Get some GREAT books for FREE

This is book sea. Many books on white background.

Get some GREAT books FOR FREE
The first in a series, you don’t want to miss out!
Sign up to receive the link to this awesome event.
Click one, click them ALL for FREE on Amazon.
Then settle in for some happy reading.
This event is proudly hosted by Cheap Thrills Books.
(We’re only mentioning this so you don’t delete the email with the link to the event, which would be devastating.)
Sign Up Link: http://madmimi.com/ signups/199239/join

Cover Reveal – Fallout (The Incorruptibles Book Two)

Fallout (The Incorruptibles Book 2)

by S.D. Wasley

Book Release Date: March 24, 2016

Buy Links

Pre-order now for auto-delivery to your Kindle on March 24, 2016.

Cover Revealed

fallout-1000pxhigh1

Blurb

Even when love seems unbreakable, it can still be battered, distorted—damaged beyond repair.

There’s only one thing Frankie yearns for these days, and that’s to share the gift that makes Cain so extraordinary. But no matter how inferior she feels, she’s determined to help the man she loves with his secret rescues, hoping that one day she will access a higher power of her own.

The one thing she knows for sure is that nothing will ever come between her and Cain again.

Then a stranger arrives in their midst, disrupting the solid loyalties in Cain’s group. This man has the very thing Frankie needs to unlock her powers, but the price is higher than she could have dreamed.

Can Frankie and Cain’s love survive the fallout?

 

Fallout is book 2 in the new adult paranormal romance series, The Incorruptibles.

♥♥ Bonus: Sign up to S.D. Wasley’s VIP Reader’s Club for a Fallout Preview Scene ♥♥

 

Add on Goodreads.

Big Plans … Big News!

images (4)It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post and I have to say I’ve truly missed it! As I worked on this draft last night I realised it’s my three year blogaversary this month, and I’m only just managing to scrape in a post on the last day of March – phew!

A lot has happened since my last update, but before I get into things I wanted to apologise to those who follow my blog via email. You may have received weird updates over the last few days, that I intended to publish as pages on my website and may have accidentally published as blog posts. Sorry about that!

So it was some time last year when I last wrote a personal blog, and as much as I love sharing cover reveals and book tours, there’s nothing quite like a ‘from-the-heart’ blog. They’re the ones that tell a story. The ones I can read back on in years to come and remember where I was in terms of writing.

Some of you already know the last few months have been a bit of an ordeal for me. I’ve spent a good chunk of that time suffering through migraine hell. While I’ve had migraines on and off in the past I’ve never experienced them on the level I have this past year. Unfortunately, the writing I love so much was put on hold as I struggled to make it through my paid job and daily activities. The worst part was not being able to read or write—an author’s personal hell! It’s been a great emotional and physical challenge to maintain some control over my life, but despite everything I held onto the value of hope. With hope we can make it through anything.images (5) I worked really hard to stay positive and while there were certainly moments where I could do no more than cry, I was determined that the migraines would either go away or I would find a way to live with them and still do what I love.

The good news is I’ve been trialling different medications and I’m finally onto something that seems to be helping. It’s been weeks since my last migraine and I finally feel like a normal person again. As soon as the cloud lifted I threw myself back into my writing, determined to finalise my latest book while I can! So I’ve been working like crazy over the last few weeks, preparing my novel for beta readers so I can get one step closer to the publishing process. I’ve managed to build a lot of momentum over the last few months and that is the one good thing I have to say about migraines. The whole experience has really driven my passion for writing and I have lots of exciting new things planned for this year!

A new website!

Website Banner for Post

Today I’m launching my new website which is now linked to the blog. You can browse the menu bar at the top of this post to have a look around. This new format will allow me to update the pages regularly and add new content about upcoming news, book releases and giveaways.

A new book release!

