Friday, March 27, 2015

13 rejections isn't "loads", Ms Rowling!!

Now everyone knows I worship at the altar of Jo Rowling! She's the reason I started writing. She's the reason I became a published author. Heck, she's the reason I started reading again after a ten-year absence in my teens!

But sometimes the glorious ones need to be shown how the real people live!!

J.K. Rowling was recently asked on Twitter how many rejections she received before she was published. She replied "Loads..."

Now I worked on a Harry Potter website for years, and I was a devotee of Ms Rowling's own website, so I know her timelines to getting published.

According to her own website here, Jo Rowling was signed by the second agent to see her manuscript. Then it is well known that twelve publishers turned down Potter before Bloomsbury picked it up.

Dear Ms Rowling - THIRTEEN REJECTIONS DOES NOT EQUAL "LOADS"!!! It is a mere ripple of rejection. Barely an unpleasant whiff across the landscape of shitty slush the rest of us have to navigate!

Wanna know the meaning of "loads"? I received nearly 300 rejections on the way to being published. New York Times Bestseller Beth Revis scored nearly 1000.

13!!!! 13!!!! I bet most authors bloody wish they only received 13!!

Seriously, 13 rejections is a testament to how awesome Potter is. I can't believe it received one. But it's barely double digits. Even for someone with a fake beard!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A to Z Theme Reveal

One post a day...I can do that, right? Probably not, what with everything going on in my life right now - (today it's MRA scans and a visit to the hospital x-Ray department) - but I'm going to try.

So, my theme. I thought about books, and then movies, but instead I've settled for something that has fascinated me since I was a kid. It's inspired by the first book I ever took out of a library.


See you in April.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The time travel writer who ran out of time!

An update with a difference today because I'm having to announce something that ISN'T happening!

As you might know, QUEST OF THE ARTISAN is officially released in 13 days - YAY! Unfortunately, for the first time for one of my book releases, there won't be a blog tour. The reason is two-fold. First, I've been up to my eyes with copy edit revisions for THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER (Fall 15). I had to proof 80,000 words in a very short period and everything else was put on hold, including prepping for a blog tour which is very time consuming. But secondly, and more importantly, three days after finishing copy edits, my son suffered a serious injury which requires reconstructive surgery. All my spare time is now being spent navigating the awfully complicated Australian health care system as I organise MRIs, MRAs, consultants, physiotherapists and try to keep my sanity at the same time. It's rather ironic for someone who writes time travel that I have simply run out of time! 

I want to thank everyone who offered to help with the blog tour - you are all awesome. QUEST will be released on the 31 March as planned. I can't wait to share it.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The art of knowing

It takes a while for writers to find their groove. Are you a plotter or pantser? What genre are you most comfortable in? Indie or traditional...or both? Poet or prose?

I'm comfortable in my own skin now as a writer and author. I know what I can do, and I sure as hell know my limitations. It doesn't mean I'm afraid to try new things, but I know when to get back to basics.

I can't plot. I'll never be able to outline even vaguely. I'm not lyrical enough to be a poet. I couldn't write adult fiction convincingly if my life depended on it...

But I can write action-packed young adult. I can put down fantasy on paper as if it's reality happening in the now. And I damn well enjoy the blank canvas of time-travel.

Yesterday I started a new manuscript. Back to basics is my mantra. It's a young adult, time-traveling adventure. No Devils. No Knights of the Round Table. It's something new. I wrote 3000 words in a day. I've enough experience now to know when I can do something.

I can do this.

Friday, February 27, 2015

February 2015 accomplished!

February was a real juggling act for me, and at times I wasn't sure where I was. I think this is going to be the norm for me now and so I had better suck it up and start dealing with it!

Here's what I achieved in February:

1. In rather huge news of awesomeness, THE DEVIL'S INTERN was awarded YALSA's (Young Adult Library Services Association) 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults honors! This is wonderful for me and my publisher because libraries are an incredibly important platform for publishing houses to sell to. To be acknowledged by the YA division of the American Library Association is a huge privilege and will hopefully result in even more libraries joining Team DEVIL!

