Step Into My Life

Phew! *Wipes hand across forehead* Things have been insano lately—thus the ‘whoopsie’ lack of blog updating. My bad. But let me bring you all up to speed on the last week (or so) and then you can give me mental hugs and compassionate nods of understanding.

First up, things with AKARNAE are going ammmmmazingly. The feedback I’ve been receiving every single day has been blowing my mind. Like, seriously. I have no words. (Let alone the words to describe my uncontainable wonder and gratitude!) The reviews have been absolutely incredible and I’m honestly overwhelmed by the number of people who have contacted me directly to share their love of Alex and her friends. So, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! (For anyone curious, I’ve now added a ‘Reviews’ page here to my website and pulled out snippets of some of the seriously cool things people have been saying. You can check out the reason for all my happy-dancing by clicking here.)

Just as a reminder, if you want to grab yourself a copy of my book, it’s available as an e-book at all the normal places online. You can also buy the paperback with FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING from

Another thing worth mentioning is that AKARNAE is a featured LitPick giveaway title this month. From what I can tell, this is open to international entries, so if you want to try and win a free copy, check out how to enter here.

Moving on now…

As part of the NOTED Festival that kicks off in Canberra at the end of this week, I’m a Buzzwords Blogger charged with giving quirky yet legit advice on a number of Q&A styled questions. The tagline is, “You provide the questions, they’ll dish the dirt”. (So feel free to hit them up if there’s anything writing-related that you want to know!) They’ve already started posting some of the questions and the first one has me giving my thoughts on writers block and how to stay motivated as a writer. You can check out my answer by clicking here (and see the awesome Frozen meme I included, haha).

Okay… What’s next?

I’ve been doing a number of blogging interviews over the past couple of weeks which has been so much fun. If you’re interested in reading some of my answers, here are a few interviews that have already been posted:

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Books

The Book Muse

The Breathing Ghosts

Last up (for the moment), I’m headed to the Gold Coast the weekend after next to be an attending author at Readers & Writers Down Under along with some seriously notable writers like Abbi Glines and Kristen Ashley (among others), both of whom are travelling over from the States for the event (which is so flipping cool). I’m really excited for RWDU because not only will it be my first ‘official’ signing event, but I’m also on two different speaking panels (one to talk about fantasy, one to discuss blogging) which should be awesome! And another exciting thing about the event is that AKARNAE has been nominated for two different ‘Readers Choice’ awards—HOW COOL!!!!!! I would sooo love it if you would take two seconds to jump over to the voting page (here) and click on it at number 16 (RWDU Favourite Young Adult Read) and number 18 (RWDU Favourite Fantasy/Sci Fi Read). You don’t have to fill in every award option in order to submit your vote either, which is handy! And thanks so much in advance! I have no idea what the winner of each category actually wins, but it’d be SO awesome to win regardless of whether there’s any kind of prize or not. Plus, there’s a fancy-schmancy red carpet awards night which the inner princess in me is totally looking forward to in the girliest way possible, haha. HOW EXCITING!!!

Righto, it’s now after midnight and I haven’t even begun to tell you why my last few weeks have been so insanely busy. I need to sleep, so in a nutshell, I’ve just finished my second week in my new job being employed full-time as a content writer for an inspirational personal-development company (basically, I get to write stories, blogs and articles about things that motivate people to love themselves for who they are (just as they are) – and from that, help them become inspired to work towards being the best version of themselves that they can be).

On top of that, my brother is getting married in June, and I’m really good friends with my soon to be sister-in-law (plus, I’m a part of the bridal party – but more as a groomsman-bridesmaid, which is a long story and I’m too sleepy to go into it right now)… So, wedding planning is in full swing (which includes things like me and the bride-to-be going to a wedding expo last weekend and then also taking a trip into the city for the day yesterday to hunt down ‘the perfect dress’ – which I’m happy to report, we absolutely did!). I’ve never had much to do with weddings in the past, so I had no idea how exhausting everything to do with them is! Like, I’m feeling a total mental train-wreck of exhaustion. But it’ll be worth it, I’m sure. And while the bride-to-be is… uhh… somewhat reluctant about the pomp and circumstance related to the big day, I’m BEYOND excited. I seriously LOVE weddings.

