Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Impact of a Pandemic #IWSG

The official word in Australia:
The number of confirmed cases in Australia exceeds 4000. As of 31st March, my state, Queensland has 55 new confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) raising the state total to 743. Our Prime Minister announced that Australians "must stay at home" except to shop for essentials, for medical care or compassionate needs, to exercise, and for work and education if either can't be done at home. People over 70 are strongly advised to self-isolate. And we're only allowed out in groups of no more than two now. Fun times.

How this affects me:
My husband works in IT which is considered an essential service, so he still has a job. Yay! And he gets to stay at home to work. A bigger yay! However he has recently been asked to take a massive chunk of leave. Boo! We'd been saving up the leave for Iceland. I guess we won't be going to Iceland for a while anyway. Boo!

As a writer, I work from home anyway. Yay! But now there are a lot more distractions. I had hoped to release book 3 of my Wielder's Storm trilogy at the end of April, but it looks like it won't be until May now. Boo! But I do have a cover reveal for you. Yay!

Marooned on an island, stripped off her magic, Jasmine must find a way of mending her heart and defeating an ancient evil. Wielder's Fire, the explosive finale in the Wielder's Storm fantasy trilogy.

I've also noticed a general drop in sales. Boo! I had expected an increase with more people having time to read, but alas they are choosing to binge Netflix or play online games. Read people!! Expand your brain! Find an escape through awesome stories! Try some of these:

Sea of Rust: Available on Kindle Unlimited. Loved this scifi. Great premise and world-building and I loved the characters. I think Amazon is offering a free month at the moment (maybe 2 for US customers), so check out my affiliate link if you're interested.

Obsidio: Loved it too. YA scifi

The Vine Witch: Also available on Kindle Unlimited. This is a historical fantasy. Loved it.

Ash Princess: If you like YA royal fantasies, then you'll probably like this one.

Wielder's Prize: Also available on Kindle Unlimited. It's awesome (if I do say so myself). Read this YA epic fantasy. You won't be disappointed.

And if you're looking for spiritual support, then Cling to God and read my daily devotional.

*(assume all my book links are affiliate links)

Back to the impact of world events:
The grocery shops are struggling to keep up with demands on some items. I can't get flour anywhere. And that means no cake! Boo!!!!!!!!
Notice at a local cafe. lol.
And I can't visit my folks. Not only are they over 70, but they live in a different state and the state borders have closed. I can get through by request, but I'd then have to self isolate for two weeks when I get there and then self isolate when I get back for another two weeks. Yikes. That's when this change of life really hit me.

Overall, though, I've been super lucky. I should say blessed. An income is still coming into the house. This isn't the case for so many people. I'm not on the front lines. So many are risking their health for others. A HUGE thank you to those people. And I'm still able to write. Kinda. Yay!

Join the IWSG for support from like-minded writers. We're in it together!

How are you faring in this difficult time? What are you reading?

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

With my recent publications, I’ve received a few comments on how fast I seem to be writing. I want to correct the misunderstanding. I am not a fast writer. I wrote Wielder’s Prize ten years ago. An incomplete first draft took me four months to write. It was my first fiction writing project after a long break, and I reveled in the adventure. Around three quarters of the way through, I needed to outline the rest of the story to make sure I got all the threads coming together at the end. That took weeks of sitting in front of a whiteboard.

Then September came along and, for some stupid reason, I’d decided Wielder’s Prize wasn’t going to be good enough. I wanted to try my hand at NaNoWriMo, so I shelved the mostly-completed first draft and set my mind to outlining a new fantasy novel. While I wrote 50k in a month for NaNo, it still took me four months to finish the first draft. Over the next four years, off and on, I listened to too much advice and over edited it. This was the first book I queried. Then I temporarily shelved it and wrote the outline for book 2 and left that. Then the following year’s NaNo came along and I had an idea for a scifi novel, which I messed with for another two years. Even though I got a few agent requests, I’d convinced myself none of it was good enough. The year after that I wrote an urban fantasy with time travel, but only a messy first draft. I then stuck to novellas and short stories and got some of them published.

