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So after my news, I find that things are moving along very quickly. This week I’m hoping to see the concept art for the cover of Dragon wine  1: Shatterwing. You can’t imagine how excited I am about that. Momentum have been great to work with so I have expectations!

Then it’s just over 5 weeks before the book comes out. I mean how quick is that (I mean 10 years in the making).

I’m heading the UK for Loncon 3 and I’ll also be at British Fantasy con in York in September. It will be fab to catch up with friends and acquaintances and also do some research. I need to trawl through the streets of London for the Ruby Heart sequel Emerald Fire and maybe get into a sewer (but as London’s sewers are closed when I get there I may have to settle for a sewer tour in Brighton). While I’m away I’m expecting the edits to Dragon wine 2: Skywatcher and I don’t know how hard that will be doing those while travelling. The edits of Shatterwing required a bit of effort. Not that I’m complaining. I’m very glad to be put through my paces. I just don’t know how that will mesh with travelling and conventions etc. However, as my partner is a writer I’m sure he’ll be supportive and it will all work out. We even bought a mobile office thing to carry my laptop safely.

Travel is also a time to get inspiration and to research streets, buildings and people for future work. It is also a time when I can relax and my mind can invent new scenes.

I’m going to have print copies available and I will be doing a few launch type things when I get back in October. I’ll keep you posted about that.

Meanwhile, Dragon Wine 1: Shatterwing is turning up in places for pre order in ebook. Here are a few of them.

Amazon

Amazon Australia

Google Books

iBooks

 

I have let out hints on Twitter and Facebook about contracts! Yes, plural. I’m so excited and I’ve been dying to tell but a few things happened. One, I hadn’t signed the contracts yet. Two, my laptop fell off my bed and broke. I’m afraid I was traumatised. But it’s now fixed and all is right in my world again.

If you have been following me for a while, you would know about my novel Dragon Wine. It’s the work of the heart, my major work, my first glimpse of writing something good way back when (2005). It was a massive  door stopping beginning to a trilogy, which I started in 2005. It wasn’t quite as good then as it is now. If it wasn’t for the Varuna MS development awards it may not have been written. I was encouraged by being long listed for the first 25 000 words (all I’d written at the time) of this first imaginings of Dragon Wine in 2005. At the time, I had a little vineyard so I did think a lot of it up while I was out there working on the vines, pruning them, caring for them. I wrote more in 2006 and it made the long list again, then I submitted again finally making the shortlist.

I did a quite a lot of posting a while back about how I cut it back after some feedback and also to make it eligible for some slush piles. However, I hadn’t quite got it where I wanted it to go. And those slush piles. Shrug. Publishing is a different place from when I started writing way back when.

I was thinking to do another rewrite of Dragon Wine this year, as you do with a work  you never give up on, when I had a chance to submit it to Haylee Nash at Pan Macmillan Australia. The wonderful thing was she read it straight away and loved it. I was offered a deal with Momentum Books and I took it. All very quick. It felt amazing to have an editor read it and love it. You can’t imagine how it felt. I’ve been working on this book for 9 years.

So Dragon Wine is coming out really soon. It is coming out in two parts. Dragon Wine is the name of the series and the first book is Shatterwing, which is the name of the remains of the shattered moon above Margra, the planet where Dragon Wine is set. The second book is called, Skywatcher, which is the name given to the people who watch the skies and shoot down meteors. Alex Adsett, my literary agent, coined the term-post-apocalyptic dragons when she read it.

You can probably tell that this is a weird sounding fantasy as it seems to have science fiction elements. It does! It’s also a pretty dark fantasy in that the world is not nice and is inhabited by some pretty nasty and desperate people. Of course, my story is about the people who are good and want to change things. Anyway, you will have to wait for the blurb! Then not very long after for the books. I am hoping to launch them at Conflux in October in Canberra.

Meanwhile, I post things as I hear or see (like the covers!). I’ve just got the copy edits for the first part. And I’m going to get the next ones when I’m in the UK in August, eep! There is more to the story of course, but being a commercial world we need to see how these two go before decisions are made about the next installments. But I do have the next two drafted!

And I have good news for Dani K too, but that’s another blog!

warning-there may be typos!

Well we have no internet so that makes me more productive and so I’m writing this blog post wihtout an intenet connection because I’m waiting for the potatoes to bake.

