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Archive for the ‘Dragon’ Category

This last weekend (29 September to 1 October) was Conflux, Canberra SF convention. I love these conventions. They are cosy and intimate and surprisingly new faces appear among the old friends. For the first time in my life I had a very busy schedule at an SF convention. I also had a table selling books and a book launch, with some fund raising for GUFF thrown in.

In the week prior to Conflux, I went to Bourke on a creative and cultural trip through the university. More about that in another post. That meant I had to have everything prepared for Conflux and the launch prior to leaving. I was crazy busy doing that. Without my wonderful partner, Matthew, who collected books for me from the post office while I was a way I would have been insane before the convention started.

First up, I was on a panel about Kick arse (ass) heroines in SF on TV. Principally, we were talking about Star Trek Discovery, The Expanse and Lost in Space. I managed to convince Keri Arthur to join the panel as there was just me and Andrew Old. For some reason I thought Andrew was chairing this panel and, unfortunately, I was totally wrong about that. It seems that I was meant to be leading the discussion. We got through that panel all right. I have convinced Andrew Old that Toby Stephens is sexy in Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Now he’s tagging me on Facebook with pictures of Toby Stephens in a singlet and so on. Haha. That’s funny. We all loved these three shows. Keri said Naomi in the Expanse reminded her of Zoe in Firefly.  Firefly was ahead of its time. Or the rest of the universe is catching up. I think Lost in Space is a real, sit up and watch with regards to feminising SF or the feministisation of SF. Love it.

Then it was a short break while I set up for my book launch. As I was away in Bourke, I couldn’t bake so I paid for someone to bake some cupcakes for me. I asked Leife Shallcross who she had do her cupcakes for her launch because they were amazing. There was only a week so not much time to do something too fancy. Listya made vanilla cupcakes with lemon butter filling and butter icing swirls in red and yellow to give the impression of flames, you know dragon flames. They were stunning to look at and drop dead yummy. I ate two of them. I also had bubbly, dips and nibbles and quiches. As it was the last two books in the Dragon Wine series, I was celebrating as well as launching. Many of the people in the audience were people who helped me along the way. I was touched by their support and with friends coming from outside the convention to be at the launch.

Nicole Murphy did my launch speech and it was amazing. She spoke so well (and now I have to learn to improve my public speaking) and I was moved to tears. Not only did she talk about the series and the underlying themes, she also recited the first lines from Shatterwing. She delivered these lines so well.

Here is what she recited.

In the velvet dark of space hovers Shatterwing, the fragments of a broken moon. Vestiges of decaying power crackle and twist in among the debris orbiting Margra, sending rock and dust to rebound off the atmosphere, sometimes piercing its envelope to plummet to the planet’s surface. Yet something approaches, something disturbs the precarious balance. Another piece of dead moon breaks away, larger and more deadly as it plunges to the world below…

What touched me was the words she said about hope and how hope is important for survival and that it was threaded through the work. Thank you awesome Nicole Murphy.

 

I have to say a special thank you to Matthew too. He did the sales for me and he was great. Well done!

 

Launch cupcakes a bit blurred. Sorry!

I was down to give a paper on SF romance and consent. A repeat of my paper I gave at IASPR. Funny thing I was so hyper I spoke very fast. I wasn’t nervous as such, just very revved. I have been for weeks and weeks.

After that, I also attended book launches. Kaaron Warren had her two books launched at Verity in town. Then I snuck off with Keri Arthur and we ate Chinese food at Sammy’s. After that we popped into Koko Black because it was too damn early to go home.

Here are some photos from the club where the launch was held. The first one is the crowd, with Robert Hood talking there. Then Keri Arthur and Leife Shallcross, then Lee Murray doing the launch speech with Kaaron Warren looking on and the last one is a picture of the crowd looking on.

I shared a table with Catherine M Walker and I am so grateful to her and my partner Matthew as they covered the table most of the time while I was off being on panels, going to launches or just saying hello to people.

Sunday I had a panel at 9.30  about Unconventional Publishing, with David Henley, Dion Perry and with chair Ion Newcombe. This was tapped for a radio program and it was interesting and fun too. Dion kept coming up with some really key points and David and I talked about our experiences. I think overall it covered a lot of ground. I was interviewed for a radio show by Elizabeth Newman about writing, publishing and the Dragon Wine series. She was easy to talk to and we went over time, of course!

Then it was a talk about my GUFF trip and the upcoming race to send a fan or fans to Dublin. Except well no one showed at first. There was some competition with other panels and tiredness.  I think the panel should have been called- How to get to Worldcon in Dublin?

Here is a picture of some of the highlights from the GUFF auction. I made the tote bags and some of the stuff was donated by Cat Sparks and Robert Hood and I bought the NZ chocolate in New Zealand.

