I know I'm in my own little world, but it's OK.
They know me here...


Saturday, June 30, 2012

ALLIANCE FORGED countdown...

Another rather interesting scene... :-)
“Just say it, Varian,” Kymora whispered against his skin. “You trusted me last night. And with something more incredible than a few words.”
“No one has ever touched or made me feel the way you do,” he said, the words a low-pitched, stilted confession. “For the first time I can remember, I don’t feel like I’m fighting with myself. You bring me peace.”


CAST OF CHARACTERS: Davyn - ex-Blade Councillor

I thought I'd share some facts and information about Davyn, the ex-Blade Councillor & retired Light Blade warrior, from VENGEANCE BORN. 

Davyn - as I imagine him
Name: Davyn

Race: Human

Age: 58 

Background: In his day, Davyn was a well respected Light Blade warrior and as a Commander he led his unit on many successful campaigns against the Na'Reish.

Davyn's daughter, Jarella, bonded with Peran Barial. His first and only grandson, Arek, was born a year later.

During a border patrol, Davyn killed a Na'Reish warrior whom he  later learned was Na'Rei Savyr's firstborn son. In revenge, Savyr took Jarella and raped her, planning to send her back to Davyn with the shame of a half-blood child.

Jarella died giving birth to Annika and without proof of her parentage, Savyr's vengeance proved futile.

With Jarella taken and presumed dead, consumed by heartache Peran took his life, leaving 3 year old Arek with an embittered and grief-stricken grandfather. Davyn raised Arek, passing on his soul-consuming hatred for all things Na'Reish.

When Annika appeared with Kalan at Sacred Lake (in VENGEANCE BORN), Davyn recognised her as she was spitting image of Jarella as a younger woman. Hoping to bury the disgrace of having a Na'Chi granddaughter and keep the secret of her being Arek's half-sister from him, he attempted to kill her while opposing Kalan & Kymora's efforts to ally themselves with the Na'Chi.

Once the Blade Council discovers the secrets he's been hiding, he's stripped of his title and imprisoned for his actions. His opposition though resonates among some - Light Blades and other humans alike - and his cause is taken up by rebels.

Skills:  Like all Light Blade warriors he can use his kinetic power to kill by channeling it through touch or via any blade or weapon. This skill is used to kill the Na'Reish. In human society, Light Blades are highly respected for their skills and dedication to upholding the Lady's tenets. They are the protectors of all.

In VENGEANCE BORN, Davyn is one of five Councillors seated on the Blade Council.

Interesting Facts:
  • With the death of his daughter, Davyn's dedication as a Light Blade warrior turns to obsession in his need for revenge against the Na'Reish.
  • He never fails to remind Arek, his grandson, of how the Na'Reish robbed them both of a future with his parents.
  • Corvas, Yance and Davyn concealed the shared history of demons and humans during their time as Councillors on the Blade Council. Their corruption continued to perpetrate the 500 year old war against the Na'Reish.
  • Davyn kept a wall hanging of Jarella in a special shrine-room in his apartment but never let Arek see his mother's portrait.
  • He attempted to kill Annika by wounding her then locking her in a room with Rissa, hoping she'll succumb to blood-rage and attack the young healer and feed, to prove to everyone the Na'Chi are animals just like the Na'Reish demons.

Friday, June 29, 2012

ALLIANCE FORGED countdown...

This comes from a particularly tense (and hot) scene...
“I can feel your need, too, Varian.”
The beast inside him reacted, almost as if it’d been waiting for Kymora to challenge him. Varian surged from the pool. Water sluiced off him in sheets. He headed straight for her...
Crimson hues outlined everything. She wanted honesty? He’d give it to her. He grabbed her shoulders and propelled her toward the wall behind her. Pinning her there, he leaned in close.
His lips brushed the shell of her ear. “What need can you sense in me, Kymora? Because I’m struggling with more than one,” he growled.


Thursday, June 28, 2012


A very cool review for VENGEANCE BORN from We Fancy Books!

Would you trust a person who was born to kill your kind? Will you trust a demon because she saved your life? A journey of trust, love and acceptance Kylie Griffin will hold you into your seat gasping for more!

From the very start of this novel I was really intrigued by the premise of this book. It got me awhile before I finish it because I don’t really want to end the novel so soon. It was an awesome read. A story back up with a great characters; I was totally in it!...I rarely read Paranormal Romance but I think it’s safe to say that this is a great start of a wonderful series. 
Thank you, WFB!

GUEST BLOGGING over at Get Lost in a Story

Angi and the girls over at GLIAS have put their interrogation skills to the test - and I cracked.

I spilled the beans, I sang like a canary, I gave 'em the low-down...

...on what? Could there be a copy of ALLIANCE FORGED floating around for one lucky commenter? Well, you'd best come see for yourself.

The blog tour continues!

ALLIANCE FORGED countdown...

Here's another teaser...
“Varian, I didn’t mean to sound like I was judging you.” Kymora swallowed, wishing she knew what words to say to convince him. “I thought . . . if you wanted to talk about Rystin, I could listen. . .”
Inwardly she cringed. Her explanation sounded lame even to her.
“Ever the good priestess . . .” He snorted. “Hesia always said confession was good for the soul.” He issued a sour laugh. “Conserve your effort; mine isn’t worth saving, Temple Elect.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

GUEST BLOGGING over at The Window Seat on a Rainy Day

Stop #6!

Rain, hail or shine, I'm over at The Window Seat on a Rainy Day - Aimee has a rip snorter of an interview and you learn a little bit more about ALLIANCE FORGED. There's even some Light Blade swag up for grabs here!

Come on over!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

ALLIANCE FORGED countdown...

With a week to go before ALLIANCE FORGED hits shelves, I thought you might like a snippet or two from the book.

