Monday, December 26, 2016

A whole 'nother year-and-a-bit

Well, we have let this blog slip, haven't we? I guess Facebook has taken over from blogs to a very large degree, but I think there is still a need for blogs, because they display their content for a much longer time.

Anyhow, here I am again, to tell you about my second book, recently released. The Cloak of Challiver was launched at a very low-key affair during the September convention in Canberra. It's available as an e-book, and you can pre-order a hard copy version, but I have no word on when that will be released.

It's a different book from The Dagger of Dresnia, although Ellyria is again the linchpin character, with her daughter-in-law Tamirayne as her sidekick. They are twenty-two years older, and as the story is basically a double romance, the plot highlights the adventures of Ellyria's two granddaughters, Milana and Lyrien, both of whom fall in love with men their parents would consider to be unsuitable partners. The Dark Spirit is still around, as is Nustofer, the villainous cleric from The Dagger of Dresnia, and as with any good medieval fantasy, there are plenty of of love scenes, battles and mysteries. You can buy the ebook from Amazon and other online retailers, or direct from the publishers at - and if you're holding out for hard copy, just put in a pre-order.

Book Three, The Seer of Syland, will be a couple of generations later than the Cloak story. Don't hold your breath - it's still very much a WIP (work-in-progress!) I'm also playing with a novella, a spin-off from The Cloak of Challiver.

Happy reading, friends!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Free samples!

With the help of my good friend Robert Denethon, I have created a sampler of scenes from the first two books of The Talismans trilogy. The sampler is free to dowload in mobi, epub and .pdf versions from Dropbox.

Sampler for Kindle readers

Sampler for epub readers

Sampler for .pdf readers 

I hope this tempts a few people to buy book one, The Dagger of Dresnia, and, of course, to stamp impatiently while waiting for book two, The Cloak of Challiver, which is due for release early in the new year.

Happy reading, friends! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Demanding the Ashes: introducing a new children's novel.

Longtime friend of the Egobooers and award-winning former member of the KSP Speculative Fiction Group, Sonia Helbig has published Demanding the Ashes, the first novel in her kid's series Street Cricket Wars, under the pen-name Ricky Striker.

Ricky Striker’s Street Cricket Wars #1 Demanding The Ashes
Cricket mad Fred Black is just about to start high school but he has a huge problem on his hands. Evans - Selwood’s Primary School’s biggest bully who’s picked on Fred all primary school - will be going to the same High School next year. Fred decides he must stop the bullying once and for all. Can and his best mate, Todd, come up with a crazy plan to force Evans to stop the name calling once and for all? 
Find out in Ricky Striker’s Street Cricket Wars #1 Demanding The Ashes
Themes: Friendship, Bullying, Sports, Cricket
*Warning 1* Episode #1 ends on a cliff hanger just like most TV serial episodes. If you’d rather avoid the cliff hangers and get the whole series at once then you may like to check out the complete serial early bird edition which is available for readers who can’t bear cliff hanger endings or waiting for the monthly installments. It’s cheaper this way too!
*Warning 2* - Contains classic Ricky Striker “Weird Humor” moments based on The Ashes

Ricky Striker’s Street Cricket Wars The Complete Serial #1-5 Blurb

Cricket mad Fred Black is about to start high school but he has a huge problem on his hands. Evans - Selwood’s biggest bully who’s picked on Fred all primary school - will be going to the same high school next year. Fred and his best mate, Todd, come up with a crazy plan to stop the bullying for good. After all, cricket can solve anything. Can’t it? But life is never that simple for Fred. There’s a reason his dad calls him Trouble. And Trouble is definitely about to break loose. Worse trouble than being called names by the school bully. So much trouble it erupts into a street cricket war.
Will Fred be able to put all the trouble right, keep his Mum and Dad happy, as well as beat Evans and win the right to his real name back - or will he fail? Find out in Ricky Striker’s Street Cricket Wars The Complete Serial Episodes #1-5.
Themes: Friendship, Bullying, Sports, Cricket
*Warning* - Contains classic Ricky Striker “Weird Humor” moments based on The Ashes
This early bird compilation edition is available for readers who can’t bear cliff hanger endings or waiting for the monthly installments. It’s cheaper this way too!

