Thursday, October 12, 2017

Where Do You Get Your Inspiration From?

I was very excited to discover that Netflix have produced a remake of the British children's TV show, 'The Worst Witch'. I absolutely loved this show as a child and it was the inspiration behind the first 'novel' that I ever wrote.



The Worst Witch is set in an all-girls academy in Britain. I wrote about a co-ed school in Australia. I tried to make the story *mine* as much as I possibly could, but in all honesty, 12 year-old me didn't really know what that meant and my story was more or less a carbon-copy of the TV show. I was outraged when, at age 13, I read Harry Potter for the first time. I felt like J.K.Rowling had ripped off' my idea for writing about a co-educational magic school. I even drafted a letter to her telling her about my story and, although I loved The Philosopher's Stone, surely she could sympathise with me that she had beaten me to publication with her story simply because she was an adult and I was a child?

Ah, children are so funny.

Anyway, ever since I saw The Worst Witch I have had a fascination with magic. If magic were real, where would you learn the craft? Would your parents teach you, or would you go to school? Would you hide from the non-magical world, or would you simply be a sub-sect of the greater community?

These were questions that I pondered for years, and since falling in love with the story of Mildred Hubble at the tender age of 11 or 12, I have researched and read anything I could get my hands on about the history behind magic. It is no accident that my own book series, The Rachaya Series, is set in a magical school of sorts.

Every step I have taken in writing has seemed like a natural progression of random events, and yet I can trace that first passion that sparked the burning inferno that is now my job back to a rather corny TV show.

What was the inspiration behind your journey as a writer? Can you even remember?

And yes, I did binge watch 9 of the 12 episodes of The Worst Witch in one sitting last night. Why do you ask?



P.S. I have all of the above-mentioned animals as pets. Dare to dream!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Fyrebyrne Island - Now an Ebook

For all of you tech-savvy readers out there, Fyrebyrne Island is now available in ebook form on Amazon.

Amazon Australia
Amazon UK
Amazon US


On another note, Book 2 of the Rachaya Series, "The Lost City" is now with my wonderful editor. I believe she will begin work on it at the end of this month. I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed the process of writing it.

Once again, I wanted to thank everyone who has purchased Fyrebyrne Island and taken the time to leave a thoughtful review. You make this little author very happy :)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Introducing: Mikel Aramus Perfero

Mikel is the cousin of Rachaya's late mother in The Rachaya Series.

Mikel is cheeky and most often has a sparkle in his eyes. However, he also has a quick temper and isn't afraid to show it. He thought of Adara, Rachaya's mother, as a sister and therefore views Rachaya as a favourite niece. He is married to the Lady Anjela, with whom he has one son, Lord Hektor. Born a prince, Mikel is excellent at diplomacy and extracting himself from difficult situations. He is not used to being told 'no'.

Hobbies: sword fighting, deliberately upsetting his wife's delicate sensibilities, taking tea with his mother.

Appearance: Mikel has the vibrant Perfero red hair, but it is greying somewhat at the temples. He is fairly tall for a fire dragon and has sparkling blue eyes. When angry his eyes turn to green, the colour of his dragon form.

Key qualities: Mikel is a good confidant and follows duty to a fault. He is a loyal subject to King Stimeon.

Elemental type: Fire dragon

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a3/Tom_Hiddleston_Comic_Con_2016.jpg/220px-Tom_Hiddleston_Comic_Con_2016.jpg

Thursday, September 21, 2017

FrightFall 2017 - Argh!

If there is one genre of fiction that I am guilty of avoiding it is horror. Overactive imagination + horror = terrible nightmares. Once or twice over the years I have taken part in the always-fun Seasons of Reading challenges. This year I am going to take part in Fright Fall over the month of October. The idea is to read at least one horror book over the course of the month.



Have you got any suggestions for a good example of horror fiction for me to read?

Frightfall Book 1: Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
Frightfall Book 2: Ghostly, a collection of short stories compiled by Audrey Niffenegger

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Introducing: Reijko Breeze

Reijko is friends with Rachaya in The Rachaya Series.

