobody wants. The magicless. Marrying the charming, flirtatious, and egotistical Prince Roland was the last thing either of them wanted, but for the sake of their people they agreed. War breaks out with the neighboring kingdom, forcing the prince’s hand to join in the fight. He leaves his new wife with the only man he trusts, his childhood friend, a dutiful, strong, and handsome knight.

A sweet romantic tale of forbidden love in a dark fanatical world.

I enjoyed stepping into Ms Lavan’s medieval world of Sol and meeting the magic weavers she has filled it with. I struggled a little with the male leads at first. While I really enjoyed the playful banter and friendship between Prince Roland and his bodyguard/best friend, Conrad, it took me a while to warm up to either of them as love interests for Princess Arianna. Princess Arianna was easily likeable. She was kind hearted and always looking to improve herself, be it mentally or physically (e.g. learning to sword fight).

The story starts off following Roland, Conrad and Arianna. Their day to day lives, before, during and after the arranged royal marriage. But when Roland goes off to war we are left behind with Conrad and Arianna. I wish we could have followed Roland into War!!!

The whole time I was reading it felt as if Ms Lavan was preparing Arianna for something big. We kept being given tastes of Arianna’s archery skills and magical status/abilities and it felt like this was building to something bigger. Well, she did get to kick some butt in the end.

This felt like the first in a series, if that makes sense. A lot of set up with a dramatic actioned packed ending propelling you on to read the next book. There even is a Twist at the end that I didn’t see coming and the ‘betrayal’ goes down not as you expect.

Even with his man-whore start to the story, Prince Roland ended up being my favourite character and I am looking forward to reading more from Ms Lavan and finding out how he handled becoming King.


About the Author

I’ve been writing half of my life, starting at the ripe old age of 13. Back then my favorite pass time was doodling in class, sleeping in class, and studying tests or homework that was due the next class period. But by night I lead a secret life. I would go home, turn on my computer, and get on my dialup Internet (which makes me sound really old) and I would write. At first it was for fun. I was brave back then and posted everything online. In the 14 years I have been writing, I have posted over 1.5 million words, all of which is still available to read for free. My most well known story being “Fun ‘N’ Games at Ouran”. A year or so ago I posted a one-shot that was 50k-60k in words. Afterwards, I looked at it laughing, and said to myself “I think I would like to get paid for this now” and then ‘To Betray My King’ was born. It seems so simple as I’m sitting here, typing this foryou to read, but it’s the truth. ‘Betray’ is my first book, but it won’t be my last. I love writing. I would never give it up for anything in the world.

The Betrayal Legacy

#1 To Betray My King (Available Now)

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Buy Link: Amazon

#2 To Betray My Kingdom (Coming Soon)

#3 To Betray Myself (Coming Soon)

Author Links:

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Review: I’m Australian Too by Mem Fox

34396859I’m Australian! How about you? Many people from many places have come across the seas, to make Australia their home. How Australian is that?

Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 1st 2017 by Scholastic Australia.

*  *  *  *  *

Mem Fox my dear, I didn’t think it was possible to love you anymore than I did after Possum Magic and Time for Bed, but now I do!

I was so excited when I saw this beautiful book by Mem Fox and illustrated by Ronojoy Ghosh. It celebrates Australia’s multiculturalism, promotes racial equality and shines a spotlight on refugees. All this is wrapped up as a fun and colourful sing-song story to be adored and absorbed by the minds of our young children. Mem Fox you are a wonderful, wonderful woman. I will be repeatedly reading this to my boys.

I’m writing this review after just reading I’m Australian Too for the first time with my 3.5-year-old son. He was fresh out of the bath and about to get into bed, perfect mummy and son book reading time.

This book is absolutely beautiful.  On our first read through when I got to the page that starts with “Sadly, I’m a refugee – I’m not Australian yet.” My spine tingled and a wicked smile crept on my face. I was thinking: You go Mem Fox! Stick it to the haters.

By the end of the second read through I had tears in my eyes and was getting choked up trying to finish the last page. My heart is humming and I need to tell the world about this book. READ IT TO YOUR KIDS. Refugees are mentioned. Aboriginals, Italians, Greeks, Somalians – the list goes on and on – are mentioned. It is truly beautiful.

