Category Archives: Books

Lore Books

One of the things I’m really enjoying about writing the Guardians Of The Round Table series is creating lore books. While working on the eighth book in the series, we encountered another point where a lore book was needed. It’s always so much fun creating them. The ideas come fast and we discuss and joke about the possibilities, scribbling them all down, even the far-fetched, as you never know where each idea might lead.

Creating the lore book during the story can sometimes add to the story or even change the direction the story is heading. It’s also a way to cement the ideas about that particular piece of lore and give readers something extra if they’re interested in knowing more about the world of Inadon. I love background information and discovering more about the worlds I immerse myself in. Both my worlds and those of others. I know not everyone enjoys that. They just want the story. By putting that extra information into a lore book, it’s available for those interested while those who aren’t can focus instead on reading the series.

I also have very fond memories of discovering lore books in games and reading them. As well as collecting them. Discovering little pieces of information and learning more about different parts of the world fascinates me. But then, I’ve always loved learning more about things. Hence the reason I ask so many questions. I’m sure anyone who knows me in person is nodding their head and strongly agreeing with that comment. Very strongly agreeing!

Woven From Dreams

Life can be stranger than fiction. It can also inspire stories. Woven From Dreams was inspired by my daughter’s habit of losing things in her sleep. From items as simple as a bracelet on her wrist to more expensive things. No matter how hard we looked, we never found any of the items she lost. Not even when we completely emptied her room, looking for them. And she didn’t sleepwalk. None of us could explain what was happening, so we came up with crazy stories as to what was going on. Including me. This story builds on one of my fantastical theories, tying it in with the realms of the Fae.

Unlike Elsie, my daughter never lost a person during her sleep. Thankfully. But we never found out why things mysteriously disappeared while she slept and we’ve had to make do with our fantastical theories and solving the mystery for Elsie instead.

I enjoyed looking at the realms of the Fae from a different angle and building on the world with abilities I hadn’t touched on before. I hope you enjoy Elsie’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Realms Of The Fae 6: Woven From Dreams is now available.

Writing For Relaxation

People often look at me strangely when I say that sometimes, when I take a break from working on a story, my break might also consist of writing. Usually it’s a short piece, such as flash fiction. Something I can create in under an hour. There is something very satisfying about starting and finishing a project in the space of an hour. The following is such a piece.

The Main Ingredient

Dani wrote the last ingredient on the paper she’d torn from a notebook. Had she forgotten any? Staring at the scrawled words, she pressed a hand to her stomach. She had to win this time, or the past four wins didn’t count for anything.

Taking a deep breath, she slid the recipe under the pan on her bench. She hurried through the crowded room to the sign-in table, smiling in greeting at the familiar faces. She even smiled at Erica, who’d tried to sabotage her last time. Erica had looked mad enough at coming second again that she’d thought Erica might fling her dessert to the ground.

This time it was cake. Everyone said cakes were her forte. Which was lucky since she’d been so nervous she’d left her neatly typed recipe behind.

Finished signing in, she returned to her bench, her gaze drawn to the other contestants. A hush settled over the room as the presenter began his spiel, setting a timer and telling them to start.
Dani moved the pan, the world fading when she saw the bench. A frantic glance around didn’t help. The recipe had vanished. Placing the pan down, she forced a smile to her lips when the film crew focused on her.

A deep breath barely helped. She could do this. She had to do this. Reaching for an egg, she cracked it against the edge of a bowl. The familiar action steadied her and she mentally crossed off ingredients as she made her famous chocolate cake. About to tip the batter into the pan, she froze. She had forgotten something when she’d written it out. Cinnamon.

After adding the main ingredient, she put the cake in the oven. Now she had to face the questions. The ones about how she felt she’d done. This was the part she hated.

Her attention was caught by Erica rummaging in her handbag, a piece of paper fluttering to the floor. Erica snatched it up and shoved it in her handbag. But Dani had seen the words. The recognisable words.

She wanted to accuse Erica of cheating. Then she smiled. It would serve Erica right if she had. The recipe didn’t contain the main ingredient. Without it, the cake would be lacking.

The thought buoyed her through the interviews, but the moment of judgement had her clasping her hands tightly. She studied the judges as they tasted the array of cakes in front of them, their quiet discussions not reaching her and the other contestants.

A judge rose, listing all the places, from last to first.

Dani could barely hear her name called out in first place over Erica’s outraged demands they check the results. There must be a mistake. She couldn’t be last.

