2017 covers

The Black Tide
The Black Tide
Cloud Door
Fate in the Sun
Chasing Taz
Silver Reaper
The Starman's Arrival
Ashes Reborn
Beta’s Mark
Secrets at Wongan Creek
Freeman's Choice
Blood Chance
The Years of Voyage
Just a Dinosaur
Necessary Alpha
Fighting Mac
Exclusive
Taken by the Desert Sheikh
Alien Resistance
The Stars to Guide

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Magic Thursday: World Building - Defining Magic in the world of Shadow's Rise



Thank you to the Darksiders for hosting me here once more. This week, I thought I’d talk a bit about some of the things I considered when developing and writing about the magic of Tzamesch, where the Shadow Series is set.

Some writers build their work with encyclopaedic accuracy before they ever start a story. I have never been able to do it that way; I find it stifles the story process for me. Instead, I use a combination of learning about my world through storytelling, and then working out the logic behind what I’ve ‘seen’ happen in the story and writing the rules so that I have consistency in the rules governing the world.

For instance, when I first started writing Tzamesch, I knew I wanted there to be something a little bit different in the way magic operated. I didn’t like the idea of wizards having to learn a set number of spells at the beginning of the day, like they are required to do in some roleplaying systems. I didn’t like the idea of wielding magic being so exhausting that even the smallest spell took a great physical toll. I didn’t think all magic wielders should work the same way, but I also didn’t know exactly how to describe what I wanted until I’d used magic in the story.

It soon became clear that magic, at least for the most common kind of magic-user, was a kind of energy or force that could be tapped into and shaped. This meant I had to answer the question of why not everyone was a magic user. I decided it was genetic—not everyone has the capability to sense, feel or draw on the magical energy around them, and not everyone who can, is able to shape it. People are born with different abilities, and magical sensitivity and shaping was one of those.


As I wrote, I also found that there were different kinds of magic, with elemental magic playing a pivotal role in the story. I also learned that the difference had to be explained or shown so that the reader could focus more on the story than on wondering what the importance of those differences was. I decided elemental magic was different to ‘normal’ magic, but only to a small degree.

I drew on known and accepted understandings of elemental magic in our own world and decided that elemental magic on Tzamesch means more than earth, air, wind or fire. Everything is an element: stones, gems, decay, death… and power, which is also central to the story’s villain. This led to me deciding that there had been a pantheon before the one existing in the book, and that led to me asking more questions as I explored yet another form of magic—that of clerics and priests.

I had to ask: How are gods and goddesses formed? Where do they come from? Where do they go when they die? How do they die? and What role do mortals play in the life-cycle of a god?
With the books having such strong elements of deities and their interference in mortal affairs, these were questions that required an answer in order for the story to move forward.

I decided that what a person worships is instrumental in giving rise to a deity. This meant that while there were now human deities who represented different facets of the human world, because humans saw those facets to be important: night, balance, fishermen, coastlines, death, invention, plague, pestilence and so forth. In earlier times, however, humans worshiped the elements around them: the earth that helped them grow their food, the air that brought storms and rain, the water that helped their crops grow, and the fire that cooked their food and drove off predators. Everything important to their survival was given a place. As society advanced and changed, so did the kinds of things humans worshipped.

The worship of stone led to the discovery of metal, which led to the rise in importance of smiths and inventors, which led to a gradual increase in the worship of a god of smiths and a god of inventors and brought about a decline in the worship of metal as an element. Likewise, an increase in the worship of a god of masons led to a decrease in the worship of the element of stone. And so it went.

As the new deities grew into being and developed a place in the human pantheon, the old elemental deities withdrew from the world, and elemental magic became a thing of the past. No longer the domain of priests, the power of the elements could still be sensed by some, in the same way that magic could be sensed. Without a deific link, I decided that the ability to sense and use magic and the more specific ability to sense and use elemental power were related, but that the elemental sense was rarer.

I also revisited my idea about magic being tiring, and decided that if particularly difficult spells were cast, or if the caster had to repeatedly cast spells, then magic was tiring, and again came the constant question ‘Why?’. It took me some time to answer that, but I worked out that the reason wizards who attempt a magic beyond their ability, or who draw on spells over a prolonged period, collapse or die is because they eventually end up drawing on the magic inside themselves, for it takes a degree of magic to sense and use magic. Spell-casters are, in essence, magical creatures, and magic gives their souls a different flavour.

