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Well that’ll never get old…

It has been almost a week since they read out my name and In Shadows We Fall as the winner of the 2017 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novella and I probably ought to be used to the idea by now, but nope. For someone who can still occasionally be amazed at having kids eight years after the fact, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m still grinning to myself at random times. And I don’t think this is ever going to get old. I won a thing. And not just a competition, not just a popularity contest, a legit award judged by a panel of people who know what they are talking about. Someone other than me and my mum thinks my work is worth reading. WOW. Nope… not getting old. (I’m totally grinning right now, I bet you can feel the force of it through the screen. I’m grinning so much it’s bending REALITY).

Sadly I wasn’t able to be there to accept my award in person, but a friend (another Devin, no less!) did an amazing job for me. I laughed all through his rendition of my acceptance speech and after that I might have missed the last few awards on the livestream because I was running around the house screaming. Then my editor called and we were both screaming. (Pretty sure I’ve written plenty about how awesome my editor is, but that might need reiterating again soon)…

So, what’s next? I’m publishing the first book of a new series this year (more on that soon) and will be taking my first steps to shopping yet another new series to agents and publishers. I’m super excited about all of it and look forward to sharing the continuation of this journey with all of you.

In the meantime if you’re interested in an e-copy of my Aurealis Award-winning (Sqqueeeee that will NEVER get old) novella, you can get one my signing up to my quarterly newsletter below. Unless there’s something very exciting going on you will only ever get four emails a year from me full of only the most awesome of awesomeness (still excited).

 

 

 

 

Cover Reveal!

*cue cover drum roll*

It is that time! Time for a final, full wrap-around cover reveal for the upcoming prequel novella IN SHADOWS WE FALL. The wonderful original art was done by the seriously talented John Anthony Di Giovanni, and the design and layout by the equally seriously talented Shawn King at STK-Kreations.

IN SHADOWS WE FALL takes place sixteen years before the beginning of The Vengeance Trilogy and follows the events that led to the original downfall of the last Otako ruler, Emperor Lan.

From the back description:

 

 

You will die. Your children will die. The empire will burn.

Empress Li is out of favour at court. Foreign-born and past her prime, she is to be set aside. But she won’t go quietly. With nothing left to lose, Li will do anything to stop Emperor Lan signing a secret alliance that could tear the empire apart. Yet when her life is threatened, old mistakes come back to haunt her and only a three-year-old boy can change the course of history.

With everything at stake, could an innocent child be the best assassin?

 

 

So without further ado… here is the cover of the upcoming novella IN SHADOWS WE FALL!

*fans self*

I cannot describe how exciting it is to be getting this book out. I hope you all love the cover as much as I do!

 

IN SHADOWS WE FALL, available for general release on the 16th of November 2017, or RIGHT NOW! (like seriously right now) if you sign up to my quarterly newsletter below. Once confirmed, you’ll get an email with a link to download the ebook in whatever form you like to read.

Come for the book, stay for the newsletter! I mean it when I say quarterly, unless there is some EXTREMELY exciting news to share it will be no more than four emails a year (seriously, who has time for more? My job is writing books not emails!) Each email will contain updates and news as well as the occasional competition and piece of short fiction only for my subscribers.

Win!

Battle of the Bards!

While there are a lot of good things about living in Australia, one that sucks is that everything happens while you’re sleeping. We snore our way through Brexit, sleep peacefully while Trump fires his latest member of staff and wake up just in time to check the world hasn’t ended yet.

This morning I woke to discover I had won Mark Lawrence’s Battle of the Bards flash fiction competition! In my sleep no less!

My story? Between Lanterns and Corpses, about two generals on a battlefield. I’ve had quite a few people ask about the outcome, and the answer is actually in The Grave at Storm’s End, the third book in The Vengeance Trilogy. So without further ado, here it is!

 

 

I watched from the window as Shimai burned. The day I was elevated to Minister of the Left, Kin had invited me to stand here beside him, not an equal, but not a servant, the space in-between the treacherous ground we would tread in the years to come.

But I had knelt at his feet and kissed the hand of a liar.

Beside me now Malice stood with his hands clasped behind his back, reading the scrolls that lined the walls. ‘“Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it”,’ he said. ‘That isn’t particularly apt for the situation, yes?’

