Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Trying something new...

I know I haven't been around here much lately, but I've been really trying to get my hectic life under control. But while I try to get everything under control I'm also feverishly trying to get the sequel to Shinigami Eyes finished.

This year I've made one deal with myself, and that was to do as many 'new' things as possible, and when the big music festival came around I knew I had to seriously go (it also helped that my favourite band was visiting Australia for the first time)... but I wasn't just going to attend the festival, my aim was to try my hand at concert photography - from inside the mosh pit.

Yeah, that wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, but I was up for the challenge. Even the several heavy bodies dropped on my head didn't stop me from trying to get good shots.

This whole experience taught me that you will never know what you can achieve until you actually try something. What's the worse that could happen? You fail, then you learn. Everything in life isn't worth doing if there isn't some risk of failing, or some challenge involved somewhere along the line.

 Have you done anything that was challenging? Do you have anything on you bucket list that you really want to achieve?



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Ghost of You Release Day Book Blitz


The Ghost of You
by Amanda Burckhard
Release Date: 02/24/15
Swoon Romance

Summary from Goodreads:
Emmy has everything she’s ever wanted: a hot boyfriend she adores, great friends, a promising future, and even a well-connected family. But one night rips it all away.

A car accident shatters her world, claiming the lives of her twin brother and her best friend. In the wake of the accident, her friends drift away, her family falls apart, and her boyfriend cheats.

The grief is more than she can handle, so she finds escape at the bottom of a bottle of painkillers. Taking the pills makes her brother alive again, if only in her head. Seeing and talking to her brother as if he were still alive is the only thing that keeps her going. Until Logan King moves to town.

Logan sees past the mask of pristine popularity she wears in public and he’s the only one who can tell she hasn’t moved on. His uncanny ability to read her forces her to open up and she starts to fall for him, no matter how unwilling she is to admit it. But Emmy isn’t the only one keeping secrets and when a close brush with death sparks events that bring everything to light, Emmy will have to decide what’s more important: learning how to forgive and move on, or holding onto the pills and the ghost of her past.


Excerpt

I darted my way around a few chattering and dancing people. If there was one rule I lived by with my best friend, it was friends don’t let friends get hammered and make out with their exes.

When I reached them, I slid my arm under hers and pulled them apart. “Come on, Skye. Time to go home.” She didn’t put up a fight as I dragged her away. She only giggled in a way I knew meant she had one too many shots of that vodka I saw her carrying around earlier.  

We stepped outside into the summer night air and waited for Zane to pull his car around.  We sat on the bottom step of the porch, and Skye started to fall asleep on my shoulder. Sleep  sounded nice. “My stomach hurts,” she whined into my hair.

That last shot had settled, and mine wasn’t feeling the greatest either. “We’ll get you some ginger ale at Zane’s. You can nap in the car until then.” I pulled out my phone to text Derek. It was hard to focus on the screen.

 Me: Stayinf at Zane’s. You grood to get ho

Mid text, Skye knelt over and heaved. I set my phone down and pulled back her hair just in time. Zane pulled up and came around to us. “Get it all out now because if you puke in my car you’re walking home.”

After a minute or two, she assured us she was fine so we helped her into the back seat and sped off toward town. The open window sent warm air swirling around us like a blanket fresh out of the dryer. The forest smelled of fresh dew and sunshine, even though the sun had set a few hours ago. Soon it would start to smell of decay and changing leaves.

Zane grabbed my hand with the hand that wasn’t on the steering wheel and interlaced our fingers. “We still all crashing at my place?”

I squeezed his hand, smiling. “Skye’s mom thinks she’s at my place. My mom thinks I’m at hers. You know the drill.” Zane’s dad traveled a lot with work so his house was almost always empty on weekends. Something we often took advantage of.

Fifteen minutes later, Skye was passed out in the guest bed and Zane was half carrying, half dragging, me into his room. His lips found my ear lobe, softly caressing the edge with his tongue. My entire body tingled. “We shouldn’t. Skye’s right down the hall,” I breathed.

He moved his lips down to the skin above my collar bone, the place he knew always sent me over the edge. “She’s out cold. I seriously doubt she’ll hear anything during that vodka-induced coma.”

We backed into the bed and collapsed into it. Zane’s hand crept to the edge of my shirt, but my phone started to ring from where I set it on his dresser. The song roared in the quiet house.

Carry on, my wayward son
For there’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more.

I pulled away at the sound of Derek’s ringtone. It was his favorite song, and he blasted it in his Mustang every chance he got. Zane pulled me back to him, recognizing the ringtone as well.
“Call him back.” His voice was pleading, on the verge of a whine.