…and this flavour is what enables other magical creatures to hunt them—another important element in the story as the nemesis threatening the world uses his undead to hunt wizards so he can use the power stored in their souls to fuel his escape attempt.

So, how does this illustrate world-building, and why is it important?

Everything interlinks. Important story elements have a background. There is a reason why elementals are involved, and a reason why the villain of the piece has difficulty finding the right kind of soul to power his escape. Everything serves the purpose of moving the story forward, giving something important to the story an understandable reason for existing, or giving the readers an insight into the world’s mechanics.

Some of this background never appears in the book itself, but me knowing it exists helps me give each occurrence a commonality so that the reader can start to make sense of the world and feel a little more at home in it. This means the reader can focus more on the story than on wondering why things work as they do in the characters world. It reduces the chance they’ll be pulled out of the story because something didn’t work as they expected, because it was different to the last time they saw it. It helps the reader become immersed in your world, and enjoy it more.

And that is what we all aim for.

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C.M. Simpson spent the first twenty years of her life living in different parts of Queensland and the Northern Territory. Her father was a teacher who liked to travel, so he took teaching appointments in all kinds of places. To cope with the constant travel, C.M. wrote stories, drawing on the different landscapes she encountered and giving a hyper-active imagination somewhere to run. Seeing so many different places gave her a lot of food for thought as she stepped into the world of adulthood and she never stopped writing and exploring the worlds in her head.


You can find her at: http://cmsimpson.blogspot.com.au/

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Good News Day!

Welcome to this week's good news...




A swag and a half of good news this week...




CONTESTS

Carolyn Wren's novella Diplomat’s Daughter (The Protectors Series #1) is a finalist in the inaugural Romance Writers of Australia's Ella Award!











Kylie Griffin's Vengeance Born has won the 2012 Alternate Reality section of the Cover Cafe's cover contest. It was one of one hundred entries in this section! You can see the reader's comments here.










BOOK COVERS & RELEASE DATES

Eleni Konstantine's Snoop, her paranormal noir novelette, will be released 6th December, 2013 with Musa Publishing.
SNOOP's rule of investigating: Never take the paranormal at face value.
Daisy Luck is a SNOOP - Sanctioned Nationalized Officer Of the Paranormal. Her latest case involving a vampire and a gremlin has her private eye senses in a spin. Throw in yummy Detective Maroney and her life couldn't get more complicated - or could it?



Keri Arthur's Darkness Splintered will be released November 5th, 2013 from Signet.

Risa has angered several powerful people, and she’s starting to feel the pressure from all sides. She also finds herself under the scrutiny of the vampire council, some of whom consider her a monster who should be destroyed. But they offer her a bloody bargain: Take on the lethal head of the council and others will support her.
As the search for the keys to hell heats up, Risa realizes that she has no choice. For the sake of the people she loves, she must find the keys—and get rid of Hunter—before the next gate is opened and brings the world closer to all hell breaking loose....



T.F.Walsh's debut release, Cloaked in Fur, comes out in e-book format with Crimson Romance on August 5th, 2013.

 As a moonwulf, Daciana never expected to fall in love with a human. Hell, she never imagined that she’d abandon her pack, endanger everyone around her, and break the worst rule possible. But she did.
A rogue werewolf is killing Daciana’s friends, and she sets on capturing the creature.  She’ll do whatever it takes to stop the beast. The police and her boyfriend, Inspector Connell Lonescu, are starting to question her involvement in the murders, which is endangering the pack’s secret existence. But when the pack alpha kidnaps Connell, revealing the awful truth about the creature and its connection to the pack, Daciana must choose between saving the man she loves and saving her pack family from certain death.


Troll Mist Morning:When Worlds Collide #1 by Carlie Simonsen was released on June 2nd, 2013.

 
Troll-Mist Morning is the story of a teen who goes the extra mile so his mum can feel safe. Early morning starts, and standing around in the mist in the middle of winter, however, are one thing; trolls are another. When magic returns to the world and the trolls come, too, how is Daniel going to get his mum to see sense? Troll-Mist Morning is the first book in the series exploring what happens When Worlds Collide.


The Lies We Tell is Elizabeth Dunk's contemporary romance released on August 1 with Escape Publishing.

