Monday, 15 September 2014

Shinigami Eyes Cover Reveal

Shinigami Eyes
 ~*~*~*~*~Cover Reveal~*~*~*~*~

Shinigami Eyes 
(Shinigami Eyes #1)
Most children hope to grow out of their imaginary friends.
17-year-old Rin Waters’ only hope is that hers doesn’t kill someone, especially when said imaginary friend puts a boy in a coma. Finding herself shipped half-way around the world—to Japan, of all places—she is forced to live with grandparents she hasn’t seen for ten years and a cousin she can’t even remember.
Rin would rather just forget about the one night that ruined her life and pretend her imaginary friend doesn’t exist—if it was only that easy. When manga-obsessed otaku, Matt, won’t stop pestering her about a manga that sees the future and the tragic accident she’ll be involved in if she doesn’t listen to him, pretending becomes quite a challenge.
Suddenly mysterious accidents begin to happen to students in her school, and Rin has to wonder what length Matt is willing to go to prove his manga is real. Is it all a sham or is there really something that wants to see Rin and her new friends dead?
Coming October 31st, 2014
Add Shinigami Eyes to your Goodreads list!

Cheree Smith
Cheree Smith
Cheree Smith lives in the coastal city of Newcastle in Australia where she is studying graphics design and photography. When she is not hard at study, she is busy writing paranormal, horror and dark stories for young adults. She enjoys listening to and learning about legends and myths, watching scary movies and dreaming up new worlds where monsters can come alive. When she is not in her writing cave she can be found listening to music, even dabbling in the occasional writing of music or reading.
Website –  Blog – Twitter – Facebook – Goodreads

Adam Smith
Adam Smith
Adam Smith has always loved the Japanese culture, which began with his love of anime and manga. This helped him accomplish his goal of moving to Japan to become an ALT (assistant language teacher) in Iwate, Japan. When he’s not reading, writing or speaking Japanese, he is working on paranormal, horror and dark stories for young adults with his sister, Cheree.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Tackling Technology in Teen Fiction (ROYA #24)

Referencing technology in fiction is a tricky affair. No matter how loosely an author describes an electronic device, they reveal its functional capacity whenever their characters interact with it. With technological advances progressing as rapidly as they have over the last two decades, this means the author is essentially slapping a date on their book whenever a character uses a phone or a computer, and so on. While this isn’t necessarily a problem, there are certain aspects that must be taken into consideration when planning your story.

The mature reader is capable of overlooking the use of antiquated items in a novel and is more adept at syphoning from the book that which gives them gratification. Teens and young adults, on the other hand, are a different type of audience.

Writing for Teens and Young Adults

It’s generally understood that successful novels for teenagers are ones that address their needs in some way. This is achieved by reflecting age, experiences and creating characters they can identify with. Tackling contemporary and/or cultural issues is another way to engage teen readers.

The main problems that affect youth have remained the same throughout generations: the angst, torrid emotions, social politics and peer pressure, sexuality, parents, and the affliction of self-consciousness, to name a few. Outside influences, on the other hand, change all the time. While there are trends that can be altered to suit your story, for instance fashion or music, when it comes to referencing technology that’s currently in use, you run the risk of dating your book, and subsequently distancing your readership.

Generation Gap

Are you a technophobe? Click the image to read an insightful article on YouInc.
Are you a technophobe?
Click image to read an insightful 
article on YouInc

I grew up in a different era to my target audience. The computers I used in my teens were chunky, plastic affairs with monochromatic screens. Cameras had to be loaded with a spool, or you paid £6 for a disposable one that would invariably produce sub-standard images. Telephone numbers were exchanged via paper, which could conveniently be “lost” should either party require the excuse. I got my first mobile phone when I was twenty one. It didn’t have predictive text, internet connection or touch screen, but if you lobbed it at somebody you’d do some serious damage. Technology has advanced considerably since then, and while I embrace the movement, I can see how other authors may feel daunted by how different things are now to when they were younger. Teens have always been driven to utilise the latest gadgets, however, and we authors must learn to keep up.

