May news…

May 18, 2016 at 5:06 pm (Events, Magic, News and updates, Publishing) (, , , )

squeee1NEW RELEASES

Exciting times! Last week the first copy of the Into the Mists Trilogy Hardcover Omnibus arrived, and it’s sooo beautiful 🙂 And thick, and heavy 🙂 But I love it!

I have an exclusive preorder offer for it running at the moment, which includes a free copy of  Into the Mists: A Journal or A Magical Journey: Your Diary of Inspiration, Adventure and Transformation. Check it out here – Trilogy Preorder. It’s for Australian shipping only though, as it would cost $65-$70 to post the Trilogy internationally 😦 But it will be available internationally very soon, through Amazon, Barnes & Noble etc, so I’ll keep you posted…

_launchONLINE LAUNCH

I’ll be sending the Into the Mists Trilogy Hardcover Omnibus and Into the Mists: A Journal out into the world with an online launch on May 27. Because for the third year in a row, Janna Chronicles and I, Morgana author Felicity Pulman and I have new books coming out at the same time, so we’re having another shared launch party. Chat with us and other book lovers, win cool prizes and join in the fun at Serene and Felicity’s Book Launch.

SeeMEatMBS_600pxX600pxEVENTS

I’ll also be at the Sydney Mind Body Spirit Festival from May 26-29, launching Into the Mists: A Journal and the Hardcover Trilogy Omnibus. You can register for a free ticket here – Free MBS Ticket – and there are loads of great free workshops and seminars, including ones from Lucy Cavendish and Cheralyn Darcey, and heaps of exhibitors…

And in June, magical writer and artist Selina Fenech and I will be doing Sydney Supanova together again (June 17-19), which will be awesome fun – I’ve already started work on my outfits 🙂 And I’ll be doing Perth Supanova for the first time the following week. (Eek! But yay!)

WRITING

June is also when I’ll be getting back to finishing the first Into the Mists Chronicle, which makes me happy! In April I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo again (yes, possibly a little crazy), and wrote another 32,000 words of Rhiannon’s tale. Added to last year’s Camp NaNo effort, her story is definitely weaving itself together and emerging from the mists, and I’m hoping to have release date news on that soon…

Have a magical month! Sxx

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Magical Mermaids, Fabulous Faeries and Wonderful Witches…

January 9, 2016 at 2:04 pm (News and updates, Publishing, Specials) (, , , )

Lucy and I have been chatting, and decided new year, new specials 🙂 So we’ve cut the prices of our Faery Magic, Mermaid Magic and Witchy Magic ebooks on Amazon…

We’ve also added a new option on the “real” books – if you buy the paperback from Amazon, you’ll receive the ebook free, through their Matchbook plan… And it seems that it’s a retrospective thing, so if you bought them a while ago, the ebook should be in your account…

Kindle_Covers_WitchyMagicBuy the Witchy Magic paperback, and receive the Witchy Magic Kindle ebook free…

Buy the Mermaid Magic paperback, and receive the Mermaid Magic Kindle ebook free…

Buy the Faery Magic paperback, and receive the Faery Magic Kindle ebook free…

 

kindle_matchbook

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Book Expo…

October 3, 2015 at 2:51 pm (News and updates, Publishing) (, , , , , )

day1_aselina

Last year’s Book Expo with lovely and super-talented artist and writer Selina Fenech…

It’s almost time for the last festival of the year!

Book Expo is a dedicated event for readers to engage with authors and publishers. It includes workshops and talks by writers, illustrators, publishers and more, more than a hundred exhibitors (including myself and awesome artist Selina Fenech), author meet and greets and events, three performance areas (including an illustrator skills one and a children’s authors interactive one), chances to win free books, interactive crime and mystery scenes to solve and much more. Book Expo is also hosting the Bloggers Conference, Getting Published Conference and PitchFest Australia…

day1_stand2 copyLast year’s Book Expo was lots of fun, with so much for people to do, and I got to chat with some lovely readers, bloggers and writer friends too (it’s such a solitary, hermity life, that it’s nice to occasionally get out and chat in person). And it will be very cool to have book three of the Into the Mists Trilogy this time around – I was just looking at last year’s photo, and it seems strange now that there were only the first two 🙂

day2_chez_sel copy

With gorgeous artists Selina Fenech and Cheralyn Darcey…

Book Expo is on October 17 and 18, at Homebush in Sydney. And I have fifty free tickets to give away, so email me at BlessedBeeBooks@yahoo.com.au or comment below and I’ll give you the code…

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Meet My Character: Book Blog Tour – EC Hibbs

March 8, 2015 at 10:59 am (Interesting stories, Interviews, Publishing) (, )

I recently took part in the Meet My Character: Book Blog Tour, where I wrote about Carlie from Into the Mists. You can read that here. Then I tagged two other authors to continue the tour.

