2022 releases

The Traitor's Game
Awaken: Wolves of Timber Falls
Sorrow's Song
Wicked Nights: A TechWitch Futuristic Urban Fantasy Novel
Bite Me, Monster: A Monster Romance
Nightfall University: Midnight Coven: A Reverse Harem Paranormal Romance
Nightworld Academy: Winterfall Witch
Phoenix: The Rise
Fated Wolf
Pray for Mercy
Keeper Of My Desire
Monster's Plaything: A Monster Romance
The Sheikh's Captive Lover (Desert Kings Alliance, #2).
Wolf Fates: Wolf Shifter Romance
Crown of Shadows
Kings of Eden: A Dark Paranormal Romane
Wild Soul: A Rejected Mate Romance
The Girl Sudan Painted like a Gold Ring: Folktales from the Sea Dyaks of Sarawak, Borneo
A Wreath Of Thorns

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Magic Thursday: An Offer I Couldn't Refuse

by Janni Nell
The email was unexpected. Would I like to write an Allegra Fairweather novella for an anthology to mark the second anniversary of Carina Press? I thought about it for – oh, at least a nanosecond. Heck, yeah!

One tiny problem: I had to write a synopsis up front, something I’d never done before until a manuscript was completed. Lots of head to desk action followed. How could I come up with a synopsis, when I never knew where a story was going until I wrote The End? Well, since the plots of the Allegra books are strongly influenced by their location, I decided that working out the setting was the first step. I began scouring the globe for inspiration. Nothing leaped out at me until I got to Spain. Inquisition, torture and mad monks – Bingo! I wrote a synopsis and it was accepted. I then had 3-4 months to write the novella. Seemed like plenty of time until I was bowled a bouncer – extensive edits for another novel. They took a whole month!

If you’re counting, you’ll realise I now had 2-3 months to write the novella. That’s not too bad, assuming you can actually follow your synopsis. Oh dear. The muse began to lead me astray. I’m a great believer in listening to the muse so I took hold of her hand and followed her down a very slippery slope. When we were done, I believed we had a great story, even if it didn’t quite match the synopsis. Anyway the deadline was upon me. I submitted the novella and held my breath.

My editor liked it. Okay, there was the small matter of coming up with a new synopsis, but the manuscript didn’t need massive edits. (Sigh of relief.)

Would I work like that again? Doing a synopsis first? Well, funny thing, I’ve just put together a synopsis and three chapters for a new Allegra novel. Looks like it’s the way of the future for me. Or maybe not. We’ll see.


Carina Press Presents: Editor’s Choice Volume II

Carina Press (June 4, 2012)
Order: Kindle | Nook | Carina Press

In honor of our second anniversary, Carina Press brings you four gripping novellas by some of genre fiction’s hottest voices! Explore interstellar space, get caught up in a caper, dabble in the paranormal and solve a murder aboard a cruise ship in this collection of stories reflecting the variety of our books!

Edited by Deborah Nemeth, this anthology includes:
DEAD CALM by Shirley Wells
NO MONEY DOWN by Julie Moffett
PYRO CANYON by Robert Appleton

Stories also available for purchase separately.


One lucky commenter will win a digital copy of Dance of Flames by Janni Nell.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Good News Day!

Welcome to this week's good news....


Shona Husk
The sequel to Dark Vow, Dark Secrets, has been sold to Carina Press. 

So more western fantasy with romantic element action coming your way!

Christina Phillips / Christina Ashcroft

Christina has sold her next two Roman/Druid books, Betrayed and Tainted to Ellora's Cave. She has also sold a Regency Vampire novella and Highland Warrior series to Ellora's Cave as Christina Ashcroft. 

For blurbs, check out her website www.christinaphillips.com 

Yay, more hunky ancient warriors,  as well as some hunky highlanders!



C.T. Green
Our current competition queen has done it again - she came third in the Paranormal Romance section of the RWA San Deigo Spring into Romance Contest with her book, Halo book 1: Arras

Way to go, your majesty!


Shona Husk
Enchanting Absinthe will be released on Friday 13th July from Ellora's Cave.

Spookily great date!

Another great week. Join us next week for some more good news. 

Monday, 25 June 2012

Magic Thursday Winner

Sorry folks, forgot to get Amanda's winner last week.

And the winner of Wishful Thinking is....

Jo Mc!!

Congratulations, Jo!

Please contact Amanda using the contact form on her website.

Thank you to everyone for commenting.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Weekly Overview


Mon 25 June - WINNER of Amanda's giveaway


Thur 28 - MAGIC THURSDAY: Janni Nell with Dance of Flames giveaway

(Where we've been this week)

Kylie S - http://kyliescottwriter.blogspot.com
  • Alien Sex... or, a look at Galactic Inferno by Mel Teshco 
  • Six Sentence Sunday 
  • In defense of foul language... 