‘Shut up, Spider,’ Katashi snapped, the tap of his sandals across the floor like a chorus of snapping beetles. ‘This is insane. I am winning, Laroth. I could have taken the bridge by now.’

‘You will take the bridge soon enough,’ I said, not turning my gaze from the window. It was starting to drizzle.

‘What general in history ever called a truce to play a game of Errant with his enemy?’

‘General Mikuzo, in the ninth century. He lost the game but went on to win the battle, I believe.’

He stopped pacing, and reflected in the glass I saw fire flare on his fingers. ‘Just give me Hana and be done with this stupidity. She is mine.’

I turned. ‘Stupidity?’

‘Stupidity!’

‘Your opinion of my skill at Errant is not high, it would seem,’ I said. ‘Tell me, what would hurt Kin more? Losing Hana to you without having the chance to save her, or having the chance to fight for her and failing?’

‘“What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others”,’ Malice said. ‘Now that one seems much more appropriate, yes?’

Ignoring Malice, Katashi said: ‘I don’t care what hurts him more I just want him dead. I want my throne and I want Hana.’

‘You will get her when I say you can have her.’

So there you go! There’s a whole story in there as yet untold, but the outcome is an easily missed detail in another story because that’s how my brain works.

Many thanks again to the judges and to Mark Lawrence for hosting the competition and best of all, I get signed books from two of the judges – Sebastien de Castell and Nicholas Eames  *squeeeeee*

Continuum Con – See You Next Year

Con wrap-up blogs can be vapid diary vomit, so I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Continuum Con 13 in Melbourne over the long weekend was awesomesauce. I’m always ridiculously nervous even if I’ve been to the con before and on the Friday night I was wondering why the fuck I had even come since I’m no one important and all that malarky. But of course I proved myself wrong. I went out to dinner with complete strangers, made great new friends and all in all had an amazing time. (Although perhaps that was as much to do with not having to deal with my kids for THREE WHOLE DAYS!)

I attended the Ditmar Award Ceremony.

Sold books

And attended the launch of Seanan McGuire’s ‘Down Among the Sticks and Bones’ … WITH BRAIN CAKE AND BLOOD TEA!

I have to say that apart from making new friends, which is always the best part of any event, the highlight of this con was getting to hear Seanan McGuire speak on panels (of which she did many). She was the star and dominant force of every one of them, not seeking attention but gaining it anyway because everything she had to say was worth hearing. Well-read and vastly intelligent, she was confident, interesting and brightly coloured, and I can think of no one else that could make so many people laugh until they cried time and time again. And even more importantly, because, as Tim Minchin says: “I don’t care if youre the most powerful cat in the room, I will judge you on how you treat the least powerful” – she wasn’t above introducing herself to nobodies (like me) and standing chatting to complete strangers (like me) as though they were long time friends.

While it’s not the Natcon next year it is still going to be all sorts of awesome fun and I can’t wait for it to roll around again and bring joy to the chill of an Australian winter.

Bring it on Continuum Con 14!

The Heavy Sadness

I have this sadness. I’m not going to call it depression because I feel that would belittle the experience of those who are diagnosed with depression and suffer under its weight every day. But this sadness of mine is heavy and when it comes it presses me down into the ground like the worm I realise I am. I question everything I have said. Everything I have done. Every moment when I considered, for just a heartbeat, that I was worth paying attention to. Under the weight of the sadness I am invisible, and in seeking reassurance this is not so I look in all the wrong places. I refresh Facebook hoping for some perfectly timed assurance of my existence and my worth. I refresh Goodreads or my email or trawl through twitter, and in the vast sea of humanity I confirm my own invisibility and complete lack of importance.

Perhaps the problem is social media, but social media is part of my job and it is also how I connect with some of the most important people in my life. It allows me to broaden my horizons and meet new people, but it also crushes my self-esteem – not because anyone ever criticises me or is unpleasant, but because I second guess everything I do and say, and I know, with iron-clad assurance, that it is a drag having me around, that I’m an embarrassment, that I am saying the wrong thing and that in this space that ought to be safe for my introvert self, I am a failure who ought to give up.

There is no uplifting message here, just a moment of honesty, of vulnerability, that the author in me needed to set to words. And perhaps there is someone else out there who feels as I do and might find in my honesty, a lessening of their own heavy sadness.