Ten years ago, Todd Lansing stood over his father’s grave, his heart thumping out curses on Sia Collins for causing his death. When he returns to Oberon and sees Sia again, his heart thumps with a different emotion, one he fights with all the anger he still feels.
Sia didn’t commit the break-in that ended up killing Mr Lansing, but to admit that would send her father to jail. She has rebuilt her life in the small town, atoned for her accused crime, and carved out a niche using her talent with paint to reach out to the community, raise funds, and support her family.
When Todd finds out the truth, he can’t understand why Sia won’t speak out and clear her name, and it threatens to tear them apart. With her relationship with Todd on the line, will Sia choose loyalty or love?



Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat by Ellie Moonwater was released on 8 June 2013 and is currently available at Smashwords, Kobo, Kindle, iTunes and Nook. It is available as an e-book and print-on-demand paperback.


Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat is an erotic romance set in a time when magic has returned to a mundane world, of travelling across the Fields of Time, and of an enemy ruthless enough to betray his brother and attempt to dominate an unsuspecting world. It contains elements of ménage, light bondage and explicit sex scenes set against a backdrop of the modern world and Egyptian myth.


C.M.Simpson's Shadow's Fall:Shadow's series #3 was released on June 1st, 2013.

Shadow’s Fall is the third and final novel in the Shadow series trilogy. This tale contains strong elements of horror, following the path of a small group of heroes who must work together to prevent an ancient evil’s escape.

C.M. Simpson's Magick on the Forest's Edge was released on 8 June 2013 and is available at at Smashwords, Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iTunes.

Magick on the Forest’s Edge is a fantasy short story, where two children investigate a magical alarm, and face the consequences of trying to do the right thing against great odds.


Imogene Nix's The Blood Bride was released from Total-E-Bound this month.

Hope and Xavier must fight for their lives and those of the innocents in a battle for good and evil. But will it be enough?
Hope just wants to be an ordinary nestling. She went to college and escaped, but now she’s back and there’s a secret everyone is keeping from her.
Xavier is the new master of the nest, ready to welcome home the daughter of the house who he has never met. He’s unprepared for the woman who steals his breath and enchants him.
Now Hope and Xavier must fight for their lives and those of the innocents. After all, it is only by overcoming the rogues that they will have a chance of a timeless future together. But will it be in time?



REVIEWS

Lick by Kylie Scott has been receiving some favourable early reviews. The first is a 5/5 rating from Worlds of Wonderment.
"Lick is filled with enough angst, drama and blush inducing scenes that will not disappoint. Lick is a one sitting read that will have glued to the pages and forgetting about everything around you; bodily functions, housework, children and needy pets will fall by the wayside whilst you finish this book. I love the way Kylie tells her stories and can’t wait for book two in this series."
Full review here.

The second is from My Book Chatter who gave it 5 stars:
"For those of you who have read Kylie Scott's other books (Flesh, Skin, Room with a View:Hot DownUnder, Colonist's Wife) you’ll know about her talent for writing snazzy one liners and snarky, tongue in cheek conversations that have you swooning, giggling, and panting with lust. For those of you, who have yet to experience Kylie’s ninja writing skills, prepare for a great ride... Lick is an experience in awesome..."
Full review here.

And Natasha is a Book Junkie gave Lick 4.5 stars:
"... this book goes from being great to becoming awesome. The perfect blend of steamy chemistry between the characters and believable emotional growth, this is a story that will keep you in a constant state of ‘I-need-more-more-more’. More of the delicious love scenes, more of the intensity between the characters, more of the angst."
Full review here.


Imogene Nix received a 4 cup review from Coffee Time Romance for The Plan.
"It makes for intense, hot interactions and proves that love will find a way."
Full review here.










Shona Husk received a review from Tea & Book for The Outcast Prince.
"Shona Husk writes these deliciously dark fairytales... There is just something about her perspective that compels you to like her characters....This book was most excellent.. [she] writes a wicked fantasy...teasing us on one hand and torturing us on the other. In depth, detailed and delightful..."
Full review here.






Magic Thursday Winner-The Outcast Prince

Thank you to everyone who left a comment.

The winner is

Linda

I’ll be I touch :)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Enchanted Orb - When Things go Wrong

This week, please welcome Imogene Nix writing on what a writer of sexy, sassy and out-of-this-world romance does when things go wrong.

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When Things Go Wrong


Hi World, it’s Imogene Nix here!

Today’s blog isn’t the usual “woe is me” that you might think based on the title. (See, but it did make you read on, didn’t it??)  It’s more a celebration of how, when things go wrong, it’s usually for a reason.

I’m probably the biggest proponent of that.

As a writer, we are not an island (Sound familiar?) Yes, I know... the old “No man is an island...” but there was never a truer word spoken in jest or otherwise. No writer is an island.  They don’t form on the world fully grown up dressed and with computer in hand (thought that would make an interesting premise...)