Just a little taste...
Varian picked up a stick and stabbed it into the dirt at his feet, gouging out a deep furrow. Hadn’t the past taught him anything?
He didn’t need Kymora’s friendship.
He didn’t want a relationship.
He didn’t like the strange feelings she was stirring inside him.
Liar, liar, liar . . .



TAMARA GILL's love of history started from an early age, but her reading of historical romances only began when home on maternity leave with her second son. Her writing career started as a hobby but soon turned into an obsession—just ask her members of her family, who have suffered many a whipped up, burnt meal.

Member of Romance Writers of Australia, Romance Writers of America, South Australian Romance Authors and The Beau Monde keep her occupied and focused on her craft and the changing trends of readers.

Tamara lives in the beautiful Barossa Valley in South Australia and enjoys hearing from readers and writers alike.

About the book...
Setting - London, England 1811
Hero – Royce Durnham Viscount Danning
Heroine – Miss Suzanna March

Scene you would never cut – I really love the scene where Royce and Suzanna argue in a woman’s retiring room and she slaps him across the face. Of course, he deserves it and soon apologies for his actions, but I just love his reaction when she does it. Classic.

What's one quirky thing about your hero/heroine? In relation to Suzanna it would have to be that she’s a klutz. Not that you see a lot of this in the book, as it’s more from her memory of her first season. But she was forever falling over or spilling food on herself poor girl.

What do you think the readers will like about this book? Hmm, well hopefully everything. Although it’s not an erotic novella so I’m a little worried it may be a bit tame for some of my readers. But the love story between the two was more my focal point with this manuscript and I think it’s just a really sweet story.

Miss Suzanna March wished for one thing, the elusive, rakish charmer, Lord Danning. But after a frightful first season sees her flee to Paris, such dreams seem impossible. That is until she returns to London, a new woman, and one who will not let the ton's dislike of her stand in her way of gaining what she wants. Revenge on the Lord who gave her the cut direct and perhaps a little flirtation to show the mighty Viscount what he'll never have.

Lord Danning unbeknown to his peers is in financial strife and desperate to marry an heiress. Such luck would have it Miss Suzanna March fits all his credentials and seduction is his plan of action. Yes, the woman who returned from Paris is stronger, defiant, and a little argumentative, but it does not stop Lord Danning finding himself in awe and protective of her.

But will Suzanna fall for such pretty words from a charmer only after one thing. Or will Lord Danning prove to Suzanna and himself that she is more than his ticket out of debtor's prison...

What's next for you? Oh, where do I begin. I’m about to Indie publish a paranormal manuscript about a goddess and Scottish druid. It’s called BANISHED and you can see the cover for this story on my website and blog.

I’ve just signed a contract for my single title, time travel Regency romance, A STOLEN SEASON. So edits will soon be landing on my desk, which I can’t wait for. This is my first full length manuscript to be picked up and I’m ecstatic about it.

After that, I’m hoping to keep submitting my other stories to publishers or agents and see where that leads. And let’s not forget the RWAustralia conference it just around the corner. Gold Coast here we come!! 

About you...
Favorite movie of all time - Gone with the Wind. Have always loved it. Used to wrap quilts about my hips and make out I had a gown like Scarlet O’Hara.
Favorite fairytale – Sleeping Beauty, but don’t ask me why as I really don’t know. 
Favorite story to disappear into - I LOVE Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander and Fever series. When I need a break and want to read something I know I’ll enjoy, I always look for her books on my bookshelf. 
Favorite TV program -  Restoration Home and Who Do You Think You Are? I know, not very exciting is it? 
First book you remember reading - Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. I remember being really proud of myself because of its length. 
Dog or cat person (or other) - Cat hands down. I don’t want to upset anyone but I’ve always thought of dogs as needy pets looking for attention. I love how cats are aloof and independent. 
Author (living or dead) you'd most like to meet - Karen Marie Moning. Just to ask her how she does it. She’s an amazing writer. 
A romantic retreat for you would be... I’m not big on romance (gasp) and my hubby often says, ‘how can you write romance when you’re not romantic?’ So a romantic retreat seems more like torture to me. I’d rather be writing or just taking the kids on a family holiday somewhere. Not a very interesting answer was it. LOL 
What do you do to unwind or relax? Sorry, can you repeat the question. LOL. I don’t to tell you the truth. I have two boys in school and a little six month old baby, so I’m kept pretty busy most of the time. The closest thing to relaxation would be going to bed before midnight. *g* 
What era would you like to time travel and visit? And why? The Regency era of course, and pretty much because of the clothes. I’d love to visit Almacks and see a ball in progress during the height of the London season. Would be spectacular sight I think. 
What does love mean to you? My family.

Tamara can be found at - her blog or Historical Hearts, Twitter, Facebook & Decadent Publishing.

Now, lovely readers, Tamara has a special surprise for you all - she's offered to giveaway one copy of A MARRIAGE MADE IN MAYFAIR (from Amazon or your preferred e-reader store) - all you have to do is answer this question.
QUESTION - Where would be the ideal spot to get married? 
So, leave a comment with your answer AND your email address so Tamara can contact you if your name is drawn out. Comments close midnight 26th July (USA date here, Aussies!)

Don't forget, if you do leave a comment, your name will also go into a major prize draw at the end of Tamara's blog tour! Good luck! 

TOPIC: Being a Published Author - Vistaprint is my new friend!

As promised this post will be entirely devoted to the mantra - Vistaprint is my new friend!

For any author, this website is a gold mine of promotional items - you name it, they probably have it. And best of all, they run "freebie" product sales, where you only pay for postage.

Used wisely, and sticking to a budget (see previous post titled Promotion & Marketing), you can stock up on useful items to compliment your giveaways or make up surprise swag packs to send out while on blog tours etc.

One warning though, Vistaprint can be addictive! :-)

And to balance that out, one piece of advice - make sure the items you purchase are useful or practical. Don't waste money by purchasing something a reader will throw away at the first opportunity. Magnets are winner all round - practical, useful, visible, pretty and timeless.