You can see where this is going. I burned myself out. If I’d believed in myself a little more, I would’ve kept going and given my books more of a chance when I was querying. But no, I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t going to see any of my novels in print. So I quit. Storytelling was still in my soul, so I turned to narrative game design.

Then my brother got sick. Really sick. Terminal. He wanted to collaborate on a scifi before he died. As if I could say no. And I’m deeply grateful to him for the opportunity. Because of the stress and agony surrounding his illness, I couldn’t finish the novel in time. But it brought me back to writing. Dave taught me that life is short. I had to stop being my greatest obstacle. I have all these books waiting for the world. It was time to get them out there.

So I started with Wielder’s Prize. That was three years ago. It feels like yesterday. And I was shocked how good that incomplete first draft was.

There’s more to this story, but I’ll say again, I’m not a fast writer. These last three years were spent writing and polishing the Wielder’s Storm trilogy, learning formatting, and the other ins and outs of self-publishing. I can say with confidence now that Wielder’s Prize is great. Wielder’s Curse is great. The final book in the series will also be great. My overnight “success” is not so overnight.

I hope that any aspiring writer who reads this is encouraged.

What are the things that hold you back? What is the true shape of your dreams?

Looking for Beta Readers
I'm currently looking for some beta readers for my books. I'm after someone with a deep understanding and love of fantasy and has a good eye for those little mistakes a writer can miss. Please let me know in the comments and/or shoot me an email.

This post was written for the IWSG. Every first Wednesday of the month the members post on their blogs about their writing insecurities or offer some encouragement to others. If you are new to the IWSG or want to learn more, then please go HERE.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Wielder's Curse Unleashed and Inspirations #IWSG

The second book in my high seas epic fantasy adventure series is finally complete and unleashed onto the world! There was a while there I didn't think it was going to happen. And now it has. I'm super excited. Wielder's Curse is now available in ebook and paperback. The discount for the ebook's release will be available for two more days only, so pick up your copy today.

If you haven't read book one, Wielder's Prize, then you can pick it up here: ebook and paperback

Both of my novels are also available for FREE via Kindle Unlimited

Her curse isn't the only darkness waiting to break the world.

Months after the victory at Sapphire Cove, Jasmine is haunted by terrifying visions of burning seas and blackened skies. It’s the dark future she thought she’d evaded, but now it’s back to bring her nightmares of the Beast, a mad creature trapped in the void between worlds. It fights to escape its prison, and it wants one thing: to devour the world.

To make matters worse, Finn’s life is threatened by an unknown assailant. At the risk of losing everything, Jasmine must hunt down the would-be assassin, find a way of defeating the Beast, and stop the oncoming storm. And she has to do this while struggling to control her untamed magic, guard her secrets, and avoid becoming a true Abomination and a danger to everyone.

If you have time, I'd deeply appreciate a review on AmazonGoodreads and Bookbub. Reviews are proving to be difficult to come by and yet so important.
Another Adventure on the High Seas
I literally JUST came back from my own high seas adventure. I took a break for a week on a cruise to Papua New Guinea. I put my feet up and relaxed and did a bunch of reading. Now I'm ready to start on the edits for book 3, the conclusion of the Wielder's Storm series.
IWSG Question of the month:
Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?
Absolutely. Because I'm a visual person, I often hunt for images to inspire a story or evoke a feeling or help me describe a place. But once, I caught the quickest of flashes from the movie trailer of The Tempest. It was one second of footage of a character jumping from a drain or something. That glimpse inspired an entire character and an entire fantasy series. I even finished book one. But I haven't yet released it. I need to finish my Wielder's Storm series first. 

How about you? What has inspired your stories?

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Review Copies Available, Cover Reveal, and My Writing Journey #IWSG

Happy New Year everyone!! May 2020 be a year full of joy, grace, success, and awesomeness. May there be no dramas except in the books you read.

Cover Reveal:
I will be releasing book 2 of my Wielder's Storm series on January 27th. Below is my grand cover reveal for Wielder's Curse.
A dark vision. A dangerous curse. A girl caught in between.

I'm currently giving out a limited number of Review Copies. If you are interested, let me know in the comments or send me an email.

If you haven't read book 1 yet, Wielder's Prize is available as an ebook or paperback on Amazon.