Teaser # 3I finally have a title for my upcoming novel — The Ninth Hunter. I’m still working on the blurb, but I can tell you the story centres around Daniel Barrow, a young ghost hunter who’s about to discover everything he’s trained for is a lie. While there are dark elements in this story, the plot revolves more around Daniel’s personal struggles as he discovers who he is and searches for redemption. I don’t want people who are easily spooked to be put off by the concept, in truth this is a ghost story for people who don’t like ghosts—consider it a gateway novel to dark fantasy!

And finally, new editions and the re-release of the Shadow Series!

For a long time now, I’ve been haunted by the idea of anyone reading the Shadow Series. Mainly because I’ve grown so much as a writer and like anyone I cringe at the quality of my past writing. While I don’t want to go backwards and I certainly have no intention of getting stuck in these books, I feel like I need to conduct one final edit before I can have the confidence to share these books with the world. It’s been a tough decision and I’m sure it’s going to be torture working through an old story, but I’ve finally made the choice. The Shadow Series will be getting a 2015 makeover!

So there it is, big news and big plans for this year! And what better time to share it with you all, than my three year blogaversary! If you want to help me celebrate, sign up for my newsletter on the menu panel above. I’ll be sharing exclusive news about writing life and my latest good reads.

Thanks for following my blog and making the last three years worth it!

My Inner Voice

surrounded by booksWhen I tell people I’m a writer they automatically assume I read a lot. And so they should. How strange would it be if a musician told you they didn’t enjoy listening to music? I do read a lot. I’m not fast but I always have a book on the go.

There was a time, however, when I was a new writer  and I found reading difficult. I used to get so distracted by other books. I only had space in my head for the story I was writing. If I did dare to read another story, I found it influenced me too much. I was afraid of copying other people’s work, but not only that, the author’s language used to creep into my subconscious!

If I was writing third person and read a first person story, suddenly the POV switched in my own book. My characters sometimes took on different voices, the mood shifted, and I didn’t realise I was doing it until I’d stuffed up a few chapters.

Eventually I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t read while I was writing. So I’d save my reading pile for when my manuscripts were finished, then read like crazy while editing. Once the editing was finished I’d put the books down and start my next draft.

For a few years it worked just fine, but a writer is nearly always writing and I was missing out on a whole world of amazing stories! Still, I accepted that was the way it had to be. Maybe I was just more easily influenced than others.

It was only during a recent conversation with a writer friend that I realised this wasn’t a problem anymore. After spending a good eighteen months editing the Shadow Series, I had a good run at reading again. So when my books were finally published I kept going, even when I started writing a new manuscript. And now, all those other stories don’t influence me anymore.

Upon reflection, I understand where the problem lay. I was a new writer and I hadn’t found my own voice yet. I was searching for myself,  and accidently taking on the style of other writers was really just a process of trial and error.

Now, I know myself. I have my own style, I have confidence in my stories and know what works for me and what to stay away from. In the end, I guess you really can have it all. I read until my heart is content, and write without losing sight of myself.

But now I’m curious, have any other writers out there experienced this too?

Part II Editing The Shadow Series

Laura's Promo Photos 229Creating The Shadow Series took four years of my life, close to 18 months of that was spent just on editing. A lot of people underestimate exactly how much editing goes into a book, the truth is it’s more important than the writing. When you’re in the process of penning your story it’s surprising how many stupid mistakes come out, it doesn’t mean you’re a stupid person it’s just that you use different sides of your brain to think logically and creatively. When you’re concentrating on plot there is no way to make sure you’re adding all the necessary commas and apostrophes. The best way is to make as many mistakes as it takes to get that story out and deal with the cleanup after. Which means you can’t neglect the editing process, it should take the same length of time it took to write the book, if not longer.

When I’m working on a new novel I usually spend about six hours writing, stop for a break then spend about two hours going over what I’ve written and making sure the dialogue and characters are coming across the way I intended. During this check I correct obvious mistakes but I focus more on plot than spelling and grammar. Aside from this nightly check I don’t go back to the beginning of the book until I’ve finished the first draft. It’s too easy to get caught up in the first 30 pages, if you start trying to correct it you lose the rhythm and end up trapped in a never ending cycle.

