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Archive for the ‘Steampunk’ Category

Hi there!

Guess what?

I have put Ruby Heart, Cry Havoc Book 1 up for preorder on Amazon.  It is in Kindle Unlimited so it will be free to those who subscribe to that service. I will publish this book to other retailers in 2019. It will also be available in print.

This has been a long time coming. Ruby Heart had an agent. We thought this would sell but alas it did not. After five years waiting, I’m publishing myself.  I love it and I’m so excited to share Jemima Hardcastle’s story with you.

Frauke from http://www.crocodesigns.com did the covers. I love what she has done.

RubyHeart-2

Here is the blurb. It is currently being edited so it’s not perfect, but you will get the gist.

Blurb

Paranormal Victorian steampunk fantasy, with Gothic horror and romance.

A book of manners, magic and mayhem.

Jemima Hardcastle has a sad history. After her father was murdered by a secret society of magicians, her guardian and new heir to Willow Park, Edward Huntington, packed her off to boarding school. In the four years she was there, she never saw him again until she escaped from school to a house party and there he was. He did not recognise her and he even flirted with her.

A disastrous kiss, a murder and a stolen jewel herald dire happenings. Jemima is shipped off to Willow Park in the care of Fulton, Edward’s man, to be under the chaperonage of the odious Aunt Prudence and the meek cousin, Milly. While avoiding stitching in the evenings, she discovers Edward’s scientific genius and the artificial leg he made for Fulton. Her esteem for Edward rises and she is actually looking forward to seeing him again when he does not arrive as planned.

When they realise Edward is abducted, Jemima schemes to go in rescue. She has cunning and she has money and with these she plunges herself and her companions into the world of dark sorcery and London shopping.

In London, Jemima and Fulton lead a double life as they search for Edward in the slums, manufactureys and even a bawdy house. When she final discovers Edward, her life is on the line.

While a vicious and bloody fight for survival is going on around him, Edward has to choose between saving her life or unleashing the unholy, vampiric beast Geneck on an unsuspecting London.

Ruamazonby Heart is currently on preorder for $1.99 with a release date of December 22nd. It will be $1.99 until Boxing Day.

Here is the cover of the sequel, due to be published end January 2019. It’s currently with the editor. I can’t tell you how much fun I had with this story. I’ve even got another idea and maybe another, but it depends on how well it goes. If it doesn’t take off I’ll have to work on something else. Anyway I appreciate your support.

EmeraldFire-2

While I have you here, Argenterra is currently $0.99 cents until the 20th of December. A must for epic fantasy lovers.

Check out the new cover from Frauke at Croco Designs.

Argenterra-1000x1500

Here is a link to more information and buy links.

 

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I know it’s only October but…

Things speed up this time of year.

I was going to China for two weeks at the beginning of November and then to Perth for the last week of November but that’s changed. My son has to go to the USA so we cancelled my China trip. I’m kind of sad about that because I miss my son and it’s hard knowing that the rhythm of his life is so different to mine. However, I am extremely lucky my two daughters live close by and all my grandchildren have been living close too.

Now that I will be around for most of November, I can do NaNoWriMo! Happy dance.

I have finished editing up Ruby Heart, which I got back from my agent. It didn’t sell obviously. But after cutting out some superfluous sex and violence, I think the fault is mostly mine and maybe some of it is the industry. I know so much more about the market when I wrote it and when it got taken up by the agent. It was sort of YA and then leaped into adult and back to YA. After the slashing it is now YA/cosy level I think. There’s still a bit of action and violence but nothing like before. Ruby Heart is a steampunk/paranormal romance, with gothic horror and cosy mystery tropes. It features Jemima Hardcastle who is way too clever for her own good.

I commissioned covers for Ruby Heart and the sequel Emerald Fire. As Emerald Fire is only half written, so guess what my NaNoWriMo project is. I have to believe I can get this done around my other commitments. I’ve done my tax return and that usually frees up my mind. And I will certainly do a cover reveal when I get the covers.

I also commissioned new covers for the Silverlands series and we will see how that goes. I’m going to rework the blurbs for that series too.

Anyway, I must return to the grindstone. I’m meant to be focussing on uni and the PhD today.

 

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A quick post because I’ve got to head out.

