My Writing Process Blog Tour

Hey everyone. I don’t often do blog tour thingies, but I couldn’t say no to the awesome Lorna Suzuki when she asked if I’d participate. Lorna has written a truckload of books, and the first three books in her Imago fantasy series are being turned into movies. I can’t wait to go see them and brag to my kids that I know the author. If you want to find out more about Lorna and her work, click here for her website.

So, to play the blog tour game, I just have to answer four questions about, you guessed it, my writing process. Here goes.

What am I working on?

I’ve just finished writing the last book in my epic fantasy series The Circle of Talia. Realm of Blood and Fire is with the editor at the moment and will be released through iBooks on 21st July as an ebook. They’ve been really good to me, so I’ve given them a one-month exclusive on the ebook, but the paperback will be available from Amazon on the same date. So I have editing and reading through to come, and when I’m finished, I’m going to start on the next book in my Doris & Jemma Vadgeventure series (yes that’s women’s fiction, not YA fantasy).

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, I wouldn’t say that everything I feel is fairly original has never been done before, but I don’t think there are a lot of books out there at the moment being written with the same fantasy tropes as mine (cue a hundred people naming books in the comments thread). I have strong female protagonists, animal companions that can speak to their realmists mind to mind, an original magic system, and sentient dragons who have their own culture and city. I also have gormons, and I know no one else has those :).

Why do I write what I do?

I love fantasy because I love to escape, and I’ve always loved dragons, so I had to have them in my books. And no one can tell me I’m wrong. It’s my world and I made it up, so I’m right ;). I also write horror, women’s fiction and suspense. I write different genres because I enjoy it, and I love pushing my writing boundaries, which I really have with Close Call, my women’s fiction (if you think I’m exaggerating, go read the blurb on Amazon).

How does your writing process work?

I usually know where I want my characters to end up, and I know where they start from, but I’m what’s known as a ‘pantser’—I make it up as I go along. I can write at any time of day or evening, but my brain is usually fried by 10 pm, so if I’m awake, which I usually am at that time, it’s tv or reading that I do rather than writing. If I come across plot problems, my brain works them out quite nicely just as I’m falling asleep or waiting in line at the shops—my brain is fairly good to me and it hasn’t let me down yet (fingers crossed).

After I finish writing my book, I read through it and then send it to the editor. When it comes back from the editor, I go through the edits, and when I’ve done that, I give it one more read through before it goes out. I also used a proofreader for my last book, and I’ll probably do that for this one too (although time is always tight).

Thanks for stopping by and having a read. I’m not sure if I’ve enlightened anyone about anything worthwhile, but hey, you’ve just procrastinated for a couple of minutes—now get back to work! ;).

What … I’m a Must-Read Author? Woohoo!

If you hate people patting themselves on the back, leave now :). Well, it’s not just a case of that, but also of taking a moment to appreciate how far I’ve come and know that no matter how hard it gets in this writing game, someone values my work.

When I first started my writing journey, I dreamed of success, but my realistic hope was that a few people, outside the safe-haven of family and friends, would read my books. Well, I’ve achieved that with the added bonus that this month I was named by iTunes Australia as one of “10 Emerging Fantasy Authors You Must Read.”

That’s so exciting (well it is for me)! I’m so happy and can’t quite believe I get to say that someone’s said that about me. I’m sure you all know what I mean; you strive so long for something, and it’s your dream to be recognised as someone with at least a little bit of skill or talent and then one day someone does it in a very public way. Praise doesn’t come along every day — indeed sometimes it’s the opposite — so I’m going to enjoy it. Whenever I doubt myself, I can look at my screenshot and smile :).

Screen Shot 2013-11-26 at 10.54.57 AM

Thank you to the peeps at iTunes for giving me such an awesome accolade and for supporting indie authors alongside the traditionally published ones, and thank you to all the readers who have bought my books — I get excited every time I know someone new is going to read one of my books.

It’s time for me to go as I have to finish writing the third and last book in my fantasy series. Have a great day everyone!

Shadows of the Realm—Bloopers

While writing Shadows of the Realm and A Time of Darkness, there were times when my characters would embarrass themselves and they begged me not to include those scenes. I have, up until now, kept them secret, but I’ve decided to do a ‘bloopers’ series. This is the first excerpt from that series. Please enjoy my characters stuffing up on the job.

