Friday, February 28, 2014

UP-CLOSE with South Aussie YA and New Adult author Danielle Belwater!

Tell us about your writing journey. How many manuscripts and years before publication?

If there was a prize for starting things - books, hobbies, crafts, sports - then I would win, hands down. Hand me the trophy! It’s finishing them that’s the problem. I have the first few chapters of a few different projects…

I have half a book on my experience learning to ride a horse, a synopsis of a fantasy trilogy, the first chapter of a kids' book, a sketchy draft of a manuscript about my travels in Europe, the list goes on. But have I done anything with any of it? I’m afraid not.

It’s amazing what impending motherhood and the desire to not want to go back to work can do. I wrote the first draft of Of Fire & Roses in three months. Within six months it was contracted to Evernight Teen Publishing.

Can you tell us more about your life in rural SA and what you get up to when you're not writing?

There is nothing better than space. Lots and lots of space - oh, and animals! When I’m not writing, I’m probably thinking about writing, or pretending I’m not thinking about writing. I also watch my horses. Sometimes I even ride them. I live for my two girls, who I love dearly, but do on occasion wish I could donate them to charity.

You write under a pseudonym. Why so, and why did you pick the name you have?

Now there is a funny story! At least it’s funny now. I wasn’t laughing a week ago. My original pseudonym was named for a fictional place in my favourite series of books. But as I learnt only 10 days from release, some authors aren’t always happy about that! Also being stuck in an out-of-the-way place where there is no internet has made for a very interesting few days. That was how Belwater was born.

The 'Danielle' comes from a character from my favourite movie, Ever After. It’s one of those movies that always leaves me with the warm fuzzies.

Why does YA and 'new adult' appeal to you?

I struggle with the concept of growing up. I often look behind me and wonder where did the time go? What did I do with it? Did I make a difference? They are tough years to get through and I survived through my love of books and movies.

I see myself in those who would be reading my novel, and if I help even just one person get through another day, then it has all been worth it.

Finally, please tell us about your latest release!

Music speaks to me. For Of Fire & Roses, I was listening to Never Let Me Go by Florence + The Machine. The haunting music and dark lyrics are a lament to heartbreak so cruel that only death can bring release. I thought to myself, what if love can defy death?

Of Fire & Roses tells the story of Nate West who is dealing with his mother’s tragic death and moves to a small out-of-the-way town with his father. Shortly after relocating, he meets Cora, whose family is cursed with pain and loss.

But loving Cora is going to take more courage and determination than Nate ever thought possible when he becomes the curse’s next target.

Find out more about the gorgeous Danielle here!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

What a Character with Danielle's Nathanial

Danielle Belwaters and her hero Nathanial West from Of Fire and Roses join us today...

What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you?

When my Mother died, my whole world imploded. Dad falling apart didn’t help either. It’s made harder when you have to drag yourself to school every day, feel everyone staring at you, whispering. Not that I care.

What do you do best?

Running. Fast. Quickest (non powered) way to anywhere else.

Do you have a secret?

I have a few, but if I told you, I’d have to kill you.

On what occasion would you lie?

Is that just a little white lie? Or a whopping, fact altering web of deceit? It would certainly depend on the circumstances. If it meant lying to talk someone down off a life threatening ledge, then yeah, I’d consider it.

Tell us a memory of childhood?

I remember going to the Georgia Aquarium with Mum when I was about 7 or 8. I got bitten by a turtle.

What is the strangest thing to happen to you?

Man, I could write a book on that one. Where to start, firstly I meet this gorgeous girl, I don’t just mean gorgeous, but stunning. Most beautiful girl I ever saw. Then within days of meeting her, turns out her family was cursed and so men that marry into the family end up dead. Nice. Then, my house catches on fire and all kinds of magical hell breaks loose.

Buy links for OF FIRE & ROSES

Find Danielle at 

 | Website |  Blog | Facebook Page | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Wattpad |

Friday, February 21, 2014

Southern Speak - The Dreaded 'S' Word: Synopsis

At our SARA meeting last night we had the Selling Synopsis finalist, Maggie Mundy, present a session on preparing a synopsis.