2. Publishers Weekly had a sneak preview of the Fall's big releases in the world of Picture, MG, and YA books. THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER (Holiday House, Fall 2015) got a name-check!

3. With DEVIL'S #1 released, and DEVIL'S #2 now at the design and typeset stage, all attention in Hell has turned to DEVIL'S #3. I submitted my finished ms to my agent just before Xmas and have received back her thoughts...four pages containing a bazzilionty words! You would think after this long I would be used to the shock of seeing an editorial letter, but I'm not! The usual feelings of panic and OMG-I'm-Never-Going-To-Do-This ravaged me. And then I got on with breaking it down and just writing. One chapter a day and it'll be done in a month - that's my goal. When my agent is happy, then it will go out on submission...dum dum dum!

March sees the release of THE QUEST OF THE ARTISAN, my final (and favourite) CAMELOT novel. Breathe...just breathe!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

More Team DEVIL awesomeness!!!!

I'm so happy!!! THE DEVIL'S INTERN has been named as a YALSA 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults novel.

To celebrate, my publisher made this GORGEOUS promo poster, which also happens to mention the Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2014 too!!

2014...2015...who cares as long as readers enjoy it!

Friday, January 30, 2015

January 2015 accomplished!

The past, present and future - that's what this month has been about. Promoting those books already released, writing/revising current projects, and getting ready for my two releases in 2015.

This is my recap of accomplishments during January:

1. I completed the copy edits for THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER (Holiday House, October 2015). For those who don't know the process, after you've gone through two/three/four rounds of revisions with your editor, your manuscript will then be passed to a copy editor to go through everything with a fine tooth comb. Grammar, punctuation, continuity etc are all put under the microscope. This is the last stage before proofing of the actual printed galley manuscript, so this is really when your manuscript becomes a book. Copy edits are painstaking, but absolutely essential. I will admit though, I'm glad we're past this stage because I really had to concentrate on the little details. Now my baby is off to the design team. Last year THE DEVIL'S INTERN was ready for BEA and the other big industry expos. It'll be very cool to be featured there again.

2. QUEST OF THE ARTISAN (March 2015) became available to pre-order for Kindle readers. It's my last CAMELOT novel and we're definitely ending the two series' with a bang - or perhaps I should say roar! I also received my paperback arc for review. It's hard to believe that by the end of 2015, I will have published SEVEN novels!

3. THE DEVIL'S INTERN continued to make more Best of 2014 lists. This month it was featured on  YALSA's The Hub. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Musings 2014 Year in Review

This year has passed by in a blur. It seems like only yesterday I was posting my 2013 year in review. I swear time speeds up the older you get.

One thing I am so glad I decided to do was write up an accomplishments list every month. Whether it was major publishing news, or just adding to that word tally on a WIP, there was so much to remember.

Here is what I regard as a standout accomplishment from every month in 2014:

January 2014

I received the news that my publisher was bringing forward the release of THE DEVIL'S INTERN to Fall 2014. Little did I know then just how much this book would dominate my life during 2014!

February 2014

I revealed the cover artwork for THE RING OF MORGANA - along with a team of other brilliant bloggers who kindly offered to help. This is probably my favourite cover to date. I'm not a girly girl, but this artwork is just so pretty.

March 2014

I revealed the cover artwork for THE DEVIL'S INTERN. It is so striking - and so red! Having something radically different to my other covers was a shock, but it really stands out on a shelf. I've also since discovered that my designer was responsible for the cover of Laurie Halse Anderson's SPEAK novel.

April 2014

My second book deal was announced in Publishers Marketplace. THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER will be released in the Fall of 2015 and is the follow-up to INTERN.

May 2014

THE RING OF MORGANA was released and gave me my first ever number one ranking on the Amazon charts. Not bad for a little indie!

