Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Author Introduction: Ben Rawlings

Years and years ago I wrote a couple of children's books about Scruffy the Bear ("Scruffy the Christmas Bear" and "Scruffy the Adventurous Bear"). I had them illustrated by the super talented and long-time friend, Ben Rawlings. He has been writing books for as long as I have, and is finally sharing them with the world! I am so super excited about these books. You can check out "Anastasia: The Dream Chronicles" and "The City That Forever Sleeps" here.

In other news, I am this close to completing the rewrite of my dragon book and am beginning to think up tentative titles. I am so relieved that the rewrite phase is nearly complete. It has really tested my perseverance. Next stop: editing town.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Update - 2016 - Where Has The Time Gone?

Twenty-sixteen has already proved to be a hectic year, and it has only just begun! Or has it? It's nearly March already. Where has the time gone?

I have, as always, been plodding along with my writing. In a fit of excitement I took the manuscript for book 1 of my Rachaya series and completely tore it apart, figuratively speaking. It has received the Oldfield Special Overhaul, complete with new characters, action-packed scenes, and of course even more exciting magic. I am hoping to share this story with the world by the end of this year. I feel like there have been many roadblocks with this book, but the only thing holding me back now is the cost of a good editor. Once that has been accomplished it will be full steam ahead, releasing my dragons out into the world for all of you to enjoy!

Late last year I locked myself away in a secret location (a.k.a. my home office) and wrote a really fun little book that is jam-packed with magic and adventure. My protagonist is called Leila. That's all I can say for now because the story is in first draft form. I tend to completely change everything during the rewrite. Instead of dragons my focus has been on witches, and I have really enjoyed researching the topic. If anyone has time to study a Coursera course, I can whole-heartedly recommend the University of Barcelona's 'Magic in the Middle Ages' MOOC.

In other news, I am getting married in a little over a week - eek! This will obviously keep me very busy, but to be honest I can't wait for all the planning to be over. I just want life to return to normal.

Until next time, Happy Reading and Happy Writing everyone!

P.S. What do you all think of the new layout of this website? So far I think it's my favourite.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fact or Fiction? Recalcitrant Prince

I am doing a different sort of Fact or Fiction? this month. I have hurt my back and am unable to sit down for any length of time. So instead I am posting a very short story I wrote a few weeks ago, using the writing prompts from my "Tell Tale Fairy Tales" set. I hope you enjoy!

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there lived a very exacting king. And this king decided that it was about time his son married and provided him with an heir or three. The son was not pleased about this, but the king was not to be argued with. The prince thought long and hard about his predicament, when suddenly he was struck with a brilliant idea! He would embark on a dangerous quest, the likes of which the minstrels would be singing about for years to come. He would bring so much glory to his father that he would never have to marry if he didn't want!

Without a moment to lose, the young prince armed himself with sword and shield and set off into the dark, scary forest. He was wandering for many minutes, longer than he had ever wandered before, when he spied a huge red mushroom. It had white dots and sparkled with fairy dust. With eyes wide, the prince leaned in close to the mushroom until his face was bathed in golden fairy light. The mushroom smelled fragrant, like ripe strawberries on a warm summer afternoon. Famished from his arduous, minutes-long walk, the prince extended his pink tongue and licked the glittering mushroom.

POP! FIZZ! CRACKLE! The prince began to shrink rapidly, and unsightly grey hair sprouted from his face and body. Large front teeth protruded from his whiskered, elongated nose. The prince had turned into a rat! He squeaked with delight. There was no way his father could make him marry now! The rat-prince skipped off into the forest, his long bald tail swinging merrily behind him. He lived happily ever after.

The end.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Captive Prince, by C.S.Pacat

Last night I had the absolute honour of meeting the very talented author, C.S.Pacat at her book signing, hosted by Dymocks Camberwell. C.S.Pacat has been making headlines recently over the publication of The Captive Prince, book 1 in her fantasy trilogy. I had heard of this story, but had been increasingly frustrated by people's inability to describe to me what the book was about. All they could say was that the book was soooooo good that they didn't want to give me any spoilers. So I went to C.S.Pacat's book signing and let the author speak for herself. I was instantly impressed. C.S.Pacat was intelligent, spoke knowledgeably and passionately about her craft, and was immensely humble. I immediately purchased her book.

She was also kind enough to pose for a photo with me!

This morning I idly flicked through the book as I sipped on my cup of tea. Next thing I knew it was 4.30pm and I was reading the final paragraphs of The Captive Prince. It has been a very long time since a book has grabbed me like that.

