Trailer for Radiance

September 8, 2010 at 5:41 am (Feature, New Release) (, , , , , , , , , , )

This is the trailer for Radiance, the first book in the new middle grade ‘Radiance Series’ by Alyson Noël. Alyson expands her ‘Immortals’ story by giving Ever’s little sister, Riley, her own brand-new series.

More about ‘Radiance’:

Riley has crossed the bridge into the afterlife—a place called Here, where time is always Now. She has picked up life where she left off when she was alive, living with her parents and dog in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. When she’s summoned before The Council, she learns that the afterlife isn’t just an eternity of leisure. She’s been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a possibly cute, seemingly nerdy boy who’s definitely hiding something. They return to earth together for Riley’s first assignment, a Radiant Boy who’s been haunting a castle in England for centuries. Many Soul Catchers have tried to get him to cross the bridge and failed. But all of that was before he met Riley . . .

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Blooming Idea

August 14, 2010 at 5:50 am (Feature) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

I want to thank Elisa from Where’s My Pencil for passing on The Blooming of an Idea Award to me.

I’m not really sure what the rules are with this one so I thought I would just mention in passing the idea behind this blog and then pass the award on to some very interesting bloggers.

The idea of Cassandra Jade in the Realm is to share ideas about writing. Not just me sharing my ideas but to have the chance to hear from other writers and readers what they think about writing and to learn from that and to help pass those ideas on to others. I love being part of such a helpful online community and the blogs I visit regularly and the people who visit here regularly are always full of helpful and sometimes surprising information.

Thanks to everyone who contributes the excellent comments to this blog.

Okay, to pass the award along:

Alex Willging over on The Rhapsodist for his continuing look into sci-fi television and books. I always love hearing his thoughts on a range of interesting texts.

Lynn Rush for her positive and upbeat view on the world – and her great taste in movies and movie quotes.

And to Lua Fowles who always has something very interesting to say about words and writing.

And that’s all for today. Thanks again for the award.

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An Award

August 8, 2010 at 5:37 am (Feature) (, , , , , )

Jemi Fraser has passed on the Sweet Blog Award to me.  Thanks so much Jemi.

I have to agree with her that the teddy bear is adorable.

Passing this on to:

Talli Roland

Deb Salisbury

Lua Fowles

Cheryl Angst

Thanks Jemi again for the award and I will catch up with everyone tomorrow.

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Character Interview Blogfest

June 15, 2010 at 5:40 am (Death's Daughter, Feature) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

I’m joining in with Jangu Mandanna’s (from Echoes of a Wayward Mind) Character Interview Blogfest.

The character I’ve decided to interview is Emily from Death’s Daughter. Emily was a butler working for the Delaine’s. After the death of Mrs Delaine, Calandra dismissed Emily from her services. (There are no plot spoilers in the following as the events discussed are either early in the story or do not appear within Death’s Daughter.)

Q: Emily, can you briefly describe your role in the story?

A: I worked as a butler for the Delaine household in Kalthium. Mr Delaine hired me and I continued my work until after the death of Mrs Delaine.

Q: How do you feel about the way Calandra has told this story?

A: How do you think I feel? Miss Calandra Delaine is a thoughtless, selfish, child. Certainly she’s used this opportunity to justify her choices and her treatment of those around her but we all know her for what she is.

Q: So you would disagree with the way Calandra has portrayed the situation at the beginning of the story?

A: Naturally. I was there, wasn’t I? Calandra was always looking down her nose at me and thinking she was all high and mighty and meanwhile she’s breaking her mother’s heart while she plays around with her dusty scrolls. So what if she could read? And then she’s glorifying her father. Her father ran off to sea and left poor Mrs Delaine to clean up the mess he left behind – and by that I mean an over indulged child that never could see things the way they were.

Q: How did you feel when Calandra dismissed you from her services?

A: Well, that was a bit of good luck in the end. As angry as I was at the time it all worked out for the best. Besides, I don’t think I could have stomached working for Miss Calandra Delaine, even if I’d wanted to stay in the house. And despite our personal disagreements, Calandra did give me a very good recommendation so when my sister found an open position with Lord and Lady Serrite it was easy enough for me to take up that position. As much as I dislike Calandra, she was fair in her statements about my service. Can’t hold that against her.

