Renee Conoulty: May 2017

Books

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

13 Steps to Evil

 Hey Everyone! 

I'd like to introduce you to Sasha Black. Sacha Black has five obsessions; words, expensive shoes, conspiracy theories, self-improvement, and breaking the rules. She also has the mind of a perpetual sixteen-year-old, only with slightly less drama and slightly more bills.

Sacha writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her wife and genius, giant of a son.

When she's not writing, she can be found laughing inappropriately loud, blogging, sniffing musty old books, fangirling film and TV soundtracks, or thinking up new ways to break the rules.

Connect with Sasha via



Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.

Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clich├ęs? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Dear Banjo by Sasha Wasley *Release Day Blitz*

Hey Everyone!

I'd like to introduce you to Sasha Wasley whose debut novel, Dear Banjo, has hit the shelves. 


Sasha Wasley was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia.
She has completed a PhD in cultural theory and loves nature, Jane Austen and puns.
Sasha is a farming wannabe, with a passion for animals and the land. Although she’s in her forties now, she still wants a pony.
Her debut novel, a young adult paranormal, was published in 2014. Today, she lives and writes in the Swan Valley wine region with her partner and two daughters, surrounded by dogs, cats and chickens.
Sasha writes mystery, paranormal and young adult novels as S.D. Wasley. 

Follow Sasha

·         Website: https://sashawasley.com/books/
·         FB Author Page URL: http://www.facebook.com/sdwasley
·         Twitter URL: http://www.twitter.com/sdwasleyauthor
·         Instagram: https://instagram.com/sdwasley_author/

International Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Dear Banjo, Sasha is giving away some super-cute cattle-related prizes, including an udderley adorable mug and an adult colouring book all about cows.


Dear Banjo by Sasha Wasley 

They were best friends who were never meant to fall in love – but for one of them, it was already way too late.
Willow ‘Banjo’ Paterson and Tom Forrest were raised on neighbouring cattle stations in the heart of the Kimberley. As young adults, sharing the same life dreams, something came between them that Willow cannot forget. Now ten years have passed since she’s even spoken to Tom.
When her father falls ill, Willow is called home to take over the running of the family property, Paterson Downs. Her vision for a sustainable, organic cattle station is proving hard to achieve. She needs Tom’s help, but is it too late, and all too complicated, to make amends?
Tom’s heartfelt, decade-old letters remain unopened and unmentioned between them, and Willow must find the courage to finally read them. Their tattered pages reveal a love story like no other – and one you’ll never forget.
Dear Banjo is a wildly romantic and utterly captivating story about first love and second chances from an exciting new Australian author


Dear Banjo is now available worldwide in paperback and e-book editions. Some purchase links are below or search your favourite outlet.
·         Booktopia (Aus & NZ, $6.95 postage) - http://www.booktopia.com.au/dear-banjo-sasha-wasley/prod9780143784524.html
·         Book Depository (international, free postage) - https://www.bookdepository.com/Dear-Banjo-Sash-Wasley/9780143784524
·         Amazon Kindle - https://www.amazon.com/d/B06XKGW9YT/

Monday, 29 May 2017

Edit Your Own Romance Novel by Ebony McKenna

Hey Everyone!

I'd like to introduce you to Ebony McKenna, whose latest book, Edit Your Own Romance Novel, was just published.


As a teenager, Ebony lived and worked in her family's restaurant, which provided much of the inspiration for the Ondine novels. Ebony waitressed, prepared food - and yep - washed dishes. So many dishes.

In the 1990s she worked as an award winning journalist on many leading Melbourne newspapers. By day she wrote other people's stories, but by night she plotted epic adventures. Now she writes novels for a living.

Ebony McKenna lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and young son.


Connect with Ebony

Guest Post

Writing advice is like rain – sometimes it’s welcome and sometimes it can be too much. Do this, don’t do that and for goodness’ sake watch out for the head hopping!

Writing advice can be overwhelming at first, so if I could give one piece of writing advice it’s this: Do what works for you and let everything else slide for now, otherwise you might end up confused and conflicted. Also, you may become so caught up in collecting advice you won’t get the actual writing part done. After all, the writing part is the important ‘bit’ of writing.