EmmaHibbsOne was Emma Hibbs, who I met at the online book launch of Into the Mists (which I shared with Selina Fenech, who was launching Hope’s Reign, the second book in her Memory’s Wake Trilogy), where we chatted about faeries and nature and archery and Merida from Brave. We’ve kept in touch since – one of the joys of Facebook is connecting with wonderful people from around the globe – but as Emma lives in north-west England, we haven’t met in the “real” world yet 🙂

Writing as EC Hibbs, she is the author of the YA fantasy novel Blindsighted Wanderer and the paranormal romance/thriller Tragic Silence – and she’s already completed books two and three of the latter, and begun a new series. Emma is also a talented artist, which you can check out at her Elphame Arts website, where she does portraits as well as designing gorgeous book covers. Find out more about her at echibbs.weebly.com.

Emma_book_blindsightedIn Emma’s blog post she writes about her character Merrin, from Blindsighted Wanderer.

“Merrin is inspired by a race of mysterious water nymphs from the folklore of Cheshire in North West England. Her people are the Asrae, and live deep within a great lake in the forbidden west of the Elitland Valley. As with all of them, Merrin ages at a much longer rate than humans, only gaining one year for every hundred that pass. Merrin is introduced as carefree and trusting, with the physical appearance of a 15-year-old girl. She is deeply in love with a human named Adrian, but her entire world is turned on its head when he betrays her – an act which almost costs her life. Enraged, she unleashes a powerful curse on her lover, dooming all the men in his family to die by a water illness. For the next two hundred years, her vengeance almost consumes her…”

You can read much more about Merrin, and Blindsighted Wanderer in Emma’s blog post.

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A beautiful review – Into the Mists

February 8, 2015 at 3:22 pm (Book reviews, Publishing) (, , )

Cover_Mists_smallInto the Mists

Serene Conneeley is an Australian author who has captivated many readers with the first two books of her current ‘Into the Mists’ trilogy series. Work on the third and final book will commence in November and be available for release in 2015.

From inSpirit magazine.

Carlie, a vibrant teen on the cusp of womanhood and a bright future that she has mapped out for herself, loses all that she treasures in one tragic night.

She is then sent to the other side of the world to live with a relative she never knew existed and, in her mind, must be a terrible person.

cover_2014_11As a reader, you connect deeply with Carlie as she struggles through her grief and tries to come to terms with her new life, so far removed from her old one. In her new life she finds herself stepping in two worlds – the present that is filled with grief, confusion and anger, where all that she thought is not as it seems; the other world is one of ancient magic of the land, where mysteries and secrets of the past are gradually revealed, offering healing and understanding if Carlie can accept them. The mystical energies have Carlie questioning her sanity, however these energies can show her a way through her despair and a chance for family connection and love again, if she chooses.

A captivating read that is nurturing and dramatic, with magic, mystery and ritual woven beautifully throughout.

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Meet My Character: Book Blog Tour

January 17, 2015 at 11:42 pm (Book reviews, Magic, Publishing, Serene's articles) (, , , , , , )

felicitybookAuthor Felicity Pulman invited me to take part in the Meet My Character Book Tour Blog – you can read my post about Carlie from Into the Mists further down the page, and enter a competition to win a copy of the book at the bottom… My friendship with Felicity began when we bonded over indie publishing a few years ago, and we’ve supported each other through deadline stress and book dramas since then (along with sharing successes and some lighter moments too). I was honoured that Felicity contributed a piece to Witchy Magic, based on her beautiful Janna Mysteries series, and so happy that we could launch our new books together last year, when Felicity unveiled her gripping I, Morgana, and I released Into the Dark.

Pulman_FelicityFelicity’s I, Morgana is a beautifully written story about the legendary Morgana, and she’s also penned A Ring Through Time, The Shalott Trilogy and Ghost Boy. And next week Blood Oath, the first in her new-look medieval crime series The Janna Chronicles will be published, followed by a new book each month until June. Find out more about Felicity and her work at FelicityPulman.com.au, and read my recent interview with her here. And you can check out her Meet My Character post here.