Demanding the Ashes is available at Amazon here.

*The series is also available in iTunes, Nook, Kobo, Page Foundry, Scribd and Tolino.

Congratulations, Sonia (Ricky), and wishing you the very best with your wonderful new kid's book series!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Author Spotlight: Satima Flavell

Satima joins me today for a inspiring chat about writing, novels and publishing, over at my author site, Joanna Fay.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Interstellar Award for Speculative Poetry open for submissions

From March 1st to May 1st, 2015, entries will be open for the new Interstellar Award for Speculative Poetry. After much deliberation, I'm pleased to open a prize solely for speculative poems. In the second half of the year, the Interstellar Award will be open for speculative short fiction. The award offers a First Prize of $1000 and Second Prize of $300, with highly commended and commended acknowledgements.

Speculative is here defined as science fiction and fantasy, all sub-genres such as space opera, hard SF, soft SF, paranormal, steampunk, new gothic, supernatural, metaphysical fantasy, magical realism, and all hybrid genres, including new ones of your own making. The only proviso is that entries contain at least an element of the speculative. So whether you're opening stargates, riding dragons, consorting with elves, reinventing mythologies, shifting magnetic fields, or revealing a subtle anomaly in an otherwise mundane event, your poem/s will be admissible.

Further details and entry guidelines can be found at Interstellar.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Musa Publishing closing day sale until February 28.

Sadly, it's the end of an era for Musa Publishing, which is closing its virtual doors at the end of this week on February 28th. I am grateful to Musa as the first publisher of my novels, with a hard-working, ethical, friendly management and editorial team, and wish them the very best for the future.

All books will be discounted by 80% until closing time on Feb 28. If you've thought about reading the first three novels in my fantasy epic, The Siaris Quartet, and haven't yet, now is the time to visit Musa and purchase them (for $1 each), as I don't know how long it will be before they find a new home with the as yet 'mystery publisher' who will take them on, and publish the final book of the quartet, Ascension, currently underway!

Here are the links for my three novels at Musa:
Happy reading, dear friends! The adventure continues...............

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Self-publishing traps

I recently undertook to do an 'Assessments Day' for a local writing centre. I was honoured to be asked and really enjoyed the event. The writers I spoke with were generally very sensible and had their feet on the ground, but now and then I come across someone with stars in their eyes: someone who thinks writing books is going to be their path to riches.

Sadly, this is usually far from the truth. Most writers in this country earn less than the dole. In my city of Perth, for example, I believe there is less than a handful of people earning their living by writing fiction. If you write, do it because you enjoy it, not because you expect to make a living at it.

As a freelance editor, my speciality is doing what I call ‘mini-assessments’ for new writers. A mini-assessment is based on a synopsis and the first twenty pages of the writer’s manuscript.