Kylie G - http://kyliegriffinromance.blogspot.com.au
  • Guest blogging over at Helene Young's - link to interview
  • TOPIC: Being a Published Author - Promotion & Marketing
  • Guest blogging over at Sassy Book Lovers - blog
  • CAST OF CHARACTERS: Kymora - the blind priestess of Alliance Forged
  • GUEST BLOGGING at the Love Cats DownUnder - blog

Eleni -
  • Super Sunday: Competition for Young Writers & Blog Hops
  • Study is the word of the day....
  • Post study...

Mel - http://melteshco.blogspot.com.au
  • News and Update
  • First review of Galactic Inferno
  • Life Bytes - blog

  • Meet Simon Haynes, Hal Spacejock’s alter ego…
  • Winner Simon Haynes book give-away
  • Meet the team at Galactic Suburbia
  • Possible Market for SF, F and Horror - at Ripping Ozzie Reads
  • Short story competition - at Ripping Ozzie Reads
  • A short story competition for writers of mysteries - Ripping Ozzie Reads

Nicole - http://nicolermurphy.com/blog
  • A writer’s habits – Richard Harland
  • A writer's processes - Richard Harland
  • On, then off, then on again - Supernatural Underground
  • My good week

  • More cover goodness
  • Conflux short story contest

Jenny - http://authorjennyschwartz.com
  • Random jumble
  • Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts

  • A Marriage Made in Mayfair ~ Tamara Gill with Giveaway
  • A Forbidden Review
  • The  Winner...
  • Sold! To Ellora's Cave!

Amanda - http://amandaashby.com/?page_id=28
  • Lights, Camera, Cassidy
  • GCC presents Myra McEntire

Imogene - http://imogenenix.blogspot.com.au
  • A Day In the Writing Life Of...Imogene Nix - at Romance Writer's of Australia
  • MidSummer Science Fiction Brigade Blog Hop!

Nicola - http://magicalgains.blogspot.com
  • Inspiration, mythology and modern technology.

Annie - http://annieseaton.blogspot.com.au
  • Give aways to celebrate the release of Blind Lust

  • Midweek Technique – where to start your story
  • The Highest Bidder continuity covers (part 1)

Jess - http://jessanastasi.blogspot.com.au
  • Guest author Tamara Gill
  • Atrophy resurrected!

Shona - http://winkgirls.blogspot.com
  • Safety tips for Winter Solstice

  • English spelling is 'dum'

Janni - http://janninell.com/blog
  • FRIDAY FEAST with Janni Nell, Robert Appleton, Shirley Wells and Julie Moffatt - at Cathryn Hein's 

Emmeline - http://www.emmelinelock.com
  • X is for 'Xtremes'


Have a great week!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Magic Thursday: The Lunar Effect

by Fiona Gregory

Recently, Eastern Australia was lucky enough to witness both a Supermoon and a lunar eclipse and this started the discussion among some of the Darksiders – Does the Full Moon Induce Madness?

A quick google search produced 1000’s of hits and a name for this hypothesis – The Lunar Effect. The word lunatic is derived from the Latin word Luna. In Roman mythology Luna was the divine embodiment of the Moon.

Plenty of people have studied The Lunar Effect, particularly people working in areas that would see increases in crime, mental illness, disasters, accidents and emergency room admissions – health workers and police. There are even references to people who garden or trade the stockmarket according to the cycles of the moon.

As an author, one of my favourite sites for delving into the Darkside is The Skeptic’s Dictionary –A collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions and Dangerous Delusions.  The authors favourite question “What if” takes on a whole different dimension once you start clicking links like hidden persuaders, collective hallucinations and cosmobiology.

Here's the link to the Lunar Effect, specifically.


So, is there such a thing as the Lunar Effect? What do you think?

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Good News Day!

Welcome to this week's good news....


Kylie Griffin

Alliance Forged received 4 stars in the July issue of the Romantic Times magazine.  

"The tentative alliance initiated in the first Light Blade novel is in danger of collapse in the second outing of Griffin's exciting fantasy series. A major theme of this book is co-existence and the acceptance of those with differences. The old saying 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' works, but old prejudices are hard to combat. Griffin does a stellar job envisioning her world and its compelling protagonists. Well worth your time!"
Jill M.Smith

Annie Seaton
Holiday Affair received a great 4 star review from Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews.

