Practising In Public, Or, I Have A Book Coming Out in May :3

Years ago, I read an article that prompted somewhat of an epiphany. This is not, in and of itself, a noteworthy event, as this is something that happens with rather astounding regularity in my life. I guess when you read a lot, and when you read widely, this kind of thing is also just called ‘Learning More Stuff’. Yay learning! Yay stuff!

But anyway, this particular article (which I’m sure I linked to at the time but can’t for the life of me find on the blog at present*) was about a distinguishing factor between writing and a lot of other art-forms: namely that in many art-forms, practising in public is not only permissible, it’s actively encouraged. Painting pictures? You don’t have to be a painterly genius for the school to let you exhibit your work. Learning an instrument? Recitals are generally actively required, whether you sound like you’re strangling a cat with tomato sauce or not. Writing? …Yeah, probably just better put that notebook down and not show anyone your writing until you’re *good*, okay, honey? There’s a lovely sane writer person. *pat pat*.

The article, and subsequently I, took umbrage with this notion. Why NOT practise in public? Look at The Martian, for example. It’s arguable but also pretty intuitively obvious that the book only ever became as great as it did because the author took a risk and practised in public, garnering assistance and feedback along the way that made the book what it was.

Look. I don’t want to get too hung up on this idea; I just wanted to note that you know what, writers? Sometimes it’s okay for us to share stuff with The Reading Public that we know has flaws.*****

Segue. In 2010, I wrote a book. It was a book-of-the-heart, the first book I wrote straight through without blood, sweat or tears, and it was magical, and elating, and glorious. It was a book, actually, for my sister, not because the plot mirrors her life or anything (and even less so now than in that first draft) but because, at the time, it felt important that I could give her the gift of happy escapism for a while–and it dovetailed nicely with a fragment of an idea I’d had rolling around in my head for a while.

Segue. It’s 2017. This book has gone through about 7 drafts, at least 4 of those with relatively major changes, though it’s not like it was ever gutted and torn up for parts like some of my other novels. The resultant story is still largely the same shape as the original, just better. More book shaped, less like a whimsical object from my head.

Segue. It’s still 2017, and I have an emotional collapse on Twitter at a bunch of my writing friends. The Twinny One immediately gets onto Skype; she understands what the problem is in a way that’s hard for me to articulate on Twitter, and also in a way that’s hard to articulate on Twitter, she knows the solution. It’s the goalpost, she says.

See, seven years is Quite A Long Time to work on a book, really. Especially when your goal is to make some kind of living out of this. And over those years, numerous times, people have told me (kindly, for my own sanity’s sake) to put Sanctuary down, to shelve it, to walk away.

I don’t walk away from books. I’m terminally incapable. So being told to abandon this one is heart-wrenching, and I’m scared I’ll never finish it, and I’m scared I’ll be forced by time or people or circumstance to abandon it, and secretly I’m just plain old scared that I’ll never be good enough to edit a book to The End. Editing, y’all, is HARD, HARD WORK. Taking this story, this image, this idea that you have in your head and translating it into something that not only makes sense but is just as compelling for others as it is for you? HARD.

But for the first time, Liana puts it in words that seep into my head. It’s not that I’ve changed as a writer in those seven years, though it’s also that, and I most certainly have, in leaps and glorious bounds (though some days I still stumble and crawl). It’s not, as I heard this to mean, that I could do better, that I could write better than this, that I need to be constantly revisiting Sanctuary to update it with the new skills I’ve learned.

It’s the opposite. It’s not that I’ve changed as a writer so much as that I keep moving the goalpost. Of course the book will never be DONE if I keep applying new criteria to it; no book I ever write will be done if I work like that.

There are still some flaws in this book. I know they’re there, but fixing them would mean gutting the book and starting over, and I don’t have it in me to do that yet. Maybe one day I would, but I’m faced with a choice: I can let the book go, or I can hold onto it for another seven years, picking and prodding and angsting and hoping to someday get it ‘right’. I need to let it go. But letting go doesn’t have to mean shelving it. It can also just mean at last, finally, calling it done.