My style of learning and writing could be summed up as ‘trial and error’. It’s much slower than absorbing everything and getting it right the first time. I mean, who really does that? Well, people who much cleverer (or should that be ‘more clever’?) than me, for a start.

Over the decades of writing, I’ve slowly developed a way of absorbing advice and working it into my writing style. It began in the early 90s, when I studied journalism at RMIT. We learned all about the structure of writing ‘hard news’ and ‘soft news’, as we called it. (‘Fake news’ hadn’t been invented then.)

Hard news involved putting the most important information in the first paragraph, then the second most important information went in the next and so on. The idea was the ‘copy’ we wrote could be cut from the bottom. This was seriously old school stuff. We wrote each piece of information in its own paragraph (which was actually only a sentence) on a slip of paper. Then we could lay them out on our desk and work out which piece really was the most important. Once they were all in order, we wrote them up as a news story.

It was labour-intensive, but valuable practise for the years to come. The technique made us focus on potential readers who – research showed us – often only read the first three paragraphs (which were actually sentences) of a story before moving on. They key was to hook readers with information they would want and need to know, to keep them reading.

Soft news needed a different structure. This was for longer interviews, sometimes called ‘colour pieces’. You still needed to hook the reader, but it needed to tell a story and entertain them all the way to the end. This set up my love of structure, but also gave me a realist’s view that I needed to write for potential readers, not for myself.

The switch from news writing to novels was another excuse to surround myself with structure. Novels were bigger, so they needed more structure.

But the books I wanted to write didn’t really fit with the story-telling structure that was around in the 2000s. The basic 3-Act model and The Hero’s Journey were a handy starting point, but it those structures are based on a male adventure and taking the ‘girl’ as the prize. And so, my first novel had a male hero, who teamed up with a woman (who outranked him in privilege and education and career!) who together slayed the beast and returned victorious but also a little numb from how events had affected them. It was a science fiction space opera, with explodey things and gadgets and weird sex and space flight. I haven’t read it in years and I really should pull it out and dust it off. My point being, I was trying to make my stories fit the wrong kind of structure.
It wasn’t until I joined a romance writing group that I understood there was a specifically romantic, female way of bending structure to suit our needs. We didn’t need to have a section of ‘gathering allies’ because the ‘adventure’ was not a journey of distance but of emotions between two people. How about that?

This romantic structure helped me write (and more importantly, finish) my first published novel, The Summer of Shambles. The publishers then wanted a second novel – the same but different – and I knew I could do it, because I had structure on my side. (It didn’t mean the novels became easier to write, mind you. It just meant I didn’t panic because I had a really good idea of what needed to go where.)

As I plotted and wrote four more novels, I developed romance-specific structures that really work for me. One of them is something I call The Staircase of Turning Points, which I’ve presented at several RWA conferences. It was one of those ‘lightbulb’ moments I had while reading Gone With The Wind. Chapter after chapter, there it was, that figurative staircase Scarlett had to climb to reach her goal and get her own way. Margaret Mitchell wrote it in the 1930s (published in 1936). Before she was a novelist, she was a journalist. I have a hunch she loved structure too.

I love sharing my structural adaptations with other romance writers, because I figure if it works for me, it will work for others as well. I’ve presented several workshops at Romance Writers of Australia conferences and libraries across Australia, but time constraints often meant I had to leave things out, or rush things. Now everything from those workshops is in one handy editing guide – fully fleshed out with no time constraints.

And the best part is you can pick out what works for you and apply it to your own writing.


Edit Your Own Romance Novel by Ebony McKenna

Many books will teach you how to write, but this book takes the extra step and gives writers the tools they need to become objective about their own writing, and edit their own novels. 
Ebony McKenna has taken elements from many established story structures and created a romance-friendly format that romance novelists will love. Not sure how to get from the middle of the book to the Black Moment? Ms McKenna's step-by-step instructions will get your story back on track.

Purchase link


Hey! Here's my review.

I've devoured lots of writing craft books and I'm excited when I find one that understands the differences in the romance genre. This book is packed full of examples from novels and movies to demonstrate the concepts as well as hands-on activities to apply the knowledge to your own work. 

