Friday 30 December 2016

#fridayflash: gates

We were talking over the gate; a strange sort of place to have a conversation, if you ask me. But there I was, leaning over it--it was closed. Locked, like the door of my heart, you could say--and he was ruffling his hair, shuffling his feet, and well, talking, while his car was still running--though idling might be the better word. Which was interesting, to say the least, because we'd been in places together before, with no hurry, and my mouth would be running and his would be shut.

"But yeah, it's important," he stressed, though I couldn't see why it was so important for me to open the gate and head off to nowhere with him. Well, not exactly nowhere. There was a job that needed doing, but he needed an extra pair of eyes and hands. Normally, I'd be off in a sec, jumping into his car to head off wherever, but I'd already showered and was in a comfy pair of PJs. You know, the type with the cute little cartoons you wouldn't be caught dead being seen in. Which made me wonder why I'd gone out to see him in them. Probably too startled by that blast of his horn.

No, he didn't say where. He was talking but he wasn't saying much, if you get what I mean. I figured someone must've wanted something badly but he was worried about it. You know, if he'd just called before showing up at my gate, I might've been a little more inclined--or prepared--to go with him. I might even have had something called a key with me. Just saying.

"Find someone else," I said with an unapologetic shrug. I wasn't the only magic user in town and he knew it. I figured he just wanted someone to do the job for free. Because, you know, we were friends. Kind of. He looked a little upset and I almost changed my mind. But the gate was locked, so whatever.

Yeah, I could have magicked my clothes but I can't magic iron, so I'd say that that gate saved my life. How would I know that I'd be the last person to see him alive? I use magic, but I'm not clairvoyant. But well, what's done's done, eh? I'll miss him, maybe.

Friday 23 December 2016

#bookreview: Flood and Fire | Deirdra Eden

Flood and Fire (The Watchers #3)Flood and Fire by Deirdra Eden
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Watchers series starts off with a spunky 13-year-old Auriella in Knight of Light, a struggling 19-year-old Auriella in Hidden Fire and now an immortal (I guess 60+ but she's immortal so who cares) Auriella in Flood and Fire.

If I were to summarise this third book in one sentence, it would be this: Auriella does a Bella.

Okay, fine. My review may have a 90% chance of being affected by Christmas grinchiness (sorry, reviewers are emotional too). As you can read from the book description, Auriella wakes up and finds that in her long absence, her One True Love, Azrael is missing. But not quite missing-missing, if you get what I mean. He has joined the ranks of Disappointed Literary Lovers who do Stupid Things (TM?), such as Romeo and Edward and, yes, Bella. (Sorry, Stephanie Meyer, I do not mean to diss your characters so much.)

And so, Auriella, in turn, attempts to Do Stupid Things, but because she's quite untrained in her powers and lacks this thing called Control, she doesn't exactly get to Do The Stupid Things she had in mind.

To be fair, this book is very enlightening in a way. It tells you very often the things that hold a person back:
1) Fear (of yourself and of others)
2) Being unable to control your emotions (especially anger), which in Auriella's case, often results in spontaneous combustion
3) Being overly single-minded in chasing after a goal (whether it's a loved one or it's revenge. As demonstrated in the book, this almost always ends in disaster when you neglect other important things. Like using your brain and not being distracted.

Still, since I am a fan of swashbuckling tales, I cannot deny that I enjoyed much of the setting of this book, even though Auriella could be singularly annoying, and Alamar was not as, uhm, *romantic* as he could have been. He felt a little like a caricature of a dashing Italian lover, but something lacked. I'm not sure what. Maybe it was his bullheadedness. Or the way conversations between Auriella and Alamar always devolved into something akin to a Christian vs Atheist debate (in form, not in content). Also, why does everyone's name seem to start with A?

Plotwise, there were a few nifty tricks and twists, some which I saw coming, some which I did not. At any rate, Flood and Fire ends at a good place, even if most of this book felt like a filler to make sure that Auriella gets the training she needs (though not the training she wants, ahahahaha). I'm guessing book 4 should get back to the main meat of the matter.

I received a free copy of this book from Eden Publishing in return for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Read my review of Book 1: Knight of Light
Read my review of Book 2: Hidden Fire 

Buy on Amazon: Knight of Light | Hidden Fire | Flood and Fire
Buy on Smashwords: Knight of Light | Hidden Fire | Flood and Fire

Monday 19 December 2016

Enough is enough.

The most I can say is that I am tired and drained.
I'll try to keep up the last few book posts, but everything else will be on hiatus.


At any rate, I 'm crazy enough to think writing a 40K novella for Tor submissions next month is possibly worth it.
Make that in 3 weeks.
I did nano, didn't I? (but that didn't need to be good enough to be submitted, eek.)


Also, short story needs to come out soon; it's written, just needs editing. And a cover. But, TIME.


I can't wait for Christmas to be over.


Also, hello nanohoppers. I'll continue following you guys when I recover from being a buried potato.

#grinchy. #verygrinchy. #seasonschmeason.

