Guess What? Guess What? Guess Whaaaat?

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My amazing publishers have set up the coolest website dedicated specifically to my book – and for a limited time only they’re offering FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING for paperback copies of AKARNAE. How cool is that!

I know a heap of you who have followed me on this journey live in countries other than Australia, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll agree that there’s something special about holding a physical book in your hands. Unfortunately, shipping costs can sometimes be ridiculously pricey and it can be easier just to buy an e-book version or not bother at all. That’s why I’m so excited that they’re offering complimentary international postage – because it means, if you want, you can grab a copy of the actual book yourselves! PLUS you can find a free two-chapter sample on the website as a try-it-before-you-buy-it kinda deal, too!

If you’re interested (or you just want to see the cool design they’ve put together), jump along to visit and embrace the wonder of this awesomeness!


All Good Things Must Come To An End

Alas! I have had two marvellous weeks off life, but it’s back to work this week for me. As the title of this post suggests, all good things must come to an end! Fortunately, I work with some pretty darn awesome people, so it’s not much of a hardship to get back to it with them, but still… *shrugs*… I wouldn’t be normal if I didn’t enjoy holidays! Everyone enjoys holidays! And I have certainly lazed the last two weeks of summer away, let me tell you!

So… What exactly have I done with my time, you ask? Well, I’m not at all ashamed to say that I’ve done pretty much nothing! (Like any good holiday, haha). But if you want just a few specifics… hmm… let’s see…

I’ve read a lot. As in a lot, lot, LOT. As in, I think I’ve devoured 12 books in 15 days. That’s kinda crazy, even for me! But it was amazing. I even managed to re-read The Juliette Chronicles by Tahereh Mafi that I only just read a few months ago and wrote an entire fangirling blog post about (here). I don’t even know why, but I just had to re-read them… They were calling to me. Probably because the current novel I’m working on has the same kind of “mood”, so re-reading them helped me get into my main character’s head, as weird as that sounds. And it was almost as good reading them the second time as it was the first!

In the smorgasbord of book-awesomeness I also managed to read the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I actually read the first one when it was released in 2012 but I haven’t kept up with two newest additions, and soooo many people have been raving about the third book that recently came out so I thought I’d go back and get into them again. Turns out, I pretty much devoured all three of these books. In one word, this series is EPIC. I totally recommend it/them for anyone who likes anything remotely related to fantasy. Not even YA fantasy—just good, rich, saga-like fantasy. Get into these!

The other books I read were okay, but nothing standout worthy. That said, I also read the hugely “popular” The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden by Jessica Sorensen and, to be honest, I’m not sure what all the hoo-ha is about. To me, it was just pretty much like many of the other stock standard New Adult contemporary books out there. Don’t get me wrong—it wasn’t bad… But I just didn’t enjoy it enough (or connect with the main characters enough) that I’d read any more of the series.  I guess I was hoping for something with a little more… substance, especially given how much readers of the genre rave about it. But hey, I love how everyone has different tastes in reading! That’s what keeps things interesting!

Okay, I’ll move on, since I could probably go into all the books I’ve read over the last two weeks and while some of you may enjoy that, the rest of you are already dozing off… So, what else have I been up to?

Well… I may or may not have marathoned two seasons of The Vampire Diaries… *shifty eyes*… Sure, I’m all up to date with the newest season, but I had the craving to “hang with” Damon, Elena, Stefan and co. when they have their adventures with Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah—those seasons (3 and 4) were awesome! And while the offshoot show The Originals was okay in the first season, it hasn’t gripped me as much as TVD.

Speaking of televisions shows, I also got into a new show called Scandal. Those of you in the US may have already seen it (I think it’s up to the fourth season over there) but here in Australia the first season only begins showing on free TV next month. But the first and second seasons are available at the video store, and it was “cheap Tuesday” last week so I rented it—and devoured it! The first season only has eight episodes and at the end I was like, “Oh, come on! You can’t leave it there!” So I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the second season next time I have some free time (so, like, next Christmas holidays, haha).

To combat the laziness of soooo much reading and television watching, I made sure to get out and about in the sun every day, always finding time to exercise (even on Christmas day, though that was mostly so I could eat way too much yummy, yummy holiday food)—and even with the early mornings and SPF50+ sunscreen, I’ve still managed to turn even more golden tanned than I already was. I guess that comes from living in a paradise that’s pretty much directly below a hole in the ozone layer. I could probably get sunburned at midnight if I tried hard enough. (Okay, not really.) The only annoying thing about it is that I’ve ended up with a pretty nasty sock-tan… *awkward face*.