It would be perfect for pantsers, people who write organically, to apply after they have written their first draft to see how it all fits together and work out if they are missing anything. It could also be used in the plotting process to plan out the types of scenes you want to include.


Easy to read, diagrams, worksheets, examples, activities, Aussie spelling and lots of humour. This book ticked all the boxes for me. I'll definitely refer back to it during my next round of editing.

★★★★★

  • Where: Requested a copy from the author
  • Format: ebook 


Friday, 26 May 2017

Little Gray Dress by Aimee Brown *Cover Reveal*




Hey Everyone!
 
I'd like to introduce you to fellow book blogger, Aimee Brown, who is unveiling the cover for her debut novel, Little Gray Dress.

Aimee Brown is a writer and avid reader, often blogging her thoughts on chick lit books. Little Gray Dress is her first novel published. She’s currently studying for her Bachelor’s degree in English Writing. She spends much of her time writing her next book, doing homework, raising three teenagers, binge watching shows on Netflix and obsessively cleaning and redecorating her house. She’s fluent in sarcasm and has been known to use far too many swear words. Aimee grew up in Oregon but is now a transplant living in cold Montana with her husband of twenty years, three teenage children, and many, many pets. She would love to hear your thoughts on Little Gray Dress

If you want to chat with her she’s very active on social media. 


Title: Little Gray Dress 
Author: Aimee Brown 
Genre: Romantic Comedy 
Publisher: Crooked Cat Books 
Release Date: August 2nd, 2017 
Pre-Orders Available: Early July 

Blurb:
Emi Harrison has avoided her ex-fiance, Jack Cabot, for nearly two years. Her twin brother Evan’s wedding is about to end that streak.

From bad bridesmaid’s dresses, a hyperactive sister-in-law, a mean girl with even meaner secrets, and too much to drink, nothing seems to go right for Emi, except when she’s wearing her little gray dress.

When she speed-walks into Liam Jaxon’s bar, things get more complicated. He’s gorgeous, southern, and has no past with Emi. He may be exactly what she needs to prove for the last time that she doesn’t need or want Jack!

Her favorite little gray dress has made an appearance at nearly every major event in Emi’s adult life. Will it make another grand appearance when she least expects it?

Pre-Order the Book in early July. *for a notification when the books pre-order is up, sign-up for her author newsletter.

Participate in the Book Tour: Aimee would love to have you as a part of this upcoming release day book tour! If you'd like to sign-up to review the book during the tour or post a feature, author q&a, author guest post, excerpt, or giveaway, 
--- sign-up here ---> http://authoraimeebrown.com/little-gray-dress/  



Thursday, 25 May 2017

Meeting Liane

Hey Everyone!

On Friday night, I had the chance to meet my all time favourite author - Liane Moriarty.

Not long after I moved to Wagga Wagga, I was driving home in the car and flicked on the local radio. I heard an announcement that the local library was running an annual event called One Book One Wagga where they encouraged as many people as possible to read the same book and that this year's book would be Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty (you can read my review here). And to top off that news - she would be coming to a gala dinner right here in little old Wagga!

As soon as I got home, I looked up the phone number to the library and called them to find out how to get a ticket. The librarian who answered didn't know so hunted down the guy who'd been on the radio and put him on the phone. I could hear the smile on his face as he explained to the overenthusiastic library patron (me) that he couldn't pre-book a ticket and I could follow the library Facebook page to find out when tickets went on sale. Well, I stalked that page and now everyone at the library recognises me from my profile picture.

When hubby asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year, I told him all I wanted was this ticket I'd just bought for myself. And lots of chocolate... I kept my ticket somewhere safe - in the box where the extra copies of my paperback are kept - until the big night. I obviously didn't get it out and read it often enough because I turned up to the venue listed on the receipt ticket (where I picked up the ticket) instead of the venue the actual event was being held. Thank goodness I was early and the correct venue was only a couple of streets away.

I made my way past tables filled with small groups of friends, mother/daughter's, couples, and found my seat at a table right near the stage. I introduced myself to the other people sharing table c. I'd walked past Liane on my way in but she'd been busy talking to other important looking people and I'd felt a bit shy. Half a glass of wine later, I spotted her walking towards her table. Phone in hand, I strode across the room, smiled and said "Can I have a selfie?"After snapping a couple of photos, I remembered to introduce myself...

