BOOM! It’s Booknest’s Fabulous Fantasy Fundraiser!

Fantasy Fundraiser banner

Hi guys and gals,

I know you’re all busy off enjoying your holidays–for those of us in the southern hemisphere, it means full summer holidays–but I have a little something something you may or may not like to look at, but I’d be most grateful if you would.

You see, a bunch of fantasy novelists (some 100 of us) have got together with a plan to raise funds for Doctors Without Borders, aka Médecins Sans Frontières.

The plan is to run two auctions and a lottery for the chance to win real, physical books, signed and dedicated.

I’m in there… see? Down the bottom, but totally dead-centre. I have a few copies of my first edition of Healer’s Touch left… yes, first editions. They had a few errors, two I will totally correct in the signed editions before sending. The rest are more minor. But that makes these rare books… so, you know, when I’m famous and stuff…

And you could win one. But, more than that, you could win, or buy, a BUNCH of fantasy novels… ah, so much good reading to be had!

Go, check out THIS WEBPAGE for all the details, but I can give you a bit of a run down.

What will it cost?

Each ticket in the lottery is £1 (so, whatever that works out in your own currency… I’m in New Zealand, so that’s currently NZD1.78, which isn’t too painful for the chance to win a bunch of books).

What’s the lottery prize?

Sixty books will be divided amongst six winners when the lottery is drawn on January 1st… GMT time, I believe. So, each of the six winners will receive 10 randomly selected books.

You said something about an auction?

The other 40 books will be auctioned off in two lots of 20 later in January. All proceeds will go to help Doctors Without Borders.

BFFF Author name banner

OK. I’d like to help, but I already own a bunch of these books.

You can help SPREAD THE WORD!

We’re running a Thunderclap Campaign, which is a great way to get things noticed online. If you add your support to the campaign, then on the 28th December (in whatever time zone Thunderclap goes by) the social media accounts you supported the campaign from (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr) will spread the word about our project and a bunch of people you know, or who at least know about you, can join the fun and help out a great cause.

Even if you can take part in the lottery and auctions, feel free to join the Thunderclap campaign. The more the merrier is the key, here.

You can also spread the word by using the hashtag #BooknestFFF on your social media.

So, come on, lets all do our bit for a great cause. SPREAD THE WORD, or GET RIGHT IN ON THE ACTION.

Read great books.

Help a great cause.

Do it.

Square BFFF info

A Man, A Woman, and A Clown

For no real reason, I’m going to share the results of another writing exercise I did a while back. The prompt was the same as the title of this post, and we had fifteen minutes to write.

Feel free to have a go yourself before reading on and seeing what I did with it.

I think that’s the fun thing about doing writing exercises based on basic writing prompts: seeing what different people turn that prompt into. And, if you could wipe your memory (or exercise great restraint and avoid copying yourself), how different would your little story be if you did the exercise again next week? Month? Year? Decade?

From a basic prompt, what comes about can be influenced not only by your overall life experiences, but also where your head is at in that very moment. What TV show did you watch that might inspire you? What book have you been reading? What were you discussing with workmates over lunch? All these seemingly incidental things can influence your creative output, especially when it is “just” an exercise and isn’t constrained by story rules established for a longer piece.

So… fifteen minutes. A Man, A Woman, and A Clown… what did you come up with?

Read more…

Sharing for sharing’s sake

I have a blog. That blog desires to be updated.

I’m also a mum. My brain is regularly drained to completely empty by the time I get a minute to go anywhere near a computer. Especially when you spend somewhere close to an hour reading a book especially designed to make children sleepy while your 1-year-old cries at you… So, you give up and let him cry for ten minutes. Go in, lie him down, let him cry for ten minutes more, and go in and lie him down and wait the two minutes it takes for him to finally fall asleep… Much faster than an hour of reading. Of course, I would prefer it if I could read my child to sleep, but he’s just not a fan of his cot. And I can’t leave him sleeping in the car over night. And he can’t sleep in my bed until I’m ready to be there, too (no safety sides). It’s just one of those “battles” I’m not winning at the moment.

On the bright side, Mr6 generally settles to sleep really easily, and sleeps deeply.