I managed to get John Morris to come in and Garry Dalrymple was there too. It was kind of weird because John was in Helsinki and had met the people in some of the photos. After that we had the fan fund auction. Again not a lot of interest from people. It was probably due to no Finnish sweets! They sell really well. But we did have people who were wonderful and supportive. That’s to Simon, Keri, John, Graham, Garry and then Nicole and Kat who popped in. Gillian Polack was also on the GUFF panel and auction and she bought a few things. We did have NZ chocolates! We sold them. A lot of stuff we put away for Continuum next year. We made a reasonable sum. We also sold things from the table. All up not too shabby.

Then there was the amazing Hand of Knaves book launch. Hand of Knaves is the latest anthology from the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild and some of the author read from their stories. The readings were top class. I had to get me a copy. There was the banquet after that. It was nice and the company on the table was great. The food was a bit weird, which is strange because Vibe do great food. There was chicken (yum) and a vegetarian meal as the alternate. I got the vegetarian and beside from the sweet potato mash, it was a bit blah. You know, normally, it’s the beef or chicken.

Some pictures from the launch. The first one is Leife Shallcross one of the editors and David Versace, blue t-shirt one of the authors. Robert Porteous is the pirate and he has a story in there too.

Next up two of the readers. I’ll have to come back to put their names in.

Then a shot with Chris Large, the other editor with Leife doing the launch.

 

Next up some shots from my table at the banquet. First up, Keri Arthur, Catherine Walker and Alex.

To my left was Jane Virgo, Graham Cheers, Carton (X) and Amanda Dalziel.

Monday morning it was me, Keri and Dione talking about the 10 things that we wished we knew about self-publishing before we did it. Feedback was that panel was great. We went overtime by accident. We talked about how liberating it was, about how hard it is to market and the amount of admin. We had preplanned all this so it was just go and we had thoughts about ISBNs and Vellum and basically we didn’t get through the ten things and we had 14 of them.

Dawn Meredith launched her book, with the launch speech by Gillan Polack. The cake looked great and was yummy too.

After that, Keri and I were both attending Aiki Flinthart’s Writing Fighting Scenes for Women workshop. It was fantastic. Great stuff Aiki! While we were at the dead dog party, we were convincing Catherine M Walker to do a workshop on police procedural for writers…she’s a cop. Then we sort of had her down for doing workshops at other conventions and so on. I really hope she knows we are serious.

I really like the food at the Vibe Hotel at the airport where Conflux took place, so we went to have dinner there after the convention. It was so good. There was six of us. Good conversation. Great laughs. Delicious food.

Here are some selfies of Keri and me. They are kind of a tradition when we are at the same events.

Now I’m back in the real world, teaching and marking at Uni.

 

The books are launched. Life goes on.

If you are interested in checking out my the Dragon Wine series, then check out this page.

Also, if you are interested I have a newsletter where I share updates, news about cheapies and freebies and I am thinking of doing a contest for a prize soon. I just have to slow down for five seconds. Here is the landing page to sign up for my Newsletter Wing Dust .

I’m all fired up though to write more. Also, I found out that my trip to China in November for two weeks is cancelled. I’m sad not to see my son Taamati in Shanghai, but after I got over it, I realised that I can do NaNoWriMo!

I’ll be heading to Perth at the end of November.

Now I really must get on and focus on this PhD!

Here is my serious, post-Conflux, studious PhD student face, stripped of glam and looking tired.

 

 

 

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The final installment in the Dragon Wine series is fast approaching. Due date 31 August 2018.

The proof corrections have arrived and I’ve started on them.

Also, the  map, which I’m going to share here.

But first! I’d share the blurb but I may have to change it.

Moonfall-highres(1)

Buy Links

amazon Google Kobo ibooksNook

Now for the map. I had drawn this out but in discussion with Dr Russell Kirkpatrick about the map, he came up with this very cool idea. He is a geographer as well as a writer, Legoman and golf/sport/music nerd. He had been looking at some historical maps of New Zealand from when not much had been explored. The map we looked at (and he did tell me who it was by) showed rumoured coastline and unknown coastlines (or not-just unknown blank space). Anyway, we thought this would work well for the map of Margra because it’s a post-apocalyptic world and the coastlines of the continents had changed, and civilisation had been devastated and once thriving cities ruined. So we came up with this, mostly Russell came up with this. I’d love to hear what you think.

This is meant to be the map that Nils puts together from his research in the Hiem archives and from hearing accounts from Danton and Brill. The map will appear in Moonfall, print and ebooks.

Margra World Map Moonfall 2

 

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Oh happy day.

Skyfire: Dragon Wine Part Five is published. It is currently available on Amazon and Kobo and will filter through to other stores like Google, Barnes and Noble and iBooks over the next few days.

