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M.J. Stevens – Author and Creative Spirit

A young woman trying to make sense of the world

Month

February 2016

Trailer Launch: Stories of the Past

It’s here, finally! A little glimpse into what is next on the agenda for MJ after publishing the last book in the Guardians Series. It is yet to have an exact date for release, perhaps end of 2016, but more likely 2017 as this will be a stand-alone book and I want to put a lot of time into getting it just right.

Enjoy!

WIN a Paperback copy of Divided! (Aus Only)

DividedBM

I’m feeling mighty, mighty generous and I’m running a competition to win a paperback copy of Divided (The Guardians #2). Who wants it?!

Please only Aus residents for this one! Click on the link below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My top 5 books (or series)

It’s so hard to do a top anything when it comes to books because new stuff is coming out all the time that quickly makes you re-think your faves list. However, for the sake of this blog here are are 5 of my top books (not of all time or forever) but ones that will have a place in my heart for years to come.

Holes

5. Holes by Louis Sachar

This is a fantastic adventure I will be cherishing with my children. Holes is a brilliant standalone novel about a boy with terrible luck, and it only gets worse! I first read this book in 2003 when I was preparing for a movie adaptation to be released and our school was going to see it. This book is on my top 5 because it did inspire me to write a book with a villain. The Warden is a bad, bad woman, but she is also smart, resourceful and knows how to get what she wants. On top of that, she has rattlesnake tainted nail polish and scratches those who annoy/disobey her. Her one-track-mind attitude of finding Kissin’ Kate Barlow’s treasure is what got to me.  I have to say that this character was fundamental in me creating Doctor in my Guardians Series.

GOODREADS LINK

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  1. The Night Creatures Trilogy by Marianne de Pierres.

A great series by a lovely Australian author (and she’s not just in here because she’s a mentor of mine!), The Night Creatures brought me back to reading. In 2011, I was getting close to finishing uni and not reading as much as I should, or had been in the past. After reading this book, I got inspired to take my writing and talk to professionals about my work. It was only through this metamorphosis that I became an author. But enough about me!

Burn Bright, the first book in the series, is a YA sci-fi dystopian about Retra, a girl who sales away to Ixion to find her brother – who has long since left for the mysterious never sleep, continuous party island. This island is more than nightclubs; it has monsters, weird riper guardians and more.

GOODREADS LINK

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  1. The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth

These books excited me to write more action which I think reflects in Divided. The first book, Divergent, is my favourite of the books. Despite the ending and my disagreeing with the way the third book was told, I do like this series.

GOODREADS LINK

Cinder

  1. The Luna Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

This book series is amazing. A-may-zing. From page one to the end of the final word of book 4… nuts. I believe there has been yet another book released, but I’ve yet to pick it up. If you haven’t read the Luna Chronicles, I highly recommend tracking down Cinder and getting started asap. I waited far too long to read these books. They’re not as cheesy as I was expecting. I mean a cyborg Cinderella? Come on ~ but it works, it does! The story follows Cinder, Cress (Rapunzel) Scarlett (Little Read Riding Hood) and Winter (Snow White). The main villain is a take-off of the evil Queen from Snow White. There are princes, rebels, fights, gun fingers, awkward moments, IKO: the best character in the world, and more!

GOODREADS LINK

Stargirl

  1. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli 

I love this book. Published before the days of YA, this book was hard for librarians to place. The two main characters Stargirl (yes that’s her name) and Leo (not my Leo! Haha) go on an adventure together of what it means to be different from the rest. She arrives at this school and inspires them to be weird… for a second. The strangeness of Stargirl becomes too much for the normal kids to handle and so she is pushed to be the thing that destroys her, normal. This book has love, hate, a pet rat, ukelele’s and rain dancing. What more could you want? If I have girls, this will be a book I will be sharing with them. That is if my copy hasn’t been utterly destroyed by then!

 GOODREADS LINK

NPR

 

Misconceptions about Authors

Hello Sentry Officers!

Recently I have been asked to do a few signings, which is amazing, but often I encounter a few misconceptions about authors and their lifestyle. I thought I would take a moment to share and bust some of these myths.

 We’re all hardcore recluses

This isn’t entirely untrue, but we’re not all nervous, eccentric shut-ins. We do prefer the creature comforts of home, tea (or coffee!), easy to move in clothing, frequent TV breaks, and music. Often we save our best for public appearances, so don’t be frightened if you meet us in the shops, and we look more than average. I just need milk and eggs; I’m a human dammit!

Authors must read 24/7

Clearly we’re authors because we love books, and yes have MANY that we have read. However, I’m sure our TBR lists are the longest in the world as often our free time is spent hammering away at our next book, blogging, promoting and trying to keep our dream alive. So needless to say sometimes we don’t read as much as we should.

You get to spend your life writing! How amazing!

Ergh, no. I wish. I can only speak for myself as an indie author – not sure about the inner workings of traditionally published peeps – but I have to have a steady job to make a living, and you know, EAT. My weekends sometimes are devoted to writing if I’m not cleaning, doing washing, catching up on bills, or being attacked by life/family members. And I don’t even have kids! (Shout out to those indies. How do you get ANYTHING DONE EVER?!)

You’re too young to have a book…

Ok, this is more one for me, and honestly, it annoys me to no end. Yes, I’m nearly 25. Yes, I have three books and a short story collection. So what? I work extremely hard on my writing and put my SOUL into EVERYTHING I write. Age doesn’t factor in.

Authors like wine.

This is not a misconception.

That’s it for now! 

Happy Reading xox

NPR

 

Busy Feb & talking indie!

Hello, Officers!

February is here and it’s a super big month for me, with two events and a video reveal of my next project!

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For those interested in turning out, I have a signing on the 13th of February at Angus & Robertson, Victoria Point (QLD). I will be there from 10:30am meeting people and hanging out. The store will also be stocking my books for about a month afterwards so if you live in the area and want to buy them but will miss out on the event, never fear because BOUND, DIVIDED and LIBERATED will be in stock.

Just a note: The price may vary (I’m unsure yet whether it will be more or less than the standard $15) because it’s going through their machines etc rather than coming straight from me, but it won’t be crazy!

The second event is at Read Café in Surfers Paradise, on the Gold Coast. I will be there from 11am and I’ve been asked to do a little talk on being indie published.

You can join our event on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1693383250916824/

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Indie publishing (aka DIY books) is probably the number one thing I get asked about my career. Well, apart from how old I am… what is it with people needing to know that?

There are so many different ways to be indie published and I think the number one thing to remember is that it will be a business, no matter how big or small you wish to grow it. You have a product, you’re selling it, marketing it, standing by it in hard times, it’s a business! So there is no one way to be indie published or to be successful at it – believe me if there was a fool proof way to be magically transported to the New York Times Best Seller list we’d all be punching each other in the face to get there.

However, for some of us it’s best to start small. For example, my Guardian Series is currently nominated for Best Series in the Aussie Owned and Read awards (their first ever!) If you think the Guardians are worthy I’d really appreciate your vote, as it will help us bring in new fans (Sentry Officers) for our team!! The form is HERE.

Well that’s it for now!

Happy Writing!

 

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