Anyway, enough about that. I thought I would type up a wee story I wrote in June 2014 during a writing meeting I attended (and Chaired). For this exercise, we had four images from which to choose as inspiration, and 30 minutes to write. No, I cannot recall the image that inspired the following, but so be it… you’ll survive! (Yes, you will!)

Here goes…

Dinner was to be on the table at five thirty.

Read more…

When you want to update your blog but…

…you know your readers would rather you spend your limited writing time working on your novel.

Yep, that’s me.

On with editing. It’s getting close. I can feel it.

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Recording has begun

Just a quick note to keep you up-to-date.

Recording has begun on the Healer’s Touch audio edition. Exciting times..

Voice Actors wanted: 7 Other Grimbold Titles Open For Audition

Hi team,

Microphone I was remiss in my post yesterday in that I didn’t mention that Grimbold Books have seven other titles looking for voice actors to turn them into audio books. This could be your chance to be the voice of a publisher… if it so happened that your talents suited multiple titles.

Let’s have a look-see at what’s up for grabs:

In Search of Gods and Heroes (Children of Nalowyn)
By Sammy H.K Smith

Buried in the scriptures of Ibea lies a story of rivalry, betrayal, stolen love, and the bitter division of the gods into two factions. This rift forced the lesser deities to pledge their divine loyalty either to the shining Eternal Kingdom or the darkness of the Underworld.

In Search of Gods and Heroes, Book One of Children of Nalowyn, is a true epic of sweeping proportions which becomes progressively darker as the baser side of human nature is explored, the failings and ambitions of the gods is revealed, and lines between sensuality and sadism, love and lust are blurred.

Since I have read this one, I can attest to its epicness. Go on, have a nosey.

Cruelty
By Ellen Crosháin

Once a year, in the caves deep below the house, the Family gathers to perform a ritual to appease their god. But Faroust only accepts payment in blood.

Cruelty, it runs in the Family.

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Darkspire Reaches
By C.N Lesley

The wyvern has hunted for the young outcast all her life; a day will come when, after being rejected by civilisation and the tribes, she must at last face him.

A unique and unsettling romantic adventure about rejection and belonging.

I’ve read this one, too, and can agree that there are some rather unsettling parts. But the whole will draw you in and pull you along for the adventure.

Autonomy
By Jude Houghton

Balmoral Murraine works in a Battery, assembling devices she doesn’t understand for starvation pay. Pasco Eborgersen is the pampered son of an Elite, trying to navigate the temptations of the Pleasure Houses, the self-sacrifice of the Faith, and the high-octane excitement of Steel Ball. They never should have met, and now they will rip the world apart.

What happens when a single secret is discovered that calls into question everything we have ever believed? Welcome to the Autonomy. Welcome to your future.

I want to read this one… But I’m going to have to wait. It comes out next month.

The Reluctant Prophet
By Gillian O’Rourke

There’s none so blind as she who can see . . . Esther is blessed, and cursed, with a rare gift: the ability to see the fates of those around her. But when she escapes her peasant upbringing to become a priestess of the Order, she begins to realise how valuable her ability is among the power-hungry nobility, and what they are willing to do to possess it.

The Reluctant Prophet is the story of one woman who holds the fate of the world in her hands, when all she wishes for is a glimpse of her own happiness.

I’ve read The Reluctant Prophet, and I would suspect it would appeal to many fans of Healer’s Touch.

Non-Compliance: The Sector
By Paige Daniels

I used to matter… but now I’m just a girl in a ghetto, a statistic of the Non-Compliance Sector.  Shea Kelly had a brilliant career in technology, but after refusing to implant an invasive government device in her body she was sent to a modern day reservation: a Non-Compliance Sector, a lawless community run by thugs and organized crime. She’s made a life for herself as a resourceful barkeep, and hacks for goods on the black market with her best friend Wynne, a computer genius and part-time stripper. Life is pretty quiet under the reigning Boss, apart from run-ins with his right hand man, the mighty Quinn: until Danny Rose threatens to take over the sector. Pushed to the edge, Shea decides to fight back …

I’ve read this one, too. It’s a strong opening to a strong trilogy.
The Art of Forgetting: Rider
By Joanne Hall

A young boy leaves his village to become a cavalryman with the famous King’s Third regiment; in doing so he discovers both his past and his destiny. Gifted and cursed with a unique memory, the foundling son of a notorious traitor, Rhodri joins an elite cavalry unit stationed in the harbour town of Northpoint. His training reveals his talents and brings him friendship, love and loss, and sexual awakening…

This, the first part of The Art of Forgetting, is a gripping story about belonging and identity, set in a superbly imagined and complex world that is both harsh and beautiful.

