Posts by hybridlady

Sydney girl at heart, but fell in love with a Navajo and moved to the US to marry him. Mother of a beautiful little girl. Writer of mostly NA, author of Bestselling Kiya Trilogy and more!

Blasting into the Past

Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres, and not just because I enjoy writing it! It has to be one of the most wide ranging and encompassing genres available. From Europe to the Americas, to Asia, and Africa, even the Pacific, Hist Fic can tell tales of any culture or nation in the world, add into that thousands of years of time to work with and there’s a smorgasbord of potential stories to be explored.

My favorite thing about Hist Fic is learning about other cultures, how they developed, and why people within them do and feel in current times due to those historical influences. There’s so many sub genres within Hist Fic, like Regency, WWI & WWII, American Civil War, but outside of those popular western histories is Native American, South American, Ancient History, Chinese, Japanese and so many more. You can literally travel the world in Hist Fic and meet incredible people that are mere blips in Western culture.

Historical Fiction can also include Mythology. This sub genre is where things get interesting as this too includes myths from all around the world. While most people think of Greece or Rome, I have read some amazing books about Hindus, Native Americans, and Celts. Even Disney with Moana has ventured into this realm.

So, here is some of my favorite Historical Fiction. Click on the links below to see their details and my reviews. What are your favorites, and why do you enjoy Hist Fic?

Mrs. Poe,  The Woman on the Painted Horse,  SarahThe Sword of Attila

Fire of the Covenant,  Horrible Histories,  The Cenote

Souls EntwinedEchoes of Dark and Light

 

Characters

So I’m writing this up while sitting at my desk at work…. which is why this will start out so plain, but I’ll add pics when I get home. My life is madness, and writing for me has come to an abrupt halt. I do have snippets of time to write here and there, but it’s because of my characters that I can’t.

Characters are the heart and soul of any story. Whether they be a human, an animal, or a talking object, without characters, all your doing is compiling a list or non-fiction. Even then, non-fiction often has characters! Characters breath life and purpose into a story, giving it direction, emotion, and reaction.

Because characters provide the pivot point for works of fiction, I believe that their integrity is essential. I’ve always gone a bit crazy with my casts, building way too many characters to manage, which has forced me to write up family trees etc. Keeping track of characters appearance, backstories, and families is only the first part. For the Kiya Trilogy I had wrote a family tree with descriptions of each character beside. For my Fairytale Galaxy Chronicles I have a massive excel spreadsheet with several pages, one for each of the seven books.

But the most important part is getting to know the characters. It’s this step that has prevented me from writing much lately. I love to spend time with my characters, getting my head-space into theirs. Whether it’s while listening to music while going for a walk, or driving, putting myself into the character’s place to discover how they want their story told, how they would react to situations and people around them, makes a story authentic.

Stories need these authentic characters, flaws and all, without political agendas, because real people are that way. Think about the people you know, even yourself, and no one is perfect. No one does anything exactly how they should, our how you would. Take Kiya for example; she makes reckless decisions, but I took the time to get to know her and understood her drive and everything she did was out of love for her family to the point of being self-deprecating. But also, all characters come from a place of selfishness, just like all humans do. It’s that inward perspective that drives all of us, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but understanding that will help us to see the perspectives needed for the characters. What do they see, how do they perceive it, how do their values, the way they were raised, their beliefs, cultural customs and norms, affect how they react or even don’t react. It’s up to you, the writer, to get that head-space on, to take the time to get out of your bubble and into the character’s. It’s always clear when an author inserts themselves into a narrative, it happens when you suddenly feel forced out of the story. None of us want that. And sometimes, a character does something that makes us uncomfortable, and that’s okay, because that means you’re making them real.

So, take your time to understand who you are writing about. Your readers will love the story more for it.

Katie Teller

Katie Teller aka Katie Hamstead is a writer of NA fiction. Her debut, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, has sold more than 100,000 copies. You can find out more about Katie, the Kiya trilogy, and her other books on twitterfacebook, instagram or at her own blog.

