National Young Writers Festival Australia (NYWF)

At the end of this week I’m heading to Newcastle, NSW, to attend the National Young Writers’ Festival and this is a fabulous write-up about it from the wonderful Paris Lee (who I’m thrilled to be meeting up with again there – I first met her in Melbourne at Supanova earlier this year, and then I saw her again in Sydney in July, so it’ll be fabulous to catch up with her in Newcastle as well! I think we’re actually aiming to film an author Q&A so stay tuned for that in the coming weeks!).

If you happen to be in the Newcastle region later this week, please do stop by and say ‘hi’! This reblogged post lists the two panels I’m speaking on (‘Women Kicking Arse’ and “YA Genre: Ahead of the Curve’) as well as mentions the World Building Workshop I’ll be delivering.

It’ll be great to meet some of you if you manage to pop by! And check out the festival website to see more of the other incredible attending writers!

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Hi all! Today I’m posting about the one and only, National Young Writers Festival for 2015. NYWF is an annual authors festive which occurs in my hometown, Newcastle in the month of October. Below I will give you some information on what NYWF is, which authors will be attending and a link to the official site.

“The National Young Writers’ Festival (NYWF) occurs annually in the city of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, over the New South Wales’ Labour Day Holiday Weekend in late September/early October. The 2015 festival will take place between October 1 and 4.

NYWF is the country’s largest gathering of young and innovative writers working in both new and traditional forms including zines, comics, blogging, screenwriting, poetry, spoken word, hip hop music, journalism, autobiography, comedy, songwriting and prose. The festival presents ‘writing’ in its broadest sense through panels, discussions, workshops, launches, performances, readings, installations, and more.” –…

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BIRTHDAY GOODNESS!!!

For anyone who was around reading my blog last year, you might remember that I have a teensy-tiny (*cough* crazy *cough*) love of birthdays… I mean, come on! We all only get one special day each year that’s ours! It’s a celebration of our birth! What’s not to get excited about?

Thankfully, I have some incredible publishers who just may have picked up on the fact that I’m a total birthday junkie. (Like, seriously – I have a legitimate problem. I should possibly look into speaking to someone about it. But maybe on a day when it’s not, you know, my birthday.)

For anyone who follows me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, you will have already seen these posts, but I just wanted to share again here for everyone else. The fabulous team at Pantera Press are offering a birthday sale of 20% off the paperback version of AKARNAE until the end of the weekend – how fabulous is that!

If you want to cash in on this offer – with free international shipping, from what I’ve been told! – then all you have to do is go to www.panterapress.com/shop and follow the ordering prompts etc. but make sure you type in the discount promo code NONIBDAY when you reach the checkout.

I also want to say a huge thank you to all you wonderful readers who have already wished me a happy birthday today! I’ve been so touched by some of your amazingly lovely messages, as well as your encouragement and well wishes. I have no words, so please just know how much it means to me – thank you.

Oooh, and speaking of lovely birthday mentions, I also received this incredible surprise delivery today from my (again, it bears repeating) fantastic publishers:

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Yummy chocolates, helium balloon and absolutely gorgeous flowers! See what I mean? They totally get me. In fact, it’s almost like they’re enabling me and my OTT birthday addiction. But……. *Shrugs*…. You see me complaining? Nope! BEST PUBLISHERS EVER!!!

Oh, and in case anyone’s wondering about my birthday book haul (or at least the first part of it), check it out:

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No spoilers, but has anyone read any of these? I’m so excited for QoS since I LOVE the rest of the ToG series and HoF was amazing. I’ve heard fab things about Legacy of Kings and The Bone Season too…. So what to read first?? Such a hard choice!

Again, thank you so much for the birthday happiness, everyone! And don’t forget to hit up that sale if you’re interested in a physical copy of AKARNAE!

As always, feel free to drop me a line on any of my social media thingamabobbits too. I absolutely love chatting with you all!

Until next time! :-)

Appreciation Post For Copy Editors

I received the copy edited version of RAELIA back from my publishers a couple of days ago and, wow, I just have to say, copy editors are AMAZING!!! The incredible team at Pantera Press completely outdid themselves with my manuscript! There’s no way in a gazillion years that I could have picked up on even a fraction of the suggestions they pointed out to me – suggestions that have have made the story and characters waaaaaay stronger than I could have ever made them on my own!

It’s actually really incredible how much tighter my manuscript is now. I mean, for anyone who has ever received a copy edited version of anything back, you’ll know that it pretty much arrives hacked to pieces. Sentence by sentence, word by word, paragraph by paragraph – anything that doesn’t have to be there is cut, and anything that doesn’t need to be cut is shuffled around to sound better. Everything is analysed in order for it to become the best version of what it can be.

If you’re anything like me, when you receive a copy edited manuscript back, you kind of have a minor freak out where you’re convinced that you totally suck as a writer.

But after you take a few deep breaths and realise that while it looks like you should just throw it all out and write an entirely new book (or perhaps never write anything ever again), it’s actually a good thing that it’s so hacked to pieces. Because it means that once it’s clean again, it’s going to be a whole lot better than you could ever dream.

That’s what’s happened with RAELIA.

And despite how scary the manuscript looked when it arrived on Thursday, the fact is that it only took me three days to go through it and fix it up again. That’s, like, a ridiculously short amount of time. Because you see, unlike a structural edit (which came before the copy edit), the corrections made this time around were many, but minor. I was actually finished with most of the small things within a day – a day! – of receiving it back. There were just a handful of larger plot/character changes that I wanted to give more consideration to, which is why I took the weekend to mull over the possibilities.

Long story short, I’m absolutely over the moon with the (current) end result of my manuscript. (I say ‘current’ because it still has to go through the proofreading stage, but hey, for now I’m stoked with what it is!) So I want to say a HUGE ‘thank you’ to the entire copy editing team at Pantera Press because you guys seriously rock!!

 

Zoo Adventures In Sydney

This is mostly a photo post because I’m writing from my hotel room in Sydney and I’m multitasking between a heap of things at the moment, but I still wanted to touch base and share some pics from my amazing day at Taronga Zoo yesterday with the incredibly talented fantasy author, Traci Harding, who I first met at Supanova earlier this year. She has a friend who is a senior zookeeper at Taronga (he’s worked there for over 20 years and knows, like, everything), and he was kind enough to sacrifice his day off to give us a guided tour. He even let us “backstage” to play with a few of the creatures, which was awesome! He was also incredibly patient with my million-and-one questions all day, to which he has my unending gratitude! Especially since the book I’ve just finished writing has the main character spending some time at the zoo, so it was surreal to be able to walk the same paths as her and almost feel as if I was in the book. I loved it!

Anyway, on to the pictures. This first one is of Traci and me, with photo credit to Robert Dockerill (the zookeeper friend who showed us around all afternoon):

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Here’s me holding a feather-tailed glider. This little ball of fluff weighs less than 15 grams – which equates to under 3 teaspoons of sugar.

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Now on to the other cool animals…

Here’s the red panda, ‘Mahem’ (or ‘Chaos’?):

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This little meerkat was hilarious. All his friends had disappeared somewhere – probably back in the den where the heaters were – and he was like, “Where IS everyone!?!” It was beyond cute, with his tiny head swivelling back and forth in confusion. Adorable!

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The tigers really were magnificent. And it was wonderful being able to check out their enclosure and walk the paths near there since those places feature strongly in my new novel I mentioned earlier. I really did feel as if I was part of the book at times yesterday! It was awesome!

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

The lions were a lot larger than I imagined them being. Their heads are huge!

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Hello, Baloo! (I loved that this guy was even sitting up like a cartoon bear, haha.)

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The giraffes have arguably some of the best real estate in the entire city. This pic doesn’t do the view justice since I was too focused on the “little” giraffe doing some kind of splits manoeuvre to eat off the ground (adorable!) but trust me when I say the view is STUNNING!

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

As we were getting ready to go, I couldn’t resist the temptation of the zoo shop, and I ended up leaving with this little cutie. He’s definitely going to find himself into one of my books at some stage in the future, that’s for sure! I’m open for name suggestions, so if anyone has an original idea, let me know your thoughts!

