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Update! Book 3!

The Vengeance Trilogy! Book 3! Go!

The Grave at Storm’s End is DAYS away from making the journey to my editor’s inbox, which means we are close close omg so close to having it all finished – THE WHOLE THING. That blows my mind.

That’s the good news – not the mind blowing, because if my head asplode then there are no more books and that would be sad. The words being in the ending stages is the good news. The bad news is that we are still waiting on cover art. I’m not going to go into it and get all detailed and shirty, because it is entirely out of my control, but safe to say the lack of movement on this has caused much of the general URGH around this place for the last couple of months. There has been nothing exciting to move on with, nothing exciting to show for all the work.

Cover Coming Soon2

Well… there are WORDS, which I suppose is what a story is made of. So here are some words. The first lines of The Grave at Storm’s End. The Blood of Whisperers and The Gods of Vice both started with a poem, and The Grave at Storm’s End is no different. So without further ado – enjoy!


When gods walk, the ground trembles

When gods cry, the skies bleed

When gods love, the world sings

When gods fight, empires fall

Empath Mark

The Grave at Storm’s End

Book 3 of The Vengeance Trilogy

Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

What the Friendrequest?

I have forty-three friends on Facebook. I used to have more, but I cut back. I’ve seen people with hundreds. Thousands. And always I ask myself why. I don’t even have time to properly interact with the measly forty-three people I have, I don’t have time to give a damn about hundreds more.

So let’s rewind. My ten-year high school reunion just happened. I didn’t attend, what with having recently moved to the other side of the world (it’s a good excuse when really I would have found it difficult to work up the courage to go anyhow – I was one of the “uncool nerds”, so I can’t say I enjoyed my time there). A friend of mine did go and reported that it was exactly like being seventeen again, because ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAD CHANGED. This is rather depressing. Cool kids in the cool kid corner, nerds in the nerd corner, no one crossing the floor. Pathetic for adults two years shy of thirty, or perhaps I just have high standards.

The whole event might have passed without further interest if I hadn’t received a Facebook friend request the same day from a girl I’d had no positive interaction with during the many years we’d spent at school together. There I sat at my computer, rather stunned, muttering ‘what the…?’ as I stared at the name. And twenty-four hours later I still haven’t replied. This got me thinking. Why was it causing me so much grief?

Friend Request

Had she sent me a request to chalk me up on her Facebook list like a completionist hunting for the final flag in Assassin’s Creed? (Even with the maps I never could find that damn thing!) Or could there be genuine interest in connecting with me. The latter seemed vastly implausible and humorous, especially when coming out of the blue. I don’t want to be nothing more than a number. I don’t want to be a conquest – the nerd who couldn’t decline the invitation of the cool girl in case it meant acceptance at last. Ten years ago I would have accepted it straight away, my enthusiasm embarrassing, hoping this might finally be the gateway to popularity. Five years ago… most likely. Two? I don’t know when I changed, when I began to analyse myself and my responses to the world, but somewhere in these last few years I’ve become a stronger person.

All this angst over a damn friend request? Really? You bet, because social media is the new socialising, clicking the like button the new smile, commenting the new conversation. Emoticons instead of emotions – the distance the internet gives us both a blessing and a curse.

Eventually I went to click “decline”, buoyed up by my strength of my own character, only to be foiled by Facebook itself. I had never declined before and so hadn’t realised there is no such thing. Ignore or accept. Really? Those are pathetic options. I could ignore it on my own, what I wanted was the chance to say “no”. You see being an author and having to make my living on the internet is stressful enough. Living in a world where reading through an article’s comment section is like wading through human vitriol is already depressing. I’m a woman. I’m picky about what food I eat. I don’t send my kids to school. I’m a nerd. And I’m self-published. I’ve picked a hard road. I can’t control what people say to me. I can’t control what people write about me or about my books or about what I look like and how I dress. But one thing I can control is who I accept to be part of my personal Facebook space, where I can be myself and know I will only ever receive positive support.

It looks like the lack of a “decline” option is just another thing over which I have no control.

Rise Like a Phoenix

I’m still here. I haven’t fallen through thin ice or been eaten by a moose (don’t know if moose/meese/moosi actually eat people) in fact I haven’t even seen a moose or gone skating. I have just been slowly coming to terms with the fact that I have to start everything all over again and the slowly dawning horror that I left two of my very best friends behind and despite progresses in technology, it just isn’t the same. I can’t just pick up the phone. I can’t just drop in. It’s at least a twenty-hour flight to drop in and even with Skype I have to think about differences in time zone.

But, like everything in life, I take it as an experience I can put into my work. I like silver linings on dark clouds, and almost always that silver lining boils down to ‘well at least this is a good experience’. When the broken bone or the broken heart heals I will be a better person for it. I hope. At least a better writer, and that’s almost the same thing, right?

So here I am, a little sad, a little out of place, sometimes wondering why the hell we decided to do this. And in the midst of all the self-pity and doubt, an epiphany saves me. I came here to further my career, so I had better bloody well get on with it!