"This was a beautifully written love story. Often times these are rushed, and this one was allowed to progress beautifully. I highly recommend this one! It’s the perfect book for curling up with a glass of wine.. "

Christina Phillips
Forbidden gets a 4 star review from Strange Candy Reviews.

"If you're looking for a red-hot, blistering read with magic, clashing civilisations and romance then grab a copy of Forbidden. You will not be able to put it down! Now I want a Roman centurion of my own!"

Nice job, ladies!


Maree Anderson
The three covers got this high praise from Joel Frieldlander (who blogs about Book Design).

“Some of the strongest ebook covers, as a series, that I’ve seen from entrants. These are beautifully matched without being clones, and the overall effect is beautiful.”


Annie Seaton
Holiday Affair has had the Greek translation rights sold to a Greek publisher. Fantastic! (I'll have to keep out an eye for my mum!)


Mel Teshco
Galactic Inferno (Book 2 of the Alien Hunger series) is out now from Ellora's Cave

Annie Seaton
Blind Lust is out now from Musa Publishing.


Keri Arthur
Two of Keri's Nikki & Michael series (book 1 & 4 of the series) have new covers for a re-release scheduled August next year.  Love the colours!

Cathleen Ross
Cathleen's August release, Shift into Pleasure, has a cover. Very sensual. 

Another great week. Be sure to join us next week for some more good news.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Weekly Overview


Mon 18  June - WINNER of Amanda's giveaway


Thur 14 - MAGIC THURSDAY: Fiona Gregory talks Lunar Effect

(Where we've been this week)

Kylie - http://kyliegriffinromance.blogspot.com.au
  • Good News!
  • Guest blogging over at Book Chatter Cath's!
  • Alliance Forged blog tour!
  • Guest author: Ally Blake
  • Review for Alliance Forged!
  • Guest blogging over at Mel Teshco's
  • Cast of Characters: Varian - the Na'chi leader in Alliance Forged
  • Review for Alliance Forged
  • Books fighting Cancer

Eleni - http://eleni-konstantine.blogspot.com

  • Super Sunday: How It Should Have Ended
  • Tuesday Tunes: Vocal artists
  • Trailer Thursday: Brave
  • Enchanted Realms blurbs
  • Midwinter in Queensland & Summer blogs
  • My lucky seven - carrying on the tradition
  • I read romance - I am loud and proud

Jess - http://jessanastasi.blogspot.com.au
  • Exposing my writing weakness 

Nicole http://nicolermurphy.com/blog
  • A writer’s habits – Deborah Biancotti
  • A writer's processes - Deborah Biancotti
  • My writing week

  • Finalist 7th Annual Stroke of Midnight contest

  • Sweet potato fritters
  • Steampunkchat goes Punkis - at Here Be Magic

  • FOGH: Sneak peek snippets
  • e-Book cover love
  • A Love Affair: Romance writing in the 21st century

  • Galactic Inferno release
  • Special Guest: Kylie Griffin with Alliance Forged
  • Feeling almost famous

Annie - http://annieseaton.blogspot.com.au
  • An update
  • The Lucky Seven

Cassandra - http://www.twystedwriter.com
  • Part 3: Sexual Tension - Before Your Characters Fall into Bed, Show it - Touching of Hands.

  • Blogging when (and if) I can 

Fiona -

Amanda - http://amandaashby.com/?page_id=28

Emmeline - http://www.emmelinelock.com
  • W is for 'What the?'

Cathleen -


Have a great week!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Magic Thursday: TV Magic

by Amanda Ashby

Sometimes I remember clearly where a book idea has come from. For instance, my first published novel, You Had Me at Halo was based on a surreal experience I’d had a few weeks earlier at my father’s funeral. I had clearly imagined that he was there, providing an alternative commentary about what happening, and let’s just say that he wasn’t best pleased. It was such a strong image that I ended up writing a book about a dead girl who did the same thing! The idea for Zombie Queen of Newbury High started life as a joke because I used to tease my critique partners that I would write a zombie book just to make them read it. However, with my new series, Sophie’s Mixed-Up Magic, the idea can be traced back to when I was a kid watching television! 

Now, for those who don’t know me, I must confess that I have a very small, totally-under-control, nothing-to-worry-about addiction to television and when I was a kid, some of my favourite shows were Bewitched, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and I Dream of Jeannie. And the one thing these all had in common was that they involved people trying to survive in a normal world, while dealing with some very abnormal situations--like impossible to explain problems, magical mayhem and secrets. So, it was probably no surprise that when I decided to write a middle grade book about an eleven year old girl who gets turned into a djinn, there was only one direction the books were going to go!

