Writing ‘Acknowledgements’ Is As Easy As Space Travel

I’m currently facing the absolutely impossible task of writing the acknowledgements section that will be printed in the final pages of my book. It’s insane, because until now I never realised just how many people have been a part of this journey with me. And I really suck at narrowing the names down, since I almost feel compelled to mention every single person who has ever supported me in any way—including, like, the corner store owner down the road who keeps a steady supply of ‘Half Baked’ Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in stock. (That’s a totally justifiable acknowledgement, in my opinion.)

It’s also interesting because if you start to mention relatives, you kinda don’t stop. It just steamrolls. What if, say, my great-great-great-aunty had a latent writing talent that skipped a few generations and landed squarely on my shoulders? It doesn’t matter if she never picked up a pen in her life; if her undiscovered gift is now mine, how can I not thank her for that!?

So, my acknowledgements are currently about as long as my actual novel. That’s really awkward, right? But I can’t help it! I’m pretty much exactly like this:

Akarnae Blurb Reveal!

With just one step, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Jennings’s world changes—literally.

Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities. Desperate to return home, she learns that only a man named Professor Marselle can help her… but he’s missing.

While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora’s boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can’t ignore her fear that something unexpected… something sinister… is looming.

An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex’s shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race’s survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?

Will Alex risk her entire world—and maybe even her life—to save Medora?

My First ‘Official’ Book Review – EEEEK!!

Good fun and a solid recommendation for YA readers.” – How great is that!

Backtrack: My publishers just sent me the Books+Publishing review for AKARNAE, my YA fantasy novel that’s being released in early 2015. This is the first professional review I’ve received and it will go out in the industry newsletter B+P will send to libraries, bookshops and publishers across Australia. How terrifyingly cool!

I’ve whited-out just a couple of words to keep it spoiler-free, but otherwise you can see in the screenshot image below what the reviewer said. You’ll also get a sneaky-sneak view of the cover, which we haven’t officially ‘revealed’ yet just in case of any last minute changes, but that’s the general idea of what it’ll look like. Awesome, right? The cover designers did an amazing job! I’ll upload a proper image once everything is finalised, promise!

In other news, I think I’m allowed to reveal my blurb now too, so stay tuned for my next post in a couple of days where you’ll (finally!) read what my novel is about! YAY!

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 5.02.39 pm

Beware Of Drop Bears

The funniest thing happened when I was out walking this morning. I was trekking along my usual route and came upon a family walking in the opposite direction to me. Right about where we crossed paths, there was a sign on the side of the road just like this:

I live in Australia, so these kinds of signs are everywhere. What was funny, however, was what one of the kids in the family walking past me said. He couldn’t have been more than maybe seven years old, and in the most serious little-kid voice, he said the following words:

“Dad, we better watch out. There are drop bears around here.”

Omigosh. I wasn’t sure whether to burst out laughing or be scandalised at the possibility that he truly didn’t recognise a national icon. I mean, sure, the koala in the above sign does look slightly menacing, but really. Drop bears? Hilarious.

That said… Drop bears are absolutely no laughing matter…

(more…)

Which Fantasy World Should You Live In?

The inner geek in me absolutely demands that I share this link to a quick, fun quiz. I got Narnia (woohoo!) – but I’m curious about what other world options they have. If you take the quiz and get a different result, please comment below and let me know of any other cool places they have listed! If someone ends up with something Harry Potter related, I’m so going back to change my answers until I come out with that! (Is that cheating? Lol).

You can check out the quiz by clicking here. (It only takes, like, 30 seconds, but it’s worth it!)

Marketing and PR: A Disney Perspective

Guess what I did yesterday afternoon? Guess? Guess? Guess!?

You’ll never guess (unless you follow my ‘Author’ page on Facebook - which will keep you more up-to-date than this blog), so I’ll just tell you: I had the wonderful opportunity to catch up with my publishers’ head of PR and marketing, the fabulous Susan, who is visiting sunny Queensland at the moment – eek! How exciting! And let me tell you…

It.

Was.

AWESOME.

