Saturday, 27 December 2014

End of year round up for 2014

I can't believe it. It always seems to come around so fast. One minute, it's the promising start to an exciting new year. The next minute, it's all over. How could another year have slipped past so quickly?

At this time of year, it's always a good thing to look back on the writing goals I set myself to see how I went.

All things considered, my expectations should be pretty low. It's been an exhausting year for a number of reasons, both on the personal and work fronts. I'm not even sure how I've managed to find any time for writing at all.

And yet...

When I look back on the goals I set myself at the start of the year, I've actually done pretty well. Here's a quick summary:

1. Publishing
  • I finished and published the third of my Neville Lansdowne stories - Scrawling. It took longer than I originally planned, but the extra effort was worth it. I think it's definitely the best of the Neville stories.
  • Thanks to the good people at Evolved Publishing, I was extremely excited to publish my first picture book, Thomas and the Tiger-Turtle. The feedback I've gotten from young readers has been amazing.
  • I had my novel Magnus Opum republished by the good people at Booktrope Publishing. Great to see Magnus in print at last.
  • Am now in a fairly advanced stage of editing for my next novel, a comic detective thriller titled A Fate Worse than Death.
2. Writing
  • I completed several drafts of my YA/MG novel (tentative title Throught the Flame) to the point where I believe it's not far away from being publisher ready.
  • I set myself the goal of writing two new potential picture book texts, and I was able to meet it. The titles for these two new stories are Bella and the Blue Genie and Rory and the Rainbow Bird.
  • As of this week, I officially made a (very small) start on my long awaited dinosaur story (tentatively titled Dinosaurs).
Not a bad effort for 12 months. I guess now it's time to start thinking about those goals for 2015.

Hope your 2014 was also a good one.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Calling the good Doctor

Today is one of those days when I feel like delving back into my history.

I'm thinking about way back when I was a kid, and we had regular visits from a good Doctor. And just who was that Doctor, I hear you ask. The answer is easy to find when you swap the words around. I'm talking about Doctor Who.

I loved Doctor Who when I was a kid. I loved all the monsters - the Cybermen and Sontarans and Zygons and especially the Daleks (exterminate, exterminate!) I loved the resourcefulness of the Doctor, and how he was always able to beat the monsters using his brains and wits. I loved the imagination and creativity. I loved the cliffhanger endings, and how you always had to go back the next night to see how everything turned out.

It didn't matter that the costumes were pretty shonky and the sets looked like they were about to fall apart. The stories were so strong and the characters so great that you could easily suspend disbelief and get completely sucked into whichever amazing environment the TARDIS had taken the Doctor into.

I find it kind of amazing and more than a little bit amusing to think that these days Doctor Who is a huge international success. Back then, it seemed like something a bit special. Something for us British Commonwealth people to enjoy. Sure, the Yanks had Star Trek and Star Wars and Lost in Space and all those others. But we had Doctor Who and that was the best show of the lot. It was our own special little secret.

For a long time, the good Doctor disappeared from our screens, but he remained in my memory and my heart. And then he came back, bigger and better than ever. More complicated stories and a way bigger special effects budget. Suddenly, it wasn't just a local thing. Doctor Who became a big international hit.

I still like watching the new Doctor Who on and off, though I can't say I'm dedicated like I was as a kid. People can have their David Tennant or Matt Smith but I'm still a Tom Baker kind of person. And I like to think that a bit of the creativity and ingenuity of the episodes I used to watch rubbed off on my writing in some way.

On top of my computer at work, I have a little Dalek and a little TARDIS, just to remind me about that person I used to be, and maybe still am - just a little bit.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Egomania vs insecurity

Sometimes I feel like being a writer is like swinging on a very large swing.

Up and down I go. Up and down. One minute, I'm high up in the air, the next I'm barely above the ground. And then up I go again. Up and down. Up and down.

When I'm up, I'm the greatest thing ever. I write the greatest stories in the history of storywriting. Everybody in the world will want to read them. They will change people's lives. They could even change the whole world.

Then, before I've even had a chance to think about it, I find myself right back down again. What am I thinking? What makes me think that my stories are so great? Why would anybody ever want to read them? What even gives me the right to think about putting them out anyway? After all, there are already so many stories out there, mostly written by writers who are far more proficient than I am. How presumptuous am I to even think about putting myself in the same league as them.

And then, before I completely give up in despair, I'm right back up again, marvelling at the wonder of what I've been able to create.

It's a pretty odd sort of world, swinging between such extremes of egomania and insecurity, but in a funny kind of way, I suppose they're both essential to an effective writer.

The egomania is essential because without it, what would keep you writing? You need to feel that you have something to say that other people are going to want to read. Otherwise, what's the point of the exercise in the first place?

As for the insecurity, it helps to realise that maybe what you're writing isn't the most super-fabulous thing in existence. That way, you're more likely to spend the time trying to improve it - to iron out errors and fix it up so it shines in every possible way.

So that's why I reckon swinging between egomania and insecurity are perfectly normal and perfectly healthy for writers. I guess the secret is not to be overwhelmed by one or the other - not to get caught up with thinking you're the greatest thing since Dickens or Tolstoy (or whoever else rings your bells) and also not to fall in an abject heap.

So, whether you're right up at the top or right down at the bottom, hope you have a happy and productive week.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

I like to find myself deep within a story

People often talk about the immersive effect of stories on readers. How once you've been captured by the magic of a story, it takes you to a different place, as if you're actually there.

It's absolutely true, and as someone who has always been a passionate book person, it's always been one of my very favourite things about reading.

It's interesting though that not much seems to be said about the immersive effect of a story on a writer.

When you think about it, it makes sense to consider that we writers tend to get far more immersed in our stories than any readers. After all, we spend more time engaging with them. As a reader I might spend a few weeks, maybe a month or two at most on a particular story. But as a writer, I might spend years working on a story from start to finish.

Remember that the work of creating a story doesn't just involve the time spent at a computer writing the actual words. Before I actually sit down to put the words onto a page, I've often already done quite a bit of pre-planning - developing plots or characters or themes in my head, or mapping out the structure. There have been times when I've literally had a story in my mind for years before I get started on the actual writing.

I love how immersed I get while I'm writing a story. I love getting to know the places and the people, and feeling like I'm a part of the action that's occurring. But it isn't just a one-time event. The way I write a story, I'll often put it away for a while between edits, sometimes for over a year. Then, when I come back to it, I find myself totally re-immersed, back in a world of my own creation. Sometimes I'm working on more than one story concurrently, and I find myself being immersed in multiple worlds simultaneously.

