Thursday, 28 January 2016

Guest post with author Shelley Wilson

Happy New Year! Yes, yes, I know I'm a little late, but at least it's still January!
I have been beavering away and have started my next book, but it will be some time in the writing, due to other commitments. So, in the meantime, if you're looking for something to read, I'd happily point you in the direction of author Shelley Wilson's books, aka S.L. Wilson for her fantasy novels.
You may recall I reviewed Guardians of the Dead some time ago. Well, Guardians of the Sky launched last week, and I'm a little more than halfway through and very much enjoying how the story has continued (it's part of a trilogy).
Anyway, with the launch, Shelley has been ridiculously busy, but she deigned to come on and share a little more about herself, her writing and her choices.
Welcome and take it away, Shelley!




A touch of self-help with a dollop of fantasy

 

Once upon a time, there lived an old witch who ate kittens for breakfast and small children for lunch…

 Okay, so I don’t read many books that start with ‘once upon a time’ anymore, but evil witches devouring kittens?  Bring it on! 

My mum was the one to encourage my reading; she would buy me tons of books covering a variety of topics.  I wasn’t a pony and ballet kind of girl; I liked dragons, fantasy and gore.  For me, it was the perfect way to escape.

As a child, my favourite book was Enid Blyton’s, The Folk of the Faraway Tree.  It’s been re-written over the years, giving the cast of characters more up-to-date names, but the storyline is the same.  I wasn’t a girlie girl, so climbing trees was a favourite past-time of mine.  I could always climb higher than my younger brother, which annoyed him and made me climb even higher.  To think that there could be an imaginary world of fantasy characters up the Oak tree was incredible.  My passion for fantasy tales began then.   

My tastes haven’t changed over the years; I did have a horror phase when I hit my teens, which coincided with a black clothing fest and a desire to hide away.  I came through that period eventually, although I do still wear a lot of black!


In May 2014, I published what would be a life-changing book in more ways than one.  How I Changed My Life in a Year began as a weekly blog.  I shared a series of challenges from losing weight and being creative, right through to adopting better habits.  Instead of sitting back and congratulating myself on surviving a crazy year, I turned my experience into a book.  For the past two years, that book has hit the number one spot around the New Year on Amazon’s best-seller list for self-help, memoir, and women’s biographies.  Life changing!   

Not once during my childhood, teens or even in my thirties did I contemplate writing non-fiction.  However, taking that leap and publishing my non-fiction titles gave me the confidence to explore my comfort zones, to write more motivational and lifestyle blog posts, and to launch a series of Motivate Me workshops on a range of well-being topics.  I have also developed a set of motivational oracle cards that should be available this year.  I was living the dream, and publishing books, writing health and wellbeing articles and running personal development workshops.  But I could still feel the tug towards fiction. 

It was thanks to one of my challenges that I finally made the transition to fantasy fiction.  Taking part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the first time, back in 2013, gave me the freedom to create a supernatural race of soldiers and throw an unsuspecting sixteen-year-old heroine into the mix.  The story evolved as the month flew past and Guardians of the Dead was born.  Published in February 2015, this was to be the first book in my young adult trilogy.  I used NaNo to pen the second book in 2014 which celebrated its launch on the 22nd January 2016, and then I completed the set by writing book three during last year’s NaNo competition, to be released in December this year.   

As a Gemini (on the cusp, so I’m not as crazy as I could be!), it makes perfect sense to write for two genres.  I split myself in two and work on my non-fiction when I’m feeling motivated, or lose myself in fantasy fiction when I need an escape.  My writing now compliments my life, and I feel more balanced than ever before. 

I thoroughly enjoy writing young adult fantasy fiction, and as an avid reader of the YA genre, it feels like I’ve come home.  The pace of teen fiction is fast, and this suits my nature.  I think fast, I talk fast, and I now write with the same vigour.  I use my self-help tactics to ensure I keep writing regularly, and I make sure to slot any reading in around my writing schedule.

