Friday, March 6, 2015

QUEST OF THE ARTISAN release help wanted!

Five books and over four hundred thousand words! It can only mean my final CAMELOT novel is about to be released!

I would love it - (and obviously be eternally grateful) - if any bloggers out there could offer to assist prior to the release which is the 31st March.That date, and the 30th March have already been snapped up, but the week before is free as a bird!

There are a couple of ways you could help:

1. I am happy to offer a PDF of both THE RING OF MORGANA and QUEST OF THE ARTISAN for review.

2. An interview with moi - your choice of questions!

3. I can write a post for your blog and promote it on social media.

If you are able to assist in any way, comment here with your email or drop me a line at

Monday, March 2, 2015

Are ebooks on the wane?

Simple question number 1: do you prefer to read ebooks or paper books?

Simple question number 2: do you buy more ebooks or paper books?

I have no idea what my sales are like for my traditional books, but I'm on top of my sales for my indie books, and the results are quite stunning. So far in 2015, my paperback sales have exceeded my ebook sales for the first time since 2012.

My CAMELOT novels are now available from far more outlets, and I think that has certainly helped. Not just Amazon, but Barnes & Noble, and they are also featured on IndieBound. Yet I think the change in most popular format is more than that.

My own book buying in 2015 has seen me purchase ten paper books to date. I haven't bought a single ebook. I don't own an actual Kindle, although I have the Kindle app on my phone and iPad. I also have the iBooks app...and yet I don't even think about buying ebooks anymore. The last novel I read on my iPad was HARRY POTTER - a book I've read a hundred times in paperback! I was on a long bus journey and had forgotten the paperback I was reading at the time.

Two digital imprints have closed recently, leaving many authors homeless. I hope their rights are reverted without fuss. I have always been wary of digital imprints because they couldn't offer anything I couldn't do myself. But perhaps the problem lies deeper than simply too many ebooks on the market. Perhaps the popularity of ebooks has actually peaked?

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. Sometimes I'm in the past dealing with books already released, then in the present and dealing with manuscripts that need revising, and then the future with releases still to come. 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!

4.  I finished revising a YA contemporary thriller that has been on my to-do list for a very long time. I originally finished drafting it a year ago, and my agent's editorial notes have been somewhat of a stone on my back because I just couldn't see a way forward. Then inspiration hit me after seven months and I knew what I had to do. I started revising on the 2nd January and flew through 80,000 words, changing tense, the plot, and incorporating my agent's notes. I sent it back to her on the 16th February - and it's looking really good! Sometimes you just need to let inspiration come to you instead of forcing it, and if I have learned one thing from this profession, it is patience!

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

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Movie reviews for February

The Theory of Everything

Based on the novel by his first wife, this is an origins life story about Professor Stephen Hawking. Eddie Redmayne is nothing short of sensational and totally worthy of all the accolades this award season. This is a film lover's film with beautiful cinematography and score. I completely forgot I was watching someone play Hawking because Redmayne is THAT good. He totally deserves that Oscar.

Kingsman: The Secret Service

*dies* I don't even know where to start with reviewing this one. It was brilliant. I can't remember being entertained so much at the movies before. But be warned, this movie is so violent it will either make you walk out (lots of people did!), or just laugh your ass off (which I did!) Colin Firth is a spy - a Kingsman spy: a super secret organisation made up of real English gentlemen. And they kick ass like you wouldn't believe. He recruits a young guy from a sink-estate with no real prospects and trains him up to save the world from Samuel L. Jackson. It's hilarious, rude, and fast. And the church scene...OMG that church scene. I have never seen so many older people walk out of a movie before! Brilliant. Just brilliant.

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. I started revising and rewriting a young adult contemporary thriller that's been sitting on my computer drive for over a year. It's a complete rewrite (also incorporating my agent's comments), starting with a change of tense from current to past. But it's going way better than I thought it would and my self-imposed deadline to get it back to my agent by the end of March is certainly looking achievable.