I packed the things I wanted to take. Then as my bag was way over my weight limit I unpacked the things I wanted to take. Sad face! Looks like my lace corset won’t be getting an outing at the Hugo Award Ceremony after all.

This is just my stuff mind you. Matthew has taken the ten kilos of books and chocolate that we’re taking over as I couldn’t afford the weight.

Stay tuned for more ‘merry ol’ England’ photos and maybe some of ‘gay Pari’s. I am hoping to get into a sewer in England, possibly Brighton as London sewers will be closed. This is research for Emerald Fire, the sequel to Ruby Heart (currently with my agent). I also intend to do some street walking in London. Not that kind of street walking! Walking tours and self tours a bit Dickensian I know. More research for the Victorian gothic/steampunk/romance.

I will miss home while I’m away but I’m not going to miss the bloody freezing weather. Listen here England, keep the sun fires burning. I expect warm weather.

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Emerald Fire is the sequel to Ruby Heart (currently looking for a home with trusty agent). This is a young adult (maybe) steam punk, Victorian gothic horror, romance (yeah!). I don’t normally posts bit of my work, particularly first drafts, but I’ve just opened up Emerald Fire, which I started two years ago. After  that long a break, I still love the opening.

Edit: Ah alas. I had to take it down. I realised that it contains spoilers. So sorry.

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After Conflux9, after the retreat, I’ve been busy working on the stuff I need to do for my Masters in Creative Writing. This year I am doing a manuscript writing workshop component and this semester Cultural Research. I’m almost there. Friday is D day.

The reason I’m blogging is that I’m really excited about my fiction component, the manuscript I am doing for my Masters. The goal is to write 20,000 words across the year. Last year it was 50,000 words but it changed this year. So this sounds easy right? Actually the word count doesn’t bother me so much. With Conflux9 I’d only been writing uni stuff anyhow-just.

So writing is not a big deal. I can do word count and I had a number of ideas to work from. Note ideas, not outlines. I chose a story called Into the Dark Glass. It was an idea I got when an editor and I were discussing Argenterra, a fantasy with romance that I had submitted. To make it a romance fantasy I would have needed to gut the story and have it focus on just one couple, with less world building. I’ve almost finished that trilogy and thought I may as well write a new story than gutting the old one. That’s when the idea for Into the Dark Glass came. Just the idea about the girl, the mirror and the guy and the world being steampunk.

I started the course and had to hand in the first 500 words and a 250 word pitch. Easy peasy. You think? I still didn’t have an outline of the plot. I couldn’t find the girl’s voice and kept changing her name and his name. His voice was easy. A month later we had to hand in 2000 words and do a presentation. I managed that, but I still had issues with the girl’s voice and I had enough plot for three chapters. However, the way we were doing this manuscript was completely against what I’d normally do. I don’t stop and polish and submit, I keep writing.

The next big challenge for me was that I wanted to lift the bar, push myself higher in the writing game. I’d chosen a young adult/romance/fantasy in an alternative steampunk world. I wanted it to rock. I was nearly pulling my hair out with the girl’s voice. I usually get it eventually but I hadn’t written enough of the story to get to know her. I had to keep going back. After the presentation, where I confessed I was having a tough time of the voice, I got it. The whole thing fitted into place. I rewrote the first chapter. At the retreat I did the next two. I wrote another 15,000 words of the story. I finally figured out what the Lady of the Dark did and then near the end of the retreat the rest of the plot came to me on waking so I jotted the notes down on the Ipad.

I had reached a point where I could relax. I got Matthew to read it and he said it was the best he’d seen from me. (He’s not read everything of mine but it was a huge compliment). He said there were a few little things. My spirits soared after that because my revisions had aced it (to my mind).

Today I read it through and  it does rock. (I know I’m not supposed to say that but it really does). I leaped the bar I’d set myself. I got her voice, pace, action and a bit of attraction going. I’ve uploaded the bugger now!

Now I just have to finish the story, which I think might be 80,000 to 100,000 words and submit it somewhere. I plan to submit the final chapters for second semester. That’s if the excitement wears off. I’m finding it hard to settle down. (too much or too little stimulation)

I must return to the research project now.  I will be disseminating my research paper here at a later date. Like when I get my marks and feel that it’s good enough.

