Storytelling is about Making Connections

First up, I have a gorgeous new box set, just out today, to share, and then, there’s a personal story that illustrates how I think stories come together: with bits and pieces attracted like iron filings to the original inspiration magnet.

Shattered Worlds

23 EXCLUSIVE Fantasy, PNR and Dystopian novels.
ONLY 99 cents for a limited time!

Escape into twenty-three epic worlds that will leave you breathless.

From dystopian nightmares to gorgeous steampunk and fantasy settings to fairy-tale retellings and beyond, SHATTERED WORLDS has every story you’ve been dying to get your hands on!

This unique Young Adult/New Adult collection, inspired by the creative minds of today’s New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling authors, promises to satisfy your cravings for action and adventure as you experience rune magic and time-travel, overthrow corrupt governments, meet reapers and aliens, battle dragons, fall hopelessly in love, and break ancient curses, right alongside some of the bravest characters in fantasy fiction!

Each book within this collection is exclusive to the set and can’t be found anywhere else.

Rembember, it’s only 99c for a short time.


Local History

On Sunday I visited the Art Gallery of Western Australia. I’ve loved that place since I was a kid. Walking up and down its central circular staircase is part of the ritual, spiral your way to the art! Anyways, while I was there I checked out a couple of Indigenous art exhibitions.

I stopped and just chilled with artworks by Alick Tipoti and Sandra Hill. Both were powerful in different ways, telling a story of culture and existence.

But the work that really affected me was by an unnamed artist, a painting on paperbark in a corner of the room by the entrance. There was a bit of background provided on the painting. The gallery had purchased the artwork from a woman who remembered being with her dad when he bought it from a Noongar artist at the Naval Base Hotel in the 1930s or 1940s.

I grew up (in the 1970/80s) in Naval Base, which was renamed Hope Valley, before being flattened to become an industrial park. It’s in the southern metropolitan section of Western Australia’s capital city, Perth.

The background on the painting’s provenance added that the unnamed local indigenous artist had lived with his family by Bibra Lake (which is a large and swampy lake a few miles from Naval Base where generations of kids remember playing – and watching out for snakes!).

I was talking with Mum about the painting and that it had been sold at the Naval Base Hotel, at which point (she grew up in Naval Base in the 1950/60s) she said, “no, it wouldn’t have been sold at the Naval Base Pub.” Which was where I’d mistakenly assumed the sale had taken place. It’s the only pub that I knew was there, although it’s gone now.

“There was a hotel before that,” Mum said. “Where the Alcoa refinery stands now. There was a shop there and a post office.” And she went on about how she’d loved the houses that used to stand near it, along the main road.

While we talked, I remembered how her mum had mentioned an older man recalling that Noongar people had camped at a swamp near where our home had been. Mum and I discussed how it would have been close enough that the artist could have strolled from his camp to the hotel and shops. There would have been a small community, too small to be called a township, but still… We were talking about a forgotten history.

I tried to find a photo of Naval Base. This was my family’s half acre, about 1979

I guess I wanted to share with you how a story falls into place with pieces from here and there collecting around an initial inspiration (in this case, the painting and its recorded accompanying history).

P.S. Remember Desert Devil is out on Thursday!


5 Free Short Stories, A Quick Halloween Question & A Walk in the Park!

Five Free Short Romances

If you haven’t already read these five of my short romances, hurry to grab them today! They’re only free on Freebie Friday.

Midnight Kiss, a Regency romance
Denying the Dragon, a paranormal romance
The Crocodile Virgin, a paranormal romance
Kiss Me, Quick, a sweet cowboy romance
Beauty Conquers the Beast, a fairy tale romance

Halloween Help!

I need your help. I’m thinking of writing a short story for Halloween set in my Shamans & Shifters Space Opera world. I want to make sure I include your favourite things about Halloween, so what are they?

Is it the food? Which foods?

The costumes?

Has anyone played a fun (not infuriating) trick as part of the “trick or treat” element?

Are there Halloween games you love?

Any superstitions?

Anything at all! Tell me, please.

Testing a New Cover for Her Robot Wolf

I’ve given Her Robot Wolf a new look as I work on its sequel – which has also had a name change from Stargirl & Her Wolf to Shifting Stars. I really liked the original cover, but the title was hard to read in thumbnail.

Strolling in the Park

I haven’t shared any photos recently. These are from some local parks. I wasn’t the only one strolling along 😉

Out for a stroll
After the rain, it was still perfect weather for ducks!
The wildflowers are already out! They’re anticipating spring. Although this was in a planted garden, not bushland.