Every writer I know is an amalgam of thoughts, feelings, experiences and knowledge. These have taken years to form. And a hell of a lot of hiccups too, usually.
 
When in their native environment, we/they tend to congregate in herds (a bit like cattle really) chewing over the motivators of their characters, the pros and cons of location and aesthetics of describing their current situations. 

But you know what? While writing is a lonely exercise, where we block out the world, we also form close friendship groups. Those we can rely on to be honest with us. To tell us, not what we want to hear, but what we need to hear.

Those groups come together over time. There will be missteps and mistakes along the way. Unless you are an excellent judge of character, sometimes there will be the odd incomplete meshing, where the association will fizzle and fall away, a bit like yesterdays rewrite. It’s sad, yet a fact of life. Lots of friendships go that route, but the true ones hang around (like last week’s socks, smelling up the corner!)  

But you know what? Over time we find people who share our values, beliefs and interests. They make us better writers/authors. They celebrate with us when things go right and commiserate when they go wrong. And most importantly They Get Us. 

These friendship groups that writers form buoy us up and remind us of why we are here. In fact, they become like a pseudo family to us. They know when we’ve just killed off a character that we adore but has to die to help tell the tale. They celebrate when hero gets the heroine and they will boo and hiss when the bad guy kidnaps said heroine (or hero if that floats your boat). But they understand our motivations and compulsions.

Most importantly, they will respect you in the morning. Treat you like you want to be treated and be above all, honest.

So if you are in a group that maybe doesn’t motivate you, that you don’t mesh with fully, or get you and your motivation... Take heart! There could be another one, just ready for you to take the plunge.
I have to tell you, I’ve done it and without my lovely HTH crew around me, I wouldn’t be the author I am now! And you can take that promise to the bank!

Thanks for listening,

Imogene
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Friday, June 21, 2013

What We Are Reading-June

Welcome to June's WWAR. This month there's everything from steampunk to urban fantasy to historical. Enjoy!

Jenny Schwartz
I've been reading Adina West's serialised novel, Dark Child. I'm up to Episode 4, but Episode 1 is available free  if anyone wants a taste test. It's an intriguing paranormal world with some great twists.


Shona Husk's Dark Secrets has a very attractive anti-hero in a seriously different Wild West world.

I haven't reviewed Bec McMaster's free novella, Tarnished Knight, but if you like your steampunk sexy and with a paranormal edge, you're in for a treat!

Imogene Nix
Edible Delights Anthology Vol 1.
All Aussie authors - Jan Graham, Tamsin Baker, Khloe Wren and Donna Gallagher. Every story revolves around food and it's super hot erotic romance all the way. It releases Friday with Secret Cravings Publishing. 

Ellie's Gentleman by Georgiana Louis.
It's a sweet story, set in regency times. I also have to own up here, because I was one
of the readers of this before it was contracted. I adore this story. Out 15th May with SteamEReads.




Shona Husk
Apocalypse to Go by Katharine Kerr
This is book 3 in the Nola O'Grady series. It's urban fantasy that works across multiple deviant worlds. It's fascinating and compelling and totally different to Kerr's Deverry series. I really feel for Ari having to grabble with all the weirdness and I love the way it's all normal for Nola. Great fun.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Magic Thursday-The Outcast Prince

Music and the muse

I don’t listen to music when I write, however I make a playlist for all my novels. When I’m running or at work I’ll listen to those songs to keep me in the story while I’m writing the first draft. Later that playlist helps me get back into the story for edits. The music is my short cut to getting in the mood.

I remember plotting this story and being at an Eskimo Joe concert (they were launching the Ghosts of the Past album) and I heard Echo for the first time. Right then I knew that would be perfect for the hero Caspian who is psychometric. Crossfire by Brandon Flower was already on the list—because getting caught in fairy drama is never a good thing. 

Sometimes the playlist develops organically as I plot, other times I go looking for songs as I need that anchor into the world I’ve created. While for a novel or a series I might end up with 20-30 songs, for a novella it might only be 2 or 3 songs. Some songs hold greater meaning than others and become attached to a particular point in the story. 

Devil’s Party by INXS will always be the Court of Annwyn. Lush and with seemingly no morals they gamble and make deals, use sex to secure favors and either have no understanding or no use for love. 

There is a downside to the playlist. After listening to the same songs for weeks on end while writing the first draft it’s always wonderful to switch it off and listen to something else :).