Reijko lives in his own, happy world and has a unique perspective on the events around him. He often misinterprets the meaning behind the things other people say, which often diffuses a tense situation.

Hobbies: playing Rune Roar, eating bug candy.

Appearance: Reijko is pint-sized with large grey eyes.

Key qualities: Like most air dragons, Reijko has a strong psychic ability and is on his way towards becoming a talented dreamer.

Elemental type: Air dragon


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Introducing: Aodfin Hill

Aodfin is a loyal supporter of Rachaya in The Rachaya Series.

Aodfin is the son of the earth dragon leader, Ardhan. He has a lot of his father's natural gravitas and dragons tend to follow his lead. He was told by his father to keep an eye on Rachaya, and he does this with deep seriousness.

Hobbies: studying the ancient dragon runes, weaponry.

Appearance: Aodfin is incredibly muscular, like all earth dragons. He is a tall and imposing figure and very rarely smiles.

Key qualities: Aodfin has magical strength. His is loyal and quick-thinking. If he is ever witness to bullying behaviour he puts a stop to it immediately.

Elemental type: Earth dragon


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Introducing: Zeb Stream

Zeb is good friends with Rachaya in The Rachaya Series.

Zeb is a water dragon, and yet it is his greatest wish to be able to fly. He doesn't care if this makes him weird, the thrill of being in the air is worth any jibe that may come his way. Zeb is often the peace-keeper between the more fiery dragons in his friendship group. He is the best friend of Morhol and often keeps him grounded.

Hobbies: dreaming about flying,

Appearance: Like all water dragons, Zeb is rather rotund. He has a large, square face and innocent eyes. He almost always wears a cheerful expression.

Key qualities: Zeb is happy-go-lucky and friendly, always looking at the bright side to any given situation.

Elemental type: Water dragon

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Introducing: Morhol Ash

Morhol is a close friend of Rachaya in The Rachaya Series.

Morhol comes from a some-what disgraced family in Perfero Village. He often has to steal to support his mother, and he knows what it is like to go to bed hungry. He is fiercely loyal to his friends, often placing himself in front of them if he ever perceives any hint of danger.

Hobbies: eating, reading, eating, hanging out with his best friend, Zeb, and eating.

Appearance: Morhol has dark features with rather thick eyebrows. His is of average build.

Key qualities: Morhol will always be the first to join you in a fight and is not afraid to put his body on the line. He is intensely intelligent, and uses this to help his friends.

Elemental type: Fire dragon

Image source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7a/Ch_Bale_02.jpg/170px-Ch_Bale_02.jpg

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Introducing: Nazish Cinder

Nazish is the best friend of Rachaya in The Rachaya Series.

Call her Nazish and you can expect a decent sized bruise to appear on your arm. Her name is Naz.

Naz was held back a year at Wyvold the Fierce School for Dragons because she cannot learn to meditate properly. She is also super clumsy and regularly sports a black eye from her weaponry class. She has an annoying little sister called Sunni, who is thankfully too small to attend Wyvolds yet. Naz is sassy and tough and Rachaya's go-to person on all things dragony.

Hobbies: setting things on fire, slogging people on the arm.

Appearance: Naz is very attractive, with wavy black hair and a winning smile. She would be unrecognisable without her usual black eye thanks to her clumsiness.

Key qualities: Naz is confident and not afraid to speak her mind. She is also a loyal friend and will stand up for what is right.

Elemental type: Fire dragon

Image Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d5/Zoe_Salda%C3%B1a_2009.jpg/170px-Zoe_Salda%C3%B1a_2009.jpg

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Book Review: The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss

Pros:
- Rothfuss' writing has an almost musical quality to it. Some sentences are so beautiful you can meditate on them for days.

- The way the story is told deviates from the norm when it comes to fantasy fiction. This is a recount of events past, as told by a man who has become something of a legend. Here he is setting the record straight, for the first time telling his story from start to finish. In a stroke of pure genius, there is a scene at the end where local villagers are recounting stories they have heard of Kvothe, so similar and yet so wrong to the actual events. It was the perfect way to cap off the story.

