#MadeItMonday: A Book, A Book! I Made A Book!

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂

Pretty much the only thing I’ve made this week apart from school resources and stuff is the internal pretties for Where Shadows Rise – which, okay, this feels a little like cheating in terms of ‘making’ something, but on the other hand, VERY PRETTY AND EXCITING!

If you want to read the first chapter, you can find it right here 🙂 Yay! Pretty book!

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Releeeeeease The Unicoooooooorns!!

…Wait, what? The unicorns? Why are we releasing unicorns? And honestly if you’re talking about the unicorns in the Darkness and Good anthology by Amy Laurens and Liana Brooks which is OUT TODAY, releasing the unicorns is SERIOUSLY Not A Good Idea. Like, at all. You do want to *live*, don’t you? DON’T YOU???

Besides. If you died, how would you order your copy of this amazing anthology? YOU WOULDN’T. And then you’d NEVER get to read the ALL-NEW CONTENT that we wrote JUST FOR THIS ANTHOLOGY that you’ll never, EVER get to see ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD!!

Plus you won’t get to see that we really can actually Write Kinda Good and that when we say the Darkness and Good blog is drafts only, we actually do mean it.

Look, the anthology’s actually pretty good, okay? And it has pictures. Pretty pictures. I should know, ’cause I drew them. /nodnod. And these are the fan-favourite stories from the blog, so they must have at least SOME merit, y’know? And, like, the anthology’s on sale for the next month for $2.99, AND if you buy it direct from Inkprint Press you get both the epub AND the mobi files! (Or, y’know, you can buy it in print from Amazon and get the mobi file free if that’s your thing.)

Anyway. I’d better go. Some stupid person set the unicorns loose and now the fate of the world’s uncertain. I, for one, do not want to die a unicorn related death any time today. Or, for that matter, tomorrow. So yeah. Imma go round up unicorns. You… go read a book, or something like that.

😉
A

Darkness and Good: 38 fantasy and science fiction short stories by Liana Brooks and Amy Laurens

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A Happy Moment

In the midst of world chaos and a personally hectic week as school returns for a new year here in Australia, a bright spot arrived in the mail today:

Oh good, my fingers are perfectly covering the byline >.< That’s Liana Brooks’s name and my name under my fingers there, to reassure you 😉

And LOOOOOOOK!! I am *SO* happy with how these illustrations turned out. Some of them are better than others, but considering they were a last-minute thing that I couldn’t spend a huge amount of time on, I’m super happy. Look, here’s my favourite one:

So there we go. The pretty, shiny, Darkness & Good anthology 🙂 Available in online stores in print and ebook in early March.

Yay!

#MadeItMonday: Cover Reveal Time!!!

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂
Whee!!! It’s COVER REVEAL DAY!!! And yes, I am totally cheating and using this as a #MadeItMonday, because our budget for this anthology was about

this big

so I did the cover 😉

Darkness and Good: 38 fantasy and science fiction short stories by Liana Brooks and Amy Laurens

Yeah, okay, it needs a thin border around it. Hmm.

ANYWAY, yay! New book! We’ll be setting up preorders in the next couple of weeks, and the lovely Darkness & Good anthology will be released March 19. I’m excited!

From the Darkness and Good blog comes a collection of fans’ favourite stories, all in one convenient volume. Come read about gods and monsters, unicorns and shapeshifters, magical worlds and galaxies far, far away!

Oh, and if you’re a regular follower of the Darkness & Good blog, never fear – there’s some new content in this anthology too 😉

 

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Don’t You Ever Interrupt Me When I’m Reading A Book, Now

If you’re reading this blog, chances are moderately high to absolute that you like reading books. And if you like reading books chances are moderately high to absolute that you have, at some point in your life, been interrupted while attempt to read a book – usually right at the most important part, amirite? *eyebrows*

Chances being moderately high to absolute that you’ve experienced this situation, chances are thus also moderately high to absolute that you’ll resonate with this video 😉 Check it out, and try not to have the song stuck in your head all day 😀

My husband, by sheer coincidence, has a habit of interrupting me three pages before the end of the chapter – to the point where now, instead of saying, ‘Hey, can you do this thing?’, he’ll sometimes say, ‘Hey, in three pages can you do this thing?’ 😀 Leave a comment and let us know – are you always interrupted in a particular spot? If not, what’s the most annoying time you’ve ever been interrupted?