I’ve also made Moonfall: Dragon Wine Part Six available for pre-order on Amazon, with a release date of 31 August. That just reminds me to chase up the map!

Skyfire-highres

Here is the blurb.

Deliciously dark fantasy…

“Shatterwing has all the fantasy ingredients I love: tormented heroes, a truly twisted villain – and a brand new take on dragons!” Glenda Larke, (award winning author of The Stormlord Trilogy)

“Dark and compelling, with strong characters and a sense of grim inevitability that pulls you along with the story.” Craig Cormick, (award-winning author of the Shadow Master Series.)

The story continues…

On the devastated world of Margra, where man-eating dragons are tamer than humans, a small band of heroes fight for a brighter future.

After a battle with the malevolent baron and the evil dragon creature, Gercomo, to prevent the life giving dragon wine being sequestered in the doomsday city, Eternity, for use by the rich elite, Salinda turns her attention to the looming disaster that threatens their very existence.

With the aid of the powerful cadre, an ancient source of power and knowledge, Salinda fights to save her planet, Margra, from the final moonfall—an event that will destroy the already ravaged planet.

Currently safe within the underground city of Barraheim, a heavily pregnant Salinda knows that the end is looming and that a solution must be found. Plagued with doubt, she ponders whether her child be born before moonfall or born at all.

With Nils’s, her alien mate incapacitated and others in her band recovering from injuries, Salinda struggles to decipher an ancient text that speaks of a machine that might help them.

And in the dark spaces beneath Barrahiem lurks something else, something mysterious and dangerous…

Here is the link to the Amazon.com and Amazon.com.au pages.

Or check out the Dragon Wine Series page for a range of buy links.

And remember you can preorder Moonfall.

In other news, I have combined Deathwings and Bloodstorm into one book, Dragon Wine Volume Two. The first two books are combined in Dragon Wine Volume One. Volume one will be on price reduction for a Bookbub promotion around the 23 July for 99 cents in Australia, Canada, UK and India. I am hoping for  a price reduction in the USA later. So if you haven’t read the first books in the series and want to, then stay tuned for the first two books at 99cents.

I am so pleased to have nearly got this series out there. Not long now.

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Hi all

This might be of interest to some of you. This is a preview of the first chapter of Part Five of the Dragon Wine series, called Skyfire. I thought to post it here as a teaser and to guilt myself into finishing the polishing required so that I can send it to the editor in early May. I think I have two weeks. I don’t know where the time has gone. I’ve been busy and tired and my plans have faltered. Any encouragement welcome.Skyfire-highres

Anyway, there should be little to no spoilers as this chapter introduces a new character.

 

Chapter One

More than a Trace

Karol hated the compound where his kind was imprisoned. This morning, his mother said that Tarkel, his father, was never coming back and then she cried. Ilania was so sad and Karol hated that she was like that, without hope. She spoke with so much conviction that he had to believe, and grieve. He remembered before, before they’d been brought to this compound, where their poor circle of tents barely kept out the wind and the dust. Surrounded by rock on three sides there wasn’t any place to go in this prison. Not that the guards knew about at least. Their village had been neat and tidy and happy and hidden from the outer world. Now, Karol understood why they hid away from the awful humans, who knew nothing grand, who had no culture and were just miserable, evil creatures, preying on everyone.

Karol was small for his age. But he didn’t mind that so much for it meant he could explore where the adults could not and even better he could go where the guards could not. His favorite place was a fissure in the cliff face behind his family’s tent. There he had found water. It gurgled pure and clear as it slipped over a small rock to disappear into the nooks and crannies of the cliff, never to appear again. He dipped his hand in the sweet smelling water and sipped his fill.

His loin cloth had seen better days. His mother wanted him to wear his tunic but it lay abandoned with his things in their tent. He didn’t mind that his ribs stuck out or that his knees were bony knobs on thin legs. He would grow big and tall like his father one day.

And one day there would be enough food. Food for them all. And he’d lie around with his belly protruding and sleep for an age without being prodded awake by hunger pains.

His long hair was tied back, which made climbing and drinking from the spring easier. Like his mother, his hair was white. He didn’t mind that it wasn’t like Tarkel’s, for his father praised him for his looks. Praised him for being true kin.

The water helped ease his hunger. There was never enough to eat. Dried bread and a few beans was all they had eaten in the last year. His mother said his growth was stunted forever now because of the poor diet. Thinking of his mother, he watched the water trickle. He had forgotten to bring a cup to take some back to her.

The sun moved while he sat there staring at the interior of the fissure.  What he thought was a shadow disguising nothing suddenly seemed more. With thin arms and legs, Karol slid into the dark cleft. The slit in the stone was long and gloomy and as he peered in he saw that there was an opening. Not a big space, but if he could squeeze through it might make a good hiding place.

