Category: Blog

February Update

I was TRYING to watch my friend and fellow author Traci Harding talk about her wonderful creative works. Inari decided that Traci’s insights were fascinating.

New Releases!
(Not really: they’re new format or region releases of stuff I’ve already done)

Dawn of Empire

Dawn of Empire will be released in the US/Rest of the world on March 1. It’ll be both print and digital, on all platforms, and is available for pre-order. I self-published the Dragon Empire series outside Australia, and it’s been a remarkable learning experience, and thanks to all  my overseas fans for allowing me to make it happen.

Dragon Empire Audiobooks

Australians have had them for a while, and they’ve finally been released in the US/Rest of the world! The audiobook of ‘Dawn’ even came out before the print/digital edition! This is extremely exciting and I hope you enjoy Jennifer Vuletic’s excellent narration.

The Final ‘Dark Heavens’ Audiobook (US/Rest of the World)

‘Black Jade’ is due for release tomorrow. These readings by Cindy Kay have been so delightful, and I’m kind of sad that it will all be over. They’ve been selling exceptionally well overseas, and I’m truly sad to see the series end. But my patrons on my patreon are already reading new John/Emma, so the story hasn’t ended there!
Sorry Australians, I have no idea what is happening with audiobooks here. I email Bolinda and don’t get much in the way of replies, I’ll keep asking them. This is frustrating for me too.
The Book Sizes and Formats – an Explanation
Now that you can buy my books on my website (check here!) I’m sending out more than one ‘full set’ of signed Dark Heavens books. And there’s an unfortunate aspect of the book attributes that’s annoying for everyone and something I have absolutely no control over.
Here’s a full set of Dark Heavens books in all international formats: the numbers indicate which book numbers in the series are available in that format.

Mass Market (US): You will occasionally see these in Australia and other regions as well. They’re the smallest size, the covers are plain matte, and the interior paper is newsprint. They’re the cheapest and smallest edition of ‘Dark Heavens’ and all nine books are available in this format. If you bought it in Australia there’s a good chance it’s an (illegal) parallel import but I don’t really care, thanks for buying them.
‘A’ Format (Australia/NZ): This is the first size that the books were released.
The first six books (Dark Heavens and Journey to Wudang) are only available in this size in Aus/NZ.
It’s slightly larger than US Mass Market, and the publishers release in this format when they’re not sure that they have a big seller. The earlier print runs had shiny highlights on the covers: the later print runs are either plain matte or gloss.
‘Trade’ Format (Australia/NZ): The two books at the bottom.
I’m skipping ‘B’ format to explain the whole ‘Trade then B’ thing.
If a publisher thinks a book will sell well, they release it in the larger ‘trade’ format first, then six months later in a cheaper ‘B’ Format (the ones directly above the trade book). The trade version is much more expensive. When ‘trade’ goes out of print it’s reprinted in ‘B’ format and never printed again. The omnibus editions were printed for big box stores, didn’t do much, the final trilogy was too big to put together like this, and they have disappeared.
Note that for me personally, having book 7 released in Trade was hugely exciting. Then I realized the size thing and… well I was still excited to be important enough to warrant trade release.
‘B’ Format (Australia/NZ/UK): Above the trade books.
So this is the format released after trade has done its six-month run. It’s larger than A format, and the last three books are only available in Trade and B, there are no copies available in A format at all.
The first three books were originally released in B format in the UK, so there are some larger copies of ‘Dark Heavens’ floating around, but I think they’re out of print and no longer available.
The last three books (Celestial Battle) are only available in Trade or this format.
The upshot of this is: the last three books will never be the same size as the first six on the shelf, unless you buy the super-cheap US Mass Market versions.
I wince when I put full sets into the box to send them to you, because I know that you want a matched set, and it doesn’t exist. I can’t get the US versions as I don’t have a contract with the US (it’s complicated) and don’t have a direct relationship with them.
No, none of the publishers have plans to reformat any of them into a matched set, this would cost valuable resources to re-typeset them. They also have no plans for boxed sets, my books aren’t big enough sellers to warrant that sort of attention. Maybe if we get a TV series? Here’s hoping.
I’ve explained this at conventions and face-to-face events a few times, and every time I did, I said that I should put it onto my website. So I’ll add it to the FAQ’s.
Sorry, guys. But hey! $5 Patrons get new John/Emma so enjoy the shiny!
See you in March.

