I need to start this post by apologising for both my complete lack of updates recently and for being very slow to respond to people’s messages. I’m currently trying to finish the first draft of Ivory Terrors (The Cavaliers: Book Three). It’s often far too easy to sit down at my computer intending to write, and suddenly find that two hours have disappeared in a blur of Goodreads and WordPress and Twitter. It’s not like I’m totally wasting my time, as it’s usually good self-promotional work and/or helping out other authors, but it’s not really getting the book written.

Therefore, I’ve taken a conscious decision to step out of the social media bubble for a couple of weeks/months, while I get this draft nailed. I probably ought to have mentioned that earlier. The good news is that the book is going well. I wrote the final scene last week (lots of brandy and hugs were needed afterwards – it’s not very HEA) and although I still need to go back and fill in some huge gaps, it felt very exciting.  I’ll hopefully have some rough extracts to share before too long. The bad news is that I miss my blog, so this week, I’m treating myself to a cheeky bit of posting.

To reconcile connecting with people and actually writing the bloody book, I’ve decided to fill this week with a few nice simple things, including guest posts I’ve previously written on other blogs that you might not have seen, and a few recent book reviews.

First though, it’s time to remedy something where my temporary antisocialness has made me look very rude. Nearly two weeks ago, I was kindly nominated for what I think is my first ever blog award. Francis Franklin picked me for the Inner Peace Award: http://alinameridon.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/inner-peace/

Before I go any further, I’d like to thank Francis for this nomination. I’d strongly recommend that everyone (or at least everyone who is cool with lesbian sex and lots of blood!) checks out both his books, which are very entertaining (you can see my review of one of them here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R2RGQ5RGYWLP9W ) and his blog, which has lots of interesting things to say about vampires and sexuality:http://alinameridon.wordpress.com. He also deserves some credit for beta-reading Screaming Spires, which definitely helped me create a better finished product.

Anyway, moving onto the award. Apparently:

“The Inner Peace Award was created in June this year by Summer of Grow your innerself:

I give all of you this Inner Peace Award… It’s my way to thank each one of you for your friendly comments, the follows, your kind words and the beautiful things you share with the world…

Feel free to accept this Award and add it on your blog. There is just 1 rule, when you pass the award on, please share some kind words with that person.”

A few weeks ago, I wrote a guest post (which will be re-published here next week) on the unexpected things I’ve learnt from self-publishing. One of them was the sheer kindness and helpfulness of so many bloggers who’ve either been there, done that, and are happy to share their advice, or who are avid readers and willing to promote books they like for no tangible reward. Therefore, the theme of this award is close to my heart and I’d like to nominate the following bloggers:

  • Tahlia Newman at Awesome Indies – http://www.awesomeindies.net – Awesome Indies is quite simply an awesome site. Maybe I’m a little biased as I’m listed there, but its basic premise is both simple and fantastic – develop a list of self-published novels, reviewed by experts like English grads, agents, publishers and professional reviews and deemed to meet the same objective standards as traditionally published novels. Indie writing ought to be a great opportunity for readers to discover something new, and there really are some fabulous book out there, but with so many people churning out books, it’s hard to separate the thoughtfully written and well-edited stuff from the “write a first draft and stick it on Amazon” crowd. The fact that a book is listed at AA doesn’t guarantee it will be to your tastes, but it should guarantee that it isn’t a My Immortal-esque monstrosity (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/FanFic/MyImmortal). As well as her basic good idea, Tahlia deserves praise for her efficient and probably exhausting running of the blog and website, and her willingness to go the extra mile for the indie author cause. If you have a book you think meets there standards, you should submit it for review, and if you’re looking for some quality writing, you should check out the list. 
  • A Little Book of Blogs and Other Stuff – http://alittleblogofbooks.wordpress.com/ – due to the genre I write in, most of the book blogs I follow are pretty paranormal romance/urban fantasy/YA/NA dominated. While I enjoy reading that sort of thing (I’d be stupid to write it if I didn’t) I also love more literary works, and this blog is my go to place for the latest recommendations in the genre I always refer to as “Booker Prize books” whether or not they’ve actually been nominated for that award. The reviews are always thoughtful and the comments always provoke lively and intelligent debate.
  • Fangs for the Fantasy – this blog gave Oxford Blood a one star review that must number amongst the worst reviews I’ve ever received http://www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2013/02/oxford-blood-cavaliers-1-by-georgiana.html). And yet, in a weird way, it’s one of my favourite reviews – it made me laugh, it’s painfully perceptive and for better or for worse, it was clear that the reviewer had really engaged with the novel. I’m not the sort of person to throw a hissy fit at a negative review, but after that, I think it’s testament to the bloggers’ skills that I still recommend their blog to all thinking paranormal fans. There are three things I love about the blog – firstly, as touched on above, its reviews are fantastic – detailed, funny and thoughtful. There’s no simple rehashing of the plot here. Secondly, it’s pretty varied. Reviews of TV shows like Vampire Diaries jostle for space amongst book discussions. Thirdly, and this is probably the thing that makes it stand out the most, it takes the unique perspective of judging each book not only on its literary and entertainment merits, but also on its treatment of social justice issues – basically, how well or otherwise it handles race, class, gender etc. Despite being a fairly socially aware person in my day to day life (or so I like to think) i have to admit that this was never something I thought much about within the bounds of paranormal literature. Once I’d read a few posts on the blog, however, I could never quite get it out of my mind. It’s a rare blog that changes your perspective on writing to quite that degree.
  •  Trish Hannon at Between the Lines: http://betweenthelinesisanendlessstory.blogspot.co.uk/ – A nice simple one this. A relatively rare example of an Irish book blog, and one that covers a wide variety of books and reviews them with style. You can feel the blogger’s personality in every review, but at the same time there’s a good level of objectivity. Similarly, there’s a certain Irish theme running through the blog, but not to the exlusion of everything else.  And I loved the fact that having written a positive but balanced review of Oxford Blood, she took the trouble to both encourage me in my writing and recommend the book to some friends.
  • The Broke and the Bookish – http://brokeandbookish.blogspot.co.uk/ – This is a good book blog in a variety of other ways, but my vote is almost entirely for its wonderful Top Ten Tuesday feature. For those who aren’t familiar with it, the premise is quite simple – each Tuesday, bloggers are invited to produce a top ten list on some book related subject, recent examples including Book Boyfriends, Summer Reads and Auto-buy Authors. It’s pretty much the only blog meme I participate in, and while I don’t do it every week, I always look forward to writing these posts. Browsing through other bloggers’ entries has also introduced me to loads of wonderful books I would never otherwise have come across.
  • Emily Guido at Emilyguido.com – As well as lots of interesting posts about her owns books (which I sadly haven’t found time to read yet, but which sound great) Emily always seems to do loads to help her fellow authors. Each week she has one post featuring another writer (including the one in which she featured me: http://emilyguido.com/2013/06/28/pay-it-forward-friday-with-author-georgiana-derwent-and-giveaway/), and she always seems to participate in lots of campaigns and schemes. She always strikes me as a thoroughly nice and helpful blogger and author.