My New Dark Epic Fantasy is Almost Here!

Yes, I’m slack. My new dark epic fantasy is coming out soon, and I haven’t even done a cover reveal on my blog. Well, here it is, cover reveal, blurb, links, sample, all the juicy stuff. Drumroll … may I introduce, Tempering the Rose. I will first thank the incredibly talented Robert Baird for my cover. I told him what I wanted, and he delivered with style (lucky me).

tempering-the-rose_ebook copy

I normally write YA fantasy, but I decided to test the waters of fantasy for older readers. I’ve enjoyed writing grittier scenes and language (okay, so that’s me politely saying my characters use the F word). At its core, it’s a story of revenge, love, and redemption, oh and saving the world (hence the epicness). There aren’t any dragons in this one, as far as I can tell (you never know what book 2 holds). I hope you give this one a go if you like fast-paced epic fantasy. And that’s Addy on the cover — my kick-ass main character hell-bent on revenge, and when you hear what was done to her, you’ll totally understand. Will she get her man? There’s only one way to find out ;). The book comes out April 19 on iBooks and the 2nd of May on Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. Buy before 19 April and get it for the special pre-release price of 99 cents. On 19th of April, the price will rise to $3.99.


A dark epic fantasy series, where one woman’s thirst for revenge will put the entire world in jeopardy.

The only thing twenty-one year old Adrastine wants is revenge against her depraved father—but when she tries to kill him, she is caught and thrown into a holy war for a god she doesn’t believe in. But disaster is coming, and all Adrastine’s problems will seem minor by comparison. Someone, or something, is draining the planet’s lifeblood, killing the land and everything on it at an alarming rate.

Jacob is a shelon, a man who can wield magic, and a spy dispatched by Queen Valtice to find The Rose of Nerine – the only one who can stop the rape of the land and save the people. But when Jacob finds Adrastine, he can’t convince her that she is The Rose, let alone to leave her home and journey with him across the tempestuous sea to Nerine.

Adrastine is drawn to Jacob, despite their differences. But that is a dangerous path, as he is an unwelcome distraction to her quest for revenge. And if she learns his secrets, it will cement her hatred of men forever, weakening powers she is only just learning she has, powers needed to save their world.


Addy crouched on the roof and stared over the parapet to the cobbled street below. A royal seeker stood watchful at the whorehouse door across the street, dim light from a wall lantern throwing his angular features into shadow. The threat of the sword hanging from his hip and his scowl would be enough to keep most people away. But not Addy. Not tonight.

The crisp air burned in her throat. Her thumb caressed the smooth timber of her bow. Back and forth. Back and forth. The rhythm did little to soothe her nerves, and she bit her bottom lip, the sting of it occupying her mind, keeping negative thoughts from sending her into retreat. In her other hand she gripped a cold arrow shaft so hard her nails dug deep half-moon indentations into her palm.

She had dreamed of this moment for the past seven years. Once her arrow pierced her father’s heart, she could get on with her life. At twenty-one, she was young enough to have a future — one far from Pyren, no doubt — but it was more than she had been brave enough to believe in before escaping her mother’s indifference and father’s abuse five years earlier.

What if the murder goes wrong? The searing image of a long-suppressed memory ignited, like a flash of lighting. Her thumb ceased stroking. She missed a breath. Nervous energy spread from her chest into her throat. Addy inhaled slowly to calm herself. She blinked, trying to clear her mind, then refocused on the door, which was still closed.

She would never go back. The nothingness of death was preferable to ending up where she had started — under the care and control of High Seeker Radnok and her addict mother.

Addy tilted her head to one side then the other, stretching her neck. Her gaze never left the whorehouse door. If she missed this opportunity, there would be no other. She would be on the run or dead.

The seeker stepped quickly to the side as the door opened. Harp notes cascaded out with the haze of smoke and two more seekers; the men beckoned to a horse and carriage waiting nearby. The horses moved forward, the strike of hooves on stone breaking through Addy’s focus, making her start.

She stood.

Relaxing one hand took great effort. Addy swiftly nocked an arrow. String taut, she rested her icy hand against her face, the comforting pressure of the bowstring against her cheek helping her focus. Any moment now. You can do this, Addy.

High Seeker Radnok stepped through the gloom. His footfalls matched the clack of hoof on stone as he moved into the light, into range. He was as she remembered him — tall, broad-shouldered, arrogance in the tilt of his head, dark beard framing a sneering mouth.

Addy inhaled deeply then held her breath, trying to temper her racing heart. The carriage moved closer. It would soon block her shot.

No more time.

Radnok lifted his gaze from the approaching carriage and looked right at her, his eyes widening.

Her hands shook. Another flash of memory. Blinded again.

Never going back.

The clop of hooves.


Never going back.

Radnok’s surprise swiftly dissipated.

She reached deep inside for the burning fire in her belly. The cocooning molasses of calm the fire brought slowed the world. Harp notes vibrated longer, became deeper. Her vision intensified — things far away seemed closer. Radnok’s hateful face was so clear, she could even see the smirk line next to his mouth.

Despite the world moving slower for her, Addy’s heart galloped with fear. She saw the triumph in Radnok’s eyes, saw it turn into something worse. He thought he had won.

Between one heartbeat and the next, she released.


A Guest with a Gift for Poetry and Verse—Maureen Flynn

Today I have my friend and poet visiting with a guest post. I first met Maureen at the NSW writers centre when I was there to talk about self-publishing. It’s exciting to see that Maureen has very recently self-published her first book of poetry, and what a gorgeous one it is. Even if poetry isn’t  your favourite thing; if you enjoy well-written prose, you will probably enjoy this – I know I did. Welcome, Maureen!