January Update

I had a great break with my daughter, who came up from Sydney just before the border closed. I hope everybody enjoyed the break as much as I did!

January Newsletter
Back to work! While my daughter was up in Gold Coast spending Christmas with me and the family, I didn’t get much writing (or self-publishing) done but I’m definitely back into it and feeling creative.
I’m working through ‘Dawn of Empire’, the final book in the Dragon Empire series, to self-publish it in US/Rest of the World. I need to reformat it completely and the conversion to US size and style is a great deal of work. Keep an eye on my Facebook and Twitter, and I’ll post when I have it ready to go.
Harper-Collins US are preparing to release the final book in ‘Dark Heavens’ as audiobook in the next couple of weeks – it hasn’t appeared in stores so I don’t have a link for it yet.. Check out this wonderful cover!

The entire series will now be available as audiobooks outside Australia – which is wonderful news.
Australia/New Zealand: I know the audiobooks stopped at ‘Blue Dragon’. I fully expected them to do the entire series, but they seem to have stalled. I’ll be in touch with the publishers to see what’s going on.
Dragon Empire Audiobooks US/Rest of the World
I have completed negotiations with Bolinda to release the Dragon Empire audiobooks outside Australia, and the first book ‘Scales of Empire’ is listed for April of 2021. I’d better get a move on and reformat ‘Dawn’ so the print version comes out before the audiobook version! They should be available on all platforms like Audible.
Online Store
The online store will stay on my website for the forseeable future, and you’ll be able to buy signed copies of all the books there. Unfortunately the audiobooks aren’t physical copies, so I can’t sign CDs for you. But pop over and check it out if you’d like a signed book – and I can ship internationally.

Now if the rain would just stop, I’ll get ‘Dawn of Empire’ all formatted and then spend some time at the beach. I love summer at the Gold Coast!

December Update

Very hard to type with the Butt Appendage complaining every time I put my hands on the keyboard. It’s cute that she’s a gently aging crankypants with some grey hairs emerging through her tuxedo.

At the start of every year, I put up a wall calendar with the year’s conventions on it, and as I book appearances I add them so everything’s easily visible. Here’s 2020’s: so many cancellations. The only workshops I had this year were: Gladstone in February, then Boonah in November. Most of the notations on the calendar (like ‘SN’ for Supanova) were things that were cancelled and I didn’t even bother erasing them. Many of these bookings are crossed out.
‘Inconceivable’ virtual convention also happened in November, and that’s it. For the first half of the year my creativity seriously suffered, and I watched with dismay as Hong Kong (I was there last April!)… went to Hell. What a year.
And now! In the last few weeks, after completing the pitch deck for the Hollywood people (who have, as usual, been terribly enthusiastic and then gone completely silent), the creativity ramped back up again. I’ve been closely following the situation in Hong Kong – my twitter has comments and news on it, if you’re interested – and now a Twitter feed is being used against newspaper executive Jimmy Lai as evidence of treason.
I have a handle on the situation in Hong Kong, I have a good idea where things are headed, the uncertainty of the future of the territory is clarified (in the worst possible way) – so I can pick up Emma’s story again. I’ve started revising the current spinoff to add a story thread that will weave around Simone’s, and be again from Emma’s point of view. The two story threads will complement each other, and will have completely different stakes and threats. I’m really looking forward to working more on this, because up until now, with Simone’s story I’ve been posting on the Patreon, something’s been missing, and with the Emma story it’s really coming together.
I’ve posted the first extract of this Emma storyline on the Patreon, and already received some positive feedback.

Centre for Australian Studies, Cologne
It was exceedingly weird – and gratifying – to be contacted by a professor of anglophone (ie English) speculative fiction written by Australians, who works at the University of Dusseldorf. They have a Centre for Australian Studies at the University of Cologne, and not only was I interviewed about my work and the Asian angle, ‘White Tiger’ is part of the curriculum there! It was strange to have such an interested academic interviewer, when here in Australia the Arts are kind of starved for both funds and attention. But it was the most fun interview I’ve had in a very long time, and I want to thank Ms Burger for her time and analytical interest in my work, the Asian angle, the romance side of it, and my use of the Female Gaze. She’s asked me for contacts to other Australian authors, so hopefully Australian speculative fiction will receive some generous international attention. We’re that good!

Inconceivable Panels and Videos

InCONceivable is still there, and all the videos are viewable from the convention schedule. The storefronts from the various authors are also still up. If you want to hear me natter with other writers about our craft, or view videos about our experiences with Australia’s creepy-crawlies, head on over to the InCONceivable site and check it out.