“Karol? Karol!” his mother’s words reached him, echoing around the rocks as if her voice came from everywhere. No time now to explore. His mother needed him.

Now back in their tent, he saw nothing had changed. His mother was still stooped with grief.

“I’m glad you’re back,” she said in a low voice and hugged him to her.

Yelling in the compound jerked them apart. They shared a terrified look and then let their breaths roll out of them. “Roll call?” his mother ventured.

“Early food delivery?” Karol returned.

His mother bit her lip. “You wait here and let me see.”

Then she slipped out of the tent with its ragged flap that kept nothing out. Karol went to his sleeping space. Rolled up and placed at the rear of the tent was his sleeping blanket. It was where he could be the most unobtrusive. Where he could be unnoticed. He saw a lot. None of it good. He folded himself amongst the bedding, hidden.

It was so quiet and the sound of his breathing annoyed him. His mother hadn’t returned so Karol crept to the tent flap and peered through the strips of torn fabric out into the compound. Bent old men, ragged women and a bunch of thin, white-haired children stood in a group, surrounded by guards. There were not many of them left. Some had died of disease and hunger. Karol’s stomach clenched painfully. He could see no signs of food.

A scream rang out. Karol started. His heart raced as he squinted against the setting sun. A child ran across the clear area and then fell down. Karol stared. A spear stuck out of the child’s back. Karol gaped, not quite believing. With sweaty hands, he moved strips of fabric out of the way to run forward.

More screams. Splashes of red. Then is mother’s voice. “Run, Karol. Hide!”

Karol bolted from the cover of the tent. Feet pounded the hardened ground behind him but he didn’t look back. He closed his eyes and thought of his mother. Was that her scream?

Their captors were killing them all. Karol ran harder, so hard he thought his heart would fly out of his chest. He was ten years old. He could do this. He was the man of the family now.

With a quick leap, he landed on a protruding rock and then scrambled up. A spear hit the boulder near him and it clanged and then clinked when it dropped. A deep voice yelled. “Stop where you are!”

Karol didn’t look and scrambled faster, higher and sideways.

“Follow him.” An order was given.

“Hey kid, is this your mother?”

A whimper echoed around Karol’s ears.

“Call him.”

“Hide!” His mother screamed.

Karol didn’t look, couldn’t look. If he did he’d go back to her, he would die with her. He knew they were baiting him.

“I’ll kill her,” the deep angry voice raged.

Karol scrambled up the rockface. He was heading for his little stream. There he could survive for a little while without food. Karol’s legs shook, his muscles were starting to feel the exertion, the lack of food, the fear.

“I kill her. Stop!”

But Karol knew his mother was already dead. She didn’t want him to come back. She didn’t want him to die too.

An odd sound reached him, amplified by the rocks. It was a sickening sound followed by a dull thump. He had to look, had to see. The man had cut his mother’s throat.

There she was blood in a pool around her head, legs twitching. Standing over her was a man, a brutal looking man, thick muscled, bearded, a beast.

Something snagged his foot. He’d stood still too long. A hand pulled at his foot. Karol kicked, kicked like one crazed but still he was dragged down. He was caught. Panic like a demon possessed him. He screamed and clawed and choked off when he thought he was done for. He was caught!

The man held him around the hips and then changed his grip. Karol took his chance. He kicked out hard, blindly and connected with something soft, something that left a wet smear on his foot. A crunch, a pain-filled whoof and a hail of curses. Karol dropped. He flung out a hand and a foot to stop his plummet to the compound below. He slid and then caught on a nub of rock. He clawed for a hold. Dirt and stones hissed as they moved beneath him but Karol was away, carried by fear to climb like a spider up and away from pursuit.

I am a leaf, I am a feather, I am light and I can scuttle like beetle so fast no one can catch me. Soon he was out of sight of the compound. The tell-tale trickle of his little stream beckoned.

Panting, he slid down at last to his tiny cobbled bank, a space large enough to crouch in, no more. He drank and he wept but only for a minute. They were coming. More of the men were climbing to where he was.

He stared into the fissure where the water emerged. He was small. He could fit. He had to try. Climbing up and over the canyon wall was beyond him. He’d tried and there was no easy way out. Not without ropes and supplies.

He could hide. He had to hide. He had to hide or die.

As Karol inserted himself into the fissure, the cold water ran over him, startling his sun-warmed skin. The rock surrounded him and beyond where the light did not reach loomed dark. The sounds of pursuit were wiped out by the crash of the water, his own frightened breathes and beating heart. The fissure grew very tight and small just after a few side-ways steps. Karol flattened himself and squeezed further in. If he was far enough in they wouldn’t see him—they wouldn’t know he was there.

