Friday, January 24, 2014

Celebrate the small things: Annual hiatus

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

Yes, the time has come for me to make my yearly pilgrimage to the beach house.  It's going to be tough, but I think you will all manage to survive 8 days without my scintillating words of writerly wisdom and wit.

And just to make you all a little jealous, here's a picture of where I'll be....

Pretty isn't it?  My parents' house is over on the far side of the picture, on the hillside covered in trees.  I'm looking forward to a week of sunshine, swimming, bush-walking, eating good food and drinking nice wine.  Oh, and not working at all.

Be good while I'm gone.  Don't do anything I wouldn't do.  Or if you do, do it well.  Catch you in a week or so....

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Sweet Spot

Every now and then when I'm writing, I have this amazing sense of falling into my story and the words just flow like water.  When that happens, I can sometimes write 5K in an afternoon.

Yesterday I had one of those days.  And it has been a long time since that happened for me.  I'd started to think I'd written all the easy stuff I was ever going to write, that no project was good enough to consume me to that level.  So I let myself fall.

Unfortunately most of the time, writing each word is more like a battle.  Some days I struggle to write 1K in an evening.  Other days I do manage to hit my 1500 word daily goal, but wind up erasing most of it when I go back to read over what I wrote.

Recently, writing anything at all has been hard.  I'm out of the habit and I blame publishing for it.  Before I was published, I wrote on a schedule and kept to my daily word-count as best I could.  Then edits and re-edits and line-edits happened, and all of a sudden all my writing time was taken up by that. And trying to figure out how to publicize my book.

Now the book is out and there isn't a whole lot more I can do for it, I'm back to writing.  But writing is hard!

But on days like yesterday, I remember why I love doing it so much.  And I wrote over 3K in just over 2 hours.

Do you find writing easy or hard?  Any tricks to finding that sweet spot?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Content vs Skill

I went to see a film last week that has left me thinking a lot.  It was an incredibly well made film, a real bravura piece of film making, probably one of the best I've seen in a long time.  But I hated it.


Because the characters were immoral, crass, misogynistic, and just plain awful.  I'm not one to complain about foul language, but when the language is all derogatory toward women, I find it hard to take.

So at what point does a story's content overwhelm its style or technique?  I know I've read some pretty terribly written books that I couldn't put down because the plot was so exciting.  And I've put down some exquisitely written books because there was not plot, just page after page of beautifully crafted words.

So I think there needs to be a balance.  Good writing is not just about crafting sentences that sound lovely, or finding new and unique ways to describe mundane objects.  There has to be a story in there, characters to love and hate, action we can believe in and relationships we want to root for.  Craft is important, but it isn't enough on its own.

And no amount of fantastic plotting can make up for sloppy writing.  Nothing makes me put down a book faster than bad writing.  Even if I don't drop it, I'm always disappointed when a great story is let down by the writing.  What a waste of a good story, right?

Have you ever loathed something you knew was actually really good?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tearing it apart

I thought that now An Unstill Life is out, and I can focus on writing something new again, I'd be returning to my #juvvelesbian novel and writing the climax.  When I dropped the story to dive into edits on An Unstill Life, that's where I left it.

Instead, I find myself tearing a book I wrote 3 years ago to pieces, and putting it back together in a whole new way.

I submitted the older book to my editor, thinking it would fit in the same niche as An Unstill Life.  She came back with a bunch of ideas about what she thought needed to happen to make it work, and that included taking out the whole second POV character.

So now it seems I'm working on my first NA title.  And it's weird to be trying to put this story together through only the one character's eyes.  It's a story about a brother and sister who have never been close and the way their relationship changes and develops after their parents die. Both have secrets they don't want the other to know, and by writing the book in a dual POV, I thought I was highlighting the mistaken way each character views the other.

In making this a single POV, I need to keep that, but show it through only one character's eyes.  And it's not going to be easy.

At this stage I'm just working out which pieces of the story I need to keep and which can go (and a lot is being tossed).  Once I've done that, I'll need to go back and bulk up some scenes, and probably write in some more.  I'm not sure that what I wind up with will be any good, but it's not like I don't still have copies of the original book if I think I like that better and want to go back to that version.

Have you ever done radical surgery on one of your stories?

Monday, January 13, 2014


I'm so pleased to be able to announce the winners of my An Unstill Life giveaway on Friday.  Let's see whose name gets pulled out of the hat...

Congratulations Laura and S A Larsen.

I will be emailing you shortly to find out what format you need the book in.

More opportunities to win the book will  be forthcoming.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Cover Reveal: The Wrath of Siren

I am so pleased to be able to invite my good friend Kurt Chambers back to my blog to reveal the cover for his new book!  So here you go , Kurt!  Take the floor....