Once the draft is finished I get out a fresh notepad and start at the very beginning. This first pass isn’t to make corrections either, it’s simply to read and take notes. I try to read the story as though I didn’t write it, focusing on how a reader might interpret the plot. My notes usually end up sounding like a bit of a joke, things like; pg 2 – cheesy paragraph, chapter 6 – needs restructure, page 57 characters sound whiny and annoying etc. It doesn’t matter exactly what the notes say, as long as I know there’s something wrong with it and I need to rewrite that section.

The faster I complete this first read the easier it is to notice mistakes in consistency, sometimes you will say it’s winter in chapter 2 and a couple of pages later it has changed to summer. You’d be amazed to know how many times simple mistakes like that slip in. The good news is you get better at picking up on these mistakes and countering them. I learnt a little tip from another author along the way and it has been an incredibly useful tool. When I write a new character or location into my books I create a profile card for that person or place.

Profile cards and my mini filing system.

Profile cards and my mini filing system.

It contains just simple notes like appearance, eye/hair colour, name, age, personality traits. The card is then filed away in my profiling folder and each time I refer to them I have a reference. Before I discovered this handy strategy I was shocked how many times a person’s eye colour changed without me realising I was doing it!

Tricks like this make you more efficient but they are things you can only learn with experience, it’s all about trial and error, learning what works for you.

Once the first read is finished, I have a notepad filled with suggested changes, I then start at the beginning and rewrite all the sections that have problems. Here’s where it gets tricky, the more you rewrite the more inconsistencies that pop up, so when you’ve finished the entire draft you have to go back to step one—read the manuscript from start to finish, take notes and rewrite until everything is flowing smoothly. I find this usually takes three passes, but that’s not the end of it. There will always be problems, things you don’t notice no matter how many times you read it. The best thing is to get a fresh pair of eyes on it. For me this person is my sister. Sarah has been mentioned in various blogs now and the reason is that these books would be very different without her input, she deserves credit for that!

Sarah reads faster than anyone I’ve ever known, she can get through a manuscript within 24 hours and her speed actually makes her better at picking up flaws. Most people would read a few chapters and take a break which means they might not notice an incorrect weather change or a misplaced event. Sarah picks up tiny details I hadn’t even considered looking at, she gives me an overall opinion of the storyline, she notes chapters where the wording seems off and she tells me when a character is behaving in a way that doesn’t suit their profile. Her input is invaluable so I can’t thank her enough for that.

After Sarah’s feedback I make the suggested corrections, depending on the amount of work required this is usually done in two passes. Once that’s complete I send it out to close friends and wait for their feedback. It’s also really interesting how people interpret things, everyone reacts in different ways and hearing various angles helps me gain perspective. It sounds ridiculous but one of the most useful feedback points is when a person tells me a character annoyed them, it makes me realise I’ve overdone something, I can then go back and take out repetitive thought cycles that makes characters seem like they’re over thinking things. For The Shadow Series I received a lot of feedback via email, I printed them all off and kept them in a folder to revisit when I’d finished the entire series.

All the notebooks and drafts used in the editing process.

All the notebooks and drafts used in the editing process.

Completing the final book was an amazing feeling but I knew there was still a lot of work to be done. They often compare a person’s first book to having a child, you love it so much that you can’t see if it’s imperfections, many authors advise that you should cradle your first book until that first love fades away and then if you still think it’s good enough—try to publish it. By the time I reached book four I could see that book one was pretty ugly. I felt the series had the potential to be published but it had been so long since I wrote the beginning, it was no longer an accurate representation of my writing skills and I knew I could do better.