Karol squeezed himself further, first a leg, an arm and then wiggled his pelvis and chest into the narrow gap between the rocks. He ought to have been scared, but Karol wasn’t. The rock was safe, welcoming. While had not been underground before, he knew that his forefathers had lived in the ground. Tarkel had told him. Told him of the great cities. Regaled him with tales of their people.

As the darkness embraced him, Karol didn’t fear anymore. The water blocked the entrance and he was now hidden in darkness.

A large face pushed through the water. Karol drew back, jammed in between the rock of the fissure, water pushed around him as he blocked the way. He had to keep pushing through or they would know, they would notice the current wasn’t a strong that the flow was less.

With all his might Karol pushed himself, squeezed himself, using the palms of his hands pressed against the rock face, the soles of his feet, keeping the pressure up so that he could get through. Water fell on his face, into his mouth. Karol held his breath and then let it out slowly and pushed.

His lungs were desperate for air. Water smothered his face, ran into his nostrils, his mouth, his ears. There was no sound except for water in his ears. Karol knew he was going to die. Here. He was going to drown here. He should have died with is mother. He shouldn’t have let her die alone.

Then, just as his strength was fading, something shifted. His body passed through and he landed in a heap on the other side of the fissure. Choking and crying, he looked around him. It was a cave. Here the water was but a rivulet and passed through a channel in the floor. He saw where it fell from above to the right of him. He’d lost his loin cloth and his pale skin had dark smears where he’d torn the flesh from his torso.

Shaking his head, he sucked in breaths and checked his body for further injury. Scrape marks ranged over his chest, hips and knees. He rubbed at his chin and blood was on his hand. He cried more, releasing his pent up fear and grief. His mother was dead. His people were dead and he was all alone.

He calmed down, telling himself that his mother wouldn’t have wanted him to cry or be sad. She wanted him to live and live free. His father would have wanted him to be true to his people. Tarkel had said there was a place for him in the world. He only had to look.

After wiping his eyes and clearing his nose, he looked about him, serenaded by the little cataract as the water hit the floor. It was surprisingly light inside, with the sun filtering through from outside and reflecting off the water. The floor was tiled. He ran his fingertips through the space between the mosaics. This was no natural cave. He quickly scanned his surroundings and in the dim recesses he saw something strange. He crawled forward, rubbing tears from his cheeks. In front of him was an archway, embellished with strange writing. He staggered to his feet and went up to it. It was a door.

#

Karol slept, turning fitfully due to his various aches. It was a sound that woke him. There were men outside the fissure. He crept forward to hear what they were doing. His heart hammering so loud he missed a few of the words.

“…the debris will cover the dead…”

“…explosives…here…”

Karol blinked trying to understand. They couldn’t come and get him, but they could kill him by blowing up the cliff he was hiding in. He backed up and detected the waft of smoke. He didn’t have any time left. He turned and faced the door.

He knew what it was. He knew what lay beyond. It was a secret that his father had died for, that his mother had died for. It was what was going to save him.

He knew the chant off by heart. It had been a lullaby when he was young, something that made little sense to others.

High for the sun, down for the ground, once for the right and twice for the left. There you can enter into the way of your forefathers…

The door slid open. The smell of smoke was strong. The rumble under his feet making him sway. He dashed inside the darkened Way and groped around in the dark when the door shut. As he moved away, praying that the waygate would hold, Karol tapped his feet in front of him and put his hand out to the wall. A faint glow grew outwards from where his hand touched. The longer he was inside, the more his saw. Soon he saw the stairs and the directions they went. He had no idea which way to go. He had no food or water. He wasn’t going to go far or last very long, but at least he was free.

The ground lurched suddenly throwing him off his feet. He fell into the wall, which glowed light gray and the substance of it smothered him. Karol fought and fought and then calmed. He was either going to die or be all right. He moved his leg as if walking and the substance of the walls let him move. Not back out into the way but within the substance of way.

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This is not the Mama Mia… (dot, dot, dot) this is life getting in the way and fatigue. It’s bloody hot I tell you and that makes writing a chore.

I’m about to head out to a granddaughter’s 11th birthday party. I mean really 11. What the hell happened! She’s not meant to be so grown up. I’m not meant to be so old. Okay. I’m not old. Ageism is the mindkiller. I’m with Judy Dench on that. I wish my body would get on side. I have arthritis generally and for the last few weeks some weird as swelling, numbness, tingling in my hands and arms. I must admit it freaks me a bit. But I’m not blogging to be a downer.

I have family here at the moment. My son is visiting from Shanghai and it’s great to have him around. I mean I scored cookies!

