Tuesday 28 February 2012

CassaFire BLOG PARTY! Help celebrate the release of Alex J. Cavanaugh's latest novel!

Today is the Catch Fire Blog Party, celebrating the release of CassaFire by Alex J. Cavanaugh!

If you don't know who this awesome blog ninja is, then wow ... I think you must live on another planet! If that's the case, maybe he's already casted you in one of his stories ;o)

The goal today is to help CassaFire “catch fire” on the best seller charts and achieve the success of the first book, CassaStar. There’s also a special package of prizes being given away at the author’s blog (copies of CassaFire, CassaStar, tote bag, mug, and bookmarks) as well as book giveaways during his two-week blog tour, which runs from February 27 through March 9. See Alex’s site for details!

Please offer a helping hand today to plug the launch. I'm sure Alex will appreciate it more than you know! I will be posting a review of the book some time after I return from Canada, but for the time being, you can see what others have said about the book on Goodreads.

by Alex J. Cavanaugh

CassaStar was just the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities.

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

Available today!

Science fiction - space opera/adventure
Print ISBN 978-0-9827139-4-5, $15.95, 6x9 Trade paperback, 240 pages
EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-6-9, $4.99, available in all formats

CassaFire is the sequel to Cavanaugh’s first book, CassaStar, an Amazon Top Ten Best Seller:

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

Puchase links:
Barnes and Noble
Amazon Kindle

If you'd like to tweet to help him promote, please use the hashtag #CatchFire

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Off to Canada!

On Friday morning I'm heading to Canada (a birthday present to myself) to spend just over a week with a great awesome brilliant genius friend of mine, Dawn Ius, so I won't be around very much until March 7th. I have, however, scheduled a couple of blog tour posts for the ninjamatic Alex J. Cavanaugh (Feb 28th) and the stunning Rachel Morgan (March 5th).

On my way to and from Canada I have to spend big chunks of time in London Heathrow waiting for my transfers, so guess who are coming to meet me there!?!?! The fiery J.C. Martin and the glamorous Talli Roland (I'm loving the adjectives today!). And before my return flight from Calgary, I'm planning to meet the talented Stina Lindenblatt, and hopefully the lovely Steena Holmes, too!

And check out the places (PLACE ONE), Dawn is planning to take me to see (PLACE TWO). My jaw has been perpetually dropped since seeing those pics for the first time ...

But, you know what I'm most excited about? Not the fact that Dawn is taking me to see CATS on Saturday night, or the fact that for my birthday this Sunday, we are going to a Oscar Night production (that is going to be funny), or the fact I get to see where Dawn lives and meet her family ... (don't get me wrong, I'm excited about these things too!) ... but I'm most excited about being able to sit down, face-to-face, and read through Vine Leaves submissions together while sipping on a nice glass (or two or three) of wine! Oh my gosh, it really is the simple pleasures in life that I treasure the most.

Do you like the simple pleasures? Or do you need adventure and excitement to feel like you're "really living"?

Monday 20 February 2012

Not a Big Porn Star: Like mother, like daughter?

not a big Porn Star Cover ArtThose of you who've know me for a while know that my parents are musicians. If you are familiar with the Melbourne music scene in the 90s, you might recognize the name Hard Candy.

Hard Candy was formed by my parents, Erika Bach and Demetri Vlass in 1992 after their goth/grunge band 'Ape the Cry' split up. The 80s' were over and the guitar was back in fashion, so they turned up the volume and quickly got themselves back into the Melbourne music scene with their debut CD 'Tattoo'.

In 1999, after various factors split Hard Candy up, my parents moved to Ithaca, Greece. Since then my mother has been writing and recording music under the name Lola Demo. And today I'd REALLY appreciate it if you stopped by her website and had a listen, and maybe even SHARED the link for others to see/hear.

There are two songs on her latest CD that are just so catchy that I've been playing them over and over all weekend. And dancing in my lounge room to them and wishing I'd written them myself! And for me to play my own mother's music over and over again is saying something. For the first time in years I'm listening to these songs without associating them with her being "my mother". I'm so excited about this album!

