Be the first to know about new releases - and even read them early!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

New and Improved!

I have a brand-spankin' new, fully-functional website!

Go check out

You'll find lots of things over there, including a sneak peek at the first chapter of my upcoming YA contemporary novel The Kiss Off and the ability to preorder, you can purchase my other ebooks RIGHT ON THE WEBSITE as well. At present, only the pdf versions are available but it won't be long before Kindle and ePubs are as well.

You can also find the new release mailing list signup page and my petition to Amazon to aid International authors receive their WHOLE royalties. If I had not cancelled my most recent cheque, after all the fees, I would have received 18%. It's not the most lucrative endeavour at the BEST of times. :)

A website for the thriller-writing Edwina Ray is in the works as well!


What do you think of the new look? I love it. It feels fresh and more organised - let me know if something needs some tweaking!

It has come to my attention that my feedburner RSS feed wasn't working. It wasn't updating so all you wonderful subscribers have NOT been receiving notifications of new blog posts and all the STUFF that's been going on.

It has all been rectified so if you would like to subscribe to the goings on at Casa de Sarah then over on the left you can subscribe in whichever reader you like.

More later!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Talking First Lines with Scarlett Archer

It's me again, my lovelies!

Today I have a special treat for you in the form of author Scarlett Archer, who has just released in paperback and ebook a non-fiction title that discusses and analyses the all-important first line of your book.
They're TOUGH, aren't they? That blank page. The blinking cursor. The pressure of summing up the tone of the WHOLE BOOK in that one line of text...

I will be talking first lines during The Kiss Off's blog tour between April 23 - May 15 but right now, let's talk first line hell with Scarlett Archer!
Do you consider the first line to be an important part of a story? If so, why?
I think it's one of the most vital parts of a book. When I pick up a book I want it to catch me. Given I'll wait a couple of paragraphs but I'm essentially looking to be seized by the opening line. It's like hearing someone for the first time, you immediately get the impression of what they're about from the way they talk, the way they say their words, the rhythm that they arrive, and how the words mingle in amongst one another. 
Do you find first lines easy to come up with, or challenging? Do you have a technique, or a ritual, that you go by to make it easy?
It's definitely one thing I love about writing. I know a lot of writers who hate starting a story but the first line is an inviting challenge. It's beginning the great meal I'm cooking up! I don't find them easy to come up with but I enjoy thinking about them. They don't frustrate me. As for a technique or ritual I give my intuition a lot of room to take charge. I don't force it but browse through inspiration and let things build. Normally something will eventually come along, even if I force myself to sit down and begin I've given it enough space to have something ready. 
What consequences, if any, do you think there are in having a badly written first line?
I put the book down. The end.

What's your favourite first line that you've ever read? And can you recall a worst?
"The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed." - The Gunslinger (Dark Tower Series), Stephen King. It was the moment when I realised the power of a first line because I picked the book up in the book store, read it, read no more but bought it straight away and went home and demolished the whole series.
What is one of your own best first lines?
"Aroset put a bullet into his head." Clean, immediate conflict, someone's gonna die.
We're all sharing here! What's one of your worst first lines?
"Oh my God, what the hell is Brett doing?" This beginning grates me to the core. All I hear is a whiny teenager, probably because that's exactly what I was at the time I wrote it!
Do you have any suggestions for other authors on how to write a great first line? Have you heard any great advice yourself?
I think one of the best things I learned in writing in general was to bring action in to the present. Make it punchy, and alarming. Don't be afraid to shock your reader! 
What are some things a first line *shouldn't* be? What are some things that you've read in first lines that really rubs you the wrong way?
Info dumping. No matter what the genre of the book- and it happens more often in things like fantasy and sci fi, which is probably why I don't read a lot of it- it shouldn't start with a hill and a half of information.

Scarlett Rugers (writing as Scarlett Archer) has just released a book 1001 First Lines which is now available at Amazon! You can purchase a paperback, .lit, .epub, .mobi and PDF versions here:
She has been writing for over fifteen years, completed over eleven novels, and her main drive is in speculative fiction or its contrasting opposite romantic comedic novels. She has a passion for studying the art of story telling and is a grand lover of movies. Her focus in work is book cover designs which enables her to put all her energy in to the area she loves most- literature. You can get in touch with her about getting a book cover designed for you at

Monday, March 19, 2012

What I've been doing lately

Hello lovelies!

