Cover reveal for ‘False Awakening’ — sign-ups now available

It’s hard being the second sibling (or so my friends who are second siblings assure me). Certainly that seems to be true of books, too. For the longest time, Lucid Dreaming, first in my adult urban fantasy series, got all the attention, the cover, and the series named after it.

But now it’s time to shine for the second book in the series, False Awakening, with its very own cover made by the fabulous KILA Designs!

The cover reveal is scheduled for 7 May. You can sign up here, which is an excellent way to get to see it first!

And, to celebrate, I’m offering Lucid Dreaming free to reviewers in all ebook formats. You can sign up for THAT here, or just email me directly. I don’t bite.

Hard.

Seriously, I am so excited to be able to share this cover with you … almost as excited as I am at the idea of photographing the two books together, united at last! ❤

False Awakening blurb

Melaina, half-human dream therapist, just wants her life to return to normal. Yes, her Oneiroi father is in prison and, yes, the place she worked burned down, but she has a cute boyfriend and a new house. She beat the bad guy. She’s earned a break. Right?

Unfortunately for Melaina, people are still getting possessed by nightmare spirits; the police are investigating her past; and the bad guy’s brother, the Morpheus himself, is coming to town to demand answers. When a deranged ex-nurse checks himself out of hospital on the same day her cousin runs away from home, Melaina is dragged into a fight not just for her life but for her soul.

Goodreads


Book announcement: ‘Lucid Dreaming’ sequel coming in 2017

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I’ve posted so many reviews lately that recent followers of my blog might be forgiven for thinking that’s all I do here. But, despite appearances, I have been slowly beetling away for the better part of the year on the sequel to Lucid Dreaming, my adult urban fantasy. I’m about half a chapter from “the end” — the goal is to have the first draft done before Christmas, if I can overcome the distractions of the silly season.

It’ll be a near thing.

At this stage, the plan is for Lucid Dreaming and its sequel to be a duology — a two-book series. The goal is to release the sequel in the middle of 2017.

So, what can I tell you about this sequel?

The title!

Well, first off, there’s the title:

False Awakening title fireworks

Source: Image Chef

Yes, False Awakening — inspired by that phenomenon that is “a vivid and convincing dream about awakening from sleep, while the dreamer in reality continues to sleep”. (Thank you, Wikipedia.)

The blurb!

I can also share an early version of the blurb (although this one is subject to change once my lovely editor finishes her maternity leave!).

“Sometimes I have nightmares where I dream I’ve woken up, and then I start attacking people…”

Melaina, half-human dream therapist, just wants her life to return to normal. Yes, her Oneiroi father is in prison and, yes, the place she worked burned down, but she has a cute boyfriend and a new house. She beat the bad guy. She’s earned a break. Right?

Unfortunately for Melaina, people are still getting possessed by nightmare spirits; the police are investigating her past; and the bad guy’s brother, the Morpheus himself, is coming to town to demand answers. When a deranged ex-nurse checks himself out of hospital on the same day her cousin runs away from home, Melaina is dragged into a fight not just for her life but for her soul.

Also, note — if you’re a Goodreads user, you can add False Awakening to your “to read” shelf. You know, if you want to.

The sale!

To celebrate, the Lucid Dreaming ebook is on sale for $0.99 (US) at the following websites.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia
Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Tell your friends!

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Not the book cover — I don’t have one of those yet. But it is pretty! Source: Shutterstock


What Hogwarts Houses Are My Characters?

Sorting Hat

I was asked on Facebook what Hogwarts Houses my characters would be; apparently this was a thing authors were doing back in 2014, and we all know how cutting edge I am! I’ve been chewing over the idea, because—like Harry, who could have just as easily been Slytherin as Gryffindor—most of my characters could fit into more than one house. Still, I’ve donned the Sorting Hat and done my best!

Isla’s Inheritance trilogy

Isla has elements of Hufflepuff and Gryffindor, and could easily go into either house. However, when we first meet her, she is definitely a Hufflepuff, so that’s where she would’ve been sorted when she started high school. Her loyalty in particular drives her to do some very courageous things, but she’s still more comfortable not charging into danger, given the choice.

Like Isla, Jack has elements of Gryffindor (his chivalry and courage, in particular). However, he is a Hufflepuff through and through. Patience and loyalty are two of his defining characteristics, and his desire for justice has gotten him into trouble in the past.

Sarah is a Gryffindor. Although she is musical, which could have qualified her for Ravenclaw, she is the most honest, determined and forthright of the characters in the trilogy. This causes Sarah to butt heads with Isla at times, when she gets frustrated with her cousin’s reluctance to be as honest as she probably should be.

