Monday, April 21, 2014

A to Z (Lord of the Rings) Blogging Challenge: R

Yes, I'm well aware I've missed P and well as K a week ago, but I've been kinda busy, because Publishers Marketplace announcements about new book deals tend to bring in the emails!! What do you want from me...apart from KPQ?!! :P

Back on track now...just about.

R = Ringers.

Harry Potter has Potterheads. Doctor Who has Whovians. Lord of the Rings has Ringers: dedicated fans who do more than read the books and watch the movies. Ringers study the appendices. A Ringer will be able to recite the Ring poem without dropping a beat. Ringers dress up as their favourite Hobbit and go to Conventions with hairy feet!

Fun Fact: After Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won all 11 Oscars it was nominated for, Peter Jackson and the team didn't go to the Hollywood parties, they went straight to the party being organised by, an online fandom.

Friday, April 18, 2014


Going out on submission with another book was just as terrifying as going out on submission with book one.

But thankfully, I didn't have to wait as long for a YES!!!

I am over the kermit-flailing-moon to announce that Holiday House has bought THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER, book two in my series about time travelling devils, in a deal brokered by my awesome agent, Beth Phelan of The Bent Agency, NY. Book one, THE DEVIL'S INTERN, is scheduled for release this Fall, with DREAMCATCHER scheduled for release Fall 2015.

From Publishers Marketplace this morning:

And the announcement on my agency blog too!

While the submission process was just as terrifying, let me tell you that getting the email to say they loved it was just as special and awesome as the first time too.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

A to Z (Lord of the Rings) Blogging Challenge: O

O = Oliphaunts.

Technically this should come under M, because the Oliphaunts were only called that by Hobbits. Really they are the Mumakil, used by the Haradrim. But I'm not one for technicals!

Fun Fact: The Oliphaunts/Mumakil in the Return of the King were digital, with the exception of a felled carcass that was the backdrop for Eowyn's battle with the Witch-king. This prop was so large, all of the staff of Weta could fit inside it!

The image used here is one of my absolute favourites in the movie. Just the scope is breathtaking and the way they razor the ground with their tusks is brutal.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A to Z (Lord of the Rings) Blogging Challenge: N

N = Nazgul.

The Nazgul are also known as The Nine, Ringwraiths and The Black Riders. They were originally nine kings who were corrupted by Sauron. They are all bound to the One Ring. The most powerful is the Witch-king of Angmar. It was foretold that no man could slay him. Just as well there was a woman (Eowyn) ready to kick ass then!

Fun Fact: In the Lord of the Rings movies, the cries of the Nazgul were actually Fran Walsh (writer/producer and partner of Peter Jackson) screaming into a microphone!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A to Z (Lord of the Rings) Blogging Challenge: M

M = Middle-earth.

Middle-earth is the fictional (pah, I know it's real!) world created by author J. R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien stated several times that Middle-earth was set in our world, 6,000 years ago. Lands within this world include: Rivendell, The Shire, Minas Tirith, Gondor, Mirkwood and Gondor.

Fun Fact: C.S. Lewis wrote a series called "Space Trilogy" which also features a Middle-earth.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A to Z (Lord of the Rings) Blogging Challenge: L

L = Legolas - seriously, did you expect anything else?!

Legolas is one of the Fellowship, an Elf prince from the forest of Mirkwood. He is the son of Thranduil, and is one of the Sindar (Grey Elves). After the battle of the Ring, Legolas creates an elf-colony in Gondor. When it is time for him to leave Middle Earth for ever, he builds a boat and crosses the sea to Valinor, taking his great friend, Gimli, with him.

Fun Fact: In the 1978 animated version of the Lord of the Rings, the character of Legolas was voiced by Anthony Daniels (C-3PO)!

Friday, April 11, 2014

A to Z (Lord of the Rings) Blogging Challenge: J

J = Jackson, as in Peter Jackson, as in Sir Peter Jackson, as in God!

If there's one name, other than Tolkien, that should be forever linked to the world of Middle Earth, it is that of Peter Jackson. This Kiwi film-maker did what no one ever thought possible: he brought Middle Earth to the screen. Six films to rule them all.

Fun Fact: Jackson has cameos in all his movies. In The Fellowship of the Ring he played a drunk eating a carrot in Bree (a role reprised for the second Hobbit movie!). In The Two Towers he played a soldier at Helm's Deep. In The Return of the King he played a pirate on one of the Corsair ships. In the extended edition, he is killed by Legolas!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A to Z (Lord of the Rings) Blogging Challenge: I

I = Isildur.

