Book Bites Announcement

Book Bites is currently on hiatus. Zja Noir is started a Masters degree and has had to cut back on online activities. You can still follow Book Bites on Facebook for snippets, links to giveaways, and book-related images and news. Book Bites may be updated periodically. Feel free to subscribe or follow Zja on social networking sites to see updates.

17 April 2013

Guest Post: Nyssa from the Aussie Author Month Initiative

Nyssa, co-founder of Aussie Author Month talks to Book Bites about how the initiative started.


What Aussie Author Month and the The Indigenous Literacy Foundation means to me:

There’s a lot to say about what books can give us. They have a great power over us and how we feel. I have a very emotional connection with books; they let me escape the world when I needed a safe place. I’m not typically very nationalist, I don’t like sport and I’m allergic to bananas. But Australian authors offer something else, not just a setting or an accent. Aussie Author Month was started because of a conversation on twitter a few years back, because we felt there was something missing. We wanted to share what we love, and for everyone to come together to do the same. But not everyone gets to feel the power of literature. Our society is not as equal as we want it to be, and there are communities that are disadvantaged. The ability to read and write is the basis for education and expands our minds into the brilliant and fantastic, whether fiction or non-fiction. I want to see books and literacy as widespread as possible, and so I support the ILF for all their work. I want to help share what a lot of us take for granted, our ability to love books and writing. That’s why I carry on with Aussie Author Month.

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies ... The man who never reads lives only one.
― George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons


 Aussie Author Month is a terrific initiative shining a light on Australian authors whilst raising funds for the Indigenous Literacy Project.

You can win a copy of Sandra Antonelli's new novel A Basic Renovation (here}.

You can find out more {here} about guest posting during Aussie Author Month. Let's share the love for our fabulous Australian authors!

15 April 2013

Kylie Chan Signing at Galaxy Bookshop Tomorrow!


I have raved about Kylie Chan before. She is a wonderful Australian author who writes urban fantasy based on Chinese mythology. Her stories are fascinating, well researched, and exciting. If you haven't read her before, I recommend you pick up a copy of White Tiger. It is a terrific read!

Kylie Chan will be signing at Galaxy Bookshop tomorrow (16th April) at 12:30pm. You can buy a pre-release copy of her book at the store on the day, as well as back copies from her series. I was in store pre-purchasing a copy for a friend tonight and thought I would share the posters they had up :) I really wish I wasn't working tomorrow so I could drop by myself... Anyway, if you are in the Sydney CBD tomorrow around lunch time you should drop by. Aussie Author Month is about shining a spotlight on great Australian authors and Kylie Chan is definitely one of them!


Kylie Chan will also be making the following appearances in QLD: 
  • Supanova Gold Coast, 20-21 April, all day 
  • Rosemary’s Romance Bookshop Brisbane, 3 May, 4pm


 Aussie Author Month is a terrific initiative shining a light on Australian authors whilst raising funds for the Indigenous Literacy Project.

You can win a copy of Sandra Antonelli's new novel A Basic Renovation (here}.

You can find out more {here} about guest posting during Aussie Author Month. Let's share the love for our fabulous Australian authors!

09 April 2013

Aussie Author Month: Fantastic Ebooks I Have Been Reading

This is what Aussie Author Month is all about for me. This is my recent reads on my Kindle App. Next to my bed are books by Melina Marchetta, Helene Young, Anna Campbell, John Marsden, Lara Morgan, Victor Kelleher and Isobelle Carmody, just to name a few.



Pictured here are:

These authors are all fabulous fun! 

 Aussie Author Month is a terrific initiative shining a light on Australian authors whilst raising funds for the Indigenous Literacy Project.

You can win a copy of Sandra Antonelli's new novel A Basic Renovation (here}.

You can find out more {here} about guest posting during Aussie Author Month. Let's share the love for our fabulous Australian authors!



04 April 2013

Australian Author Recommendations From My Book Club





My monthly book club met tonight, and while we were missing half our members, I thought it would be fun to ask what Australian authors they could recommend*. We all come from a fantasy, romance and paranormal romance background, which really shows in these recommendations. This is what they came up with:
*They really wanted me to add Nalini Singh, but she is a Kiwi, and while we appropriate them as our own and she has attended our book club a few times... Well, she still isn't an Aussie author. Maybe someone should host a Kiwi Author Month... Let me know if there is one, and I'll join. I have a couple of Kiwi authors I love too. 

 Aussie Author Month is a terrific initiative shining a light on Australian authors whilst raising funds for the Indigenous Literacy Project.

You can win a copy of Sandra Antonelli's new novel A Basic Renovation (here}.

You can find out more {here} about guest posting during Aussie Author Month. Let's share the love for our fabulous Australian authors!



