‘Guardian Angel’ book birthday and giveaway (and a sneaky secret project announcement)

It’s always exciting and nerve-racking (nervousciting?) releasing a book into the world — even a novella. For those that have missed me going on about it, Guardian Angel is an urban fantasy set in Sydney, featuring a handsome movie star lead, his friends, and his impossibly perfect new fiance. You can read an extract from the story here.

Background

Guardian Angel is both a new project and an old one. It first began its life in about 2004, when I began to experiment with longer-form fiction — until that point, I hadn’t had the stamina for anything beyond a few thousand words. (The original draft was about 15,000 words, and I was incredibly proud of myself at the time; of course, when I sat down at the end of last year to revisit and re-draft the story, it ended up at around 20,000 without me even trying. What can I say? I talk a lot more than I used to!)

Even though Guardian Angel is shorter than one of my novels, I have sought to give it the same care and attention as one of them — which means …

My obligatory thank you speech

Thanks to those who read the original version of Guardian Angel what feels like a thousand years ago now. Becca, I’m still waiting to see you publish — or self-publish — something of your own. You can do it. I believe in you! And thanks to Craig, who read the revised version of this story and helped me make it even better. You’re the bestest bestie a girl could ever want.

Also, thank you, love and cupcakes to my wonderful editor, Lauren Clarke, who asks all the hardest questions, spots even the tiniest inconsistencies, and only made me cry a little bit. (Kidding!) You’re worth your weight in gold, lady. And the cover is brought to you by the very clever Kim from KILA Designs; if you’re looking for an ebook or paperback design, you can find her on Facebook.

Thank you, as always, to my friends and family for putting up with my frequent absences and blank stares, for feeding me coffee and Bad Chicken, and for playing board games and keeping me sane: Mum, Dad, Kristy, Ali, Craig, Karen and Cassandra.

And finally, thank you to my son, who is now almost nine (wut?!). You make me laugh when I’m sad, amaze me with your quick-wittedness, and fill our house with love and wonder. Also, just so you know, little in this world makes me happier — or more conflicted — than when you beg to read “just one more chapter” at bedtime. I hope you never lose that passion for reading.

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Guardian Angel, I’m giving away a $20 Amazon voucher. To enter, click the link below and perform any (or all) of the actions to score entries. The competition closes on 25 May.

Guardian Angel book birthday giveaway

Buy links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia | Barnes & Noble
iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords

Add on Goodreads

Blurb

Can her light hold back the night? 

There are two things actor Jordan Woodrow always swore were true: that there was no such thing as love at first sight, and that he could never love a fangirl. But after he met Brianna at a convention, everything changed.

Now, hallucinations creep at the edge of his days and nightmares scuttle through his sleep, and only Brianna can keep them at bay. When she is with him, everything is fine. No, it’s better than fine—it’s perfect.

Why can’t his family and friends see that?

P.S. A sneaky announcement

As well as working on Guardian Angel, I had another project on the go. Also a novella, this one comes out on 5 May — so next Saturday — and will be released under my Tammy Calder pen name. Please note that Tammy writes erotica*, so, unlike Guardian Angel, this link is for adults only. Not for kids. And definitely not for my mother. (Hi, Mum!)

Now that you’ve been warned, here is the link for more information on Tammy’s books. Possessed: His Ghostly Game, an urban fantasy ghost erotica, has been out for a few years, and Kiss of the Succubus, a high fantasy erotica, is now available for pre-order.

* Yes, I refer to my erotica pen name in the third person. Shush.

Advertisements

‘Guardian Angel’ excerpt and pre-order links

It’s less than a week till Guardian Angel hits the e-shelves (shush, that’s totally a thing) — 28 April is the big day, and I’m not at all nervous, ahahahaha. D: Seriously, releasing a book, even a novella, is always nerve-racking. But I am proud of this little story, and I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

All the pre-order links are live, so you can buy Future You a present. And as Guardian Angel is a bargain at US$0.99 (around AU$1.30), Future You will be super-impressed at your frugality!

If that price doesn’t convince you, you can find an excerpt below. Enjoy.

Pre-order Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia | Barnes & Noble
iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords

Add on Goodreads

Blurb

Can her light hold back the night? 

There are two things actor Jordan Woodrow always swore were true: that there was no such thing as love at first sight, and that he could never love a fangirl. But after he met Brianna at a convention, everything changed.

Now, hallucinations creep at the edge of his days and nightmares scuttle through his sleep, and only Brianna can keep them at bay. When she is with him, everything is fine. No, it’s better than fine—it’s perfect.

