I Finished Book Two, A Time of Darkness—Yay Me!

He, he, I’m celebrating! I finished my second book, A Time of Darkness, and it is with the editor being beautified. You would think I would be out enjoying myself, but no, I am home with a glass of Baileys and a blog post. I was meant to do grocery shopping later but now I can’t because of the Baileys—I’m an irresponsible writer but a responsible driver—it’s okay to blog when you’ve been drinking; in fact, it’s encouraged.

I’ve enjoyed writing this second book in The Circle of Talia series, although it took longer than I’d hoped (excuses are as follows: work, uni, kids, sun baking, tweeting) and one of my beloved characters had to die :(. Anyway, I finally made it and was nice enough to end on another cliff-hanger—don’t you just love me *batts eyelashes*.

I’m soooooo happy! It feels even better than the first time because I know it wasn’t a fluke. It has certainly helped that some wonderful people out there are actually waiting for it and have kept me going with constant encouragement. So now I’m waiting for the cover, and I’ll have to get stuck into the edits my wonderful editor, Chryse Wymer, did (she’s very good, but shhh don’t tell anyone or they’ll use her to edit their books instead of me).

My cover reveal will be on the 8th (so my cover-boy-extraordinaire, Robert Baird, tells me), and the book will be available by the 15th April. I can’t believe I made it. Woohoo!!! Yay me!! “Waiter, another Baileys.” Oops, that was my husband walking past. Looks like I’ll have to pour it myself. 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?

The Next Big Thing Blog Tour Thingy Majiggy

I’ve been tagged for a bit of a blog hop thingy by good writer friend Tima Lacoba. I’m required to answer the following questions and I promise to do so to the best of my ability (so don’t expect too much). I currently have a fantasy novel out (in case the dragon on my website was not a dead giveaway), a book of suspenseful, and somewhat dark, short stories, Dark Spaces, and I’ve just released a little short story, all on it’s own, called Divine Intervention. The one I’ll be referring to today is Shadows of the Realm—my first, and most loved, baby.

  • What is the title of your latest book? Shadows of the Realm.
  • Where did the idea come from for the book? Not sure. Just wanted to write a fantasy book and that’s the one that was there.
  • What genre does your book fall under? Young adult, epic fantasy, with dragons. I don’t think ‘with dragons’ is a genre, but, if erotica can have tentacle sex as a sub-genre, I can have dragons.
  • What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? Oh goodness, gracious, mwah (I just wanted an excuse to blow you all a kiss), OK it’s moi. Hmm, this is a tough one because I don’t watch a lot of movies so I’m not totally up with who is around. I’ll leave it to the casting agent.
  • What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? With their world under threat of invasion, Bronwyn and Blayke, two young realmists, are forced to leave all they’ve known to undertake a dangerous journey to discover the magic of the realms before all they love is destroyed.
  • Is your book self-published or represented by an agency? Bwahahaha. Oh, excuse me *straightens shirt and smooths hair.*  I’m self published.
  • How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? I can’t remember specifics, as it was eight years ago, but I’m thinking it was two or three months.
  • What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Anything by David Eddings with a hint of Stephen King at times. (Note here that I’m not saying it’s as good as theirs, but they have been my influences and I can only aspire to their great skill. Just wanted to make that clear so there’s no massive expectations when you buy my book. Although, you can have some expectations, just don’t go overboard—it wouldn’t be good for either of us).
  • Who or what inspired you to write this book? I inspired myself (I’m very inspirational you know). I’d always wanted to write a book—I don’t know why—and so I did.
  • What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Hmm, the characters are varied and well drawn (I have it on good authority), there’s dragons, a splatter of horror, much adventuring and visiting different realms and of course, my unique brand of humour, which probably isn’t that unique and I’m sure not everyone finds it funny. All I can say is that I enjoyed writing it and reading it the two hundred times I went through it in editing, so I’m sure you can brave it just once, please? (This isn’t begging, I’m just being polite).

Not sure if I’m supposed to tag anyone or if it’s supposed to die a natural death. I’ll keep it going for one more time and tag my podcast partners in crime, Amber Jerome~Norrgard. Take it away Amber :).

Oh and I wouldn’t be doing this properly if I didn’t have a call to action at the end. Go and buy the book, now, quick, before … before … well, before you forget.

OMG, If You’ve Read Shadows of the Realm, You Have a Chance to Win!

Hey Everyone :). As a Christmas ‘thank you’ to all my wonderful readers, I’m running a competition. It’s been so amazing to have people read my book and let me know they’ve enjoyed it, and I wanted to return some of the love. I’m asking you to post your favourite quote from Shadows of the Realm on my Facebook author page or on Twitter (don’t forget to tweet it @DionneLister or I’ll miss it). The quote must come from Chapter 8 onwards. Each person can only enter once, as I don’t want it to turn into some crazy quoting of the whole book lol. There will be two winners—each will receive a $20 (US) Amazon gift voucher. The competition starts on 14th November, 2012 and I will draw the winners on 16th December 2012 (my Grandmother’s birthday), wherein I’ll announce the results on my Facebook Page. So, if you haven’t yet bought your copy, go now. Good luck you Awesome Peeps!

