Spotto! More Sightings! UFOs? No! ‘Dead, Actuallys’!

So, it’s almost the end of RELEASE WEEK and with promotion, planning a launch party, trying to get the next book written – and juggling the day job, life is pretty crazy. Which could be the reason I’m taking an easy way out today – and simply posting some sighting photeys.

And one is even mine because this weekend I finally got to sneak out for a peak at Dead on the shelves!

Mt Hutton NSW

And how exciting was it to find only ONE left at my local Big W.  Well, there were two but after we’d taken the photo and then made one more pass-by, there was only one! (Do you know how tempted I was to search every trolley and offer an autograph??? I had to be forcibly removed from the store for demanding bag searches!! )

But back to the sighting – even better, Dead, Actually, (also available as an e-book)  was on a centre aisle stand, which was very cool, but I wasn’t exactly sure of the placement near men’s underwear???

Added to that there have been two more shots sent in. One from Woden in the ACT and on from Penrith NSW.

And here they are!

This Woden shot was sent in by the gorgey AJ Macpherson

Woden ACT

and I was so excited but just a tad worried. I’m not paranoid. Much. But, unlike the other shots that have been sent, if you look closely, Woden seems to have  PILE of books left! No! No! No! Woden people! That’s not how we do it!  We must get them OFF the shelves, so everybody listen up:

People of Woden: Should you choose to accept it, THIS is your mission. And that is to get people, by fair means or foul, to buy that book. Use force if you have to.

If you keep the end in sight this will be far less painful for everybody. Got it?

Now, on the other hand,  the Penrith people seem to have nailed the drill.  When Paula Roe was there on Saturday, they didn’t have many copies left at all! Maybe that was because she bought them all, but that’s completely beside the point.  Completely…

Paula & stash @ Penrith

So anyhoo, what are we giving away today? Well – it’s a mug full of choccies but you’ll have imagine the choccies in the mug because the mug hasn’t arrived yet!! They tell me today – so fingers crossed. However, here’s what it will look like – but full of choccies!  And I’m sure there’ll be some other things to fatten the kitty – like a gorgeous Dead, Actually lipstick pen…

This mug, of course, is a numbered mug from the House of Delaney and will one day be worth a squillion… Trust me on that. Do you really want to risk not being in the draw to win what could one day be your self-funded retirement nest egg? 

And how do you actually get into said draw?

Simply pop in and say hi. It’s that’s simple. Tomorrow there’s a copy of the actual book, ‘Dead, Actually’ up for grabs, and we’ll be talking about a serious topic close to my hearty. Shoes. See you there? I hope so!

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Yet another winner and ‘what’s in a name?’

Day 5 of the Let me beat you over the head with ‘Dead, Actually’ Tour’!  

Are you feeling beaten? Bashed? Bruised? No? Ha! I take that as a challenge…

Okay – let’s dive straight in today with the Day2/3 winner announcement.  Dada…

Cue the drum roll …

And the winner is…

LEAH RATH!!

Leah, I have to say it was Bobby’s sticky fingers that plundered the Smartie bowl this time – and you were the one he couldn’t shake. Yay!  Email me with your street addy deets  (or FB message me) and before you can recite the entire first edition volume of War & Peace without any mistakes – a sparkly new signed copy of Dead Actually PLUS the cutest pair of red heart-shaped sunnies, will be fluttering your way! ( I want photos!!) Yay! Thank you for hanging around all week! 

So, today’s prize… I thought long and hard about this – and it’s a gorgeous sparkly pink bag filled with SO perfume products. In fact this particular fragrance is called “So ETERNAL”. Hmmn – if we’re talking ghosts who just won’t quit and go away? Baby  – that’s SO ETERNAL to me!  It’s  yummy prize; I just love it…

Drill? If you’d like to go in the draw – just wave – and leave a message – OR – perhaps you’d like to comment on your fave character’s name.