INSIDE THE MOUNTAIN IN VELLONIA, CITY OF THE DRAGONS—MORNING

Bronwyn, Blayke and their creaturas entered the vast dining hall.  One of the long timber tables was set with a farewell breakfast. Pancakes, fresh strawberries, gozzleberries, fried bacon and the extra-large eggs of the Vellonian eagle—cooked sunny-side up—lay enticingly upon platters on the tabletop. Bronwyn breathed in. “Yum. That smells delicious.” She sat on one of the large bench seats, legs dangling, while Sinjenasta lay behind her chair, the large panther having enjoyed his haunch of venison outside earlier. Blayke sat opposite, grabbing his fork and stabbing into a pancake, dumping it into his plate before spreading a clump of butter on top. Fang, the rat, peeked out of Blayke’s pocket and took the small piece of pancake the realmist offered him.

Zim, the black dragon prince, entered as Blayke shoved a forkful of pancake into his mouth.

“Good morning, my friends. How did you sleep?”

“Good thanks,” said Bronwyn as she scooped strawberries onto her pancake. “I’ll be sad to leave today.”

“We’ll be sad to see you go, young realmist. I’m sure you’ll be back one day.”

“I hope so.” Bronwyn smiled as Zim sat next to her and spiked a piece of bacon with one claw, an egg with another, popping them into his mouth. “Mmm, this is good.” Suddenly a loud rumble rolled through the dining hall. “Oops. Excuse me.” Zim’s dinner-plate size eyes looked from Bronwyn to Blayke and back again.

“Oh my gods! Did you just … um, pass wind?” Bronwyn coughed and covered her mouth and nose with her hand.

“Wow, that stinks!” Blayke snatched another pancake and stood. “I’m gonna have to finish this outside.”

Bronwyn’s voice was muffled by her palm. “I’ll join you.”

Wait for me said Sinjasta.

“I’m sorry. Come back. It’s not that bad, is it? Really?” Zim sniffed as he watched them hurry out. Suddenly alone, he surveyed the food. “I’m going to have to stop eating eggs, at least when we have company. Oh well, I have no company now, and this food won’t eat itself.” The dragon reached over towards the eggs…

 

 

 

 

A Time of Darkness is Here! Awesome Epic Fantasy

A Time of Darkness Cover
A Time of Darkness Cover

I almost feel like I’m spamming everyone; my cover was ready so I did the cover reveal, and I was going to wait to upload to Amazon, but I couldn’t! So now, the next book in  The Circle of Talia series is out there. You can find it on Amazon or Smashwords and soon iTunes, Kobo and Barnes & Noble. The sequel to Shadows of the Realm continues the story of realmists, Bronwyn and Blayke and their creaturas, Sinjenasta and Fang. It’s fast-paced, scary and has awesome dragons (although those who have read Shadows of the Realm would know that).

I hope a lot of readers are waiting for this book and will now run out and buy it—I promise you won’t be disappointed. Here is an excerpt where we join the evil gormons in the Third Realm, a place they hate. They look forward to the day when they swarm Talia and begin their eating frenzy:

“Klazich absently picked at his teeth with a sharpened ulna—courtesy of his last meal. He looked across the table at his brother. Squinting and blinking did nothing to improve the hazy view. The Third Realm wavered and shaded reality like a suffocating nightmare—nothing appeared clear. Feldich’s outline was revealed to him, and he could almost look into his eyes. He curled his clawed hand into a fist, resisting the urge to slam the table.

Feldich sipped from the glass of bevanda, his favorite mix of blood and acidic lake water, and burped. Many gormons had died trying to adjust to the acidic water when they were first banished to this dim, nowhere realm. “Ha, Brother. I might have just hit upon the only thing I’ll miss from this stinking realm. I suppose we might be able to acidize Talia’s water once we’re there. What do you think?”

“Whatever you want.” His raspy voice suited the gloom. “Right now, I couldn’t care less. If we don’t get out of here by the full moon, we’ll never get out. I don’t fancy dying on this shitty, gods-forsaken excuse for a realm.” Klazich placed the bone in his mouth and crunched down, snapping it in half.

“How long have we got?”

“The next-best window through the corridor is Talia’s next full moon. Embrax calculated that’s in sixteen First Realm days. He’ll watch the moon’s symbol as it grows brighter.”

“Only one corridor will be open?”