Care to take a look? My favourites are: Stain On Your Jeans and Nose Bleed.

Please Tweet, FB, etc, as I'd LOVE my mother to gain a little exposure again. It's been a while. Please tweet with @MsBessieBell and/or #LolaDemo. Pretty PLEEEAAAAASSSEEEE with a cherry on top? :o)

PS: I'm featured in a major Greek music mag today! Oh, and even better, I'm on the front page right next to an article about Paul McCarteny!!! 
Seriously never thought I'd see my face on the same page as his in the media! I think it's time for a SQUEE, but that would be a bit childish, yes? ;o) It's all in Greek but if you go to Google translate it does a decent job.

Saturday 18 February 2012

Just couldn't help myself and had to post this on my blog ...

Verruca MusicVerruca Music by Stuart Estell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

suppose for a moment I am sitting here listening to the swish swish of the air conditioner trying to make the air conditioner sound interesting on paper while the eyes of my dog are getting heavy and my eyes are getting heavy and i am wondering why the hell the spicy chinese food is burning my tongue when i love spicy chinese food and why the flip I’m trying to write like the book i have just read

it’s really hard to write without punctuation because my fingers kinda just go there automatically and i end up having to delete all the commas and fullstops and


making all the pronouns referring to myself into lower case after word automatically changes them


suppose for a moment that people reading this review will not actually understand why i am writing it like this they will think I have totally lost it


i think they will think i have gone doo-lally-tap and god knows my heart is sinking to think people are thinking this


swish swish

see that is my brain churning thoughts around amidst the air conditioner hum which is on heat by the way


heat as in hot air not that it is ready to jump me

this is not the one about the jumper is it

no i said jump me not jumper


buy this book and you will see how brilliant this is as all the words just kinda blend together but your mind really does know where to put the pauses

have you quite finished


it is like a river of letters that flow together yet float separately with the current of your own thoughts and everybody should read it to understand how truly amazing experimental fiction can be and believe me there are quite a few laugh out loud moments and many many gag worthy moments especially the verruca click flick rasp rasp rhythmic patterns


swish swish

yes yes


and god knows my heart did sink

especially after that massive writer-envy attack i experienced reading this

now it is time for a large mug of tea

View all my reviews

Thursday 16 February 2012

Australian Women Writers 2012 Challenge: Review One

Today for my first review entry to the Australian Women Writers 2012 Reading Challenge, I bring to you ...

Black CowBlack Cow by Magdalena Ball
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Magdalena Ball is a remarkable wordsmith. Her prose hovers above your skin like ‘need’ and never drifts away. Her latest novel, Black Cow, is yet another masterpiece which I will keep treasured on my bookshelf. The characters in this story are on the hunt for happiness, for refuge, clawing their way through the stark reality of unfulfilling wealth, corporate hierarchies, fatigue, stress-related illnesses, and family neglect. Ball’s seamless exploration of the faulty human-condition and the urgent notion that money means success is brilliantly interwoven with the gentle quietness of unconditional love, invoking sighs and gasps and the sudden realization that life is so much more than what we are conditioned to expect. Life is precious, and small enough to cradle in the palm of a baby’s hand.

View all my reviews

I'm also going to add that last year I reviewed her debut novel Sleep Before Evening, which is also absolutely brilliant. You can check that out HERE.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

The Undercover Soundtrack: A glimpse into the world of musical words.

It is an absolute honour today to send you over to Roz Morris' blog, My Memories of a Future Life, where I'm guest posting for her long-running series The Undercover Soundtrack.

Please do me a favour and make your way over. If you already know everything there is to know about the creation of String Bridge, please head over to check out the amazing Roz Morris herself. My gosh, you should read about the book she's written! So intriguing and definitely in my TBR pile! :o)

Have a great Wednesday, folks!

