Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fact or Fiction? Recalcitrant Prince

I am doing a different sort of Fact or Fiction? this month. I have hurt my back and am unable to sit down for any length of time. So instead I am posting a very short story I wrote a few weeks ago, using the writing prompts from my "Tell Tale Fairy Tales" set. I hope you enjoy!

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there lived a very exacting king. And this king decided that it was about time his son married and provided him with an heir or three. The son was not pleased about this, but the king was not to be argued with. The prince thought long and hard about his predicament, when suddenly he was struck with a brilliant idea! He would embark on a dangerous quest, the likes of which the minstrels would be singing about for years to come. He would bring so much glory to his father that he would never have to marry if he didn't want!

Without a moment to lose, the young prince armed himself with sword and shield and set off into the dark, scary forest. He was wandering for many minutes, longer than he had ever wandered before, when he spied a huge red mushroom. It had white dots and sparkled with fairy dust. With eyes wide, the prince leaned in close to the mushroom until his face was bathed in golden fairy light. The mushroom smelled fragrant, like ripe strawberries on a warm summer afternoon. Famished from his arduous, minutes-long walk, the prince extended his pink tongue and licked the glittering mushroom.

POP! FIZZ! CRACKLE! The prince began to shrink rapidly, and unsightly grey hair sprouted from his face and body. Large front teeth protruded from his whiskered, elongated nose. The prince had turned into a rat! He squeaked with delight. There was no way his father could make him marry now! The rat-prince skipped off into the forest, his long bald tail swinging merrily behind him. He lived happily ever after.

The end.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Captive Prince, by C.S.Pacat

Last night I had the absolute honour of meeting the very talented author, C.S.Pacat at her book signing, hosted by Dymocks Camberwell. C.S.Pacat has been making headlines recently over the publication of The Captive Prince, book 1 in her fantasy trilogy. I had heard of this story, but had been increasingly frustrated by people's inability to describe to me what the book was about. All they could say was that the book was soooooo good that they didn't want to give me any spoilers. So I went to C.S.Pacat's book signing and let the author speak for herself. I was instantly impressed. C.S.Pacat was intelligent, spoke knowledgeably and passionately about her craft, and was immensely humble. I immediately purchased her book.

She was also kind enough to pose for a photo with me!

This morning I idly flicked through the book as I sipped on my cup of tea. Next thing I knew it was 4.30pm and I was reading the final paragraphs of The Captive Prince. It has been a very long time since a book has grabbed me like that.

So what is The Captive Prince about? Annoyingly, I don't want to tell you because I don't want to spoil it for anyone (hypocritical, I know). The story is very dark, very gritty and brought to mind The Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop. Although fantasy, there is none of the stereotypical magic, wizards, elves or goblins one has become accustomed to expect from the genre. C.S.Pacat herself described the series as "Princes in love", but that was not how I found book 1. The book, or rather my take on it, centred instead around political intrigue that had layer upon layer of lies and treachery. Every sentence C.S.Pacat wrote, every piece of dialogue, kept me guessing at a hidden meaning. The writing itself is refreshingly readable. The setting brings to mind Ancient Greece or Rome. The story is told from the perspective of Damon, a slave given as a gift to an enemy country. I can say no more than that!

I had been told that the story is Gay of Thrones. I dislike that term. Although there are homosexual undertones, that to me is not what the story is about, but merely one of the many layers to the story. There are definite Not Safe For Work scenes in the book, but there was nothing gratifying about them. Each scene, rather, demonstrated the power struggle in a treacherous environment where anyone and everyone can be a secret enemy, just waiting for the moment to strike.

I absolutely, wholeheartedly recommend this book. It's just so refreshingly different to anything else I have ever read, the political intrigue has kept me guessing page after page, and the writing style is unique and yet easy to read.

P.S I am completely aware that I have broken my self-imposed book buying ban. I regret nothing!

You can purchase The Captive Prince from most bookstores and online retailers.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Fact of Fiction? Oranges

When I was around five or six years of age, I had a bedroom all to myself, whereas my three brothers shared a room. Their room was right next door to mine, and I could hear everything that went on in their room if I pressed my ear up against the wall.

My two oldest brothers, 8 and 10 years old at the time, slept in bunk beds. My little brother, 3 at the time, slept in a bed on the opposite side of the room.

Now, my little brother, he LOVED oranges. A strange thing for a kid to love, but then we were all strange kids in our own way. My parents were also very strict at bedtime. Once you were in bed, you were not allowed to leave it until the next morning.

My oldest two brothers thought one night that it would be funny to lure my little brother out of bed with the promise of an orange.

'Hey, I have an orange for you,' the brother on the top bunk would whisper.


'Yeah, come over here and I'll give it to you.'

My little brother climbed out of bed and went across the room for the orange. My brother on the bottom bunk grabbed my brother.

'DAD!' yelled the brother on the top bunk. 'HE'S OUT OF BED! DAD!'

My brothers listened carefully for my Dad's footsteps. Once he was just outside the door they would release my little brother. He would be scrambling back into bed just as Dad entered the room.

Oh, boy, did my little brother get into trouble!

This happened every night for around a fortnight until my oldest brothers got bored with the game.

Seriously. Every night for a fortnight, sometimes more than once in a night, my little brother would be lured out of bed with the promise of an orange, only to get into trouble for being out of bed.