I have a couple of favourite authors; Sarah J.Maas, who writes about faeries and witches, and Casandra Clare, who wrote the Mortal Instruments series.  Their books allow me to escape from real-life, just for a while and become a heroine in an epic battle between good and evil.  One of the first YA authors I discovered was Maggie Stiefvater.  It was her book, Shiver that hooked me back into fantasy.  In my book, Guardians of the Dead I named one of the characters Maggie, after Ms Stiefvater. My way of saying thanks for welcoming me into her world. 

I love the freedom that I feel when I write YA.  Fantasy gives you that special pass to mess with your characters in weird and wonderful ways.  My eldest son once said to me; ‘Mum, you can’t behead someone in the prologue!’
My response? ‘Of course I can, it’s my story, I can do what I like.’   

Knowing that other authors can drag me into their world and make me laugh, cry or scream only made me more determined to stick to fantasy fiction and write with the same passion.  I have fun when I write, whether that’s a self-help guide or a young adult tale about shifters and dragons, and I don’t have any plans to stop doing what I do.  
 
Thanks very much for all that, Shelley. Very illuminating - always interesting to see how another author's mind works! And now for the book: what a cool and scary cover! The blurb follows!
 


Guardians of the Sky (Book 2)

Blurb:

Can one girl sacrifice herself to save the one she loves…

Following their daring escape from the demon realm, Amber and her friends become caught up in a war between good and evil.  They must join forces with the Queen’s warriors to overthrow a malevolent force that has spread across Avaveil, the land of the Fae.

As her powers grow, Amber is faced with the real possibility that she is a danger to the ones she loves.  Her full strength is yet to be tested in a way she can’t comprehend.

Dragons, faeries and humans stand side-by-side as they are drawn into a battle of cunning, magic and surprising revelations.  Can Amber survive long enough to see her dreams fulfilled? 

If you haven't got your copy yet, here's where you can buy Shelley's books:-
Amazon UK - http://amzn.to/1QDdq0q
Amazon US - http://amzn.to/23to2Ef

And now for a little bit more about Shelley and where you can find her.
 

Author Profile 

I write my YA fiction under 'S.L Wilson' and combine myth, legend and fairytales with a side order of demonic chaos. I was born in Yorkshire but raised in the West Midlands, where I live with my three teenage children, a kitten called Luna and one fat fish.  An obsessive list maker, I love pizza, social media and Game of Thrones.  I’d love to live in the Shire but fear that my five foot ten inch height may cause a problem.
 
 
 

 
 


That's all folks, as they say. Look out for my review of Guardians of the Sky in the next few weeks, as well as, hopefully my reads of 2015 and my must reads of 2016. Yes, yes, I know, I'm behind!
 

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Competition Winners - Return of the Christmas Spirit launch and blog tour

Hi everyone
Less than 2 weeks to Christmas now, and after the end of the tour, with some very interesting guest posts by some lovely bloggers, and some fab reviews, it's time to announce the winners.
Winners of the three competitions and those who were added into the Amazon voucher draw as a result were as follows:
Comp 1: If you won £5000 and could spend it on the Christmas of your dreams, what would you do?
Winner was Annette Brown for desiring to take her daughter and husband to Lapland (mainly because I have the same aspiration - I had better start saving now!)

Comp 2:By some twist of fate, you get cast as a character in a Christmas movie. Which movie would it be and who would you play?
Winner was Shelley Wilson as she wanted to be Olaf from Frozen.


Comp 3: For those of you who have ever spent Christmas away from home/your family, what were the high points and low points, and did you do it again?!  For those of you who haven’t, would you? Why/why not?
Winner was Yana Kennedy as I loved that despite keeping their holiday to Florida a secret from her children until they went to the airport, they were underwhelmed and were more worried about who was looking after the cat!