It all starts with the weakness of men. Isildur was the son of the King of Gondor. He cut the Ring of Power from Sauron's hand, but instead of casting it back into the fires of Mount Doom to destroy it, he claimed it for himself, allowing Sauron's spirit to endure and return. Isildur was killed not long after by Orcs, drawn to him by the power of the ring.

Fun Fact: Isildur's sword was not Narsil as many claim, but Isildur did use that broken sword to cut the ring from Sauron. It's from those shards, that Aragorn's sword, Anduril, was forged. In the movie the shards are displayed in Rivendell, but according to canon, Aragorn carried the shards around with him.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A to Z (Lord of the Rings) Blogging Challenge: H

H = Hobbits.

In The Lord of the Rings, the four main hobbits are Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin. Brave, selfless little characters who really embody the heart and soul of both books and movies.

Fun Fact: Pippin was the youngest hobbit in the books, but in reality, actor Billy Boyd who played him was actually the oldest of the four actors.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A to Z (Lord of the Rings) Blogging Challenge: G

G = Gollum. Originally a river-dwelling Hobbit called Smeagol, Gollum was the wretched creature whose obsession with the One Ring (his precious) drove him mad.

Gollum was brilliantly brought to life by Andy Serkis and Weta Digital for the Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit movies. Using a revolutionary new technique called "motion capture", Weta set the bar for digital characters. No more Jar-Jar Binks! This process has evolved so much it is now called "performance capture".

Fun Fact: Because of the Ring, Gollum's life was extended way beyond that of a normal Hobbit, who could probably live to see one hundred. Gollum was nearer 600 years old by the time he died in the lava of Mount Doom.

Monday, April 7, 2014

A to Z (Lord of the Rings) Blogging Challenge: F

F = Fellowship. The Fellowship of the Ring comprised of Aragon (human), Legolas (elf), Gimli (dwarf), Boromir (human), Gandalf the Grey (wizard), and, of course, the four Hobbits: Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin.

One of the reasons I think these books, (and films), work so well is because of the Fellowship. They are as diverse as they come, and yet they work together to become great allies and friends.

Fun Fact: Of the nine members of the Fellowship, Aragorn, Sam, Merry and Pippin go on to marry and have children after the War of the Ring. Gimli and Legolas travel the lands of Middle Earth together before passing over to Valinor from the Grey Havens. Boromir dies at the breaking of the Fellowship, and Frodo leaves for Valinor with Gandalf.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A to Z (Lord of the Rings) Blogging Challenge: E

E = Ents, the shepherds of the forests. They are the oldest creatures in Middle Earth, but are slowly dying because they lost the Entwives (female Ents) and so no Entings (young Ents) are being born.

Fun Fact: Ents do not die - unless chopped down or destroyed. They become "treeish", which means they lose consciousness eventually and become trees.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A to Z (Lord of the Rings) Blogging Challenge: D

D = Dwarves.

In the Fellowship, there is one dwarf of note: Gimli, son of Gloin, (Gloin being one of the band of dwarves that Bilbo joined on the Lonely Mountain quest in The Hobbit.) Tolkien's dwarves live for 250 years. There are far more males than females, and both have beards!

Fun Fact: Because of his enduring friendship with Legolas after the War of the Ring, Gimli is the only dwarf in the mythology of Middle Earth to be allowed passage to the Undying Lands (the home of the Valar and the race of Elves that departed Middle Earth.) They took with them the body of Aragorn, who lived as king to old age, and were reunited with Frodo and Sam who had also crossed the sea, albeit at different times, as ring-bearers. Thereby reuniting half of the original Fellowship in eternal life.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A to Z (Lord of the Rings) Blogging Challenge: C

C = Culture.

Writers, we all know about world-building. It's especially true for fantasy and science fiction writers. We need to show the reader the time and land we're writing about, because if we don't, it's not believable. How can a reader care if they don't believe, even in the most fantastical of books? Tolkien didn't just world-build for The Lord of the Rings, he created an entire culture. Not just people and races and animals, but a myth within a myth. He created several languages and scripts. No other writer has come close to crafting a fictional culture as Professor Tolkien. Could you do it? I know I couldn't!

Fun Fact: Tolkien started to construct his first form of Elvish (Quenya) when he was at school, decades before he started writing The Hobbit. It's a language now believed to have over 25,000 words.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A to Z (Lord of the Rings) Blogging Challenge: B

B = Barad-dur, the fortress of Sauron in the land of Mordor.

Fun Fact: Barad-dur took 600 years to build according to the legend laid down by Tolkien, but the scholar spent very little time actually describing it! The most the reader gets is that is was "black, blacker, and darker..." In the circumstances I think the design team at WETA did rather well!

THE DEVIL'S INTERN has a release date!