<3
A

My Best Books of 2016

At some point I want to do a quick wrap-up of 2016 (good points, anyway, I think we’ve all had enough of the bad points) and sketch out some things you can expect in 2017, but today I was looking at my list of books I’ve read this year and I realised that some of them I really truly have not crowed about enough. I read some really excellent books this year. You clearly need to read them too! 😀 So, my best books of 2016 – with the clarification that these are books I read in 2016, not books that were published in 2016. The list is kind of long, so I’ve split it up by age/genre to make it a bit more manageable! Links are to Amazon for ease of blurb access.

My Favourite Middle Grade Books of 2016

Pip Bartlett’s Guide To Magical Creatures ~ Jackson Pearce & Maggie Stiefvater
This is a super cute middle grade mystery with glorious world-building and not a wasted word. A genuinely delightful, whimsical story. I’ve already pre-ordered the second book.
My Seventh Grade Life In Tights ~ Brooks Benjamin
I tweeted the author after reading this to say that this was the most tightly plotted book I’d read in a while. A heartful and glorious contemporary middle grade about a boy who just wants to dance. Love it. Tight plotting, great voice.

My Favourite Young Adult Books of 2016

The Raven Boys ~ Maggie Stiefvater
This is a yearly reread of one of my all-time favourites. As ever, Stiefvater’s characters are rich and real, her world is magnetising, and her prose lush and dreamy. Private school boys + public school girl, all with Issues, seek dead Welsh king in back-country Virginia. Everyone is a little bit in love with everyone else.
Saving Francesca ~ Melina Marchetta (Link to Book Depository because Amazon only has the grotesquely white-washed reprint cover)
Another reread. One of my fav YAs as an actual YA person growing up. Francesca is part of the first female cohort in a previously all-boys school. Dealing with that, the issues of her extended Italian family, and her mother’s depression provide obvious conflict. Glorious, authentic voice, fun characters. Felt slightly dated on this reread, but I still recommend and love it.
These Broken Stars ~ Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
##$(*%&$$%)**&*!!)*!!!! LOVE this series. This is epic YA sci-fi romance at its absolute superlative. This installment is wilderness fic, and you can tell the authors have actually done research. Events are authentic, voices is great, plot is gripping, and the romance is perfectly steamy. (Sweet on-page, clear indication of off-page developments.)
This Shattered World ~ Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Another fantastic installment, featuring some A+ worldbuilding, a POC female main lead, and another story that reeled me right in DESPITE the fact that it’s from the perspective of new characters. I was disappointed about that initially, but the reasons for it become clear and the same fast-paced, page-turning plotting and A++ command of voice reel you in regardless.
Their Fractured Light ~ Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Conclusion to the series, again from different perspectives, but again just as richly nuanced and well justified. The over-arching mystery deepens, the good guys team up, things go boom, people go smooch. This series is just perfect, perfect YA sci-fi romance. Love it.

My Favourite Adult (Genre) Books of 2016

Clean Sweep ~ Ilona Andrews
A great new series from the Ilona Andrews team. Urban fantasy with hints of science fiction, sassy dialogue, alpha males, women who know how to handle them, great magic, family mystery–just a great book all round.
Sweep in Peace ~ Ilona Andrews
Awesome second installment in the series, introducing some fabulous new characters and really upping the ante as far as both the stakes and the mystery are concerned. I am SERIOUSLY looking forward to getting my copy of book 3 in the mail in the next few weeks. You can read this whole series for free on Ilona Andrews’ website if you’re keen, but I don’t like screen reading, so I’m eagerly awaiting the post…
Limelight ~ Krista Ball
A fantastic, well-plotted, authentic contemporary romance, featuring a female lead with mental illness (severe panic attacks brought on by social anxiety) who falls for a superstar (and super hot) actor. Great dynamic between the two, good sense of voice, realistic plotting and conflicts–a great romance.

My Favourite Adult (Lit Fic) Books of 2016

A Beautiful Life ~ Michael Futcher and Helen Howard
A play I had to read for school, which I promptly fell in love with. Set partially in Canberra, Australia, in the Iran embassy, and partially in Iran during the main character’s past there, this play deals sensitively with the idea of migrants, refugees, politics and culpability. Just gloriously plotted; watching the story unfold and the mystery slow reveal is immensely satisfying and deeply thought-provoking.
Jasper Jones ~ Craig Silvey
A fab Australian novel about growing up, losing your innocence, and doing the right thing even when the whole town/system is against you. Don’t let the relaxed, talky pace of the first few pages deceive you: there’s a Big Deal coming, and when it does, it lands with a thud. A glorious exploration of morality, sexism and being a hero that’s extremely easy to read. It’s kind of like a contemporary Australian To Kill A Mockingbird, and there are a lot of intertextual references there to support that.

