Category: Dragon Empire

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!

September Update

Winter is officially over and I’m looking forward to warmer weather and getting back into the water. Winters here are bright, clear and mild.
September Newsletter
New Releases for September

(Click on the cover to go to the Harper-Collins website for purchase options)
‘Dawn of Empire’ has just been released in Australia and New Zealand. I’ll be interested to hear what everybody thinks of the finale here – I really went all-out to bring the adventure for poor Jian, Haruka and Miko!

(Click on the book cover to go to the Amazon store)
I am self-publishing the Dragon Empire series in regions outside Australia, so if you’re not in Australia you can now buy ‘Scales of Empire’ in both print and digital. I’m talking about an audiobook release with Bolinda as well. The next book ‘Guardian of Empire’ will be available on November 1.
This has been a massive job for me, resetting the spelling to the US spelling, and reformatting to fit the different format size for the US market. It’s been a learning experience, and I’m glad that I gained these skills!
And let me know if you find any issues with the print or digital versions of the books, US/UK/CA readers. I’m sure there’s things I missed!
TV Pitch Bible
The Hollywood people have renewed their option on ‘Dark Heavens’  – but this time it’s for a TV series, not movies. I argued that ‘Dark Heavens’ would legitimately fit in the ‘Game of Thrones’ space as a massive multi-season fantasy epic – and they agreed. So I had to write a thing called a ‘pitch bible’ which is an outline of the characters, setting and plot, and with outlines for episodes for the first season, as well as eight other seasons for the rest of the books – and the result is a massive thirty-page document that I’m not allowed to share because it’s confidential.
I had an absolute blast doing it as well, and thanks to everyone who made suggestions on actors for the characters. All we can do now is hope that one of the studios will be interested. Fingers crossed!
Future Plans
I still have no plans to attend any conventions for the rest of the year, as I really don’t believe they will be happening. There may be a virtual space I can appear in, watch for the next newsletter and we’ll see if we can get something happening.
Harper-Collins are interested in what I write next, and I have two projects that I’m currently working on – an international cyber-thriller, and the spinoff of Simone’s adventures in Europe. Both of these stories are moving well, but I want to see a completed plot in my head before I commit to showing anything to my publishers. I have some breathing space and I’m using it to be as creative as possible.
I’m also working to get the Dragon Empire books out in the States, and I need to add a storefront to my website so that you can buy signed copies of the books, as well! This has been on my to-do list for EVER.
So I have plenty to keep me occupied right now, I’m working hard at producing more works to entertain everyone.

August Update

Visiting daughter means winter steamboat! There are many balls because my ex is Teochew and they eat ALL THE ROUND FOODS. This is the best winter warmer ever.

August Update
The pitch deck for the TV series is done, and I’ve sent it over to the people at Hollywood. All we can do now is wait. It’s bit like buying a lottery ticket where the prize is immense but you have no idea when the draw is and what your chances are. In this case I just get back to work doing everything else I had sidelined. It was a huge job to compress nine years of work into an eight-season TV show without going totally overboard with story and plot details. I think I did okay, but it was exhausting. Maybe later I’ll share the casting choices I made. (I shared a draft with a friend and she told me I chose the wrong actor to play a character when I thought the actor was perfect, so everybody has a different vision, I guess.)
Short version: Not happening for the rest of 2020.
Long version: Oz Comic-Con have completely cancelled all of their cons for the rest of the year, and will pick them up next year. Supanova are making noises about doing all their shows in November and December, but I really don’t think they’re going to happen and Oz Comic-Con have made the right decision. I haven’t bought tables for the shows.
Author copies of ‘Dawn of Empire’!
It’s always exciting when new books arrive on my doorstep, and here they are. Extremely shiny. ‘Dawn’ will be out in Australia in early September, and the rest of the world in (probably) February.

I’m boxing up complimentary signed copies for the higher-level patrons on my Patreon and I’ll be sending them out later this week.
‘Scales of Empire’ in the US
I’m still waiting for the proof copies of the print version, but I did the work and changed ALL the spelling to US spelling. That was WAY harder than I expected it to be. It’s out for pre-order, and here’s links for purchasing the print version (note that if you’re not in the US, it will redirect you to the version of the page in your own country).
Barnes and Noble
Digital versions: probably your best bet is directly off Smashwords, but it will be available on all the other retailers (including iTunes) as well. The only place you will NOT be able to purchase it is the Google Store because it’s closed to self-publishers. Instead buy it in .epub version and download it into your device, and it should work.
Now to get started on ‘Guardian’ to release that one in November!
About Hong Kong
My heart is broken for what was once a free city. The Chinese Communist Party has passed a law that makes saying ‘democracy is a good thing and the Communist Party is awful’ into an offence that can lead to a life sentence. Today, as I write this, the police raided the only pro-democracy media organization in the Territory, Apple Media, and arrested its Chairman, Jimmy Lai. Mr Lai has been at the front of pro-democracy protests, has been unflinching in his support for democracy for Hong Kong, and is obviously regarded by the CCP as an Enemy of the State. The police – hundreds of police – cordoned off the office of Apple Daily and Next Media news organizations and searched them for what can only be described as ‘unpatriotic material’. My cyber-punk story just became a great deal more relevant.
I really cannot return without risking arrest myself. I know I’m only small potatoes, but the crackdown is complete.
Stay safe out there guys!
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July Update

This is the proof of the self-published print version of ‘Scales’ for outside Australia. I just need to shift that title a little to the left…

July Update
I have a release date for ‘Dawn of Empire’ inside Australia! It will be available on all platforms (print and digital) on September 2. It’s already up on the online stores, so check it out!
(I’ll be fascinated to hear what Mika Ishikawa, my Japanese friend and translator, has to say about the final scene in this one.)