The last page ends with the line “Together now, we live in peace, beneath the Southern Star.” Oh Mem, how I wish that was so and I hope for a tomorrow when it is!I’m Australian! How about you?

Release Blitz: Right To Silence by Lily Luchesi

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Release Blitz:
Right To Silence
(Paranormal Detectives Book Four)
by
Lily Luchesi
Jan 17th
The truth can be deadly.
In the first of this two-part novel, we learn the history of hunters Brighton Sands and Mark Evans in their two lifetimes, culminating in their final battle with the insane vampire they have been hunting for centuries.
In the second part, with Angelica Cross still on the run, multiple vampiric murders lead to the kidnapping of a famous vamp. Detective Danny Mancini must drag a mortal into the bowels of Hell in order to rescue her.
But why does Leander Price want her so badly, and what does she have to do with an ancient vampire prophecy?

Join The Release Party Jan 17th > >

coming soon
Lily Luchesi is a young author/poet born in Chicago, Illinois, now residing 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 by the time she was twelve, and, as her family has always been what they now call “Gothic”, she doesn’t believe she shall ever change. She is also a hopeless romantic and avid music-love who will always associate vampires with love, blood, and rock and roll.
Her interest in poetry came around the same time as when she was given a book ofEdgar Allan Poe’s complete work. She then realized that she had been writing her own poetry since she could hold a pen, and just had not known the correct terms. She finished her first manuscript at the age of fourteen, and was first published at twenty-one.
Her debut novel, Stake-Out (Paranormal Detectives Series Book One), was published by Vamptasy Publishing on May 19th, 2015. Book two, Miranda’s Rights, was released on January 8th, 2016. Book three, Life Sentence, was released on August 2nd, 2016 by Vamptasy Publishing, and book four, Right To Silence, was also just accepted by the publisher and will be released on January 17th, 2017.
She had a short story, “Undead Ever After” in the CHBB Publishing anthology Love Sucks (released on June 13th, 2015). Her first erotic short story, “Have No Fears”, was published in the Hot Ink Press anthology Naughty Bedtime Stories: In Three Words on October 10th, 2015. She will also have a short erotic horror story, “The Devil’s Dozen”, in the Hot Ink Press anthology Death, Love, Lust, which was released on February 4th, 2016. Her horror short “Too Young To Kill” was released in the CHBB Publishing anthology Lurking In The Shadows on June 28th, 2016.
 
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Cover Reveal: Gems Of Gratitude anthology

Gems of Gratitude

Releasing November 14th, 2016

Author List:

Alana Madden

Chrissy Moon

Christie Stratos

Elizabeth Horton-Newton

Karen J. Mossman

LG Surgeson

Lily Luchesi

Markie Madden

(and one possible: Kristy Wagner)

From the Gems of Strength authors comes the second book in the Gems of Sisterhood series! The theme of this book is, of course, gratitude!

Meet Detective Cara Solino, a young woman following in her father’s footsteps. Can she solve the case he was unable to?

Find out how Chloe’s mother discovers a way to keep her daughter’s dream alive under the worst possible circumstances! Read about young Lady Iona, a child of the Elven Forest, as she struggles to give her daughter a fighting chance in a harsh world.

Cheer on Sharliss as she finally takes control of her own life, and becomes a better person. Meet Julie, who gathers information on history, and Jody, an elderly dog whose time to cross The Rainbow Bridge is near. These stories and more are within these pages, just waiting for YOU!

Pre-Order Gems Of Gratitude via:

Guest Post: The Writing Process By Taylor Hondos

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8284039Taylor is the author of the “Antidote” trilogy. She began studying at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2013 and is getting a degree in English. She enjoys reading and writing instead of doing her homework. She is currently working on “Prospect,” the second book in the trilogy.

Guest Post: The Writing Process

Truthfully, I had no clue what I was doing when I wrote my first book. I had written many short stories and poems. They eased my mind and I realized just how much I loved to write. One night, my brother put on the movie, I, Robot. I was writing a quite terrible short story about aliens (*shakes head in shame), and it hit me. What if the world was turning into robots? I was a senior in High School with a big idea. I thought I would just write a quick short story and call it a day. But my heart wouldn’t let this idea go. My short story turned into fifty pages, then eighty pages. This is when “Antidote” was born.

