Finding Home Blog Tour

I am so super excited to be hosting the amazing Lauren McKellar on her blog tour for her brand new novel, Finding Home. Please make Lauren feel welcome and have a read of her take on writing as a craft…also, don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter giveaway down the bottom of this post to go into the running to win some amazing prizes!

So Lauren, take it away sweets 🙂

♥ ♥ ♥

 

Writing as a craft

I am no expert when it comes to the craft of fiction writing. Like many authors out there, I am completely Internet educated and have a degree in searching blogs and websites for useful information.
Granted, I had a bit of an unfair advantage. I am an editor of both fact and fiction, so there were certain fundamentals that stood out to me from the start of my writing journey.
Still, when I wrote Finding Home, I was pretty much a fresh writer-to-be. These are four of the most important craft-related aspects I learned:
1. Take a trip. One of the biggest eye-opening moments for me when I entered the world of fiction was the importance of the journey. It was like being told the sky is blue; you’ve seen it all your life, you’ve known it’s there, but then when someone puts it into words: wham, bam, kapow! It’s like your life changes. “Of course it is,” you say. “All my colour drawings are going to look so much better now!” Or, that’s how it was for me, anyhow. Someone telling me about the journey made me a much more calculated writer.
2. Offer up some flaws. No one like a perfect princess. People like flaws, seeing a character who has a gap between their front teeth, who makes mistakes.
Of course, we want the hero to succeed, but putting her too high on a pedestal makes her unlikeable.
3. Get a damn good beta. I am lucky enough to have some of the best beta readers around. People who will read my work, in its most horrible, revealing draft stages, and let me know their thoughts.
They judge me, and I love them for it. And I love knowing that, even though they’re quick to get out their respective red pens, when my book came out, they were there at the sidelines. In fact, they were pretty much cheering the loudest.
4. Rewrite. Again. There is no such thing as a perfect first draft. Or even a second one. I wish I’d known that when I started writing; perhaps then the pressure I placed on myself wouldn’t have been so high!
It’s okay to rewrite. In fact, it’s a necessity. I think Finding Home went through around six different drafts.
And you know what? It was six million times better for it.
And so, if I had to tell you my four most valuable writing tips, it would be these. And if you can use even one of these somewhere in your writer’s tool bag, I hope you get just as much satisfaction out of it as I did.

lmckellar

Lauren McKellar is a writer and reader of Young and New Adult books. Her debut novel Finding Home is out now, and can be bought from all your usual eBook sites (extensive links available here; Amazon listed below). She also works as a freelance editor for novels for all age groups and you can chat to her on twitter or facebook any time you’d like.

Website
Amazon
Goodreads

1013-Finding-Home_1400

About Finding Home
Moody, atmospheric, and just a little bit punk, Finding Home takes contemporary YA to a new level of grit…

When Amy’s mum dies, the last thing she expects is to be kicked off her dad’s music tour all the way to her Aunt Lou in a depressing hole of a seaside town. But it’s okay — Amy learned how to cope with the best, and soon finds a hard-drinking, party-loving crowd to help ease the pain.

The only solace is her music class, but even there she can’t seem to keep it together, sabotaging her grade and her one chance at a meaningful relationship. It takes a hard truth from her only friend before Amy realises that she has to come to terms with her past, before she destroys her future.

PLUS:
For your readers’ chance to win one of two $5 Amazon cards, one $10 Amazon card or a copy of Finding Home, add this Rafflecopter giveaway to your post:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

COVER REVEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So my writing bestie, Lauren McKellar has written a book…an AWESOME book…and guess what! It’s being published *squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee*

And I have the absolute pleasure of taking part in her cover reveal for “Finding Home.”

Is this not the most amazing cover…so simple, yet speaks a thousand words!

Well done my lovely friend! I am so super proud of you and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy…Love you to pieces!

1013-Finding-Home_1400

Synopsis:

Moody, atmospheric, and just a little bit punk, Finding Home takes contemporary YA to a new level of grit…

When Amy’s mum dies, the last thing she expects is to be kicked off her dad’s music tour all the way to her Aunt Lou in a depressing hole of a seaside town. But it’s okay — Amy learned how to cope with the best, and soon finds a hard-drinking, party-loving crowd to help ease the pain.