It's always a bit of a sad feeling when the book is finally out. Sure I can go back and read it again, but it's never quite the same level of immersion as when you're actually creating the story and wrestling with the ways to make it right. I guess that's the time to hand it over to the wider world, and let all the other people out there immerse themselves in their own way.

In the meantime, I'll just have to find another world to immerse myself in.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

I think I've finally crashed into a wall

It was bound to happen. Despite all of my best plans, I knew I was never going to be able to avoid it.

For the last couple of years, I've been so organised. I've kept a constant backlog of potential topics for this blog. This meant that whenever I sat down to post my latest entry, I always had a broad range of topics to choose from. None of this "oh no, what am I going to write about this week?" I was prepared and organised - totally on top of everything. Sometimes, I even got to the point where I was as much as two months ahead of myself.

Except that it couldn't last.

Gradually, over the last couple of months, I've seen that list of topics shrinking. Occasionally, I'd somehow manage to pull another topic out of my hat, giving me another week's grace. But those were the exceptions. Over most of the last few weeks, that list of topics has been whittled away until I finally found myself in my current state. So now I have to face the brutal reality.

I have absolutely nothing to write about today.

How could this have happened? I've always prided myself on my organisation, and my ability to be fully prepared for all eventualities. How could I have let myself slip to such a sorry state? How could I have remained a spectator, watching rather than acting as my list of blog topics dwindled into nothingness?

Whatever the case, I'm in big trouble. I need to think of a blog topic and I need to think of it quickly.And given the state of my mind at the moment, that's probably as easy as shooting an elephant with a rubber band.

Hang on, what's going on? My blog is full of words. How on earth did that happen? Here I am, one second lamenting the lack of inspiration, the next second finding that somehow a blog post has magically appeared.

Oh well. I suppose I've staved off disaster for another week. Tune in next week to see if I've actually figured out whether I have something to say.

Thunderclap alert

Before I sign out and start desperately thinking of my next topic, I just want to alert all my fans out there (or should it be, fan out there) about my Thunderclap campaign. It's simple and painless. All you have to do is go to and select one (or more) of the support options available.

What that means is that on the selected day (December 14) an update will appear on your FB timeline or a tweet on your Twitter to support my special sale for Thomas and the Tiger-Turtle.

Costs nothing. Takes less than a minute. I'd love your support.


Saturday, 22 November 2014

Leaving the zeitgeist for somebody else

Don't you love that word, zeitgeist?

To be honest, I'm never quite sure if I've pronounced it correctly. Is it more like zitegist or zeetgeest? Or zitegeest or zeetgiste? Oh well, as long as I don't have to say it. I know how to write it. And I think I have a rough idea of how to use it.

It always seems to be like a compliment that people pay to writers. Especially writers who are new and hip and happening. I suppose it must be one of the biggest accolades that any up-and-coming writer could receive - that they've really captured the spirit of our times in their writing - they've really captured the zeitgeist.

It's a funny kind of thing. Who decides what the spirit of our times is in the first place? Who has the faintest idea what this zeitgeist thingy actually is? I know I don't. And I'm not even sure that I want to try.

I sometimes feel like I'm working a bit out of time. That my stories exist outside the era that I'm working in, beyond any particularly modern influences. I know that's not true. We're all influenced by the here and now, and the things that are happening around us. But I often feel like I'm in a bit of a bubble, protected from some of the dominant aspects of culture that seem to be a big deal for most other people.

Do I have a problem with that? Not at all. Maybe I'm never going to be acclaimed as the "it now" writer who is capturing the spirit of the times, but so what? Times change. Spirits change. It's easy to be left behind. I like to think I'm creating stories with more of a timeless nature. Hopefully, people will be able to come back to them years later and not find them dated or linked to a specific time.

So I'm off now to write another story which, I hope, will live on for a long time after me. As for capturing the zeitgeist? Well, I'm more than happy to leave that to somebody else.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Only for kids? I never can tell

I really enjoy writing stories for children.

It's great to write stories for an audience that is endlessly imaginative. An audience that is more than happy to suspend belief, and take in the most amazing and outlandish events. An audience that doesn't have that jaded, "read it all before" feeling that can be an issue for adult audiences.

I also love working with illustrators. It's an amazing feeling to see the characters and events in a book come to life before your eyes. Characters and events that I've often seen only vaguely inside my mind, now taking on a life of their own.

It's funny though, because when I first began writing, I never saw myself as a creator of children's tales. My main influences were more about humour, particularly via writers such as Douglas Adams and the Monty Python crew. Sure, some of their stuff could be seen as suitable for younger audiences, but a lot of it definitely isn't.

I certainly didn't begin with a conscious effort to write children's stories. My first stories were meant purely to be stories that I hoped would make people laugh. It was only during a short story writing class, some years after I'd first began writing, that I realised I might be good at producing stories for a younger audience, purely by accident.

I'd submitted a story about a king who didn't get any respect. Nobody listened to him and everyone else in the palace walked all over him. I liked the humour of the role reversal, where someone who should have been the centre of attention and reverence ended up getting none (though I have to admit that more than a bit of it was based on my own experiences). Of course, a story where the main character gets walked over all the time would be pretty boring after a while, so I made sure that my king found his own ways to enjoy himself.

I was quite amazed when I got feedback from the class. Everyone was saying what a wonderful children's story I'd written. I even got compared to A.A. Milne. People actually seemed quite touched by the story.

And here I was thinking I'd just written a funny story. I had no idea that it might be suitable as a children's story. But it did make me think. Maybe writing for children was something I could do.

Now some things have changed. I definitely think of myself as a writer of children's stories (amongst many other things). But other things are still the same. Ultimately, to me it's mainly about the story. Is it for kids? Is it for adults? I'm never completely sure.

I just want to write the best stories I can.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

New Awesome Indies anthology - Awesome Allshorts

Last week, I told you about the changes the Awesome Indies people have made to their website. This week I have some more exciting news from this group which is a great supporter of independent authors.

Today marks the official release day of the very first Awesome Indies short story anthology, titled Awesome Allshorts. 21 different writers have all contributed stories. And guess what. One of those writers is me.

21 different stories means lots of variety and lots of different voices, so surely there'll be something for everyone. And the best bit is, because these are independent authors, there are sure to be fun surprises beyond the tightly-defined genre boundaries of the legacy publishing world.