I wrote the entire book out in my journal. Mind you, it was a horrible rough draft. Words scribbled all over the page, but when I was done. It was all I thought about. I began to extend it. I wrote out an entire trilogy on paper. I told my family about it. I told it to anyone who would listen to me. I read it out loud to people who wanted to hear. When I realized that people were into the idea, I began to type it out.

I typed it pretty fast. It took me about a month and a half to finish. I typed every night. Sometimes even ditching the journal ideas and writing new scenes. It was such a good time for me. The book came so naturally to me that it was as if I was meant to write this book. I was just typing it for myself but when I got to 210 pages, I said to myself “why not try and get published?”

I started to send it out to many places and finally self-published in 2014. I began typing out the next two books and sent my second book to Booktrope. That is when my dream came true. I have my dream team, my dream cover. Most of all, my goals seem to be closer than ever.

In 2016, what I thought sent my world crashing down, was actually a small earthquake leading to something great. Booktrope closed down. I thought it was kind of the end of the world. That’s when Patchwork Press came into my life and changed it once more, and for the better. I feel in control. I feel like I am with a group of writers who appreciate me and are behind me every step of the way.

My publishing story is much different than other authors, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I have gained experience from self publishing and being with a small press. I know that I can use this knowledge for the rest of my book writing days.

My writing process may be a little different than most, but it works for me. As a writer, you MUST find what works for you. Not what works for others. This is your dream. This is your passion. When the time is right, it will come to you. By “it” I mean the story or even the patience to tell your story to the world. For me, it came naturally because I feel like this was the story I was meant to share.

Writing the Story:

                Dialogue is my strong suit. Character building? Not so much. Since I know my own self, it is easy to begin to work on the things that don’t come so easily to me. When it came to sitting down to write, I found my own habits and tendencies. I found what worked for me. Since I was writing in high school, school came first. Now that I am still writing, I am in college. So I have to put school first (yeah right) and writing next.

I had to find the perfect time to write as well. I write at nighttime. It is my way of cooling down from the day. Sometimes I’ll put music on. It helps me find the right things to say when I feel like I can’t find them. I’ve been able to find the time and place that allows me to be free of the world and write my books. That is my advice to writers; find that one place that makes you feel like you can do anything and write. For me, that is alone in my room, particularly at 11 at night, with music to escort my thoughts.

My goal every night is to write at least one chapter. If what I am writing is complete crap (and trust me, there are days like that,) I stop and go to bed. I reevaluate my life (kidding) and by the morning, I am refreshed and remember why I love this. This is a passion. Without it, I couldn’t stay up countless nights and sometimes forget my homework for school the next day.

Editing Process:

Basically I go through a lot of editing. I will be the one who goes into my book fifteen times and still miss a lot. My eyes, and my great friend, Edee’s eyes, alone edited the first edition of “Antidote.” I have found, it takes more than us to fix a book and it’s problems. Now that I have edited the book so many times, I have found my bad habits. I see that I can have plot holes without even realizing it! Here is my advice to you: When you think you’re done, you’re NOT. So the editing/publishing process for “Antidote” went like this (2016 edition).

  • Wrote “The Antidote,” which is the self-published version.
  • Edited the book about four times over before sending it to my friend, Edee, who is also a self-published author.
  • Edited all the mistakes Edee fixed for me.
  • Edited the book about another four dozen times.
  • Sent it off to Self-publication Land.
  • Wrote “Prospect,” which is the second book in my trilogy and sent that off to Booktrope (wait for the squeals when I got accepted and asked to republish “The Antidote”).
  • And so it begins. Process begins with me submitting the Self-published version of “The Antidote” for rewrite and edit.
  • Change name from “The Antidote” to “Antidote.”
  • Edit number one from my editor. I fixed all the mistakes I was foolishly making.
  • Send off my first round of edits back to her.
  • Editor sends me the second round of edits.
  • I fix all mistakes and send to Proofreader.
  • Finally “Antidote” is ready.
  • Repeat steps 9-13 with “Prospect.”

Now that I have republished “Antidote” one last time with Patchwork Press, I have started to edit “Prospect” with its finishing touches.

That is just a super dry run of how it went. I was an amateur. I had to change a lot. Sometimes I would write things that didn’t make any sense and would have “What??” in the margins. I look at writing completely different now. My mind is stronger and sharper now by seeing the mistakes I made. The editing process takes a lot longer for me now because I thoughtfully/logically put words together. I know that it isn’t just the story that matters. Every single word must make a difference and an impact somehow.