The only solace is her music class, but even there she can’t seem to keep it together, sabotaging her grade and her one chance at a meaningful relationship. It takes a hard truth from her only friend before Amy realises that she has to come to terms with her past, before she destroys her future.

Finding Home, Lauren K McKellar’s debut novel, is coming October 1, 2013. Add it to goodreads today.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt:

‘Look, I have to go. Can we talk about this later?’ Dad was asking Mum. Joe had shut the door behind him, and it was a good thing he did too, because when Dad had finished speaking, Mum picked up an empty bottle of Grey Goose vodka and threw it at his head. She missed, missed by a mile, but that didn’t stop the bottle hitting the wall behind him and shattering into thousands of tiny pieces.

‘Jesus!’ Dad exclaimed. He turned around, surveying the damage.

‘Oh, look what I did! Can’t have clean-cut Stevie D trashing the green room. People might talk!’ Mum’s voice dripped with sarcasm. It sounded hoarse, no doubt a result of the hours she’d spent alternating between crying and screaming up until now.

‘Even if this was our bloody lounge room, I would still be furious! You can’t just throw s**t like that.’

‘I’ll throw whatever I want to throw!’ Mum yelled. ‘You’re so uptight.’ She walked up to Dad and put her hands on his shoulders, shaking them. ‘Give up this stupid dream already.’

‘And do what? I can’t afford your habits any other way. If I don’t sing, you have to get a job.’ Dad shook his head.

I inched around behind them and started to pick up the pieces of glass. They were all different sizes, and some had gotten stuck in the carpet. They required a bit of twisting to retrieve, but the others I could pick up with ease and place in my hand.

‘What do you want me to do? I don’t have any skills. And there’s clearly only one thing you think I’m good at these days,’ Mum said, leering. She pulled at her top, exposing her décolletage.

I focused on the glass again. I counted each piece in my hand. Thirty-six, thirty-seven, thirty-eight. On the fortieth piece, a shard broke through my skin, spilling bright red blood. Funny. I hadn’t thought my skin would be so thin.

‘Amy, you’re hurt!’ Mum pushed past Dad and came to kneel next to me. ‘What are you doing?’ She knocked my hand with her own, and the pieces of glass flew up into the air and landed back on the floor.

All my efforts — ruined.

‘Let me see,’ Dad said.

‘Get the hell away from her!’ Mum yelled, raising her voice again.

‘Do we have to do this in front of Amy?’ Dad asked. I felt them turn to look at me. Did they think I hadn’t heard? That the fights they’d been having all day in the adjacent hotel room hadn’t resonated with a hatred that travelled through walls?

‘Please don’t,’ was all I could say. But it was enough. Dad left the room, and Mum tended to my hand, spilling some vodka to cleanse it before wrapping it in a spare t-shirt.

‘I’m sorry, baby,’ Mum whispered to me. ‘I promise, things are going to get better.’

Only they didn’t. They got much, much worse.

Find Lauren McKellar:

laurenkmckellar

Website: http://laurenkmckellar.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenkmckellar

Facebook: https://facebook.com/laurenkatemckellar

profilewebsite

Bits and bobs…aka…WHY CAN’T I FINISH A FREAKIN’ STORY???

Right…can you feel my frustration, my angst?

Well good!

That was the point!

So the below DOES NOT APPLY!

Keep-Calm-and-Write-a-Book-1024x973

I HATE it when people tell me to calm down (especially poor hubby)…but that just makes me LESS calm.

 Don’t. Tell. Me. To. Calm. Down…EVER!

I do, however, have a new plan. The very clever Kate Forsyth (she wrote Bitter Greens and is one of my fave authors) wrote a post about helping someone to finish their novel…and it went a little something like this…

PICK AN IDEA AND STICK WITH IT!!!!

Don’t let the shiny new ideas take over or you’ll never finish them. Sure, write those glittering suckers down, and then stick them in a folder and shove them in a drawer so the glint from their newness doesn’t blind you from what you should be focusing on.

And there you have it folks. If you click on her lovely name, it will take you straight to that particular post for the long version.

Now, I must be off to find a gazillion manila folders for my gazillion shiny new ideas that keep me constantly blinded from my current WIP.

I’m out

Pitcharama: Announcing the 24

So 24 uh-mazing Pitcharama pitches have been fought over and chosen (with much screaming, crying, pouting, and tantrums thrown in for good measure).