So once again, I'd like to offer a big thanks to Tahlia Newland and her team for the work in preparing this anthology, and also for considering that something written by little ole me was considered as suitable company for some of the other fine writers featured.

So (as a great Australian once said) do yourself a favour and check out the Awesome Allshorts. You can find information on where to buy an ecopy at the Awesome Indies website, and it will appear in paperback form shortly.

And even better. If you buy a copy today, the Awesome Indies have a special offer where you can pick up a free copy of an Awesome Indies certified novel. Check out all the details of the special offer here.

Hope you enjoy. I know I did.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Awesome Indies site relaunch and special sale

Today I'm pleased to announce some exciting news from my friends at the Awesome Indies website. After lots of hard work from Tahlia Newland and her team, they've now relaunched the site with an exciting new look and some great new features.

The new look site will be set up as a shop with purchase buttons linking to all the major ebook sales outlets as well as the Book Depository (free shipping worldwide) for those who like paperbacks. In addition, all Amazon and iTunes links will be global links that will automatically send customers to their local store – no more ending up in the wrong store. And those with reading devices that take epub files will find plenty of books for their devices on the new site. 

Books to suit all tastes will be easy to find by searching categories and tags. And books can be listed in more than one category, making it easy to see exactly what mix of genres you’ll find inside. Books will have their own product page with a great deal more information about them than on the old site, so you won’t have to leave the site to find the information you need to make your decision. Reduced books will appear on a sale page and in a featured spot on the front page, making the bargains easy to find, and a streamlined menu will make negotiating the site a lot easier. 

To mark the opening of the new site, the Awesome Indies are having a sale. Over 50 books priced at less than $3, many of which are rarely discounted, will be on sale for November 1st and 2nd. Plus a lucky winner can win a Kindle Paperwhite ereader. The giveaway closes at the end of the weekend, so make sure to visit Awesome Indies Books next weekend to see the new site, show your support and pick up a bargain.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

I suppose I'm a grappler

I owe the topic of this post to my good friend Trev.

We were catching up for a drink a few weeks ago. Or maybe it was a few months ago - you know how time can slip away from you, and let's face it I don't get out much.

Anyway, we were having a chat about the general state of the universe - as you do. Talking about the struggles some of us have trying to make sense of all the crazy things around us, while others just seem to roll along, not really caring one way or another. And he came up with what I thought was the most wonderful title.

He called me a grappler.

I know, it probably doesn't exactly roll of the tongue. But it did make me smile, and in a funny sort of way, it felt kind of appropriate.

I just can't help grappling with the world I find myself in. It doesn't make any sense to me, and I find that terribly frustrating. I'm constantly trying to grab the world in my own two hands, and wrestle with it until I can get it tied down.

Of course, I never succeed. It's just that sort of world that we live in. But I can never let myself stop, even though I know the whole thing is nothing more than a mug's game. Though it drives me close to insane at times, still I'll continue to grapple with the world. I reckon that when they lay me down in the ground, I'll be grappling away inside my coffin.

Did I say above that it drives me close to insane. I guess there's probably one reason why it hasn't sent me the whole way, and that is my writing.

If anything, writer is like my release valve. When the grappling gets particularly frustrating, and I feel that my sanity is in question, I can always gain some sort of inspiration to channel this frustration into a story. And when I think of the main characters in my stories, like Neville Lansdowne or Magnus Mandalora or Kriffle the Flidderbug, I suppose I could probably categorise them as grapplers too.

So, whether you're happy to go along with the world, no matter how strange it seems to be, or whether you can't stop grappling, just like me, I hope you manage to find some vaguely reasonable answers. As to me, well I suppose I'll just keep on grappling.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

I can't remember anything that I remember

I reckon I have a pretty good memory.

My brain seems to be pretty good at storing information. Ok, maybe not always quite so good at retrieving that information again, but I can usually catch it in the end.

People are often amazed at the stuff I can remember. My family is often blown away by the way I can give blow by blow descriptions of event that happened so long ago everyone else has long since forgotten them. I have vivid recollections of family holidays, sporting events, and books that I read when I was a little kid.

Except, here's the thing. I was reading up on some information about the latest research on the way the brain works (it's an occupational hazard of my job) and I discovered something that is either very interesting or very disturbing.

When we remember something, it's not like we just pull that information from our brain and then put it back again when we're done, as if our brain is like an organic filing cabinet. It's actually quite a bit more complicated than that.

Apparently, every time we recall some information, that information has to be re-encoded back into our memory (as if we're re-remembering it for the first time). And that re-encoding can be a highly imprecise thing. It can be affected by all sorts of things, like how we're feeling at the time, or what else is happening to us.

Basic upshot is, each time something is recalled from memory and then returned, it can change, maybe subtly or maybe in quite large ways. So in the end, what we think we are remembering are actually things that maybe never even happened (at least not in the way we remembered it).

Which kind of pisses me off. To think that for all these years I was walking around thinking I remembered stuff so well when I probably didn't. All these things I could remember that everybody else had forgotten - chances are they never ever happened in the first place.

Oh well. At least when I write things down, I can have some sense that things happened the way I thought they did. Maybe that's why I decided to be a writer. Maybe that's the only way I can provide some sense of permanence of memory, while everything else turns to vapour.

There was a reason I decided to use this topic for my blog post this week. I wish I could remember what it was.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

A tale of Latvian backpackers

I'm going to get a bit nostalgic today.

I'm thinking about one of my great inspirations as a writer, Douglas Adams.

I learnt so much from his books. About how words written on a page can induce serious laughter. About how smart humour can be, getting into the realms of serious satire. About how characters can leap off the page, and dialogue can dance and sparkle.

But beyond the pure fun and enjoyment that I got (and still get) from reading his work, and the ways I try to duplicate that in my own writing (while at the same time trying to come up with my own voice and style, rather than slavishly copying), there's one additional message that I long ago learnt from his writing and which I'm always trying to follow.

It actually comes from one of his lesser known books. It's a non-fiction work titled Last Chance to See which describes his journeys around the world in the company of a zoologist to find a number of endangered species.

At one stage on his travels, they encounter a couple of German backpackers. Douglas Adams becomes really frustrated at the fact that this pair exhibit all the characteristics you would expect of stereotypical German backpackers (e.g. ridiculous efficiency and a strong sense of superiority) and hates the idea that he might be writing anything that would reinforce such stereotypes.

And that's when he decides that he won't. From here on in, these backpackers won't be German, they'll be Latvian instead.

He keeps to his word. In the chapters that follow, there are lots of references to those Latvian backpackers, and their sense of Latvian efficiency and superiority. It's a great part of what is already a great book (and highly recommended).