June 2014

June was all about the writing. I wrote nearly 20,000 words on my works in progress this month, which may not be NaNo-ball-busting, but for a busy mum who works full time, it was a heck of an achievement.

July 2014

My third cover reveal of the year! QUEST OF THE ARTISAN won't be released until the 31st March 2015, but the cover for my final CAMELOT novel was so gorgeous, I had to share it.

August 2014

This is when all things INTERN kicked off! It's hard choosing a highlight, but I've gone for receiving my box of hardback copies in the mail. It was a moment I'd never stopped dreaming or believing in. And finally it was here.

September 2014

THE DEVIL'S INTERN received its second star review. School Library Journal joined Kirkus in giving TDI the most coveted of accolades. I was actually sitting in a physio room with my son when I got the email from my editor. He was recovering from a fractured arm and dislocated shoulder, so my response was kind of muted at the time. Mum first, writer second.

October 2014

THE DEVIL'S INTERN was released. Nuff said!

November 2014

I went to New York and met my agent and editor for the first time. NY is noisy and magical and beligerant and just freaking amazing. My publishing house treated me like a princess and just confirmed that I am in the best hands possible. I mean, they took me for cocktails at The Plaza, because that's where the character in the book go! Seriously.

December 2014

My perfect year was topped off by Kirkus Reviews naming THE DEVIL'S INTERN a Best Book of 2014 for Teens.

How the heck can I ever surpass 2014? Well, I'll give it a darned good try in 2015. I have two confirmed releases, QUEST OF THE ARTISAN in March, and THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER in the Fall. Yet I do intend to start slowing down next year. The frenetic pace of my life has led to some minor health issues which now have to be dealt with.

So I will end this end of year post by wishing you all a Merry Christmas. Enjoy the holiday season, and may you have health and happiness in the year to come.

Donna x

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Kirkus names THE DEVIL'S INTERN a best book of 2014!!

So, in my previous post I alluded to some good news that I could share this week. And it's big - HUGE! I was told this news over lunch with my editor and agent in New York last week, and like all awesome announcements, it's been hell keeping quiet about it. 

Kirkus Reviews has named THE DEVIL'S INTERN "A Best Book of 2014 for Teens"!!!!

And lookie, I get a special plaque too which is already on the Kirkus website...

THE DEVIL'S INTERN was listed in two categories:
  • Best Teen Science Fiction/Fantasy; and
  • Best Book to Make you Laugh and Possibly Cry!

Team DEVIL rules!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Happy hellish news!

Team DEVIL is so very happy at the news today that THE DEVIL'S INTERN has been nominated for the ALA Young Adult Library Services Association's "Best Fiction For Young Adults 2015"!

It took us all a little bit by surprise, but the best news is always out of the blue...or red in TDI's case!

Thursday, October 30, 2014


There is seriously nothing better than seeing your book(s) on the shelves of school libraries. This was sent to me yesterday, and what makes it even better is that I'm on the shelf next to the genius that is Khaled Hosseini!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Stars of 2014

In what must have been a painstaking job to collate, Publishers Weekly has listed every book released in 2014 to date with a starred review from the big six review publications, (Booklist, The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, The Horn Book, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal). Just 789 books have received stars from the tens of thousands of books published, and THE DEVIL’S INTERN received two - (Kirkus and SLJ).

This amazing list can be found here if you're looking for a recommendation...or 789!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dear Teen Me

I was so pleased to be asked to do this as part of THE DEVIL'S INTERN release publicity.

Dear Teen Me is a site where authors write a letter to their teen selves.  Among those who have previously revisited the past are Rainbow Rowell, Leigh Bardugo, and Kami Garcia.