Liane was lovely and very down to earth. I checked how to pronounce her name - it's Lee-Ahn not Lee-Anne and then had a conversation about other author's names. Jodi Piccoult is Pee-Coo not Pee-Colt and Roald Dahl is Roo-All not Rolled. I managed to slip in a mention that I'd written a book too and she told me she loved the title Don't Mean a Thing. Squeee!

The conversational interview was excellent. Liane answered the big question that everyone wanted to know - What's our Nic really like? Check out the video below if you want the down low on meeting Nicole Kidman. Liane is a fabulous storyteller.



Truly Madly Guilty features a character who plays the cello, so in honour of this we had a cellist perform throughout the evening. The music was hauntingly beautiful.


To finish off the night, I bought the newest edition of my favourite book, Big Little Lies, and got Liane to autograph it for me. I decided to get the new cover with "Our Nic" on it to prove that I met Liane after she was super famous. As a parting gift, so Liane could say she met me before I was super famous, I gave her one of my bookmarks.






Thursday, 18 May 2017

Dead Again by Sandi Wallace *Guest Post & Review*

Hey Everyone!

I'd like to introduce you to Sandi Wallace who has just released her latest novel, Dead Again. Dead Again is Sandi’s second rural crime thriller starring Georgie Harvey and John Franklin and can be enjoyed as a standalone or as part of her rural crime series. It is the sequel to her debut novel, Tell Me Why, winner of the 2015 Davitt Award Readers’ Choice and shortlisted for the 2015 Davitt Award Best Debut. She has also won prizes in the Scarlet Stiletto Awards for her short crime fiction.

Connect with Sandi



IT COULD ONLY HAPPEN IN THE COUNTRY


In the urban world, everyone hurries, everywhere. Noise clamours 24-7 via trams, trains, trucks, tooting cars, music of all types, accents of all origin, laughter, arguments, haggling and begging, with this eclectic cultural fusion set to equally diverse odours and aromas. And residents are likely to know one or two of their immediate neighbours, although probably not well, and few of those living further along.

Contrast that to rural life, which tends to meander at a slower pace, and to a much quieter soundscape, with livestock replacing trams. Some folk come from way back – so far back that roads in the area are named after their family or the old homestead and even the “incomers” (anyone who hasn’t lived there: a. all their life or b. thirty years, depending on who you ask to define “local”) tend to know loads of people in the area. So, the community is tighter, at times almost to the point of suffocation, but mostly the upsides outweigh the loss of privacy.

The two worlds sit in sharp contrast, don’t they? And while bad things and crimes happen everywhere, some are more common in the city—such as white-collar embezzlement—and urban crime seems detached, somewhat anonymous, yet not victimless. Often, even a crime against person in a metro area strikes hard at only a relatively small number of people, while a similar occurrence in the country will rock that entire community.
Daylesford cop, John Franklin says, “All this fallout … could only happen in the country,” in Dead Again. Could he be onto something?

Picture a tumultuous love triangle involving neighbours in the spa town of Daylesford. One bloke considered an incomer because he left town as a kid although he re-inherited a tribe of relations when he returned; the other having lived there all his life. It’s a fractious situation likely to blow its top at some point and where hardly anyone would have a clue about this dispute if it went on in inner suburbia, it’s different in the country. Lots of people know the players. They’ll take sides.

They might bend the truth. Things could get out of hand … and fast.

And that’s just part of Franklin’s current caseload.

And then, across the state, Melbourne journalist, Georgie Harvey is researching a feature story on the tiny town of Bullock and its recovery after being ravaged by wildfire two years earlier. It is a community trying to find its way forward, but in limbo without the arsonist being held accountable, and under the cloud of controversy about whether rebuilding should be allowed.

Yep, that’s a melting pot in the making, right there.

The outcome is driven by what Georgie uncovers in Bullock. How that connects with a crime spree in Daylesford that has Franklin frustrated because he’s supposed to know everyone and what they’re up to on his patch. And how desperately a murderer wants to keep his secret.

So, what do you think? Could some things only happen at that time, at that place, in the country?