***Check out her Pitching comp here or on twitter under #SonofaPitch

 

 

Teaching Children The Romance of Reading

This topic has been on my mind a great deal lately. My oldest just finished Kindergarten, so she’s beginning to put words and sentences together as she reads. At times, it’s frustrating as she doesn’t remember words she just read etc. But, she’s catching on, and I work with her to help her fluency.

I think, though, the biggest factor that contributes to my thoughts about this is working at a school. I see kids who are in third grade who haven’t mastered the basics and have little to no interest in reading. It breaks my heart, because to me, they’re missing out on magical worlds, adventures, traveling across time, the world, or the universe to places they would never see in their lifetimes.

These low literacy kids are missing out.

Making sure my kids read has always been a high priority for me, not just because I love to read, but because reading sets them up for life. In fact, many high profile figures attribute their success to their love of reading. Presidents like Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and so many more. In fact, some presidents’ reading habits made up for their lack of formal education, like George Washington!

Other figures include: Lebron James, who read to calm himself before every game. Actresses like Jennifer Lawrence who reads on set, and Emma Watson who took time off acting to focus on personal development through reading! And of course, you cannot forget Oprah Winfrey, who has a rags to riches tale that she accredits to the love of reading her father instilled in her, and now has one of the biggest book clubs in the world where she hopes to influence others to love reading as well.

The love of reading can start at any point, but it needs to start with me. Us. Parents. From the time my girls were babies I’d read from board books to them. They’d look at the pictures and hear me read the words to them. I believe their strong language skill development at early ages has a great deal to do with that. But that time is also mommy time. A time where they can snuggle with me, interact with me, and feel loved by me. I’m focused entirely on them as I read. And so, they associate love and affection with reading.

I have this graph from working as an Usborne consultant that works well to demonstrate the power of reading to your child:

Powerful, right?

Reading is attributed to improving success in life. Reading a book a month, both of fiction and non-fiction,can greatly increase chances of success. It opens the mind, stimulates the imagination, pours in knowledge. I heard a quote somewhere, I don’t know who said it, but it went something like:

“A literate man who doesn’t read is no better off than an illiterate one.”

Phew. Wow.

I think the another thing that has made a big influence on helping my kids love to read, is my own love of reading. They see me with my kindle or a novel all the time. Whether at home, or in my handbag, wherever I am, I always have reading material. Even while driving I play audio books. They see me loving books, and they are influenced by that. As their mother, they look to me for direction and guidance. I hear them repeat things I say, and at times it’s a huge wake up call because I don’t like hearing them talk in ways that I have done. It’s the same with reading.

My last thing that I’ve noticed has helped my oldest is reading scripture together every morning. She gets to read a verse of her own choosing, and I’ve noticed she can read more and more words each time. She loves our scripture reading time too, and when we’re running late, she pouts about missing it in the car.

As time goes by, I hope to really embed in my children the love of reading. Books can open their lives up to so many paths, and I want them to have choices and the freedom to be what they so choose. Which is why teaching the love of reading is one of my top priorities for raising my kids.

Katie Teller

Katie Teller is a writer of NA fiction. Her debut, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, has sold more than 60,000 copies. You can find out more about Katie, the Kiya trilogy, and her other books on twitterfacebook, instagram or at her own blog.

The Marketing Monster

Single Number 4 Stamp, Grunge Design

Next month will mark the four year anniversary since my debut novel was published. That novel and the subsequent trilogy has made me proud since then, but mostly, the trilogy and all my books since have taught me many things about the dreaded Marketing Monster.

Now, I don’t claim to be an expert by any means, but I have watched as what works and what doesn’t has shifted and changed over time. Blog tours used to be *the* thing; now they’re utilized more for garnering reviews and a little extra exposure.

Then, there were Facebook parties. They flooded Facebook to the point that people don’t really like them anymore.

So, here are my little tips of things that are tried and true for me.

Cute TriceratopsFirst up, cover reveals and blog tours. Yeah, I know I just said blog tours are going the way of the dinosaur, but they still have a role to play, and can be utilised. Firstly, tons of reviewers follow the big blog tour “companies.” With the most crucial way to market being reviewers, any way you can get your book into readers hands is worthwhile.

With cover reveals, now that Amazon does pre-orders, this is a great way to create some buzz before the book’s release. People are attracted to the shiny new cover, and can click on the pre-order link.