I’m always a visual writer anyway and with these books in particular, they blossomed in my mind like a sitcom and I just had to write as quickly to try and keep up! Definitely my favourite part of the series is Sophie’s dead djinn guide, Malik who looks like Zac Efron, eats Cheetos and is addicted to American Idol. He is completely ridiculous and caused poor darling Sophie so many problems, but he also had a heart of gold and helped her in his own misguided way.

To celebrate the release of Sophie’s Mixed-Up Magic, I’m going to giveaway a copy of Wishful Thinking and all you need to do is tell me about one of your favourite television shows from when you were growing up and why you loved it so much!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

A Bite Of...The Festival

 This fortnight, allow me to introduce...
Nicole Murphy with her novel The Festival from her Dream of Asarlai Trilogy.

 Can you, in less than five words describe your book The Festival?

Gadda, sequel, trouble, sexy, happily-ever-after :).

What inspired you to write it?

The Festival is the sequel to the Dream of Asarlai trilogy.The Dream of Asarlai tells the story of the gadda, a secret magical race that lives amongst us human beings. One woman, Asarlai, thinks this secrecy is holding the gadda back from their true potential and wants to reveal them and take over the world. It’s up to the guardians to find and stop her, a task complicated by three of them falling in love.

I wrote The Festival as a thank you to everyone who’s loved the books and let me know. Also it was planned originally to be a bridgebetween the publication of Dream of Asarlai and the sequel trilogy, People of the Star. But then People of the Star got knocked back, other things happened and so it’s being re-born as a self-publication to be released July12 – an important date for the gadda.

Below is the teaser for The Festival, then you can go buy and read the trilogy before it comes out. Follow my blog at http://nicolermurphy.com to find out when The Festival is released.

Now grab your coffee and settle down for the excerpt!
Maggie Shaunessy, the Ceamir and thus the guardian responsible for overseeing human-gadda interactions, smiled down at the shimmering green diorama of Sclossin that sprawled across the floor of her office. Every building – houses, shops, pubs, the bardria building – stood clearly within the maze of streets.

 While for the most part she was now used to living in a world in which use of power was normal, from time to time she found herself in wonder. She’d tried to be human until she was seventeen and had then used only basic amounts of power until she’d become  a guardian about eighteen months ago.

This was one of those moments of wonder that rammed home to her that she really was gadda. The Garramir had created this translucent model of the village so Maggie could oversee her plans for the upcoming Festival of the Star. It sprawled across her floor, even the trees near the creek and the bushes in people’s yards visible. It was something that only the best computer graphics wizards could create in the human world,and then only on screen.
This was gadda power, and it was beautiful.

She shook the awe away to focus again on her work. Over the village floated marks – red circles, yellow crosses, blue ticks. Maggie leant forward and stabbed a finger at each of the marks.
“Cameras all in place, good coverage of all the stalls, the parade route and Riverside Park,”she murmured to herself as she pointed at the red circles. “Stephen and Alana have been working with the software and they’re going to keep a close eye on everything.”

Next was the yellow crosses. “Hampton’s turning on the signal incantations now, so we’ll be alerted to sudden uses of power. Bridget has the first aid stations under control.” Her finger moved to the blue ticks.

She leant back on her heels and frowned at the diorama. It seemed they’d done everything they could to negate whatever the purists had planned for the festival tomorrow.
It was annoying, that the purists continued with their campaign to see that the gadda and humanity were kept apart. It created so much extra work for the guardians.
But the job had to be done.

Maggie stood, straightening her legs. Her body ached from days of stress trying to anticipate moves she wasn’t sure would happen. She rolled her head around on her neck and considered having a hot bath, hoping that it would help her sleep.
Then she thought of a much better idea and headed for Lucas’ laboratory. She knocked on the door first then pushed it open slowly, in case he was in the middle of something important and she would be disturbing him.

Lucas was bent over a table, his back to Maggie. It looked like he was adjusting a laser array. Maggie ignored his latest experiment to focus on the man himself – just the distraction she needed.
She’d met Lucas eighteen months ago – around the same time as the events that had changed her life and made her one of the most powerful gadda alive. Despite the time elapsed, Maggie stillcouldn’t get enough of her lover. Everything about him appealed – his smile,his intelligence, his laughter.
His body. Right now, bent over as he was, she could admire the cling of his jeans to his tight arse.

She leant against the door, a smile curving her lips.
It was several minutes until Lucas was happy with what he was doing and thus prepared to leave it and turn to Maggie – minutes during which she mentally undressed him several times.
Thus when he did finally meet her eyes, she knew he was seeing desire shining.