OR, you can read it FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

Check out my affiliate link above for Amazon's 99c limited deal for the first 3 months. Or try the 30 day free trial deal. Either way, you'll be able to read my book for free. Win, win.

If you don't own a Kindle, just download the FREE Kindle app for your phone, tablet and computer. Easy peazy.

The IWSG question: What started you on your writing journey?

When I was young, I got ridiculed for my slow, stuttered reading ability. So I avoided it. Then I came across my mum’s collection of Enid Blyton Famous Five books. Adventure stories about kids, for kids. I devoured them in the privacy of my own room. I had no easy access to books, so that’s where I stopped. It wasn’t until a teacher read The Hobbit to the class at the end of primary school (Middle Grade?) that I discovered the joys of fantasy. True escapism. At the age of twelve or thirteen, I read The Lord of the Rings. I couldn’t put it down. The boring books I had to study in school could’ve turned me off reading for life, but then I discovered my high school library. So many fantasy and science fiction books to read! I was hooked and from there, it was inevitable I would want to write my own adventure fantasies.

How did your love of books, reading, and writing develop? 
With the New Year comes a time of renewal and refreshment. My book, Cling to God, is a daily devotional that you can use to refresh your faith every day of this new year. 

Available in paperback and ebook:

Amazon, Kindle, Nook, B&N, Kobo, ITunes, Goodreads

And please consider leaving a review.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Living the Writerly Dream and Favourite Books 2019 #IWSG

We made it to the end of the year. My goodness time is whizzing by. Not happy about that!! So much to do! So little time. I’ve been busy editing Book 2 of my Wielder’s Storm series. It’s taking longer than I had anticipated so I’ve had to delay the release until January. If you'd like to stay up to date with my releases, please join my VIP Club.

If you haven’t read it yet, Wielder’s Prize, Book 1 of the series, is available in ebook and paperback. Pick up a copy today or buy an extra copy as a gift this Christmas.

While you're at it, also pick up a copy of Cling to God: a Daily Devotional. This one will make a perfect gift for Christmas too. 

The IWSG question for the month:
How would you describe your future writer self if you were living the dream?

I’d have a bunch of bestsellers under my belt,
I’d be living in a castle with a secret passage leading to my writing nook (of course),
I’d have a movie or two made from my books,
and a popular TV series.
And I’d have the luxury and confidence to just keep writing (which I’m going to do anyway because I love writing so much)

How about you? What’s your dream?

Favourite books I’ve read this year:
Below is a list of affiliate links to my favourite books I read this year. I bought more than I read. Because time. But these are the standouts that I did get to read, and I highly recommend:

Illuminae (book 1 of the Illuminae Files) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – a fast-paced young adult sci-fi. This one is a little different because it has whacky formatting that doesn’t detract, but adds to the story. If you like YA stories with a smart female lead, an insane AI, planetary invasions and space battles, then this is for you.

Navigating the Stars (Sentinels of the Galaxy book 1) by Maria V. Snyder – another young adult sci-fi. This one is also a quick, light read with plenty of action and cool stuff. Like the discovery of the ancient Chinese terracotta warriors on other planets. I have a soft spot for extra-terrestrial archaeology. The Aussie cover for the book is awesome too and I love the sassy main character.

Chasing the Shadows (Sentinels of the Galaxy book 2) by Maria V. Snyder – It’s not often I continue reading a series, but I had to read more of this one. I’m super busy, so I’ve been snatching what little time I can to read. And I’m loving book 2. I’m three-quarters of the way through. I know I’m going to have a hard time waiting for book 3 to be released.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (book 1 of a duology) – Loved it! This one is a young adult fantasy. The characters are all distinct and interesting and the story is super engaging. Not as fast a read as the books I mentioned above, but super enjoyable.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (book 2 of the duology) – Also loved this. And the ending is satisfying.Yay!

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (book 1) – This is a dark fantasy for adults even though the protagonist is a sixteen year old girl. There are some adult themes. But I loved it. Wonderfully written. It won the Aurealis award for a reason (a prestigious Aussie award for speculative fiction).

What were your favourite reads this year?

What's your Christmas going to look like?
Mine will be sweltering in the summer heat with family.

Wishing you all a joyful and safe Christmas. See you in the New Year!!