To go in the draw to win a copy of The Outcast Prince tell me what your favourite song is. Winner will be drawn 7pm WST Sunday 23 June.
~~~
Outcast Prince had me spellbound from the first page! Shona Husk's engaging voice and vivid, creative world-building make every one of her books a must-read!" - Larissa Ione, New York Times bestselling author
"Brilliantly unique, beautifully sensual, The

Caspian Mort can feel the history in anything he touches, a gift he inherited from his father, the Crown Prince of Annwyn. Devastated over his ex-wife's infidelity, Caspian has withdrawn from human contact except when working as an antiques dealer.

While assessing the contents of the historic Callaway House he encounters the beautiful Lydia Callaway and senses that her home is haunted by a banished fairy. But what does the dangerous exile want?

Unbeknownst to Lydia, she's the owner of the last remaining portal to Annwyn--a mirror hidden somewhere in the house. To keep Lydia safe, Caspian will have to divulge the secrets of his heritage, and risk losing his heart again.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Booktopia

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Bite Of... The Blood Bride

Forgive me, I am horrendously late with this A Bite of... but I'm happy to introduce the wonderful Imogene Nix with A Bite of her book The Blood Bride.


Can you in less than five words describe your book?
Dark, Vampiric but totally sexy

What inspired you to write it?
Gee, that’s hard.  I guess I wanted something that walked the line between the new look vampire themes and the scorching offerings J  The Blood Bride just kind of appeared in my head.

Here's the snippet!

Hope hauled the last heavy box up the stairs of the manor house, occasionally catching glimpses of the way her midnight black hair shone in the sunlight, when she passed the window in the living room of her apartment. “Thank heavens this is the last one,” she muttered to herself, sliding the box down to rest on the floor, before straightening and rubbing the nagging ache in her back. She could have had help, all she needed to do was ask, but now that she was an adult she needed to stand on her own two feet, she reminded herself.

Straightening up, she looked around at the mass of boxes waiting for her to delve into. “Well, gone away and back again. Where do I start first?”

The phone trilled and she started for an instant, before extending her hand to the receiver on the shelf beside her. “Hope.”

“Miss Hope, do you require any help? Lisi is wondering if you require her assistance.” The muffled voice of one of her guardians flowed out of the earpiece. She had forgotten that living at the manor meant the goldfish bowl lifestyle she had tried her best to escape at college. Not that she’d had much opportunity to live a free lifestyle. She’d been lodged with a guardian family within the college grounds. Even then, her personal team of five guards had shadowed her every move—to classes, shopping and even to the hairdresser’s.

They hadn’t escaped her notice, the looks some of her classmates had thrown her way. Longing for the lifestyle they’d thought she enjoyed. Little did they know, Hope would happily have swapped, a lot of the time. Downtime had existed within a carefully vetted group of companions, each from houses of similar status. The cloying atmosphere she hated, but, nonetheless, she had submitted to her parents’ will. Only a few times had she sought to do activities that they would have deemed inappropriate, but her conscience had always kicked in, and she had derived no enjoyment from the guilty feelings that had overcome her.

“No thanks, Jeffrey. I have all the boxes up here and I am going to take my time going through everything.” How could she explain that she needed a freedom that had been denied? That this small and almost insignificant rebellion was one she embraced? But she couldn’t. It wasn’t fair to Jeffrey to share that.

“Fine, Miss Hope. Oh, and I am supposed to remind you, the new Master has requested your presence in his library after sundown.”

She nodded, knowing it was expected that she would take her oath of fealty. “Oh. Right. I’ll be down for sunset.” She laid down the receiver. It’s one thing to owe your continued safety to a vampire nest Master, but quite another to be at his beck and call all the time, just as her parents had been. Her temper spiked momentarily. The emotion coiled through her then she shuddered, pushing away the negative thought, while absently reaching for the boxes she needed to stack, store or unpack. The rough exterior of some of them brushed against her hands. For now, she had time. Lots of time.

Ripping the tape off the first box, she then started to root through it, unwrapping reminders of her slightly more free college life, formulating arguments to put to her parents, knowing that the dice were stacked against her. Her life had been mapped out since her birth, but perhaps she could find a way around some of the roadblocks. At least she hoped so. With that thought, she set to work.

If you loved this excerpt you can by this book at TotalEBound |  Kobo

You can find Imogene on her website imognenenix.com | Twitter @ImogeneNix | Facebook