The social rituals that existed when I was a teen have morphed into an author’s technological minefield. One wrong step and Boom! Your reader disconnects. It becomes crucial then to consider the psychological effects you may be imposing on your readers.

They Did What?

You’re reading a book. You picture a red sunset reflected on a flat lake. On the water sits a solitary rowing boat which barely moves. You must cross the lake or die, and you’re going to swim, even though it’s three miles wide. Wait, what? Why would you do that when there’s a perfectly good boat? Is there a problem with the boat? Are you a champion swimmer? Will there be an explanation as to why you’re not using the boat? No? Oh. Well, that doesn’t make any sense.

This is the kind of stumbling block presented to a young reader when they encounter outdated methods or technology as a plot mechanism in a modern setting. Instead of immersing themselves in the book, they are sent off on a thought process that ultimately halts the flow of the story. Giving a reader cause to stop and think can work exceptionally well in some circumstances, but you want them to be thinking about the book, not questioning its credibility. This is why it’s important to think carefully about how to approach using technology in your story, but also why it’s your responsibility to research what’s popular with your target audience.

In Development

Unless you’re planning on setting your story in a different era (and if you do, be sure to make it clear to the reader) it’s worth exploring the generational differences and similarities between you and your characters. What do they like? How do they go about doing that? What is their relationship to technology? This can be done through brain mapping, note taking, drawing pictures, and other character development techniques. My advice is not to leave it until the writing stage. It’s easy to get caught up in the bigger points of the story when you’re crafting your prose. Little things like clocks, phones and exchanging contact details can often be passed over completely.

Let’s put this into perspective. We’ll pretend I’m writing an urban coming of age novel about a girl that is having trouble fitting in. She’s at the museum and wants to take a photograph of the building. If she uses a camera, then I must explore the possibility of her being keen photographer, otherwise why wouldn’t she just use her phone? Our girl then goes on to meet a potential love interest. The notion of exchanging numbers via paper would seem archaic and a tad wasteful to these characters. It would make far more sense for them input the numbers into their phones straight away, text one another, or more simply, to touch phones together. If they don’t, then I must make it completely clear to the reader WHY the characters have chosen not to do this.

Beat ‘em or Join ‘em
As an author of teen and/or Young Adult fiction, you have to either get with the times or learn how to sidestep the issue of modern technology altogether. Avoiding it can be as simple as using a fantasy or science fiction backdrop, or, as mentioned above, setting your story in a different period. There are plenty of ways to get around it, if you don’t feel up to tackling the subject. A good example of this is J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, which is set 1991-98. It’s saved from becoming outdated because the author replaces technology with magic.

The problem is this approach limits what writing you can produce. Tales of fantasy and alternate universes can be fun, but if you want to write about more than make believe, it’s far better all-round if you adapt to the technological changes reality presents. That way, if or when one of your old books becomes outdated, you can write a brand new one that’s all up to date and ready to resonate amongst your target audience.
It’s not difficult to observe modern technology. If you’re reading this now then you already have access to a computer of some sort. Even if you don’t have the most up-to-date handset or notepad, the chances are one of your friends or their children do. They’re given them in high school instead of jotters now.
Research is what you make of it, and to use a cliché, you only get out what you put in. Films, television, reading, surfing the web; all can be used to your advantage. Taking time out to scroll the internet on teen fads and issues is most definitely a valuable use of your time, as is playing the latest console games, listening to new music, even trying out new sweets (or candy, for those of you in the states). Really, there are ways to make researching technology and youth culture a lot of fun. It’s not all psychoanalysis and poll-reading.