Ooo-oooh, one last really cool thing to note is that I spent a good chunk of time plotting out some of the key elements to my newest novel. I wasn’t going to spend “holiday time” writing or plotting, but in the end I couldn’t help it! I just enjoy it too much so when the urge came upon me, I had to succumb to it! And I’m so glad I did! I’m stoked with some of the foundational ideas that will now help me build the story. Mostly, I’m just happy that I finally figured out where (and when) it’s set—and also the motivations of some of my main characters. But I’ll get into that in another post, since I think character motivation is something I could talk about for ages. So I’ll chat about that soon!

Okay, that’s it then! I have one more official day of “holidays” and then it’s back to all the exciting stuff, especially given that my book is being released in FOUR WEEKS TODAY!!! (That’s February 1st, just FYI). And the book launch is coming up in a month too—which is soooooo beyond amazingly cool that I have no words.

… And with those “no words”, I’ll leave it at that for today! I hope everyone reading this has enjoyed their holidays as much as I have!

Oooh, and let me know if you read any cool books over the break, too!

Brisbane Writers Festival 2014

I was pretty excited when BWF finally rolled around this year since I’d never been to anything like it before. I was so eager that I booked my tickets weeks—possibly months—in advance (hey, I didn’t want to miss out!) and planned a whole weekend trip around it. And, boy, I’m glad I did, because I had a fabulous time!


My first session was on Friday afternoon and it was called “This World And The Next”. The info blurb said:

Laini Taylor, Isobelle Carmody and Kirilee Barker talk with Trent Jamieson about diving into fantastical other worlds, and bringing some of the magical to this Muggle one.

Now, really, how could I not have gone to that one? I adore Laini Taylor’s ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ (if you haven’t read it, I totally recommend – the imagery is insane. You actually feel like you’re in Prague with the protagonist, Karou!). And Isobelle Carmody is arguably one of Australia’s most influential fantasy writers. The first book in her ‘Obernewtyn Chronicles’ was part of the curriculum when I was in primary school and I’m pretty sure it was the first full-length fantasy novel I ever read. I loved it—so much that it started me on the path towards reading more fantasy (which in turn led me to where I am today, writing fantasy!). Continue reading

Comic-Con Craziness

So, I spent the weekend at OZ Comic-Con (and also at the Brissy Writers Festival—but I’ll write up a post about BWF for next time since so much happened at both). Comic-Con was AMAZING! I seriously can’t believe how great the convention was! I was definitely not expecting it to be so full-on! And I also wasn’t expecting it to be so much fun—but again, it was!

I got there first thing in the morning naively presuming it wouldn’t be that busy… But I was so wrong. The place wasn’t even due to open for another half hour and there were thousands of people waiting (if not more!). The crowds were insane! And at least a quarter of the people were dressed up in crazy, amazing, out-of-this-world, mind-bogglingly-awesome costumes. I couldn’t believe my eyes! People got super into it! It was really super cool!


What was also cool was how nice everyone was. I made so many ‘insta-buddies’ there since we spent a lot of time in queues for various things, and we just bonded over geeky fantasy/sci-fi stuff while we waited. It was awesome.

In fact, the entire event was just in the realm of oh-my-gosh-amazing. I got to meet Orlando Bloom, who was, (quite surprisingly), a seriously nice guy. Very softly spoken (again, surprise), and very British (sorry all you hard-core fans out there, I had no idea he was English! I just presumed he was American!)…

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Then after the seriously cool moment of meeting Orlando, I took my star-struck self to see an Q&A thing with Colin Ferguson. I’m a huge ‘Eureka’ fan but what was so amazing was that Colin is JUST like the character he plays – Jack Carter – in real life. He’s so flipping funny! And so animated! And super amazing with people; he was just extremely relatable and communicable. He was also so down-to-earth, or at least he came across that way. And when I met him in person a bit later, he really showed that to be true. I got to have an actual proper conversation with him which was awesome and I basically just said something along the lines of, “Thanks for seeming so much like Jack Carter in person.” And I kind of said it flippantly, but he looked at me with the most genuinely pleased expression on his face and said the most whole-hearted, “Thank you!” Then I went on to tell him how much I enjoyed his Q&A and how great a communicator he is, and, no joke, he almost looked like he was getting emotional. (In a good way). He even said something like, “That means a lot—thank you so much!” and it wasn’t a flyaway comment either, he really truly appeared to be grateful! He seems like he’s just such a super nice guy. In fact, of the day, I think one of my highlights is meeting him, since he was just so nice! Here’s a pic of us:

