Thursday, 28 February 2013

Guest Author - Cara Bertrand

I really love this idea - that writers interview each other about the whys and wherefores of writing.

Fourth in the big black chair is Cara Bertrand – a finalist in the 2011 Amazon/Penguin Breakthrough Novel Award.

Check it out here.

Monday, 25 February 2013

My first ABNA Carousel

Well this is embarrassing. There used to be an awesome carousel of books here, but ABNA seem to have pulled the plug. I'll have to make a montage to replace it. Sometime soon.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Three of the best - more ABNA buddies

Phew, this is taking a while to read through all these wonderful books - cat and dogs are nagging for food, the washing up is piling up on top of the diswasher and did I remember to eat today? Who cares, these wonderful reads are nourishment enough.

Gypsy is one of the incredibly helpful people on the pitch thread who goes that extra mile. Not content with giving excellent advice, she also does the humungous task of reading through all the thousands of posts and creating some excellent stats about the numbers of books in each genre. What a Star! Her first book Hired by a Demon has all the elements of Buffy, Charmed and a host of other excellent magical series. Her characters are well developed and she writes the sort of lean, muscular prose I love to read! There is just enough setting detail to pitch you into Vara’s dark, exciting world, but without swamping the action in world-building detail. Because it hasn’t been out  there too long, there are no comments yet – but maybe you can change that.
Can you brave the demons and werewolves? Go on – I dare you!

Stephen’s critiques are always methodical and detailed, like the attention to detail in his book King’s X. I love his treatment of the Knight’s Templar – and have to agree with the reviewer who said the history is “cleverly paced”- not the normal couple of pages of description before you get anywhere near a character. This book is peopled with heroes, from the spunky 16-year-old who has lived before to the hunky detective who is the only person capable of saving her from the evil Shepherd.*shudders* And all I’m saying about Shahin is Johnny Depp in heavy black curls. Nuff said. 
Fans say: “It's a full-meal-deal. If you're looking for dessert, skip this. It's too satisfying by far, completely engaging from beginning to end.” ”This book has it all - adventure, romance, suspense, bad guys, good guys, twists and turns you'd never expect, great character development and unique and fascinating plot... ”
I say: Do you have the courage to join in this scary ride?

L. Jefferson is well-known on the forum for her excellent advice, delivered in a calm, positive manner. But don’t let that cool exterior fool you – underneath sizzles a fiery ball of passion with a great sense of fun and wickedly witty turn of phrase. Her writing has every bit of the competence I would expect, with appealing, well-rounded characters in credible situations. I can sit back and enjoy my time in the company of the lovely Lendyn and cool Callum, knowing that I am in good hands. At Death It Begins has realistic dialogue, nicely crafted scenes and just enough mystery and tension to keep me turning the pages. Can you ask for any more than that?

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Guest Author - Maggie Plummer

I really love this idea - that writers interview each other about the whys and wherefores of writing.

Third in the big black chair is Maggie Plummer – a journalist who has uncovered the little-known atrocity that was the Irish slave trade.

Check it out here

P.S. Congrats to all my ABNA buddies who made it through to the second round, including some of my featured friends: Buzz Malone, Don Falloon and Maggie Plummer.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

More ABNA Beauties

It's starting to get a tad crazy now - so many books to read, so little time. I really wanted to get these three in, even though I haven't finished reading them yet.
Thoroughly recommened!
Lisa Rikand is one of the more experienced pitch doctors – her crits are always spot on and her witty banter has us all giggling. Ten minutes after Girl the Reaper plopped on my mat, I was on the fourth chapter and my living room had turned into Wisconsin farmland. This book has the same attraction and immediacy I felt when reading Nicholas Evan's Horse Whisperer, coupled with the very best of Stephen King's bizarre characters and attention to detail. Cate has a maturity way beyond her years, taking on a huge responsibility (her father’s life) with the sort of courage rarely seen in one so young. Fans say: it’s an “easy read! I would like to see more” and “this book has what I like to find in fiction: believable characters living out a story which piques my interest and causes me to experience a wide range of emotion.” 
I just think no life is complete without this book. 

Cara is our resident celebrity – her compelling YA paranormal thriller made it to the final round of ABNA in 2011. She can always be relied upon to spot something others may have missed and speaks with authority on many aspects of writing and the competition itself. Lost in Thought has a class about it that many YA novels fail to reach, Lainey feels to me like a cut above your average high school junior. I enjoyed every minute I spent in her company, feeling her “new kid in school” discomfort quite acutely and sharing her curiosity at the unusual characters and events. I was really impressed with her loyalty, affectionate nature and ability to stay cool under pressure.
Others say Cara’s “writing is very fluid”, that the book has “a creative plot and intriguing storyline.” and “... an action-packed ending with a twist that will leave readers clamoring for the next installment."  
I say: Can you just be reading it now?

Maggie Adina and I have an awful lot of fun on the pitch thread – usually at the expense of the poor lads - especially Don, Buzz and Thomas. With her background in journalism, Maggie has more than done justice to the little-known Irish slave trade with her poignant tale of Freddy O'Brennan’s fight for survival. I have only read the first few chapters (so far) of Spirited Away - A Novel of the Stolen Irish, so I will hand over to a few of the hundred plus reviewers on Amazon: “The description of 17th century life in the Caribbean makes it truly worth the read.” “Well written, with wonderful characters and believable raw emotion. I loved this book.” “This well written story pulls you in and makes you root for this young Irish girl. You feel her pain, her loneliness and her sadness as the harsh life of a white slave is shown in all its lurid detail.” “One woman's story realistic and unpolished is told in such a way that you feel you are there with her.” 
A tricky topic, but well worth the read. Go on, educate yourself!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Guest Author - Buzz Malone

I really love this idea - that writers interview each other about the whys and wherefores of writing.

Second in the big black chair is the charming Buzz Malone, talking about the Silence of Centerville
This is not just a book. It's a complete sensory experience.
Check it out here.