Dead Again by Sandi Wallace

It is almost two years since wildfires ravaged the tiny town of Bullock, and Melbourne journalist, Georgie Harvey, is on assignment in the recovering town to write a feature story on the anniversary of the tragedy.

In nearby Daylesford, police officer, John Franklin, is investigating a spree of vandalism and burglaries, while champing to trade his uniform for the plain clothes of a detective.

When Georgie’s story and Franklin’s cases collide, she not only finds herself back in conflict with the man she’s been trying to forget since their first encounter, but she uncovers the truth about how the fires started – a truth no-one is wanting to believe.


Hey! Here's my review.

This is the second book involving Georgie Harvey and John Franklin. I enjoyed it as a stand-alone novel. You don't need to read the first book to understand this one, but if you have the chance, I'd recommend reading book one first.

I grew up in country Victoria and loved the familiar setting for this rural Aussie crime novel. A journalist and a cop make a great crime solving team even when they don't realise they're working together. I loved following all the different threads of the story and seeing them all interweave.  I reviewed a complimentary copy.

★★★★★

  • Where: Review Request
  • Format: ebook

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Best Friends For Now

Hey Everyone!

Today is the official publication day for Best Friends For Now.

Best Friends For Now began as a three sentence story my 6-year-old daughter wrote down for me after a vivid recount of her dream over breakfast one morning. We had recently moved into a new home in a new town and my kids were settling into a new school. Between her vivid imagination and my worries about how a transient military life might affect my kids, a longer story evolved. Molly's original three sentence story is included at the end of the book.

If you would like your child's story fleshed out into a book, contact our publisher Duck Soup Press.

Best Friends For Now by Molly Conoulty

Molly and her family have moved into a new house in a new town. Molly is being as brave as she can be, but everything is new and strange - including Jenny, the woman who lives in Molly's bedroom wall. 

As Molly gets to know Jenny, she soon discovers friends come in all shapes and sizes, and the best ones will be there for you when you need them. Even if it's just for now.  


Ebook
Universal link
Smashwords | Kobo | iBooks Nook 

Paperback
Best Friends For Now

Monday, 15 May 2017

Book Boyfriend Blog Hop #chicklitmay


Hey Everyone!

May is all about Mother's Day, my Mum's birthday and reading chick lit. Mother's Day and my Mum's birthday have been and gone, but there's still plenty of time for chick lit. Thirty of my chick lit author friends have got together to host a blog hop and huge giveaway. 


Instructions for the hop: 

Hop to all the stops linked below, collect the Book Boyfriend 2017's name at each stop, then submit all 30 names to 
traciebanister@gmail.com in order to be entered in the Grand Prize giveaway. This giveaway includes a Kindle Paperwhite + 30 e-books, one from each of the authors participating in the hop. 

Entries for the hop will be accepted until Sunday, May 21st at midnight E.D.T. A winner will be chosen on Monday, May 22nd. This Grand Prize giveaway is open internationally.




Saturday, 13 May 2017

Tricia Stringer Author Talk

Me (left) and Tricia Stringer (right)
(and cheeky library guy) 
Hey Everyone!

Last night, I went to an author talk at my local library and had the opportunity to meet fellow Romance Writer's of Australia member, Tricia Stringer. She gave a fascinating presentation, talking about her writing journey from children's historical to rural romance (before it was officially a genre) to her most recent novel, a sweeping historical saga trilogy set in South Australia. I reviewed the final book in the trilogy HERE.

 Maybe, one day, I'll feel brave enough to stand up in front of a group and talk about my author journey... I can rave on one-on-one and share my thoughts online but the idea of standing in front of a crowd on my own freaks me out. 



Tricia read an excerpt from Jewel in the North where the three generations of farmers drove some newly acquired cattle back to their farm and get attacked by the prize bull at the campsite one night. 


She self-published her first adult novel which has recently been updated and republished by Harlequin Mira. We exchanged bookmarks and I grabbed myself an autographed copy. 


Thursday, 11 May 2017

The Hidden Hours by Sara Foster

Keeping her secret may save her family.

But telling it may save her life.


Arabella Lane, senior executive at a children’s publisher, is found dead in the Thames on a frosty winter’s morning after the office Christmas party. No one is sure whether she jumped or was pushed. The one person who may know the truth is the newest employee at Parker & Lane – the office temp, Eleanor.