Lucas quirked an eyebrow. “Can I help you with something?”
“Yes, you certainly can.” Maggie deftly avoided the piles of wire and paper on the floor as she sashayed over to him. She wound her arms around his neck and arched her body, slowly bringing herself into contact with him. Thighs. Hips. Stomach. Chest.
“I need you to help me with an experiment,” she murmured, her lips just millimetres from touching his.
“Such as?” His breath whispered over her skin, inflaming her.
“It’s about friction.”
“Ah. One of my favourite forces.” He put his arms around her waist and pulled her tighter against him. Maggie could clearly feel that he didn’t mind her interruption at all. Not just from the growing erection pressed against her stomach, but from the pulses of his power teasing hers.
“I thought you liked it.”
“What exactly were you interested in testing?”
“The differences between being clothed and unclothed.” She drew on her power, clicked her fingers and then they were standing naked, skin pressed tight against skin.
“I think unclothed is better.”
“Me too.”

 Thanks for sharing Nicole!


Website and blog:

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Good News Day!

Welcome to this week's Good News.....


Imogene Nix
Starfire is out now with Secret Cravings Publishing.

Erica Hayes
Hex Appeal is out now in the US with St Martin's Press.

Janni Nell
Dance Of Flames (an Allegra Fairweather novella) is out now as part of the Carina Press Editor's Choice: Volume II. Now what a feat. Well done, Janni.

Denise Rossetti
Guilty as Sin is now available in print from Ellora's Cave!!


Kylie Griffin
Great news as Berkley are going to be releasing Vengeance Born (Bk#1 in the Light Blade series) as a mass market paperback in April 2013!

Carolyn Wren
Fantastic news as Carolyn has her first sale!! Secret Cravings Publishing has bought The Diplomat's Daughter, and it's looking like a November 2012 release.  It features Jared Knight, secret agent, as mentioned in Carolyn's darklight on interview on Saturday!! How is that for timing!


Kylie Griffin
Vengeance Born has been given a great review by Not Your Ordinary Book Banter.  Here's a snippet:
" I was engrossed by the fantasy world Griffin created. She formed a believable war between two races fueled by ignorance and prejudices on both sides. It was an enjoyable read, and in many ways thought provoking---with a happy ending, of course!"

Rowena Cory Daniells
The King's Bastard received a great review from SciYourFi. Here's a snippet:

"This is what fantasy is all about! I was immediately sucked into the world created by Ms. Daniells. I fell in love with the main character, Byren, almost immediately and was rooting for him through the whole book."


Annie Seaton
Blind Lust, will be released in the next week by Musa Publishing. Sizzling.


Passionate Ink run two competitions. One for published and one for unpublished....

Stroke of Midnight is the unpublished competition.
C.T Green has finalled in the Paranormal/Time Travel section (again, C.T.?!!) and we would like to give out a shout out to Daniel De Lorne, a fellow RWAustralia member who has also finalled.

That's not all. S.E. Gilchrist has finalled in the Fantasy/Futuristic/Sci Fi section. Well done, S.E!! And also a shout out to Kylie Scott who is also a RWAustralia member.

Think that's all?

No, no, no, no, no.....

In the Passionate Plume competition (for published authors), our Denise Rossetti has been nominated for her book Guilty as Sin, in the Fantasy/Futuristic/SciFi section. This is the third time(!!!) Denise has been nominated (she's actually won the award the previous two times. We wish her a hat trick!!).

Another fantastic week.

Join us again next week for some more good news. 

Monday, 11 June 2012

Magic Thursday Winner

From Lilliana:

Thanks to everyone for commenting.

The winner of a pdf copy of Christmas Wings is:


Please contact me from my website:

Thank you!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Weekly Overview

Photo by Cat Sparks

Mon 11 June - WINNER of Rowena's giveaway


Wed 13 - A BITE OF... Nicole Murphy's The Festival

Thur 14 - MAGIC THURSDAY: Amanda Ashby with giveaway of book 1 of Sophie's Mixed Up Magic: Wishful Thinking.

(Where we've been this week)

Kylie - http://kyliegriffinromance.blogspot.com.au
  • Review over at We Fancy Books
  • Topic: Author Branding (courtesy of Nikki Logan)
  • REVIEW over at Not Your Ordinary Book Banter
  • Missing subscribers?
  • From the Bookshelf...The Shadowlands Trilogy
  • Earthquake near Manilla, NSW Australia!!!