Here are some of the items I designed and had made up, all were chosen from the "freebie" stock deals Vistaprint sends out regularly - designs are limited, so sometimes I had to choose from what was available and match it to my website brand as best I could. I also spread out my purchases over several months. Special deals for various products occurred at different times too.

Book banners (small)
Book banners (small) require a high resolution jpeg image - at least 1MB to be clear and crisp when printed. I included the book series name, imprint line and my website address.

I've used these at library visits, book signings and other promotional events.

Book plates
Address labels (aka book plates) - because I planned to send out some giveaways of VENGEANCE BORN direct from The Book Depository to contest winners, I couldn't sign them personally.

So I went with book plates, which were just Visaprint address labels. I removed all text from the address boxes and got them sent to me blank. I sign them and post them off separately.

Door magnets (small)
Door magnets (small) - again high resolution jpeg images of my book covers. I also included my website address on them.

Magnets (large & small) - practical and visual. Promoting my covers, release dates, website.

I've given them away at any visit, signing, to friends and acquaintances or as surprise swag to readers (particularly those who followed my blog tour as a "thank you for your loyalty" gesture).

Door magnets
Door magnets (again) - these I send out as swag or special giveaways to my newsletter subscribers.

Postcards (standard)
Postcards (standard size) - again high res.jpegs for a crisp, clear image. Covers on front. Blurb, cover quotes, release dates, website address on the back.

I sent them out to bookstores, libraries and blogs.

Back of postcards
A dual set also went out with every giveaway copy of VENGEANCE BORN, or as swag.

I handed them out at author talks, library visits, even put some at the local general stores for people to take.

Rack Cards (front)
Rack cards - Just a different version of the above but used for the same purposes.

The longer format on the back gave me the chance to add more detailed book review quotes. It also allowed me to fit both books on the front.

Rack Cards (back)
I take them along with me to things like book signings, talks, book club visits etc. I often ask that people take as many as they like and hand them out to friends who may be interested.

Sticky notes, business cards, notepads, keyrings -  all used as giveaway swag.

I just deleted the address and replaced it with the phrase, my website address and my name & brand line.

The key ring and notepads are for special giveaways or contests run on my blog.

Lawn sign (small)
Lawn sign (small) - again high res jpegs of my book covers for this. I kept the text simple and easy to read. I ordered two.

These I lend to libraries and bookstores to advertise upcoming events. They can be placed in windows or displayed on notice boards.

Business cards - I turned one of Vistaprints standard business cards into a "With compliments & thank you" card. I hand it out with everything I giveaway.

Brochures - like the rack cards. Just a different presentation.

I included the imprint line, a book reviewer quote and website address on the front.

On the back the title, series name, blurb, release date, ISBN numbers, and website address again.

Brochure *back)

Stickers - just a bit of fun.

I add them to any envelopes or packages I send out ie. giveaways.

Flyers - special one off's. Kept simple in text to advertise a coming event.

I posted them up on noticeboards in the local communities.

The most frequently used/sent out items so far are magnets (all sorts), book postcards, my modified "With compliments & thanks you" business cards, and the address labels I converted to book plates.

So, now repeat after me - Vistaprint is my new, best friend!

Any questions?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Saturday, June 23, 2012

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Kymora - the blind priestess of Alliance Forged

I thought I'd share some facts and information about Kymora, the heroine, from ALLIANCE FORGED. 

Kymora - as I imagine her.
Name: Kymora

Race: Human

Age: 28

Background: Kymora is the Temple Elect, the high priestess of Sacred Lake and the human provinces. Her Gift was discovered during a search and she entered the Temple as an acolyte at the age of ten.

When she was chosen by the Lady to replace her predecessor, the Blade Council of the time protested her appointment. Having struggled for years to show others she was more than capable, despite her physical disability, Kymora harbored doubt about to her ability to cope. But determined to show them she could she kept her doubts to herself. It was two years before her brother, Kalan, became the Lady's Chosen, but she often went to both him and Arek for advice in her role as Temple Elect.

The skilled use of her Gift and dedication to her faith earned Kymora great respect and admiration from those around her. It also allowed her a unique insight into people's thoughts and hearts, which she was able to use to the benefit of her Lady's will.

Kymora first met Varian in the Temple when he entered Sacred Lake to find out what had become of Annika (in VENGEANCE BORN). She soon became a champion of the Na'Chi after realising they were the ones the Lady referred to in Her message to the Blade Council.

Skills: Kymora is able to sense others emotions in their auras. She is able to read people more accurately if she can touch them. In her early days as an acolyte she used her Gift to help resolve conflicts.

Kymora learned to use a staff not only as a guide to getting around but also as a weapon.

Interesting Facts:
    • Kymora and Kalan's parents were traders who travelled all over the provinces but used Sacred Lake as their home base.
    • 6 year old Kymora contracted Claret-rash from her mother. While her mother died, she survived but was blinded as a result - one of the less severe side effects of the disease. But the event triggered her Gift - being able to sense peoples auras and through that, their emotions.
    • She went from acolyte to Temple Elect at the young age of 21, only the second person in human history to ascend to the position in this fashion.
    • In her role as Temple Elect, the Lady visits and speaks to her. It's Kymora's responsibility to inform the Blade Council of any message or edict given to her, whether she agrees with it or not.
    • She dislikes the scent of vaa'jahn, the healing herb used as a generic antiseptic by Healers.
    • Kymora loves the tactile sensation of Varian's Na'Chi marking on his body.
    • Keri-blossom is a floral scented incense that she prefers above all others.

    Thursday, June 21, 2012

    GUEST BLOGGING over at Sassy Book Lovers

    Blog tour stop #4!

    Sassy Book Lovers

    Everyone off at Sassy Book Lovers for an guest post talking about "A Writer's Inspiration" and how attending a Rotary Youth Camp inspired the character of Kymora, the heroine from ALLIANCE FORGED! There's also a giveaway!

