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Thursday, June 23, 2011

The perils of pay day and UPDATES (down the bottom)

I got paid today.
And I went out to lunch with some girlfriends at a shopping centre.
And while at the shopping centre we went into know...shops.

I got paid + shops = Sarah bought books.

Check out my haul:

Lord of the flies with Beauty Queens
A love story with Zombies
Classic YA with characters I know and love

I almost bought:

but figured a) Today was payday. I have to last another week yet. b) I'm not going to get through all this in a week so it's not like I NEED to buy it today... and c) I'll definitely be buying it later. It's not like it's going anywhere. These books are hilarious. I can't wait for the movie...only I'm not sure about the casting. I'm trying to keep an open mind.

Anyway, I'm pretty psyched about my bookies. I love contemporary lit. Plus I've just discovered the TV show Friday Night Lights so you know what I'll be up to for the next couple of weeks.

In work-related news:
a) the shop I work at was robbed last night. It's my usual shift but I wasn't there, I was lucky. The guy that WAS there is fine though, and he tells me there were 3 police cars, CSI and a police helicopter involved. I guess this finished off the ATTEMPTED robbery about 6 weeks ago. I really hope they don't come back. AND...
b) I have updated my editorial, ebook cover design and ebook formatting details in the little tab up the top, with rates and everything!

Have a great weekend everybody. Is it too early for that?


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Brenda Drake/CA Marshall Book Cover Design Contest Entry

To help CA Marshall launch her new cover design service, Brenda Lee Drake is holding a cover design competition, which I think is a great idea and reckon I'll do the same at some point!

As I'm a bit late to the game, here is the mock cover for one of my up-coming novellas, Last Night. I think this IS the cover, but I don't own the stock photo as yet.

and since I've been very into period dramas lately, it felt only appropriate that my REdesign cover would be of a Jane Austen classic, Mansfield Park.

Looks like a modern retelling, doesn't it? Get it? MANSfield PARK? There are men...and they're in a park? Okay so it's not as funny as Brenda's redesign of The Grapes of Wrath. Check it:

Those are sure some wrathful looking grapes right there.



Monday, June 20, 2011

The evolution of a cover: I, Zombie

Here it is!
The week has flown by on me but now I show you just how Emma-Lee of and I came up with the cover to my short story, I, Zombie which is available through Amazon, ITunes and Smashwords now.

The unnamed zombie in I, Zombie is lucid and aware and as he was in life, he's quite neat and orderly.
When contemplating cover design, I had an image in my head of a zombie, wearing a work shirt and tie, brushing his hair in a mirror. It tells you something about his personality and the tone of the story, don't you think?

At this stage, we were wanting to get the tone right (not the details), so Emma-Lee came up with this:

It's interesting, don't you think?

Then we thought perhaps a bit closer. And Emma-Lee added someone behind him in the doorway, to make it more ominous.

Then Emma-Lee gave him more shape, getting an idea of what he looked like. We agreed the idea of characters way up in the back wasn't quite working though, and after seeing what it could REALLY look like (as opposed to just in my head) Emma-Lee tried something different.

This is much creepier! There are lots of other zombies in this short story, so adding them to the cover I find quite effective. And the smile playing on his lips works really well, as he's pretty innocent and happy for a zombie. I mean he's not EVIL, just hungry.

 There was a bit of an empty spot in the bottom right, so Emma-Lee decided to fill it with a LIVE, UN-UNDEAD character from the story. Clever thing!

I gotta admit, I didn't love the open-mouthed smile, it was freaking me out a bit and didn't seem like MY zombie. So...

Nearly finished, starting to look like a real painting - I love the shine on his work shirt and tie.  

Last minute additions of gore - he may be a neat-freak but he's still dead! And finally....

The finished product!

I found it an interesting process, watching the image come to life and I think Emma-Lee did a fantastic job.

And for your interest, here's an excerpt from I, Zombie!