 I’m in the midst of plotting the third book and I can see my hero quite clearly and he is  very  c-u-t-e… Very different to gorgeous, heart-melting Seth. Very different to meltingly hot and broody Finn of Almost Dead.  This guy is cute. Playful.  Twinkly eyes that always look they’re they’re sharing a joke with you?  Oh, be still my heart…

Anyway – this guy is to be very definitely a  ‘Charlie’. Upmarket guy, but grounded. It’s a cool, trendy name that brings some history with it. I like it.

However, my friend and crit partner, Heather, pooh-poohed it. So what to do? For what it’s worth at the mo, I’m sticking with it – because he’s so ‘Charlie all over’  to me.  My arguments for doing so? Any name can be cool – it depends on who it’s hung on. Look at Edward from Twilight. Edward? Really? Nothing wrong with the name per se – but honestly, are we talking hot hero names here? Really?

Edward from Twlight

Yet, Steph Meyer created one of the most lusted after heroes of recent times.

To prove my point, let’s flip to another Edward who features in  a perennial fave movie of mine – and one that has something of a cult following. (Or is that just in my house???)

Of what do I speak? “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (NLCV) of course  – and the unforgettable ‘Cousin Eddie’.

Cousin Eddie

To coin a popular advert phrase: ‘let’s compare the pair’. Edward of T/L fame? And Cousin Eddie of  NLCV.

Both Edwards, right?

No contest.

I rest my case.  It’s all in the creation of the character. So, until my agent or editors tell me different, my next hero will be Charlie.  And I love him already.

So, what’s your fave character name and is there a name you came to love because of that character? If there’s no one – just pop in and say hi and you’ll be in the draw!

Till then – thank you again for your support! I love you!

Winner from Monday and… Drum Roll: SIGHTINGS!!

OMG  – I think I know how UFO-ers feel! Hanging out for sightings and needing photographic evidence to prove that ‘it’ really exists. ‘It’ of course being the book I am relentlessly promoting during release week! LOL. Yes – Release Week for DEAD, ACTUALLY ! !  

But first – we have our first daily winner! 

Yep!

The  Winner of the Gorgey Sparkly Bookmark is

Drumroll….

Ms Imelda !!! 

 Oooohhh – so exciting!  Email with your street addy Imelda so I can sent this little baby winging your way!

I just want all to know that this draw was conducted indiscriminately and under the strict conditions of all lottery draws. First the remaining Smarties were removed from the bowl and then the names dropped in. Whichever scrap of paper stuck to my chocolately fingers was the winner! Worked a treat.

And now for…

SIGHTINGS!!  

Big W store, Charlestown NSW

This first sighting was phoned through by one of my daughters. Thank you Lis! I got a cryptic message that just said, check your mobile.  So, excited! ‘It’ DOES exist!

Dymocks, Collins Street, Melbourne

This shot was sent in by the gorgeous Stephanie from Melbourne who runs the fabulous My Girl Friday Blog Spot that is devoted to great books.

I am so grateful guys!  Thank you! And while it’s not a photo, this news is just as good. My beatiful friend Sandii who resides in Southern California, trawled the net to find copies available at Dymocks in Sydney. Her poor husband has flown out here JUST to pick it up and take it to her. Okay – well, maybe there was some other minor reason he was out here – but I’m SURE the real reason was simply to get a copy of DEAD.

So – to TODAY’s PRIZE!!!!!

Gold Bouillon anyone?

The gals in this book live the high life.  They live a life of total ‘lux. And even better? The ‘rents are footing the bills!

So, when I found these fabulous gold bouillon gifts, I knew they were perfect as give-aways.

So, what is there? A gorgey gold bouillon-shaped manicure set – complete with gold sparkly emery board! Sigh! Die!  Added to that there is an amazing gold bouillon-shaped keyring/handbag dangler – which also features the cutest little sparkly stiletto!

Totally ritz!

Ooh! duh! Smacks forehead! And I forgot – there’s some gorgeous nail polish to go with that manicure set!  Fuschia pink. So, So hot… Sceptical? Don’t just take my word for it. JoJo was wearing it.  ‘Nuff said.