    See you there! :-)

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012

    TOPIC: Being a Published Author - Promotion & Marketing

    Authors no longer just write. Promotion and marketing is expected by editors, and to some extent agents, and it's one thing you can have some control over.

    It's a necessary evil as it takes you away from what you should be doing - writing the next book - but who else is better qualified or more invested in making sure your book gets the exposure it needs?

    I have just two pieces of advice for anyone wondering how to start.
    • Make a plan & a budget (be flexible with your plan but stick to your budget).
    • Be organised (well in advance first time around).
    Why? Because the whole snowball that is promotion and marketing will be overwhelming enough to handle without the added stress of doing everything at the last minute.

    Every plan will be unique to the author and book and as I can only speak from my experiences, some of the things I did may or may not appeal or apply to anyone else, so read with a critical eye. I apologise for the length of this post but there was so much valuable information to share that to cut it would short change you.

    I'm also no expert, but I'm willing to share ideas that may give you a launching point or spark some thoughts of your own. So take on board whatever you find useful and discard the rest.

    My debut novel, VENGEANCE BORN, with Berkley Sensation released on February 7th, 2012. I began working with my publicist in June 2011.

    I wrote out a rough plan of what I wanted to do in the months leading up to release day, emailed my editor and publicist to keep them informed and find out what they were doing so we didn't double up.

    Here's what I came up with.

    • Contact my publicist & editor to begin discussion on promotional ideas. I began so far in advance because I had no idea what was involved and wanted to be well prepared.
    • Create an ARC list of paranormal romance/fantasy blogs for early reviews (easy to do if you've spent the time previous knowing which ones accept your genre & what their review policies are, I became familiar over the last few years with these sorts of blogs and bookmarked them for easy recall).
    • Send list to publicist.
    • Begin formulating a personal wishlist of network contacts for my blog tour in February - include other authors, friends & book blogs.
    • Decide on how many weeks I'd run my blog tour. I went for two weeks prior to the Feb.7th release date and four weeks after. Six weeks total. And then I worked out how many visits per week I could handle - I went with two to three.
    • Saved old book packages ie. from orders received from The Book Depository, as I knew I would need them for my giveaways in January/February.
    • Publicist began sending out ARC's to reviewers from our lists.
    • I contacted local Australian specialist romance bookstores here in Australia - Rendezvous, Intrigue, Rosemary's Romance Books etc. - to let them know I had a book being released in the USA/Canada on Feb.7th. I emailed them first with a letter of introduction and asked if they would be interested in promotional items or information about the book. All replied in the positive, happy to promote a local Aussie author. Some even offered to feature the book on the front page of their monthly catalogs, websites and in-store book displays.
    • Sent out a Media Kit to these bookstores - author bio, photo, book cover & blurb, release dates & where, website links, book postcards for distribution to customers - and to the couple who requested an ARC, I sent a copy to them for review.
    • Discovered Vistaprint and their "free" items.
    • Contacted via email friends, authors & book blogs requesting the opportunity to guest blog or be interviewed.
    • Contacted local area bookstores with the same information.
    • Continued to save book packages.
    • Created a budget covering anticipated expenses like postage, Vistaprint products (aka postage), travel to talks/visits/signing in local area, paper, paperclips, envelopes etc.
    • Began writing & scheduling blog posts & snippets of VENGEANCE BORN teasers for my own blog in the lead up to and through the release date month. I wanted this all done so as I wasn't tied up with my own blog when I was "out on my cyber tour" with VENGEANCE BORN.
    • Began examining and looking at other author's newsletters as I wanted to create one of my own to coincide with my release date. Eventually decided to trial Mad Mimi and began writing first newsletter.
    • Kept an eye out for Vistaprint specials (Vistaprint is my new friend has become my mantra).
    • Responded to replies from friends, authors & book blogs for blog tour dates and formalised my itinerary for late Jan./February.
    • Began answering interview questions, writing guest blog posts for blog tour.
    • Plan giveaways and surprise swag packs for blog tour.
    • Continued to save book packages.
    • Started mentioning the pre-buzz build-up on my website home page (continued to post monthly updates featuring buy links and advance reviews).
    Copies have arrived!
    JANUARY 2012 (pre-buzz build-up to release day)
    • Organise and run Goodreads giveaway of a VENGEANCE BORN ARC - I ran it for a month, from Jan.7th to Feb.7th and ended up with 2300 people entering and almost half that many adding it to their To Read list.
    • Contacted local media - newspaper, libraries, bookstores etc. to arrange articles, interviews and visits.
    • Pre-buzz updates on my website home page (featuring buy links and changed advance reviews).
    • Took advantage of Vistaprint freebies for flyers & postcards advertising these events (Vistaprint is my new friend!).
    • Donated a copy of VENGEANCE BORN to three local area libraries (a one off decision to kick start local interest).
    • On my own blog began posting snippets and pre-release posts on VENGEANCE BORN books characters, world-building etc. - a bit like the special features section on a DVD, to generate interest.
    • Finished and scheduled my first Mad Mimi author newsletter to go out a week before release date.
    • Continued writing & completing the last of the guest blog posts and interviews for VENGEANCE BORN blog tour.
    • Editor asked me to write a "Dear Reader" letter for promotion opportunity on the Berkley Paranormal website page.
    • My author copies of VENGEANCE BORN arrive - celebration time!
    • Collate advanced reviews for promotional posts on website & blog.
    • Write personal thank you emails to book reviewers.
    • Agent contacted me to inform me of interview requests from some other book blog sites who wanted to interview me for the release of VENGEANCE BORN. Scheduled them into my tour.
    • Began promoting pre-buzz build-up on all social media sites ie.Facebook, Twitter, my blog etc.
    • Sent on positive advance reviews to my editor & publicist (which they use as further promotion).
    • Local friends ask to buy my book - order in copies for them.
    • Blog tour commenced late January.
    • Every post on my personal blog scheduled to further promote VENGEANCE BORN.
    • Local media interviews in newspapers, library visits, bookstore visits etc.
    • Blog tour continues - posting replies to commenters takes a lot of time.
    • Advertise on my social networking sites dates of my blog tour.
    • Goodreads giveaway finishes.
    • Giveaways and surprise swag packs being won by readers.
    • Collate advanced reviews for promotional posts on website & blog.
    • Send reviews to publicist.
    • Write personal thank you emails to book reviewers.
    • Connect with readers via email and social networking sites. Maintain these connections.
    • Locals still asking to buy my book - sold out of copies I'd previous ordered, have to order more in. Sell out again. Rinse & repeat.
    • Locals still asking to buy my book - have to order more in. Rinse & repeat.
    • Finish blog tour.
    • Analyse positives and negatives of the whole promotion & marketing process.
    • Begin thinking about next blog tour for ALLIANCE FORGED.
    Book Signing
    Lessons learned from my first release day and everything associated with it:
    • Interviews, guest blogs, preparing personal blog posts ahead of schedule and advertising on social media all takes time.
    More than you expect or think. What I expected and got were two different results. I think I can safely say the time I anticipated doubled. But that's something that comes with experience and every author needs to go through the process to understand and realise what it costs them personally.
    • Stick to a budget.
    It's tempting to go all out but don't. Invest a percentage in promotion but there is such a thing as going overboard. Time, followed by postage, were my two greatest expenses. Next time all international giveaways will be ordered from The Book Depository instead of being sent from me.