Another reason things have been so insanely busy is because I was invited to give a two hour writing workshop to around fifty year 11 and 12 school students last Monday (ages 16-18). Let me tell you, two hours is a long time to be talking almost non-stop. Fortunately, I’m super passionate about everything even remotely related to storytelling, so I loved sharing all about world building, character development, and the general writing process with them. But it was still crazy. I’d never taught any kind of workshop before (honesty moment: I’ve never even attended a writing workshop before) so I spent the entirety of the days leading up to it coming up with my presentation (since I knew I was going to be in a lecture theatre with a projector, which really helped with visual aids). I was working on it up until 5:00am the morning of the workshop, and my alarm was set for 6:30am – which meant I literally got 1.5 hours sleep that day. I think I’m still recovering, haha. But from what I can tell, it went really well, so I guess that’s the main thing!

Okay, seriously, I need to go to sleep (because 1.5 hours does not cut it for me!). But I wanted to update you all and give you a bit of a look into my life at the moment. Regardless of the fact that I feel somewhat mentally and physically shredded, things are soooooo exciting. Every day brings something new and amazing—and I’m totally loving every single minute. As always, thanks for sharing this incredible journey with me! Hugs for everyone!

My Magical Book Launch

WARNING: This post will likely contain copious amounts of gushing, overuse of the word ‘exciting’ and/or ‘excited’, go off on bubbly tangents, and use way too many adverbs and exclamation marks. If you’re prepared to accept all that, then grab a bag of popcorn (or some chocolate!), get comfortable, and come on a journey of overwhelmingly surreal awesomeness with me.


So, two weeks ago my debut YA fantasy novel, AKARNAE, was released to the world. Oh, boy, what an incredible experience it was! I would have blogged about it straight away but I was waiting for some of the (gazillion) photos to come back to me. Now that I have them all, I have a better chance of doing this recount justice!

I guess the best place to start is at the beginning. But, yikes! The entire week was such a huge lead up to it that I’m not entirely sure where the ‘beginning’ is! I’m thinking that for the purposes of sanity (and readability), I’ll start from the moment I walked into the venue that afternoon and go from there.

But first, a little bit of information. In previous posts I’ve referred to my amazing publishers as ‘my amazing publishers’. But that’s going to get confusing (and wordy) if I have to say ‘one of my publishers’ and ‘another of my publishers’ and ‘my marketing/PR manager’ throughout this post… So, to keep things simple, my publishers (who came to the launch) are Alison and Martin (aka, Ali and Marty), and my publicist is Susan. They are seriously some of the BEST people you will EVER meet, and all the gushing in the world can’t articulate that accurately. But hopefully by the end of this post, you’ll have a better idea of why I think so, at least!

Now, onto the launch!

I arrived at the stunning venue (‘The Forest Sanctuary‘) about 90 mins before the guests were due and I was immediately greeted with warm hugs from Ali, Marty and Susan. I have to admit, I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of the venue and the gorgeous decorations they’d set up that I now can’t remember much of what happened in those first few minutes. I DO know that I arrived early so that I could pre-sign some books for the Pantera Press team to take back to Sydney with them. That was sooo much fun, as weird as that sounds. Probably because it was so cool to see so many of my books in the one place—and all for me to sign!


Around the time I finished there, the event booksellers had arrived from Books of Buderim and were organising their purchasing table, setting up a display of the books and all the rest. I think I was kind of wandering around in a daze, just sort of watching everything unfold as people bustled around me, making everything look beautiful and getting everything ready. It was so cool to see it all come together—including the presentation for the cupcakes and book cake I made for the launch (my nervous baking, haha). I’m honestly still amazed that the cupcakes and the cake turned out as beautiful as they did. I tend to have a 50/50 success rate when it comes to cake decorating, so I’m not kidding when I say it could have gone veeeerrrry badly. But, incredibly, it didn’t! And here’s the result:

And the presentation for the gift baggies was also beautiful! These contained multi-coloured triangles of coconut ice—and for the record, after the amount of that stuff I made, I don’t want to hear the words ‘coconut’ or ‘ice’ in the same sentence for a looooong time.