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I mooched around for a while after that and then I ended up getting to see Jason Momoa too, which was pretty cool. I’ve never watched ‘Game of Thrones’ but I love ‘Stargate Atlantis’, so seeing him was really awesome too. And, wow, he is ripped. As in, muscles-on-muscles. Very impressive. (Don’t judge me! That kind of physique earns the respect these few words provide, haha). But he seemed really cool too – almost like a big teddy bear. I saw him in a Q&A thing later in the day and, golly, he has a foul mouth! (But he did apologise for it, at least – and he kept trying to talk in code once he realised kids were in the audience. It was pretty funny!). He also came into the Q&A carrying a cardboard box which he said was to “brew his coffee” and he ended up ‘sneakily’ pulling out a beer and pouring it into a coffee cup (aka, ‘brewing coffee’). Very amusing for us in the audience, especially since he’s great with his facial expressions and made it even funnier anytime he needed a “sip of coffee”. And, funnier still, when he was asked about the most important thing to do when directing, his answer was: “Make sure your cooler is full—of ‘coffee’.” Hehe… Little bit amusing. And speaking of amusing, he also gets points for telling a story that involved a Korean bathing house and required him using the word “hoo-haa” in an extremely inappropriate manner. It was hilarious with a capital H.

But anyway… See how big he is here—his arm muscles don’t even fit in the photo!

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Later on I also got to see two of the dwarves from The Hobbit in a Q&A—Stephen Hunter (aka Bombur) and Dean O’Gorman (aka Fili)—and, oh wow, they were so entertaining! Some direct quotes from them:

Question: What was your inspiration to become an actor?

Dean O’Gorman: Inability to do maths.

Stephen Hunter: Make a lot of money without having to do a lot of work.

Question: What was the hardest thing about dwarf boot camp?

Dean O’Gorman: Exercising. Just exercising.

Stephen Hunter: The shoes. It’s like running with a three-year-old on each foot.

Question: Why do you think you were chosen to play the roles of the dwarves?

Dean O’Gorman: Extreme handsomeness.

Stephen Hunter: We were cheap.

As you can see, they were great fun to watch. (Or maybe you had to be there? Just trust me, they were great!).


But yeah, so many other things happened and it was a crazy-crazy-fabulous convention, but those are the highlights that I can remember. One thing is for sure, I’ll definitely be going again!

That’s all I have to say for now, but stay tuned: in a few days I’ll write up a post about everything that happened at the Brisbane Writers Festival. That was also fabulous!

Writing Q & A

I thought for today’s post I’d tell you a little more about myself by answering some writing-related questions. I hope it gives you some insight into who I am and encourages you to think about your own responses. Enjoy!

1. Where do you write?

Someplace quiet. I’m easily distracted by noises, even music, which is why I do my best work in the ridiculously-early hours of the morning when most of the world is asleep.

2. What are your writing habits?

Once I start, I can’t stop. I’m not one of those people who sets out with a word goal for the day and finishes as soon as I’ve reached my target. No; if I’m on a roll, I have to keep going. It’s not uncommon for me to lose whole chunks of time to the fictional world of my imagination. I forget to eat, I forget to sleep, I just… lose myself in the story. More than once I’ve cranked out over 10,000 words in 14-hour-straight writing marathons. (Those days are insane!).

I recently read a quote by Stephen King that sums up my writing habits perfectly:

When you sit down to write, write. Don’t do anything else except go to the bathroom, and only do that if it absolutely cannot be put off.”

3. How do you write your first drafts?

  • Without looking back. (There’s plenty of time for editing later.)
  • I have a starting point and not much else, but I always write from beginning to end without jumping ahead to random chapters.
  • I don’t plan my plots, mostly because anytime I do make a plans, they end up changing. I just let my characters drive the story where they want it to go, and I get to tag along for the ride.

4. Which writers have most influenced you or inspired you?

I’d probably have to be a walking cliché here and say J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis. (Yes, I can practically hear your groans, but that doesn’t make it any less true!). I grew up reading the Harry Potter books in between searching my wardrobe for an entrance to Narnia, so I’ve lived in my very own fantasy daydream long enough for it to have rubbed off on me. I’ve always loved how these two authors (among others) could draw readers into their magical worlds so much that we never want to leave. And I hope one day I’m able to create the same kind of beauty through my stories.