Eleni - http://eleni-konstantine.blogspot.com.au
  • Super Sunday: Funnies
  • Tuesday Tunes: Ladyhawke

  • Paula Weston asks: Why aren’t YA books as respected as ‘adult’ books? - Ripping Ozzie Reads
  • Review of The King's Bastard - SciYourFi
  • Aussie Female Fantasy Authors featured in Mainstream Media
  • Winner Paula Weston book - at Ripping Ozzie Reads

  • Best of the Independent eBook Awards

Imogene - http://imogenenix.blogspot.com.au
  • Transit of Venus

Jenny - http://authorjennyschwartz.com
  • Eve's Song
  • Jilted by Rachael Johns

Paula - http://paularoe.wordpress.com
  • Midweek Technique – switching point of view
  • Friday Feast with Paula Roe - at Cathryn Hein

Keri - http://www.keriarthur.com/blog
  • Darkness Devours ARC winners

Nicole - http://nicolermurphy.com/blog
  • A writer’s habits – Margo Lanagan
  • A writer's processes - Margo Lanagan
  • The 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon and the rush to publish erotica

Amanda - http://amandaashby.com/?page_id=28
  • GCC presents Elana Johnson

  • 'Creating Space' article

Janni - http://janninell.com/blog

Nicola - http://magicalgains.blogspot.com
  • Mythical bugs and spiders....

Mel - http://melteshco.blogspot.com.au

Annie - http://annieseaton.blogspot.com.au
  • A sneak peek into the life of Annie Seaton!

Cassandra - http://www.twystedwriter.com
  • Part 2: Sexual Tension - Before Your Characters Fall into Bed - Show it.

Shona -

Christina - http://christinaphillips.blogspot.com
  • Congratulations to Sara Hantz!!!


  • Sad news this week with the passing of a SF legend, Ray Bradbury (aged 91). RIP, Ray. 

Have a great week!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Darklight On... Carolyn Wren

Today's Darklight On is with Carolyn Wren. Welcome, Carolyn!

How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre?
I have always read science fiction and fantasy. The first book in the genre I remember reading as a child was Arthur C Clarke A Fall Of Moondust. It fascinated me, opened my eyes to the wonderful possibility of stories beyond the everyday world we live in. That book started a life long interest in other realms, other worlds, both in literature, TV and film.

 My own spec fiction story started with a stray thought at 3am in the morning.

When I started writing, my first books were a contemporary secret agent series. I had finished the final story that day and was laying in bed contemplating an emotional scene between two characters, wondering if it had enough impact or needed reworking.
I began to think of how the world would be an interesting place if we could read each others emotions as a physical sense. What would it be like to instantly know if someone loved you, hated you? If they felt guilty or sad, angry or depressed without them saying one single word?

My mind started to go in tangents. What if only a few people had this ability. Would they keep it secret? How would it affect their lives. 
More tangents...what if they didn't only possess the ability to read emotions but project them. Would you make someone fall in love with you knowing it was only a lie? If you supressed someone's compassion, and increased their indifference, could you virtually brain wash them into committing acts against their nature?

By this time it was 4am and sleep was very far away. Just then I had a light bulb moment. Why am I laying here thinking about this world? why don't I get up and write it?

So I did, and my first paranormal story called Empathy was born.

Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between?
Somewhere in-between. I always joke to friends that I need a prologue, an epilogue and a love scene in my head before I can sit down to write, and it’s true.

In my mind I have to know the beginning, the end, and have an emotional connection to at least some of the characters. Everything else happens when I put my fingers on the keys. 
I sometimes think writing is a form of possession. The words and the story overtake you, ending up in places you never imagined, but I love that part of the process. The one thing I have no control over is my minor characters, they invariably end up as major characters in another book. There is a reason almost everything I have ever written becomes a series. For some reason they are never content with their small roles and start jumping up and down in my mind, waving and yelling at me to, ‘please tell my story.’

Do have a favourite of your characters?
In my contemporary work I have many. Jared Knight is the agent who appears in all of the seven secret agent books. He starts as a loner, certain he will never be able to form a solid relationship because of his deadly past. 
From: Photobucket  
Book four of the series, the one I have had so much success with in competitions, deals with an ultra secret female agent. She is tiny, strong, brave, witty. But with a vulnerable side and a traumatic past. Everyone seems to love her as much as I do, which is great.

But in my spec fiction world I have to say Dashiell, the dark dangerous vampire in my Stolen Ones trilogy. My dear friend and primary test reader Lynne dared me to write her a vamp book as a gift, and at first I refused as I didn't think I could offer anything more to the genre. But as a Scorpio I can never resist a dare, and the thought of trying to do something different appealed to me
I am so glad I did. It enabled me to create a character who people always ask, wait... Is he the bad guy? Is he the good guy? 

Dashiell is responsible for one of my favourite reviews from a test reader who said, ‘Carolyn you created a self centred, arrogant control freak git and somehow made me love him by the end of the book.’ 

I love that quote.

