Winter

It’s that time of year I dread when the days are too cold for me and the nights make me feel like I’m not far off freezing. It’s time to pile all the blankets and doonahs on the bed and turn the heater on in the late afternoon so I’m not walking around the house in the evening with my breath misting the air in front of me. It’s the time of year when I start watching the calendar and counting the days until spring arrives. When the days will warm while not yet being those terribly scorching days of summer when I’ll be counting down until autumn comes.

There are many things I do love about this time of year. The way the morning fog nestles amongst the hills and mountains so it looks like islands out at sea. The vivid, clear, cloudless skies and the many flowers that are still in bloom on the aloes. We also tend to see more deer about, often coming up to the fence of our house paddock and occasionally entering it. And it’s also nice to be able to bring out some of my favourite blankets that it’s too hot to have on the bed during other times of the year. I also can’t forget jackets. I love being able to wear some of my favourite jackets.

Even though it’s too cold here and I look forward to spring, that doesn’t stop me from visiting colder places. Some things are worth braving. Like the cold weather when you want to visit somewhere that is best seen during winter.

So I’m looking forward to spring and after that, I’ll be looking forward to autumn. My two favourite seasons of the year. Which season, or seasons, do you prefer?

Rosie’s Rangers 4: Accused

Last year, Clint was talking about a creation he was working on. He was using it to figure out a concept for another project. He ended the explanation with, “It’d also make a great snake.”

At the time I was doing some work on the fourth book for Rosie’s Rangers and there was a mech snake in the story. So I asked if he could make one. He wanted to know why I needed a mech snake.

“Because it’d be the perfect cover for Accused,” I said.

This was followed by a more in depth answer and a discussion of what the snake should look like. The answer ‘interesting’ wasn’t sufficient. Eventually, he stalked off saying he’d make it how he thought it should be made and I’d have to be happy with that. There were regular visits to his workshop while I watched the snake form and take shape. It was exactly how I imagined it should be. The perfect mech critter to be owned by a circus performer in Sartegius. And all those who saw it at Supernova, Brisbane loved it too.

Rosie’s Rangers 4: Accused is now available on Amazon, complete with the mech snake on the cover and mentions of it in the book. Now I wonder how Clint feels about creating a baby mech kraken.

Good Luck With That Plan

There are times when I think I know where a scene is going, but it’s late at night, or really early in the morning, and I decide to write it after I’ve had a sleep. I should know by now that things rarely go according to plan. So many times when I do this, I’m woken by a dream of the next scene. And do you think it’s the scene I planned to write? Of course it isn’t.

My characters might as well start the dream with a grin and say, “Good luck with that plan.” Not that it isn’t a better scene. It always is. But it’s one of those things I’m both grateful for and slightly annoyed by. Or at least I’m annoyed until I get past my initial grumbles about wanting another hour or two of sleep. Or even possibly a few more minutes of sleep. Yeah, I know, good luck with that plan. It doesn’t take long before I’m working on the scene, lack of sleep forgotten, completely immersed in the story, grateful it’s going in a far better direction.

Guardians Of The Round Table 1: Dexterity Fail

The idea for this series came to me quite a few years back. The eighteenth of February 2005 to be exact. I wrote a couple of scenes, but soon realised I needed to do a lot of worldbuilding first. The game mechanics needed to be in place before the story could be written and I knew that would take a lot of time which I didn’t have that year.

January of this year, I talked to Rhys about working on the story with me and we began worldbuilding. It wasn’t long before Storm joined us, adding his own ideas and the world and game mechanics quickly formed. Far more quickly than I had thought it would. Scenes followed and the first draft of the story was finished in February with numerous rounds of edits still ahead of us.

During the process we spent time researching, coming up with ideas for future stories and even weighing the clothes the main characters would have been wearing when they were transported to Inadon. After all, carry weight is a consideration in that world. The scales were brought out, along with numerous clothes and shoes, and we made notes of all the weights as we decided what the characters would wear.

Our worldbuilding document rapidly grew and it is now almost three hundred A4 pages long, with more details being added all the time as we look at the different areas of Inadon where the characters might travel. Guardians Of The Round Table 1: Dexterity Fail is now available for purchase and we hope you enjoy discovering the world of Inadon as much as we enjoyed creating it.

An Overdose Of Cuteness

I was surprised to discover it was possible to visit the local RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and play with the cats and kittens. Or at least play with the sociable ones. So if you’re unable to have pets where you live and would love to spend time with some cute and adorable animals, why not contact your local animal shelter and see if they allow visits. It’s also likely that they’re in need of other help as well and would appreciate volunteers who are interested in helping take care of the animals who find themselves in need of a home.

The day we visited the local RSPCA there were several kittens, all wanting to play. There were also older cats, some that wanted time alone, while others were excited to have visitors and demanded to be patted. The kittens pounced on the toys that were provided for them to play with, raced around with each other and purred loudly when they stopped long enough for some attention.