David Dufty from the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild organised this retreat in Braidwood. However, we’re not quite in Braidwood but near it. It’s called Half Moon Retreat and it’s on a big property about 7 kilometers out of Margarlowe, which is about 13 kms from central Braidwood. It is three kms from the gate to the house. We are in deep. The house is large. It’s got a huge living area that could accommodate a country dance.

It is a great writing space with floor to ceiling french doors all around. Matthew and I arrived at night so we caught glimpses of stars, the full Milky Way in all its glory but nothing prepared us for the morning. The house is sitting on a ridge with spectacular views of wooded hills and scrub around us. There is some interenet but you have to sit by the water tank to catch a glimpse of it. And tonight, it is too darn cold and dark to try and get a connection.
There are five bedrooms in the house, three double rooms and two bunk rooms. We are in the room with an ensuite, which is lovely. We’re the only couple so that makes sense to me! There is one huge bathroom that’s the size of a bedsit. It’s huge and I’m guessing that everyone has to share that one. A bit of a disadvantage but it is still a fabulous house. We believe part of it is original and transported there, an old weatherboard place and the huge living area is built on as is the three quarter deck.

Last night and today as we had people coming and leaving we talked about writing goals. David likes to have a bit of structure and as he organised the retreat we are up for that. My goal was to write 10,000 words on my wip and then do some reworking and maybe outline my next novel, which is The Changling Curse, the sequel to The Sorcerer’s Spell. So far I’m on track as I’ve written 10,000 words today and put on the roast lamb!

I took a break in the middle of the day to walk to the river. I explored the property keeping to the graded road as there are mine shafts apparently. I found an old ruin, just the chimney and encountered a kangaroo, a few wombat holes, the river eventually which was amazing. It was still and quiet and the bird calls were amplified in that space that it sounded so loud and surreal. There was was another ruin of a miner’s cottage by the river too. I made my way back, loving the bush around me and day dreaming how much Matthew and I would like a place like this. It.s so quiet and picturesque that we cuddled on the verandah and watched the quiet grey hills and glimpsed the sunset while we were restocking the wood for the fire.
I like retreats because they make me focus. We have gathered to write and the expectation is there and that is great for me because I don’t shirk. I was hoping to be working on my new novel but I’ve been slack so I’m finishing one instead.
The day before  we came here I broke my laptop and the document I was working on is open on that one. I’m hoping that when the repairer looks at it I can retrieve if and then put the two documents together.If not Ill have to rewrite that little section I worked on during my writers date on Tuesday.
So as I have reached my word count, tomorrow will be about rewriting the ms and fixing things. You see I had a flash of insight that I needed to make the relationship between Earl and Nea more than about sex so I’m going to work on that and generally tidy up.

Here is a few selfies of us.

Selfie with some of the gang

Selfie with some of the gang

That's   us (ignore scary guy in the middle. Thats the Dweeb)

That’s us (ignore scary guy in the middle. Thats the Dweeb)

 

 
image

The living areas  with the windows and sun

The living areas with the windows and sun

Some of the view and the house

image

I’m pleased today to bring you and interview with the lovely and talented Jo Anderton. Jo is going to tell us about her new book, the follow up from Debris and Suited.

Jo Anderton

Jo Anderton

Hi Jo, can you tell us a bit about your new novel?

Guardian is the third book in the Veiled Worlds Trilogy, and the final step in Tanyana’s journey. The official blurb is:

“The grand city of Movoc-under-Keeper lies in ruins. The sinister puppet men have revealed their true nature, and their plan to tear down the veil between worlds. To have a chance of defeating them, Tanyana must do the impossible, and return to the world where they were created, on the other side of the veil. Her journey will force her into a terrible choice, and test just how much she is willing to sacrifice for the fate of two worlds.”

Unofficially, I’d say Guardian is about sacrifice and love. And the ending still makes me cry.

Jo can tell us a bit about yourself (where you live, how long you’ve been writing, previous publications etc)

I live in Sydney, with my husband and pets, and I’ve always written. Even as a kid I used to tell myself stories, and eventually decided I should try writing them down instead of just keeping them in my head.

Apart from the first two books of the Veiled Worlds Trilogy, Debris and Suited, I’ve also published a short fiction collection The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories, which won the 2013 Aurealis Award for Best Collection.

Tell us a bit about why you write speculative fiction.

Because I can’t help it. Seriously, I’ve tried writing not-speculative fiction and it was so hard. It’s what I love, it’s how I think, and it is definitely how my writing brain works. All my ideas come with unusual worlds and/or magic systems attached to them. I usually blame my Dad for that. He brought me up on a diet of Tolkien and Star Trek and I can’t thank him enough.