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I am very pleased to bring you this interview with Rebekah Turner, an exciting Brisbane writer on the scene with Harlequin’s new digital imprint, Escape Publishing. I was introduced to Rebekah at Genrecon, as a fellow author. (Yes, there is a gleeful squee in that) and I was looking forward to read her urban fantasy, Chaos Born.

Chaos Born is a good example of the difference between paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Love is not the central driver in this story. There’s some sexual attraction and some ‘pinch and tickle’ and a maybe a promise of a happy ever after in a later tome. This story is hard hitting, gritty and complete with a quirky female, kick-arse heroine with attitude. The heroine, Lora Blackgoat is flawed, funny and frankly in a lot of trouble. Rebekah takes the tropes and puts them through a mangler, then she twists them, smashes them into the pavement then slaps them onto her broad canvas.  She has goblins, elves, half-angels, witches and demons and she makes it work in this fantastical place.

I had trouble putting this book down. This book rocks and the production is good. Congratulations and well done to Rebekah.
You can get Chaos Born from the Escape Publishing website here. Or from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ibooks and other retailers of digital books. It was on special but it is now $4.99.

Rebekah thank you for letting me interview you .

So tell us a bit about yourself.Chaos Born

I live in Brisbane with my husband, two kids and a psychotic Boston Terrier. In my past I’ve worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world. I now work part-time and spend rest of the week being a child-wrangler and house-witch.  

How long have you been writing for?

I started writing when I was young, maybe around primary school. I loved creating stories and usually had illustrations that accompanied the fantastic tales of magical horses and snarky dragons.

What kind of genres to you write?

I enjoy making things up, so all things paranormal interest me. I also like a tasty romance. My first big story was a bloated fantasy mess, called Bane of the Flamebird. I wrote it in high school in my lunch break. It was about a girl in high school (cough, cough) who gets transported to a magical fantasy land. Once there, she had to find some magic McGuffin to get back home.
When did you start writing Chaos Born?
I wrote Chaos in 2008, when doing Year of the Novel with Kim Wilkins. It was originally straight up fantasy, and written in third person. After it was finished, I let it rest while I tinkered on other stories. Then I gravitated back to the story, because I’d had a lot of fun creating the world and the characters, but knew the story wasn’t quite right. In particular, the protagonist, Lora Blackgoat, was flat and uninteresting. So I re-wrote the story from her point of view and she emerged as a cranky anti-heroine that I found hilarious to write.

Do you have other novels in progress or is Chaos Born you first? (If you have others tell us a bit about those).

Other than a few short stories and book 2 in The Chronicles of Applecross series, I’ve been working on a sexy paranormal romance. The working title is Biker Werewolves in Tasmania and involves an ex-homicide detective who comes to her home town to recuperate after job burn-out, and a disgraced werewolf pack enforcer.

The Weald is a very fantastic place, with creatures from legend, steampunk, magic, half-angels and religion all blended in. Was this how it started out for you or did you end up with that mix?

The world evolved as I edited the story, but the creatures from legend and the religious aspect were always there. I used a few techniques I found online to flesh the world out more and did up a kind of scrapbook to help visualise what Harken City looked like. I wanted the city to be fantastic, but in a realistic sense.

Lora is such a likable but flawed character. She sounded fun to write? How long and how hard was it to get her just so?
Lora took a while to develop. I knew the type of anti-heroine I wanted, but she was difficult to get a handle on at first. The male characters came easier to me, while Lora read very flat. But I persevered and finally her voice came through after I re-wrote the story from her POV.

Her circumstances are quite out of the ordinary even for an urban type fantasy or even fantasy. She was adopted by a Satyr and an elf witch. I’m sorry to ask this question but how do you think that shit up?

Not sure. Though I didn’t have a television set when I was a kid, and had no brothers or sisters until I was seven years old. So I read. A lot. I used to wake up at 4 am so I could read more. I was also a huge C.S. Lewis and Robert Jordan fan-girl.

So how many goes did it take for Chaos Born to get accepted?
I submitted Chaos Born to publishers and agents when they had their doors open. Took about a year of rejections until it was accepted for publication by Escape Publishing, which was VERY exciting.