How do you go in the draw? By now you know the drill, right? Say hi! Carve your name in lip-gloss.  An X marked out with your fave hot smoky eye-liner pencil?

This time you don’t even have to answer a quessie! It’s true. I am TOTALLy too good to you…

Tomorrow we’ll announce the winner of the first book and sunnies set. So, don’t forget to check back in.

And, also – don’t forget to leave your message! You gotta be in it to win it!

Love you and thank you!!

Dead Give-away… Pun intended

Status update: ‘Dead, Actually’ is not only featured in Girlfriend mag but is advertised in the Big W catalogue. And it’s, like, almost half price!!!

What a blur today has been. So here I am – at almost halfway through the day trying to get today’s blog post up! Yesterday was crazy and I apologise for letting everyone down. Meetings with booksellers in the morning and then a full afternoon – till we got back home at 9 last night –

Tim and Maddie - aka JoJo - at work.

at a fabulous photo shoot for some promo for Dead, Actually.

The amazing Tim Clack was the photographer and our brilliant model was 14 year old Maddie who was as gorgeous as she was easy to work with. She was channelling  the JoJo, Dead, Actually’s resident ghost and all-round nasty gal. Trust me – this was one time when the model/actress was NOT typecast. Maddie couldn’t be more different in nature to snarky JoJo. Which made the results even more amazing.

Big shout out to her 12 year old sister Steph, who doubled as a fabbo props person. Her enthusiasm was contagious and kept us all in high spirits.  Older sister Cait was bogged down with study, but her gentle warmth and welcoming attitude added to the sense of a successful day on so many levels.

So, this is supposed to be day 2 of the ‘Let’s get Dead, Actually‘ out into the world’ campaign.  And I’m so excited to have so many of you along for the ride. However, it’s actually Day 3, so I guess today’s prizes have to be twofold!

So, today the give-away is the actual book! Yep, I’m allowing one copy to be wrenched from my reluctant hands. It’s not that I don’t want to share. I honestly do. It’s just that this is like giving my baby away and …  I know you’ll take care of it. Feed it. Love it… Though I must advise that bathing it is not really recommended.

Anyway, if you’d like the chance to get your mitts and peepers on a copy of Dead, Actually – plus a pair of the red, heart-shaped sunnies that feature on the cover – then it’s pretty easy to enter.

Like Monday, simply say hi. Or if you have the time or inclination, you might just like to share who you think is the nastiest heroine you’ve ever encountered. Movie, book, cartoon or whatever. Who is the one you think takes the prize? Cruella De Vil? She’s up there for me.

And just in case you missed it? Here’s Paula Roe’s photey of  the ad in the Big W catalogue. What’s that you say? Self-obsessed? Me?

Okay guilty as charged. But forgive for just this week? Month…? Year…?

In good company, I'd say!

Don’t forget the prizes! And thank you, thank you for your support!

Release Day – Prizes and Fun!

It's Live!

Today’s the Day!! Big celebs; big par-tays, big hair, big smiles and big bowls of Smarties!  Whatever I’m doing today will be BIG. Today, February 27th to be exact, is the day that Dead, Actually hits book stands all over Australia. I’m about to go out hunting it down; to wish it well and tell it to perform and behave. No scrap that. I don’t care if it doesn’t behave – I want it to stand out!

And I’ll be taking photos! And it would be such fun if you could play along with me? Let’s play SPOTTO!

Here’s the 411: if you see Dead Actually anywhere on the shelves and you’re able to catch that on camera, please send it in and we’ll post it here!  I’m happy to run this game indefinitely, <g>  but we’ll at least be doing it for this debut month. All contributors will go into the draw for a fabbo prize fit for a gal who knows she’s special and deserving…

But wait there’s more. Every day this week there will be a prize. It’s my way of saying thank you, I love you and I love that you’re helping me celebrate.  All you have to do is leave a comment. Easy!

Today’s prize?  It sparkles and glitters – and it’s useful. OMG – I’m in love. It’s the most gorgeous silver-coated book mark that is topped with a heart of diamentes. And of course we’ll throw in some choccies and some swag!