The 5 winners of an ecopy of Sign of the Times are: Angela Lockwood, Beverly Ann Hopper, Karen Shortall, Michelle Hackett and Sandra Blower
The 5 winners of an ecopy of The Dating Game are: Marie Indge, Karen Dutton, Sam Squires, Claire Hubert and Rachel Brimble.
 I will be contacting you all shortly to arrange delivery of your ecopies.

And the winner of the £15 Amazon voucher is Rachel Brimble. Congratulations to you all.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Day 3 of Return of the Christmas Spirit blog tour, plus bonus features!

Another busy day. First up we had Julie Ryan at AllThingsBookie with her review of Return of the Christmas Spirit. I'm pleased to say it was another 5 star one. I particularly liked her comment 'I was sorry when this ended and hope that there'll be a third book next year. This is becoming a Christmas ritual which I love.'
Here is her full review:
All Things Bookie





Then late yesterday, Twitter follower MJHadlow sent me this. She's a blogger and is currently blogging about the run-up to Christmas, but felt she had to include Return of the Christmas Spirit.


https://mjhadlowblogspot.wordpress.com/2015/12/01/ok-i-give-in-25-days-to-go/
And it only dawned on me later that she had done the same thing last year for The Christmas Spirit - I must thank her - again - for that!

And I'll finish off today with some lovely comments from Twitter users which made me smile and totally made my day:-
'I finished it last night. . You smashed it again! 5☆ review'
'Great read! Perfect to get in the holiday spirit!'
'1st chapter in and loving it 😀 perfect chill out material '
'Woohooo . . . The fantastic and lovely @Susan_Buchanan is back 😊 downloaded and a about to read it . . Happy days!'


Back tomorrow. But remember, if you want to enter the Amazon voucher competition £15/$20, refer to Sunday's post.

And if you fancy downloading Return of the Christmas Spirit, you can do so here.





Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Return of the Christmas Spirit Book Tour Days 1 and 2

First of all, apologies. I was so shattered after the tour on Sunday, I could barely keep my eyes open to feed my children yesterday! So, I am very sorry that you didn't get some of this info yesterday!

Day 1 of the tour saw my first review - a lovely 5-star one from Shelly Back Books -

http://shellybackbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/review-return-of-christmas-spirit-by.html

and a lovely guest post on Victoria's Pages of Romance -

http://www.victoriaadams.blogspot.com/2015/11/return-of-christmas-spirit-by-susan.html


Today saw me giving a fun interview to fellow author Rachel Brimble. I'm talking everything from what I would like men to understand to how I structure my writing career around my kids.

http://rachelbrimble.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/introducing-return-of-christmas-spirit.html

And my second review for Return of the Christmas Spirit came from reviewer Julie Boon at Boon's Bookcase - she even said she wished it had been longer, which she apparently doesn't say often when it comes to books!

http://www.boonsbookcase.blogspot.co.uk/


That's it for now. Tune in tomorrow to see what's happening in day 3.

Apologies for the mix-up - there is a prize draw for Amazon vouchers (£15/$20) but it's not a Rafflecopter, it's a competition. There are 3 competitions in all - simply refer to Sunday's post for details. Winner to be drawn Sat 12th

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Return of the Christmas Spirit launch party - Competitions - open until Tue. Amazon vouchers and e-books to be won

Keeping it simple, no Rafflecopter, nothing. Simply leave a comment with your email address or Twitter handle, as well as your country, telling me what you'd do in each situation and I'll choose a winner from across the blog comments/twitter and Facebook on Tue for each comp.

Competition number one -
You win £5000 to spend on the Christmas of your dreams. What do you do?

Competition number two - By some twist of fate, you get cast as a character in a Christmas movie. Which movie would it be and who would you play?

Competition number three - For those of you who have ever spent Christmas away from home/your family, what were the high points and low points, and did you do it again?!  For those of you who haven’t, would you? Why/why not?