Cover Reveal and Free Give-Away: The Wrath of Siren

I am so massively excited to reveal the cover to my new book, The Wrath of Siren. This is book two in the Truth Teller series and will be ready for release some time in January. I haven't got an official release date just yet. I have had this cover for some time now and have been dying to show it off to the world! It was created by the amazing cover artist, DawneDominique, who also created my award-winning cover for Truth Teller, book one. I am always in awe at her work. I love the contrast between the light and the dark aspects of these covers and the details that went into their design. Dawne has been a wonderful friend of mine since I started out on my writing journey many years ago, encouraging me and guiding me through pitfalls of becoming an author from the very birth of this series. I can never thank you enough for your amazing support and for these beautiful covers.

The Wrath of Siren
Book Two

Elderfield accepts a Gateway into another realm in a desperate bid to protect the human child, Charlotte, from the Dark Druid. He soon discovers what a massive burden this has placed on him. His good intentions go horribly wrong, threatening the destruction of all his people and condemning, Charlotte, the Truth Teller, to a life she can never escape.

Charlotte returns to an unfamiliar world ravished by a spreading evil. Forced to seek help from a dubious dwarf thief,  she is captured and taken to Siren's underground kingdom. When she is faced with the Dark Druid himself, the true horror of events is unveiled.

A final battle at a mountain fortress is the last stand against an unstoppable evil. The key to their survival rests on a ten-year-old girl and an ancient folklore legend.

Truth Teller
Book One

How can ten-year-old Charlotte ever envisage that magic really exists? The place for other realms belongs in a child’s fairy tale. Or so she thinks, until she discovers the strange shopkeeper and begins an adventure that changes her life forever.
Discovered alone in a faraway forest, Charlotte embarks on a journey encountering heart-stopping dangers and real life monsters, but a far greater threat shadows her every move. Even the strength and skill of her new companions cannot protect her against a ruthless druid assassin.
But in this realm, Charlotte is not the vulnerable little girl she thought she was.

Free Giveaway

To celebrate the up-and-coming release of The Wrath of Siren, I am offering every reader of this blog a free e-book copy of book one, Truth Teller. Use the aboveSmashwords link to download a copy in any format of your choice using this free coupon code:

Coupon Code: LJ38X
Promotional price: $0.00
Expires: March 15, 2014

Happy reading!

You can connect with the author at:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Celebrate The Small Things 10-1-14 and giveaway!

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

Right now, I'm celebrating not being at work.  The weather has been really bad for the last couple of weeks, and with it being the holiday season, the cinema has been stupidly busy.  Ridiculously busy.  I've had one day off since Christmas Day and we've had over 500 people into the movies every day.  Plus a whole lot more coming to the cafe...  You'd better believe I'm exhausted.  Not to mention very behind on all the office work I should have done.

My kids are going away tomorrow, so my partner and I have 2 weeks on our own.  It's going to be really weird!  

I took part in the #PitMad Twitter pitch party yesterday and got three requests for STUMPED and one request for The Sidewalk's Regrets.  I was pretty thrilled about that.

I have a couple of copies of my book, An Unstill Life, to give away.  If you would like a copy on any e-book format, leave a comment with your email addy and I'll pick two winners at random....

What are you celebrating this week?

Monday, January 6, 2014

2014 Goals

At the beginning of each year, I write myself a letter to outline my writing goals for the year.  Here's the one I wrote fro 2014.  We'll check in later in the year and toward the end to see how things went...

Dear Me,

Before I launch into the goals for 2014, I think I need to reflect on 2013 and its successes and failures.  2013 was a year of highs and lows.  The same day I signed my first publishing contract, I lost my job.  Luckily I managed to find a new job within a few weeks, so it wasn’t a huge problem financially, but after over eight years in the one place, being told to leave hurt.

But on the upside, I have a published book now!  Or will on January 3rd.  And that launches me into the first of my goals for 2014.

I will do whatever I can to make An Unstill Life a success.  I don’t expect to make a fortune, of course, but the idea that my book will be available to readers is a thrilling one, and I want to make sure as many readers as possible discover Livvie’s story.  I’m uncomfortable about promoting myself, so doing publicity for my novel will definitely take me outside my comfort zone.

Last year I wrote a book called STUMPED.  It’s YA, but deals with sex and disability in a way I’ve never seen in YA literature before.  I love this book.  It’s my favorite of all the titles I’ve written and I really want it out in the world.  I stopped querying when I got the contract for An Unstill Life because my writing time was suddenly taken up with revisions and edits and copy edits.  In 2014 I will resume querying this one and hopefully will find an agent brave enough to take me (and Ozzy) on.

