Today on This Writer’s Space I have Louise D. Gornall, author of one of my favourite urban fantasy reads from last year, In Stone. She’s one of the coolest people on Twitter, so I’m very excited to have her here!
My name is Louise and I write urban fantasy and horror stories for young adults.
I like dark and edgy. Swears don’t offend me. Ignorance does.
I work at Swoon Romance, and I’m currently studying for a BA (Hons) degree in English language and literature.
Identical twin, junk food aficionado, book bird, film nerd, Jedi. Represented by super agent Mandy Hubbard at D4EO!
Where I Write
This is where the magic nearly never happens. I mean, this is where I make beautiful music, dance a passionate tango with the alphabet, reach Nirvana… No, but seriously, I love my desk and I feel lost when I’m away from it.
Where I’m Inspired
My most favorite place in the world is the Lake District. We go up a couple of times every year. It’s the kind of place that takes your breathe away. It’s so quiet and peaceful. Everything is so perfect and fresh it’s like waking up in The Shire. It just makes me want to write.
To Be Read
My actual TBR pile is currently being used by NASA as a stepladder into space. Seriously, it’s a pile of epic proportions, but these are the books I’m planning to read in the next week or two. I’m writing a thriller/horror right now, so I’m trying to surround myself with heart-stopping-feely stories.
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi/Dystopian (ages 12 and up)
Number of pages: 203 pages
Word Count: 55,966
Cover Artist: Cora Graphics
Can Miranda save the human race?
An elegant, sophisticated alien species on the verge of extinction has invaded Earth and confined an entire generation of young women, after negotiating a treaty with the world’s governments. Eager to help the aliens reproduce, but frightened by her imprisonment at Nidus, the Eslite medical compound, sixteen-year-old Miranda Mays endures callous scientific experiments in the Eslite’s quest for survival.
When Miranda discovers the ultimate consequences of her egg donations, she organizes a rebellion, enlisting fellow donors in her cause. But soon she realizes the mysterious headmaster, Dimas, knows of her plot. And there’s something about him that bothers Miranda, though she can’t describe it. The fate of humanity hangs in the balance, so she can’t back down. But will Dimas expose her defiance?
Kindle Countdown deal
Enter the giveaway HERE!
(Trigger warning: mention of rape.)
“Yes, thank you. It’s nice to be out of the scrubs.” For whatever reason, I grinned when our eyes met. I’d never paid much attention to Dimas’ features, but the more I stared at him, I noticed how young he looked. If not for the slight five o’clock shadow, I’d have to say he wasn’t older than twenty. I wasn’t sure, though, because all the Eslites had flawless skin.
“You are quite beautiful.” He arched a brow and sipped his water.
“Thanks.” No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t tear my gaze from his. It was as though he had me in a trance. I noticed everything about him. From his debonair smile, to his square jaw, and his perfectly sculpted body that belonged in a Calvin Klein underwear ad. The guy was hot. What the heck was wrong with me?
That freakin’ alien might rape me.
I had to be losing it. He was pure evil. Wasn’t he?
I dug my fingernails into my palm, and the pain broke our connection.
“Consider them an early birthday gift.”
What? How did he know my birthdate? Oh, wait, they’d poked and prodded every hole in my body, of course he would know my birthday. But why would he observe an earthly custom? For half a minute I didn’t say anything, just kept staring at the shaggy, black rug beneath my feet. Hoping and praying he would let me leave as soon as possible, virginity intact.
I managed to squeak out another, “Thank you.”
“I also have another gift for you. I thought it would be better if I told you in person.”
I immediately glanced at him but didn’t meet his gaze, directly.
Please don’t rape me.
Please don’t rape me.
“What’s that?” I asked, feigning courage, even though my entire body shivered. I tapped my feet repeatedly, and I leaned forward, ready to make a run for it. Every muscle in my gut clenched, my thighs tensed, and I pressed my knees shut.
“No matter what you do to me, I’m not going to copulate with you,” I blurted. “At least, not willingly.”
For several seconds, Dimas said nothing. Then, he did something I hadn’t expected. He laughed. “Well, that’s fine, because I didn’t invite you here to have sex with me.”
“Oh.” I felt the color drain from my face as I almost died of embarrassment.
“I’m allowing you to go home for a few weeks, unless you would rather stay here and have sex with me.” His playful tone was disarming and unnerving, at once.
“What?” Excited and relieved, I did the unthinkable. I started to consider his offer.