I’ve been writing too and that has to be a good thing. After the 52,000 words I wrote in November as part of #NaNoWriMo I picked up the ball again and am currently at 73,000 words. I’m hoping to get more in this arvo and I’m hoping to finish the first rough draft of Skyfire by New Year’s Eve because….I’m going straight on to Moonfall in January, Part Six of the Dragon Wine series and the end of the current story arc. I say this because I have other ideas but they will have to wait until after the PHD studies.

In 2018 I really have to knuckle down and get the bugger done! However, I am taking some time in January to do a mini writer retreat and write Moonfall until I drop. Then it’s back to the Phd novel which is still sitting at a pitiful 30,000 words.

Even while I plan to have both books drafted by the end of January, I’m not sending Skyfire and Moonfall out to be published for a little while.

I have to revise them first. I tend to get the story arc done and then go back and work on scenes and add atmosphere. It also gives me time to add stuff in that I missed out and tweak stuff.

Then I will send it to beta readers and get feedback. Then I act on that feedback and revise again.

Then I send it to the editor if I think it’s ready. Then she flings it back to me, usually with some homework which can take anywhere from two weeks to a month to do and then it goes to the proofreader.

It’s a bit of a team effort getting a book ready.

Sometimes it takes a while to take up the proofreader changes but within a month of getting it back from the proofreader I usually publish it. The print version takes longer as it has to be formatted.

If I succeed in my plans with the draft and revision I’ll have a better idea of timetable. I think my Amazon pre order ban might be lifted by then. hahahaha!

So if I don’t come back with a year in review blog post or my plans for 2018 before New year. Happy New Year!

I

 

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Well it’s been a long wait!

The reversion of rights process did not go as planned. Shatterwing and Skywatcher were taken down early (I had requested May) and I had a mad scramble to get covers and get the books prepared etc. I’m so lucky that Crocodesigns were able to do the whole series. Don’t you think Frauke did a great job? There is more to come. She’s working on the covers for final two parts (not actually written yet) and box set covers.

I can’t decide which cover is my favourite. I really love the meteors and the depiction of the observatory in Skywatcher and I love the colours in Deathwings and I love the dragon in Bloodstorm. Overall, I think the covers portray the darkness and the space elements of the stories. Shatterwing and Skywatcher are out now everywhere! iBooks should flow through today. I uploaded them this morning.

Deathwings I think I’ll put up next week (maybe). I’m so nervous about releasing this part three. It’s been edited and proofed and it’s waiting to go. But holding on to it seems like a good idea. I’d like to be able to release Bloodstorm, Dragon Wine Part Four soon after. That’s due back from the editor next week. Still I’m nervous. Stupid I know…but I can’t help it. I had ten years to work on Shatterwing and Skywatcher. Although I drafted Deathwings and Bloodstorm a while ago it is only recently that I’ve picked them up again. Hopefully there will be some good reviews. I need to work on the final two parts.

These books are retailing around $3.99 US per book. I’ll be putting links up in my book section later on. I need to drink some French Champagne just now and eat chips and dip and chocolate and veg in front of Netflix. Sorry duty calls. I presented my confirmation seminar for the PhD today and it went well! So celebration.

 

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And I’m going to release Part One and Two together as a ebook box set. Maybe next week. Estimated price is $5.99 USDragonWineVolOne-3D

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I am so excited to bring you this interview.

I love science fiction and fantasy and I particularly love it when someone writes a story and plays around with the tropes I love so well. One of the things I’ve noticed is that books from diverse authors really bring a distinct flavour to genre. For example, Lukyanenko’s Daywatch or books by Alliete De Boddard, Isabelle Allende, Ken Liu etc.

I stumbled across JC Kang’s series in one of Patty Jansen’s regular newsletters ‘Ebookaroo’. I was so taken by the covers I had to buy one. Then I started reading Dances of Deception. Oh my…I’d picked up book three but didn’t realise and it was too late to stop and go back to book one so I kept on reading it.

I couldn’t stop reading it!

This series is a high fantasy with dragons, elves, dwarves, gods and the rest. But for me it had something different–an Asian-centric viewpoint, meticulous world building carefully woven into the story, a world with many cultures, each with their unique manners and approach to life well depicted.

It had political intrigue, trade issues, plausible economics, ninjas and romance. The magic in this world ranges from beautiful and delicate to blunt and hard. The characters were well drawn and three dimensional, each with a history and a complex set of relationships. (As I started in book three this is to be expected). My favourite characters are Tian, the secret agent/spy dude, who is probably most like a ninja, the princess, Kaiya, who has difficult but character-building adventures and Jie, the half elf handmaiden, come body guard.

Here is a graphic of my favourite characters. Thank you John!