    As much as I liked giving away signed copies, it's cheaper to send a book plate than a book, particularly overseas, and if I want the best bang for my buck then this is what I need to do (at least until I earn mega-bucks as a best-selling author and can budget more to this area! (-: )
    • Vistaprint is my new friend.
    If you haven't discovered this company then get thee to the website (or a similar company) and explore. They will become your new best friend with the freebie deals they run regularly and are great for things like book postcards, magnets, pens etc.

    Keep in mind your brand when you design items (see previous post by Nikki Logan).
    • Kiss goodbye to the majority of your productivity time for any new book writing for whatever time period you designate for release day/blog tour activities, especially if you're juggling another career, a family, other commitments or all of the above.
    Promotion such as writing up interviews, guest blogs, pre-buzz build-up, social media sucks a huge amount of creativity and energy from you. And the excitement associate with it is also a drain.

    I had promotion for VENGEANCE BORN, line edits for ALLIANCE FORGED, and I was writing Book #3 first draft along with whatever life threw at me. I don't think I slept more than 4-5 hours a night from late January to the end of February. Not something I'm keen to repeat ever again.
    • Analyse the blogs you visit while on tour.
    Look at exposure/following readership numbers of the site. How they present your guest blog or interview. The quality of the comments left. Interaction of readers. If they run a rafflecopter style counter, how many people enter your giveaway.

    Some blogs I felt warmly welcomed at and reader interaction was tremendous and some commented more than once, engaging in a dialogue and wanting to connect with you.

    Others not so much.  Some blogs, while large on follower numbers and potentially good exposure, were inundated by frequent fliers, commenters participated just to win the giveaway - eg. "I like the sound of this book." or "Thanks for the chance to win." It made interacting difficult and I felt like I was wasting my time being there.

    View book blog sites with a discerning eye. Was reader participation worth your time and effort to do the interview/guest blog? Does potential exposure outweigh this? I ended up writing a list of book blogs and other sites I'd revisit next time around. I couldn't justify returning to some, despite the potential exposure value, because the time and effort wouldn't be worth it. Certainly food for thought.
    • Make local connections.
    Library Visit/Talk
    Where ever you live there are nearby bookstores, libraries and media. The whole media interview thing was my bug bear this time around - I honestly don't like newspaper interviews or radio, give me a library talk or any other sort of informal chatting event any day.

    One of the positive spin offs of contacting and personally meeting local bookstore owners for me was that one of them featured my bio and VENGEANCE BORN in their Australian page in their Autumn book catalog - home grown local Aussie author slant - and also advertised our arranged book signing event. The catalog was distributed to a target audience of 50 000 households in the Central and Western regions of NSW. Talk about excellent exposure!
    • You will check out reviews of your work - good, bad and ugly.
    It's human nature. The important thing is to celebrate the good, promote that and try and ignore the bad and ugly. DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO RESPOND IN ANY SHAPE OR FORM. Hard to do, but necessary.

    Let me repeat that.

    Ignore the bad and ugly.
    Celebrate the good.

     Your sanity won't survive otherwise.
    • Let readers know when your books are on sale.
    When your books are discounted, tell your readers. For example, I did this when The Book Depository had 24% off special for ALLIANCE FORGED (pre-order as AF had yet to be released). The really cool kicker- they also had a bonus 10% everything sale going at the same time (so, a double bonus!).

    I also mentioned the savings made if they wanted to purchase VENGEANCE BORN too. I posted an announcement on all my social networking sites, my blog and subscribers newsletter.

    Two things I noticed as a result of doing this.
    1. From my newsletter & Facebook analytic information my subscribers or followers clicked through to The Book Depository - no definite idea if it resulted in sales BUT...
    2. The TBD sales rankings of ALLIANCE FORGED & VENGEANCE BORN rose over the next few days.
    ALLIANCE FORGED's sales ranking jumped from #78 548 to #37 667, while VENGEANCE BORN went from #14 334 to #13 231. Coincidence? You decide.

    So, there you have it - my plan, the details of my first blog tour, the lessons learned and experiences shared. I hope some of this has been useful to you. If anyone has any questions about any of this, please ask, and I'd be more than happy to answer them.

    Stay tuned for my next post - "Vistaprint is my new friend!" - where I share the sorts of promotional items I designed and used for my books.