Why can’t his family and friends see that?

Excerpt

Jordan was dreaming.

He knew it was a dream, because he was on the set of Beyond Deathgate, and he knew, even dreaming, that he’d finished filming that movie three years ago. It had already premiered, and it had been a hit. They were negotiating the sequel.

But knowing that didn’t change the dream.

He was back in the spideresque cavern, but he was in his pyjamas, not Aldron’s trademark blue leather armour. There were no film crews hovering around the edges of the room, no cameras on tracks or scurrying assistants carrying messages or coffee. The domed ceiling was full of heavy cobwebs and shadowed darkness, not a lighting rig.

He turned around to look behind him … or tried to. He couldn’t move. A thick, sticky web was wrapped around him, cocooning him, its strands gleaming sullenly in the uncertain light. He looked down at himself; his hands were crossed over his chest, like the corpse at a funeral, and bound as tightly as if he wore a straitjacket. His feet were bare in the thick detritus on the floor of the cavern. The frail skeletons of small animals looked up at him with accusingly empty eye-sockets from amid the decomposing leaf matter.

Something squirmed against his toes.

Oh, god! Jordan made a small, panicked sound in the back of his throat. He tried to lift his feet, but he couldn’t—the web didn’t have enough give in it for him to bend his knees. His pulse thundered in his ears. What the—?

That was when he smelled it.

His brain struggled to find a word for the foul reek that drifted through the tunnels. Struggled and failed. Maggot-infested meat rotting in the sun? The stench of untreated sewerage? It was both those things, and more. His eyes watered with the acrid stink of it, and he thrashed against the web that bound him. He knew what was coming. The spideresque: half human, half spider, all black malevolence and aching hunger. She was going to scuttle into the cavern, and she was going to devour him. And this time he had no Ring of Emrys to save him.

The huge, bloated shape of the spideresque appeared, silhouetted against the roughened stone of the far wall. Her stench washed over him, stronger now. He coughed, retched. It’s a dream, he told himself. It has to be. But that initial certainty seemed far away now. A second thought came, barely a whisper: I’m going to die. Despair flooded him, weighing down his limbs and settling like a rock on his chest. What’s the point in fighting?

There was no point. He hung in the web, a fly ready to be eaten.

“Get back!”

Jordan lifted his head, relieved at the sound of that familiar, beloved voice. Brianna stood before him, facing the beast. She was dressed in lambent white, a vision of Emrys herself; her hair glowed with its own golden light, casting soft shadows across the webs that ensnared him. She held one hand before her, palm outward toward the spideresque. “Get back,” she yelled again. Her light grew brighter—so bright his eyes began to water. “Leave him alone!”

The monster shrieked, rattling its forelegs together. Dust rained down from the ceiling with the force of its cry, and it paced back and forward—but it drew no closer. Finally, unable to face the purity of her light, it retreated into the shadows with a final, protesting wail. The reek of its body faded.

Brianna turned to him, her brilliant emerald eyes wide, and reached out to touch the webs. They disappeared, and he collapsed into her arms.

“Let’s get out of here,” she said.

At her words, they were transported onto a field of grass whose blades were so soft they were like feathers beneath him. Flowers bobbed in the breeze, yellow and perfect. The trees whispered at the edge of the field, and the sky was a brilliant, aching blue.

Brianna cradled him against her chest like a baby as he wept with relief. “It’s okay,” she murmured, “I’ll protect you. Don’t you worry. Your guardian angel is here.”


Book announcement and cover reveal: ‘Guardian Angel’

So, for those who’ve been following along, I’ve had a bit of trouble getting started when it comes to my next novel. But I haven’t been wasting time (well, not just wasting time — ha ha awkward!). I’ve been working on a handful of shorter projects, including a sci-fi short story for an anthology coming out later this year, and getting my ducks in a row to release the fantasy novel I finished a while back. That one will come out in the second half of 2018, but, for now, I’ve got something new for you to sink your teeth into.

Guardian Angel is an urban fantasy novella, which will only be available in ebook format due to its shorter length (about a third of the length of one of my other novels). I’m working on edits now, and am aiming for a May release date. In the meantime, I have a blurb and cover to share with you — this cover, like my others, was made by the talented Kim at KILA Designs.

Blurb

Can her light hold back the night?

There are two things actor Jordan Woodrow always swore were true: that there was no such thing as love at first sight, and that he could never love a fangirl. But after he met Brianna at a convention, everything changed.