- Rothfuss has managed to be deliciously ambiguous with so many things, and I keep turning turns of phrase over and over in my mind to figure out what he means. This story truly is a puzzle that I am struggling to solve. For this I am grateful for that rarely happens for me in books anymore.

- There is the most stunning character, a waif-like girl called Auri, in this book that is a quiet treasure. I cannot wait to read The Slow Regard of Silent Things to know more.

- My goal in reading this book was to learn a lot about story telling. I have done that, and feel I have learned from a master craftsman. For that I owe my thanks to Patrick Rothfuss.

Cons:
- The first half of the book had me hooked. The second half dragged so much I broke my "read a chapter a day" rule and read the last hundred pages or so in one sitting just so I was done. The scenes I found incredibly boring were the scenes with the love interest, Denna. She herself didn't annoy me, but entire chapters were dedicated to Kvothe mooning over her, searching for her, his love unrequited. It stagnated the story and, where previously I had struggled to put the book down, here I struggled to pick it up.

- This is a long read, and yet the story really is only beginning. It's quite a commitment to undertake. Personally, that's what I liked about the story, but I can see how that might be a deal breaker for some, especially since the series is incomplete.

Considering my pros far outweighed my cons, I can unhesitatingly recommend The Name of the Wind as a must-read book of a lifetime.

Notable Quotes:

"It was deadly as a sharp stone beneath swift water."

"'So you went looking for a myth and found a man,' he said without inflection, without looking up."

"'It's safe to say I'll need more time than that. And you'll get none of it tonight. A real story takes time to prepare.'"

"'He's eighty years old, and done two hundred years' worth of living. Five hundred , if you count the lies.'"

"If not for him I would never have become the man I am today. Please do not hold it against him. He meant well."

"He raised an eyebrow. I had kept him busy of the last several months, and he hadn't had the leisure to accidentally burn them off."

"The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind."

"It would be wrong to say that I was disappointed with sympathy. But honestly, I *was* disappointed."

"He then proceeded to yell at Alpha and Beta, a sign that he was in a genuine good mood. They took it as calmly as ever, in spite of the fact that he accused them of things I'm sure no donkey has ever willingly done, especially not Beta, who possessed impeccable moral character."

"Ben's training has given me a memory so clean and sharp I have to be careful not to cut myself sometimes."

"You have to be a bit of a liar to tell a story the right way. Too much truth confuses the facts. Too much honesty makes you sound insincere."

"Besides, anger can keep you warm at night, and wounded pride can spur a man to wondrous things."

"There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man."

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Introducing: Rachaya Butcher Perfero

Rachaya is the main character of The Rachaya Series.

Her name is pronounced Ra-shay-ah.

Close friends and family call her Chia (Shi-ya).

Rachaya grew up in a small village in the human world of Escoria. She is the daughter of a talented human butcher, Krishn, and the fiery fire dragon, Adara. At the beginning of Fyrebyrne Island the time is ripe for Rachaya to embrace her dragon heritage and learn about all things dragony.

Hobbies: sword fighting, feeding her fat cat, Tibbles scraps from the table, oka riding.

Appearance: Rachaya is on the small side, with red hair and brown eyes. She is strong for her small stature, the product of working in her father's butcher shop every day.

Key qualities: Rachaya is loyal, loving and determined. She certainly has a backbone, which is going to stand her in good stead now she is around dragons.

Elemental type: Fire dragon

Image source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ab/Isla_Fisher_2013.jpg/220px-Isla_Fisher_2013.jpg

Monday, June 26, 2017

Book 2 Has Been Re-Written

I have been telling everyone for some time now that Book 2 of the Rachaya Series has been written. This has never been a lie, and in fact it has already gone through a rigorous round of beta testing. Unfortunately, though, I was never entirely happy with the book and I wasn't going to send it out into the world in the state that it was in. Once Fyrebyrne Island had been published I was able to find the time I needed to reassess Book 2 and properly give it the love and attention that it deserves.

