Caged Lightning is out!

Lexi is back for the final instalment in the Shadows of the Immortals. Magic! Adventure! Gods and monsters! Will Lexi find out who is the mastermind behind the shadow shapers? Will she get her man? Will Zeus get his body back (and will it be wearing undies)?

For the answers to these and other exciting questions, grab yourself a copy and see how the saga ends—ebook available on Amazon now!

New covers!

The Proving series has had a makeover! My wonderful cover designer made fantabulous new covers for Twiceborn, The Twiceborn Queen, and Twiceborn Endgame. Aren’t they gorgeous?

I’m thrilled—I always wanted Karri to design the covers for this series, but she was booked solid, so I went with someone else. While I was happy with the original covers, these new ones are truly gorgeous, and the model has a gutsy go get ’em look to her that really captures Kate’s spirit. Same fast-paced, dragon-filled adventure inside, but now I think the covers reflect the action and excitement of the books much better, so I am one happy author!

Hidden Goddess is out!

Lexi is back in a brand-new adventure. This time she’s trying to save Jake and Hades, but there are a whole bunch of things she doesn’t know that are about to come back and bite her.

Yes, dear reader, I am once again torturing this poor woman. What can I say? It’s a writer’s job!

Available now at Amazon.

2017 plans (aka “when is the next book coming out?”)

So, the kids are finally back at school and I’ve dragged myself kicking and screaming out of holiday mode and started contemplating what the rest of the year might look like, bookwise.

I’m hoping to get four books published this year. At first glance, this might seem like slacking off, compared to last year, which saw the publication of five books: Moonborn, The Fairytale Curse, The Cauldron’s Gift, Stolen Magic and Murdered Gods. But The Fairytale Curse and The Cauldron’s Gift had already been drafted before I’d even published my first book, and Stolen Magic was drafted in 2015, so I had a great headstart on last year’s publishing schedule.

Unfortunately for me, my stockpile of novels is now empty. Everything I publish this year will have to be written this year (apart from the first 20,000 words or so of Rivers of Hell). So four books this year is pretty ambitious!

All of that is by way of saying: I have a plan in my head, but I’m realistic enough to know that I have a habit of overestimating how much I can get done in a day, and life with three kids tends to derail my plans with frustrating regularity. So I’m not going to be too specific about release dates. The next book out will be Rivers of Hell, book 3 in the Shadows of the Immortals series. Hopefully that will be out in late March or early April.

After that, I’ll be working on books 4 and 5, which should be out later in the year. That will be the end of the series. If I’m lucky, I might also be able to squeeze in the third and final book of the Magic’s Return series, The Fox’s Debt, before the end of the year.

In short, I have a busy year of writing ahead! Thank you to everyone who has asked when the next book will be out—it’s lovely to know that you’re out there, eagerly awaiting more books about Lexi and Jake and the gang. I’m having a lot of fun writing them. I promise you I’m doing my best to get those books to you ASAP!

I’ll try to keep the Books page of this site updated with news about upcoming books, but the best way to make sure you’re up to date with all the news is to subscribe to my mailing list. I send a newsletter about once a month, and subscribers are the first to hear the latest book news.

Stolen Magic cover reveal

So remember when I said I was working on Book 3 of the Magic’s Return series, and it would be out before the end of the year?

Yeah, not so much. I’ve decided to leave that series for a little while and start a new urban fantasy series for adults instead. I love my YA series, and I will definitely write more of it, but I had this awesome idea involving shapeshifters, elemental magic and a girl who could control animals. I threw in some Greek gods and set it all in an alternate version of our world, and had so much fun writing it that I couldn’t wait to share it with you!

Once again my cover designer at artbykarri.com has done a magnificent job. Isn’t it beautiful?

stolenmagic-small

Here’s the blurb:

“Lexi Jardine may be a thief, but she’s not stupid. When a crooked fireshaper wants her to steal a ring from the boss of his order, she knows it’s a one-way ticket to sleeping with the fishes. Her answer is to drop off the face of the earth.