Urban yet Epic – Awakenings Gets 5 Pointy Stars

We recently had Edward Lazellari as a guest on Tweep Nation, but don’t let that fool you—my review is honest (just ask Amber how hard it is to get 5 stars from moi). This was one hellava good book. Read on…

I’m not normally into fantasy set in the ‘real’ world, as I love dragons and traditional fantasy worlds, however, this book changed that. The author is skilled at creating atmosphere and drawing a clear picture without overdoing it. Without giving too much away, the setting is in present-day United States with main characters who are of another time and place. I would call this an epic in the sense that there is a battle of good against evil and there is certainly a race against time. The tension present in this book ensures you’ll be turning the pages, eager to find out what happens next.

The characters were three-dimensional (thank goodness), the plot rich, and the pacing fast. This book had me turning the pages and forgetting the time—I always love it when a book does that. It is the first in a series, which isn’t stated on the cover, but I was aware, as I’d read other reviews. I’m eagerly awaiting the next book from this talented author and am very happy there are more books to come.

Flash Fiction Autobiographical Piece (no I’m not flashing)

Uni is upon me again and I must write weekly snippets to post on the board. This week we have been asked to tell our ‘life story’ in 250 words. Mine has gone off the rails a tad. I know I understand what I mean but maybe other people won’t. I’ve posted it anyway because I love to share. Here’s hoping someone else enjoys my autobiographical flash fiction.

 

What is relevant in the story of my life? Is it that I was born in Sydney to immigrant parents, or is it that I’m married with two young children? Many of the events that shaped me are hazy memories, some even appear as dreams: me as a five year old, lying in a white room on a cold, stainless steel table, staring at bright lights while a white-coated person stands over me. As a teenager, when I told my mother about this memory-come-dream, she advised that when I’d had meningitis, they extracted spinal fluid from me with a more-than-impressive needle, without anesthetic. She, sitting frantic in an adjoining room, could hear my screams: screams she would never forget. My life shaping experience had become hers.

What is the story of someone’s life? As I stand before you as an author, mother, sister, sports-lover and wife, does my backstory matter? My experiences are gone as soon as they occur, and I am this moment in time. The retelling is a reshaping, not a reliving—we can never go back. The relevant story of my life, to me, is what is to come. Since I am not who I was when I was born, my life unfolds moment to moment: the story ever beginning and ending, each moment becomes my story until it has passed—then it belongs to another.

Flash Fiction – A Million Little Pieces

This flash fiction was inspired by 30 Seconds to Mars’ song Search and Destroy (A Million Little Pieces). I entered it in a flash fiction comp but alas, it didn’t catch the judges’ eye. Not to worry, that’s why I have a blog. Maybe one of you peeps will like reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

A Million Little Pieces

She stood on the creaking deck of an ancient ferry. A million little pieces. Her hands tightened about the railing. Debris from black clouds, invisible in the night sky, stung her face. Which were tears and which were rain; she no longer knew. Closing her eyes, she tilted her face to the infinite space above. A million little pieces.

She imagined she felt his hands about her waist, grounding her as gusting tentacles attempted to carry her off. Where she once felt his warmth, an aching imprint of lost passion burned through her pores. She willed the rain to scour her skin, rip the veneer of lust away. Her emotions possessed a deep rich bouquet, each drop extracted, consumed, and refilled on his whim. What was left fermented in a glass vial where no one could see.

He didn’t want what little was left. He had gripped the neck of the vial, had smashed it with a confident yet negligent thrust of his arm. Her vessel had shattered into a million little pieces, and her essence trickled into the cracks between the timbers, washing from railing to railing with the roll of the sea. She wished to be free but knew she was weak. But so was he.

“Faith.”

“Let me go.” Even as she spoke she sank into his arms.

He smiled and shook his head.

As he possessed her once again, each shard stabbed a little deeper, and she wept for the love that was anchored in his intense, dark waters. She escaped the only way she knew how: into the depths of him.

I’ve Been Tagged! U Got “The Look”

As the friend who tagged me, Tonya Cannariato wrote, Justin wrote, “The Look is a writing prompt, a game, another tagging event. This is how U Got “The Look” works: you take your current manuscript, search for the word “look”, and post the surrounding paragraphs. Lastly, you tag 5 blogging authors who you think will be a good choice for the game.”

My work in progress is the sequel to Shadows of the Realm, the first book in The Circle of Talia fantasy series. I hope this isn’t giving any spoilers away, but what the hell? Why not? I’m only mid-way through writing chapter six, but it’s getting exciting and the characters are in a race against time. Shit is hitting the fan—well  it would if their world had fans, but it doesn’t—hmm, I digress. OK, I’ll stop rambling and give it to you kiddies. Danananaaaaa!