What I’ve Learned:

I have learned a lot from my experiences with writing. I have learned my own strengths and most importantly, my weaknesses. Most of all, I have learned why I am here, as a writer. I am here to write for my happiness. I am here to write so I can bring joy to others as books bring joy to me. I want to change someone’s life. Make them crave books as so many books have done to me. Right now, it isn’t about being successful in book writing. It is about learning the ropes and one day I know I will be a fabulous writer. It is a long road ahead. But it is the road I want to be on forever.antidotemedia

Antidote (Antidote, #1) by Taylor Hondos

Life sucks, and then you rot. No one knows how Dermadecatis is contracted, but its existence has changed everything for 18-year-old Lena, in this riveting debut from Taylor Hondos.

No contact with other people.

Masks must be worn in public at all times.

Four months ago men, women and children alike began to rot from the inside out, and the world as we know it changed forever. Life goes on, but now everything revolves around the need to survive and find a cure for Dermadecatis, the disease that Lena Alona’s father discovered.

Unfortunately for Lena and everyone else who is desperate to survive, her father’s secrets died when he did.

Published June 1st 2016 by Patchwork Press (first published May 30th 2014)

Taylor’s Links: GOODREADS | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | WEBSITE

Review: Race Girl by Leigh Hutton

IMG_4324Fresh on the heels of Michelle Payne’s historic Melbourne Cup win, comes a blockbuster Australian story about a Queensland girl and the ‘race that stops a nation’ . . .

Tully Athens has always dreamed of following in the footsteps of her hero Michelle Payne. Of living up to the Athens name and becoming the third generation of women from her family to rule the track. But Tully’s never been sure she’s got the nerve, and when her mother is killed in a horse racing accident, her whole world is shattered.

Six months later, in the heat of a Queensland summer, sixteen-year-old Tully is ready to face her fears. But getting back in the saddle leads to a whole lot more than she bargained for, with an out of control crush on the boy from their rival thoroughbred farm – the gorgeous but cocky larrikin Brandon Weston – and a forgotten filly with stardom in her eyes . . .

When faced with the most difficult decision of her life, will Tully choose to train and race her new filly in Melbourne? Or will she sacrifice it all to fight for love on the land that feeds her soul?

It’s only when tragedy rips everything from her that Tully finds a strength and courage she never knew she had, in this action-packed novel of passion, adventure and determination.

RACE GIRL is the highly anticipated third book in The Go Girls Chronicles – bestselling stories of gutsy girls in action sports, by Leigh Hutton!

*A PORTION OF EVERY #RaceGirl book sold goes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, and to horse-welfare charity, Equine Action Qld*

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MY THOUGHTS:  First up, Thank you very much to Leigh for the review copy :-).

Leigh has a knack for making you feel like you are there amongst it, in the middle of the action with her characters. The on track descriptions in this book are brilliant – you really do feel as if you are riding the horses – I could give five stars just for the Race Scenes. You find yourself tearing through the words, like a horse tearing up the turf as it thunders down the track.

We meet Tully Athens out on her family’s farm in rural Queensland. After the tragic death of Tully’s mother in a horse racing accident the family’s farm has fallen on hard times and is wasting away. I found Tully immediately likeable. The then Fifteen-year-old is struggling to cope with her mother’s death. She is afraid to get back on a horse after the accident, but her soul is missing riding as much as it is missing her mother. After finally getting the courage to mount up again she finds herself riding, then racing side by side with a mysterious “hot” boy who can really ride. The fun begins when she finds out the stranger is in fact Brandon Weston the son of her families biggest rival. Ah forbidden love my favorite.

This the third installment of the Go Girl Chronicles doesn’t disappoint, as with the previous two books we get; drama, action, romance, a strong female protagonist, beautiful horses, studly men, lessons learnt, dreams followed and inner strength found.

There are even nods to Jump Girl, Rev Girl and next up, Surf Girl – cracked me up, especially when Clover pops up in the same hospital room as Tully.

We go on to see Tully develop into a loving and caring, yet strong and determined young woman of eighteen. We see her fight for the things she loves and make her mark on the world.

