Unfortunately I’m no longer able to answer the lovely fanmail I receive, but here are some of the most-asked questions, and the answers. I do read all the emails, they make my day. If you would like to contact me for an appearance, please do so through the ‘Contact‘ form and I will get back to you, I promise.
What’s the Reading Order for the Xuan Wu/Dark Heavens Series?
Here’s what we have out to date, and you can go to any bookstore or online retailer and ask for them:
1. White Tiger
2. Red Phoenix
3. Blue Dragon
Journey to Wudang
1. Earth to Hell (Continues straight from Blue Dragon)
2. Hell to Heaven
3. Heaven to Wudang
This is my current work in progress, the final trilogy which will wrap up the entire story:
1. Dark Serpent
2. Demon Child
3. Black Jade (May 2016 in Aus/NZ, September 2016 in the rest of the world.)
This is a prequel graphic novel which is a collaboration with Queenie Chan. The artwork is glorious. It was released in Australia/NZ December of 2012 and hasn’t been contracted outside Australia. If you want to buy it outside Australia, click on ‘Books’ to the left and then ‘Small Shen’, and there’s a link to buy it from Australia with free shipping.
Black Scales White Fur
If you’re looking to try a short sample before you commit to the whole huge series, try this one. It’s digitally published through most e-book retailers including Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and iTunes, as well as directly from Smashwords where you can read it online or on any platform. I’ve made it DRM free; if you do purchase it, feel free to give it to friends to try. It’s a standalone short piece in John and Emma’s world; no spoilers, no need to read anything else, just enjoy.
The Gravity Engine
This is another small self-published piece that fits between books 6 and 7 but can be read standalone. It’s less romantic/erotic than ‘Black Scales’ and more of a straight-up adventure story featuring Prince Michael. You can also read this as a stand-alone sampler of my work.
Where can I buy the paperback versions of the books?
You should be able to buy the paperbacks at bookstores anywhere in the world. If they don’t have them on the shelves, they can order them in for you, just ask.
You can order them online from most online booksellers as well. If you go to the ‘books’ link to the left and choose the book you want, there is a link in the information for online booksellers.
Thank you for buying the hardcopy versions! I’m glad you appreciate them enough to make space on your bookshelf for them.
Why haven’t you made audiobook versions?
The publishers, Harper-Collins, own the audiobook rights world-wide and it’s their decision whether or not to make audiobooks.
How can I get a signed copy?
You can attend a signing (I list the schedule for signings on my news page) or you can send a postage paid self-addressed envelope and any books you want signed to:
PO Box 4566
Forest Lake Qld 4078
If you don’t include a postage paid return envelope, I’m sorry, but you won’t get them back.
At the moment I don’t know how we can work this for overseas residents, as the shipping from Australia is quite ridiculous.
If you want them back in a short or limited time frame, email me and let me know, I’ll make a special trip to the post office. I only check the PO Box about once a month, it’s a good distance from where I live.
Please do not send me gifts; I appreciate the thought, I really do, but the greatest gift you can give me is to recommend my books to others.
Can you come to my town for a signing?
I’m doing my best to visit as many places as possible. I’ll put signing locations up as they are arranged. If you’d like me to make an appearance at your event, please use the contact me form and we’ll see what we can arrange. I don’t charge for appearances but it’s normal for my travel and expenses to be covered by the hosting organisation.
How many books are there in the series? Are they all about the same characters?
First Trilogy: ‘Dark Heavens’ (available in Australia/NZ as a single omnibus volume):
Second Trilogy: ‘Journey to Wudang’ – follows on eight years after the end of ‘Blue Dragon’ and is the same characters.
‘Earth to Hell’
‘Hell to Heaven’
‘Heaven to Wudang’
Third Trilogy: ‘Celestial Battle’ – current work in progress, I’m writing ‘Black Jade’ right now. It continues Emma and John’s story from directly after the end of ‘Heaven to Wudang’.
Prequel: ‘Small Shen’ which is Gold’s story, starting about 1720 and finishing just before the start of ‘White Tiger’.
Standalone Novella: ‘Black Scales White Fur’ which is in the same universe but completely independent. The main characters drop in and say hello and there’s an awful lot of furry Tiger.
Another Standalone Novella: ‘The Gravity Engine’ – again an independent story, more of an adventure than the furry/spicy ‘Black Scales’. This one fits between books 6 and 7.
Omnibus Editions: the first and second trilogies have been released as single (huge) omnibus editions containing all three books in one volume. Books 1-3 are called ‘Dark Heavens’ and 4-6 are ‘Journey to Wudang’.
What is Emma?
If you reach Book Seven, ‘Dark Serpent’, then this question has been fully and truthfully (and hopefully satisfyingly) answered.
Are the gods the real ones from Chinese mythology?
Absolutely. All of the gods are depicted exactly as they are in the mythological canon. I have been very careful to ensure that they are as close as possible to the Chinese scriptures. I have added some personality quirks to make them more interesting to a modern reader, and please forgive my imaginative enhancements.
Can you give me further information about the mythology?
There’s a full book list and glossary at the end of each book, including links to websites for further information.
What do the Chinese characters on the book covers say?
On the first trilogy, they say ‘Dark Heavens, Book One/Two/Three’ and the title of the book. On the second and third trilogies, they’re just the title of the book in Chinese.
Why don’t you make the books into a movie?
Because I don’t make movies, I write books. Hold on, let me check my desk drawers here – nope, no movie production houses under the paper clips. If a movie production house approached me wanting movie rights I would be happy to negotiate, but so far that hasn’t happened. You wouldn’t happen to have a big Hollywood-type movie production house sitting around behind the sofa, would you?
Can you read my manuscript/novel/script/comic?
I am so sorry. No. I don’t have time and it would do nothing to further your career as a writer. I’d just be mean to you and tell you that it’s awful, and there’s plenty of writers groups out there who will do it for you much more kindly than I will. Find your local writers centre and join. This is advice that will be more valuable than any amount of editing and critiquing.
I want to get a tattoo of one of the graphics used in the novels. Can I do this, and where can I find good copies of the images?
I cannot believe this is a frequently asked question!
Yes, you can use the images for bodyart provided your use of them is not commercial – you’re not allowed to use them on stuff to be sold. If you want good copies of the images, send an email to me using the contact form, and I’ll email them to you.
What are you going to do when you’ve finished this series? Are you going to write stories based on another mythology?
Yeah, okay, we’re close to the end of the series now and this question is coming up more and more. I do have a couple of ideas for where I want to go from here so:
I know how beloved the Dark Heavens characters are, so I might take Simone to university (in either Australia or Japan depending on my travel budget) and have Hilarity Ensue.
I’ve also started on a three-book science fantasy (think Star Wars rather than 2001) that’s about Dragons In Space. It includes my usual outlandish premises and I’ve let my awful sense of humour run away with me. The first book is called ‘Red Scales Sonata’ and I’ll read extracts from it at conventions just to make people laugh.