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Winners….Australia Day Blog Hopgiveaway

As decreed by the powers of random.org, the winning entrants in my Australia Day Blog Hop giveaway are:

Choice of either Shadow Kin or Blood Kin…Karina

Choice of a Keri Arthur book…Sonia Cattley

Congratulations and thanks to everyone who dropped by to comments (and to Bookdout and Confessions from Romaholics for running the blog hop). Karina and Sonia, I’ll be in touch to organise your prizes.

Blood Kin snippet # 2 – Guy’s song

I’ll put up the full soundtrack in another post but today’s snippet is a key Guy song.  An oldie but a goodie.

Pretty

Today is a lovely, lovely summer’s day in Melbourne. Not too hot, sunny, with a bit of a breeze. My mum has been down so that we could go visit my aunt and cousin and said cousin’s too cute little boy, all of whom live interstate. I didn’t grab my big camera as I left and, naturally, that meant we ended up taking a (slow and hobbly) walk along South Bank. So I defaulted back to the iPhone (yay for camera phones…the iPhone really does take some nice pics). I posted a bunch of them over on the Facebook page but here’s my fave:

Melbourne, which is a very pretty city and I’ve always loved this view up the river towards the CBD.

In other news, Blood Kin page proofs are done and so is my last chance to fiddle with the story. Hopefully I’ll have some ARCs to giveaway soon. I’m futzing around with a couple of other ideas which shall remain nameless for now and doing some planning but mostly I’m trying to get through the post book phase where a writer’s brain goes all fuzzy and all sorts of weirdness (like forgetting one’s purse, dropping things, turning up early or late for appointments etc) occurs. So lazy summer days are good therapy for that!

Spooky…

Spooky Legends 2011

You can cruise on over to All Things Urban Fantasy if you want to get Lily’s take on the legend of The Black Dog.

There’s a chance to win a copy of Shadow Kin and the Spooky Legends event is running all month and there are many other cool giveaways and legends to read about.

 

New York – Episode 3

And now onto Wednesday.  On Tuesday there was shoe shopping and other frivolities which I’ve already posted about on FB etc.  Wednesday afternoon, Keri and I went for a wander around to get a closer look at some of the places we went on the bus tour.

New York Public Library – Patience or Fortitude (which is what the lions are called but I’m not sure which one this dude is)

Stairs inside the library

View from one of the windows

 

Ceiling in the library

Door in the library

Outside Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station concourse

Lights in Grand Central

Interior of the Chrysler building

Lamps outside the Chrysler building

 

Statue outside a hotel whose name escapes me right now

Stained glass inside Saint Patricks, which has some of the most gorgeous stained glass I’ve seen

More stained glass

Next up will be some shots from the Cloisters….

Websites and promos and bears, oh my!

As the time for Shadow Kin’s release creeps closer, I’m starting to think about promotion. There’s a lot to think about. Some stuff I do already, some I need to learn about.  I’m making lists and reading and generally making my head spin.  So tonight instead, I shall write!

Pretties

My books aren’t steampunk…they’re more gaslight fantasy (Steampunk is Science Fiction)…steam tech but with magic and critters not so much steampunky gadgets. Having said that, I do love the Steampunk Aesthetic and a conversation on Twitter today with BookThingo, kicked off some searching for a steampunk iPhone cover amongst other things, so I thought I’d share some pretties with the world.

First up, possibly the closest thing to mass market steampunk iPhone cases…gorgeousness from Exovault

I confess to being a little bit sceptical about how much shock these absorb if you drop them compared to a leather case but they are beeyootiful!

Then, possibly even cooler…this bit of wonder from Japan (Factron)

Now, over to the category of people are just very very clever….

Handmade steampunk iphone cases!

via Laura

Or

made by Lilibat on deviantart

Or how about a steampunk iPhone dock?

Freeland Studios

Then we got onto the subject of e-readers…how cool would a steampunk e-reader be? (Though Mel picks an e-reader is going to be a whole ‘nother post!).

I haven’t yet found an actual punked e-reader but I have found a cover….

Outside

Inside

Wishwords on LJ Steamfashion (hattip to @Misssteamstess on Twitter

And just because, this is awesome and one day when I own a mansion with a library the size of Neil Gaiman’s, I shall work at a desk like this…

via Steampunk Workshop

Though someone would need to invent me an ergonomic steampunk keyboard! lol

So there you go, some pretties from the steampunk world. Don’t get me started on the jewellery (don’t type steampunk into Etsy! Danger Will Robinson!)

Hmmph

Sometimes, when revising particularly dumb things you’ve written, it’s hard not to feel like this!

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

And when wrestling with plots, I could do with some of this…


see more Lolcats and funny pictures

April fool (well, not really)

Apparently March has whizzed by already and that means it’s time to announce April’s contest. For the history of my paying-it-forward contest go here.

I’ll draw the March winner sometime over the weekend and post it here and on Twitter so stay tuned!

And now onto April. This month, the prize is Welcome to Temptation by Jenny Crusie.