I feel like I've been neglecting this poor blog lately.
You poor, poor readers.

Well I have been up to lots and lots lately. How about you? Here is a break down of my lately.

I have been lucky enough to work with some wonderful writers lately, and help them shape and polish their manuscripts, business and sales copy. I'm really excited to see the finished products! It's so rewarding when all of the hours of heavy-duty analysis and thought that I put into a writer's work (I simply can't do a half-arsed job on editing. I edit HARD because as a writer myself, I'm passionate for writers to succeed and achieve their dreams because it's so important to ME) ends up with a testimonial like this:

"Just went through the editorial letter and, before I start the revision process AGAIN, I wanted to pause to say wow, wow, wow. Hot damn, woman! You are GOOOOOOD and worth every penny. I LOVE love love your ideas. I didn't see even one suggestion that I didn't want to use. I would never publish a book without putting it through you first. Cuz I ain't stupid :-)"
Veronica Blade,
Author of A Bite's Tale, Blind Date, From Fame to Shame and others.

Gotta tell ya, it makes a girl feel good. :)


Lots of reviewers and bloggers are getting ready to read, or are reading my May 15 release The Kiss Off as we speak! I'm REALLY looking forward to the blog tour and am so thankful to Missy's Reads & Reviews for hosting it. Make sure you comment throughout it in order to win the complete Sarah Billington ebook prize pack! And if you're on Goodreads, add it to your TBR!

I am working on some new eBooks!

(These are NOT even remotely official blurbs)

The Summer Camp awkward URST book
Jenna made fast friends with Toby at camp and sorta kinda is completely crushing on him. But then her friend Leila enlists Jenna (and her campers) to get her crush to notice her. Her crush, who is Toby. So Jenna is forced to help Leila win over the boy she likes.

Saturday Night Series - 10 interconnected stories
One epic party. 10 BUCKETLOADS of drama.
Want to know why there was food all over the kitchen in ANDIE's story? Read LOCKY's. Want to know what that thump and commotion was outside in MING's story? Read KENDALL's. Want to know who made BREE cry while everyone plays "I Never" in the bedroom in CAITIE's story? Read BREE's. Want to know WHY he made her cry? Read ZACH's.
Reading one is fun, but the goss is juicier if you read them all.
Includes fun cameos from characters from The Kiss Off!


Plague book
An unknown, lethal virus runs through a small isolated village and the elders put the villagers into quarantine so as not to infect outsiders and create a pandemic. But, as no one from the outside even knows the village is in trouble, the quarantine means assured death. A desperate brother and sister are determined to get out and find help. But at what cost?

Traitor story
In a time of uprising, the day of Eve's attempted escape across the border, there is a traitor is loose in the city of Hafrenstein. A traitor whose botched attempt at blowing up parliament has brought about martial law, the military and tanks in the street, tanks that are blowing up any building that traitor Wyatt Monroe is suspected of hiding in. When Wyatt appears on Eve's fire escape, she and her children are forced to run with Wyatt and hope they make it out alive*.
(That description is most DEFINITELY a work in progress)

NEW WEBSITE! Tres excitement. It's a work in progress, and will be moved to in about a month, and SOON you'll be able to purchase ebooks direct from the website - you CAN read the first chapter and pre-order The Kiss Off there RIGHT NOW!

Sign up now (or whenever) and the adorable postman monkey will send you news of new books! And that's all. Maybe news of sales if you'd like that too. Sign up here or on my fancy new website! (did I mention I have a website?)

I was so lucky to be invited to a special International Women's Day dinner for 20 inspirational women who are achieving great things in their lives (how honoured am I? VERY VERY HONOURED). With that sort of condition on the guest list, you can imagine the amazingly brilliant types of ladies I was mingling with.
Fascinating people, business owners, charity workers, international charity volunteers and two of them (actually I think there were more) founded their own international charity organisations and subsequently education institutions in Nepal, Cambodia and South Africa. These women are in their twenties. It makes me wonder what I'm doing with my life...
Oh! And my favourite part is that a girl (woman now) I went to high school was there, and she has literally run away to join the circus! I LOVE IT! I'm going to go visit.

I took part in the Smashwords week-long sale, offering Life Was Cool the full-length middle grade novel for 99c and the short story The Death & Life of Rocky the Crab for FREE!

This weekend just gone past, for St. Paddy's day, as intimated from my last post, I took part in a big eBook sale with 26 other authors which was very exciting and a lot of fun. I'm so glad I could take part. I'm raising the price back to $3.99 on the 19th so GET IT NOW IF YOU WANTS IT.

And my class this semester is a Literary Theory one. I'm not a fan of theory, I DO find it interesting and it makes me think about literature in different ways, but I don't like it BECAUSE I HAVE THE WORST MEMORY FOR THIS STUFF EVER.
So it's going to be a challenging semester, that's for sure. Though something kinda rad is that we're going to study Pontypool...a freaking ZOMBIE movie in this class.


I have been waiting impatiently for this movie to be released and it's coming out on Thursday! Actually, it sorta feels like The Hunger Games went from pre-production to cinema release a lot faster than most movies. Doesn't it?

I have plans to see it with my friend who lives out in the sticks at the moment, on March 31...but I don't know if I can wait that long. She'll never know if I see it with her for the SECOND TIME, right? I also love that I have successfully created a die-hard HG fan out of one of my university tutors! Tee hee.

That was a lot...are you still reading? Well how awesome are YOU?

So what's YOUR lately been like?

Friday, March 16, 2012

St. Patrick's Day eBook Blow out sale!

Terribly exciting news for you all.

To celebrate leprechauns and guiness and wearing green across the globe, David Gaughran has orchestrated a huge ebook sale with something for all readers!

Running from March 15-18, these books are ONLY 99c. And there's seriously something for everyone.

Here's just a sample of the titles on sale:


Look - it's mine!


For book descriptions and purchase links, head over to David Gaughran's site before it's too late!
Go snap them up RIGHT NOW.

Happy reading!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Smashwords Sale! Life Was Cool ebook on sale for $1.00!

Smashwords Read an Ebook Week Sale

March 4-10, 2012

Buy Life Was Cool for $3.99 $1.00
Click here to purchase, and use coupon code  REW75

Kaley’s BFF Jules is an alien clone. That has to be it. Because Jules wouldn’t dress like that or act like that…and she definitely wouldn’t be friends with Meg-a-bitch. LIFE WAS COOL UNTIL YOU GOT POPULAR chronicles the initial incomprehension of what happened to destroy their friendship. But that doesn't last long. Kaley's not losing her best friend without a fight! 


"I thoroughly enjoyed this book from the beginning to the end! Thirteen-year-old protagonist Kaley is both classy and sassy and her loyalty to her friend Jules is admirable, to say the least.
I totally fell in love with Kaley's new friend Maiyuki who is also an independent spirit as well as a willing and able cohort. Blend together a wonderful storyline with some truly memorable characters, add just the right touch of humor, and you've got a great read! Highly Recommended!"
- Sandra McLeod Humphrey

"Kaley is a delightful heroine in this novel. From the start she is loveable as a character, and the reader will find his/herself rooting for her...and at times for Jules as well.

The author takes care with the angst of starting anew: new school, new friends, new interests, etc. This is a natural part of process called "growing up," and this realistic portrayal is what will delight readers the most.

The heart of this novel revolves around Kaley trying to win her friend back. At times I found myself becoming frustrated with her, wanting her to just move on to better things, and better friends. After all, if Jules was truly her friend, would she be so hateful to Kaley, or most importantly, allow others to be? (Think Mean Girls times five).

Billington has created the ultimate monster in the character Meg. It makes me wonder if she herself had to contend with such a character in middle school. After all, haven't we all encountered the one person in school whose sole purpose was to make our daily school lives a living nightmare? I loathed Meg. I loathed everything about her character. In her, the author truly captures a realistic side to the true angst of growing up female.

Since the author has provided us with such a wretch in Meg, she also offers up delightful characters, creating a nice juxtaposition in those who come into Kaley's life. These characters help bring Kaley full circle as a character, and they provide the strength that helps with the pacing of the novel. My personal favorite is Travis, and that is all I will write about him. BUT, I do hope Billington writes a follow-up because I really want to read more about him.

And did I mention the cat fights? No? Ah, well...they are good and funny and clever. This part of the plot was reminiscent of The Parent Trap camp scenes at the start of the film.
Like realistic fiction before, Life Was Cool until You Got Popular will strike a chord with readers of all ages, not just the tweens. For readers of Naylor's Alice books, Rennison's Georgia Nicholson books, or Myracle's The Fashion Disaster That Changed My Life, they too will enjoy this novel."
- Wannabe Librarian, Crys