What are you currently working on?
I am trying to complete the last of The Stolen Ones vamp trilogy. They are huge books, over 200k words each. As I said, I wrote them for Lynne as a gift, and the story started as a novella! (did I mention my minor characters tend to take control of me?) Obviously I got completely carried away but I do think it marks a new direction for me, a maturity in my writing. Multiple characters, multiple story lines evolving over the course of the three books and hopefully a very dramatic climactic ending, currently still in the planning stage.

What is your favourite part of the process of writing?
I have a mathematical background, and have only been writing for three years. This is all so new to me, almost every part is my favourite part. To create a world and people who are solely mine, who did not exist until I sat down at the keyboard, is extraordinary, exhilarating and very humbling because it was something I never dreamed I would do.

When I have finished a chapter, or even just a scene and I read it back, love it, and punch the air. That is the most amazing feeling.

What can we expect from Carolyn Wren in the future?
I am waiting on the results of the two contests, the Emerald and The Daphne du Maurier. That is for a contemporary story but I would like to seriously concentrate on getting it submitted, it would be wonderful to see the entire seven story series with one publishing house. Hey a girl can dream.

My book folder has two written prologues. One about witches, which I am very keen to get back to once I finish the last of the vamp novels. The other is a regency romance, but a regency romance with a difference. There are so many stories in my head I can barely keep track of them. I just need the time to write them all down.

Who are your favourite authors?
As a child and a teen I devoured everything sci fi and fantasy. Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Anne McCaffrey were the favourites of my youth. Then I met my husband who opened up the wonderful world of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett to me. I still adore all of those authors.

Lately I have been loving JR Ward, Larissa Ione and Nalini Singh as they create the most wonderful series with multiple characters and storylines that evolve over several books. This is a direction I am also heading in, so I am interested from an author standpoint and totally in love with their books from a reader standpoint.

I really enjoy Matthew Reilly as I firmly believe no one can write a full on action sequence like him. Plus he is an Aussie author.

What are you currently reading?
I just finished Larissa Ione, Lethal Rider, the third book in the Lords of Deliverance series. I ignored everyone and everything and read it in one day, it was wonderful. Last week I read In A Treacherous Court by Michelle Diener ( a fellow RWA member) set in the time of King Henry the Eight. A great read. I am just about to start the sequel, Keeper of the Kings Secrets.

Next on my list is Shona Husk, The Goblin King.

The week before last I read the new JR Ward Brotherhood of the Black Dagger series, Lover Reborn and also the new Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse book, Deadlocked.

In two days time another darksider has a book released. Starline by Imogene Nix, it is the new book in her Warriors of the Elector series and I am really looking forward to reading that one.

As you can see I am a very prolific reader.

Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or TV series?
 Is this the point where I admit to being a treckie? Well, yes I am.
Source: Star Trek WallPapers

My mum and dad loved everything Sci-Fi so I was raised with every possible Sci-Fi TV show known to man. I grew up with all the Irwin Allen classics, Time Tunnel, Land Of the Giants. I adored Lost in Space. All of the Gerry Anderson creations, Thunderbirds, Capt Scarlett, UFO, Space 1999. 
But Star Trek was a firm favourite. My mum would bring me a mug of cocoa while I sat glued to the TV screen. Even today I still associate chocolate with spec fiction, no wonder I am a chocoholic.
I adore all of Joss Whedons work and have the entire series of Buffy, Angel and Firefly on dvd. I am glad The Avengers is doing so well at the theatre as I think he did a brilliant job writing and directing it. My current favourite spec fiction shows on TV are The Walking Dead, (even though it scares the pants off me.) Game of Thrones, Once Upon A Time, Grimm and Dr Who.

Do you have advice for emerging writers?
Write. I know that sounds simple. But I was 47 years old before I wrote a single word. For years I made up stories in my head, created characters whilst sitting on the train, imagined worlds and scenes during boring work meetings. 
And I never wrote anything down. So my advice is to sit and just let the words come, it doesn't matter if you think the result is bad, or just plain lame. Keep going, create the worlds in your head. The result is wonderfully satisfying.

Also, don't be scared to show people. The very first thing I wrote was a scene with a man holding a woman in a dark room, she was dressed in a ball gown and he was in a tuxedo. I sent it to friends during their lunchtime as an anonymous email attachment. They immediately emailed back and asked what happens next.

Those three words, ‘what happens next?’ are what started my writing career.



Thanks, Carolyn.

Join me in wishing Carolyn all the best for the competitions she has finalled in.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Magic Thursday: Creating Space

By Lilliana Rose

A few years ago I decided that I was going to pursue a writing career more seriously. One of the main things I focussed on was trying to create a space where I could write, be inspired, and of course not interrupted. 

