Conflux 12 Guest of Honour!

Now this is a big one! Certainly a career milestone for me, and I’m chuffed to be able to talk about it now: I’m going to be the Special Guest at Conflux 12 in Canberra next year, across the long weekend September 30th to October 3rd, 2016. The official site is here: http://conflux.org.au/

I’m stunned that I’ve been invited to be a Guest of Honour at a con. I’ve always seen it as something famous people do! Conflux was the first convention I ever attended and it’s always had a special place in my heart. To go again in 2016 as the Guest is just mind-blowing. So I hope that any of you who can get to Canberra next year will come along!

The Red Fire Monkey theme should be pretty cool – I’m still not entirely sure what that entails, but I know that among many other things, I’ll be running my Write The Fight Right workshop there. The first place I ran that workshop was Conflux many years ago, so there’s a nice synchronicity there. I need to get myself a Monkey Magic costume organised for the ball.

I’m still pinching myself. More news on all that as it gets more organised over coming months. But put the dates in your diary!

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Guest Post – Donna Maree Hanson, Dragon Wine

Dragon Wine Book 1: Shatterwing by Donna Maree Hanson is free in e-book for a short time. As part of spreading the word about Shatterwing, Donna is doing a blog tour and offering a give away of a hard copy of Shatterwing. Winners will be drawn from people who comment during the blog tour. So leave a comment to be in to win.

shatterwingDragon wine could save them. Or bring about their destruction.

Since the moon shattered, the once peaceful and plentiful world has become a desolate wasteland. Factions fight for ownership of the remaining resources as pieces of the broken moon rain down, bringing chaos, destruction and death.

The most precious of these resources is dragon wine – a life-giving drink made from the essence of dragons. But the making of the wine is perilous and so is undertaken by prisoners. Perhaps even more dangerous than the wine production is the Inspector, the sadistic ruler of the prison vineyard who plans to use the precious drink to rule the world.

There are only two people that stand in his way. Brill, a young royal rebel who seeks to bring about revolution, and Salinda, the prison’s best vintner and possessor of a powerful and ancient gift that she is only beginning to understand. To stop the Inspector, Salinda must learn to harness her power so that she and Brill can escape, and stop the dragon wine from falling into the wrong hands.

Dragon Wine Book 2 :Skywatcher, the follow on book is also available in ebook and print.

http://momentumbooks.com.au/books/shatterwing-dragon-wine-1/

Thank you for having me on your blog, Alan. You asked me to talk about my inspiration in world building for Dragon Wine.

The inspiration behind the world building in Dragonwine (Shatterwing and Skywatcher)

Dragon wine was probably the first book I worked on where I did quite a bit of deliberate thinking , planning and worldbuildiing. One of the main things I did was have a good think about the fantasy novels I loved and why I loved them. What came to me was that I loved the backstory and ancient technology in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. I liked it more than the front story. So I knew then that I wanted to create a world steeped in history, in old machines and mysterious people who are only known by their relics. I also wanted something alien in there too, like a people who were legend but still existed. I love fantasy stories that have magic and bravery and love so I knew my story had to have those elements. At the same time, things were happening in this world that made me question life, people and what it means to be human. Those things joined in with my creativity to establish a nasty, dark element to the story. Sad that it is reality that gives Dragon Wine its dark focus. Those things like terrorism continue on to this day and I still don’t know how it will all end in reality and in the story. I think the resolution hangs in the balance.

skywatcherThe other consideration for me is that I wanted to create an unusual world something different from the norm. That meant moving away from a pastoral, medieval type setting. I also love science fiction so I created a world that has strong science fiction setting with some SF tropes. The world is dominated by a fractured moon that is in now a dispersed field called Shatterwing. As the people are living in a post-apocalyptic world and have lost their technology and sciences, Shatterwing dominates their mythology. It seemed to me that this thing in the sky would be a source of wonder, fear and superstition. This is further strengthened by the fact that bits of Shatterwing fall down to the planet on a regular basis.

Of course, Dragon Wine has dragons. I can’t really explain why I did put dragons in there. They were just a result of the workings of my mind. I didn’t read other dragon novels and I guess that helped me create something a bit different in the dragons. I did some research into dragons and how they are represented in a number of cultures. My influences for the dragons would have to be film and in my formative years, Godzilla! Also, there is some technology on Margra but it’s a remnant of a former time. Going further back, I have alien technology that’s quite unfathomable and then there is the Hiem. I guess they are kind of space elves when you think about it, but maybe not. However, I love that abandoned city, lost civilisation trope immensely. I remember reading Alan Dean Foster’s Flinx novels when I was young and that’s what I loved about that. The sense of the alien and its impact.