Way back in hmmm, 2001, when I had decided to give this whole writing thing a serious go, one of the first things I went to (thanks to the sharp eyes of my flatmate at the time) was a talk given by the always lovely Anne Gracie at the Victoria Writers Centre about writing romance (sensible given that was what I wanted to do). Anne was fresh off the plane from the Romance Writer’s of America New Orleans Conference and probably jetlagged as a jetlagged thing but she was entertaining and educational and full of enthusiasm for what she did (and alliterative, apparently). She was pretty much the first real! live! author! I had met in person and because she was so nice, something clicked in my brain that authors were people too rather than superheros (though Anne is a superhero) and maybe I could do this after all and I came away all inspired. I finished my first manuscript which had been languishing at three chapters for quite a long time about two months later. Anyway, at the talk Anne had spoken about different genres of romance and one of the contemporary authors she mentioned was Jenny.

Welcome to Temptation had been out for a little while in Australia (I remember wandering past the bright green cover in various bookstores several times – picture the above cover kind of Granny Smith apple green) but after Anne’s talk, I finally gave in and bought it (there may yet be a recurring theme in these tales of books Mel has resisted for no particularly reason then adored once she bought them). I took it home and started to read and fell in love with contemporary romance all over again. Witty, sexy, intelligent romance. I became a Crusie fan on the spot and remain one to this day. I own every single book she’s written and some of them twice but I think Welcome to Temptation remains my favourite mostly because Phin is a hero who is right up my alley. Still not sure why as generally I don’t do blonds.

Jenny is also a great writing teacher and I’ve belonged to her loops for ages and can be found hanging out on the Cherry Forums from time to time.

Other favourite books of hers include Manhunting, Tell Me Lies and Agnes and the Hitman (co-written with Bob Mayer) though really, I love ‘em all.

So this month’s prize is Welcome to Temptation, another book I have read too many times to count, and turn to as a treasured comfort read. Anyone who hasn’t read it and loves great contemporary romance is in for a treat. Now, to continue the tradition..here’s a taste of the back cover blurb from that very green book I bought.

“Sophie came to Temptation, Ohio, to help her sister make a movie. Now she’s making trouble for the town council, love with the mayor and lemonade for a murderer…Welcome to Temptation. Population 2158. And falling.”

For April, it’s the same rules as March. Comment on this or any other of my blog posts this month and you’re in the running. Simple. Winner will be drawn early May and announced on the blog and via Twitter and will have two weeks to claim their prize or there will be a re-draw.

The call

Sorry there has been blog silence but there have been great things afoot which I have not been allowed to blog about…

Some of you may have heard the news already but people, I have sold a book! In fact, I have sold three. On the 20th of February I finally got “the call” and am beyond thrilled to announce that I’ll be writing as M.J. Scott for Ace/Roc (Penguin USA’s SF/F imprint). Ace/Roc publish a very high percentage of my favourite fantasy authors so I’m going to be in some very illustrious company.

Anyway, the actual story….

Those of you who read this blog know that after a year that wasn’t really the highpoint in my writing life, I finished a new book and Miriam sent it out on January 21. We had some fairly immediate encouraging feedback that week and then some even more encouraging feedback the following week (at which point my nails started to fear for their lives). I was trying not to get too excited after all, publishing can move very slowly. And it’s been a bit under three years since Miriam sent out my first book and the last twelve months or so have really not been the greatest time to try and sell as a debut author (note to aspiring authors out there…try not to have a Global Financial Crisis during your submission process) despite Miriam’s untiring championing of me and my work. So I know that it’s a long haul business.

However it seems the publishing gods finally decided to let me switch to a faster track because early the following week we got an offer. An offer from a house that has always been on my dream list. So Miriam went to work talking to the other houses who had the book, I stopped sleeping and started avoiding people so I wouldn’t have to explain the stupid grin on my face and the waiting began. We got a second offer late on Friday in the US (Saturday morning for me) from another house that was on my dream list so then we knew there would be some sort of auction!! The US then had a long weekend which felt like the longest four days of my life (being ahead of the US here in Oz I knew I wouldn’t hear anything until my Wednesday morning) where I had to walk around pinching myself a lot and swinging between happy and very very nervous.

The auction and various agentish things took until late Friday their time again but finally Miriam called me early Saturday morning my time and we talked and then she called the winning editor and then I got the official “call” from Miriam to say it was a done deal. So in the end it took just under a month. Plus the eight odd years of writing and submitting prior. Since then I’ve been walking around (or maybe floating around) in a bit of a daze, smiling a lot and still not sleeping very much as my brain comes up with a thousand and one questions and a thousand and one things to do, most of which have to wait.

As a piece of trivia – the number one question you get asked when you tell people you’ve sold a book is “when does it come out”. Depending on who you’ve sold to, you probably won’t know this straight away. At the moment I know it will be in the second half of next year but nothing more definite. The number two question is “when are you quitting your day job” (or maybe..does this mean you’re resigning if you tell people at your day job). The answer to that one is easier. “Not right now and probably not for a while.”

So it seems for the next 18 months or so there will be much learning about being a paid writer, much writing and hopefully much blogging about the process between the call and publication. I’ll be posting news about release dates, titles, covers and all that good stuff as it comes to hand here and on my website (just updated…go see).

Until then I’ll be working on book two (and book one revisions when they land), snoopy dancing and hopefully returning to a normal sleep pattern!

PS If anyone links to my website, it’s now www.mjscott.net rather than .info (though .info will redirect) so please update your links.

PPS As a final comment WOOOHOOOOO!!!