Practising in public, you see.

So here it is: my glorious piece of imperfection, a tiny part of my soul carved into words and made flesh of its own. I’m calling it done, I’m writing The End, and I’m turning it over to you, my wonderful, wonderful reader. I hope you’ll love it. But if you don’t, that’s okay; I’m practising in public, and I’ve done what I needed to do. Finally, I’m letting this glorious beast go.

A teal book cover with light exploding from the centre of it. Shadowed butterflies fly out and up from the light, and the title, Where Shadows Rise, overlays the image in a serif font with decorative curly elements. It's pretty. Very, very pretty.
Where Shadows Rise
Sanctuary Book 1
Coming May 24, 2017
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | and more 🙂
(print and ebook)
(yay)
(isn’t the cover *astounding*?)


The fairies have a secret they’re just dying to protect…

Emma knows breaking the rules can get you into trouble; it nearly got her sister killed. That’s why Emma’s stuck in backwater Nowra, Australia, under temporary witness protection with no friends—and no life.

So when Emma has to break the rules to retrieve the runaway family dog, she decides the fairy she sees is clearly a guilt-induced hallucination. Problem is, hallucinations don’t usually send you invites to Fairyland—and shadows don’t usually chase you home.

It would be easy to ignore the invite.
It would be sensible to avoid the shadows.

But when Emma’s only new friend is snatched by the shadows in the middle of the night, Emma knows she has a decision to make: stick to the rules and leave her friend and dog to die, or risk her own life to save them.

CHAPTER ONE

THE DOORBELL RANG. That doesn’t sound exciting in and of itself, but let me assure you: it was the most heart-pounding thing to happen all week. It was my birthday, I was home alone, and because of the stupid witness protection business, I’d been stuck in the house all summer. I hadn’t even been allowed out to see friends, because we’d arrived in town at the end of last year with only three school weeks to go—so I didn’t have any friends.

Well. I had friends, but they were back in Melbourne, and I wasn’t allowed to contact them for fear someone would track down our new location. Lucky me.

Anyway, it was my birthday, I was alone because Mum and Dad had gone to do something regarding birthday surprises and Anna had inexplicably chosen to go with them, and the doorbell had just rung. I stared at the closed door, heart pounding, while our chocolate Labrador, Veve, tried to chew it down. Was I going to open it?

Of course I was going to open it. The chances of it being a mobster were slim to none; for starters, a mobster wouldn’t have rung the bell.

 

A teal book cover with light exploding from the centre of it. Shadowed butterflies fly out and up from the light, and the title, Where Shadows Rise, overlays the image in a serif font with decorative curly elements. It's pretty. Very, very pretty.
Where Shadows Rise
Sanctuary Book 1
Coming May 24, 2017
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | and more 🙂

 

* Granted it is 10pm on Sunday night and I just spent 10.5 hours of my day marking things and my brain is leaking somehow out my ears and it’s goo, all goo, everything is goooooooo.**

** The number of times I mistyped ‘good’ for ‘goo’ just then is shameful. And probably indicative of my Tired. And possibly indicative of my subconscious’s determination to be optimistic? Sure, let’s run with that.***

*** Better than running with scissors.****

**** Imma get back to the main article in a second, I SWEAR. Any second now. Aaaaaany second…….

***** Of course, just as the right to voice your opinion does not include the right to be taken seriously, so too practising in public does not shield you from having substandard work received as such. I don’t advise this course of action unless you have a thick skin, or aim to develop one.

Releeeeeease The Unicoooooooorns!!

…Wait, what? The unicorns? Why are we releasing unicorns? And honestly if you’re talking about the unicorns in the Darkness and Good anthology by Amy Laurens and Liana Brooks which is OUT TODAY, releasing the unicorns is SERIOUSLY Not A Good Idea. Like, at all. You do want to *live*, don’t you? DON’T YOU???