What did I learn from this? It's the basic idea that writers should not be reinforcing stereotypes. We should always be finding new ways to see the world and the people within it. In my writing, whenever I feel like I'm resorting to some sort of cliche or fixed type, I always try to pull back and think about how I could inject some originality or find some new way to express my ideas, rather than resorting to hoary old stereotypes.

Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes, it's a little bit unavoidable. But it's always something I aspire to. And just another reason to give thanks to the great Douglas Adams.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Make a joke but don't break my eardrums

To anyone who knows me, even just a little bit, you'll know that funny is my thing.

I like to laugh. I like to make other people laugh. I like to write stories that make me laugh. I like to write stories that make other people laugh. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes not, but at least I enjoy trying.

Of course, as someone who is into funny, I really enjoy watching comedy films and television. In fact, I would probably say that overall, my writing is probably more influenced by performed comedy than it is by text-based works - particularly given I would say my major written influence is Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy which of course was originally written to be performed.

But there's one thing that I'm starting to find quite frustrating as a consumer of stuff that is supposed to be funny. I'm finding it more and more difficult to find comedy films that appeal to my sense of humour. And I think I've finally figured out the reason for this.

These days, comedy films seem to be soooo loud.

I'm not saying loudness itself is a problem. Loud works well, when it's able to set itself off against quietness. But when it just seems to be loudness competing with other loudness, it just ends up being, well, loud.

It seems to me that in most comedy films, each of the performers is competing against the others to see who can be the funniest - but they just end up getting louder and louder. And it's not just in so-called comedy films. This dynamic is now a big part of animated films - particularly those that fancy themselves as pitching a lot of jokes above the children to the adult audience. Sometimes it seems like every second character is riffing away like some sort of overly-extroverted New York stand-up comedian.

Don't get me wrong. I'm trying not to be some sort of anti-comedy grump. I just wish sometimes that it all wasn't quite so in your face. I know there's a way to be a little bit quiet and a little bit contemplative and still be a whole lot funny.

Biggest, like most of us, I always need a laugh. But I really don't need a headache.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

One from the heart (not)

There's a lot said about what art is meant to be, and what you need to do to be a true artist.

You often hear it said, when a particular artist is referred to, that he or she is really digging deep and baring their soul for the world.

It seems to be a particularly big deal in the world of music, where singers seem to think it's their goal to appear as if they're in the greatest of pain and heartbreak with every song that they sing.

That's all well and good, and I'm sure there is a place for this kind of art. But I have to say that, personally, I find it all a bit exhausting. I don't need everything I read, or watch or listen to, to take me so deeply into someone else's pain (concocted or not). Sometimes, I just want to read a really good story, or listen to a really good song that's sung well without the need for paroxysms of pain.

So what does that mean for me as a writer? Am I somehow seen as less of an artist because I'm not baring the depths of my soul for all the world to see? Is it my job to be eviscerating myself publicly for the benefit of my audience?

I don't think so. As a writer, I'm quite happy to be coming up with great stories that move and engage and entertain. And yes, there is always a little bit of my heart and soul in there. I can't help that because it's the way I write. But it isn't every last bit of me. When it comes down to it, it's just a story I've made up that I feel some readers out there will enjoy.

Because I'm not baring the deepest, darkest depths of my soul for the world, does that make it any lesser? Does that somehow mean that maybe I'm not as genuine as other writers? Is my work somehow less worthy as art?

I don't think so.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

One in, all in

I've talked before on this site about the question of whether the ability to write is inherent or something that can be learnt.

The conclusion I've always come to is that it's somewhere in between. I think there are some people who are natural writers, but you can always learn to be a better writer. To me, the best way of learning has always been to read lots, and especially read lots of really good writing. But I've always been prepared to investigate more direct methods as well.

I've taken more than my fair share of writing classes. Some have been useful. Others less so. I've had some really fantastic teachers who have really inspired me in my writing, and others who were clearly there just to take the paycheck.

But no matter how good the teaching was, there has been one thing above all that has really put me off ever wanting to do any more writing classes: the dreaded all-in workshop.

You may know what I'm talking about. Every week, one or two people are nominated to read their work out to the class. And then it begins. Open slather. One in, all in. It's really not a pretty sight.

It seems that everyone has an opinion. No matter how little sense they have of what your story is actually about, they'll have something to tell you about what's wrong with it. Your head gets pulled this way and that way, until you know longer have any idea of which advice is actually useful (and yes, you can get the occasional pearl of wisdom) and which ones are completely nonsensical, particularly as the most nonsensical suggestions often come from the loudest and most persistent members of the class.

Don't get me wrong. I really value feedback, and wouldn't dream of putting anything out without seeking the considered advice from people whose opinions I value. But random suggestions, thrown at me from all directions from people whose expertise range from zero to nil - I really don't find that useful at all.

Will I ever do more writing classes? Never say never is what I say. If the right class and the right teacher shows up, I'd be mad not to consider it. But as soon as there's any suggestion of an all-in class workshop, then I'm out of there.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

A story's not a story without a swordfight

I used to be a theatre buff.

Well, that might be exaggerating just a little. I used to go to the theatre quite a lot, but I'm not sure if I could really call myself a buff.

My parents are definitely theatre buffs. They go to the theatre all the time. For a while, back in my long distance past, I used to come along with them. Not sure why. I guess it seemed like a good thing to do. Maybe it was the pizza restaurant we always used to visit beforehand that had quite a bit to do with it.

It didn't take long for me to realise I wasn't that excited by theatre, although I did stick with it for a while. It took me a little longer to realise what the problem was, and why I wasn't so enthralled by the drama on the stage.

Unfortunately, in the end, I just couldn't get over the staginess of it all. And that no matter what ideas or themes underlined the play, and how potentially worthwhile or dramatic they might be, in the end it was just a bunch of people talking to each other.

Maybe it's just me, but I need more than that. I need more than just seeing people on stage talking to each other to really get engaged. I need excitement. I need action. I need swordfights.

That was the moment when I realised what the problem was. There just weren't enough swordfights in these plays. I want to hear the clang of metal on metal. I want to hear cries of "en-guarde!" I want to be as enthralled as I am in that amazing scene in the Princess Bride where Westley fights Inigo ("I have a secret to tell you - I'm not left-handed" - I love that).