Q: In Death’s Daughter, Calandra states that you accused her of killing her mother. Do you think she murdered her mother?

A: At the time, I think I did. It was quite a shock to the household and given the tension between Calandra and her mother it seemed very possible that she had. Thinking back now, I don’t know what I think about the murder. It is all a bit of a blur and I don’t know that anyone really knows what happened. Calandra has given us one version of the events and I don’t doubt that she’ll be taken at her word, but gossip will certainly continue for sometime.

Q: Final question – Do you believe the rest of Calandra’s story?

A: Far be it from me to call someone a liar, but the tale is just a little bit fanciful. Certainly things have been a bit strange in Kalthium but to believe that there are gods running around and mysterious forces, it’s all just a bit far-fetched.

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New Book Trailer from Sherrilyn Kenyon

May 28, 2010 at 5:34 am (Feature, New Release) (, , , , , , , , , , )

While I seem to be stuck on vampires I was emailed this trailer about Sherrilyn Kenyon’s new young adult series “Chronicles of Nick” and I’m happy to share this video with you all because it looks kind of amazing (as did Sherrilyn’s last trailer).

And isn’t the cover really something? Sorry – I have this thing about lighting effects on covers and this one is kind of incredible. What do you think?

Oh and before you get dazzled watching the trailer below, if you have a book coming out or already released that you like for me to feature, please just send me the details.  I’ve been reading a few blogs recently where people have been announcing good news with their writing.

Have fun watching.

In addition to the very cool trailer you can click here to read more about the book.

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Vampire Fiction – Again

May 25, 2010 at 6:37 am (Feature, fiction) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I’ve been reading a little bit lately.  actually I’ve read more books this last week than I had the entire month previous so I should probably amend that statement. Most recently I’ve been reading YA lit, mostly because I’ve been trying to evaluate texts for use in  the classroom.  This means I’ve been reading a wide range of genres and styles and there are some really strange books out there (also some brilliant ones).

One book that I originally cringed at the thought of reading was Tamara Summers “Never Bite a Boy on the First Date”.  I immediately assumed it would be a bad retelling of Twilight and I’d spend a week reading a single page at a time before finally deciding I just couldn’t read anymore. Yet the cover kind of intrigued me.

Despite my trepidation, I bought this book.  Why? Because I read the first page. Not the prologue but the first page of chapter one. And I nearly fell over laughing while standing in the book store. Not because it was bad, but because it was really quite amusing and the narrator used understatement so well I just couldn’t help but laugh. Once I recovered from my fit of giggles, I read a few more pages and then I bought the book.

It is a very modern vampire story. The narrator is a sixteen year old, newly made vampire, with an interesting personality that is well expressed in her green hair, multiple-piercings and her general ability to forget about the murdered corpse lying on the steps of the school when distracted by a guy with a cute smile.

There were definitely moments where the narration intruded on the story and they were my least favourite moments. Sometimes you just want her to get on with the story and to stop being so delighted with her own cleverness but other times it works really well.

My favourite line: “But he seemed so… non-murdery He was all ice cream and puppies and sexy-swimmer’s arms.”

I’m still on the fence about whether I love this book or not because I know there were definite moments where I really was annoyed at the story but I’ve finished it with a smile on my face. I guess it goes to show you won’t know what lies inside a book until you try it.

Have you ever had a book that has turned out to be surprisingly good?

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Been Tagged

May 10, 2010 at 8:16 am (Author Info, Feature) (, , , , , , , )

I was tagged by Alex J. Cavanaugh

For a “Tag” you answer 5 questions 5 times to share a bit about yourself. So here goes.

Question 1 – Where were you five years ago?

I was at university.

I sold donuts and coffee.

I was five years younger.

My favourite anime was still Sailor Moon (which is incredible but is no longer my favourite).

I spent nearly ten hours a week on trains.
Question 2 – Where would you like to be in five years?