How did you manage to get through the disappointments? Did you have mentors and support groups to keep your spirits high?
I’m a member of a writing group called Sisters of the Pen and their support was fantastic. Chaos Born was a finalist in the 2010 Hachette/Queensland Writers Centre Manuscript Development Program. While Hachette didn’t pick Chaos up for publication, it was validation that I had a good story. The constant rejections were depressing, but I always managed to bounce back.

Where did you hear about the opportunity with Escape Publishing?

At the 2012 Romance Writers Convention at the Gold Coast. A panel of publishers pitched to the conference on why writers should submit their manuscripts to them. After hearing the Escape editor say they had a two week response time, I jumped at the chance to submit.

How did it feel to have Escape Publishing accept the MS?

Pretty awesome. It happened very fast and took a long time to sink in.
I believe you are working on a sequel? Can you give us any hints (without spoiling Chaos Born?)
The second story revolves around Lora killing a crazed griorwolf in self-defense. His grieving mother hires Lora to find out what happened to her son to turn him into a killer. Lora’s investigations put her into the crosshairs of the violent Reaper Street Gang and a corrupt city official with a taste for blood sport. Lora’s relationship with Roman deepens, and Seth, alarmed at the deepening affection between the two, redoubles his efforts to win Lora.

Thank you Rebekah for taking the time to be interviewed. I just hope you know that you interrupted my writing today ( on my writing day) because I had to finish the book. Now I have to hang out for the next one. I know you won’t mind, Rebekah, if I say I have a girl crush on Lora.

Here is a shot of Kate Cuthbert and Rebekah resting their feet after a hard day during the launch of Harlequin Escape in Sydney on 14  November.

Kate Cuthbert and Rebekah Turner

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Sorry this is a bit overdue. Genrecon was at the beginning of November and now it is nearly the end of November. It’s really scary how I seem to be on a roller coaster heading smack into Christmas. My head is still firmly in fiction writing land and I picked up the paranormal romance I started in New Zealand and it’s like I’m obsessed. I want to find out how it ends. I have the outline I wrote on the way back from the Romance Writers of Australia conference, but I’m quite ready to toss it as the characters have taken off. I think perhaps I had too much plot but we’ll see.

Now back to Genrecon. What an amazing convention that turned out to be. It was a convention aimed at developing writers from crime, romance, speculative fiction, including horror writers, held in Parramatta. I’m not sure how many people were there. I’d say around 200.

We were late for the opening cocktail party as we had to drive up from Canberra after work. It was still going strong by the time we arrived. Matthew took refuge in our suite and I headed for the bar. Two panels sessions started, which I didn’t realise until I was ensconced in the bar. I caught up with people I new from SF cons, Jason Nahrung, Peter Ball , Chris McMahon, Jodi Cleghorn and others.

Breakfast was included in our room rate and when we went down, we found out it was combined with the conrate as well. (I’d booked too late to get the con rate so I got a priority awards rate instead). So the restaurant contained plenty of people we knew. Jane Virgo, Chris Andrews, Nicky Strickland and Damien Cavalchini.

My memory is a little frayed after a few weeks had passed. I remember it all worked really well. The mixture of genre writers created a new kind of tribe. Many were new to cons and others not. I caught up with Jodi Cleghorn, Abigail (@BothersomeWords) and met new people, such as the lovely Rebekah Turner @RbkhTurner, whose debut urban fantasy was released by Escape Publishing last week. To get the book ready for launch both Escape Publishing and the authors worked hard. Rebekah told me on her very quick turn around on edits and proofs. Her cover looks amazing. I met up with Kate Cuthbert (who I can now say is my publisher), Alex Adsett wonder person who gives advice on publishing contracts and is now an agent and I scored at pitching session with Ginger Clark, editor from Curtis & Brown NY.

I introduced myself to Dan O’Malley at breakfast. I’d written to him about Conflux 8 and 9 and I was hoping he would honour us with his presence. He was really nice and very popular as a panellist and the spontaneous kiss (Kate Eltham) during the debate knocked everyone’s socks off. If you caught the twitter feed people were saying he was pure gold.

At lunch I caught up with people. Here is a shot of Alan Baxter and Andrew McKeirnan.

