"When I’m not writing" with Kylie Griffin + giveaway!

Kylie Griffin

Today’s guest is Kylie Griffin, author of The Light Blade series. The first book, VENGEANCE BORN, was released in February and the second book, ALLIANCE FORGED, comes out today! I’m so pleased to have Kylie with us on her pub day so that you can find out exactly what it is she doesn’t when she’s not writing these novels. You might be surprised!

If that’s not enough reason to stick around, Kylie is also providing a giveaway of her brand new book, ALLIANCE FORGED, at the end of this post.

WINW_logo

Hmm, good question, because it seems over the last two years of my life, since contracting with Berkley to produce the Light Blade series, it’s been nothing but writing! If it wasn’t creating a new book, it was revising one, completing copy edits, drafting up back cover blurbs and cover descriptions, or completing blog posts, guest posts and interviews for promotion and then telling the world about it.

When I tried to recall what I spent my spare time doing, top on the list was housework and continuous cycle of preparation and assessment for my “day” job (teaching), but then I sat down and really thought about it and discovered I do have a life outside of writing! LOL

I’m a keen amateur photographer and that goes hand in hand with my globe trotting, gardening feeds my need to commune with nature, reading takes me to some amazing places and the tactile/visual artist in me enjoys patchwork, but over the last 17 years a huge part of my life has been my “volunteer” work, and this is what I’d like to share with you today.

Kylie Griffin Landscape 1Kylie Griffin Landscape 2

As a teacher I’ve taken up teaching positions mostly in rural Australia, usually very small places with populations between 150-3000 people. At the moment I live in a country village (population 203 – that 3 make all the difference!).

We have a local pub, a one person police station, a one teacher school with 10 children, two churches, a general store that doubles as a post office and an agricultural supply business. As it takes emergency services from the nearest larger towns up to an hour to respond to calls, our geographic location puts us in the isolated community demographic.

Kylie Griffin local wildlife

So we have also have two invaluable volunteer services – the Rural Fire Service & NSW State Emergency Service.

Kylie Griffin firefightingKylie Griffin crash and rescue

Our volunteer fire brigade consists of five members – I’m the deputy captain and only female in the unit and we respond to both bushfires and structural fires. The SES unit helps out in floods & storms (and because of our isolation) we’re also tasked with the responsibilities of search & rescue, road crash, and community first response (aka ambulance calls). With only six members (and two of us are in both organizations) I’ve been Controller, deputy controller and grunt in this organization.

Our RFS unit trains once a month and the SES unit trains once a week, with our CFR team (aka ambulance response team) has an extra night of training per month. Depending on how much time you wish to commit to extending your basic qualifications, courses outside our own unit’s training are run by Regional Headquarters and they offer extra training if you want to reach a higher level of qualification.

When I took up my first posting as a teacher I never imagined joining an emergency service and learning the skills I now have – back-burning, blacking out, using a chainsaw, operating communications equipment, cutting vehicles up to free trapped casualties, monitor floods, help people stranded by flood waters, line searches for the missing, or learning how to use a defibrillator, an oxy-viva machine, and administering certain drugs.

Kylie Griffin floodingKylie Griffin SES

One of the most heartbreaking call outs involved attending an emergency with two infants and having to perform CPR on them both until the ambulance arrived. One child survived, the other was declared DOA at the hospital. In such a small community as ours, this had a devastating effect (I taught some of the children in this family, and so this affected me deeply).

A more light hearted and amusing call out involved us heading out to assist a woman who’d gone into labor. She lived on a property in the middle of the bush and to get to their place we had to traverse a goat track, in torrential rain (which had been coming down for hours) and made driving the dirt track hazardous. There were three of us on the call out. When we got there we made the decision to evacuate the family of 5 as we knew we’d never make it back in there a second time. With two of us in the front of our 4WD vehicle, the pregnant woman and her family piled in the back seat and me in the canopied back sitting on top of all our medical supplies, we only just made it out of there.

Then we discovered the driver of the ambulance who had responded from the nearest town had managed to bog their vehicle twelve feet inside the front gate. So we transferred the family into the ambulance then used our road crash gear to pull the ambulance out of the bog and tow them back onto the tar road. We didn’t get to see the woman’s child born but then, I think the “rescue” of her and the ambulance was adventure enough for one night!