I always start by giving new clients what I call 'the standard lecture'. Now, it’s quite possible that you already know these things, but it’s surprising how many writers do not, so I'll  restate them here to be on the safe side.
1.                  It’s extremely hard to get a novel published, and it’s getting harder and harder with the current uncertainties of the economy and the radical changes that are inevitable in the publishing industry. For every thousand MSS sent to publishers, no more than a half-a-dozen are published. Hard SF – or even ‘soft’ SF – is harder to sell than Fantasy and even harder to sell than the most popular genres, Romance, Crime and Mystery.
2.                  Because it is so hard to get published, your work needs to be of a very high standard in every department. This usually means spending money on editing and/or MS assessment, and these services are not cheap. Because of that, it’s sensible to make sure you’ve done absolutely all you can with the work before handing it to an editor.
3.                  You may well decide to self-publish. Here are a couple of things to bear in mind.
‘Vanity’ publishing should be avoided at all costs. Publishers who want money from you to publish your novel are vanity publishers, even if they call themselves self-publishing houses. True self-publishing means you set yourself up as a publisher and engage your own sub-contractors for editing, artwork, layout and printing. It’s a lot of work, but it usually works out cheaper than vanity presses. In either case, distribution and marketing fall to the author, and it’s a sad fact that most self-published or vanity-published fiction books sell fewer than 100 copies, and many sell fewer than twenty. The bolding there is deliberate as it’s something every wannabe author should know and accept.
 A note on e-publishing. This is becoming more and more the route most writers will follow to get their work ‘out there’. A quick look at Smashwords on any given day will reveal that several dozen new books have miraculously appeared overnight! So it’s just as competitive as the hard-copy market. All those books begging to be read no one could possibly read all of them, and many readers still have a resistance to reading on-screen at all. So an e-book has to be outstanding to succeed, and the author must also be ready to undertake a lot of work on promotion through the social media. Just sticking your book up online will not by itself bring in sales.
I hope I haven’t put you off self-publishing with the above comments: properly approached, self-publishing is as valid a way of any to get your work in front of readers. However, I do like to make sure new writers don’t have stars in their eyes and are not on the road to being conned by vanity publishers! There are some veritable sharks about on the internet. I’ve heard of people paying as much as $25,000 to get a book published, because they didn’t know any better, and I've personally met one young man who'd been fleeced of $12,000 for a really shabby editing job and very ordinary looking stock cover. Don't let this happen to you: don't be conned - be careful!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Writerly Advice From the Blogosphere

One of the great things about being part of the writing community is how willing its members are to share their experiences. Here are a couple of instances that came up in the last few days.

The first is from my Clarion South mate, Peter M. Ball. Besides being a talented writer, Peter is a source of great writing advice - and especially on his blog, Man Versus Bear. In the last week he's excelled himself in two posts. In You Don't Want to be Published he made me first shake my head and then think, both useful responses when you're being asked to work out exactly why you are writing and what you expect to get out of it. Then he capped it by writing Networking Tips for Reclusive, Introverted Writer-Types where he sets out what networking can be for a writer. It turns out that it's much simpler - and much less painful - than I had supposed.

The second comes from Must Use Bigger Elephants, Patty Jansen's blog. Patty has embraced self publishing and many of her posts are on her experiences in the area. Her latest post, Why I Self-published in 2011 and Why in 2014 I'm Still Glad That I Did, outlines the reasons for her original decision and what she has gained from it. She gives any writer lots to think about with what she has to say.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Australian Speculative Poetry anthology, 'The Stars Like Sand', now available!

I'm delighted to have a poem in this new anthology of Australian Speculative Poetry, The Stars Like Sand, edited by Tim Jones and P.S.Cottier, published by Interactive Press. From the editors:

Travel to the stars and beyond in this anthology by Australia's leading poets. Witness the end of the world, time travel to the future near or far, or teleport with a fairy or witch. Ghosts, dreams and strange creatures breed and mingle in these pages. Poetry has never been so mind-bending, or so entertaining.

It's rare to see anthologies of speculative poetry (fantasy, science fiction and all manner of hybrids), and The Stars Like Sand represents a wonderfully diverse array of voices and visions past and present, leaping into multiple futures. My poem 'Folds' is joined by creations from the likes of John Tranter, Sean Williams, Judith Beveridge, Simon Petrie, Kevin Gillam, Diane Fahey, Chris Wallace-Crabbe and Aussie icon A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson, to name but a few.

The Stars Like Sand can be found on Amazon in print and for Kindle here.

Monday, June 9, 2014

'Daughter of Hope' FREE from Musa Publishing through June!

Hi All, while I’m busy penning Ascension, the final novel of The Siaris Quartet (which is taking me on some unexpected twists and turns, I can tell you), Musa Publishing is kindly offering the first novel in the Siaris series, Daughter of Hope, for Free throughout the month of June. All you need to do is sign up for Musa’s monthly E-Newsletter to receive a free book coupon! Just follow this link:
Happy Reading!