My lips hovered over his. “It’ll just take a second.”

By the time I pried myself out of Zane’s arms and crossed the room, my phone stopped ringing. I called him back, but it went straight to voicemail. I went to send him a text instead and noticed the one I had typed earlier when we were leaving. I must have forgotten to send it. Deleting it, I sent him a different one asking what he wanted. There was still no reply by the time I fell asleep.



Buy Links:
Amazon

About the Author

Amanda Burckhard grew up exploring bat caves and hunting for dinosaur bones in the Black Hills of South Dakota. When she wasn’t crossing paths with mountain lions, she was making up stories and devouring books at the library. Although, she still does that.

Amanda loves to travel and cross out things on her adrenaline packed bucket list. Some of the things she's been able to cross out include see an active volcano erupt, ride a gondola in Venice, and pet a tiger.

She currently lives in North Sioux City, South Dakota and works as a microbiologist by day. Some of her obsessions include comic book movies, hot chocolate, sushi, sunshine, and Doctor Who.

Author Links:
   

GIVEAWAY:
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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Experiments in Creativity

This has definitely been a year that I'm living by the old saying, "Success is 99 percent failure"... what that means is that I'm taking a lot more risks and adventures than I have done before, even if that means setting myself up for certain failure, but most of the time I'm coming up with pleasant surprises. After all, isn't it true that you'll never know what success looks like if you didn't face all those failures beforehand?

My latest adventures resulted in spending over 2 hours in a pool (which had way too much chlorine) with my trusty underwater camera and my sister (complaining I'm trying to drown her by 'forcing her to wear a dress' in the pool). This was the first time I'd done any sort of underwater photography. Heck, I didn't even know if the pictures would turn out more than blurry smudges of red and blues.

Sometimes creativity can be found anywhere, even at the bottom of a pool. You just have to look around and you can create a picture, a story, anything from your surroundings (with a few simple props :P).

All the photography projects I've been setting myself have been really great for the story ideas as well, and I'm already trying to decide what to start next: a story about a demonic wizard's daughter forced to collect people's souls, or a parallel worlds story, or a halloween prank gone awry when a pretend haunted house ends up real??? So many stories, now, I just have to get them out :D

PS There was a reason for the red dress... I was experimenting for a cover shoot that will be happening for another story I'm planning to release after Shade Consumed gets released :D

Monday, February 9, 2015

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

This year I'm aiming to do a lot of things I have never even thought I would be game to do, and the one thing I am learning that if you never step out of your comfort zone then you'll never know what you are truly capable of achieving.

Okay, so the first thing I did to challenge myself was to really step out of my comfort zone by undertaking a fine art nude workshop (Yeah, I never thought I'd ever feel comfortable with being around a naked model let alone take pictures of her... but it's so easy to forget she's not wearing any clothes when you get into the photographers mindset).

If I didn't take a chance I wouldn't have found such a fantastic local studio with such a great group of people who hold weekly workshops (not all of them nudes :P), and I wouldn't have known that I can work with a model in the most awkward of conditions.

So what I've learnt is that: You need to step out of your comfort zone to add some excitement and challenge to your life.

How have you stepped out of your comfort zone? Have you been in any awkward situations before?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Defenseless Release Day Blitze


Defenseless (Diamond Girls #3)
by Elisa Dane 
Release Date: 01/27/15
Swoon Romance

Summary from Goodreads:
High school senior, Claire Reilly’s world revolves around All-Star cheerleading. The Diamond Girls, are gearing up for a major competition, which, if they win will allow them to compete at Worlds for the first time. But the unimaginable happens, and both Claire and her team are rocked by a devastating loss. Determined to get to Worlds any way she can, Claire finds help from the last person she imagined would give it—up and coming UFC fighter and notorious bad boy, Ryker Vaughn.

Fouled out of the octagon by a dirty opponent and a vicious kick to the head, Ryker loses control when he learns he may never fight again. Angry over the loss of his mother, an unsupportive family, and the world in general, he gives up, gives in, and unleashes his rage—destroying part of his cousin’s cheer gym in the process. Things go from bad to worse when Ryker is given an ultimatum: help the Diamond Girls compete for a bid to Worlds, or go to jail.

Overwhelmed with anger, sadness, and grief, the unlikely pair learn that what you see is not always what you get, and that the most difficult losses sometimes open the door to a frightening, yet amazing new future.