There is a lot of story crammed into this book, but Leigh has managed to keep it all fast paced and flowing well. I only wish we could have got to spend more time seeing Brandon and Tully’s love develop.

The last quarter of this book is a whirl wind of twists and turns and fast racing – I can’t say much more then that without giving the best parts away *imagine me doing a cheeky wink here*.

Three cheers and FIVE STARS for Race Girl Tully.

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It’s hard to be the new girl, but it’s even harder being the new girl who races dirt bikes…
Ever since her parents forced her to move from Canada to Silvertown, Colorado, Clover Kassedy hasn’t fit in. So how do you deal when everyone hates you?
Focusing all her energy on racing her motorcycle did it for a while, but now that Clover’s managed to find a bestie and a boyfriend, the pressure on the sixteen-year-old is worse than ever.
She’s determined to get to the World Championships, where she could finally meet her idol – an Australian, the World Champion – and have a shot at becoming a professional dirt bike racer. But with her super-competitive dad, workaholic mother and relentless bullies at races and at high school, Clover is struggling to make her dreams a reality.
Will it be her scheming ex-best-friend who shatters her world? Or will she let her ‘perfect’ boyfriend – the guy who has finally made her feel like she belongs in their school and their town – stop her from becoming an international racing star?

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SHOW JUMPING IS AN EXTREME SPORT WITH A DRESS CODE, ONE THIS GIRL DOESN’T FOLLOW . . .

Imagine being dumped by your mother as a newborn and shifted between foster homes your entire childhood. Imagine being taken in and offered hope for your future by a kind, loving show jumping socialite.

Imagine falling in love with some of the most gorgeous horses in the world, and making a life in the thrilling and glamorous sport of international show jumping.

Now imagine it all being taken away.

Ebony Scott Harris is painfully close to making her dreams a reality when the only mother she has ever known mysteriously dies. She’s forced from their home to live with the gold-digging aunt, who takes her in only to ride the prized show jumpers she claims are now hers.

Teetering on the edge of a hopeless depression, Ebony is saved by the discovery of a forgotten horse nearly starved to death, and an unlikely partnership with a handsome stranger, whom she must learn to trust if she is to uncover the truth about her mother’s death and reclaim her home.

But with the evil aunt selling her best and beloved horse, a maniacal ex-coach out for revenge and more savage competitors than she can count, Ebony has a lot more at stake than proving the truth, saving her horses and jumping for gold at the World Equestrian Games . . .

JUMP GIRL is a young adult crossover novel that is clean enough for a 12+ reader and real and relatable enough for any women’s fiction fan.

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LEIGH’S LINKS > >

Website | Goodreads | Amazon AU | Amazon US | Booktopia | Book Depository | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

555A5965Leigh Hutton is a former Courier-Mail journalist, dirt bike racer and horse show jumper. Leigh was born in Canada and lives on rural property in southeast Queensland, Australia, with her husband and three young children. When she isn’t writing, managing the relocation and restoration of historic ‘Queenslander’ homes, wrangling the kids or swilling coffee, she loves to read, watch smart TV and movies, ride her motorbike and daydream about gorgeous horses. Her family spell racehorses at their property and making friends with each one is also a favourite pastime of Leigh and her children. Leigh is especially passionate about promoting the growing number of girls and women in all action and equestrian sports, and is thrilled to be drawing on her experiences to bring you the exciting novels of The Go Girls Chronicles . . .

For your reading pleasure

For your reading pleasure here is a guest post from the lovely Lily Luchesi and a sneak peek at her new book Miranda’s Rights which is released today!
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Why I Use Music In My Writing by Lily Luchesi

Art saves. It’s not just a slogan. It’s true. Even before I could read, I was always surrounded by music and I loved it. Music was happiness in my childish mind.

As I got older, immersed myself in books, fandom, and other things, music was always there. Sure, I had broadened my tastes dramatically, but music was the only constant in my life. I was the emo teen in 2006 who ringed her eyes in black mascara and blasted The Black Parade in her bedroom. I grew up, but I am still that girl inside (and outside: I still love my black mascara).

When I started writing professionally, I found concentrating to be very difficult, so I had it suggested to me to put in my headphones and leave music on in the background. I went from barely 600 words written per day to over two thousand.

Music is many things, enjoyment being the main one. But it is so much more. It is the expression of emotions that many of us cannot convey. It is life, love, grief, pain, anger, politics, and so much more. Music is everything.