With a chuckle, he glanced at the glass in his hand. Slowly, in small movements, he swirled the water, the way my dad did a fine wine, and for some strange reason I focused on it. The urge to flee subsided, and I relaxed, as the tension in my shoulders seemed to evaporate. Gradually, my heart rate slowed, my ears no longer rang, and my mouth was no longer dry. I imagined brushing my fingers through his soft, sandy blonde hair. Allowing the warmth of his breath to tickle the curve of my neck as he pressed his full lips to my skin. Feel his strong arms wrapped around me as my body melted into his. When Dimas set the glass on a nearby table, I snapped to attention.
What the heck just happened?
How did I let my mind go there? I couldn’t possibly have the hot’s for the guy. Yet, I was crushing on him, I knew it, and I hated myself for it.
“You are scheduled to depart Nidas on Sunday afternoon.” He smiled, and my stomach flip-flopped. “I’m sure your family will be happy to see you. Besides, I think you need a little break.”
Through some invisible haze his words came to me, and I blinked a few times to make sure I was still in his living room. Then my mind processed what he had said, and though I should have panicked, I remained eerily calm. Was the warden really offering me a prison break?
Crap. Did he know about my plans for escape?
Was it some sort of trap? Were there conditions tied to his surprise?
“That’s—um, great. Thanks. When can I leave?” I tried my best to act cool. I started to stand, but he stayed me with an upraised hand, so I sat on the couch, clutching the edge.
“You will return to your quarters in a few minutes, but I want to set a few ground rules,” he said, as he rose from his chair.
Although I tried not to study him, I couldn’t stop admiring the ripples of muscles beneath his tight fitting shirt, not to mention the spandex-type pants that outlined every curve from the waist down. And I mean every curve. When he paused before an unlit fireplace, I glanced at my glass of water and noticed silver speckles floating on the surface.
Had he given me something?
Had I been drugged?
Because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t fight an uncontrollable desire to watch him. The lights dimmed and the fire ignited behind him, bathing the room in a fiery orange glow, but the air remained bitterly cold. A frightening chill shivered over my arms and legs.
Was I hallucinating?
“Okay, sure.” I set the glass on the coffee table and rested my arms on my knees. Clasping my hands, I prayed for strength.
About the Author
CM Doporto lives in the great state of Texas with her husband and son enjoying life with their extensive family along with their Chihuahua, Mexican Redhead Parrot and several fish.
She writes Young Adult and New Adult Sci-Fi/Urban Fantasy stories about ordinary women who do extraordinary things, become a heroine, and find love along the way.
Regular readers of my blog (or those who cyberstalk me via other means) will know I have a four-year-old son. He doesn’t own as many books as I do, but he does have a bookshelf in his room, and when we moved late last year he had two full boxes of his own books. They’re almost all picture books, although we have started acquiring some chapter books since then as well.
The removalists didn’t like lifting those boxes very much.
The upshot is that I read a lot of picture books. There are a few brilliant ones among the rest and, even though I’m straying a little far from my usual blogging fare, there’s one I want to mention: Twinkle by Australian author illustrator Nick Bland.
Little Star lands in Penny Pasketti’s backyard, and in a twinkle the night is filled with fun. Eventually, though, it is time for Little Star to go home. But how do you make a star fall up?
I found Twinkle on a sale table and snapped it up for my son. We have Bland’s The Very Cranky Bear, which was (until now) my favourite children’s book—if only for its hilarious picture of a brown bear, hands on his hips, scowling at the reader in his new, unwanted finery.
But Twinkle has ousted it. Bland’s artwork is breathtaking. My son and I have happily spent several minutes just looking at a single page, picking out different aspects of the illustration. And the story is sweet too—a little girl finds a fallen star in her yard and helps him to go home. What the words don’t capture but the pictures do is that there must have been a shower of falling stars, because there are a dozen other children in the background trying to do the same thing.
My favourite page reads, “Together they chased the quietness away and filled the night with giggle and bounce.” HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THAT?!
Anyway, if you have small children and can find a copy of this book, you won’t regret buying it. Five (falling) stars!
What’s your favourite picture book?
(PS I’ve previously reviewed another picture book, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore. You know, if you’re interested.)
During the From Australia With Love blog hop, one of the authors I hosted did a little questionnaire called A Day in the Life of Lisa Swallow. Here’s my yesterday. Where’s yours?
Today is: Thursday
I woke up at: 6am when my son “tiptoed” into my room like a baby elephant.
What I ate for breakfast: Cereal
Most interesting thing I did today: My boyfriend and I went to a musical comedy show—he got me the tickets for Christmas. It was see an Australian group that was big here in the 80s and 90s, the Doug Anthony Allstars. Very awesome show—funny, nostalgic and poignant. One of the members of the team, Tim Ferguson, has MS and was in a wheelchair. He made more wheelchair jokes than the other two put together.