Blog tour/cover reveal hosts I recommended:
http://yaboundbooktours.blogspot.com/ – this is mostly YA, and it has a great cover reveal plus tour package price.
http://xpressobooktours.com/

https://www.bookbub.com/ – Bookbub has done wonders for my book sales. Thanks to 99c sales promoted on this site, Kiya has made it into the top 30 kindle books on Amazon several separate times. I’ve heard that Bookbub’s popularity is fading, but I am yet to see it.
Make sure you set up an author profile and claim all your published works. That way, people can follow you and will get emails when your books have a deal going. Down side, getting your sale on this site is pricey, but can certainly be worth it. Often you can discuss Bookbub options like a split pay etc with your publisher. If Bookbub is not an option, there are plenty of other sale promotion sites that aren’t as expensive you can utilize.

https://s2.netgalley.com/ – This is a site for reviewers to grab hold of galleys in exchange for honest reviews. These reviews can be hit and miss, but I have picked up several amazing and steady reviewers through this site. Again, it’s pricey, but Xpresso (above) does do co-pay options as well as http://www.authorservices.patchwork-press.com/netgalley-co…/

Make sure you are set up on social networks. Depending on your audience, you should have a FB author page, twitter, blog or website, and other sites like G+, Instagram, snap chat etc.

Fantasy bookDo FB Live. It’s the new rage. Readers like to be interactive with their authors, and this is the next best thing to real life.

Call bookstores, libraries, schools etc to set up signings where you can meet potential readers face to face. It makes their experience while reading more personal, and they are more likely to remember you for the future and to tell their friends and family about you. If you do schools or younger audiences, make sure to have postcards or bookmarks with the purchase links because they are all tech addicts and generally prefer ecopies. Events where you can be their in person really help solidify your reputation.

 

Any questions or anything to add? Go ahead and leave them in the comments!

Katie Teller

Katie Teller is a writer of NA fiction. Her debut, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, has sold more than 60,000 copies. You can find out more about Katie, the Kiya trilogy, and her other books on twitterfacebook, instagram or at her own blog.

Aussie Owneder Interview: Rebecca Bosevski

As you know, we’ve been doing interviews for you all to get to know our team a little better, especially since there have been a fair few changes since we started several years ago. So today, I have the honor of interviewing our reviewer Rebecca!

Tell us a little about you.

I am a mother of three, two boys and a girl. I have been with my husband since I was 14, so 19years. Wow, now I do feel kinda old. I love being creative, I  love to bake, and had my own cake decorating business for a while, but writing is my passion, so when I decided to take the plunge and self publish, I also had to take a step back from baking.

What’s your writing journey?

Like most of us my writing journey began at a young age. I won a short story competition in primary school that fuelled my desire to create stories with fantastical worlds and characters. As a teen I found myself writing more poetry than anything else, teen angst and all that. I stepped back from writing after starting my family, but a few years later, when I met Heather, her common passion for reading and writing reignited my desire and inspired me to follow an almost forgotten dream.

Where do you hope to be with your writing in ten years from now?

I hope to have published a minimum of ten books over the next ten years. I hope to continue to inspire, entertain and engage with readers.

What are your inspirations for writing?

My friends and family inspire me. Heather continues to push me and encourage my desire to write. It is the support from her and from my writers groups that keep me going. Self doubt is the biggest inspiration killer, having those strong people around you that can lift you up when you are down is essential to keeping the flame of inspiration burning bright.

Being an Aussie, what about our culture/country do you bring to your writing? 

I am Australian, and my writing is Australian. The people I write and the places I set my stories are inspired by the places I have been and the People I have met. We are a ‘can-do’ country, and this applies to how I tackle my writing career. If I can do it, I will do it. I create my own covers, because I can. I self publish because I can, and I will continue to write stories and share them with whoever is inclined to read them because I can.

What are your writing strengths and weaknesses?