Eleanor has travelled to London to escape the repercussions of her traumatic childhood in outback Australia, but now tragedy seems to follow her wherever she goes. To her horror, she has no memory of the crucial hours leading up to Arabella’s death – memory that will either incriminate or absolve her.

As Eleanor desperately tries to remember her missing hours and uncover the events of that fateful night, her own extended family is dragged further into the dark, terrifying terrain of blame, suspicion and guilt.

Caught in a crossfire of accusations, Eleanor fears she can’t even trust herself, let alone the people around her. And soon, she’ll find herself in a race against time to find out just what happened that night – and discover just how deadly some secrets can be.



Hey! Here's my review.

This psychological thriller kept me turning the pages, teasing me with snippets from the past and the present. The focus is more on Eleanor than the crime. I enjoyed the little snippets at the beginning of each chapter from various side characters - similar to what Liane Moriarty did at the end of each chapter in Big Little Lies. Eleanor came across quite immature which felt authentic for her character.

★★★★
  • Format: ebook
  • Where: NetGalley

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Jewel in the North by Tricia Stringer

Jewel in the North: A longstanding feud of land and love, a family torn apart and a quest for the ultimate prize...

A breathtaking historical family saga of love, death and forgiveness and a quest for the Jewel in the North

1895. The Flinders Ranges are a beautiful but harsh landscape as Joseph Baker, a pastoralist in that unforgiving environment, knows all too well. For three generations his family have farmed the land, married and had children at their property at Wildu Creek, but now, struggling with hostility from the local community for his choice of wife, Joseph finds himself fighting to save not just his friends and family but his very existence.

His son William has his own battles to fight: not only the drought that takes over the land but his own despair, as he faces rejection from the woman he loves. Meanwhile, a ruthless enemy will stop at nothing to take from William what he considers to be his. Could the vicious and cunning Charles Wiltshire be his nemesis? Or does another man, in a quest for the Jewel of the North, hold the key to his destruction? 

As the First World War looms on the horizon, two men struggle to survive both the elements and each other on a quest to find that they hold dear — but only one will have the courage to stand strong.

The deeply satisfying conclusion to the bestselling Flinders Ranges series.


Hey! Here's my review.


This is the final stand-alone book in the Flinders Ranges series. I haven't read the first two so I can attest to the fact that this story can stand on its own but I think you would appreciate the story even more if you've read the preceding two books. 

I loved the insight into life in the late 1800s and early 1900s in country South Australia. I enjoyed getting inside the heads of so many different characters. I liked some characters more than others but it was interesting to see what made them all tick.

★★★★
  • Where: Netgalley
  • Format: ebook

Monday, 1 May 2017

Talk of the Town by Rachael Johns

Lawson Cooper-Jones has two priorities in life – his son, Ned, and the survival of the dairy farm that has been in his family for generations. Despite the best efforts of the town matchmakers and the determined pursuit of local girl Adeline Walsh, Lawson’s heart belongs still, and only, to his late wife.
But when a flat tyre strands Lawson and Ned in nearby Rose Hill, he’s surprised to find a woman living alone in the old general store of the deserted town. Ned immediately forms a bond with the beautiful stranger called Meg, and Lawson is surprised to find himself captivated by her too.
Although shy at first, Meg starts to open up to him about the haunting secrets of her new home and, with Lawson unable to get her out of his head, they agree to investigate the history of the old building together. Soon they find their friendship has bloomed into something more.
But when meddling Adeline makes it her mission to uncover the truth about the newcomer and her real identity is revealed, Lawson and Meg’s budding romance comes crashing down. Can they both learn to forgive in order to claim a future for their damaged hearts?
A moving story of secrets, love and new beginnings from bestselling author Rachael Johns.
Hey! Here's my review.
I loved it. Rachael is a star at writing small town, rural romances. This one is no exception. 
I love the Aussie setting and the way the characters come to life. I love a slow burn romance with plenty of twists and turns to keep things interesting. Love - I seem to be using that word a lot...
I was emotionally engaged the whole way through. Lots of smiles and maybe a couple of tears. 
★★★★★
  • Where: Netgalley
  • Format: ebook