Kylie Griffin CFR

I’ve been to catastrophic bushfires, house-fires, motor vehicle fatalities, searches for missing people (whom we’ve found alive and deceased), ambulance call outs involving amputated limbs, heart attack casualties and emergencies where I’ve used CPR to sustain life. Every call out still gives me an adrenaline rush, but it’s the camaraderie of working within a tight knit team (members I trust with my life, and have done on some occasions) and the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped someone that keeps me going back week after week to train and responding to that pager when it goes off. I wouldn’t swap that for anything.

And the wonderful thing is – these “spare” time activities allow the author in me to rejuvenate so that I can pursue a passion I really enjoy – writing!

Speaking of which, I must get back to it…

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Thank you for taking the time to visit us, Kylie! Such a great post. =)

For more information about Kylie and her books, check out her website or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Here’s the scoop on ALLIANCE FORGED:

Kylie Griffin Alliance ForgedThere is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not purebred is virtually powerless. Until a blind priestess lays claim to a half-breed warrior, body and soul…

Hunted and marked for death by Na’Reish demons for their half-blood heritage, the Na’Chi are searching for a new home—something an alliance offered by the human leader could provide. With both races divided by prejudice, when Light Blade rebels brutally attack the Na’Chi, the alliance seems doomed to fail.

Varian, leader of the Na’Chi, a hybrid race of gifted warriors, is cursed with the darker impulses of his demon heritage. Controlling the part of himself that craves the high of the battle is a struggle he’s afraid he’ll lose—until he meets Kymora Tayn, a priestess driven to serve her deity. While he’s unwilling to trust anyone outside his people, he finds himself drawn to Kymora’s strength and passionate nature, and discovers she has the power to calm the darkness inside him.

When the Na’Reish raid human territory for blood-slaves and kickstart the war, the key to the survival of both races—Na’Chi and human—is an alliance. However when Kymora is kidnapped, pitting human against human, Varian realizes he must embrace his darker half, not only to save the alliance…but also the woman he loves.

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

You should also check out VENGEANCE BORN, the first book in the series:

Kylie Griffin Vengeance BornThere is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not pure bred is virtually powerless. Until an unlikely champion is born…

Annika, half-blood daughter of the Na’Reish King, longs for more than her tormented life among her father’s people. Conceived in hatred and bred as a tool of retribution, she’s gifted with a special talent that can heal as well as destroy…

With the Na’Reish vastly outnumbering them, Kalan, a Light Blade warrior, knows the future of humankind depends on him alone. Incursions into human territory and raids for blood-slaves by the Na’Reish Horde have increased. As Chosen-leader, he faces the task of stopping the demons-and convincing the Council of aging Light Blade warriors that change is necessary for survival.

When Annika learns Kalan is a prisoner in her father’s dungeon, her dream of escape seems within reach. She agrees to free him in exchange for his protection once they reach human territory. Now, marked for death for helping him, Annika must learn to trust Kalan as they face not only the perilous journey to the border but enemies within the Council-and discover a shocking truth that could throw the human race into civil war…

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

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giveaway

Kylie is kindly offering one (1) copy of ALLIANCE FORGED plus a signed bookplate to a lucky reader!

To enter the giveaway, obey the Rafflecopter!

Open internationally
(as long as the Book Depository ships to your country)

Ends Monday, July 16, 2012

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn

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63 comments on “"When I’m not writing" with Kylie Griffin + giveaway!

  1. As a teacher I can't imagine having to perform CPR on children in a family I've taught – how traumatic! But how rewarding to be involved with the community in so many different ways.

  2. G'day, Rebe, initially it was a great way to get to meet people by volunteering in various local organisations – I'm also in the local Progess Association, I drive for Meals on Wheels & Community Transport in the school holidays and I take a stint in the village library. You meet a diverse range of people through these roles and some have become very good friends. 🙂

  3. Thanks, ahz1, it's definitely been full of a variety of roles!I love living out here in the country. As you can see by the photos we have small mountains in the area – they're actually volcanic plugs or lava flows, a dormant super-volcano lies about 120kms from us – but much of it is flood plains aka fertile cropping properties for local farmers. And yes, that kangaroo and her joey were in my back yard, there's a mob of about 20 'roo's who frequent my street and raid my lawn for green grass! 🙂