3heroes

The baddie in this book is bad! Yet, there is a side to him that evokes some compassion, due to the curse of his people. I like how Kang sprinkles this hard race with sympathetic characters that lead you to believe that there is hope for change. I don’t want to spoil it for you so I’ll say no more.

Also, the interior layout is something special. Some lovely touches in the ebook.

This is definitely a five star read for me. Now my dilemma is do I buy the books in ebook or print?

John (JC Kang) dropped by my blog today and answered some questions. It’s a special day because Book four is launching today.

4book

  1. John tell me a bit about you, where you live and what you do for a day job.

I hail from the black hole of despair, also known as the Capital of the Confederacy. Actually, Richmond, Virginia, has since transformed from the urban blight of my childhood, to hipster haven and up-and-coming foodie capital of America. We probably have more craft breweries per capita than any other place in the world.  I’m an acupuncturist and herbalist, and also moonlight as a Wing Chun Kung-Fu instructor.

  1. What first interested you in the fantasy?

When searching for a BDSM club… no, wait, you mean fantasy fiction!  Yeah, just ignore that first part.  I must’ve been five, and my older brother read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to me. It was my gateway drug to The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and then onto harder addictions like Dungeons and Dragons.

  1. How long have you been writing? Did you always aspire to write fiction?

After I read the Dragonlance Chronicles, I was determined to be a fiction writer.  My first story was basically a rip-off of Dragons of Autumn Twilight based in my D&D world, with only the names changed to protect the innocent. Basically, my younger self didn’t have a unique idea in his head, and he gave up on the idea of writing fiction.

  1. You have a beautifully rendered story in Dragon Songs Saga. How did you about developing this world? What were your influences? Did you research? If so, what, how?

Twenty-five years after I went through rehab for my D&D addiction, I uncovered the world building materials in my childhood home.  As an adult, I had to laugh at what my younger self dreamt up (nice men who respected women) or otherwise plagiarized (impossibly beautiful women who like ugly guys). Still, there were some cool underlying ideas, and I spent the next week reimagining the world with those premises at the starting point; but taking into account trivial matters like gravity, supply and demand, and biology.

My biggest influences were the Civilization video game, Tolkien, Chinese Wuxia movies, and samurai dramas. And Jedi Knights. I can’t say I did a ton of research, but I’ve worked as a political analyst and economics technical writer, and watched a whole lot of TV (usually while I was doing economic analysis, which probably explains why I am now an acupuncturist).  During the writing process, I researched everything from the Latvian language to ancient Ethiopian culture (and that BDSM in my search history, it was purely research for writing).

  1. Why did you write the Dragon Songs Saga? (I’m wondering here if there is a dearth of Asian-centric high fantasy, or was it that you were sick of western-centric fantasies etc).

I had actually planned three books total, the first with a Western-oriented story which would recount a war between cursed descendants of the Sun God and humans who had mingled with elves in ancient times; and the third which would follow an East African sorceress, a Persian priest, and an Asian Indian “jedi” (I was serious in that earlier answer) as they discover the secrets of the world’s pyramids.

However, I settled on the middle story about an East Asian princess who could evoke magic through music, and her childhood friend who had become a ninja, as they try to escape from the aforementioned descendants of the Sun God. It wasn’t because I was sick of Western fantasy—there’s plenty of non-Western stuff out there nowadays—but rather because I had a strong background in Asian history and was too lazy to research the other two arcs.

  1. I think, judging from the world building and plot in your books, that you are a planner rather than a panster? Am I right? How do you develop a series of books like this, so rich with culture? Spill your secrets!

I’m a totally plantser.  After all, what was meant to be a single novel became a 4-book series. After I wrote the book you read, Dances of Deception, I went back and wrote the prequel, and then the sequel, and then  the prequel to the prequel.

As a whole, I have an idea of where I want to go, but sometimes (this will sound so stereotypical) the characters rebel against my machinations and decide they know what they want to do better than I do; and sometimes get an idea and have to retrofit it into earlier parts of a story.

For example, Tivaralan has three moons. One of my earlier readers thought I shouldn’t use Earth’s hour system, and I realized one of the moons, which has an orbital period of one day and never moves from its spot in the sky, would go through all its phases in that day. People on the planet would naturally use it to tell time and for direction.  Another moon was large and blue with an orbital period of 44 days; but later, I read an article about a Super Saturn, J1407b, so I turned that blue moon into a planet and moved its orbit way out so that its shape would change over the course of 2 years.

  1. Who are your favourite characters in the Dragon Song Saga and why?

I am a total narcissist, and since my characters all embody the best aspects of me, I can’t decide.  Kaiya, because she has a heroic spirit. Tian, because he is smart and handsome. Jie, because of her quick wit. And Chen Xin for his modesty.   In all seriousness, though, my favo(u)rite would be Tian’s brother, Ming, who is something of a flamboyant buffoon.