Before I wrote mine, I had a read through of many of the letters already published. I quickly realised that the authors don't hold back. Many of the letters are very moving, and you really get a feel for how terrifying the teenage years are for some people. With hindsight, I was a pretty lucky teen to be honest, although at the time I thought the world was ending. I was quite popular, my parents were together, and whilst I was bursting with angst that saw me leave home at 18, I was always independent and able to cope.

My contribution can be found here. I wanted to be positive, and I'm happy that my letter has already had such a lovely reaction to it online. I guess the main message I try to pass on, not just to my own children, but those I speak to in schools, is don't be afraid to make mistakes. That's what I was trying to get across via Dear Teen Me. Being 16 sucks on so many levels, but it's ok to not know where you're going or what you want to do. Just don't let the fear of failure hold you back.

Friday, October 3, 2014

THE DEVIL'S INTERN: Booklist review - and it's another great one!

And on release day too! "...dead funny to dead serious..." is a great description. THE DEVIL'S INTERN is quite dark, and I would heed the publisher's suggestion of a 15+ rating.

The goodwill shown towards me and the book yesterday was so lovely, but a writer's life continues and I'm knee-deep in revisions for book two in THE DEVIL'S series, while also drafting book three! But I will make a concerted effort to enjoy this release for the next few weeks, which will culminate in a trip to New York next month.

But for you, there are still four days remaining in the competition to win one of three copies from the publisher. Go here for details.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

HAPPY RELEASE DAY: THE DEVIL'S INTERN - want to win a copy...or three?

It's here!!!! I can't believe it. From today, THE DEVIL'S INTERN (Kirkus star/SLJ star), will be available to buy in bookstores across the US and Canada. This is insane - and brilliant - and insane, and to celebrate, my awesome publisher, Holiday House, is giving away a copy of the book to three readers who would like to win one.

This giveaway is, unfortunately, open to US residents only. Which means I can't enter because I live in Australia! If you're an international reader, and are now feeling rather pissed off, I do understand your pain. Maggie Stiefvater recently did a giveaway, and I couldn't enter that either. Seriously, I'm moving to New York!

For those who can - and more importantly - DO enter, the points process once you click on the Rafflecopter giveaway is simple:

  • 2 points for a Facebook page like;
  • 2 points for every tweet; and
  • 1 point for an add on Goodreads.

Each point is a chance to win. The more points, the bigger your chance of winning one of the copies. This competition is open for five days.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But in the meantime...


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A second starred review for THE DEVIL'S INTERN!

It's all ramping up for the official publication of THE DEVIL'S INTERN, and Team DEVIL is thrilled that the second trade review has come in, this time from School Library Journal, and it's another star review to match the star review from Kirkus.

SLJ is the world's largest reviewer of books for children and teens. For them to love TDI as much as we do is beyond exciting.

The full review can be read at this link here. I'll also copy it below.

Onwards and upwards to the 1st October and the full release!


*HOSIE, Donna. The Devil’s Intern. 240p. Holiday House. 2014. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780823431953; ebk. $16.95. ISBN 9780823432653. LC 2014002402.
Gr 10 Up–Hosie has written a book that will not only entertain but maybe even enlighten. Seventeen-year-old Mitchell Johnson has spent the last four years in Hell, where he is the Devil’s intern in the accounting office. With the number of new arrivals on the rise, Hell’s finances are strained. Fortunately, the Devil has a plan to use his Viciseometer, a time-travel device, to limit the number of those destined for Hell. Mitchell sees it as an opportunity to change his fate and revisit the day he met his fate with a bus. After stealing the Viciseometer, he travels back to the past with three of his friends (a Viking prince, a 17th-century peasant, and a wild-haired gal from the 1960s) and attempts to alter history, only to learn that life and death are complicated and unpredictable. Interesting characters, nonstop adventure, and humor with a touch of heart will not disappoint teens looking for a dark comedy. Glimpses of the afterlife could also spark discussion among readers.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

These books have a tale to tell!

It should have been easy. Awesome publisher sends excited author a box of their own hardback books as per the contract...

