New Blog Layout! (Well, Sort Of…)

Phew, what a week! I’ve been a little quiet on the blogging front lately since I’ve been madly finalising everything with my book, but I’m happy to say that Akarnae is now completely done and dusted! Everything has been sent off—the final, edited, proofed, everythinged manuscript (yes, I know that’s not a real word!), along with my dedication and acknowledgements. DONE DONE DONE!!! How exciting is that!?

I sent everything off at the beginning of last week and I’ve spent the days since then catching up on some much-needed sleep, scouting out book launch venues (*happy squeal*), and also crawling out of my writing-hermit shell and seeing some friends who I’ve rainchecked on waaaaaay too many times. It’s been absolutely blissful!

I’ve also upgraded my website so that it’s now just (without the part)—which is also really exciting! But I’m having some web design issues and could really use some advice from any design gurus out there… I want to make it look unique, professional, and ‘attractive’, but I can’t figure out how to do, well, anything. I created a banner that I’d like to use—it’s just the title of my site but with a nicer font than the limited options WordPress allows (even with Premium), but when I upload it, while it’s fine to view from a computer, it’s cropped awkwardly when the site is viewed from a smart phone or tablet. You can’t really read it at all, which is so annoying.

… And don’t even get me started on everything else I don’t understand about web design! My goodness, it’s like trying to read hieroglyphs! I need to find some kind of ‘How-To-Create-A-Website’ class, or ‘CSS-For-Dummies’, or something. *Frustrated sigh*.

So, does anyone have any advice? Or are there any designers reading this who would like to volunteer their awesome skills and make my page look pretty for me? *Insert hopeful look* (lol)…

Either way, until I sort it all out, bear with me folks! I’ll be playing around with backgrounds and everything until I can learn the necessary web-related ‘hieroglyphs’. (Maybe I can take a trip back to ancient Egypt! Woohoo!).


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…


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!)