Besides. If you died, how would you order your copy of this amazing anthology? YOU WOULDN’T. And then you’d NEVER get to read the ALL-NEW CONTENT that we wrote JUST FOR THIS ANTHOLOGY that you’ll never, EVER get to see ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD!!

Plus you won’t get to see that we really can actually Write Kinda Good and that when we say the Darkness and Good blog is drafts only, we actually do mean it.

Look, the anthology’s actually pretty good, okay? And it has pictures. Pretty pictures. I should know, ’cause I drew them. /nodnod. And these are the fan-favourite stories from the blog, so they must have at least SOME merit, y’know? And, like, the anthology’s on sale for the next month for $2.99, AND if you buy it direct from Inkprint Press you get both the epub AND the mobi files! (Or, y’know, you can buy it in print from Amazon and get the mobi file free if that’s your thing.)

Anyway. I’d better go. Some stupid person set the unicorns loose and now the fate of the world’s uncertain. I, for one, do not want to die a unicorn related death any time today. Or, for that matter, tomorrow. So yeah. Imma go round up unicorns. You… go read a book, or something like that.

😉
A

Darkness and Good: 38 fantasy and science fiction short stories by Liana Brooks and Amy Laurens

Save

A Happy Moment

In the midst of world chaos and a personally hectic week as school returns for a new year here in Australia, a bright spot arrived in the mail today:

Oh good, my fingers are perfectly covering the byline >.< That’s Liana Brooks’s name and my name under my fingers there, to reassure you 😉

And LOOOOOOOK!! I am *SO* happy with how these illustrations turned out. Some of them are better than others, but considering they were a last-minute thing that I couldn’t spend a huge amount of time on, I’m super happy. Look, here’s my favourite one:

So there we go. The pretty, shiny, Darkness & Good anthology 🙂 Available in online stores in print and ebook in early March.

Yay!

My Gallbladder Tried To Kill Me, OR, What Even Is This Month, Urgh.

For those not playing along on twitter, March has been the month of all illnesses, also known as the month wherein my gallbladder tried to kill me. We bid farewell to February with weekend-long gastro that struck down me and the baby. Husband was out of town (lucky beast), and Mr 4 was shipped off to the grandparentals for the weekend to avoid plague transmission. Baby not allowed back at daycare for 48 hours, so I had to have Monday/Tuesday off. Okay, thought I. This is not the end of the world. Monday I was not so great myself, but Tuesday, Tuesday bore all the makings of a Nice Quiet Rest Day.

AH HA HA HA HA.

Firstly, I was not allowed to drop Young Spawn off at school, because he’d been cranky and overtired the day before and they feared he might be plague ridden and didn’t want plague at school. Fair call for them, devastating for him and me. Literally. He bawled the entire way home, unable to understand what he’d done wrong to get sent home :\

ANYway, we survive the day, husband arrives home in the late afternoon, I head off to my chiropractor appointment… Only when I get home, part of my back is still niggling, like they didn’t quite catch something. And then we do dinner and bath and bed for the kidlets, and now it’s more than niggling, and it’s my stomach too? Or maybe just my back? Or maybe just my stomach? OR MAYBE GOOD HEAVENS IT’S BOTH AND NOW I’M GOING TO DIE.

What started out as mild discomfort quickly escalated to “I’m going to have a baby in the next hour heaven help me give me drugs” (she says of the two drug-free childbirths >.<) and when we realised at midnight that I was actually seriously in too much pain to even feed the baby, we figured it was probably hospital time. Via ambulance, because I’m cool like that.

(actually because hub driving me would have necessitating hauling the kids along and WHAT ELSE IS PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE FOR BUT AMBULANCE RIDES WHEEEEE but anyway)

The ambos were totally chill, even though I’m 99% sure at one point I stopped mid-sentence to LITERALLY ROLL ON THE FLOOR OH THE AGONY, but let’s face it: at that point even I thought it was only super-intense indigestion (body: take THAT woman! Teach YOU to eat a full meal at dinner two nights after you had gastro! Ha HA!).