Probably having noticed me wandering around with my mouth open in wonder, Ali took me under her wing and led me around the venue, snapping photo after photo after photo. Again, it sounds weird, but omigosh, it was soooo much fun. I won’t add all the pics, because that’s a little ridiculous (since there are, like, 400 of them), but here’s a nice one taken outside:

Before everyone else started arriving, we managed to snap a photo of me with Ali and Marty, which was really cool. And to add a little more info, Ali is the CEO of Pantera Press who has to put up with my unending emails every week (many of which aren’t even related to my books, haha), and Marty is the Submissions Editor (aka, the first person at Pantera to read my book and love it enough to pass it onto the rest of them—thus Marty gets boatloads of additional gratitude because without him saying ‘yes’ initially, none of this would be happening!).

And equally cool, the three of us along with my INCREDIBLE marketing/PR manager, Susan, all took a photo with the real star of the night, Sir Camden. For anyone who has read my book yet, you’ll know exactly who the knight is—and for anyone else, as soon as you read AKARNAE, you’ll discover that for yourself!

I’m jumping forward now to when people started arriving because from there on out it was a whirlwind evening of smiling, laughing, talking and meeting a tonne of people who I’d never seen before. I’m not kidding! There were sooooooo many people who came along to support me on the night—and I think I probably only knew about half of them! (If that!) There were people EVERYWHERE. I was so overwhelmed! In my head, a book launch should be maybe 10 to 30 people… But at one stage during the night, someone (I can’t remember who) told me they thought there had to be around 100 people there! That’s INSANE!! People were actually queuing up to get their book signed! I still can’t believe it!

I also had to give a speech, and that was ‘interesting’, especially considering I felt as if I was floating along in some kind of adrenaline-induced dream all night. But other than making a reference to my parents and illicit drugs (as in, thanking them for putting up with me for 28 years and somehow managing to do that without using drugs) I got through it with few other wince-worthy blunders (that I can remember).

… However, when I cut the cake, I DID have (another) extremely bad foot-in-mouth problem when I was like, “Ooooh, it’s moist!” But then I actually cringed and said, “Gah! Moist is such an awkward word!” … Sadly, I’m not making this up. I actually said that! Total face-palm moment! And I’m pretty sure this photo captures that point in time perfectly (since you can clearly see the horror of my faux pas on my face! But seriously, it IS an icky word! Like pus.. and vomit… and, well, you get the point…):

Other than those few ‘oops’ moments, I’m fairly confident I managed not to embarrass myself in any other way. (Thankfully!)

I think a huge highlight for me was getting to meet so many new people, including teachers from schools and people who work in bookshops—and even a book blogger who lives on the Coast, too! And there was also a photographer from the Sunshine Coast Daily and the Buderim Chronicle there on the night (I think I’ve already posted photos of the newspaper articles that came out over the last couple of weeks). So cool!

Anyway, I pretty much spent most of the night chatting to people as I signed their books, and I loved every moment of getting to speak with them individually. I honestly don’t remember much other than that! But I do remember Ali and Susan and Marty frequently coming up to me and trying to get me to eat something, haha. But I was just too excited to eat! Actually, here’s a pic that of a moment I have absolutely no recollection of, but since it shows me with Susan and Ali, and Marty on his way over to us, I’m presuming this is another time where they were considering force-feeding me so that I wouldn’t pass out on them.

Funnily enough, at the end of the night they pretty much DID force-feed me, or a least, they made me sit down with a tray of food and wouldn’t let me move until I’d eaten something, lol. Seriously—I really DO have the best publishers in the entire world! They take such good care of me!

… And in my defence, while I may have been too overwhelmed to eat much of the catered food while I was busy chatting and signing, I DID drink a glass of ‘Dillyberry Juice’ over the course of the night (this is a drink taken out of the book that the Forest Sanctuary staff made a mocktail equivalent of—and it was sooooo yummy!)