Another one I’ve read, and another great title, with several accolades, from Grimbold Books.

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So, the news is that audio books are a current priority in the Grimbold Books stable, so if you’d like to join us on this ride, dive on in. There’s something for everybody.

Healer’s Touch in Audio

Hi all.

Book and Headphones, as in audio bookLong time no blogging. That would have a lot to do with having a baby and a 5-year-old, as well as moving house.

As always, I’m tired, so this will be brief.

What I would like to share is that I am currently listening to voice actor auditions for reading the Healer’s Touch audio book. There are a… few… to get through, so it may take some time. That’s not to say I’m not keen to hear some more. Auditions have been open for over a year, but audio books took a backseat for a while there. You see, not only am I raising children and doing other work to bring in a penny (actually, right now I’m fully off working a day job, but we won’t be able to maintain that for too much longer), but so is my publisher and many of my fellow authors. We do this because we love it. Don’t get me wrong, we all dream of our writing supporting itself, but we do it regardless.

That’s one of the exciting things about delving into audio. It opens up a greater audience and, yes, a greater potential income stream.

The other bonus is that an over-tired mum can listen to auditions. It’s way easier than editing. That being said, editing Warrior’s Touch is still my number 1 priority when the stars align. And even when they’re just, kind of, almost approaching alignment. It makes me feel as if I am achieving something when I otherwise might not.

Anyway, if you happen to come across this and happen to be a voice actor, feel free to put in an audition and I’ll see if I like it. It’s hard to put a deadline on it at this stage, but I would say it’s drawing close. Perhaps in a week or two I will have narrowed down the current choices significantly. So, if you want to get in there, get in quick.

And to all the voice actors who have already put in an audition: Don’t be offended if I don’t pick you. I’m having to put on my super brutal judgy pants to do this, otherwise I’d never pick. It’s amazing hearing all these beautiful voices. Some I love for how smooth they are. Some are quite sultry. Some are wonderful at taking on a different ‘voice’ for different characters (they do get my attention). All are appreciated for the time and interest you have taken in my debut novel. As always, I feel blessed.

An Update at the end of October 2015

I started writing this on my Facebook Page, and then I remembered that I really, really needed to post something here. So… here’s the goss:

Quiet me…

I’ve been full up with a cold over the last month (actually 2 colds… I was nearly over the first when the second struck) and, of course, I’m still full up with baby. And so, when I haven’t been doing the things I need to do in life (office job, house work, childcare, midwife appointments, scans, obstetrician appointments…), I have been sleeping (or coughing).

Somewhere in there, I strained an abdominal muscle (better now), and now I’m just working on clearing the last of the gunk from my lungs.

Our house is on the market… Not sold yet, sadly, but neither has anyone whisked the other house out from under us (the vendors have a “cash out” clause, so if they get a better offer than ours they can take it… unless we can pay right then), so all fingers still crossed. The vendors for the house we want were planning to restart an advertising campaign around now, though, so… eep! Nervous times.

An image from the lifestyle block we hope to buy
Give me land, lots of land, under starry skies above…

The struggle we have is that even though we’d love a swift sale (therefore, a low price would be ideal), we are constrained because we simply can’t afford to grow our mortgage by too much… We’re already taking a financial risk just contemplating moving. But… mental health vs. financial health… Hopefully we can achieve both. And I need more space around me. And horses.

Aaaand… my baby has a mid-November due date… and tomorrow (NZ time) is November… And the pressure is on. My first son was born via c-section after several days of labour, so, of course, another c-section is very much on the cards. For the sake of quicker healing after, though, I’m aiming for VBAC (vaginal birth after c-sec). However, the hospital is watching me closely. I have another large baby in me, and if he goes past due date + 10 days, the hospital won’t risk artificially inducing me (which I don’t like the sound of anyway) because the added stresses introduced would put me at risk of rupturing my scar, so they would be pressing for an “elective” c-section at that point. Hence, pressure: on. Come on, baby. Feel free to come early (I have had to make peace with still being in this house when he arrives).