I rewrote book one, essentially the storyline remained the same but I changed sentence structure and took out unnecessary pieces of information. Most authors publish books as they write them, I was lucky enough to be able to go back to the beginning and take out plotlines that were started and then abandoned. I added emphasis to the things that were relevant to the future of the characters and changed all the little details according to the feedback I’d received. I knew the editing process was going to take a long time, I allowed myself a year but it took an extra 6 months.

The first edition of Beyond the Shadows.

The first edition of Beyond the Shadows.

Before releasing it to the public there was still one final process to get through, so much had changed in the series from when I first wrote it, I needed a final interpretation. I asked my mum to be responsible for the last language edit, the spelling and grammar check. I’d read the books so many times I found it near impossible to see it objectively. Thanks so much to Mum for working through them!

I also wanted one last lot of feedback from Sarah. I did cut the timing pretty fine, she was due to have a baby in March 2013 and I sent her the four books a few weeks before. She can read fast but there were a lot of distractions as she prepared for her first child. The week she was due I resigned myself to the fact that she wasn’t going to get time, words can’t describe my delight when she told me she’d read them during the week that was overdue. She lives on the other side of the world so we spent hours on the phone conducting a full run through. It was the most thorough feedback I’ve ever had, literally down to individual sentences. She went into labour 48 hours later. That woman is amazing, and thanks to her beautiful daughter for hanging in those extra few days!

Editing four books back to back has been a great challenge to my stamina and motivation. It’s certainly been difficult to maintain concentration, there were days when I truly felt like I had nothing left to give to this series but I pushed through it knowing I would never forgive myself if I didn’t give it everything I had. The sense of achievement is pretty amazing, I feel this quote from Claire Corbett sums it up perfectly.

“The novel is the ultra-marathon of the arts. You do it because it’s hard, because you’re easily bored and because you want to find out what happens when you push yourself. Like climbing Everest or raising a child, it’s painful and it can’t be done perfectly and most of the time you’ll feel like it can’t be done at all but when you do it’s exhilarating…”

If you think all that sounds like a lot of effort there was one final hurdle—publishing. Part III Publishing The Shadow Series will be published Sunday 12th May.

Am I A Book Snob?

the restorer

I have to admit I have been somewhat spoilt in the world of books. Since I was a child my sister, Sarah, assessed my tastes and preferences for storytelling. Unlike most people I never had to sift through piles of books, studying blurbs and flicking through the pages, reading numerous duds on the hunt for my next favourite novel. I was pretty lucky, she read the duds for me and every book she handed to me was perfectly matched to my needs. My own personal book shopper. I have to take a moment to say a giant THANK YOU to her, her influence in those early days has played a huge part in the life I now live.

Now I’m all grown up, I’m out there on my own—just like everyone else—scanning the libraries, looking for the next story to keep me reading past midnight. Goodreads has been a great tool, if you love books I would strongly encourage you to join. It is basically an online book club but you can choose how much you want to participate. If you want a more personal experience you can add friends and join reading groups, if that doesn’t take your fancy you can just use it to check out ratings and read reviews. Goodreads has directed me to a lot of great books and when my personal book shopper made a recommendation that also rated highly on Goodreads I thought I couldn’t go too far wrong.

The Restorer by Amanda Stevens has been on my reading pile for a long time. I finally downloaded it on my Kindle and to my horror it said, ‘Thank you for purchasing Mills and Boon.’ I had never read a Mills and Boon book before and I didn’t plan to start now. In protest I downloaded another book and proceeded to tell everyone how I was tricked into buying Mills and Boon. Then someone said to me, ‘You know what, you’re being a book snob. What if it’s really good?’

So I’m 80% through The Restorer and I have to say it’s the best book I’ve read in a long time! Before you laugh at me you must know, there hasn’t been any romance thus far. Mills and Boon you shock me! I did a bit of research trying to figure out exactly how this book came to be published by M & B but so far I haven’t found any answers. Maybe they’ve decided to branch out and publish in different genres or perhaps they’ve realised a lot of people want more than a cheesy romance, they want a compelling plot.