Still teaching.

Still writing.

I want to have travelled to at least three countries (hopefully Japan and Canada feature in those).

Have read a lot more books.

Finally learnt to reverse park?

Question 3 – What is on your to-do list today?

Watch the morning news.

Work.

Hot chocolate.

Hopefully write something.

Work some more really.
Question 4 – What snacks do you enjoy?
Chocolate biscuits.

Chocolate bars.

Chocolate cake.

Chocolate drinks.

Anything chocolate.
Question 5 – What five things would you do if you were a billionaire?


Build a library and fill it with books that I would enjoy reading.

Build my own cinema complex and watch all the movies I love.

Try to fund a program that would help others – though I’ve never really thought about it because I’m unlikely to ever have the money to do it.

Shoes – a pair of boots for every occasion.

Travel, lots.
The rules are that I get to pass the Tag along to 5 Bloggers I admire….

Stephen Tremp

Elizabeth Spann Craig

Eric – from Working my Muse

Little Scribbler

Barb – from Creative Barb Wire

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Great News

May 5, 2010 at 9:00 am (Death's Daughter, fantasy, Feature, New Release, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I’ve had a really strange year.  First moving and then floods and then life (and everything that entails) and things just keep rolling right on over me.  Mostly good things.  Meeting new people, making new friends, learning new things.  It’s just been really busy and hectic and at times very draining (particularly the floods).  That’s why I’m really, really happy right now.

I am now published (happy dance).

Though, this also means I can’t give myself excuses any more, I need to get my act together and get blogging again.

So, if you would like to check out “Death’s Daughter” I would greatly appreciate it.

cover art

Thanks so much to all the people who have continued to offer support over the last couple of months and hopefully I won’t be doing anymore disappearing acts.

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Writing Lessons From Reading Piers Anthony

February 9, 2010 at 5:33 am (Uncategorized, writing lessons) (, , , , , , , )

Okay, if you’ve never read a Xanth novel than you probably should, though only if you are really into fantasy.

When people think about humour in fantasy and really rich and interesting worlds and characters they usually look at Pratchett, for good reason. Pratchett is a master of weaving the absurd into his stories and still making this amazing, insightful tale. Yet I find Piers Anthony to have created an equally rich and vibrant world of magic and zany characters though the writing style can feel a little dry at times (probably because the books were published before I was born).

Xanth is a world of magic. Every person (though I use the term person loosely) and everything must have magic or they are exiled from the land. The main character is Bink and we first meet Bink when he is facing exile because he cannot exhibit a magic power. It turns out he does have magic and extremely powerful magic but if I tell you anything else about that it will ruin the very first Xanth novel so you’ll just have to find out for yourself.  The setting in these books is alive. The trees each have a magical function. This one grows shoes, that one will grow blanket, and the next one will eat you, etc, etc. The wildlife is intelligent and deadly and you really do have to pay attention to where you step in Xanth.

I really loved reading these books.

What did I learn about writing from reading these books?

  1. Even if your main character seems weaker than the others, they don’t have to be tearful and pathetic. So many protagonists in fantasy novels start out simpering and useless. Bink may start out weak and he may never rival some of the other characters for strength, but at least he always has strength of character. At no stage do you want something to eat him just so he’ll stop complaining.
  2. There does not need to be a big, dark, evil in a fantasy novel. There are all manner of conflicts your characters can face. Bink goes up against the rules of his society when he faces exile. Nobody is evil but there is a problem that has to be overcome. In one of the later books the characters choose to seek the source of Xanth’s magic and go on a quest. There is no evil stopping them but it is still a quest filled with danger and excitement.
  3. Said was not always the dialogue tag of choice. I can – and did – open ‘The Source of Magic’ to any number of pages with lots of dialogue and I found that said was used once. What was used was ‘cried’, ‘exclaimed’, ‘retorted’, ‘urged’, ‘murmured’ and so on. Yes, the current convention is to not use dialogue tags or to limit it to said. I am hoping that the trend changes because I enjoy people exclaiming and shrieking and all those other things that they used to do in books.
  4. Keeping your characters (and your readers) in the dark makes for a really interesting story as nobody really suspects where things are going to go and yet the story still makes sense.

