Category Archives: Books

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.

Cooking For Families With Allergies Update

In the time since Cooking For Families With Allergies first came out, Storm and I have continued to create and test new recipes. There have been some failures, some that took longer than others to create and ones we’re still trying to figure out. But there have been some successes as well and we’ve had plenty of fun discovering them. Not to mention enjoyed all the sampling needed to create and fine tune a recipe.

We have a list of recipes we’d like to recreate as gluten free recipes. Ones we’ve either had in a gluten form or ones we like the sound of. With how many recipes we have that we’d like to try and recreate, it should take us a few years to get through all of them. But in the meantime, we’re also likely to think of other ones we’d also like to try out. So, we have a lot more fun to look forward to in the kitchen with more recipes to test and enjoy. For now though, we’ve update the Cooking For Families With Allergies with the ones we’ve completed while we continue to work on other recipes.

Guardians Of The Round Table 6: Cursed Harp

We always try and research the ideas we come up with to see if they’re feasible. Sometimes, we need to get a little creative in how we go about researching those ideas. One of the scenes in Cursed Harp involved a character leaping from pillar to pillar in a dungeon, trying not to plummet into a pit below. To minimise spoilers, I won’t mention which character and I especially won’t mention whether or not they succeeded.

To create the pillar maze, we placed squares of white paper, cut to the correct size, strategically around our lounge room. Then proceeded to jump from paper to paper as we tried to cross the room. Somehow I managed not to fall to my death, but then I wasn’t under attack, and reached the other side of the room safely. I can’t say I was very graceful in my pillar jumping and there were a few close calls, but I did discover that it was possible to get from one side of the room to the other. And before you ask, no, we did not video my attempts because some things should never be shared and me flailing as I tried not to fall off the ‘pillars’ is certainly one of them.

If you want to discover who had to jump across a pillar maze and if they managed to successfully reach the other side, Guardians Of The Round Table 6: Cursed Harp is now available.

Assassins Of The Dead 4: King’s Request

I had no sooner finished the third book in the Assassins Of The Dead series, when I was making notes for the fourth book. Which seems to be a habit when it comes to this series. When I finally had the time to start writing it, I regularly wrote over three thousand words a day and even as many as five thousand as the story flowed onto the page. At times it felt like King’s Request wrote itself, surprising me with the direction it took. New characters formed, more of past events for old characters made themselves known and I couldn’t wait to discover where Meikah would end up next. And what choices she’d make.

Although the first draft was quick to write, what did take time was naming a bookshop. It took me half an hour. But I wanted to get it right. For now, the shop has barely been mentioned and seems to be of little importance. But who knows where the story will lead and what might or might not become important. I certainly don’t know and I’m discovering everything as I go along, enjoying learning what Meikah will do next.

King’s Request is now available on Amazon. I hope you enjoy discovering where Meikah’s adventures take her this time.