Now it’s my turn to tag two authors – I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading about Dionne and Emma, and also checking out their blogs once they’re up!

dionne_bookI met Sydney writer Dionne Lister last year at Supanova, where we both had stands to launch our new books, and we got to chat again at Book Expo a few months later. She’s the author of the fantasy series Circle of Talia, a coming-of-age story that weaves together magic, adventure and dragons, beginning with the novel Shadows of the Realm, continuing in A Time of Darkness, and concluding with Realm of Blood and Fire.

dionne1Dionne also writes novellas, has released a collection of suspenseful short stories, and is working on her next novel, Little Dove, the first in a new fantasy series. Plus she’s studying for an Associate Degree in Creative Writing, runs the Booktastik website, and co-hosts the Tweep Nation podcast – so I guess I should stop complaining about how busy I am 🙂 To find out more about Dionne and her books, visit her at www.dionnelisterwriter.wordpress.com.

Emma_book_blindsightedI met Emma Hibbs at the online book launch of Into the Mists (which I shared with Selina Fenech, who was launching Hope’s Reign, the second book in her Memory’s Wake Trilogy), where we chatted about faeries and nature and archery and Merida from Brave. We’ve kept in touch since – one of the joys of Facebook is connecting with wonderful people from around the globe – but as Emma lives in north-west England, we haven’t met in the “real” world yet 🙂

EmmaHibbsWriting as EC Hibbs, she is the author of the YA fantasy novel Blindsighted Wanderer and the paranormal romance/thriller Tragic Silence – and she’s already completed books two and three of the latter, and begun a new series. Emma is also a talented artist, which you can check out at her Elphame Arts website, where she does portraits as well as designing gorgeous book covers. Find out more about her at echibbs.weebly.com.

* * * * * * * * * *

Cover_Mists_smallNow to my book character!

What is her name? 

Carlie (named for the goddess Kali) Parker. She’s the main character in Into the Mists and its sequels Into the Dark and Into the Light, and the story is told from her point of view…

Is she a fictional/historical character?

She’s fictional, although many of the rituals she takes part in are based on my experiences, her questioning and scepticism around magic and spirituality echo mine, and she drinks her tea the same way I do, so I guess there is a little of me in her – or her in me… I’m not sure which way that goes 🙂

When and where is the story set?

Carlie is from Sydney Australia, and there are flashbacks to her life there, but most of the story is set in Summer Hill, a small village in south-west England, shrouded in the magical mists that are a character themselves in these books. It’s set in modern times, although I avoided the whole Facebook/iPhone aspects of today, in favour of Carlie being able to connect with the magic of nature and the landscape around her. Summer Hill is a fictional place, but it could perhaps be a parallel universe that sits atop the town of Glastonbury – a different kind of Avalon…

What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

When we meet Carlie she is seventeen, and on a plane to the other side of the world. Her parents have just been killed in a car accident, and she’s being sent to live with a grandmother she didn’t know existed. She’s devastated, obviously, and angry, and already hates her new guardian – her mum had left England as a teenager, and always told her that her grandmother was dead, so she believes that this woman must be a monster, to have driven her daughter to flee to Australia and break all contact with her.

What should we know about Carlie?

She’s full of grief and loss, which has also made her angry and bitter, and she’s drowning in self-loathing and guilt. She’s angry at her circumstances and at the world, and cynical of anyone she meets – real or magical – that wants to help her. But her journey into the mists becomes a journey into her inner self, and she has the potential to reveal another self, one that’s smart and funny and caring and full of love, if she has the courage to let go of her teenage defiance and the walls she’s built around her.

What is the personal goal of the character?

In the beginning, she doesn’t really have any goals – she’s not even sure she wants to live. She’s so broken by loss – of her whole family as well as her best friend, her home, her school, her whole future life that she had planned out – that she wishes she had the courage to end it. But eventually the darkness recedes a little, and so her goal becomes to get through each day, to start to heal, and to make amends for her own bad behaviour. She also becomes desperate to uncover the secrets of her mother’s younger life, which have left her shattered and unsure of who she really is, and to unlock the mystery of the woman in blue and the cottage within the mists that isn’t always there…

cover_low-resWho is the publisher, and where can we read more about the book? Are there more in the series?

Into the Mists and Into the Dark are published by Blessed Bee Books, and available in print and ebook formats. You can order them through Amazon, your local bookstore or my website, where you can read more about them too. The third book in the trilogy, Into the Light, will be published in May 2015.