Except it wasn't! Because neither the awesome publisher nor excited author counted on those dark forces known as...Customs!

Last week, I was advised my author copies of THE DEVIL'S INTERN were being held by Australian Customs. They allowed two copies through, but a box of twenty was impounded. The reason? I had to prove excise tax wasn't due. Now, I've had issues before with the very diligent customs people here. When we emigrated, they impounded my shoes and my Christmas decorations. I got my shoes back. What I got back of my decorations was smashed beyond repair and had to be thrown away.

I sent an email to my editor. Did they send me gold-plated books? My editor was distraught that the surprise had been ruined!! Then I was distraught when I realised she was joking!! Both my editor and agent offered to get involved and write letters.

I did the maths for Customs. 20 books x retail value, then converted into Australian dollars did not equal excise tax. My brain was hurting by this point. I'm a writer, not a mathematician.

Clearly I am a mathematician though, because a week later, I phoned and was advised my books had been released.

And yesterday they arrived.


"Who has been reading my book?" said Mummy Bear. Oh, who cares! I have my author copies and they are beautiful and shiny.

And in a year's time, I'll probably have to go through this again when THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER is released!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

4 years to realise a dream!

Four years ago, I wrote a novel. It was the first time I had ever tackled writing young adult. It was a fantasy tale about time-travelling devils. It received a bunch of request from agents, but it wasn't ready.

So, I put it to one side and wrote other books and became a (fairly) successful indie author.

But I never gave up on my dream of being traditionally published.

So, I rewrote my novel about time-travelling devils. And when I say rewrote, it was a complete and utter overhaul. New MC. New tense. New Plot.

Now it was ready.

Seven agents wanted to represent it. I chose Beth Phelan (now with The Bent Agency in New York.) After a year on submission, I received an email from Beth that is tattooed on my brain! Four magic words: you have an offer. It was from Holiday House, one of the most respected publishers of children's books in the world.

Yesterday, I received my author copies of the hardback.

Apologies for the shocking quality of the photos, but my hands have not stopped shaking! For four bloody hard long years I worked on this, never ever giving up on my dream.

And now it's come true.

Never give up on your dream. Ever. Because when it happens, it's the best feeling in the world.

Monday, August 4, 2014


I always know something awesome has happened (overnight my time) when I wake up to an email exchange between my agent and my editor. Such an event occurred this weekend when I woke up to this.

It's hard to describe the feeling when you find out your first traditionally published novel has received a Kirkus starred review. We actually found out in April, it got published in the BEA 2014 special edition in May, but now it's officially online.

How did I feel? I burst into tears!

Nuff said!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


There are no words to describe the feeling I get when my designers send new cover artwork my way.

There's usually lots of squealing, followed by contented sighing. Then longing that they were actually made of cake icing because all I want to do is eat them!

QUEST OF THE ARTISAN is book two in THE CHILDREN OF CAMELOT series. Due for release early 2015.

This is Rustin, by the way. And this is his story:


Six months ago, seventeen-year-old Rustin Hall thought he knew what he wanted. Then he travelled back in time with his best friend, Mila, to the world of Camelot, knights and magic, and everything changed.

Now Rustin is the artisan, and he knows his future because it's written in the past.

But Rustin's plan to build the first temple for the Gorian druids is cut down like the trees he talks to when the Round Table reveals the name of the newest knight of Camelot: a name that carves fear and unrest into the other knights. With Mila now in danger, Rustin, along with his friends, James and Jalaya, goes on a quest to find her before a new malevolent evil gets there first. A necromancer is building an army of the dead, and they are coming for Arthur's daughter.

Rustin will join forces with a young would-be knight called Galahad, as his quest takes him into the very heart of the Arthurian legends he grew up reading. A quest that could be the end of the artisan's life, not just in Logres, but for good.

Rustin and Mila look so cute when lined up together:

All of my Camelot books, and a certain DEVIL'S pre-order, can be found on Amazon at the link here.