And here's the rest of the launch info again (the post below this one, but here it is again for your convenience!). Buy links also here!
http://www.susancbuchanan.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/return-of-christmas-spirit-launch-party.html

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Return of the Christmas Spirit launch party!

Hurrah!
It's here. Return of the Christmas Spirit - my fourth novel - is now live! I can scarcely believe it.


and you can buy it here:




So what's happening for the launch? On Sunday 29th November, there will be a marathon 12 hour launch party on Facebook.
 www.facebook.com/susan.buchanan.author - party with me from 9am until 9pm GMT/until 4pm EST/1pm PST.
There'll be Christmas tunes including requests made by fans and followers. I'm still accepting requests, so leave me a comment here or on FB or Twitter (susan_buchanan) and I will try to include your song. Today we'll be talking about all things Christmas, so Christmas number ones, decorations, food and drink, what would make your Christmas, Christmas traditions, etc. There will be plenty of themed topics throughout the day, but do feel free to bring your own too! Just pop in for a chat and to share. Anyone attending the FB party will be entered into the ebook draw.

 Twitter - I'll be there periodically during the day, but the only dedicated event is between 3-4pm. Use hashtag #ROTCS to join in the fun. Or check my timeline at susan_buchanan. Anyone entering the Twitter party will be entered into the ebook draw.


So, what's happening? At both parties and here on the blog, I'm giving away 5 e-copies, yes, that's 5 copies, really, of each of my first two novels, Sign of the Times and The Dating Game to 10 lucky readers. One lucky person will also win £15 or $20 of Amazon vouchers.
But you have to be in it to win it, right?

So, how do you enter? There will be three competitions on Sunday 29th. To give everyone in the different time zones time to enter, I will leave the competitions open until Tue. Then I will pick a winner for each competition and they will be entered into the Amazon voucher draw. Anyone who comments on the blog will be in with a chance of winning the ebooks. Please leave a note of the country you're from and your email address or Twitter name, so I can contact you.

 If you buy (or have pre-ordered) a copy of Return of the Christmas Spirit, just as I did two years ago with The Christmas Spirit, if you email me your proof of purchase, minus any personal details, eg address, to soozbuch@gmail.com you will be entered into the Amazon voucher draw.

It will be similar over on FB and Twitter, so join in however you prefer.

For now, all that remains for me is to ask, are you in the Christmas spirit yet?!
Sooz x




Thursday, 19 November 2015

Blurb for Return of the Christmas Spirit, pre-order details and launch party info - hurrah!

Hi everyone
Well, I did say you'd get a post on Friday re the blurb, but the truth is, I got caught out on Thursday, as by some miracle, I actually managed to load the Amazon pre-order within their timeframes. So, first of all, here's the blurb:


Christmas is just around the corner when Star begins working at Butterburn library, but not everyone is embracing the spirit of the season.

Sixteen-year-old Arianna’s mock exams are looming and she’s feeling under pressure. With her father living abroad and her mother working three jobs, she doesn’t have much support at home.

The bank is threatening to repossess Evan’s house, and he has no idea how he’s going to get through Christmas with two children who are used to getting everything they want.

Patricia’s cliché of a husband, after 23 years of marriage, has announced he’s moving out of the family home, and moving in with his secretary.

Daniel is doing the work of three people in his sales job, as well as looking after his kids and his wife. Pulled in too many different directions, he’s feeling stressed out.

Can Star, the library’s Good Samaritan, help set them on the path to happiness this Christmas?


And you can now pre-order your copy (releases 28th Nov) here:-



So, feel free to download already and it will arrive in your Kindle at some point next Saturday!
And, for those of you who don't already know, and those who do, there will be a Facebook party from 9am-9pm on Sunday 29th November at www.facebook.com/susan.buchanan.author and a party on Twitter from 3-4pm. On the blog next week there will be competitions and prizes, including £10/$15 of Amazon vouchers and free ebooks. You've got to be in it to win it, as they say, so stay tuned!
Sooz