Your novel is a third in a trilogy. Are we going to see more of it in future?

No plans at the moment, but there are possibilities. No story ever really ends, does it? And if this story did continue, I know the direction it would go. But for the moment, I’m excited to be working on new projects.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a new book currently called The Bone Gardens. It’s young adult, it’s science-fantasy, and heavily influenced by the movies of Studio Ghibli (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, and Princess Mononoke in particular). Flying gardens of bone and toxic flowers, never-ending desert, steampunk cities, genetic engineering. That kind of thing. And I’m loving it!

What is your writing process? (planner, panster, write every day, write sporadically, writers block etc).

I think of myself as somewhere in between a planner and a pantser. Before I start writing I always know the beginning, the end, and a few important plot points in between. I’ve learned that if I know too much of the story before I start writing it, I get bored! The joy in writing is telling myself the story, learning about the characters, and living it all as it happens. This usually means my first drafts are a wreck, and I have to go back and do significant rewriting, but that works for me too. The most important thing is to enjoy the process, and love telling stories!

I make sure I do something every day. Even if it’s not much — if I come home from work exhausted or my lower back can’t handle sitting in a chair anymore, I don’t beat myself up about it. Even a few words, or some blog posting is better than nothing. I have at least one full-time writing day a week, and most of my holidays are actually for writing J

What do you prefer drafting the story or revising and reworking?

Ha, my favourite part of the process is usually NOT the part I’m doing! If I’m writing a draft I long for revision, when I’m revising I long to be writing something new. The grass is always greener, you know?

But my overall favourite part is the planning — when an idea is fresh and new and full of potential and I can get swept away in it.

What part of writing do you find hardest?

Knowing when to stop. I’m terrible at working out when a story is done. If it was up to me, no story would ever be done, and I would probably tinker with them for eternity. This is why we have publishers and deadlines.

What do you plan to work on next?

The sequel to The Bone Gardens. I think it’s called The Fiery Skies and it’s been waiting very impatiently for me to pay attention. Soon, my precious. Soon.

Here is the cover of Guardian followed by some links to where you can find Jo on the web.

Cover image of Guardian by Jo Anderton

Cover image of Guardian by Jo Anderton

 

 

Website: http://joanneanderton.com/

Twitter: joanneanderton

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/joanne.anderton.16

Details on fablecroft website are here: http://fablecroft.com.au/about/publications/guardian

Today I have a fantastic interview with Daniel, who lives in Canada but is from Perth originally. Thank you Daniel for coming along.

Daniel-de-Lorne3

 

I understand you have a gay romance out with Escape Publishing. Can you tell us a bit about it?

 

It’s called Beckoning Blood and is about twin brothers, Olivier and Thierry, who are made into vampires in medieval France. Olivier is obsessed with his brother, while Thierry’s heart belongs to another. Olivier isn’t exactly one to take no for an answer so their path through the centuries is littered with plenty of corpses and misdeeds.

 

Daniel, tell us a bit about yourself (where you live, how long you’ve been writing, previous publications etc.)

 

I’m a Perth boy, born and bred, but at the moment I’m living in Toronto with my soon-to-be-husband. It was while in Canada that Kate Cuthbert from Escape Publishing accepted Beckoning Blood for publication. I wrote the book at the end of 2009 but it’s gone through a number of edits since then, and then took time to find a home. It’s my first published novel so I’m pretty excited about it.

Prior to that I worked as a professional writer, amongst other things, and studied creative writing and journalism at university.

Daniel, what draws you to the romance genre?

It’s not so much that I was drawn to the romance genre, just that that’s where I’ve found a home. I love reading paranormal and fantasy novels, but a lot of them have straight romance in them (a lot of the ones I read in high school anyway). The male/male market has boomed so I feel there’s more opportunity to write (and publish) the paranormal stories I like. As a result, they’ve usually got a gay love interest in them, which is integral to the plot.

What are you working on at the moment?

I recently finished writing the first draft of the sequel to Beckoning Blood but it’s nowhere near ready. I have a feeling there’s going to be almost a full rewrite. I’ve already rewritten the opening chapter and showed it to my critique partner. She loved it so I think I’m moving in the right direction.

What is your writing process? (planner, panster, write every day, write sporadically, writers block etc).