If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’ll probably know by now that I’m a little bit wacky (with a large dose of dorkishness on the side), so it won’t come as much of a surprise when you hear that the whole time leading up to the meeting, I was kinda a little bit like this:

I’m not ashamed to admit it (though, I probably should be). You all know what a dream-come-true this year has been for me, what with signing a publishing contract and everything since then, and I’m aware that ‘societal norms’ dictate that I should probably be a little more embarrassed by my skyrocketing levels of elation, but I just can’t help it! Everything is just too exciting!!

So, yeah, the meeting – it was soooo cool! And it lasted for hours! As lame as it makes me sound, while we were chatting about all kinds of awesomeness, from book launch brainstorming (!!) to author events she’s aiming to send me along to next year (!!), internally I was very much like this:

And FYI, by the time the meeting was over and I was in my car on the way home, I may have even upgraded to this:

It was just so awesome! (Yes, I know I sound like a broken record, but it was!). I think I drove Susan a little crazy though, because for a large portion of the time she was asking me a whole list of Q&A style questions to build an author profile on me for media (?) stuff, and I’m pretty much the worst person to ask questions to, because I complicate even the simplest of answers. Even things like my favourite colour – it changes depending on my mood! So there I was asking questions back to her, talking a mile-a-minute and saying things like, “Is it a colour I just have to look at? And how am I feeling at the time? Do I want to experience a specific emotion based on looking at the colour? Or, maybe, is it a colour I’m wearing? Or what if someone else is wearing it? Because if it’s about clothing colours, that’s completely different. Because, like, orange can look amazing on some people, but it looks awful on me, so I can’t answer a solid ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for whether I like the colour orange based on clothing-related choices… And if we’re not talking about clothing-colours, but just colours to look at, what shade of, like, orange are we talking about? Because a deep orange can be nice, but I’m not a huge fan of pastel orange. Is there even such a thing as pastel orange? Pastel orange doesn’t even sound nice!” (… And this type of conversation continued on for an embarrassing length of time…)

Just so you don’t think I’m completely insane, I didn’t actually talk specifically about the colour orange. I did, however, have a very similar discussion regarding the colour blue, but that’s entirely justifiable, in my opinion. I can’t remember what I said verbatim, but it was pretty darn close to the above fictional account. So, you probably see why Susan may have been looking at me a little like this some (or most) of the time:

But that’s okay. Because I’m an author, and authors can be wacky and dorkish, right? It’s the “creative genius” in us. Even so, I’m at least fifty percent certain that Susan may have been considering whether it’s too late to retract the offer of publishing. In fact, it’s highly likely that she was probably thinking about the amount of time she’ll be stuck spending with me in the future, and I’m guessing her thoughts were something very similar to this:

Haha…

… Or, at least, I hope it’s a ‘haha’ moment… *awkward face*…

Anyway, moving on!

I’m pretty sure there was one stage during our conversation where she jokingly (?) said something along the lines of, “You better not blog about this…” and since I was so deep in my happy place that I now can’t remember what it was that I fervently nodded my agreement to, I’m keeping everything here vague on purpose and hoping that you’ll all be distracted enough by the Disney love to forget that I haven’t actually told you all that much about the actual meeting. But I’d rather keep everything on the down-low for now rather than say something I shouldn’t and then have to go back to her and be like…

So, yeah. That’s all I feel like I can safely say for now. I won’t even go into how I got to meet her absolutely adorable six-year-old son who I fell in love with despite the fact that he told me the entire plot (including spoilers!) of How To Train Your Dragon 2 – which I haven’t yet seen (and now I don’t really need to, though I still will because, duh, it’s Disney…). Despite this distinctly uncool moment, I forgave him instantly because he’s seriously the cutest kid in the world. I’m talking, cuter-than-cute. Just to give you an idea of his cuter-than-cuteness, he sang the entire Blinky Bill theme song to me, word for word, and I think my heart may have literally melted into a puddle of goo. At the end of our time together, I pretty much wanted to adopt him. Though, I’m not entirely sure he felt the same. We were kinda a bit like this (and guess which one was me, and which one was him?):

Cluckiness aside, everything about the entire afternoon was beyond amazing, and I can’t WAIT to share more over the coming months! In the meantime, I’ll probably be spending a lot of time just like this: