Faery Born Cover Reveal

faeryborn1.529BIt’s 11.30pm and I should be fast asleep because I have to go to work tomorrow, but I’m too buzzed to sleep. I’ve just finished my rewrite of the first book in The War Faery Trilogy – Faery Born. And although I know there’s still a long way to go till it’s published (like four rounds of editing), I’m extremely excited. So, I wanted to share with you the kindle cover that the brilliant Derek Murphy from creativindie has designed for me.

As you can probably guess by the cover, this one’s a little different from my chicklit/women’s fiction/cosy mysteries. It’s a young adult fiction fantasy novel about a witch, and I’m hoping you’ll all give it a go.

All going well, it should be available on Amazon by the end of August. So watch this space for more information.

Cocoa and Chanel Takes Gold.

I loved writing the first book in the Chanel Series – Cocoa and Chanel, so I was very excited to find out that it had placed first in the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards for the Ebook Fiction Category. Imagine my excitement when a couple of weeks later I found out it had also won the Humor Category in the 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards.

Yay to Chanel and her crazy friends!!

Book Two in the Series – Goons ‘n’ Roses – is doing really well, so as soon as I have finished with my current project (Book One in the War Faery Series – Faery Born, a YA Fantasy novel) I will get cracking on the next installment of the Chanel Series, Tess’s Tale.

Big thanks to the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the National Indie Excellence Awards for the chance to show that Indie Authors can shine, and to their judges for all their time and hard work.

 

And The Winner Is…

Thanks to everybody who entered my Cocoa and Chanel review competition. Unfortunately there can only be one winner. And that winner is Kieran O’Brien.

As Kieran is also on my subscriber list to find out when my books are released she wins a $30 voucher. A huge thanks goes out to the rest of you for your enthusiasm and your lovely reviews.

Goons ‘n’ Roses

goonslightblueI am so excited and pleased to announce that my latest novel, Goons ‘n’ Roses, is now available in eBook form from Amazon. It’s the second book in The Chanel Series so we are re-united with Chanel and her crazy crew in another adventure. There’s also some new faces on the block, including bad boy Billy.

It’s been 3 months since Chanel’s world fell apart and now she’s ready for a vacation. Unfortunately, her all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas is not turning out as she had hoped. Within hours of arriving, her mum, Lorraine, is kidnapped. Then Trent, her boss and Lorraine’s boyfriend, disappears; but not before he imparts information about an Interpol investigation into missing girls in Las Vegas.

When Chanel hooks up with local bad boy, the seriously sexy Billy, in a bid to get information, things only start to get worse. As she and Martine search for answers they are thwarted by obstacles and pursued by ruthless killers.

Who really kidnapped Lorraine? What happened to the missing girls? Can the delicious Billy be trusted? These are all questions that she needs to find the answers to, before the answers find her.

Want to read some of it? Follow this LINK to Amazon.

The Wardrobe Girl

It’s not everyday that you get to read a book you find hard to put down. But I’m pleased to say that that was what I got when I delved into The Wardrobe Girl. It is Jennifer Smart’s debut novel and it’s a ripper.

Read on for more information on The Wardrobe Girl, my book review and an author interview with Jennifer Smart.

81m3GHSDWPL._SL1500_The Wardrobe Girl – Book Review

When Tess Appleby flees England, in a bid to escape a relationship disaster, she ends up slumming it as a wardrobe assistant on Pretty Beach – Australia’s iconic soap opera. Safe in Sydney, she thought her only troubles were going to be dealing with her frustrating sister and melodramatic mother.

Then Sean, the show’s serial-cheater and boyfriend to Bree, Pretty Beach’s lead actress, turns his eye on her, and she finds herself the hottest property in the newspaper’s gossip column. A veteran of messy public break-ups that was not the sort of attention she was after.

Her attempts to gain anonymity both on and off the set of Pretty Beach fail when Jake, her ex-fiancé, shows up as the new director and adds both her sister and mother to the cast.

Into all of this mix: an old flame of her mother’s; the antics of the cast and crew; Bree’s continuous attempts to slander her; the realisation that she still loves Jake; and her own innate ability to sabotage herself, and Tess becomes one hot mess.

The Wardrobe Girl offers a fascinating insight into the behind-the-scene workings of a soap opera. It made me laugh, and it made me cry, and with its witty dialogue and quirky characters it had me glued to its pages for the entirety of the story.

One of the things I particularly liked about this tale was its deviation from the typical underlying storyline in which the girl cannot be happy without a man. Instead of our heroine falling immediately into the hero’s arms, she realises what a disaster she is and removes herself from the situation, seeking help in solving the issue really at heart – herself. Finally she is able to realise that although she can be herself, be by herself, her life will be better with the man that she loves.

‘He was my North Star. The steady, shining light that guided me and helped me navigate through life. I could do it without him, I knew that, but it would be a darker, murkier voyage.’

I give The Wardrobe Girl four stars and look forward to reading more about Tess Appleby.

 

JENNIFER SMARTJennifer Smart  – Author Interview

 

Thanks so much for joining us today Jennifer. I want to start by saying how much I loved The Wardrobe Girl. I know you’ve spent some time as a scriptwriter on Home and Away, but is this the first novel you’ve written?

Yes, The Wardrobe Girl is the first novel I’ve written.

Apart from having a great storyline, The Wardrobe Girl gives us a fascinating insight into the making of a soap opera. Is working in the film industry similar to working in the television industry?

The TV and film industries are very similar, but they have some key differences. The pre and post production periods on films are much longer then they are for TV. The shoot days on film are usually a much slower pace than they are for TV. This is because the more complex lighting set ups for film require considerably more time. The camera moves on film may be more complicated and the use of film as opposed to digital/tape also has its own set of problems. So, on a show like Home and Away, they might film 15- 20 minutes a day, whereas a film may only shoot as little 30 seconds! Otherwise, the departments and the crew roles are pretty much the same.

Tess is such a loveable, klutzy, damaged character. I think we can all relate to her at some stage in our life. How did you come up with the idea for her and why did you choose to make her the wardrobe girl?

I chose to make Tess a wardrobe stand by because of the relationship and access she would have to the cast members. It’s a working relationship that involves a degree of intimacy, much like make-up or going to see your hairdresser. I also really like fashion and clothes and thought it would be fun to write about. As for how I came up with Tess, I’d have to say that I think she found me. Once I started writing, she such a clear voice, all I needed to do was listen.

Are there any more adventures ahead for the Appleby’s or will this be a stand-alone novel?

I am working on a sequel. Life will probably always be pretty interesting for Tess!

I notice that you live in Sydney. There are so many beautiful places there, what is your favourite one and why?

I live in Balmain and I love living here because of its proximity to the city, the gorgeous harbourside parks and its vibrant, creative community. Sydney is full of so many amazing places, but one of my favourites spots is Wendy Whitely’s Garden in Lavender Bay. I catch the ferry across from Balmain, hop off at the Luna Park wharf and wander around the bay to the garden. It’s so quiet there, with paths that lead to different terraced levels and private corners, glimpses of the Harbour Bridge and water. It has some beautiful sculptures installed throughout. I also love what it represents – a garden paradise nurtured from a wasteland of disused rail sidings as a way to help heal Wendy’s grief at losing her husband, the artist Brett Whitely and their daughter, Arkie.

What projects are you currently working on?

Currently I am working on book 2 and a children’s book about a ‘princess’ who lives in Balmain.

When you’re not working or writing, what do you like to do?

I have lots of interests. I adore the theatre, ballet and contemporary dance performances. The Art Gallery of NSW is one of my favourite haunts. I love movies, binging on DVD series – most recently Season 1 of The Killing (the Danish version). I knit, I tweet, I go to yoga and naturally, I read every day.

What’s the one thing you wish you were brave enough to do?

I wish I was brave enough to take Hip Hop classes at the Sydney Dance Co., – but the students & teachers are all so young and very cool.

Okay so you can’t come on my blog without undergoing a pop quiz. Here it is:

Butter or margarine?

Butter

Dessert or cheese?

Cheese

Cats or dogs?

Cats

Beer or wine?

Champagne

Swim or sunbake?

Swim

Misty mountains or tropical beaches?

Beaches

Ice-cream or gelato?

I’ve quit sugar, otherwise gelato

Kids of fur-kids?

Kids – 3 daughters

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Paris

If you had to be reincarnated as an animal which would you choose and why?

I’d like to be a cat – one of my cats!

Once again Jennifer, thanks so much for taking the time to let us get to know you a little better. I wish you all the best with the launch of The Wardrobe Girl. I am sure it will be incredibly successful.

Interested in purchasing The Wardrobe Girl? Click HERE to check it out on kindle.

 

 

 

 

 

Win a $20 Amazon Voucher.

Okay – I’ll admit it. The main goal of this competition is to gain more reviews for Cocoa and Chanel. It’s been sitting pretty at 73 for a while now and I’d like to see it hit 100. But my other reason for putting an Amazon voucher up for offer is that I’m celebrating the imminent release of book two in The Chanel Series – Goons ‘n’ Roses. I’m feeling pretty excited and I’d like to share the love.

I am not, in any way, shape or form, asking anyone to place fake reviews. What I want is honest reviews, and even if you gave me one of those two stars (Really? A two star??) and follow the steps below, you can go into the draw. What I am trying to do is to encourage those of you who’ve read Cocoa and Chanel to find the time to review it.

Rules of the Help Cocoa and Chanel Hit 100 Reviews Competition:

1. Anyone who has placed a review on Amazon for Cocoa and Chanel can enter. (Yes Mum, if it makes you feel better you can enter, but you won’t win.) It can be an old review (thank you, thank you, thank you!) or one placed after reading about the competition.

2. Email the link to your review on Amazon, to me at donnajoyusher@yahoo.com.au

3. If you are also on my subscription list to find out when my new books are released (see the box at the top right of this page) and your name gets drawn, your prize will increase from a $20 voucher to a $30 one. (Make sure that the email you use to send me the link is the same one you have used to subscribe.)

4. I will draw the winner on Sunday the 30th of March. I will notify the winner by email and it will also be on this blog.

So that’s it. Simple really. Let me know about the review and I’ll enter you in the draw.

Good luck and happy reviewing.

The Countdown Begins

goonslightbluePhew. I’ve just finished my final edit of Goons ‘n’ Roses (it’s hot from the printer!) and on Tuesday it goes back to my wonderful editor, Felicity Kay. This means, all things going according to plan, that it should be available on Amazon by the final week of February.

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this book. It’s fast and funny as we follow Chanel and her friends on another wacky mystery. This time they are off to Las Vegas. Derek Murphy has outdone himself yet again and I’m in love with the cover.

If you want to be contacted when it becomes available please subscribe to the box at the top right of the page. But for now – here’s the back cover blurb:

It’s been 3 months since Chanel’s world fell apart and now she’s ready for a vacation. Unfortunately, her all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas is not turning out as she had hoped. Within hours of arriving, her mum, Lorraine, is kidnapped. Then Trent, her boss and Lorraine’s boyfriend, disappears; but not before he imparts information about an Interpol investigation into missing girls in Las Vegas.

When Chanel hooks up with local bad boy, the seriously sexy Billy, in a bid to get information, things only start to get worse. As she and Martine search for answers they are thwarted by obstacles and pursued by ruthless killers.

Who really kidnapped Lorraine? What happened to the missing girls? Can the delicious Billy be trusted? These are all questions that she needs to find the answers to, before the answers find her.

 

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Letter to My Body’s Lost and Found Department.

To Whom it May Concern,

If you can’t keep the lost property contained I am going to have to remove you from this body.

I mean really, even though I’m 41 I still feel like I’m in my 20s. I’m still fit, I’m still healthy and the quality of my skin is pretty good. Sure, I may have more dimples on my arse than I did in my twenties, but luckily they’re in reverse proportion to the quality of the fake tans over that time. And even though my stress-induced grey hairs forced me to do something tonight that I’ve never had to do before, I still feel young and vital.

So about those grey hairs – are you sure they aren’t from your department? They’ve been waging a war for years, slowly growing in numbers like weeds, and tonight I was forced to do a touch-up on my roots before I was due for a full colour. Where are they all coming from if not from you?

If that wasn’t horrifying enough, while I waited for the colour to process I found myself contemplating the state of my toenails. As you know, I’m off to Hawaii with The Pilot next week and I want to look my best. The once glossy-pink polish, now chipped and faded, had to go.

Imagine my dismay, as I scrubbed at the multi-coloured layers of polish, when the nails that began to emerge from beneath were not as I remembered them. When they were finally naked, one of the scenes from Return of the Jedi sprang to mind. You know the one when Darth Vader throws the Emperor over the balcony, and then Luke removes his mask as he lies dying on the floor. Remember the shock when we finally got to see his face, to find it not strong and vital, but pasty, white and scabby. Now transcribe that horror to toenails and you’ve pretty much got it.

It had been a life-time since Darth Vader’s mask had been removed, and indeed I’m sure these toenails felt the same way he did, as they blinked at the bright light and breathed in the fresh air. Yellow and mottled with something resembling fungi underneath one corner (this thankfully turned out to be dirt), they were something from a horror movie, not a paradise holiday, and they made me feel…old.

This foreign emotion immediately made me realise that these nails were obviously not mine. My nails are strong and clean. These poor blighters look like they need a good holiday and a large dose of fresh air and vitamin D. I only know one thing – they’re not getting it on my time.

Could you please have a look through the objects in your possession and locate my toenails. I would appreciate it if you could replace the Darth Vader death masks with them as soon as possible. Until then, I have taken the liberty of placing two layers of coral delight polish over these. I trust I will never have to see them again.

Yours sincerely,

The Owner of this Body

 

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Who’s Your Tribe?

I recently signed up to do Jeff Goins‘ 8 week online marketing course, so I was very excited when I got the first email pertaining to this. It wasn’t at all what I had expected.  I sat slumped on the couch while I stared at his email thinking, ‘Who’s my tribe? That’s the lesson?’

I had been waiting for a lesson that would tell me what I needed to know and what I needed to do. I wanted, like all people, to be given the magic formula for successful marketing. The problem is, there is no magic formula. Different things work for different people. So instead, Jeff was showing me the start of a path – my path for successful marketing. It just took me a little while to work that out.

He was asking me to work out who it is that my writing is for. Who will read my work and feel it resonate within them? Who will gain from the power of my words? Who can I help?

So here I am today, trying to work out ‘Who is my tribe?’

Jeff gave examples of avid barefoot runners and Mac users as belonging to tribes. So that got me thinking – a few years ago I really got into running and completed a couple of (very slow) half marathons. Did that mean I belonged to a Tribe of Runners? And there is the fact that I love my iPhone, am I part of the Apple Tribe?

But then I realised, at the end of the day, if you took my iPhone away from me, I’d still be me. And the running? Well these days the only running I do is to the toilet after a particularly nasty curry!

So that must mean that the things that make me belong to a tribe are those that are at the integral core of my being. Things I love. Things I am passionate about. Things that without, I would be less of a person. I guess, at the end of the day, by working out who our tribe is, we are stripping ourselves down to our souls and finding out who we are.

I love animals in general but I wouldn’t be me without my dogs. They bring laughter and love and I can’t get enough of their fluffy bodies and their furry faces. While I write this, I am watching them play with their new Christmas toys (I may have gone a wee bit overboard on the present side of things!), a big smile on my face as Chloe learns how to get treats out of her maze ball and Xena tries to steal those treats. And I’m not ashamed to admit that last night their warm little bodies were snuggled up against me in bed.

I believe that dogs bring us peace and calm our troubled spirits. If more of us emulated their behaviour there would we a lot less violence in the world. (And a lot more bum sniffing!) So – I guess I’m part of the Dog Tribe, or more specifically, the Miniature Schnauzer Tribe.

I love my husband. I love the way we can silently share a joke in the middle of a crowded room. I love the way he teases me till he gets the reaction he’s after, and then smooths down my ruffled feathers. I love the adventure he brings to my life, and I know that without him I would not have lived or loved or experienced as much. So I guess that makes me part of the Happy Wife Tribe.

And of course, unspoken, is the wonderful Writer’s Tribe that I am proud to belong to. A group of people who bravely bare their souls to the world even though they fear the possible negative consequences. A tribe that supports and cheers on its members, relishing in their triumphs, and supporting them during their defeats.

And last I would say that I belong to a tribe of wonderful women. Women who make my life worth living with their support and their generosity and their loving natures. Women who can laugh at themselves and cry with others and whose humble characters never see anything but good in those around them. I am particularly lucky to have many such women in my life, and I count myself blessed to know them.

So now I realise that Jeff was right. I write for my tribes. I write stories about funny, klutzy women, with a few kooky animals thrown in. I toss in some adventure and suspense (compliments of the Happy Wife Tribe) and I love a happy ending. I write to make the women in my life laugh and occasionally shed a tear, and I write to give them a few hours of escapism.

I was lucky when I wrote The Seven Steps to Closure and Cocoa and Chanel. I did that all instinctively. But now that I have worked out who my tribes are I will be able to stay true to myself and to them while I craft stories to keep them entertained.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I’d love to hear about you and your tribes, so please, feel free to leave a comment.

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Forever Fredless – a chiclit novel by Suzy Turner

Suzy Turner has been writing YA fantasy novels for years. Somewhere in there she also found time to found the Fiction Dream blog (http://www.fictiondreams.com) – a blog dedicated to female writers of all genres. And now she has turned her own creative mind to crafting chicklit novels, recently publishing Forever Fredless.

I’ve been lucky enough to snag the busy Suzy for an author interview. She’s also been kind enough to allow me to post an excerpt from her new novel, Forever Fredless.

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