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Today I'm mourning the loss of ...

... this historical cinema, The Attikon, which was destroyed in the riots on Sunday. I'm so ASHAMED, and SAD, that there are Greeks who think destroying their city like this is going to fix anything ...

Anyway, I'm not going to go on about this because I'm just so mad.

Look what they've DONE!



PS: Despite what any of you see on the news, I am NOT in any danger. The riots, when they happen, are confined to a small area of the city and easy to avoid. Plus, no one is out to hurt civilians, they just want to express their anger toward the government. Please do not be concerned for my safety. I have been receiving a lot of emails today, asking if I'm ok. I'M GREAT. Seems to be a bit of media terrorism going on!!! Plus ... Greece is a beautiful country. Please don't be afraid of it!

Monday 13 February 2012

This is how it all began ...

Music ... bam bam, twang twang, grunt, yell, squeal, vibrato, ahh, pluck, strum, record, click, cassette, disc, head bang  ... yeah man, this is what you call art. I'm gonna be a rock star.

Lyrics ... stupid, these mean nothing, sounds ridiculous, gibberish, I'm a dickhead ... hmmm not bad, yeah this is f#@%ing cool, man  ... I think I have a talent for this. Wow, where did I pluck that awesome line from?


Poetry ... hey, this is just like writing a song, hey, maybe there's a way to make melody with words ... ooohhh, yeahhhh, I liiiiiike thissssss ... I want to do this every day ...

Prose ... Um, is this a short story? Um ... I don't know. There's no ending is there? It's all just kinda ... you know ... stuff that happens. This is stupid. What am I thinking? Sure I can write. But structure? Pfft ... don't count on it.

Poetry ... guess I'll just stick to what I know ...


Novel ... I'm going to write a novel and get it published, yep ... easy peasy ... I SO know what I'm doing.


About flipping time ... STRING BRIDGE! And a whole bunch of other stuff ...

What started you writing?

Check out the other ORIGINS BLOG FEST participants HERE.

My latest news:

Sunday 12 February 2012

Knocking Down the Walls ...

I'm over at A DEAD GOOD BLOG today talking about Narrative vs. Lyric (not) ... :o) Would love to see you there ...

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Wednesday 8 February 2012

Have you ever really understood what it means?

I think there's this one moment in people's lives where they suddenly realize life is too short. And I mean, really, truly realize. I'm not just talking "general view on life" kind of opinion here. I'm talking about a moment which changes the way you perceive everything.


I received some horrible news this morning. I can't say what. I won't say what. But it's changed me. And I mean, from one moment to the next, I feel ... weird. I'm sad. And I'm angry at myself for not truly understanding that this thing called life is just so vulnerable. I mean, I've thought it before. I've openly said it before. I've vowed to take one day at a time before, to live life to the fullest and blah blah blah, and really believed that I believed it. But today ... I truly believe it.

So my message to myself today (and to you) is do what makes you happy because you never know what is around the corner. This piece of advice sounds so stupid and clichéd and insignificant, doesn't it? How many times have we heard people say that to us? But have you really understood it? Have you REALLY understood what it means?

Today I have. This moment ... it is stitching itself to every single cell in my body as we speak.

From now on, there is no future. The future is now. Tell yourself this every day. And make yourself believe it. Because one day, 'now' will just be over. And there'll be no turning back.

Say it to yourself out loud right this minute. "The future is now." And repeat it every morning. And ask yourself, "Does what I'm doing right now make me happy?" If the answer is no. Make a change. I'm serious. Make. A. Change.

Disclaimer: Nothing has happened to me. I'm fine. It's someone who is close to me.

Monday 6 February 2012

A great BIG thank you to the fabulous Chuck Sambuchino of Writer's Digest, for teaming up with me for the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop this year!

To be completely honest with you, when I came up with the idea for this retreat last year, I thought it was a far stretch for it to actually take place. One, because I don't have an agent to 'prove' my abilities as a writer.