I’m more a pantser than a planner. I start with a general idea about what’s going to happen but once I start writing, things can change quite a bit. Often in new and previously unthought of ways. That’s what I love about the writing process: the discovery. Especially when one element at the beginning, that you thought was innocuous, ends up playing a significant role by the end (and saves the plot).

When I’m writing a new book, I try my best to write every day, and I can usually do it. Once it’s done though, the thought of editing it is almost too much. It takes a lot of effort to get into the mindset to edit my own work.

 

What do you prefer: drafting the story or revising and reworking?

Revising and reworking. My first drafts are always hideous, but I treat them like a first sketch of a painting. I’ll then go back and flesh out the detail, or rub sections out. It’s a long process. But like nearly every author, I wish the first draft came out gleaming.

What part of writing do you find hardest?

Not using clichés. When I’m doing the first draft, I’ll put them in as it gets the words down on paper (unless I’m feeling particularly inspired). Then later, I’ll rewrite as many as I can into something a bit more original. It’s hard to overcome the almost subconscious use the first time around.

 

What do you plan to work on next?

After I get the sequel together, I’ve got two more books to edit. The sooner I get them polished and published, the better. I will have to work on something new somewhere in there, otherwise I’ll feel like I’ve forgotten how to write. I have a few ideas (including one new one that has struck me) but I’m keeping them close until I make a decision.

 

Here is the cover and the book blurb.

The cover of Beckoning Blood

The cover of Beckoning Blood

Book Blurb

A gripping, blood‐drenched saga about twin brothers, the men they love, and the enduring truth that true love never dies — no matter how many times you kill it.

Thierry d’Arjou has but one escape from the daily misery of his work at a medieval abattoir — Etienne de Balthas. But keeping their love a secret triggers a bloody chain of events that condemns Thierry to a monstrous immortality. Thierry quickly learns that to survive his timeless exile, he must hide his sensitive heart from the man who both eases and ensures his loneliness…his twin brother.

Shaped by the fists of a brutal father, Olivier d’Arjou cares for only two things: his own pleasure and his twin. But their sadistic path through centuries is littered with old rivals and new foes, and Olivier must fight for what is rightfully his – Thierry, made immortal just for him.

Here are Daniel’s contact details on the web.

 

Beckoning Blood is available on Kindle (http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00JD7EYX0), iBooks (https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/beckoning-blood/id852042874?mt=11) and Kobo (http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beckoning-blood).

 

For a free short story, introducing the heroes of Beckoning Blood, head to Daniel de Lorne’s website (http://www.danieldelorne.com/the-boys).

 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/danieldelorne

Twitter: www.twitter.com/danieldelorne

Google+: http://plus.google.com/+DanieldeLorne

 

I can’t wait to read this Daniel. Best of luck and thank you for appearing on the blog.

I’ve been busy and then tired so I haven’t blogged. I’ m going to have to split the blog post up because there’s lots of photos.

New Orleans is awesome. It’s different, multi-cultural, lively and heaps of fun. I hate long plane trips but I love travel. I’m here to attend my first RT convention (formerly  Romantic Times Convention) and it being in New Orleans was what sealed the deal for me. I came early so I did some tours and I met up with the wonderful Keri Arthur for serious retail therapy. The conference itself is huge.

I am staying at a bed and breakfast near mid town  on Canal Street. That’s the same street as the conference hotel but a cable car ride away. So there are pros and cons, but I think there are mostly pros. I’m forced to take the   cable car everyday and that allows me to see real life around me and I’m meeting people over breakfast and Monica is the best Innkeeper ever so it’s all good.

Here is a pick of the house. It has a raised basement, which is where my room is.  It was built early 1900s. Below is a shot of the parlour, and a lovely ornate fireplace.

 

Canal Street Inn, New Orleans, the parlour

Canal Street Inn, New Orleans,

The Canal Street Inn, The Parlour

The Canal Street Inn, The Parlour

Then I did some touring around so there’l be more photos.

So I have done a few  short tours. The City and Cemeteries, with an educated and informative guide. The tours are quick so I think they are more like an introduction if you want to focus on a particular spot. I’ve also done a tour of two plantations, Laura Plantation and Oak Alley, both very different but haunting and sad  in the slavery side. I think it’s important that we don’t forget how these people (stolen from Africa) were treated. I also did a ghost and vampire tour and the stories were scary.

Joan of Arc Statue,

Joan of Arc Statue,

New paper boxes. Who said print media is dead.