‘Scales of Empire’ US/UK/Rest of the World release
I’ve given up on attempting to traditionally publish the Dragon Empire books outside Australia, and I’ll do it myself. I’ve reformatted the book to fit the printing company’s size, bought the cover art from Harper-Collins Australia (yes, I did have to pay for the cover art) and put it together. I had to purchase the entire Adobe Creative Cloud software suite to work with the files, and wasn’t that an expensive nightmare.
Release date for the book is September 1, so that I can do a BookBub ‘New Release’ promotion with it.
I’m hoping to have the spelling adjusted to American Standard for release, but there’s a good chance that the original Australian text might be in the final print version. It’s a surprisingly massive job to re-edit it, re-format it, and then re-typeset the result, but I hope I can have it done.
Now I understand why the American version of ‘White Tiger’ wasn’t modified! And when you take a fully-typeset print edition of a book and format it for digital, the resulting ebook is a mess. The ebook of ‘White Tiger’ is probably poorly formatted for exactly this reason.
The ebook will be altered to American spelling, so yay! to that. It will be out on all platforms on September 1, and I’ll provide all my Patrons on Patreon with a code to download the final digital version.
I’m talking to Bolinda, who have aleady produced audiobooks for the Dragon Empire in Australia, about releasing them worldwide. I guess I should follow up on that.
So the next job is…
Preparing a Pitch Deck for a Dark Heavens TV Series
Storytime! After the Keller’s rights expired, I left it for a while to see if an Australian production company was interested. When they didn’t come back, I contacted the Kellers, who have made a new business arrangement with a big production management company over in the US. We skyped, and I advocated for a TV series in epic ‘Game of Thrones’ style hugeness – and sold it. (More details of what went down will be in the Patreon newsletter, which is more private).
The nature of the proposed production has changed immensely from the pitch deck currently up on the Keller’s website (I’m not even going to link it because it’s obsolete now). We are no longer looking at a non-Chinese Xuan Wu/John Chen (seriously they were talking about someone like Keanu Reeves, who is wonderful but…), I’ve asked for Emma to be changed back to Australian (whew), and the scope of a massive seven-to-ten season TV epic will give the story a great deal more room to breathe.
So now I need to produce a pitch deck: an outline of the theme and tone, a list of the characters, and plot outlines for every episode in season one and rough outlines of the following seven-to-nine seasons after that.
Sure, I have plenty of time, it’s not like I’m trying to write THREE NEW NOVELS and self-publish THREE MORE NOVELS at the same time. (*wheeze*)
You’ll all be very happy to learn that the new design of the series is much closer to my original vision. I’m thrilled to bits, to be honest.

Hong Kong Right Now
The Communist Party (who should change their name to the ‘fascist party’) have passed wide-ranging security legislation that basically makes it illegal to do or say anything they don’t like (the terms of the legislation are so vague they can make it up as they go along). Five years jail for singing the alternative national anthem. So, RIP Asia’s World City I guess. This makes me so sad.
On a personal note, if I continue to advocate democracy for Hong Kong loudly on social media, as I have been, there’s a good chance I’ll be arrested and taken in for a ‘cup of tea’ with the police if I go back – if they do allow me in, that is. (This won’t stop me.) My website has been under siege with constant attempted logins from China causing lockouts.
We can always shoot the TV series in Taiwan, I guess, they’d love to have it.

(You can also get a jail term for owning this flag. Too bad, CCP.)
In the next newsletter, I’ll provide you all with more details of where my overseas fans and friends can obtain a copy of ‘Scales of Empire’. Now to the TV pitch deck!

June Update

This is called the ‘First Pages’, it’s what you have after the edited manuscript has been put through a typesetter like Adobe Indesign. It’s a final proof of what the book will look like when it’s printed. I’m running through ‘Dawn of Empire’ now and fixing the last few little proofing issues.

Congratulations to the Winners!


The winners of a free digital copy of the ‘White Tiger’ audiobook are:
Alison Swinbank
Anne Duncan
Alexandra Cenni
RJ Long
Deanna Bowen
If you’re on this list and you didn’t receive an email with your audiobook download code, contact me through my website (or reply to this email) and I will give you your code.
‘Dawn of Empire’
I’ve just received the final version of the cover for ‘Dawn of Empire’ and I adore the purple-and-gold cover design.

Now that I’ve nearly fulfilled the contract for the Dragon Empire series, I’m in a strange place creative-wise. I have three projects that are in progress, and words are flowing for two of them (the third is in the story mapping stage) so I’m definitely staying busy during quarantine!
I’m negotiating with the publishers about accessing the cover designs for the trilogy so that I can self-publish them outside Australia, and if that happens I’ll be busy resetting the contents and releasing them.
Keep any eye out for further releases of the ‘Dark Heavens’ series in Audiobook in all regions. At this stage I’ve seen covers for both Australia and the US for the first three books of the series, and they’re all gorgeous.
2020 Convention Appearances
Oz Comic-Con have cancelled their July conventions and moved them to March next year, but in good news they’ve announced an Adelaide Comic-Con for June next year! The only remaining Oz Comic-Con for this year is Melbourne in November (incidentally on the same day as Supanova Brisbane).
I still have to make any commitments about Supanovas or Comic-Cons, particularly since the new owners of Comic-Con haven’t really responded to me reaching out to them. Supanova has conventions booked for August as well as November, and I’ve yet to see if they go ahead. I may book for Sydney Supanova in August but at this stage it’s impossible to commit to anything. Keep an eye on Facebook and the website for updates.
Stay safe and healthy out there everyone!