“What is the secret to the perfect cake?” the presenter asked.

Dani wasn’t about to tell Erica the one ingredient she didn’t know. “It’s all in the way it’s mixed.” She smiled. Let Eria focus on that at her next attempt.

Writing Questions

It has certainly been a busy month. Not only was another recipe added to Cooking For Families With Allergies, but I also released my first online course. Overview Of Independently Publishing A Book. I’ve missed teaching people how to write in person so creating an online course seemed like a logical step.
Now before I tell you about the course I created, I’m sure you’ll want to know the important information first. The recipe was apple and cinnamon muffins and they have been perfect to have on the cold days we’ve had lately in the southern hemisphere. A warm muffin is always good on a winter day. Or at least I think it is.
Before I’m tempted to have just one more muffin, I’d best get back to the topic at hand. I’m always asked questions about writing and publishing and I don’t mind answering them in the least. One of the questions I’m often asked is about the process of publishing a book once it’s written. It’s a question asked not just by those who want to publish a fiction book, but also those who want to tell their life stories and want to have a way for their family to read them. And those questions come not only from people who’ve never published before, but from those who have a book or two out and are looking at improving their process or finding out what other options might be available to them. They also come from people who forget some of the steps along the way and wish they could have a refresher before they go through the process each time.
Overview Of Independently Publishing A Book is aimed at anyone who has at least a first draft finished. It’s to help them work their way through the process of what they need to do next as they make their way through the various steps in getting their book out into the world.
If you’re interested in Overview Of Independently Publishing A Book, you can find it on Teachable. Now if you want apple and cinnamon muffins, the recipe is available in Cooking For Families With Allergies. And I might have just one more. Or maybe two. It is, after all, quite a cold day here.

Waiting

I’m always coming up with ideas for stories, even in my sleep. Some of those dream ideas lead to novels. Or even to a series. Sometimes, they’re a moment in a character’s life that stands on its own, no more to come. Just the glimpse I had. The following is one such glimpse that remained with me, hours after I woke, begging me to write it.

Waiting

She slowed as she stepped from the corridor into the hospital entrance area, her gaze scanning the handful of people standing around. She smiled as she recognised the actor who’d been with the film crew that had been here the past week, shooting on-location scenes to go with the studio ones. The smile faded as she recognised the look on the actor’s face. Obviously she’d rather be anywhere other than here. Not that she could blame her. They were of a similar age, from what she’d read in a magazine. Seventeen. Neither of them should be stuck hanging around a hospital.

Moving across the room, she gave the actor a nod in greeting. “You lost?” She knew perfectly well she probably wasn’t, but she’d learned over the years that it was a good way to start up a conversation when you were in a large hospital.

The actor glanced over her shoulder, taking a step back from her. “Ah, no. No, I’m not.” Her words went from hesitant to firm.

She half turned away from the actor, giving her some space. “I like it down here at this time of day. Those that have been stuck in here for most of the day go outside to catch the last few minutes of light before night sets in.”

“Why are you here?” The actor looked her up and down.”Are you a patient?”

She smiled slightly, not answering the question. “The one thing I like about hospitals is the mix of people you find in them. They’re more fascinating than any movie or book.” She smiled briefly. “Although that’s probably not a fair comparison since it’s been years since I watched TV and months since I picked up a book. Something equally riveting might have been released in that time.” There were a lot of things she didn’t do these days. Things she didn’t want to spend time on. Not now.

“You don’t watch TV?” The actor sounded stunned.

“Not even the news.” But that didn’t mean she didn’t know who was in the hospital and why they were here. She smiled briefly again when the actor relaxed. “Are you here visiting a relative? A friend?”

The actor shook her head, then shrugged, the hunted look momentarily reappearing.

She took pity on her, nodding towards an elderly woman entering the main doors. “Night must have fallen.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Every single day, at exactly the same time, she goes out there to cry. Then when daylight fades and night settles over the city, she returns to her husband’s room where she smiles and tells him of all the good things still happening in the world.”

“That’s sad,” the actor said.

“No.” She slowly shook her head. “It’s courage and compassion. Why make his last days any harder?”

“Yes, but…” the actor’s voice trailed off as the woman passed them, straightening her shoulders as she wiped away the last of her tears. “Every day?” The actor turned, watching as the elderly woman stepped into an elevator, giving the man who held the door for her a smile and a nod.