Reading Pile for Aussie Author Month 2013

During Aussie Author Month I am planning on only reading books by Australian Authors. Because I spent all my 'fun' budget on concerts in the last two months I will not be buying books, so these will be books I already own and love. I may also borrow one or two novels from others if I get a hankering to explore. There are so many amazing authors from Australia but sadly they fly under the radar. I love that Aussie Author Month highlights this homegrown talent. Below is a list of the books I have read so far this month, and the books I am considering reading during the rest of Aussie Author Month.

Read:

Reading:

Possible(*) Planned Reads:


*I choose my reading material depending on my mood and how busy I am in my day job. If I am busy and wrapped up in the mundane I usually choose to read something light, either in content or writing style.


Aussie Author Month is a terrific initiative shining a light on Australian authors whilst raising funds for the Indigenous Literacy Project.

You can win a copy of Sandra Antonelli's new novel A Basic Renovation (here}.

You can find out more {here} about guest posting during Aussie Author Month. Let's share the love for our fabulous Australian authors!

02 April 2013

Meet Sandra Antonelli And Win

Sandra Antonelli is a delightful woman who has a way with words and a terrific sense of humour. I was delighted when I found out she was being published as I suspected those qualities would come across in her work - AND THEY DID! Below Sandra tells us how she went from a reader to a scholar to becoming a published author. One lucky reader can also win a Kindle copy of her new book A Basic Renovation.

How I Went From West Point to A Basic Renovation

There was a time in my life where I lived without a television. However, we had a radio that was always on, I possessed a very active imagination, I mean, I was awesome at pretending, and I had a sort of TV in my head because I went to the movies a few times a week.

No, I did not grow up in the ‘30s or ‘40s. We didn’t have a TV because we lived in Europe and there was too much cool stuff to travel to and see in real life, rather than on a small, black and white screen with a fuzzy picture.

My parents and my older brother were voracious readers. As the youngest, I thought it was my duty to keep up the family tradition of reading. We went to the library a lot. I’d come out with a huge stack of books. Because my brother was reading big fat books like the Count of Monte Cristo, that meant I had to read them as well. As a result, the books I chose were often above my reading level. I was 7 and reading stuff like West Point Plebe, which I chose because I had no idea what a plebe was and dammit, I was going to find out. Mixed in with the occasional Pippi Longstocking, Encyclopedia Brown, Beverly Cleary book, and those tales of what it was like to be a young man in his first year at the United States Military Academy, I had The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Three Musketeers, and pretty much everything by Rafael Sabatini. For me, reading meant Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, Scaramouche—all high adventure stuff with a bit fat dose of…romance.

Ah, there it is, that magical word. Romance.

I noticed romance at about the age of nine, but it was always bound within a swashbuckling adventure. At ten I started to pay attention to the love story. I started looking for the love story. At 13 I was quite a geek. Somewhere around this age we’d moved to the States and got a TV. By then, I read science fiction (because my brother did), I played D&D (because my brother did) and I discovered the Gothic romance (because of a big fat book I found at the library). While perusing the shelves for another novel in Spider Robinson’s pun-filled Callahan series, I discovered Charlotte Bronte and Daphne Du Maurier and holy crap, I read Jane Eyre and Rebecca, and OH MY GOD Mr. Rochester and Maxim DeWinter!!

By 14, I realized my high school’s library had quite the collection of Harlequin romance novels. While I was at home I read Sci Fi and Daphne DuMaurier, but when I was at school I could read most of a Harlequin during the hour we had for lunch, and pick it up to finish the next day. While other kids were in the cafeteria eating, I was in the library chowing down on Charlotte Lamb, Ann Mather, and Violet Winspear romance. I also read anything Star Wars related, Ian Fleming’s James Bond series, as well as James Michener and a bunch of other big fat books. The majority of the books I read were about characters who were supposed to be young, but they were older than me. This set a precedent. I found I preferred reading about more mature characters who weren’t all wrapped up in the angsty bullshit of high school—because I wasn’t wrapped up in the angsty bullshit of high school. I was a well-adjusted nerdy geek with a circle of friends who all read (and went to movies).

Not only did my friends read everything and anything, one of them was storyteller who went on become a writer of an award winning YA series about a thief. Megan came up with the best stories to tell me. Sometimes she’d write something down and pass it to me between classes. Since we both had vivid imaginations, after a while we came up with a story together. It was about a moody, Rochester-esque thief named Christian and the woman he robs. Of course, the characters were older than we were. Megan’s parts were always awesome adventure bits. My parts were always scenes where, for some reason, the characters were about to kiss. Megan’s stayed with adventure and I’ve stayed with characters about to kiss. She was published in 1996. I was published this year. Her characters are young. Mine are mature.