    Monday, June 18, 2012

    GUEST BLOGGING over at Helene Young's

    While we might have struck a small delay in Stop #3 of my blog tour, the next destination is now open for business!

    Helene Young poses some great questions in her interview and, of course, readers get to learn more about ALLIANCE FORGED and the Light Blade world.  There's a giveaway and a fun question to answer to go into the draw!

    I would love it if you could come and join us!

    Saturday, June 16, 2012

    Books Fighting Cancer!

    Having friends with or lost relatives to various forms of cancer, when I was approached by Chelsea from the Vampire Book Club to donate something for their Books Fighting Cancer Charity Auction, I agreed.
    Vengeance Born book banner

    Rather than double up on the details & deadlines you can read all about the Charity Auction here.

    Suffice to say there are some rather excellent prizes up for grabs - check out the list!

    My contribution is in the Urban Fantasy Set (a copy of VENGEANCE BORN & a matching banner of the book cover).

    Click the links below to view the auction, get details on bidding and, of course, stake your claim on the great prizes.

    Moira Rogers’ Prize Pack including a year’s worth of ARCs! (15 books)
    Avon Romance Prize Pack with signed books and character names from Jeaniene Frost, Lynsay Sands, Joss Ware & Pamela Palmer (8 books)
    Necklace designed by True Blood’s Kristin Bauer van Straten
    Complete, Signed Set of Meljean Brook’s Guardians Series (7 books)
    Urban Fantasy Set 1 featuring Jim Butcher, Allison Pang, Jaye Wells, Seanan McGuire, E.S. Moore and Kylie Griffin (8 books)
    Urban Fantasy Set 2 featuring Jess Haines, Barbara Ashford, E.S. Moore, Linda Poitevin, Devon Monk, Stacia Kane & Alma Katsu (8 books)
    YA Prize Pack featuring signed books from Jennifer Estep, Julie Kagawa and more (8 books)
    Signed J.R. Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Liz Maverick set (5 books)
    Signed sets from Stacey Jay and Cassie Alexander (4 books)
    Signed books from Christine Cody and Chris Marie Green (6 books)
    Signed set of Dark Mission novels from Karina Cooper and Character Name (3 books)
    Signed books from Amanda Bonilla and character named after you! (2 books)
    Romance Prize Pack featuring Meljean Brook, J.A. Saare, Jennifer Estep, more (8 books)
    PNR Prize Pack featuring Laurie London, Shiloh Walker, Lynsay Sands (6 books)
    Signed books from Jenn Bennett, chance to be Lon’s ex (2 books)
    Signed books from Kristen Painter (3 books)
    Signed copy, character name in new Carolyn Crane novel

    Happy bidding!!! And thank you!

    REVIEW for Alliance Forged

    I'm very appreciative of reviewers who have taken the time to read the Advance Review Copies of ALLIANCE FORGED in the days leading up to its release, doubly so when they post a review of the book.

    A huge thank you to Harriet Klausner from Worlds of Wonder. Here's a snippet:
    The second Light Blade romantic military fantasy (see Vengeance Born) is a terrific thriller as the endless war between demon and humans is reaching a critical mass with the Na’Chi caught in the middle. The lead couple is a strong pairing of interracial attraction and doubts while the support cast enhance the internal human squabble. With an insightful look at racial intolerance in a time of long-term constant combat and security alert, fans will appreciate Kylie Griffin’s superb look at an Alliance Forged does not mean alliance accepted even with a common enemy on the march.
     You can read the full review here.

    CAST OF CHARACTERS: Varian - the Na'chi leader in Alliance Forged

    As an introduction to the characters from ALLIANCE FORGED, today I'd like you to meet Varian, the hero.

    Name: Varian

    Race: Na'Chi (half demon, half human hybrid)

    Age: 26

    Background: Varian was one of the first Na'Chi children, other than Annika, saved by human slave Hesia. The elderly healer discovered him scrounging for food in a pile of rubbish.

    After a failed attempt to live among the human slaves and Na'Reish in the Gannec fortress (with eyes that change color with their emotions, discovery led to the death of one of their own), Varian and the other Na'Chi resorted to hiding and living in the forest surrounding the fortress. Living outside they fine tuned their scouting and ambush techniques and managed to remain hidden.

    Varian became leader of the Na'Chi at a young age. With Hesia's guidance and influence, he kept them safe.

    When Annika and Kalan escaped the Gannec fortress (in VENGEANCE BORN), Varian followed them and led the Na'Chi into human territory, in the hope of bringing Hesia's dream to fruition - to establish an alliance with the humans and find a new home.

    Skills: All Na'Chi possess Na'Reish strength and heightened senses. As a Na'Chi scout Varian is able to tap into his Na'Reish half in a heartbeat and during battle becomes as strong and fast as a full-blooded Na'Reish. But the more he uses his gifts the more he comes to enjoy and anticipate the high of battle rush, and the harder it is to resist.

    Interesting facts:
    • Varian shares a close friendship with Lisella, one of the Na'Chi females who sees past his scar and fearsome reputation.
    • During a fight with a Na'Reish demon, Varian ended up with a scar on his right cheek, from eye to jaw line.
    • He considers Zaune, one of the younger Na'Chi scouts, one of his friends as the youth reminds him of himself at a younger age.
    • He prefers the company of the Na'Chi children as they accept him for who he is.
    • He professes no faith in the Lady as he believes she abandoned the Na'Chi to their suffering at the hands of the Na'Reish.
    • The beads in his hair signify certain events in his life.
    • Varian greatest fear is succumbing to battle rush and being unable to control the beast inside him.

    Thursday, June 14, 2012

    GUEST BLOGGING over at Mel Teshco's!

    Stop #2 of my blog tour!

    I'm dropping in on Mel Teshco with a post about The Master Race. If you're into history then you might recognise the term from Hitler's era.

    But what does he have to with my newest release, ALLIANCE FORGED? Well, you're just going to have to head on over to Mel's blog and find out! :-)

    See you there!