5. What genre(s) do you (aspire to) write?

I love writing for the young adult genre and I think I’ll mostly always stick with that – and usually in the fantasy or science fiction subcategory. That said, I’m currently working on a new adult contemporary (I’ll talk more about this on Wednesday!), which just shows that anything is possible. I also have a few WIPs that are completely different again. So, I guess when it comes down to it, if I find myself inspired by something (regardless of genre) then I simply have to get it out of my head and on paper. It’s as simple as that!

6. What’s your biggest challenge as a writer?

Remembering to live in the real world! (Sad, but true).

7. Do you have any advice for other writers?

As harsh as it sounds, unless you love writing enough that you’re willing to sacrifice your blood, sweat, and tears to make a real go of it — while knowing that your efforts might never amount to anything — then perhaps your time might be better spent pursuing other passions. Ernest Hemingway had it right when he said, ‘There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.’ You have to be willing to do exactly that. So, my advice is to think long and hard about whether writing is just something you want to do, or if it’s something you have to do.

For me, the answer to this can be summarised in a statement I came up with a few years ago:

“Write. Breathe. Are they not but one and the same?”


It’s Official: I’m Going To Be Published!!


Oh, wow. Yesterday was beyond a doubt one of the best days of my entire life! I honestly could not have imagined a more perfect day – in every way, from beginning to end, and everything in between! I don’t even know where to start, but I’ll do my best to not leave anything out. So, here goes!

The day started with a morning flight from the Sunshine Coast to Sydney… and even just arriving at the airport was fantastic. Airports have such a ‘feel’ about them, you know? It’s almost like there’s a sense of anticipation in the air; the knowledge that you’re about to embark on a fabulous adventure. But airports also mean waiting time, so I found my way to my happy place while I waited for my boarding call:


Then it was up, up, and away, before arriving in Sydney to miserable, rainy weather (but really, even a little rain couldn’t dampen my mood!). The moment I turned my phone back on I had a text message from the driver service that had been hired to collect me, and in all my dorkishness I managed to sneak a photo without looking like too much of a weirdo (and, hey, at least I managed to hold back from asking him if I could keep the sign with my name on it! Total restraint on my part!).


My driver, Geoff, was fabulous and very chatty in the best possible way. He also used his hands a lot to talk, which would have been concerning what with them not being on the steering wheel, but he seemed to know how to drive perfectly well without hands, so I who was I to argue with his methods? (Exhibit A:)


Anyway, let me skip ahead to the amazing parts!

So, Geoff dropped me off in Neutral Bay (I still have no idea where I was, but I did get a glimpse of the Harbour Bridge at one stage, so I know I was definitely in Sydney somewhere)…


… And once I was alone outside the office building, the nerves hit me like a freight train carrying a load of drunk elephants. I’m pretty sure I was actually shaking! The good news was, I was so determined not to forget a moment of the trip that I was taking photos left, right, and centre, so I managed to take a photo of the sign that gave the suite numbers for which offices were where, so when I reached the second floor and my brain totally froze, I just pulled out my phone and looked at the photo to see the suite number. Score one for my OCD-photo-taking. (That said, it turned out that the office was really well signed so I didn’t need the photo-suite-number-help in the end anyway).

Anyway, I buzzed on the door and almost immediately it was opened and I was in the room being bombarded by smiles and handshakes and welcomes-galore. I’m not kidding when I say that within seconds I was completely enamoured. Everyone was just so out-of-this-world nice! No, ‘nice’ doesn’t even do them justice. Because they were definitely nicer than nice! I could continue on about their awesomeness forever (seriously!), but I won’t because, well, that’s slightly weird. So, moving on…

I’m skipping heaps here because obviously we chatted for hours about them, about the company, about me, about my books, about the future, about all kinds of random other things like psychopaths and dreaming in black-and-white (don’t ask!)… We went off on tangents all over the place but always circled back around to the whole point of the meeting. (And, omigosh, did I mention how beyond-nice they all were?! I’d been previously told that working alongside them would be “like a warm hug”, and I can officially say I was definitely feeling that! Toasty warm hugs all-round!).

Umm… I just totally got off track…

So, yeah, there was food and drinks and talking and laughter mixed in with seriousness and all the other really important things… And we talked about cover design and editing and marketing and publicity and… wow… just all the amazingly exciting things. I’m sure I probably looked like an idiot because I was smiling so much, but I couldn’t help it! It was all just so perfect! Everything they said was exactly what I needed to hear! And at the end when they offered for me to go and think about it, I already knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was more than happy (ecstatic, even) with everything in every way, shape and form.