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Lastly, here’s a pic I took on the ferry from the zoo back to Circular Quay of the CBD at sunset – soooo pretty!

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

And that’s it! I took a gazillion more pics of other animals, but my multitasking capacity has now reached it’s limit, I’m afraid. Plus, I have a big day tomorrow with a seriously cool fantasy discussion and Q&A author event at Dymocks Bookshop in the CBD (George Street) so if you’re in the city, feel free to swing by and say ‘hi’ between 11-12:30.

I have a stack of other stuff to update about, but it’s going to have to wait for another post. Until then, happy reading!

EXCITING NEWS!!!

This excites me probably way more than it should, but I just found out that because my publishers have recently joined with Bloomsbury (the awesome people who published Harry Potter, among other fantastic reads), all of the books previously released by Pantera Press have now been re-released through their new marketing scheme – including my book, Akarnae.

What that means is, until the end of the month, there’s an exclusive sale on Amazon where you can buy Akarnae as an e-book for just AUD$0.99 (or USD$0.77 depending on where you live). Seriously – 99c – how awesome is that!!

If anyone is interested in grabbing a copy, now is definitely the time to do so while it’s so dirt cheap! And if you do, I would sooooo love it if you’d take a second to rate it on Amazon when you’re done – because the more ratings it has there, the more it bumps up the ranking, which then magically makes Amazon promote it more (or something like that).

If you live in Australia, you can find it by clicking: here.

If you live in America, you can find it by clicking: here.

If you live in the UK, you can find it by clicking: here.

And if you live anywhere else, you can also take advantage of this awesome sale from other international Amazon stores by clicking on the following countries: Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Brazil, Canada, India, Japan, Mexico, and the Netherlands.

Thanks heaps, guys. And happy reading!!

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Tassy, Tassy, Tasmania!

Okay, so, I’m planning on writing up a HUGE post about Supanova when the Gold Coast segment is finished after this coming weekend, but just believe me when I say the experience in Melbourne was OUT OF THIS WORLD!!! What an incredible time I had! I can’t wait to share it all with you, but if you’re interested in seeing some of the pics before I have a chance to write up the post, feel free to jump along to my Facebook page (here) to see some of the coolness from the weekend.

In the meantime, for this post I want to talk about what I’ve been doing for the last two days in my ‘surprise’ visit to Tasmania in between the two Supanova conferences. I say ‘surprise’ because I haven’t mentioned much about why I’m here at the moment, and that’s because my parents are travelling around this beautiful state at present and when I found out that I was going to be in Melbourne, I had a chat with my publishers to see if there might be any events they might want to send me to down this way for the week in between conferences, and lo and behold, the State Library of Hobart jumped on board to have me come and give a two hour writing workshop for National Youth Week. The workshop is scheduled for tomorrow and it’s meant to be limited to 15 young writers, but as of today all of those places were booked, along with 6 people on the waiting list… So I think they’re allowing all 21 to come along tomorrow – how cool!

But what was I saying? Right – the surprise! So I organised it with my dad that he would pick me up from the airport and my arrival would be a surprise to my mum – and, boy, was she shocked when I walked in the door at about 10pm on Sunday night, since she thought I was still in Melbourne! It was so awesome (though, I think she would probably use a different word, haha. She’s not exactly a fan of surprises!).

I’ve pretty much had all of yesterday and today to sightsee around this beautiful part of the world. I have to head back into Hobart at 9:30pm tonight for an ABC radio interview, and tomorrow I have the writing workshop, and then I’m on a plane back to Queensland tomorrow arvo because I have another library workshop in Helensvale (Gold Coast) on Thursday morning and then Supanova starts again on Friday… so it was really nice to take the last two days to recharge and see some beautiful sights! We took heaps and heaps of photos, so brace yourselves for the overload of pics in the rest of this post!

First up is yesterday where my parents drove me out to the stunning Russell Falls and we did some of the walks out there. Jeez, there were lots of steps! Great cardio workout though, and still not enough for me to shed the gazillions of layers of clothing that I was wearing (including the tea cosy hat that makes me look Russian. Hey, don’t knock it – that hat saved my life! It’s freeeeezing in Tasmania!!). Here’s some pics from that part of the day:

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We also spotted a young platypus swimming in a creek, which was pretty cool!

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After the falls (including Horseshoe Falls) we took off up to the top of Mount Wellington where the word “cold” was redefined for me. But the beauty and splendour of the place made it waaaaay worth the shivers and shakes and it didn’t even matter that I couldn’t feel my fingers or my nose. I literally felt as if I was on top of the world – another fantasy world, since the scenery at the summit was like something straight from another planet. And we couldn’t have picked a better day weather-wise. It was, quite simply, stunning.

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That was all yesterday. As for today, we took off out to the Tahune Airwalk and it was beyond beautiful. All day I felt as if I was in my book, Akarnae, since the forests were so enchantingly magical. But it was soooooo cold too! At 11 o’clock in the morning it was only 6 degrees! A couple of days ago I was at home with 30 degrees! That’s HUGE difference for someone like me, since I feel the cold like crazy! So that kinda explains the Eskimo-look I’m not quite managing to pull off in some of the following pics:

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This is on the actual airwalk which was high up in the “tall trees”:

IMG_8049Here’s an idea of the view from up there:

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And here’s where we found the awesome suspended swinging bridges:

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Then it was back down to earth for more of the beautiful forest walks:

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I also jumped on a hang glider and took off across the river – which was soooooo much fun!! Even if while I was being hooked up to it all I was like, “Ummm… exactly how safe is this thing?” But it was a seriously awesome experience! And such a beautiful view!

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To finish this photo-overkill post, here’s a pic of the view I’ve been waking up to for the last couple of days. We’re about 20 mins out of Hobart city here and it’s gorgeous. This is from tonight’s sunset taken from the balcony. Absolute bliss. (Freezing bliss, but still picturesque bliss!)

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Right! That’s all from my Tasmanian sightseeing adventure! Stay tuned over the next few days on my Instagram (here) and Twitter (here) etc. for all the comings and goings of the Hobart and Helensvale library workshops, and of course Supanova Gold Coast! Woohoo!

Step Into My Life

Phew! *Wipes hand across forehead* Things have been insano lately—thus the ‘whoopsie’ lack of blog updating. My bad. But let me bring you all up to speed on the last week (or so) and then you can give me mental hugs and compassionate nods of understanding.

First up, things with AKARNAE are going ammmmmazingly. The feedback I’ve been receiving every single day has been blowing my mind. Like, seriously. I have no words. (Let alone the words to describe my uncontainable wonder and gratitude!) The reviews have been absolutely incredible and I’m honestly overwhelmed by the number of people who have contacted me directly to share their love of Alex and her friends. So, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! (For anyone curious, I’ve now added a ‘Reviews’ page here to my website and pulled out snippets of some of the seriously cool things people have been saying. You can check out the reason for all my happy-dancing by clicking here.)

Just as a reminder, if you want to grab yourself a copy of my book, it’s available as an e-book at all the normal places online. You can also buy the paperback with FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING from www.akarnae.com.

Another thing worth mentioning is that AKARNAE is a featured LitPick giveaway title this month. From what I can tell, this is open to international entries, so if you want to try and win a free copy, check out how to enter here.

Moving on now…

As part of the NOTED Festival that kicks off in Canberra at the end of this week, I’m a Buzzwords Blogger charged with giving quirky yet legit advice on a number of Q&A styled questions. The tagline is, “You provide the questions, they’ll dish the dirt”. (So feel free to hit them up if there’s anything writing-related that you want to know!) They’ve already started posting some of the questions and the first one has me giving my thoughts on writers block and how to stay motivated as a writer. You can check out my answer by clicking here (and see the awesome Frozen meme I included, haha).

Okay… What’s next?