So when I came to writing A Basic Renovation—and you’ve been waiting for me to get here, I know you have—I wasn’t really aware that I had a secret when it came to writing a romance novel with mature-aged characters. I wrote ABR novel for a Master’s Degree. A novel was a requirement of the degree, as was a thesis. The thesis was the tricky part. I had ¾ of it completed before I had to examine my writing and attempt to find a research question somewhere in the text that I could use as focus for the thesis. What this made me do was examine my reading tastes. I had to write a romance novel, so what romance novels did I like to read, which ones did I enjoy the most, and what had I written previous to ABR, and what, if anything did they have in common?

If you said, the characters were all older than me, then you’d be right.

Yet here’s the thing. I never consciously set out to write romance novels with forty plus romantic leads—it just happened. In everything I wrote, from the shitty very first big FAT novel that will forever sit in a box in my wardrobe, to ABR, even to the current work in progress that is part of my PhD, the creation of every story followed the precedent I set from the age of 7. But because I was looking from something when I was writing ABR, I had a moment that made me sit up and take note that female leads in romance fiction were limited to an age range that started as early as 17 and seemed to stop at 35. Sure, there were some that crept in under that line, and I had read those books, but how come there weren’t MORE? I had noticed that

In my early days as a plebian author, before I started down the route of romance writer turned romance scholar, I looked to other more experienced authors for counsel. I noted this advice as most useful: Write the novel you want to read. Since there were so few romance novels with the older characters I wanted to see, I went and wrote one for myself. Then I wrote another. And another. And one more—A Basic Renovation.

And just because I like to read about characters with maturity, because I went to so many movies back when we didn’t have a TV, because I adore early romantic comedies from the Golden Age of Hollywood, I had to make ABR a snappy, smart-assed rom-com with a slightly Rochester-esque Dominic and not-at all Jane Eyre-ish Lesley. I also had to give the world my version of a really mature-aged romance with 92 year-old GP and his eighty-something girlfriend, Eilish Flanagan. I had to set the novel in a place of great beauty, Los Alamos NM, which was also the location of one of mankind’s greatest, most horrible secret—the birthplace of the atomic bomb. Like the pretty town, every character in the story hides something or drops some kind of bomb; Dominic’s got a dirty little nuclear family secret, Lesley is the detonator, and GP? Well, GP drops the F-bomb.

About the book:

When it comes down to it, rats in the oven trumps Lesley’s desire to never set eyes on another Brennan family member. So Lesley, a pro at property redevelopment, scrambles to Dominic Brennan’s hardware store for supplies. Dominic knows poison — rat and otherwise — and he sees it in Lesley. The woman ruined his brother’s life. Now that she’s back in town, Dominic’s afraid she’ll drag up the past, the secrets, and the pain. They clash immediately, but mix in a teenage boy, a puppy, some white paint, and some loud music, and what starts as cold fury transforms into a nuclear attraction. This basic renovation becomes a major life refurbishment for them both. 

You can purchase A Basic Renovation {here
You can follow Sandra Antonelli on Twitter and Facebook. Her website is http://sandraantonelli.com

To win a Kindle copy of A Basic Renovation please comment below with your name, your email, and tell us how you would like to renovate your home. The winner will be chosen on the last day of Aussie Author Month (30/04/2013) using random.org and notified via email. The winner will also be announced on Book Bites.

This prize has been donated by Sandra Antonelli and the competition is open internationally. 




Congratulations Nae! You have won a copy of A Basic Renovation
  


Aussie Author Month is a terrific initiative shining a light on Australian authors whilst raising funds for the Indigenous Literacy Project.

You can find out more {here} about guest posting during Aussie Author Month. Let's share the love for our fabulous Australian authors!

01 April 2013

Aussie Author Month - Round Up From Previous Years


Book Bites is again taking part in Aussie Author Month during April. Aussie Author Month is a terrific initiative shining a light on Australian authors whilst raising funds for the Indigenous Literacy Project.


You can follow along on Twitter by using the #ausbooks hashtag and see highlights on the official Facebook page.

I am currently looking for guests to post during Aussie Author Month. You might be an Australian author wishing to talk about your work or host a giveaway, or a blogger who wishes to swap blogs for a day, or reader who would like to review Australian books. Aussie Author Month is about highlighting the breadth, variety and quality of Australian authors. You can find out more about guest posting on Book Bites here.

Below is a round up of some reviews of Australian authors and discussions related to Aussie Author Month that have been posted previously on Book Bites. 


Discussions:
What is Aussie Author Month, and Why Do I Support it?
Favourite Australian Authors: General Fiction

Reviews:
Gift of the Goddess by Denise Rossetti
Green Monkey Dreams by Isobelle Carmody
Empress of Mijak by Karen Miller

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