… So, I signed the contract!!

And now I’m officially part of the Pantera Press family! And I could not be happier! They broke out the champagne and we rushed through the signing and the toasting and the photos because I needed to hurry to get back to the airport, so we were swept up in this crazy whirlwind of ‘sign here’, ‘drink this’, ‘photo now’… and it was insane… but because it was so insane, it was also perfect! I was given a goody bag (I LOVE goody bags!) and hugs (I LOVE hugs even more than goody bags!) and a non-promise-promise was fulfilled in regards to a certain person (who will probably murder me if I mention names) singing a Disney song which totally was the icing on the top of an already beyond-amazing day.

I’m not kidding – I could not have dreamed of a more perfect day. And I have a pretty creative imagination! I’m still on Cloud Nine – and I’m sure I will be for a looooong time yet!!

So, I want to say a huge, huge, HUGE thank you to everyone at Pantera Press for making my dreams come true – and also for simply being so indescribably lovable. I cannot wait for the next step in our journey together!

I also want to say thank you so much to all you loyal bloggers who have been bombarding me with encouragement, support and congratulations. I’m so excited that you’re sharing this adventure with me – and I look forward to updating you on the next instalment! In the meantime, feel free to go and check out my AMAZING NEW PUBLISHERS! You can find their website here: and their Facebook here:


Sydney: Where My Publishing Dreams Become Reality

So, it looks like I’m off to Sydney in three days for my meet-and-greet with the publishers – how exciting! I feel like my ears are bleeding from all the legal advice I’ve received over the last month, but I’m now finally at a place where I’m comfortably knowledgeable about everything contract-wise… Which is awesome. Now I’m just ready for the next phase to begin – whatever that is!

Of course, I still have to pass the ‘jerk-test’ on Thursday because if we don’t get along, well, that would suck royally since it would mean no signing… But I’m ever hopeful!

Just a FYI for any Australian authors who are looking for a contract assessment, I contacted the ASA first and still had some lingering concerns afterwards so was recommended to try Alex Adsett. She’s a literary agent who does freelance contract consultations on the side, and she’s Amazing (worthy of the capital A). You can find out more about her here:

Starting A New Manuscript

There are two settings that my life seems tuned to: reading-mode and writing-mode. For me, there’s no in-between. I’m either reading, or I’m writing. I can’t do both – just like I can’t read two different books at once; I have to finish one before I start another.

I’ve been holding tight to my reading-mode for a while now, especially since I know that as soon as I sign this book publishing contract I’ll have to dive straight into the writing-mode again with all the editing/revising etc. But there’s a change in the air today and it’s like I can’t sit still – I need to be writing.

… I’m just not sure what to write.

I have so many potential story ideas – which is kinda annoying since it makes more sense to start working on the third book in the series for which I’m getting the contract… But I think I want to try something new. Usually I’m a stickler for YA (specifically fantasy/sci-fi), but I’m leaning towards dabbing into the New Adult realm for a change.

Hmm. What are your thoughts, awesome blog-readers? Do you have any ideas for me?

I guess all I can do is start at Chapter One and see where the characters take me. How exciting! I love new beginnings!

Road To Publishing: The Next Step

Good news, everyone! It looks like I’m almost ready for the next stage in my publishing journey! I’ve received the legal advice for my contract and I’ve been communicating back and forth (and back and forth… and back and forth… and back and–you get the point…) with the publisher.  And honestly, I’m surprised they still want to sign me on, considering how much back-and-forthing I’ve been doing (and yes, for the sake of this blog, ‘forthing’ is now a real word). But they’ve been ridiculously amazing communication–and toleration–wise. So, yay for that!

Now we’ve just got to figure out which dates suit best for all of us, but it looks like I’ll be flying to Sydney within a fortnight for the meet-and-greet and (hopefully) signing the contract. Woohoo!

New books!! Woohoo!!


There’s just something incredibly special about holding a paper-and-ink book in your hands. Don’t get me wrong – I love my Kindle. It’s so accessible and so convenient to have a new book at the click of a button. But there’s nothing in the world quite like the beauty of a paperback novel. And look! Now I have a heap of them to go through! How exciting! I’m going to enjoy it while I can since the moment my publishing contract is signed I’ll probably be elbows-deep in editing, editing, and more editing (YAY!!).