They were all so adorable and playful, several trying to escape their rooms to try and follow visitors home. It was extremely difficult to resist them when they looked pleadingly up at you as you headed out of the room, their eyes begging to be taken home with you. And it wasn’t only the kittens who were adorable. There were cuddly older cats, regal ones and ones that stretched out in front of you expecting to be patted.

So if you’re looking for an overdose of cuteness, why not see if your local animal shelter allows visitors. I know the cats and kittens at our local one enjoyed all the attention they received the day we visited.

Demon Hunters 6: Feud

The main idea for Feud came to me some time ago. I saw the opening scene, part of the backstory also filling my mind. I wasn’t certain where it fit in the series. Not until partway through book five. Then I knew. As always, I couldn’t wait to get started and find out what would happen to the characters and where that opening scene would take them.

Aura has led an unusual life, one she hasn’t always appreciated. Her mum has gone from one fad to another, sometimes putting both of them in danger due to her haphazard approach to life. This time it isn’t her mum that brings disaster. It is someone Aura can usually count on to be one of the few sensible people she knows. I couldn’t wait to learn how Aura handled the changes in her life and the realisation that demons actually exist and she might be in more danger than she’d ever been in before.

Demon Hunters 6: Feud is now available on Amazon.

One Man’s Treasure

I have a tendency to keep things. Odds and ends that appear to have no use. I have cupboards neatly stacked with broken items, material, left over pieces from projects and things I currently have no use for. I have been accused more than once of being a pack rat or a hoarder. Yet when I start a new craft project or someone is in the middle of a project and can’t find the exact piece they need, those cupboards of items become treasure troves waiting to be plundered.

Buttons for a vest, a piece of lace for a trim, bits and pieces for a decorative finish, items to personalise an otherwise bland purchase. It is amazing how many things can be reused, recycled or turned into something new. Some of my steampunk costumes have benefited from raiding my cupboards of treasures. Ribbons, lace, buttons, metal loops, fine chain, left over material, scraps of leather. You never know what you might find and what it might one day become.

Realms Of The Fae 4: An Unexpected Betrayal

I was over halfway through writing An Unexpected Betrayal when I realised some of the characters weren’t who I thought they were, some of the relationships were different and things were more complicated than I initially believed them to be. But what could I expect? I was writing about the Fae. A complex race of people who are rarely simple and have more things going on than you first expect.

So I returned to the beginning, making all the major changes that I wouldn’t normally make until the editing phase. This time they needed to be done first. A few notes here and there weren’t going to be enough for me to take the story through to the end. Not without cementing all the threads and sorting out which plot lines needed to be carried through to the final scene and which ones were no longer needed. Once that was done, the story flowed quickly. Not that it had been difficult to write before that stage.

This is one of the downsides of writing without a plan, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Discovering the characters, learning what will happen and finding out what is going on is part of what makes me write so fast. The story draws me in and keeps me going as it unfolds before me. Curiosity keeps me writing for long hours at a time so that I often forget to take breaks as I lose myself in the world of my characters.

Realms Of The Fae 4: An Unexpected Betrayal is now available on Amazon.

Hidden in the Mist

I can never look at a picture without seeing more than what is there. It doesn’t matter what that picture is or how tranquil and peaceful the scene appears. I’m imagining things behind the cascade of a waterfall. Hidden caves, hollows where creatures lurk, traps for the unwary. Off in the distance creatures hide in the mist, waiting for it to spread and cover more of the land. The bushes with their burst of colours are camouflage for creatures with sharp claws and long fangs. Beneath the still water are monsters that will drag in those who venture too close.

A tranquil place for a picnic? Maybe for some. But my imagination has it filled with horrors waiting to strike. Waiting for the innocent to enter the area, traps ready to be sprung. Only time will tell which will get them first.

Is it any wonder I have an endless supply of story ideas to write? Stories are everywhere I look. Waiting to be told.

A Magical Storage Room

When I was in primary school my nana lived in a high set house, with several rooms beneath it including one that was filled with odds and ends. Most people saw junk when they looked into the tumble of items thrown into that room over the years. Things that needed to be fixed, others that were outdated or no longer needed. I saw treasures.

One entire wall of the storage room was filled with long louvers that ran the length of the room. They could be opened slightly to let in a small amount of light or opened completely to fill the room with sunshine. Eerie lighting accompanied spooky games where hiding places were needed to avoid the bad guys or for storm swept nights filled with magic and mayhem.

The louvers often became an elaborate part of the process of making a time machine work, or a shield to be raised when the space ship was under attack. There were broken handles from gardening tools that became mighty swords, poles to vault over pools of lava or a staff to help a traveller through steep mountains.

There were other treasures. Like the birdcage we used when we rescued an injured bird. It was brought out numerous times over the years and I still own it, having been given it a few years after I left home. There were also things I had no idea what they were or had been a part of, but that didn’t stop me from making up purposes for them.

To this day I rarely see junk. I see instead what it can be turned into and I see memories of games played long ago, filled with imagination, adventure and stories.