I am pleased to be able to announce that Book 2 is not absolutely complete. I have spent just over a month wrestling with all of the difficult scenes that were so poorly written the first time around. In a couple of weeks I will give it one last editorial sweep before sending it back off to my wonderful beta readers. After that it is off to the editor to be primped and preened. I am still well on track for an end of year/ start of new year release (this will depend on the availability of my editor, which is up in the air at the moment and out of my control). 

Thank you to those of you who have read and enjoyed Book 1 - Fyrebyrne Island so far. I don't have the words to express how wonderful it is to see my book out in the world and in so many hands.


Monday, May 8, 2017

Supanova Wrap-Up

I had an absolutely amazing time at Supanova Melbourne with my book, Fyrebyrne Island. I met so many readers and fellow writers. I was so much more exhausted afterwards than I had expected, but it was worth it.

Look at my booth! 

I am so thrilled that I sold all of the copies of Fyrebyrne Island that I had ordered for Supanova, as well as the copies I had ordered for family and friends. I want to say a huge thank you to Steve and James, my helpers over the weekend. You guys rock!

My favourite thing about Supanova is all of the amazing cosplay that people create. I am speechless about the level of talent and creativity I saw in all of the costumes that passed by my booth. I didn't have my phone on me, and just now I've realised how many photos I missed out on getting. Here is a small snapshot of the few my helpers were able to get (holding copies of my book, of course!).



Thank you to everyone who stopped by for a chat, and for filling in the "What Type of Dragon Are You?" questionnaire. The winners for my small competition have been drawn, and will be announced shortly, once I have contacted them all. These cute guys will be heading to homes soon. I will also be creating (in the very near future) an online version of the quiz for anyone who missed out on finding out their dragon type.


Although I didn't have as much time as I would have liked to check out all the other authors' booths, I did sneak off Sunday morning before the doors opened to the public and purchased these little beauties. I cannot wait until I can sit down and have a good binge read of them all.


Book haul:
The Khalada Stone series, by Russell Meek
Surrender, by G.R. Thomas
Wildfire, by C.L. Aire

Lastly, I want to say a very special thank you to fellow authors G.R.Thomas and Alex James for making me feel so welcome at my first ever convention as a writer. Your advice and kind words along the way meant so much to me.

 Here is G.R.Thomas on the left, and the lovely Renee Spryou in the middle.






Thursday, May 4, 2017

Indie Author Love - A Shining in the Shadows, by Beverley Lee

I had high expectations for A Shining in the Shadows since I had loved The Making of Gabriel Davenport (Book 1 in the Gabriel Davenport series) so much, and I certainly wasn't disappointed. I could not put this down, and pressing deadlines got pushed back because I HAD to finish this story.


Here's the kindle edition, but I desperately want a paperback copy, too, because it's such a beautiful book!

A Shining in the Shadows picks up almost one year after the end of Book 1, and the characters are only just beginning to rebuild their lives when they are thrown back in to danger. I am hesitant to say too much because the beauty of these books is the mystery that lies around every corner, and it has this in abundance. This story is threaded with history and mythology, and the visuals painted by author Beverley Lee left me breathless and longing to visit England again.

If you have not yet read this series I highly recommend you do, only make sure you set aside an entire weekend because you will absolutely have to binge-read this wonderful, dark and yet eerily beautiful story.

To find out more about the Gabriel Davenport series, check out Beverley Lee's website here: http://beverleylee.com/

Monday, April 24, 2017

Indie Author Love - Awaken, by G.R. Thomas

Awaken is a fast-paced journey that never pulls its punches. It is a really cool take on mythology, as well as biblical themes such as angels and demons. The main character, Sophia, is by no means a weakling and takes some pretty heavy stuff in her stride. I love books with such strong female characters like this! This book will take you on a wild ride and you will not be able to put this book down. I am hanging out to get my hands on Book 2 of this series, Surrender.

See below for the book's full synopsis.



Here I am, proudly holding my copy!


Blurb:

SOME PEOPLE AREN'T DESTINED TO BE ORDINARY.
With a special gift held close to her heart, it was always going to be hard for Sophia Woodville to live an ordinary life.
As a 20 year old nursing grad, she thought she had her future all sorted.
However, destiny was about to intervene.
Her secret was not so secret. The gift she possessed was just a hint of something far beyond her wildest imagination.
Sophia will be pulled, kicking and screaming, into an unseen, ancient world that challenges all that she thought to be true of herself, her family and the origins of humanity.
Original sin, forbidden love and her life in constant danger.
Will Sophia survive this dark twist of fate?
Will the devil be her saviour?
Will an Angel be her downfall?