“Every day.” Or at least every day for the past six months. She turned her back on the elevator, glancing towards the main doors when they opened, bringing with them the scent of fresh air and the sounds of voices and laughter. The smells of the hospital drowned the unfamiliar scents, the voices becoming hushed and subdued as the newcomers hurried towards a corridor.

“Why are you here?” the actor asked again.

She smiled, a mix of sadness and acceptance. “I’m waiting.”

“For?”

“Just waiting.” She took a step back from the actor, giving her a nod and a slight smile. It would be visiting hours soon. “Maybe I’ll see you tomorrow.” She gave the actor another brief smile before she turned away, heading back the way she’d come. Or maybe tomorrow the waiting would be over.

Going To The Moon

I‘m extremely lucky to be a part of the Writers on the Moon project, a rag-tag fleet of stories organised for a lunar time capsule. The project was started by Susan Kaye Quinn, a rocket scientist turned science fiction author, who invited others to join her in sending stories to the moon. It’s such an exciting project and when I heard I’d been accepted, I wanted to share my allotted space with those in my life.

Storm, Avril and Rhys

Many people say being an author can be a lonely profession and talk about the solo aspect of writing. Yes, there is much about being an author that involves long stretches of time working on your own, but there are also parts of it that involves others. Whether it’s bouncing ideas off family or friends, asking questions of people who are more knowledgeable about a particular area than me, getting feedback from beta readers, working with editors, designers and cover artists, or once upon a time going to events, I’ve found that being an author isn’t completely a solo profession.

Four generations: mother, Avril, grandmother, daughter

 

Avril and father, Lloyd Sabine

 

Jarrin, Avril and Celeste (siblings)

So as well as including some of my books, I decided to include photos of people who are a part of my life. My family and friends, including photos of the four-legged members of my family because they’re important too.

 

Ace (Storm’s dog) and Tino (Jarrin’s dog)Mistletoe (Head of the household)

 

Mika (parents’ dog) and Miss Benny (Cat’s horse)

Choosing which books to send was easy. The first four I published immediately came to mind. Demon Hunters 1: Blood Sacrifice, Elf Sight, Through Your Eyes and Dragon Lord. I also decided to include my cookbook since I do love my food. Next on my list was Tell Me A Story, Grandma. It might not have been the first story I wrote, but it certainly was one of the earlier ones and it meant so much to me as a child that my grandma shared stories of her childhood with me so I could write them down and read them over again throughout the years. My next choice was An Endless Dawn. It was chosen because it’s a story about something from space being brought to Earth. It seemed fitting as something from Earth was being sent into space. This was the same reason why I chose Compulsive Directive, a post apocalyptic sci-fi short story.

Avril Sabine and Adam Boss, Maroochydore

 

Rhys, Storm and Adam, Buderim

 

Stepfather with Ruby and Red

My final choice was Guardians Of The Round Table 1: Dexterity Fail, a young adult fantasy LitRPG. It was chosen not only because the seventh book in the series was my most recent release, but also because it’s been a series that so many close to me have been involved in. I’ve had an amazing time writing it and have spent so many hours with my sons and co-writers coming up with the next adventure for the characters. Those planning sessions are always filled with laughter and I look forward to many more such sessions. I’ve also enjoyed seeing each new cover Cat Petersen has created for it and I had an amazing time at Supanova 2018 when I took a display there for the series. Much thanks to Corey Crossley from Tokimotive who helped at that event, including being chained up in the dungeon for a photo and spending the rest of the weekend chaining attendees up so they could have their photos taken too. The series is a fantasy set in a world with game mechanics, so a dungeon like those the adventurers frequently found themselves exploring was a great choice for a display.

Corey’s vehicle

 

Corey, Storm and Avril at Supanova

We’ve also enjoyed sharing the series with our readers, including being able to share them with Brad and Will who are not only friends, but feel like they’re part of the family after how long we’ve known them. They were amongst the first to read Guardians Of The Round Table 1: Dexterity Fail.

Will and Ghost, Colorado
Brad Bauer and Ariana

I also added a short story by Rhys Petersen, one of my co-writers on Guardians Of The Round Table series and my son. It’s one of his early stories that he wrote on his own, when he was sixteen, using a prompt from a writing group activity.

Gary and Celeste (sister)

You might as well say that all the images I’ve included are of family members. Either those born to my family or those who’ve become a part of it over the years, becoming more than friends. From my parents and siblings who had to put up with all my reading and writing as a child and listen to some of the stories I came up with to my children and those who have come into my life over the years. People I’ve been lucky to meet. Who I’m glad to have had the opportunity to welcome into my life and to share this moment with them. This moment of going to the moon. Today it might only be stories and images, but one day, it might be people making that trip, planning what to take with them for their visit to the moon.

