All about Helping…

This month our topic was, well, there was no topic. It’s a “freebie” month. Scene13ers get to blog about anythingFirst Cover Reveal!they want. Well, normally I don’t like freebies. I freeze. I over-think until I can’t think. I stress myself out to the point that my stress is stressed. But this month something really great happened and I want to share.

Last month I shared that I signed a contract to publish my first young adult contemporary romance, “Unspeakable.” Now I have a novella, “Finding Willow,” releasing, too. But as great as that is, it’s not what I want to write about.

When I wrote my debut novel, “PODs,” I knew nothing about the writing community. I didn’t use critique partners or Betas—I didn’t know what a Beta was! I had no idea there were bloggers that lived to review books, nor did I know how many there were.

But writing “Unspeakable” I had a group of ladies who read my work and told me honestly what worked, what they liked, and what they loved. Man, that was a great feeling to hear them gush over my book! Then came the second half of their email… “And this is what sucks…” Well, that let the air out of my balloon.

Second Cover Reveal!

Second Cover Reveal!

So I read their critiques, did some rewriting and had some Beta readers take a look, mainly girls the age the book would be marketed toward, and of course my group of critique partners.

Their suggestions made a huge difference. “Unspeakable” went from a good book, to a great (IMHO) book. And I realize now how essential, how priceless my CPs and Betas are in my writing career.

But there’s one other group of people other than the bloggers who are golden to authors, CPs and Betas who are priceless, and that group is other authors.

I had two cover reveals in a week. I found out about both the day before. Whoa. So I started emailing anyone I could think of that might help. And the response was Amazing. Many of you already know this because you blog here, and you stepped-up and helped. I want to tell you, you are AWESOME.

The authors that dropped everything to set-up a post at the very last minute—twice—just rocked. The way they came together to help really showed me how tight the bond is between authors. Well, how it should be, anyway.

I love helping other authors. I keep a blog for that reason, and only that reason. But to have it turned around and the help focused on me was a very prodigious experience. And for those of you who helped, thank you. You made my cover reveals awesome.

How about you? Have you ever had a time when you needed help and authors or bloggers jumped in?

It's time to read!

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Oz Chambers’ resolutions revisited.

RESOLUTIONSThe diary, under a pile of comics,  had fallen off Oz Chambers’ desk as he’d searched for his favourite highlighter. He’d riffled through it guiltily, wondering where all his good intentions had gone.

As always, the first few days of January were full.  By Easter, the pages were empty.

He flicked back to page one, and a list of his resolutions.

1/  Help mum—more.

2/  Try and convince her to unlock dad’s study.

3/  Practice soccer—more.

4/  Shower—(more).

5/  Listen in class—more.

He shook his head as he read the last entry. Fat lot of good that had done him. Miss Swinson, deputy head of Seabourne School, a.k.a. ‘The Volcano’ due to her tendency to erupt without warning, had the cheek to accuse him of cheating at math just because he’d got a hundred percent. He hadn’t cheated of course. For some reason, on that day, things had just clicked. Stranger things happened every day in year 7— well they did to Oz. Ruff Adams, one of Oz’s best mates, had called the maths result a, “buzzard miracle”—buzzard being Ruff’s substitute swear word for just about everything, good or bad.

Yet even his mother had found that ‘miracle’ difficult to swallow, though it was the absolute truth, and he had no explanation for it. Just like he couldn’t explain the grey-eyed girl he’d started seeing in his dreams, or why his mother wouldn’t talk to him about his dad’s accident, or why he’d gone to Egypt the day he died instead of flying straight home from his field trip.

That was the thing about living at Penwurt. It was a place stuffed full of mystery, with little pockets of weirdness lurking around every corner. That was why his dad had loved the place so much. Why his mum now locked the door into the old orphanage wing every night too. It didn’t even help to know that ‘Penwurt’,  a mix of Celtic and Old English, meant the hill where weird things happen.  The Volcano had certainly not been impressed in the slightest when he’d told her.

Oz had, of course, tried to ignore the weirdness. But he couldn’t. Not since the appearance of the ghostly footsteps he and his friends had heard emanating from the locked rooms in the old orphanage block.  He’d suspected before, but the footsteps had convinced him: There was something in the sealed up rooms and dusty corners of this old house that had an answer to everything.

Even an A in maths.

Oz picked up a pen, scrubbed out the January resolutions from his diary, and wrote on a fresh, clean page.

Find out Penwurt’s secrets.

 He would, too.  If was the last thing he’d ever do.

OP soft-ebook-cover The Obsidian Pebble  by Rhys A Jones.

[Temp cover–artwork to come.]

Book 1 of the Artefact Quintet.

A MG fantasy/mystery for 9 to 90 year olds.

Oz Chambers lives in a haunted house. His mother wants to move, but Oz would rather do double algebra (yuck) every day for twelve months than leave. When he and his friends hear ghostly footsteps, it leads to a search for the strange artefacts that are the source of the old place’s eerie reputation. But what Oz hasn’t bargained for is that he’s not alone in that search and that solving Penwurt’s puzzles will lead to other, much darker secrets that will test his loyalty and his bravery to the limit.

Coming soon from Spencer Hill Press.   October 2013.