There are three copies of Into the Mists to be won. Just leave a comment on this blog post, then email me via my website, SereneConneeley.com, requesting a copy. The first three people to email me with their postal address will win. (*Paperback or ebook copy depending on where you live…)

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Meet My Character Book Blog Tour – Felicity Pulman

December 22, 2014 at 4:26 pm (Interesting stories, Publishing) (, , , , )

felicitybookAustralian author Felicity Pulman’s latest book is I, Morgana, a beautifully written story about King Arthur’s half-sister, a woman loved and loathed in equal measure. Just as exciting for readers, a reworked version of her brilliant six-book medieval crime/romance series The Janna Mysteries, about the daughter of a herbwife and healer being trained in the Craft, whose life is turned upside down when her mother is murdered, is being republished from January 2015. Felicity has also penned A Ring Through Time, The Shalott Trilogy, Ghost Boy, The Little Penguins of Manly and more.

You can read my interview with Felicity here, and visit her at Felicity Pulman.

Sophie Masson invited Felicity to be part of the Meet My Character Book Blog Tour, for which she wrote a great article about her character Morgana. There’s also still a chance to win a copy of the I, Morgana ebook, just check out her blog post.

From her post: “The character of Morgana has always fascinated me. Throughout the legend she’s portrayed as a wicked, scheming ‘witch’, bent on Arthur’s destruction, and yet it is said that after the Battle of Camlann she took Arthur by boat to the sacred Isle of Avalon to be healed of his wounds – which seems such a loving act, and completely out of character after what has gone before. And so I set out to understand why she does what she does in the legend, and I, Morgana is the result: the story of a proud, ambitious and passionate woman, bent on revenge, and who is ruled by her heart and not her head, a flaw that lies at the heart of this story.”

Enjoy Felicity’s blog post, and I’ll be joining the book tour next week to talk about Carlie… xx

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Meet My Character Book Blog Tour – Sophie Masson

December 16, 2014 at 4:15 pm (Favourite books, Publishing) (, , )

trinity-koldun-code-coverAuthor Sophie Masson is the award-winning author of numerous novels for children and adults, on such diverse topics as Ned Kelly, Shakespeare, Marie of France, and other novels set in France and drawing on Sophie’s French heritage. Her latest series, Trinity, is set in Russia, and book one, The Koldun Code, has just been published.

Sophie invited author Felicity Pulman onto the Meet My Character Book Tour, and Felicity in turn invited me. I love it, it’s kind of like a chain letter in reverse or something 🙂 I’ll be posting mine in a week or so…

You can read about Sophie’s character Maxim Serebrov, one of the main characters in her new book Trinity: The Koldun Code, on her own blog tour post, as well as learning about author Wendy James, who tagged Sophie (reading about her books inspired me to buy a few…), and the two authors she tagged.

Read more about Sophie’s work on her author site, and stayed tuned for Felicity’s tour entry soon…

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Interviewed on NaNoWriMo Inspiration…

October 17, 2014 at 9:28 am (Interviews, NaNoWriMo, Publishing) (, , , , , )

I was interviewed by Canadian writer Dianna L. Gunn about NaNoWriMo recently, for the first of her Author Spotlight articles to celebrate the upcoming NaNoWriMo. She found me on the NaNoWriMo site on the list of participants who’d had some of their NaNoWriMo books published…

You can read the full interview here, as well as checking out other inspiration from successful NaNoWriMo-ers 🙂

Cover_Mists_smallHow much planning did you do before starting NaNoWriMo?

I planned to do a lot of planning – but it hasn’t worked out that way. The first year I’d thought that I would have all of October to spend on plotting and planning, but I didn’t end up finishing the launch and promotion and website for my previous book until October 31, so the next day I just started writing furiously and discovering what would happen as it spewed out onto the page. And the same thing happened last year, and looks set to reoccur this year. So now I’m wondering if I’m just a make-it-up-as-I-go-along type anyway – a pantser as it’s known in the NaNoWriMo universe, for flying by the seat of my pants (I relate to this blog, although in reverse).

I find the process of different writers fascinating – some plan meticulously, and I really admire that, while others don’t plan at all, which can be stressful, and it seems that I’m the latter. Which makes sense I guess, since I’m a bit impatient, but I’ve also discovered that I really love seeing where the writing takes me, watching it unfold as I go and not knowing what will happen in the end. There’s a certain alchemy to the journey that I love, so although I always say I’ll plan next time, maybe I never will. I also really love the forced nature of NaNoWriMo – I could have started book three already, and tried to find time to write it amongst my busy life, but part of me thinks it would take much longer that way, that I would procrastinate too much, and second guess myself, and get bogged down in editing as I go, and wait until inspiration hits – which is never a guaranteed event – so I think I’ll be the most productive if I just wait until November 1st and write it all then.

Of course I’ll spend months afterwards editing and revising and rewriting and the rest of it, but there’s nothing like the pressure of a November deadline to force you to bang out a first draft

What advice would you give people attempting NaNoWriMo this year?