Of course, when I settled down to write my own stories, I had to be as good as my word. I couldn't very well complain about boring plays without swordfights if I ended up writing boring stories without swordfights. That's why I was really pleased when I was able to insert swordfights into not just one but two of my novels. And even as I scan ideas for new novels, I'm constantly thinking, "How can I insert a swordfight in here?"

And before I finish, I just have to throw in one more thing that I think is kind of cool. I actually have first-hand expertise when it comes to swordfighting, because I used to work with a former Australian fencing champion. I even got a chance to put on fencing gear and have a bit of a spar with them. It was kind of frightening actually. I kept on asking if I could run away a bit more. Luckily, she wasn't too rough with me.

Have a great week, full of excitement and derring-do. 

Saturday, 6 September 2014

End of Summer 2014 - New Visions

Today I interrupt my regular stream of conscious nonsense for a really important (and kind of cool) announcement.

Just over a year ago, I first entered into a contractual arrangement with Evolved Publishing. No, that's not the announcement, that's old news. Since then, it's been really exciting to see what a great job they've done with my first children's picture book, Thomas and the Tiger-Turtle, and to get to know this fantastic team of writers, editors and artists. No, that's not the news either.

The really cool news is that Evolved is currently running a fundraising campaign through Indiegogo. The title of this campaign is End of Summer 2014 - New Visions and there are some fantastic packages on offer.

The options range from $2.00 all the way up to $500. At the lower end, there are some really great ebooks available. At the higher end, there are some amazing packages featuring a range of hardcopy children's and adult books (including Thomas and the Tiger-Turtle of course).  And at the absolute top of the line, there is the opportunity to receive a copy of every ebook produced by Evolved Publishing. That's right, every single one. And these are not just any books. These are the cream of the crop when it comes to independent publishing. Every single one is carefully vetted and then edited with love and care. I can speak to my own personal experience on that.

So hopefully lots of you out there will be happy to support a fantastic organisation giving lots of great writers an opportunity they might not otherwise have had, and in the process releasing lots of wonderful stories for the world to read. If that's not a big enough reward, the terrific book packages available should be.

Make sure to check out the End of Summer 2014 - New Visions page for more information.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Sit right down and I'll tell you a story.

This is a bit of a follow up to the post I wrote a few weeks ago - the one where I talked about how two of the most important rules I follow when I write are making it flow and keeping it colourful.

I've been thinking a bit more about my style of writing (partly because that's what I tend to think about when I've got nothing else to do, but also because there's so much information being put out about how we writers should be writing). I think that what I'm going to say here doesn't necessary go against what I said in that previous post - it's just adding an additional dimension to it.

When it comes down to it, I see myself as a storyteller. And the main function of storytellers is to (cue drumroll) tell stories.

I see myself as part of a proud tradition. I'm the guy sitting by the fire, keeping all the cave-people thrilled with tales of frightening sabre-tooth tigers. I'm the fellow in the barn, entertaining the farmers after a busy day in the field. In many ways, I'm a really important part of the glue that hold a community together.

When I think about my approach to storytelling, I place myself in the position of the person sitting in front of an audience, trying to keep them enthralled merely by the power of my words. As I reach out in my head for the right words to use, the question I'm always asking myself is, "How would I say it?"

That's kind of as simple as it is. I don't need to craft sparkling prose. I don't need to keep university academics busy analysing everything I say. I just want to find the best way to word my story, as if I was the one telling it. That's the tone and the voice that I'm always after.

Of course, it really isn't that simple. That's where the supporting rules, like keeping the flow and making it colourful, come in. That's where I really get to think about how I, as a storyteller, keep those listeners on the edge of their seats, ears peeled for every next word, and also how I make sure that each of them is immersed, as if they're actually living the story.

Storytelling is fun. Even though I'm not the guy sitting in front of a live audience, that's still the way I feel when I write. I try to wring every bit of energy and excitement I can out of a story, for my audience's benefit. Wherever they might be, I hope I can provide them with an unforgettable experience.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Please take me seriously, I'm funny

We funny people definitely have an image problem.

We're so whacky and zany and madcap. We celebrate the lighter side of life. Sure, there's a place for that, but in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn't compare with the graver, more serious types of creative endeavour. After all, it's just a laugh, isn't it? It's not anything to take seriously.

I'm sorry, but I beg to differ. I'm quite fed up with being treated as a lightweight while other, more serious and supposedly deeper artists get taken so much more seriously.

I was reading in the paper last week about (another) profile of Nick Cave. He's such a great artist. He's so deep and intense. With apologies to any fans of Nick Cave (and I try not to be snobbish about this - people can like whoever they like) I find his brand of paint-by-numbers gothic to be quite irritating. To me there's nothing so deep about it. He just seems like a kind of cartoon character.

People seem to have these stereotypical ideas that dark is somehow deeper and more meaningful than light. And sometimes that's true. I won't dispute that there are some forms of humour that are as lightweight as a feather. But there are also forms of humour that can explore into all sorts of complicated aspects of the human experience. Forms of humour that can help to illuminate dark corners and allow you to see the world in all sorts of ways you didn't expect.

I'm not saying that my writing always achieves that, but I like to think that I'm on some sort of quest. I try to set myself the goal of uncovering some sort of truth about some aspect of the world, while at the same time trying to bring in the lightness of entertainment and humour. It's not that easy. I may hazard to say it's actually more difficult than just focusing on the darkness. But I'm sure many would find that contentious, so maybe I better not.

Certainly, at this time when one of the greatest "funny men" of recent times has left us in a way that revealed the shades of darkness behind the laughs, I think it's an important that people understand this.

As the title of this post sums up - I'm a funny person, please take me seriously.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Keeping all my chunks nice and bite sized

I like writing in chapters.

I've seen the arguments against them from writers like Terry Pratchett. How they say that we don't split our lives into chapters, so it really doesn't make sense to split our stories (which are meant to be reflections of our lives) into chapters.

That's all very well. Maybe he's right. Maybe not. It's not really something I think about, because there's one very good reason why I choose to construct my stories in clearly delineated chapters.

Let me explain it this way. I'm a busy person. I don't get a lot of time to write. Any writing that I do manage to complete is in whatever time I manage to scrounge here and there.

In order to make the most of this time, it's really important that I can give myself some incentive, especially if I'm working on something major (and really, anything over around 15,000 words is major for me). Seeing that mountain in front of me can be pretty frightening. But breaking that mountain down into a series of individual climbs makes it all so much more manageable.

That's why chapters are so useful. They give me a sense of achievement, a sense that I'm actually achieving milestones and getting things done. If I didn't give myself these frequent, short-term goals, I'm not sure I would ever have the focus to get a novel written.