Wednesday 14 December 2016

#christmashuntpcc is making me #grinchy

No review today because I'm swamped and behind.

Now I shall go back and hide in my cave.



Also currently listening to the new NoiseTrade mix tape and not exactly sure if I like it so far.

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Launching tomorrow: Flood and Fire

Flood and Fire (Book #3 of The Watchers Series) by Deirdra Eden

Release Day Special: Buy 1 book get 3 FREE (Details below)

About the Book
Auriella joins the ranks of the Immortals, but Azrael has vanished in the depths of war. She is forced to choose between love or loyalty when the druids charge her with finding Alamar, an unruly Watcher who can control the seas. Though witty and charming, Alamar and his blood thirsty friends can’t be trusted. Now, it’s a race against time to find Azrael before he is killed, and Alamar before he is recruited by the Shadow Legion.

The Watchers Series has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural. The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Traditional Apocrypha, the Pearl of Great Price and the Kabbalah. The Watchers are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness. Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad.

Deirdra Eden's, The Watcher's Series, is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl's discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions.

Read my review of Book 1: Knight of Light and Book 2: Hidden Fire

About The Author

Deirdra Eden has spent the last decade captivating audiences of all ages with her Amazon Bestselling novels and fairy tales. Her specialty is paranormal theology that delves into documented historical phenomenon and natural disasters of biblical proportions that entices indulgence of a fine line between fact and fantasy. Deirdra enjoys jousting in arenas, sword fighting and archery, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures with her family.

Connect with Deirdra and The Watchers
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  Release Day Special: Buy 1 book get 3 FREE!

Buy Flood and Fire on Amazon on December 14, 2016 and get 3 FREE ebooks! Just email a copy of your order to and they'll send you 3 free ebooks.

Monday 12 December 2016

#musicmonday: #Christmas songs!

The Christmas playlist I wish for (started sometime early this year, forgotten about and shifted to next year):

vs the Christmas playlist I apparently deserve:

I am grinchy.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

#bookreview: Unsound | Toby Neal

Unsound (Lei Crime #5.5)Unsound by Toby Neal
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve read one Toby Neal before, so when this came up as available for review on Edelweiss, I didn’t hesitate to take it up.

Unsound is a companion story to the Lei Teixera detective series, following the life of the police psychologist, Dr Caprice Wilson - which actually confused me a little at first until I realised it wasn’t part of the main series. I’d been expecting something more towards a straight detective story, but nope - this is a little more of a psychological thriller instead.

When a drinking episode goes too far and Captain Ohale threatens to fire her unless she goes to rehab, Caprice meekly agrees and heads off to Maui - to hike the Haleakala Crater alone while she battles to get sober. However, she soon discovers she’s not really alone - her stalker has come along with plans of his own.

The story was interesting enough. Neal moves you from action to action and emotion to emotion, without faltering. There’s Caprice’s crazy drunken antics to laugh at, the mystery of the strange objects that raise your hackles, the danger and fear out on Haleakala Crater, and, as always, the beauty of Hawaii to enchant you. However, it quite often also felt like a long, slow journey through an alcoholic’s mind, one who’s trying to use psychological tricks to both break her addiction and justify it. I guess that's okay if you like that sort of thing?

View all my reviews

Monday 5 December 2016

Sunday 4 December 2016

The 2016 #nanowrimo reflection post or how I wrote 33K in 4 days

Writing is often a constant battle between getting the words out and getting the words right. For the month of November and NaNoWriMo, the goal is getting the words out—whether it’s right or not. Not everyone can work that way, and that’s fine, but it’s often a handy tool for me to jumpstart new projects instead of procrastinating and waiting for inspiration to strike.

I had been a bit ambivalent about doing NaNoWriMo this year, mainly because I would be away for half the month, but I’d been encouraging a lot of people—mostly from our baby writing group—to do so and I thought I should set a good example by at least attempting it. After all, winning or losing wasn’t my main goal; my main goal was to continue to build this writing community.

I talked to our weekly write-in group as well as the NPO I work with, LUMA, and we set up the LUMA Drop-In Writing Space to host writers from 10am-10pm daily for the last 6 days of November. The dates also coincided with the annual George Town Literary Fest & In-between Arts Festival, which was focusing on food and zines, so we made a public event on Facebook and announced it in all the writers' groups we knew of online.

And then November started, and I went on my holiday, working sporadically on the new novel and totally pantsing all the way. Which was how I found myself at the start of our write-ins on 25th November with only 17K words. On one hand, I did wonder if I could actually reach 50K in such a short time, but on the other hand, I wasn’t very bothered because I knew that I had a lot of time before me and all I had to do was sit down and write, besides opening and closing the door for people (ah, the privilege of not working a 9-to-5). And so I broke a personal record and wrote an average of 8,000 words a day over the next 4 days, finishing 2 days earlier than I expected.

