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

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#MadeItMonday: Cover Reveal Time!!!

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂
Whee!!! It’s COVER REVEAL DAY!!! And yes, I am totally cheating and using this as a #MadeItMonday, because our budget for this anthology was about

this big

so I did the cover 😉

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

Yeah, okay, it needs a thin border around it. Hmm.

ANYWAY, yay! New book! We’ll be setting up preorders in the next couple of weeks, and the lovely Darkness & Good anthology will be released March 19. I’m excited!

From the Darkness and Good blog comes a collection of fans’ favourite stories, all in one convenient volume. Come read about gods and monsters, unicorns and shapeshifters, magical worlds and galaxies far, far away!

Oh, and if you’re a regular follower of the Darkness & Good blog, never fear – there’s some new content in this anthology too 😉

 

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

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:))

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.

Exciting Booky Things!

You guys! I got my copy of Liana Brooks’s Even Villains Go To The Movies today! In print and everything! There’s one thing about having an ebook released by a publisher other than yourself – but a print book? That’s another level of cool again. And I am so stoked to be able to hold a copy of this book in my hands. It’s not mine, but Liana and I are crit partners, and I think I must have read through the draft of Movies at least four times before it went to the publisher, and I am disproportionally excited to see that my cut of the back cover copy is the one that ended up being used :o) It’s not my book, but I still feel a sense of ownership over it, and a proportionate (or maybe, let’s face it, way more than proportionate :D) sense of satisfaction, glee and general squeeful excitement to be holding a physical copy.

If you like superheroes and/or flirty romances, I totally recommend you pick up a copy of Even Villains Go To The Movies. It’s Book 2 in Liana’s Heroes and Villains series, BUT it stands alone from Book 1, so you can read it with exactly zero problems if you haven’t read the first 😉

And of course, if you do happen to read a copy – do the author a favour, and leave a review 😉 <3

Even Villains Go To The Movies eCover

Direct from publisher | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Book DepositoryGoodReads | Kobo | Smashwords

Announcements and Stories and Adminy Glories!

Because who doesn’t love a good rhyme, amirite? O:)

ANYway. I meant to post about all this two, maybe three weeks ago, but then the site went down because I tried to update wordpress, and then I was away for a week because my darlingest baby sister graduated from high school, and then Stuff. And Things. And probably a lot of Nonsense.

Anyway (redux). Here we are. It’s nearly the end of September (behold, the terror!!) and I am staring down the barrel of a scant 9 more school weeks until summer/Christmas holidays. This, my friend, is a Very Exciting Thing.

But not the Thing I am here to discuss. Man, this is becoming entirely circumlocutious. *ahem*.

POINT NUMBER ONE:
Woo, I have a new book that will be releasing at the end of October! *o/* *

It is a very niche book, one that will doubtless not interest many people, and that was a beast of a bleeding headache to format, but hey! It’s an addition to the line-up and there is a school that is maybe-possibly interested in buying a class set, so chalk that one up to a win. /nodnod.

Oh wait, you want to know what the book IS?! o.O Sure. That… makes sense. It’s called Where Your Treasure Is, and as the subtitle boldly proclaims, it is a book of seven Christian plays for young people. You’ll also note the cunning use of my middle initial in the author’s name bit; this is to serve as a warning flag for people who might not be interested in Christian-related Things, m’kay?

Look, there is even a pretty cover!

Where Your Treasure Is

 

So yes. It is a book of plays, I will create a page for it on the website sometime soonish, the page will show the back cover which lists the various plays and summaries thereof, and it will be available at the end of October. Depending on work and Other Things, I may be organised enough to organise a preorder period for the e-version, too.

Yay! Book!

POINT NUMBER TWO:
Point number two is less dramatic but probably of more general interest: Liana and I discovered we were more prolific in our earlier writing days (i.e. the last couple of years :P) than we had guessed, and the Darkness and Good short story blog now has fodder all the way through to mid-February next year (allowing for January off). Hooray! You can find a new short story there EVERY SINGLE WEEK, alternating between Liana and me, on a variety of sff-related themes. Stories for the remainder of the year will post US Friday/AU Saturday. Next year we’ll be switching to a US Mon/AU Tues schedule. Because, um, because??