As for how you choose to interpret technology into text, well, that is down to you. You don’t need to wait to see how other authors have done it before you to start writing. Just go for it. This is one of the advantages of tackling an ever-progressing subject matter. After you’ve had a few tries and done some research, you might not end up with the same style of conveying instant messaging you began with, but you’ll never get there if you don’t start somewhere. Play with it, experiment, but above all try it. You never know, you might find you are a natural.

Of course, there are negative sociological aspects of technology with regards to human interaction, but I won’t get into that here. However, think on this: if you believe too many people rely on social media to communicate, figure out a way to say it with your books. If you think teenagers spend more time talking online than in actual conversations, translate this somehow into your plot, or create a situation where this isn’t the case. What’s essential is to have a good grasp of the subject. That way it will come over in your writing. This is your duty as a storyteller. If you’re having trouble thinking of how to execute your ideas, there are plenty of exercises and writing tips available online. Alternatively, join a writing group, enrol in a class that tackles plot development, style and structure, or, if you have the cash, employ the services of a reputable tutor.

Don’t Be Afraid

It’s okay to get it wrong, so long as you do so in the early stages of drafting your manuscript. If
you’ve got it wrong on technology or social constructs in the past but were published, then good on you. This isn’t a cut and dry scenario. It’s about you taking a pragmatic approach to understanding your ever changing readership in an age of accelerated technological advancement. It’s also about honing your skill as a writer. Whatever you do, don’t resist change. You’ll find you’re more susceptible to comprehending technology and its uses in society if you are willing to learn. Remember, your readers are important. It’s vital that your writing connects with them in ways they recognise. To achieve this, you must make time to get to know what it is that makes them tick. Technology is a huge part of youth culture. Embrace it, or face losing touch with the people you write for.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Fractured Truth Tour

Fractured Truth Tour

Fractured Truth Cover

Fractured Truth
(Fractured Light #3)
Llona is determined to end the fight with the Vykens once and for all. All she needs is to find and destroy the Shadow–the ultimate source of dark power. But when she makes a startling discovery about someone she loves, Llona has to fight the toughest battle yet in this exciting conclusion to the Fractured Light series.
Add Fractured Truth to your Goodreads list!

Action, romance, and magic make this third installment of the Fractured series everything you’d expect after reading first two books. Headstrong Llona is back, fighting with Light, having learned to live with the darkness that once threatened to consume her completely. The trouble is the darkness has not finished with her, and the plot thickens and twists as she is taken deeper into the mystery of the Shadow. Faced with terrible choices, she must prepare her Auran sisters for the battle of their lives.

If you’ve read the first books, Fractured Truth will not disappoint. If you have not, I strongly recommend starting with Fractured Light, followed by Fractured Soul. Doing so will give you a better insight into the other characters, so as to gain a clear understanding behind their motivation. From a critical perspective, I found some aspects of Fractured Truth to be a touch repetitive, chiefly the language, but not so much that it ruined the story. I also felt the first half dragged a bit, lacking the urgency one associates with youth, and some of the major plot developments happen a little too easily. Similarly, in the first half, Llona seems to be emotionally detached from everything that’s going on, although I am not sure this is intentional. The result was that I had trouble investing any of my own emotions in the story until quite a bit into the second half. The action picks up, however, with plenty of gory fights and battles, and Llona’s strong will and feisty character, take centre stage. Ideal for lovers of the first two books, Young Adult fantasy, and strong, kick-ass heroines. 

About Fractured Light 
(Book #1)
Llona Reese is used to living on the run. After the Vykens killed her parents, she knew they would eventually come for her too. She can’t take any chances. But when she starts to make friends for the first time in her life, she gets careless and lets her guard down. Big mistake.
As an Aura, Llona can manipulate light and harness its energy. But if she wants to survive, Llona will have to defy the Auran Council and learn to use her power as a weapon against the Vyken whose sole desire is to take her light. Now she’s caught in something even bigger than she can understand, with a power she can’t wield, and no one she can trust, except, just maybe, a mysterious stranger.
Amazon – Barnes & Noble