I listened to so much music while writing both books in my Paranormal Detectives Series, that I made a playlist for it on YouTube, because everyone should be able to feel what I felt as I wrote about Danny and Angelica’s heartbreak and struggles while listening to these same songs.

So, if you’re in love with music like I am, be proud and own it. Whether you fall asleep with “Clair De Lune” on repeat, jam to Rascal Flatts, rock out to 80’s hair metal, twerk to Beyonce, dance with Demi Lovato, or get emo with Fall Out Boy and Twenty One Pilots, own it. Enjoy it. Know that these people are shaping your life without ever realizing it.

Music is the most primal form of art, it is love and light as well as hate and darkness, and everything in between. It helped make Stake-Out and Miranda’s Rights happen.

Please enjoy listening to this playlist as you read the Paranormal Detectives Series. I hope it enhances your reading experience just as it enhanced my writing experience.

Youtube Playlist *

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The dead don’t always rest easy…
Retired detective, Danny Mancini, is haunted by nightmares after he found out that paranormal creatures exist. All he wants is to forget them…especially a certain half-vampire. When cursed werewolves show up trying to kill him, he is forced to go back to the Paranormal Investigative Division for help against a powerful old enemy. What he was not expecting was a dead ex showing back up after twenty-six years.

* Add to Goodreads *

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Danny and Miranda sat in uncomfortable silence for a few moments, processing everything they had heard and what Danny had seen, thanks to those damned powers of his.

“Was it hard for you? Seeing it all firsthand?” Miranda asked.

He nodded. “It was intense. It was brutal and pitiful. If I had a choice, I would give up these powers forever. Angelica says they’re a blessing, but I say they’re a curse. You can’t possibly know what it’s like to have these visions. To be there, in the thick of it, watching it as it happens, knowing every evil thing said and thought. It’s like living a nightmare. Only one of my visions has ever been good.”

Miranda went and stood behind her former fiancé, placing her cold hands on his shoulders and giving him a light squeeze. “If I could take your pain away, I would.”

“If you could, I’d pay you all the money Dad left me,” he replied.

Miranda was silent, contemplating. “I could do it, you know.”

“Do what?” he asked, turning around in the chair to face her.

“Make the powers go away. Make you not feel any of these pesky fears.” Her voice was nonchalant, but her eyes were sharp. He could see that this had been a planned confrontation somehow, and he was wary. For wanting to be a lawyer, she could never hold her cards very close to her chest. That was why he’d never taught her to play poker.

“How?” He was a former cop. He could get anyone to admit anything and he planned to make Miranda spill her guts. He knew it would be easy. She had that smug look on her face he remembered from their dating years. That look meant she was ready to brag.

Her cool fingers traced along his throat, leaving behind an uncomfortable sensation.

“Let me turn you. You’ll lose your powers and fears, and then we could be together…forever. Just you and me, like it was always meant to be.”

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Check out book one in the series, * Stake-Out *

stakeoutcover.jpgAbout Lily

Lily Luchesi is a young author/poet born in Chicago, Illinois, now residing 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 by the time she was twelve, and, as her family has always been what they now call “Gothic”, she doesn’t believe she shall ever change. She is also a hopeless romantic and avid music-love who will always associate vampires with love, blood, and rock and roll.
Her interest in poetry came around the same time as when she was given a book of Edgar Allan Poe’s complete work. She then realized that she had been writing her own poetry since she could hold a pen, and just had not known the correct terms. She finished her first manuscript at the age of fourteen, and now, at twenty-one, has two contributing credits in anthologies and her debut novel, Stake-Out (Paranormal Detectives Series Book One), was published by Vamptasy Publishing on May 19th, 2015. Book two, Miranda’s Rights, will be released on January 8th, 2016.
She has a short story, “Undead Ever After” in the Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly anthology Love Sucks (released on June 13th, 2015). Her first erotic short story, “Have No Fears”, was published in the Hot Ink Press anthology Naughty Bedtime Stories: In Three Words on October 10th. She will also have a short erotic horror story, “The Devil’s Dozen”, in the upcoming Hot Ink Press anthology Death, Love, Lust, which will be released in February of 2016.

Lily’s Links * WebsiteAmazonTwitterFacebookInstagramGoodreads *

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