My Favourite Writing Books of 2016

Rise of the Machines: Human Authors In A Digital World ~ Kristen Lamb
If you’re a writer and you’re not signed up to Kristen’s newsletter, I suggest you get on that now 😉 She has fab advice to dispense and does so with intelligence, wit, humour and candor. This is one smart lady and you can’t afford not to hear what she has to say, especially about using blogs and social media effectively to build your brand.

My Favourite General Non-Fiction Books of 2016

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up ~ Marie Kondo
If you’re a practical soul like my mother, the idea of a book on how to tidy might seem somewhat absurd to you. But if, like me, you’re a somewhat whimsical soul at heart, you’ll appreciate this lovely take on how to effectively declutter your home without breaking your heart in the process.
Big Magic ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
Gilbert herself is an author (see, e.g., Eat, Pray, Love), so her book on creativity is naturally slanted towards writing, but it’s equally applicable to any other kind of creative. It’s sweet and romantic and whimsical, and I whole-heartedly loved it. There are parts of it that are totally unscientific, but if you can buy the Pratchettian idea that “[i]nspirations sleet through the universe continuously. Their destination, as if they cared, is the right mind in the right place at the right time.” (Pratchett, Men at Arms), then you’ll appreciate this entirely inspirational take on the creative process, and how to honour it in your life.

 

Have you read any of these? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought! Or, if you haven’t read any of them, leave a comment and let us know what *your* best books of 2016 were! 🙂

Over 40 Free Stories! An Anthology of Stories for Teen Readers

YOU GUYS IT’S NEARLY HOLIDAYS. This, my friends, is a Very Exciting Thing. It also means that hopefully you’ll get some more regularly scheduled blogging – and I’m going to do my level best to set up some sort of blogging system that will work to keep things happening regularly throughout 2017, I promise >.<

BUT! IN THE MEANTIME! FREEEEEEE STOOOOORIEEEEEEESS!!

First of all, I have another short up on the Darkness&Good blog this week. It’s an extract from my work in progress, Fox Red. If you’re following along on social media, this is #FoxBook, and the reason I’m sharing an extract with you is…

*drumroll*

that-moment-when-boxset

The first part of Fox Red is being included in this fantastic anthology of sff YA stories! You can find this awesome anthology of stories for teens on Amazon here, and it’ll be available across all other retailers within the next week or so too. NOTE: It’s 99c at the moment, but if you wait a week or so for the price matching to kick in, it’ll be perma-free 😉 I’ll remind you about it again once that’s happened, so if you want to wait until then, go for it 🙂

The section of Fox Red that I’m sharing on Darkness&Good is NOT included in the That Moment When anthology, so you get bonus bits of story (woohoo!). And if you like what you see, make sure to head over to my Fox Red page for updates on the story and related things like inspiration images and music 🙂

9 days till holidays. See you on the other side.

<3
A

LOST WOLF (Cool Book) + American Travel + Giveaway

Heya! Just popping by on my way to America to–

Wait, what? AMERICA?!?!

Oh, yeah. Didn’t I tell you that? I’m pretty sure I mentioned it on Twitter at least (once, or twice – a day… O:))… SO. I’M GOING TO AMERICA. LIKE, TOMORROW.* WHOOOOOOOOOA!!! I’m visiting the glorious Krista Ball for two nights, then heading up to the freezing wastelands of Alaska to see the twinny one, Liana Brooks. I’ll also get to meet up with Thea van Diepen, newly of Darkness&Good fame, as she generously plays airport taxi for me :o) SO. MUCH. EXCITEMENT!!

But in the meantime, I just thought I’d pop by to share a cool-sounding book with you 😉 (ALSO THERE IS A GIVEAWAY AT THE END YAY GIVEAWAY + BOOKS!)

* Where tomorrow = Saturday, because I’m pre-writing this so it’ll go up at the right time for the author, which is while I’m on a plaaaaaaaaaane! So in this case, tomorrow actually means yesterday, or something something something. Time. *wavy hands*. Yeah.

Lost Wolf by Stacy Claflin

lost-wolf
Isn’t the cover glorious?!?!

She’s hiding a dark secret. It already killed her once.

Victoria can’t wait to start college, but there’s a hitch—she can’t remember anything before arriving on campus. Her memories spark when she sees her ruggedly handsome math professor, but she senses something horrific. The shock on his face affirms her fears.