To that end I am back blogging and existing on social media and all that jazz because, hell, if a busy person can’t get it done then no one can.

Onwards and upwards! You’ll be hearing from me all too much soon…

Have some phoenix rising to make your day. I love this for waaayy too many reasons to count. I feel like a phoenix slowly coming out of a pile of ash … slowly.


The Writing Process Blog Chain

Right, well… I’ve been absent and I apologise. Life on the other side of the world is difficult to say the least. It is taking some time to get adjusted and when I have energy it goes into working instead of blogging. Hopefully I’ll be back soon.

In the meantime I have been tagged in the Writing Process Blog Chain by my lovely editor, Amanda J Spedding. She asked if I wanted to do this and in my usual enthusiastic style I agreed before considering how crappy I’ve been feeling. But BLAH… here it is – my writing process…

1. What am I working on?

I am working on the final drafting stages of The Grave at Storm’s End, the third book of my Vengeance Trilogy. It is in the painful stage – that bit in the middle where you know exactly what you need to do and write and change, but you still have to get the words down. I love early drafts and I love the finicky final editing passes where every word comes under scrutiny, but these middle bits… not so much.

Because of that I’m also in the brainstorming stage for a new trilogy that is a bit different. And I really really can’t wait to be able to work on something new.


2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This is a really tough question, because every writer is unique in some way. For me I concentrate on characters. I make them real and then put them into difficult situations and sit back to see what they do. I once heard the theory that every author is writing to solve a problem, to answer a big question that consumes them. I haven’t figured out exactly what question I am still hunting for an answer to, but broadly I write to find out what people will do when put into situations beyond the average world we know. Plot is characters in action, so without great characters, you have no great plot. It is a theory I will continue to live and write by.


3. Why do I write what I do?

I’m not sure that any author sets out to choose a genre. I think they just fall into it because we write what is natural to us. The day I discovered fantasy I was hooked for life, and it immediately altered my writing habits. To be able to put it into words, I write a genre that allows me to put characters into situations that are unable to be found in a ‘real world’ setting. It is a way of exploring the human psyche, of pushing the envelope to see what we are capable of as a society and as individuals. And I write character based stories because characters are everything to me. People are fascinating and they create their own stories.


4. How does my writing process work?

I write every moment I can. I have two little kids and so I write whenever they are temporarily being quiet. As for HOW I do it – I’m a pantser. I have no idea what’s going to happen when I start writing, I have characters, I get to know them, and then they tell me a story. I write it down. Then I rewrite it. Then, when I’m happy with how it’s going, I get it beta read. Then I make changes. And I re-write it. Then I re-write it some more and get some more people to read it. Eventually, when it’s finally ready, it goes through editing passes (which are awesome fun) and out the other end of this pops a book.

Sometimes I write notes. Sometimes I write A LOT of notes. Sometimes I listen to music. Sometimes I talk at people while I figure it out in my head. Sometimes I daydream in the shower or write scenes in my head while I’m trying to go to sleep. The more into it I get the more obsessed I am and the faster and better the work is that emerges. It is draining, but I love it and can’t imagine doing anything else.


So that’s me done. I’m supposed to tag three other writers in this, but what with being not really in the game at the moment, and the fact that so many writers have already done this, I am just going to tag one special author. Poet and author, Ashley Capes, whose thought-provoking blog always has something interesting to read. I’m going to tag him as a poet today, because poets get so little credit in the modern literary world, when once they ruled the world.

Get to it, Ashley! Can’t wait to read your answers.


The Virgin Post of AJ


 To anyone who has been following me in any capacity over the last few months, it is not news that I adore my editor. She is the single most amazing person to have affected my work ever. I’d say she is the best thing that ever happened to me, but I’d be short-changing the greatest husband in history.

Enough quibbling. This is the virgin post of the award-winning Australian horror author, Amanda J Spedding (my editor and best friend) and I can’t wait to see where she takes her ramblings. Check it out, follow her. She’ll make you smile, make you think and make you swear all in the same moment, that’s how brilliant she is.

Interview and Stress…

So it’s been quiet around here again, due to the fact that the rest of my life is ridiculously noisy and stressful. In one week we are getting on a plane to move across the world permanently, swapping a beautiful, if ridiculously hot, Australian summer for an OMGSOCOLD Canadian winter…. what were we thinking!?

With two kids and ten years of stuff to wrap up, it’s been a headache and a half, not to even mention the flight dramas with the US snowed in at the moment.

Fortunately the lovely Ashley Capes came along and took my mind of some of it with a request to interview me for his blog. I must admit I like being interviewed, though not for the reason a lot of people like to be interviewed (so they can feel important – although that would be awesome if I actually thought it was true)… but I like how some interviewers ask questions that really make me think. This was one of those interviews, covering everything from the protection of a writer’s voice, Japanese influences, being an author publisher and my future plans.

Check out part one -> HERE

And part two -> HERE


Fortunately the stress will soon be over and I’ll just have to get over the jetlag. Yay? Then we’ll be back on schedule! Phew!