April 25, 2015

Book review: Mary Hades by Sarah Dalton

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Not many seventeen year old girls have a best friend who’s a ghost, but then Mary Hades isn’t your average teenager.

Scarred physically and mentally from a fire, her parents decide a holiday to an idyllic village in North Yorkshire will help her recover. Nestled in the middle of five moors, Mary expects to have a boring week stuck in a caravan with her parents. Little does she know, evil lurks in the campsite…

Seth Lockwood—a local fairground worker with a dark secret—might be the key to uncovering the murky history that has blighted Nettleby. But Mary is drawn to him in a way that has her questioning her judgement.

Helped by her dead best friend and a quirky gay Goth couple, Mary must stop the unusual deaths occurring in Nettleby. But can she prevent her heart from being broken?

The first in a series of dark YA novels, Mary Hades follows on from the bestselling Kindle Single 'My Daylight Monsters'. A spine-tingling tale with romance, readers will be shocked and entertained in equal measure.

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

April 18, 2015

Why I do reading challenges

Last year, I participated in a reading challenge called Reading Outside the Box. The year before that, I did an Authors A to Z reading challenge. This year, I'm participating in a more generic challenge on Goodreads to read at least 100 books in 2015.

Why do I partake in these reading challenges? First of all, I believe that every writer should read. Anyone who thinks they can be a good writer without reading books is delusional IMHO. That's like saying that you can be a chef without ever tasting food. It may not be impossible, but it's very, very, very difficult.

The additional benefit of reading challenges is that it forces me to read outside of my comfort zone. If all I read were YA books, I'd think that all stories involved insta-love and love triangles, and that's probably what I'd write (or not, since I despise insta-love and love triangles). With the Reading Outside the Box and Authors A to Z challenges, I had to read books that I normally don't. Some were not my cup of tea, as expected, but others were surprisingly good and I found myself learning from those books. Reading them could only make me better as a writer.

The thrill of finishing a reading challenge also makes me feel good. Who doesn't like completing a challenge with some degree of difficulty?

Finally, I do reading challenges because... reading is fun! Even if you're not an author, the last two points make reading challenges worthwhile.

April 11, 2015

99 Cent Book Blast this weekend only


This weekend, Gifted will be part of a 99 Cent Book Blast! Over 175 ebooks from more than 150 authors -- including USA Today Bestsellers -- are on sale for just 99 cents. Genres include paranormal, sci-fi, and fantasy. This promotion will only last until April 12th, so don't delay!

April 4, 2015

I guess I am an author after all?

When I meet someone new, one of the first questions one of us usually asks is, "What do you do for a living?" For me, the answer has always been "I'm an engineer" because that's what my day job is, what it's been since I graduated from college, and what it'll be for the foreseeable future. I'm used to people knowing me as an engineer.

However, in the last year, something's changed. I started meeting people who knew me primarily as an author. These weren't people I met online through my author social media or this blog. They're people I ran into in person. My family or friends have told them that I write, and I'm still taken aback when they ask about my books.

I must say that conversations are more entertaining when I talk about being an author. When I tell someone that I'm an engineer, either their eyes glaze over or they react with, "Oh, you're another one of those." (I work in Silicon Valley, where engineers are a dime a dozen.) However, when someone knows me as an author, they want to know about the books I wrote, or how I write, or they want to tell me about a story idea that they have. Everyone knows what books are and have some idea of what authors do. It's a calling that captures people's imaginations. I've heard statistics that say 80% to 90% of all Americans want to write a book sometime in their lives. Somehow, I don't see as many people saying they want to be engineers. :-)

One of these days, I might tell people that I'm an author when I introduce myself. I think it would be fun to. Until then, I'll relish the surprises that come up when someone knows me as an author first and foremost.