Why Poetry?

I first started writing poetry in high school; a creative form of self expression that my teacher’s never had to see. I mainly used my words for the force of good; exercising inner teen demons. For example, in Year 10 I wrote a poem about my Autistic brother. It is simple and technically awful and yet somehow… oh so accurate.

My Brother

What was that you said again?

Through innocent eyes I watch you, but

Never stare you in the eye.

It hurts, I tell you, it hurts.

You say ‘Hi,’

I sit and stare, because

What do you mean?

I play games by

Myself. Like Halo on xbox

And Zelda on my computer.

I play my gameboy.

I like my xbox, my computer, my gameboy.

I can understand them, but

Not the expression on your face.

I’ll tell you a secret!

I take tablets and I need lots of help.

I don’t like talking to people I don’t know.

But I like my dog.

Why is Mum so tired, why is sis so stressed?

I don’t know the answer so

I do an equation in my head.

I think I am mumbling.

I don’t like talking much.

What was that you said again?

When I wasn’t angsting experience, I exchanged lines of snarky free verse with my friend at the back of the English classroom. That’s how I ended up with a poem titled ‘Ode to Poetry’ (A response to Ode on a Grecian Urn) in the back of a workbook. My favourite part of the poem, aside from the alliteration of, ‘prattling pedagouge’ is the repetition of, ‘leave this picking apart/to the crows.’ How things change. Now I can’t get enough of literary analysis. The joke really backfired on me, Caringbah High.

As I got more comfortable messing around with free verse, I started to like putting word pictures together, and more and more complex ones too. It seemed to me that you could do so much more in free verse; capture something so raw, so human. Capture something ruined by too much laboured prose. I had very little life experience, but what did that matter? I soon discovered that this is what the movies are for!

I have always been a genre fiction lover. I’d rather not read about messy ordinary lives, thanks. Yet I can’t get enough of human mess at the movies. I have never been able to put my finger on just why I love straight drama on film but not in a book. Specifically, British drama. In high school I set the pattern. I love all of the actors who never get the publicity. It’s my own form of personal torture. I have seen almost every single drama film, good, bad and ugly, of the likes of Ralph Fiennes (always quietly burning over something but what?), Bill Nighy (life’s one big joke), Helena Bonham Carter (beautiful, eccentric and a messy powerhouse), Miranda Richardson (tiny and ripped apart by emotions) and Emily Watson (flinty, but somehow still breakable with those damned disconcerting lamp like eyes).

Something in the power of these actors varied performances spoke to me but I could never put it into words. The more poetry I wrote, the harder it was to string words into analytical sentences. It was so much easier, so much truer somehow, to tell stories, to respond to art with art. It was my way of making sense of the frightening, closed off and dangerous adult world that such actors regularly push us into confronting.

I saw Red Dragon. I didn’t write a review. To be honest, I wouldn’t remember the film today at all if it hadn’t been that I’d written a creative response to Watson’s Reba. I go back through my high school notebooks now, and I remember that the poem came about because of Reba, but the poem is not Reba. Reba was a springboard into a world of disability and judgement. A world that I do know and understand far too well. A world that I did know and understand then.

A Lament 

My wide eyes

Furtive, unseeing glances

Tell you what you already know

Even without the guiding stick.

My voice catches

At the sound of yours.

My mouth can’t take

Your awkward pauses.

Do I seem that desperate

To you?

When I cling and kiss your

Shyness away?

I’ve become so alone.

Shuttered away

Locked up with endless thoughts

Of a good day never to come.

All I want is

Someone to hold me

And say…

Someone to mean it and say…

“It’s all right to be different.

It’s all right

For blind women

To love.”

Yeah, I just want you to say

That just because I cannot see

Doesn’t mean that I can’t strive

For all I long to be.

Because oh how it hurts to be branded

With a label not of your choice

To have had the world take away

Both my sight and my voice.

And all because the universe can’t take


All because the universe takes


Free verse was my curious and secret addiction. I kept writing my short stories and my novels, but I couldn’t stop writing poetry. It was a compulsion. Poetry about my family, about my feelings, about characters in films and books, about love stories and murders. My meta about our cultural stories and products became my hidden art.

And then I got to university and started writing my own poetry stories…

My Heart’s Choir Sings tells the story of a man who loses his fellow creative and partner in tragic circumstances. As he looks at objects that were once hers, he remembers their time together, in all of its pathos and pain and love. It took me two years to write and to get to publication stage. Why? Because I like my poetry to be deceptively simple, full of cultural reference and winding like a labyrinthe. I am a perfectionist, in poetry as with everything else. I want the word choices to be just so; I want you, the reader, to see what I see. I want you to feel and experience the emotional mess that I paint with my words, just as the best actors force you to experience their characters inner tumoil.

Just as drama suits the film medium, so too does poetry. Especially free verse poetry. That first person confessional drags you in, doesn’t let you look away from the impending train wreck. The imagery engages the senses and drowns you in dark and light planes. Emotional failure and carthasis become yours.

Deep down I know, dear readers, that for me, this is why poetry.

heart's choir

Maureen writes young adult speculative fiction novels and short stories and is currently studying to become a teacher. She reviews genre fiction and films, interviews authors and discusses writing at her blog, InkAshlings. She also writes free verse poetry about the human connection. Her verse novella, My Heart’s Choir Sings, is currently on sale for 99c on Smashwords and Amazon.

You can also like the Facebook page.

Otherwise, You can find Maureen at her website or on Goodreads.