Despite the end of the Mayan calendar - at least this era of it, anyway - I am pleased to announce that yes, I survived the "end of the world" 2012.
I am sitting here, currently listening to a favourite song of mine and looking forward to Christmas. I have been busy over the last few days, posting chapters for Extraordinary Part 2.
As Cassie and the Graysons head to Jennabeth's house in the North Cascades, to prepare for the coming battle, Cassie is facing her visions with determination... if only Alex could be convinced to let her fight! She knows that without her input, there is no positive outcome from this battle. Alex, however is determined to protect Cassie - even if it means he cannot fight.
But we all know Cassie... quietly determined, even if easily frightened. But her love for the Graysons outweighs any fear she may feel. So if she can get in on the battle, she will, without thinking about the consequences she might face.
For those who are only just joining us, I have now added a link at the top of the Table of Contents for Part 2, sending you back to Part 1, so you can read from the beginning.
For those who have been following through the story from the very beginning... thank you! I appreciate your continuing support. I will be posting chapters over the holiday period, hopefully finishing Part 2 and uploading it as an e-book (time permitting, of course!)
Now we are heading well into the Christmas Season, I just want to take a moment to wish my readers a very Merry Christmas and a hopeful and joyful New Year.
Have a wonderful holiday period, be good, and stay safe!
Over the last week-and-a-half I have posted, even by my standard, an unprecedented number of chapters. Over the weekend I posted three chapters in two days and in the days prior to that I was posting a chapter a day.
I guess that my enthusiasm does have a cause... I am very excited about where Part 2 is going.
If you've been following as I've been posting, you will have seen Cassie is going through some major issues, which for the average teenager may not seem as huge as they do to her. However, Cassie is naturally easily frightened and also rather cautious. She worries about those around her and is determined to protect them, no matter the cost. If that means hiding from her mother the true nature of the Grayson Family, the true nature of Cassie's destiny and the secrets that she carries, then Cassie will do that.
But what will Cassie do when she is faced with a member of the Craevyrn army - who also turns out to be her terrifying enemy from her childhood?
Yes, we get to meet Mallory... and discover a side to Cassie that is stronger than Cassie has ever given herself credit for. In Chapter 20 - Cassie's Fight, the tables definitely start to turn. Cassie discovers that she is capable of being the defender, the guardian and the fighter that Alex has been training her to be. But at what cost? Can Cassie live with the decisions that fate forces her to make? Can she deal with the remorse that is soon to follow on the heels of her actions?
In Chapter 21 - The Things We Do For Love, Cassie has to face Alex's anger at her decisions. However, love wins over anger and Alex has to rapidly help her face a new issue - the craving for blood that comes with one of the secrets that she carries. Just how will Alex and Cassie deal with this?
Stay tuned (is that the correct phrase to use?). Cassie has a long way to go and lots of surprises to discover yet...
Oh, and if you're still reading, congratulations. You're now halfway through this book and three-quarters of the way through Cassie's Extraordinary story. It is only going to get more intense from here on in!
In the meantime, please feel free to Like my Facebook Page, or follow my Twitter feed (links at the very very top of the page!) Also, feedback is appreciated, good or bad, so feel free to leave some, either here, or on one of the forms found around the site, or through FB or Twitter! I hope to hear from you!
Also, don't forget that Extraordinary Part 1 is now available as an ebook. To buy a copy, head to "The Novels" page and the links to the sites are listed just below the synopsis for Part 1.
I am very pleased to let you all know that I've now posted Chapter 2 - Good vs Evil.
In this chapter, the story continues from where it left off at the end of Extraordinary Part 1. Cassie is about to meet the Craevyrn, the feared enemy of the Graysons, and the evil creatures she has been dreaming about for weeks. What will they demand of her friends? What do they know about Cassie and Astra? And what will Alex do to protect the one he loves?
Extraordinary Part 2 is, in my opinion (and really what do I know? I just wrote it!) the darker half of the Extraordinary story. Cassie has a lot of choices to make, and a lot of growing up to do.
I was discussing her story with my husband in the car on the way home from work today. I made the comment: "Cassie is brave. Only she doesn't really know it. She has to go through a lot to discover just what she is capable of, and just how brave she really is."
At this point in the story, Cassie is afraid. But, she is about to be presented with a number of opportunities to develop from a frightened "child-like" character, into a stronger, braver, more powerful "Star Kin-like" character.