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012


    Just discovered my first review for ALLIANCE FORGED - it received 4 stars in the July issue of the Romantic Times magazine!!!

    It's on p.61 in the Science Fiction/Fantasy section if you want to look. :-)

    For those who don't receive the magazine, here tis!
    "The tentative alliance initiated in the first Light Blade novel is in danger of collapse in the second outing of Griffin's exciting fantasy series. A major theme of this book is co-existence and the acceptance of those with differences. The old saying 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' works, but old prejudices are hard to combat. Griffin does a stellar job envisioning her world and its compelling protagonists. Well worth your time!"

    SUMMARY: Hunted for extermination by the demonic Na'Reish, the half human/half demon Na'Chi are desperately searching for a home. When the opportunity arises, they accept an offer of alliance from human Light Blade leader Kalan and his new Na'Chi wife, Annika. Kymora is Kalan's sister and the temple-elect of their goddess; she is also blind. Varian is the warrior leader of the Na'Chi, and a man struggling to control his demon half. The shaky coalition between humans and Na'Chi is jeapoardized when Light Blade rebels attack the Na'Chi settlement. Kymora is nearly killed in the attack, but is saved by Varian. Their budding attraction is threatened by Varian's trust issues and treacherous plots - not to mention a war with the Na'Reish.
    Jill M.Smith
    Snoopy dancing!

    GUEST AUTHOR: Ally Blake

    ALLY BLAKE was born in Millmerran a small town in outback Queensland, Australia after which she enjoyed an idyllic childhood in sunny Brisbane.

    Ally has a Bachelor of Arts with a double English major from the University of Queensland.

    She danced in front of up to 50,000 people per game as a cheerleader for the Brisbane Broncos football team.  In her third year she became cheer captain.  She cheered for the Gold Coast Rollers basketball team and on The Footy Show, a weekly television program all about rugby league.  During this time she travelled to Santa Barbara, California to take part in a cheerleading camp and her squad won the much coveted Spirit Award at the culmination of the camp.

    After marrying her television producer husband Mark in Las Vegas, Ally moved to Melbourne with their miniature fox terrier, Squiffy, their two black-headed pythons, Mary and Frederick.  Melbourne fast became Ally's muse as she set most of her novels there.  They have also since added lizards, turtles, fish, chooks and two beautiful, adventuresome daughters and one heavenly son to their brood.  The lot of them made a recent move back to family, and perennial sunshine, and they now reside in Brisbane, Australia.

    When not writing, Ally enjoys eating M&Ms, watching The West Wing reruns, and barracking at Collingwood football games. 

    About the book...
    This year I'm doing a retrospective on backlist titles that are now available as eBooks.  May's look back book is HIRED: THE BOSS'S BRIDE.  This was one of those books that seemed to write itself.  The heroine just burst onto the page with so much bravado and light.

    The girl turns up to a job interview in knee high red boots, skinny jeans and black t-shirt with the classic Rolling Stones mouth and tongue pic splashed across the front.  From that moment on the hero doesn't stand a chance ;).

    Loved this book so much after writing it I even named my second daughter after the heroine!!

    Just to add to the specialness, it was nominated for Romantic Times' BEST HARLEQUIN ROMANCE of 2008 and they had this to say:  "Ally Blake's Hired: The Boss's Bride is as breezy, sexy and warm hearted as its remarkable heroine, and its hero is pretty special too."  Aren't they sweet?!

    You can find the eBook here. 

    Mitch Hanover
    Setting - Melbourne, and specifically High Street Armadale.
    Hero - Mitch Hanover - entrepreneur.
    Heroine - Veronica Bing - auctioneer.

    Scene you would never cut -  The bit with the ring.   In fact, the working title was Ring-A-Ding-Ding.  Read it to find out why ;). 

    Something your hero or heroine would never do or say -  Heroine's not the type of girl who'd wear pink or frills or flowers in her hair.  Hero either for that matter ;).

    Veronica Bing
    What's one quirky thing about your hero/heroine? She wanted to be Barbie when she grew up.  The only Barbie thing about her is the hot pink Corvette.

    What do you think the readers will like about this book? Hopefully the warmth and honesty beneath the bright and breezy surface will give them a warm and fuzzy read. 

    Auctioneer Veronica Bing has left the glitz and glamour and year long sunshine of the Gold Coast to come home to Melbourne, a city that harbours sad memories she'd rather have left behind.  But that's what a girl has to do when she has a touchy feely boss, car payments up the wazoo and a job opportunity of a lifetime...
    Mitch Hanover is willing to give Hanover House - the venerable art and antique auction house his parents started years before - one last chance to tow the line or the Hanover Enterprises business he has since built into an empire or he's going to have to let it go.  Finding a new auctioneer to run what may well be the last show the crumbling old building ever sees is his last throw of the dice.
    When a hot pink corvette rumbles up to the kerb outside and out steps a brunette bombshell in knee-high boots and a Rolling Stones t-shirt, he wonders what he's let himself in for... 

    What's next for you?  THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, a Sexy Romance, is out in the UK in July, with Australia in August!  More about the book here. 

    Heroine's corvette
    About you...
    Favorite movie of all time - Currently it's Tangled.  I watch it weekly with my girls and it only gets better with each viewing.  I had to explain to my four year old what "happy tears" were as I blub every time I watch it!
    Favorite fairytale - The Little Mermaid.  Heartbreaker! 
    Favorite story to disappear into - Anything by Dick Francis.  I've read his books so many times I can tell which book each is by the first line alone!  His heroes, are to my mind, perfection.
    Favorite TV program -  TV shows I can watch a million times over are The West Wing, Arrested Development, Gilmore girls and Sex and the City.
    First book you remember reading -  Folk of the Faraway Tree.  My dad had a copy from when he was a kid.  The book's falling apart and the dust jacket  is now nothing but dust.  But it's a beautiful thing, that book.  Beloved. 
    Dog or cat person (or other) - Dog.