I feel like my creativity is my biggest strength, I am told I have the ability to show my readers what my characters are going through, in a way that makes them feel like they are standing beside them, I would say that is a pretty big strength. Weaknesses are opportunities for improvement, and one place I definitely need improvement is with punctuation. I tend to write frantically, pressing keys without real attention and so when it comes to punctuation, I pretty much suck.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Italy. Not for the Tower, the art or the language. I would go for the food.

Fast five:
Pantser or plotter?

Pantser

Music or silence?

Movies – I love the TV on in the background.

Contemporary or historical?

Both – I have no preference.

Novella or full length?

It depends on the story, if you can do it justice with less words then go for it, if the story needs more then that is great too.

Series or standalone?

I love stand alone, but Heather frowns on me when I suggest killing everyone off to prevent a series.

Bring Back the Romance!

Love Tree

Lately, I’ve been looking for good, old fashioned romance. Stuff where you go “Aww” and when you’re done, you feel lighter, and like the world isn’t such a bad place after all. Like Meg Ryan films.

depositphotos_23099706_original

But instead, everywhere I look is sex, sex, insta-lust, and sex.

I’m a huge believer that love is more than butterflies and head spining excitement. Sometimes love is boring, and gross, and downright hard. But true love, the kind that endures, is made of those crappy moments and how people overcome them.

When reading books, I read to escape the crapy-ness of life. I want a romance that’s realistic, but ends with a promise of happily forever after. Not issues. Not abuse. Not sex. Real romance, real love, is about dignity, respect, loyalty, integrity, selflessness, and forgiveness. But it’s like everyone has forgotten that because “sex sells.” Bah! No wonder kids today are so screwed up.

So share all the sweet, heart melting, never-ending love romances my way, books, movies, whatever. I think it’s time true love was given it’s real meaning back.

Young Couple in love

 

 

Katie Teller

Katie Teller is a writer of NA fiction. Her debut, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, has sold more than 50,000 copies. You can find out more about Katie, the Kiya trilogy, and her other books on twitterfacebook, instagram or at her own blog.

Review: Souls Entwined by Anne B. Cole

I am filling in for Heather this month as she cares for her adorable new baby and herself!

I chose Souls Entwined because it was one of our Pitcharama entrants back a few years ago. It is the first in a trilogy, and the third book is due for release next month!

From Goodreads:

When a cursed family heirloom sends Gretta Dobbs back in time, a hunky construction worker, Sam Daggett, suddenly finds himself love struck and joins her adventure. Their souls entwine within the bodies of young lovers on a Greek island in 1829, where they begin to unravel the mysteries behind Gretta’s ring all while avoiding a bloodthirsty pirate who is determined to seek revenge. Gretta and Sam must find the secrets needed to save her and her relatives from an afterlife in purgatory and return to their own lives—or risk becoming prisoners of the past, continuing the evil cycle of the ring’s curse. 



My Thoughts:

I’ve had this sitting on my Kindle for a long time, but it kept getting pushed back. Anne was a contestant in Aussie Owned and Read’s Pitcharama a few years back, which is where she got this book deal. I’ve been intrigued to read it ever since.

In the beginning, we see several women in the PIT, a limbo state as they wait to be freed by their descendants. A curse has been placed on their family, and they are determined to have it broken.

Enter Sam, a smart young man who has lost his way since his mother’s death. He dropped out of college to care for his father, and lives each day missing his mother. Until Gretta literally stumbles into his life. She’s part of the cursed family, and together, they are sent back to observe the events leading to the curse in hopes of finding a way to break it.

I don’t know if anyone out there has played Assassin’s Creed, or at least knows the concept. To me, this has a similar feel. The main character are sent back in time to figure out the answers for current day problems. I love the set of the Grecian Islands, along with the action of pirates blended with romance.

My complaint would be the perspectives sometimes feel jumpy, and there were times I had to go back to figure out who said what.

I have a feeling with this open ending this is the first book in a series. If not, I’m pretty bummed. I want to see what happens with Sam and Gretta.

This book has a steady flow, slow in some places, but in general I enjoyed the pace and the action, and the characters captured my heart.

Katie Teller

Katie Teller is a writer of NA fiction. Her debut, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, has sold more than 50,000 copies. You can find out more about Katie, the Kiya trilogy, and her other books on twitterfacebook, instagram or at her own blog.