So what is The Captive Prince about? Annoyingly, I don't want to tell you because I don't want to spoil it for anyone (hypocritical, I know). The story is very dark, very gritty and brought to mind The Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop. Although fantasy, there is none of the stereotypical magic, wizards, elves or goblins one has become accustomed to expect from the genre. C.S.Pacat herself described the series as "Princes in love", but that was not how I found book 1. The book, or rather my take on it, centred instead around political intrigue that had layer upon layer of lies and treachery. Every sentence C.S.Pacat wrote, every piece of dialogue, kept me guessing at a hidden meaning. The writing itself is refreshingly readable. The setting brings to mind Ancient Greece or Rome. The story is told from the perspective of Damon, a slave given as a gift to an enemy country. I can say no more than that!

I had been told that the story is Gay of Thrones. I dislike that term. Although there are homosexual undertones, that to me is not what the story is about, but merely one of the many layers to the story. There are definite Not Safe For Work scenes in the book, but there was nothing gratifying about them. Each scene, rather, demonstrated the power struggle in a treacherous environment where anyone and everyone can be a secret enemy, just waiting for the moment to strike.

I absolutely, wholeheartedly recommend this book. It's just so refreshingly different to anything else I have ever read, the political intrigue has kept me guessing page after page, and the writing style is unique and yet easy to read.

P.S I am completely aware that I have broken my self-imposed book buying ban. I regret nothing!

You can purchase The Captive Prince from most bookstores and online retailers.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Fact of Fiction? Oranges

When I was around five or six years of age, I had a bedroom all to myself, whereas my three brothers shared a room. Their room was right next door to mine, and I could hear everything that went on in their room if I pressed my ear up against the wall.

My two oldest brothers, 8 and 10 years old at the time, slept in bunk beds. My little brother, 3 at the time, slept in a bed on the opposite side of the room.

Now, my little brother, he LOVED oranges. A strange thing for a kid to love, but then we were all strange kids in our own way. My parents were also very strict at bedtime. Once you were in bed, you were not allowed to leave it until the next morning.

My oldest two brothers thought one night that it would be funny to lure my little brother out of bed with the promise of an orange.

'Hey, I have an orange for you,' the brother on the top bunk would whisper.


'Yeah, come over here and I'll give it to you.'

My little brother climbed out of bed and went across the room for the orange. My brother on the bottom bunk grabbed my brother.

'DAD!' yelled the brother on the top bunk. 'HE'S OUT OF BED! DAD!'

My brothers listened carefully for my Dad's footsteps. Once he was just outside the door they would release my little brother. He would be scrambling back into bed just as Dad entered the room.

Oh, boy, did my little brother get into trouble!

This happened every night for around a fortnight until my oldest brothers got bored with the game.

Seriously. Every night for a fortnight, sometimes more than once in a night, my little brother would be lured out of bed with the promise of an orange, only to get into trouble for being out of bed.

I wonder if he still likes oranges?

So tell me. Do you think this story was Fact or Fiction? Leave a comment below with your answer :)


Image source: "Arancia di Ribera byFigiu" by Figiu - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arancia_di_Ribera_byFigiu.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Arancia_di_Ribera_byFigiu.JPG

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Novel Writing Stage: Complete

Yesterday was a good day for me. I finished writing a novel, which has been sent out to my lovely beta readers for feedback. Specifically, this book is the second in my Rachaya series, the first of which is due for publication at some point this year.

Once I realised I had finished the book I felt completely and utterly bone-crushingly tired. I didn't feel any sense of elation - I suppose because I know I still have several rounds of edits to go before I will be well and truly done with it.

But for now I am going to take a break from writing, hopefully recharge my batteries. I have little Peanut here to keep me company:

I am so proud of this little guy. Two days in and he is toilet trained and mostly comes when he's called.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Fact or Fiction? Bees

Welcome to the latest segment on my blog, Fact or Fiction, wherein I tell you a story and you need to figure out if I am telling the truth, or if I am simply making it up.

One day, when I was around fifteen years old, I was sitting on my bed reading. Suddenly, I heard a strange buzzing sound coming from behind my bedroom wall.

'Hmm,' I thought to myself, 'that sounds an awful lot like bees.'

Being young and inexperienced in such matters, I decided to get some expert advice. I went to my father.

He scoffed. 'Bees? I don't think so. You're imagining things.'

He followed me to my bedroom and placed his ear up against the wall.

'Yup,' he said with a knowing nod. 'What you've got here is definitely a case of the bees.'

He solved the problem by poking a hole in the wall with a screwdriver, then spraying an entire can of bug spray into the wall. He then sealed the hole up with silicon and placed a tapestry over the top so that no one would ever know.

So tell me. Do you think this story was Fact or Fiction? Leave a comment below with your answer :)


Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Honeybee_landing_on_milkthistle02.jpg