Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Cover Reveal: Asp of Ascension

I'm thrilled to pull back the curtains and finally show off the cover for my YA mystery, Asp of Ascension. Available July 21, from Fierce Ink Press.

But first...a little bit about the story.

About Asp of Ascension

Nefertari “Terry” Hughes has three rules for surviving high school:
#1 Don’t attract attention.
#2 Don’t get involved.
#3 Don’t make trouble.
A year after the accident that left her disabled and took her mother’s life, sixteen-year-old Terry just wants to keep her head down and survive her new high school. When she catches the eye of cute basketball star Zach, all hopes of flying under the radar are gone.
She is thrust even further into the spotlight when Fraser, the editor of the school newspaper, learns her father Mr. Hughes is the renowned archaeologist overseeing the new Egyptian display at the museum, which is rumored to include Cleopatra’s sarcophagus. When Fraser stumbles upon the fifty-year-old mystery of a girl who vanished in the museum and Terry’s father falls into a mysterious coma, Terry’s caught up in a whirlwind of events that leads all the way back to ancient times.
Before long, the stakes become too high for Terry to ignore. Tossing aside her rules for survival, she teams up with Fraser and her candy-loving new friend Maude to solve the mystery and save her father — before she loses everything.
Okay, now you can take a peek. Scroll down for the awesome! 

I'm over the moon thrilled with Emma Dolan's design. I love how it reminds me of the Lois Duncan thrillers I grew up reading.
Now available for pre-order Chapters and Amazon.

Check out the inspiration board on Pinterest.
Add it on Goodreads.
Today is also the launch of the Asp of Ascension T-shirt campaign. There are lots of options–men’s, women’s, tank tops, and youth sizes. Help spread the word, because the book can’t print until we meet our minimum!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Once Upon A Time Season 4, Episode 21 "Mother"

Or better title "Holy Mother of God, It's a Dragon!"

We know we're in for a dark episode when the Evil Queen breaks up a wedding by killing the groom. Apparently the peasants were about to tie the knot close to her ex-boyfriends grave. And since it was the anniversary of Daniel's death, she was a entitled to stomp on everyone's happiness.

While she's weeping for her lost love, Cora strolls out from behind a tree.

Hey, girl. Aren't you supposed to be in Wonderland beheading hot dudes?

Cora is all about getting Regina a man...a new man, one with a real job. It seems that Cora 'bumped' into Tinkerbell and she revealed that a tattooed man is Regina's true love.

Barbara Hershey should win an award for pulling off that line with a straight face.

Meanwhile in Manhattan, Robin and Regina discuss what their plan is now that Zelena is pregnant. He wastes no time saying he's ready to dump Zelena and start having special naked hugs with Regina know, since his wife really is dead and everyone hates Zelena anyway.

Regina gives him a lemon face and is like, "Dude, you're too complicated to be with. Mmm-bye, bye."

Go Regina!
Emma wastes no time getting Lily back to Storybrooke, but makes Maleficent wait to see her missing daughter while she hugs Hook in slow motion...for a long time. Mary Margaret and David stand by like the third and fourth wheels, but the only thing Emma gives them is a cold shoulder.


And then Maleficent and Lily finally see each other. And instantly Maleficent isn't evil anymore. Over breakfast guessed it, Granny's, she says, "I don’t even care about getting revenge on the Charmings. Let’s sign up for mother daughter yoga classes.”

But Lily has a different plan. "What the hell kind of mother are you? I came back to help you take down our enemies! Forgiveness? Later. I'm catching the last bus out of here."

In other news, Regina steals the Author from Mr. Gold, since he's barely alive and dying of a heart condition. She wastes no time in finding Lily hanging out at the bus stop.

Why is there a bus stop? No one can leave Storybrooke?

Whatever...after a bit of small talk, she pulls out a knife and cuts Lily's hand. She collects the blood for the Author's ink bottle. And now she has ULITIMATE POWER.

Regina and the Author pay a visit to Zelena in the secret psych ward in the basement of the hospital. It seems she's changed her mind about Robin and has come up with a new plan.

Zelena is like, "He can't unwrite me...can he?"

Silly girl! He's the Author! And if we've learned anything from this show it's that the writers can do whatever they want regardless of plot holes, illogical timelines...

On the other side of town, Maleficent begs the Charmings to help her convince Lily to stay in Storybrooke since they've been such successful parents to Emma.

Their brilliant solution is to drive around in the truck. But this turns out to be a good idea since they soon come across a dragon.

Maleficent is super proud of her little dragon baby and is thrilled to be present for her first flight. Mary Margaret—for no reason other than to get injured and thereby force Emma to sympathize with her—rushes the dragon only to get knocked out.

Point for dragon!

And just as the writers hoped, Emma runs over and instantly heals her while forgiving her for throwing an innocent baby down a wormhole after filling it with pure evil.

Um...whatever. That storyline was getting old anyway.

Maleficent finally gives Lily her baby rattle. Lily decides to stay in Storybrooke for a week to bond with Maleficent and maybe get some flying time in and totally forget those sappy Charmings.

So what happened to Cora? Oh right, back in Fairy Tale land Cora goes to a bar and picks the first guy that hits on her to become Regina's true love. After slapping on a fake lion tattoo she takes him to the castle for some sweet lovin' true love style.

Everything was going well until Regina realized the dude and his tattoo were fake, then she smashed stuff like the Hulk, scaring the fake dude. He confesses this was all a plan to get Regina pregnant.

Oh yeah, Mom? As a counter attack, Regina swallows an infertility potion in front of Cora ensuring the bloodline ends with Regina.

Cora was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. I thought you'd be happy as a mother. It’s only the choices we make to punish others that deprive us of true happiness.
I guess I should have said that before, like maybe in front of Daniel's grave. Gosh, what rotten luck, darling."

Back at the psych cell, the Author is all ready to erase Zelena when Regina decides she is responsible for her own happiness and she doesn't need the Author to write her own happy ending, she'll make it herself.

*cough* Obvious theme *cough*

Miffed, the Author writes himself out of the room and back to Mr. Gold, who by this time is lying on the floor of his shop, counting his last breaths. With wheezy commands Mr. Gold tells the Author to start a whole new story called Heroes and Villains.

I have no idea what crazy crap is coming for he last episode but I sure hope there's a dragon fight.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Celebrate Victoria Day With These Top Victorian Novels!
I love a long weekend more than anyone, but have you noticed we really don’t do anything to actually celebrate or acknowledge the dowager mourning Queen?
But I’m not encouraging everyone to dress in black from head to toe or marry their first cousin. Instead, enjoy these Victorian reads while you lounge on your patio while the BBQ heats up.
Cheeky at it's best! But in all honesty, any Oscar Wilde book is worth your time.

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens.
When a rich merchant dies, he wills most of his fortune to an estranged son, John Harmon, but only on condition that this son marry a girl the father has chosen. She is Bella Wilfer, the pretty, spirited, slightly petulant daughter of a humble clerk. But whether young John Harmon would have consented to marry her is a mystery, because his body shows up on the shore in the novels macabre opening scene.
Look, just because it was required reading in school doesn’t mean it won’t speak to you. Plus, the names in a Dickens' novels are incredibly wonderfully ridiculous. In his day, Charles Dickens was quite a rock star. People would line up on the docks for new copies of his books and women would swoon at his public readings.

Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthor Conan Doyle.
Fog. Murder. London. It doesn't get more Victorian than that, my friend.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Orphans, a mysterious wealthy gentlemen, a spooky mansion with a forbidden tower and a drunken cook. What could possibly go wrong?

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

We always picture the monster when we hear the name Frankenstein, but it is in fact Victor Frankenstein that the title references. Written completely in letter form by the narrator, you'll wonder who is the real monster of the story; the murderous creation or the creator himself.

Far From theMadding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

A headstrong landowner in want of a husband considers three suitors; a farmhand, a wealthy neighbour, and a handsome soldier with a tragic secret.

North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Pride and Prejudice for socialists. Truly, a wonderful read.
What are some of your favourite Victorian reads?

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Once Upon A Time Season 4, Episode 20 "Lily"

Or better title "Road Trip"

Wowzers, OUAT is getting dark. And for once magic wasn't the simple solution to any problems the characters had to face. Also, I loved the chemistry between Regina and Emma. Can these two have a spin off?

With Cruella nicely tucked in a wooden casket, Maleficent realizes Mr. Gold has no intention of helping anyone get their happy ending. She finds Emma and asks to find her daughter, Lily. She drops a couple of crucial details and a little research through Storybrooke's microfiche proves to Emma that Lily, her ex-best friend from foster care days, is the same baby her parents poured evil into and dropped down a wormhole.

Regina takes this all in stride. "Fate kept bringing you together. Anyway, I need a vacation. Tag along with me to New York so I can save Robin's ass from my hateful sister, then we'll check out Lily's address on the way. Cool?"

Road Trip!

Hook is all, "Yo ho ho, take care, bye."

Why is he even in this episode?

Lily Returns

Meanwhile, we see teen Emma fitting in with her new foster family, but guess who shows up wearing a ridiculous oversized beanie?

Lily is hiding from the police after knocking off a gas station, but manages to convince Emma to get her necklace from a house where she was squatting with her boyfriend. Anxious to get Lily out of her foster parent's house, Emma gets the necklace. She sneaks back in only to learn from her foster parents that Lily had stolen the foster family’s vacation money. Emma feels desperate and runs away.

Lily is Dead

Oops. When Emma and Regina track down Lily's address, they learn from a creepy neighbor stalking the dirty hallway that Lily was killed in a car accident a few years ago. "Her? She was such a loser."

Emma goes ballistic and threatens to punch the guy with her little princess fist. Regina is like, "Chill. He's not worth it." And talks Emma down from a potentially violent situation.

I bet Regina is second guessing taking Emma along.

They get in the car, resolved to keep going to New York when all of a sudden...

Emma is all grumbling that stupid random wolves keep showing up. Regina thinks it might be fate, and oh hey, look there's a coffee shop down the lane.

Lily is Alive

Emma is totally bummed by her bad luck. She orders coffee from the waitress and see the star birthmark. The waitress is Lily!

But instead of saying, 'Hey, it's me, Emma, you're ex-bff. I found your birth mom. It's kind of cray cray, but I'll explain on the drive back to Storybrooke,' Emma begins with, "I'm sorry I caused all that crap to happen in your life. Because of me you turned our miserable."

Lily was like, “My life is fine. I'm married with a little girl. Don't let the dreary lane and crappy job fool you."

But Emma has the super power to know when someone is lying. After she gets the address from the diner, she and Regina break into Lily's apartment/trailer. And then they came upon a “crazy person wall” with notes and pictures about Storybrooke.

Gasp! She knew all along!

Then they hear Lily take off in Emma's Bug. Not to be outdone, Emma steals a nearby Camaro, taking Regina on a car chase! "Maybe you should calm the f-down before you kill us," she says.

Bus Stop Revelation

Meanwhile, we flashback to teen Emma. While waiting for a bus, Lily shows up and tries on convince Emma that they can split the vacation money she stole and live the highlife for like a few days before being forced to live on the streets. Emma throws the necklace at Lily and never wants to see her again.

When Lily gets on her own bus, she ends up sitting next to a dude who could be on Duck Dynasty. Instead, its the sorcerer's apprentice. He tells Lily all about her true past, as most strangers on buses do.

And that's how she knew, folks! Thank heavens for flashbacks to fill in plot holes.

Road Rage

Crazy Adult Emma flies down the highway and manages to whip in front of her Bug ending the chase. She then forces Lily out of the car and on to her knees. And then...she pulls a gun on her.


She reasons in order to save her parents from his psycho, she's going to kill her before she gets to Storybrooke.

Regina is like, "Ems, everyone has tried to kill your parents, including me. Do you really think shooting an unarmed woman on the side of the highway is the best choice? Hashtag dark side, darling."

Emma finally listens to Regina who by this time is figuring out road trips aren't as fun as they seem in the movies.

Miraculously, it only takes a commercial break for Lily and Emma to reconcile. Now, time to head to Manhattan and rescue Robin.

But since the episode is almost over, Regina has to spill a few episodes of backstory in one sentence.

Robin insists Regina is crazy, but then Zelena arrives, takes off her magical disguise and announces to the room that she is pregnant.

Oh, god! Is there no other storyline?

Things I wonder about...

OUAT will show us that Zelena's pregnancy is just a lie or maybe it will be the new savior...?

Does Lily have the ability to turn into a dragon?

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Once Upon A Time, Season 4, Episode 19 "Sympathy for the De Vil"

Or better title, "Over the Edge"

I'm way behind on my OUAT recaps, however I'm no quitter and I intend to see this to its ridiculous conclusion.

#1. After the death of her third step father, Cruella's evil mother and renowned Dalmatian trainer, locks her away in the attic and uses the growling dogs to keep her from running away.

#2. One day a man comes knocking on the door, looking for stories for the paper. But this is no ordinary reporter who knocks on strangers doors in the middle of the's The Author.

#3. Regina is ready to rescue Robin from Salena/Marion. She ensures Mr. Gold's silence by enchanting Belle's heart, threatening to crush it if he some much as sends an email to Manhattan.

#4. Emma and Regina receive a video call from Henry, who had been newly kidnapped by Cruella. She asks for them to bring her the dead body of The Author or Henry will be killed.

#5. Mr. Gold hides The Author in his cabin, once again demanding a new happy ending. Then he figures out The Author and Cruella knew each other before.
#6. The Author helps Cruella escape the attic and her mother's fierce dogs. He takes her out dancing to a local speakeasy. They dance, they laugh, and he tells her he has the power to help her escape her cruel mother. He admits his pen and ink are...wait for it...magical! And that he moves about each story realm. He gives her the power to control any animal as she desires. She promises to meet him after she faces her mother.

#7. Emma is still sore at Mary Margaret and David for throwing that other baby (Lily) into another vortex. She goes with Regina and Hook into the forest to look for Henry. They soon find Cruella holding Henry at gunpoint on a cliff.

#8.While waiting at the hotel, The Author is confronted by Cruella's mother who tells him it was Cruella who had killed her fathers and that keeping her locked in the attic was for everyone's safety. He throws her out, but then discovers his magical ink and pen are missing.

#9. Cruella controls the dogs now and has them kill her mother. Ew. When The Author arrives she's already skinned them and made herself a coat. She pulls a gun on him. He sees the pen and quickly writes, Cruella may not kill another living thing.

#10. Mary Margaret and David find The Author, he tells them Henry is in no danger. They realize this is all part of Mr. Gold's diabolical plan to turn Emma's heart dark. They arrive in the forest just as Emma uses her magic to throw Cruella off the cliff. They fear Emma has begun to turn evil.

Duh! The freak had her kid at gunpoint at the edge of a cliff!

Things I wonder about...

How can Regina leave Storybrooke?

How does The Author have the ability to travel between realms without: tentacles, a magic bean, a curse, a mermaid...

Cruella wanted revenge on The Author because he took away her ability to kill things? Really?

Sunday, 3 May 2015

How to Write Like Jane Austen

Few authors have been endeared to so many generations of devoted followers. Even centuries after she was first published, Jane Austen still casts a spell over readers.

What is it that ensnares our fascination with her characters? And more importantly how can we copy tap into that mysterious formula of book sales success?

Ahem. Here are ten easy steps to writing the perfect Jane Austen novel.

#1. Your plucky heroine must be known for her determined spirit, however, she's also quite handsome which no one seems to mention.

#2. When the protagonist meets her love interest, they will formally address each other even though one is clearly smitten, but keeps their devotion a secret.

#3. An unsavory family member proves to be a reoccurring source of annoyance and conflict.

#4. Through a happy coincidence the heroine and her love interest will keep bumping into each other in social situations that force them to be civil to each other, slowly the feelings of attraction become mutual.

#5. A walk down the garden path leads to a feisty confrontation with the antagonist or an unexpected pledge of devotion from above mentioned love interest.

#6. At the moment when true love seems unstoppable, a family tragedy occurs preventing the couple from pursuing any future plans.

#7. Time goes by and it rains a lot.

#8. When all seems lost, the heroine finds herself either dripping in mud from a fall in the garden path or soaked from a rain storm when her love interest happens by. Awkwardness ensues and no one proclaims their true affection.

#9. When the family tragedy from #5 is miraculously settled with a three page letter delivered in the night via post by horseback, your heroine remembers her life will still be miserable because her love interest saw her covered in mud or soaked to the skin.

#10. A second confrontation in the garden path with the antagonist reminds your heroine that she is devoted to her happiness, and when the love interest shows up one last time, she seizes the moment to declare her feelings and true love prevails.

The End.

Awesome, now go write your own Jane Austen novel and soon Hollywood will come calling.

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