Now, hallucinations creep at the edge of his days and nightmares scuttle through his sleep, and only Brianna can keep them at bay. When she is with him, everything is fine. No, it’s better than fine—it’s perfect.

Why can’t his family and friends see that?

Goodreads

Add to your “to read” shelf on Goodreads today!

Cover


‘A Handful of Knaves’ anthology — a quick announcement

jack4-dinergirl-ferretboy-215x300

Rogues, thieves, pirates and ne’er-do-wells abound in speculative fiction. Sometimes heroic, sometimes villainous, often somewhere in between, rogues are as likely to steal one’s heart as one’s purse, and show little remorse while helping themselves to either.

So why do we love them? Because they’re imperfect, fallible, and even vulnerable under that carefully-maintained, world-weary exterior.

Rogues represent something we rarely see in our daily lives: ordinary people prepared to take on the “powers that be” by way of guile and subterfuge. But are they only in it for the loot, or are they – deep down – romantic at heart?

Above is the summary from the call for submissions for the A Handful of Knaves anthology, which is being published by the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild in the second half of 2018. And I’m very excited to announce that one of my short stories, ‘The Best Heist Yet’, has been picked for inclusion. You can see the full list of authors and story titles here.

I’m thrilled to be working with the CSFG on this project, and will keep you in the loop as new information comes to hand.

96781-Anna-excited-gif-Imgur-Frozen-j9Hv.gif

Me, keeping my cool about this announcement. (Image belongs to Disney etc etc.)

And now, returning you to your regularly scheduled long weekend (or not)…


Book release: ‘False Awakening’ by … me (plus an excerpt and giveaway)

It’s here! It’s here! False Awakening, the second and final book in the Lucid Dreaming duology, releases today. The buzz of releasing a book never gets old, and I’m especially excited to be able to share this story with you as Melaina is my favourite leading lady so far (don’t tell Isla).  I’m going to miss the sound of her not-so-delicate footfalls as she stomps her way through my imagination. She’s left some big boots to fill.

Before we get to the excerpt-y goodies, I’m going to be self-indulgent and say a few thank yous. Feel free to scroll right on past if the sight of an author blubbering on screen bothers you. :p

Firstly, let me fire the party cannon for my excellent support team. Stacey Nash, Kim Last and Craig Lawrie, who read the drafts in various states and gave me valuable advice and encouragement—thank you. I adore you all. Group hugs! Also, thank you to my wonderful editor, Lauren Clarke, who has an eye for plot holes, asks all the hardest questions and spots even the tiniest errors. Seriously, you guys—she noticed that an apostrophe was the wrong font. An apostrophe. She is truly my people.

The cover is brought to you by the aforementioned Kim. She has done all my book covers to date; her eye for design and her talent for turning my bumbling suggestions into something beautiful leave me constantly in awe. If you’re in need of a cover designer, look up ‘KILA Designs’ on Facebook.

Thank you to my friends and family for putting up with my inattention and vacant looks, for letting me rant over Messenger, and for waving pompoms most enthusiastically: Mum, Dad, Kristy, Ali, Craig, Karen, Cassandra, the BC09 girls (especially Nicole, Isla’s biggest fan!) and the AOR girls.

And finally, as always, thank you to my son, Nathaniel. There is more laughter in my life when you are with me.


Summary from Goodreads

How can you fight your nightmares when they’re real?

Melaina, half-human dream therapist, just wants her life to return to normal. Yes, her Oneiroi father is in prison and, yes, the place she worked burned down, but she has a cute boyfriend and a new house. She beat the bad guy. She’s earned a break. Right?

Unfortunately for Melaina, people are still getting possessed by nightmare spirits; the police are investigating her past; and the bad guy’s brother, the Morpheus himself, is coming to town to demand answers. When a deranged ex-nurse checks himself out of hospital on the same day her cousin runs away from home, Melaina is dragged into a fight not just for her life but for her soul.

Add on Goodreads

Buy links

Ebook

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia
Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Paperback

Createspace | Amazon (coming soon)

Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win:

* A $20 Amazon gift card
* One of five ebooks of Lucid Dreaming (book one)

 Click here to enter!


Excerpt

Leander studied me from the other side of the trolley. I could see the shadows of fatigue under his eyes, which shocked me. Leander never looked tired. Cocky and self-assured? Yes. But tired? No. Not even when Ikelos had bound him with barbed wire. Despite his relaxed manner, increasing the hold of Daniel’s memory over the dream and destroying so many blights was draining him. And he was too proud to admit it.