Safely hidden in a quiet seaside town, she just needs to keep her head down and pretend to be a regular human. Since her only magical ability is the power to control animals, that should be easy, right?

Then a new fireshaper shows up in town. He’s hot as hell but oddly hostile. With his suspicious eyes watching her every move, her safe haven starts feeling more like a trap. When her best friend disappears, Lexi knows the time for hiding is over. Though the fireshapers are more powerful, Lexi’s not one to abandon a friend—but it will take everything she’s got to save them both from the flames.”

Available on Amazon now!

Is it still called a “sale” when everything’s free?

sff august promo

Moonborn is part of a giant science fiction and fantasy sale running this weekend. There are over 120 books taking part, and all of them are completely free. You can’t ask for a better deal than that!

Why not go crazy and load up your kindle? Find the details of all the books included here.

Moonborn cover reveal

Good news! Moonborn, the story of how Garth became a werewolf and what he did to get exiled from the pack, will be available next week. It’s a prequel to The Proving series, so Kate doesn’t appear, but a few familiar characters show up (although they’re all much younger!).

It’s a novella, so less than half the size of my novels, but packed full of excitement. Poor Garth gets put through the wringer, but torturing your characters is one of the great joys of being a writer, and I’ve really loved spending some extra time with Garth. He’s always such fun to write!

That’s him on the cover there, looking all young and handsome. He’s about fifteen years younger here than in the Twiceborn books.

The cover was done by my talented friend Shayne of Wicked Good Book Covers.

Moonborn small

Giant fantasy and sci fi bonanza!

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This weekend, the 12th-13th September, sees a great sale for fans of fantasy and science fiction. Aussie author Patty Jansen has organised a whole bunch of indie authors, who are all discounting books this weekend. There are over forty books at the bargain price of 99 cents, including my own Twiceborn, plus several more which are the first in their series at the unbeatable price of free!

There’s a range of books, from epic fantasy to urban fantasy, horror to science fiction, so there’s something for everyone. I have my eye on a few of these, and will be picking up some bargains myself. And if you like epic fantasy, I can highly recommend Pauline Ross’s The Fire Mages, which I’ve read and loved. I’ve read a couple of Patty’s too, though not the ones she has for sale here, and she tells a great story.

Go direct to the page of 99 cent specials here, or click on this link to take you to the main promotional page. From there you can access both the 99 cent page and the free page. (Fellow Aussies please note, some of these books may not be discounted until Saturday afternoon, since it will still be Friday in the US when it’s Saturday morning here.)

Happy reading!

Writing the second book

So, you’ve published your first book—congratulations! That’s a huge achievement. Enjoy that feeling of accomplishment. But not for too long! Your readers will be waiting for the next book, particularly if the first one was the start of a series.

That should make it easier, right? If you’re writing a series, you’ve already introduced the main characters and set up some worldbuilding. Maybe you’ve even introduced a series-long problem for your main character to solve. If you’re really lucky, you might already know what the second book is going to be about. Piece of cake!

Or not.

Take The Twiceborn Queen. The mystery of Kate’s memory loss and what was really going on there, plus a big plot twist I won’t mention in case you haven’t read Twiceborn yet, were the things that made Twiceborn such fun to write. But those things were dealt with in Book 1, and Book 2 was going to be a much more straightforward action adventure as a result. I knew who Kate’s two main rivals were, and that by the end of the book she needed to defeat them. But how? And what was the rest of the story going to be about? “Kate defeats X and Y” is only five words long after all, and I needed about 90,000 words to make the book about the same length as Twiceborn. What were the other 89,995 going to say?

In fact, I was so uninspired that I took a year off and wrote a different book that had nothing to do with Kate and her problems, one that I felt enthused about writing. Meanwhile The Twiceborn Queen hung over my head, making me feel all kinds of inadequate. I’d loved writing Twiceborn! Why did the thought of continuing the story make my brain cells run screaming for cover?

Maybe it’s just me, and other writers don’t have this trouble. But maybe second-bookitis is a thing, and it might be helpful to some other writer to hear how I got over this horrible affliction.