Alan Baxter and Andrew McKeirnan

 

And Jodi Cleghorn and Alan Baxter

Jodi Cleghorn and Alan Baxter

There were three streams of panels during the day with main sessions combining all rooms. Genrecon had a lovely format for community partners to talk about what they  had to offer, Sisters in Crime, Australian Horror Writers Association, Romance Writers Association and Conflux. We all had 15 minutes to strut our stuff. The Conflux session was on Saturday afternoon and we had a prize draw. A stack of books, which I put together from our authors and from Angry Robot. That went off like a charm because the first person drawn preferred books to a membership. And luckily the second name was Amanda Bridgeman, who is a writer coming out with Momentum next year, won a membership. She was waiting in the wings to talk to me about coming along and wouldn’t you know she won a prize.

Later I had a pitch session with Ginger Clark. She was awesome but threw me a bit by telling me to sending her 50 pages and I’d only been there a minute. So I chatted to her about the Air NZ Hobbit themed safety video and blah, blah until the hook came to drag me off stage.

I went to the Pistols and Parasols banquet. I went to NZ so had to rush my bustle dress but I was pleased with the result. I also had a very pretty parasol. See picture that Matthew took below. I totally wanted to do ‘bustle punk’.

Me in my bustle dress

The food at the banquet was very good. The entertainment was awesome. First up Kim Wilkins, who was the MC, interview Kate Cuthbert about Harlequin’s new digital imprint Escape. Kate is awesome. She is an editor who likes to dress up!

Here is a shot of Kate Cuthbert and author Daniel O’Malley

Daniel (Fez) O’Malley and Kate (Cut throat) Cuthbert.

A shot of Alex Adsett and Dan O’Malley. Life is pretty awesome when even agents like dressing up.

Alex Adsett and Daniel O’Malley

Then Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books did an amazing talk including a cover snark of how Australia is depicted in US romance books. Absolutely awesome.

As I was leaving the banquet, I had to admire this dress. The lovely lady works for the Queensland Writers’ Centre and I think her name is Aimee (correct me if I’m wrong).

Aimee in her Edwardian gown

What was amazing about the gown, as well as looking fab, was that Aimee saw the dress in 1915 magazine and drew the pattern herself and then made it. How talented and patient. She said it took a month for her to get the pattern drawn well.

 

Here is a shot of Chris McMahon and one of Chris Andrews and Matthew Farrer (my Dweeb!).

Chris McMahon, author

 

Chris Andrews and Matthew Farrer both from Canberra

After the banquet we were moved on to the bar, except the normal people, (people from Rosehill Racecouse) were still occupying the bar. Apparently, it gets nasty and there are security guards etc. We had a letter and a pass delivered to our rooms in the morning to advise if we left the hotel we’d need a pass to get back in, because they tried to keep people out. It was very educational watching the drunk normal people behave very oddly. Eventually we got back in the bar.

While we waited I caught up with Cat Sparks.

Me and Cat Sparks

And I got to meet author, Charlotte Nash, who wore this Firefly inspired number.

Charlotte Nash

Matthew and I had to duck out because our room deal came with wine and a chocolate fondue. So we ducked up to our room and then I went back to the bar.

I snaffled a shot (a selfie) of me and Rose from @Fangbooks in the bar.

Rosie and me

Sunday it was one of the nerve wracking things were there were three panels I wanted to go to but could only get to one. I went to Sarah Wendell’s one about social media and blogs and marketing. I also went to a session on planning your writing career and copyright and contracts, which was a double header with Alex Adsett and Peter Ball. I haven’t written my plan yet but I’m onto it. Joe Abercrombie was interesting to listen to. I totally lost my smooze mojo when I spoke to him. I happened to mention that his first novel had very little romance. Things sort of dived from there and he choofed off quick and proper.

So overall a great atmosphere. It was totally catered, which I didn’t realise and I had bitched about the price so felt a tad stupid, particularly when Peter Ball told me it was all over the registration page. You don’t get that with cons normally and I wish we had enough $$$ to do at least one meal at Conflux 9. Conflux 8 did a lunch on the Saturday and it went down so well.

So thank you Genrecon for a great time. I totally enjoyed myself and thought it was very well done. The hotel was fab and the logistics of opening and shutting concertina doors was spot on. If I’m in Australia during the next one, I’ll be there. The next Genrecon will be held in Brisbane, backed once again by theQueensland Writer’s Centre and the Australian Writers’ Marketplace. Genecon you rocked.

 

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