    Hero's gallery
    Author (living or dead) you'd most like to meet - I met Dick Francis once, so would have to say John Christopher.  He wrote my favourite books from when I was a kid. I wrote him a thank-you letter years later and he - gorgeous man that he is, wrote back.  We corresponded for a good while about the time I sold my first book.  He'd be 93 now!
    A romantic retreat for you would be...Anywhere without the kids in tow!
    What do you do to unwind or relax?  Read and eat chocolate.  Preferably both at the same time. 
    What era would you like to time travel and visit? And why?  The height of the Kennedy 60s.  I'm a total Kennedy-phile to the point that I lugged my then brand new husband with me all over the States on our honeymoon to JFK-was-here sites.  To be a part of something magical and positive and innocent.
    What does love mean to you?  A million tiny little things.   From the warm clench I  get in my tummy every time my husband walks in the door all the way to the small everyday stuff.  My husband cooks, vacuums and washes the dishes every night.  If that ain't love I don't know what is!

    More about the book...

    Buy link for e-book HERE

    You can find Ally here:  Facebook, blog, twitter or www.allyblake.com

    Monday, June 11, 2012


    It's begun!

    The ALLIANCE FORGED blog tour has officially started!

    There will be giveaways and swag packs to win, so mark your diaries with the following dates! :-) Watch out for giveaways - ARC's, signed copies of the print version, Light Blade swag etc.

    I'll also be running some newsletter subscriber only giveaways/swag specials - so watch for them too - the first went out with the June newsletter! (if you'd like to sign up, the form is here on the blog or the Home page of my website)

    June 10th - My Book Chatter
    June 14th - Mel Teshco's blog
    June 18th - Helene Young's blog
    June 21st - Sassy Book Lovers
    June 24th - LoveCats DownUnder
    June 27th - The Window Seat on a Rainy Day
    June 28th - Get Lost in a Story blog

    July 3rd - RELEASE DAY!!!

    July 3rd - ARRA blog - Release Day post
    July 3rd - The Reading Cafe
    July 3rd - Tynga's Reviews
    July 6th - Romance Bandits
    July 10th - My Bookish Ways
    July 14th-20th - Book Club Sisters
    July 15th - The Qwillery
    July 19th - Riverina Romantics
    July 22nd - Riverina Romantics - Sunday Swag!
    July 26th - Magical Musings
    July 26th - Darkside DownUnder - Magic Thursday

    August 1st - Down Under Divas
    August 23rd - Totes Bags n Blogs
    August 31st - Rabid Reads - Stomp & Romp month

    Not only will I be tripping all over the cyber-countryside during my blog tour but I'll also be posting snippets and articles about the characters of ALLIANCE FORGED here - so keep your eye out for those!

    If you can’t wait for them, the first chapter is up on my website.

    And for residents in Dubbo and the central west of New South Wales, Australia, I'll be heading to The Book Connection for a book signing event. The date & details to follow! I can't wait!

    Are you going to be joining me on my tour? Look forward to seeing you! :-)

    Sunday, June 10, 2012

    GUEST BLOGGGING over at Book Chatter Cath's!

    Holy time warp! It's begun!

    The ALLIANCE FORGED blog tour has officially started, folks!

    I'm over at Book Chatter Cath's sharing the low down on Varian, the hot guy on the cover. If you like him then you're going to love the giveaway.

    Will I see you there? :-)

    Saturday, June 9, 2012

    Good news!!!

    Well, the earthquake may have been the herald to a day filled with good news *grin*.

    First - ALLEGIANCE SWORN (Bk#3) has a tentative release date (to be confirmed) of April 2013. It's already up and available for pre-order at The Book Depository!

    Second - Berkley has decided to release VENGEANCE BORN in mass market paperback, also with a release date of April 2013!!! Woohoo!!! I can't wait to see it! It's also available for pre-order from The Book Depository and has a 25% off RRP at the moment!

    Still grinning!

    Earthquake near Manilla, NSW Australia!!!

    While surfing the internet last night about 9.31pm the strangest rumbling shook my house for approximately 20 seconds.

    At first I thought it was passing traffic - trucks can sometimes do that and I feel/here it even though I'm about 50m from the main road that runs through my town.

    Manilla, New South Wales, Australia

    But as I turned my attention to the main road, I realised it couldn't be traffic - my WHOLE house was vibrating. The sound was also not quite right for traffic.

    After it happened I looked around outside, saw nothing, so dismissed it as an odd event. Then I happened to check Facebook and saw the ABC New England North West page asking if anyone had felt the earthquake.

    It was the oddest revelation to realise I'd just experienced my first earthquake tremor.

    In a nutshell, the quake struck near Manilla (NSW, near Tamworth) at 9.31pm, measuring 4.2 at 17km deep*. (*Geoscience Australia website)

    The epicenter was just north of Lake Keepit, west of Manilla.

    Apparently there were 2 tremors and people have reported feeling them as far west as Boggabri, Narrabri, Coonabarabran, north to Armidale, south to Tamworth, Gunnedah and here where I live.

    I know the area has a rich geological history - we have two ancient super-volcanoes just down the road near Coonabarabran (the Warrumbungles & Garrawilla volcanoes) and a fault line from the Newcastle/Hunter Valley area follows a coal seam up all the way through here. As a teen I can remember a small tremor shaking us near Quirindi in the mid-1980's.

    The black line denotes the radius of where the tremors were felt.

    I'm glad to hear so far that there's been no reports of serious damage anywhere. While earthquakes aren't common here, this one certainly makes you think about the "what ifs..." or "what could have been's..."

    And to end on a lighter note, while I was freaked out by the tremors, my cats slept through the whole thing (great natural disaster alarm warning devices they turned out to be!).

    You can find out more technical information about the earthquake here. The Daily Telegraph has an article here about the quake.