TL;DR: it was not gastro, and my gallbladder was trying to kill me. At first the doctors were all LOL GALLSTONES YOU CAN GO HOME IN THE MORNING, and then they were all like LOL YOU ARE STILL IN MUCH PAIN WE SHALL ADMIT YOU and then several days later were more like o.O YOU ARE STILL IN PAIN WHY SHOULD THIS BE? I was in hospital for a full week, then spent another week at home recuperating while awaiting surgery, then at work for two long and exhausting days, and then, TA DA! Surgery last Thursday. (a week ago, whoa.)

You know that bit about my gallbladder trying to kill me? This is maybe not quite accurate. Maaaaaybe it would be more accurate to say that my body had been trying to kill my gallbladder, and it had NEARLY SUCCEEDED BECAUSE MY GALLBLADDER WAS GANGRENOUS.

*pauses to pass the vomit bag*

Yeah. I know. *urgh-shudder*. Turns out the entire back wall of the gallbladder was cold stone dead (I can attest to its murky grey dead-flesh appearance, THANKS RECOVERY NURSE WHO THOUGHT IT WAS A STONE o.O) and the organ was gangrenous, and if they’d just let me toddle along without worrying too much about surgery (the initial option), the mortality rate would have been 22%. I fully admit: this is one of those numbers I’m really glad I only learned about AFTER the offending (offended?) organ was gone. I spent most of Thursday afternoon/Friday morning feeling extremely happy to be alive.

And now I have been home for nearly a week, and although my insides would still prefer me to go on a hunger strike (FOOD? WHAT IS THIS STUFF?! You expect us to PROCESS this WITHOUT a GALLBLADDER?!?!?! *goes on strike*), I actually slept on my right side last night for the first time all month!!! This, my friends, is cause for celebration.

Ahem. So. All that new-pretty-websiting-let-me-actually-post-blog-updates that I had planned for March? Yeeeeeeeeeah. I’ll just… sweep these broken pieces of website under the rug here and no one will notice, AMIRITE???

But anyway. The website has a menu again at least, and if you click on any of the pretty links advertising FREE STUFF TO READ you’ll see I’m in the process of putting some of the more popular of my Darkness & Good stories over here too. Woo free stories.

Mostly, however, woo not dying. Not dying is fun. I recommend it.

<3
A

The Blog Has A New Pretty

Loooook! The blog has a new pretttttyy!!!!

Honestly I meant to come here and at the very least ramble at you, but that’s all I got right now. Instead of going back to work part time, I’m now full time, and my brain has come grinding to a halt. I have Plans for regular content and Stuff, but it probably won’t be implemented until after Easter.

Look, if you’ve been here long enough you’ll know I’m all about the good intentions with the blog. Blogging. We are a love-hate item. *sigh*.

Anyway, yay! New pretty template-face-thing-munch-*flop* for blog! *\o/*

All The Exciting Newsy Things!

  1. From The Ground Up has a release date! Mark September 25 on your calendars, ladies and gents, because this is one book for writers you are not going to want to miss! 😉 If you want to keep up to date with FGU, have access to early cover release, possibly ARCs, and definitely the chance to win free copies, you’ll want to sign up to the FGU notification list. Go here, sign up – you won’t be added to any other lists (including my main newsletter), you’ll ONLY receive pre-release and release info about FGU, and the list will be defunct after this year 😉
  2. Any chance you’ll be near Edmonton, Canada on the aforementioned September 25? If so, block out 1pm to 3pm on your Sunday afternoon because I WILL BE IN TOWN!!! That’s right! I, the Australian author who is perpetually on the wrong side of the world for nearly EVERYTHING, am going to CANADA FOR THE FGU LAUNCH!!!!!! *\o/* SO. MUCH. EXCITEMENT. The release/signing will be at Variant Edition Comics 🙂 🙂 🙂
  3. Also releasing this year (this is the year of releases, YAY!) is the Darkness & Good anthology 🙂 Some of you have followed my and Liana’s little short story blog since its inception in January 2014; although it’s been on hiatus for a few months (mostly because Baby), we have plans to refresh it again in 2016, and an anthology of all your favourite stories — plus some brand new content — will be hitting the shelves in July. Again, subscribe to my mailing list to make sure you don’t miss out on the details.