3. 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!

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

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Movie reviews for January

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

The best of the trilogy but not as good as Lord of the Rings. That's my basic review! Then again, I don't think I will ever love a film as much as I loved Fellowship of the Ring.

Martin Freeman is outstanding, straddling comedy and heartbreak effortlessly. Major props to Luke Evans (who steals every scene he's in) as Bard, Richard Armitage as the tortured Thorin, and Lee Pace who glides about the place being gorgeously badass as Thranduil. Best scene was the fight between the White Council and the Nine. I could watch Hugo Weaving kicking Nazgul butt all day! The cinema cheered at the Strider mention, and the ending gave me the warm and fuzzies. Slightly dodgy CGI let it down. I'm not sure how the special effects in this trilogy could be  worse than in Lord of the Rings, but they were.

The Imitation Game

And already I have my film of the year. Based on the life story of Alan Turing, this film made me sob for an hour after leaving the cinema. Not just because it is deeply moving, but because of the injustice done to a war hero like Turing which made my blood boil. Kiera Knightley is very good in the supporting role, but Benedict Cumberbatch is simply outstanding. Everyone should see this movie.


Hands down the WORST movie I've ever seen. I hated it. Despised it. I cannot understand for the life of me why such a weird movie about utterly loathsome characters is winning awards. I wanted to walk out after 15 minutes. I wish I had.

American Sniper

Very good, although not as great as The Hurt Locker. This movie does exactly what it says on the tin, which is to tell the story of the most lethal sniper in US history. It's confronting, but humanized by a great performance by Sienna Miller (who is unrecognisable as the wife.) If you don't know the story, the ending will shock you. It's a credit to how good the film is that a packed movie theatre stayed in their seats for the photos during the credits.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Time to kill this franchise please. I loved film one, thought film two was ok, but film three is just awful. I felt embarrassed for the actors, which is never a good thing.

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. For the full list, just click on the month:

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. I'll also have a further two manuscripts for my agent to go out on submission with, but 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!

Friday, November 28, 2014

November 2014 accomplished!

I'm currently typing this from my New York hotel room. By Sunday I will have nearly circumnavigated the world, having travelled from Sydney to Singapore to London to New York to Sydney again. I'm exhausted, but have had the best time ever, and the love I've come across for THE DEVIL'S INTERN has been nothing short of amazing.

Highlight book-wise this month has been meeting up with my agent Beth Phelan, editor Kelly Loughman and the entire Holiday House publishing family. I've signed books, met reps from Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal, signed more books, and had cocktails at The Plaza Hotel. I have the best team behind me, and we're all so excited for THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER (2015), after the critical success of INTERN these past couple of months. Photos from my NY trip can be found on my Facebook Author Page here.

Other November accomplishments:

THE DEVIL'S INTERN was nominated for the ALA Young Adult Library Services Association's "Best Fiction for Young Adults 2015". It's also been nominated for a Cybill Award in the "Young Adult Speculative Fiction" category.

I've managed to do some writing on my travels, although not as much as I'd have liked. My current WIP (DEVIL'S 3) is almost finished, and is currently sitting at around 70,000 words. A few more chapters, and it'll be with my agent in time for Xmas.

See you all in December, when a very special bit of news will be revealed!


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!

Friday, October 31, 2014

October 2014 accomplished!

October! Mental! Mad! Release exhaustion! Definitely my busiest month of the year (publishing wise) so far. This is what I managed in the thirty-one days of the witching month - (breathing was thankfully compulsory!):

1. Release day for THE DEVIL'S INTERN came and went! It was slightly surreal. My book is in bookstores in the US, but I live in Australia and felt slightly detached from it all. I received so much goodwill in messages, but I would have loved to have experienced it firsthand with a proper release party and cake! (Gotta have cake!)

2. I received the trifecta of great reviews with Booklist joining Kirkus and SLJ in publishing their thoughts of INTERN. "Dead funny and dead serious" really sums it up!

3. Dear Teen Me asked me to write a letter to my sixteen-year-old self. I wanted to be optimistic because life has treated me pretty well, even if being sixteen sucked! I was also featured with several other authors on Teen Reads with my brief musings on Halloween.

4. Talking of teens, I was invited to speak with a High School Book Club in my home city about INTERN and my thoughts on publishing. So many were really clued up on the industry. They also received my first signed copy of INTERN! (By the time I get to New York, I will have a better signature!!)

5. More teens news. Last night (11pm my time) I took part in a great Skype chat with another High School Book Club, but this one was in Ohio, USA. I'm not sure I was that conscious during it, having been awake since 4am, but the students were smart and knew what they were talking about. They really dissected THE DEVIL'S INTERN and reminded me of the times when I used to theorise about Harry Potter! A couple of them even guessed plot lines for the next book.

6. Proving nothing stops in publishing, not even for new releases, I spent most of the month revising my 2015 releases. QUEST OF THE ARTISAN has been through my critique partners and is now getting some serious editorial attention. THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER is through its second round of revisions with my publishing house, and I expect at least one more round before we go to the copy-edit stage.

7. I am so enjoying working on just one WIP and it's definitely a way that I'm going to take forward from this point on. Gotta say, DEVIL'S 3 is shaping up really nicely. My aim is to get it to my agent by the end of November and I'm definitely on course to hit that target.

November is going to be AMAZEBALLS because I'm off to New York, New York! Expect lots of squeals as I get to meet my agent and editor for the first time. There WILL be cocktails!


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...


Monday, September 29, 2014

September 2014 accomplished!

September was a beautiful hybrid of accomplishments, including finished WIPs, nominations, editor revisions, star reviews and even a blog tour. Here be devils and knights - (and one very exhausted penniless writer!)

1. The wonderful reviewers at School Library Journal gave THE DEVIL'S INTERN another starred review to go along with the one already received from Kirkus. SLJ also named it on their "What's Hot in YA" list.

2. Speaking of Kirkus, I found out that THE DEVIL'S INTERN is a nominee for this year's Kirkus Prize.

3. Musings of a Penniless Writer is now in a monthly newsletter format. Sign up here to join Team DEVIL and Team Camelot!

4. On the 8 September, I wrote this on one of my two WIPs:

QUEST OF THE ARTISAN (2015) is finished! It is now in the hands of my critique partners. Once I have incorporated their suggestions, it will go to my line editor, and then onto formatting for a 2015 release. This is my fifth - and last - Camelot book for a while. I did get a little emotional as the journey ended, but the sense of achievement was something beyond words. I am now working on just ONE WIP (DEVIL'S 3). The joy of not juggling imaginery worlds cannot be overstated. At one point I was convinced the Knights of the Round Table were going to end up in Hell!

5. The blog tour for THE DEVIL'S INTERN started. My thanks to those who are taking part and giving over their blogs to Team DEVIL. My own post for the tour is coming on the 1st October, and my publisher will be giving away three copies of the hardcover to celebrate the official release. In the meantime you can win a copy here.

6. I received the second round of revisions for THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER (2015) from my publishing house. I have a three week deadline for this, but slow and steady is the key if I revise two chapters a night. It takes about an hour to go through each line and edit twenty pages at a time. Definitely doable, and very exciting to see this baby taking shape for publication next year.

So what's happening in October? As THE DEVIL'S INTERN goes into bookstores, it should be quiet...yes?!!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Musings of a Penniless Writer - the Newsletter!

At the start of this year, I set myself two social media targets.

One: get a Tumblr account.

Did that!

Two: get a newsletter started.

Finally done that!

Musings of a Penniless Writer will go out in newsletter form at the beginning of every month. It'll be a condensed version of this blog, but I intend to make it my first place for reveals and competitions as time progresses.

The sign up form is here for anyone interested in joining Team DEVIL and Team CAMELOT!

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.