“Yes. I know it’s not ideal. We’ll all end up where High Priest Kerchex is. It will take longer to spread out and crush those usurping parasites. But we will do it. I won’t rest until every filthy human and dragon is dead.” Placing the rest of the bone in his mouth, he chewed, grinding the fragments into splinters. He hated the humans. He hated the dragons. Talia had once belonged to the gormons, and it would again.”

Grab A Time of Darkness and find out what happens next.

Cover Reveal: A Time of Darkness

OMG! I’m so excited! I just received the final cover images from Robert Baird, cover-guy extraordinaire, and my cover is full of super awesome fantasticity (if you can’t make up a word at a time like this, when can you make one up?). A Time of Darkness, second book in The Circle of Talia series, is going to be released in the next couple of days, but until then, here is the blurb and the cover, which depicts a scene from mid-way through the book. I hope this gets all you readers excited (I know I am). Now excuse me while I continue jumping around the lounge room :).

A Time of Darkness Cover
A Time of Darkness Cover

While Bronwyn languishes in a cell in the bowels of Vellonia and the dragon king argues for her death, the gormons are one step closer to destroying Talia. To add to The Circle’s problems, Leon’s plans to overthrow his brother, King Edmund, are moving ahead faster than anyone could have imagined, and someone will die as a result. The realmists and dragons are doing all they can, but how could it possibly be enough when thousands have already been slaughtered?

The prophesized time of darkness, a time the realmists have dreaded for the last thousand years, has begun.

NetGalley Reviewers Check out Shadows of the Realm

Are you a reviewer who uses NetGalley? If you are, Shadows of the Realm, the first book in my YA epic fantasy is on there for a month. It has dragons, a panther, action, and evil gormons. If you’re looking for another world to escape into then this is the book for you. It’s even been number #1 in two categories on Amazon. So, what else can I say? Not much. Wow this is a really short blog post. Hmm, okay, I’m off to get a coffee. Bye 🙂

The Circle of Talia Book Two Update—Epic Fantasy

So here we are with three days left of my book sale and I’m happy to report that it was a success! I’m not here to celebrate though; I’m here to give some information about the series :). I’m excited that after a week I’ve had a few enquiries from people wanting to know a) is there a book two? and b) when is it coming? They are questions we writers love, love, love to hear!

How cruel would it be if I only wrote one book in the series? Actually it would be downright evil and I’m not evil, well only when it comes to killing off my characters. So to assuage my readers’ fears I can say I am writing book two in The Circle of Talia series and am one quarter into the first draft. I’m hoping it will be ready for editing in February and released at the end of March. I can’t wait to contact Rob—the talented artist who did the first cover—to discuss my ideas. He blew me away last time and it will be so exciting to see more of my characters come to life on the next cover.

The writing has been emotional as I’ve found out that more than one of my characters will die by the end of the series and I’m mourning them early. If you are saying to yourself “Ok, she’s a total nutter,” I agree, I probably am, but my characters are like family and I know them so well.

I want to say thanks to those readers who have bought the book and especially to the encouraging readers who let me know they’re eagerly awaiting the next book. As soon as book two is out I’ll start writing book three, so never fear, the story will get finished, maybe even by the end of the year, unless there is more to tell and then you’ll have to wait for book four.

I’d better go back to work now, but I’ll leave you with an unedited (forgive me if there are mistakes) snippit from my second epic fantasy novel (which I still haven’t named) —the sequel to Shadows of the Realm.

***

Agmunsten stood taller, bracing himself to take the news on the strongest shoulders he could offer. “Tell me the price so we may get on with this blessing.” Blayke wondered what the price would be, and knew, from the Head Realmist’s voice, it would be a big one. He shut his eyes and drew a deep, calming breath.

“Listen carefully, and repeat this to no one. When the price is asked, you will have one chance to act. If you hesitate, the chance will be lost and so will Talia. The two you must sacrifice are….”

All three realmists paled, and Blayke blinked tears back. When Drakon finished speaking, the energy flows to the channels ceased, and as Blayke reached down to gather the quartz in his shaking hands, he wished he were an innocent child once again. He didn’t know how to carry this new burden and thought death would be so much easier. His fingers touched the pendant and he fell to his knees. Agmunsten and Arcese stood in silence as Blayke knelt on the floor and wept.

Agmunsten covered his face with his hands. They had survived the blessing of the quartz; so why did it feel like they had failed?