Lucid Dreaming

Of these five characters, Melaina is the hardest for me to sort. She has traits valued by three of the four houses (she’d make a pretty poor Hufflepuff, all things considered). Still, I’d sort her into Gryffindor, given her tendency to leap into situations and think about the consequences later.

Brad is a Ravenclaw. He’s an educated, intellectual sort of person who is very good at thinking his way through a problem or puzzle to find a solution. That is why he struggles at first, when presented with information that doesn’t fit neatly into his worldview. But once he understands the new “rules” of Melaina’s world, he is able to think his way through them.

Are you a writer? Have you ever sorted your characters? It’s a fun little mental exercise that gets you to think about who they really are, beneath it all. (And special thanks to Belle for suggesting it.)


Notebook_coffeeIn case you missed it, on Thursday I was over at Aussie Owned and Read, talking about finding time in a busy life: time to write, blog, review and do the squillion other things I try to get done.

What I really need is a Time Turner…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Valentine’s Day fun: kissing excerpt and other news

In the lead-up to Valentine’s Day in this month of luuuuuurve, there are a couple of things going on I just wanted to quickly let you know about.

The first is that today over at Aussie Owned and Read I’m sharing an excerpt from my latest novel, which is a fantasy that I describe as “Beauty and the Beast meets Ancient Greece”. There’s kissing. (The draft doesn’t yet have a name. For those that have been following my blog for some time, this will come as no surprise.)

The other is that, starting on Sunday, I’ll be giving away two copies of Lucid Dreaming over at Goodreads. The giveaway is here if you want to bookmark it and add it to your calendars — and why wouldn’t you? 😉

I’ll now return you to your regularly scheduled awesomeness.

Aussie_Vday Pink

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An update ramble (aka proof that Cassandra shouldn’t blog tired)…

So, err, January has sort of gotten away from me. I had all these ideas for blog posts — primarily to, you know, write them — but clearly that hasn’t gone well. So of course, since I got maybe five hours sleep last night, now seems like the perfect time to write an update. Mostly so you know I haven’t been eaten by rampaging drop bears or whatever.

Me, writing this blog post

Me, writing this blog post

One of the posts I was planning was going to be a “my goals for 2016” post. It can more-or-less be summed up in this short list:

  • Self-publish Melpomene’s Daughter (Isla’s Inheritance #3)
  • Write the sequel to Lucid Dreaming
  • Be awesome

Melpomene’s Daughter is going well. I have the paperback proof from KILA Designs and have maybe 50 pages left to read. My goal is to get it done by the end of this weekend, so that I can get it back to Kim before my son and I scarper down to the coast for a week of probably getting rained on at the beach. (It’s going to be awesome.) That way, when I get back, the book should be all go for a February re-release.

Melpomene's Daughter paperback title page

Such a lovely title page. I could pat it.

I started drafting the sequel to Lucid Dreaming over Christmas. I’ve got three chapters down and, well, lots to go. I’ve also got my next project lined up — one I’m super-excited about — so, aside from wanting to finish off Melaina’s story for its own sake, I’m also keen to finish it so I can move on to fresh pastures. I’m so fickle. 😉

Lucid Dreaming has been getting some great reviews on Goodreads and other review sites/blogs. If you’ve reviewed it (or any of my books), then know that I love you from the bottom of my heart.

Over at Aussie Owned and Read, I blogged about how audiobooks are the best thing since, well, books.

I haven’t been reading as fast as usual — unless you count my own books, which I have read many, many times. In fact, I’ve been on the same two books (one audio, one ebook) all year. Which is not to say that they aren’t awesome, because they are. I just haven’t had as much time lately — and my usual time to read audiobooks, on my commute, hasn’t been viable because my son has been with me more often than not. If it does rain at the coast as much as I anticipate, at least I can catch up on some stories.

Currently reading 0116

On a personal note, this month has been pretty rough for me and the boy. Close friends of mine have moved away for an awesome work opportunity; their kids are good friends of my son’s, so he has been just as sad as me about the whole thing. The difference is that, when you’re six, you process these things differently. It’s been hard, but this week has shown signs of improvement. (And the coast trip is a distraction that couldn’t be happening at a better time. Awesome parenting high five, me!)

I’ve also spent a bit of time being sucked into a casual, mobile game called Fallout Shelter. It’s based on the Fallout games, but is more of a resource-management game than a shooter. I like it … though I’m less wild about some of the decisions the game designers have made. Maybe one day I’ll have a rush of blood to the head and review the game, but IT IS NOT THIS DAY.

I’m not that tired.

LOTR dachshund

So, that’s where I’m at. How about you? Has 2016 been treating you nicely so far?


Wrap-up for 2015

As I said in my Christmas post, 2015 has been a crazy year for me. It started off with a bang, with Isla’s Oath being released in January. In April, Melpomene’s Daughter came out.

However, for both books, only the ebook version was released — and, in October, just as I was gearing up to self-publish Lucid Dreaming, I got the word that Turquoise Morning Press was closing. The bright side is that I got the rights to the trilogy back straight away, as well as permission to use the original covers if I wished. I ended up deciding to commission new covers, and so the scramble to re-release them commenced.

I couldn’t have done it without Kim from KILA Designs; as well as being my designer and friend, she also patiently explained the parts of self-publishing a book that I hadn’t even considered to that point.

The upshot is that, in 2015, I had five release days for three books. Is it any wonder I’m spending my new year’s eve in my pyjamas and a T-shirt (a black one that says “The book was better”)? I’m too knackered to contemplate anything else!

I achieved most of my
reading and writing resolutions…

but not all.

As I mentioned yesterday, I only read 9 out of 12 of the books in my Aussie Readers challenge. And, although I did indeed release Isla’s Oath, Melpomene’s Daughter and Lucid Dreaming, and I did finish writing my fantasy novel, I didn’t manage to write another Tammy Calder novella. I’ll have to save that one for next year.

I also set myself a goal of blogging at least twice a week, but I don’t know that I always achieved that. (Trivia: according to the WordPress stats monkeys, my most popular post in 2015 was my review of Eleven Weeks by Lauren K. McKellar.)

I haven’t done up a list of 2016 resolutions yet. I know I’m supposed to do it before the year kicks over, but at the moment I can’t think past “don’t release three books five times”!

I read one book a week…

That wasn’t deliberate; it just worked out that way. For the last two years, my Goodreads challenge number has been 40 books + however many kids books I read/listen to with my son (excluding picture books, which I don’t bother recording). This year, that worked out to 50 books. I overachieved a little.

Of these:

  • 87% were by women writers (or, in the case of Three Slices and Illuminae, had at least one female writer)
  • 75% were speculative fiction of one stripe or another (including the children’s books)
  • 31% were by Australian authors (or, in the case of Losing It, had at least one Aussie author)
  • 25% were by Kim Harrison (I gobbled the entire Hollows series this year)
  • 12% were by Cressida Cowell (the boy and I went on a How to Train Your Dragon kick earlier in the year — did you know the audiobooks are narrated by David Tennant?)
  • 4% were non-fiction

Goodreads2015

So there you have it!

This year has been busy, but I got by with a little (or a lot of) help from my friends. And also my family, and you guys — my lovely readers. I hope your 2016 is filled with love, hugs, laughter and, above all, books.

See you next year!


Amazeballs SPR review of ‘Lucid Dreaming’

Those that follow me on social media will have already seen my fainting hysterics over this, but for those that haven’t: Lucid Dreaming received an amazing professional review from Self-Publishing Review this week. Five stars. Whee! Needless to say, I’m over the moon (and trying not to let it go to my head).

You can read the whole review here, but here’s an excerpt:

Lucid Dreaming is a great, comfortable read, like a new pair of slippers that fit like your well-worn favorites. Lucid Dreaming is very fresh and gorgeous looking, with a fluid and vibrant read to match. To chance a pun, you could even say the writing is lucid. Page has a particular self-awareness that just, just about creeps in and tinges the edges of the page now and then in a very modest manner that pays dividends when the time is right.

Similarly, Melaina is a great lead, with a wry and experienced charm to her character that stands out from her peers, both in the context of her own story and in the wider genre. She’s relatable, in all the right ways, and there’s a sadness behind her strength, but she’s taking it all in her stride. It sounds par for the course, but there’s a very certain je ne sais quoi to her and the whole book at large. There’s a really strong and surprisingly wide supporting cast of all breeds that are well curated to push the story in every way it needs to, when it needs to be, and the perfect storm comes in wild, colorful strokes from beginning to end.

Cover to cover, the book really shines, even down to the simple detail of its little butterfly motifs scattered here and there as dividers. It’s a really outstanding work that I cannot sing high enough praises of. Urban and paranormal fantasy fans: buy this book. For me personally, it scratched an itch I didn’t even realize I had, and for anyone looking for something new in the genre, it’s likely to do the same. It’s an example of some of the finest to be found in a rather crowded arena. It’s hard not to find yourself giving yourself “one more page”, page after page, and for better or worse this is a read that will definitely keep you awake if you’re not careful!


Add Lucid Dreaming on Goodreads

Ebook

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia
Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Paperback

Createspace | Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

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SPR Review