Of course, once I find myself working with chapters, I try to have a bit of fun with them. One of the creative triggers that helped me with my fantasy novel Magnus Opum (which has just been re-released by Booktrope Publishing - sorry, I just had to get a plug in there) was deciding that the title of each chapter would be based on some sort of nonsensical made-up word. Might not sound like much, but it helped to put my mind into the right place creatively to move the story forward.

Similarly, in my Neville Lansdowne stories (Doodling, Scribbling, Scrawling) each chapter title is some sort of little saying or quote (e.g. "A toast to you", "Taking aim") which captures something about what the chapter is about.

And, of course, chapters help to give shape to the story, and provide points where you can build up the tension to keep readers wanting to read on.

So, until the next chapter in my own adventures, hope you have a great week. 

Monday, 11 August 2014

A brand new look for my old friend Magnus

Just over two years ago, I published my first novel, Magnus Opum, in ebook form. It was a moment that filled me with great pride at the time. To think that I could actually finish a novel-length work and make it available to the world seemed like a major achievement.

Over the last two years, Magnus Opum has slowly racked up a fair amount of reviews and feedback. Some of it is not so great. But most of it has been amazingly positive. It seems that readers really enjoyed my funny little story about the adventures of a seemingly insignificant chap called Magnus.

But Magnus's journey into publication was only just beginning. Just under a year ago, the wonderful people at Booktrope Publishing took a look at Magnus Opum and decided that they quite liked it too - and the result was an offer for publication.

Now, the day has arrived for Magnus Opum to be officially relaunched in its new Booktrope colours. My friend Lliam Amor has designed a spiffy new cover for the occasion. And, most exciting of all, the book is now available in paperback form as well as ebook. So lots of reasons to celebrate.

You can find your new and improved version of Magnus Opum at:

Kindle Store
Amazon Books
Barnes & Noble
Nook Store

So if you haven't yet experienced Magnus and his incredible adventures, now is the perfect time to start.

And let me finish by offering a big thanks to the Booktrope people for presenting me with this exciting opportunity. 

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Making it flow and keeping it colourful

There are lots of rules for writing.

I know that because I keep seeing them all over the place. 10 rules for this and 10 rules for that. Lists put up by famous writers, and lists put up by people I've never heard of.

I know rules are good. I know they help to give you guidance and structure, especially while you're doing something that could otherwise be totally free-form and random, like writing. But does it really have to be so complicated? Do we really have to pay attention to so many rules?

I'm sorry, but I just can't make the effort to follow so many rules. I try to keep things as simple as I can when I'm creating my stories (and when I'm doing pretty much anything else for that matter). That's why, I've whittled my list of key writing rules down to two. Of course, I pay attention to basic grammar (as much as I know of it) but beyond that, I have two key rules that I follow:
  1. It's got to flow
  2. It's got to be colourful.
That's it. That's as simple as it is. Writing that flows and writing that's colourful. I'll try to explain it in a little more detail.

Writing that flows is easy to explain. It's like thinking of the story as a river, and the reader as a boat just setting off. From the very first word, it's got to pick that boat up and set it on its way as smoothly as possible. No bumps or obstacles, nothing that gets in the way of a smooth journey from beginning to end. Every sentence links to the one before it. Every character is consistent and clear. Every idea is logically developed. Once you start reading, from that very first word, the only thing you can do is keep on reading.

The other key aspect is colour. It's sort of like trying to paint a picture with words. Lots of words. Big words and little words. As great a variety of words as I can find. The idea is to make sure the reader "sees" the action as it happens, as if they're a part of it. I think the biggest compliment I get from readers is when they tell me that this works for them.

Sometimes, it's a bit of a compromise. Sometimes, you have to break the flow to ensure there's enough colour. Sometimes, you have to pull back on the colour to keep the flow. But all in all, the two elements work well in tandem. Putting them together is a big part of what makes writing so rewarding.

Anyway, those are my rules. I find that as long as I can stick to them, I'm pretty happy with what I produce. 

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Following my instincts

Writing is difficult, right?

I suppose I better say yes. After all, given that last week I wrote about how writing makes my brain hurt. Seems like I'd be a bit of a hypocrite if I then came out and said the complete opposite. People would start to think I made up these posts on the spot, just to fill in space on my blog.

Well, putting aside the potential truth of the last sentence, I do want to take a slightly different angle today. Writing still is difficult. It still makes my brain hurt. But, despite that, there are often times when it feels like an incredibly natural process. Words just flow out from my mind and onto the page.

At times like that, I begin to wonder if writing is more of an instinctive process. Sometimes, it works best when I don't think too much about it. And to be honest, I'm not particularly schooled as a writer. I haven't read a heap of books on writing, and while I have attended some classes, these have mainly focussed on workshopping material rather than the actual craft of writing.

Are people born with the skill to write? Is it something that just comes naturally? Whenever I think this might be true, I remember how much I've actually read. In some ways, reading a lot of books is the perfect learning tool for learning how to write. Every book (or at last every good book) has been a lesson in how to construct character, how to set scenes, how to deliver dialogue, and all those other aspects of storytelling. Over the years it's sunk in, helping me to become the writer I am today.

So if writing truly is instinctual, it's definitely a learnt instinct. It's from unconsciously absorbing the techniques for writing that you're able to then use them in a manner that feels instinctive.

And whenever I feel like it might be that easy, I get something back from an editor and see how much red there is on the page. That's when I remember that no matter how much I've gained from my reading, there's always a lot still to learn. 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Writing makes my brain hurt

People think we writers have it easy. What a great job. You get to sit in front of a computer and make stuff up. Or maybe you recline on a couch with a piece of paper and make stuff up. Or perhaps, you sit in a cafe, nursing a cup of coffee and making stuff up.

Believe me, it couldn't be further from the truth.

Writing is hard work. And when I say hard work, I mean physically hard work. Ok, so maybe you're not likely to suffer a broken limb or a bad back (unless your writing chair isn't suitably ergonomic), but it's still hard work. How do I know this? Because when I have finished writing for the day, there is one part of my body that always hurts. My brain.

Writing really does make my brain hurt. It makes me feel like my brain has been squeezed and stretched and poked and prodded in every possible way imaginable. And why wouldn't it, because while I am writing, that is pretty much exactly what is happening to my brain.

Sometimes, at the start of the day, I sit at my computer, waiting. I feel a bit like a swimmer at a pool, preparing to take that first dive in. I know that once I start, I'm going to be putting my brain under serious stress. I feel like I need to draw a deep breath before taking the plunge.