Excerpt

I tore my eyes from the mess in front of me and zeroed in on the crap weasel standing in front of Coach Shea's office. If Tayla had seen him, she wouldn't have questioned who was behind the destruction. The perpetrator stood a measly yard and a half from us, and wore a bored expression.

Ryker Vaughn, Tayla's black-sheep cousin and all-around douche nozzle extraordinaire, was as noxious and irritating as he was handsome. Looking as though he were plucked straight out of one of those big-budget Clash of the Titans movies, he was chiseled like Hercules and rocked a massive Narcissus complex. Gorgeous, with stormy gray eyes and cropped, dark hair, dude thought he was the shizzle, and refused to give the meager masses the time of day. As deadly as he was handsome, there wasn't a person in Indigo Falls, or the surrounding counties, who wouldn't recognize his name: Ryker the Striker.

A humanized weapon of the martial arts variety, Ryker had spent a large portion of his eighteen years studying and perfecting Brazilian Jui-Juitsu and Muay Thai. The captain of the wrestling team at Douglas High before he graduated last year, he won two state championships and held the record for most wins and takedowns in a single season.

Unfortunately for him, neither his name, his good looks, or his martial arts skills saved him from the set of security cameras stationed around the building's perimeter. Why was he here talking to Coach Shea? Why wasn't his butt sitting in a jail cell somewhere?

I let my eyes wander from Ryker to the wreckage in front of me and frowned. The guy was more than capable of this type of demolition. What I couldn't understand was the why of it? He wasn't the world's friendliest guy, but I'd never known him to be outright destructive and criminal.

Though, if I were being honest, I didn't really know him. I'd only crossed paths with him at a few of Tayla's family gatherings. He'd kept to his scowling self, barely uttering a word to anyone the entire time. Unsociable bastard.  


Buy Links:
Amazon

Companion books in this series:
(each book is a separate story and do not have to be read in order)
 photo ExFactor-FinalWEB_zps56c5f109.jpg  photo Unbreakablev2-FinalWEB_zps4463314e.jpg

Links for Ex-Factor:

Links for Unbreakable:
GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & Noble

About the Author
I'm a lover of books (YA & Adult romance), chocolate, reality television, and am a proud mother to three All Star cheerleaders. Woot!
I write Contemporary YA romance with cheerleaders. Yep. I write what I know, and it's my hope that my stories will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but that you'll find a new respect and interest in the sport of Cheerleading you may not have had before.

Author Links:
   

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Practice makes perfect...






I have to admit that I've been very lazy since the Christmas break... my body feels like it's on holidays (or wants to be on holidays). This is something I really need to get out of or I'm not going to achieve anything before university goes back at the end of February. One thing I've tried not to be too lazy about is my photography, especially since I'm determined to complete a 365 project this year (that's taking a photo every single day... so far I've taken 14 YAY!!!).

During my photo project I've really discovered that it takes a lot of patience and practice to learn a new technique. I suppose it takes a lot of practice to master any skill (writing included with that), and boy it's been fun, and a bit scary, trying to learn this new technique. I've become really interested with underwater photography and really want to take some shots, but I'm learning that it's not as easy as some people make it look. For one, in murky water you can't even see what you're taking a picture of or if the picture's even turned out properly until you get home, and two, trying to focus on the subject when I can't even see the model is really hard... but I'm having fun learning, but I think I might try taking my experiments to a pool with clear water where it's more likely to turn out properly.

 I guess I'll just have to keep practicing and hope I'll end up getting these shots perfect.

Is there anything that you've struggled to master? Do you believe practice will make anything better?

Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 - A brand new year...



It's  a brand new year, which means new resolutions and new plans/goals that I'll hopefully be able to keep. And boy do I have lots of plans that I am aiming to meet this year, including releasing the sequel to Shadow Embraced andstart working on a dark time travel story, as well as a multiverse/parallel universe story with my brother.

First off, what can a new years be without resolutions. This year my resolutions (which I'm planning on keeping), are:
  • Complete writing my WIP horrors (and I have quite a few sitting around)
  • Attend a convention
  • Keep up regular postings of my blog
  • Commenting and participating on social media regularly
  • Complete a 365 photo project

That's not a lot to achieve this year (right?)... And as with the last point, I have decided to take up the challenge of taking a photo every single day of the year... last time I took this challenge I made it to day 6 before I ran out of momentum, but this year I'm determined to get the challenge done and create a lot more images like the one above (which was taken New Years day at sunrise).

I hope all of your Christmas's and New Years were happy and lots of brilliant adventures lie ahead.
 
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