All in all, it was a night that I couldn’t have imagined in my most wonderfullest of dreams. (Yes, I know ‘wonderfullest’ isn’t a legit word, but you know what I mean!) The Pantera Press team went so far beyond even my most fantastical expectations that I seriously don’t think it’s possible to describe just how amazing they are. I knew when I signed on with them that I pretty much loved them all from the get-go, but every day they continue to bring more and more wonder into my life as they open up entire worlds of opportunities for me. They are, without a doubt, the BEST PUBLISHERS EVER!!

Before I embarrass myself with further sentimental blabbing, I’m going to end this. But I will say just one more thing: Here’s hoping this launch was just the first of many!

To finish, just a quick reminder that you can purchase a copy of my book with FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING from You can also find a two chapter sample on that webpage, as well as links for if you want to purchase the e-book from Amazon/iBooks/Kobo etc.

Happy Reading!


If you follow my Facebook page, you may have noticed the image I uploaded yesterday with my ridiculously exciting news… But just in case you missed it, GUESS WHAT ARRIVED YESTERDAY???? Here’s a hint:


Yep, that is me holding the very first copy of my book!!!

This is SO surreal! It’s actually a physical book now! I can hold it in my hands! How INSANE is that!!!

Let me back up a step and walk you through my last 48 hours using animated awesomeness for entertainment value…

Tuesday afternoon/night: I received a text message from the CEO of Pantera Press saying that a shipment of my books had just been delivered to their offices (and they were still being unloaded from the truck as she wrote) and she wanted me to know that she pulled the very first one out and hurried it to the post office to express mail it to me so I could get it ASAP.

No joke, I was not expecting such exciting news—not so soon, anyway! I mean, I knew it had gone off to the printers a few weeks ago, but still! Awesome turnaround time! I barely got any sleep that night, so excited as I was for its imminent arrival.

But I must have gotten to sleep at some stage, because when I woke up yesterday morning I pretty much jumped straight out of bed and into crazy-land. I’m not kidding—I’m so very fortunate that the people I work with are used to my levels of insanity, because, well, yesterday I was something else entirely. That said, when they learned why I was so excited, they totally understood.

Needless to say, I didn’t have the most productive work day (though, I did get to proofread my boss’s new e-book, so that was fun!)… And I ended up leaving just after lunch because I was so excited to get home and couldn’t concentrate on anything anyway. I was both freaking out and hyperactively anticipatory (is that even a legit description?).

Anyway, I finally got home and THERE IT WAS!!! An express post baggie that literally contained my hopes and dreams (yikes!). I think I was even shaking (nerves? excitement? both?). But then I opened it and ……


That’s right! I’m so thrilled! It’s sooooo pretty, soooo shiny, soooo everything! You can’t see it in the photo (of me holding it), but the gold words are actually in a metallic gold material, and the forest background in the middle is debossed so that it’s pushed back (so it adds a three dimensional look highlighting that she’s about to step into another world). Omigosh… I can’t even…


Writing ‘Acknowledgements’ Is As Easy As Space Travel

I’m currently facing the absolutely impossible task of writing the acknowledgements section that will be printed in the final pages of my book. It’s insane, because until now I never realised just how many people have been a part of this journey with me. And I really suck at narrowing the names down, since I almost feel compelled to mention every single person who has ever supported me in any way—including, like, the corner store owner down the road who keeps a steady supply of ‘Half Baked’ Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in stock. (That’s a totally justifiable acknowledgement, in my opinion.) It’s also interesting because if you start to mention relatives, you kinda don’t stop. It just steamrolls. What if, say, my great-great-great-aunty had a latent writing talent that skipped a few generations and landed squarely on my shoulders? It doesn’t matter if she never picked up a pen in her life; if her undiscovered gift is now mine, how can I not thank her for that!? So, my acknowledgements are currently about as long as my actual novel. That’s really awkward, right?

Akarnae Blurb Reveal!

With just one step, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Jennings’s world changes—literally.

Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities. Desperate to return home, she learns that only a man named Professor Marselle can help her… but he’s missing.

While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora’s boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can’t ignore her fear that something unexpected… something sinister… is looming.

An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex’s shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race’s survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?

Will Alex risk her entire world—and maybe even her life—to save Medora?