New paper boxes. Who said print media is dead.

street view French Quarter

street view French Quarter

Poker machine cubicles, Flannagan's Pub, French Quarter

Poker machine cubicles, Flannagan’s Pub, French Quarter

The architecture in the French Quarter is very European, most Spanish than French.  The French houses were destroyed by fire and rebuilt in brick. It’s quite reminiscent of Europe.

Note. I was in the pub to take a tour. The cubicles fascinated me. They were  better fitting that the toilet doors.

And my keyboard died so limited typing for me.

 

 

 

 

Ah finally I get to drag Alan to my blog. I hear rejoicing!

Thank you Alan for answering some questions about your new book coming out with Harper Voyager.

Alan Baxter

Alan Baxter

Your new novel is coming out, Bound, the first novel in your new trilogy. Can you tell us a bit about it?

 

It’s the story of Alex Caine, a martial artist fighting in illegal cage matches. His powerful secret weapon is an unnatural vision that allows him to see his opponents’ moves before they know their intentions themselves.

 

An enigmatic Englishman, Patrick Welby, approaches Alex after a fight and reveals, ‘I know your secret.’ Welby shows Alex how to unleash a breathtaking realm of magic and power, drawing him into a mind-bending adventure beyond his control. And control is something Alex values above all else.

 

A cursed grimoire binds Alex to Uthentia, a chaotic Fey godling, who leads him towards chaos and murder, an urge Alex finds harder and harder to resist. Befriended by Silhouette, a monstrous Kin beauty, Alex sets out to recover the only things that will free him – the shards of the Darak. But that powerful stone also has the potential to unleash a catastrophe which could mean the end of the world as we know it.

The cover of Bound by Alan Baxter

The cover of Bound by Alan Baxter

 

Alan tell us a bit about yourself

 

I live on the south coast of NSW, among rolling dairy country. It’s beautiful, we’re very lucky to live here. I’ve been writing since forever, even as a kid I would make up stories and write them down. I’ve got three novels out now, a dark fantasy duology, RealmShift and MagesSign, and a short horror novel called Dark Rite, co-written with David Wood. My new trilogy is coming out from Voyager soon – Bound, Obsidian and Abduction. Bound is out in July. As for other work, I’ve had over 50 short stories published all over the place. I recently sold a story to Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine, which is like the holy grail for me. I’ve been trying to sell the for a decade and it’s always been top of my short fiction wish list. My full bibliography is here:

 

Alan what do you find so attractive about the fantasy genre? In what ways do you find it fulfilling?

 

I like the total freedom it gives us to explore any ideas we like. We can expand any concept well beyond the boundaries of the real world and that makes it much more exciting for me.

 

I know you have had a new addition to the household. How does having a baby affect your writing time?

 

It makes it much more precious! I wrote my first novel during my lunch hours at a 9 to 5 office job, so I trained myself early to make time whenever I could to write. Having a baby means I’m drawing on those experiences again.

 

What are you working on at the moment?

 

I’ve got a new novel under way – a standalone horror novel that’s a kind of organised crime/Lovecraftian thing with other stuff mixed in. It’s slow going with the baby, but I’m working on it while also doing edits and final proofs of the Alex Caine books.

 

What is your writing process? (planner, panster, write every day, write sporadically, writers block etc).

 

My process is to make time to write whenever I can. No one can find time to write, so you have to make it. I also run a martial arts academy, so I can’t write every day, nor do I think people need to. But you do meed to be a writer every day – that means always thinking about writing and stories and characters even when you can’t be writing. Always look at the world with a writer’s eye. I’m a bit of a hybrid pantser/planner. I make loose plans and outlines, then wing it from there. I’m always happy to throw the plan out the window and go wherever the story takes me though.

What do you prefer drafting the story or revising and reworking?

 

Drafting. Get that first draft down no matter how shitty it is. Get it finished. I make notes along the way of things I think will need looking at later. Then edit and polish and edit and polish and edit again until it shines.

 

What part of writing do you find hardest?

 

The middle of books. I hate middles!

 

 

What do you plan to work on next?

 

Not sure. I want to get this standalone novel finished and hope the Alex Caine books go well. Beyond that, I’m not sure!

Thank you Alan. Here is Alan’s contact details on the web.

Website – http://www.warriorscribe.com

Twitter – @AlanBaxter

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alan-Baxter/115972625096325

 

Book cover and mugshot attached.

 

 

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