First off I started by listing all the unresolved issues and sources of ongoing friction that remained from Book 1. Twiceborn was a complete story in itself, but I’d left a few loose threads hanging in the larger, trilogy-spanning story. Then I brainstormed for each one, thinking of all the possible things that could happen as a result.

Don’t censor your ideas at this stage! Write down everything that occurs to you, even if it seems like crap. Sometimes that crap will spark some of your best ideas. Try to stretch a bit, and think of some really outlandish possibilities. It’s all grist to your imagination’s mill.

Some of the ideas I came up with were clearly never going to fly, but I highlighted the ones that seemed useable, and at least the beginnings of a story started to emerge. I jumped in and started writing. Things went along quite well for a while, but eventually I got stuck again.

This is the part where having at least one completed novel under your belt really helps. You know you can do this, because you’ve done it before. Cast your mind back to what helped you when you got stuck on the first one. Long soaky baths? Going for walks? Timed writing exercises? Bouncing ideas off a friend? Whatever it was, try that now.

In my case, I remembered the planning stages of Twiceborn, and how much fun I’d had researching some new and different mythological creatures for my shifters. So I tried that again, and came across the kitsune, the fox-women of Japan. I’d read about them as a child, but never seen them in an adult fantasy. The decision to include one led the plot in a whole new direction, and gave me a very important new character.

Even better, it got me excited about writing this book. Writing a book is a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re not bursting with excitement at the start, making it to the end is an even bigger feat of endurance.

So try to get back to that “this is gonna be so cool” feeling. What made you want to write the book in the first place? What was that initial idea that was so good you just had to turn it into a book?

Got it? Good. Now get writing. That’s the other thing I’ve learned. The more you write, the more ideas you get. Ideas beget ideas, and words beget more words. Don’t “stop to think” for more than a day otherwise, before you know it, Facebook, TV and life in general will have gotten in the way and a week will have gone by without writing—and you still won’t have any idea of what to write next. Just keep writing, fumbling your way forward through the story. There’s a quote I love from EL Doctorow: “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

Sometimes it helps to have a deadline. Make a booking with your editor to give yourself a little pressure to get it done. If you’re particularly brave, you could even set up a pre-order on Amazon so you have a drop-dead “finish by this date OR ELSE” deadline. (Not for the faint-hearted!)

Hopefully by the time you get to the end you’ll find, as I did with The Twiceborn Queen, that you’re completely in love with this new book, even though a couple of months before you had no ideas and zero enthusiasm. It’s like a magic trick. You’ve created something out of nothing!

Congratulations! You’ve done it again. But don’t rest on your laurels—there’s still Book 3 to write!

The Twiceborn Queen cover reveal!

Finally! After months of work—more months than I’d hoped, due to the whooping cough making everything take sooo much looooonger—The Twiceborn Queen is almost ready for release.

Kate’s adventures continue and, while her situation may have become happier, life certainly hasn’t gotten any easier for my poor heroine. Writers are such sadists! We love throwing roadblocks in our characters’ way and seeing how they cope. The Twiceborn Queen picks up the story only a few days after the events of Twiceborn:

“Kate O’Connor’s had a rough week. Thrown into the middle of a war of succession between the daughters of the dragon queen, her introduction to the hidden world of the shifters almost proved fatal. Now, because of Kate and her new powers, that hidden realm has been revealed to the world, which hasn’t exactly won Kate any popularity contests.

Still, it’s not all bad news. After all, it’s not every day you regain a loved one you thought lost forever. Throw in a hot new boyfriend, and suddenly Kate’s got a lot to live for—which is bad timing, because now the queen’s set a bounty on her head and every shifter in Sydney is trying to collect it.

Kate may have defeated a dragon already, but there are plenty more where that one came from. As her enemies close in and the body count mounts, Kate begins a desperate search for allies. The deadly game of the proving continues. If Kate is to save the people she loves, failure is not an option. The rules are simple: win or die.”

And now, at last, I can show you the gorgeous cover:

Twiceborn Queen

The book will be out next month. If you’d like to know when it’s released, and have the opportunity to buy it for only 99 cents, join my mailing list here.

Can’t wait to share this book with you!