What If the Apple from the Garden of Eden Survived?

garden of eden legend, paradise fruit,The legend of the Paradise fruit is only briefly mentioned in my novel, Desert Devil. It’s not explored in the book, but the tale fascinates me. I can imagine it being told for millennia over campfires in the desert wilderness, in isolated military outposts, and in bustling bazaars between sips of sweet mint tea.

A good story never grows old, and it raises as many questions as it answers.

How did Eve smuggle three fruits from the Garden of Eden? How small were the apples if she wove them into her hair, as one tale has it?

To whom did Eve give the fruits of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Were they the reason Cain and Abel fought, and Abel died?

Did Solomon really eat one of the fruits, and then, command the army of the djinn? Did Alexander the Great die in trying to eat one of the fruits?

And finally, is it true that the wizard who created the hidden valley of Shangri-la planted one pip from a Paradise fruit, and the tree that grew from it hides the entrance to the valley to this day?

Unfortunately, as far as I know, the legend of the Paradise fruits being smuggled out of Eden is one I made up. So, the good and bad bit of that is that we’re free to make up our own answers to these questions.

Making up legends is one of my favourite parts of writing speculative fiction. I start with a real world topic that fascinates me – like the history of the Silk Roads – then I start imagining the possibilities.

Do you have a favourite legend or fairytale? Is there a legend that you think ought to exist?

Desert Devil is out August 10, 2017

Christmas in July

I always understood Christmas in July as a southern hemisphere excuse to eat all the yummy winter feast foods in the appropriate season. But then I saw that Christmas in July is celebrated in the northern hemisphere, too! So I’m a bit puzzled as to why – anyone know? – but I totally approve of the food ideas, like chocolate icebox pie from Southern Living. And some of the other ideas (I’ve been looking at Martha Stewart) are really good for an Aussie Christmas at…well, at Christmas time! and we don’t need to panic about that yet, we have six months before Santa falls down chimneys!

About this newsletter: there are a couple of promo/book advertisements, and then, to lure you to read on, an excerpt from Desert Devil, which is out August 10. I was hoping to add some winter photos of the bushland with its winter flowers or the beach, but I’ve been taking rather dull walks around my neighbourhood instead – and trying to stay out of the blustery winds!

Christmas in July Book Fair & Giveaway


Enjoy some free & 99c books this Christmas in July

A 99c Deal

Patty Jansen runs a lot of cross-promotional activities for authors, and I’m sure we often give her headaches, so now that she’s having a sale on one of her books, I’m happy to share it here.

Sand & Storm by Patty Jansen is currently 99c.

The entire world laid to waste. There are no second chances.

The ancient machine that produced icefire was destroyed twenty years ago, but the deadly magic is again on the increase. No one understands why or where it’s coming from.

Massive changes in weather patterns plunge the northern half of the inhabited world in deep drought. People are once again fleeing, but nowhere is safe.

King Isandor sends people to investigate a concentration of icefire in the mountains at the border, but two consecutive patrols both vanish. It appears that, after having suffered badly in wars, the neighbouring country Arania is on the offensive, and is using icefire as weapon. Their culture is harsh and their barbarism knows no boundaries.

Meanwhile two young meteorology students make a string of discoveries that will change the way the people understand the world. They’re on the threshold of the age of enlightenment, but vital knowledge necessary to save their world may well get lost when war overruns the inhabited world.

Desert Devil Excerpt

Someone hammered at her motel room door.

Her heart thumped against her ribs. She ought to be safe here, anonymous, but perhaps she should have pushed on to Phoenix. If she hadn’t gotten absurdly lost, taking the wrong country road because she’d been distracted by her mental replay of how badly her reunion with Rest had gone, she could have been halfway to Phoenix.

The hammering redoubled. “Donna!”


She’d have queried how he found her, except that the motel was the obvious place for a traveller to stop. The real question was why he’d bothered to come after her.

One glimpse of his face and the grim aura surrounding him told her something bad had gone down. “Just a second.” She hastily closed the door long enough to undo the old-fashioned chain, then invited him in. “What’s happened?”

“I was attacked by a fire demon.”

She grabbed his shirt. “Already?” Her stomach knotted. If she’d delayed even a couple of hours in warning him, she’d have been too late. He’d be dead.

Desert Devil is out August 10, and available for pre-order at 99c:

An Apology!

A few days ago I was experimenting with embedding a poll in a post. Unfortunately, I was unaware that it would send you all the link, not to my website where the poll might have made sense, but to the poll-creation software site. I’m so sorry! It must have been a frustrating email for you to receive – and I apologise. I do try to keep my tech-fumbling away from you 🙂

This was the poll: