Time to eat some chocolate and win some stuff

Wishing everyone a relaxing and safe break for Easter. Eat some chocolate, do fun stuff, read a book or two. Bliss!

Speaking of bliss (not biased at all here), Fire Kin comes out in just a couple of weeks now (May 6), so there will be giveaways over the next few weeks. As usual, there will be newsletter only giveaways and some here on the blog, so for double chances at fun, sign up for the newsletter (link in the sidebar). While you’re there, sign up for my Melanie Scott newsletter if you’re into contemporary romance as I have some very pretty The Devil In Denim ARCs and I’ll be giving them away too.

I’ve just finished writing book two of that series (Angel in Armani) and am moving on to book three. Then I’ll start my new fantasy series.  But entertain you in the meantime, all of Chapter 1 and 2 of Fire Kin is now up on MJ’s site.

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A taste of Fire Kin

The first Fire Kin teaser excerpt is up over on the website.  More later this month.

fire-kin

And if you’re catching up…excerpts for Shadow Kin, Blood Kin and Iron Kin here.

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Muse food

Over the years, I have learned that keeping the words working means doing stuff that makes the muse happy. Last year I didn’t get to knit much at all due to the vertigo and hurting my wrist (skillz, I have them), so the muse has been missing her colour fix. My muse likes colours, I don’t know why. Lately, it seems, that the muse wants paper and ink and colour. I’m doing a watercolour class in March and an art journalling class and in May, some calligraphy (I can now hear all my friends who have to read my handwriting falling to the ground and laughing hysterically as my penmanship is not the most comprehensible in the world these days). I’ve been reaching for notebooks and fountain pens and discovered a new object of lust aka the Derwent pencil 120 box. When I was a kid they came in boxes of 72 which I always wanted but only managed to acquire the 36 tin and some individual ones.

But while I’m saving up for the 120 box (it WILL be mine), I discovered that Derwent also make pastel pencils now and, something called Inktense pencils which are a version of a watercolour pencil, only ink, so it’s permanent when dry. I was wandering past my local art store the other weekend and they were having a spend $40 get $40 off, so I scored a set of the Inktense for 1/2 price (yippeee) and some pastel pencils as well.

Tonight, I was thought I should probably swatch the Inktense pencils. Turns out my house is lacking in paint brushes (I would’ve sworn I had some but apparently not). I did find one very dodgy synthetic bristly odd brush, so that and diving into my stash of Moleskine’s to unearth a teeny watercolour notebook, meant I could swatch. And man, they are beeyoootiful. Lovely intense colours, that dry fast and that you can layer other things over once they’re dry (unlike watercolour which reactivates with more liquid being applied). I look forward to further experimentation.

Here are the swatches (Pencil at the top, then what happens when water is applied…which would probably be better with a decent brush).

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For contrast, here are some swatches of my watercolour pencils. I do not know what brand they are, I bought them ages ago and don’t have the box anymore and the powers of Google fu do not reveal any more when I type in the info on the pencil (there’s a pic at the end in case anyone is a watercolour pencil identification guru).

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Much less intense but still pretty. So writer friends, any weird demands from the muse. And non-writers, what are the hobbies that make you happy?

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Fire Kin ARC winners

So the Torti tried to drag the ARCS into her lair, but I have ventured forth and saved them for you, my favorite reader people!

Noooo, it's my precioussss!

Noooo, it’s my precioussss!

Through the power of Random.org, the winner of the newsletter giveaway is Michelle W. and the winner of the blog giveaway is Erin, who thinks the best fiery things are dragons. And they are pretty cool. I think the Torti would like to be one. She’s fond of lairs.

Michelle and Erin, please contact me at mel @ mjscott.net with your mail details and signed ARCs will be winging their way to you this week.

Thanks to everyone for entering and for sharing your fiery faves!

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State of the Mel #1

I seem to have gained some new followers around the various places I play lately, so thought I might start doing a semi-regular post to catch folks up on who I am, what I do and what I’m working on. Thus, the inaugural State of the Mel.

Who am I?

I’m Melanie Scott (most commonly answering to Mel). I write books. Specifically I write fantasy (dark and urban) as M.J. Scott and contemporary romance as Melanie Scott.

M.J’s two current series are the Half-Light City series (dark fantasy) published by Roc and The Wild Side series (published by moi).

Melanie’s first book in the New York Saints series (contemporary romance) will be out in August.

My agent is Miriam Kriss at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

More specifically I’m of the female persuasion, I have a day job that I don’t tend to talk about much online and I have so far survived all the deadly critters that my home country of Australia likes to strew in the path of its citizens. I live in Melbourne where there are few deadly critters and a lot of very changeable weather. So there will be weather whining. It’s a Melbournian pastime. I drink Coke Zero. Coffee makes me sick (sadface). I like geeky things, movies, tv, ballet, knitting, food, photography, naps, travel and books. I also have my girly moments (nails/make up/perfume/sparkly things/bags/shoes). I am an experienced cat butler. My two current feline employers are the Torti (a relatively sane for a calico/tortoiseshell girl who like rattly mice and glaring out windows at birds and other cats who have the temerity to wander into her line of vision) and the Fuzzy Girl (a slightly less sane, built like Garfield, tad un-coordinated, very chatty fluffy grey and white girl). The previous employers (if you go delving into the archives) were the Orange Cat (a very sweet but neurotic red burmese boy) and the Grey Cat (possibly the most sane of my cats, a fluffy smoke tabby moggy girl). I hang out with friends of the writer and non writer variety and I am slightly prone to klutziness (maybe that’s why the Fuzzy Girl appealed to me). I am not kidding, I broke my ankle getting up from my couch. I am currently attempting to garden. My thumb may be a very pale green with black spots. I am team Iron Man, team Buffy, team Thor, team Ollicity, team genre, team animation, team happy endings are the best, team chocolate (preferably dark), team margarita, team science, team musical, team music in general, team my heart belongs to Number 10, team reading is sexy, team thinking, team virgo, team don’t be a douche and team life is better with folks who make you laugh.

More about the books, please?

The Half-Light City series is an alt-world dark fantasy quadrology. It has fae and vampires and werewolves and magic and follows a bunch of characters through a particularly troublesome time in the Half-Light City which houses many races and many problems. The first three books Shadow Kin, Blood Kin and Iron Kin are available at all the usual places. The last book, Fire Kin comes out on May 6.

The Wild Side series is an urban fantasy trilogy which follows the adventures of Ashley Keenan who is trying very hard to be a normal boring human accountant but all the pesky werewolves and vampires in her world make that difficult. The first book, The Wolf Within, came out last month in ebook. I suspect I will do a print version at some point.

The New York Saints series is a contemporary romance trilogy about three guys who buy the New York Saints (the worst team in MLB) and the women who complicate the process. The first book, The Devil in Denim, will be out on August 26.

What are you working on?

Last year’s writing schedule was  a bit nutty. Which meant, naturally, that life decided to sideswipe me with other stuff.  Including a four month or so bout of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo which was very unpleasant. Which means I am currently trying to catch up and WRITE ALL THE THINGS.

I am currently writing Angel in Armani, book two of the New York Saints which I would really like to finish in the next month and thinking ahead to book three, Lawless in Leather which will be the next book I write. I’m hoping those two will both be out next year. I am also pondering the first book of a new fantasy series with Roc, which is so far nameless and should be out sometime in 2015.

I have in spare seconds, been revising The Dark Side (book two of the Wild Side books). I’d like to get that out in the first half of this year but that will depend on how nicely the three books above play with me and how much caffeine I can drink/sleep I can forgo.

Other things. I am contemplating some short stories which is unusual for me. I have an idea for a Wild Side short which I’m poking at and would like to do some things for fun in the Half-Light world but you know, I haven’t received either my clone army or my allocation of minions yet so projects to be completed as time allows.

Tell me more…

Places I hang out include here on the blog (but hey, you knew that already). I love me some twitter and @melscott will find me there. I tend to be most active on twitter but you know, internet procrastination for the win, so I hang out elsewhere.

M.J’s facebook page is www.facebook.com/AuthorMJScott and Melanie’s is www.facebook.com/WriterMelanieScott.

I like to take pictures, so if you like looking at pictures, my Instagram handle is melwrites. I also post various pics on FB and twitter. I use an iPhone 5 and a Canon DSLR mostly.

I also have a slight Pinterest problem. I pin many pretty shiny yummy things I like as well as hero/heroine inspirations and mood/series boards. Any my pretty, pretty covers.

I am on G+ and I’m on Tumblr. Tumblr tends to be me reblogging things that catch my or the muse’s attention, so weird writer brain warning on that one.

M.J has a newsletter. So does Melanie. Both are irregular and will not spam you. You can subscribe on the websites or on the Facebook pages.

And that about wraps it up for the current point in the life of Mel, so farewell, adieu, etc etc etc (oh dear, now I’m going to have a The King and I earworm).

 

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Feeling fresh

Over January I did a big declutter/house revamp following along with Apartment Therapy’s January Cure. Decluttering is good for the soul and the muse and I swear, my house feels twice as big as it did and new again. Now the challenge is keeping up the systems to keep it mostly need and stop the stuff building up.

Apartment Therapy is a great site if you have a small place (and even if you don’t) full of good ideas, tips, tricks and lifehacks. One thing I really like about them is that they encourage the use of green cleaning products. It’s amazing what baking soda and vinegar and a bit of elbow grease can achieve.

While I was browsing through some of their many good posts on green cleaning, I came across a recipe for DIY Air freshener.  Now, I love things that smell nice and I struggle to find air fresheners that aren’t horribly fake smelling and/or not full of chemicals, and it required water, alcohol and essential oils, of which I have all three. Instant win.

I made the first batch up in an old plant type water mister but then decided to hunt for some cuter bottles that look okay enough to leave out on a shelf etc. Luckily, my friend Kathy, who makes great natural skincare (check out Botanical Secrets, Aussies), pointed me towards New Directions, which sell all sorts of bottles and jars and atomisers etc, so I’m now sorted.

Given that it is dead easy and you can customise it to whatever scents you like, the formula is a winner in my book, so I thought I’d share.

DIY Air Freshener from Apartment Therapy

1 oz (30mls) gin, vodka or rubbing alcohol (I went for vodka as I have some and of the three, it has the least scent)

6 oz (180mls) filtered or distilled water (I used filtered as I don’t have distilled)

30 – 40 drops of essential oil (I’ve used roughly 30 each time I’ve made it)

So it makes about 210ml and according to the AT post, lasts about a month.

So far I’ve done peppermint/lavender/eucalyptus which is one of my all time favourite essential oil blends for relaxing/destressing/calming and focus which I use in my bedroom and other places and I’ve just done a batch of lemon/grapefruit/eucalyptus for the loo and the kitchen. Adding eucalyptus or tea tree make it slightly antibacterial (though I will confess I still have good old glen 20 for when something really needs anti bacterial such as when folks are crook) but you can use whatever appeals. I guess you could even use vanilla extract or something if you like more foodie scents.

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Fire Kin ARCs

I got this bundle of pretties in the mail earlier in the week, so it’s time for a giveaway!

Fire Kin ARCs

 

To get your hands on a brand spanking new ARC of Fire Kin four whole months before the book comes out, leave a comment and tell me what your favorite fiery thing is!  I’ll pick a winner next week!

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Cover reveal

The cover for The Devil in Denim is revealed in all it’s glory (and there’s a lot of glory) today on Heroes and Heartbreakers!

Check it out! I think it’s divine (looks like the SMP art department needs cookies too!)

 

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It’s here….The Wolf Within now available!

The Wolf Within
Yippee! The Wolf Within is now live at Amazon.com.
It should also be available for Nook sometime today.

One of my NY 4th of July pics seems appropriate for the occasion!

One of my NY 4th of July pics seems appropriate for the occasion!

It will take a little while (up to a week) to make it through to all the usual suspect e-book stores and I’ll be updating the buy links on the site as they are available.

I really love this book and hope you do too! It’s dark urban fantasy so a little different to the Half-Light City but hey, a change is as good as a holiday, right. There’s still plenty of werewolves and vampires and general mayhem. If you want to know more about the book and the story behind it, check out the book page on my website.

I’m hoping to get book 2 out in a few months and book 3 later this year (fingers crossed) but more on that as I know it. But until then, it’s a book party! I’ll give away a copy of one of my books (your choice) to my favourite comment on this post!

P.S. If you’re a reviewer and interested in reviewing The Wolf Within, please contact me via my website.

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Read all about it

Just a quick post to say that the excerpt for The Wolf Within is up now on the site for those who are curious.

The Wolf Within

Hopefully out in a week or less!

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