Archive for the ‘Urban fantasy’ Category

The first thing I made with my new stand mixer was caramel slice. I made peppermint slice too but it didn’t need the mixer. I’ve given some of the spoils away but there are more plans. I want to make peanut butter and choc chip cookies!

I have a Thermomix, too, but the weighing function isn’t working properly which caused an issue with my hot cross buns. The first batch tasted great but were useful for killing chickens-so dense! The second batch had way too much flour and I ended up with huge Hot Cross buns and 14 instead of the supposed 12. They tasted great though so that’s fine.

The Artisan Kitchen Aid machine is smaller than I thought so I’m guessing it’s smaller than the original. I loved the colour of this machine too. I have yet to renovate my kitchen so it doesn’t matter that colour is different to everything else.

Anyway, here are a few pictures. Note the engraving.

And here is a picture of the monster hot cross buns.


With regard to pandemic dreaming, well that’s an interesting thing. My anxiety levels have increased. I wake up at 3 am and then go back to sleep after I check the news. I know it’s counter productive but I’m awake. I’ve had a headache and nausea for about four days and I can’t think of eating meat. Just weird. I think it’s the anxiety but I’ve booked to do a tele health appointment on Friday so I can get a blood test and maybe talk about the stress. I have raised liver enzymes and my doctor increased the dosage of my statins and well we should check that out as well. Last time the new statin had made no difference to my cholesterol levels and they actually increased. This is an old brand because I react to the others. A last ditch effort by the doc.

And then tomorrow I start back doing online tutorials, which I find rather stressful. I can’t pinpoint why just that they are for me. Teaching online is way different than in person. Lucky the topic is not too difficult. I have to think up what I will teach for Creative Writing this week. I’ve some ideas and I hope my students are okay.

This week was an extra week off so I decided to have a holiday. Last week I was marking stories and doing things.

In February, I was lucky enough to interview Darynda Jones in Melbourne at the ARRA signing. I had started reading her Charlie Davidson series. One book came and I read it in a day. The other is taking its time. Due to quarantine etc posted books from overseas are taking much longer to get here due to less air travel. I was looking around for a substitute and remembered my JD Robb collection. I had read the first 14 books last time, some were rereads, so I picked up where I left off. You know, JD Robb (Nora Roberts) brought tears to my eyes twice in Portrait in Death. Once with Roarke and the situation with his mother and then with Crack and his sister. Well done! And the writing is great. Sometimes the world building is slightly thin in the in Death series but I still think JD Robb is clever and the books are smart and absorbing. I have Imitation in Death next up. I’ve also written down the gaps in my collection and put in some more orders. She just keeps writing them and I’ll never keep up. Over 40 books and I have like 35 of them. Book Depository is getting pricey, probably due to the shit Australian dollar. So I’ve tried to order from the local Dymocks. They are slightly more pricey but if they have them I don’t have to wait and maybe they will deliver.

I’m also hoping to focus more on the PhD this week as I think I’m going to be in isolation for a while so I need to pull up my big girl panties and get on with it.


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I am very pleased to welcome, Amanda Pillar, who is here to tell us about her first novel. Amanda was one of the editors on Damnation and Dames anthology by Ticonderoga Publications. She has edited a number of anthologies in recent years. Who knew she was secretly a writer!


Your new first novel is coming out, Graced. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Graced is an urban fantasy/paranormal story that follows the journey of four diverse characters: Elle, Dante, Clay and Anton. It features vampires, weres, humans and a new race called the Graced. The Graced have psychic abilities that are denoted by their eye colours: Green (telepathy), Gray (telekinesis) and Blue (empathy). Eye colours, in fact, are the key to determining what race someone belongs to in the Graced universe, as brown=humans, purple=vampires and yellow=werewolves. Although, Graceds are meant to be a secret race.

Amanda tell us a bit about yourself (where you live, how long you’ve been writing, previous publications etc)

Well, I live in the wonderful town of Melbourne with my husband and two cats (yes, I am a crazy cat lady). I’ve been writing since the ripe old age of 13, although it took a long time for me to produce anything worthy of publication. Recently, I’ve had two short stories published, as well as Graced. One story is in the wonderful Cranky Ladies of History (‘Hatshepsut’) anthology edited by Tehani Wessely and Tansy Rayner Roberts and follows the rise to power of the female king, Hatshepsut. The other was in the stunning Kisses by Clockwork (‘A Clockwork Heart’) anthology edited by Liz Grzyb, and is a steampunk romance. I am also currently editing Bloodlines, a horror anthology.

Amanda what do you find so attractive about the urban fantasy genre? In what ways do you find it fulfilling?

I think the fun with urban fantasy is that it can be contemporary, alternative reality, or set in an entirely new world. It allows writers and readers to look at the world through a new lens, to understand things on a level that may not be achievable with non-supernatural elements. It can make you think.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently working on Bloodlines, my next horror anthology. I also have hopes there will be another book set in the Graced universe, so you’ll get to see the characters again, but no publishing plans as yet.

What is your writing process? (planner, panster, write every day, write sporadically, writers block etc).

I’m a bit of both. When I begin to write, I know the start, the middle and the end. I work out the in-between parts as I go. I would love to write every day, but unfortunately my day job and life just tends to get in the way. So I tend to write in bursts when the time allows.

What do you prefer drafting the story or revising and reworking?

I much prefer revising and reworking to the first draft.

What part of writing do you find hardest?

The hardest part of writing for me is the first draft. It almost feels like a purging at times. But I can’t do the fun part until the draft is written, and so I knuckle down and get to it!

What do you plan to work on next?

I am hoping to work on another book for the Graced universe! Otherwise, I have some short story and novel ideas in the works!

9781760082307_Graced_cover3You can find Amanda on her webpage

Graced is available from major ebook retailers and the Momentum Website.

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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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