IMG_0916Dragon Wine also has three different distinct forms of magic. There is the magic of the dragons. Their life force is so strong that when grapes are grown in their dung the magic seeps into the wine made from the grapes. It is that wine that keeps the humans from dying off completely. The second type of magic is the magic of Salinda’s cadre. The magic grown from the minds of people that has been passed down since the time of moon fall. It is likely that that magic has a technological basis that has grown over time into something more. The third type of magic is that used by Skywatchers, particularly Garan, to shoot down meteors. The Skywatchers use crystals to focus their power which gives off powerful heat beam to blow up meteors. Why three different types of magic? For me they all represent different things. The dragon magic for me comes from their majesty as beasts. There is probably more to it than that, but that’s the inspiration. Salinda’s magic or the magic of the cadre is something that has evolved over time and it comes from the bearers of the cadre and what part of their essence they contribute to it. I consider this more a ripening of power over time and it’s just coming into its own. The power of the Skywatchers is more earthy. It’s something in them although they think it’s a talent that’s in the crystals themselves.

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Bloodlines cover and ToC revealed

I was saying on Twitter recently how stories are like buses – none for ages, then three come at once. I mentioned the SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest and Blurring The Line stories in the previous post. Now I can talk about the next one. My short dark urban fantasy yarn, “Old Promise, New Blood”, is in the Bloodlines anthology from Ticonderoga Publications, edited by the amazing Amanda Pillar. I’ve already mentioned this, but now we have a cover too (see below). Pretty damn fine, don’t you think? Designed by awesome artist Kathleen Jennings, who also has a story in the book. Multi-talented! The full Table of Contents accompanies the cover below, followed by some launch information. You can pre-order now right here: http://ticonderogapublications.com/web/index.php/our-books/185-bloodlines/390-bloodlines-cover-and-orders-available

Bloodlines-cover-1aBloodlines, the new non-traditional dark urban fantasy anthology edited by the award-winning Amanda Pillar. These 16 incredible original stories are:

  • Joanne Anderton “Unnamed Children”
  • Alan Baxter “Old Promise New Blood”
  • Nathan Burrage “The Ties of Blood, Hair and Bone”
  • Dirk Flinthart “In The Blood”
  • Rebecca Fung “In the Heart of the City”
  • Stephanie Gunn “The Flowers That Bloom Where Blood Touches Earth”
  • Kelly Hoolihan “The Stone and the Sheath”
  • Kathleen Jennings “The Tangled Streets”
  • Pete Kempshall “Azimuth”
  • Martin Livings “A Red Mist”
  • Seanan McGuire “Into the Green”
  • Anthony Panegyres “Lady Killer”
  • Jane Percival “The Mysterious Mr Montague”
  • Paul Starkey “The Tenderness of Monsters”
  • Lyn Thorne-Adder “Lifeblood of the City”
  • S. Zanne “Seeing Red”

Bloodlines will be available in mid-October 2015 and can be pre-ordered at http://www.indiebooksonline.com/catalog/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=bloodlines. Bloodlines will be available in hardcover, trade paperback, and ebook.

Attendees of Conflux, in Canberra 2-5 October will be treated to the first look at this book, at a launch on 3 October. The rest of the world can experience this fantastic collection at World Fantasy Convention 2015.

Goodreads Giveaways – Signed RealmShift and Signed Bound

I decided it was time to give away some free books. Goodreads is a great place, and perfect for this sort of thing, so check it out now for your chance to score a signed copy of RealmShift and/or a signed copy of Bound. Honestly, if the same person wins both I’ll be a bit suspicious of the Goodreads algorithm, but it could happen. The giveaways are open to anyone in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the US and Canada.

All you have to do to get involved is go to Goodreads (links below) and click the Enter Giveaway button. Add the books to your shelf while you’re there, if you like. Here are the direct links:

RealmShift – https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/153659-realmshift

Bound – https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/153658-bound

Both are open until the end of September, so plenty of time to join in. Please feel free to share this post around so everyone can have both direct links. And good luck!

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Alex Caine is coming to America!

RagnarokSo this is very exciting news to report: Last night I signed a contract with Ragnarok Publications for the North American rights to the Alex Caine trilogy. Bound, Obsidian and Abduction will be published in the NA territories some time in the next 12 months. As far as I know, the plan is to release all three books simultaneously.

Ragnarok are a relatively new outfit, but they’re doing amazing work and putting out superb books, so I’m thrilled to be a part of their team. More details will follow as they come to hand, but the deal has been brokered and now it’s all official. I must once again thank the stellar work of my SuperAgent, Alex Adsett.

I can’t wait to see what Ragnarok do with the books – I’ll look forward to revealing their covers and all that stuff as it happens. Watch the blog and my other social media for more news. In the meantime, I’ll be over here drinking celebratory scotch and Snoopy dancing.

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