I clenched my jaw and took a breath. I’d wanted to look for matches and maybe some reams of paper, but we didn’t have time. Another blight was about to hatch. “Alright.” I pulled several packets of nails down and tossed them onto the top of the trolley with a sick feeling. I’d seen enough news stories to know real-world lunatics packed their bombs with shards, to cause additional damage. “Can you get this up there, and then explode it?” I glanced at the nails. “From a d—”

The floor erupted beneath us.

Tentacles, each as thick as one of Leander’s well-muscled thighs, smashed through the floor. The blight hadn’t been as helpless as I’d assumed … and corruption hadn’t been the only thing it had been spreading. My cheek burned as a shard of floor tile sliced it, blood welling. The trolley tipped and I ignored the pain, lunging forward to steady it before its contents spilled into the sticky darkness below. Leander leaned over and gripped the frame, placing one hand on either side, his fingers brushing against mine as I let go. His grim gaze held mine for a moment, and then his wings pumped. Air washed over me as he lifted the overstuffed trolley into the air, towards the central body mass of the blight.

For a second I felt relief as he carried the improvised bomb above the thrashing tentacles. Then one of those tentacles slid around my waist, barbs as long as my palm tearing through the scorched armour of my motorcycle leathers. I gasped and prised at them with bare hands, trying to wiggle free but succeeding only in cutting my palms. Above me, the muscles in Leander’s back worked as he strained to haul the trolley upwards, ignoring the now-free baby blight buzzing around him like an oversized mosquito. He was dragging the bomb up there with brute force. Pain caused my vision to blur, but not before I realised he was going to ignite the trolley’s contents while he was holding it. The damned fool Oneiroi had no idea what would happen.

The tentacle dragged me towards the jagged hole in the floor. I didn’t look down, not wanting to see what awaited me. The wet smacking sound and the putrid smell were bad enough. Sweat beaded on my brow and I set my jaw against the pain, blinking to clear my vision, staring up at Leander.

He drove the end of the trolley into the breeder blight’s wet mass, leaning against the handle to brace it there as he conjured a spark in one hand.

The spark descended towards the makeshift bomb.

I cried out, using the last of my energy to fling a shield, a wall of force, between Leander and the trolley.

Fire and exploding chunks of meat raining down around me. My vision blackened, and I tumbled out of the dream.

For another excerpt, see this post from May.



‘False Awakening’ release date details

Release date and book blitz

False Awakening, the sequel to my adult urban fantasy Lucid Dreaming, is being released on Saturday 26 August. To celebrate, I am throwing it a birthday party — if you’re a blogger or social media book promo host, you can find out the details and sign up here. There will be excerpts and a giveaway; I’d love it if you could take part.

And if you’re neither of those things, keep an eye out … because giveaway! 😉

Preorder details

The False Awakening ebook is already available for pre-order at a range of retailers; links are below. A paperback will be available, although I don’t have any links for that yet.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia
Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Book details (just in case you’d forgotten)

How can you fight your nightmares when they’re real?

Melaina, half-human dream therapist, just wants her life to return to normal. Yes, her Oneiroi father is in prison and, yes, the place she worked burned down, but she has a cute boyfriend and a new house. She beat the bad guy. She’s earned a break. Right?

Unfortunately for Melaina, people are still getting possessed by nightmare spirits; the police are investigating her past; and the bad guy’s brother, the Morpheus himself, is coming to town to demand answers. When a deranged ex-nurse checks himself out of hospital on the same day her cousin runs away from home, Melaina is dragged into a fight not just for her life but for her soul.

 


‘False Awakening’ (‘Lucid Dreaming’ #2) cover reveal and excerpt

I’m so excited to be able to finally show you the cover for False Awakening, the second book in the Lucid Dreaming duology, my adult urban fantasy series. Kim Last of KILA Designs has designed all of my current book covers, and I love each one more than the last (IT HAS A DREAM CATCHER ON IT).

I can’t wait till I can hold this one, and maybe pat and fondle it a little.

(What?)

So, without further ado, here they are! But don’t just look at the pretties; while you’re here, check out an excerpt below.

Ebook cover

Paperback cover

Excerpt

Usually when I stepped into someone’s dreams just after they’d fallen asleep, I didn’t arrive in an active dream so much as in a place of significance in their subconscious: a proto-dream of sorts. The kind of place they’d have recurring dreams about. As a lucid dreamer, I didn’t have true recurring dreams—deliberately conjuring dreams of my favourite places didn’t count. But I was familiar with the concept. Jen had told me that, usually, when she remembered her dreams, she found they contained elements of her family home. Brad often dreamed of his grandparents’ house, where he’d spent a lot of time as a child.