  4. Congrats on the newest release! And thanks for your community service! I'm in awe of anyone who can be selfless like that and the service you provide is invaluable!!! This post was so much fun and I've been lusting after your books for a while now… I feel a splurge coming on 🙂

  5. What a wonderful story about your work, Kylie!! It takes a special type of person to do what you and your comrades do and receive nothing in return. I commend you all! Congrats on your new release! It sounds like a wonderful story and I am adding the series to my TBR pile. Beautiful pics also. 😀

  6. If I was venturing out into dangerous territories I'd definitely want someone like you around! You sound capable and some of your experiences sound both scary but also great learning opportunities. It's great you don't do it alone and have a tight knit group :)Happy book release!

  7. Kylie, gorgeous photos! And the stories you told about your work with the RFS are beautiful and wrenching. I'm in awe of you and your comrades in the RFS and SES! In such a small isolated town, you guys perform a fantastic and vital service – and all as volunteers! You rock! Congratulations on the release of Alliance Forged!

  8. Erin, community service is a great way to give back to the community if you have the time and as I said, you meet so many different people! :-)Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for lusting after my books! LOL

  9. I'm partial to taking photo's – I think I have the most photographed cats in the world, LOL!And the volunteer organisations have certainly equipped me with a variety of skills I never thought I'd have a chance to learn! I love the physical side of it as it's so different to teaching.

  10. That's the thing about our teams, we don't do it all alone. And what I love is that I've worked with these people almost 15 years now, so they're a lot like family in many ways and I trust that they have my back and vice versa. There's a lot to be said for mateship at this sort of level.Thanks for commenting Fiery Na! 🙂

  11. Hey, Sharon! Great to see you here, thanks for dropping in!!! (Sharon's a fellow Aussie & HM&B romance writer)And I agree with you – all volunteers rock! In this day and age, it's getting harder and harder to find people who will commit and give their time, so when you find them, let them know how much you appreciate them, folks! 🙂

  12. Barbara E. – another familiar face! Hi, good to see you here! :-)Glad you're all liking the photo's – it was hard to narrow down which ones to include in the post. I'm an avid photographer – I love nature or landscape shots, as you can see. LOL

  13. Hi Kylie, Great story about rescuing the woman in labor and her family. That must have been quite a night. I love your photographs as well. That's such a rewarding hobby when you get the shot. Many thanks for offering us a copy of your new book.

  14. Ausse, Aussie, Aussie! LOLHey, Marybelle, I bet you have some similar services out your way too! Maybe even the Royal Flying Doctor Service, if you're in an outback Queensland (for non-Australians, that's an aeroplane with a doctor & nurse who respond to emergency calls to geographically isolated parts of Australia and flies them to the nearest hospital).

  15. G'day Carl, yes, that stormy night is one I'm going to remember for a while. It was my first childbirth call out, although I was really hoping we weren't going to get stuck in such miserable conditions helping the baby arrive! LOLAnd you're right about getting "the shot" – you know it when it happens. I use a digital camera now, but used to use a Canon EOS & film. I try NOT to use any digital manipulation techniques on the photos I take. :-)Good luck in the draw for ALLIANCE FORGED!

  16. Great work! Both with your books and the volunteering! in Australia too! Do keep it up! I am sure that 3 is really important to the community!

  17. Thank you for participating in the giveaway. This series sounds amazing and I think even if I don't win I will definitely be checking it out. 🙂 And thank you for the pictures and letting us have a glimpse into what your life is like.

  18. Wow, what an amazing guestpost! I can't imagine living in such a small village. And to go from teacher to emergency rescue. I totally admire you for it! I love the covers of your books, they sure are on my wishlist now. Good luck with the new release.

  19. What an amazing thing to do, volunteer like that. The sad ones you will always remember, but I also hope that you can hold the happy successes close. And the skills you learn could come in handy when you least expect it =)

  20. Aurian, I never saw myself in the emergency services either – not when I first began teaching. But having been posted in outback Australia in small schools (enrollments all under 55 children) getting involved in something within these communities is a given! LOL And it just so happened I really enjoyed the skill set, not to mention the friendship of the other volunteers, that came with joining these organisations.