Needless to say, the creative juices are not flowing. This happened in my last pregnancy. I wrote very little of Healer’s Touch in the year I was pregnant with my first son. But I got back into it the following year, as I was up at interesting hours with a silently feeding baby, which allowed my mind to wonder, and then  that baby slept for two decent chunks of the day, which allowed me to write. Obviously, things will be different this time, with an older child already, but he is 5 now, so he has school (o:

Both Warrior’s Touch and Magician’s Touch are in limbo at the moment. I have ideas floating in my head for how to tackle my editorial letter for Warrior’s Touch, but I won’t likely be actioning those until the new year. My apologies. Of course I want to get these stories out to you (which would help me a–very–little financially while I’m not working, at the very least… but, come on… I’ve created something and I can’t wait to share it and–hopefully–you’ll love it, but I don’t know until you guys have it in your hot hands…).  I can’t wait… but I have to. I have to get it right.

And, then I’ve been a little bit naughty as I simmer ideas for a whole new project to come after Magician’s Touch. Which, I guess is a good thing. If you like my writing, hopefully you’ll like more stories by me. But, if you just want to conclude this series, that might make you a tad grumpy. Don’t worry. The next project is very much just a collection of jotted thoughts for now. I won’t allow myself to actually write any of it until a decent 2nd or 3rd draft of Magician’s Touch is winging it’s way to Kristell Ink. So, never fear, I’m doing what I can.

At least next year, while I’ll have a new baby and (hopefully) a lifestyle block to get my head around, I’ll have some breathing space from the office job. More of my headspace, while I do the not overly mentally stimulating work I need to do, can go to my fiction. Woo!

Right. Well, that’s a bout it from my brain today.

Time to get on with nibbling dates and pineapple.

DARKHAVEN by A.F.E. Smith lands today!

Out today: DARKHAVEN


Darkhaven cover

About the Book: 

Book title: DARKHAVEN

Author: A.F.E. Smith

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Release date: 2 July 2015 (ebook), 14 January 2016 (paperback)

Price: £1.99/$3.99 (ebook)

READ REVIEWS

Book description:

Ayla Nightshade never wanted to rule Darkhaven. But her half-brother Myrren – true heir to the throne – hasn’t inherited their family gift, forcing her to take his place.

When this gift leads to Ayla being accused of killing her father, Myrren is the only one to believe her innocent. Does something more sinister than the power to shapeshift lie at the heart of the Nightshade family line?

Now on the run, Ayla must fight to clear her name if she is ever to wear the crown she never wanted and be allowed to return to the home she has always loved.

Buy links 

HarperCollins

Amazon (global link)

Barnes & Noble

Google play
iBooks
Kobo

CHECK OUT THE DARKHAVEN BLOG TOUR!

JOIN THE RELEASE PARTY!


A.F.E. Smith photo

About the Author:

A.F.E. Smith is an editor of academic texts by day and a fantasy writer by night. So far, she hasn’t mixed up the two. She lives with her husband and their two young children in a house that someone built to be as creaky as possible – getting to bed without waking the baby is like crossing a nightingale floor. Though she doesn’t have much spare time, she makes space for reading, mainly by not getting enough sleep (she’s powered by chocolate). Her physical bookshelves were stacked two deep long ago, so now she’s busy filling up her e-reader.

What A.F.E. stands for is a closely guarded secret, but you might get it out of her if you offer her enough snacks.

Author social media links

Website

Facebook

Twitter

DARKHAVEN on Goodreads

April Update

So, Easter has come and gone and the year marches on.

Rememberance Poppy
Attribution: Wikimedia Commons (click on image for original)

New Zealand also commemorates Anzac Day in April (25th). It’s a day when we remember not only the day Anzac troops landed at a beach in Gallipoli during WWI, but our armed forces in general. Fact is, those guys do what the rest of us are so glad we don’t have to. But, sadly, we do live in a world where, I believe, some force is necessary sometimes. To quote one of my favourite movies (How to train your Dragon 2): “Men without reason cannot be reasoned with.”

I’m grateful to my uncle who popped up a little post on Facebook giving a run down of what he’d learned about my great grandfathers’ involvements (his grandfathers). I knew they must have been involved somehow, but I hadn’t managed to do any investigation so far myself. It’s nice to have a few details to add to the family tree I’ve been slowly filling in.

News

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