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Writing Lessons From Reading Traci Harding

January 27, 2010 at 5:39 am (writing lessons) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

I’ve finally come to Traci Harding.  I would have done her first but unfortunately whenever I talk to people who read very few of them have read Traci Harding and that is a shame. She became my absolute favourite author of all time when I was in high school and even though I have not particularly liked her later work, I still think her Ancient Future Trilogy is the best fantasy trilogy I have ever read.

What did I love about the Ancient Future Trilogy?

  • The protagonist.  Tori Alexander is an amazing female protagonist. She is confident, strong (she’s a black belt), smart (multiple university degrees), funny, romantic and yet flawed in that she is overly emotional, stubborn and extremely proud. As a high school student she really appealed because her flaws were kind of endearing and she was just an incredible person to read about. Here is a girl who can get zapped through time (multiple times) and always lands on her feet and wins the heart of the really, really hunky guy who just happens to be a King. She’s also an Australian who just happens to be travelling around England when she goes time travelling,
  • The setting – A time travel fantasy where they go back to the days of knights and kings but they don’t end up in Camelot. There are a lot of references to the kingdom, there are parallels, but this is not an Arthurian legend and it was nice to read something a little bit different because at the time it seemed like every second fantasy book I read was about Arthur and friends.
  • The supporting cast – All the characters in this story are kind of interesting. The fact that you meet several incarnations of the same soul in several different time zones means you see how the soul has developed and grown overtime and you get a real insight into each of the characters by the time we reach the end of the trilogy. There are only a couple of characters who seem to get sidelined and really leave you wanting to know more about them.
  • The time travel – I usually really dislike time travel stories because they tie themselves in knots and you are always left wondering how it works its way out. Traci Harding create a time travel story that for once kind of makes sense though by the third book she’s kind of skating over the details very quickly and her explanations may not hold up under scientific analysis but there aren’t any glaring inconsistencies just jumping out and hitting you in the face and disrupting the storyline.
  • The ending – and I will not ruin the end of the trilogy for anyone but if you want to experience an end of the world scenario that is truly incredible, this is the trilogy for you.

Now, even though it is my favourite trilogy of all time and I fully recommend reading it to anyone who likes fantasy, adventure, romance, spirituality, strong female characters, etc, etc, I do have to acknowledge some of the issues with the trilogy.

  • The language – I do not care what Tori Alexander studied at university you are never going to convince me that anyone living in modern Australia can speak ancient Welsh proficiently enough to communicate with people when travelling back in time. Admittedly, the story would kind of be awful if Tori couldn’t speak to anyone (mostly because she would have been killed within minutes of arriving back in time) but with so much magic and spells flying around later in the story, I would have bought translation spell as an explanation before linguistic genius.
  • Repetition – The reader understands fairly quickly that underpinning this relatively simple story about a girl travelling in time there is this deep spiritual story about mastering your soul and acceptance of others view points and natural energy flows and all of these other ideas which are working well together to create a rich and interesting story. However the same concepts are explained multiple ways throughout the trilogy and at times you want to cut the character off and tell them “I already got that in the last book”. Actually, you don’t notice the repetition so much the first time you read the trilogy but the sixth or seventh time it starts to become a bit more obvious.
  • The second book – It is always the second book of a trilogy that feels like it is marking time and filling in details and the second book of this trilogy is no different. Tori gets to visit Atlantis, which is kind of cool, except that the people in Atlantis are so spiritual and sweet and dull you are kind of happy when everything starts falling apart.

So, writing lessons learned from reading Traci Harding:

  1. Have an incredible protagonist – one that really draws people into the story. They don’t have to be perfect and they don’t always have to make the right decision but they need to be interesting and appealing.
  2. Put the extra work into the supporting characters. The reader will appreciate it.
  3. If writing a trilogy, spend the extra time on the second book and figure out how to avoid the curse of the middle book. It may not be possible but try anyway.

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