Least interesting thing I did today: I compiled some stats. The OCD part of me doesn’t mind that too much, actually, but interesting? Not really.
No one knows…: I’m not scared of mice, but when I was seventeen I jumped on a chair when I saw a cockroach run across a floor. If I’d been wearing a big dress with petticoats I would’ve been a 19th century stereotype. (In my defence, this was a giant New England cockroach. I swear it was the size of my hand!)
My pets are: Two Cairn Terriers, a mother-and-son crime-fighting duo named Chilli and Leo.
When I’m bored, I tend to: Fiddle with my hair.
For lunch, I had: Fruit cake! (We had a morning tea at work and there were leftovers. Oops.)
My current mood is: Annoyed at this stupid cough that won’t go away.
I worked on/for: When I was in my late teens and early 20s I was a nightfiller at Big W, one of the big department stores here.
My biggest pet peeve is: Right now I’d have to say computer programs that don’t work properly. But on other days, I’d tell you it was politicians not giving straight answers to questions. Or incorrectly used apostrophes. I have many peeves.
When I drive, people think: Bloody Canberra driver
I get easily distracted by: Words. If I start reading something (even if it’s inane Facebook status updates) I tend to tune out the rest of the world.
Dinner was: Chinese takeaway
My favourite movie so far this year: The only one I’ve seen is Frozen (that’s the life of a parent) so let’s go with that. I did like it though.
In my spare time, I like to: Read. Write. Cuddle my son. Play Minecraft (sometimes while cuddling my son).
When I need to get into the writing mood, and I’m struggling to, I: Trawl Twitter seeing if anyone is doing writing sprints. Those things are GREAT motivators. Check out the #writeclub hashtag on a Friday night.
I decided to be an author because: Well, once I’d written the book it seemed like a better idea than doing nothing with it!
A couple of days ago on his blog, author and blogger extraordinaire Chuck Wendig posted what he called a penmonkey evaluation—a chance for writers to self-evaluate. I thought it was an interesting exercise so decided I’d do it here. If you decide to evaluate yourself too, please post your blog link in the comments. I’d love to see how others fare.
Definitely my editing skills. I still have the same problems with being able to impartially view my own work as everyone else, but I think I produce a fairly clean initial draft.
At least grammatically—I make no guarantees as to content!
What’s your greatest weakness in writing/storytelling? What gives you the most trouble?
Transition scenes can die in a fire. I try to avoid them if I can, because I struggle with them so much.
How many books or other projects have you actually finished? What did you do with them?
Isla’s Inheritance – scheduled for release with Turquoise Morning Press in around October 2014
Isla’s Oath – scheduled for release with Turquoise Morning Press in around January 2015
Lucid Dreaming – currently on the agent query world tour
Best writing advice you’ve ever been given? (i.e. really helped you)
After considering all the wonderful advice I’ve received (minimise adverb use, avoid dialogue tags, etc), I couldn’t come up with just one thing I’d rate about the others.
Then I realised it was this, which I got from Mister Wendig himself.“Just write.”
Writing your first novel is daunting. It’s a bit like mountain climbing solo, or at least what I imagine mountain climbing solo might be like. You have all these tools, and maybe some people to yell at you or inspire you, but you have to do the hard yards yourself. Each step can be torturous. There’s a risk of avalanches, and of being eaten by wolves.
But the feeling when you get to the top is ah-MAY-zing, and the next mountain you climb is just that little bit easier.
Even if you only manage to write 200 words in a session and it’s like squeezing blood from granite, that’s still another step forward.
Worst writing advice you’ve ever been given? (i.e. didn’t help at all, may have hurt)“The beginning is critical. If you don’t hook your reader, or that agent or editor, you’re screwed.”
This is not inherently bad advice. It’s actually very true. But where it tangled me up was when I was starting that mountain climb on my first book. I knew how critical the beginning was, and I felt from the start that mine had issues. I got so hung up on getting the beginning right that it took me a very long time—embarrassingly long—to move on with writing, you know, the rest of the book.
The reason this is bad advice is because I fixated on it at the wrong time: during drafting rather than editing. When you’re drafting, just draft.
One piece of advice you’d give other writers?
You can edit badly written words. You can’t edit a blank page.
In other news, on Tuesday I was over at Marcy Peska’s blog, doing an interview about writing dialogue. Yes, I was talking about writing about talking.
Today’s This Writer’s Space is brought to you by fabulous indie author K. A. Last! Take it away, Kim!