I’ve been doing a number of blogging interviews over the past couple of weeks which has been so much fun. If you’re interested in reading some of my answers, here are a few interviews that have already been posted:

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Books

The Book Muse

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Last up (for the moment), I’m headed to the Gold Coast the weekend after next to be an attending author at Readers & Writers Down Under along with some seriously notable writers like Abbi Glines and Kristen Ashley (among others), both of whom are travelling over from the States for the event (which is so flipping cool). I’m really excited for RWDU because not only will it be my first ‘official’ signing event, but I’m also on two different speaking panels (one to talk about fantasy, one to discuss blogging) which should be awesome! And another exciting thing about the event is that AKARNAE has been nominated for two different ‘Readers Choice’ awards—HOW COOL!!!!!! I would sooo love it if you would take two seconds to jump over to the voting page (here) and click on it at number 16 (RWDU Favourite Young Adult Read) and number 18 (RWDU Favourite Fantasy/Sci Fi Read). You don’t have to fill in every award option in order to submit your vote either, which is handy! And thanks so much in advance! I have no idea what the winner of each category actually wins, but it’d be SO awesome to win regardless of whether there’s any kind of prize or not. Plus, there’s a fancy-schmancy red carpet awards night which the inner princess in me is totally looking forward to in the girliest way possible, haha. HOW EXCITING!!!

Righto, it’s now after midnight and I haven’t even begun to tell you why my last few weeks have been so insanely busy. I need to sleep, so in a nutshell, I’ve just finished my second week in my new job being employed full-time as a content writer for an inspirational personal-development company (basically, I get to write stories, blogs and articles about things that motivate people to love themselves for who they are (just as they are) – and from that, help them become inspired to work towards being the best version of themselves that they can be).

On top of that, my brother is getting married in June, and I’m really good friends with my soon to be sister-in-law (plus, I’m a part of the bridal party – but more as a groomsman-bridesmaid, which is a long story and I’m too sleepy to go into it right now)… So, wedding planning is in full swing (which includes things like me and the bride-to-be going to a wedding expo last weekend and then also taking a trip into the city for the day yesterday to hunt down ‘the perfect dress’ – which I’m happy to report, we absolutely did!). I’ve never had much to do with weddings in the past, so I had no idea how exhausting everything to do with them is! Like, I’m feeling a total mental train-wreck of exhaustion. But it’ll be worth it, I’m sure. And while the bride-to-be is… uhh… somewhat reluctant about the pomp and circumstance related to the big day, I’m BEYOND excited. I seriously LOVE weddings.

Another reason things have been so insanely busy is because I was invited to give a two hour writing workshop to around fifty year 11 and 12 school students last Monday (ages 16-18). Let me tell you, two hours is a long time to be talking almost non-stop. Fortunately, I’m super passionate about everything even remotely related to storytelling, so I loved sharing all about world building, character development, and the general writing process with them. But it was still crazy. I’d never taught any kind of workshop before (honesty moment: I’ve never even attended a writing workshop before) so I spent the entirety of the days leading up to it coming up with my presentation (since I knew I was going to be in a lecture theatre with a projector, which really helped with visual aids). I was working on it up until 5:00am the morning of the workshop, and my alarm was set for 6:30am – which meant I literally got 1.5 hours sleep that day. I think I’m still recovering, haha. But from what I can tell, it went really well, so I guess that’s the main thing!

Okay, seriously, I need to go to sleep (because 1.5 hours does not cut it for me!). But I wanted to update you all and give you a bit of a look into my life at the moment. Regardless of the fact that I feel somewhat mentally and physically shredded, things are soooooo exciting. Every day brings something new and amazing—and I’m totally loving every single minute. As always, thanks for sharing this incredible journey with me! Hugs for everyone!

Social Media: Friend Or Foe?

There’s something about social media that simply demands our attention. Whether we use it as a tool for its promotional potential or we’re sucked into it merely for its social benefits, there’s no denying that it can be somewhat… addictive. It’s also extremely effective, especially this day and age.