I could feel their fear, the little girl, the teenager, the old man. It shimmered in the air around them, almost vibrating. Making my flesh tingle – well, where there was flesh. Between life and undeath, I had been through a lot.
I hate dogs.
Looking at the little girl with her pulse throbbing in her throat, her rosy complexion, moist eyes, her blond hair that made my fingers clench, I wanted to feel her rip as I tore it from her scalp. The old man and the boy, they were good and all, but the little girl made my chest tighten with anticipation, with hunger, with an insatiable hunger, a hunger I’d never had in life. Since I had woken up a couple of weeks ago, lying in my unearthed coffin, the lid torn off and my eyes opening to a clear night lit with stars, I had been so hungry. Always so hungry. No matter how many of my colleagues, my work mates that I ripped apart with my teeth, scared accountants and terrified file clerks who could have sworn I had died a week ago.
My tongue lolled in my mouth, words coming out as mumbles and groans as I enjoyed the satisfying crack of their fingers. I broke them before biting, devouring them like chicken wings.  I tried to assure them that yes, I was indeed dead, but they were busy screaming and passing out and I couldn’t seem to form the words anyway. So I stopped trying and turned my sole focus on eating. Yet I simply couldn’t fill the emptiness.
I devoured people fresh, on the spot. Twisting an arm until it snaps, hacking at it, tearing at throats until they went into shock and became quiet…still. Then I would bounce their heads against the cement until it cracked open like a coconut and I scooped up messy handfuls of brain. I ate it raw, like sushi. Warm, drippy sushi. But it wasn’t enough. I needed more, always more. Maybe in life I wasn’t eating the right things. Noodles, broccoli, eggs – but only the whites –  and chicken. Those foods, why had I deprived myself so in life? There was no comparison to the ecstasy that human flesh brought: the chewiness of lungs, the crunchiness of bones and the blood...the oozing of warm blood down my chin, between my fingers as I squeezed a still pulsing heart. That was the best. 

Ciao for now,


Friday, June 10, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Sorry I didn't post the winner sooner. To put it lightly, I've been away from the computer. To put it bluntly: I was in the hospital. But I'm all right as rain again now so moving on to more important things.

The wiiiiiinnnnnnneeeeeerrrrrrr!!!! (The winner) of the 10 page critique is

Drum roll please....

Sari Webb!

I really want to read everyone's work but nope - it's just Sari! I'll be in touch!

Next post you shall all see some cover art progression! Come back and see how the I, Zombie cover art...

Started like this...

and came out like this!



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Express Media Ask ME How I Write, so I'm holding a 10pg CRITIQUE CONTEST!

I forgot to tell you!

Express Media are running National Young Writers Month  from June 1-30 and they asked ME to tell YOU how and why I write, and what I've learned throughout my writing life. So I did so HERE.

I was thrilled and honoured to be asked and am very excited to be a part of National Young Writers Month which lasts for the whole of June, where getting published isn't the goal - but writing is! 

Whatver you like to write, be it video games, movie scripts, poetry or novels, give it a go! The more you write, the better you'll get at it 

There are a lot of EVENTS happening around the country so make sure if you're in the area you go along and learn something new.

OldER writers, encourage the young writers in your life to participate, and young writers - what are you waiting for? I'd love to hear your progress.

But you're really reading for the CONTEST, aren't you?
Well no matter your youngness, I am offering a lucky winner, a 10 page critique of their manuscript, whether it is a work in progress or you're about to query agents or publishers - I will help you add some sparkles and shine to really make your opening pages stand out.

But why do you care what I have to say about your opening?

I have a Diploma of Arts (Professional Writing & Editing) and am in my third year of a Bachelor of Writing & Publishing, have been on the editorial team and a commissioning editor for The Box Magazine, Cursive Scripts Anthology and Inscribe Literary Newspaper. I run Billington Media (website coming soon), part of which does editorial for companies such as Open Humanities Press, On Call Solutions and writers and authors.

Not only all that, but I scored an agent who LOVED my opening, and I have interned at a publishing house in which I read th slush pile and gained valuable insight into what makes a good opening and a bad, common or clich├ęd opening.


How To Win:

1) Have at least 10 pages of a manuscript written in any genre.

2) Follow the blog!

3) Leave a comment with your name and email address written like Sarah at gmail dot com so that we trick any spammers. Or you can email me your deets at SarahERBillington AT Gmail DOT Com.

That's it!

I'd love it if you Tweeted, blogged or Facebooked about it, they will be looked favourably on (by me, not by Randomizer) but they're not requirements. Contest closes next Wednesday 8th of June, 2011!