This story will take her down some darker, more serious roads, with a number of decisions to make. And not only her: Alex, though he has been around a lot longer than she has, is rather naive, especially when it comes to Cassie, and love. He has a lot of learning to do in this part of the story as well. Not every decision is easy, or black-and-white. Not every decision leads them where they expect to end up.
I'm excited that you've decided to join me on their journey. I hope that it is as interesting to read as it was for me to write.
Updated my status on Facebook and Twitter to read: "No editing done today, but finally got some stuff down on virtual paper that I'd been wanting to for ages. Ideas and concepts for future books and to expand on current ones."
So I had several draft manuscripts open on my screen, putting notes in for things for me to think about/add to my stories... such as:
- Adding to Amaia's story, A Guardian's Love, the concept of a discussion where the vampires get told what they really are. Yes, they call themselves "vampires" but as Alex said when he told Cassie about himself "we've been known by many names over the years..." I always had an idea in mind for my "vampires-who-aren't-really-vampires" but I don't want to give too much away here. Suffice to say, they're also not angels, though they appear angelic when the sunlight hits them. Hint: It has something to do with the sun, and the stars...
- Working on the next Alex/Cassie novel, The Star Effect. Another character is set to make an appearance later in Extraordinary, who will also be involved in this novel. I have drafted it being written from all three character's point-of-view (P.O.V.). It is not really as confusing as that sounds. What I was working on today was ideas for how to tell a certain part of the story, where none of the main characters are present to tell that part of the story. I have decided to, for just a small part of it, add a fourth character P.O.V. to fill in the blanks. However, which character? I finally came to a decision (I think) and I hope it will work out. The only way to tell is to write!
I am hoping that I get to a point with Extraordinary
where it can actually be published, whether through traditional routes or through the newer "e-publishing" route. I'm still a little undecided. The current poll on my Table of Contents page is just that - should I get this book e-published? If you have an opinion, please choose one of the options and let me know.
Still need some feedback, too. If this site doesn't provide the feedback that I've essentially created it to do, then I might have to look at other options. That would mean taking the site down, and the books would no longer be a free-read. I'd love to have at least one novel at any given time being published on here for feedback purposes... but I need the feedback to make it worth my while.
I'm about halfway through editing Chapter 38, which is the next chapter to be put up. Please, if you're reading the novel, or if you have an opinion on the site set-up, or if you think there is anything I could be doing differently, leave a comment and let me know. Also, if you have a question, please ask! I need more questions for my "Q & A Spot" on my blog.
Finally, if you know of any good websites where I can share my website, for more readers to discover, please tell me. Posting repeatedly on Facebook and Twitter doesn't seem to be getting me very far, so far... Perhaps I need to give it more time?
I hope to hear from you soon.
I have succeeded in posting 2 chapters today:
Chapter 34 - Training. How will Alex help Cassie deal with her fear of falling, and fighting while Astra is in flight? Will Cassie ever be able to fight?
Chapter 35 - Lady Jennabeth's Warning. This chapter finally introduces Lady Jennabeth Goldenrod, the Head Star Kin. She is definitely nothing like what Cassie expected. She has a message for the Graysons, which may spell the end of everything that Alex holds dear.
Did you say.... "Cliffhanger Ending"??!!
I only have 5 chapters left to post in this particular book, however the story is far from over. Hence, I am posting a bit of a "heads-up" about the story. There WILL be a cliffhanger ending... but fear not, the story does continue in Extraordinary Part 2.
I had a hard time choosing where to split the story. I had initially split it further into Part 2, however one of my initial readers advised that the point I had chosen to use to split the story could leave the reader feeling a bit depressed (due to a difficult decision that is made, though for good reason, between the main characters) and possibly like they wouldn't want to continue reading. That, of course, is not my intention at all. I want my readers to want to pick up the next book and to want to finish the story.
So I moved the split point to an earlier moment in the story. It is a moment that hopefully leaves my readers hanging out for more, wanting to pick up and continue reading from where the story leaves off. It is a point that is hopeful, despite the threats that hang around the characters.