As soon as I'm in there, I can feel the stress building up. Sometimes, it feels as if I'm wrestling with the words, trying to force them into place. Other times, it's as if I'm trying to rip something out of the very air in front of me, or dig it out from the depths of my mind.

Either way, it's not easy. The more I do it, the more I feel like my brain is being tied in knots. The more it starts to throb, making me feel like my eyes will pop out and my head will explode.

By the time I'm finished, I know I've put myself through a workout. I know I'm exhausted, and my head will need a good, long rest.

I hope I've convinced all you people out there who think that writing is like a walk in the park. Writing is difficult, stressful, brain-exhausting work.

So if it's such a slog, why do I do it? Because, despite all the mental strain, it's still lots and lots of fun. 

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Far too selfish to be writing for the screen

I once did a screenwriting course.

Actually, I'm not completely sure if that's true. I once started doing a screenwriting course. I never quite made it to the end. I pretty much got halfway and then called it quits.

There were a number of reasons why I left the course. Partly, because of time constraints, particularly as it was around the time I first became a father. Partly because I didn't think the quality of the instruction was all that good. But the most significant reason why I decided I didn't want to be a screenwriter is because in the end I'm just far too selfish.

The logic behind this connection may initially escape you. Please allow me to explain.

Like I said above, I didn't think I learnt all that much from my two years in the course. However, there was one significant revelation. The film and television production industry was definitely not a writer-focussed industry.

As a writer working in the television industry especially, you were basically a gun for hire. If you made it - if you were one of the extremely lucky ones to actually get any work - you had to write for whatever shows you could get onto. The industry in general was run by the producers and the production houses. They were the ones who decided what got made. As writers, you just wrote out the scripts as required.

This would definitely not have worked for me. I like to be in control. I like to work on my own ideas, and develop them in the ways I would like to develop them. In short, I'm a selfish writer.

I reckon if I actually got some work, I would spend most of my time annoying everybody else in the production team, e.g. criticising the scripts, suggesting changes to plots, adding or removing characters at random. Would I have made myself popular? Not very.

I know in the US that's now not necessarily true, especially for TV. I know they talk about a golden age of television, with a new breed of writer driven shows. But here on the other side of the world, we definitely haven't made that step.

So I guess it's back to my books. Back to writing my story exactly the way I want to. Back to being a selfish writer. 

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Half yearly progress update

It's hard to believe that we've passed the halfway mark for 2014 already. Seems like a good time to review my progress so far and see how I'm tracking with my writing (and publishing) goals. So here goes:
  1. Thomas and the Tiger-Turtle - done and dusted. Was released on 19 May by the wonderful people at Evolved Publishing. And it's come up very nicely too, if I don't say so myself. Getting my first picture book published has been a real highlight.
  2. Magnus Opum - have been making slow progress on getting Magnus Opum ready for republishing by Booktrope publishing. Story has been re-edited and a new cover designed. At this stage, we're just down to final preparation, so hopefully we're only a few weeks away from release day. Watch this space.
  3. My YA novel - tentative title Through the Flame -  I've been making steady progress on this. The original goal was to have a publisher-ready MS by the end of the year. I've already completed a full rewrite of the original first draft, and am now five chapters into a second rewrite. So it's looking highly likely that I'll achieve that deadline with months to spare.
  4. Another published picture book - am in discussions with the people at Evolved for a follow up to Thomas and the Tiger-Turtle. Don't want to say too much at this stage but we're close to having an edited MS so I'm highly hopeful that I can have another picture book available by the end of the year.
  5. More picture book MSs - at the start of the year I set myself a goal of at least two new picture book MSs (to add to my already substantial pool). I've just completed one with the title Bella and the Blue Genie, so officially halfway there.
  6. My detective novel - tentative title A Fate Worse than Death - I was originally hoping this might be ready for publication by the end of the year, but with Magnus Opum taking longer than hoped, that's probably less likely at this stage. Again, watch this space.
  7. My dinosaur story - a companion piece for Flidderbugs that has been in my head for a while. I hadn't really planned on starting on it this year, but depending on how other projects go, there may be a chance. I'm hoping to have it ready to publish, maybe later next year.
 So as you can see, progress has been good, with a couple of major achievements. But still plenty of work to do. Roll on the rest of 2014. Let's see where we're at by the end of the year. 

Saturday, 28 June 2014

This post is definitely not about writing

I read some really useful advice for writers about blogging the other day. And let me tell you, if I ever see any advice about blogging, I'm sure to read it because, let's face it, I need all the help I can get.

Anyway, what this advice was suggesting was that I shouldn't be blogging about writing. I should be blogging about anything else I can think of to make myself seem interesting. This seemed like pretty smart advice, so I thought I'd have a go at it. After all, I am a really interesting person. I shouldn't have any trouble coming up with all sorts of ideas.

So, hmmmm, what to blog about?

How about fishing? I went fishing once, a long time ago. It was really fun. At least I think it was really fun. Actually, now that I think about it, it wasn't that great. I felt so bad trying to get the little worm onto the hook - like I was some sort of evil, vicious worm killer. And then, the fishes were all messy and squirmy and made a mess in the boat. Plus I got sunburnt from being out in the sun too long.

Okay, so maybe fishing isn't the number one topic I should choose for this blog.

I know, how about carpentry? When I was a kid, I did a bit of carpentry with my dad. We used to work in the garage (it never had cars in it 'cos it was always too full of other stuff). Sanding and sawing and drilling and nailing. I was never much good at it. No matter how carefully I aimed that hammer at those nails, I always ended up taking out my fingers instead. And anyway, I always seemed to end up spending most of my time on the sanding, which was just quite unbelievably boring.

All right, so maybe talking about carpentry isn't such a great option either.

This is turning out to be harder than I thought. Here I was, thinking I was a well-rounded individual with a variety of interests and a wealth of knowledge to share. Turns out, I'm scarily one-dimensional and don't know half as much as I think I do.

I think I better leave this post right now and go out to find some new hobbies to take up. In the meantime, I really hope you don't mind if I go back to talking about writing next week.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Anti-social? Who me? Well yes, actually

It seems these days that there's nothing more important than being social. With all this emphasis on social media and Facebook this and Twitter that, sometimes it seems like the worst thing anyone could possibly do is try to find any time away from the rest of the world.