Please just drop in and say hi, or if you’d rather, tell me if you’ve ever seen a ghost. A real live – or is that dead(?) – ghost. In Dead, Actually, Willow has a resident one:  JoJo.  A totally difficult, demanding, bitchy ghost who is making Willow’s life a misery. Understandably the first time she ‘saw’ JoJo she completely freaked out.

                The road to insanity takes twelve minutes. I’ve timed it.    

               That’s how long it took for me to get from Pete’s to my house, charge up the  stairs and dive into my room. Twelve minutes before the first strangled scream was ripped from my throat.         

          Contrary to popular belief, the air in hell is freezing – because surely that’s where I’d somehow landed.  My breath caught; my heart jerked…              

         My body froze.             

        My brain shut down.       

        I clutched at the doorframe.

       But still she stared at me.

       Her… A dead person. In my room.

      Let me clarify: not a body, a dead person.

      An already-buried dead person.

      Call me naive, but never once had I asked myself what I’d do if ever I found a dead person in my bedroom. Or anywhere for that matter.

      Now I knew. Scream and bolt.

       Which I did. I bolted straight out of that room and was halfway back down the stairs before I realised that I was being crazy; that buried dead people cannot just turn up in your room. That JoJo was an illusion; she wasn’t real.        

        Still, I didn’t barge back in, I kind of slid my head around the  door, ready to run again if I had to.  

      “Are you through playing hide and seek?” JoJo’s bored voice reached over and froze me to the spot. “If you are, perhaps you could come in and tell me what I’m doing here.”    

     I shook my head and remained right where I was. “You’re not real. You don’t exist. I’m just seeing things.”  This had to be a stress-induced hallucination.  

   She flicked imaginary lint – oh wait, this was my house, it was probably real lint – off her hot pink top and frowned at me like I was lower on the food chain that the dust she was picking off herself. I was still staring. I recognised that top. She’d been wearing it that last day…

 Willow coped pretty well, really. But then it helps of the dead person insists on giving you a hard time, and trust me, it gets bad.

 I have to say I’m a sucker for ghost stories. Love them… Have you ever seen a ghost? Do you believe in them?  What do you think you’d do if you saw one?

Please drop in and say hi. I’d love, love to celebrate this special time with you. Don’t forget the week is full of prizes.

Oh – and in case you missed the book trailer? Enjoy!

Promotion, promotion, promotion

It’s Up! It’s Live! It’s Smokin’ Hot and it’s fabulosity times a million. It’s the book trailer for ‘Dead, Actually’! And it’s rockin the halls of youtube as we speak.

Check it out!

Paula peeking out from behind March edition ‘Girlfriend’ mag

So, location, location, location might be the catchphrase for the Real Estate industry, but for those of us in the writing industry, it’s Promotion, Promotion, Promotion.

And my wonderful publishers did me proud this week and I couldn’t have been happier if they’d sent me a wheelbarow full of Smarties. No, hold on… Wait… Smarties? Book promotion? Hmmnn… Book promotion? Smarties?

No, no. It’s okay. I’m back and my head is clear again. Of course I’m so much happier that they did such fabulous promotion on my behalf. (Though, Allen & Unwin? If ever you did send me a wheelbarrow full of Smarties (aka W.o.S), I certainly wouldn’t be ungrateful, if you know what I mean. Just sayin’…)

Seriously, it was way better than the W.o.S and such an amazing gift. First of all, they snagged a full page – ahem – that was ‘FULL PAGE’ in case you missed it – advert for DEAD, ACTUALLY in GIRLFRIEND magazine. Hands up who loved GF? WE do!!!

Sales of the mag all over the nation have soared just because people cannot wait to get a gander at that fabulous ad. 😉  I advise you to get your copy fast before they run out! Or take a peek at the photey at the top of this blog entry. That’s my BFF Paula Roe – who also happens to be an extraordinary web designer peeking out from behind the photo of the ad she took and posted to FB. Thanks P!!