But anyway: tl;dr – THERE ARE STORIES. FOR FREE. YOU SHOULD READ THEM HERE.

Thus concludes what is quite possibly the most rambly and least coherent blog post I have ever written. Oy. *Cookies* if you made it all the way through.

* *o/* is a cheerleader, arms up the in air, waving poms. Just in case I needed to clarify. Because my DARLING husband decided it was …something else. So I thought I’d better. Clarify, that is. *sigh*.

Hustlers, Harlots, and Heroes!

How many of you know Krista D. Ball? She’s an amazing author who writes very fun field guides for other authors (along with assorted fiction of course). These aren’t the typical How To Write A Book books, these are well researched, in-depth looks at things you never stopped to think about.

Like, what did Aragorn eat while he was chasing the hobbits to Isengard?

Or, how many layers of clothing would a Regency harlot wear?

Off hand, I don’t know the answer. I doubt you know the answer. But Krista knows the answer. In fact she’s famous for her historically accurate feasts (read her Twitter feed – it gets gruesome).

Krista’s steampunk and regency guide HUSTLERS, HARLOTS, AND HEROES is out now. And for this week only, WHAT KINGS ATE AND WIZARDS DRANK, a fantasy lover’s guide to food, is on sale for 99cents.

If you are an .epub or PDF reader you can buy the Amazon book and Krista will send you the correct file format when you email her the receipt. kristadball @ gmail

Excerpt from WHAT KINGS ATE AND WIZARDS DRANK

 

Fast Food

Early Roman streets were lined with food kiosks. Most Plebeian apartments didn’t have kitchens and cooking facilities, so the population relied heavily on street vendors. Sausages or cooked meats covered
in garum (a fish entrails sauce) could be purchased from vendors while going about one’s business.[i] Over two thousand years later, Victorian factory workers had access to over three hundred food vendors along their routes to work.
Steampunk heroines would stop at a kiosk for a mug of coffee, tea, or chocolate, drinking it there before handing the cup back (can you imagine how dirty some of those mugs might have been!). The beverage might only cost them a penny, far cheaper than the cost of coal to get their stoves going in the morning, assuming they even possessed a stove in their apartment.
After downing a hot beverage – welcomed on a cold January morning – our heroine could pick up a slice of currant cake for half a penny (if she could afford it, she’d pick up another for later in the day). Or, perhaps she’d want a boiled egg, too, which would cost another penny.[ii]
A miner or a fisherman working away from home all day might bring a meat pocket with him to keep him going. These are like the ones recommended in Chapter 1 where a cooked packet of food would keep a hero going throughout the day. Don’t buy from a stingy stall; the hero needs to eat! Make sure those pockets are filled with lard, bacon, bone marrow, chopped kidneys, and egg yolks.[iii] A kitchen sink is too heavy to include, but everything else is fair game.
This is an excerpt from Krista D. Ballís What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank (c) 2012,
published by Tyche Books.


[i] Dargie, Richard. (2005). Rich and Poor in Ancient Rome. London, UK: Smart Apple Media, p. 13

[ii] Broomfield, Andrea Food and Cooking in Victorian England. Westpost, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2007. p 25, 26

[iii] Hazlitt, W. Carew. (1902). Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine. London, p. 111

 

Cherry Blossom! AKA, I Suck At Promotion!

You guys! I seriously suck at this whole promotion thing, but wow. Cherry Blossom, my second anthology of short stories, is available for preorder on Smashwords! A short preorder, since it releases Monday o.O (Told you I suck at promotion!)

Cherry Blossom

You can download all major formats at Smashwords, or if you’d prefer, the anthology will also be available on Amazon on Tuesday, and other major ebook retailers (Apple, Sony, B&N, etc) within the next month, depending on distribution.

But hurrah! Cherry Blossom! As per usual, you can request free signed bookmarks through the contact form – and also as usual, the QR code on the bookmarks will give you something special 😉

Yay! A book! <3