Agmunsten peered at the Dragon King. “So, Valdorryn, who would you rather upset—Queen Jazmonilly, or Drakon?”

            The Dragon King squinted his eyes. “How do you know it’s him, hmm? You weren’t alive during the Gormon War. How can you know?”

            Agmunsten clenched and unclenched his fists, “Bronwyn told me his name and when I questioned him, he all but admitted Drakon was involved. I have ways of knowing when people are telling the truth. Look, Valdorryn, I know this is hard for you to accept, that your God may have wanted one of your own killed. But if I’m right, what does that tell us?”

            Zim listened and knew where Agmunsten was headed. He remembered finding the spires hadn’t been charged properly, and Symbothial’s reaction when he confronted him. His colour returned, but it was with a sad voice he answered the Head Realmist. “My cousin betrayed us.” Zim turned to look at his father, “I know this is hard for you to believe. I didn’t want to think it either, but I can’t ignore the facts any longer. Symbothial wasn’t maintaining the spires properly. It was his job, and we all know how important it is. When I checked them a while ago, the rivers to three of the spires were blocked; more than enough to let any Gormons through. When I spoke to him, he acted like it wasn’t important.”

            “That’s not enough to condemn him. Maybe he was just being careless because we’ve been safe for so long; it’s easy to become complacent.” King Valdorryn’s voice trailed off as he lost the energy to make excuses. He had to admit there was only one decision he could make, and he was dreading having to explain this to his wife. 

Hmm, so who to tag? Eeny, meeny, miney, moe. The following people are all in the firing line. If you’ve done it before you get a reprieve:

Maria Savva

Jane Isaac

James Garcia Jnr

Charity Parkerson

Julie Elizabeth Powell

Ok guys. Ready. Set. Go!

Undertow – Flash Fiction

She clutched his jacket. Fingers curled possessively around the fabric, pulling then pushing into his chest. Her earthquake shook him, but he was unmoved. The sympathy in his eyes only teased the ravenous anger until it consumed all rationality.

“You can’t leave me. I love you. Please tell me you love me?” As she tried to breathe, he was reminded of the final breath of the dog he had unintentionally run over. “This can’t be happening. Sam. Please, please, don’t leave me.”

Waterlogged eyes reached out to him. If he didn’t save her she would drown. The slightest shake of his head was all it took to condemn her to death. He was no hero, just a guy who wasn’t in love anymore.

“Beth, I’m sorry.” He grabbed her wrists. Unlatched them from his jacket. His head hung low as he walked out the door.

“I can’t live without you,” she whispered. As salty tears leached into her mouth, she made her way to the kitchen. “I love you, Sam.” Her raspy words were in harmony with the sound of the knife sliding from its block. The grey steel of the blade was cold, hard and comforting. It was time to stop crying. She would be the hero.

Beth departed in Sam’s wake. She would save them both.

The Night Circus – A Rich Atmosphere with Bland Characters

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a book that had me thinking it was fairly good until I really thought about what I did and didn’t like about it. I was initially impressed by the original theme and plot, and the writing is bordering on great but didn’t quite get there for me. Morgenstern’s descriptive language provides a rich atmosphere, but the rhythm overall is repetitive and, at times, monotonous.

The editing lets the book down. I know a lack of punctuation can be trendy, or speed up the flow, but only when used effectively. Tim Winton is a skillful writer who knows when to leave out punctuation, but Erin Morgenstern’s editor should be slapped with a wet fish. There were instances where sentences became unclear and I had to read them twice to make sure I understood exactly what they were saying—a comma can be a good thing. I also found a couple of run-on sentences, which a reader probably wouldn’t notice, but as an editor, I couldn’t help but see.

The characters were likable and I could picture them clearly, however they lacked depth and I didn’t love any of them. The love story between two of the characters had moments of intensity, but not enough for my liking (and I don’t mean it should have been more raunchy). It seemed like the author was keeping them apart to build suspense and it worked as I was thinking, come on when will they get to see each other again, but when they did reunite it wasn’t spectacular, it was just OK. I’m wondering if the focus on the circus took too much focus off the characters. The author has skillfully set the atmosphere and scene but it has come at a cost to character depth. Sometimes I wished she would just get on with telling the story, rather than describe every single tent in the damn circus. The circus stole some of the soul of the characters and none were as central to the story as it was, which I think is a mistake. To me, this book is a good example that characterization can be more important than plot and setting—give me lovable characters and I’d be happy to watch them lazing away on the beach, but give me boring ones and my heart won’t race even if they’re wrestling crocodiles.

OK, I know it seems like I didn’t like the book, but I liked it enough that I wanted to read the whole thing and I did enjoy parts of it, however it doesn’t make my ‘want to re-read’ list. This book, with a bit of work, could have been so much better. This book gets 3 not so twinkly stars.