Believe me, what I have planned for Part 2 is so much more: More drama, more of the Craevyrn causing issues, more of Alex and Cassie discovering just what they mean to each other, and the life that Alex leads. I think of Part 2 as a slightly darker book, with slightly more adult themes than this one, but I believe it is necessary for Cassie to face the decisions she has to make, in order for her to grow as a character, finding her strengths, and her weaknesses, and learning to deal with those. Many more twists, turns, and mysteries to discover lie ahead!
Who asked: A good friend of mine, Julia.
Question: Why did you base the novel in America, when you are a New Zealander? Why didn't you base it in New Zealand?
Short Answer: The main reason I based the book where I did, (America) was because I'd never been there. I am by no means well-travelled, and I love reading about and discovering places that I've never been.
Long Answer: I researched the heck out of Castle Rock and its surrounding areas, including Kelso, and Mount St. Helens. In choosing Castle Rock, I took the following things into consideration:
I wanted a small town, near a major mountain sightseeing point. I knew that Mount St. Helens was a very well known mountain, and I was pleased, upon discovering Castle Rock, that it has been labelled "The Gateway To Mount St. Helens".
This was ideal, as one of the themes of my story was that Cassie, our heroine, was at a point in her life where a lot of decisions need to be made, and also she would, in effect, be choosing to follow a path into an almost alternative reality, stepping through a portal, or gateway, into a new and "Extraordinary" life. Portals will also play an important role in later stories in the series.
Mount St. Helens plays an important role in the story, effectively showing off and yet hiding Astra's arrival.
I had, as the story progressed, also developed intricate back-stories for a number of the characters. In that respect, I had them arriving from various places around the world.
My ultimate plan, in this, is to take my readers on journeys to those places, as novels are written telling other character's stories. Alistair and Charlotte, for example, met in France. I plan to base their story there. Yes, I've never been to France. Yes, I intend to research the heck out of it, so that I can create a story that takes my readers there, and in the process, take myself there.
And yes, for my fellow Kiwi readers - I do plan on at least one of my future stories being set here in good old New Zealand.
Perhaps, one day, I'll be able to visit some of these places for real, but for now, GoogleEarth, and the internet, and travel shows, and other books, will have to fill in the gaps until I do.
..Well, it can be, when you're dating a vampire.
Chapter 20 - Date Night - Revalations and Chapter 21 - Date Night - Dangerous Territory are now up.
Alex's secret is now out in the open, and Cassie is struggling to get to grips with the intricacies of dating someone so dangerous. But is he as dangerous as he claims to be?
At this point, Cassie hasn't seen any indication of the danger that Alex claims surrounds her. After all, he hasn't hurt her, or made her feel anything but safe, and loved.
But everything is about to change. Dating a vampire is dangerous - especially when the attraction is electric, and, on his part at least, the sound of every heartbeat, and the scent of her blood is so enticing. How close can these two actually get? And what will happen when a line is crossed, a line that in any ordinary relationship, would not pose any threat?
Chapter 22 - Early Saturday Morning.
Still shaken by the occurrences of the night before, Cassie has made a decision - one she doesn't really want to make, but one she knows is the only way to keep both herself, and Alex, safe.
Alex has something more to share with Cassie. There are more secrets to be revealed, but if she does what she says she will, he won't get a chance to tell her. Can he convince her to change her mind?
And then there is the dawn, where Alex reveals to Cassie what he truly is...
Chapter 23 - Visiting The Graysons
Cassie finally gets to visit Alex's home. Amaia teaches Cassie something new, and Alex introduces Cassie to a couple of Charlotte's pets.
But Alex is about to reveal to Cassie the secrets involving Astra and her crystal pendant. Questions are about to be answered, and the ultimate question asked: Can Cassie deal with all the secrets that the Grayson Family holds?
Stay tuned... or whatever the term may be for following an online novel...
I've been busy editing away at both Extraordinary, and The Secrets We Keep, posting up chapters as soon as I'm happy with them.
So Chapter 17 - The Crystal's Pull and Chapter 18 - Alex's Story, are now live, and readable.
In short - Chapter 17 reveals to Cassie something about the crystal, and the effect it has on her and on Astra. She also meets Kaspar, one of Alex's friends.
Chapter 18 is a much shorter chapter, but in it Alex reveals a bit more about his own life, and the choices he has had to make.
I'm very excited to be leading into the Date chapters and the Saturday chapters, which are lengthier, but I think well worth it. Cassie has a lot to learn about who she is to the Graysons, and what she is capable of.