That was why, when I appeared in a brightly lit department store, I raised my eyebrows. Huh. First job, maybe? I stood in an aisle full of bags of confectionary: liquorice sticks, mixed lollies, chocolate drops. But, in the fashion of dreams, everything was slightly off. When I focused on a rustling purple and yellow packet, trying to make out the brand name, the logo slid away from my gaze as if it didn’t want to be nailed down. Price tags were illegible: smeared or written in gibberish characters. And when I looked between the packages I didn’t see a backboard filled with mounting holes but sheer, impenetrable darkness.

The darkness gaped back at me.

With goosebumps shivering along the length of my forearms, I took a moment to prepare myself, sparing a thought and a shred of energy to conjure my set of trusty motorcycle leathers. I didn’t have any such thing in the real world, but in dreams I’d found they served quite well as armour against the barbs on a blight’s tentacles. A clear-faced, round helmet made me feel like an idiot but protected my eyes. I didn’t know for certain that there was a blight here, but something was definitely not right. Even if it was just a creepy manifestation of Daniel’s subconscious—even if he was indeed going crazy—it paid to be careful. Ephemera could still have teeth.

I crept towards the end of the aisle, leather squeaking faintly as I listened for the telltale bubbling hiss of a blight. Peering past a stand of round-bellied plastic animals stuffed with jellybeans, I saw a row of unattended registers to my left. To my right, clothes swayed in a breeze I couldn’t feel. In front of me was the store’s main entrance: the roller shutter was down, allowing the vague impression of a darkened mall beyond.

Deserted apartment stores were bloody creepy. Even ones with the lights on. Still, this didn’t look like a place a blight had trashed. Brad’s had shredded the surface of his dream, tearing holes in walls and coating everything with a mess that would do a slimy Ghostbusters spectre proud. This store was creepy, but trashed? No.

Like my thought made it happen, a corner of the store went dark as one fluorescent light, then another, went out with a pop and a tinkle of glass onto tile. “What the…?” I whispered, looking up.

That was when I spotted the blight.

It hung upside down from the ceiling, somewhere above the menswear section, like a deranged bat a few feet wide, made of smog. Its tentacles were jammed deep into the rectangular ceiling tiles; the tiles themselves were slick with an oily coating of blight ichor that dripped downwards, spattering across a garish display of novelty ties that hurt my eyes.

“Gross,” I said, my voice somewhat muffled behind the helmet’s faceplate. The blight turned, rotating slowly until its stained yellow eyes glared down at me.

Oneeiiiiroi,” the creature hissed.

“I was talking about those ties, but you’re gross too. You look like an evil Christmas ornament up there, you know.” I gathered power around my hands, threads of blue-white lightning encircling my wrists and licking down my fingers. The fine hairs on the back of my hands stood on end, tickling until I had to resist the urge to scratch them. I forced my back straight and my shoulders square so the blight wouldn’t see my energy flagging, draining into the lightning.

With a shriek so high it hurt my ears, the blight yanked downwards, its tentacles tearing ceiling tiles free to smash to the floor. One tile, three, five. Then dozens. Fluorescent lights exploded, plunging the store into gloom. Tiles shattered around me and jellybeans scattered like marbles. By the glow of my lightning charge, I darted towards a service counter, diving under the counter hatch. Huddling in my leathers and helmet, I barely fit.

I stared at the rain of tile fragments as it slowed, and then stopped. Each was coated on one side with blight ichor, as if the entire ceiling cavity had been filled with the blight’s contamination.

This blight hadn’t destroyed the surface of the dream. It had rotted its very bones.

Blurb

How can you fight your nightmares when they’re real?

Melaina, half-human dream therapist, just wants her life to return to normal. Yes, her Oneiroi father is in prison and, yes, the place she worked burned down, but she has a cute boyfriend and a new house. She beat the bad guy. She’s earned a break. Right?

Unfortunately for Melaina, people are still getting possessed by nightmare spirits; the police are investigating her past; and the bad guy’s brother, the Morpheus himself, is coming to town to demand answers. When a deranged ex-nurse checks himself out of hospital on the same day her cousin runs away from home, Melaina is dragged into a fight not just for her life but for her soul.

Add to your Goodreads ‘to read’ shelf today