Toby is an alpha wolf who never thought he’d see his true love again—not after she died in his arms. Nothing could have prepared him for her walking into his class. But to his dismay, not only has she forgotten what happened, she doesn’t even know who she is.

He’s determined to do whatever it takes to restore what they’ve lost. Can Toby help Victoria recover her memories, or will he lose her forever?

If this sounds like something that might interested you, check it out in your favourite online bookstore (Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo). ALSO! If OTHER books are things you are interested in, you can enter below for a $50 Amazon gift card, open internationally! WOO BOOKS! WOO INTERNATIONAL! WOO **INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL**!!!!!!!

…Yup, I think that’s my sanity used up for the day. Sorry ’bout that. Still. Go enter the giveaway. $50 of books = yay, amirite? 🙂

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A Pretty Piece of Shiny Artwork: Cover Reveal!

Breaking radio silence to squee joyously over the cover reveal for the Twinny One, aka Liana Brooks, whose final book in the Time and Shadows series is due out in a scant 7 weeks! Wheee!! Buckle your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen; this one’s going to be a wild ride! Read on for a sneak peek at the first two pages…

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Decoherence 1

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Readers of Blake Crouch’s DARK MATTER and Wesely Chu’s TIME SALVAGER will love Liana Brooks’ DECOHERENCE–the thrilling, time-bending conclusion to the Time & Shadow series!

Samantha Rose and Linsey MacKenzie have established an idyllic life of married bliss in Australia, away from the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation, away from mysterious corpses, and—most of all—away from Dr. Emir’s multiverse machine.

But Sam is a detective at heart, and even on the other side of the world, she can’t help wonder if a series of unsolved killings she reads about are related—not just to each other, but to the only unsolved case of her short career.

She knows Jane Doe’s true name, but Sam never discovered who killed the woman found in an empty Alabama field in spring of 2069. She doesn’t even know which version of herself she buried under a plain headstone.

When Mac suddenly disappears, Sam realizes she is going to once more be caught up in a silent war she still doesn’t fully understand. Every step she takes to save Mac puts the world she knows at risk, and moves her one step closer to becoming the girl in the grave.

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DECOHERENCE

Decoherence (n): a period of time when all iterations collapse and there is only one possible reality.

~ Excerpt from Definitions of Time by Emmanuela Pine, I1

 

Day 247

Year 5 of Progress

Capitol Spire

Main Continent

Iteration 17—Fan 1

… three. Rose stood and peered through the frosted, warped glass of the conference room as the speaker turned away. It didn’t matter which iteration she was in, Emir was predictable. She had seven seconds to do a head count. She didn’t need that long.

A quick head count was all it took to confirm that the einselected nodes she’d been sent to assassinate were where they belonged.

Every iteration had nodes, people or events that kept that variation of human history from collapsing. Dr. Emir had created a machine that allowed people not only to move along their own timeline, but at critical convergence points, it allowed them to cross between realities. But the Mechanism for Iteration Alignment’s greatest ability was the one that allowed Dr. Emir and Central Command to steer history by erasing futures they didn’t want.

Rose knelt beside the door, did one final sweep for alarms, and nodded for her team to move in. It was her job to cross at convergence points, kill the nodes, and collapse the futures that no one wanted.

One look at the version of herself watching this iteration’s Emir with rapt fascination was enough to make Rose want to snip this future in the bud.

Chubby was the first thing that came to mind. Rose’s doppelganger was enjoying being at the top of the social pyramid and probably gorging on whatever passed as a delicacy here. The squared bangs with a streak of riotous red only accented the corpulence and lack of self-control the inferior other had.

Even with a heavy wood door between them, Rose could hear that this iteration’s Emir was hypothesizing things the MIA was never meant to do. Everyone with half a brain knew that decoherence didn’t combine iterations, it crushed them. Only the true timeline, the Prime, would survive decoherence. Planning to welcome and integrate doppelgangers into the society was pure idiocy.

The techs sealing the door shut gave her the high sign.

Rose nodded to her hacker.

“Cameras locked. Security is deaf and blind, ma’am” Logan’s voice was a soft whisper in her earpiece. He was a genius with computer systems, a fact that had saved him when they collapsed I-38 three years ago. “We have a fifteen-minute window.”

“Hall cleared,” reported Bennet. “Permission to move perimeter guard to the exit?”

Rose nodded. “Permission granted.” She waved for the soldiers to move out. There could be no risk of failure. No chance for the errant nodes to escape, and no risk that her team would get killed here.

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