We all know that some people feel having an agent is the be all and end all to becoming published. They also seem to think it a validation that you can write. But those of us who've been around a little longer, pushing their way independently through the thick mud more commonly known as 'trying to get published', know this is not the case. And now, thanks to Chuck Sambuchino, this dream of a retreat on the island of Ithaca, Greece, is no longer a dream, but a reality.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank him publicly for taking the bull by the horns and making this amazing event happen. Chuck, THANK YOU.

I have to say that, ultimately, it does not matter how we get that publishing contract (or decide to self-publish). All that matters is that we do everything we can to reach our dreams.

It isn't important whether we follow the yellow, red or purple brick road to getting our writing into the hands of readers. Because if you are a good writer, it will be evident. Not only will it be evident in readers' reviews, but it will be evident because you will continue to live your dream no matter how many obstacles get in your way. If you love to write so much, that when you don't write, it feels like you're missing a limb, or an organ, or even worse, a loved one, you will reach your dream.

When writing becomes an element of the oxygen you breathe every day, then yes, one day you will become a published author. I can guarantee that.

This is what the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop means to me. It's an opportunity, not only to hone your craft and be taught by experts in publishing, but also to forget what is expected of you for a little while and to remind yourself why you write.

Ithaca is paradise and has so much history. It is magical and inspiring and when you sit down to write in a place like this, 'the industry' becomes an aspect of publishing that you can think about when the time is absolutely right: later. When you sit down to write in a place like this, the process of writing becomes just as important to you as the result you are seeking when you finish.

So yes, please do come to this retreat to learn, because you will learn A LOT, not just from me, but from one of the most respected and experienced individuals in the publishing industry, Chuck Sambuchino.

But please, I beg of you, don't come only to learn. Come because you want to live and cherish the process of writing. Because you want to explore the places in your heart that don't often see the light of day. Come because you want to write something that will make readers 'feel', and will make you feel too ...

... Come because it's not only the result that matters, it's the time you spend getting there: Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop, 2012.

Thursday 2 February 2012

A fetish that isn't really a fetish but an appearance hazard ...

I have a handbag fetish. But it's not your ordinary handbag fetish. Because my fetish isn't about buying as many of them as possible. It's about using them until they are so worn out that they are impossible to keep using. But you know what? I still do. And I neglect to acknowledge the fact that the zipper is broken, or the clasp is hanging loose, or the (fake) leather is peeling, or that things are falling into the lining and that I think I've lost them forever until I've realized they're in the lining. I must look like a complete bum carrying them around. I must!

Why can't I bring myself to throw them away? I have about ten years worth of handbags shoved in the bottom of my wardrobe and I can't use them because they DO NOT FUNCTION. And the only reason they ended up there was because I finally accepted the fact that they DO NOT FUNCTION. And no matter how many times I tell myself I need to sort through my handbags, I don't. Because my brain just DOESN'T SEEM TO FUNCTION when it comes to my handbags ...

Do you have a weird fetish/habit? Tell me about it so I don't feel so alone ...

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Keeping an eye on it ...

Gal: Can you come help me in the kitchen?
Guy: groan, footsteps, opens fridge door, pulls lemons out of the fridge and puts them on counter, walks out of kitchen.
Gal: sighs, swears under breath, throws lettuce leaves into sink so hard she splashes herself in the eye and then rubs it with oniony hands ... F#@*!

Guy: Can we eat in half and hour?
Gal: sniffs, nods

Guy: Cool.

.... time passes ...

Gal: I'm going to have a shower, can you put the rice in the pot when the water's boiling?

Guy: clenches jaw, nods
Gal: rolls eyes, mutters something incomprehensible even to herself

.... time passes ...

Guy: I put the rice in the pot.
Gal: blow dries hair, ... okay ... keep an eye on it.

.... time passes ...

Galfinishes blow drying hair, finds guy staring at pot, takes spoon, tastes rice .... groans, It's over-bloody cooked.

PS: String Bridge is now available on NOOK!