Jarrin (brother) and his children

What would you take with you on a trip to the moon? More than likely, just like for any trip I make, my first items I’d pack would be books.

     

Guardians Of The Round Table 7: Treasure Seeker

During Treasure Seeker, Mallory and her party encounter the Adventurers Guild. And what long established guild doesn’t have a handbook? My co-writers and I had so much fun creating a handbook for the guild. We discussed the history of the guild, some of the past members, rewards and bounties available to members, how to increase your standing with the guild and where the guild is based. We spent hours creating the handbook, which adds to the lore of both the past and present of Inadon.

There was also the decision of whether Mallory and her party want to join the Adventurers Guild. And what it might mean for them if they do join. Including if it is a guild that would allow them to also be members of the Guardians Of The Round Table. Which is of course important to them.

As well as encountering members of the Adventurers Guild, Mallory and her party had more quests to do, more fights to face and plenty of other decisions to make as they continue their adventures on Inadon.

Guardians Of The Round Table 7: Treasure Seeker is now available.

 

Rosie’s Rangers 6: Corruption

It is both exciting and bittersweet when I come to the end of a series. I’ve spent so many years writing about Rosie and her adventures, looking forward to discovering where they’d take her next. It’s strange to think this is the last book in Rosie’s Rangers and all the loose ends are tied up, or at least mention has been made of what she plans to do about them in the future. I always like to think of where characters might go after I leave them with their current ending. And Rosie certainly has an interesting future ahead of her.

There have been times while writing Rosie’s Rangers that the story has surprised me and went in directions I didn’t expect it would go in. Which although the directions were surprising, the fact that those surprises occurred weren’t. I find it happens with most of my longer series since there are so many words between the first book and the last that there are bound to be at least a few surprises along the way.

Looking back over the series, there are so many moments that stand out for me. So many things about it that will remain with me, like an old friend, as I go onto other series and say my farewells to Rosie’s Rangers. I have no idea if I’ll ever revisit any of the characters from the series and write their stories, of which many storylines have come to me, but for now, Rosie’s story is finished and I hope you enjoy the conclusion of Rosie’s Rangers.

Rosie’s Rangers 6: Corruption is now available if you want to learn how the series ends.

Lost In Research

I really enjoy researching things. Not just because I like to have some basis in facts, even for fantasy novels, but because there are so many fascinating and interesting subjects. Recently, while researching medieval architecture, I somehow ended up reading about hunting birds. I’m not sure how I ended up on that topic, but that tends to happen while researching. Not that I’m complaining since the topics I discover always seem to be just as fascinating as the topics I start out researching.

After reading about hunting birds, I thought I’d better return to the task at hand and continue with my original research. It was going very well, at least for a time, and I worked my way through several articles until somehow or other, I once again went off track. Did you know that in 1457 a pig was charged with murder? I’m afraid to say she was found guilty and hung.

Once again, I closed down the articles I wasn’t meant to be reading and returned to the topic at hand. This time, I ended up wandering through articles about archery within minutes of finishing another few articles on architecture. At least this time I knew how I ended up there. It was the windows, the arrowslits. They were to blame.

Anyway, I finally managed to finish my research on medieval architecture, for now, and only went off track about half a dozen times. Well, maybe a few extra times than that. But who’s counting? I’m sure some of that information I stumbled on will be useful in the future.

Dragon Mage 1: Promise

Before I started writing ‘Promise’, I reread all the books of the Dragon Blood series and Dragon Blood Chronicles. It was nice to return to Amber, Kade and Ronan’s world and add more to their story. It was like visiting with old friends and catching up with them and discovering what they’ve been up to since we last saw each other. And since dragons are involved, I knew a lot would have happened.

As always, I had a lot of fun discovering where the story was going and what would happen to Amber. If you haven’t already, I suggest reading Dragon Blood Chronicles 2: Betrayed before beginning Dragon Mage 1: Promise. Events in that book have an impact on ‘Promise’.

The story picks up not long after the end of Dragon Blood 5: Mage with Ronan once more trying to draw Amber into his plans. Ones that he’s wanted to put into place for a very long time.

Dragon Mage 1: Promise, is now available if you want to learn what happens next for Amber, Kade and Ronan.