I don’t have kids, and at the time I was single, and there was major family issues that needed a lot of my attention and time, but I figured I needed an appropriate space pronto, and by creating my own space to write, then this would help my creativity flow strong. Easy. 

The junk room (aka spare room) was tidied up, the family writing desk, recently inherited, moved into place, and the floor cleared so there wasn’t a trail between piles of books to negotiate through. I changed the curtains to venetian blinds to let more light in through the small window. To make the space feel more creative I hung material from corner to corner, enveloping the ceiling in pinks and purples. But that wasn’t enough. For some unknown reason I wasn’t feeling connected to this space. It was too dark, not bright enough, too cold, and I just couldn’t sit down for long in the room. I purchased a heater, and pulled out a knee rug a relative had knitted for me, and I hung some bright tinsel from the ceiling. Then I figured all I had to do was to sit down and the inspiration would flow through me. 

I sat down at the old wooden writing desk, with my lap top, fingers poised ready to dance away on the keys and spill out emotional characters, thrilling plots and beautiful settings. 

But I couldn’t write there. I’m not sure exactly why, but one of the reasons was the family desk was made of a dark wood, and the room was small, now much smaller after my decorating attempt, and I felt closed in. I didn’t feel connected to the space. This perplexed me, could I really write? Did I really have it in me to write story after story? For if I couldn’t write in the space I created where could I write? As a little girl, I’d sit at the writing desk, touching the wood, picturing it in my very own home. This had finally happened and I just couldn’t sit and write at it. Disaster (well not quite). I had to go to plan B, which wasn’t even a plan to begin with.

I picked up my lap top, went out to the kitchen table, and wrote. 

This worked well enough until the neighbours decided to renovate. One morning I opened the curtains to my living area, and came face to face with a workman on a huge machine on the other side of my dilapidated fence. The noise of the machines was too much, and even though they weren’t on my property I felt that my space had been invaded (now that could’ve been an interesting plot to explore, however I just didn’t feel inspired). 

Image: The Write Cafe

Then I went to cafés. This worked amazingly well. The noise, the smell, the business of people made it easier for me to sit and write. And this wasn’t even my space.

The only problem was that people kept interrupting me to ask me if I was writing.
I was polite to them – let me make this clearer, often I was totally immersed in what I was writing, and I wasn’t in a little café in Adelaide, but on another planet, fighting some unknown evil, and when interrupted, I was ripped out of my fantasy world and dumped back into reality – and even talk to them, before having to find my way back into my world. I think that this was a good thing because being immersed in my writing too much isn’t always healthy. And it’s important for me to remember that there’s a real world out there for me to be part of. 

Maybe writing in public helps me to feel connected with people and less isolated? All I know is that it works for me and that’s important. I don’t actually mind being interrupted; it’s not ideal, but I’m used to it (if I happen to be writing at home, and my partner interrupts me, well he is in big trouble, but when I’m out, it’s different)

Then I moved. I had months without a kitchen table, and the new study had no windows, it’s jammed packed with books, and the beautiful wooden desk (that I still can’t work at). It left me with the only option that consistently worked; I had to go out and write at a café.

It left me with the obvious thing to do, to be part of the café poet program with Australian Poetry, where I go to a café, the T-Bar at David Jones, Rundle mall , Adelaide, once a week with the purpose of writing and promoting poetry (I have a little framed sign ‘Café poet in residence – please disturb). 

In order to meet deadlines I’ve written in restaurants, on trams, and on benches waiting for friends. My story, ‘Christmas Wings’ published under the pen name Lily Rose, was partly written on the tram, old school style with pen and paper. It was a miracle I managed to read my notes, but in the chaos of everyday life I managed to write out one of my favourite stories. 

I’m about to move again and I’m already checking out the local cafés to see which ones I’m going to enjoy writing at.

My quest to find the perfect space, turned out to be very different to what I had initially imagined, or thought. But at least I found it, and even though it’s not ideal, it comes with it’s own negatives (cost, interruptions, uncomfortable seats, tables at the wrong height for tapping away at the lap top) it works for me – it works incredibly well for me.

Sometimes it’s still about stealing time in the day (or night) to sit and write, but having the space where I’m comfortable means the time carved out can be more productive, enjoyable and satisfying. This is important for me to help bring new stories out into the world. If I only manage to write a short time it’s a bit easier to do the same the next day, and the next, and soon I’ve finished the novel and it’s been fun.

Lilliana has kindly offered Christmas Wings (as a pdf). 
Leave a comment for your chance to win.

Winner announced Monday 11th June.