If you don’t like ghost stories The Restorer probably isn’t for you. It’s about a graveyard restorer who can see ghosts and I have to say it’s pretty creepy. For me that’s perfect, I enjoy getting scared in books and the vividly described hauntings in this story are absolutely spine tingling. I found myself tucked under the blanket with the light left on all night. To me that’s a good sign, the author reached me, she freaked me out—her writing skills and intriguing plot far exceeded my expectations of a M & B novel.

It turns out I was a book snob—so you should never judge a book by its publisher.

The Queen Of Fantasy

OBERNEWTYN

Isobelle Carmody wrote her first book at the age of 14, Obernewtyn is still listed in the Dymocks 101 books you must read and it was published in 1988. She was a guest of this year’s Perth Writer’s Festival and I could hardly contain my excitement! She’s an amazing writer, Australia’s very own queen of fantasy, and her first book had a huge impact on my reading life. It was the first time I was completely lost in a book and it ignited a passion for storytelling that has stuck with me for all these years.

 

I signed up for her 3 hour workshop titled The Power of Fantasy held on Saturday at the University of Western Australia. I swear for the first half hour of the class I sat there thinking: ‘Oh my God that’s Isobelle Carmody, oh my God, oh my God, she’s standing right in front of me’. Her story reached me in a way that no other could, it’s been years since she wrote it and years since I last read it but Obernewtyn is still so vivid in my imagination. It just proves how books can be ageless, it doesn’t matter when they are created, “When you look in them you see yourself it turns into your story, no matter who wrote it.”—Isobelle Carmody.

 

It was a bonus to spend 3 hours workshopping writing techniques and talking about the craft but I would have been content to just spend that time in her company. She spoke about how she became an author—she was the eldest of 7 siblings, left to babysit while her mother worked nights. These circumstances forced her to live inside her imagination, she used the power of storytelling to keep her brothers and sisters occupied, she learnt to understand her audience and what they responded to.

 

She told us about the inspiration behind her work and how she used her writing to learn about the world and find her place in it, it was never about getting published. She told us to never do anything in our lives unless we are going to do it with full passion and I appreciated the fact that she wasn’t teaching us to write in a way that pleases someone else, she was teaching us to write in a way that pleases ourselves first. She said the most successful writers are the ones that make the inner journey, if you don’t write about something you care about no one else will care about your writing.

 

She is passionate, she stood up there and told us these were the most important things as an author and I have always believed exactly that. She has a unique perspective on the world, she shared personal stories and talked about life as she sees it. In fact she talked exactly how she writes, making me feel as though I spent 3 hours in one of her books instead of one of her classes.

 

Now, I’m not the kind of person to gush over a celebrity, I think I hid it quite well but I can’t deny I was completely star struck. The class was interactive, she spoke one on one to everyone in the group so by the time we were lining up for autographs I’d managed to contain my fan girl excitement.

I looked at the people in the line beside me and saw brand new editions of Obernewtyn but I was proud to have two very worn copies, clearly read to death, and when I handed them over she was thrilled to see the original covers.

 

I had the opportunity to tell her I was a child who didn’t like reading all that much when my sister insisted I read Obernewtyn. She asked me why I loved it so much, I told her I wanted to believe all the things she created really existed in our world and she said that’s what she wanted as well, that’s why she wrote it. She signed a copy for my sister, after all she’s the one who showed me this path, and I walked out of there with a memory I’ll never forget!

Writing Is My Drug …

writing is my drugThis morning I was reading Stephen King’s On writing – A Memoir of the Craft, which is an amazing book I’d love to share more detail on, but that’s another blog entirely. For today I’ll just focus on one aspect. He talks briefly about the idea put forward by many artists that creativity and mind altering substances go hand in hand. Stephen King himself suffered from addiction, first alcohol then drugs. At the time he was afraid that without them he would lose his ability to be creative, even though he started writing long before he started drinking. Once he’d overcome these addictions he realised it was a myth.