There seems to be even more pressure on us writers. If we're not out there selling ourselves and our books, then we're definitely behind the eight ball. We have to be as big and loud as we can, after all how else is the world ever going to know about us and our wonderful, groundbreaking, earth shattering stories.

I hear all of that, and I'm doing my best. I can regularly be spotted shooting my mouth off on Twitter and Facebook. Even the fact that I'm doing this blog is a testament to that. But I have to say I find it pretty draining. Because, when it comes down to it, I'm just not the sociable type.

Sure, I'm not completely antisocial. I do actually have friends (at least I did last time I checked) and I do get out of the house to socialise (all right, maybe not that often, but I blame that on the kids). But, the fact of the matter is, given the choice of a raging, noisy party or a bit of quiet alone time, I'll often quite happily choose the latter over the former.

It's the quiet alone time that I really value. It's the chance to be alone with my thoughts. That's when I can recharge, and work the stress of everyday life out of my system. And that's the time when I can generate the ideas that I need for my stories.

Whether it's coming up with new ideas, or sorting out seemingly intractable problems in a work-in-progress, quiet alone time is absolutely vital. I would even go as far as to say it's the most important tool any writer can have. Sure, we may know about all the various writing methods and techniques, but without that quiet alone time, I don't see how you can ever put them into action properly.

So I guess that's enough of me being here for now. It's time for me to cut out and find a quiet spot. I'm sure real-life will drag be back at some point. But in the meantime, I'm off to be unsociable.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

I'm a true artist with the soul of an accountant

Sometimes I wonder if I missed my true calling.

Sure I like being a writer. I like to think that I'm a creative kind of person, able to reel off amazing ideas at the drop of a hat. I like to see myself as an artist, creating something with some kind of lasting worth, even with a kind of beauty in its own way.

But there's another side to me entirely. A side that is orderly and organised. That's the side of me that is constantly compiling lists and planning out my day in ridiculously intricate detail. It's also the side that loves playing with numbers. I love doing the numerical problems in newspapers, and often find myself doing little mental calculations in my head for no apparent reason except that I think it's kind of fun.

When I think about that organised, numerical side to me, I wonder if I really was meant to follow my creative urges. Maybe my true path lay in a more organised, orderly and numerical sort of profession. Maybe I really should have been (gasp) an accountant?

I seem to have the perfect personality and temperament for it. And hey, it's damn good money. Why did I ever push myself in such an opposing direction?

But when I start to think about it a bit more, and I look more closely at what accountants do, I think, "No way." Not to put it down or anything. I can see that what they do is very important. Hey, maybe I'll even be a position where one day I'll need to employ one (I can only dream). But it's definitely not for me.

I think I'll stick to the creativity and the writing, even if I don't have a lot to show for it. I'll be happy to be a true artist, but one with the soul of an accountant deep down inside. And if that makes me strange or unique, I suppose I can live with that.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

I'm neurotic

You know what we writers are like. We're free and easy spirits, living a cool, bohemian kind of lifestyle. We swan in and out of cafes, drinking copious amounts of coffee and watching as life goes by, notepad at the ready to jot down anything we notice that we can use later in the services of our writing.

We're cool customers, unruffled by life. Marching to a different drum as we let ourselves be driven by our creative urges.

Well, I can't speak for any other writers out there, but I absolutely know that this isn't me at all.

I'm not cool. I'm not composed. I don't lead any kind of relaxed, bohemian existence. I'm totally not the sort of person who just goes with the flow. Truth is, I'm neurotic as hell.

I worry about everything. I get myself all worked up about nothing. I make a big deal about even the slightest of disturbances. If there was anybody who could possibly be a poster boy for neurotics anonymous, I reckon it would be me.

I have to say that I am quite cool and relaxed about my neurotic nature. I even find it quite useful. I reckon that obsessing over fiddly little details is actually a pretty valuable quality for a novelist. And this obsessiveness also helps me to maintain my concentration for the extended periods required to actually write a complete novel - and then go back and rewrite it again and again and again.

So far from seeing creativity and neurotic-ness (honestly, I tried to google a noun version of neurotic and couldn't find one - that's how neurotic I am) as exclusive, I actually see them as a good combination. Maybe we need a new word to describe it - creotic or something.

Anyway, to anyone out there, have a great and creotic week. And see you at exactly the same time next week (you know I'll be here, and now you know why).

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Special offer for Lethal Inheritance by Tahlia Newland

Today I'm happy to welcome an old friend, Tahlia Newland, who's here to talk about a special offer for her book, Lethal Inheritance.

Special offer for Lethal Inheritance by Tahlia Newland

Yep, you did hear right; it's $4 off. Lethal Inheritance, book one of the Diamond Peak series, is only 99c on Amazon and Kobo from the 30th of May to the 5th of June. Usually the book is priced at $4.99, but this is the first in a series of four books, and for this one week, the author wants to make it easy for you to have a taste. This is a great 99c ebook deal, and an offer rarely repeated, so snap it up while it's hot.  

What makes this book different to all the other YA fantasy?

The Diamond Peak series is more than just great fiction, it's also an education on how to deal with negative emotions and difficult people. You’ll get a tiny taste of meditation and Buddhist philosophy and learn how to banish your demons in a very entertaining way.

What's it about?

After an ordinary evening studying for her final exams, Ariel wakes to a scream and discovers that demons have kidnapped her mother and dragged her into a hidden realm. Ariel mounts a rescue mission, but to defeat the demons, who feed on fear and seek the enslavement of the human race, she must learn a secret esoteric wisdom to awaken the dormant but potentially explosive power of her mind.

Walnut, a quirky old wise man, guides her through treacherous inner and outer landscapes, and Nick, the powerful Warrior who travels with them, proves a dangerous attraction. Can Ariel defeat the sadistic demon lord before he kills her and enslaves her mother?

The stakes are high, death a real possibility. Fail now, and she fails humanity.

Is it any good?

Lethal Inheritance has received the AIA Seal of Excellence in Fiction and a BRAG Medallion for Outstanding Fiction. Lethal Inheritance rivals such young adult favorites as J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordian.Tammy Dewhurst, Rabid Readers.

"Lethal Inheritance has it all - rich, detailed world building, insanely realistic characters, and a kick ass fantasy plot." Book Briefs Reviews.
“A fun read, seamlessly layered with philosophical themes adding depth to the adventure, with engaging characters and evil antagonists, a bit of humour and romance and great action sequences.” Kevin Berry, author.

Where did you say I can get it?

Buy it now on Amazon or Kobo.

Please support this hardworking and talented author by sharing this with your friends.