But wait – there’s more!!! And no it’s not steak knives – but who knows? Next week it could be! DEAD ACTUALLY, is actually released in less than 72 hours(!) and next week we’ll be giving away loads of prizes – that may even include those steak knives  (but probably won’t unless they’ve sparkly diamente handles…) – all week long. Yee ha!

More news? Amazingly, my publisher had to do another print run to meet orders! Unbelieveable. And you know what that means, right? That I am totally sunk if this book doesn’t sell! Dead in the water and floating, people!

So, spread the word! And while you’re doing it – come along and par-tay with me next week. Starting Monday. All week long… It’s an all-eatin’ (Smarties!), no sleepin’, all dancin’ week. Can I slip in another Yeeha! Too much? Okay.

Dead, Actually. Available Mon Feb 27th, at all good – and hopefully bad – bookstores.

Relieving wrist and arm pain: Exercises for writers .

Status: Getting excited!
Days till ‘Dead, Actually’ is released? 7!! One week today exactly. So is that still 7 or 6? I’m a writer not a mathematician…

I posted this over at my Downtown YA blog spot – but as I’d been promising it here as well – I’m crossing over.
I don’t know about you, but I, and many other authors I know, suffer terribly with hand problems. It seems to go with the industry. These days, as never before really, we have to produce enormous amounts of work in a relatively short time.
And it takes its toll. On our backs, our bodies in general, our arms, our necks, our eyes, hands and fingers.
For me one of the most stressful is the hands and fingers. Actually it’s almost the entire arm thing. I get horrific pain right down my forearms, through my wrists and into my hands.
I’ve tried many things to try and get some relief – and three things have been successful. One of those though, rates just a tad above the other because it’s instantaneous, effective and I don’t have to leave my office.
So, what are my Top Three Relievers for arm/wrist pain?
• Acupuncture
For me it was very effective. Takes some time though as the treatment itself takes more than an hour. I like that it lasts for several months. I’d certainly recommend it if you get to a stage where nothing else works.

• Chiropractic
I love chiropractic care and I love Lisa McKee, my chiropractor. Chiro has kept me walking for years when traditional medicine said I should have been in a wheelchair after a bad car accident years ago. I owe it and my practitioners a heap.

• Exercise
This is the one I want to focus on today. These actually came from my chiro Lisa and I’ve been extolling the virtues – hers and the exercises – for years.

What to do:
Part 1
1. Extend right arm straight out in front.
2. Hand must form an upward right angle. (I.e, as in ‘speak to the hand’. Got it?)
3. Place your left hand over the fingers of the right.
4. Push these fingers back towards your shoulder.
5. Hold for a count of ten.
6. Repeat 5 times.
7. Extend left arm straight out in front
8. Copy the exact directions above (3,4,5,6) this time using your right hand to glasp the left.
9. Repeat this exercise several times throughout the day – especially when in pain.

Part 2
1. Extend right arm straight out in front.
2. Lower fingers toward floor – so that your hand is at right angles again to your body
3. Using the left hand, glasp those right-hand fingers and push them back towards your body.
4. Hold for a count of ten.
5. Repeat 5 times.
6. Extend left arm straight out in front
7. Copy the exact directions above (2,3,4,5) this time using your right hand to glasp the left.
8. Repeat this exercise several times throughout the day – especially when in pain.

If you’re doing this correctly you’ll feel those contracted muscles extend – and it will hurt a bit. Maybe even a lot. You’ll feel the pull, the resistance. For me, part two hurts more. I can feel that pull along the top part of my forearm. Agony and then ecstasy…

I’m not going to tell you, however, that I know all the medical reasons this works – but I know it does extend certain muscles that are continually placed in a contracted position due to the nature of our work. I imagine it aids circulation as well.

What I DO know is that it works. Not just for me, but for literally dozens – maybe hundreds – of other authors I’ve shared this with.

Good luck, I hope it works! Let me know and if you have any other exercises that would aid writers – please let me know!