Today I heard from my publishing house that THE DEVIL'S INTERN will be officially released on the 1st October 2014!!!

I'm happy and excited and nervous as hell and a million other emotions...

...but mostly just excited because this book has been four years in the making and it's finally coming out!!!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A to Z (Lord of the Rings) Blogging Challenge: A

I've signed up for April 2014 and will be giving it a go. I'm not making any promises to finish, but my Harry Potter theme last year was a lot of fun, and it's a nice way to blog throughout a month without having to think too deeply. And as my theme this year is Lord of the Rings, I get to look at GORGEOUS images like this:

A = Aragorn, son of Arathorn, a Ranger of the North, and the heir of Isildur, and all-round eye candy in the film adaptations!

Fun Fact: Aragorn is actually 87 years old during the War of the Ring, and 6 foot 6 inches in the books. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

March 2014 accomplished!

March 2014 was an AWESOME month, but alas, one of the main reasons why is something I cannot yet reveal! So, continuing my monthly round-up, here is what the last 31 days have produced (kinda!):

1. THE DEVIL'S INTERN (Fall 2014) moved to copy edit stage. This is the first time I've gone through this process with a publishing house.  What happens is the manuscript moves away from the loving eyes of your editor (who bought the book), to a copy editor who is there to take a cold, hard look at grammar, punctuation, word choice, content, consistency, suitability of text for intended age group, technical problems, legal issues and length. I have utter admiration for copy editors. You need to have an absolute passion for the English language to be effective. For me - little author - I found it quite daunting, as if everything was being questioned. And it should be, so thankfully my super editor, Kelly, was there with reassurance. I'm so happy with how THE DEVIL'S INTERN has been looked after. There's a reason Holiday House is one of the most respected publishers for teens and children.

And in addition to all of this, we unveiled the cover on an unsuspecting world of mortals!

2. WIP update: #1 (YA contemporary thriller) is sitting at 55,000 words. That's twenty one chapters and I'm on the home stretch now with around nine more chapters to write. I keep thinking this is a hot mess, but then I read back and really enjoy it. I am way out of my urban fantasy comfort zone here though. #2 (YA urban fantasy and book 3 in my DEVIL'S series) is sitting at 7,500 words. By contrast, this is a dream to write and for the first time ever I know the entire plot in my head. However, I need to stop writing this for a while, for reasons that will be announced shortly.

3. The formatting of THE RING OF MORGANA for both paperback and ebook was completed. Because it's so ahead of schedule, the release date has been brought forward to the 12 May 2014. I also received my paperback proof copy which is very pretty. (Pictured here with my other CAMELOT books.)

4. I'm now working on six - yes, SIX - manuscripts! I've truly lost my brain! But as I can't add anything to WIP #2 for a while, I have to have a Monday - Friday drafting projecting. So, I've started the second novel in my CHILDREN OF CAMELOT series. This won't be released until mid-2015, so  I'm only doing a chapter a week. Perfectly reasonable she the men in white coats come to take her away!

5. I achieved a huge milestone over on Goodreads with 3,000+ reviews, ratings and adds for my novels. I remember freaking out the day I hit 50! To get to multiple thousands is a dream come true.

Previous months:


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cover Reveal (and it's mine...again!!): THE DEVIL'S INTERN

I'm so very happy to reveal the cover for my second release in 2014, THE DEVIL'S INTERN (Fall 2014, Holiday House).


Seventeen-year-old Mitchell discovers a time-travel device that will allow him to escape his internship in Hell's accounting office and return to Earth, but his plans to alter the circumstances of his own death take an unexpected turn when his three closest friends in Hell insist on accompanying him back to the land of the living.


THE DEVIL'S INTERN may feature devils and monsters and time travel, but at its heart is a tale about friendship and making the right choice, however hard.

2014 is shaping up to be a most excellent year!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Guess where I'll be in November?

I'm so excited. (And a little nervous!)

My daughter has been given a wonderful opportunity to sing at the Lincoln Center in New York in November, and as THE DEVIL'S INTERN is being released this Fall, I thought I might kill two birds with one stone and go too.
And so I am!

Flights are booked. A beautiful hotel (that serves complimentary wine and cheese every evening!!) is booked. My publisher is thrilled and has already pencilled me in for book stuff as soon as I arrive.

And I'll be there for Thanksgiving too - which is a strike off the bucket list I made three years ago.

My excitement is obvious, but the reason I'm a little nervous is because this is my first ever holiday alone. Hubby is staying at home to look after the boys and Harry the dog, and my daughter is travelling and staying with school friends and teachers.

But I will embrace this new adventure in the way I embrace everything: with enthusiasm and lots of credit card debt!!