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Friday, November 23, 2012

Feature Me Friday (06) Author Tammara Webber!

Happy Friday, Aussies! And Happy Thanks Giving to all you still enjoying Thursday on the other side of the world.

Today's Feature Me Friday is super-successful contemporary Young Adult and New Adult author Tammara Webber!

I read her first novel, Between the Lines which happens to be the first ever ebook I read, and I loved it. I have its two sequels and her stand alone, Easy, awaiting my eyeballs as well. Can't wait.

But with no further ado, I give you Tammara Webber!

Name: Tammara Webber

Latest Release: EASY

Genre: Contemporary Romance (Category: New Adult)


Book Blurb: 

 A girl who believes trust can be misplaced, promises are made to be broken, and loyalty is an illusion. A boy who believes truth is relative, lies can mask unbearable pain, and guilt is eternal. Will what they find in each other validate their conclusions, or disprove them all?

When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she's single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex's frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night--but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.

When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he's hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.

The Interview

If you could have been told one thing that you weren't told when you were a teenager, what would you like to have heard? 

I would have liked someone to tell me to stop being so fearful of making a mistake that it kept me from taking chances. True mistakes are things you know are mistakes ahead of time. Everything else is a learning opportunity. You have to go out and live your life to learn who you are, what you want, and what you need. Life is best lived unafraid.

What's your pet peeve?  

Negative people. I believe in the idea of promoting what I like and ignoring what I don’t. Nothing is gained by hating something or someone and letting it consume you. It just makes you a negative person, too.

Do you have any writing quirks? 

I need quiet. I can have music playing at a low level while brainstorming or writing non-dialogue scenes, but when I’m writing a scene with dialogue, it’s got to be utterly silent. I have to be able to visualize the characters, their body language and physical engagement with each other; I have to “hear” what they’re saying and how they say it.

Tell us three random facts about yourself.  

(1) The only time I was ever called into the principal’s office was for kissing my boyfriend in the hall. We were blatant breakers of the school’s PDA policy. The vice principal was almost frothing at the mouth as she told me, “Boys don’t respect girls who act like that!” Well, lady, I’m still married to that boy
(2) I’m really, really nearsighted. 
(3) I’m extremely shy; the thought of public speaking makes me ill. In school, I took a zero on any project requiring an oral presentation, thereby ruining my average for that grading period. Only one of my teachers ever figured out what I was up to. She made me recite my memorized Shakespearian piece in front of my best friend, my boyfriend, and her only, instead of the whole class. I shook like a leaf regardless and received hugs from all three afterwards. That teacher was a forensics and debate teacher who’d been roped into teaching one sophomore English class. I will always love Ms. Hall.

Describe your book in one sentence.  

A New Adult romance about Jacqueline - who is learning to trust again after she is dumped by one boy and assaulted by another, and Lucas - who helps her recover her self-confidence while hiding the trauma of his own past.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?

That varies widely from book to book. Not including my shelf novels, the shortest was four months from idea to done (Where You Are), and the longest was thirteen years (Easy). Once I began writing Easy, however, it took about six months; it was one of those books that simmers in the back of your mind, and you’re sure you’ll never write it at all, and then one day there it is, demanding to be written. Between the Lines and Good For You took eighteen months each – but they overlapped with each other and Where You Are. I look at those first three as one giant project – 26 months that produced three books. So I’d say my average is about eight months. 

Advice for writers:

Get a critique partner if you don’t have one. If you have one, get one more. (If you prefer, a circle of writers who trade paragraphs, chapters or manuscripts will do nicely.) What a critique partner is: a working writer – i.e.: a writer either published or striving towards publication. (This has nothing at all to do with whether you’re traditional or indie.) Beta readers are necessary, too, once you’ve got a solid completed manuscript – and those can be any reader you trust to tell you the truth: friends, coworkers, a spouse, sibling, voracious readers of your genre/category. But a critique partner should be a writer, because a good writer knows how to spot a plot hole, a confusing paragraph, an unnecessary character, a boring chapter. And a good critique partner knows how to offer criticism without making you want to give up writing and live in a box. If you’re a novelist, get a critique partner, and prepare to be one.

Tammara Webber is a hopeful romantic who adores novels with happy endings, because there are enough sad endings in real life.

Social Media Links:  

 I loved this interview. Thanks for stopping by, Tammara! The paperback of Easy is out NOW in the US but UK folks (which usually includes Aus and NZ) will have to wait until Jan 06, 2012.