Your patience, as I've been slowly (and probably painfully) revealing Alex and Cassie's secrets, will be rewarded soon.
Today I also drafted 11 pages of a future story. My husband was very surprised to arrive home and find me grinning away, tapping at the laptop. (Usually I'm frowning, as I edit. Grammar and punctuation are not much fun, but make for easier reading!)
"What did you get up to today?" he asked, as he does every afternoon.
"Oh, not much. Just wrote eleven pages of a new story!"
He grinned, probably thinking I was completely nuts. It's okay. A writer has to be at least a little bit nuts, to think of all the "possibilities".
Meanwhile, I'm excited about the new characters I have been developing today, and their impact on the Grayson's world - much further down the track of course!
I did warn that this would be a series!
So feel free to read, share, comment, blog, love, hate, whatever! I look forward to receiving some responses!
Also, feel free to follow my Twitter account, or friend request my Facebook account (links are at the top of every page).
Chapters 15 and 16 will be up very shortly, and the story is about to delve further into answering some of Cassie's questions, once we hit Chapter 17.
And this is exactly what I wanted. I had dreamed for a long time of writing a story, something a little like a fairytale, but directed more towards young adults/adult readers. My love of fantasy stories, where characters step through a mirror, or down a rabbit hole (yes, I'm going off Alice in Wonderland here - Cassie's favourite story!), or through the back of a wardrobe (thank you Narnia!), into a magical world beyond the limits of the character's imagination, is what really drives me.
My favourite question: WHAT IF?
In the case of my story, the questions I asked were:
WHAT IF my character discovered that their completely normal, boring world, held secrets that would blow their mind?
WHAT IF an ordinary girl discovered that she was more important to this fantastic, newly discovered world, than she ever thought she could be?
And, of course: WHAT IF she had to make a choice between her ordinary, boring life, and the fantastic, secret life that she suddenly found herself in?
Of course, I had to limit my imagination a bit. I wanted to set it here, in a real time, real place type setting. Futuristic stories are great, because anything could happen between now and when those stories are set, to make anything possible. The world loses gravity and everyone can fly in 2235? Sure. There is a zombie outbreak and in 2095 the world is now run by zombies? Absolutely.
Fantasy stories are even better. Set on this world, or that world, where the writer can make the rules - and break them.
But that is really what fiction is about, isn't it? Taking those stretches and leaps of imagination and going with them.
I wanted a relateable main character. Someone from here and now, who has grown up how most of our young people have. Someone that they could relate to. In fact, someone that they feel they know. Someone who could have been their friend, or classmate, or even themselves. Someone who by her own admission is boring, and plain, and completely normal.
Then I wanted to shove that character into an almost "alternative reality" setting. A setting where everything is how she knows it, but different somehow. Add in a few unusual characters, creatures and a frightening enemy, and see how she reacts, grows, strengthens and develops.
Age wise, i wanted her at that point that all of us face - the point of becoming an adult, and facing all those adult responsibilities, and the frightening (and boring!) adult world. On the verge of having to decide what she wants from her life, what she wants for her future, what she wants for her family, and her friends, and most importantly, herself. Given the choice of a momentous decision, what would you do? What would you choose? How would you react?
All of this I wanted to set on Earth, where there are the normal rules, and reasons, and ways things work. Then I wanted to push those limits, to encompass the alternative, fantastical part of the story. I wanted to make it just unbelieveable enough to be fantastic, yet just real enough to make my readers think "WHAT IF?"
I have been busy working away at The Secrets We Keep, and I have one chapter to go now. Alex is about to reveal to Cassie the secret of what he is!
Then we can get onto Chapters 13 and 14 of Extraordinary. I am so excited to share these chapters with you, and hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.
Coming up: Alex reveals the true extent of his feelings for our heroine, Cassie. However there are no revelations - yet - about the role of the crystal in her life. That is coming soon, don't worry!
In Chapter 14, Alex meets Cassie's mother, and Cassie starts to learn about the risks of getting too close to Alex.
In the meantime, please feel free to let me know what you think of the story so far. If there is anything that doesn't make sense, please let me know. I will reply to the comments I receive as well, as long as the email address you provide is accurate - even if only to say thank you for commenting. So feel free to ask/comment/critique away. All of your feedback is what will help me improve my writing.
I look forward to hearing from you, and posting the next couple of chapters.