I wonder if he still likes oranges?

So tell me. Do you think this story was Fact or Fiction? Leave a comment below with your answer :)


Image source: "Arancia di Ribera byFigiu" by Figiu - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Novel Writing Stage: Complete

Yesterday was a good day for me. I finished writing a novel, which has been sent out to my lovely beta readers for feedback. Specifically, this book is the second in my Rachaya series, the first of which is due for publication at some point this year.

Once I realised I had finished the book I felt completely and utterly bone-crushingly tired. I didn't feel any sense of elation - I suppose because I know I still have several rounds of edits to go before I will be well and truly done with it.

But for now I am going to take a break from writing, hopefully recharge my batteries. I have little Peanut here to keep me company:

I am so proud of this little guy. Two days in and he is toilet trained and mostly comes when he's called.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Fact or Fiction? Bees

Welcome to the latest segment on my blog, Fact or Fiction, wherein I tell you a story and you need to figure out if I am telling the truth, or if I am simply making it up.

One day, when I was around fifteen years old, I was sitting on my bed reading. Suddenly, I heard a strange buzzing sound coming from behind my bedroom wall.

'Hmm,' I thought to myself, 'that sounds an awful lot like bees.'

Being young and inexperienced in such matters, I decided to get some expert advice. I went to my father.

He scoffed. 'Bees? I don't think so. You're imagining things.'

He followed me to my bedroom and placed his ear up against the wall.

'Yup,' he said with a knowing nod. 'What you've got here is definitely a case of the bees.'

He solved the problem by poking a hole in the wall with a screwdriver, then spraying an entire can of bug spray into the wall. He then sealed the hole up with silicon and placed a tapestry over the top so that no one would ever know.

So tell me. Do you think this story was Fact or Fiction? Leave a comment below with your answer :)


Image source:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Wherein I Do Not Buy Any Books

Yesterday I entered into a bookstore, trying to see if there were any books I wanted to buy. Suddenly, I became aware of what I was doing and immediately left the store.

Day 26 and I have yet to break my vow of not purchasing any new books.

I bought myself a coffee instead.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2015: The Year In Which I Cannot Buy Any More Books

Last year I found myself re-reading a lot of books. But that didn't stop me from purchasing new books - oh no. I bought so many books that they make a tower taller than myself (although, to be fair, I am a very tiny person). (Also, I just stacked them up and they only come up to around my hips. Exaggerate much?)

And so the year 2015 is a year of reading books that I have already purchased. I am imposing a book-buying-ban on myself until I have at least attempted to read all of the books on the list below. I am being fair to myself: if a book is absolutely not my cup of tea than I won't try to finish it.

The books I must read before purchasing any more are the following:

  • The Ring of Curses: Merlin's School for Ordinary Children, by Margaret R Blake (I started this one at the end of 2014 and have been enjoying it so far. Christmas got in the way.)
  • The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss (I have read this book before, but I bought it recently so now I have to read it.)
  • The Wise Man's Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss (I have also read this book, but I bought it over Christmas so have to read it again.)
  • The Slow Regard of Silent Things, by Patrick Rothfuss (This one I have not read and is the reason that I bought the previous two books to re-read.)
  • The House of Hades, by Rick Riordan (I got half-way through this book but never finished it for some reason.)
  • The Blood of Olympus, by Rick Riordan
  • Fevre Dream, by George R.R. Martin
  • Sourcery, by Terry Pratchett
  • The Dragon Queen, by Alice Borchardt
  • Alliance: The Convergence, by Tayla Kershaw (Life got in the way of this one. I started to read it and have been enjoying it so far.)
  • Harpy's Flight, by Megan Lindholm (Otherwise known as Robin Hobb)
  • The Prodigal Mage, by Karen Miller
  • Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude Get a Life, by Maureen McCarthy
  • Somebody's Crying, by Maureen McCarthy
  • Children of the Lamp: The Akhenaten Adventure, by P.B.Kerr (This one's not my fault! My mother bought this book for me.)
  • Missing, Presumed Undead, by Jeremy Davies (I went to the book launch for this one, but never got around to reading it. The premise sounds awesome, though.)
  • The Beach Bum Millionaire, by Anthony Khoury (I was given this book at a business event and was able to meet the author. He spoke a lot of sense, so I have a real curiosity to read this book.)
  • Passage to Pontefract, by Jean Plaidy
  • Smoke in the Wind, by Peter Tremayne
  • Katharine, the Virgin Widow, by Jean Plaidy
  • Dragonquest, by Anne McCaffrey (I read the first book in the series, but never got around to the second. I really enjoyed the first so don't know why I never read book 2.)
  • Tuf Voyaging, by George R.R. Martin
  • The Armageddon Rag, by George R.R. Martin
  • I Wrote This for You
  • The Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith (I bought this one out of curiosity, but I'm not a huge fan of mysteries so keep putting it off.)
  • Path of Revenge, by Russell Kirkpatrick
  • Battle Axe, by Sara Douglass
  • Pawn of Prophecy, by David Eddings
  • Queen of Sorcery, by David Eddings

Phew, that's quite a list. What is more, I am pretty sure I am missing some books out, but I can't seem to find them on my overloaded bookshelves. 

All I can think right now is: Where on earth am I going to find the time???