Now, obviously, I want to replicate this since I’m making writing my full-time job. If I know what’s been working these 4 days, that would help me to work better, right? I tracked all my writing this month (wordcounts & times) in Wordly and here’s my analysis of the data:

  • I rarely wrote anything more than 1K before lunch (noon/1pm). I open the place at 10am, but by the time I’m finished pottering around, making tea, going up and down the stairs, turning on the laptop, checking my phone, it’s usually almost 11am before I even sit down and start writing. This isn’t anything new. Even in my previous day jobs, when I had to be in the office by 8.30 – 9am, I always felt super unproductive before 10am, especially before making tea.
  • Tea is important, as noted above.
  • I averaged about 5.5 hours of writing time per day, despite being at the centre for 12 hours a day. If you subtract approximately 2 hours for lunch and dinner, I only “worked” about 55% of the time. It seems unproductive, but I’m not very good at focusing for extended lengths of time. It also works out (as averaged by Wordly) to about 1,541 words per hour. I’m not entirely sure if that’s good or bad, but at least it’s measurable.
  • Not having Internet access probably helped a lot, because there’s only so long you can stare at your phone before you feel that you’re wasting time.
  • Setting small goals helps, especially when I don’t feel like writing, or am unsure where the story is going. During those times, I do a sprint of maybe 15 minutes. At the end of that 15 minutes, I’ve either written a good bunch of words and am excited to continue, or I’ve figured out a new direction and need to sit back and think about it.
  • Knowing where the story is going helps me to write faster. Some of the “unproductive” time was spent thinking about the story’s direction and possible plot points, which then translated into higher word counts during the next writing session. (Some of the unproductive time was also spent staring into space, which is another matter altogether ;) )
  • The best writing sessions were usually between 20 – 30 minutes.
  • The best writing session goal was usually to hit 1K words per session, which usually averaged out to 30 minutes.
  • I was hampered at times because I’d previously researched some local fairy creatures/folk tales, but I’d only saved the stub or link, instead of saving the whole document for reference. Having all research on hand (that is not online, where I’ll get distracted) is probably pretty important.
  • Having the right mindset really helps. During these 4 days, all I thought about was “I need to finish writing this story before I can do anything else”. This is very different from when I’m writing at home and thinking about ‘oh- I haven’t finished my book review’ or ‘I need to do this other project first’ or even ‘maybe I need to read/research this’ (and the usual culprit - ‘I’m hungry/bored/sleepy, I need to find something to eat’). So – I do really need to get into this ‘cave’ mindset when writing to make sure that I stop procrastinating! (Also already noted by the way I can be superbly productive finishing a short story for submission… the WEEK before the deadline!)

In summary, here are the things I need to be working on to make sure I’m really writing and not just being a bum:

  1. Set writing goals & deadlines and STICK TO THEM
  2. Work on only one project at a set time.
  3. Research BEFORE writing where possible (ahahahah) and SAVE/archive my research
  4. FOCUS!

All of which I already knew before, but now there’s DATA. Hard, measurable data.

But other than that, the writing space has also been a win community-wise. There were some down/slow times, especially in the beginning where I feared I’d be sitting there writing alone (which turned out okay because I was productive), but there’s also been a steady group of regulars, as well as a few newcomers added to our writing community. The group’s excited to take it further, so we might see more people coming for write-ins in future. And maybe more collaborations/discussions/critiques happening spontaneously.

… the only thing I am actually uber sad about is that I didn’t attend anything in GTLF at all. I’d been eyeing maybe 2 – 3 sessions, but I needed to sit in LUMA to keep the space open. Maybe next time we’ll try not to overlap with the fest. I had been hoping for some drop-ins from fest attendees, but that didn’t actually happen.

Thursday 1 December 2016

Revealing... Ever in the After: 13 FantasyTales! #coverreveal

Hi everyone!

Today, I'm so excited to share the wonderful cover for Ever in the After: 13 Fantasy Tales. This anthology of fantasy/SFF short stories has been put together in aid of Lift 4 Autism, and releases April 1st, 2017. 100% of the proceeds will go to Lift 4 Autism. So, let's take a look at the gorgeous cover!


Isn't it beautiful? The cover was designed and created by Stephanie Keyes, and it fits the stories in the anthology perfectly.

About the anthology...

ever-in-the-after_cover_3dIn Ever in the After, 13 authors come together to explore fantastical realms full of supernatural creatures, dark intrigue, and spells that may-or may not-be curses. This anthology features work by:
  • Melle Amade
  • Miracle Austin
  • J. A. Culican
  • Madeline Dyer
  • Jessica Hawke
  • Alaina Hebert
  • Elizabetta Holcomb
  • Stephanie Keyes
  • Christopher D. Morgan
  • Mandy Peterson
  • Alice Rachel
  • Cadence Rae
  • Jaqueline E. Smith
A must-have fantasy collection full of surprises, secrets, and strong teenagers who know what they need to do to succeed in these mystical realities.

Add Ever in the After: 13 Fantasy Tales on Goodreads now!
Buy your copy of Ever in the After: 13 Fantasy Tales on April 1st, 2017!