  1. What made you decide to Indie Publish?

I actually had a R&R out with an agent on Book 1, but after a brush with my own mortality–

  1. Brush with your mortality? That sounds serious! What happened?

My friends made me watch Fifty Shades of Grey, and at the end, I wanted to shoot myself.

10: So why indie publish?

I realized I could die any time, maybe before I got representation. Even then, the entire revision process would take a year or two, and who knows, maybe no publishing house would take it. In the meantime, I had 4 books which had been critted, revised, beta read, and revised again. Basically, they needed a professional edit and covers.

All that said, I didn’t know the first thing about marketing, so I first released Dragon Songs with different covers and titles which suggested YA Fantasy Romance.  I was attracting readers who wanted to see Kaiya fall in love with the dragon, not vanquish it.  I just rebranded starting this year.

  1. What’s ahead for you fiction writing wise?

I’m currently working on four projects, all which relate to the Dragon Songs series: a 1st Person, Single POV YA version of Songs of Insurrection; An episodic serial which follows the dragon, Avarax, who is stuck in human form and has to learn how to play nice with other humans; A story which takes place a thousand years before Dragon Songs, which recounts how the First Dragon Singer sings Avarax to sleep; and Book 1 of the series with the aforementioned Sorceress, Priest, and Jedi as they learn about the pyramids (I know, it sounds like the start of a bad joke, with a worst punchline).  Jie from Dragon Songs will also play an important role in that story.

Thank you so much John. The story about you and your novels are so interesting!

What are you waiting for people! You should buy these books!

Book One, Songs of Insurrection, Blurb

Only the lost magic of Dragon Songs can save the realm. Only a naïve girl with the perfect voice can rediscover it.

Blessed with an unrivaled voice, Kaiya dreams of a time when music could summon typhoons and rout armies. Maybe then, the imperial court would see the awkward, gangly princess as more than a singing fool.

When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan uncover a brewing insurrection, the court hopes to appease the ringleader by offering Kaiya as a bride.

Obediently wedding the depraved rebel lord means giving up her music. Confronting him with the growing power of her voice could kill her.

Looks like these books are only available on Amazon. Free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Buy link here.

Book Two, Orchestra of Treacheries, Blurb

The mightiest dragon threatens the world, and only the power of a Dragon Song can vanquish him.

Two years have passed since Kaiya rediscovered the lost magic of Dragon Songs, yet the power of her voice is untrained. Potential suitors see her as a stepping stone. One ruthless cousin would rather step on her gravestone.

Not one to get walked over or buried, Kaiya is holding out for the exiled foreign prince who inspired her to sing. The only one who appreciates her abilities more is the world’s last dragon, Avarax, and it’s not because he enjoys a good song.

Raw and unproven, she finds mentors in unlikely places. An elf courtier. An ancient healer. A martial arts master. And an evil sorcerer. She’ll need their guidance to survive the final showdown between a girl finding her voice, and a dragon who has no intention of being fooled a second time.

Buy link here.

Book Three, Dances of Deception, Blurb

An invincible empire threatens to invade Cathay, and only a Dragon Song can ensure peace.

After vanquishing the Last Dragon with the power of her voice, all Kaiya wants is a quiet life of anonymity. Instead, the Emperor sends her to negotiate peace with the aggressive Teleri Empire.

The critical mission reunites her with her childhood friend Tian, now an assassin-spy who loathes killing. He is no longer the adorable, gullible boy from her memories, any more than she is the adventurous, sweet girl from his. Instead of rekindling nostalgia for a youthful innocence they both yearn for, their reunion ignites a mutual hatred.

When the Teleri Empire breaks off talks, Tian must help Kaiya escape. Orcs, Ogres, and enemy soldiers stand between them and home, and their volatile relationship could get them captured… or killed.

Buy link here.

Book Four, Symphony of Fates, blurb

Kaiya escapes her ordeal at the hands of the Teleri Emperor, only to return to a homeland beset by enemies on all sides, and crumbling from within.

As a teenager, she quelled a rebellion with the Dragon Scale Lute. As a young adult, she vanquished a dragon with the power of her voice.

Now, robbed of her magic by grief, Kaiya must navigate a web of court intrigue to save the realm before it falls. Only she can lay claim to the Dragon Throne on behalf of her unborn sons—whether the father is the lover who perished rescuing her, or the hated enemy who killed him.

In the final story in Kaiya’s saga, she must rally a nation, repel invaders, and prove to the world why her family alone holds the Mandate of Heaven.

This book is live today.

Buy link here.

Here is a link to John talking about YouTube.

BTW I’m on the hunt for some more diverse fantasy and science fiction so expect more.

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