I got 50K into a new book last year.  It’s title-less right now, so I’m calling it Lana.  It’s not the best thing I’ve written, but there are definitely some things I like about it.  In 2014 I will finish this story, revise it and throw it into the hands of my critique group to figure out how to polish it up.

While they sink their teeth into that one, I have a new story idea just itching to get out.  It’s based on something that my new boss has been involved with over the past few months, and I think it could be very interesting, not to mention emotionally draining.  It’s hard not to get too excited about new ideas, but I really want to finish Lana before I start this one.

My critique groups are the best thing that ever happened to me, and I plan to be far more active in them this year.  With all the excitement and deadlines that rushed at me with my publishing contract, I don’t feel like I have been giving my CPs nearly the time they deserve.  So even if it’s just one review a week, I’ll become more active in my groups again.

I’m not quite sure how I managed it, but I read 165 published books last year.  I did write less than I have in previous years, so I imagine that’s how I did it.  This year I plan to finish two novels as a writer, so I’m only going to shoot for 150 books read.  We shall see how that goes.  My bus ride to work is shorter now, so my reading time is a little more limited than it has been…

On a personal level, I will continue my regular trips to the gym.  Between them and the steep uphill walk to work each day, I figure I’m in the best shape of my life.  But that doesn’t mean I get to be complacent.  I could still stand to lose 5-10Kg…

Well, that’s about it for now.  I’ll check back mid-year to track my progress, and then again as 2015 begins sneaking toward us all.

Happy New Year!  And may you reach all your goals for 2014.

Love, Me.

Do you have any goals or aspirations for the new year?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Labyrinth Wall

I was super excited to be invited to be a part of the launch for this fascinating new book. I'm not much of a fantasy fan, but I can't wait to read it!

The Labyrinth Wall Monster Party!
Welcome to The Labyrinth Wall Monster Party! The monster party blog fest is a celebration of The Labyrinth Wall book release, which is available now. So to join in the fun… The Labyrinth Wall Author, Emilyann, has invited participants to post about a monster, share The Labyrinth Wall release information and jump around to read about everyone else’s monsters. Join the party by hoping around to check out the monsters, and have a blast!

As I mentioned, I'm not a big fantasy fan, but give me a good, scary monster, and I'll cower under the bedclothes to read all night.  Some of my favorites come from Greek mythology.  How can a snake-haired gorgon like Medusa not terrify?  Or the minotaur?  Or the seemingly sweet sirens who sing sailors to their doom...

Without further delay, let’s kick off this book launch and learn more about The Labyrinth Wall…
The Labyrinth Wall
(Obsidian Series, Book1)

This is the tale of a young woman who discovers that although labyrinth walls confine her and her enemies try to repress her, the power of hope can set her free…

The Labyrinth Wall:
Young Adult Fantasy Novel
By: Emilyann Girdner
Nicole Zoltack and James Allen Sr.

Free Amazon Download (New Year Special!)

Ebook: Now on Amazon

Paperback: Delays on physical copies, look for them later in January through Barnes & Noble and Amazon

New review:

“Full of exciting situations, humor, and a good look at the human psyche of a labyrinth prisoner, this book pulls you in, and doesn't let you go until the very end.” ~ Desert Rose Reviews

Readers have said:
"A fascinating tale of adventure, danger and self discovery. You will not want to put this one down as you are drawn into the quest for something as unknown and distant as a reoccurring, puzzling and incomprehensible dream."

"The Author created a very in depth world that left me even more curious about it."

Fun Fact:
(There are varying excerpts and facts to be found at sites participating in this event)
Here is what the author has said about her inspiration for this series and book:
“The concept was originally sparked by my interest in Dante’s Inferno but set in a Lord of the Rings like fantasy world… but it evolved. I began to think about the characters in this world and thought ‘what if I explore a character that never had a childhood because they are actually a creation? So as a writer I am forced into a very strange perspective of someone learning to understand themselves and others for the first time?’ And of course, where better to explore all of this than in a labyrinth; a place that holds so much mystery and possibility?”  
Explore the labyrinth map…

To subscribe for more updates, play games, and grab goodies (some are FREE), visit!

Don’t forget to hop around to all the participating sites and show some comment love…

The Labyrinth Wall Party Sites and post dates:


Rachel Morgan (1/2/13)


Julie Flanders (1/2/13)





The Warrior Muse (1/6/13)


Heather Holden (1/5/13)


Fiction and Film (1/5/13)


Cynthia Shepp (1/2/13)


More updates on Facebook: