Monday, September 23, 2013

Writing Slumps: they sound fun, but...
 ...My name is Lauren and I have a problem. <sighs, staring longingly at the keyboard of my computer> It's been 52 days since my last surge of inspiration. I've given into procrastination too many times to count, and I need help...

That's why I'd say if there was an AA-type program for what I'm going through right now. WRITER'S BLOCK. It's the suckiest thing that ever sucked, and right now, I'm under its spell. So, what to do? I know I should be writing. I have not only one, but TWO books planned out and ready to go, but neither the drive, nor the inclination, to write.

 pro·crasti·nation n.
The act of procrastinating; putting off or delaying or deferring an action to a later time.

I'm an author (at least part time). I should be writing. I should be dreaming about writing while I'm busy at work. I should be thinking about 24/7, but the unfortunate reality is that I'm not. Perhaps I've used up all my creative energy for this year - pretty disappointing considering I've only written two books, and it's only September.

I need to justify only working casually. I need to be writing. So, what to do? If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them! In the meantime, I'm throwing myself into reading and reviewing more, and branching out by getting involved in blog tours with an entirely new group of people.

I must admit, I really like reviewing. I had to start another blog, something separate from this one where I could review Contemporary Romance books and not feel silly posting them onto a blog clearly focusing on violence and the fantasy genre. With that in mind, I started up my new blog Between the Lines to help get over the writer's block.

I really hope it works. I'm going a little crazy knowing that I should be producing work when I'm not. I also started designing more and more swag on Photoshop, finding that creative outlet somewhat better than the drowning black abyss of writer's block. <sigh> Wish me luck, I guess... 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Muse??! Where are you??

Hello fellow Junkies,

So, I’ve made a decision not to publish the dystopian novel I’d been working on for the past couple of months. I’ve not been feeling it at all. Despite it being story-boarded and planned, I have not been able to write more than 5 chapters of the story. In the meantime, if you’d like to read the first chapter of “2052” (working title), you can on wattpad.
I’d love to know what you think of it so far, and when I find the will to write some more, I will, but at the moment Dark Desire is my main focus. I had had a plan to write and publish three books this year, but with this slump in creativity, I don’t think it’s going to be happening. Writing and publishing two books in a year is a pretty good achievement though. I may not be as prolific as other authors out there, but I’d like to think that I’ve got quality and professionalism on my side. 

Leave me a comment on wattpad if you’d like to see some more. If I can get 10 ‘yeses’ to see more, I’ll post the second chapter.  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

American English v.s. British English: The Ludicrously Ludicrous

Hello fellow Junkies,

As you may know, I’m an Australian author, which means that I would—naturally—use British English (BrE) spelling conventions. But I discovered that a lot of my readership are actually American and that got me thinking. 

Before this light-bulb moment, I admittedly used some American English (AmE) spelling conventions in my books, and that was simply for the aesthetic value. I finally made my decision to actively start using AmE spelling when writing Dark Deceit, after all the book was set in Boston, so why not have American spelling?

That was where things got a little tricky. It was all well and good to say that I was going to use AmE, but I had no idea there were so many little rules and tricks I had to know.

The first, and major one, is the use of ‘u’ in BrE in words like colour, behaviour, neighbour, neighbourhood, flavour, colour, honour, rumour, labour and favour just to name a few.

Another is the past tense forms of some words. In AmE, it’s sneaked not snuck, drug not dragged, dove not doved, and gotten rather than got.

Then it’s the double consonants: dialed rather than dialled, traveled rather than travelled and my all-time favourite/favorite and most prolific in Dark Deceit: worshiped…with one ‘p’. It still looks really strange to me.

Spelling differences also came up. Story in place of storey when talking about a multi-level building, tire and tyre, plow rather than plough, fetus rather than foetus, center in place of centre, pried instead of prised and cozy v.s. cosy.

I'm kind of ignoring the 's' v.s. 'z' spelling differences, but some that I encountered included:

And lastly, we have completely different words for things. Here we have…

The 'hood' (AmE) is pictured here, not the 'bonnet' (BrE)

This is a 'trunk' (AmE), whereas in BrE, it's a 'boot'

The back of this truck is called a 'bed' in AmE, but a 'tray' in BrE/Australian English

 So, that's where I'll leave my little mystifying rant about the differences between British and American English spelling. I don't want to point the finger at anyone in particular for this, but Noah Webster, I blame you.

P.S. For a really extensive list of spelling difference, click here

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review: Close Remembrance by Anna Zaires

Last night, I finished reading Close Remembrance by Anna Zaires, the third book and final book with Mia and Korum as the protagonists. Zaires has done an amazing job at portraying these two characters, and I must admit, I’m sad to see their story end. I don’t want to spoil anything by revealing too much with this review, so I’ll do my best to talk about it without gushing over the details. 

Essentially, Mia and Korum’s relationship has had a major setback, humbling Korum and forcing him to shed his arrogance. He knew he loved Mia, but he just didn’t realize the depth and breadth of that love. His struggle to keep Mia by his side, to keep her safe, will leave you sighing dreamily about the gorgeous, bronzed, two-thousand year-old K.

But it’s not only Korum who has grown and developed, Mia has also changed from a meek, virginal twenty-one-year-old to a woman who has matured sexually, and who knows exactly what she wants. And can I just say, Ms Zaires, those sex scenes are amazingly hot – definitely the hottest out of all three books, and also the naughtiest. 

I couldn’t find a fault with Close Remembrance. The imagination and creativity to pull this series off is phenomenal. We find out a lot more about Krina and their alien biology, some of the ancient rites and the history of the species. I loved reading about the technology. If only we could have carpet that massaged out feet when we walked on it!

I look forward to future projects from Anna, knowing that they’ll be just as exceptional as the Krinar Chronicles. 

Stalk the author...


Saturday, September 7, 2013

The latest Half Cast Update (7/9/13)

Hi everyone,

I've had a few people asking me when Half Cast will be available on some other platforms. At the moment, it's been published on Amazon and B&N. I've been in contact with Draft2Digital, who publish on my behalf, and this is the reply I've received:

"Apple manually reviews all submissions, and is currently taking about 3 weeks to publish non-erotica titles.  Kobo normally is quite a bit faster than that, but they have been really slow the last week (they told us that they haven't recovered from the load of submissions they received over the holiday weekend)."

 So, there you have it. I will keep everyone updated when I find out something new.

Thanks again for your patience, and if you have already read Half Cast, I'd love it if you could leave a review on Amazon or B&N. Thanks!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Review: Fighting for Freedom by Brandi Kennedy

He'd beaten me TO DEATH.

For years, I'd been taking it, accepting the beatings, silently believing the worthlessness he saw in me. I'd obeyed his rules, I'd catered to his whims.

I woke up in a hospital bed. Bruised, broken, in shock.

That was The Moment.

In that moment, I knew that I had to get out. I loved my husband. I missed him. But I needed more than he would ever offer. I deserved more than I'd been given, more than flying fists and fragile tempers.

I deserved to wear what I chose. I deserved to go where I wanted. I deserved goodnight kisses. I deserved gentle touches. I deserved to feel LOVED, and not POSSESSED.

I deserve to FIGHT for my FREEDOM.

 “Have you ever had to smile carefully at the person who punched you repeatedly in the mouth, pretending to be happy to see them because if you weren’t happy, you’d be beaten?”

I’ve not been exposed to any kind of domestic violence in my life, and for that I’m completely grateful, but for many women, violent partners and husbands are a reality. As kids, they may have watched their father beat their mother into submission before turning around and taking their rage out on them. The physical bruises may fade away, but the emotional damaged is much, much deeper.

Like all of Brandi Kennedy’s books, she taken a somewhat taboo topic, and turned it into a story about a woman literally dying before she could find a way out of her abusive marriage. We meet Christine at her lowest point: she is about to be beaten so severely that she dies, and it is by her husband’s hand.

We follow this emotionally beaten woman through her journey from battered, bruised and laid up in the hospital, through to a woman gaining her confidence back. Relearning how to function in the real world again, she’s faced with challenges that may seem trivial to us—like learning how to balance a check book—but for her, it’s a huge step. Her husband had taken everything away from her: money, responsibility, the freedom to get a job, the freedom to have friends. She gave all of things up, but she refused to let him take her spirit.

“Peyton. You have to be aware that I can’t protect myself with a court order. Other than balling it up and throwing it at him, I don’t see a piece of paper being able to save my life if my husband is released from jail.”

And it is this spirit which shines through in the book. Christine has to start her life over again, and with the help of Peyton Porter (I love this name), a victims advocate from the Knoxville Police Department, she starts doing that. She moves into a safe house, learns those vital skills she forgot, and works on becoming a self-assured, self-confident woman who doesn’t cower at shadows anymore. 

But it’s not just relearning to live that Christine needs to do. She needs to relearn how to love and trust men again, and that is facilitated by an old flame of hers that also happens to be her physical therapist and personal trainer. Aiden—her high school sweetheart—is back in her life, nurturing her, protecting her and helping her rebuild her life once more.

“He raised one hand to tangle in my hair, urging my head down so that my cheek pressed against his chest, sighing deeply as I tuned into his heartbeat. “It’s still yours,” he whispered. “It always was.””

Fighting for Freedom is the first part of a two part series, with Still Fighting for Freedom set for release in January 2014


About the author...

Brandi Kennedy is an American writer who is finally living her childhood career dream. As a child, books were her world, and through adulthood that love of words has never changed. A woman of varied interests, Brandi loves photography, music of all kinds, knitting, crochet and of course, mothering her two young daughters.

Currently, she finds her home in the heart of Knoxville, Tennessee, among the mountains and the members of her extended family, where she spends her days at the computer, bringing fresh and incredibly real characters to life.

Stalk Brandi here...