Find out where you can purchase Awaken on G.R. Thomas' website here: https://www.grthomasbooks.com/

Monday, April 10, 2017

Fyrebyrne Island at Supanova Melbourne

Fyrebyrne Island has had a chance to make its way through the world now. Talented author and all-round good guy, Dean Mayes, was kind enough to do an amazing write-up for it on his website.

I will be selling copies of Fyrebyrne Island in Artist Ally at Supanova in Melbourne on April 29th and 30th at the Melbourne Showgrounds. Make sure you come along and say hello. There will be a questionnaire available for you to discover what type of dragon you are, and I will have some cool merch to sell, too.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Author Interview - Ash Oldfield and Ander Louis on Writing

Image Credit: Up&Up Media 2017

In preparation for the release of Mixtape #1, a compilation of short stories by some amazing local authors (and featuring my own story, The Conduit), I sat down and had a chat with Ander Louis, Up&Up Media founder and talented author. It can be viewed on the Up&Up Media Facebook Page. Check it out in the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/upandupmedia/videos/1789739211344741/

Mixtape #1 will be officially launched on the 29th of April at Up&Up's headquarters. Tickets are available for $25 (cost includes the book). Tickets can be purchased here or from the Up&Up Media Facebook event page. I will be there to meet everyone and celebrate the local talent.

Event Details:


Saturday, April 29th
6:30pm - 8:30pm
Up & Up Media HQ - 16/96 Manchester Road, Mooroolbark, VIC

Monday, March 27, 2017

Fyrebyrne Island Is Now Available

I AM SO EXCITED!

The paperback for my first book, Fyrebyrne Island, has officially been released into the big wide world. Just look at how happy I am:

It is currently available at all good online retailers. For example:

- Fishpond (Australia)
- Book Depository (UK)
- Barnes and Noble (US)

If you are wondering where you can buy a book from me in person, I will be selling copies in Artist Alley at Supanova Melbourne on April 29th and 30th. Come along and say hello!

I will also be hosting a book launch once I have recovered from Supanova. Watch this space for further details.

Even more exciting - after a lovely chat with the awesome people at Dymocks Camberwell, my book will be available for purchase from their store as soon as I can get copies over to them. They've always been my favourite bookstore, but now even more so. Seriously, I have never known a bookstore to stock such an amazing, diverse range of literature (and now they'll have one more!).

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Ponderings and Recollections

When I was 22 I moved out of home for the first time. I had bought my own place in a suburb I knew to be a little rough, but it was all I could afford. I figured it would make a good investment. I chose to live alone, which is an experience I highly recommend for anyone at some stage in their lives.

A couple of weeks after I moved in I received a knock on my front door at dusk. I kept the security screen firmly shut, only opening the wooden door. Standing on the threshold was an angry-looking man who I had never seen before, claiming to be my neighbour. He had a flat tyre, he told me, and asked if he could use my car jack. I told him I did not have a car jack. He told me I must have one, telling me I had a car in my driveway that would have a car jack in it. Perhaps we could go and investigate together? My mother drummed 'stranger danger' into me from a very young age, so there was no way I was ever going to unlock my door to this man. I explained to him that my car jack had rusted (which was actually the truth) and that he should call roadside assist. He grew very angry with me, and I felt very shaken. However, I shut and bolted my front door and walked away.

Every now and then I wonder about this situation. Am I over-sensitive and rude, or do I just have a strong sense of self-preservation? I genuinely could not have helped this man, but I also would not have helped him if I could out of a need to feel safe.

This morning, when doing research for a story, I came across an old article on the serial killer, Ted Bundy, who used to wear a sling on his arm or plaster cast on his leg and ask young women for help. If they complied he led them to a secluded area and murdered them. Now I have decided my strong sense of self-preservation is a good thing after all.