Category: Dragon Empire

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!

May Update

I am trying to work on the edits for ‘Dawn of Empire’ but it’s obviously only with permission from the Feline Overlord.


May Newsletter
Apologies for the delay on this, I’m working on the edits for ‘Dawn’ (as you can see the attempt above) and I had to contact customer service in the US about the planned giveaway of the audiobook version of ‘White Tiger’.
The codes my publisher gave me weren’t working for me, so I contacted about it. Dealing with someone in the US by email is an interesting experience: their day is my night, and they’re one day behind Australia. So I emailed them at noon Friday, and didn’t receive a reply until Tuesday morning. I tried out their suggested solution, and emailed them back during the day, and again didn’t hear back until the next morning.
And of course the problem was me: I use a VPN (virtual private network) to set my IP address to a US one, to fake that my computer is in the US, to work around regional restrictions.
In Australia, you will only see this audiobook version of ‘White Tiger’, read by Jennifer Vuletic:

In the United States (and hopefully the rest of the world), you’ll only see this version, read by Cindy Kay:

The book you see when you search, or Amazon, depends entirely on the IP address your computer shares with the online shop. A VPN allows you to change your address to one in a different country.
The giveaway is to subscribers to my newsletter, so go to the ‘Newsletter’ tab and subscribe there if you’d like to enter.
Corona Virus
This is so weird. I left Hong Kong just before SARS went through in 2002, and people are looking to me for advice about COVID. My ex was on the front lines in the Hospital Authority during SARS, so I had something of an inside look into how that virus worked. When the Wuhan thing blew up, I had a strong feeling of ‘here we go again’, and when the China borders weren’t closed, and China ignored the problem instead of locking down in those first few weeks, it turned to genuine concern.
I watched with amusement as Hong Kong people did a run on toilet paper, not thinking for a minute that it would happen here. I suppose it says something about my Hong Kong experience that I always have WAY too much toilet paper (and basic food items) in the house.
Locking down and going into quarantine is the right thing to do. It is really the only way to deal with something like this: corona viruses mutate quickly and vaccination can quickly drop behind the changes. If the population locks down and goes in quarantine, as Hong Kong did with SARS, the lack of transmission makes it, as one dumbass President says, ‘disappear’. (He was quoting from a briefing where I sincerely believe he didn’t understand most of it). If nobody is giving the virus to anyone else, the patients recover and it does really go away. SARS took six months to clear from Hong Kong (it wasn’t nearly as contagious as COVID which is why COVID has spread so quickly).
There are two major differences between SARS and COVID. SARS was a lot less contagious: this is why COVID has spread so quickly around the world. SARS was also a LOT more lethal. The death rate (from memory) was something like 15%, even with young and healthy patients. So COVID is more contagious and less dangerous than SARS was.
With sensible quarantine and lockdown, COVID should disappear like SARS did. That’s been the situation here in Australia, and in New Zealand, and most of Europe.
It isn’t happening in the US. I am genuinely fearful that it WILL mutate in the US into something with a SARS level of danger while remaining as badly contagious.
So: This is 100% my non-epidemiological take on this, purely speaking from experience of being close to health workers on the front line in a similar situation. Believe the scientists before you listen to me.
For me, personally, not much has changed.  As a writer, I work from home. All my workshops have been cancelled, and this is my main source of income (much more so than royalties from the books). Conventions are very iffy, and Oz Comic-Con has just changed ownership. JobKeeper has been a godsend to keep me going, and I’m using this time to be as creative as possible. The Simone spinoff (going up on the Patreon), a new cyberpunk thriller, and the story of Hien the dragon from Dark Heavens has been tapping on my brain while I potter around at home thinking about storylines.
I’ll keep everyone updated as things progress with the audiobooks, and I’m hoping to have the edits for ‘Dawn of Empire’ back to the publishers tomorrow. We have a release date of September, delayed by the virus, but I’m very happy with this one. It’s up for pre-order on all the usual places (Australia only, no US publishers are interested)  and I’ll provide links in the next newsletter.

April Update

I went back through my March photos looking for one that represented March for me – I had yum cha with a family member on March 7th. That seems like a lifetime ago.