Signed Copies

I know it’s too late for anyone to purchase in time for Christmas, but the Eventeny store of signed copies is still up, and will remain up for the foreseeable future. There is a slight premium in purchase price and shipping costs, but it allows me to ship to anywhere in the world. Putting a store on my website has always been a goal and I’ll investigate other options further – but at this stage, the Eventeny storefront provides exactly what I need so I’ll keep using it.
Thanks for all your interest and support throughout 2020, and here’s to a better and brighter 2021!

November Newsletter

Evenings on the Gold Coast can be delightful sometimes. The sky really does turn a delicate shade of violet, as I describe in ‘White Tiger’

The big upcoming event is InCONceivable Virtual Pop Culture Convention, which I have been helping to organize (in a small way). As there are no Supanovas or Comic-Cons happening this year, the organizers of InCONceivable decided to set up a virtual convention and it’s grown from there.

InCONceivable will be on November 14-15 (that’s next week!) this year. You can check out the site here:

Note that the site won’t go live until the con actually happens. When November 14th comes around, you will be able to browse the online virtual artist’s alley, view all the virtual panel videos, and share a fantastic experience. There will be competitions and giveaways as well, and visiting the convention is completely free – you don’t even need to register to view the online content.
The con’s panels are zoom meetings that we’ve stored to Youtube, and all will be viewable both during and after the convention.
I have two panels that I participated in: a Mad Writer’s Tea Party, which includes my tuxedo cat Inari who you’ve seen many photos of already, and who isn’t actually my cat – she’s my daughter’s cat. She spends a great deal of time in front of the camera providing the inevitable Kitty Butt shots. Kim Falconer’s cat takes a stately walk-in role, and Juliet Marillier’s dog Reggie also visits. Juliet is a majestically giving soul who fosters geriatric dogs, and Reggie is one of her charges.
I’ll be giving away a signed copy of ‘White Tiger’ (note that if you win you can choose a different book – that’s not an issue) and the special personalized blend of tea that Sabrina of Ravenscraft Teas made for me.
You’ll also be able to buy (signed) copies of all my books at my virtual table on the convention site.
The Tea for the Tea Party
Ravenscraft specialize in fruit and flower blended teas, and some of them have ‘shimmer dust’ in them to make them sparkle. Witchy! I’m not a fan of fruit/flower teas, probably because I spent so many years in China and living in Chinese household where even putting milk in tea is considered the highest form of sacrilege, and putting lemon in tea is something that you do to make rubbish tea drinkable. (More than one Chinese person has told me that.)
My own home tea cabinet is full of some very expensive teas from China – a Tikyuanyin and a Sow Mei – that cost upwards of $AUS200 a kg. Really good China tea is so good it makes you understand why the Brits were willing to go to war for it.
So I talked to Sabrina of Ravenscraft, and she put together a tailored tea for me. I just wanted a standard black tea with no fruit or flowers, but I did want that awesome shimmer dust to make it shiny, and in a fit of creative insanity called it ‘Blood of the Black Unicorn’. Sabrina added some beetroot powder to make it more blood-red, and there you are. It needs a small amount of sugar to offset the bitterness of the powder addition, but goodness the combination of red, black and sparkles is extremely magical.

I have an extra jar of tea and a re-usable tea bag that I’ll be giving away with the book after the ‘Mad Writers Tea Party’, so check it out on the 14-15th. My fellow Mad Writers Traci Harding, Juliet Marillier, Isobel Carmody, and A K Wilder will all be doing giveaways as well.
Rising Stars
The other panel is Rising Star Authors who are starting their journey as novelists. Some are traditionally published, some are self-published, and all of them are wildly entertaining. I think my other cat, Pixie (who is actually really my cat) wanders in and out and at one stage Devin Madson yells ‘KITTY!’ when she sees her.
The convention will have virtual tables, and I will be selling signed copies of all my books, including the new Dragon Empire trilogy. This is the first time I’ve had the chance to sign and personalize the third book in the series, ‘Dawn of Empire’! The other authors will have their books and there will be comics, cosplay, and arts tables there as well.
It really be the convention that we wish we were attending in person!
Dragon Empire latest release in the US
Book 2 of the Dragon Empire series, ‘Guardian of Empire’, has just been released in the US/rest of the world. It’s available on all platforms, and to welcome book 2, I’ve reduced the price of book 1, ‘Scales of Empire’, to 99c on all digital formats. It’s been doing very well!
The third book ‘Dawn of Empire’, will be released on January 1, 2021.
Dark Heavens Audiobooks in the US and Australia