What is a synopsis I hear you ask? Well, a synopsis is your big wonderful novel in just a few pages! Publishers normally want a synopsis when you submit your book so they can get a brief overview of your story quickly before they decide to invest the time needed to read the whole thing. So, you see, it is quite vital to get this skill right.

Maggie did a wonderful job of explaining how she formulates her synopses and was kind enough to put together a work sheet, and because she's a gem, she's letting me share it with you all here!

The idea with this worksheet is, you answer each question with a line or two. Then when you're finished, you turn each answer into a paragraph and join them all together. This should give you a synopsis of about 750 words which is the industry standard (but always make sure you check with a publisher before you submit).

Let's get into the questions shall we? I'll put a couple examples in brackets after each point.

  1. Set the scene. Include here your genre (Paranormal, fantasy, rural, historical), the setting (Melbourne, New York, London), the length of your story (your word count) and the main characters (your leading lady and her hero).
  2. Who is your heroine and what does she want? This is referring to her at the beginning of your story. (She's a simple country girl who wants to find a rich husband and to live happily ever after; she's grown up totally sheltered and now she's grown wants to explore the big wide world.)
  3. Who is your hero and what does he want? Same as above, this is him at the start of the book. (He's a happy go lucky doctor who's been feeling lonely lately but isn't sure what to do about it; he's a career military man who likes his life as it is and does not want a woman, well, he doesn't think he wants one.)
  4. What brings them together? You know? The big twist of fate that slams your hero and heroine together for the first time. (She falls twisting her ankle and a gorgeous single doctor stops to help her; her plane crashes and a big muscular alpha male comes to her rescue...)
  5. (Now for the good stuff!) The first problem. Cause of conflict. Oh how I love conflict! This is where the couple get torn apart, it can be internal (she has doubts and runs scared back to the family farm) or external (the bad guy kidnaps the poor damsel in distress).
  6. Initial solution to problem. Aww, the make up part! (He runs after her to the farm and proposes and vow's he'll love and take care of her forever; he storms in and frees her from the kidnapper.)
  7. What happens to spoil initial success. Love is never so simple to be fixed with one little solution now is it? (She still doubts him and refuses to accept his marriage proposal; the kidnapper is not caught and comes after them again.)
  8. Where does the new problem lead? This is where you characters (hopefully) get some personal growth happening. (He keeps showing her how he's in it for the long haul, no matter how many times he has to do it;  living on the run from a madman makes falling in love a little tricky.)
  9. Dark moment(s). I write mainly suspense filled paranormal romance, I love my dark moments and often have more than one. Again these can be internal (they're caught up in their mind, can be depression or just a major decision) or externally based (somebody has a gun to their head).
  10. Happy ever after. The part where they both get their act together and realize they love each other :D (Do I really need to give you examples here?!)
I ran through this checklist in the session with my current WIP and it helped me push past a block I've had for a while. I've actually now got the rest of the book planned out! Considering I'm a pantser through and through... that's saying something!

So, I'll finish up with a massive thank you to Maggie for the great session she ran and to recommend any budding or published authors in South Australia to join us for a meeting. The third Wednesday of each month we meet at the SA Writers Centre and discuss all sorts of useful stuff!
I hope to see you there!
Khloe Wren

Monday, February 17, 2014

SARA News ~ Rose petals and Snooping

We may only have a bitty edition of news today - 
but it's still SASSY...

Let's throw the rose petals down for our newest author....

Dannielle Belwater's Of Fire & Roses is officially now out now! As part of her release, she has a Rafflecopter giveaway over at her blog, Go check it out!

Nate West’s mother is dead, his dad a lost cause. Anger has become a way of life, until he meets and falls in love with Cora Ewell. But Cora has a secret, one that could kill them both.

Nate moves from the big city to a small, forest town with his father after his mother’s tragic death. Alone and angry, Nate feels even more isolated by his father’s inability to communicate and relate to his only son in the wake of their loss.

Nate takes to the forest in an attempt to find some peace, but instead finds a beautiful girl with flaming red hair. But before he can speak with her, she vanishes. Unsure if the girl is a vision or real he searches desperately for her.

When Nate finally meets Cora, his world is turned upside down and inside out.

Dreams of his own death plague his sleep as old, dark magic, hidden for centuries, resurfaces and has its sights clearly set on Nate.

Buy links - Amazon | Evernight Teen

You can find Danielle at the following web hangouts:

SNOOPily good reviews

Eleni Konstantine has not got one but two lovely reviews for SNOOP. 

Firstly from Carol over at Reading, Writing and Reisling 

"This novella was a delightful introduction to the paranormal/fantasy world of Daisy Luck P.I. This read is engaging and light and instantly lifted my spirits (no pun intended). A perfect pick me up for the weary, jaded reader and a great introduction to the author’s skill set – her wonderful imagination, entertaining words, characters that are quirky and likeable, and a paranormal narrative with a hint of romance – a great combination. I look forward to reading more by this Australian writer in the near future."

For full post, click here

And from Marisa Wikramanayake who a freelance journalist and editor.

"And so in the space of a few words Eleni sketches out the scene: there are ghouls, goblins and vampires, there are systems & structures in place and that includes private investigators with their own influenced nods to Raymond Chandler. Scandals and twists abound at a rather fast pace but hey if you’re not entirely bound by the limitations of physics on the physical plane then of course breakneck speed is bound to result.

The point is that Snoop could easily be the first in a series. The characters aren’t perfect but they are there and ready and waiting and most importantly, when you read Snoop you will feel that the entire experience has ended far too quickly – that there should have been more cases or longer ones.

Snoop is a fantastic read and a lovely discovery courtesy of the Australia Day Blog Hop Book Giveaway."

For full post, click here

(copies of story were provided for an honest review.)

Until next week....

Monday, February 10, 2014


It's sizzling hot in SA and so is our News. Grab a cool drink, sit back and relax, and enjoy the view...

Debut novel from Maggie Mundy!

Watch out Amazon, Hidden Mortality has hit your e-shelves!

In Bath in 1850 a witch is murdered in a ritual granting longevity to four men. What they are not aware of is that she has bestowed the same power to another called Seth to avenge her death.

Cara is a descendant of the witch and fills her days with food with her Irish-themed catering business. Her nights are another matter; they are full of erotic dreams of a mysterious lover, or nightmares with mutilated bodies. So this wasn’t the best time for her Nana to tell her she is coming into her power.

Of the original four immortals, Vincent is the only one left and to stop his own long life from fading he needs another witch to kill. Seth was meant to protect the witch’s descendants from a distance, but with Cara he can’t stay away. He has to make a choice to love Cara, or avenge the original death and possibly die himself. Cara has the fight of her life on when one man comes to kill her, and another to love her.

Buy link: Amazon
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Congratulations Maggie on your debut novel! (Blood Scent was a novella)

Busy bee features in anthology

'Hide N Seek' 
is a short story by Lilliana Rose features in 'The Grotesquerie' anthology. The game of hide and seek isn't played with innocence and has more sinister consequences for not just the individuals who play, but the also the community, and its future.

The anthology is now available in
print (Mocha Memoirs Press $13 US) and eBook  (Amazon $5.99 US

Twenty-two short horror stories written by women are here on display for your enjoyment or your perverse fascination. Within these pages, beauty becomes deadly, innocence kills, and karma is a harsh mistress.

Published by Mocha Memoirs Press

Danielle's on Fire!

Danielle Belwater (formerly Danielle Sevenwaters) has a lovely sizzling cover for her YA Of Fire & Roses, out on Valentine's Day!

News Queen!

Victoria Purman hit the My Harlequin News this week with her new release Someone Like You.

Sassily good news indeed, ladies. 

Here's to some more in next issue....

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Reading Adventures in February

...and in January, because if you've spent your holidays right, January is one big read-fest!

Now that the silly season is done and done, and we're back some kind of normal, now's the time to get back to our scheduled reading...

This month, we have the full gamut of bookish feedback.

Exciting!  Let's get into it!

Claire Baxter has been reading...

A Duchess to Remember (Ministry of Marriage, #3)
by Christina Brooke

by Anna Cowan

Partners (Language of Love #1 - Orchid)
by Nora Roberts

The Law Is a Lady (Language of Love #2 - Hollyhock)
by Nora Roberts

Size 12 Is Not Fat (Heather Wells, #1)
by Meg Cabot

Friday's Child
by Georgette Heyer

by Carla Caruso (Completely awesome fellow SARA - Em)

Oooh, some top titles there, Claire.  (Check out where I reviewed Carla's Second Chance here, and Catch of the Day here - Em).

Eleni Konstantine has been turning some pages, too:

Temptation in a Bottle (Which is supercool, because Eleni's alter-ego HelzKat Designs designed the cover!)
by Shona Husk

Rapture in Death (In Death #4)
by JD Robb (Eleni did this in audio, and thoroughly enjoyed the narrator's telling.)

The Sandman Volume 4 Seasons of Mist
by Neil Gaiman

Fast Women 
by Jennifer Crusie

A Sporting Chance : Hot Down Under
by Rhyll Biest

Virginia Taylor has been reading, as well:

I have just finished reading Ruth Rendell's The Saint Zita Society.

I love Ruth Rendell and her stories never disappoint me. However, her writing does because of the way she uses POV. I can never quite decide what she is doing with her switching POVs. Is she using authorial viewpoint or is she just a slick head-hopper? Often when I'm reading I don't know whose head I am in and have to read back to find out. It's vital for me to know because I don't like being fooled by an unreliable relator. I like to be right there working out who is doing what.

Anyway, despite the irritation and the interruption of having to read back from time to time, in this story she has again given the reader a mishmash of ordinary characters, none likeable or easy to identify with, not that I want any killed. I take that back. I'm kind of normal so I don't want anyone killed but a few of her characters are so darned unpleasant that the world can do without them. In this story, she disposes of only one who also might be the nicest if you like characters who are weak and indecisive, which I don't, but I didn't feel any great distress when she died because she was set up so well but so obviously to die. And so is the next who will die. Yum. Though neither deserves to die, which I suppose is the point of the story and why it is so good.

Ruth Rendell is the mistress of the first page. On the first the reader is hooked and has to read until the last. With this first page you might wonder what it has to do with the rest of the story. The character or the page just lurks and lurks and keeps the reader going forward. I find here I'm not going to tell any of this story. I hate people telling me stories of stories. It makes my eyes glaze. I'm not interested in stories of stories. I want to read stories - not be told stories.

There's a moral here. Show, don't tell. Ruth doesn't, except in what I think of is a faulty use of POV. But it works for her and would never stop me reading the book. If you have never read a Ruth Rendell and you want to see a great first page, ask to borrow this book from me. Or buy a copy.

Thanks to Claire, Virginia and Eleni for sharing what they've been reading.  Some fabulous titles, and excellent insights there.

Until next time, happy reading!

Emmeline.  x

Monday, February 3, 2014

SARA News ~ time to get SASSY

Time to get a glass of vino*, sit back, relax and read our SASSY news...

Smoking hot cover - again

Lilliana Rose has received her amazingly spiffy cover for her steampunk novella 
'Change of Heart' with Rogue Phoenix Publishing coming out August 2014. This hot on the heels on the cover for Circus Escape a couple of weeks back. 

Someone Like Victoria

Victoria Purman's  Someone Like You by Harlequin Australia is out now!

What on earth has happened to Dan McSwaine?

When Lizzie Blake knocks on the door of Dan McSwaine’s beach house at Middle Point, she barely recognises the man who answers. Whatever happened to the guy who swaggered into her home town with a grin and left with her heart in his back pocket? Lizzie wonders if he’ll ever be that man again — and if she should risk everything she’s built her life on to help him.

Dan can’t normally bear to be more than ten minutes from a hip bar, an imported beer and a group of hot women. So what is he doing holed up in a falling down beach shack at Middle Point? All he knows is that he’s made some crazy decisions since the night a truck slammed into his car and almost killed him. The first one was to think that buying a crumbling piece of coastal real estate was a good idea. The second crazy decision was to try to hide away from the world when a woman like Lizzie Blake is determined to drag him right back into it…

Sounds like a damn amazing reading okay, so of course here are the buy links: 

More fabulous news as it's also been selected by iBooks as one of the Best Books of February.

Doomed Love? 

Check out this hauntingly lovely book trailer  for   Danielle Sevenwater's 

upcoming release, Of Fire & Roses

* I was going to say get a cup of tea, but in honour of our SARA lady in red, Emmeline Lock, I thought wine would be better.

More SASSY News next week....