It made me think about the idea and how many musicians, writers, painters, etc. claim drugs enhance their creativity but I have to say in my mind it couldn’t be more opposite. I’m not going to get on my high-horse and say these people shouldn’t take drugs, it’s  a personal choice, if that’s what works for them that’s fine but ultimately Stephen King said it right. “Hemingway and Fitzgerald didn’t drink because they were creative, alienated, or morally weak. They drank because that’s what alkies are wired up to do.”

I don’t take drugs and I don’t drink but that’s not to say I haven’t in the past. In fact despite my current herbal tea, yoga and meditation ritual I used to be quite a party animal. The truth is: ever since writing became such an active part of my life I no longer feel the need to engage in any of that. I still socialise and go to parties, I dance and laugh—I absolutely know how to have a good time but getting wasted doesn’t tempt me in the slightest.

I certainly have never bordered near the extreme of alcoholic but I won’t lie, it used to be a means of escape. When I was unsure of myself and my mind was constantly racing I didn’t know what else to do with myself. Sometimes when I needed to relax there was nothing quite like a beer at the end of the day.  I guess it also enhanced social situations but in reality I do just fine without it. It’s just that writing has now substituted it completely. I no longer have thousands of thoughts and ideas trapped in my head, they have an outlet and the more creativity there is in my life the more balanced I feel.

The imagination is an amazing place, I don’t think it needs substances to make it richer. If you want to take drugs take drugs but don’t say you have to do it for the sake of your art. If you feel the inclination to be creative chances are it’s because your brain is built that way. Regardless of whether you take drugs or not it’s going to exist. If you’ve taught yourself you can only work when you’re under the influence then that’s probably what will happen. Take all of that away—the creativity still exists you just need to give it a chance to find its own way out.

“Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around.”

Amen Stephen King.

For All The Non-Readers, This One Is For You

Cover of "Haunted : A Novel of Stories"

Cover of Haunted : A Novel of Stories

 

I would like to preface this blog by saying it is not for the faint-hearted  it contains a story with explicit content, it’s horrifying, hilarious and stomach-churning—read it at your own risk!

 

 

 

Sometimes I get caught up in the excitement of a book and can’t help telling absolutely everyone I meet to read it. I have friends who refuse to read and yet I still tell them the plot line, sometimes giving more detail than they’re interested in hearing. Usually they listen politely but I can see they’re really thinking they can’t imagine anything worse than reading it. Some people just don’t get the appeal, I’ve blogged about this before but it’s something that continues to bother me so for all those non-readers, this one is for you.

 

The most frequent thing I hear is that movies provide a much better source of entertainment because you can see them. I think a lot of people don’t realise how much you can see in your mind when you’re reading, it can be as vivid as any movie, if you disagree I have a challenge for you. Keep reading, if at the end of this blog you can honestly tell me you didn’t see every scene of the coming story then I will never hassle you about reading again! The fact is I know no one will.

 

Before we go any further I want to make sure you are all sufficiently warned, the story I’m about to direct you to cannot be unread so before you get started there’s something you should know.

 

This is a short story called Guts, it’s published in a book called Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. When the author went on tour to promote the book release, Guts is the story he chose to read. In total 73 people fainted when they heard it. When I found out about that I saw it as a personal challenge. So I read it. Despite the warning of the lovely gentleman who put me onto this book and the detailed account of what happened at the readings I figured it couldn’t be as bad as everyone had made out. Wrong. Seriously, it’s pretty bad. I didn’t faint but I was alone in my room where I could take breaks when it became too much, I don’t know how I would have fared in a warm and crowded room. If you think you can handle it, or your morbid curiosity is too engaged to go back, click the link below and read the story for yourself.

 

http://chuckpalahniuk.net/features/shorts/guts

 

Now I dare you to tell me books aren’t as vivid as movies.