(Link valid in the US only)
We’re up to book 7, ‘Dark Serpent’ in the US. I haven’t yet received the cover for approval for book 8, so I don’t know when it will be released. I’ll let you know in the newsletter as soon as I do.
Australia: is as far as book 3 and stalled. I haven’t heard anything about it. Once again, if I hear anything I’ll keep you updated.
Dragon Empire Audiobooks in the US
I have just signed the contract with Bolinda to release the Dragon Empire audiobooks in the US/rest of the world! All three books will soon be available on all platforms.
QWC Self-Publishing Workshop, Boonah
If you’re out on the Scenic Rim, pop along to Boonah on Tuesday morning, where I’ll be giving my 2-hour ‘Introduction to Self-Publishing‘ workshop at 9:30 am, thanks to the Queensland Writers Centre.


October Newsletter

It’s disappointing that the weather is warm enough to swim, but the ocean is stubbornly sitting at twenty degrees Celcius – too cold for me!

October Newsletter
US Releases
‘Guardian of Empire’ will be released in print and digital on November 1st. It will be highlighted on BookBub as a ‘featured new release’, and at the same time I’ll reduce the price of the digital version of ‘Scales of Empire’ to 99c to encourage readers to try out the series.I don’t have this sort of control over my books in Australia/NZ, so I’m afraid this will be US/UK/rest of the world only.

The photo doesn’t do the brilliant colors of these covers justice. They’re self-published with IngramSpark, and the digital printing machines they use produce really lovely high-quality paperbacks.
I haven’t fixed up ‘Dawn of Empire’ for release in the US yet, but that’s definitely on my ‘to-do’ list. The plan is to release it Feb 1 2021.
It’s a strange feeling to once again be receiving emails from people asking when the ‘Next Dark Heavens is coming out’. The US are producing book seven of ‘Dark Heavens’: I’ve approved the cover but it hasn’t been released yet. I’l chase them up if it doesn’t appear soon.
I’m in the process of signing a contract with Bolinda to release the ‘Dragon Empire’ audiobooks outside Australia as well.
The ‘Dark Heavens’ audiobooks in Australia seem to have stalled at book four, but I’m hopeful that things will pick up again. My reader, Jennifer Vuletic, is extremely popular!
Live Instagram Interview

Annie McCann of Read3rz_revu will be doing a live Instagram interview with me on Wednesday 14th October at 7:30 pm. Click the pic to go to their Instagram feed – and if you’re in Sydney, they’re a fantastic readers group who regularly meet and are supportive of authors and readers!

In a move that will surprise absolutely no-one, Supanova have cancelled all of their 2020 shows except for Sydney.
I am, however booked for a bright new virtual pop culture convention, called ‘InCONceivable’. It will be a virtual trading floor, and three writing panels will be held as well. The website isn’t live for it yet, but it’s slated for November 14-15. Keep an eye on my Facebook page for more information. I will have a virtual table in the con, selling signed copies for everyone.
If you’re a resident of Boonah or live on the Scenic Rim, I’ll be presenting a workshop on self-publishing there at the Boonah Library on November 10th at 9:30 am, thanks to the Queensland Writers Centre. As far as I know it’s still going ahead despite COVID restrictions. If you’re interested in attending, contact the library directly.

Writing Projects
The pitch document for the television series has been finished, reviewed, polished, re-reviewed, completed, delivered, then handed to an outside consultant who provided excellent feedback so I had to go back and redo some of the character outlines.
Frankly the feedback made it that much more awesome, so I’m happy with it and I delivered it late last week. I hope this is the final version: but with this sort of thing, there’s only one chance. Once it’s been presented to a studio executive, it can’t be presented again.
I’ve now returned to working on the Simone spinoff. The feedback I’ve received from my Patreon patrons has been absolutely stellar, and I think that with current world events as they are, I can amend the storyline to make it dual; one of Simone’s adventures in Europe, and another thread of Emma and John’s adventures in current Asia. There’s a great deal of world politics happening right now, and the Celestials may have to step in.
I’m also looking forward to returning to the AI-driven cyber thriller that I started before the TV series stuff. Back to work!