If you are a young adult author, publishing professional, book blogger or simply a book lover and would like to be interviewed for your own Feature Me Friday post, contact me at SarahBillingtonBooks AT Gmail DOT com!

Mucho love,


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Life Was Cool Until You Got Popular News!

Soooo stuff's been happening and there's just been too much of it to keep you all updated.

Sorry about that.

I am moving to the beach for the summer - woohoo! And have been editing some fantabulous new YA books for most excellent authors, AND have scored myself a part-time job at an awesome tourist attraction that I love. Not only all that, but I've started a secret project which is totally un-writing related and totally exciting but I'll tell you about that later because today, I am talking about my middle grade novel Life Was Cool Until You Got Popular.

It is an ebook already (available pretty much everywhere), but as of December 1 it will also be a PAPERBACK!
And to celebrate the paperback's release, it has a brand new, bright and colourful, in-your-face cover!

Cool, right? I love it.

In case you don't know, or have forgotten, this is what the book is about:

Thirteen year old Kaley’s best friend 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.
Kaley can’t wait to start at her new school with her best friend Jules. Jules was away in Europe all summer (worst summer of Kaley’s life!) But it’s cool, now school is starting and everything is going to be awesome. However as the school bus pulls up on that first day, Kaley barely recognizes the silky hair and glossy lips as Jules gets off with the cool kids and with their arch-nemesis Meg, the popular girl (God only knows why) who made Kaley and Jules’s lives miserable in elementary school. In Europe, Meg had somehow won over Kaley’s best friend and Kaley finds herself frozen out.
Life Was Cool Until You Got Popular is told through Kaley’s eyes, chronicling the initial pain and incomprehension of what happened to destroy their friendship. But that doesn’t last long. Kaley decides that underneath the bleached blond clone with the personality transplant, Jules is still in there. Somewhere. And she is going to get her best friend back!

Ebook available now (check the sidebar carousel ---->) and in paperback December 1!

More later,

Friday, November 9, 2012

Feature Me Friday! (05) Author: Karen Simpson-Nikakis

 Karen Simpson-Nikakis, Fantasy Author

Today on another belated Feature Me Friday (curse you scheduled posts not posting when scheduled!), I have fellow Australian, high fantasy author Karen Simpson-Nikakis! Not only is she a fantasy author but she is the head of the Bachelor of Writing & Publishing, which I just completed! So basically, she knows what she's talking about. Take it away, Karen!

What are you currently working on?

I am presently working on the second book in an angel trilogy. When I’ve finished that, I am writing a stand alone fantasy that has been in my head for two or three years. It will have a male  as the main character, the first time I have attempted this. I love female heroes but for some reason, I know the hero in this narrative is male.  Then I am writing another trilogy. I have pictures pasted on the wall above my desk related to all three projects and the novels’ names. This encourages me to keep going but also helps with the gestation of the stories which are simmering along in the back of my head.  I would love to write full time but I also love a lot of what else I do, including teaching and researching and writing academic papers. I also love being able to pay the bills. My angel books are more lyrical than hot and sexy which means I’m still looking for a publisher. I am interested in what divides the human from the divine and how each group has their own particular struggles.

What genre do you write and what do you like about it?

I write a type of fantasy that is variously called high, quest or epic fantasy. These have fully developed secondary worlds and are pre-industrial. I have a low level of interest in political intrigue, and none in wizards, the fae, magic or dragons – although I am toying with using all of them in the next trilogy. I am interested in the extraordinary, and also in how landscapes affect characters and whole societies. In The Kira Chronicles, Kira is Tremen and grows up in the forest world of Allogrenia. Their bonding and burial practices are deeply impacted by living in the soft arboreal gloom. The Tremen are pacifists and protected by the vast forest, but when it is breached, they must fight or die. I’m interested in how they maintain their integrity and still survive. All my books, published, unpublished, or in process are essentially about reconciliation or redemption, and fantasy provides a really beautiful space to explore these ideas.
Fantasy allows me to play around with setting too. As an ex-geography teacher, I love landscape. I love knowing why rain falls and where, what will create waterfalls and caves, why some places are permanently clothed in mist. I also love these things for their own sakes, because they are pure and unspoiled.  In the angel world of Ezam, the forests have only one type of tree called glis. They are either silver or gold and their leaves are like tinfoil. When the breeze blows, they tinkle. It is so much fun to create such places.
I am quite envious of musicians and film makers. I think these two groups have media to work with more easily evokes emotions. Words are so slippery and unforgiving. They can be like wrestling the Balrog from Lord of the Rings.  Certain pieces of music will provide me with lots of dialogue, so I sometimes listen to music, then turn it off and write. I can’t write with music on, but it is great for evoking mood. As I mentioned, I have pictures pasted above my desk but I also have scrap books full of pictures clipped from newspapers and magazines. My characters don’t look like the pictures but they have the same emotional feel. For instance, I have a picture of an AFL footballer who looks exhausted. His whole demeanour is desolate and in stark contrast to the strength and youthful beauty of his body. That image gives me a sense of the vulnerability of one of my characters who is wild and out of control, but devoted to his only child – a little girl.

Who are your favourite authors?

I don’t have favourite authors as I can read one book by an author and it resonates deeply, and another will leave me cold. Tolkien and Mary Stewart (her Merlin series) opened my eyes to the potential of setting; Ursual Le Guin to the psychological possibilities of writing; Natalie Babbit (Tuck Everlasting) to the power of simplicity. Favourite books teach me about writing but also what it is to be human. I often dip into these books when I’m stuck or tired. After five minutes of reading, I can write again.
Writerly advice: be really clear that you are writing because you are passionately in love with the story you are telling. You will try to tell it superbly but you are only human and are still learning. Always strive to write better. The value of the story is this integrity that you bring to it. Do not judge your story by publisher or agent rejects; by sales or lack thereof; by critics or reviews. You know, in the kind and ruthless parts of your heart, when your writing rings true, and when you have fudged, skipped or avoided your truth. Be brave and resilient; delight in your writing journey, and see your story through to its end.   Enjoy.

The Cry of the Marwing – Published by Allen and Unwin, is her last published fiction title.
This is the final in the Kira Chronicles trilogy.
www. or through Goodreads.
‘With battles raging and Shargh warriors threatening the future of her homeland, gold-eyed Kira is forced to betray her every principle by requesting Tremen Protectors fight and kill to defend Allogrenia. During the sickening carnage that follows, Ashmiri treachery threatens to deliver the Shargh victory over the Tremen. Realising her love for Tierken is not enough to bridge the gulf between them and their respective peoples, Kira flees the Terak. During her desperate journey south, she is reunited with her first love, Caledon. Together they decide to journey back to Allogrenia, but disaster strikes when Caledon’s star vision fails him and they are confronted by the Shargh. With the prophecy drawing towards its chilling conclusion, Kira realises that victory over the Shargh may cost her everyone and everything she loves . . .’

Karen Simpson Nikakis was fortunate to grow up riding horses through some of Victoria’s most beautiful country. She trained as a teacher and has taught in schools, TAFEs, AMECs and Universities both in Australia and China. She holds an M.Ed (Hons) in the purpose of dragons in selected literature, and a Ph.D in Joseph Campbell’s monomyth as applied to a female hero. She presently heads NMIT’s Bachelor of Writing and Publishing. She is the author of The Kira Chronicles (Allen and Unwin) and Dragon Tales (Heidelberg Press) as well as of numerous research papers in the areas of myth and fantasy.

If you are a young adult author, publishing professional, book blogger or simply a book lover and would like to be interviewed for your own Feature Me Friday post, contact me at SarahBillingtonBooks AT Gmail DOT com!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Feature Me Friday! (04) Blogger: Brittany from Book Addict's Guide

Name: Brittany
Blog name: The Book Addict's Guide

How long have you been blogging? 

I actually just made it over the 6 month mark in the beginning of October. Once I started blogging and really getting into the community, I just knew I'd have a ton of fun with it. And now after getting to know all of the awesome bloggers in the community, it's made my experience that much better. I enjoy every minute of it and I look forward to many more months and years to come!

Do you run any other types of features aside from book reviews?

One of my favorites is Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I usually participate in that one almost every Tuesday. I also tried starting my own feature - Since I read a lot of new release books to review on my blog, I created The Deja Vu Review (which I run on Sundays) that features mini-reviews of books I've read before I started blogging. I do have a few people who participate in the meme each week, but it's still taking off. I love being about to talk about all the books we've read before we started our blogs though. I know most of us bloggers have been readers for life and there are a lot of new people out there who aren't able to talk about the "older" reads. 

What do you think makes a good book blogger?

Oh tough question since that definition really changes for everyone. For any book blogger, I think it's important to have reviews no matter what. I know a lot of people see reviews as a requirement for being a book blogger and they're also really important to me. Other than that, I say have fun and just be respectful to the book community - bloggers and authors alike. I'd say being respectful to authors is a really big thing too - We're privileged to be able to review these book, especially for ARCs. 

Do you think it’s important to blog regularly or just when you have something new to share?

I think blogging regularly is important to keep followers or new visitors coming to your blog, but to keep it relevant. I admit I've gone astray a few times, but by all means, you don't have to post every single day (although I've gotten on a schedule where I do post just about every day...), but often enough so that people won't forget about stopping by!

Ebooks, print books or both? 

Absolutely print books. I own a Kindle, but the bad news is that I have WAY too many unread ebooks on it. I'll almost always pick up a library book or a book from my own shelf before I pick up my Kindle. I think I need to spend a good month just reading books on my Kindle to catch up! It's bad! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Feature Me Friday! (03) Bookseller: Samantha Thomas

Name: Samantha Thomas

Job Title: Bookseller

Company you work for: WHSmith

What type of qualifications do you have and do you think it has helped you in your job?

I don't have any specific industry qualifications for this job, but retail or prior book selling experience is often preferred by employers as books are a very specialised product to sell and also something you need to know a lot about in order to sell properly. Also, employers in this industry, especially the retail sector; want people who actually read.

What does a typical day look like in your job?

Start of a shift often involves a quick check of the store to see what stock needs replenishing and making a list to fulfill that. Most often it will be the Penguin Classics and Vintage Classics lines that need the most replenishing, along with best sellers and feature titles that WHSmith will display on tables in bulk.

What do you think people ASSUME is a typical day in your job?

People assume that I simply show up and stand behind a counter reading all day.

What do you like most about your job?

We are encouraged to read the books our store sells, and are also encouraged to suggest new titles to stock to our management.
They appreciate that we keep our eyes on trends and on books reviewed on radio and in the newspaper prior to release so that
we can keep up with public demand for big titles.

What do you like LEAST about your job?

The thing I dislike most about my job is customers assuming that we will stock every book ever published, no matter how old or obscure.
Most bookstores, especially those located in an airport like WHSmith is, will only sell titles up to five to ten years old, and even that depends on its sales figures in years previous. Otherwise, we will sell lines of classic fiction, like the Penguin Classics. I don't think people realise that there are specialist bookstores available for that obscure psychology text you might need...

Is there a duty that you perform as a part of your job that might surprise people?

People look to booksellers as a great source of literary knowledge. I spend a lot of time researching new titles and reading author biographies in order to increase my knowledge of an author and their works, as well as reading the books themselves. Research outside of work is a huge element to being a good bookseller.

What can authors do to help you help THEM?

Insist that your publishers put a blurb on the back of your books rather than filling the back covers with flowery newspaper review quotes. People don't want to know what a newspaper pseudo-intellectual thinks of your book, they want to know what your book is about.
Also, if authors could insist on a page in the beginning of their book that lists previous titles. Yes this is common, but a lot of books are still lacking this page, it makes my job especially difficult if the book is part of a large series and the customer wants to know the order in which the series runs and it is not listed.

What do you wish authors wouldn’t do?

Don't come in to chain stores like WHSmith and try to sell us their self-published book. We are retail staff and have very little say over what books are stocked.
If you are interested in having your book on our shelf, you need to contact the book buyer at our head offices.

What do you like to do when not working?

When I'm not working, surprise surprise, I love to read. I have a soft spot for the classics, but am a die-hard Stephen King fan and love to read banned or controversial literature.

Three fun facts about you:

1) I read To Kill A Mockingbird for the first time at age 22, but will gladly sell it to anyone who will listen as one of the great additions to the classic American literature canon.
2) I flat out refuse to read any new vampire literature. It's Anne Rice or nothing.
3) I read my first Danielle Steele novel at age 13 and the main character inspired me to become a writer. Paxton Andrews from Steele's Message from Nam remains to this day, one of my favourite literary figures.

Ereader, print book or both?

I have an Ereader, but rarely use it unless I'm travelling. For someone who both works in a bookshop and is an aspiring librarian, there is something sacred about the physical printed book for me. I delight in being able to pick up that little brick of paper, bury my face in it when the story is sad, or cuddle it to my chest when the story is romantic.
If you are a young adult author, publishing professional, book blogger or simply a book lover and would like to be interviewed for your own Feature Me Friday post, contact me at SarahBillingtonBooks AT Gmail DOT com!