 

So, that’s my exciting news for now. So many releases! An overseas trip! ALL THE GLEEFUL YAY!!!!

Also, mailing list. You should sign up. I love you!!! <3 😀

(Also-also, FGU notification list. Just in case. O:))

From The Ground Up Notification List

Sign up to receive notifications relating to my upcoming world building book, From The Ground Up! You’ll receive cover reveals, excerpts, earlybird bonuses and of course, a notification when the book is published! (Your email won’t be used for anything else, or added to any other lists, including my general mailing list.)


Correct Link for Vodcast

Oops, sorry. I /did/ link to the wrong vodcast after all. Here’s the correct link: LINK!

I’ll go update the other post. Looks like you should be able to download the vodcast once it’s up, too, so you’ll be able to listen to my dulcet Australian tones whenever you link… (AH HA HA HA HA.)

Belatedly, I’m Doing A Vodcast In 2.5 Hours!

…Actually more like 2.33 hours, but let’s not quibble.

It starts like this: the inestimable Lindsay Buroker wanted to interview the Twinny One, Liana Brooks, notionally I think about her career as a hybrid author (i.e. an author who uses large publishers, small publishers, and also does self publishing – not an author who is themselves a hybrid, though if you can find one of those I’m sure a vodcast with them would be really interesting too, and I know Liana wishes she was a human/machine hybrid most days, so you know. *ahem*. ). Since Inkprint Press is a team effort*, Liana suggested I be in on the vodcast too – and somehow like magic now I am? I’m still not really sure how this all happened, hence why you’re getting a super-last-minute promo post about it o.O 😀

ANYWAY. Tune in at 1pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time, which is like 5pm yesterday in Alaska where Liana is and 6pm yesterday wherever Lindsay is**, but REGARDLESS IT’S TWO HOURS AND PROBABLY ABOUT FIFTEEN MINUTES from the time I post this, by the time I post it, to hear my Australian accent, some rambling about Inkprint Press and self publishing, and probably reference to my and Liana’s plans to take over the world.

Wait. Maybe not that last one. They’re supposed to be secret.

Anyway.

TL;DR: Listen/watch HERE in a little over TWO HOURS, or later, apparently, on iTunes. Link to come. Also, it looks like you should be able to download it straight from the website once it’s up? (Oh heavens, you mean this thing is permanent?)

* Liana says it’s all me, but at the very least she’s the one providing the writing fodder at this point, so you know 😀

** OHOH I KNOW THIS. It’s PST time!

Inkprint Press Opening Sale!

IP Primary Black

Inkprint Press has a fully functioning website at last! To celebrate, all books are on sale for 50% off RRP. The sale concludes Monday November 16 AEDT (Sunday Nov. 15 10pm EST). Additionally, whenever you buy ebooks direct from Inkprint Press, you will receive both the .mobi file and the .epub file together, at no extra cost!

Inkprint Press is a small independent publisher, publishing science fiction, science fiction romance, and fantasy for adults and young adults. At present offerings include short story collections and novellas, but plans to publish some novels are underway.

Inkprint Press’s online shop (www.inkprintpress.com/shop) sells ebooks and signed bookplates, and plans to offer print brooks (both signed and unsigned) from early next week. These print books will come with gratis copies of both the .mobi and .epub files for readers who like to carry their library with them, or to donate to a friend.

Watch out for the addition of more book-related items over the coming months!

For more information, head to www.inkprintpress.com, or sign up for the mailing list at www.inkprintpress.com/subscribe.