About Fractured Soul 
(Book #2)
Llona will do whatever it takes to protect her new found friends and home, but the dark plot threatening Lucent Academy, a school that’s supposed to be a safe place for Auras, may be too powerful for even Llona to defeat.
This fast-paced tale of love, loyalty, and overcoming the darkness will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page!
Amazon – Barnes & Noble

Rachel McClellan
Rachel McClellan
Rachel McClellan was born and raised in Idaho, a place secretly known for its supernatural creatures. When she’s not in her writing lair, she’s partying with her husband and four crazy, yet lovable, children. Rachel’s love for storytelling began as a child when the moon first possessed the night. For when the lights went out, her imagination painted a whole new world. And what a scary world it was…
Website – Blog
Twitter – Facebook – Goodreads

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Spotlight: Her Sister's Murderer Tour (ROYA #23)

Her Sister's Murderer
YA Psychological Thriller

Kate thought it was something they had left behind long ago when they moved nearly two-thousand miles away, but when her best friend Abby talks her into visiting a psychic, the mystery is reawakened. Twenty-one years ago, four years before she was even born, her older sister had disappeared from the front porch of their cousin’s home. Without witnesses and without any evidence, the case went cold.

Abby’s had a crush on Adam for nearly two years and is more than ecstatic when she finally catches his attention. Secretly Kate has liked him since sixth grade and when she learns he is taking a weekend trip to see his brother in the same town where her sister had disappeared, she goes along. As their forbidden romance blooms and betrayal weighs heavily on her heart, she finds herself face to face with her sister’s murderer.

When she came to, she didn’t know how much time had passed. The hard dirt beneath her was cold against her soft cheek and she could feel someone's heavy presence. Pit pats of dirt pelted on top of her back first in small bits and then in shovel fulls. She couldn’t move because she was too weak. She tried to jiggle an arm, but it was as if her arm muscles weren’t connected to the fibers in her brain anymore. She couldn’t move anything. The scream she wanted so desperately to release was trapped in her dry throat. She was paralyzed. All she could do was lay there and listen as he piled the dirt on top of her. The pain from her broken leg was no longer present and she wondered how that was possible as her vision began to blur. Soon she was unconscious again.

Tabitha Short

Ms. Short began her writing career very early, receiving awards and recognition in writing during her school years. She served as Editor-in-Chief of her high school newspaper and yearbook where she received multiple awards and scholarships that led her to study Journalism at Western Kentucky University. She served as a reporter and layout designer for Western Kentucky University College Heights Herald and Western Kentucky University Talisman. After graduation, she found herself pilfering through various marketing and sales jobs before landing in a position as a Supported Employment Specialist for a human services agency. She spends her free time as a freelance editor, author, and blog operator.

 Website ~ Facebook ~ Blog ~ Twitter

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The Shadow Prince Cover Reveal

This prequel novella will be FREE and available on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble on March 25, 2014!

Every sacrifice has consequences.

Sixteen-year-old Rowan has spent most of his life living among the mortals—learning to control the element of fire, impatiently awaiting the day his vengeful mother, Queen Prisma, will abdicate her throne. When he finally returns to Avalon for his coronation, his mother insists he must first prove his loyalty to the court by completing a secret mission:

Kill Kalin, the half-human, half-elemental daughter of the air court king.

Willing to do anything to remove his mother from power, he agrees to sacrifice the halfling. He returns to the mortal world with his best friend, Marcus, determined to kill the princess. But as he devises a plan, he starts to question whether or not he's capable of completing such a heinous task. And what price he will pay if he refuses?

Mortal Enchantment (Book 1)
ebook262 pages
Expected publication: May 20th 2014 by Phoenix Reign Publishing


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Stacey O'Neale started her career in publishing as a blogger turned publicist for two successful small publishers. She loves to write stories with swoony paranormal heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing.

When she's not writing, she loves blogging and fangirling about books on twitter. Occasionally, she leaves her computer to go outside.

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