Lots of this (although, not from yours truly, just sayin’.)…

Temper_Tantrums_by_ShinyBlackSheep

I just want to say that my team is AWESOME!!!!! I am so pleased with my picks for Pitcharama.

Here’s the link to the Aussie Owned post announcing the 24 who have  made it through to the editors round on the 28th of June.

Pitcharama: Announcing the 24

Go and check out all the pitches that made it through, they are all wonderful (the reason why we nearly killed each other over at Aussie Owned and Read HQ).

PS…mine are the bomb! Seriously!

Go Team Suse!

Pitcharama Baby!

pitcharamabutton-3

I just wanted to let everyone know that the pitches rolling in for Aussie Owned and Read’s Pitcharama are Uh-mazing!

As one of the eight judges, I am blown away with the talent that’s coming in and I know it is going to be a very tough choice when it comes down to picking only 3. In our little corner of the web, the Aussie Owned girls are definitely going to be biffing it out over who picks what…I can see an all in cat fight (if not full on brawl) ensuing to get our hands on the talent!

I thought I would also just make it clear that Pitcharama is NOT just for the Aussie writers among you, oh no!

IT’S OPEN TO EVERYONE!!!

That’s right.

The publishers we have lined up are from the USA, the UK and from AUS and they are ALL interested in ALL the talent, no matter where you happen to come from.

So, there are just over 13 hours left to get your pitch on…then we will fight over our choices (as unladylikely as possible) for a few days, and the PITCH YOUR MATE round will begin where you get to boast your best buds talent to the interwebs.

So what the heck are you waiting for???

You have to be in it to win it, so get your tails over there and pitch us your best darn pitch ever!

GO! GO! GO!

You should be writing!

dc9c455fa468166b844472952c45a5fd

 

Yes!

I know…please forgive me…and stand there and make sure I write…I seriously need your supervision 😉

So, here’s the dealio: I have a few (read WAY too many) WIPs on the go all at once. The reason being I get bored easily, VERY easily. I’ll be writing one, but I reach about 20,000 words or so and the stories seem to become rather lacklustre to me. It’s also about the same time that my self-doubt kicks in (in a HUGE way).

You know the drill:

Why are you doing this?

Why do you even think you can?

Your writing stinks!

Why don’t you just give up?

You’ll never be able to write like (insert famous author’s name here).

So, I stop. I shelve the story (albeit on my desktop so it can taunt me every time I turn the computer on) and there it sits, marinating, so to speak.

Of course, I can’t bring myself to actually stop writing, so I get a new, shiny, bright idea and start to run with that. Until I reach that magical 20,000 word mark, and self-doubt comes crashing through the door like a tornado on steroids.

Can you say: Vicious Cycle?

(Pun fully intended *snort*)

Anyway, last night I re-opened one of my early WIPs which sat on the desktop languishing for the last six months or so. This one actually made it to 25, 589 words before it got shelved. I re-read it, all of it, and yes, it had many glaring problems, but all-in-all, it wasn’t as horribly awful as I thought it would be.

So, project for now is to pick up where I left off with “Reliant” and, hopefully, I can write another 25,000 words before my old nemesis Self-Doubt raises his ugly head again.

And, I have added a little snippet of a section I particularly liked (I’m just a tiny bit biased LOL):

Snippet from “Reliant” (by S.M. Hocking)

Hot sweat slides between my shoulder blades, helping to cool my back as I push myself harder down the beach. There’s just something about going for a run that calms the senses, especially in a place as beautiful as this.
To my right is the Pacific Ocean, its turquoise waters snaking up the glittering sand in frothy fingers, greedily snatching at my bare ankles. The soft, white silica sand beneath my feet squeaks with every step I take, professing its rare purity. To my left, Pandanus Palms with their spiky foliage and thick branches provide ample shade for other beach goers, as well as act as sturdy climbing frames for some of the more adventurous kids. Behind the palms, mansions loom, their balconies as wide as the buildings themselves in order for the occupants to enjoy the spectacular ocean views. Some of the yards even stretch down as far as the edge of the sand. Not that I can see anyone out on their balconies or in their yards.
How many of these people really enjoy their view? Or are they working their backsides off all the time in order to pay for them? What a waste.