Tell people you’re doing it, to make yourself accountable. I posted my word count on Facebook each day, and I would have been embarrassed if I’d given up – which is partly why I publicly stated that I was doing it :-) I also had a few friends who were doing it, and that definitely encouraged me to keep going. Not that I would have quit – I’m pretty stubborn – but seeing other people’s word counts in my buddies list definitely spurred me on (I discovered a competitive streak I didn’t know I had), and I know that me posting about my progress (and the triumphs and challenges and frustrations and joys) kept other people inspired too. Plus, don’t despair if you don’t finish – no matter what happens, you’ll still have a lot more of a book written than you otherwise would have.

Three of our group of ten got to 50,000 words (and beyond) by November 30 – which is higher than the overall average – another two passed 20,000 words, and everyone else made an awesome start, and had the beginnings of a tale for next year.

Don’t be discouraged, and don’t be afraid of the blank page. I absolutely love the process of NaNoWriMo – my first time I started with just the vaguest wisp of an idea – that a girl goes to stay with her grandma in England and finds a cottage in the mists she’s not sure really exists… That was it, and each day when I started writing, I didn’t know what was going to happen – I’d just start writing, without stopping, scrawling sentences one after the other, and words would just flow out of me, and a whole story eventually emerged.

Which leads to my most important suggestion – be fearless. I had to stop worrying about how good what I was writing was, and just write. With my non-fiction books, if I had a migraine or felt uninspired I would do some research, or edit previous chapters, or do something else related to the project that didn’t involve writing. But with the knowledge that I had to rack up 1667 words each day (and more if I’d slacked off a bit in previous days), I didn’t have that luxury – I just had to write. And that was really freeing. My inner editor was switched off, and I wrote without thinking, almost stream of consciousness, and I never looked back at what I’d written either, I just kept going forward. And I was surprised (and happy) when I realised that by just keeping on writing, I’d figure out how to get from one scene to another. Each day I’d start with no idea of what would happen, yet by the end of that session I’d worked out how to progress the plot. Writing so regularly helped too, because I was thinking about the story all the time, and I’d often solve a problem in the shower or while working out, when my mind was free to wander. I loved writing long hand too – even though it was annoying to have to type it in at night, it somehow seemed to flow better using pen and paper rather than a keyboard… I’m often asked what the secret to writing a book is, and they’re always disappointed with my answer – but it’s true. To write a book, you just have to sit down and write it. Day after day after day. Seems obvious I know, but people always hope for a magic spell, a shortcut of some kind, but it doesn’t exist.

You can read the full interview here, as well as checking out other inspiration from successful NaNoWriMo-ers 🙂

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The Upside of Bad Reviews

October 12, 2014 at 12:40 pm (Interesting stories, Publishing) (, , , )

A fascinating blog post from author Anne R Allen, who not only survived bad reviews from the Amazon bullies – she got a huge sales lift. Thanks Mean Girls!

Read the full blog post here.

All successful authors get terrible reviews. Every. Single. One. Here’s a hilarious sampler of one-star Amazon reviews of classics from the Huffington Post. But bad reviews don’t always bring down sales.
In fact, bad reviews can actually stimulate buying. It happened to me.

I got a swarm of one-stars on my buy page for my Camilla Mysteries Boxed Set as “punishment” for standing up for a bullied writer on a high profile publishing blog. Probably not a wise thing to do at the time my mother was dying and I’d been diagnosed with a breast tumor, but I thought I was in a safe place when I wasn’t (there are no safe places).

Even though the blogger wisely deleted the troll-infested thread almost immediately, the mean girl army had already been deployed and had orders to swarm. “Swarming” a buy page with one-star fake reviews is a major sport on Amazon. It has even happened to the Zon itself. Its new Fire phone has over 1500 one-stars, apparently as a protest from Greenpeace, who don’t like Amazon’s environmental policies.

But when it’s just you and you’re already stressed this stuff can be pretty upsetting. I dreaded booting up my computer every morning for months. I knew better than to go to Goodreads, the native habitat of that particular denomination of meanies, but I had to go to Amazon occasionally. Each time I had a new review it would be one or two stars, containing a veiled personal attack that also showed the reader hadn’t read anything but the “look inside”.

Then a weird thing happened. My sales started to climb. And climb. After a couple of weeks, it hit the bestseller list in humor. One day I woke up and found I was ahead of five Janet Evanovich titles and my favorite humor book of all time, Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The book sold over 2000 copies that month and stayed on the bestseller list for half a year. Thanks, Mean Girls!

Read the full blog post here.

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