April Update
Hi everyone, I hope you’re coping. Are you receiving as many ‘during these troubled times’ emails as I am? I just miss going for yum cha with my family.
Red Phoenix Audiobook (US/UK)
Harper-Collins US have just contacted me to approve the audiobook cover for Red Phoenix, and here it is:

Absolutely glorious, I love it. I don’t have a release date for it yet, but I’ll let you know as soon as I have one.

‘Guardian of Empire’ Smaller Format
If you were waiting for ‘Guardian of Empire’ to be released in B (smaller) format, I just received my author copies, so it’s out! This is good news for everybody who likes having all their books the same size on the shelf and were waiting for it.

All Patreon Posts Are Now $1
I’ve revised my Patreon tiers so that all new posts are available to everybody for the minimal cost of $1. This is for the duration of the COVID-19 lockdown, and I’ll raise the tiers again after it’s gone (this may be months, though).
One post of interest that I’ve just put up on Patreon is my draft from 2015, of ‘Shen UN’. A number of people have asked me about this and I finally found it when I was clearing out old files. I had some really wrong predictions there – some of them even of where my own stories were going.
‘Rage Against the Virus’
Home of the Arts Gold Coast is doing a fantastic initiative to support local artists, and I couldn’t wait to be part of it. I’ve started writing a really wild cyberpunk AI wars adventure and I’ve shared the first three chapters with HOTA.
The PDF of the story will be up shortly and I’ll let you know on my Facebook page when it’s posted.

Audiobook Giveaway
Next month I’ll give everybody a chance to win a digital copy of the US version of the ‘White Tiger’ audiobook. Keep an eye out for the May newsletter where I’ll include the details. If you don’t already receive the monthly newsletter (which has 100% of the content in this post), you can subscribe here.
That’s all for April, isn’t it quiet? I’m getting a lot of writing done, and now that ‘Dawn of Empire’ is complete, I’m working hard on the Simone spinoff that I’ve been sharing on my Patreon.

March Update

There it is, ‘Dawn of Empire’ all complete, and ready to send to the publishers. I printed it out, read through it, and then emailed it through. Mika, you are awesome and I cannot thank you enough for your help in translating ‘Dark Heavens’ to Japanese – and for dinner in Kyoto. I hope you all enjoy this final chapter to Jian, Miko and Haruka’s story.
March Newsletter
‘White Tiger’ Audiobook Fixed
Many thanks again to John Bieleny who contacted me to let me know that Audible have arranged for him to re-download ‘White Tiger’ and the audiobook has been fixed.
‘Red Phoenix’ Audiobook Has Been Released (in Australia)

When a new book is released in Australia, I receive an author copy and it’s the best feeling in the world to open the envelope and see those shiny new things with my name on them. ‘Red Phoenix’ is out on audible (here) and ‘Blue Dragon’ has a release date of April 20th.
As soon as I receive my author copies I send signed copies out to my highest level patrons and that is an even better feeling.
‘Red Phoenix’ Audiobook in the US/rest of the world
I thought I’d passed the ‘When is the next one coming out’ stage – and here it is again. Lovely fans in the US are emailing me and contacting me through my website about the release date of the ‘Red Phoenix’ audiobook in the US. The answer is: I don’t know, I’m not as close with my US publishers as I am with my Australian ones, and they don’t give me much information (or author copies). Keep an eye on the Audible page, and let me know if you see it!
2020 Conventions and Corona Virus
This feels weird. I left Hong Kong just before SARS was a thing, and here we are again. Corona (SARS was a corona-type as well) is way more contagious than SARS was (hence the world-wide spread).
The ownership and administration of Oz Comic-Con is still in flux, so I haven’t heard anything from them. I wasn’t invited to either Melbourne or Gold Coast Supanovas this month, so I didn’t attend them either.
With the pandemic situation as it is, and mass gatherings a bad idea, I’ll keep you updated on future plans as they occur.
If you’re stuck at home in quarantine, all my best wishes (I spend most of my time alone at home anyway, that’s a writer’s life). I hope my books help to ease the boredom.
Stay safe, everyone.