As an author, I’ve learned that it’s so important to try and build a social media platform. But that can also be one of those ‘easier said than done’ things, especially considering just how many different platform possibilities are out there. Do I use Facebook or Instagram? What about Twitter, Tumblr, Google+? Then there’s LinkedIn and Pinterest… And of course, we can’t forget blogging. There are so many social media outlets that it all becomes a bit overwhelming.

For the record (and after much trial and error), I’ve decided that blogging is my thing. I like it most, probably because I’m not limited to a certain amount of characters – or a single image. That said, I also use Facebook… and more recently, Instagram and Twitter. But that’s it for me. Sure, I have a Pinterest account and a Tumblr one, too… But I don’t pay much attention to them. I have been trying to be more active on my Twitter-ing lately, because I do see the convenience of the short, sharp bursts of communication. And I enjoy Instagram because other than the odd author-related book update, I mostly post memes. As in, the funny pictures that make you smile. I’m a teeny-tiny bit addicted.

So, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter I understand… But then there’s things like Google+ that I have no idea about. I often get emails like, “Such and such wants to connect with you on Google+” and I just look at the email and figure it might as well be written in Norwegian for all I understand.

I have a similar issue with Linkedin as I do with Google+… Again, with the heaps of emails and me having no idea what they’re for. Plus, sometimes they’re downright creepy.

Then, of course, I forgot to mention the hazards of even the most convenient forms of social media. Take Instagram, for example. How many times have you groaned out loud at the ridiculousness of some of your friends’ posts? I know I have! Despite what people seem to think, I really don’t need to know what they’re eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Twitter also has it’s problems, though some people would see those ‘problems’ as ‘solutions’. For someone like me who goes a little grammar-crazy, Twitter can sometimes be a rather stress-inducing form of communication…

And like all other forms of social media, it’s also not without it’s creepy factors…

Facebook isn’t eliminated from its own list of annoyances. I can’t tell you how frustrating I find it when people ‘invite’ me to play games or try and share other apps with me. No, I don’t want to play Candy Crush. No, I don’t want to share your frustration with Flappy Bird. Deal with it.

And wow, don’t even get me started on what happens when someone I know posts a ‘special’ photo of me for the entire world to see. Thanks, ‘friend’.

Another thing to consider with social media is the hashtag disease. As far as I know, there is no known cure.

That said, I have a few friends who are hashtag pros. They crack me up with some of the stuff they post. I’m a sucker for a sarcastic hashtag. :-)

At the end of the day, social media is important. It’s a way to stay up to date with the most important things in life (like #thedress – *eye roll* – it’s totally white and gold, btw, just to throw my opinion out there) and it helps us stay in touch with people (because heaven forbid we actually see them in person).

In all seriousness, social media can be a really useful promotional tool. Because of that (and for a number of other reasons), I really do love it. But it’s also extremely distracting. Some days I get up and I’m all like, “Right! I’m going to have an entire day of writing today!” But then all productivity flies out the window as soon as I turn my phone on and log in to the Wi-Fi…

Cue: sigh. I guess that’s where self-discipline comes in. I’m a work in progress.

So, on that, if you want to follow me on Instagram and see my funny memes, you can do so here: https://instagram.com/lynettenoni/

Or Twitter here: https://twitter.com/lynettenoni

Or Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/lynette.noni

Don’t worry about the others… I don’t really check them all that much.

And now I have a question for you: Do you have a preferred social media outlet? I feel like we should cast a vote. I’m curious!

All Good Things Must Come To An End

Alas! I have had two marvellous weeks off life, but it’s back to work this week for me. As the title of this post suggests, all good things must come to an end! Fortunately, I work with some pretty darn awesome people, so it’s not much of a hardship to get back to it with them, but still… *shrugs*… I wouldn’t be normal if I didn’t enjoy holidays! Everyone enjoys holidays! And I have certainly lazed the last two weeks of summer away, let me tell you!

So… What exactly have I done with my time, you ask? Well, I’m not at all ashamed to say that I’ve done pretty much nothing! (Like any good holiday, haha). But if you want just a few specifics… hmm… let’s see…

I’ve read a lot. As in a lot, lot, LOT. As in, I think I’ve devoured 12 books in 15 days. That’s kinda crazy, even for me! But it was amazing. I even managed to re-read The Juliette Chronicles by Tahereh Mafi that I only just read a few months ago and wrote an entire fangirling blog post about (here). I don’t even know why, but I just had to re-read them… They were calling to me. Probably because the current novel I’m working on has the same kind of “mood”, so re-reading them helped me get into my main character’s head, as weird as that sounds. And it was almost as good reading them the second time as it was the first!

In the smorgasbord of book-awesomeness I also managed to read the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I actually read the first one when it was released in 2012 but I haven’t kept up with two newest additions, and soooo many people have been raving about the third book that recently came out so I thought I’d go back and get into them again. Turns out, I pretty much devoured all three of these books. In one word, this series is EPIC. I totally recommend it/them for anyone who likes anything remotely related to fantasy. Not even YA fantasy—just good, rich, saga-like fantasy. Get into these!

The other books I read were okay, but nothing standout worthy. That said, I also read the hugely “popular” The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden by Jessica Sorensen and, to be honest, I’m not sure what all the hoo-ha is about. To me, it was just pretty much like many of the other stock standard New Adult contemporary books out there. Don’t get me wrong—it wasn’t bad… But I just didn’t enjoy it enough (or connect with the main characters enough) that I’d read any more of the series.  I guess I was hoping for something with a little more… substance, especially given how much readers of the genre rave about it. But hey, I love how everyone has different tastes in reading! That’s what keeps things interesting!

Okay, I’ll move on, since I could probably go into all the books I’ve read over the last two weeks and while some of you may enjoy that, the rest of you are already dozing off… So, what else have I been up to?

Well… I may or may not have marathoned two seasons of The Vampire Diaries… *shifty eyes*… Sure, I’m all up to date with the newest season, but I had the craving to “hang with” Damon, Elena, Stefan and co. when they have their adventures with Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah—those seasons (3 and 4) were awesome! And while the offshoot show The Originals was okay in the first season, it hasn’t gripped me as much as TVD.

Speaking of televisions shows, I also got into a new show called Scandal. Those of you in the US may have already seen it (I think it’s up to the fourth season over there) but here in Australia the first season only begins showing on free TV next month. But the first and second seasons are available at the video store, and it was “cheap Tuesday” last week so I rented it—and devoured it! The first season only has eight episodes and at the end I was like, “Oh, come on! You can’t leave it there!” So I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the second season next time I have some free time (so, like, next Christmas holidays, haha).

To combat the laziness of soooo much reading and television watching, I made sure to get out and about in the sun every day, always finding time to exercise (even on Christmas day, though that was mostly so I could eat way too much yummy, yummy holiday food)—and even with the early mornings and SPF50+ sunscreen, I’ve still managed to turn even more golden tanned than I already was. I guess that comes from living in a paradise that’s pretty much directly below a hole in the ozone layer. I could probably get sunburned at midnight if I tried hard enough. (Okay, not really.) The only annoying thing about it is that I’ve ended up with a pretty nasty sock-tan… *awkward face*.

Ooo-oooh, one last really cool thing to note is that I spent a good chunk of time plotting out some of the key elements to my newest novel. I wasn’t going to spend “holiday time” writing or plotting, but in the end I couldn’t help it! I just enjoy it too much so when the urge came upon me, I had to succumb to it! And I’m so glad I did! I’m stoked with some of the foundational ideas that will now help me build the story. Mostly, I’m just happy that I finally figured out where (and when) it’s set—and also the motivations of some of my main characters. But I’ll get into that in another post, since I think character motivation is something I could talk about for ages. So I’ll chat about that soon!

Okay, that’s it then! I have one more official day of “holidays” and then it’s back to all the exciting stuff, especially given that my book is being released in FOUR WEEKS TODAY!!! (That’s February 1st, just FYI). And the book launch is coming up in a month too—which is soooooo beyond amazingly cool that I have no words.

… And with those “no words”, I’ll leave it at that for today! I hope everyone reading this has enjoyed their holidays as much as I have!

Oooh, and let me know if you read any cool books over the break, too!