Where I Write
When I first started writing I would write anywhere I could. My laptop wandered around the house with me, and usually ended up wherever the kids happened to be. I also used to write a lot in my rocker-recliner, but I find my legs get sore having the computer on my lap for so long.
Now my kids are in school, I can sit down in the peace and quiet, in one place, and get my brain working better. I wish I had an office—which I actually do—that I could devote solely to writing, but I prefer to write at the dining room table. The office is great, and I have a fab desktop PC in there which I love, but I use it mainly for my graphic design work, admin tasks, promotional time etc. The dining room table works better for me because I have more room to spread out. As you can see from the pic, it’s a mess (and usually is). I’ve been getting ready for a signing event on the Gold Coast which is happening in less than three weeks (eeek!), so there are stacks of books and swag everywhere. I’m also more inspired at the dining room table because I don’t feel like I’m locked away in a cave. There’s air flow, light and space around me.
After saying all that, sometimes I do write in the office, like I am now, if the table needs to be used for something like, I don’t know—eating!
Where I’m Inspired
I’m inspired at all different times, in a lot of different places, and in many different ways. Mostly though, I’m inspired inside my head. That sounds a little weird, but it doesn’t matter where I am, or what I’m doing, for me to get inspired. My hubby often gets annoyed with me because I have the ability to switch off just like that, even mid-conversation. I end up inside my head, thinking through a scene or creating a new character, and then I have clicking fingers in front of my face.
If I was to pick a place where most of the inspiration happens, I’d have to say inside my car. I work two days a week—in Sydney. The traffic is horrendous, which means I have anywhere up to three (sometimes more) hours of thinking time on the drive to and from work. Music really aids my inspiration. All of my books have a theme song, and a playlist, and every time I hear particular songs, they remind me of my characters, their actions, and even particular scenes.
To Be Read
Okay, this is a bit of a sore spot in my house. Hubby can’t believe—or understand—why I have so many books. I love books, especially pretty ones. I love all the pretty covers. About a third of my books I’ve bought because I loved the cover. I’m a graphic designer; I have to have the pretty covers.
There are so many books I want to read that I don’t have a ‘next on the list’ list. I’m an eclectic reader. I basically pick up whatever I feel like at the time, and I have a lot to choose from.
The shelves on the left side of the photo are all books I haven’t read. Yep, and they are double stacked. The ones on the right side are the books I have read, also some of them double stacked. As you can see though, the unread books far outweigh the read ones. Don’t even get me started on the number of books on my iPad. I have a panic attack just thinking about it.
If by any chance you don’t have too much on your TBR, I’d love you to check out my YA Paranormal Romance series. I also have a standalone lower YA fantasy adventure. Come by my Facebook page or tweet me if you want to know more.
K. A. Last was born in Subiaco, Western Australia, and moved to Sydney with her parents and older brother when she was eight. Artistic and creative by nature, she studied Graphic Design and graduated with an Advanced Diploma. After marrying her high school sweetheart, she concentrated on her career before settling into family life. Blessed with a vivid imagination, she began writing to let off creative steam, and fell in love with it. She now resides in a peaceful, leafy suburb north of Sydney with her husband, their two children, and a rabbit named Twitch.
Starving artist Kelsey Tecato takes being The Templeton Museum’s artist in residence a little too literally. By day, she puts on a show of painting for the crowds that shuffle through the galleries, but at night, her muse runs wild.
Mitch Jameson is a guy’s guy. A cop moonlighting as a security guard, he has little use for the artsy-fartsy stuff, but the mysterious Ms. Tecato’s sexy portraits call to him.
So does an interior alarm.
When Officer Jameson goes to investigate, he finds a paint-splattered goddess working on a self-portrait–in the nude.
A couple tubes of paint and a roll in the drop cloths later, free-spirited Kelsey helps Officer Jameson discover his passion for art.
Buy from Amazon – Retail Price: $0.99 Promotional Price: FREE 3–7 March 2014
Multi-published author, Maggie Wells, is a deep-down dirty girl with a weakness for hot heroes and happy endings. By day she is buried in spreadsheets, but at night she pens tales of people tangling up the sheets. The product of a charming rogue and a shameless flirt, this mild-mannered married lady has a naughty streak a mile wide.
Fueled by supertankers of Diet Coke, Maggie juggles fictional romance and the real deal by keeping her slow-talking Southern gentleman constantly amused and their two children mildly embarrassed. They are the food purveyors to three dogs, a passel of fish, and one impertinent house rabbit she claims is the love of her life. Shh. Don’t tell her husband.