  21. G'day, Lexi H! Thanks for following the tour, good to see you here!Yes, the sad events will always be remembered but we have had some crack-up-laughing times too. I can remember our SES unit controller planned a mock car accident to practice so we could use our hydraulics equipment, lighting and rescue skills.He had an old bomb of a car that he placed on its side near the local rubbish dump one afternoon (on a dirt road well out of the way of traffic). It was to simulate a roll over.By that evening when we rolled out to a mock emergency call, got into the rescue truck and went down to the "road crash" site, when we got there the car was gone!So it turned into a search and rescue mission – our team searched the village and found it in a local's backyard. He'd "found" it, pushed it back onto its flat tyres and dragged it home. He was going to salvage it for spare parts! LOLWe claimed it back and had to conduct the activity another night!!!

  22. Hi Kylie! Congrats on the release of Alliance Forged! Can't wait to read it; Vengeance Born was one of my fav reads this year. I'm so totally in awe of your selflessness in the volunteer work you do. You're amazing!

  23. Hi Linda! Thank you – it's been an exciting week so far for ALLIANCE FORGED. And I'm so chuffed to hear VB was a fav.read of yours! :-)Volunteerism is something I saw my parents and extended family involved in so it's probably no surprise I drifted in the same direction as an adult. 🙂

  24. Veronika, Gene Mollica is my cover artist for the series so far. He's done all 3 covers (I've only just seen the cover for Bk#3 last week and it's freaking awesome!). If you'd like to check out his other work you can find him here – http://www.genemollica.comHe's done covers for most of the big publishing houses and authors like Kevin Hearne, L.A.Banks, Patricia Briggs, Richelle Mead, and C.E.Murphy, just to name a few.Oh, and for anyone interested, the cover model for ALLIANCE FORGED is a male model by the name of Matthew D.Fox – you can do a google search and find him easily. 🙂

  25. LOL, thanks Jennifer! You know, if you like the idea of the volunteer emergency services, you could always look up those in your area and go along, see what they do. You never know you might decide to give them a go and then you can experience some of the things I've talked about! 🙂

  26. Wonderful guest-post! Yikes! You are one busy woman. Beautiful pictures! I worked in healthcare for 15 years and the volunteers were SO helpful. I do not think I would like to live in such an rural small population though. I'd go crazy! Thank you for the chance to win! :)DeAnna Schultz

  27. Hi DeAnna, hats off to all healthcare workers and volunteers – you guys work very hard and in jobs that a lot of others wouldn't.Glad you enjoyed the post & pictures!

  28. Kylie – your volunteer work is amazing! I have such enormous repsect for people you are able to stay that calm and useful in an emergency. And I love your photos. I love photography although I'm not particularly good or professional with it – but thoses scenes are gorgeous!Thanks for making this international as well – much appreciated! :-)Mel S

  29. Hi Mel, it's an addictive hobby photography, isn't it? Even though I now have a digital camera I try not to photoshop stuff. I like the whole DIY of lighting, flash etc. to produce the best possible photo. Although that doesn't mean I don't fool around with some shots just to see what I can do with digital effects! LOLMy pleasure in making the book draw international – good luck! 🙂

  30. Kristia, those words are wonderful to hear! Nothing like knowing you've entertained someone with your story – thank you! :-)Which was your favorite scene/part?All the best in the draw.

  31. I liked the part where they got to know each other, when they didn't trust each other but had to stick together! I also liked the fact that even though Annika is strong, she is so vulnerable (emotionally) by the way she was treated while growing up.I already liked Kymora and Varian from Vengeane Born and can't wait to read their story 🙂

  32. One of my favorite "learning to trust" scenes to write was just after Annika & Kalan escaped from the fortress – where Annika reveals she's hungry and Kala threatens to kill her, and the tentative truce they reach in the clearing after that. :-)Kymora and Varian's story was so strong I had to hold back on some of the scenes in VB or they'd have taken it over! LOL There was no doubt their story would be next in line to be written! I hope you enjoy it as much as Vengeance Born, Kristia.Thanks for coming back to comment!

  33. Many thanks, Tynga, for hosting me on your blog – I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting. It was great being able to share some of my volunteer activities with your readers.Thank you to everyone who commented and interacted with me – I wish you all luck in the giveaway! 🙂 And to whomever wins – HAPPY READING!

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